Tag Archives: strength

Are You Trying To Be Stronger Than You Are?

Society values the strangest things anymore.  For example, being busy is admired these days.  Strange thing to admire since being too busy is unhealthy physically & mentally.

It also seems to me a false strength is admired.  What I mean by false strength is when a person feels unable to continue doing something, but goes on anyway.  Like when a loved one dies, the surviving people are expected to just go on like nothing happened.  People seem to think once the funeral is over, their grief should be too.  It’s time to go on with life at that point.  They don’t realize that for most people, that is when their grief really begins.  Or, if a person is physically ill or disabled yet pushes him or herself to the point of extreme pain &/or fatigue, that is admired.

Another type of false strength that seems to be admired in society is going on as if nothing happened after being abused.  “It’s in the past,” “let it go,” “stop wallowing in the past,” “get over it” & other heartless comments are commonly made to abuse survivors.  What many people fail to realize is we want to let it go & get over it, but we can’t.  We have to process things fully before we can truly let things go.

The simple fact is childhood is an extremely important time in a person’s life.  All things, good, bad or indifferent that happen to children make a very deep imprint on them.  Much deeper than on an adult.  When bad things happen to a child, that child carries that into adulthood, possibly even for their entire life.

Many people who suffered child abuse also have PTSD or C-PTSD.  These are disorders where the victim has experienced so much trauma, their brain has physically changed, broken even.  Neither disorder is something that can be shaken off, & they should be taken seriously.  Many, many people with PTSD or C-PTSD have committed suicide & many consider suicide on a regular basis – these are potentially life threatening disorders!

If you too suffer with PTSD or C-PTSD, then I am particularly writing to you, however, I think this article can benefit most anyone.

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, I was told constantly how lazy I was.  This has stuck with me – I still battle feeling lazy constantly even though I’m in my 40’s.  Many other adult children of narcissistic parents I’ve spoken with share similar stories with similar results.  I believe for many of us, this is at the root of this “I always have to be strong & productive” behavior.  As a result, we continue pushing ourselves beyond our physical & mental limits constantly rather than be “lazy” like Mom always said we were.

No matter what the reason, continuing to push yourself beyond your limits isn’t being strong- it’s unwise, because you’re putting your physical & mental health at risk!!

I hope to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to learn to take better care of yourself.  The fact you have made it this far shows you are strong- you have nothing to prove to anyone.  Listen to your body & mind.  If they feel stressed, then it’s time to rest.  There is no shame in resting your body & mind.  Even God rested.  Genesis 2:2 states, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”  (KJV)  In fact, there are also several accounts in the Bible where Jesus took off to be by Himself.  There is NOTHING wrong with rest.  It helps you to renew your strength.  In fact, if you incorporate rest into your life as you need it, you will be stronger.  In 2000 when I was one of my grandmother’s caregivers, she ran me ragged.  Once I stopped being at her beck & call constantly, & started making time to rest & take care of myself, I was better able to take care of her.  (And, with her being a narcissist, I needed every advantage I could get too!  lol)

If you truly want to be strong, practice self care & abandon pushing yourself too hard!  It really does make a difference!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Even Strong People Have Needs

I’ve always been a strong person.  In fact, the night of my first nervous breakdown, thanks to my mother’s verbal attack, I didn’t sleep at all, then went to work the following morning.  That’s pretty strong!

 

As the years have passed, I developed C-PTSD that left me much less able to cope.  Three years after that, I got a brain injury from passing out from carbon monoxide & hitting my head.  The TBI changed me a great deal.  One of those changes is I’m no longer the strong chick I once was.  I get overwhelmed by the tiniest things, such as having to change my daily routine.  And, if I’m already stressed, it gets even worse.

 

I’m still getting used to not being strong anymore.  I’ve noticed though, that people around me haven’t seemed to notice the change.  People still think I’m able to handle pretty much anything which isn’t even close to reality.

 

When you’re a strong person, people tend to forget that you need help or need a break sometimes, too.  Even if you haven’t changed like I have, you still need help or a break.  Everyone does, but often people forget that when they are accustomed to relying on you.

 

If you are in this position, then it’s time for a change.  No one, no matter how strong, can keep going indefinitely.  Everyone needs help sometimes, & there is no shame in asking for that help.  It’s time to start telling people you need a break or asking for help.  I know it’s hard to do when you aren’t used to doing it, so don’t forget to ask God to help you in this area!

