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How to Know If You Are Dealing With a Narcissist

25 Nov

Angela’s husband gets upset at the thought of dinner with her family every year. She can’t remember a holiday when their marriage didn’t feel strained. Part of the problem is that Angela feels pressured to cook everything with her mother’s recipes–even though that’s not how she cooks for her family.

The situation is always made worse by the constant phone calls from her flying monkey sister detailing all the drama of their engulfing Narc mother. Whenever her mother wants to send a message to Angela, she triangulates with Angela’s sister and then Angela’s sister passes their mother’s expectations onto Angela. Every year feels like the worst Thanksgiving Ever!


Original Art and Prints Available Here

Angela’s husband says he’s had enough of the stress and drama. He would rather spend the holiday alone–except for one problem–everyone is coming to their house this year and Angela’s counting on his help with their young children. The fight between Angela and her husband began when she asked him to wash all the windows in the house to help their house pass her mother’s idealistic housekeeping expectations. Not only did he not want to stand in the wind and cold to wash the windows, but he felt they looked clean enough as they were.

Angela just wants to get through the weekend without any judgement from her Narc mom. Her husband says they should not have to change who they are so they can have dinner with her family. Plus he hates how stressed out his wife gets every holiday. He wants to start their own traditions and make the holidays enjoyable again.

Fortunately Angela and her husband were smart enough to visit their counselor. Angels explained how she felt like she was playing a game she could never win. The counselor explained how her mother saw her as “my child, my mirror.” They both discovered their options. Even better they realized Angela’s Narc mom has options too. Narc Mom can join them for a meal and accept Angela and family for who they are and how they eat and live or she can have dinner somewhere else.

Once they agreed, the hardest part was telling Angela’s Narc mom. Angela was tempted to follow the family pattern of triangulation and communicate through her sister, but she decided to start a new tradition and set an example for her children and others to follow. She called everyone to say she is no longer talking phone calls to hear what someone else has to say. If people want to talk to her, they need to call her and speak to her directly and she will do the same with them.

Angela told her mom that she was cooking her family’s favorites and she should be prepared because they have small children and the house might be a little messy. She offered no apologies or further explanations. She welcomed her mother to bring whatever food she wanted to contribute.

Her mother took the news as we can all imagine an engulfing Narc would and immediately called Angela’s sister. By the time her sister called, Angela was prepared. She asked her sister again to stop relaying messages between her and other family members. Her sister felt Angela was hurting their mother, but Angela knew her sister had just bought into her Narc mom’s victimhood.

The dinner went quite well under the circumstances. Her mother griped about a few things, but Angela’s husband helped her stay focused on their own family. The secret to Angela’s sanity was realizing she and her husband were not that kind of people. She now fully understood that her mom is a Narc and here is nothing you can do to please a Narc. She also began to enjoy freedom for the first time in her life.

If you are stressed about family gatherings this year and not sure if you are dealing with a Narc, here are some clues to help you figure it out:

  1. Narcs Use People

From cooking and cleaning, whether taking money or carrying messages, the Narc likes to get others to do all their work. They will use you for all you can give and then use others to shame you for what you can’t give.

  1. Narcs Make Everything About Them

They don’t see why you can’t bend to meet their needs. And they will monopolize the conversation. If you are hurting and need empathy, they will tell you how they survived even worse situations so you should just buck up and take it. If you are going through a hard time, you will need to find empathetic non-Narc friends.

  1. Narcs Play the Victim

It doesn’t matter how much you do for them–it’s will never be enough. They often feel jilted and betrayed by your attempts to be your authentic self. Such victims are hardly worth your own loss of identity to hang out with them.

  1. Narcs Talk About You to Others to Get People to Take Their Side

Triangulation is a sport for them. They spend hours figuring out how to make you look bad, so they can look good. They don’t see relationships, they see sides and they want everyone to be on their side. Nothing the Narc says about you or anyone else is reliable because it’s all been contrived through the Narc’s lying liar lie-hole.

  1. Narcs Stop Speaking to You When You Quit Letting Them Use You

When the Narc is done using you, you will experience shunning. That’s because you are now dead to the Narc. They have milked you for all they can and moved onto another resource. Trust me, this is not your loss—it’s a bonus for having boundaries! Pull out the bubbly and celebrate!

  1. Narcs Don’t Care About Relationship as Much as Using People or Being Right

The truth is, you really never had an actual relationship with the Narc. You just imagined you did because you are an empathetic person and always want to see the best in people. Unfortunately Narcs are incapable of meeting you on the high road and would like to drag you down to the mud and muck below. The good news is there is a world full of people who are not Narcs. Many loving people would be glad to have a relationship with you. Release yourself from the Narc’s expectations and go where you are celebrated!

