codependence, emetophobia, emotional maniulation, life, manipulative spouses, narcissistic abuse, people pleaser syndrome, toxic people, trouble saying no

Saying “NO” to Manipulative People and to Emotional Manipulation

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. 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.

abusive relationships, adult children of narcissistic abuse', dysfunctional families, emotional abuse, life, mental abuse, narcissism, narcissistic abuse, narcissistic parents

Are you the Scapegoat in Your Family?

Scapegoating is a term that is used for the one person in a dysfunctional family that is targeted by the abusive family member for receiving the most aggressive abuse.

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?

domestic abuse, emotional abuse, life, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, mental illness blog

For Adult Children of Parents with Narcissistic Personality Disorder / Mental Abuse and C-PTSD

I have received a question about the difference between narcissistic abuse parenting and normal healthy parenting. I thought this was a great question and that it should be responded to in a post, so that others could understand about mental abuse of a child with a narcissistic parent.

I have also had conversations with a few of readers lately and the issues of the effects of mentally abusive parenting on adulthood keeps coming up. There are adults who have become aware of mental abuse during their childhood and that is affecting their functionality as adults.

There are also people who are unsure as to whether they experienced any mental abuse as children but seem to having difficulty with issues such as being a perfectionist or carrying some guilt or toxic shame issues.

In order not to  offend any parents let me state the following, This post is not about parenting or suggestions for how you should or should not parent your children, People that have malignant personality disorder are not likely to reading a blog like this one.

I am not suggesting that any of my reader have narcissistic personality disorder. In fact it is extremely unlikely, with the possible exception of my ex reading this blog. People with narcissistic personality disorder to not read blogs to seek to improve themselves because they do not see any need for changing or improving anything about themselves.

Narcissists are not reading this blog because it is all about empathy, emotions and compassion. The readers of this blog are mostly compassionate, empathetic and seeking validation, information, connection and humanization in a dehumanizing world.

I am writing this post for people who may have experienced narcissistic parenting and would like to find ways to get healthier and become more functional as adults.

Please know that I am a parent and I am far from perfect. All parents have to figure things out as they go along. If your intentions are good and you are trying to guide your child into one day becoming an independent functioning adult, then you are doing the best that you can.

One of the main differences between healthy parents and narcissistic parents  is the understanding that the child will one day be an adult who has to be able to function on their own. They need self esteem, and self confidence to function well as an adult.

Narcissistic parents tear their children’s self esteem down, in order to control and manipulate them. They do not see the child as an individual person with rights of their own. They see the child as an extension of themselves and property that they have every right to abuse as they see fit.

Children can be abused in a physical way by parents, which is always also mental abuse. Being treated as a punching bad for someone to get their anger our onto, is dehumanizing. Sexual abuse is also dehumanizing and has ling lasting affects of shame and trauma.

Mental abuse is treatment that is not physical but also has the effect of dehumanizing the child. It makes them feel that they are an object and not a person. The narcissistic parent sees the child as an object and as one of their possessions that they have every right to control.

Narcissistic parents do not have unconditional love for their children, They expect the children to exists in order to be servants to them. The children are emotionally tortured and controlled by emotional torture.

Punishments for not complying to what the narcissist wants include The Silent Treatment, Abandonment or throwing them out of the house, name calling and criticizing, smear campaign which is spreading ugly lies about the child to others in order to humiliate them.

Other punishments for non compliance to the narcissists are violation of boundaries including but not limited to breaking up relationships, and intentionally causing problems with friendships of the child.

It is typical for the parent to tell the older child, “I am doing this for your own good” The parent feels a right to the child. If other relationships and situations make the parent feel slighted then they will interfere with them, even if it causes damage to the life and ability to function of the child.

If a daughter has a job and the narcissistic parent feels the job is giving the daughter a sense of independence and individuality, the the parent may take severe action to undermine the daughter. They may go to the job location and verbally interfere to the point of the daughter losing the job.