 

Ask God also to help you to have & enforce good boundaries.  Don’t keep pushing yourself when you’re exhausted.  You have the right to take care of your physical & mental health!

 

Remember, “no” can be a very good word sometimes.  If people look to you for help or support constantly, they aren’t looking to God.  He is where they should be looking, not you.  God should be that person’s everything, not you!

 

One thing that helps me a lot is alone time.  If you’re an introvert too, then be sure to tell people you need time alone to recharge.  Some extroverts don’t like to hear that, but that isn’t your problem.  Make sure they understand that it’s not them- alone time makes you feel like being around others makes them feel.  Take the alone time you need.  Or, if you’re an extrovert, then plan fun times with good friends or go to parties so you can recharge.

 

Remember, just because you’re strong doesn’t mean you need to be strong 24/7/365.  Everyone needs breaks & help sometimes.  There is no shame in that!  Besides, taking care of yourself also means you’ll be more able to help others when they do need you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Stop Hating Your Weaknesses!

If there is one thing most adult children of narcissists do, often even years into their healing, is berate themselves.  Any weakness or flaw is cause to tell themselves how dumb or clumsy they are.  God forbid they get sick or injured, because then they become useless in their minds.

 

I do it myself, in spite of telling people to give themselves a break, it’s not right, etc.  I’d always done this but it went into overdrive in 1990 when my mother threw me into a wall & hurt my back, causing me to need to quit working outside the home a few months later.  I felt useless, no longer being able to earn a paycheck.  In 1996 when agoraphobia developed, I felt even more useless since I couldn’t go out alone without panicking.  2002, I got arthritis in my knees & was limited a bit more as to what I could physically do.  2012, C-PTSD fully developed, making me feel even more useless.  Then in February, 2015, I suffered carbon monoxide poisoning which made me pass out & hit my head causing a concussion, & I felt more useless yet once again when I learned most likely many of my symptoms would be life long & were untreatable.

 

Recently I was telling myself how useless I was because of all of these things.  I said something to God about being useless.  I asked too why these things have happened?  I never wanted to be a housewife or work at home- I liked a couple of jobs I had a great deal & would’ve been quite happy making either of them into a career.  Instead I’m at home, not making a lot of money which means I’m also putting pressure on my husband financially.  This just sucks!!  God listened patiently & reminded me of 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 which says:

 

“Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”  (MSG)

What a message!!!  It’s a great reminder that everyone has limitations & God will work through them, not just your strengths!   You are capable of great things because you are imperfect!  Even this blog post is evidence of God’s ability to work through weaknesses.  Normally, I jot notes down for posts I want to write, because my memory is so bad.  But this one, I didn’t.  I just asked Him to remind me to write it.  Not only did He remind me, He showed me what all to include in it.

 

Don’t get me wrong- there is certainly nothing wrong with asking God to heal you.  He wants what is best for you, & often that does mean healing your physical or mental health.  Sometimes though, there is a very good reason that you aren’t healed, & you certainly can ask God why.  Maybe like the apostle Paul, you could lose your humility if you were healed, failing to rely on God.  Or maybe there is another reason.

 

God told me in my case, I’ve worked VERY hard all my life.  Not as much working hard at a job, but working hard to appease the narcissists in my life (including anticipating their needs or how to deal with them the most effectively), keeping my emotions in control so as not to upset or “feed” them & trying to do everything perfectly so as not to be criticized or ridiculed.  Now, I have no choice but to rest.  My body & mind demand it often, & frankly… it feels good.  Until the carbon monoxide poisoning happened, I pushed through any illness or injury so as not to be lazy.  Growing up, my mother often said I was lazy & as an adult, I’ve always worked to prove I wasn’t.  Now?  I kinda am, & it’s OK!  My mind & body demand it, so I have to respect that in order to stay healthy.  Maybe your case is like mine, & you too need that rest after a lifetime of working hard.  Rather than feel badly about it, why not enjoy your rest?  Accept it as a well deserved rest rather than hating it.

 

Dear Reader, you are a valuable person.  God loves you a great deal & made you as you are for a reason.  It’s time to let Him work through you, weaknesses & all!

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Help For Dealing With Narcissistic Parents

My parents came by for a visit on Thursday.  I didn’t expect it to be a good one.  My mother is always angry with me, & my father was upset I postponed from last week.  For days,  I prayed & worried.