Hey Friends!

Check out my Etsy Shop where you can find gifts designed specifically for ACONs*! You might find something to inspire yourself or make a statement to others or send to a flying monkey to create awareness.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


*ACoNs–Adult Children of Narcissists 

Why You Can’t Go Home Again

22 Nov

It’s not the place that’s changed, it’s you. It’s not the narcissist that’s changed, it’s you. You are no longer willing to sit through a meal with people who belittle you for your choices in spouse, career, politics or religion. You woke up one day and realized these are your God-given choices and there is nowhere that you feel more disrespected than with your own family.

You might find this discovery a bit disconcerting. You might feel a little shame or guilt about your honest feelings. After all everybody you know seems thrilled to be going home for the holidays, but if the thought makes you ill, if you feel you should show up out of shame or guilt, you can’t go home.

Friends are the Family We Choose,,

Prints Available Here

Or maybe you have one parent you love and feel sorry for, but the other makes you feel two inches tall. If you have fantasies about rescuing one parent from the other, you can’t go home.

Or maybe you feel sorry for your parents until you call them up and they start feeding you shame messages because you’re not living up to their expectations. If you feel even a tiny bit like changing who you are to please them, you can’t go home.

Or perhaps you just want a good old fashioned Walton’s homecoming…then you absolutely cannot go home.

Why am I so sure about your inability to go home? Because your expectations, mixed with the narcissistic expectations of family members, can only create a toxic soup if mixed together. The truth is nobody can really go home again because whenever our fantasies of the past collide with reality, we always leave disillusioned.

However, all is not lost–you still have options if you follow these three rules for a wonderful holiday.

  1. The first rule is to let go of your expectations. Don’t expect your family to treat you well. Do not expect them to like your fiancée or your politics or your new career plans. Don’t expect them to like your pumpkin creme brûlée better than their own recipe for pie. And most important, don’t ever expect to receive the narcissist’s blessing.
  2. If you want to visit narc relatives, second rule is to stop trying to meet their expectations. If you must compromise who you are and what you believe then you will be miserable, but if you can stay strong and live out your own values regardless of what others say and think, you will be at peace whether they like it or not.
  3. The third rule is to never think of family dinners as going home. Home is where your spouse and dog respect you. Home is where you invite people to dinner who celebrate you. Home is where you can kick off your shoes without frantically scrambling to put them on so you can outrun antagonistic people. Home is where you can always be yourself with no explanations.

If you know who you are and what you like and you can nurture both yourself and others, then you are already home. And whether you spend a meal with your genetic family or dine with family-like friends, you can come to the table without expectations and use your intentions to create a life that glows from within because the boundaries are now in your head.

Peace Through the Storms 2

21 Nov

In my last post, it seems some people got the impression that I support partisan politics which is NOT true. I am sorry for giving this impression because I have no political affiliations and as a Christian, I firmly believe Jesus when he said his followers did not fight in the political arena of his day because his kingdom is not of this world. And yet he also said the kingdom of God is within us. My quest is to understand how Jesus wants us to live today to bring his kingdom closer to others with his Spirit.

How this plays out in the lives of Christ’s followers today is complicated. Many of us are invested in the security of our nation and also in the traditions of the Christian church. I believe we should challenge our thinking because Jesus and his early church lived a radically different lifestyle than the lives we live today.

Peace Pillow,,

Pillow and Prints Available Here

Yes, I do believe countries should protect their borders. I also believe Jesus is the author of boundaries. We should and do protect our borders. I was reading in Facebook from a lawyer who has worked in immigration for years who explains how we already have a very thorough vetting process since 911. He says that it is much easier for a terrorist to get on an airplane than to pass immigration.

We have a much higher threat from young white male Americans who do mass shootings, yet we are not vetting gun owners. While this may seem political and sounds like a left wing rationale, one only needs to read the news headlines to realize this is true no matter who states it.

So no, I am not saying be careless with our borders, I am just saying let’s not let our fears keep us from helping the innocent which are mostly women and children.

I also started following on Facebook a young humanitarian physician and others who are working in Lesvos, Greece to help the boatloads of refugees as they arrive. Reading his stories has really brought this crisis home to me. These people are not terrorists any more than our neighbors. All these people (many who are children) want is a meal and dry clothes and a safe place to avoid being bombed out or shot. I have to literally ask myself “what would Jesus do?”

