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I have found that many people with C-PTSD have trouble saying no. If you were brought up in a mentally or otherwise abusive childhood, saying “NO,” may be associated with severe consequences to you.
If you lived with a parent that had narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder, then they probably used confusion tactics on you, to the point where there was “no” way to say no to them.
It may be difficult to tell what situations that “NO,” would be perfectly okay, and what situations where saying no, would really cause a problem.
If you grew up in an environment where your feelings and thoughts were not considered relevant, then you probably feel that your feeling of wanting to say no, just does not count. Even though the same person may say “No” to you all the time, you do not feel that you have the same right to say no, that they do.
If you were even in an abusive situation where disobeying meant punishment , then you probably have a fear of retaliation from others. There is an anxiety response triggered by saying no and refusing to comply with another person’s request.
Triggers are very real and the tendency is to want to avoid feeling the bodily sensations associated with them. Ignoring triggers and going against our conditioned responses, is a very difficult thing to do.
You are allowed to set personal boundaries for yourself. You can also set boundaries for certain people that you do not want crossed.
You can set boundaries in regards to your emotions, your time, your energy, your work and your social interactions. You can set boundaries in regards to dating, doing work for people and doing favors for people.
Any situation where someone is trying to get you to do something by using your emotions against you, is a situation where your boundaries need to come into play.
Sometimes people do not accept your simple NO or your reasons for saying NO. They try to convince you be making you feel guilty or by shaming you.
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They want you to feel bad and they do this by intentionally pushing whatever buttons they know you have. If they know that you want to feel like you are cooperative they will call you uncooperative.
If they know that you have helped them many times in the past, they will lie and tell you that they do not remember the last time you did them any favors.
Don’t fall for these manipulative behaviors. If someone feels the need to make you feel guilty in order to do them a favor, then they really do not deserve the favor.
People should accept No, especially if you have perfectly good reasons for saying no, even if the reason is that you just do not feel comfortable doing it or do not want to do it.
No, thank you.
No, I really cannot do that.
No, I do not want to do that.
No, I am not interested in that.
No, I cannot find time in my schedule to do that.
No, I am just too overloaded right now, to do that.
No, I am not interested in doing that.
No, you go ahead without me.
No, please ask someone else.
No, I do not have to think about it. I would rather tell you NO right now.
I said no. Please respect my answer
If you have a history with this person that tells you that they will counter any reasons you give them for saying No, then you can try something like this..
“In the past my giving reasons for my No, seems to have just been an opening for someone to tell me the reasons are not good enough or to dispute my reasons in some way. So this time I am going to say simply No without going over my reasons with you. “
Just because they are going to upset that you told them “no”, does not mean that you are responsible for their feelings. As long as you were not intentionally trying to hurt their feelings, then you did not cause for them to feel bad.
If someone is an adult then they are responsible for their own feelings. Much of the time, manipulative people are acting when they get dramatic with you. They can be very dramatic about how disappointed they are in you or about how selfish they think you are.
These are more reasons not to tell them “yes” every time they demand something from you. The more times they are able to manipulate you, the more they will resort to the same tactics over and over again.
**Please note that this article is not talking about partner relationships where the person will physically abuse you or will otherwise punish you for saying no. Those relationships are volatile and should be escaped as soon as possible but I never recommend to ignite retaliation in a severely abusive person.
It is designed more for situations where you are in no immediate danger or impending danger.
This article is also not a recommendation to tell your boss no to doing work, thus risking your job. If your boss is abusive it is a different topic and must be handled with a different strategy that is not discussed in this post.
While our brain is designed to protect us, sometimes the different parts of your brain fail to coordinate properly. The triunal brain theory teaches us that we are driven by the parts of the brain we are not conscious of.
It isn’t that we cannot discover what beliefs the subconscious brain is holding. It is more that we do not recognize the importance of doing so. There are methods of trance, hypnosis and NLP that can guide you to connect with what is driving your choices and behaviors.
Staying in a toxic relationship is something that many people do. Outsiders to the relationship may either judge you for stsying in it, or they may judge you for considering leaving it. In fact there may be both kinds of social pressure coming at you from different directions.
