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When People Say Things They Shouldn’t To Abuse Victims

Admitting you were abused or hearing stories by other people of abuse they endured is very uncomfortable & unpleasant.  No one wants to talk about abuse.  I sure don’t!  I’d love to write about more pleasant topics & never think about the abuse I endured ever again.  Yet, I know this is impossible.  Even if I quit writing about it, the aftermath of abuse never goes away.  It’s always there to some degree, so talking about it is normal.  Most people talk about abuse in their past either slightly, a lot like me or mostly somewhere in between.

Anyone who has decided to open up about abuse has learned that not everyone is a willing, compassionate listener.  When you gather your courage to discuss the most painful experiences of your life only to be met with invalidation, it can be incredibly painful.  I hope to help you learn some ways to cope with that in this post by sharing some common comments people make to abuse survivors.

“Why didn’t you tell anyone?”  Many people who haven’t survived abuse don’t understand why a victim wouldn’t reach out for help.  It’s totally acceptable to educate anyone who asks this question.  Abusers threaten their victims to keep quiet.  They also tell their victims no one will believe them.  They even destroy their victim’s self esteem to the point the victim believes no one would care anyway, so there isn’t a point in telling anyone.

“You shouldn’t talk about this.  It’s not the Christian thing to do, making him/her look bad.”  People who say this are often also survivors of abuse, yet who lack the courage to face their pain.  Others facing their pain makes these folks feel badly, so they try to shut down the open person.  Often, there is no getting through to these people, so it is best not to discuss abuse with them.  It is vital to know though that there is nothing “un-Christian” about discussing your experiences.  You aren’t making the abuser look bad.  The abuser already did that by being abusive.

“Are you really sure that’s what happened?”  This comment is often said by someone who knows both victim & abuser.  This is said by someone who really doesn’t want to accept that someone they care about is capable of such awful behavior.  It also is said by a narcissist’s flying monkey who is trying to instill doubt in the victim so they tolerate more abuse from the narcissist.  Take this comment as a red flag that the person saying it is NOT safe!  Don’t discuss your experiences with this person.  Doing so only will lead to you being hurt, possibly also being the victim of a smear campaign.

“Nobody’s parents are perfect,” “No one gets along perfectly with their parents,” or “Everyone has childhood hurts.”  When a person says these statements, it hurts.  They are lumping vicious abuse in the same category as simple personality differences.  So invalidating!!  Shock value can make a person realize how foolish their words are.  Saying something like, “So my mother berating me to the point of obliterating my self esteem while I was a child is the same as another mother not letting her child wear a certain shirt to school?  That’s what it sounds like you’re saying, & I disagree with you.”

“Stop thinking about it” or “Stop dwelling in the past!”  Wouldn’t it be nice if it was that easy?!  Again, it’s acceptable to educate whoever asks this question.  Tell them that C-PTSD & PTSD are common after abuse, & are brought on by experiencing such horrific trauma, it literally broke a person’s brain.  A quality these disorders share is constantly reliving the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares & intrusive thoughts.  Not thinking about things is impossible when your brain won’t let you.

“Why would you talk about this now, all this time later?”  When in the midst of suffering abuse, the victim is busy trying to survive.  Talking about it at the time rarely seems important.  Once the victim is safe, survival mode ends & this person can think clearer.  They often try to process what they just escaped by talking about it.  Or, they are triggered by something… a sound, smell, someone that reminds them of their abuser in some way.  Not a lot of people are aware of this, & that may be the case with the person who says this to you.  Tell him or her.

“You’ll get over it,” “It could’ve been so much worse!” or, “Look for the positive in everything!”  Such comments are what I think of as toxic positivity.  While it is good to be positive, too positive is unhealthy.  It’s unrealistic which easily can lead to disappointment.  Comments like this also make a victim feel ashamed for still being affected by the trauma or needing to discuss it in order to heal.  Don’t waste your time talking about past trauma to people like this.  You’ll only end up hurt by their calloused words.

“At least he/she didn’t hit you!”  A common belief is that the only type of abuse is physical.  Anyone subjected to narcissistic abuse knows this is utter nonsense.  Emotional, mental, sexual, financial & spiritual abuse are all horrific forms of abuse.  They simply don’t leave the clearly visible scars that physical abuse does.  The uneducated need to be aware of this, including the person who says this to you..  You can also tell them that PTSD & C-PTSD are physical damage done to the brain by exposure to abuse & trauma.

“What did you do to make him/her treat you that way?”  This invalidating & shaming statement is so common!  It makes victims feel responsible for the terrible things their abuser did to them, & that is utterly wrong!  No one can make another person abuse them, period, no matter what they do or don’t do.  Did Jack the Ripper’s victims do anything to make him kill them?  What about Ted Bundy’s victims?  No.  These men saw an opportunity & took advantage of it.  Their victims did nothing to deserve what these killers did to them.  This is a point which you can bring up to the person who says such a disgusting statement.

“You should be more patient with him/her!”  No.  Just no.  The more patient you are with an abuser, the more they will abuse you because they see that you will tolerate a lot.  It could help to ask this person why should anyone be understanding with someone who repeatedly hurts them & shows no desire to improve their behavior?

“You should be more careful when picking your romantic partners!”  This statement is nothing but victim blaming.  What the heartless person saying this fails to realize yet needs to know is abusers can come across any way they like – very charming, kind, compassionate, romantic, successful.  They rarely are abusive monsters 24/7.  If they were, no one would get involved with them because it would be clear what they were really like.  They lure victims in by appearing to be much better people than they truly are.  While this seems like common sense, unfortunately it isn’t.  The person who says this statement to you needs to be educated!  Tell them this!

Unfortunately, there always will be people who don’t understand what it’s like to survive abuse.  There also will be people who want to silence victims, no matter how much or little they discuss their experiences.  The more you heal, the less these people will bother you, I’m happy to say.  I also hope this post has helped you to learn some ways to deal with these people!  xoxo

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Trauma Responses & Guilt

Many of us who have experienced trauma experience a lot of guilt about how we responded during a traumatic event.  I have experienced this.  When my mother & I got into an argument & she threw me into a wall when I was 19 in 1990, I blacked out & bit her during the assault.  To this day I remember how shocking it felt to hit the wall then suddenly coming to as she was releasing her hold on me that pinned me to the wall.  And when I came to, I ran from the house & sped away in a cloud of tire smoke.  For many years after, I felt incredibly guilty for the entire event.  Mostly because I bit my mother & she had a scar from that, but also for the fact I gave in to her.  She was itching for a fight the moment I walked in the door after work that evening.  I recognized the look immediately & in spite of knowing nothing about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I knew getting into an argument would result in something bad for me, yet I did it anyway. 

While it may sound ridiculous to you, this triggered an intense amount of guilt in me!  I gave in rather than simply leave which would have been the smart thing to do.  And, thanks to me, my mother had a physical scar.  Horrible!

As you read this, you probably are thinking things like, “But you were only 19!”  “You didn’t know about narcissism!”  “You were defending yourself!”  “You couldn’t move so how else could you defend yourself?”  And you know something?  Those are all correct.  That isn’t how it felt at the time of the incident however, or for over twenty years after it happened.

Do you feel guilt about a response during a traumatic event too?  If so, please show yourself the same mercy you were just willing to show me! 

During trauma, the brain is overridden by survival instincts.  While that is a good thing in the sense that survival instincts will help you to survive, they also may cause you to behave out of the ordinary & in a way that may be embarrassing to you.  Please try to let that go!  Survival instincts are there for a reason.  They help a person to survive.  Whether your instinct is fight, flight, freeze or fawn, that instinct helped to save you from a potentially even worse fate.  That makes your survival instinct pretty impressive!  Don’t discount it!  Embrace it!  Be grateful that it is partly why you survived!