As for judging others who see differently, I have not judged anyone personally, but put the facts out there that God’s kingdom is different. Jesus is a radical. He gave up his life to save others and told us to take up our crosses and follow after him. This looks different to different people and I can’t determine where individuals stand in relation to God–nor was that my aim by posting the spiritual differences between fear and love. Sadly, we are in some ways repeating the history of what happened during the holocaust. Anne Frank and her family were refused immigration. A ship was turned away from Florida only to return to Europe and two thirds of the passengers went to concentration camps. These stories are repeating today.

Here are a couple books I have read that have formed my ideas:

This first one is about how fear and our ideas about God affect our minds and health. I have met Dr. Jennings and have dialogued with him on occasion.

The God Shaped Brain by Timothy Jennings

This second book seems more political, but it’s not supporting any partisan politics–as a matter of fact, I gave up politics eight years ago when I read it. Boyd suggests a radical following of Jesus. As an American who can trace my family ancestry back to Plymouth Rock and had eight great great grandfathers in the revolutionary war, I have always been proud to be an American and I still am–however I realize now that my loyalty must first be to Jesus. Jesus is political, but has no affiliation with any party—his ways are political only because following him threatens our comfortable way of life in the first world.

The Myth of a Christian Nation by Greg Boyd

As for being Spirit-filled vs fear filled, we see the natural results of this in choices played out every day. Fear kills us and others. When we choose to live with the survival of the fittest mentality we are saying “I better kill you before you kill me.” This never brings healing or peace. Jesus says He who lays down his life will find it again.

One of my heroes is Corrie Ten Boom who helped the Jews escape Nazi Germany and ended up in a concentration camp herself. Corrie’s story is not about left or right politics, but the radical lifestyle of Jesus that we are each called to live out. And none of us can tell another how to do this–it is a deeply personal decision.

What I do know is this:

“God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Tim. 1:7

“And there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:18

I will admit to you that I am not without fear–it is a constant work in progress we can only achieve through God’s grace. For me to find the peace Jesus offers, is to submit radically to his compassionate Spirit and to refuse to be biased against people because of race.

I hope this explains my process to those who are concerned. And no, I have no desire to turn my blog into a political one despite the confusion over my post yesterday.

Thank you for listening,

May God bless each of you!


Peace Through the Storms

20 Nov

This world is full of storms–emotional storms, health storms, financial storms, political storms and violent storms. For most people on this earth, life is a constant struggle to survive. I’ve heard someone say faith is like a boat to help us ride out the storms, but when terrible things happen, sometimes it feels like our faith has been capsized. What does it take to hang on when life is tossing us to and fro?

As I’ve been reading stories of refugees this week, my heart questions Jesus, why are you letting this happen? Of course I know Jesus has nothing to do with their suffering, but I want God to stop it already. There’s too much death and terror in this world and it seems to get worse every day. The only explanation I’ve been able to find for such evil is that we were born into a great war between God and his enemy. Because of that war and the logistics of it, all choices must be played out so that no one will ever have to run from a bomb again.

Peace be Still,,

Prints Available Here

I marvel at the compassionate doctors who are helping refugees this week. My heart has been thrilled again and again to see the beauty of their selfless love. The stories of young children who have been bombed out of their homes and lost parents and been shot at only to get on a dingy and ride out huge waves in terror. Their trauma is so bad that some scream for an hour after strangers pick them up on the shore. When they finally calm down and get fed and held and have their wounds cleaned, it is the most Christ-like thing I can imagine.

We are all refugees in this war zone, but for the moment, some of us are safer than others. I’m sad to see so many Christians who are so ruled by fear they want to shut all the doors and leave these children outside the gate for the wolves to devour them–wolves that at times have been funded by our own nation.

God’s kingdom is not one of self-preservation, but of self-sacrificing love. When politicians justify their choices to turn away innocent people and call their ideas Christian, it truly bears false witness to God’s name because Jesus loves all the little children–Jewish, Muslim, Pagan and Christian. Jesus has asked us to welcome children in his name.

So how do we survive in a world with constant shootings and bombings and attacks? How can we be helpers when they are not yet on our shores? How will we know where to be safe tomorrow? These are hard questions and we can only rely on God’s Spirit to lead us. There is really no safe place on earth except living with God’s Spirit as our guide. We have no safe course but to live by the Spirit. But Jesus longs to gather us all under his wings. He wants to protect all of us from a greater evil than this temporary death.

It is not death we should fear, but lack of love that is our greatest danger. We either get filled with God’s Spirit of Love, or other spirits–spirits of fear and hate and violence will terrorize our souls. I believe these horrible events are the result of God’s Spirit being withdrawn from the earth. The Spirit dwells in our minds and when humans and angels shut God’s love out, they are filled with fear and hate. In contrast, God’s Spirit always brings freedom and love.