The subconscious brain holds core beliefs that have been imbedded and programmed since childhood. One belief that may have been programmed into you is that “good family members” tolerate any and every behavior from other family members.
You may be holding the belief that while breaking off relationships with people outside the family is okay, you should never break off relationships with family members.
Toxic family members are often catered to by the family. When other family members become exhausted and drainef of all their energy, they expect you to take over the “catering” role.
Saying No to the toxic family member will be punished and retaliated against. They will shame and guilt you, using yout “brain programming” against you.
It is often the person that put the programs there in the first place, that is emotionally manipulating you. They know which buttons to press because they put them there in the first place. Or they witnesssed how you were trained to feel.
In toxic families, you are not only trainef to behave in a certain way, but you are conditioned to FEEL certain ways in certain situations. A toxic family member will train you to respond to their emotional manipulation, in order to avoid real or perceived consequences.
Getting in touch with our feelings and beliefs that are behind the scenes, can help you to take your power back. Someone can only emotionally manipulate you if they are able to elicit those negative feelings in you.
When you are in a situation where the toxic person is making you feel bad…STOP and evaluate what you are feeling. Decide to detach emotionally from the situation and assess it like an observer.
Observe and notice what thoughts are coming up at the back of your brain. What thoughts, fears and drives are at work in your brain?
Sometimes the very things we do in order to avoid pain, will end up keeping us in a relationship that gives us continuous pain.
The subconscious brain will kick on the fight or flight mode, when we are in a confrontation or conversation with the toxic family member. This function of fight or flight, wants to cause you to take an immediate action to get rid of the threat and avoid harm. But your reptilian brain and your limbic system are only operating out of what associations that have been programmed in, and the beliefs that they hold.
If you were raised in a family with a toxic person ( or people) then there are “false beliefs” that are carried by your subconscious. The feelings you have that drive you to comply with the toxic person, are based on a false belief system.
It is in the best interest of the malignant, pathological person for you to hold onto beliefs like the following.
1. The toxic person does not harm me intentionally
2. They cannot help their behavior
3. They think their behavior is the best for the family
4. I am not worthy of standing up for myself
5. Standing up to the emotionally abusive person is rude
6. I have to do what the manipulative person wants, if I cannot reasonably get them to see my side
7. The toxic person hears me when I explain my side
8. Going against what the family wants would make me a bad person
9 Deep down the toxic person actually appreciates all I do for them
10. The manipulative family member would break down and not be able to go on, if I stopped catering to them
11. The family would fall apart without my holding it together
12. My independence and happiness is not a priority over the family
13. If I really needed something they would be there for me
14. My needs, desires and dreams are not as important as the other family members, or as the toxic person
15. My perceptions are not valid when they are different than those of the family, or the manipulative person
16. Prioritizing my mental, emotional and physical health over the demands of the family is wrong.
17. I could not survive without the family
18. I owe my family, and the toxic person, to stay and cater to them for my entire life
19. If I leave they will no longer love me. ( This is based on the false assumption that they love you now)
20. The toxic person loves me. They just don’t know how to show it
21. Taking abuse from someone proves your love for them.
These are all incorrect, untrue, false beliefs that are carried my adult children of toxic families. Sometimes your family is just who you were born to.
You have no obligation to people just because you share a blood line with them. All the time and energy they demand from you could be spent with people who actually deserve it.
There are people waiting to meet you, who would support and care for you. There is a higher path and sporitual connectedness for your life.
You have to emotionally detach from the narcissists,psychopaths, and emotionally manipulative, abusive people in your life.
Chances are the family will not fall to ruins without you, although they may try to manipulate you into thinking that. They can either respect you as an individual with rights and boundaries, or they can live without you.
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The people that try to make you feel guilt or shame over not doing what they want you to do, are just serving their own agenda.
If they continue to try to emotionally manipulate you, they have no concern for your reality. They do not respect your right to see things from your own point of view.
People will claim to know what you should start doing…or stop doing..that will make you a better person. But take a closer look and see that they are trying to get you to fit into their own agenda.
You do not have to change your core beliefs to make someone else’s reality more comfortable. They are clearly not changing their beliefs to suit you.