Don’t forget to analyze the event too.  If you analyze it, you had no other choice.  Maybe you’re thinking that you did, but also consider yourself at the time.  You may not have known any better, which led you to make the best choice you could at the time.  This can be difficult, I know.  I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up for poor choices I’ve made in my life, too, but you know something?  That is a waste of time!  You aren’t the same person you were who made a less than ideal choice during a time of extreme duress.  You did your best & that is all anyone can expect.  You also survived the traumatic event, so you should be proud of yourself!

Please just remember, Dear Reader, that even if your trauma responses haven’t been what you wish they were, you have no reason to be embarrassed or feel guilty about them.  They did their job, which was to help you survive.

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Blessings Are Possible In Spite Of Narcissistic Abuse

Those of us who have suffered through narcissistic abuse know trauma, depression, misery & even what it feels like to consider suicide.  We have gone through such horrific events that it can feel nearly impossible to find any good in life.  Yet we are still blessed!  Not because of the abuse, of course, but in spite of it.

Victims of narcissistic abuse always feel weak in the midst of their suffering because they are powerless, but truly, they are strong.  It takes an incredible amount of strength to escape the abuse against all efforts of the narcissist to keep you in the relationship.  It also takes a great deal of strength to escape with no self esteem, & when you believe you aren’t able to survive without the narcissist in your life.  Having such strength, especially in spite of the narcissist’s efforts to destroy it, is a huge blessing! 

Victims of narcissistic abuse are also incredibly brave.  Narcissists aren’t always physically abusive.  They don’t have to be.  They can terrify victims with a simple look that can make a victim fear or their life.  Going against someone that appears to be incredibly powerful & capable of causing you great pain & suffering is extremely brave!  Being so brave is another huge blessing.

Victims of narcissistic abuse are very appreciative.  After surviving horrific abuse, victims have a different mentality than the average person.  Victims know how bad things can be & how cruel people can be.  They have learned to greatly value all of the good things in life.  Living life with an appreciative spirit is a wonderful thing that can bring a great deal of joy, & is another blessing.

Victims of narcissistic abuse are loyal.  When someone who claimed to love you abuses you to the point of destroying your personhood, it’s hard to trust other people.  Once a victim trusts someone & that someone is good to them, however, they are incredibly loyal.  Good people are exceptionally precious to those who have suffered narcissistic abuse.  Victims will adore & protect these people fiercely, which is why they often make wonderful friends & romantic partners.  Friend & romantic partners appreciate such loyalty, so again, this is another blessing.

Victims of narcissistic abuse who turn to God have an extremely close relationship with Him.  Of all of the things I have mentioned so far, this is the most wonderful one, in my opinion.  I saved the best for last.  In typical narcissist fashion, narcissists do their best to convince their victims to believe as they believe.  The narcissistic atheist expects their victim to share their beliefs.  There are also narcissists who know enough about the Bible to be able to twist Scripture around to the point of justifying their abuse.  Such behaviors often convolute a victim’s view of God.  For someone to survive this yet come away with faith on any level is impressive, but many have an extremely intimate relationship with God.  He blesses these people greatly, too.  Isaiah 9: 2-3 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.  3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.” (NIV)  I can’t help but think God has a special place in His heart for those who have been abused, which is why He blesses victims in this way.

By sharing these thoughts, I’m not saying that any victim of abuse should be grateful for their traumatic experiences.  I am saying though that it’s good to look at these blessings in your life & be so grateful for them.  Be grateful that in spite of the narcissist’s best efforts, he or she couldn’t take these gifts from you.  And, be proud of yourself for surviving all that you have!  That, as you well know, is no easy feat!

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Why Some People Hate & Abuse Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Recently I was scrolling through my journal.  I came across an entry I made in February, 2020 regarding something I learned about one of my cousins immediately after I joined Instagram.  I immediately deleted Instagram, I think even before writing this journal entry. To get why I found this disturbing enough to delete that account so quickly, you need to know some background…

Growing up, my cousin & I were never close.  My mother never let me get very close to anyone on my father’s side of the family.  Even as adults though, this cousin & I just didn’t really click. 

We tried somewhat to have a relationship as adults.  In 2014, she had a Christmas party a few days before Christmas & invited me.  I couldn’t attend.  She attacked me for not coming even though she knew I don’t celebrate Christmas.  Immediately after, she stopped speaking to me & unfriended me on Facebook.

Nineteen months later, this cousin sent me an email.  Only the subject line of the email had any text.  It said “Supposed to make amends with everybody”.  Judging by the language, I assume that meant she was in a 12 step program since that is word for word one of the steps.  I ignored the email, because I believe if someone is sincere about making amends, they might say something in the email on the topic.

This cousin never tried to contact me again until my father was dying in 2017 when she tried to force me to visit him one final time.  When I ignored her calls & messages, she tried to force another cousin into bullying me into seeing my father.  When that failed, she sent me a very shaming email about what a bad Christian I am.  It arrived the evening before his funeral.  

I heard nothing else from her until she followed me on Instagram in early 2020.  I was shocked she would follow me since, like the rest of my family, she clearly thought so poorly of me.  I asked God why would she do that.  His response was very interesting & I think very informative for many victims of narcissists who deal with either the narcissist or their evil minions stalking them.  He said,

“Your cousin is insanely, obsessively, morbidly envious.  She thinks you’ve had this easy, charmed life.  When she sees you “whining” about your childhood, it justifies her hatred of you.  She felt her parents didn’t really care about her, & she saw yours shelter you.  That’s where the envy began.”

“She lied to herself about her parents’ loving her & her being so close to her mother, your aunt.  She thinks you’re lying about your parents & you’re being a spoiled brat.  She thinks you’re petty & weren’t really abused.  She also can’t accept that her uncle would be abusive or marry someone who was.”

“She thinks abuse is only physical or sexual.  Verbal abuse doesn’t count to her.  She thinks Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a made up thing that you use to justify talking about your parents that way.”

“The devil feeds her delusions.  He makes her think the things she does, & those things feed her rage & disgust of you.”

I would guess that many of you now feel an “ah ha!” moment.  Somehow it makes sense that someone you know feels this way about you, & that is why they are so devoted to the narcissist in your life & feel free to treat you so badly.

I truly hope this helps you because not knowing the motivation behind someone’s ridiculous & abusive behavior can be so hard!  When you know that what they say & do has more to do with them than you, it can be surprisingly freeing!  It helps tremendously to know that the problem truly has nothing to do with you, & instead is all about that person’s dysfunction. 

If this does fit a situation with someone you know, if you can, please pray for that person.  Pray for them to come to know Jesus as their Savior, & for Satan to leave them alone.  Those are two things they need more than anything else in the world.  So as difficult as it can be, please try to pray for them.  The more you do it, the easier it becomes & the more likely they are to turn their lives around.  It also will help you to be blessed & to have peace because you will be following Jesus’ command in Matthew 5:44 to pray for your enemies.

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For Those Who Judge Victims For Tolerating Abuse

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Hyper Vigilence

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Re-Victimizing Survivors

In my experience as well as speaking with others who also have survived narcissistic abuse, I’ve noticed a very common phenomenon.  Society’s invalidation & even gaslighting of victims.