Living in the Spirit of Jesus might seem like an abstract concept, but it really means to be in relationship with Jesus and live in harmony with his law of other-centered love. When we treat others as we would like to be treated, we live in the Spirit of Jesus. When we risk our lives to bring kindness to a hurting world, we are living in the Spirit of Jesus. When the power of love overcomes our need for power and we stoop to serve others, we are living out the Spirit of Jesus. To stand up for the marginalized and mistreated, is to live in the Spirit of Jesus. To risk our lives to help others, is truly living in the Spirit of Jesus.

One of my favorite stories about Jesus is when he was sleeping in the bottom of the boat, while all his fisherman friends were scared for their lives in a terrible storm. Jesus had no fear because he trusted the Father in heaven, and so he slept in peace despite the violent storm that was throwing the boat around. When someone finally woke him up Jesus calmly stepped up to the surface and held out his hand saying, “Peace be still.”

It is the Spirit of Jesus that calms all of our storms and carries us through them. The Spirit allows brave people to work in danger and sleep in peace—and it’s not just for those on the front lines, it’s for everyone who calls on God for help.

Let’s intercede for our nations and our world. Let’s pray with Jesus, “Peace be still.” And then, let’s live out that prayer with one person at a time.

If you are struggling with questions about why God allows terrible things to happen, here is a link to free audio downloads for Servant God, a book I helped to edit and write. The download is currently free.

Free Audio Download for Servant God Book 

Note: For my ACoN friends, I will have a new narcissism blog up at the beginning of the week, for now I wanted to talk about the trauma going on in the world. All of this misery comes from the ultimate abuser who is God’s enemy. I wish peace for all.

Narcissistic Word Salad

13 Nov

When I was a kid we used to sing “the salad song.” It was a song made up of random phrases from several songs strung together. If you start a song and someone else wanted to sing the salad song, you could end up sing a different song altogether because once the salad song gets started there’s no way to go back and finish what you originally intended. This is what Word Salad is like when you try to reason with a Narcissist.

In their right talking, self-protection process, the Narc will sing the same phrases over and over until you consider running with scissors or stabbing yourself in the eye with a fork. That’s because long before you thought of this confrontation, you were asked to play a game you can never win.

A Game She Could Never Win, CherilynClough,com,

Prints and Accessories Available Here

Word salad begins when the Narcissist doesn’t recognize your boundaries and you imagine confronting them will give you a better relationship in the future. (Cue evil witch laughing in the background.) Of course be careful NOT to use the word confrontation because that will just derail the conversation into one about the evils of confrontation. According to the narc, confrontation is abusive. You will then be asked:

“Why do you have to be so confrontational? No one else in the family causes the trouble that you do!” This will be followed by a lecture on how nice everyone is but you. You might feel like shouting I am NOT your kind of people, but it won’t matter to the Narc.

Even if you are wise enough to avoid the C word, word salad will just take another turn.

You might ask the narc to stop treating you with disrespect. To which the Narc will answer:

“Disrespect? How interesting you use that word…remember that time you disrespected me in front of your teacher?”

To which you might reply:

“I was in seventh grade.”

And now the Narc has pulled you into their web:

“Of course it was seventh grade, but that just proves how disrespectful you’ve been your entire life.”

And if you are still crazy enough to imagine you can reason with the Narc, you might reply:

“I’d prefer to talk about our current relationship instead of events years ago.”

(Seems reasonable right?)

But the Narc will find a recent event to prove how you have shown a lack of respect:

“Okay, so how about the fact that you can’t even show up at your grandmother’s birthday dinner?”

Of course they leave out the fact that they planned the dinner on the spur of the moment, on another day that wasn’t even her birthday and you had to work that day. Be careful here, you might try to defend this by suggesting true respect would be to consult you before the party was set, but that will just take you down another rabbit trail which like all rabbit trails will lead you back to where you started.

All of the Narc’s circular reasoning and arguments are simply a distraction to make you wonder if you are the real problem, but let me state this plainly:

You. Are. NOT. The. Problem.

Of course you aren’t the problem. This concept only exists in the head of the Narc. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t do any of the things they accuse you of doing.

Bottom line:

The Narc needs a scapegoat and you have been selected. (Unlucky you.)

Most likely you have been the scapegoat since you were five, but if this thought crosses your mind and you happen to mention how you were belted for asking for breakfast at five, the Narc will deny it and gaslight you by accusing you of false memory syndrome and then ask:

“Why do you always have to live in the past?”

