Gaslighting

5 May Feet

When you tell the truth and the narcissist doesn’t like it, they will employ a method called gaslighting. The term comes from an old 1944 movie where a husband tries to play with his wife’s mind until she doesn’t believe her own instincts and memory.

The narcissist gaslights you because they hope to confuse you and make you doubt yourself. If they can get you to doubt yourself, then you won’t remind them or anyone else about what they are lying about.

Feet

It starts like this: You say you remember such and such, and they say you don’t even know what you are talking about this and that happened instead. Now you know the truth, so you insist on it. Then if they can’t get you to forget or think you don’t remember, they will try to tell you something is wrong with your head. They will say, “You must be mentally ill to believe this is true.”

You still insist on the truth, so to reinforce their gaslighting techniques they will try to pull in a flying monkey who will accuse you of making stuff up. The flying monkey could be a younger sibling that wasn’t old enough to remember the incident.

All of this is very disheartening because you know the truth and you thought your parents loved you, but there is one even weirder twist for the person raised as a Christian. Your parents were the ones who told you about God and made you memorize that Bible verse about lying lips being an abomination to the Lord, so how could they be twisting the truth? This is where the truth might be stranger than fiction.

We don’t know why people do what they do, but there comes a time when you have to use all your mental resources to remember and remember well. Look through old pictures and write down everything you can remember from your childhood. Visit the places of your childhood. When you have written down your memories, you can interview safe family members like aunts or uncles or grandparents to find out their take on the situation.

This is not living in the past, but remembering the past. It is only by looking at where we’ve been that we can move forward. Those who refuse to examine their past are often stuck in addictions.

You don’t need to put up with mind twists anymore. You are a grown up now and you have been given a sound mind and you can claim the truth. The very people who told you that God doesn’t approve of lying may have forgotten that God is always on the side of the truth, so don’t let people lie to you.

Mother’s Day Card Shopping

5 May

My friend Amy just spent two hours looking for the perfect Mother’s Day card. It has to be a color her mother likes or she will hear about it. It has to say just the right thing, but it can’t be too endearing because Amy doesn’t want to lie. It also can’t be too empty or her mother will not feel loved. Amy struggled and stood in store after store until her feet were aching, then she gave up. Her mom probably won’t get a card this year and it will feel unloved, but before you judge Amy, you need to know the rest of the story.

Amy was five when her mom remarried and eight when her step dad raped her for the first time. She told her mom and her mom called her a liar. From then on for the rest if her growing up years, her mother blamed Amy for the problems in her marriage. Amy left home at sixteen because she could not take the molestation any more.

Amy had to become her own mother because her mother did nothing to help her grow up. She didn’t help her graduate or figure what to take in college or even help with her wedding. Even now, her mother only calls Amy if she wants her to do something for her. It goes without saying that Amy’s mother is toxic and narcissistic and now because Amy never found a Mother’s Day card, her mother will be playing the victim card for months to come.

There are some people, like Amy, who grow physically ill on Mother’s Day and they get even worse when they realize Father’s Day is next month. They are not cold hearted people–but rather empathetic adult children if narcissists who have likely shown more nurturing and love to their parents than their parents have ever shown them.

Sometimes people who grew up with loving parents can’t empathize with people like Amy and they wish she would get over it. The truth is Amy never really had a mother because her birth donor chose to live her life as though she had no daughter.

So what is the Christian thing for a daughter to do? My mom isn’t perfect and I’m not a perfect daughter, but I’m sending her a card because I love her. Loving people realize no one is perfect and look beyond each other’s faults, but I am not sure Amy should send her mom a card. When it comes to buying a card as insurance against the fear of what they will say, it can’t be done in love. There is no other reason to give a card unless we love someone.

God doesn’t ask us to lie or fake it. Something in the relationship has to change and maybe by any being honest Amy will preserve her own integrity. God bless you Amy. God bless all the broken children who grew up without a loving mother. God sees all and He cares for you.

Flying Monkeys

4 May Flying-Monkey-Alone

After years of emotional abuse and verbal put downs, Ava finally found the guts to stand up to her narcissist mother and go no contact. She began to realize more peace in her life because her mother wasn’t constantly calling her and asking what the children were wearing or what she was making them for supper. But her mother’s phone calls were soon replaced by her sister’s.

Ava had always gotten along with her sister, but now her sister was checking up on her. At first it was very subtle, but soon it became apparent that her sister felt Ava was being mean to their mother. Ava asked why she felt this way and her sister launched into an all-out attack on Ava. She called Ava, selfish, irresponsible and coldhearted.