Wednesday, I suddenly got very angry at the fact that my parents have done so much to me, yet believe they are entitled to come into my home anytime & treat my furbabies & I so nastily in our own home.  Mind you, I’m not particularly good with anger.  Growing up, my mother accused me of having “that Bailey temper”, shaming me, if I was angry or even simply just frustrated. I learned early to ignore anger.  It’s only been recently I’ve been trying to deal with anger in a healthy way.  Even so, it still feels awkward to be angry, so Wednesday was a somewhat difficult day.

I realized something though.  I was gaining confidence.  It really started to sink in that I have a right to be angry about the things they have done & continue to do to me.  That anger gave me the confidence to realize I do NOT have to put up with being abused.  If me having boundaries hurts their feelings, that isn’t my problem.

Shortly before they arrived, I remembered something that also helped me.  Years ago, I stopped speaking to my mother 6 years.  During that time, I had planned to visit my Granddad one Saturday.  The night before, he called & said my parents had just called to say they were coming by on that same day.  He said “If you want to do this another time, I’ll understand.”  I thought about doing that, but said no- I want to see him & if he wants to see me too, then I’ll be there in the morning.  He did so we agreed I’d come by the following morning.   That day of the visit, my mother was shocked to see me there.  (Years before, she had tried to ruin my relationship with my grandparents.  I had stopped speaking to them for several years, & at the time of the visit, only had began visiting him again a few months prior)  She did her best to frazzle me with some of her actions, but instead I let her know they wouldn’t work, much to the delight of Granddad who was quite proud of me that day.  I was proud of myself for handling things so well, too!

Remembering that successful event & being angry both helped me to stay strong when my parents came by & successfully, for the first time, limit the time of their visit!  For the first time, I told them when the visit was over, not them staying in my home until they felt like leaving!

My point (finally..lol) is these tricks can help you when it comes to dealing with your narcissistic mother as well.  I know many Christians think anger is from the devil or you’re a terrible person to feel anger, but I completely disagree!  Anger is a normal emotion & it is from God.  Yes, forgiveness is a wonderful thing & should be practiced regularly.  However, anger has its place too.  A righteous anger at injustice is a wonderful motivator for change.  What is the difference?  Being angry at the unfairness of being abused & being angry because you know you have done nothing to deserve abuse, those are examples of righteous anger.  Me being angry because my parents have abused me & think they still have to right to do so is also righteous anger.  God stirred that anger up in me for a reason on Wednesday- to help me be strong & able to set boundaries with my narcissistic parents the next day.

And, God also reminded me of a very successful interaction I’d had with my parents, which was extremely helpful as well.  Remembering how well that previous episode had gone helped me to see that yes, I could be strong.  Yes, I could handle things well.  Yes, I could even be composed when angry.  I could do it!

Dear Reader, what God did for me, He can do for you as well.  I prayed & asked friends to pray for me to have strength for this visit, & God certainly did not disappoint.  I would like to encourage you too, to think on similar things in your life.  Gain courage from your successes, & hold onto that righteous anger!  If you are having trouble, ask God to help you.  He truly will!

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Are You Always The Strong One?

There is a saying that is pretty common, but especially here in the South.  “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  I believe it to be very true.  The very things that have been meant to kill me, such as narcissistic abuse, have instead strengthened me in the long run.

But, the truth is, in spite of being grateful for the strength I’ve gained, I’m pretty tired!  Tired of the nonsense I’ve lived through, & mostly tired of always being the strong one who carries other people can fall apart.

Many people, especially those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse, are a great deal stronger than we realize.  This doesn’t usually escape the notice of other people, however.  They notice it right away & often, don’t hesitate to use our strength to help themselves out.  Even when they know we’re going through a crisis, they’ll come to us for comfort, advice or to meet some other need, often without even asking how we’re doing.  When faced with a difficult person, we are the one who is always supposed to be understanding or the “bigger person”, & let the offenses go.  People know we’re strong & can handle bad situations, so they assume we never need help, a shoulder to cry on or, well, anything really..

The simple truth is that even the strongest among us need help sometimes.  Being strong can be hard enough, but feeling as if you’re completely alone in your struggles with no one to help, & you have to be strong all of the time for others is incredibly hard.  It’s extremely depressing, because you know you can’t count on anyone else to let you lean on them.  It’s also mentally & physically draining.