By now you might start slamming your head in the deep freeze, wishing you had never thought of confronting the Narc. Meanwhile the Narc starts adding up all of your crimes since 1983. The Narc has a selective memory and while he doesn’t want you to remember the past, he brings it up whenever he thinks it will throw you off. Remember all of this word salad is not about trying to understand each other. The goal of the Narc is to keep talking past each other until you doubt your memories and yourself. It’s really all about mind control.

The truth is you can’t reason with unreasonable people, so next time you think of confronting the narc, just remember you are actually ordering a word salad–with a lot of baloney on the side.

Or maybe you could just save yourself the trouble and go No Contact.

Life is Short–Spend it With Kind People

23 Oct

It’s the coziest time of the year–time to grab a pumpkin latte, get acquainted with your favorite sweater and head out on a road trip to enjoy the autumn colors with someone you love. It would be fun to chant over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go–unless grandmother is more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

If you are like my friend Tiffani and thousands of other ACoNs, this exhilarating season can bring on the twin enemies of life–anxiety and depression. That’s because the holidays are just around the corner and for the ACoN* soul, the holidays are anything but cozy.

Tiffani was a people-pleaser who did her best to try to make everyone happy. She was often pitted between her narc mother and narc sister at family dinners. Every year when she began to think about the holidays, she got sick and missed work for days before the holiday even arrived.

One year on a whim, Tiffani’s husband convinced her to go to Hawaii instead of meeting up with her family. It turned out to be the best holiday she had ever had. No sickness, freedom to express herself and enjoy the special meals and time with her children and husband. That was the year she and her husband decided to start their own traditions. It’s been five years and Tiffani has never been healthier or happier, but every year about this time she is inundated with guilt and shame producing memes and emails from her family members.

This is the time of year when the Narc sends out the flying monkeys to say “Life is short, don’t stay away because you never know who will be alive next year.” I fully understand this sentiment. I’ve lived by this sentiment my entire adult life. I’ve tried for decades to let everyone I love, know I love them. This has been a pattern my entire life, but I noticed a few years ago this is NOT a pattern in narcissistic family member’s lives.

Friends are the Family We Choose,,

Prints and Accessories Available Here

If it seems crazy that spending time with family could bring on an illness like Tiffani experienced or an anxiety attack, then you are lucky. Most ACoNs struggle to be themselves around family at the expense of their own health.

When we feel obligated to hide who we are because we feel threatened or bullied to comply with the Narc’s design for our lives, there’s not much to celebrate. Eating a dinner with people who constantly criticize and belittle you and tear down what you believe, is a guaranteed recipe for disaster.

Because the Narcissist shows no respect for people who don’t do things their way, it’s always up to ACONs to bend and morph to meet the Narc’s needs. The Narcissist will never give in because life is a control game for them. Narcs
see life as a game where they must always win and being right is more important than having a relationship. So when people say “life is short, come hang out with the family,” this concept of life being short goes both ways. Here are at least five things to take into consideration:

1. Is the Narc Hosting the Meal?
If the meal is in neutral territory, there could be a chance for peace. OTOH–if the meal is at your house, but you will end up being the slave to the Narc’s high expectations, this is where you need to consider because this could turn out to be the Worst Thanksgiving Ever.  Life is indeed short—too short to live up to other people’s expectations.

2. Has the Narc been talking about you?
Has the gossip of the Narc affected your relationships? Have family members stopped speaking to you? Do flying monkeys call to give messages from the Narc without any empathy for how you have been treated by the Narc? Does the Narc say, “Oh for Pete’s sake, get over it!” Despite never apologizing for their rude behavior in the past? Then this is where life is too short to put yourself through such emotional abuse.

Going to dinner could go either way–you might find yourself shut out or outnumbered by a flock of flying monkeys or you could go, be yourself and prove the Narcs wrong. This is where you will need to decide how much your relationship is affected by the Narc and how much you care about the other people at the table. Another option is to invite people over to your place another time–without the Narc so you can stay in touch and clear up some rumors.

3. Do you end up feeling as though you were torn by shrapnel?
Could you be seeking some Walton fantasy while ignoring the foreshadowing that your family is more like the Borgias? Trust me, life is too short to allow yourself to be shot emotionally over and over and over. If this happens you will eventually end up like the walking dead.

4. Do you have somewhere else you would rather be?
When we simply feel obligated to spend time with the Narc, it’s important to remember obligation is not a good reason to spend time with anyone. The excuse that life is short just doesn’t ring true when it comes to being shunned or belittled vs. laughing and enjoying yourself with friends who care. Go where you are celebrated.