Possibly the most clear example of this came from my high school guidance counselor.  I went to her, trying to find some way to get along with my narcissistic mother, & not only wasn’t helped, I was hurt in the process.  One day, I told her about what I called my mother’s “lectures”, where she would scream at me, telling me how terrible I was, how other people talked about me behind my back because of how terrible I was & even accusing me of things I hadn’t done.  The counselor’s response?  “Well, that doesn’t sound so bad.”

Dear Reader, if you have experienced something similar to someone you told about your history of abuse, you know how painful this experience is.  It can catch you off guard, especially when it comes from someone you care about or expect to care, such as a therapist.

If you haven’t had the “pleasure” of this experience, chances are you will at some point.  Either way, when someone acts as described below, you need to remember, they clearly have a problem.

Some people blame victims for making the abuser act as they have.  Common sense should dictate that anyone who does this has their own issues.  No one can make someone abuse them!  Don’t accept this person’s blame for your abuser hurting you!  All blame for the abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of the abuser, period!

Some people also blame the victim for not getting away from their abuser sooner.  Many people don’t understand the concept of the trauma bond, how a victim can form a strong bond to their abuser.  They also don’t understand how abusers can financially abuse victims, leaving them with no money or means to earn money so they can escape.  Further more, they also fail to understand how many abusers have beaten their victims down so badly that the victims don’t think they can survive without the abuser.

Some people make the victim feel to blame for not being able to get along with the abuser.  I think it was about 5 ago, one of my aunts told me that I needed to get into therapy & figure out how to get along with my parents, & “don’t dare tell her it won’t work!”  I told her I did that when I was only 17 & what I learned is no relationship can work if only one person is willing to work on it.  I stand by that today.  No relationship can be healthy if only one person works on it.  People who don’t realize that are foolish.  

Some people assume they know best what the abuser’s  intentions are, & assume they have good intentions but misguided actions.  If someone defends your abuser by saying things like, “He didn’t mean to hurt you…”  “She just doesn’t know any better”, or “That’s just how he is,” this person is invalidating & gaslighting you.  No truly innocent person hurts people repeatedly after being called out on their behavior.  

Some people push victims to heal.  Only the most toxic person would dare to trivialize a victim’s horrific experiences, tell a victim of abuse to “get over it”, accuse a victim of being codependent or fail to understand why that person hasn’t “forgiven & forgotten.”  Healing is a very individual path.  Everyone’s path is very different.  Also, every narcissist is different, so naturally how they abuse their victims is different.  It’s only natural to assume that no two victims will heal the same way & many victims will have to work on their healing for a long time, most likely a lifetime.

People who treat victims like I described in this post are further abusing victims rather than helping them.  If you come across people like this, stay away from them.  Instead, deal with people who possess empathy, kindness & aren’t judgmental know it alls who assume they know your situation better than you do.

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Identifying Victims From Narcissists Who Pretend To Be Victims

Many narcissists, in particular covert ones, love to portray themselves as victims no matter how badly they have abused someone.  They prefer to hide behind the mask of innocent victim than to show people the ugly truth, that they are evil & abusive.  Unfortunately countless people fall for their victim act.  Real victims act very differently, & those who have bought a narcissist’s victim act think this means the real victim is the one faking it, not the narcissist.  

People need to be able to identify a genuine victim from a narcissist’s victim act in order to avoid being pulled into a narcissist’s abusive web.  I think this can be especially beneficial when applied to people met online.  So many victims join support groups & forums looking to meet others who share their experiences only to learn someone they met in one of those places is actually a narcissist.  

There are some behaviors narcissists do that give away the fact that they aren’t real victims. One thing they do is only tell their side of the story.  What I mean is narcissists will talk about how the other person yelled at them or called the police on them, yet not share any information on what led up to that scenario.  They make it sound like the other person just snapped suddenly for no good reason, & attacked them.  A real victim doesn’t do that.  They tell the entire story, not leaving out selected parts that might make them look bad.

Along those lines, if a narcissist feels they must mention some bad behavior they have done, they make excuses for it.  For example, say they hit their victim in a fit of rage.  They will find ways to blame the other person for making them hit them.  Or, they will excuse it away, maybe saying the other person hit them first.  A real victim doesn’t make excuses or blame others for their bad actions.  They admit their bad behavior & accept responsibility for what they have done, no matter how ashamed of it they are.

Narcissists also turn any conversation back to their situation, even when speaking with victims such as in an online group.  Real victims support each other.  Sure, they share examples from their own life some, but they keep the focus on the person doing the talking.

Narcissists talk about the situation over & over.  They tell their story to anyone who will listen, even if the listener isn’t interested.  They seem to want to tell everyone how badly they were treated.  Real victims don’t talk to anyone & everyone about their story.  They are selective with whom they discuss their situation.  Even if they are like me & write publicly about it, when it comes to discussing it, they still are selective.

Narcissists want pity.  They want to be seen as a completely innocent victim who did nothing to deserve what was done to them, so people will pity them.  Real victims don’t look for pity.  Empathy is great as is support, but pity isn’t something real victims want.

Narcissists expect everyone to understand their plight & offer them validation.  Real victims aren’t like that.  They know not everyone can relate to their situation.  They know not everyone will care that they were abused.  They don’t need external validation.  They know what they have been through, & that is enough for them.

Everyone needs to be aware of these behaviors in others, in particular victims of narcissistic abuse.  Not everyone who says they were abused by a narcissist is truly a victim.  There are plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there, who look for true victims to meet the sick needs they have.  Consider a person’s behavior rather than blindly believing someone who tells you they are a victim of abuse.

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Doing Weird Things After Narcissistic Abuse

I’ve done something for so long, I didn’t even realize I did it until recently.  When I drive past a building with big glass windows or some sort of reflective surface, I look at myself driving.

Recently I caught myself doing this & thought, ok, I’m weird.  I’ve known this for years & accepted my weirdness.  This looking at myself driving thing though.. wow.  I don’t even like looking at myself in a mirror when I put on makeup or looking at pictures of myself.  Making my YouTubes is a big struggle for me, so why am I doing this?!

Suddenly it hit me… because when I was a teenager, I had to fight my mother terribly to get a driver’s license.  My friends were driving at 16, & their parents often bought them their first car.  Their parents put everything in their name to keep insurance costs down.  Meanwhile I had to fight my mother badly to get a license.  She wouldn’t even let me see my birth certificate.  She showed it to the employee at the Motor Vehicles Administration after shielding me from seeing it.  When I failed the first test, she told me she knew I would because I wasn’t ready to drive.  When I got my permit & wanted to get myself a car, she told me she’d take me shopping one day so I could see how stupid I was for thinking I could afford a car.  She picked a car out for me that I absolutely HATED.  It was ugly & over priced.

A month or so later, I picked out my first car & got my license.. here is a picture that my mother took of me with that special & I still think absolutely adorable little car..

Cyndi & Baby, November, 1989.jpg

This is me in 1989 with Baby, my 1978 Buick Skyhawk that I hope to restore one day.

I realized something recently…

The reason I still ogle myself driving when I can isn’t just because I like my pretty cars.  It’s because I never take driving for granted.  I had to fight hard to get my license.  I paid for my first car, insurance, maintenance & everything by myself.  I worked hard & accomplished what I wanted to.  No one can take that away from me.  My first car in particular is a symbol of that which is why she’s special to me &  I hope to restore her.  Driving any car reminds me of what I managed to accomplish on my own though, no thanks to my parents.  I’m proud of that, & seeing myself behind the wheel of a car, in particular my own, is a reminder of that.

