My Least Favorite Things

8 Dec

Here’s a little poem I wrote.
Try to imagine Julie Andrews singing it.

My Least Favorite Things

People who punish as much as they’re able,
Gossip and whining and pride on the table,
Gifts and affection all tied up with strings,
These are a few of my least favorite things.

Family secrets and abject denial,
Threatening and judging and people on trial
Sneers and snide comments and yelling that stings
These are a few of my least favorite things.

Unwise expectations that I should not tell,
Those who have created their own private hell,
Ostracization and hatred that clings,
These are a few of my least favorite things.

When I’m missing family dinners–
When I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember my least favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.

-Cherilyn Clough

You Decide How the Story Ends

1 Dec

Once upon a time a girl grew up with narcissistic parents who didn’t meet her needs because they were too busy trying to fill their own. She survived hard times, but she had no clue what she was missing or how other people lived. Through the struggles of a messy childhood and lonely adulthood, she journeyed until one day she saw some light. She moved toward it until she found herself outside of the cave she had been raised in. For the first time in her life she saw what she had been missing and she was both elated at the discovery and saddened by the life she had been living. Thus she began to search for happiness.

Despite her relief at finding light, the world outside the cave was almost too bright, for one thing it seemed unpredictable and scary at times. In such moments, she found herself longing to go back into the darkness where life seemed safe and predictable. Yet she knew such safety also stole her freedom for she was basically used as a slave by her family. Now that her eyes had become accustomed to the light, she could’t see very well in the cave.

Other times she wished she’d been born a princess and had never known the darkness of the cave because those memories seemed to follow her everywhere and often darkened her path and gave her anxiety. Even the smell of leather brought on a panic attack because it reminded her of the many times she had been beaten with a strap to appease someone else’s anger. When the darkness followed her, she often heard the contempt of her abusers and accusers she often wondered if she could ever find a good life.

On her journey she came around the bend and met an elderly woman who pulled back her shawl and offered her a leather book. The girl plugged her nose at the smell of the leather. The old sage was bent over and her hands were gnarled. For a second, she held her crooked finger to her lips before speaking,“Here is a gift. It holds the secret to a happy life.”

The young girl was curious why the old woman would offer it to her, but she accepted the book out of kindness. The woman continued in the opposite direction, while the young girl opened the book in her impatience only to discover it full of blank pages. She turned and called out to the woman. “You have tricked me! There’s nothing in this book!”

The old woman took her time to turn around, then with a face full of kindness she replied, “Write in the book and you will discover the key to happiness.”

The girl rolled her eyes and continued her journey. When night came, she lay under the stars and wondered at the mysterious meeting. In the early morning light, she woke up and began to write about her journey the day before. She marveled at where she had been and how much she had seen. From then on writing became a habit and she even began to enjoy the scent of leather.

One day she felt lonely and discouraged and it seemed she had nothing good to write about. That was the day she began to write down her dreams. Each night when she felt her day had not gone as she had hoped, she dreamed a new dream for the next day and recorded it in the morning.

Like a winding river—ever changing and always moving, her journey continued for many miles and years. The young girl refused all suitors–until she found the prince of her dreams. Her family began to grow and she built a life worth living until one day she looked back through her book and realized her dreams had merged into real life. The things she wrote about were no longer a fantasy, but they had become real. By the time she realized the value of the gift the old woman had given her, she was no longer a young girl, but was becoming wise in years herself.

One day she met a beautiful girl full of energy, yet longing for stability. She recognized the pain and confusion that she had worn on her own face so many years before. She reached into her bag and offered a book much like the one given to her so long ago. As she held it out, she was surprised to notice her own hands had begun to grow wrinkled. The young girl almost snubbed the gift, then took it out of politeness. The woman sighed and smiled, because now she now knew the key to happiness is that we each decide how the story ends.

Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
-Mary Oliver

Little Red’s Esty Sale

29 Nov
Original Art, cherilynclough.com, www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

Art Available Here

Hi Friends,

To kick off the holiday season, Little Red Survivor Art is having an ORIGINAL ART sale through midnight on cyber Monday. That means all hand made, unique and one of a kind ORIGINAL Art is marked down to 50% off.

This is also a good time to note most of this art can be placed on PRINTS, PILLOWS, TOTES, PHONE CASES, CARDS AND TRAVEL MUGS for those who wish to make a statement or encourage others.