5. Does being around the Narc affect your health in any way?

If being around the Narc makes your heart race and gives you panic attacks, this is a no brainer. None of us can’t afford to waste our health by trying to please an impossible Narc. Remember the Narc only cares about his or her health, they have no concern for how they might affect yours. Life is short and you only get one trip around. Now is the time to take care of yourself both emotionally and physically.

Some of these people who claim life is short have made life seem very long for the rest of us. Their desire to control others is shortening lives around them every day. So yeah, life is short—too short to be bullied and shamed for not living up to other people’s expectations. Too short to be gossiped about and belittled for not obeying the Narc’s commands.

While the Narc and their flying monkeys might try to persuade us to come to their abusive family dinner by claiming life is short, if they really believed this, they would accept us for who we are instead of worrying about the food we bring or the way we spend our money or who we date or who we might vote for. Life is just too short to put up with all the gaslighting and mindwarps.

It’s really that simple. If they really want us around, they can start by treating us better.

*ACoN Adult Children of Narcissists

Worst Thanksgiving Ever

A Game We Can Never Win

Is It UnChristian to Go No Contact?


Being Yourself is NOT Selfish

9 Oct

Somewhere in Religious Narcia, a narcissist started the rumor that anything with the word self in it is selfish. They claim individuality is wrong so only those who give up self for group-think are morally right. This fallacy isn’t biblical and comes from black and white thinking–or rather no thinking at all, since it’s merely a repetition from the accuser of the brethren to steal our God given uniqueness.

We live in a universe where every snowflake and flower is a one and only. Yet Narc parents want to steal their child’s distinctiveness. In Religious Narcia, people are often told to train their child in a certain way to make them conform. Narc parents take this personally because they view their child as an extension of themselves. What could be more selfish than stealing someone’s individuality? But that’s exactly what Narcissistic parents do.

The saying on this art has touched a tender part of my soul, but I still haven’t found the author. When I created this piece I was making it for myself. It’s a reminder that it’s not wrong to be myself despite what I have been told all my life about selfishness.

I was not surprised to find comments about selfishness coming from several directions. My guess is that such comments come from several sources–narcs who want to use us and how selfish is that? Flying monkeys who repeat what the narc says without thinking about it. And then there are the religious people who over spiritualize everything and miss the point.

My guess is the latter group is not made up of people struggling as ACoNs* so they just don’t get it, but if they would apply some empathy and try to imagine what it was like to grow up with a parent who wants to control you day and night, they might understand a little better.

My Own Person Sunflower,,

Prints and Accessories Designed for ACONs Available Here

The point of such a statement is that Narc parents suck the individuality out of their children. Even after they leave home, “Narents” push their religious beliefs and political agendas on their adult children because they still see their child as their mirror. They want to see their own reflection in their children instead of accepting and loving them for who they are. Narc parents would rather destroy their adult child’s sense of self rather than know them for who God created them to be.

And it’s not just Narents who do this–sometimes it’s a narcissistic spouse. The warped Christianity of Religious Narcia suggests it’s selfish to be yourself when others wish for you to change, but nothing could be further from God’s design. Here are the facts from the Bible:

  • You were created in God’s image (Gen 1:2,27).
  • God planned all the days of your life (Psalm 139:16).
  • You existed in the mind of God (Eph. 1:4).
  • God has plans for who you will become (Jer. 1:5).
  • You have your own unique gifts (1 Cor. 12:14-22).

Jesus said to love our enemies, but any request that requires us to act without freedom is not love. Caving to please a bully is not love because it neither serves us, nor the bully and it certainly doesn’t glorify God. Sometimes we need to use tough love even with our enemies.

As children of God, our first responsibility in serving Him is to be who He created us to be. If we fail to express our individuality, we shun the gift God gave to this world when He created us. When the flying monkeys descend and accuse us of not honoring our parents, we need to remind them our first Parent is always to be honored above our earthly parents. It helps when we distinguish our Heavenly Parent from our earthly parents.

The biggest threat to an ACoN’s individuality comes from the narcissist who wants to use them for narcissistic feed. The big conflict for many ACoNs comes down to whether they will be who the narc wants them to be–or step into the individuality that God has given them. It’s sometimes hard to take a stand but we have to remember we are not their kind of people. God can’t use us if we shun His design for our lives because we are trying to please others.

So NO, self-care is NOT selfish. Self-respect is NOT selfish. Self-control is NOT selfish and sometimes the hardest self-control ACoNs struggle with is to be themselves. Without our authentic selves, we have nothing. Self-love is NOT even selfish because love begins with understanding who we were designed to be so we can recognize what we have to share with the world.