Chances are, if you’re reading this post, then you understand this all too well.  I would like to encourage you today to make self-care a priority.  Take breaks as needed from work or from other people (especially the ones who lean on you without reciprocating).  Set & enforce healthy boundaries to protect yourself.  Do nice things for yourself often.  What makes you feel good?  Make it a priority to do those things as often as possible.  Participate in your hobbies often.  Express your creativity often.

And, remember- sometimes you need to lean on others as they have leaned on you.  It’s actually a good thing for a relationship- it makes you depend on each other instead of the relationship being one sided.  It also increases intimacy in the relationship, because asking for help makes you vulnerable.  I understand that it is very hard to do, but I encourage you to step out & try it.  Ask God how to do this & who to ask- He won’t guide you wrong!

And, speaking of God, don’t forget to lean on Him as well!  He loves you so much, & wants to help you in every way you need help.  I’ll never forget what happened when I was sick at the end of February.. I was relaxing, just playing a game on my tablet, & I couldn’t get past this one level.  It was frustrating me.  I muttered & asked God to help me get past this stupid level.  Suddenly, I did it!  I started to cry.  Granted, I was super emotional because of the concussion I got only a few days prior, but even so, it was a lovely moment.  I knew God helped me to win that game because He loves me so much that He even cares about something so trivial that means something to me.  He loves you just as much- allow Him to show it.  Trust Him & lean on Him.  He won’t disappoint you.

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Strength Does Come If You Don’t Give Up

Last week, my father called, asking if he could come by soon.  We arranged it for this past Tuesday, around 12-1 p.m.  When he was a bit late, I just chalked it up to the traffic jam outside my home, but soon found out why- my mother was with him, & she is always late (a control tactic).  She invited herself to my home!  I was caught off-guard since I hadn’t expected this but I prayed quickly before letting them in, & God didn’t disappoint!  He helped me tremendously to get through the very difficult visit, as He always does.

My mother was obviously angry with me from the start. Why I’m not sure.  Maybe because I didn’t invite her over (truthfully, I didn’t invite my father either but at least he asked before coming over).  Maybe because she was whining about her back pain & I showed her no concern (for anyone who doesn’t know, at 19, my mother threw me into a wall so hard, I had pain for 10 years & had to quit working.  Not only did she never assume responsibility for hurting me, she told everyone I was faking the injury to get out of working because I was so lazy.  This is why I feel no sympathy for her pain.  You reap what you sow!).  Maybe she was mad because as soon as she got here, she asked if I’d gotten an email from her cousin about printing something out for her & I told her I did get it & I told her cousin to print it out herself since I’m not anyone’s secretary.

In any case, my mother was angry with me, & when she’s angry she does the normal narcissist behavior- treat me like crap & try to hurt me at every opportunity.  Thanks to God helping me, I was able not only to catch onto what she did every time, but also refuse to play along.  I was able to stay totally calm, which is important- showing your hurt or anger only fuels the narcissist, making her want to hurt you more & more.  I also was able to set & enforce firm boundaries with her that she respected, albeit grudgingly.

The visit was a great success, considering the circumstances!  Although I still ended up angry & hurt when my parents left, it wasn’t nearly as painful as it has been before.  It’s taken a long time, but I finally am able to set & enforce healthy boundaries & stand up to my mother rather than tolerate her abuse silently.

My point of telling you this story, Dear Reader, is to encourage you.  A good friend of mine suggested I share it to encourage you.  If you are in a relationship with your narcissistic parents & unable or unwilling to go no contact, you still can deal with them if you don’t give up!  Keep praying- ask God to give you whatever you need such as strength, courage, wisdom & even words to say or boundaries to set.  He truly will answer that prayer!

If you have any doubts about anything she says or what you feel, ask God to tell you the truth immediately.

Also, learn as much as you can about narcissism so you are prepared for the gaslighting & other horrible behaviors.  This will help you to remember that she is the problem, not you as well as to cope with those behaviors.

Talk to supportive friends.  Let them encourage you!

Be calm around your narcissistic parent at all times to avoid fueling their nasty fire.

Always be consistent.  If you set a boundary, stick to it.  Any flexibility will be taken as a sign of weakness & she will bust through that boundary & any others as soon as she sees fit.