I mentioned this to my husband recently & was rather nervous about admitting it.  He shocked me by understanding completely & said “You should be proud of that!  Celebrate it!  Enjoy driving!  Take pictures of yourself behind the wheel!”  That helped me to see that maybe I’m not as weird as I thought I was..

Is there anything “strange” you do that is like what I do?  If so, I want to encourage you to embrace that.  Don’t think of it as weird like I have done with looking at myself when driving.  Instead, celebrate it!  Be proud of whatever it is you have accomplished in spite of your narcissistic parent.  You did something on your own without the help of a narcissistic parent.  That isn’t an easy feat when you consider you have had a narcissistic parent or two trying to keep you down your whole life.  Be proud that you overcame that & still did whatever it is that you did.  It’s ok to be proud of yourself!  You deserve to feel that way!  xoxo

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The Lens Of Victim-hood

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Strong People Are Abused Too

Most people who hear of someone being abused think of someone weak.  A small child, an adult with low or no self esteem who isn’t very intelligent or even mentally or emotionally stunted.  Maybe someone who has a very gentle nature, lacking the  strength & courage to stand up to an abusive person or thinks that tolerating abuse is the Godly thing to do.

While it’s certainly true that people like this are sought out by abusers, they aren’t the only ones.  Highly intelligent, strong & confident people are also sought out by abusers.

Have you ever heard a story about a wealthy person being charmed by someone who stole most if not all of that person’s money?  Or, maybe a strong person ended up abused, & turned into an empty shell of their former self not long after marrying their abuser.  That person isn’t someone you would consider weak, but even so, they clearly were abused.

The natural response most people have is to wonder how this sort of thing happened?  They think that person was too smart or too strong to be in this situation, & it doesn’t make sense.  Their opinion of that person often drops because they feel that person must have been weak or stupid, in spite of how they appeared to be.

Such thinking couldn’t be further from the truth!

Abusers are often like prey hunting animals.  Sure, they’ll hunt the wounded, young & easy prey sometimes.  It’s there & they need a meal/victim so why pass that up?!  But, that doesn’t mean they have an aversion to the more challenging prey.  If a lion is hungry enough, he’ll hunt that healthy & strong antelope even though getting that antelope is a lot of work.

The same thing goes for narcissists.  They don’t have an aversion to abusing a victim that is more of a challenge.  In fact, they enjoy it.  Easy victims are good, but conquering someone who is strong, confident & successful is big time narcissistic supply.  That challenge makes them feel very powerful.  It makes sense in its own dysfunctional way.  It shows the abuser they are able to destroy the un-destroyable.  They must be powerful to accomplish that, right?!

 

If you are someone who has suffered abuse, that doesn’t mean you are weak.  It means the person is an abuser, & often abusers seek out a challenging victim.  If you were sought out, that means there is something about you that appealed to the abuser.  Your strength, success, intelligence, kindness, faith… whatever it was, it was a good thing to make such a horrible person want to destroy you.

And, if you know someone who has been abused, this also applies to them.  That person must possess some very good qualities if that awful person worked so hard to destroy them.  That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the victim.  Quite the opposite – there is something very right with that person!

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Why People Choose To Believe Narcissists Over Their Victims

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What To Watch Out For With Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

 

 

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Seeing Through The Lens Of Victim-hood

When a person has been abused, they tend to see the world differently than other folks.  People like this aren’t as trusting as the average person, & with good reason.  They have survived some pretty terrible stuff!  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering how many untrustworthy people there are in the world.  However, it can become a bad thing.  A good friend of mine once called it “seeing things through the lens of victim-hood.”  I thought the term made perfect sense.

When a person sees others as out to hurt them with little or no evidence to prove this is happening, it’s a bad thing.

Or when a person reads so much into every small comment or action that they see others as out to get them, this is a bad thing.

Unfortunately, it can be very easy to turn out this way after surviving abuse. It can be especially easy to see problems online over face to face contact.  Once you’ve been badly hurt, you obviously want to avoid it again.  It’s very easy to become hyper-vigilant, seeing abusive behavior everywhere.  A person looks at you a bit odd or cracks a joke that isn’t like your sense of humor & suddenly you think they’re out to hurt you when nothing could be further from the truth.  This is no way to live!

Rather than succumb to this miserable lifestyle, change yourself!  It is possible!  I was this way & managed to change.  If I can do it, so can you.

As always, I recommend prayer as the place to start.  God can & will help you to make whatever changes you need.  He also will show you what you need to do.  Why not let Him?

Also slow down when a situation happens.  Respond, don’t react.  Responding isn’t instantaneous.  It requires time to consider the situation.  Reacting is instantaneous & done in the heat of emotions.  Reacting often happens when seeing situations through the lens of victim-hood.  Give yourself time to consider the situation before you respond.

Don’t automatically assume that your knee-jerk reaction is correct.  Consider it.  Question it.  Slow your thoughts down for some time & ask yourself why you think the way you’re thinking.  Is there evidence to back up what you believe is happening?  What is that evidence?  Are there red flags that show you this person isn’t safe, such as a lack of empathy for example?  Write it down if it helps.  Writing can help you to see things clearly, often more clearly than speaking or thinking about things.

Think too about the person in question.  If this is someone you know well, you will know what this person is & is not capable of.  You know if this person is safe or not.  Ask yourself, is it likely this person is out to hurt me or not?

If you want advice, don’t talk to someone else about the situation in a way that will get them assuming the worst about this person.  If they believe you, they will only feed your fear.  They’ll automatically respond to your fear with fear, especially if this is someone you’re close to.  If you want to talk about your situation with someone safe, that’s totally fine.  An objective opinion can be a truly great thing!  Just make sure you say things in such a way that the person who you’re speaking with can form their own opinion.  Say things like, “I think this person is looking to hurt me in some way.. what do you think?”  then state the facts without emotion.  Let this person form their own opinion if you want their best advice.

Just remember, Dear Reader, not everyone is abusive.  Not everyone wants to cause you pain & suffering.  Pray & seriously consider the situation so you can respond to it appropriately, rather than reacting because you’re seeing it through the lens of victim-hood.

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Why People Believe Narcissists Instead Of Their Victims

Those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse all seem to wonder one thing- why does everyone believe the narcissist & not me?!

I certainly have.  I was in my late teens when my mother’s abuse hit its peak.  During that time, I noticed that her friends no longer were friendly & nice to me.  Women who once obviously liked me no longer would even make eye contact with me or speak to me.  It wasn’t hard to figure out my mother told them something awful about me.  What I wondered was why would they believe her lies when they knew me well.  They had to know I wasn’t the terrible teen my mother told me & others that I was.

I think I have some ideas as to why people believe narcissists in these situations.

The person who doesn’t believe a victim may be a narcissist.  I have noticed narcissists don’t believe people easily.  If someone says another person hurt them, unless there is undeniable evidence such as broken bones, many narcissists don’t believe that person.  Maybe they simply have no interest since it doesn’t center around them.

Narcissists are also phenomenal actors.  They can create any impression they wish.  If they want to appear kind when they aren’t, they can do that with no problem.  Highly intelligent even though they aren’t particularly smart?  They can pull that act off too.  Their chameleon like ways blend well with their superb ability to read people, which enables them to appear in the most appealing way possible to each individual person.

Many people look for the best in others, not the real in others.  People see the narcissist as a good person, as the narcissist wanted them to, so when a victim tells others of the terrible things the narcissist has done, the victim is not believed.  People don’t think someone as “good” as the narcissist could do such things.

There’s also the fact that narcissistic abuse is so outlandish, it’s hard to believe.  Looking back at things narcissists have done to me, even I have trouble believing they happened, & I was there.  People with no knowledge of narcissism can have trouble believing your stories of narcissistic abuse simply because of the bizarre nature.