Flying-Monkey-Alone

Ava was shocked and felt betrayed. Her sister knew what mom was like, but she now took their mother’s side. Feeling alone and cut off Ava stopped answering her sister’s calls.

Ava didn’t realize what was happening, but her sister had become a flying monkey. If you’ve ever watched the Wizard of Oz, you probably know about flying monkeys. Flying monkeys often don’t realize what they’re doing. They become the extension of the narcissist to attack whoever the narcissist is upset with.

A narcissist acts as the director of a play. From their point of view, people are only as good as whatever they can use them for. If they can’t use you, they will make you into the scapegoat. Once they get a scapegoat they will recruit some flying monkeys. Their goal is to pressure you into whatever they want you to do, or shame you for not going along with their plan in the first place.

Flying monkeys are vulnerable to the narcissist because they often don’t have their own opinions. They are followers who reflect what other people say. Their toxic remarks are not their own, but reflect the opinion of the narcissist.

There is good news and bad about flying monkeys. The good news is they really don’t know what they are talking about, so don’t take them seriously. Their comments are just more smoke and mirrors from the malignant narcissist. The bad news is they will need to think for themselves before they can see the light and be a good friend to you.

In moment like this, it might feel like the narcissist has all the friends, but you and I know that’s not true. Narcissists don’t have close friends because they don’t know how to nurture anyone–unless they are grooming them for narcissistic feed.

You still realize what the narcissist is up to and you now know you can’t trust the flying monkey. The booby prize goes to the poor flying monkey who has been tricked into trading your good and honest friendship for the lies of the narcissist. But you can’t tell them this, they will need to discover it for themselves.

All you can do is pray for them and enjoy the loyal friends and family you have. Take comfort in the words of Jesus.

But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you.
For the time is coming when everything
that is covered will be revealed,
and all that is secret will be made known to all.
-Matthew 10:26

Ten Ways God is a Good Mother

4 May

God is our true mother.
For everyone who misses having a mother
and everyone who never had one,
This is not some feminism propaganda—
it’s fact, God created women in His image too.

1. Women Were Created in the Image of God–

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
-Genesis 1:27

2. The Bible Describes God as a Mother–

It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them.
-Hosea 11:3-4

3. God is Like a Mother Eagle—

He was like an eagle building its nest
that flutters over its young.
It spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them on its feathers.
The Lord alone led them,
and there was no foreign god helping him.
-Deuteronomy 32:11-12

4. God is Described as Giving Birth–

They spurned the Rock who had made them,
Forgetting it was God who had given them birth.
-Deuteronomy 32:18

5. God Comforts Us Like a Mother–

I will comfort you there as a little one
is comforted by its mother.
-Isaiah 66:13

6. God is Compared to a Nursing Mother–

Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child?
Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible,
I would not forget you!
-Isaiah 49:15

7. God is described as a woman in labor–

He will say, “I have long been silent;
yes, I have restrained myself.
But now, like a woman in labor,
I will cry and groan and pant.
-Isaiah 42:14

8. God as a Weaning Mother

But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
-Psalm131:2

9. Jesus Likens Himself to a Mother Hen–

Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
you who kill the prophets
and stone those sent to you,

how often I have longed to gather
your children together,

as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,
and you were not willing.
- Matthew 23:37

10. God is Like a Woman Searching for Her Lost Coin

Or suppose a woman has
ten silver coins and loses one.

Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house
and search carefully until she finds it?
And when she finds it,
she calls her friends and
neighbors together and says,

‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’
In the same way, I tell you,
there is rejoicing in the presence
of the angels of God

over one sinner who repents.
-Luke 15:8-10

For Children Who Were Broken

1 May

For children who were broken
It is very hard to mend…
Our pain was rarely spoken
And we hid the truth from friends.

Our parents said they loved us,
But they didn’t act that way.
They broke our hearts and stole our worth,
With the things that they would say.

We wanted them to love us.
We didn’t know what we did
To make them yell at us and hit us,
And wish we weren’t their kid.

They’d beat us up and scream at us
And blame us for their lives.
Then they’d hold us close inside their arms
And tell us confusing lies

Of how they really loved us–
Even though we were BAD,
And how it was OUR fault they hit us,
OUR fault that they were mad.

When days were just beginning
We sometimes prayed for them to end,
And when the pain kept coming,
We learned to just pretend

That we were good and so were they
And this was just one of those days…
Tomorrow we’d be friends.