If you are not trying to guilt and shame them, then what right do they have to do it to you. What gives one person, or one group of people, exclusive rights to know everything that everyone “should” and “should not” be doing?
Shaming people is not loving. Any group or individual that is making you feel bad about yourself, or trying to make you question your own truth to support theirs, is more concerned with serving their own agenda than wanting you to be your authentic self.
People that claim to care about your best interest, but try to shame and guilt you into changing for them, do not have your best interest at heart….but they have their own best interest at heart.
So let them continue to follow their own path and do what they feel best supports them…..while you follow your own path and do what best supports you.
Why is it okay for them to want an environment they feel safe and supported in….but you are selfish because you also want to feel safe and supported?
Depression can feel like some outer dark force is trying to destroy you. People with severe depression have differences in MRI scans than other people. But even though it shows up as a physiological illness, it often feels like something else.
It can feel as though your mind is being darkened by an outside, malevolent force. Many people with severe depression have experienced mental abuse, even if it was acvompanied by other manifestations of abuse.
Mental abuse is an intentional manipulation of another person’s mind and perceptions of reality. It is an interferance with a person’s perception of themselves, their identity, and even their mental state.
People can be abused for years and never know it was abuse, because they were too young to understand, or the abuser caused a “shared psychosis” that made them perceive the abuse as something else.
Depression can feel like a malevolent force trying to manipulate and destroy you. This can be a result of past abuse that is still affecting the brain. When someone’s core reality, and identity is interfered with it does not just go away, once the abuser is no longer around to continue the abuse.
Adults who are mentally abusee by a partner can have PTSD for months or even years after the abuser has left. The abuser does this intentionally. They want control over the victim to last long after they are gone.
They engineer this in order to maintain a hold over the victim after they are gone. There are a few reasons for this, including reserving the victim on the back burner in case the abuser decides to hoover you back into their luves again, later on.
It also gives the narcissist a feeling of grandios power to have such a hold over another human being. It makes them feel godlike.
Not all people with depression were abused, but many of them were and are not attributing it to the abuse.
But this sensation that the depression is sufgocating a darkness around you from the outside, could possibly be a clue that there was some severe manipulation to your mind, by a narcissist or a psychopathic narcissist that you do not remember.
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Living with a pathological narcissist means being forced into giving up your own identity, dreams, rights, and opinions. They are always right, , and anything you do that seems like you are trying to be an equal, will be shut down.
It is difficult for people who have not lived under the heavy weight, of the dark shadow, of a pathological narcissist to understand.
People will tell you that all you have to do is stand up to them, and assert your boundaries. But if you have lived with one of ….”the people that have no conscience” … then you know that the consequences that follow any attempt to assert your individuality, are met with severe punishment.
The malignant narcissist knows the weaknesses of their victim. If you love your children, they will threaten them, or turn them against you.
If you need your car to get to work, they will remove your car and refuse to return it until you submit. If you have friends, they will manipulate them, lie to them and ruin your relationships.
If you are seriously ill, they will tell people you are faking being sick to get out of seeing them. They will “accidentally” run into your employer and tell them you are pretending to be sick in order to get time off from work.
If you are struggling financially, due to repeated undermining behaviors by the narcissist, they will tell others how much they have helped you financially, and how ungrateful you are behaving to them.
If they humiliate you be spreading personal information they spied through your computer to discover, they will make it clear to you that they have more dirt on you. ….. Comply or suffer.
They will convince you to quit your job and then shame you. They will offer for you to move in with them, saying they need you there, only to send out Christmas card letters telling everyone how much you are imposing on them.
When you attempt to get a job, or start a business, to make enough money to move out, they will undermine you at every turn. …steal your keys and take your car out for an oil change, when you need to get to work.
When you complain that they took your car when you needed to get to work, they will tell you that since they are now helping with the maintenance of the vehicle ( the one oil change that it did not need, and you did not ask for) that the title to the car should actually be in their name… It’s only fair, right?
When you have a business appointment that you have to get to on time, they will block your car in with theirs, so you cannot get out.
When you ask them to move their car, they will demand all the information about your business, so that they can further undermine you.