Some people who don’t believe victims also come from backgrounds of abuse, yet have not faced their pain.  Instead, they live ready to shut down anything or anyone that may remind them of their pain or that threatens their flawed belief system that all is fine in their world.  I know a family like this.  The father was horribly abusive to the children growing up.  The mother stood by his side, & failed to protect them.  In fact, she instilled the belief in them that it was their place to protect her, not the other way around.  The adult children were very protective of their mother.  They treated her as if she was a young child, in need of constant care, coddling & protection.  No one was allowed to mistreat her or criticize her, even if they were telling the truth.  None of them have any tolerance for anyone setting boundaries with their parents.  They seem to believe that you tolerate anything & everything from your parents with a smile.  They also will believe any lies a narcissistic parent tells them about their child, not their child.

I also think there is another reason people believe narcissists over victims.  Those who aren’t facing their own abusive pasts feel bad when they see others who are.  Maybe it makes them feel ashamed for not being strong enough to do so or it simply reminds them of the pain they work so hard to ignore.  But, I do know for these people, it’s easier to believe a narcissist than to believe their victim & face their own pain.

When you come across someone who doesn’t believe you, then Dear Reader, remember, it has nothing to do with you.  The person you’re speaking with has their own issues.  Normal, mentally healthy people listen to a victim’s story & believe that person unless there is strong evidence that the victim is lying, not the other way around.

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About Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Since my last post was about red flags in those who write about narcissism, I thought I’d make today’s post about fellow survivors.

Most people who have survived narcissistic abuse are good people who are trying hard to recover. Naturally they have issues, but at least they’re working on them & working on getting healthier. They also are willing to share what they learn to help others in similar situations, & do so without any arrogance. They’re also open to input from other people, because they realize they don’t know it all- there is always more to learn on this topic.

Not every victim is this way, however. Some turn abusive.

I don’t know why some victims try to heal & why some become abusive but it does happen sometimes. If you’re going to interact with other victims through online support groups, reading blogs or on social media, you need to be aware of some red flags.

The biggest red flag to watch out for is narcissism. Many of you know the signs already so I won’t repeat them here. I’ll just share a link to the page on my website where I wrote about it if you care to check it out: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Narcissistic-Personality-Disorder.php

There are other red flags, too. If a person gives advice too freely, for example. While most victims want to help others, they also realize how rude it is to give unasked for advice. They also realize sometimes a person just needs to speak things out loud to help them work through a situation, & that doesn’t mean they’re looking for advice.

If a person is bossy or demanding with their advice, that’s another red flag. Most people realize that all people are individuals. What worked for them may not work for another. They realize it’s not a good idea to try to force someone to follow their advice & let the other person decide for themselves whether or not to follow it.

Your average victim of narcissistic abuse also isn’t judgmental or critical. They know all too well what it feels like to be judged & criticized so harshly, so they don’t inflict that on anyone else. Some victims turned abusers, however, can be extremely judgmental & critical.

Some victims also become very arrogant. They seem to think because they found success in doing something that helped them, that everyone should follow in their footsteps & if they don’t, they’re foolish.

These same people are also usually the first ones to shame people who, “don’t just go no contact.” They make it clear they don’t believe there is any reason not to go no contact, & they offer no compassion to anyone who wants to but it unable to or is trying to find another option.

Abusive victims also make excuses. If they are short with someone, it’s always for a reason like they’re having a bad da, as one example. They don’t apologize or accept responsibility for the hurtful things they do.

And, if you call a person like this out on their actions, they WILL be furious. They may offer a non apology. They may offer lame excuses for their behavior. They also may get mad at you. That in particular is a big red flag, because most victims of narcissistic abuse apologize easily & often. They don’t get mad when called out on their bad behavior. They usually get mad only when someone is accusing them of something they didn’t do.

One other red flag is a smear campaign. This is very common on social media. If someone feels the online support group they participated in wasn’t a good environment for example, social media is an easy way to let the world know how you feel about it. That is pretty normal behavior, I think, but if a person posts about that group in a way that really trashes it, that is a red flag.

The last red flag is stalking or harassing another person online. With your average victim of narcissistic abuse, they may have a dispute with someone then either stop speaking with them or even block them entirely. A victim who is also abusive however, may harass or stalk someone who disagreed with them. They may leave nasty comments on their page or join groups the other person is in & harass them in the group. This nonsense can go on for a very long time, especially with narcissists.

The best advice I can give in these situations is the Gray Rock method. Don’t react to their outrageous behavior or show them that what they do bothers you. Remain calm & ignore their behavior. Don’t defend yourself to their smear campaigns. Instead, simply block them wherever you can. Most people like this will get bored easily & leave you alone at this point. Narcissists may not be so simple to get rid of however. They may bother you for a long time. Never, ever respond to them- instead keep blocking them & their flying monkeys.

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On Survival Mode

In the past several months since my parents have stopped speaking to me, I’ve gained quite an education.

 

One thing I’ve learned is about survival mode.  Survival mode is a way of behaving in an abusive situation.  Basically, your emotions are shut off & you do whatever you need to in order to get through the awful situation.  Barely speaking so as not to say something that upsets your abuser, for example.

 

I’ve learned that survival mode doesn’t necessarily end when the relationship ends.  In my case, my parents didn’t say outright that they never wanted to speak to me again- they just stopped calling me.  I think that is why I stayed in survival mode for months after our last conversations, I didn’t know for sure if they’d call or not.  When I realized months had passed since I’ve heard from them (11 for my mother, 4 for my father to date- not her longest silent treatment, but it is his) only then did survival mode end.  This happened with my in-laws too.  I stopped speaking to them in 2002, but survival mode didn’t end for months after.

 

I think this means that the brain wants to be completely, 110% sure that the abusers are gone before it can relax.  Survival mode is all about protecting you, so it makes sense the brain would want to be absolutely certain all danger is gone before it exits survival mode.

 

I’ve also learned that once survival mode is gone, emotions come out.  Naturally when you’re in survival mode, your emotions get put on the back burner because you’re focused only on surviving.  Once the danger is gone, emotions come to the surface, including ones that have been suppressed for a long time.  It can feel overwhelming especially when you haven’t dealt with them for a very long time.  However, I firmly believe it’s necessary to deal with them.

 

Without the burden of focusing on survival, I feel like I’m noticing every little thing.  Unfortunately, part of that includes triggers.  They seem to happen constantly.  The other day, I saw a TV show where this lady’s son in-law cheated on her daughter.  Although the daughter forgave him & he promised to mend his ways, the mother still was very upset.  When she told her son in-law that there is no pain worse than watching your child suffer & you not being able to fix it, I flashed back to the fight I had with my parents last May.  My father changed the subject to really odd topics to deflect my yelling at him.  My mother sighed an obviously bored sigh as I cried & yelled at her until I gave up & told her if she had anything to say before I hang up, do it now.  Her chance to apologize turned into her whining about having vertigo (for the record, I have it too- yes, it sucks, but you’d think when your normally calm, rational daughter is that upset, that might just take priority..).  I realized that caring parent isn’t something I’ll ever have, & it hurt me enough to make me burst into tears, something I rarely do.

 

In order to handle these experiences, I rely on God a LOT.  I tell Him how I feel & He reassures me, comforts me & explains what’s happening.  He also shows me things that help.  For example, I can be scrolling through Facebook when a meme or article that pertains to my situation pops up, & the information in it is very helpful to me.