All make great gifts for yourself or fellow ACoNS. To sweeten the deal, you can save 10% off of any order of $75 or more with the coupon code: FLYING MONKEY

For those who have not been to Little Red’s Etsy Shop, here are a few pics to show you what’s available.
If you see something you like at any time, all photos link to to the shop.

 

Little Red Survivor Art, cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

Our signature symbol is Little Red Riding Hood
so you will find a variety of Little Red Art in the shop.
If at any time you don’t see an item in the style you like,
please message me and I will be glad to assist you.

 

Little-Red-Collage,cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

 

The Survivor Girls represent the struggles of holding boundaries
and seeking to emerge as our true selves.

 

Survivor-Girls-Collage, cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

Sometimes we find our healing
by honoring the primitive child we once were
and remembering how to play and trust all over again.

 

Primitive-child,cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

PILLOWS are one of our most popular items.
They are sold by the cover or with an insert.
This is a great way to make a statement in your home.

MSWs and Counselors often buy both PRINTS and PILLOWS.
Pillows offer an object to hug
while offering hurting people an encouraging message.

Pillows-Collage,cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt
There are pieces for nature lovers…

Nature Collage,cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

And a few for bird lovers

Bird-Collage, cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

And series of Healing Flowers for those who are opening in the light.

Healing-Flowers-Collage,cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

 

And of course my favorite muse and favorite saying for writers.

Writer's-collage,cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

So whether you shop at Little Red Survivor on Etsy,
or just had fun looking at this art,
I hope you make yourself some sugar cookies
and enjoy a hot drink
and count your blessings,
because like the old Grinch said,

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought,
“Doesn’t come from a store,
maybe Christmas perhaps… is a little bit more.”

Peace-Candle, cherilynclough.com, www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

Let’s all wish for peace on Earth!

Cherilyn

 

‘Tis the Season to Cookie Bomb

28 Nov

Here’s my cookie blog from last year. Enjoy!

Hi ACoNs*, Are you having trouble finding the joy this season due to lack of love in your narcissistic family? Make some new traditions with people who respond in love. Try doing some random acts of kindness and cookie bombing. Call it karma, intrinsic law or the circle of life, but life was designed for us to give in order to live.

Giving is a natural law like gravity is a natural law. Such laws are not arbitrary or forced, but in reality just the way the universe works. Trees give us oxygen and we give carbon dioxide back to the trees. Rain becomes snow and melts into rivers and flows to the ocean where it completes the cycle and returns to the clouds. Autumn leaves give life to the soil and contribute to life in the spring. Electricity and even the blood in our bodies runs in a circuit.

We were all created to give. That’s why the life of a Narc grows so stagnant because they think in terms of taking without giving back. The natural illustration of the Narc’s pattern is the DEAD sea. Narcissism disrupts the life-giving cycle because for those who desire narcissistic feed, giving only goes one way.

Upclose-cookies
There are many ways to give—encouragement, love, support, acceptance, unconditional love—all of these are free. It’s easy to get discouraged about giving when the people you love (and who you thought loved you) have been taking from you without giving, but don’t give in to the Narc’s patterns–give whatever you can and live–just don’t contribute to the dysfunctional cycle by providing narcissistic feed.

There will always be some people who misunderstand the debilitating nature of serving a narcissist and they will tell you Jesus says to love our enemies. Yes, love for our enemies can be manifested in different ways and in the case of the Narc it is best to let him go. Even God lets people go. When the crowd wanted to crown Jesus king because He gave them food, He disappeared from their sight instead of feeding them everyday. Giving too much creates dysfunctional relationships.

When we give to those who are not expecting it, we experience joy. This is what Christmas is about–giving freely in love for those who will appreciate it. So your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to go out cookie bombing.

Cookie-Bombs

What You Need:

    • A few extra dollars for drive through
    • The ingredients and ability to make cookies
    • Curly ribbon and party bags
    • Your favorite Christmas tunes
    • Follow the recipe below to make some bright and fun cookies.
    • Let the cookies dry thoroughly. It might be best to make them the day before bombing.
    • Fill party bags with cookies, tie with curly ribbon and crank up the tunes and head out to cookie bomb.
    • Start at your favorite drive through and give away a couple bags of cookies to the cashier while paying for the drinks for the people in the car behind you.
    • Enjoy your drink and head out to your friends’ houses to cookie bomb. Make sure you bomb as many people as you meet along the way–especially strangers! Whether they are a homeless, young or old, rich or poor, working or playing–just give them a bag of cookies and let the joy begin.

SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE

2 sticks butter or margarine

2 C sugar

2 eggs

2 t vanilla

4 C flour (sifted)

1 t baking powder

1/2 salt

2 t pumpkin spice (optional)

PREHEAT: oven to 350

BEAT: butter and sugar in mixer until creamy

ADD: egg and vanilla and beat until smooth

STIR: flour, baking powder and salt in separate container

ADD: flour mixture gradually to butter/sugar mixture

ROLL: dough into a ball and wrap with wax paper

Cookie-Roll

CHILL: dough in fridge for one hour or overnight

 

Cutting-Cookies

ROLL: out dough and form into cookies

Baking-cookies

BAKE: for 10-12 minutes or until very slightly brown—Do NOT over bake—some smaller cookies may only take nine minutes

Cooling-Cookies

ROYAL ICING

1 lb confectioner’s sugar

5 T meringue powder

Scant 1/2 C water

Wilton food coloring pastes of choice

BEAT: all icing ingredients with paddle in electric mixer until mixed—don’t over mix or it will cause bubbles in icing

SPREAD: immediately on cooled cookies with icing spreader or store in airtight container

Icing-and-Cookies
You can get squeeze bottles for the icing at a craft store to flood the cookies. Just  make sure the first layer dries before adding the second.

 

Flooding-Cookies

 Give, and it will be given to you.
A good measure, pressed down,
shaken together and running over,
will be poured into your lap.
For with the measure you use,
it will be measured to you.
-Jesus (Luke 6:38)

Cookie-Plate
*ACoNs-Adult Children of Narcissists

Enjoy this Christmas song by one of my favorite groups Pentatonix :

If You Give a Narc an Apology

27 Nov

If you give a Narc an apology,
he’ll want some groveling to go with it. 

He’ll say you owe him and
ask you to pick up the pieces
for all the messes he’s made.

When you refuse to pick up his messes,
he will accuse you of things you’ve never done.

You’ll try to set the record straight,
but when you speak the truth,
you’ll be gaslighted.

When he discovers he can’t convince you,
he’ll triangulate with another.
And another.
And another.

When everyone’s heard his sorry lies,
he will accuse you of lying
when you actually told the truth.

But don’t shut up,
it’s okay to let your voice to be heard.

If you give a Narc an apology,
you might as well give him a license
to blame you for everything that’s ever happened.

Then he’ll say “forgive and forget,”
and ask to borrow some money.

You’ll go to the bank to get the money,
but you will get a sick feeling in your gut
and decide to say no.

Trust Your Gut, cherilynclough.com,www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

Prints and Accessories Available Here

When you refuse to pay the Narc off,
he’ll call you selfish.
You’ll explain that self-care is not selfish.

He’ll get angry and ask when you are going
to get your act together to meet
his (insert religious or political) standards.

You’ll  tell the Narc you won’t set fire to yourself
just to keep him warm.

He will play the victim
and send in his flying monkeys to persuade you.

You’ll stay calm and ignore the flying monkeys.
The Narc will then run a campaign
to get you shunned.

You might lose a lot of friends
and relatives who have no clue
what it’s like to deal with the Narc.

But here is where change happens—
the point between being victim and survivor.

You’ll rise up out of the ashes
and start a new life.

You’ve realize the Narc is
not interested in a relationship–
he’s just interested in using you.

You will leave his circus
and go no contact.

You can forgive yourself for apologizing
when you didn’t need to.

You can take some time to breathe in gratitude
and realize you are free.

You can follow your heart
and make art with the pieces.

You can write the truth
even when your voice shakes.

You can arise and shine
and let your voice be heard.

You can listen to your heart
and find new family and friends.

And should you ever again be tempted
to apologize to a Narc,
just trust your gut and refuse to give in.

Because chances are–
If you give a Narc an apology,
he will always ask you to play a game
you can never win.

Listen to Your Heart, cherilynclough.com, www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

Hey Friends,
The once a year sale
for 50% off my ORIGINAL ART
it ends Monday night!


My Etsy shop also has a variety
of gift ideas for fellow ACoNs

and great reminders for yourself.

If you want to make a statement
to coworkers or family

or just celebrate a new found peace in your life,
check out Little Red Survivor Art on Etsy.
Have a great weekend!

Cherilyn

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!

Listen-to-Your-Heart, cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

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!

Cherilyn

*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, cherilynclough.com, www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

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, www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt, cherilynclough.com

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!

Cherilyn

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, CherilynClough.com, LittleRedSurvivor.com

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, http://www.redbubble.com/people/littlered7/works/17551238-game-she-could-never-win-chess?c=540504-survivor-girls

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.

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