Tag Archives: No Contact

Don’t Let the Narc Mess With Your Heart

14 Feb

Think about all the lies, the put downs and the gaslighting.

All the times you tried to explain your heart
to someone who was committed to misunderstanding it.

All the times your empathetic heart was used by the Narcissist,
who said it was your own fault.

All the times the Narcissist stepped on your heart,
then said you were too sensitive.

All the times you were told to ignore your heart,
and sit down and shut up and put up.

Think about the beatings your heart has gone through.
Think about all the times you ignored your heart—
because of the Narcissist.

There was a time when your heart said, “Speak the truth,”
but the Narcissist said, “Shut up.”

There was a time when your heart said, “Watch out,”
but the Narcissist said, “Don’t worry.”

There was a time when your heart said, “This is a lie,”
but the Narcissist said, “Trust me.”

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There was a time when your heart said, “Remember,”
but the Narcissist said, “Forget.”

There was a time when your heart said, “I’m worth it,”
but the Narcissist said, “You’re not worth it.”

The truth is you ARE worth it–

You are worth speaking your truth,
You are worth explaining your fears,
You are worth remembering your pain,
You are worth sharing your heart
And you are worth having a relationship with someone
who treats you with respect and honesty.

It’s way past time friend, to listen to your heart.

Celebrate Only in Freedom

20 Nov

This is the time of year we hear lots of quotes and comments about being grateful. Sometimes we even read or hear admonitions to be grateful for what we have and for those of us who have fractured families, it can feel like a slap in the face.

Such messages usually come from superficial friends or people totally in denial and of course the flying monkeys. They come in a mixed bag of word salad disguised as compliments and good advice when in reality these people are completely ignorant about narcissistic abuse or devoid of brains.

This week someone complained how the main narc in their family keeps doing rude things. I wonder how long they will keep going back for more punishment. I mentioned there’s no way around the fact this person is a narc. If it walks, talks and squawks like a narc, what more proof do you need?

Some people might mean well, but we can’t take advice from them because all their nice platitudes don’t apply to narcissistic abuse. I’m sure you’ve heard these remarks:

“Well we’re family and family sticks together.”

Yeah, like super glue between your finger and your thumb? With some people you can’t get anything done.

“Be grateful for who is still alive–we never know who won’t be with us next year.”

Very sad! And you know what is even sadder? People who are still alive being lied to and lied about and treated with no respect. What kind of life is that? No thank you!

“We need to forgive and forget.”

This is often said by the abuser. When the abuser says it, it’s because he/she doesn’t want to remember their abusive behavior and they certainly don’t want to apologize for it. They just want you to forget the knife they put into your back so they can have the thrill of doing it again. Narcs are not normal people. They do not have empathy for their victims and some get a high from hurting others. When the flying monkeys say this, they are just channeling the narc, because they can’t think for themselves.

“Why can’t we all just get along?”

Because we can’t give up honesty and freedom to get along. When the family peacemaker says this, whether they are aware of it or not, they are acting as a flying monkey and taking sides with the abuser. Or they self-righteously feel good about themselves because they are not the ones in the drama. They might feel good about saying, get along, but getting along is what kept slaves in their place. Getting along is what sold many Jewish people into the hands of Nazis. Getting along is what keeps people in gangs. Just sayin’.

If you have family members or friends spouting these platitudes and asking you to come to the big family dinner, here is a litmus test to see if it is worth your time. Ask yourself these two questions–

1. Are they honest?
2. Do they treat me with respect?

Honest Elephant, Cherilynclough.com, http://www.redbubble.com/people/littlered7/works/23109846-honest-elephant-words

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I don’t think this is asking too much, because without honor and respect, we’ve got nothing.

So back to being grateful. I am grateful! I am grateful every. single. day. for my freedom filled life!
I am grateful for so many things, but the height of my gratitude is to know that God is not like a narcissist and gives me freedom to make my own choices. I am grateful for the knowledge I have about narcissism so I can quit trying to play a game I could never win. I am grateful for freedom.

A few years ago after the Worst Thanksgiving Ever, I wrote a poem and shared it with one of my family members. It was about other people telling me what to eat and how to worship and how to spend my money. I was thirty-five at the time and trying to find my voice and trying cut the control strings from my family of origin.

My poem basically said I was reclaiming my own right to these things. My family member listened to my poem, then said, “Wow! That’s a very selfish poem–it’s all about you.” I was stunned. The words of this family member echoed what my parents had taught me and I didn’t know how to separate myself from the lies, so I ripped up the poem and asked Jesus to forgive me for being so selfish. It would take me another ten years to wake up.

