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.
Some covert narcissists are what I think of as the consummate victim. They are the ones who are always wronged, always the victim, & never at fault for anything. Some examples of their behavior are as follows.
The narcissist says something cruel. You get angry, & rightfully so. She claims she never meant to hurt your feelings. She was just trying to help & had no idea what she said would upset you. She then stops speaking to you for weeks, even if you apologized.
The narcissist tries to manipulate you into doing something you don’t want to do. Naturally, you refuse to do it. She claims you don’t love her. How could you refuse to do this one little thing for her, especially after all she’s done for you?!
The narcissist is your elderly parent who expects you to come at their beck & call. You tell your parent you only are available one day a week to do what she needs. She tells your family how you refused to help her, & they attack you for being a bad daughter, ungrateful, a spoiled brat & more.
Narcissists who claim life is so unfair to them or that they are mistreated when people confront them on their abusive behavior are also consummate victims. There are also those who blame their victims for their abusive behavior. They are also consummate victims, as are those who complain about their problems, yet refuse to do something to change the situation.
Dealing with these people is incredibly frustrating, I know. My late father & late mother in-law were both covert narcissists & consummate victims. I repeatedly asked my father not to call after 9 at night. When I refused to take his call when he called at 10 one evening, he called my in-laws & a cousin who lives almost 500 miles away. He told both he was so concerned about me for not answering the phone, & asked them to have me call him immediately. Another time, I was angry with my mother in-law because she had snooped through my purse yet again. She asked my husband why I was angry, & he told her. I overheard the conversation. She claimed not to know what she did would be upsetting to me.
Both situations were similar. As a result of my father’s & mother in-law’s actions, my husband & I got into an argument about his mother & my cousin & I argued about my father. Being the typical consummate victims, their obnoxious behavior caused problems for the real victim while making themselves look good.
There are some things that you can do that can help you if you must deal with this behavior in covert narcissists.
Always rely on God to help you in this situation. He will be glad to help you discern the truth & strengthen you to do whatever you need to do!
Remember the type of person that you’re dealing with. No matter what you do, this person will twist the situation around to make you look bad & them look like the innocent victim of your cruelty. Expect nothing else because this person has no desire to behave any other way.
Also remember that there is nothing wrong with you setting boundaries or confronting this person on their abusive behavior. Both of those are good things to do. They are healthy & show you have self respect.
Consummate victims are very skilled at recruiting flying monkeys. When you set those boundaries or confront the narcissist about her behavior, no matter how gently & reasonably you do so, it’s a safe bet someone will tell you how cruel, unreasonable, wrong, etc. you are. When this happens, ignore whatever these flying monkeys have to say. They don’t know the truth, only what the narcissist has told them. Also, it’s best to refuse to discuss the narcissist with them.
Lastly, it’s also important to remember that consummate victims may project their status on their real victims. It can be easy to believe their lies since narcissists are talented actors who give very convincing performances. To avoid believing their lies, remember that you are NOT a consummate victim if you are angry about being abused, setting healthy boundaries or refusing to be manipulated.
If you are faced with a covert narcissist who portrays herself as a consummate victim, you can cope. You have the knowledge & strength to handle this ugly situation.
Growing up with a narcissistic mother is incredibly painful. It causes a great deal of damage too, not only to one’s mental health but sometimes physical as well due to the intense, incredible stress of living with such a cruel person.
Unfortunately, the damage done is still with the child moving out of his or her mother’s home. While some of that damage is obvious, such as a person having C-PTSD, not all of it is so easily identified. There are many behaviors that tend to stick with a person even years after the abuse has ended.
Many victims accept the blame for everything. Growing up with a narcissist, you learn early in life that everything is your fault. If you had any doubts about that, your narcissistic mother would remind you of it. By adulthood, victims have lost all doubts & know everything is their fault.
Closely related is apologizing for everything. Children aren’t allowed to stand up for themselves, especially to their narcissistic mother. In fact, we don’t even have any clue how to stand up for ourselves. Instead, we learn to apologize, whether the problem is our fault or not. This behavior carries over into adulthood.
