mental illness, narcissism, narcissist, narcissistic abuse

Dealing with a Toxic Parent

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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.

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domestic abuse, mental abuse, narcissism, narcissist, narcissistic abuse, toxic personalities

When Toxic People From Your Past Suddenly Show Up

Toxic people sometimes exit our lives in their own, and then suddenly reappear years later and act as if no time has passed.

They pretend that none of the cruel things they did to you ever happened or that your perception of them is exaggerated. They suddenly, out of the blue want to rekindle the old relationship.

Or you  may have been the one that left and now they are suddenly talking to you as if nothing happened. It is like you are long lost friends who accidentally drifted apart.

As a kindhearted and somewhat curious person, your first reaction will probably be to feel confused and then you will allow them whatever contact they are asking you for. It might be a lunch date or a phone call. They may be asking for your new address or wanting to confirm your old one.

They will ask you how you have been doing, as if they have great concern for you and have been worried about you all this time. There is no apology from them for anything.

More likely they will make you feel as thought you were over sensitive about the past situations with them or that your memory is in question. They will deny, avoid, redirect, and minimize any conversation you bring up about the past.

If this is a toxic personality that is skilled in gaslighting tactics, then they will create a false past reality that is not the way you remember it to be,

They were very supportive of you an always believed in you. They will attempt to draw you into this fantasy reality in order for you to trust them,

If your memories do not match what they are telling happened then they are gaslighting you. This is an intentional manipulation of reality, in order to confuse you, make you question your own memories and perception, and also create a false ideal of them in your mind. 

If they begin to do a lot of talking about themselves and how many great things they have been doing, then they may be trying to get you to see them in a false light, that makes them look like a more compassionate person than they are.

They may want themselves to appear more together, more mentally balanced or more successful and desirable than they really are.

If the relationship did not mean enough to them, to keep up on it for a long time, then why are they suddenly interested in you now? If this is a red flag going off in your head, then listen to it.

If there is any cognitive dissonance occurring in your brain, then something is wrong with this situation. They are playing a game with your memories and your thoughts. Cognitive dissonance happens when you have two realities that are co-existing in your mind and they do not match together. In fact the two realities are mutually exclusive.

Here is an example.

You remember this person talking about your family as if they hated them. They called your sister a stupid slut who lived off of others like a parasite.

 They called your other a greedy manipulator. And they said that you were always defending your family and putting their needs first.

Now, in this present conversation, they ask how your lovely sister is doing. They talk about how they always used to like her and knew that she could do something good with her life.

The ask about your mother.  They say how they know she always worked hard for all the things she has  and never asked a soul for help.

They tell you that you were always independent minded and did things for yourself. Maybe you could have done more to be supportive of your family, but you can’t help but to have the personality that you have.

Thus they have altered your perception of the past and how they see your sister and your mother.

They always cared about them and thought well of them. You however have changed from the clingy daughter, who did too much for the family to a selfish daughter who let her mother struggle and did not offer to help.

This is Gaslighting.

You remember one thing and the person is telling you a completely different version of reality and hoping that you have low enough self confidence that you will believe that your own perceptions are wrong. They are so smooth and certain about what they “remember” that they do not seem to be lying.

Hoovering

If this is kind of toxic person that is trying to hoover their way back into your life, then do not let them. They want something from you and then they will leave you injured for letting them in. The “hoovering” tactic refers to the vacuum cleaner that sucks up things in its path. If you are “old Supply” of their and not they are drawing you back in then it is called hoovering.

Maybe you have run into this person at a family event. Maybe you were hospitalized and this person has suddenly appeared to be there for you, even though they have not given 2 cents about you for 2 years. 

What does your rational brain tell you?

If this person has turned their back on you in your times of need in the past, then why do they suddenly care now?  If is does not make any sense to you, then it is not right.

Another characteristic of toxic people is that they are self centered and cannot help but to center the attention around themselves. They may be able to play the game of pretending to care about you for a short time, but they will go back into talking about themselves and how everything affects them.

Personal Story

I had not heard from my sister in 5 years. I was recently (about 2 months ago) put into the hospital. I notified my step mother, so that she could tell my father. I got an email from my sister.

She was sooo concerned.  At this point during the hospital stay I was very ill and I was very week. I told her that, but she decided to ignore my state and just chat cheerfully away over the email.

She talked about how she understood my suffering and that it was so bad to have to be the hospital. Then she went into her story about being in the hospital and how it was so much worse than my “little situation”.

This is interesting because she did not ask much about my situation and had no frame of reference to decide that hers was  worse.

Their is always more than yours.If you are sick, they were once sicker. If you almost died. they came closer to dying than you and their pain lasted longer. 

I had gastro specialists called in for my case in the hospital. Her version of her own story, had to top mine. Her version was that she ended up with such a bad infection that the Center for Disease Control was called in.

 They had to isolate the entire section of the building. Now, I have some recollection of this incident and I hardly remember the CDC coming on the scene.

