Tag Archives: #toxicfamily

Guilt Is Absolutely Useless-Give It Up


Lately on other sites I have seen women talking about feeling guilt, self blaming and shame for either raising a child with a narcissist and who now is a narcissist and treats you like they hate you.

I just want to say, the one mistake you made is, you chose to have a child with a narcissist. But you didn’t know he was a narcissist at the time so you have to give that one up.
Even if you would have had children with a perfectly normal loving man, you could have had a narcissistic child. Narcissists are born to normal caring people all the time. And narcissists have normal feeling children all the time. It is the “luck of the draw” sort of speak. There is nothing you could have done differently, left earlier, stayed longer, been stronger, more strict, less strict, your child would have been a narcissist regardless of how he/she was raised.
Your guilt is not helping anyone, not you, not your child, not society.
In fact, your guilt is making everything worse. When you are riddled with guilt you can’t live authentically, you can’t live honestly or fully, you can’t find peace or happiness. Guilt eats away at your self confidence and affects every thing you do, every decision you make. Guilt drives good people away.
It is impossible to ever get close to anyone if you are consumed with guilt.
I used to feel guilty about my son, I met the narcissist when my son was 17 and I was with him off and on for 10 yrs. My son HATES him. I wish things were different, I have given my son a heartfelt apology, but I can not change the past. I came to realize my guilt was preventing me from having the relationship I wanted with my son. If I ever wanted to have a close relationship with my son I HAD to give up the guilt.
If your child tries to keep you in guilt as a way of making you feel bad and in their control, you need to refuse to accept it.
The best thing you can do for yourself and for everyone else, (whether your child is narcissist or not); is live your best life, from this day forward.
Apologize, yes! And then let it go. And start living your life with total honesty, act like the person you want to be. You can not change the past, you can not change another person, you only have power over yourself. If you want to be loved for who you are, you must be your honest self. And you can not be yourself if you are consumed with guilt. Read Brene Brown or watch some of her videos on shame.
People will fight any positive changes you make because they like you feeling guilty because a guilty person is easier to manipulate, a guilty person is a martyr.
Live a life you can be proud of, be the example of the person you want your child to grow up to be. That is what a responsible parent would do.
You don’t ever stop being a parent, you can still be an example of a strong, confident, wise, loving adult, no matter how old you or your children are. You don’t know what the future holds as far as your children go.
But I know it is human nature that the harder you try to force someone, especially your child; to do or think a certain way; the harder they fight back.
You do not have to take disrespect or mistreatment from anyone, including your children. If you live honestly and true to your core self, no one can make you feel guilty.
If you are in the company of your child and they are angry, blaming, and generally acting like they hate you, leave. I have done it with my son and it hurt like hell. He was angry about the past about the narcissist and wouldn’t listen to reason. We were in my car and I was driving him home, which was a 2 hour drive and we were only half way. We had stopped for lunch and he started in on me. I tried to explain and calm him down. When I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere, I said. “I love you. I have apologized, I can’t change the past and I can not talk to you right now because you aren’t listening. Calm down and talk to me respectfully or get out of the car”.
That made him really angry and he got out and pulled all his shit out of my car. I wanted to beg him to get back in the car, grovel for his love, cry, my heart was breaking, but I drove away.
God help me, it was hard. I wanted to turn around SO BADLY! All the way home I wanted to turn around, I worried how he would get home with all his stuff. (Xmas gifts, clean laundry, a case of beer, tools he had alot of stuff). I didn’t even know if he had enough money to get home, but he was in his early 20’s, and he would figure it out.
When I got home I wanted to call him to see if he got home ok. I needed to know he still loved me, I felt awful!! I had to take a long walk without my phone to avoid breaking down and calling him. It took until the next day but he called me. “Hi Mom, I’m sorry. I love you.”
And I replied, “I love you too kiddo”.
We have never discussed it again. I did ask him how he got home and I guess it was quite an ordeal and we actually laughed about what he ended up going through.
We always say I love you every time we talk and he has never treated me like that again, never mentioned my ex.
I can still get consumed with guilt, believe me!! But I know I can not have a good relationship with my son if I am feeling guilty about the past. When you are consumed with guilt you are always super sensitive to any indication of disapproval from the person, you analyze every conversation, you read a hidden meaning into the most innocent comment, get defensive over small insignificant things, you get angry when there isn’t justification, you conjole, grovel, accept bad behavior, compromise your values, allow boundaries to be blurred. Guilt is the worst motivation to do anything.
The other thing is, your child doesn’t have to be a narcissist for you to feel guilty or unloved. Years ago my sister in law told me she had never felt guilty until she had my nephew, now she always felt guilty! Haha It’s what mother’s do.
All you can do is be the best mom you can be.
You know my happiest days are the ones when my kid calls. I can be feeling like he must hate me, I haven’t heard from him in awhile and he’ll call. He’ll need my advice, or need a recipe, and all is good in my world again. Our kids are our life, but we aren’t their life.
All we can do is be the best person we can be. You do your best and never stop doing your best. You can’t “win” someone over, you have to believe that things happen for a reason and the truth will win in the end. By living your best life and refusing to allow your child to try you with disrespect they will at the very least respect you.
Let me share from a child’s perspective. I always thought my dad was a controling asshole and my mom was the helpless victim. My dad screwed around on my mom, justified it by criticizing her. He would get so angry around the house we all walked on eggshells and my mom always was the fun parent, always the victim, teaches us to tip toe around when my dad was home. But she also under mined me all the time, my brother was the golden child. Anyway, my dad used to try to get me on his side all the time, criticized my mom constantly, cry to me about how horrible my mom was.
They finally split. And over the years since they split I have been able to see my mom for who she really is, she has caused so much pain in my life, I have caught her in so many lies. I now understand what my dad was trying to do, but it doesn’t justify it. He never should have done that to a child, talk to me about his marriage, how unhappy he was; put that on my shoulders. The truth of the matter is, I was raised by two very unhealthy people and I came away with my own issues because of it.
My dad should have left my mom and gone on to live true to his core self, instead of being a person I couldn’t respect. There were many good things about my dad that were obliterated by his adulterous, miserable self. He wanted me to see him as the poor victim and that he wouldn’t cheat or be miserable if my mom was a better wife.
What I learned was, I wanted to be a better parent than either of them. I could only do that by living true to myself and do what I know to be right. Show who I am by living a life where I am kind, loving, charitable, honest, and never blame anyone else for my bad choices or actions. I know who I am, I know what my intentions are, and I always have a choice.
I have made horrible choices in my life, but I can always choose to be better and hope that if nothing else my son will respect the fact that I never stopped trying to be a better person.
Don’t let your guilt make you into less of a person you want to be.

