For Anyone Who Dreads the Holidays

woman in rain

image from Pinterest – HERE

Another holiday is upon us. I know that many of us dread the holidays for one reason or another. Some of you will be alone and others have to tolerate relatives they would rather not ever see.

Divorced parents have to coordinate with their ex, or miss the holiday with their kids all together. Memories of traumatizing past holidays trigger emotional flashbacks while you try to maintain your holiday cheer for the sake of your children.

Adult children of abusive parents suffer a triggering of old emotional wounds. Memories of traumatic experiences creeping into your mind, or bombarding you with full frontal assault.

People with chronic illnesses, progressive diseases, and chronic pain feel the weight of knowing it was not always this difficult, and it should not be this difficult.

Many people that have chronic pain and illness will be isolated, or struggling to keep up with things only to have a less than pleasant day.

Depression is often amplified during a holiday. Whether you are self isolating or are isolated because people got tired of dealing with your mental illness, being alone can make feelings of hopelessness worse.

young girl sad face

image from Pinterest – HERE

Some people will end up in a room full of loud, busting people only to feel more alone in the middle of the crowd. Being at any kind of gathering can be terribly draining and depressing for people who already suffer from depression.

OCD, PTSD and anxiety disorders can all be triggered to be worse in the midst of dealing with the expectations of friends and family. Even the media and society seems to judge and mock those who just cannot feel the “spirit” of a holiday.

So to all of you I send compassion. Feel free to provide links to your holiday posts on my blog, if you want to share how you are dealing with the holiday. I will post something on Sunday for this purpose.

Peace of mind is the most important thing for you on the holiday. So prioritize your mental well being. Don’t be afraid to say NO to people, and use the “spoonie method” to get through.

Much love,

Annie💕

Bullying and Shaming is Abuse

bullying

Image

My Top Favorite Self Care Behaviors

self care

Self care is part of self parenting. If you have C-PTSD from childhood abuse, emotional trauma, or neglect, then you were probably not taught to care for yourself.

If your emotional needs were regularly discounted then you were trained to ignore your feelings about being uncomfortable, and taught to hide those feelings. You were not able to get what you needed to make your environment feel safe and comfortable.

If your parents did not make an effort to care for your need to feel safe and comfortable, then you were programmed into discounting your own comfort needs.

Everone has the need to feel comfort, safety and pleasure. It is not selfish to have these needs. It is normal and it is part of the survival instinct.

As an adult who came from a narcissistic pareny or otherwise dysfunctional family, you have to learn how to parent yourself now. …Not in the same way you were parented as a child. But in a nurturing, compassionate way.

Learning thow to care for yourself will allow you to have more energy and patience ti share your love with other people.

Love the loving. Maintain behaviors of self love and then show compassion to people who have the capacity for love and empathy. Do not waste energy trying to change unloving people.

So here is a list of my top 10 favorite self care ideas. Please share your own favorite ideas in the comments below.

1. Wrap up in hot towels from the dryer. You don’t have to be doing wash at the time. Just toss 2 or 3 nice towels in the dryer and dry them on high, for 10 or 15 minutes. Then wrap up in them.

2. Cover yourself in soft blankets. Buy one special blanket that has your favorite texture. Running your hands over pleasing textures can calm the nervous system, similar to petting a soft furred animal.

3. Take a warm shower or bath. You don’t have to wait until you need to bathe. Hot steamy showers have a healing effect and calm the nervous system. Submersing yourself in a bath of warm water will help you be mindful of the present moment.

4. Listen to music that makes you feel empowered. Your favorite music has a direct effect on your nervous system and will generate dopamine and feel-good chemical responses.

5. Petting and playing with your favorite kind of animals. Animals are living spiritual beings. Different people are drawn to different animals for different emotional and spiritual energies that these animals have.

6. Water has healing properties. Drinking clean water…swimming in water… and being near the ocean, stream… or a beautiful sparkling lake…all have spiritually uplifting possibilities.

