"Oh my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent…" Jeremiah 4:19

Recovering from Narcissistic Abuse

You’re Not Alone in Dreading the Holiday Season!

Okay, I write (how often depends on how busy I am) and it helps me dump my stuff about narcissism and all the pain it has caused me. I’ve not been keeping this blog up for a few months because I’ve been really busy (and I reconnected with my sister so some of the dumping I might have done was over the phone to her rather than on the blog.) Because I make websites for a living, I do know how to use the words & terms that will draw people to this blog but I’m not a “real” blogger, i.e., I don’t pay attention to stats, forget to mark categories, use tags and I don’t promote it…no cross blogging, no ads, none of that stuff.

I came back to blogging here yesterday because I got an email telling me I had a comment and I wanted to reach out to her. Then I stayed and got rid of some of the blank pages and cleaned up the blog.  Awhile back, I’d made a bunch of changes based on some people who said they wanted to contribute to the site…they never followed through and I didn’t want empty pages so those pages are gone. Now this blog is “done enough” so that when someone lands here, there won’t be the frustration by going to pages with no info.

I’ve never even looked at my statistics before today so imagine my surprise…no, let’s change that…my complete and utter shock and astonishment to find out that 1,446 people have read the blog lately. I just about fell outta my chair! And the numbers have been growing this month to an average of SIXTY people a day (and some days a couple of hundred people read the blog and I am pretty stunned  — but not really because now I know — and YOU know —  that we ARE NOT ALONE!)  Others suffer as we do and we can, and do, gather strength from one another!

I looked at the keywords and a big search term isn’t something I’ve been covering…narcissistic fathers and their sons & daughters.  I will rectify that because stats show that more men are narcissists than women and “daddy dearest” is surely just as much of a nightmare as “mommie dearest” and therefore probably a lot more common!

I suspect I know why the numbers of visitors to this blog are increasing though.

The HOLIDAYS are coming.

Whoo hoo.

For children of narcissists, or for those who are married to one, this happy, joyful family time of year is ANYTHING but happy OR joyful…and the season fills them with dread, fear, anger, sad memories and more dread.  The season pretty much starts with Halloween and ends after New Years…months and months of “stuff” to deal with.

For many children of narcissists, the holiday season comes at US like a freight train…and we feel like we’re tied to the tracks, helpless and screaming and doomed.

Statistics show that the American holiday season brings TONS of trouble to many including, but not limited to, drinking (& drunk driving arrests and car wrecks), drug use, depression, family fights, suicides, domestic violence, etc., etc.

Boy howdy yeah, we’re havin’ SOME fun now!

For me, the holidays were mostly pretty great when my grandparents were alive…grandma wouldn’t put up with mom’s crap and the slings and arrows my mother tried to use weren’t as bad as other times.  Then grandma died and my mother stepped into the “role of the family matriarch” (as she LITERALLY calls herself.)  When that happened, her insane behavior caused our family celebrations to go to hell in a handbucket (or cornucopia for Thanksgiving & I’ll use Christmas stocking for Christmas…these are both “containers” for the holidays and that’s what came to mind to replace the word “handbucket.”)

Went to “hell in a Christmas stocking” probably makes ZERO sense to someone from a normal family but it just might make sense to you…if going home for the holidays means you’ll be subjected to the nightmare of abuse, put downs, expectations and soul shredding games (and I don’t mean Monopoly…unless you consider that most narcissists always try to monopolize the attention in the room!)

No, for people from dysfunctional families, the holidays usually rate right up there with visits to the dentist…without Novocaine.

If you haven’t learned to set boundaries with the narcissist in your life, NOW is the time before yet another holiday gets ruined.  How do you set boundaries?  There are many ways.  I googled the term and landed on a site that has an article about setting boundaries…I only had to read the first paragraph before I decided to link to it but here are the basics:

1)  Know that you have a right to personal boundaries. You not only have the right, but you must take responsibility for how you allow others to treat you.

2)  Recognize that other people’s needs and feelings are not more important than your own.

3)  Learn to say no. Many of us are people-pleasers and often put ourselves at a disadvantage by trying to accommodate everyone.

4)  Identify the actions and behaviors that you find unacceptable. Let others know when they’ve crossed the line, acted inappropriately, or disrespected you in any way.

5)  Trust and believe in yourself. You are the highest authority on you. You know yourself best. You know what you need, want, and value. Don’t let anyone else make the decisions for you.  (>> View article here)

I’ve heard of a book called “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend that is supposed to be excellent and was rather a “game changer” for the therapy industry (and a lot of hurting people) when it was first published.  I’m sure there are many more books about setting boundaries available but no matter where you get the information, LEARN HOW TO SET BOUNDARIES!!