Finding Inner Peace When Your World Is Falling Apart

After leaving my ex I felt empty and hopeless, I had never felt so broken, I can’t even describe the pain. I wanted to beg him, I did beg him at one point, something I had never done with any man. I had no pride left because I felt I had nothing left to lose, I had invested everything I had into the relationship. All I could see in my future was unhappiness, loneliness, poverty, and regret.

My mind was constantly rehashing every aspect of our relationship, I spent hours on the internet trying to find out what my ex was doing, hooked on trying to figure him out and expose his lies. I obsessed about “if only”, “what if”, and I envisioned how happy he was with “her” and how she was getting everything and more than I had wished for and deserved. I relived the relationship day in and day out. He was in my dreams (nightmares), and my every waking thought. I couldn’t talk about anything else, my pain ached through my whole body. I just wanted out of my body, I had panic attacks, desperate to stop the pain.

At times I felt like I was trudging through quick sand, no matter how I struggled to get out of it, I only sunk deeper. Other times it felt more like I was being battered by the ocean, I would break through the surface, gasp for air, get hit by another wave crashing down on me that pulled me under, bashed me against the rocks, until I didn’t know which way was up. I would see the light, break through the surface again, gasp another breath, only to get pulling down again.

Yesterday I had YouTube playing on the tv while I painted and as happens, I went from watching Oprah Soul Sunday to a few hours later watching Eckhart Tolle. Then I remembered how listening to him had helped me stop my mind and find inner peace. Here is a quote of his;

Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.

Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Yesterday he was asked by a member of his audience what the catalyst was to him finding Inner Peace and he said it was different for everyone. But most people reach a point of “hitting rock bottom”, hating their lives, themselves, of in his case, wanting to die because he couldn’t stand being unhappy any longer. That is where I was, I couldn’t go any lower without dying. While taking a course on being a life coach the class was asked to think of a time we felt like a failure. I answered, “I woke up and realized my suicide attempt failed.” There isn’t much lower than that. Compounding was feelings of worthlessness was my ex, who; when I told him I had failed in my attempt to kill myself told me to try again because “no man would ever want a suicidal, paranoid, bitch like me.”  It was then, that I fully realized; I was responsible for my own healing, and my worst enemy was/is the voice in my head telling me lies, lies I had been told my whole life.