Narcissistic parents often compare their children unfavorably to their siblings or cousins. Those children grow up comparing themselves unfavorably to others just as their parent did rather than appreciating the differences in each person.
Children of narcissistic parents learned early in life that their purpose was to do for their parent. Children aren’t even thought of as human to their narcissistic parents, but instead they are merely tools to be used as needed by that parent. Knowing this means these children believe they aren’t important. They prioritize everyone else over themselves.
Along these lines, children of narcissistic parents also refuse to ask for help. They believe they are unworthy of help from anyone. Many are also perfectionists & think they should be able to do things by themselves, without any assistance.
Chronic self doubt is another problem narcissistic mothers create in their children. When you grow up hearing how you can’t do anything right, you’re a failure, you’re stupid or other cruel things, self doubt is normal. It can make you doubt every single thing about yourself, even into adulthood. Often it’s like there is a recording in the back of your mind when you try to do something that says those same awful things Mom used to say, & when you hear the recording, it transports you back to childhood, when you felt you were all of those things Mom said you were.
Difficulty making decisions happens often with adult children of narcissistic parents, too. When you suffer with self doubt, decisions can be really difficult to make! Even simple decisions like when your spouse asks where you want to go for dinner can be very challenging, because you feel like whatever you say will be wrong.
Over thinking is another common sign of having grown up with a narcissistic mother. It stems from having to be “on alert” at all times, needing to know what Mom wanted or how to please her or what exactly she needed at any time in order to avoid a narcissistic rage.
The lack of ability to express emotions is common with adult children of narcissistic mothers. So many narcissistic mothers did their best to stop their child from expressing any emotions, negative or positive. My mother used to scold me for having “that Bailey temper” that I learned never to show any anger or even simple frustration. It felt easier to stuff that emotion deep down than to be shamed. My mother also complained that I didn’t look happy, yet if I was happy, if it had nothing to do with her, she would shame me for being happy. Many narcissistic mothers behave in a similar way with their children.
Do you behave in any of these ways, Dear Reader? If so, please know you are NOT alone & you are NOT crazy. I’ve experienced them all, & still do experience some of them. I have found that praying really helps a great deal. I ask God for help or to show me what I can do to change my behavior. Simple? Sure, but also very effective.
I also question things. “Am I really to blame for this? Why?” “Should I apologize for that? Why or why not?” “Why am I comparing myself to that person instead of appreciating our uniqueness?” “Am I really not smart enough/talented enough/etc. to do that? What evidence do I have that shows me I’m not?” “Is it really unreasonable of me to ask my husband for help when I don’t feel good? Why?” These simple questions make me think about the situation at hand more objectively & I can see that sometimes what I’m thinking is nothing more than some old, dysfunctional mindset. Upon seeing that, I am able to act in a more appropriate way. If you have trouble doing this, another approach could be to imagine a friend came to you with the problem you’re facing now. What would you tell that friend? Imagining a friend is confiding in you rather than thinking about yourself facing the problem can give you a very different perspective.
Although these issues are challenging, they can be dealt with with time & work. Do it- you deserve to be rid of these dysfunctional habits!
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.
As anyone with experience with a narcissist knows, they accept no blame for anything they have done. Ever. You can confront them about something terrible they have done, then later walk away wondering why you just apologized to them instead of them apologizing to you. This post will help you identify some of the common blame shifting behaviors so you won’t fall for them in the future.
Probably the most common thing that narcissists do to shift the blame is to play the victim. This is especially common with covert narcissists, but overt ones will do it as well. The narcissist will turn your legitimate concern around in such a way that you feel as if you’re being too hard on that person, overreacting or being too sensitive. After all, they never had any idea that what they said or did would hurt you, they say. Or, they may bring up some (probably imaginary) thing you did in the past, claiming that is abusive, & turning the topic of the conversation to that incident rather than your topic.
