Tag Archives: thinking

Having A Healthy Perspective

If you have survived narcissistic abuse, then you know how badly it can mess with your mind.  One thing it does is it can skew a person’s perspective in all kinds of ways.  It can leave a person feeling badly about themselves, such as believing they are ugly or stupid when nothing could be further from the truth.  It also can make a person overly pessimistic, because he or she has had so many bad things happen to them.  Or, it can turn a person overly optimistic, because either he or she has decided not to be so negative like the narcissist who abused them or he or she is  trying so hard to distance from the abuse in every possible way.

In any case, neither being too pessimistic or optimistic is good.  Pessimists are often depressed because they only see the bad things in life & expect only bad things to happen.  Optimists are often depressed, too, because they constantly expect good things to happen.  When something happens that isn’t so good, they are shocked & saddened.

Being realistic yet slightly optimistic seems to be the healthiest way to think, in my opinion anyway.  You accept things as they are, whether good or bad, & if there is a way to glean good from it, you do it.

It can be tricky to get your thinking more balanced after being so out of balance for a long time, but it is still possible.  It takes time, patience, understanding with yourself, focus & help from God.

Prayer truly is the best place to start.  Ask God for whatever it is you need, such as helping you to be more aware of unhealthy thoughts so you can change them.

I recommend too, focusing on God.  If your relationship with Him isn’t particularly close, then work on it.  Drawing close to your Heavenly Father really helps to bring comfort, peace & joy.

Also try to focus on what you think about.  Many times, people just think things & don’t even realize what they are thinking about.  Slow your thoughts down & pay attention to the things that cross your mind.  Acknowledge them & accept them without judgment.

Question those thoughts, too.  Is it possible that your expectations of this person/situation are unrealistic?  Ok, so this situation is pretty bad.. is there something good that you can take away from it?

If you tend to think too emotionally, then try to interject some logic into your thoughts.  If you have trouble doing this, try imagining your situation not as yours, but as that of a friend who has come to you with this situation, looking for advice or comfort.  How would you feel about it as an outsider?  What would you think of your friend’s feelings?  Thinking this way can help to detach you some emotionally so you can look at situations more objectively.

Although it may take some time, you can learn to have a healthier perspective on life.  It will be well worth your time & energy when you are a happier & more peaceful person.

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

The Little Things Can Be A Big Help

Song of Solomon 2:15  “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”  (KJV)

 

This Scripture came into my mind recently.  So often, little things can steal our joy.  A good mood can be ruined easily by someone’s insensitive, cutting criticism.  A financial blessing can be spoiled when a person learns how much they’ll have to pay in taxes.

 

However, the reverse is true too.  Something bad can be reversed by something small yet positive.

 

If you’re having a bad day, yet a handsome stranger smiles at you, does that not improve your day?  It certainly does mine.  Or, when you put your hand in your pocket to find a few dollars you didn’t know were there, would that not brighten your day at least a little?

 

When you’ve been through some awful things in your life, it’s easy to cling to the negative while ignoring the positive.  Especially if you’ve grown up with at least one narcissistic parent.  They are truly the most negative people you can meet- if there is a bad way to look at a situation, they’ll find it.  And, they train their children to do the same thing.  It can be a hard habit to break, but it is well worth it.

 

I’m not one to advocate being overly positive & optimistic, because people who are out of balance that way tend to be disappointed constantly.  However, I do encourage people to be realistic & yet still positive.  Sometimes, things just stink & nothing can make it better.  However, there are also many more times when your situation stinks but there are tiny blessings around you that can help you to get through it.

 

God has been showing me lately that good can be found in a great deal of negative situations.  Flashbacks & nightmares even have their purpose.  Yes, they’re incredibly  awful at the time they happen, but once they’re done, if I look at them, I realize they often show me areas where I need more healing.  I believe they happen when they do because God basically says, “Now is the time to face this.”  Every time I do, I make another step towards healing.

 

I’ve also noticed that when I’m very depressed or upset about something, my cats will do silly things or snuggle me more than usual.  To me, that is a wonderful blessing because even in my worst moods, they can make me smile.

 

The point is, Dear Reader, that there are often silver linings in even the darkest clouds, & those silver linings can help get you through.  Not to make us overly optimistic to the point of being foolish, but to help strengthen us when we need it the most.  If you’re having trouble finding those silver linings, then by all means, ask God to help you to be aware of them.  He will!  Be sure to notice everything, even the tiniest things, because God has sent them to help you!  Even something small like noticing the blooms on a majestic magnolia tree in the middle of summer.. as common as that is, it’s still a beautiful thing to see if you love magnolias.  Maybe God put you in the path of that lovely tree to bring you a little joy at the specific time you needed it.  Enjoy it.  Revel in it.  It’s a gift from God just for you.