And all of this was while I was lying sick in a hospital bed. Your rational mind tell you that this person is not being considerate, they are being rude, and they do not seem to care what you are feeling. 

But your compassionate and trusting  side might want you to believe that this person must be telling you the truth. They must actually be worried and concerned for you, not just trying to top your situation because the family is worried about you and it is taking attention away from them.

So, once you feel these 2 contrasting realities beginning to collide, take a rational look at what is happening. Do not assume that the other person is always telling the truth , especially when they are clearly changing the facts.

Don’t assume the toxic person has changed.

Look at their behavior. Not what they are saying about themselves and how great they are. But their behavior. What are they attempting to do with what they are saying?  Are they listening to your feelings and thoughts ir just telling you what to  feel?

Are they letting you talk and being considerate about whether or not you want to talk to them right then or at all? Are they listening to you or are they dominating the conversation? Is the conversation based in reality or is reality suddenly magically in their favor and against you?

Be careful allowing toxic people from the past, back into your life.

If they were self centered. selfish, malicious, cruel, energy sucking, or even dangerous in the past, they probably still are. If they tell you they have changed, they are probably lying. If they tell you that things were not as bad as you remember them to be and that your perception is wrong, then they are lying.

You have other people that actually care about you. Do not let anyone guilt you into having to interact with them, give them your new phone number or whatever.

Do not allow people to tell you that their perception of the past is the actual version and yours is the version of an overly sensitive, confused person.

Blessings,

Annie

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

codependence, emotional abuse, life, mental abuse, mental health

People Pleaser Tendency to Reason with the Unreasonable

If someone has consistently shown you that they do not have a desire to care about how you feel, then stop expecting to find kindness and caring from them.

They may not want to care about your feelings. They may not have the capacity to empathize with you. Either way, you cannot force people or convert people to the side of kindness and compassion.

If someone never listens to your thoughts and feelings then they possibly never will. Communication goes two directions. If you always listen to their side, and they never listen to your side, then see it for what it is.

If your communication is consistently not being heard, no matter what the circumstance, then most likely this person has no intention to hear you.

Holding onto beliefs that you can “make them” care about you, is not productive. Find alternative ways to deal with conflicts and situations with them.

Evaluate what they do with information you give them. What has happened in the past, when you explained your reasons, and your thoughts to them?

Do they end up using it against you?

Do they completely disregard it?

Do they hear and remember what you say?

Do they claim later on, not to remember what you said?

Do they make fun of what you say and belittle you?

Do they laugh at you?

Do they become angry when you present your side of a situation?

Do they give you equal time to explain yourself or do they cut you off?

Do they bring other people, who seem inappropriate, into your conversations?

Look at the history and make observations in present time. See if they are the same way with other people.

Learn what their usual tactics are, in order to get their way.

Observe their responses to situations where you or others try to stand up for an opposing or alternative opinion.

Making these observations will help you to learn things about this person’s behavior, attitude and patterns.

Often people that are rigid, unbending, and always right, have observable, predictable response patterns.

If you can learn this about them, then you can use it in order to find ways to deal with their rigidity.

You have to work around people sometimes. Most importantly you have to protect your mental state and not allow people to cross into your emotional boundaries.

You cannot make them care. You cannot logically or rationally convince them that they should care about the feelings of others, or your feelings in particular.

But you may notice that you have been doing things to put yourself in their line of fire. You are giving them the advantage, by assuming that deep down they are really a caring person.

The more you believe that an uncompassionate person really wants to care , the more advantage they have over you.

Not only that. They are probably fully aware that you want them to care and that you believe they want to.

There are people that will use your kind beliefs about them really being a caring person inside, against you in situations.

Observe people like this with an objective, scientific like mindset. Take notes on each situation and how they respond.

If you are dealing with a rigid person that never has empathy, then you need to know their response patterns. It should not blindside you, when they respond with a completely narcissistic attitude.

Dealing with these kinds of people can be stressful and crush your self esteem and feelings of self worth.

Situations where people like this are harmful to you are: as bosses, supervisors, neighbors, therapists, doctors, landlords and other positions where they can affect you.

Intimate relationships with anyone who has no empathy or compassion for you are even more dangerous.

People will not always believe what you have experienced with someone who lacks compassion. You cannot always get your opinions and observations about them validated.

Also be careful talking about this person to others.

You do not know who they have manipulated into doing what, including reporting what you say about them.

That is why it will help you to take personal notes. Write down what you said and exactly what they said in response.

If you are on the phone, you can do this with a pen and paper during the conversation. If the interaction is in person, then take notes when you have privacy to write them

Keep your notes as “word for word” as possible. Do not change their wording to what you think they must have meant.

The exact wordings will help you later on, when you look over lots of interactions on paper. You can find inconsistencies and gaslighting tactics this way.

There are compassionate people, but all people are not compassionate. There are people who care about what happens to you and there are people who never will.

Your Peace of Mind matters,
Annie