In my struggles over the years to get validation, stop the attacks and learn to love myself, I learned how (which was after many years of staying completely drunk and stoned during most holidays…and it’s SO easy to do since holidays usually include alcohol.)  But when those “coping mechanisms” began to destroy my life, I HAD to learn other options.  So therapy, church, prayer, AA, Celebrate Recovery, friends and other better, healthier coping skills were put in the place of substances.

But those hard earned boundaries ALWAYS got stretched, or completely obliterated, during holidays.  Always.

Why?  Because narcissists WILL NOT STOP their behavior.  Ever.  Never ever.  Never, ever, ever, EVER. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you can learn to enjoy the holiday season like people from healthy, functional homes do.  If one of your parents is a narcissist (or both are) and you feel you MUST go home to suffer your yearly dose of abuse, you WILL get boundaries trashed.  It’s a fact.  Of course, you do NOT have to put UP with the trashing but they WILL try!

If you’re married to a narcissist (or living with one), chances are they insist on how the holidays will be in every detail.  They’ll choose where you go i.e., whose family you visit or which parties are the best ones to attend or which movies will be seen (regardless of what anyone else wants.)

Or maybe they always insist you CAN’T go see your family (‘cuz they hate theirs or something) or if there are no relatives to visit, they will make sure everyone in your own home is miserable in some way or another (whether overtly miserable or just sad from subtle put downs or games that may not register in your conscious mind.) I know this sounds awful but it’s easier to divorce a spouse than divorce your parents…society REALLY frowns on having nothing to do with “your own flesh and blood” but no longer seems to have a problem with divorce.

But narcissistic parents have a larger share in ruining holidays…they’ve been at it longer! They are never going to stop telling those horribly embarrassing stories. In fact, if you ask they to stop, they’ll probably talk louder and embellish the stories without outright lies.

They are never not going to stop doing things that make you nuts…like pushing you to “eat, eat, eat” if you’re on a diet. Or announcing loudly that you can’t drink wine “like everybody else” because you’re an alcoholic (which is doubly fun because they get to embarrass you AND  blow your anonymity.)

Or starting family fights through the art of triangulation…a fine art that they’ve honed into razor sharpness over the years of destroying other people.  Triangulation is basically pitting two people against each other with the narc remaining in the middle, pulling the strings, pushing the buttons and enjoying the carnage.  Google “triangulation narcissism” and do some reading…your eyes will be opened.  ‘Cuz narcs ALWAYS do it, whether male or female, and they always get a big thrill out of those who get hurt by it.  You.  Your siblings.  Your children.  Your family.

Or a narc will exhibit fun behaviors such as putting down the gifts you bring…or the food you prepared…or that you DIDN’T bring food…or how you look…or the way you’re dressed…or how much weight you’ve lost or gained…or how late you are…or that you’ve showed up too early…or that you’re not helping enough…or you’re helping too much and getting in their way…or commenting in the nicest way imaginable that your children have terrible table manners, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

Oh, they’ll take credit for any GOOD behavior your children exhibit; “Oh Timmy gets that _____________  from ME” (fill in the blank with whatever wonderful trait they want to take credit for, whether it’s looks, brains, love of cooking, athletic prowess or whatever.)

Then maybe they’ll publicly trash you (and your kids) with anything your kids do that “isn’t good enough” behavior to suit them.  (“Well, Timmy has such a hard time in school because his mother doesn’t spend enough time with him doing homework.  He does fine when he’s here and has no problem whatSOever with ME. We’re going to get him all fixed up during the time he’s here and he’ll return to school after the holiday smarter and better…because he spends such quality time with me.”)  Me…ME…meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

“ME” is the narcissist’s favorite subject and the holidays are all about THEM.  YOU don’t count and you’re only there to make them either feel or look better…or you’re there for your regularly scheduled, societally sanctioned abuse fests called holidays so the narc in your life can get the satisfaction of making you miserable.

That might make some who read this mad but the truth is, only YOU can stop their abuse by refusing to play their games, listen to their crap and allowing their evil behavior to ruin your mood or life.  YOU own the scissors that can cut the apron strings, YOU are the only one that can get you down off of daddy’s lap and only YOU can choose to stop the growth of the cancer of narcissism from infecting your heart, soul and life.  It’s ain’t easy but it IS possible.  I actually enjoy holidays now because I don’t go home (and this year I’ll get to celebrate being in contact with my sister again too.)