To be yourself in a world that is
constantly trying to make you something else
is the greatest accomplishment.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

*ACoNs Adult Children of Narcissists

Narc Shunning vs. No Contact

28 Sep

People who didn’t grow up ACoN often don’t understand the idea of No Contact. They think it means not forgiving or holding a grudge, but that’s not always the case. While Shunning and No Contact might look the same, they are done for entirely different reasons due to the motivation of the person who does it.

Shunning by the Narc is usually a form of manipulation and control, while No Contact by the Victim/Victor is usually the act of setting a boundary. Since the Narc uses the empathy of the Victim/Victor to abuse them and creates a damaging cycle for the Victim/Victor, sometimes the only safe thing we can do is go No Contact. So while No Contact might look a lot like shunning, there is a big difference. Here is a comparison between the two.

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Narc Shunning is offensive with a desire to control and sabotage the Victim’s self.
No Contact is defensive to protect the personal boundaries of the Victor’s self.

Narc Shunning happens when the Narc can’t get any more money or use from the Victim.
No Contact happens when the Victor decides to stop being used by the Narc.

Narc Shunning is done by an enraged Narc to get revenge on the Victim.
No Contact is the grieving Victor refusing to be abused by the Narc.

Narc Shunning involves the Narc encouraging other people to shun and isolate the Victim—often through bullying tactics and spreading rumors.
No Contact is the Victor setting personal boundaries without asking others to join.

Narc Shunning is often used as manipulation to pressure the Victim to conform.
No Contact is the Victor simply saying no to the Narc’s agenda.

Narc Shunning is often dishonest because it is used by the Narc to manipulate the Victim back into relationship.
No Contact is the Victor walking away realizing the Narc is incapable of an honest relationship.

Narc Shunning is disrespect.
No Contact is the Victor showing respect by shaking the dust off of her feet–not maliciously or revengefully, but simply letting the Narc go because the Victor realizes the Narc is incapable of empathy, honesty and respect.

Narc Shunning is war—the Narc wishes to control the Victim and steal their resources and self.
No Contact is a white flag of surrender—not surrender to the Narc, but to the fact the Victor will never be able to change the Narc, so the Victor reclaims self and stops wishing to change the Narc.

Narc Shunning is a form of slavery for both the Narc and Victim.
No Contact is a form of freedom–releasing the Narc and letting them go sets both people free from their expectations.

*ACoN–Adult Child of Narcissists


Why You Should Listen to Your Heart

18 Sep

If you grew up with narcissistic parents, you might have spent years pleasing them—only to discover you haven’t listened to your own heart. Narcissistic parents want to see their own reflection in their child, so they impose their standards on them. The ACoN* wants their parent’s love so they listen to the narc’s heart instead of listening to their own. The first step away from narcissistic abuse is to listen to your own heart.

If you grew up in a Religious Narcia, you might have been told to NOT listen to your heart. Some Christians say this based on a Bible verse, but they forgot to read the rest of the verses that tell how much God Cares About Your Heart. It’s no secret that the human race has a heart problem and no one knows this better than ACoNs who have spent years trying to get love from a stony heart. Jesus even describes the heart problem of a narcissist:

For the hearts of these people are hardened,
and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—

so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,

and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.
-Matthew 13:15

All things are possible with God. Jesus longs to heal even a narcissist, but a narc has to want it. The damage of selfishness in the narcissistic soul might keep them from turning to God to be healed, but this doesn’t describe the heart of an ACoN.

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ACoNs are more likely to accept healing from God because they have open eyes, ears and hearts. The heartfelt empathy that is often manipulated by the narcissist facilitates healing because it allows ACoNs to connect with God and other people. If we are open to Him, God promises to give us a new heart:

And I will give you a new heart,
and I will put a new spirit in you.
I will take out your stony,
stubborn heart and give you
a tender, responsive heart.
–Ezekiel 26:36

Once God puts His Spirit in you, He wants you to listen to your new heart. This is the heart that shows you how to love other people, tells you when something is wrong and helps you figure out what’s missing in your life.

The Spirit in your new heart might tell you to help someone in need, while other times it might warn you about helping a narcissist. Jesus tells us to love our enemies, but He doesn’t ask us to give narcs all of our money or let them ruin our health. Throughout the Bible, God holds people responsible for their abilities. We would be terrible stewards if we allowed the narcissist to manage our resources and gamble them away.

God fills our new hearts with discernment and wisdom. Listening to your heart can help you create art, write poetry and make music, but if it was up to the narcissist you wouldn’t do anything of these things. You might have noticed the narcissist is often at odds with your heart—this is because the narc has his own selfish agenda.

He might pretend to care because he wants something from you, he might say he loves you when he wants your money, but the narcissist is incapable of having a relationship. He is so consumed with getting what he wants and protecting his reputation that he has no capacity to care about anyone but himself.