Closely related to playing the victim is the guilt trip done to shift blame. They may tell you about something painful that they experienced in their childhood or say things like, “Why are you yelling at me? I didn’t mean to hurt you!” Before you know it, you’re comforting them even though they hurt you!
They often accuse their victims of bad or even abusive behavior, but especially during the times when they are confronted. This is an effective way to shift the blame from the narcissist to the victim. My mother did this to me when I was growing up. She said I made her do something bad to me because of how terrible I was acting. On my seventeenth birthday, she destroyed my gifts that my now ex husband gave me, then made me clean up the mess she made. She said because I was “acting so snotty”, which is what made her destroy those gifts. The truth was when I took the gifts from school to her car at the end of my day, I was terrified what she was going to do to me because she hated my ex, & was quiet. I wasn’t “acting snotty”- I was acting terrified!
Narcissists also minimize the feelings of their victims to shift blame to the victim. Basically, this shifts the blame to the victim for how they responded to the abuse rather than the abuse itself. They may say things like “You’re too sensitive,” “You’re crazy,” or “I was just joking!”
When you’re talking with a narcissist & these things happen, then you can be certain they are attempting to shift the blame off of themselves. The best thing you can do is to redirect the conversation back to the original topic, as calmly as you can. Wait on the narcissist to finish whatever she is saying, then calmly say something, “Ok, but that isn’t what we were talking about. We will address that later. We’re discussing ____ at the moment.” You may have to do that a few times, but keep doing it. If that doesn’t work, try saying, “We’ll talk about this another time when you are ready to talk,” then leave or hang up the phone, & approach her another time in the very near future.
Unfortunately with narcissists, there is never an easy answer. Doing what I suggested may not work at all for you in the sense of being able to hash out the problem at hand. However, the good thing is it will let that narcissist know that you aren’t going to be fooled by the blame shifting nor will you be pushed around.
Narcissists have a way of making their victims feel like we are the problem. This is awful for the victims, because as a result, we end up tolerating their abuse for years. We think they’re good to put up with us, & we try harder & harder to be good enough for them. Meanwhile, as we’re losing ourselves in trying to please the narcissists, the narcissists are gaining tons of supply.
So how does this happen? How can a person honestly believe they’re the problem when the narcissist clearly is? Narcissists accomplish this in several ways.
Projection. Narcissist always accuse others of their own flaws. This makes a person feel inadequate. A person may even become angry but feels they don’t have the right to be angry since they are the flawed one.
Narcissists don’t examine their behavior, only yours. If you’re angry with a narcissist, all that narcissist sees is how you’re acting. They don’t ask themselves why you’re angry or is it something they’ve done. They see you acting in a way they consider irrational, & make you feel crazy for your behavior.
They gaslight. All narcissists love gaslighting their victims. Gaslighting is basically when you say the sky is blue, & the narcissist says it’s clearly green & something is wrong with you for thinking otherwise. Granted, that is an extremely obvious example, but that’s pretty much how gaslighting works. Narcissists see the same thing you see (that blue sky) but don’t want you to see it that way. Rather than agreeing that the sky is blue, they’ll tell you it’s green & try to make you feel crazy for thinking it’s blue. Narcissists do this often with abusive things they have done. They may deny the events happened entirely, or try to convince you that they happened in a very different way.
Narcissists provoke their victims to rage while maintaining their cool. One primary feature of narcissism is their complete lack of empathy. This enables narcissists to feel no guilt or remorse for abusing a victim. This also means they can maintain their calm demeanor while simultaneously driving a victim to the brink of madness. When this happens, a victim feels insane. After all, the victim is the one screaming & crying while the narcissist is cool & collected. The victim looks crazy to herself & anyone else who may be witnessing this phenomenon.
If you’re in a relationship of any sort with a narcissist, these things are most likely happening. When they do, please remember this post & remind yourself that you are NOT the problem! The narcissist is only trying to make you think you are!