 

I also write in my journal- seeing things written out is a good way to gain clarity.  Not sure why that is, but it’s true.  Seeing events written out as well as my feelings has helped me to see the situation clearer, instead of through the eyes of someone whose views are skewed hurt by narcissistic abuse.

 

Talking about things with a safe person is helpful too.  I’ve told my husband some of what’s been going on.  Sometimes, he gets angry or looks completely shocked by things I’ve shared about my parents.  That lets me know it’s not normal!  When you grow up with narcissists, abuse & bizarre is your normal.  Even as an adult, it can be hard to let go of that & embrace the healthy & good things.  Having someone you love & trust say that certain things were wrong or bizarre is helpful in letting go of those bad beliefs.

 

Dear Reader, if you too have been in survival mode for a long time, these things may happen with you too.  Or maybe they’re happening already.  If so, please rest assured that you are fine!  It may not feel that way but you are.  Ending survival mode is truly a good thing.  Your mind & body finally can relax, & you can deal with those long buried emotions.

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The Butterfly Project

Recently I was inspired to create something to help inspire those who have suffered narcissistic abuse.  (Well, ok, I stole the idea but with full blessings of the creator of it.  lol)

I started making origami butterflies that I will be glad to give away to anyone wanting one.  The premise behind this is to remind victims of narcissistic abuse that they are like the butterfly- they may have entered a dark lonely place (narcissistic abuse) like a caterpillar entering the chrysalis, then like the butterfly, they emerged beautifully.  Just because they were once stuck in that place didn’t mean that they would stay that way forever.

My hope is that these little butterflies also will help to raise awareness of narcissistic abuse & the serious damage it causes.

For further information & to learn how to get one, please click the link below.

The Butterfly Project

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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Narcissistic Abuse?

I have been asked quite a few times how long it takes to recover fully from narcissistic abuse. I believe it to be a lifelong battle, unfortunately. However, I don’t want to discourage you with that, because there is good news. Although it can be a lifelong battle, it does get easier!

You will stumble sometimes, but even so, you are constantly getting stronger as you heal. The more wisdom you gain about NPD & the effects of its abuse, the more strength it gives you. You finally realize it wasn’t your fault, & that you’re suffering the normal effects of abnormal treatment.

The dark times of depression come less frequently & don’t last as long when they come.

There are times you feel stuck, as if you are always going to be depressed, anxious, or feel like you’re going crazy. But, the longer you have been healing, the less frequently those times happen. They, like depression, won’t last as long on the rare occasions when they happen.

Your self-esteem soars. Sure, sometimes you may backslide into feeling like the worthless piece of garbage your narcissistic mother always said you were, but at least that isn’t how you constantly feel anymore. They’re merely fleeting moments. When you realize this dysfunctional thinking is happening, you remind yourself that isn’t true. Healthy self-esteem also stops the dysfunctional people-pleasing at your own expense ways many children of narcissistic parents possess.

You try to practice good self-care rituals- prayer, relaxing activities, participating in fun hobbies. Granted, sometimes you let your schedule get too busy, but the healthier you become, the quicker you are to realize this mistake & make the appropriate changes.

I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to change how you think about your recovery. While it may be a lifelong battle with no definite end, try to focus instead on the good that comes during your healing. Focus on each baby step, every bit of progress you make. Your narcissistic mother tried to destroy you, but she didn’t! You are like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Little by little, you are getting healthier & happier. Maybe right now you aren’t where you want to be, & feel like you have a long way to go. How about instead focusing on how far you have come? You are no longer that wounded, dysfunctional little child, but instead are a grown woman who is getting stronger & healthier each day!

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Is Discussing Narcissistic Abuse Too “Negative”?

Recently, I was told what I write about is too negative.  I’m sure many of you have heard similar things for talking or writing about your experiences with narcissistic abuse.  I’m writing this for you, Dear Reader.   I hope it helps you.  xoxo

I’ll admit, the main topic of my writing, narcissism & narcissistic abuse, aren’t exactly positive, happy topics!  I’ll also admit that sometimes, it gets to me, writing about such dark things.  That being said, I will continue to write about what I write about for several reasons.

To start with, I believe this to be a calling from God, & I take any calling from Him very seriously.  Everyone has a calling, usually several during the course of their lives.  Ephesians 4:11-13 states, “And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers.  12 His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church)  13 [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.”  (AMP) 

Also, writing about what I learn helps me to make sense of the things I have gone through, as well as to help others to do the same.  So many who have suffered with narcissistic abuse are struggling to make sense of it all.  I can help a little by sharing my experiences as well as what I have learned.

Writing about things also helps to loosen the hold the abuse has on me.  By being open about things, I am losing the shame I once felt for being abused, & am able to see more & more how none of it was my fault.  This not only helps me, but enables me to get the message to other victims that being abused is NOT their fault.

It also helps to make my pain count for something.  Knowing I am able to help other people means my pain was not in vain.  Something good has come from something horrible!

Also, by being open  about the taboo topic of narcissistic parents, it helps to raise awareness of this insidious, evil form of abuse.  It makes it safe for victims to talk about it with other victims instead of quietly suffering alone.  So many are afraid to talk about what their mother did to them, because so many people put mothers on a pedestal.  People make victims feel guilty for being abused, as if it was their fault!  They can’t seem to grasp that a mother would abuse her child.  Certainly the child must be exaggerating.  Of course the mother made mistakes- no one is perfect- & the child should forgive the mother.  And, let’s not forget “honor thy mother” seems to mean “allow thy mother to abuse you” to many people.  Because of people like this, as well as the ignorance surrounding Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there needs to be more awareness of this horrible phenomenon.

Don’t let anyone quiet you for talking about your experiences with your narcissistic mother, father, sibling, grandparent, friend, spouse or co-worker.  You aren’t being negative by discussing your experiences.  And, chances are, by discussing them, you are not only helping yourself to process your horrendous experiences, you are also helping to enlighten others who need to hear your story!  So be open- talk about it!

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You Are Stronger Than You Think!

Have you ever thought about what you have been through in your life?  I mean, really thought about the things that you have made it through?

 

If not, I challenge you today to do this.  I did this recently.  A bad night full of awful nightmares, making me feel the same hurt, anger, anxiety & fear I have felt many times in my life triggered this.  I realized that I have been through some really horrible things & I survived them all remarkably well!

 

I have survived having a narcissistic mother who physically hurt me, who tried to destroy the person I am & make me into whatever she wants me to be, who has betrayed me repeatedly, who used me more times than I can count, still tries to gaslight me to this day, & who hates everything about me.  I also survived an ex husband who was much like my mother in how he treated me, constantly gaslighting me, trying to isolate me from my family & friends & morph me into somene he thought I should be instead of accepting who I was.  I’ve survived a narcissistic mother in-law & two sisters in-law who hate me & have not exactly made a secret out of that.  (Well, with me anyway- they all have put on a good show in front of others, especially my husband.)  They also have done their best to cause problems between us, so it’s amazing we are still married.  All of these awful things are in addition to the more common problems everyone has in life such as losing loved ones, financial problems & such.  When I thought about it, I realized that I am one tough chick!  I also realize that without God, I wouldn’t have survived the things I’ve been through as well as I have.  In fact, to be totally honest about it, I probably would’ve killed myself years ago.  I certainly thought about that enough.  Yes, I have problems such as the C-PTSD, but I’m still alive & doing pretty well under the circumstances.

 

Thinking about all of this has given me a peace & strength I hadn’t felt before.  It showed me how strong I am, with God’s help, & how well I can handle crises.  It feels good!