Until the narcissist allows God to give him a new heart, his plans for your life cannot be trusted. And most people who have dealt with narcissists will tell you he will never change. Meanwhile you have a new heart and it would be a crime against God to listen to the narc’s heart above your own. God gave you an open and empathetic heart to care, create and share—don’t let the agenda of the narcissist keep you from listening to your heart.

*ACoN–Adult Children of Narcissists

Free to Tell Your Story

28 Aug

For the first decade after Beth left home, she and her siblings didn’t speak about certain events in their childhood. Their family rules included never talking about the past and never talking about what happened unless the person you were talking about was there. Beth and her siblings tried to cope with their CPTSD alone—until one of them tried to commit suicide.

To people who’ve never suffered narcissistic abuse, such rules might sound good and even biblical, but ACoNs know the recovery mantra is true—that we are only as sick as our secrets—and there is nothing sicker than an entire family walking on eggshells around a damaged childhood.

Even when we forgive our parents, the stress of a dysfunctional childhood demands that we pay attention to our pain and the best way to deal with it is to talk about it with people who get it. The most likely people to do that are our siblings because even if they are different ages and genders they are still the only other witnesses to our shared childhood.

When one sibling starts to talk or visit a counselor, narcissistic parents will do several things to stop the communication. They will at first remind everyone of the taboo of talking outside the family. Then they will try to scapegoat and ostracize that child. Then they will send in the flying monkeys armed with Bible verses like Matthew 18. Like one Bible verse will counteract all they have done in the past to abuse. Once again, welcome to religious narcia.

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It’s frustrating to deal with well-meaning Christians (who have little idea what it is like to be raised by a narc) who imagine Matthew 18 is the solution. They claim Jesus commands us to hash out our issues with the narcissist before we can talk to anyone else about it—including a counselor, but they are wrong. For one thing if talking to the narc about it had worked in the first place, we would not be in the position of having to talk to a counselor now.

In such discussions, a portion of Matthew 18 is taken out of context while the rest of the chapter is ignored altogether. When Jesus says to leave your gift at the altar and go and make things right with someone, He was simply speaking against hypocrisy. He wasn’t suggesting we spend hours arguing with our abusers. And He wasn’t telling us to not tell our stories.

When it comes to keeping family secrets, the people who lie and gaslight us have given away their right to privacy when they abused us.  If you have any experience with religious narcs, you know such conversations go nowhere. Christian narcissists are both self-proclaimed victims and Pharisees and if there was anyone Jesus preached against—it was the Pharisees.

So no, Jesus was not talking about victims of childhood abuse in Matthew 18. How do we know? Read the rest of the chapter.

If anyone causes one of these little ones—
those who believe in me—to stumble,
it would be better for them
to have a large millstone hung around their neck
and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Did you hear that? This is Jesus talking to the little child inside your heart. He is telling you that what happened to you as a child—the beatings, the yelling, the lack of empathy was NOT okay with Him and it’s not okay with His Father either—

See that you do not despise one of these little ones.
For I tell you that their angels in heaven
always see the face of my Father in heaven…
Your Father in heaven is not willing
that any of these little ones should perish.

Jesus welcomes the child inside of each of us. He wants us to remember our childhood innocence and wonder and our pain. He knows we have been so bruised and damaged and we are afraid of many things in life and He wants to heal us. He knows we need other people who can validate our pain and share His love with us. Jesus knows the only antidote to our fear is His perfect love (1 John 4:18) and sometimes this only becomes tangible through other people. This is why healing happens in small groups.

No matter what the narcs say, God sends holy angels to watch over and comfort us. We might feel lonely, but we are never alone. And no matter how abusive the people who raised us, God does not want to lose us because of the sins of our fathers and mothers.

It is God’s desire to draw us into relationship with Him. And that often includes finding safe people to share our stories with. Even the passage quoted most often from Matthew 18, can be applied to narcissism. Jesus knew narcissism would rear its ugly head—

If they still refuse to listen,
tell it to the church;
and if they refuse to listen even to the church,
treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

What a fitting description of how to deal with a narcissist. Narcs refuse to listen because they don’t want to remember what they have done to hurt us. Jesus says there is a point where we just have to walk away and possibly go No Contact.

Today Beth and her siblings talk about their parents—not in some demeaning way, but to remember and heal their wounds. They do not need to bring their parents into the discussion because they already know their parents won’t say sorry. What they need is the validation that comes from shared pain and finding ways to make healthier choices in their own lives.

So the next time you are telling your story and someone pulls out Matthew 18, ask them if they have read the rest of the chapter.


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