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Little Things Don’t Have To Become Big Things

Song of Solomon 2:15  “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”  (KJV)

The little things in life can add up to big things  very quickly.

Neglecting to work through the smaller things can build resentment in a relationship, even leading to drastic measures such as divorce.

Neglecting to appreciate the small things can lead to a negative attitude & lack of appreciation, which makes a person utterly miserable.

Never forget, Dear Reader, that there really isn’t such a thing as “small foxes” in life.  Little things can contain a great deal of power.  They need to be dealt with wisely.

One day a few months ago, I’d had a frustrating day.  One of those days when nothing seemed to go right.  I finally had enough & wanted to relax in bed, watching tv for a bit before falling asleep.  I showered, got into my comfiest pajamas, & pulled back the covers to get into bed when I found one of my cats peed on my bed.  I didn’t even remember the last time this happened.  It’s incredibly rare!  At first I wanted to cry out of sheer frustration.  I began to whine to God, when I felt His calm come over me.  Instead of frustration, I felt I needed to take a deep breath.  I did & the reality of my situation sunk in rather than frustration.  I’d planned on changing my bed linens the following morning- I was simply doing it a little earlier than expected.  And, I have a waterbed.  Basically, it’s a big vinyl bag of water, so the pee didn’t absorb into the mattress like it would with a traditional mattress.  It wasn’t a huge deal.

When frustrations happen, I urge you to do the same thing I did.  Stop.  Talk to God.  Take a deep breath to relax.  Then think about your situation realistically.  Is it really a big deal the thing happened?  If not?  Don’t worry about it.  If so?  Work through it.  Talk to God.  Confront someone if need be, in a gentle manner of course.  Not sure how to do that?  Ask God to show you what to do & how to do it.  He will!

I know that frustrating things can feel like a huge deal, especially after a bad day or if you have anxiety, depression, PTSD or C-PTSD.  They don’t always have to be a huge deal though, Dear Reader.  God can help you to have a healthy perspective, so let Him!

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Have You Accepted Your Narcissistic Parent’s Reality As Your Own?

In a discussion in my Facebook group, I mentioned how my mother always told me I hated having my picture taken.  I assume that’s why my parents almost never took pictures of me as a child.  Now, as an adult in my mid 40’s, seeing a camera can make me panic.  Oddly, it never occurred to me that this was wrong until a friend of mine pointed it out.  Once she did though, I began to think about it.  I realized I have accepted my mother’s skewed view of reality rather than decide for myself what I felt or believed.

 

Have you done the same, Dear Reader?  Do you feel a certain way about something because your narcissistic parent told you to?  If so, I would like to encourage you today to do what I am doing- challenge that!  Reject your narcissistic mother’s reality & claim your own.

 

Narcissistic parents NEVER have their child’s best interest at heart.  If they try to convince you of something, it is because it benefits them in some way, not you.  My mother convincing me I hate having my picture taken meant she had a good reason not to take pictures of me.  Normal parents want pictures of their children, but mine didn’t want pictures of me.  Not that she said this, of course, but I know it anyway.  Since she convinced me I hated having my picture taken, this shifted the blame for there not being pictures of me onto me.  See what a good mother she was?  She didn’t force me to do something I didn’t want to do!  As an added bonus- she hates having her picture taken so she could project her insecurities onto me.  This situation benefited my mother nicely, but it hurt me, because here I am with very few pictures of me as a child aside from the annual school pictures.

 

Whatever your narcissistic mother’s reality for you is, today is your day to reject it!  Face the real reality & reject hers once & for all!  You deserve the best, & the best is certainly NOT the nonsense a narcissist puts on her own child.  As yourself what you truly think about her reality.  Do you honestly agree with it or do you feel something different?  Ask God to help you to see the truth in the situation if you’re having trouble seeing it.  He will help you!

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What Matters To You?

My entire life, I thought if something mattered to me, but not to other people, it wasn’t important.

 

I believe this stems from narcissistic abuse.  Narcissists do their level best to convince their victims that nothing about them matters.  Not their feelings, thoughts, desires, or even their health.

 

Amazing how narcissistic abuse seems to infect every single area of your life, isn’t it?  It’s so insidious, that I didn’t even think about the fact I thought that what mattered to me should matter to others until recently.

 

Now that I realized there is a problem, at least I can fix it while sharing what I learn with you, Dear Reader.