I became acutely aware of what my mind was saying and started sorting out the truth from lies. The negative voices, my mother’s voice, “you can’t make money doing that, if you could, someone would be doing it already”, “what are you going to do now? You can’t survive”, “you always were too (fill in the blank)”, “that’s nice (my painting) but no one will pay money for it”. That is until I started selling my stuff in a popular antique store and her classy friends were raving about how talented I was.

I knew, if I wanted peace of mind; I had to stop ruminating over; what others thought of me, what might happen in the future, what I could have done differently in the past, how much I had lost, and all the other things I had no control over. I had to start living my life as purely and honestly as I could, every day. If I slipped one day, I could always start over tomorrow morning. All I had was this moment and I was never going to find happiness anywhere but in my own mind.

Life is a series of lessons, either we learn them or we end up stuck and angry, sad, and resentful our whole life. No matter how carefully we plan, or how hard we wish, life is going to happen and we can flow with it or fight it all the way. It is when we fight it that we lose our inner peace.

90% of what we worry about never comes to pass. When faced with a choice or dilemma and people around us demand we make a decision, is when we make poor choices. Decisions made under duress are the ones we often regret. We should never do anything that doesn’t sit well in our gut. I have learned that the best thing to do when you don’t know what to do; is nothing.

“Nothing!!!?? How can you do nothing? I need to fix the problem”

No, you don’t. If the answer doesn’t come easily to you, if you have to canvas friends and family to see what you should do,  you need to do nothing. Try it, more than half the time the problem solves itself or an answer becomes obvious. For example; my mother had a friend who wanted to rent out his basement. It didn’t have a kitchen or private entrance, it was just a bedroom, bathroom and bar fridge with a hot plate, but they would allow Stella. She really wanted me to take it.

In her mind it was the answer to my homelessness problem. (Because living with her with my dog was totally out of the question. Not that I had asked to live with her and was living in my car, sleeping in her carport sometimes, but that didn’t look good if her friends found out.)

I went to see it. They seemed like a nice couple but I didn’t immediately jump on it. My mother made a deal of $500/month with me doing the yard work. I was getting $700 a month on government assistance, I had heart failure, my heart was functioning at 17%. I couldn’t afford $500 a month and couldn’t promise my health would allow for me to physically do all the yard work. Besides that, their big tv was downstairs and he said he’d be coming downstairs to watch his sports and to practice his singing because he belonged to a barbershop quartet.

I was polite when we left, thanked them very much and said I’d get back to them, but needed to think about it. My mother was pissed! It was perfect! I was being stupid and stubborn not snapping it up. What was I going to do? She had gone to the trouble to arrange this, what would they think if I didn’t take it? I gave her my reasons for being hesitant, I would have no privacy, no kitchen and most importantly, I couldn’t afford $500/month and it wasn’t worth $500 a month and I couldn’t DO the yard because of my health.

A few days later the family was invited to my mom and step dad’s for Mother’s Day supper. When I arrived my brother immediately started in on me about not taking this golden opportunity mother had found for me. That I was being selfish and crazy to not jump at it. After all beggars can’t be choosers. I tried to explain why I was hesitant but mom had obviously already made his mind up. I decided I was NOT going to succumb to pressure no matter what, I didn’t feel at peace about it. At dinner my mom sat down and said to me, in her most cheerful phoney voice,  “Did you tell your brother about your new place to live?” I said, “There was no need, you had already filled him in.” She denied it. I said, “oh for God’s sake mother! Stop with the lies! I am so sick of you talking behind people’s backs trying to manipulate things the way you want them. I am done! Stop trying to pressure me into making a decision. I told you I need time to decide and I can’t afford $500 a month.” She looked hurt, (Fuck!!)”But where will you live?” 

I walked out and drove home. I stopped at the gas station close to my mom and contemplated going back, but I knew it would be because I felt guilty, not because I was sorry.

The next day I called the friend of my mother and told him I appreciated him offering me the basement but I had to be honest; there was no way I could afford $500 a month, couldn’t do the yard work because of my health and didn’t feel comfortable about him coming downstairs to watch TV, I am a very private person.

He asked how much I could afford and I told him the government allots $350/month for rent. He said that would be ok and he said he would move the tv upstairs and not watch it downstairs. I agreed to move in and ended up living there almost 2 years. He ended up reducing the rent to $200/month and my health improved so I could do some yard work. I still didn’t like living there but it enabled me to get back on my feet.

Without going into my mother’s upbringing and the demons in her head, her need to control everyone and everything has contributed to some of the worst mistakes I have made. It has taken me most of my life to learn to trust my gut and ability to make good choices.