When you get a pet for comfort, they steal the supplies you bought for it, and put them where you cannot reach them. Then they nail the cage to a table in their yard, so that you cannot take it.
If you purchase any property, like furniture, they will insist it was always theirs. If it becomes damaged they will demand that you pay for it.
If you live with a psychopathic narcissist, they will break your appliances and scream at you for breaking them. You will go without a shower or a stove….even when you rent (which is unreasonanly high) has always been paid on time to them.
When you tell them that these things are legally required to be working, they will tell you they have other projects to finish in the house first, such as new wall paper in their bedroom.
If you use their shower and the pipe behind the wall leaks, they will tell you the water damage was caused by you not knowing how to use the shower curtain. When you show them the floor next to the shower is dry, they ignore you and continue to explain how to properly pull the shower curtain closed, so that you do not damage their house again.
When you ask the plumber, right in front of the narcissist, if water from the shower curtain not being pulled tight could send water pouring through two floors of celings, he laughs and says no. When you remind the narcissist of this conversation the next time they tell you there was water damage due to your not pulling the shower curtain closed, they deny the plumber was ever there.
When the therapist tells you to bring the narcissist to therapy with you, because the therapist feels that everyone can live in harmony once the therapist teaches everone proper techniques for communication, DON’T DO IT!
The narcissist is not unaware of methods for communication. Their methods are intentional and not accidental.
Make no mistake. The narcissist is in full control of their communication methods.
They are able to behave during the idealization (honermoon) phase. They are not confused as to why everyone is not getting along… or about why all the relationships around them are in chaos.
They divide and conquer, with a Machiavellian philosophy.
The ends jusitifies the means.
They say one thing to you, and the opposite to someone else. They deny saying things, manipulating you, and threatening you.
They will never admit what they do, or what they say to you behind closed doors. They deny reality to discredit you, turn people against you, and to create chaos so that they can be on top.
They intentionally use techniques of brainwashing and creating a … “shared psychosis”…in order to to scapegoat certain people. The family members who seem to want to hold onto their identity, and will not let the narcissist make them bow down to their greatness.
The narcissist will retaliate against you when you try to shed light on the truth. Their secret identity is hidden under the mask, and they hate you for knowing who they really are.
They will stop at nothing to destroy you, financially, socially, and physically. Their tactics will cause deterioration of your physical and mental health.
Why don’t people simply just stand up to the narcissist they are living with and assert themselves?
Because often times you have a better chance escaping them without severe damage, if you let them think they have control, while you are secretly filling your bank account and packing boxes that you hide in the closet.
The retaliation by a psychopathic narcissist is so severe it has driven many victims to suicide. Unless you have lived with them, you cannot imagine what they are capable of.
People that care about you…and care about others in general, do not use bullying tactics to get their agenda met. They do not intentionally overblow, contort, and reframe events.
Caring people do not have a ridiculously overblown reaction to a little thing that you did “wrong” ( against their personal rules) and then tell all of your friends, family or co-workers that you victimized them.
Someone who wants to be your friend does not refuse to hear your side of a disagreement, shift blame for their over reaction onto you and then put malicious words in your mouth that you never said.
Toxic people pretend to be your friend until they feel threatened by you, have no more use for you, or you refuse to agree with everything they say…and do everything they want.
Narcissists see themselves as more entitled than you to everything , whether you deserve it more or not.
Narcissists want you to admire their greatness and submit to being their minion.
If you stop catering to their ever-changing whims, they will gather their other minions to turn against you….and destroy things you care about…..friendships, your reputation, your job, your marriage, your business, your self esteem, or your ability to move forward with your life.
They won’t change, even if they tell you they will. If they turned against you or discarded you once …they will do it again…and harder.
Once you begin to feel your self esteem go down every time you talk with someone, it is time to back away.
Once you begin to notice that every time you have a conversation with them you have to go back over the entire thing in your head to figure out what the hell just happened….it is time to back away….or run if you can..
Relationships should involve two people…..
Two different sets of opinions that are respected
Two different sets of personal boundaries that are respected
Two sets of ideals and thoughts that are respected
Two different schedules that are respected
Two different ways of feeling about situations that are respected
Two different sets of dreams , skills, talents and aspirations that are supported and respected
Two different individual people that are respected
Get the idea?