As you gain more experience with dealing with your narcissistic parents in a healthy way, it will become so much easier.  I never thought that I would be able to tell my mother to knock off insulting my pets & have her actually listen to me!  I’ve told her that before & she ignored me totally.  Even when I told her either be nice to them or I’ll kick her out of my home, it still wasn’t as effective- she simply avoided my home.  But Tuesday, she backed off immediately.  She is finally learning that I not only am serious that I will protect my furkids no matter what, but also that I mean business with my boundaries.

You too can be strong!  Don’t give up!  Keep practicing the above mentioned tips, & you will be pleasantly surprised how much stronger you are.  And, chances are your narcissistic mother will improve her behaviors some like mine has.

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Strength Isn’t Always What You Think

It seems like so many people believe being strong is about shaking things off, ignoring things as if they don’t bother you, not showing negative feelings & the like.  This can be extremely discouraging to hear when you have survived abuse, because you’ve always been told to be quiet, don’t tell people what happened to you, don’t be a baby- that wasn’t a big deal & similar things.  Once you realize you’ve been abused, you want to start to talk about it, & to express your feelings for the first time.  Yet, people make you feel as if you’re weak for being that way.  I believe those people are absolutely WRONG.

Sweeping things under the rug & ignoring your feelings aren’t strength.  In fact, I find them to be very weak.  It doesn’t take any courage at all to ignore something or to stuff your feelings inside, just a desire to do so.

Facing things, however, that takes strength & courage.  It isn’t easy to face painful things!  It hurts!  But, the good part is it dealing with things loosens their painful grip on you.  Ignoring those painful things, however, means you will feel pain for as long as you refuse to deal with them.  Better to suffer for a short time than indefinitely!

Feeling your feelings takes a great deal more strength than ignoring them.  I grew up ignoring my feelings.  I knew they had no value to those around me, so I figured they must have no value- why share them with anyone?  As a result, even to this day sometimes I have trouble expressing them out of fear of being mocked or invalidated.  Even writing things in this blog scares me quite often for those reasons.  It takes great courage to be willing to be vulnerable, especially in a society where people condemn any feelings other than happiness.  I’ve learned that I feel much more peaceful when I can share my feelings instead of hiding them, even if it’s only writing about them in my journal.  Feelings demand to be expressed, the good & the bad ones.  Holding them in makes you miserable, & can lead to all kinds of health problems- high blood pressure, kidney or heart disease, arthritis & more.

If you’ve survived abuse, please don’t let dysfunctional people tell you that being strong means stifling your negative feelings or pretending the abuse didn’t happen!  You have every right to feel how you feel & to acknowledge the abuse!  If you’re already doing these things, then please be proud of yourself!  You are brave & strong!  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!  Many people who try to silence others don’t have the courage to face their own emotions & painful pasts- don’t let them drag you down to where they are!  Instead, hope that by you being so brave, you will inspire them to find their own courage.

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Taking Back Some Power

Recently, I wrote this post about being angry at all of the things I feel have been stolen from me due to having C-PTSD.  The anger that was simmering kicked back into overdrive briefly on Tuesday night.

I had to speak with my mother that evening.  I ended up pretty angry with her by the time I hung up.  Shortly after I got the wonderful call from my vet that I mentioned in this post.   In spite of the incredibly good news, I was angry.  Although my mother didn’t do it on purpose, I felt like, as usual, she’s interfering in my life & stealing my joy- making me angry at a time when I should’ve been completely happy.  I felt in my heart I needed to make a decision at that time..Either continue to be angry or to thank God for & enjoy the wonderful news I had just gotten.  I decided to focus on the good news for the night, & deal with my anger at my mother later on.  Oddly, this turned out to be a good thing for me in a way..

I feel like I took back some of my power!

I think by being able basically to put my mother aside for a while was helpful for me.  It showed me  that my mother & her narcissistic ways haven’t stolen everything for me, as it so often feels like.  She isn’t in control anymore, & I am more powerful than I feel.  Instead of being angry with her & failing to enjoy the miraculous news I’d just received, I was able to refocus my mind onto the good.  I had an entire evening of basking in joy, then dealt with the anger the following day.

Have you ever tried anything like this?

In all honesty, I can’t say I’m sure this type of thing is a good thing to do on a regular basis, but doing it once was a good experience for me.  It may be for you too.  I would encourage you to ask God about it, if you’re in a similar situation.  It may help you as well.  But, if God advises you against it, please listen to Him & don’t try it!

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