Dealing with a Toxic Parent

.

Dealing with a toxic parent is frustrating and it can interfere with your personal life. 

Setting boundaries with them can feel impossible. You don’t know whether to go low contact or no contact with them. The feelings driving you are coming from your subconscious belief system that has been conditioned into you by the parent, and society. 

You may feel like you are taking the more noble path by continuing to cater to them, but you are being driven by habits that have been repeated since your childhood. Thought behaviors and conditioned emotions drive your choices. 

You can override your conditioned patterns, but you have to identify what false beliefs you are holding first. 

For more information and help, visit the gentlekindnesscoaching web site, and follow me on the facebook page.

.

Emotophobia from Emotional Abuse

emotophobia

.

image source Pinterest

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

.

There is little online about emotophobia, so I thought this would be a great topic to write about. People that suffer from emotophobia need to understand what it is and what causes it. It is the first step to healing.

.

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

.

This implies that emotions themselves cannot harm you. But abusive situations are different from normal ones. There are two basic reasons that people who grew up with abuse can end up with emotophobia. 

.

The narcissistic parent does not allow their child to be an individual. When the child expresses their feelings and thoughts that are different that the parent wants them to be, the parent reacts with punishment of some kind. 

.

Emotional punishments are typical from narcissistic parents, when the child asserts their boundaries, their feelings, or otherwise asserts their identity as an individual. 

.

Living with a parent that can suddenly explode, means to be on constant vigilant duty to protect the parent from becoming upset. In some cases the child has to take on the parenting role. 

.

Part of keeping the parent from becoming upset, is to keep any negative feelings of your own to yourself. So you are basically brainwashed into thinking that all negative emotions are bad, both yours and those of the people around you. 

.

Saying “No” to people can be difficult because it brings up the symptoms of the C-PTSD.  Adrenaline and cortisol are released into the body, alerting the person that there is a threat. Even if the threat is imagined, the physiological response is the same. The feelings of panic in the body are the same as if there is an actual danger or threat of danger.

.

People with emotophobia are wired to control their own emotions and the emotions of the people around them. We feel responsible to comply with people, in order to keep them from becoming angry or upset. This is called People Pleaser Syndrome.

 

There is an association between someone becoming upset and being hurt yourself. Complying with other people helps to keep the PTSD response at bay. The anxiety that an abused person feels when they are near someone who is becoming angry, can be overwhelming. 

.

yelling

.

image source Pinterest

.

This anxiety is then coupled with the fact that you are not “supposed to” express how you are feeling. So when the adrenaline kicks in from the PTSD response, the person just wants to shut it down as fast as possible.

.

It is better to avoid it all together and just keep the people around you content. At least that is how it can feel.

.

.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. It is not safe for them to express their feelings 

.

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

.

Adults who were emotionally abused as  children do not always recognize the abuse. They think that if they were not physically injured by their parents that everything else was okay. You may have felt that something was wrong when you were a child. If you did then you probably were emotionally and mentally abused. 

Narcissistic parents and other overbearing, manipulative 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.

.

 

.crying child

image source Pinterest

.

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 Stress 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 victim 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 subconscious brain wants to do everything to protect you. Living with an abusive parent requires the brain to alter neural pathways, in order to make you hypervigilant about the parent’s emotions.  It learns to focus more on their feelings than on yours, so that you can survive.

.

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. Experiencing emotions such as sadness, fear and anger is normal. You can learn that you can sit with emotions and get to the other side. 

,

**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

Highly Sensitive People are Scapegoats

Our perceptions about what we see and hear are influenced by the beliefs we hold. Sometimes feelings come up about what we think we know to be true that do not seem to match what is happening.

There is an incongruence between our rational thinking brain and our feelings. When this happens, we want to resolve the difference.

The tendency is for us to repress any feelings that do not logically fit the situation. Most of us have been conditioned to believe what we see and hear, over what we feel.

This conditioning is like a computer “program” that has been installed into us from an early age. Depending on your family, you may have been taught to keep your feelings to yourself if they do not match what others want you to feel.

Even what we see, and the meanings we attach to what we see, is influenced and interfered with by this programming. Many of the core beliefs you hold did not originate from your own mind.

Any feelings about yourself which are negative were programmed into you. Shame and feeling that you deserve to be blamed for things was programmed into you.