The mother, of course, will say “I did it for your own good” when in reaility the mother was threatened by the daughter’s growing self esteem and independence.

Living with a narcissistic parent is living in constant fear. Life is unpredictable. You can follow all of the rules as you understand them and then suddenly the parent has changed the rules without telling you. You are punished for not following the new rule, which you has no way to know about.

This is a way in which the narcissistic parent can make you wrong all the time. No matter how hard you try, you are always wrong and always not good enough. There may be rewards from time to time for complying but later on the parent sets up a scenario for you to fail.

In his video, Narcissistic Mother’s Pet , Sam Vaknin describes the view of the narcissistic mother of their child. This is in reference to a child that is put on a pedestal and used as an instrument for the parent’s own agenda. This is about the Golden Child of a narcissistic parent. 

The child is dehumanized and instrumentalized, when they are idolized.  His or Her parents love the child CONDITIONALLY.Not for what he really is but what they wish and imagine him to be.

The fulfillment of their dreams and frustrated wishes. The child becomes the vessel of the parents’ discontented lives. A tool, a magic brush, with which they can airbrush their failures into successes, their humiliation into victory.”

Children of narcissistic parents are molded by the parent into what will serve the agenda of the parent. A person with malignant narcissistic personality disorder does not support the child in developing their own identity and values.

The following link is to a Sam Vaknin video called Narcissist Mother’s Pet: Her Child. This will explain how the narcissistic mother sees her child as something that she is entitled to make into what she want it to be. I have also put the link below. For some reason I was unable to get this video to appear on the post as playable. You can click on the link and it should work for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYY1E6bJmBE

People with malignant narcissistic personality disorder make up about one percent of the population. There are other personality types and disorders which can cause parents to be abusive. But for the sake of this article, I am only discussing parents with malignant narcissistic personality disorder.

People with malignant narcissistic personality disorder live in a world of their own reality. This was developed during their own childhood which was abusive. In order to endure the abuse, the child created a fantasy world where they were omnipotent and godlike, They came to tell themselves that they were entitles to all things and services from all people.

This unfortunate survival coping skill which the narcissist developed during their abusive childhood is carried into adulthood as their own fantasy world. The narcissist is unable to feel empathy for others or even to see them as fellow humans with rights to their own thoughts and feelings.

“The child of the narcissist  is taught to ignore reality and to occupy the parent’s fantastic (fantasy) space” The narcissistic parent fails to allow the child to learn very basic life skills that are needed to be a functional adult.

Some of the life skills that are never taught to the child of a narcissistic parent are

“empathy, compassion…a realistic assessment of ones abilities and limitations…realistic expectations of oneself and others….personal boundaries, team work,social skills, perseverance ..

“All of these abilities are lacking or missing altogether”  in the child as they grow into an adult

The following video is about adult daughters of narcissistic mothers and their relationship.

Children of narcissistic parents are sometimes idolized and put on a pedestal. although any time they do not comply to the narcissist wished they are knocked down off the pedestal and emotionally punished.

Sometimes in families with more than one child, one of the children is made to be the scapegoat.

Children of narcissistic parents are abused mentally whether they are the scapegoat child or the idolized golden child. Here is a video about this topic.

I highly recommend watching this video and the other videos which I included in this post. I did extensive research in order to find information that is accurate and delivered in a manner that is accessible to the listener.

The next video I will share with you is about scapegoating and the effects that carry over into adulthood

This is a lot of information for you to look at , listen to and to process. If you feel that you were mentally abused as a child or a teenager, then you will have noticed some functional problems as an adult. The best method to begin dealing with abuse in your past is to learn about the topics that are related to the particular type of abuse that you endured.

Here is a valuable resource for daughters of narcissistic mothers

http://www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/

This blog has lots of great articles and information for you. Here is a quote from the blog 

We feel we cannot be our authentic true selves, even assuming we can figure out who that authentic self even is.