7. Creating your perfect sleep space. Your sleeping area needs to be a calm haven of nurturing and soothing quality. Alter your lighting with red or other colored light bulbs in a table lamp. Add soothing sounds and textureus. The colors should be ones that are important to you and have an affect on your nervous system.

8. Uplifting words. Read or watch videos by people who inspre you. Your self esteem should feel boosted after spending time with a message that energizes and validates you.

9. Learn to say NO, without feeling obligated to make them agree that your reasons are valid. Being afraid to say NO to people will cause you to be forced into situations that deplete your energy and your self esteem.

10. Create things that are inventive, artistic, authentic or unique. Draw, color, craft, write a poem, sing in your unique voice, write, create a new yoga routine, rearrange items in a unique way, decorate a box, add fringe to your lampshade with a hot glue gun, change the laces in your sneakers to colored ones, make a beaded bracelet, plant some flowers, choose your favorite material at JoAnne fabrics and lay it on your table for a table cloth, buy a bag of buttons at the craft store and sew them onto your tops and jackets, add some coloful garnishes to your dinner plate….explore….create…don’t worry about comparing your creativity to others….be yourself!

 

 

Shame Holds us Back from Our Possibilities

This is a great talk by Brene Brown.

She describes the difference between shame and guilt very elegantly here. She has done extensive research about shame, and states that it is a cause of depression, anxiety and suicide in most cultures. 

She talks about shame as an epidemic in our culture and how the media and society program us for shame. The ads that tell us how we “should be,”
 and what we “should be doing.” …to the people in our lives that expect us to live up to unreasonable standards. 

Shame can come from abuse and emotional trauma in our childhoods, and in our adulthood experiences. Shame is programmed into us by others. You can re-wire the brain with thought patterns that are more supportive for you. Shame is a destroyer.

I believe that many mental disorders are based in shame. I work with abuse survivors that carry loads of shame from their past. Even when people come to the realization that they were abused, the shame does not just go away. In fact sometimes it becomes worse, during the healing process because old wounds are being opened up. 

Walking through the programs that are in your brain is important, to be able to find the truth about yourself. You are a special, unique person.

You do not have to carry toxic shame with you.

You cannot change the past, but you can change the meaning of the memories that you carry of it. 

The people that planted those seeds were just trying to meet their own agenda by keeping you down, and unsure of your value and place in the world. 

Brene Brown makes the point that creativity, inventiveness, and change come from a place of vulnerability. Doing things that are different, and uniquely you means you have to be somewhat vulnerable.

The greatest minds of the world came up with original ideas and creations and discoveries. They were not always met with acceptance. 

You do not have to follow the crowd. You have your own voice…you just have to find it and differentiate that authentic voice from the programs that were implanted into your brain. Shame is one of those programs that is no longer serving you. 

 

Love the Loving

love the loving

Love the loving people. Share your kindness and love with people who are able to love and care for people. Waste not your loving energies on people who cannot love others. 

Show compassion for those who have compassion and are capable of empathy with others. Loving people will fill your energies, rather than drain them. 

The energy exchange between two loving people will raise both of them up to a higher consciousness level. You will feel like a part of them has been added to you. This will not cause them to lose anything. 

Being kind and loving to another person who have love and compassion, will add part of yourself to them. They will carry part of you with them, but this will not cause you to lose anything. 

If you feel you are being drained bu someone, be careful not to lose yourself in them. If this is a person incapable of empathy and compassion, then they will take from you and not give anything back. 

narcissistic abuse meme rebuild

Share your kindness and your special spiritual gifts with other who are special. It will uplift you and you will feel your love for all living things growing inside you.

Holding resentment for someone who abused you can be like a dark hole inside of you. Sharing love with loving people can help to fill this darkness with light. The more light you carry with you, the more it will surround you. Others will feel the warmth of this light that is being generated by your spirit.

Coping with PTSD and Anxiety Disorders

If you have PTSD or an anxiety disorder, some days you have to take breaks between your tasks. Different people are triggered by different things and becoming overloaded can result in a complete meltdown or panic attack.

