Tag Archives: trust

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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There Are No One Size Fits All Solutions

When people discover that what they have experienced is narcissistic abuse, they look for answers.  Some make the mistake of thinking there are obvious answers, but unfortunately, there isn’t any such thing.

 

Every narcissist is different.  Every victim is different.  There are also many gray areas when it comes to dealing with narcissists- very little is black & white.   As a result, what works for someone else may not work for you & vice versa.  You aren’t going to find anything that maps out your perfect way to healing yourself of ways to cope with a narcissists.  You have to try different things to figure out what works best in your situation.

 

An online friend & I were discussing this topic recently.  For her, understanding that her narcissistic mother was abused as a child didn’t help her in the least.  In fact, it seemed to make her angrier that her mother would take her issues out on her daughter.  While I get that, for me, learning my narcissistic mother was abused helped me to be more understanding & compassionate with her while still maintaining my healthy boundaries.  I was able to stay calmer than I once had around my mother.  I realized she was wounded & acting out of those wounds because she has no healthy coping skills.  Neither my friend nor I are wrong- we’re doing what works for us.

 

As an author who writes primarily about the topics of narcissism & narcissistic abuse, I have come to realize that as much as I want to help everyone who reads my work, I can’t.  The best I can do is explain what I have learned, talk about what works & doesn’t work for me, & discuss my experiences.  It’s up to each reader to glean from the books & articles what works for them.  Unfortunately, some will be disappointed that what I suggest doesn’t work for their situation.

 

And, ignore those who say things like, “*fill in the blank*  will work for you”.  It may work for you.  Hopefully it will.  But, it also may not work for you.  People who say they have the answers may, in fact, be narcissists themselves.  I realized that after reading a  blog about healing from narcissistic abuse some time ago.  The blogger wasn’t open to opinions other than her own.  She seemed to think what worked for her would work for everyone, & if you disagreed, you were wrong.  For example, no contact.  It was the only solution this blogger supported, & there were no excuses for not going no contact.  While that makes sense to a degree, not everyone is willing or able to go no contact.  What if the narcissist is low on the spectrum?  They may be hard to deal with but also tolerable.  Plus, going no contact is very hard, especially with your own parents.  Not everyone feels capable of going no contact.  Low contact may be a better option.  Still others live with their narcissistic parent & can’t afford to move out so again, no contact isn’t an option.

 

That is just one example.  There are other authors that are the same way- they believe they have all the answers & you need to listen to them.  Be careful whose advice you take when reading about narcissism!   If something seems off, trust that feeling.  Pray & ask God to show you who you can trust & who you can’t, & help you to get the information that will help you the most.

 

 

 

 

 

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Do You Avoid Depending On & Trusting People?

Something else I recently learned was about counter dependency- another common issue in victims of abuse.

 

Counter dependency is where a person has issues trusting other people.  They avoid depending on, opening up to or trusting others.  They appear extremely independent, even pushing other people away.  Often they have a deep fear of intimacy & fear asking for any help.  When you consider what the typical childhood experiences of a child of a narcissistic parent are, this behavior makes sense.  Narcissistic parents don’t care about their child’s feelings & needs, basically forcing their child to be independent of them.  For a child, being pushed away by a parent is devastating.  She learns early in life not to trust other people.

 

After reading about counter dependency, I realized this describes me very well.  As an example, if my husband & I have a disagreement, I shut down with him.  If he later asks how I am, my answer is always fine.  What did I do today?  Not much.  I let him talk about his day at work or anything else he wants to, but I divulge little to no information about myself.  It happens so automatically, I didn’t even realize I was doing it until the last couple of weeks. It took some more time for me to learn this behavior has a name.

 

As of now, I’m not entirely sure how to change this dysfunctional behavior.  I am only guessing, but I think talking about my experiences would help.  Mostly with God of course- He is always the best place to start- but also with safe people or writing about it in my journal.  Talking, praying or writing about things can bring a clarity to you, & enable you to understand why you are behaving in a dysfunctional way.  And of course, once you understand the root of your behavior, you can understand the truth which is you don’t need to behave that way.  You can behave in a healthier way.

 

As I learn about counter dependency, I’ll share what I learn.  We can learn & grow together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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God Wants To Bless You!

I want to share this story to encourage you today, Dear Readers.  God does care about infinitely about you, & what you care about!  He also still does miracles today- miracles weren’t reserved only for Biblical times!  I know it can be hard to believe such things, especially when you’re dealing with a narcissistic mother, but they’re very true!