So every holiday I am very grateful to be awake, I am grateful to no longer be brainwashed to live my life to please other people. I am grateful to discern lies from truth. To know myself and know my God.

So if you are feeling sad about all the mind twists and gaslighting and being ostracized this holiday season, remember to look for the silver lining. Here is the sad truth: narcissistic people bring us joy only in their absence. If they weren’t narcs, they would use honesty and respect to bring us back home, but by their very nature, narcs find truth, love and freedom impossible.

So here’s to a narc-free life–with truth, love and freedom! I can drink to that!

F the Trauma Bond

17 Apr

While she was growing up, Macy’s parents used her as their slave and beat her whenever she didn’t do what they wanted. Her three brothers lived like kings compared to her.

When Macy became an adult, her parents wanted her to be an accountant and even though she wanted to be a nurse, she took accounting to please her parents. Even after Macy was married, she was expected to come to her parents’ home and do some of their house work.

When Macy had a daughter of her own, she realized her parents had not loved her the way she loved her little girl. She couldn’t treat her child like a slave. She decided to be a different kind of parent who doted on her daughter instead of using her, but whenever she went to her parents’ house, she still endured their put downs. One day she had a big argument with them over how she was raising her daughter.

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That was the day Macy realized if she continued seeing them, they would keep treating her daughter like they had treated her. She wanted her daughter to grow up in freedom without beltings and expectations. For the sake of her daughter, Macy felt she had no choice but to go no contact with her parents.

This would seem to give Macy’s story a happy ending where she could close the book on past abuse, but Macy isn’t happy. Her husband is very supportive and her little girl is having the childhood Macy never had, but Macy is deeply depressed and misses her parents.

Macy feels a nostalgia for her family that her husband and friends can’t understand. Some days just an ad or mention of the word mother or father makes her cry and binge on chocolate. Sometimes she can barely get out of bed. Macy misses her abusers so much she even makes self-depreciating jokes to put herself down.

Macy has a trauma bond with her parents. A trauma bond is where a person keeps going back to be used and abused because of an emotional connection. Macy has tried for years to fix the relationship with her parents, but they have zero interest in fixing the relationship.

My Own Person Mug, CherilynClough.com, www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

Travel Mug Available Here

Can you relate to Macy’s situation? If so, you might be locked into a dysfunctional cycle. Here are five clues you might be dealing with a trauma bond:

1. You Feel Emotionally Connected
to Someone Who Keeps Hurting You
Healthy relationships are always a two-way street. If you’re the only one working on it or you find yourself pining away for the good ol’ days when you were used as a slave, belted or given just a ration of food, you probably have a trauma bond with your abuser.

If the person who keeps hurting you makes no attempt to apologize, you might want to analyze why you keep going back. What are you getting out of this relationship besides pain? Do you like pain? What will it take for you to value yourself enough to take care of yourself?

2. You Keep Explaining Yourself
If you’re in the position of proving yourself all the time, and you keep going back to argue and suggest how to fix what you believe is broken in this relationship, but the other party ignores your pain and expects you to carry on life as usual, you probably have a trauma bond.

Any time you need to grovel for love, you surely must know it’s not love you will be receiving. Love cannot be earned. Real love can only grow if it is free and unconditional. If you grew up trying to fulfill unrealistic expectations, you might have a trauma bond that keeps you going back like a dog to his vomit.

3. You Spend Hours Analyzing
What You Might Have Done Wrong

Perhaps you didn’t do anything wrong. Maybe you have been asked to play a game you can never win. Perhaps you are a peach trying to win someone who only likes bananas. (Or maybe the other person is totally bananas and you are the only sane one in the relationship). Go gentle on yourself. Forgive yourself for allowing yourself to be abused. Look for a true peach lover. Once you meet up with someone who loves who you for who you are, you will have a much better chance at a good relationship.

4. You Keep Forgiving Someone
Who Never Apologizes
The commandment states we should honor our parents, but this simple rule leaves room for a wide misunderstanding of the fifth commandment and allows abuse to continue. When betrayal happens–even by a parent, there’s no way for the relationship to continue without an apology and a complete renegotiation. In Religious Narcia, we find abusers wielding the Bible to justify their abusive behavior.