We had to believe it so.
We had nowhere else to go.
Each day that we pretended,
We replaced reality with lies, or dreams,

Or angry schemes,
In search of dignity….
Until our lies got bigger than the truth,
And we had no one real to be.

Our bodies were forsaken.
With no safe place to hide,
We learned to stop hearing and feeling
What they did to our outsides.

We tried to make them love us,
Till we hated ourselves instead,
And couldn’t see a way out,
And wished that they were dead.

We scared ourselves by thinking that
And scared ourselves to know,
That we were acting just like them–
And might ever more be so.

To be half the size of a grown-up
And trapped inside their pain…
To every day lose everything
With no savior or refrain…

To wonder how it is possible
That God could so forget–
The worthy child you knew you were,
When you had not been damaged yet.

To figure on your fingers
The years till you’d be grown
Enough to leave the torment
And survive away from home,

Were more than you could count to,
Or more than you could bear,
Was the reality we lived in
And we knew it wasn’t fair.

We who grew up broken
Are somewhat out of time,
Struggling to mend our childhood,
When our peers are in their prime.

Where others find love and contentment,
We still often have to strive
To remember we are worthy,
And heroes just to be alive.

Some of us are healing.
Some of us are stealing.
Most are passing the anger on.
Some give their lives away to drugs,

Or the promise of life beyond.
Some still hide from society.
Some struggle to belong.
But all of us are wishing
The past would not hold on so long.

There’s a lot of digging down to do
To find the child within,
To love away the ugly pain
And feel innocence again.

There is forgiveness worthy of angel’s wings
For remembering those at all,
Who abused our sacred childhood
And programmed us to fall.

To seek to understand them,
And how their pain became our own,
Is to risk the ground we stand on
To climb the mountain home.

The journey is not so lonely
As in the past it has been
More of us are strong enough
To let the growth begin.

But while we’re trekking up the mountain
We need everything we’ve got,
To face the adults we have become,
And all that we are not.

So when you see us weary
From the day’s internal climb
When we find fault with your best efforts,
Or treat imperfection as purposeful crime

When you see our quick defenses,
Our efforts to control,
Our readiness to form a plan of unrealistic goals
When we run into a conflict
And fight to the bitter end,

Remember…
We think that winning means
We won’t be hurt again.

When we abandon OUR thoughts and feelings,
To be what we believe YOU want us to,
Or look at trouble we’re having,
And want to blame it all on you

When life calls for new beginnings,
And we fear they’re doomed to end,

Remember…
Wounded trust is like a wounded knee–
It is very hard to bend.

Please remember this
When we are out of sorts.
Tell us the truth, and be our friend.

For children who were broken…
It is very hard to mend.

-Elia Wise

Scapegoating

30 Apr Scapegoat

When Lana’s grandmother asked her to lie to her cousin about something she refused to have anything to do with the lie. Until this happened, she’d always managed to fly under the radar and get along with her grandma. She thought nothing more of it until she discovered her grandmother had blamed her for her own lies.

Lana couldn’t believe it. When she tried to explain the situation to her cousin she wouldn’t even hear her out and wanted nothing to do with Lana. This was the beginning of a new era in her life.

From then on no matter what happened, her grandmother, cousin and aunt blamed Lana for everything. She knew they talked about her because the rest of the family told her what they said. Lana was young and didn’t realize it at the time, but she had crossed a malignant narcissist and now there was all hell to pay because her grandmother was using her as the scapegoat.

Scapegoat

The scapegoat is often a person who refuses to go along with the narcissist’s schemes. The term scapegoat comes from the Old Testament where the sins of all the people were laid on the scapegoat and it was sent away and shunned–never to be part of the community again. This is what a malignant narcissist intends to do to anyone who crosses their plans.

A toxic narcissist will spend hours talking about the person they have designated as the scapegoat. They will dream up ways to make them look like a villain in other people’s minds. Once they get other people thinking of you as the scapegoat, they will do everything they can to ruin your reputation and send in the flying monkeys. By naming you the scapegoat, they will try to infer that everything everyone else has done is really your fault–as if you had such power.

There are downsides to being the scapegoat. The Narc will now be shunning you and he may get others to ignore you too, but if you think about it, this is not such a bad development. Toxic narcissists are incapable of having a two way relationship. The only reason a narc needs anyone is to get their own needs filled, so you probably don’t miss being used by them.

The fallout of thinking for yourself not only results in the loss of being used by the narc, but it will affect all mutual relationships. This is because the narc does not believe in keeping the problems between you. They will not rest until they call every one you both know and try to turn them against you.