As I mentioned in this post, hubby & I had to take one of our cats into the vet for his annual checkup on Monday.  I was to call the vet yesterday for the results of his bloodwork, & wow, did I get a surprise!  The vet’s exact words were, “His bloodwork was PERFECT.”  I was stunned, & even asked the vet if he was sure.  He was!  I asked about the liver carcinoma that Pretty Boy had been diagnosed with in October, 2013.  The vet was obviously confused, & said there’s no sign of it- maybe the other vet who saw him mistook a benign mass for carcinoma.  Normally, I respect anything this man says- he’s been our vet for 20 years, & is among the best in the Baltimore area.  However, the other vet who diagnosed Pretty Boy with the liver carcinoma didn’t make a mistake.  She was almost as good as he is, plus she did a blood test & an ultrasound, so there was no doubt as to her diagnosis.  It obviously also difficult for her to tell me there was nothing that could be done for him, & she didn’t expect him to be around much longer.  I began to pray for him regularly as soon as we got this news, & God truly answered my prayers!

God truly hears our prayers, even when we feel like He doesn’t.  He also truly cares about what we care about.  When you pray, please be encouraged that God is listening!  He may not answer your prayer as you think He should, but still trust Him!  He knows best, & is worthy of your faith!

And, for those of you pet parents reading this, please never doubt that God loves your furkids even more than you do.  I know, many in the Christian community doubt this, believing animals have no souls, or are only here for people to use (or eat) as they see fit.  I must disagree with this however!  Ecclesiastes 3:19 says, “For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even [in the end] one thing befalls them both. As the one dies, so dies the other. Yes, they all have one breath and spirit, so that a [a]man has no preeminence over a beast; for all is vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility)!” (AMP)  Here it is in the Message translation, too “19-22 Humans and animals come to the same end—humans die, animals die. We all breathe the same air. So there’s really no advantage in being human. None. Everything’s smoke. We all end up in the same place—we all came from dust, we all end up as dust. Nobody knows for sure that the human spirit rises to heaven or that the animal spirit sinks into the earth. So I made up my mind that there’s nothing better for us men and women than to have a good time in whatever we do—that’s our lot. Who knows if there’s anything else to life?”  This tells me that God loves animals just as much as people.  So, I encourage you to pray for your pets!  They are entrusted to us to care for them, to feed & shelter them, to love them.. what better way to care for them than to pray for them?

For further information about what the Bible says about animals, I have written a book on the topic.  You can find it at this link: Pawprints On Our Hearts paperback or Pawprints On Our Hearts ebook

Also, here is a picture of my handsome little miracle kitty, Pretty Boy…

pretty boy's best diabetes day ever 01272014

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Yesterday..

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I just thought I’d share something…

As I’ve mentioned lately, I’ve been feeling really bad. It just seemed as if nothing was going right, & it’s been taking a toll on me. Thankfully, things changed yesterday…

To start with, the previous day, my mother called, wanting a favor from me. I told her I’d call back to let her know if I could do it. After some prayer & thought, I realized I couldn’t do it. Even at 43 years old, it takes a lot of courage to say NO to my mother sometimes.. especially without offering her any explanation (I didn’t want to hear any criticisms of my reasons for not being there for her). I called my parents yesterday morning, & thankfully was able to talk to my father instead- he accepted my no without question. No problems. Saying no helped me feel stronger than I had- it reminded me I had a right to say no, to have boundaries & to have my life as a priority.

Although leaving home made me extremely anxious as it always does, I still enjoyed my time out with my husband last night. I bought a couple of little things at a store without telling myself I don’t deserve them or we shouldn’t spend money on me. We then went to a car show, & on the way home stopped by a local car dealer where we’d seen a 1969 Dodge Charger. It was a replica of the General Lee from the old tv show, “The Dukes Of Hazzard,” one of my favorite tv shows as a kid & my favorite car ever. I wanted to snap a quick picture of it before we went home. We pulled into the lot just as someone was moving it, & as I snapped a ton of pictures of this car, he told my husband & I the story behind the car- it was one of only 17 remaining cars from the tv series & movies! I never thought when we left home yesterday afternoon that before we got back home, I would’ve seen a real General Lee!!!

Yesterday was such a blessing to me. Not only did I have fun, got a couple of nice little prizes, & get to see my favorite movie/tv car, but something else happened. If you recall, I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I’ve mentioned how God has shown me I need to get the real me back.. to stop being “Eric’s wife” & be “Cynthia” again. Well, the real me came out yesterday, out of the blue. God is enabling me to be who He intended me to be, & it feels good! It’s also affected my husband. God once told me that if I get me back, not only will I be happier, but my marriage will improve. From what I saw yesterday, this is very true. My husband seemed more relaxed than he has in quite some time & we enjoyed each other’s company more. It’s strange- I thought I needed to change to please him, which is why I lost myself in the first place, yet instead, it caused us to lose much of the closeness we had when we first got together.

I’m sure that this change is something I will have to continue to focus on maintaining, but it is a good start. It gave me the kick in the butt I needed. I’ve been too afraid of rejection to even start focusing on getting myself back. Yesterday showed me it’s a good thing, & gave me courage.