We suffer from low self-esteem, often to the level of self-loathing, and we struggle with self-care. We almost certainly cannot love ourselves, and all this is evidenced by our negative self-talk.

We may believe we have no right to exist, and almost certainly feel that we’re never good enough, that we’re not acceptable, that at some deep down level we’re inherently flawed.

We either are forever self-sabotaging, or burdened with impossible perfectionism.

Other Topics you might want to research are…

narcissism, adults of narcissistic parents,

malignant borderline personality disorder,

adult children of borderline mother or father,

C-PTSD from childhood abuse,

PTSD,

dark triangle, dark tetrad, and toxic shame

Good YouTube channels for these topics  are

Spartan Life Coach

Self Care Haven

Sam Vaknin

Other videos you might find helpful…

This video is about “Toxic Shame and is very well done by the Spartan Life Coach.  There is another video on this channel that I like which is called How I Overcame Narcissistic Abuse”

depression, eating disorder, emotional abuse, life, mental abuse

Things Abusive Parents Say That Can Lead to Eating Disorders, and other mental illness

Things that can cause an eating disorder…

Parents telling you

1. you are gaining weight (age 14 )

2. you look a little fat in your butt (age 15)

3. You seem to have more trouble with your weight than your sisters do (except that the truth is that one of them is way tooo skinny and the others are much fatter than me – but parents said – No, they are just Big Boned and that is why they have to be fat – you have no excuse)

4. The car does not want to hold that much weight (age 35 and I was pregnant – the OB doctor almost hospitalized me for not gaining ANY weight while I was in the first trimester) 

5. Your weight is going to make the car tip to the side (age 35 and I was 6 months pregnant and I had flown across the country for my sister’s wedding, even though I did not feel well and was fatigued)

6. See that friend of yours that is 400 pounds?  His car is very low to the ground because of his weight in it day after day (truth – my friend was 400 pounds. I was 137 pounds. I do not think it was a fair comparison . I was 19 years old and no where near the weight of my heavy friend)

7. You could be as pretty as your friend (age 16)

8. You could be almost as pretty as your friend

9. You look like your mother. She thinks she is ugly. When people think they are ugly they look ugly. You are like your mother. (age 12, 13, 14 )

10. Being under stress from being thrown out into the street by your mother, is no excuse not to watch your weight

11. Do not eat anything in the kitchen that has a label on it that says “Don’t Eat” or “Don’t Drink”  (Everything in the entire fridge and all of kitchen is labelled Do NOt Eat  or Do NOt Drink)

12. Hurry up and eat dinner, I have to go on a date. You are in my way

13. Hurry up and eat dinner, we do not want you here. Everyone is very uncomfortable for you to take so long eating. You are not wanted but we have to feed you, so hurry up  (age 14)

14. Don’t speak unless spoken to. (age 14 )

Don’t just grab food without saying “May I have the…”

But don’t speak.

15. Don’t complain that there is nothing to eat for dinner but scrambled eggs…for three months….

anxiety, life, mental health, mental illness, Personal story, Short true story of alcoholic mothers

Privacy and Boundaries in My Life

When I was 17, I had to move in with my father and step mother suddenly, because my mother had a mental breakdown.

Because of the sudden factor of them having to take me in, they were not prepared for 2 more people in the small apartment (my Sister 4 Years younger than me and myself )

They had other children and all of the bedrooms were already doubled up. There really was no place to put us, but clearly we could not go back to my mother’s house.

She was not even allowing me to enter the house in order to get a change of clothes. All I had to wear is what was on my back.

Luckily I had my favorite stuffed animal with me and my much needed favorite comfort blanket. When my mother had thrown me out, in a crazy rage, the night before, I had taken those things with me, as I headed out the door into the dark streets.

So, my father rigged up bunk beds in the living room. For a small attempt at privacy, he took a large cabinet or bookshelf (I don’t remember ) and turned it so that it divided the living room in half.