In short, if you want to have healthy, fun and truly joyful holidays, you’re going to have to learn to deal with the narcissist(s) in your life.  If you choose to continue to subject yourself to the abuse, at least start by learning about boundaries…

I’ll return to this subject again since the season is bearing down on us like a freight train….

Whoo hoo.

Woman, Thou Art Loosed!

From the book “Woman, Thou Art Loosed!” by T.D. Jakes

“When the infirmed woman came to Jesus, He proclaimed her freedom. Now she stands erect for the first time in 18 years. When you come to Jesus, He will cause you to stand in His strength. You will know how important you are to Him. Part of your recovery is to learn how to stand up and live in the “now” of life instead of the “then” of yesterday. That was then but this is now.

“I proclaim to the abused: There is a healing going into your spirit right now. I speak life to you. I speak deliverance to you. I speak restoration to you. All in the mighty name of Jesus. I proclaim victory to you. You will recover the loss you suffered at the hands of your abuser. You will get back every stolen item. He will heal that broken twig. He will rebuild your self-esteem, your self-respect, and your integrity.

“All you need to do is allow His power and anointing to touch the hurting places. He will take care of the secrets. He touches the places where you’ve been assassinated. He knows the woman you would have been, the woman you should have been, the woman you could have been. God is healing and restoring her in you as you call out to Him.

“The enemy wanted to change your destiny through a series of events, but God will restore you to wholeness as if the events had never happened. The triumphant woman locked inside shall come forth to where she belongs. He’s delivering her. He’s releasing her. He’s restoring her. He’s building her back. He’s bringing her out. He’s delivering by the power of His Spirit. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6″

Let It Go (a word for 2011 by T.D. Jakes)

I’ve heard two things by T.D. Jakes in the last couple of days so I’m posting them both.  As a Christian, I hear some good things about him — and some not so good — but  I will not comment on everything he says ‘cuz I don’t know his entire doctrine.   The two posts I’m doing are going to help people who read them heal and that’s the main point here on Postcards to a Narcissist, isn’t it?  I did remove one statement from the writing below and that was that the “gift of good-bye” is the tenth spiritual gift.  Didn’t sit right with me so I added quotation marks to “the gift of good-bye” and deleted the part about the gift.  Whereas I AM a spirit-filled Christian, I don’t ascribe to adding stuff to scripture that is not there.  God has the spiritual gifts section covered REALLY well in the Bible and I’ll leave it at that.  ~ Janet

LET IT GO FOR 2011 By Bishop T. D. Jakes

There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you: let them walk.  I don’t want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. I mean…hang up the phone!

When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left. The bible said that, they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us. [1 John 2:19]

People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can’t make them stay. Let them go.  And it doesn’t mean that they are a bad person it just means that their part in the story is over. And you’ve got to know when people’s part in your story is over so that you don’t keep trying to raise the dead. You’ve got to know when it’s dead. You’ve got to know when it’s over.

Let me tell you something. I’ve got the “gift of good-bye.”  It’s not that I’m hateful, it’s that I’m faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have He’ll give it to me. And if it takes too much sweat I don’t need it. Stop begging people to stay. LET THEM GO!!!

  • If you are holding on to something that doesn’t belong to you and was never intended for your life, then you need to let it go!
  • If you are holding on to past hurts and pains let it go!
  • If someone can’t treat you right, love you back, and see your worth…let it go!
  • If someone has angered you…let it go!
  • If you are holding on to some thoughts of evil and revenge…let it go!
  • If you are involved in a wrong relationship or addiction…let it go!
  • If you are holding on to a job that no longer meets your needs or talents…let it go!
  • If you have a bad attitude…let it go!
  • If you keep judging others to make yourself feel better…let it go!
  • If you’re stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a new level in Him…let it go!
  • If you are struggling with the healing of a broken relationship…let it go!
  • If you keep trying to help someone who won’t even try to help themselves…let it go!
  • If you’re feeling depressed and stressed…let it go!
  • If there is a particular situation that you are so used to handling yourself and God is saying “take your hands off of it,” then you need to let it go!

Let the past be the past. Forget the former things. GOD is doing a new thing for 2011!!! LET IT GO!!!

Get Right or Get Left .. think about it, and then….. LET IT GO!!!

“The Battle is not yours, it is the Lord’s!!!”

If I Stay Hating My Mother I Stay Hating Myself!

The previous post “I Am Free” opened up the thought process that brought about this post and concept:  If I stay hating her, I most likely will stay hating myself.  What parts?  Ironically enough, some of the best of ME!