So many times we get so focused on what we think we must have that we totally miss out on great opportunities right under our nose. We try to make things, people, cooperate with what we want to happen, what we think will make us happy. And we have this “anything worth having is worth fighting for” mentality when we should look at it from the point of view of, “when you have to compromise your core self in order to make something happen, maybe it’s not meant to be.” And never ever make decisions when you are in panic mode.

We all need to look at the under lying reason we feel panicked. Often times it’s ego driven. As with my mother, her need to find me a place to live had very little to do with concern for me and more to do with what her friends think of her. Her need to be thought of as a caring person, her embarrassment over her daughter being homeless. She was prepared to put me in the position of not being able to pay my rent just to save face.

When we split from the narcissist he always rejects us, even if we are the ones to leave and even if we know it is for the best; the minute he rejects us our ego kicks in. The narcissist almost always find the “love of his life” immediately after the split and our ego tells us there must be something wrong with us. When he blames us for the demise of the relationship, it our ego that needs to be proven right. When people believe his lies about us, it’s our ego that needs to prove him wrong. When we should know that true friends wouldn’t believe him and we have nothing to prove. We should live true to our core self and not concern ourselves with what others think of us. “what other people think of us is none of our business”. We don’t like everyone we meet, it’s egotistical to expect everyone we meet to like us.

It’s egotistical to think we are the ultimate woman that any and all men want, able to please every man, nor should we want to please every man.

Is Honesty Always The Best Policy?

I have always believed honesty is the best policy.  No matter what, when it comes right down to it, if you don’t know what to do; go with honesty and let the pieces fall where they may. Lying only perpetuates more lying and almost invariably it will back fire in your face. Lying about other people is a real sore spot with me, mainly because I have been the victim of a smear campaign and dealt with people who chose to believe the lies and refuse to even entertain the idea that they are believing lies. I have had to end friendship’s with people who believed the lies even though they professed to not be taking sides. Sometimes there is no choice, people have to choose sides because if they don’t they are condoning or agreeing with the lies or behavior. 

I really hate dealing with conflict and have always preferred to keep the peace at all cost but I have found since the narcissist I have anxiety attacks at the first sign of dishonesty or if I hear slander or gossip. 

I suppose that’s because while with my ex the honesty line got blurred from black and white to a solid grey and eventually the narcissistic fog obliterated it from sight all together.

My ex was forever being accused of stealing and every job he ever had was lost due to being “falsely” accused of stealing. He lied about cheating on me, about how much money he made, he lied about having 6 months to live for God sake!

He lied when he didn’t even have to lie. It got to the point I just automatically assumed he was lying and was pleasantly surprised when he wasn’t. 

In the beginning I would bring him up on it if I caught him lying. (*hint. If you have to teach a full grown man about the virtues of honesty. Run!!) 

I thought the lying was a rare thing and due to low self confidence or out of fear of losing me. Haha. Rather ironic, I believed he lied about inconsequencial things because he had lied to me about how all the women in his life had screwed him over and left him. I was going to show him what real love was all about. Gawd! Thinking back I was SO naive!

 As time went on I realized his lies weren’t always so innocent and I would try to tell him it was wrong to lie. (If you find yourself trying to teach a grown man how to be a responsible adult, run!)  

I struggled with his lies; I was embarrassed by them, it went against my values and it bothered me.  

Cognitive dissonance had me telling myself that his actions weren’t a reflection on me. I was not responsible for his actions as long as I remained honest. It was not my position to act as judge and jury. 

But it doesn’t work that way. If you live with a liar you are assumed to also be a liar. If you are an honest person and you know your significant other is scamming someone is it your responsibility to warn them? 

Does it depend on the severity of the crime? If you are the wife of a man who sexually abuses under-age girls and you know. As long as you don’t participate in it are you responsible for ensuring he doesn’t abuse any more girls? Should you be punished for turning a blind eye?

As we are seeing now with various celebrities bring accused of molesting women; are the people who knew about it and didn’t say anything also guilty?

As much as I told myself his actions weren’t a reflection on me, I noticed I had become very cautious about who I told he was my boyfriend. I started wanting to warn people, I was not proud to be his girlfriend.   

After losing a 3rd job for being falsely accused of stealing, I found myself explaining to him that when you take things that don’t belong to you people tend to think you are stealing. People are funny that way. (*hint. If anyone is over the age of 3 and doesn’t know this. Run!!)

I had to ask myself why I was with someone I was ashamed to admit I was with? But by that time I was in so deep I didn’t see a way out. He had sabotaged my truck to the point it was only running maybe a 1/3 of the time. The repairs kept me broke, I was fighting a losing battle. 