5. You Feel Sorry For Your Abuser
If you’ve gone no contact with your abuser, and you feel depressed to the point you can’t enjoy your own life because you miss them and worry about them regardless of what they have done, you very likely have a trauma bond.

This trauma bond allows people to use you. Unless people are wearing diapers and unable to speak, you are not responsible for them. We all sow what we reap. Do you believe God wants you to sow so another can reap? That goes against the natural order of life on this planet. Understanding this might be the first step to accepting the apology you never had so you can move on with your life.

It takes courage to let go of the trauma bonded relationship, but it’s worth it. Even if this relationship is with a parent and you can’t imagine your life without them. You might not realize the toll this twisted and dysfunctional bond is taking on your health and other relationships.

When someone lies about you and to you,
When someone has not apologized,
When you explain yourself all the time,
When someone doesn’t respect you.
When you feel the feelings of your abuser
before you feel your own feelings,
When you have continued to be abused,
When the relationship is one-sided,
When you struggle to sleep or eat
or get out of bed in the morning
because you feel sorry for your abuser,
you most definitely have a trauma bond.

A trauma bond is a relationship fallacy.
It’s NOT a real relationship,
but for some reason the bond makes it seem real.
All the judgmental Christians can leave now–
pardon my french,
but FUCK the trauma bond!

A man who views the world
the same at fifty 
as he did at twenty
has wasted thirty years of his life.

-Muhammad Ali

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

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

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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

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.

 

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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.

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, CherilynClough.com, LittleRedSurvivor.com

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?

 

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.

I Am My Own Person Sunflower, CherilynClough.com, LittleRedSurvivor.com

Prints and Other Items Available Here

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

 

Jake and the Game He Could Never Win

24 Apr

Jake fell in love with Chelle, but in order to win her hand in marriage he needed her father’s approval, so Jake ended up working for his future father in law for seven years to close the deal. He got married at night so it was morning before he realized he married Chelle’s sister because his father in law had secretly traded in the sister to keep with the tradition of the oldest sister marrying first. That sucked, but Jake was still in love with Chelle, so he worked for the narc for seven more years to marry her.

A Game She Could Never Win, cherilynclough.com

Print Available Here

After fourteen years of working, Jake had enough and wanted to move his family far away so they could go no contact, but it’s never that easy. His wages were all tied up in the family business which was ranching. His narc-in-law said he could have all the spotted animals because well, there were not as many of them.

Lo and behold that spring Jake’s barns were full and overflowing. And by now you know the pattern of the narcissist. Of course he didn’t want Jake to move because he was relying on Jake for narcissistic feed. Bottom line: he would rather use Jake than let him go. So his narc-in-law took off with all the spotted sheep and goats and hid them. But guess what? Jake’s fields were soon full of spotted goats and sheep. Of course as soon as the narc realized this he changed the rules so the wages were unblemished stock. And once again God bless Jake and his flocks grew without any marks on them.

One day a flying monkey came to tell Jake that the narc was unhappy with him. Jake had noticed the attitude, so he called his wives to meet him where they could talk in private.  He told them how their father kept changing the rules and taking his wages, but God had intervened. The sisters said, “Has he treated us any better? Let’s go.” Obviously they knew their dad was a narc.

After a lot of drama and chaos, Jake and his family finally left the family business after twenty years. Of course it wasn’t that easy, as they tried to leave his narc-in-law chased after them—partially because he felt God was blessing him through Jake. Total narc feed situation—if you are not appalled, then you aren’t paying attention, apparently this narc thought he could mess with Jake and his daughter’s lives and happiness and use them ‘til kingdom come.

Jake’s father in law was asking him to play a game he could never win, but God blessed him anyway. Perhaps a narcissist is asking you to play a game you can never win. If so, never underestimate the power of God to set things right.

He holds success in store for the upright,
He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
For he guards the course of the just
And protects the way of his faithful ones.
-Proverbs 2:7-8

This story is found in Genesis 29-31
and it might just be one
of the oldest narc stories ever.
I highly recommend reading it in the Message Bible.

God Cares About Our Hearts

Finding Boundaries

18 Feb

Many ACONs* work hard to meet the needs of other people–probably due to the empathy factor. Because ACONs are high in empathy, they often try to rescue their boyfriends, husbands, parents, siblings and grown children. Grown children is a good term for many of the people we try to rescue. It’s not wrong to care or show compassion, but it’s wrong when we do it over and over again to the very people who are abusive to us.