My mother was creative, I am creative.  Whether or not her need to be social was from her emptiness, I DID learn by watching her…and she was often very gracious, welcoming and warm to those around her (those who didn’t get to see under her mask that is.)  Sooooo, despite how she treated us in the family, I DID learn some social skills.

I did inherit some of her habits for beauty and self-care (some I ignored but some I kept.)  I at least had a mother who did, at times, enjoy aspects of my looks…even if it was only to point out how beautiful SHE is.

She decorates well and keeps a nice house so I did learn about “good taste.”  She obsessively studied “designer” stuff so I learned about that as well.

Even if her jokes were canned and rehearsed, I learned the importance of humor.

If we can find the good parts of her, we can relish the good parts we did manage to inherit, learn and incorporate into who WE ARE today.

Like the last post said, if it’s all negative and all about HER, I’m not free.  Endless mother bashing is also VERY boring.  Yeah, dumping is fun but only for so long…I want to dump, run and MOVE ON with my own beautiful, whole and healthy life…and growing more beautiful every day, thankfully!

I Am Free!

This was posted in the Psych Forum Website by LifeSong (link to full post at bottom.)  I like the post she wrote, part of which I quote below.  It gives me the perspective to move out of HER / MOTHER focused thinking to ME / HEALING focused thinking.  I AM Free!  Kewl…. :-D

“My mother is my mother. She rates that title. It’s simply the reality. She birthed me; she is my mother. I accept that.

I’ve seen the other sites where posters write of their “Momster” or “Her” or “the Vampire” or even refer to their mother as “It” or “She-it”. I understand that. It can serve a purpose for a time as we feel and let the anger out. But many people stay in that place too long, and many sites encourage people to stay in those places of the hot feelings of anger and outrage too long. Some other sites will clamp down hard on a poster like me who has compassion (from a protective distance of little/no contact) for the narcissist’s suffering. I don’t agree with that. As long as we remain in that heated place of “I am NOT them” or “I am NOT what they say I am”, we give them too much power.

My mother does not have power over me anymore. I am free.

When our reference point moves away from them and onto ourselves, as in “Well, I’m not that. But who am I?”, we can begin to be free enough from the connection to them that prevents us from entering true healing. My reference point is no longer her, and what she says, or what she thinks, or what she does, or how she behaved with me yesterday, or that story I’ve told a million times to others but want to tell to you again because I’m still living in that story, etc etc etc. I read so many posts on this site that are ALL about them, and people can’t see that when our thoughts are still so centered on them, we are still engaged in the battle. My reference point is no longer her; my reference point is me.

My mother does not have power over me anymore. I am free.”

Part of a post by LifeSong – source: http://www.psychforums.com/narcissistic-personality/topic56092.html

Leaving – A Poem About Walking Away from a Narcissistic Mother

This poem was written the day after I walked out of my mother’s house for the last time, the day I decided that NC (no contact) was the path I needed to take. I wrote this poem as the plane was taking off into the gray, rainy Seattle sky to take Jason and myself back to Houston.

There are some metaphors in the poem that correlate to the taking off through rain, rising up and finally breaking free of the clouds into sunshine. It was happening as I wrote the poem but the metaphor is there for those who choose to leave; to spread their own wings and fly away from the nest of death and destruction we were raised in.

The final game that she played was different (she ALWAYS picked a fight right as I was due to leave whenever I visited her) but this time, she hurt my son terribly. I’d chosen to live far away (and avoided her many times when we lived nearby) and sometimes I’d not spoken to her for long periods of time so she couldn’t get her hooks into my son.

But this time was different, this time was the last time I would let her hurt him…or me. I’d been learning about NPD in the process of helping a girlfriend and suddenly I saw the light. My mother has NPD and these kinds of attacks and fights would not only never end, they were getting worse as she got older. I was so used to taking it that, had she not involved Jason, I probably would still be caught in her spidery web.