Not listening to your own feelings was programmed into you. People that perceive things very differently from the rest of their family are often forced to alter their perceptions.

Society tends to discourage allowing your feelings and intuition to guude you. If you were brought up in an emotionally abusive environment then you were trained that there are consequences for trying to have your feelings validated.

Highly sensitive people are scapegoated by abusive families. They are often criticized or mocked by society. The pain of being rejected can make highly sensitive people shut down emotionally.

Highly sensitive people, empaths and anyone who perceives the world differently than they are told to, are treated harshly by many others. The ones who like the status quo to remain in place, without being tampered with, highly dislike anyone pointing out faults in the system of thought that are being maintained by the group.

Many people are able to go along with the crowd, even if it involves a shared psychosis…meaning that someone created a narrative that is not true and told everone that is was true….and out of fear of rejection, everyone followed along. Over time peoplle who blindly follow others, begin to trust that their own perceptions are not real.

You cannot see anything that conflicts with your core beliefs, if those beliefs are firmly wired into your subconscious brain. You will only see, hear and perceive things in your environment that make sense with your beliefs.

It is not the conscious beliefs that really drive us, but it is the subconscious beliefs. Your subconscious holds certain things to be true and others to be either impossible or highly unlikely.

In emotionally abusive, and otherwise abusive households, the child that resists accepting the narratives that the abuser creates, is scapegoated and told they are “difficult” or that they are mentally disturbed. No one acknowledges your perspective or the fact that your feelings matter.

Maybe you grew up only to find yourself in situations with toxic people, that played out this scenario of you being invalidated and unheard over and over again.

You were programmed to see these things as proof that there is something wrong with you.

There isn’t anything innately wrong with you. Your heightened perceptions about the feelings and intentions of other people are a gift. A gift you may have cursed a time or two…..but a gift nonetheless.

The more you try to act like and be like other people, the more miserable you will be. Highly sensitive, empathic people have a strong need to be authentic.

You must embrace your authentic self without shame. You do not have to feel weird or out of place.

There is an impor purpose that only you can fill. You can learn to tell the difference between what you “are supposed to” perceive, and what you actually do perceive.

Listen to your feelings and let them guide you.

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

girl crying 2

image from Pinterest HERE

Trauma during childhood and teenage years leaves fractured pieces of yourself, existing  in time. As you begin to accept those child parts that feel abandoned, you will begin to realize that time is not as linear as we have been programmed to perceive it. 

.

All of those parts of you exists now. You can reach out to them and bring them into yourself to integrate those fractured parts, so they do not feel rejected and abandoned. 
This will help you to be more in the present, so that you can think more clearly and see what you want and what you can do with your life. 
.
C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is caused by being in on-going emotional / mental abuse from people that you feel entrapped with. There is no way to leave the situation, when you are a child and you are stuck in whatever situations your parents put you into. 
.

Emotional abuse and other kinds of abuse cause emotional wounds.

.

These emotional wounds are not able to heal while you are still in the abusive situations. Usually children are so used to the way they are living that there is no real frame of reference to know that you are being abused, or the degree to which the abuse is. 

.

Wounded children feel abandoned in time, and there is no proper integration of these child parts into the whole. It is like there is still a wounded child inside of you that is waiting for someone to rescue them. Doing inner child work can help the fractured parts to become integrated. 

.

If you have C-PTSD from childhood trauma, abuse, or chaotic events, your may have fractures and wounds in your subconscious. This can cause depression, anxiety disorders, OCD and other kinds of mental illness.

.

The feeling that you do not belong anywhere and that you are out of place can come from the fractured child parts feeling abandoned. They need to be accepted and nurtured. 

.

I am working on some hypnosis audios for healing the wounded child and helping the fractured parts to integrate. If you want to get updates about the audios, feel free to follow the Facebook Page, or to sign up on the contact page at the Gentlekindness coaching web site. 

.

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💕

Are You the Scapegoat in Your Family?

scapegoat

image from Pinterest – link here

If you are the scapegoat in your family, then you are the one that gets the most blame for things. They consider you the “difficult”  family member…usually you are the one who will not get with the program. 

Narcissists like to create their own narrative of the family, including assigning roles to each family member, and creating a cover story of how the family interactions are normal. Someone has to be blamed in this kind of family. 

