Tag Archives: who are you

Discovering Who You Are After Narcissistic Abuse

I had a rough night last night, full of strange & upsetting dreams.  This happens often, & although I’m accustomed to it, it still is very difficult.

 

One of last night’s dreams was about being at a gigantic shopping mall with someone (I know a female, but no clue who she was or even what she looked like).  We were in a Books A Million bookstore, & for some reason, I needed to go elsewhere in the mall.  I went to where I needed to go, then couldn’t find my way back to Books A Million.  I realized I’d left my cell phone with her, & was getting more & more panicky because I couldn’t even call her.  Being agoraphobic, I also was very uncomfortable being around so many people & in a public place, especially one with which I wasn’t familiar.  Plus, the mall was full of very upscale stores like Neiman Marcus & Lord & Taylor.  I’m not comfortable in such stores, even though I appreciate their quality merchandise.  I walked all over this huge mall & was very tired.  I went into several stores because I remembered Books A Million was behind a big department store, but couldn’t find them.  I woke up eventually & was very anxious.  Eventually I went back to sleep, & had an almost identical dream, which meant waking up again very anxious.

 

According to dreammoods.com, dreaming of a mall means you are trying to establish your sense of self.  Interesting, because I’ve been trying to do just that for several years, & have had similar mall dreams for several years.

 

I think many adult children of narcissistic mothers are on  the same boat as me.  We grow up learning that our sole purpose is to please Mother, to do whatever she wants, to behave as she wants us to behave, to like or dislike whatever she likes or dislikes.  This kind of treatment means we grow up as a rather empty shell, with no real awareness of who we are.

 

Do you know who you are?  Are you very aware of things you like & don’t like?  How certain things make you feel?  Your dreams, needs & wants?

 

If not, maybe today is the day you need to decide to get you back, & lose the person your narcissistic mother made you to be.

 

How do you do this??  To start with, start listening to yourself!  Pay attention to how things make you feel.  Anything!  You will learn pretty quickly what you do & don’t like, what qualities you like & don’t like in  other people, & even what things you may be interested in trying that you’ve never tried before.  As God to help you to be aware of these things.  It can be awkward at first since your narcissistic mother did her best to make sure you never paid attention to your feelings, needs, etc., so God’s help is vital!

 

Also step out of your comfort zone a bit.  For example, I’m normally very feminine, but I’ve learned I do enjoy fixing my car if I can- not exactly the most feminine activity a lady can do.  It was rather uncomfortable for me to poke around under my hood the first couple of times I did it, but even so, I kind of liked it.  And, as time passed, I’ve gotten more & more comfortable fixing my car as well as gained a lot of knowledge.  You can do the same thing- try painting a picture if you’ve never done it before, or read a completely different genre of book than you normally do, or go somewhere you normally don’t go such as a museum of modern art.  Step out & you’ll soon find out more about yourself.  If you aren’t sure what to do, ask God for creative ideas.

 

And, accept those things that you discover about yourself without judgement.  That can be very hard to do, especially when you are so accustomed to being judged constantly by your narcissistic mother.  But truly- so long as what you do & enjoy makes you happy & isn’t hurting anyone, what is wrong with that?!  My mother & mother in-law, both narcissists, hate the fact I work on my car & have ridiculed me for it.  But you know something?  I realized that my mother in-law is jealous, because not only doesn’t she know the first thing about cars, she doesn’t even drive.  She also is very dependent on her husband, where I’m not.  As for my mother, she is more concerned with appearances than anything else, & her daughter working on a car, doing a “man’s” job embarrasses her.  In both cases, THEY are the ones with the problem, not me.  I’m sure you will find the same thing once you start stepping out & getting to know yourself better. Those who are judging you are the ones with the problem, not you.

 

Something else I’ve learned- many of us adult children of narcissistic mothers are kind of quirky.  Once we start getting to know ourselves, it turns out we don’t usually follow the crowd.  We like unique things.  Accept the quirkiness!  How boring would the world be if everyone liked the same things?  Enjoy & appreciate your differences!  Those differences make you the unique & special  person  that God created you to be.

 

Learning who God made you to be isn’t an overnight process. I’ve been doing it off & on for several years now, & I still learn little things about myself periodically.  But, it’s been fun & it’s given me so much more peace.  I am much more aware of what I like & don’t like, what I’m willing or unwilling to do & my needs. In fact, I’m also becoming much more accepting of having C-PTSD than I once was.  While most people who haven’t been through narcissistic abuse don’t understand C-PTSD & will judge or even ridicule those of us with it, I am accepting the fact that this awful disorder isn’t a sign of flaws in me- it is a sign that I have been through some really bad things.  I have survived, although with some scars.  It feels good to accept that fact instead of beating myself up for having this awful disorder.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Who Are You?

