Tag Archives: thought
Many people who grew up abused tend to have black & white thinking. For example, you may think you’re a bad employee because you made a mistake at work, or a bad spouse because you forgot your wedding anniversary rather than just thinking you made mistakes. Most people aren’t so hard on themselves, & are much more forgiving than that.
This type of thinking can damage relationships as well as your self-esteem. If, as an example, you grew up told by your narcissistic mother that all people who listen to heavy metal music are bad & accepted that belief, then you are either missing out on potentially good relationships, or if you later find out someone you’re close to likes metal, you’ll end that relationship.
Black & white thinking has its roots in childhood, like so many other things. When you grow up with a parent berating, shaming & criticizing you, you take it to heart! You tend to continue to do those same behaviors to yourself as an adult. It’s time to stop doing that to yourself! You don’t deserve to continue the abuse that was so unfairly done to you! You deserve better!
Today, I want you to decide to stop with the black & white thinking!
To do this, you’ll need to do several things. First of all, ask God to help you. Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth & the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight”. God wants to help you think better! Allow Him to do so.
You also need to challenge how you think. Slow down & pay attention to your thoughts. When you make a mistake & begin to beat yourself up for it, stop! Stop right there & remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes. EVERYONE! Not only you. If people didn’t make mistakes, we wouldn’t need Jesus. Mistakes are a part of life- you need to accept that fact.
If you find yourself thinking something or someone is bad, then again, stop. Ask yourself why you think this. If you realize it’s because your narcissistic mother dislikes a quality that person has, then it’s time to challenge her opinion. Not to her but to yourself. Did she say why she hates something or someone? Do her reasons make sense? If not, discard them & form your own opinion! You don’t have to share her beliefs or feelings. You have the right to have your own!
Black & white thinking also can be a hindrance in healing from abuse. If you’re like me, you tend to frequently tell yourself that you should be better by now, you’ve been feeling sorry for yourself for too long, you need to let this go & more unhealthy things. Please, please, please stop it right now!!! Easier said than done, I know, but please try anyway. I’ve gotten better at this, although I still slip up sometimes. When I tell myself these awful things, I remind myself narcissistic abuse is a terrible thing. Healing from it is a lifelong task. Narcissistic abuse is insidious & permeates every part of your being. You can’t heal from that kind of pain & suffering in a month or even a year. It’s perfectly normal to heal little by little over the course of your life. It’s also perfectly normal for healing to be an up & down process. Emotional healing is never strictly an uphill battle. It’s more like an uphill battle with periodic falls into valleys & side trips.
Dear Reader, please be encouraged today to be better to yourself. Think about what you’re thinking about. Challenge those things that aren’t beneficial to you, & change how you think into more healthy thoughts. You deserve it!
I was thinking this morning about how blessed I am. My youngest kitty, Punkin, brought this on. He came to me & dropped his favorite toy at my feet. I thought how sweet he was, giving me his precious possession. Then I quickly realized he wanted me to watch it while he played with another kitty, Chester. His silliness made me smile, as always.
Punkin came into my life one week after losing my Georgie, as a gift for my cousin who was looking for a cat. I was going to take him to her the day of her mother’s memorial service. It seemed perfect- she would have some comfort & a young, fun kitty to help her get through. But then I woke up sick on that day, & couldn’t go to my aunt’s service. I was going to take Punkin to my cousin a few days later, but he quickly adopted us, & thankfully my cousin understood this,as she understands cats as well as I do. (Side note- happily, shortly after, adopted 2 beautiful shelter cats).
This worked out well, because Punkin has PTSD (yes, cats can have it too! I’ve seen him have a flashback) & is blind in one eye. He needs someone home with him often, as he has bad separation anxiety (although it’s improving greatly). My cousin works full time, so this wouldn’t have been good for Punkin. It was, however, very good for me. I ended up with this sweet, gentle, goofy kitten who I understand well & he understands me well. We understand being hypervigilent & how sudden loud noises make us jump out of our skin. When things happen, we just look at each other knowingly. Sharing PTSD has given us a very strong bond.
After the last couple of weeks with my father having all these health problems& spending so much time with my narcissistic mother, it felt good to have something very positive to focus on. There’s been such an influx of negative things lately, it was making me very depressed.
What you focus on has a lot to do with your attitude & whether you feel joy or not. Unlike many people though, I don’t necessarily believe that only thinking positively is the healthiest thing to do. I believe it makes more sense to be realistic. Certainly hope for the best, believe God will bless you, but know that sometimes bad things happen. Bad things are a part of life as much as good things are, if not more. But the good news is as a Christian, you will be OK! In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” (AMP)
An overly optimistic attitude just isn’t healthy. In fact, I read recently (unfortunately I can’t recall where) that optimists commit suicide most often. Not pessimists as you might expect- optimists.
I believe balance is the real key to having peace & a good attitude. Knowing & accepting that bad things will happen, but when they do, know Jesus has given you the ability to deal with them. That gives you peace even during the bad times. And also knowing that good things can & will happen gives you hope.
Also, when surrounded by bad things, try to find good things to focus on when you can. I let myself get too focused on the bad things these last couple of weeks. I should have spent more time focusing on the blessings in my life, like my little Punkin. I believe that being grateful for the blessings in your life is a key to happiness.
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! ❤