Why is it when someone has either set boundaries in or ended an abusive relationship, people try to convince that person to “forgive & forget” or “be the bigger person” & fix the relationship? Have you noticed how commonplace this is? Think about it…
If a daughter in-law is constantly belittled by her mother in-law, she is told to be the bigger person. Let it go. She is only trying to help by criticizing everything about you!
If your abusive parents have been out of your life for some time, then they become ill or worse are dying, chances are someone is going to tell you that you need to make things right with your parents. You need to be there for them & take care of them! You owe your parents that much!
A wife whose husband has beaten or raped her is told to forgive him since he was drunk. He didn’t know what he was doing. Stop making a mountain out of a molehill!
This is a major pet peeve of mine. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to expect an innocent victim to repair an abusive relationship. Why don’t people tell abusers to fix the relationship instead? Why not tell them to stop abusing?!
I think some people simply don’t want to face the fact that there is a lot of ugliness in the world. They prefer to think everything is unicorns & rainbows, when nothing could be further from the truth. Anything that interrupts their ignorance is met with denial or even hostility.
Some people, flying monkeys in particular, don’t want to believe that a person could be so bad. Maybe they know the abuser & have seen the “good person” show that he or she puts on. They would prefer to believe that facade is the real person, not the vicious, devious, abusive monster who has hurt you.
When this happens to you (& sadly it will at some point), it’s going to hurt. It’s going to make you angry. This is only natural since this type of thing is triggering & painful. You can cope, however.
If you see the conversation you’re in is taking this turn, then end it. Change the subject. Say you won’t discuss this topic with this person. Walk away if you must or hang up the phone.
Don’t buy into that “you need to be the bigger person” nonsense. You didn’t cause the damage, you don’t need to fix the damage. Fix only what you broke & apologize if you hurt people. Take responsibility for things you have done wrong only.
And really.. how is it a good thing to stay in an abusive relationship anyway?! Not only does that take a toll on your physical & mental health, but it encourages the abusive person to be abusive! While no one can make an abuser become a kind, Godly person, setting boundaries sets the stage for that person to change their abusive behavior. That is truly loving, Godly behavior! Tolerating abuse from anyone is NOT!
Rather than listening to that drivel about being the bigger person, do what you know God wants you to do. Stick to your boundaries. Don’t be bullied or manipulated into allowing an abusive person back into your life. Surround yourself with good, loving, Godly people who understand, love & support you.
Periodically, I like to post about the signs of a covert narcissist. Everyone knows about overt narcissists, but there just isn’t much information on their covert counterparts. Today, I want to share some warning signs of covert narcissists.
They are terrible listeners. When having a conversation with a covert narcissist, it is painfully obvious they want you to shut up so they can resume talking. They look bored. They pretend they’re going to talk as you start to talk, then obviously stop talking, acting as if you interrupted them. They try to hurry your conversation up.
They create a false image of themselves. Covert narcissists are not as obvious in their delusions of grandeur like overt narcissists. They may even say depreciating things about themselves such as “I can’t do that.. I’m not talented.” “I’m not very smart.” This false image of modesty often makes people complement them & provide narcissistic supply when they make such comments. Some pretend to be stupid, when in fact they are quite intelligent, so people will take care of them & protect them. Others do for the people in their life to create the image of the self-sacrificing martyr who never thinks of herself.
They are smug. Narcissists look down on other people, whether they are covert or overt, but coverts are quieter about it. They may not tell a person flat out that they are better than the victim, but the victim knows this is how that person feels anyway. Covert narcissists have a look that conveys the message well. Or, they compare you unfavorably to someone else. My mother in-law told me how disappointed she was my husband married me instead of someone he used to date, which left me feeling not good enough to be a part of her family.
Covert narcissists have no empathy. Like their overt counterparts, covert narcissists have zero empathy. They don’t care about your pain unless it directly affects them. If you cry in their presence, they will look at you blankly. If there is a witness, the covert narcissist might offer you a hug or some kind words, but that is only to make the witness think well of them. They really don’t feel any empathy for you whatsoever.