 

What about you?  What have you experienced in your life that should have destroyed you?  I want to encourage you today to celebrate those victories!  Be proud of the things that you have overcome!  OK, so you aren’t perfect- no one is!  But, you got through & are thriving!  You keep pressing on, & try to be a good person.  That is much more than so many others do.  Many abused people go on to abuse others.  They don’t have the “umph” inside to break the cycle, to face their pain.   But you do & that is something you should be very proud of!

 

 

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Are You A Victim, Survivor Or A Conquerer?

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

 

I was reading something yesterday that said something like (I forget the exact wording), “You’re not a victim- you’re a survivor!”  Although that sounds great at first read, I think it also can be a shaming message.

 

First of all, if you’ve been abused, you are a victim.  Period.  Nothing can change that.  There is no shame in being a victim.  The shame belongs to the abuser, not the victim who had no say in being abused.

 

Second, you always will be a victim of the abuse.  That doesn’t mean you spend every waking moment thinking or talking about the abuse- it simply means that something terrible happened to you.  You were a victim of someone else’s cruelty & bad choices through no fault of your own.

 

Third, the message that I have felt from such quotations is that you are to be strong, & don’t let what happened affect you anymore.  Well, that isn’t very realistic!  If you have survived abuse in any form, especially ongoing abuse such as at the hand of a parent or spouse, it always will affect you to some degree.  You may be living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & barely functioning each day, or you may function well, but be very cynical in how you judge people, or somewhere in between, but you will be affected in some way, shape or form by what happened.  No one escapes abuse unscathed.

 

What I am trying to say is be balanced in how you view yourself.  While yes, you are a victim, you have survived, & hopefully thrived.  Even so, there may be some bad days where you feel more like a victim than a survivor, & that is OK!  It happens to everyone, & is a natural effect of living through abuse.  You can’t feel like a tough survivor every single day.

 

Personally, I prefer to use the term “conquerer.”  A conquerer is strong, which is what survivors of abuse are as well.  We find the strength to escape the abuse, then to heal, often with little or no support from others.  Sometimes, it takes every ounce of strength we can muster to get out of bed in the morning, but somehow we find that strength & do it anyway.  We resist the inclination to become bitter, uncaring or even abusive, & are loving to others as well- that takes a great deal of strength & courage.  (So many abusers were abused themselves, yet didn’t have the strength to break that cycle.)  Conquerers are also imperfect.  While great conquerors have won many battles, they also lost many, many soldiers in these battles.  They also made very serious mistakes, some even leading to their downfalls.  Yet, they remained passionate fighters.  If these phrases don’t describe someone who has survived abuse & is fighting to heal, I don’t know what would.

 

I would like to encourage you today to think about how you view yourself.

 

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When An Abusive Parent Dies

New information on my website.  It’s about what may happen when your abusive mother dies.  I realize the topic is morbid, but it also isn’t discussed.  You need to be aware of what to expect.

http://www.cynthiabaileyrug.com/The_Abuser’s_Death.htm

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Share Your Story!

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I just wanted to remind everyone about the book I’m working on.  It will be available for free in ebook format.  I’m thinking of entitling it, “Broken But Still Beautiful” or something like that.  The topic is how God helps people who have been abused to heal.  I want to encourage people that no matter what they have survived, God still has a purpose for them, & wants to help love them through their pain.  

No matter what stage of healing you are in, I want your story.  Even if you are still being abused, your story can be encouraging to someone, because it will show others that God is always there, even during the darkest times.

I know sharing details of abuse is painful.  When I wrote my autobiography, “Emerging From The Chrysalis“, it was among the most painful experiences of my life.  However, I felt it was a necessary thing to do.  This book also, I feel is necessary.  I also want to assure your annonymity by encouraging you to use fake names when you share your story.  No one needs to know this is your story- just knowing someone has survived something painful with God’s help will encourage others.  

Please pray about sharing your story for inclusion in this book.  If you want to see more details, check out this link: Making A Difference

Or, you can email me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com

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Complex PTSD Bill Of Rights

I think I am pretty typical of a daughter raised by a narcissistic mother.  Like many children of narcissists, I have Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which means I fight depression, anxiety, insomnia & agoraphobia every day.  I am constantly over-aware of the emotions of people around me, on the guard against potentially being hurt (hypervigilance) & have flashbacks & nightmares.  I also have a list of insecurities a mile long, I don’t trust people easily, & I expect nothing less than perfection from myself, partly so as not to be a burden anyone.  

Because of that feeling of I should be perfect, it has made the C-PTSD even more difficult than it already is.  My own husband doesn’t even know how hard it is sometimes, because I don’t tell him much.  I can’t burden him with my petty problems, after all.  *sighs*  I also never have had anyone take care of me, so I have become so accustomed to taking care of myself & my own problems.  Leaning on him is almost completely impossible for me.  This also means I even have trouble talking to God about it, & asking for His help.  

Anyway, I was thinking recently about this & I have no doubt I’m not the only person with C-PTSD like this.  I decided to write up a 
C-PTSD Bill Of Rights- something I could look at to remind myself I don’t have to be perfect all the time.  I thought I would share it here.. I hope it helps you too!  ❤

 

C-PTSD Bill Of Rights

 

  1. I have the right to talk to God about my struggles and my pain.  He understands, and will help me as no one else can.  He is not angry with me or disappointed in me for having C-PTSD.  He loves me no matter what.
  2. I have the right to have a bad day sometimes.  When living with this disorder and working on healing, there will be very good and very bad days- that is completely normal.
  3. I have the right to talk about my pain and frustrations with supportive, loving, caring people.
  4. I have the right to accept my limits.  Sometimes my best may not be very good no matter how hard I try.  (Remember- PTSD causes physical changes in your brain.  You are going to forget things sometimes or have difficulty regulating your moods or even finding the right words.  This doesn’t mean you are crazy or stupid- it means you have C-PTSD.)
  5. I have the right to say no.
  6. I have the right to ask for help.
  7. I have the right to walk my own individual walk with this disorder.  My journey will not be like everyone else’s.  That does not make me right or wrong- it makes me an individual.
  8. I have the right to remember painful events from the past.  I can learn from the past, and it has made me who I am today.  (Remembering the past is NOT the same as dwelling on the past, not letting things go, etc.!)
  9. I have the right to give myself the gift of forgiveness.  Not to erase the horrible things done to me, but because I deserve better than carrying around anger and bitterness inside of me.  I also need to understand that forgiving my abuser(s) does not mean I will be healed completely- there is some damage that must be worked on, even when complete forgiveness has happened.  I also must forgive myself for any wrongs I have committed.
  10. I have the right to take care of myself.  I must not only take care of my body but my mind as well.  That may mean reducing daily activities or taking more time off.  Self-care is vital to my mental health.  I must do this for myself as well as those who love me.  They deserve the best me I can give them.
  11. I have the right to reject unnecessary negativity and drama in my life, in all its forms, as much as possible to protect my mental health.
  12. I have the right to be who I am, the person God created me to be, no matter who approves or disapproves of me.  Just because I have a mental health issue does not mean I am not still a valuable member of society.
  13. Other people have the right not to understand what I am experiencing.  That does not give them the right to mistreat me, however, and I have the right not to tolerate their mistreatment of me.
  14. Other people have the right to ask me questions about C-PTSD.  I have the right to answer those questions or not, depending on my ability to answer them, and depending on how I feel God wants me to respond. 
  15. I have the obligation to make my pain count for something.  God is not into waste, and I am not either!  I have the obligation to ask God how to use this pain for His glory.  He may call me to raise awareness of C-PTSD, help create stricter laws against child abusers, write books or something entirely different.  Whatever He asks of me, I always have the right to say no to- He will not love me any less.  However, doing what God asks of me will not only bless others, but me as well.  God will reward my faithfulness.