It is a given that the narcissist gets special treatment in the family, and the family members are trained to go along with this. Everyone knows there are consequences and punishments for not complying with what the narcissist wants. 

The narcissist never takes any blame for things, and they might have made portrayed you as mentally disturbed, or defiant to outsiders of the family. The narcissist, of course, was the good parent who did their best to help you, in spite of your problems. 

 love me

Usually this person is targeted by the abuser because of their resistance to pretending that the household is normal.

If you were the truth teller…the revealer… in the family then you pointed out when boundaries were being crossed and when the other people were being mistreated. You were the one that probably defended siblings who were being abused. You may have tried to draw the abuse towards yourself in order to protect younger siblings from getting the brunt of it.

Very often the main abusive parent has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, although there are other personality disorders which cause people to abuse their children, like Malignant Borderline Personality Disorder. 

The narcissistic parent us the focal point of the family because they demand that their needs and desires are primary. The needs of the scapegoat are ignored. They are labeled as the troublemaker in the family. Things they say are often  used against them.

Fault for most every problem in the family ends of being dumped onto the scapegoat. The narcissist projects their own faults and personality disorder into the scapegoat. 

The scapegoat is the one that can see that something is wrong with the narcissistic parent ans their behavior. The narcissist wants everyone in the family to pretend that everything is normal and their abusive behaviors are not abusive. The scapegoat angers the narcissist by being able to see through the false reality they create.

If you were the scapegoat child then your accomplishments were ignored or minimized. You were compared to other family members and the narcissistic parent would see to it that your accomplishments were seen as less than the other children’s and their own. 

Family decisions may have been made without you in family meeting that you were intentionally not invited to. Yet you were still expected to go along with the decisions that narcissist made without expressing any dislike or negative feelings about anything.

You were emotionally punished for any resistance to what the narcissist wanted to do, even if it was harmful to you or others in the family. 

As an adult the narcissist probably gossips about you and talks about you behind your back. They twist around the reality of things you say and do, in order to give a false image to others about you. You are called selfish behind your back anytime you tell the narcissist “no” or try to set  healthy boundaries for the preservation of your mental health.

Your mental health is not only considered unimportant,  but it is attacked intentionally by the narcissistic parent in order to undermine you.

They use techniques like gaslighting and triangulating to break you down. You end up looking like the one who is at fault in the relationship because the narcissist lies to the other family members about you.

Even though the abusive parent is the unstable one, you are often made out to be the one that is mentally disordered.

Your behaviors are taken out of context and re-framed by the narcissist to appear illogical, irrational or selfish. By the time to are able to tell your side of the story to anyone, it is too late because the narcissist got to them first and has been spreading a smear campaign against you.

At times you may be shunned by the narcissist or by the entire family, because the narcissist tells them that they should not speak to you.

However when someone is needed to step in during an emergency you are often the first one they will call and expect to drop everything to help. You are expected to be the problem solver and the one to offer assistance, even after you were made to feel inadequate in the past.

Responsibility is not equally allotted or equally shared.

The scapegoat is always expected to do more than anyone else without complaining, and they are expected to do the work that no one else wants to do.

There is never any thank you or credit given to the scapegoat for doing things for the family. In fact there will be a big deal made over a little thing that the golden child did for the narcissist, while your contribution and efforts are minimized or forgotten…until the next time they need something from you.

Scapegoating is a reflection on the person refusing to take responsibility or be held accountable, not the person being blamed. The scapegoat also provides a buffer against reality to support the family denial. The scapegoat carries the lion’s share of the blame, shame, anger and rejection so narcissistic mother can maintain her patterns of dysfunction while continuing to appear normal. 

The scapegoat is punished by several methods. Shaming, ignoring, minimizing accomplishments, undermining, abused, rejected, singled out for blame.

scapegoatsofanarcissisticmother.blogspot.com

The narcissistic parent will tell people that they have done many things for you and that they gave tried to be supportive of you. They will tell others that they have been a good parent for you and that you do not appreciate their efforts. They will sometimes go so far as to claim that you are abusive to them and play the victim themselves.

The golden child is the sibling that is put on a pedestal by the parent and expected to make the narcissist look good.

The parent claims the credit for the accomplishments of the golden child. The golden child will remain in the favor of the narcissist as long as they succeed and accomplish the things that the narcissist approves of. 

The rules for the golden child and the scapegoat are never the same.