Always the victim. Covert narcissists are always the victim. If they hurt you, & you confront them, you are mean/unreasonable/abusive/etc. They’ll even bring out the fake tears to attempt to make you feel guilty.
Covert narcissists fake apologize. On the off chance you get an apology from a covert narcissist, it is obviously fake. They don’t understand why what they did was wrong, but they feel forced to apologize to appease you & keep you providing their narcissistic supply. When there’s no way to get around that apology, it can be either passive/aggressive (“I’m sorry you feel that way”) or by saying things they think you would want to hear. Chances are, they’ll be dead wrong on what they think you want to hear, too.
They are extremely sensitive. Narcissists are all sensitive to any criticism, real or imagined, but covert narcissists are the worst. Any slight from you can have them crying about how cruel you are.
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.
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!
No matter what type of abuse or trauma you have suffered, often discrediting you, the victim, happens. Often by outsiders who say ridiculous statements such as…
“Well if you wouldn’t have worn that short skirt, you wouldn’t have been raped!”
“If you had just been a little nicer to him, your husband wouldn’t have hit you!”
“Your mother did the best she could- you need to understand that she had been abused. She just didn’t know how to raise you, so you have to forgive & forget.”
Even more frequently, the person who perpetrated the abuse works hard to discredit you. Narcissistic parents are especially good at doing this. They tell others they are concerned about you, because you have been acting strangely, you have a vivid imagination, you’ve been making up stories, they did the best they could do by you, but you were always a difficult child & more.
Publicly stating that the victim is not a victim, but instead the problem helps to convince others of that fallacy. The narcissistic abuser has great conviction when lying- people who aren’t extremely close to her rarely doubt her stories, especially if said under the guise of concern for her child.
This works well for the narcissistic mother, as she is able to convince people quite easily that her child is the problem, thus turning people against her child & supporting her. People then will look down on or fail to believe the child if she openly discusses the abuse or tries to stand up to or set boundaries with her narcissistic mother. I experienced this myself in my teen years. My mother’s friends had once liked me, but as the abuse escalated & I tried to protect myself, suddenly those friends no longer liked me. They barely even spoke to me or made eye contact with me.
Discrediting the victim also serves to make the victim question herself rather than the abuse she has come to believe is normal. There were times in my teen years I felt as if I was going crazy. My mother told me I was crazy anyway, even threatening to have me committed many times. That along with acting like & saying I was the problem caused me to doubt my sanity more times than I can count.
Also, another benefit for the abuser of discrediting the victim is that all eyes are on the victim, not the abuser. The abuser can do anything she likes, because no one will notice. They are too focused on how bad, wrong, crazy, etc. the victim is.
If you fall victim to this, please know you are NOT alone! This is a typical tactic of narcissistic abusers. It does NOT mean that you are to blame. Instead, it is just one more sign that this person is the problem, & that this person is evil. After all, only an evil person would blame an innocent victim instead of accepting responsibility for their own actions.
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.
I was reading this morning about society’s disdain for “victims” even to the point of blaming them. Although I hadn’t thought much about this until reading it, I have to agree- it’s very dysfunctional & shaming.
I honestly get tired of hearing things like, “the strongest people fight battles behind closed doors that no one knows about.” In other words, “keep your problems to yourself, & you’re weak if you talk about them.” Well, I totally disagree with that.
First of all, victims have no control over being victims. Period. And, being a victim doesn’t make you weak- it means you were subjected to abuse by a cruel, heartless person. That can happen to anyone, weak or strong, highly intelligent or not very smart. Saying, or even simply implying anything else just makes me angry!