My sister and I slept in the bunk beds on the far side of the dresser. My Dad and step mother watched the tv, which was sitting on the dresser, on their side of the makeshift wall.

My sister was in the bunk bed right above me. I was in the lower one. The tv was right behind my head, and the sound pounded into my head.

No metter how much I begged my father, he would not turn it down to a level that I could tolerate to sleep. Hebdid not want to inconvenience my step mother, I guess, who had already had to deal with her household being disrupted.

They could have gone to watch tv in their room at 10 pm, so I could get enough sleep, but it just did not happen that way.

So, between the tv, my sister’s snoring, anxiety over sleeping in someone’s living room with no privacy and no door close, anxiety over being thrown out of my house with no belongings etc…I could not sleep.

I had to lay there for hours, listening to my brain go around and around, wishing for peace. I have always been very introverted. The lack of my own room with a door that closed, was a terrible trauma to me.

I could not cry, over the sadness about my mother disowning me and throwing me out into the street …because there was no space or privacy in which to cry.

I could not talk on the phone to my friends with any privacy. The only phone that I could use was in the kitchen. There was no way of grieving or attaining any comfort about the trauma of the situation.

I had no clothes, none of my guitars, no books, none of my personal belongings for 2 weeks, at which time my father managed to get into the house to fill up a few boxes with my things.

Of all the simultaneous trauma, the worst thing for me was the lack of privacy. I craved being able to sit alone, behind a locked door, to be allowed to feel what I felt, cry if I wanted to, write songs and poetry about my feelings and to show whatever emotions I wanted to on my face.

My father always forced me to be strong and not to show any strong sadness or anything. It was similar to how guys are taught not to show weakness and emotion or they are told to “suck it up”…”it isnt that bad, don’t be a big baby”

It did not take long before I realized that I could hide out in the bathroom and just come out if someone knocked. I took my guitar in there, sat on top of the closed toilet seat, placed my sheet of music on the edge of the tub, and practiced my guitar in there for hours.

I became very good at the guitar that year. It is probably the most I progressed from one level to another, in that short period of time, as I ever did since.

My high school guitar teacher would praise my progress and I sucked up the complements , encouragement and support like a sponge. It was my only source of anyone telling me I could do anything right.

The guitar room and the music area at the high school was my sanctuary. I went there before school, and during the study hall periods, in addition to guitar class, band ( I played the flute in marching band and the bass guitar in jazz band) and piano class.

I quickly advanced past the other students in piano class, so the teacher allowed me to use one of the practice rooms, to work on my own…all alone! I was in heaven.

I had an entire private room all to myself for 45 minutes 3 times per week.

So, I have always been sensitive about having time to myself and privacy. I am triggered by any living situations that make me flashback to that situation when I was 17 , which went on for many months until my father was finally able to rent us a bigger house.

Every single time I have had to live here with my ex husband’s parents, they have done nothing but cross my boundaries and invade my space. Nothing is sacred and everything and every space belongs to them, including bedroom drawers, medicine cabinets, my trash, and insistence in opening and going through all of my boxes, when I moved in. This was even after asking repeatedly to for ny ex mother in law to please leave the boxes alone, until I was ready to open them . And to let me open certain personal boxes myself and be able to deal with personal items myself.

I had just had to leave an abusive situation with an abusive partner and I was not ready to open certain boxes because there were too many traumatic memories and triggers, in the boxes.

But there she was, digging through the boxes, and putting stuff all over my apt, in prominent places where I did not want it to be. Putting everything in the wrong place, so that it was making more work for me.

I could not throw out items that were triggering to me, because she would scold and reprimand me for being wasteful and ungrateful to have things.

I had throw things out when she was not looking and bury them under other trash so that she would not take them back out and put them on my shelf.

Living with them, is like tormentb to a highly introverted person that likes to keep my personal belongings and business to myself.