Have you ever had someone rage and yell at you in anger–only to look for a way to calm them down? Has it ever occurred to you that it was never your responsibility to calm them down or pay their bills or make them happy? No matter who this rageaholic is in relationship to you, other people’s emotions and behavior are NOT within your jurisdiction.

Fixing others might be a long term habit and you might even do it without thinking, so it’s important to ask yourself the question, did you grow up feeling responsible for your parent’s feelings? If so, you are not alone. Many ACONs did.

What we didn’t realize while we were growing up is that our narcissistic parents were stealing our boundaries before we were old enough to claim them. Boundaries help us differentiate where we end and our parents begin. And no one–not even a parent owns another person. I was in my forties before I understand boundaries. If you were not taught boundaries, it’s worth reading up on them, so let me say it again:

Boundaries separate what we own from what we don’t.

Boundaries help us differentiate between what we are responsible for and what we are NOT responsible for. If you grew up in a family with messy boundaries, it might be hard as an adult to find your boundaries.

Little Red and Wolf No Contact, Little Red Survivor Art

No Contact accessories available in Etsy Shop. Click on picture.

Sometimes people misuse the term boundaries to issue more control. I heard of a reader whose parents always talked about boundaries and used the term to say they were not going to help him with anything. They were negligent and self-centered parents and his understanding of boundaries was confused because he thought of boundaries as walls that shut other people out. What his parents modeled was not healthy boundaries–but a wall of self-protection.

For years, I avoided reading about boundaries because I too, mistakenly thought of them as a wall. After I read Henry Cloud’s book, I realized boundaries are more like a gate. A gate is a device that either blocks or opens allowing us to decide who and what we let into our lives.

There were times as a young adult that I felt responsible for my family members. I made the mistake of paying their bills before I paid my own. My boundaries were totally confused because I felt responsible for what belonged to others. I wasn’t using the gate to determine where my responsibilities begin and end.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with helping someone, but we first need to take responsibility for our own bills–otherwise we might fail to pay our bills and end up with our money problems affecting someone else’s boundaries. We might even find ourselves out on the street because we were too nice to pay our own bills and paid someone else’s bills. Sometimes being nice is not a virtue–not if you fail to pay your own bills and help someone else. Finding our boundaries helps us utilize our time and resources. The protocol for using an oxygen mask on an airplane demonstrates basic boundaries–if we don’t breathe, we can’t help anyone else.

There is a fallacy called ad misericodiam where a person cries for someone to give him money–not because he is willing to work, but because he needs the money. Most people who need someone else to pay for them or expect others to make them happy are not talking responsibility for their own boundaries.

There is a proverb that says:

A short-tempered man must bear his own penalty;
you can’t do much to help him.
If you try once, you must try a dozen times!
-Proverbs 19:19

In a narcissistic family, the boundaries were scrambled. You were probably taught to feel responsible for your parent’s feelings–while they ignored yours. And you were probably blamed for making them sad, while they didn’t want you to express your own sadness. Sometimes all you had to do to make them sad was tell the truth. Do you realize how unfair this is? If telling the truth made your parents sad, this was not your fault–it was their fault for not living better lives.

Many ACONs were told, “If you would just stop complaining, everything could be fine.” IOW–It doesn’t matter if you were taken out of school and moved for the fifteenth time. If you are crying about it, then you are ruining the family spirit. This concept is a not only a gaslighting technique, but it’s a fallacy. First of all, you were never responsible for the feelings and reactions of your family members and second, you have a right to your feelings and you don’t need to justify why it hurt you to be hit with a belt or say goodbye to your friends every time you moved.

Because the blurred boundaries in an enmeshed family create all kinds of false shame and emotions that were not even yours to begin with, it’s important to understand boundaries to differentiate where your parent ends and you begin. Your parents are not living in your body, so only you can decide how to take care of yourself. They are not earning your money, so only you can spend it. They were not given your vote, that is yours to cast as you believe.

When people blow up or shun you because they are disappointed with your choices, they are asking you to give them something that was never theirs in the first place. Your individuality, your dreams, your beliefs and your vote are your God-given birthright and no one has the right to take them from you. You cannot give these things away and remain whole. You are the only one responsible to God for your choices.

If you just discovered boundaries and have been giving your parents your power, it’s never too late to take it back. A simple rule of thumb is to let others decide for themselves and insist on making your own choices.

In the video below, Dr. Henry Cloud gives a short intro to Boundaries and what they are, if you have never read his books you will be blessed.

*ACON Adult Children of Narcissists