Secondly, talking about what happened not only helps you to cope, but helps to raise awareness of things like child abuse & mental illness. By nature, I’m extremely introverted, & rarely talk to anyone about my problems. I don’t like talking about the abuse I’ve gone through or the C-PTSD I live with daily. However, I believe God wants me to talk about these things, & since I’ve become more open (writing books & blogging) about my experiences, things have begun to change. I have learned so much about C-PTSD, long term effects of child abuse, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, surviving a narcissist’s abuse & how to deal with a narcissist. This has helped me to learn that I’m really ok! I’m not crazy- I’ve reacted normally to abuse in my life. And, in addition to helping myself, I have been able to help many other people. I don’t even know how many emails I’ve received from people telling me that something I wrote helped them or inspired them. That is incredibly rewarding for me, & helpful for them.
Also, some people who at least realize being a victim is beyond your control still have warped views of the healing process. Many people think healing is a steady, positive thing. Onward & upward! Uh, no. It’s not even close.
There is nothing simple or easy about healing. The healing journey is a very windy, twisted road- sometimes you can move forward pretty easily, but often you take many curves & sometimes even go backwards.
And, there is no time limit on healing. So many people think you should be able to “get over it” quickly, when in fact, everyone is different. Some people survive abuse with very few problems, while others suffer their entire lives. Everyone is different, & just because you were able to move on quickly doesn’t mean someone else is as well.
Good afternoon, Dear Readers.
I turned on my television today, & in a very short span of time, saw more ads regarding Mother’s Day than I can remember. I quickly turned it back off rather than listen to the drivel about how wonderful all mothers are, & how much they deserve jewelry & flowers on May 11th.
Since I’m hardly the only daughter of a narcissistic mother, I thought I’d write about what Mother’s Day can mean to us.
It is the day we dread most of the year, isn’t it? It certainly is for me. It’s so hard to want to celebrate your mother when she has done her best to make your life a living hell ever since you were born. Plus, you know she expects admiration, gifts & cards. Not fun. Especially when it seems like everyone thinks you should fawn all over your mother, no matter how she treats you.
Society can be so dysfunctional.
I know all too well that commandment that says we should honor our parents. However, I don’t believe it’s honorable to shower any abuser, even a parent, with insincere praise & gifts. Honoring someone God’s way means showing them respect & courtesy, not being fake. Besides, such a demonstration rewards bad behavior. It shows your mother she can do anything to you that she wants to do, & you still will pamper her. How is that honorable?
So what is a good, honorable way to handle such a difficult day with your narcissistic, abusive mother? To start with, pray. Ask God what He wants you to do, & how to handle Mother’s Day. He will give you the best advice you can ask for. Also, follow what you feel in your heart that you’re capable of doing. If it isn’t much, don’t feel bad! Any abusive mother is blessed if her adult child has any relationship with her at all, because even if she has changed for the better, child abuse causes pain & scars that last a lifetime. By having a relationship with your narcissistic mother, you’re showing what a kind, good person you are.
Whatever you do for your mother, do it with excellence. I’m not saying buy her a huge diamond ring when you barely can pay rent. What I mean is do your best even if it’s something small. Every year, I mail my mother the nicest, prettiest card I can find. I know she takes the messages to heart in cards, so I find the prettiest one I can find, with a picture I know she’ll like, & the simplest verse. Something like, “Happy Mother’s Day! Enjoy!” I’m not above finding a pretty, blank on the inside card if I can’t find one that is simple enough for my liking. I can’t feel right about giving my mother some fake, “You’re the best mom ever!” kind of card that I don’t mean. But, I’m fine with a pretty card wishing her a nice Mother’s Day. And, she seems satisfied with the cards. It works for us both.
Granted, what I do for my mother isn’t much compared to others, but I’m honestly not capable of doing more after a lifetime of abuse. I believe God prefers His children to be sincere rather than phoney. You need to remember that what you do to genuinely bless your mother, on Mother’s Day & every day, will give you peace, & God will be proud of you.