Pushing through your day without a break to calm yourself will drain you. It can take a lot of energy to do errands and activities, when you are being exposed to triggers in your environment.

Being sleep deprived can add to your anxiety. It is important to find ways to get enough rest and sleep. If anxiety keeps you from sleeping well at night, your body and your brain may require naps during the day. Self care is important.

If you need breaks between doing things, try to think ahead to plan enough time to take them. Be gentle and adaptable with yourself.

You are your own best advocate. Draw boundaries when you need them. Think of how you would treat a friend in circumstances like the ones you are in at the time, if your friend also suffered from PTSD. 

Sometimes it gives some perspective to think of what allowances and flexibility you would offer someone else. Looking at yourself from an observer point of view can help you gain some perspective and design coping methods for yourself.

Sending love and healing energies,

Annie💕

 

Narcissistic Abuse Blog Tumblr

Narcissistic Abuse blog on Tumblr

Follow me on Tumblr HERE

Emotophobia and Being Manipulated by Others

Emotophobia is the fear of unpleasant emotions, not to be confused with emetophobia, the fear of vomiting.

There is little online about emotophobia.

The few articles I found offered the suggestion to “stop treating negative emotions as if they are your enemies and can harm you.”

This is somewhat condescending and implies that emotions themselves cannot harm you.

The person offering this advice clearly has never been in a situation where showing negative emotions could harm them.

So, they think it is rather ridiculous that someone would associate their negative emotions with danger.

The problem with this thinking is that there are situations where someone’s emotions can cause them harm.

This advise shows a complete misunderstanding of emotophobia and its root causes.

People with emotophobia are not “treating” emotions as if they are the enemy.

For people that have emotophobia, emotions were the enemy and they were followed by consequences.

People that grew up in mentally abusive childhoods were not permitted to have emotions like other people are.

The expression of emotion, which represents being an individual, is often punished by abusive parents.

Even children who were not physically abused, could have had their right to individual ideas and feelings violated.

Narcissistic parents and other overbearing, maniplulative parents do not want their children to develop independent thoughts and ideas.

They do not want their children thinking in terms of their own needs at all. When their children expressed feelings, the parents retaliated.

Punishments from the silent treatment to aggressive verbal abuse of the child are used.

Physical consequences may also follow as a matter of course, when a child showed anything resembling disobedience, including not feeling what they were told to feel.

These mentally abusive parents, want the focus on themselves and their needs. They demand for the child to cater to their ever changing desires and demands.

In order to survive in this type of environment, the child must learn to constantly read the parent’s body language and tone of voice.

They must anticipate the desires and moods of the parent. If they fail to do so, it is met with negative consequences.

If the child expresses disagreement, or unhappiness with the parent, they will likely invoke the anger and wrath of the parent.

Even a facial expression of disagreement with the parent can bring out their anger.

For their own protection, these children and teenagers learn to disguise their feelings and push them down.

They do not want the parent to see their feelings because it will be used against them.

If you grew up in this type of environment, then feeling negative emotions was the enemy. It is not something we have suddenly developed an irrational fear of as adults.

This environment causes C-PTSD, which is Complex Post Traumatic Stess Disorder, in many people. This is carried over into adulthood.

So, the advice to “stop treating emotions as if they were the enemy” and to tell people that feeling emotions is safe, does not make sense to someone with C-PTSD from childhood mental abuse.

Adults can also develop emotophobia from ongoing abusive relationships with a partner. Women become afraid to disagree with their partner because they fear his anger.

Abusive people do not tolerate independence from their partner. When the partner asserts the fact that they are an individual person, it is met with extreme resistance or anger from the narcissist.

Again, the brain rewires the neural connections to avoid showing negative feelings. This is a necessary survival tactic at the time.

It is not easily undone. The brain considers it necessary in order to protect the safety of the person.

It takes years to develop this survival tactic and to detach from and avoid negative emotions. The brain becomes wired to discourage entering into situations that may cause negative emotions.