Yesterday, I had another flashback.  I remembered being in my late teens, & my mother screaming at me because (her words here), “You only care about the underdog!  You just want to help them!” as if this is a bad thing.  Usually when these flashbacks happen, I come out of it in or near tears.  Not this time though- I was absolutely LIVID.  How dare my own mother scream at me so much!  How dare she scream at me for being a good person!  & besides, she groomed me to take care of others & ignore myself- she was screaming at me for being how she made me to be!  HOW DARE SHE!

This anger set off an interesting train of thought.. time for me to make some changes!

If you too have been around a narcissist, whether raised by one or in a relationship with one, you know that they want you to be what THEY want you to be, not what you want to be or the person that God made you to be.  You carry this “I have to change to please you” mindset into other relationships, like it or not, & often without even realizing it.  I have done this.  Not only did I become the person I thought my mother wanted me to be as a child, as an adult, I tried to become the wife I thought my husband wanted me to be.  As a result, I lost myself somewhere along the way.  In fact, an old friend of mine once scolded me, saying I had become “Eric’s wife” instead of “Cynthia.”  Yes, he was right, much as I hate to admit that!  Since that friend opened my eyes about six years ago, I have been trying to get myself back, but with very little luck.  I had all but given up until yesterday. 

Oddly, the anger I felt after that flashback gave me quite a kick in the butt to get myself back. I got angry not only at my mother for screaming at me so much as a child, but for trying to destroy the person God made me to be.  I also got angry at others in my life who have tried so hard to change me into someone I’m not.  God made everyone the way we are for a reason!  Every single person has a purpose!  No one has the right to destroy your personhood, to destroy what God has made!  I decided it’s time to get that person I lost back, & started to think of ways to accomplish this.  I hope these ideas help you, too!

  • God will tell you who He made you to be- so ask Him.  Not only the things you are to accomplish in life, but also He will tell you about your personality.  Ask Him!  I have done this, & God gave me an interesting answer.  He told me to look up the personality traits of the wolf- they are like who He created me to be.  Do you know something?  I learned they are fascinating animals!  They are highly intelligent, gentle, devoted, loving, confident, non-violent personalities & will do much to avoid conflict, yet won’t back down when it is necessary.  That is what God sees when He sees me!  I believe He used wolves because He knows I love animals so much, including the husky/wolf dog I had who I was so close to.  God will speak to you in a way that speaks the clearest to you, too.  Why don’t you ask God to tell you who He made you to be?  
  • Realize, really have a firm grasp on the fact that you are valuable.  You are just as valuable as any other person.  In spite of what you have been taught, you have a purpose & value.  And treat yourself accordingly!  Do nice gestures for yourself, not just other people- it will help you see yourself as valuable.  I started last night by pampering myself some.  I make my own beauty products, but I don’t use them as often as I should.  I decided heck with that last night!  I exfoliated my skin, head to toe, then used a wonderful moisturizer I make after so my skin felt like silk. I also gave myself a manicure & pedicure.  I relaxed for the evening- watching tv, playing Tetris on my tablet, & talking to the hubby.  
  • Do things that make you feel good.  Do you have a hobby you enjoy yet have abandoned?  Get back at it!  Try drawing, painting, writing poetry, cross stitching, knitting or whatever you have done again.  If you never really had a hobby, find one.  Try something you have always wanted to try.  You can learn how to do about anything online!  Indulging in something other than things that are necessary (work, caring for your kids or elderly parents, etc) is very healthy- it helps you to relax & have a clear focus.  It also helps you to feel pampered & loved.  Everyone needs loving gestures, especially from themselves.
  • Get angry!  I know, as a Christian, that can feel very awkward, especially if you were raised with a narcissistic parent who didn’t allow you to express any negative emotions.  However anger does have a purpose- it motivates change.  And, remember, Jesus got angry, too.  Remember him overturning the tables of the money changers?  (Matthew 21:12-13).  While anger can be dangerous, & forgiveness is absolutely vital to having peace with God, our fellow man & ourselves, that doesn’t mean anger can’t be used as a tool sometimes.  Ephesians 4:26 says we can be angry, but do not sin in that anger.  Using that anger to motivate chance isn’t a sin- in fact, that is a good thing!  And I have learned when doing this that once you forgive, the motivation to change is still there.
  • Stop listening to other people when they try to change you, no matter who it is!  Admittedly, this is difficult if it’s something you have been doing your whole life, or if the person is someone close to you such as a spouse or parent.  But remember- if someone wants to change you, it says they have the problem, not you.  Normal, healthy people want what is best for other people, not to change them into someone they aren’t.  

And please always remember- just because someone didn’t appreciate the person you are doesn’t mean they are right.  You are special because God made you to be!  Deuteronomy 14:2 says, “For you are a holy people [set apart] to the Lord your God; and the Lord has chosen you to be a peculiar people to Himself, above all the nations on the earth.” (AMP)  God loves you & made you perfectly!  

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