I guess the point of telling you all this isn’t only to share in my good news, but to encourage you. Trust in God, even during the darkest times. He has a plan, & He will help you however you need. It may not be as fast as you want or how you expect it to happen, but it will happen. And, when it does happen, you will be blown away by His goodness & love. ❤

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What Would God Have You Do?- January 7, 2014

I just purchased a book the other day called, “The Post Traumatic Disorder Relationship.”  It explains the disorder, & how the spouse of someone with PTSD can help as well as cope (it isn’t easy living with someone with mental health problems!).  My husband said he would read it, & although I am excited, I am also nervous…

The traumas that caused me to have Complex PTSD also taught me from a very early age to handle all problems on my own, never “burden” anyone by asking for help, & that no one wants to help me anyway.  The thought of having my husband’s help with anything more significant than opening a jar with a tight lid is terrifying to me.  It also makes me feel guilty because I know my husband has plenty of his own things to deal with right now.  I already feel like a burden.  *sigh*

If I had my way, I’d just continue on as I have been, coping & working on getting healthier on my own.  But, I’ve been sensing God wants me to reach out to my husband a bit more lately, which is where the book came into play.  I am less than thrilled with this!  I also know that God has a reason for wanting me to do this.  I am guessing to help me break those old thought patterns I mentioned in the previous paragraph, as well as to teach him to be more compassionate.  Good lessons to learn, yet scary for me, too.  There is a degree of comfort in what is familiar, even when the familiar isn’t healthy.

God is so good though- He will take you out of what is dysfunctional & move you into what is best for you. 

If you too are in a transitioning place, I encourage you to do what I am doing- trust God.  He only has your best interests at heart, & He loves you so very much.  Ask Him to show you what to do in the unfamiliar, to strengthen you & to help you however you need it.  It will be worth it!  I don’t know yet what is going to happen in this situation with me, but I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the fear & uncertainty I’m currently feeling will be well worth it as I follow His leading!    

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November 21, 2013

Good morning, Dear Readers!

The other day, I was talking to someone about having C-PTSD.  She is a very nice Christian lady who I like a great deal.  Unfortunately, the conversation didn’t go very well.  She said some things that really bothered me that showed me she doesn’t understand trauma & its effects on the brain.  She said don’t I understand my mother has a sinful nature & doesn’t realize what she is doing?  Yes, I do understand that, but I disagree- many times I can assure you, she knows exactly what she is doing when she hurts me.  And she also said God can heal me- I just need to pray.  As if that thought never crossed my mind…

I’ve been thinking about this conversation, & while listening to Bishop T.D. Jakes preach this morning, something occurred to me.  The bishop was speaking about the apostle Paul, a great man of God.  He wrote most of the New Testament, in fact.  Brilliant & devoted to God.  Yet, he had what he described as “a thorn in the flesh” that God would not remove from his life.  Here are the verses from the Amplified Bible.

 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

7 And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn ([a]a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted.

8 Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me;

9 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [b]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [c]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!”

 

I don’t know what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was, as it is never mentioned in detail.  However, I believe C-PTSD can be described the same way.  (Most times, it’s more like an entire sticker bush.. lol)  I have become aware that during times when I have flashbacks or anxiety or depression are threatening to overwhelm me, I can feel the gentle presence of God comforting me.  When I get frustrated with the fact my short term memory isn’t what it used to be, or I can’t sleep well, God always sends something to let me know all is ok.  Like today for example.  As I mentioned, I’ve been thinking a lot about the conversation I had with that lady a few days ago.  I started wondering if there is something wrong with me for having this disorder.  I mean, I haven’t been in a war zone like so many soldiers who have PTSD.  It’s so understandable that they have it!  Instead, I went through mostly psychological abuse.  Now as an adult, I know what I was told about myself isn’t true, & I understand  manipulation so I don’t fall for it.  So why do I have C-PTSD?  This morning, I got on facebook to find one C-PTSD page posting about how it’s immature Christians who think we can just pray & “get over it.”  Then later, I turn on the tv to watch Bishop Jakes preach & he discusses the apostle Paul, & how God used him greatly in spite of his “thorn in the flesh” that God wouldn’t remove.  God showed me through these things that I’m ok!  In fact, I know He uses me, C-PTSD & all.  People tell me often how something I have done, said or written has helped them.

I’m not saying don’t pray about your illness, or God doesn’t care.  He cares a great deal, & wants to help you.  Lean on Him.  He will help you!  But, you have to do your part too!  You have to work on your healing & manage your triggers & stressors.  He can’t do that for you.  You do your part, & trust God with the rest.  Hopefully, you will receive a complete healing.  But, if you don’t, God’s grace is sufficient for you.  He will help you to accomplish whatever you need to do.  

Don’t let people make you feel guilty or ashamed or even useless just because you have C-PTSD or any mental disorder.  You have done nothing wrong to have this problem!  God can still use you to be a productive member of society & a blessing to anyone.  If you have any doubts about it, remember the apostle Paul- remember, he was killing Christians when God called him to be an apostle!  He was a murderer, & he had that thorn in the flesh, yet God used to him to bring the Gospel to countless people, & to write the bulk of the New Testament!  If He could do that with Paul, what makes you think you are so messed up, He can’t use you??

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