 

To start with, I’m talking to God about it.  It’s the best place to start that I know of.  I asked Him, “What makes the things that matter to me less important than what matters to others?”  “Are my desires less important than those of others?”  He responded me by reminding me that no one is more important than another person.  My wants, needs, etc. are just as valuable as those of other people.  I matter!  I also asked God to help me remember such things when I slip up, which no doubt will happen sometimes.

 

I think it’s also important not to beat yourself up when you slip into old, dysfunctional habits.  I do that very easily simply out of habit, & it’s very unhealthy.  It’s depressing & damaging to self-esteem.  Rather than beating yourself up, why not just accept that you’ll make mistakes.  No one is perfect, & mistakes happen, especially when trying to form a new habit.  Shake it off.  Accept that you made a mistake & try not to repeat that mistake.

 

When you realize you’re improving in this area, celebrate!  Reward yourself for a job well done!  How?  That is up to you.  At the very least, thank God for helping you & tell yourself you did a great job.  Changing old mindsets & habits isn’t easy, so you should be proud of yourself for making the appropriate changes & allowing God to help you to do so!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Being Positive Doesn’t Fix Everything

I’ve been seeing so much lately about thinking positive, how a positive outlook can fix any problem in life.  It sounds great, but I disagree.

Thinking positive is certainly a good thing.  It can help you not to be discouraged or depressed.  In fact, I even have what I call “Positive Monday” every week in my facebook group, where I share something good in my life & encourage others to do the same.  That being said though, sometimes you have to be real.  There is nothing wrong with being upset when something bad happens.  It’s ok to grieve & be negative for a while after losing a loved one, being unfairly fired, finding out your spouse cheated on you or being mistreated.

Also, being realistic rather than optimistic helps you to avoid being constantly disappointed.  Optimists are constantly disappointed, because they naively expect everything to turn out well.  Unfortunately for them, that isn’t realistic!  Sometimes life is great & things turn out well, but not always.  I am a firm believer in hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.  For example, last February when I got carbon monoxide poisoning & a concussion when I passed out from it, I did a lot of research on both.  I learned that recovery is very long & slow, & in many cases, a person never fully recovers from carbon monoxide poisoning or a brain injury, even a so called mild one like a concussion.  While I hoped to be one of the few to fully or nearly fully recover, I accepted the fact it may never happen.  My symptoms have not improved in a long time, & I accept that.  I’m disappointed, sure, but not devastated because I knew it was possible, which I believe is about as well as can be expected under the circumstances.

Positive thinking also won’t heal you from the effects of abuse.  What will help you is to face what happened head on, talking about it, praying about it, getting angry about it then forgiving the person who hurt you.  Ignoring it or making excuses for the abuser (“he was abused as a child”, for example) does not benefit anyone, least of all you.

I just wanted to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to have some balance in your thinking.   There is no shame in being realistic rather than optimistic.  There is no shame when positive thinking doesn’t fix everything for you.

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Balance Is Healthy

In life, many people say out of balance things, such as always look for the positive or always listen to your heart. While this may sound good, it isn’t healthy. Sometimes, there is little or no positive to be found, & that is fine. Valuable lessons can be learned in negative circumstances, not just positive. And, listening to your heart is always wise, but logic must intervene at some point too. I know if I listened to my heart only, I would never accomplish anything around my home- I’d spend my time writing, being creative, playing with the furkids & such without doing laundry or cooking. While that sounds amazingly fun, it’s also amazingly impractical.

I just wanted to take a moment today to encourage you, Dear Reader, to have some balance in your life. So many of us who have survived narcissistic abuse have trouble in this area. We often put others ahead of ourselves even when it isn’t best for anyone involved, we give at the expense of our own selves or we even can become obsessed with learning about narcissism since it finally gives us the answers we’ve been seeking.

Think about your life- what areas are out of balance? Do you listen to your feelings over logic every time? Do you always make sacrifices for others while expecting nothing in return? Are you a workaholic? Do you read non-stop about narcissism?

Please stop those out of balance behaviors! Balance is a good thing- it helps you to stay happy & healthy, two things you deserve. While working or doing for others are certainly admirable, you still need breaks from doing them. The same goes for learning about narcissism. You absolutely must learn about it if you wish to heal from narcissistic abuse, but even so, take breaks where you refuse to think about it sometimes. Narcissism is such a deep & negative subject- your emotions need breaks from thinking about it so you don’t plummet into depression.

How do you achieve balance? To start with, ask God to show you what areas you need to improve. Make any changes you know you need to do. Also, ask God to show you if you need to make further changes & to help you to do so.