On top of that, there are 13 people living in this house, soon to be 14 when the new baby comes.

I had a guessing game a while ago. I asked people to guess, in the comments section of one of my posts to see who could guess how many people lived in my house.

One insightful blogger guessed 14. If she is reading this now, I had a lot of fun with our messages that went back and forth that day…

Anyway, at first I thought this blogger had done really well to come within 1 number of properly guessing the number of people in the house.

Then I remembered that my ex sister in law is pregnant, so if you count the baby in her tummy as a person living in the house, then she had guessed dead on at 14! Very cool!

She and I had some fun messaging back and forth that day. It would not surprise me if she pops up to comment on this post:)

So, what is the moral to this story or the point to this post? …….Aaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!##!!!

TOO many people on top of me. I wish I had money to rent a room or a small apt that I could go to during the day to work out of.

Blessings,
Annie

adult children of alcoholics, depression, life, mental abuse, mental health, mental health blog, mental illness, narcissistic abuse

Depression from Childhood Abuse and C-PTSD / What is Cognitive Dissonance ?

Depression is not a sign of  a lack of intelligence or a lack of willpower. People will criticize you and accuse you of those two things. 

Many people who suffer from depression are above average intelligence. It is sometimes the very intelligent and creative people than end up suffering from depression. You are able to see the world and think about the world in ways that other people cannot.

Many people who have depression were misunderstood, and mentally abused as children. You were very possibly the child in your family that noticed that things were not as they should be. Ot at least you felt in your heart that things were not right.

Other children in the family may have had no idea that anything was wrong or at least not in the same way that you did. They did not notice that other families functioned differently or think about how the children should actually be treated.

If you ever opened your mouth to an abusive parent about the situation, you were scolded and then branded the annoying child. You were the one who had to “complain” about everything  ( but in reality, you were perfectly within your right to point out things that were abusive).

You were perceived as  the one messing with the status quo of the family. Your feelings were invalidated and you were told that your reality was not the “right” one to have. It was not the way your family wanted you to see things.

You may have even been blamed for the behavior of the abusive parent. But it was not your job to “Keep” your own parent from being abusive to you or to your siblings. It was not your job to keep your parent from abusing the other parent.

What did they want from you? They wanted you to do whatever it is that they wanted at the time. The rules of an abusive parent change from day to day. They want you to behave one way and then they want something different. It is part of their own mental illness.

This also served to disturb your reality, because once you thought you had things down so as not to upset the abusive parent, then the rules would change.

There may have been two abusive parents, or there may have been one abusive parent and one parent who was trying to keep the peace. In some cases the parent who was trying to keep the peace. may have damaged you as much as the abusive parent. 

The reason for this is that the quote unquote “non abusive ” parent was codependent. They wanted to keep the abusive parent’s outbursts to a dull roar. They may have told you to “behave” so as not to anger the abuser. They wanted you to take on the responsibility of the abusive parent’s emotions.

No one can take on the responsibility of another person’s emotions. No matter what you did, the abuser would eventually yell, be verbally abusive, use the silent treatment or some other manipulative tool to get their way. Their way was to keep you in fear of their reactive behavior. They wanted to get reactions out of you, so that they knew they had control.

The non abusive parent can sometimes actually be abusive in the way that they force you towards the abuser. They kind of “throw you under the bus.”  They make you interact with the abuser in the ways that they tell you to. This is also controlling and abusive behavior.

So, now you have C-PTSD from long term psychological abuse during childhood and teenage years. This is carried with you as an adult. The problem is that your memories were a child’s memories and your adult brain is trying to deal with this abused child that still lives inside of you.

There is cognitive dissonance in your brain. What means is that there are two co-existing realities. One reality is that you were told that you were NOT abused. You were told and they still may be telling you, that you did not suffer any differently than other children. “All families are different”

Even now, one of the parents may be denying that any mental, emotional or physical abuse occurred. But if you feel like an abused child is living inside of you, then you were abused in some way. If you feel that things were not fair and that you were never treated equally to other children in the house, then you were abused.