Narcissists are poisonous.
If you were brought up in a chaotic, dysfunctional, emotionally abusive or negligent childhood then you were taught not to focus on your own needs. As an adult you are at a disadvantage in taking care of yourself.
You might notice that other people draw boundaries and get what they want easier than you do. This is because they were taught that their needs matter and that you have to take care of yourself or no one else will.
Those of us with “People Pleaser Syndrome” were taught ..” if you cater to someone else then eventually that person will take care of you.”
You are supposed to keep sacrificing for others until they appreciate you for what you have sacrificed for them. Unfortunately people most often do not change from “being catered to” to “taking care of you.”
The problem is that the people around you get trained … “spoiled”…that you do not mind being the one they take advantage of. You are the one whobwill come through no matter how inconvenient or painful it is for you.
If you have C-PTSD from abuse as a child (including emotional / psychological) abuse then you are likely to have depression and anxiety disorders.
Many people that were not nurtured and guided to be independent adults now have C-PTSD and do not even know what is wrong with them. As much as you may want to forget your childhood ever existed, it is that early proframming that is still ruling your subconscious thinking, from behind the scenes.
You are not even aware why you make the choices you make. In fact many of your behaviors do not feel like choices at all. You are programmed to respond to people in ways that make you unhappy and even upset with yourself.
The holidays can be miserable for adult children that come from families that programmed them to ignore their true inner voices. But you inner voice is trying to tell you what you really need.
You have just as much of a right to enjoy the holidays as anyone else does. Let your conscious rational brain see when things are not balanced in your relationships.
Before you say yes to anything during the holidays, tell the person you need to think about it. Give yourself time to find out if the things you are choosing are best for you.
Your first response to people within a few seconds is coming from your programming that other people installed directly into your brain hard drive. But you have the right to override it.
You can refuse to respond to people right away. Just tell them you need to think about it and you will gey back to them. This simple action will tell people that you are a person and that if you choose to what they want it was because you decided to figure it into your schedule.
People may be shocked and resistant to your changing methods but if they always get their way then it is your turn. If you have always done what they want you to on the holidays then you can take one year to do things differently.
Take time to think through what choices best support you. Then do not let people emotionally manipulate you. Other adults such as parents . siblings and in laws do not have the right to demand you to cater to them, especially if they do not care about your feelings and needs.
Taking time to respond will allow you to think about and remeber which people care about you as opposed to which ones manipulate and take you for granite.
The people that manipulate your time are taking your time away from people who you would be happier being with and who deserve your time more.
There is no rule against taking time for yourself or spending it differently than you usually do. Change can be good for the soul and it is also good for your cognitive functionling. When you always go on auto-pilot, your brain loses plasticity.
The plasticity of your brain gets less flexible when you stay in a routine that never alters. It makes it harder for you to rhink of possibilities and options. Making small changes in your behaviors can increase this plasticity and allow you to see more choices.
For every option you see, there is another one that you are not seeing yet, but you might see it if you give yourself time before you commit to things toobfast.
People are not in control over you as much as it feels like. When dealing with manipulative family members you just go outbof your way to please people who neve4 give you the love and acceptance you need anyway.
Allow time for yourself and for people who will appreciate you more. There may be someone you would like to make time for that you have not thought of because they are not the “squeeky wheel.”
Think of what you would actually like to do during the holidays. If things are triggering to your anxiety or depression then you can …
Blow them off…
Keep the time to a minimum and then go do something you want to do…
Change something about your behavior that makes it more bearable such ad not agreeing to everything right away ( remember…I need to think about it)…
Don’t cater to people’s emotions who are minimizing or neglecting you feelings, wishes and rights…
Take control back for some aspect of the events and activities (do not do everthing the way they expect you to)…
Let people know that you have as much right to enjoy ( or at least not be miserable) during the holidays as they do…
Say “no” and let them figure out their next step…
Take notes for yourself about what people say and do so that they do not change the truth around to manipulate your memory. …
Set you own time table as far as what times you are able to come and go…other people do just this