 

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September 15, 2013

Good afternoon, Dear Readers..

I’m sorry for being missing in action the last few days.  It has been a very difficult week for me for several reasons.  I had a challenging lunch with my parents on Wednesday.  As I mentioned in my last entry, my friend’s kitty was kidnapped, which just breaks my heart.  I also ended a friendship of several years, because this “friend” yet again trivialized & invalidated my mental health issues.  I like her, but just cannot tolerate her ignorance & lack of compassion any longer.  Then Thursday, a storm moved through, taking down a huge part of a tree in my yard!  Thanks to God, the part of the tree that fell, fell in the opposite direction from my home & car, only taking out our ugly old chain link fence!  I saw the limb falling, & taking a part of another tree with it.  Well, sort of- the rains were torrential & the wind was gusting, distorting my view.  It was absolutely terrifying!  If that limb had fallen on my home, it could have killed my family & I!  All of this has made the Complex PTSD flare up.  Hardly a big surprise, huh?  lol

So now you know why I haven’t been around lately..  now, back to my blog..

My husband & I were talking night before last about the friendship I ended.  I told him I believe that even though she mentioned once that she was abused as a child too, she never dealt with that.  Maybe by me being open about my issues, on some level it reminds her that she has not done it.  She instead has buried her pain, & never says anything but good things about her parents.  Maybe that is why she has felt the need so many times to belittle me, tell me to “get over it,” or say “this too shall pass.”  I’m not positive about this, I am only guessing.  My husband said that sometimes people just don’t have time for the pain, or it’s too painful to face.  I don’t understand this logic at all.  

While healing is a painful process, & often a lifelong process, it is so much easier than continuing to live in dysfunction!  Yes, I currently live with constant depression, anxiety, mood swings beyond my control, anger sometimes, nightmares, insomnia, repressed memories returning to the surface & flashbacks, I realize it could be worse!  Before I began to face my issues resulting in being abused, things were much worse.  I attracted so many dysfunctional & abusive people into my life.  I had no self-esteem at all, so I allowed these people to use & abuse me.  It was so bad, I even left a man I cared deeply for, & married a man I didn’t love because he said I should marry him.  I also never spoke up to anyone who was verbally abusive to me, or had or enforced healthy boundaries to take care of myself.  I was constantly angry, hurting, feeling guilty for not living up to whatever people said I should be, & was suicidal for most of the first 25 years of my life.  I did not know myself at all, so I allowed others to mold me into what they wanted me to be.  I was deeply ashamed of myself just for being me- for looking the way I do, for liking things I liked, etc.  Worst of all, I feared constantly that I was insane, because I heard so often I was crazy & so many things were wrong with me.  Usually I heard this after confronting an abuser on abusive behavior.  I was told I was crazy for being angry that they told me I was fat, ugly, or stupid.  I “needed psychological help” because I remembered things the way they really happened, rather than agreeing with a person practicing “gaslighting” to convince me their lies were true.  

If you too are going through emotional healing, rest assured it is a good thing!  I know it’s hard, but you are working on your healing!  That is a wonderful thing!  It is so hard, I know, but it is so much easier than continuing to live in the dysfunction.  Make a list if you don’t believe me- make a list of how you were before you started healing compared to how you are now.  You WILL be surprised!!  God bless you & I love & am praying for you!  

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September 3, 2013

Hello, Dear Readers! I just wanted to let you know that my latest book, “You Are Not Alone!” (for adult daughters of abusive/dysfunctional mothers) is now available in paperback on amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/You-Are-Alone-Cynthia-Bailey-Rug/dp/1304304841/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378232378&sr=8-1&keywords=cynthia+bailey-rug

And, it is available on smashwords if you prefer an ebook version..

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/347669

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August 22, 2013

I try to be positive or educational in my posts here, but today, I am angry for a couple of reasons.  Be forewarned- this post may be longer than usual.

I saw  this article the other day on facebook I wanted to read, but didn’t get back to it & unfortunately now I forgot where I saw it.  It was about how much responsibility is put on victims of abuse rather than on the abusers.  I only read about a paragraph- a short preview of it.  It said that we’re told we have to stop calling ourselves victims & instead say “survivors.”  We’re told we need to get over what happened to us & empower ourselves.  Things like this.  For a long time now, these phrases have irritated me & I never realized why.  The preview answered that for me- it said these things put all the responsibility on the victim & none on the abuser.  While yes, it is true it is up to a victim to heal & move on, when do the abusers get called out on their behavior?  Not as often as they should be!  How many people are told to be the bigger person with their verbally abusive mother in-law & just ignore her bad behavior while not saying anything to the nasty mother in-law or even making excuses for her?  How many rapists aren’t even labeled a rapist because he “only” pressured his girlfriend into sex until she gave in rather than holding a gun to her head?   How many people who have committed suicide were called cowards for “taking the easy way out” while those who pushed them to such a desperate point are not confronted?  While I’m not saying as a victim of abuse of any type, we shouldn’t try to heal or blame all of our problems on being abused, I am saying there needs to be a balance!  The abuser should be blamed for being abusive in the first place!  That person had a choice- to abuse or not to abuse.  They made a bad choice, & there is nothing anyone could have done to push them to that point.  It is all on them.  They deserve the blame for abusing you!

The other thing that has me angry today is the lack of compassion for those of us with mental illness.  I am utterly fed up with this!  I have heard so many times that I need to “get over it” or “stop living in the past.”  Yes, I have Complex PTSD, which means I have flashbacks, nightmares, depression, anxiety & agoraphobia.  However- this does NOT mean I’m living in the past!  This means I have experienced a lot of trauma in my life- enough to cause physical damage to my brain that resulted in C-PTSD, including all of its ugly symptoms.  

And, as early as this morning, I was “teased” about being “stressed” about seeing someone that causes me tremendous anxiety.  This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened.  It’s as if she thinks I have no right to feel this anxiety or have the problems I have.  She trivializes my problems & magnifies hers.  Never mind she has not been abused, & has no clue what I have lived through, her problems are always worse & I should just get over mine.   Meanwhile, I am having a terrible time trying to write this blog entry because all the anxiety I’ve experienced the last few days has left me unable to sleep well & not able to think very clearly.

My point of all this griping is we really need to have compassion on each other!  Whether you have experienced abuse or not, when dealing with someone who has, please, for the love of God, be patient, supportive & understanding!  Keep your opinions to yourself unless you are asked, & think before you speak.  Choose your words wisely.  Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes & understand how she or he is feeling.  I wrote some tips on how to help someone who has been abused on my website.  Here is the link…

http://www.cynthiabaileyrug.com/How_To_Help.htm

Thank you for listening to me rant this morning.  I pray you will be blessed & maybe even learned a little from my rantings.. 🙂

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August 7, 2013

I finished the print version of my latest book today!!! I am waiting for the proof copy to arrive so I can approve it, then the book goes onto amazon & other online book sellers. You can find it at this url:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/cynthia-bailey-rug/you-are-not-alone/paperback/product-21147921.html

Tomorrow, I’ll work on creating the ebook version. Will post when that is available…

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July 29, 2013

Good afternoon, Dear Readers.  I hope this post finds you well today!

I just wanted to let you know that I created a facebook group for my fans.  Here is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/FansOfCynthiaBaileyRug/

Hope to see you there!  🙂

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