Narcs have a away of being very charming and funny and convincing. To those who have no real clue their story might seem plausible and some people will believe them, but those who really know you will read between the lines. Others might turn against you and take up the story the narc is spreading. Those who are deceived are probably acquaintances and weren’t really your friends to begin with. The last group will become flying monkeys who call you up and try to shame you for the narcissist or talk about you to other people because they believe the lies.

The scapegoat may have at one time provided narcissistic feed or been a flying monkey or they might just be wise enough to disengage with the schemes laid out by the Narc.

If you have become the designated scapegoat here is a high five for you! This means you have chosen to no longer be manipulated by the narc for narcissistic feed and you are now thinking for yourself. To be the scapegoat means the truth you know is so frightening to the narc they must spend all their energy defusing it.

If you are a Christ follower, you will remember that Jesus was the scapegoat for the Pharisees. He didn’t play their games, so they lied about him and tried to entrap him and eventually killed him. Jesus changed the game for all of us scapegoats. He took the blame for everything then He destroyed the lies.

Jesus always honors those who tell the truth and because of Him, all scapegoats will be set free by the truth.

Little Red

30 Apr Wolves-2

Little Red. We’ve all heard about her, but we didn’t recognize how much we had in common with her. Little Red is the symbol of all who were abused in the home and church in the name of love. Nothing is more sinister than believing we are loved and safe only to be ravaged by wolves in the fold.

Wolves-2

Skipping along the path of life, Little Red’s heart is full of love. She is longing for Eden as she reaches out to take the flowers of life God has provided for her, she also knows the joy of giving. She is carrying a basket with homemade bread and jam for her grandma.

She naively doesn’t recognize her grandmother’s wolf-like behavior at first because she automatically assumes all parents and grandparents are safe. This is the experience of many who have been abused by narcissistic parents and false church leaders. Something feels wrong, but in their innocence they can’t figure it out until they have already been abused.

Let’s face it, Little Red thought Grandma’s house was a safe place and so did we. It was shocking to find ourselves taunted and lied to by the people who were supposed to love and protect us. The most sinister abuse is cloaked with the word love–such false love has often confused us because we failed to see the hate coming. Nothing is more damaging to the psyche than abuse in the name of God.

There are many endings to the story of Little Red throughout history and across cultures. Some say she was rescued by a hunter or woodsman. Some say she and her grandmother were both eaten by the wolf, but survived after his stomach was cut open.

My favorite version is among the most ancient. It says Little Red did not depend on anyone else to rescue her. She out smarted the wolf by saying she had to go to the bathroom and he let her go to the outhouse with a string tied to her finger. Out of his sight, she wisely untied it from her finger and placed the string on the outhouse door and ran for her life.

I believe this is the healthiest version of the story because it represents what we have to do when we are under the power of abusive people. There is no violence or retaliation toward the wolf in Red’s escape. She simply knows he is unsafe.

This is similar to how we must treat our abusers. To wish them ill is to harm ourselves. Our abusers are like rabid dogs infected with a virus of survival of the fittest. No matter how much we love them, we cannot fix them. No matter how much you love your dog, if he gets rabies you will mourn him, but it’s no longer safe to play with him.

People are not the wolves, but the wolves come to us in many forms. Their names are Abandonment, Loss, Inferiority, Rejection, Criticism and Shame. The people who call out the wolves in us were once innocent children who were deceived and bitten by the wolves themselves. Once infected by the selfish virus of survival of the fittest, they now continue to pass on the virus and harm others.

I admire Little Red because she doesn’t wait to be rescued. Red realizes she alone can take herself to a safe place. I believe that safe place is with the Maker of the flowers. I believe the Creator gave us brains to remember the pain so we won’t go back to get burned and bitten over and over again.

Our abusers have lied. They tried to say it never happened. Sometimes they say we made things up–that’s code for they don’t want anyone else to know so they wish to discredit us. When people lie, there is no light in them. Two cannot walk together unless they agree. This is where we, like Little Red, can rescue ourselves by using our minds to run away to a safer place. For many that safer place is with Jesus.

Jesus knows everything that has happened to you. He promises to set all captives free. Jesus says the truth will set you free. He not only calls Himself the Truth, but He embraces all truth and He is always on the side of truth. He even sends His Spirit of Truth to comfort us.

This website is to encourage, comfort and support survivors. Like Little Red, we can only protect ourselves by leaving an unhealthy situation. In order to enjoy the flowers God gives to us, we need to stop letting the wolves destroy our lives.

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