Also, don’t forget to be good to yourself on Mother’s Day! Whether you have kids or furkids like I do, you’re still a mom! Or, if you don’t have either, that’s ok- take care of yourself on a difficult day. You deserve it! 🙂
There is one last thing I feel I should share with you. I’ve often berated myself for not being a better daughter- for not calling my parents more often, or suggesting we do things together. (Usually this happens around Mother’s or Father’s Day). Sadly, I can’t make myself improve in these areas- I’ve tried! But do you know what? After praying about it, God showed me that under the circumstances, I’m not a bad daughter. My parents have abused me, & shown no remorse for it. They’re lucky I speak to them at all, & me not wanting to spend time with them is normal. They are reaping what they’ve sown. Keep this in mind regarding your situation, too. Everyone reaps what they sow, whether they sow good or bad things. I know it can be hard to remember sometimes, but remember it anyway. ❤
Good morning, Dear Readers. I hope this post finds you well today.
It’s been such a rough week here, first losing my sweet Georgie last Wednesday, then my dear aunt Sunday. And, icing on the cake is that my mother is mad at me. Yippie.. the only reason I can think of is either because I snapped at her recently during a conversation or because I didn’t call her on her birthday- I only sent a card. (It was the day I lost Georgie- I was hurting too much to talk to anyone).
I realized she was mad on Sunday. My husband, father & I were almost to my aunt’s home when my mother called my cell phone. She said my cousin called & said my aunt passed away, so we shouldn’t bother coming. When I spoke to my cousin later, he never mentioned saying that to her. She also didn’t call me or send a birthday card yesterday. She is using her favorite weapon- the silent treatment. A common weapon of narcissists. Funny thing though- I don’t know anyone who gets upset or feels bad when a narcissist stops speaking to them. Personally, I enjoy it! The timing works well for me, too. I need some time to take care of myself & grieve my losses without any stupid, unnecessary drama.
Besides, I am angry with my mother right now. When I was hanging out with my family Sunday, I was thinking how blessed I am. They are wonderful people. But, I didn’t even know they were until I was an adult. As a child, my mother kept me close to her side at family gatherings. I was barely allowed to speak to my paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins. My mother despises her in-laws, & always has, so she didn’t let me interact with them. Then, at age 17, my mother told me that my grandparents were ashamed of me. It wasn’t long after, my now ex-husband said my mother was right, & that they didn’t care about me at all. As a result, I stopped seeing my family completely for about 8 years.
I did end up contacting my granddad 3 years before he died. We quickly grew very close. I also was blessed with growing close to other relatives for the first time. I am extremely grateful for these relationships. However, I still have trouble releasing the anger I feel about my mother keeping me from my family in the first place. I don’t want to be mad anymore, but I just can’t seem to let it go, even though I’ve forgiven her for everything else. Please pray for me.
Oh, a side note- Granddad told me nothing could be further from the truth. He & Grandmom loved me a great deal…
I’m sorry this post isn’t inspirational or informative today. I hope it at least let’s other children of narcissistic parents know you aren’t alone. ❤
Having grown up with a narcissistic mother and been exposed to other narcissists, I have had to learn a lot about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD, and ways to deal with these people.
Recently, I’ve been on the receiving end of yet another narcissistic person’s anger. Thankfully, that person is now out of my life. Since this happened, it made me think that I should share some of the things I’ve learned about people with NPD & ways to deal with them.
The narcissist is always looking for someone too provide their “supply.” That supply may be someone to make them feel good about themselves, someone to listen to them prattle on endlessly, or someone to fix their problems. That is the motivation behind most of their actions- that supply.
Narcissists are self-entitled. They think whatever they want, they should have, no matter the cost to anyone or the pain it may cause them.The desire for their supply and entitlement attitude is why you feel so drained when dealing with a narcissist.
They are “emotional vampires.” They will use you in any way they see fit, as often as they see fit.
Deep down, narcissists are extremely insecure, which is why they come across so confident- they are trying to convince themselves & others they really are great people. They are deathly afraid of their mistakes or inadequacies being revealed, & will do anything to avoid this, no matter who they hurt in the process.
Narcissists are experts at reading and manipulating people. They will mirror your feelings and actions, and say they like the same things you do to get your favor.
Narcissists are abusers- never underestimate them.