The scapegoat will be punished for things that the golden child is not punished for. The golden child will be praised for things that are ignored or undermined when the scapegoat accomplishes them or tries to accomplish them. 

The narcissistic parent will undermine the scapegoat and at the same time say to them “I am doing this for your own good” They disguise their cruel, undermining, manipulative tactics as loving guidance. 

There are many tactics that the narcissistic parent will use to undermine the scapegoat. The family often becomes blind to the tactics of the narcissist against the scapegoat. They do not see that the scapegoat is being attacked and undermined.

Some adults choose to break off contact with the narcissistic parent for their own mental preservation. Others are shunned by the narcissist and sometimes the entire family.

If you choose to continue interaction with a narcissistic parent, you have to learn how to maintain boundaries and not allow anyone in the family to violate them. Most likely this will anger the family members who are not used to you maintaining the same boundaries that they expect you to respect for them.

They feel entitled to be treated with respect and to be able to set boundaries about their time, their emotions, their relationships, etc. But they do not often respect your right to set the same exact boundaries for yourself.

You are not seen by the narcissist as a real person that has the right to your own thoughts, feelings, ideas or a right to personal boundaries.

You should prioritize your mental health and your life and make any decisions about interacting with your family members based on what is best for you.

If they have never been happy with anything you have  done by now, then what are the chances that continuing to try to please them will gain their appreciation and approval?

Usually this person is targeted by the abuser because of their resistance to pretending that the household is normal.

If you were the truth teller in the family then you pointed out when boundaries were being crossed and when the other people were being mistreated.You were the one that probably defended siblings who were being abused. You may have tried to draw the abuse towards yourself in order to protect younger siblings from getting the brunt of it.

Very often the main abusive parent has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, although there are other personality disorders which cause people to abuse their children, like malignant borderline personality disorder. 

The narcissistic parent us the focal point of the family because they demand that their needs and desires are primary. The needs of the scapegoat are ignored. They are labeled as the troublemaker in the family. Things they say are often  used against them.

Fault for most every problem in the family ends of being dumped onto the scapegoat. The narcissist projects their own faults and personality disorder into the scapegoat. 

The scapegoat is the one that can see that something is wrong with the narcissistic parent ans their behavior. The narcissist wants everyone in the family to pretend that everything is normal and their abusive behaviors are not abusive. The scapegoat angers the narcissist by being able to see through the false reality they create.

If you were the scapegoat child then your accomplishments were ignored or minimized. You were compared to other family members and the narcissistic parent would see to it that your accomplishments were seen as less than the other children’s and their own. 

Family decisions may have been made without you in family meeting that you were intentionally not invited to. Yet you were still expected to go along with the decisions that narcissist made without expressing any dislike or negative feelings about anything.

You were emotionally punished for any resistance to what the narcissist wanted to do, even if it was harmful to you or others in the family. 

As an adult the narcissist probably gossips about you and talks about you behind your back. They twist around the reality of things you say and do, in order to give a false image to others about you. You are called selfish behind your back anytime you tell the narcissist “no” or try to set  healthy boundaries for the preservation of your mental health.

Your mental health is not only considered unimportant,  but it is attacked intentionally by the narcissistic parent in order to undermine you.

They use techniques like gaslighting and triangulating to break you down. You end up looking like the one who is at fault in the relationship because the narcissist lies to the other family members about you.

Even though the abusive parent is the unstable one, you are often made out to be the one that is mentally disordered.

Your behaviors are taken out of context and re-framed by the narcissist to appear illogical, irrational or selfish. By the time to are able to tell your side of the story to anyone, it is too late because the narcissist got to them first and has been spreading a smear campaign against you.

At times you may be shunned by the narcissist or by the entire family, because the narcissist tells them that they should not speak to you.

However when someone is needed to step in during an emergency you are often the first one they will call and expect to drop everything to help. You are expected to be the problem solver and the one to offer assistance, even after you were made to feel inadequate in the past.

Responsibility is not equally allotted or equally shared.

The scapegoat is always expected to do more than anyone else without complaining, and they are expected to do the work that no one else wants to do.

There is never any thank you or credit given to the scapegoat for doing things for the family. In fact there will be a big deal made over a little thing that the golden child did for the narcissist, while your contribution and efforts are minimized or forgotten…until the next time they need something from you.