If you are close to someone who is also out of balance, you could see if this person wishes to be an accountability partner. You could be accountable to each other, discussing your situations & what you are doing. You could pray together, too.

Listen to your heart. If you feel resentment or dread regarding certain tasks, that is for a reason. You may be focusing too much in that area.

Learn about boundaries if you haven’t already. Learning to set & enforce healthy boundaries will help you so much.

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Extreme, Out Of Balance Thinking

I noticed an unsettling trend today in things I was reading: extreme thinking with no balance.  For example, one thing I read said we need to feel compassion for narcissistic people because they are so wounded.  Yet, other things say we need to offer them no pity- just cut them out of our lives the moment we see even one narcissistic trait.

 

Neither solution is good, in my opinion.   If you have only compassion for a narcissist, she will play on  that, & use & hurt you constantly because you give no consequences for these actions.  However, if you quickly deduce someone is a narcissist & cut them out of your life, that isn’t necessarily the right solution either.  What if you judged this person wrong & they were only having a really bad day?  Or, what if God has plans to use you to change that person?  Some narcissists who are low on the spectrum can change, after all- maybe God wants to use you to change her heart somehow.  In either case, you could be making a mistake by eliminating this person from your life too quickly.

 

I believe in order to be a mentally healthy person with an empathetic heart, you need to be  balanced & avoid such extreme thinking.  To understand that yes, someone who has abused or bullied you was deeply wounded, which is why he or she did those awful things to you, yet also understand that does not give this person a free pass to abuse.

 

Many victims of abuse in particular seem to think this way, without balance.  Most commonly, I think, feel compassion & pity for their abuser or make excuses for the behavior.  Often, they even accept the blame for the abuse.  How many wives whose husbands beat them have you heard say, “It wasn’t his fault!  He was drunk/If only I had done what he asked, he wouldn’t have done this!”?  They don’t realize that while yes, it was terrible what happened to their abuser, that doesn’t give him or her the right to abuse anyone!

 

 

This extreme thinking & balance also fits judging the situations other people are in.  How many people have very definite opinions on something so controversial as medical marijuana?  Many people think it’s horrible- there is no excuse to use it!  Others claim it is extremely helpful in alieviating pain when nothing else does.  There don’t appear to be many people with more balanced thinking such as, “I’ve never tried it, & I doubt I ever would, however I understand that person is in such pain constantly, that he is desperate enough to want to try it.”

 

If you tend to think more extreme, then I would like to encourage you today to try to open your mind a bit more.  Try to see things from other people’s perspectives.  Imagine yourself in that person’s position.  Ask God to give you a more caring, compassionate heart & perspective.  Out of balance, extreme type thinking isn’t beneficial for anyone, but understanding, compassionate thinking will benefit everyone.

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Today’s Random Thoughts

For some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot today…

One of those things that crossed my mind was how incredibly damaged my thinking has been. I learned early in life to do as I was told without question, to take care of other people before myself & not to trust my own feelings/perceptions/instincts. As a result, I have done many stupid things & tolerated way more from people than I should have.

One thing that shows how damaged my thinking was is my first marriage. While I was engaged to my ex, I broke up with him for a few months when I was 19, & started dating other men. During that time, he called me often, making me feel guilty for breaking up with him, & making him miserable. I had many good reasons to break up with him, but they seemed less & less important as I listened to him. Only a few months later, I married him, then divorced him after a short marriage.

In spite of the guilt messages he (& his friends) gave me during that time, I still assume full responsibility for my actions. My thinking was so damaged, I disregarded my reasons for breaking up with him & my feelings & marry him, because he told me to.

During the breakup, I also began dating another man, 9 years my senior, for two reasons- he was pushy, insisting I go out with him, & my friend told me I should date him. While granted, he seemed much more mature than my ex husband, & was financially stable, he had his own issues. I didn’t know how bad off he was until recently when found out that he shot & killed his boyfriend & then himself…

Looking back at these situations, it amazes me at myself, & not in a good way! I’ve asked myself so many times how I could’ve been so stupid. But, rather than dwell on that, I focus instead on thanking God for coming into my life & teaching me so very much! Of course I don’t know everything or have all of the answers, but I am much more emotionally healthy than I ever have been. I’ve also learned to listen to God & listen to my instincts, thanks to having a relationship with Him. It amazes me how much He cares about every aspect of my life.

I’d like to encourage you to do the same things- listen to God & your instincts as well. These things are often difficult to do at first to those who also survived narcissistic abuse- they were for me too!-but they get easier the more you do them. And, before you know it, you will be surprised at how much healthier your thinking is! ❤

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