To undo what was a learned survival skill takes a lot of work in re-wiring the brain.

Telling someone “emotions are your friends” does not work, especially without any idea why the person feels such anxiety about emotions like anger and sadness.

 

 

The problem with emotophobia is that having it makes you easier for people to manipulate. People that want their way all the time, can use emotional manipulation to make you want to comply, rather than experiencing the pain of the emotophobia symptoms. 

Realizing that you allow people to have their way, in order to avoid upsetting them is the first step to healing. Then you can understand that people get upset sometimes and unless you are in danger from them in some way, you can endure the feelings you will go through when they react to you. 

You can begin to recognize when someone is trying to emotionally manipulate you. They will not take no for an answer. They use shame and guilt to get you to do things. Another sign is that their reactions to things will be far out of proportion to the “slight” they should be perceiving. 

You have just as much of a right to your boundaries as anyone else does. People should not get their way just because they play on your fear of upsetting them. 

**for information about coaching, hypnosis, and NLP for people with C-PTSD and emotophobia see my web site HERE or follow the gentlekindness facebook page HERE

Saying NO to Emotional Manipulators

emotional abuse 22

image from Pinterest link HERE

Saying “no” to people comes very easily to some and is nearly impossible for others.

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.

Gaslighting can confuse our ability to trust ourselves and our perceptions.

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.

THE ACT OF SAYING NO, CAN TRIGGER A VERY UNCOMFORTABLE PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSE. IN ORDER TO AVOID FEELING  SEVERELY UNCOMFORTABLE, WE JUST SAY “YES” WHEN WE REALLY WANT TO SAY “NO.”

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.

IT IS PERFECTLY NORMAL AND ACCEPTABLE FOR YOU TO SAY “NO” TO PEOPLE WHEN THEY ARE ASKING YOU TO DO SOMETHING THAT YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO OR SOMETHING WHICH CROSSES YOUR BOUNDARIES.

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.

You can set boundaries about your personal space and your personal items. 

 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. 

They are trying to use your good and caring personality against you.

my love story

image from mylovestory.me and Pinterest

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.

Here is a list of ways to say NO…

No.

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. “

If they refuse to accept your “no”, then you still do not have to do what they want just to make them stop complaining.

 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.

Setting Boundaries with Manipulative People

  1. Other people do not get to decide what upsets you and what does not.
  2. Other people have no frame of reference about your life, to be able to decide if you are being “too sensitive” or “hyper sensitive” . No…they just don’t get to!
  3. Shaming someone is not love or support in any way, no matter how they attempt to twist things around to convince you. No shaming! Don’t accept it!
  4. People do not have the right to tell you how to perceive reality or to question you perception of reality. No they don’t! Just say NO !
  5. You are completely entitled to your feelings and to feel hurt when someone is….. mean, disrespectful, inconsiderate, selfish, sarcastic, deceitful, dishonest, disappointing, exploitative, condescending or minimizing to your reality. (image from Pinterest link HERE)puppet.jpg
  6. Someone insisting you perceive things the way they tell you to all the time is gaslighting you.
  7. You have the right to a conversation with a loved one about abusive or hurtful behavior. You are not being abusive to them when you point out behavior that hurts you and express your feelings about that behavior!!!
  8. Conversations about your feelings that always turn around somehow to be about their feelings, is a red flag of narcissistic abuse.
  9. No demeaning behavior, embarrassing you, disrespectful behavior or condescending attitudes have to be tolerated. It does not prove that you love them…it is just evidence that you have been desensitized to that kind of treatment.
  10. Excuses for their behavior that make you the cause of it, are UNACCEPTABE !

 

*PLEASE NOTE **If you are in an abusive relationship with someone that you fear may become violent, then please do not provoke them ! …. Get help, and carefully plan your escape from them. …..Do not risk violence to yourself or your children….. Pathological people can suddenly become much more violent when confronted by a partner. 

Previous Older Entries

Categories