Scapegoating is a reflection on the person refusing to take responsibility or be held accountable, not the person being blamed. The scapegoat also provides a buffer against reality to support the family denial. The scapegoat carries the lion’s share of the blame, shame, anger and rejection so narcissistic mother can maintain her patterns of dysfunction while continuing to appear normal. 

The scapegoat is punished by several methods. Shaming, ignoring, minimizing accomplishments, undermining, abused, rejected, singled out for blame.

scapegoatsofanarcissisticmother.blogspot.com

The narcissistic parent will tell people that they have done many things for you and that they gave tried to be supportive of you. They will tell others that they have been a good parent for you and that you do not appreciate their efforts. They will sometimes go so far as to claim that you are abusive to them and play the victim themselves.

The golden child is the sibling that is put on a pedestal by the parent and expected to make the narcissist look good.

The parent claims the credit for the accomplishments of the golden child. The golden child will remain in the favor of the narcissist as long as they succeed and accomplish the things that the narcissist approves of. 

The rules for the golden child and the scapegoat are never the same.

The scapegoat will be punished for things that the golden child is not punished for. The golden child will be praised for things that are ignored or undermined when the scapegoat accomplishes them or tries to accomplish them. 

The narcissistic parent will undermine the scapegoat and at the same time say to them “I am doing this for your own good” They disguise their cruel, undermining, manipulative tactics as loving guidance. 

There are many tactics that the narcissistic parent will use to undermine the scapegoat. The family often becomes blind to the tactics of the narcissist against the scapegoat. They do not see that the scapegoat is being attacked and undermined.

Some adults choose to break off contact with the narcissistic parent for their own mental preservation. Others are shunned by the narcissist and sometimes the entire family.

If you choose to continue interaction with a narcissistic parent, you have to learn how to maintain boundaries and not allow anyone in the family to violate them. Most likely this will anger the family members who are not used to you maintaining the same boundaries that they expect you to respect for them.

They feel entitled to be treated with respect and to be able to set boundaries about their time, their emotions, their relationships, etc. But they do not often respect your right to set the same exact boundaries for yourself.

You are not seen by the narcissist as a real person that has the right to your own thoughts, feelings, ideas or a right to personal boundaries.

You should prioritize your mental health and your life and make any decisions about interacting with your family members based on what is best for you.

If they have never been happy with anything you have  done by now, then what are the chances that continuing to try to please them will gain their appreciation and approval?

You have the right to live your life and follow your dreams. Our blood relatives are the people that we were given as family, but you can choose other people to consider your family. You should be surrounded by people who support you. 

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. 

 

Trouble Organizing, Managing, and Proritizing

If you have executive function problems, due to PTSD, anxiety disorder, depression or ADHD or autism, I can feel your frustration.

Executive function is an impotant function of the brain that can be interfered with by many things including ptsd from abuse and gaslighting, and even ADHD and autism.

People with diminished  execucutive function can have extreme difficulty doing any or all of the following..

1. Organizing materials for a task or project

2. Planning and organizing things

3. Scheduling and keeping up with the schedule

4. Getting things done on time

5. Arriving places on time

6. Figuring out how to allow enough time for all the different parts of a task or project

7. Staying calm while trying to organize and manage things

8. Delegating tasks and responsibilities to others

9. Self motivating to stay on task and keep up with tbe schedule

10. Prioritizing things that cannot all be done the same day

11. Remembering appointments and things you need to do

If you have problems with your executive function part of your brain, you may feel frustrated or blame yourself. Negative self talk will create more anxiety, frustration or depression.

The first thing is to be understanding with yourself. Be patient and plan ahead.

Have calendars, date books, appt books, note pads, memo pad on your cell phone and time clocks with you wherever you need them. You may need multiples of calendars etc.

Give yourself the exrra time needed for tasks. Leave spaces in between activities and appointments, in order to keep your anxiety down to a minimum. You best work is done when you are feeling relaxed and confident.

Be compassionate with yourself and remember that the executive function problem is a real physiological issue in the brain. It was caused by whatever your particular circumstances were.

It is not your fault. Figbting it, ignoring it, or blaming yourself for it will not help. It will make it worse. Your memory will refuse to work if you add anxiety on top of the executive function issues.

Sleep is also important. Sleep deprivation adds to memory problems.

Blessings and compassion,

Annie

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