They will earn your trust and find out your vulnerabilities. Then, they will use them against you whenever it suits them.
Narcissists have no empathy. If you are needing advice on your troubled marriage or are seeking comfort comfort, don’t seek them from a narcissist- they have no concept of how you are hurting, nor do they care. If it doesn’t affect the narcissist, it doesn’t matter to the narcissist.
Once you have had enough, and decide to put some distance between you and the narcissist or you decide to end your relationship with the narcissist, whether she/he is a friend, family member, or romantic interest, the narcissist’s true colors will show through. Glaringly! They do NOT handle rejection well, and you will be to blame for things not working out. Also, if a narcissist cannot have your love, she will want you to hate her. Love and hate are strong emotions which give a person a degree of control over you. If you feel nothing for or don’t react to a narcissist, she/he absolutely can’t stand that!
There are no really good ways to deal with a narcissist. Ending the relationship is often best, however sometimes you may feel God doesn’t want you to do that, at least not yet. That has been my case with my mother. So, I had to learn a few ways to cope the best I could….
Know your limits- know what you will and will not tolerate. Have firm boundaries that you are willing to enforce. Don’t back down, or the narcissist will run roughshod over them. Give a narcissist an inch, she’ll take a mile.
Refuse to provide the “supply.” Change the subject of the conversation. Interject something positive when she is discussing negative things.
Limit your exposure to the narcissist. Too much time spent with a narcissist never ends well for the “supplier.” You end up tired & irritable, often snapping at those closest to you.
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…
Thank you for listening to me rant this morning. I pray you will be blessed & maybe even learned a little from my rantings.. 🙂
Ok, Dear Readers, “Emerging From The Chrysalis” is now available for ebook download or in print!!!!! It was published in print last night & ebook came out today (technical difficulties). I am excited! Here is the synopsis of the book…
In this inspiring book, the author describes her own painful experiences with the various forms of psychological abuse (verbal, mental and emotional abuse), as well as how she moved from the role of victim to survivor.
If you are interested in this book, go to my website at:www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com to purchase it.
Now, I am off to do a happy dance, celebrate hubby’s birthday (a day late since he worked all day yesterday) & watch some scary old movies with him tonight. (I love October- the really fun scary movies are on all month long!) I will start on the next book soon, but for right now, I think I earned a little vacation!
Have a wonderful, blessed day everyone!
Good morning, Dear Readers! I have some wonderful news to share.
My latest book, “Emerging From The Chrysalis” is almost complete!! I finished the first edit yesterday, & designed the front & back covers. I want to read it over one more time & see if any further changes need to be made, then off to the publishers with it.
I am excited- this book has been a VERY difficult project, & I am praying it will be well worth my efforts & helps many, many people. I am also very nervous about what my parents may think if they ever read the book. Logically, I know the worst case scenarios are things I can handle (being insulted, called names, denial of abuse), but even so, I am nervous. Old habits die hard, I guess.
(As I write in this blog, I am listening to T.D. Jakes preach.. he just said the best thing- “”When you acknowledge your critics, you give them your power.” Wow.. that is so powerful. Love it. Just thought I’d share..)
I am also looking forward to taking a little time off, then starting on a psychological thriller book next. I love psychological thrillers, & this will be my first attempt at writing one. Should be fun!
Good morning, Dear Readers! I hope this finds everyone well today.
I am working on a new project. It’s a book about my life- the abuse I have suffered & about my recovery. I had started it as a fictional story, with a main character experiencing my experiences. I guess God had another plan though- the document was corrupted. I saved it in 3 locations, all of which were corrupt. So, I have to start it over again. Probably instead of fiction, it’ll be more like a memoire. The fiction story sounded much more interesting, I thought, but maybe it wouldn’t reach the right audience that way. Not sure, but I know God has a plan.
I’m praying for the strength to write this book- it is so hard for me to see bad things I have experienced in writing. Somehow, it makes it more real over a memory. Any prayers would be greatly appreciated!
Take care, Dear Readers! Have a great day!