Maybe you were the one that had to “cover up” for the family. If you resisted then punishment would have followed. You were supposed to do what you were told. You were supposed to do what the abusive parent wanted you to do, even when they did not make it clear to you what they wanted.

The family is still denying the abuse. They deny that you were treated any differently than the other children. They deny that any opportunities were withheld from you. They deny that you were forced to deal with adult situations that children should not have to be responsible for.

The cognitive dissonance is in your brain, because these two realities are both there. As a child, you were told you were being treated fairly, even when you were not. As a child, you were told that the family was not abusive to you. They may have said to you, “Look at all the things we do for you ! Look at all the things we have given you that other poor children do not have. You are an ungrateful child.”

This alone is abuse. It is the parent’s responsibility to provide safety, shelter and food. Also love, care and encouragement. The fact they they may have had you living in a nice house means nothing. This is the house that they wanted to live in. You just happened to be there. They did not buy the house for you in particular.

The fact that food was provided for you, if it was…does not make up for the your having to live in fear of any physical or verbal outbursts, or that you had to walk on eggshells so as not to “upset” the abusive parent.

Your brain also knows that you were abused. You were told that you were not abused. You are still being told that you were not abused. But you remember things that happened. As an adult you can see that those are not things that you would do to your children and then call them okay.

The coexistence of these two realities –  I was not abused. I was an ungrateful child.

and the other reality – I remember being abused. I remember having my self esteem crushed down. I remember not being able to have a normal, healthy childhood.

This is the cognitive dissonance. This confusion of dual realities in the brain of a very intelligent person, can make you feel crazy. Your efforts to make both of these realities true, does not work.

There is no closure or any way to speak up for this child inside of you that was abused, alienated and criticized. There is grief for the childhood that you should have had, but did not.

It is in the mind of an intelligent human, that these reality disagreements become torturous. You are intelligent and feel that you should be able to resolve these issues for yourself or with a therapist. But still you carry this feeling that there is something wrong with you.

“There is something wrong with me.” is in the background of your mind. The reason that you feel this way is that you were the one who could see that “you were not abused” You were the one that was told to shut up and stop complaining. You were always told that reality was different than it really was.

So, you carry these feelings that there is something wrong with you. Even when you do things well, you still feel like you are not worthy of feeling good about it.

You were not praised enough. You were criticized too much. You may still have older parents that judge you and minimize your feelings. They may minimize anything that you have accomplished or anything that you think.

What has to happen is that you have to decide what realities are true.

Was there something wrong with you as a child, or was that a tactic used by the family to keep you quiet? If there was nothing wrong with you as a child, then is there anything innately wrong with you now? Are you really undeserving of being happy, or are there other voices playing in your head.

When you hear the voices telling you that you are less than special, and doomed to fail at everything, are those voices coming from the truth? Or are they voices left over from the past, that abusive people put into your head.

Beginning to differentiate between reality and lies will help you. Beginning to tell which thoughts are yours and which thoughts were drilled into you, will also help.

These are all things that I have been recently learning and they are very helpful to me. When I start to feel depression sucking me into the pit, I go over the thoughts in my head and try to tell what is what. I do still get depressed, but at least I can identify where certain destructive thoughts are coming from.

By seeing your thoughts in a rational way, you can come out of the severe level of emotional overload, at least for a few minutes at a time. This can help you to come out of depression sooner and not go into it as deeply.

I have been taking Life Coaching Courses and studying all kinds of things. Even studying philosophy, in addition to psychology helps to make the brain think better.

I am hoping to be able to help myself and be able to help other people to see that they are worthy of love, care and happiness. This is why I have decided to go into Life Coach work. It will get me out of having to do heavy lifting at work and also I can really help people who are suffering in the same ways I have suffered for years.

Blessing to all,

Annie