"Lost in the Forest" by Jesus Fuertes

by Janet Byers, 4/26/2010

Cloudy gray sky, silent tears and rain
Glad to be leaving years and years of pain
Sorrow rises up but my wings are spread wide
Leaving my past; good riddance, good-bye

Fifty years of your guilt and your games
Finally, freedom from your put downs and blame
Relief rises up, wings spreading, flying far
Leaving you; taking back my shattered heart

Rising into sunshine; finally breaking free
Taking deep, clean breaths; it’s okay to be me
Your sick games and lies will haunt me no more
Left your shackles behind, walked out your door

I’m free, I’m done…at last, I’m forever through
Hearing the questions: “What’s wrong with you?”
And “Why can’t you ever do anything right?”
Too many tears cried into pillows at night

Sucked my thumb for years and even wet my bed
Haunted by your condemnations deep in my head
First time I ran away from you I was only three
First desperate attempt to be free; to be me

To stay sane and relevant in spite of you
Kept running away; years of fighting for truth
Your narcissistic insanity ruled all my thoughts
Seems all I am to you…is everything I’m not

I never lived up to your expectations or dreams
There simply was no way I could please the queen
(this is when I stopped in April of 2010, my anger poured out and I spent the rest of the flight back to Houston feeling light and free. Now in June 11, 2011, I’m going to let the rest of the poem “come out” ‘cuz I know it’s in there!)

I never lived up to your expectations or dreams
There simply was no way I could please the queen
I was your punching bag; a scapegoat to abuse
I know now that who you really hate…is you

God gave me pity for you, showed me the truth
To feel good you have to crush those around you
You have to elevate yourself because you’re weak
But I’m disgusted with you and the havoc you wreak

Nothing will ever satisfy the monster inside you
I’m SO over your drama and trauma; yes, I am through
I’m done being your source of narcissistic supply
It’s over, I’m gone; good riddance, good-bye.

Postcards to a Narcissist – Healing from the Abuse of a Narcissistic Parent

Welcome to “Postcards To A Narcissist”, a little corner of the blogosphere dedicated to helping survivors of narcissistic abuse have a safe place to dump and learn about hope and healing. The much referenced “inner child” of most children of narcissists is often full of beauty, innocence, joy and hope — but more often filled with guilt, shame, rage and pain.

The colors and crazy mixture of fonts in the site’s title “Postcards to a Narcissist” is representative of the jumble of emotions that we survivors carry within us. It’s representative of the anguish of our hearts — the site’s scripture is: “Oh my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent…” Jeremiah 4:19.  The torn and misshapen fonts also represent the  jumble of emotions that are indicative of all that is scarred, scattered and shattered deep inside us.

Healing from Narcissistic Abuse
“The Envy of Narcissism”, Artist Unknown

The artwork above says it ALL to those of us who have suffered at the hands of a narcissistic mother.  The empty-eyed woman with the hole where her heart SHOULD be (said heart being cracked and on a chain) who is up on a pedestal, absorbed with her own reflection in the mirror (even while pushing away the “peons” below her) and with malformed breasts without nipples that represent a woman who cannot nurse or nurture her own children.

This blog stems from my need…as a survivor, as a recovering adult child of a narcissist and as a woman who is FINALLY learning that I am a competent, gifted person…to get WORDS out of my head.  My mothers’ toxic words (or ones from other narcissists I’ve known), my own negative “self talk”, my words of inner despair and anger, you name it.  I also want to get the GOOD words “out of my head” and out to the world to perhaps help others who are survivors of narcissistic abuse.

If you think either one of your parents is a narcissist, read first Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother and THEN read about Fathers or love relationships.  The reason for this is because the list of behaviors on the mother page covers MOST of the types of abuse ALL narcissists heap on others and so by reading that page first, you’ll KNOW what you’re dealing with, regardless of who your abuser is.

The name of the blog came from this desire I had to make my mother crazy by sending her postcards talking about her narcissism.  It would make Thelma nuts to think that people at the post office in the small town of Sequim, Washington would read about, and then gossip about, her being a rotten mother, a vicious narcissist and an “empty suit” when it comes to be fully human.  Yes, folks, the empress has no clothes.  And no heart.  And no conscience.  And no empathy. And no….the list goes on and on and on and on and on…

I wanted to spew my bitterness, rage and pain but now that I’ve gotten some of the anger out in the writings I’ve already put on this blog, what I’ve quickly come to realize is that what I want most is to speak life, love and healing over myself and others.  I want to experience restoration from God (even though I know as a Christian that some of my spewing will most likely not please Him…at least I obeyed Him and took off her last name…that was a big step for me.)  I want to unearth, examine and reveal the areas that I’ve kept so carefully hidden and locked away inside my broken and chained heart.   I know I desperately need to clean those areas out.

To heal.  To share.  To help.  To vent.  To grow.  To recover.  To live.  To love.  To become whole, healthy and at peace with who I am.  THAT is what this blog is really all about.  Please feel free to contact me, to comment, to share your own stories or to become a writer on this blog.  I pray healing and blessings over you.

(Update 6/22/11 – I moved the rest of this first, LONG, sticky post to another post to keep the home page shorter and the new posts more prominent.)


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