He started to not come home at night and I didn’t even lose sleep. I knew to get angry was useless. I had gotten really good at suppressing my emotions. If I cried I heard, “That’s all you ever do is cry”. If I got angry I heard, “This is exactly why I don’t come home. You’re always angry!” If I was suspicious I was called jealous and paranoid. I started keeping track of every time I cried or got angry on a calendar. 

But I never left. So I just prayed he would tell me a good enough lie that I could lie to myself. I knew he was lying, that wasn’t the point; I didn’t believe anything he said anyway. But as long as he was lying I didn’t have to face reality. As long as he was lying he still “cared” and I still had a glimmer of hope that maybe he wasn’t lying this time and he really did love me. 

All victims of a narcissist live on hope and that is the hardest thing to lose. The victim knows he abuses her and treats her like shit, she knows he is cheating, she knows he is lying but she has hope. Hope is a big thing, without hope it’s hard to find a reason to go on. 

* NOTE * He is not the only one playing mind games, the worst ones are the games we play on ourselves!

I kept hearing this voice in my head saying, “How can you be with someone you are ashamed of and don’t respect?

After I left him I felt hopeless and of course he took every opportunity to make me feel hopeless. I felt totally broken and I didn’t have a clue how to put me back together, I could not ever get my innocence back. I have compared it to feeling like a puzzle someone dumped on the floor. But pieces were missing and pieces from another puzzle were mixed in. I was overwhelmed to the point of immobility. 

I knew in order to be happy I had to live according to my moral standards and if I was living with someone who was consistently dishonest I wasn’t living true to my core self.

How was I going to put myself back together and ever find my core self, who was I? 

I started the process the same way I would start putting a puzzle together; one piece at a time.

I looked at every horrible thing he told me I was. I owned what was true about me and I threw out what wasn’t. The things that were true but I didn’t like; I vowed to change.

This analysis of myself took me back to when I was a child and things I was told about myself when I was growing up. I had always been told I was “too sensitive”, I was a “flake”, I was never good enough, skinny enough, out going enough. Without even realizing it I had spent most of my life feeling like an impostor who could be exposed at any minute because I was trying to be what other people told me I should be.

When you are not living true to your core self it is impossible to have inner peace and it is very easy for a narcissist to make you feel “less than”.

Somehow I knew that if I could figure out who I was at the core and liked me that was going to be 1/2 the battle of protecting myself from another narcissist.

It has gotten easier over time, (7 years) to not succumb to the pressure from my ego. Our ego gets us in big trouble you know. My mother has a technique that my ex used also. They want you to do something or agree with them that someone else is wrong so they say something like, “You would never do something like that.” Or “You always help me, not like so and so.” My ex would say something like, “you are nothing like my ex’s, I can talk to you. You are calm and rational. All my ex’s were psycho bitches.”  It makes you better, favorable.  

* Later when he was calling ME a psycho bitch I said.

” I would be concerned if I was you.”

He grinned and snorted, “and why is that?”

Me: “Well, all your exs were psycho bitches and now you are calling me a psycho bitch.”

Him: “Yeah. So.”

Me: “Well. I’ve been thinking. Either you are attracted to psycho bitches, or you turn women into psycho bitches. Either way; you have a real problem.”

It is human nature to want to compare favorably to others, to be the “best” and it’s a very subtle way of getting someone to comply.

I have had a dilemma lately where someone I know has been lying a lot about other people and being vengeful to make herself look better. Privately I have brought her up on it. I have been trying to not play into their drama and pity party stating outright I refused to get pulled into the dysfunction. I thought I had it under control, but then they lied before I had a chance to run interference and I exposed them. 

They went on a tearful campaign proclaiming their innocence and I was made to look like the bad guy and now everyone is angry with me.

With a relationship with a narcissist I always advise going no contact but sometimes that is not possible or not easy, say; with a parent or sibling. 

I have had people come into the blog asking what they can do about the sibling who constantly makes trouble and lie’s about them or a parent that causes drama but always comes away smelling like a rose. I never know what to say and these recent events reminded me what a helpless feeling it is to deal with these toxic people. 

They won’t kill you and are not as blatant as most narcissists but damaging none the less. If it is a family member, to go no contact means you lose your whole family. You sit at home for Christmas, you are the one who is made to feel the pariah. 

It’s not so easy to live true to your core self and set boundaries when you face losing your whole family.

Have you ever dealt with a toxic family member? How did you handle it? Did you turn a blind eye or speak out? What was the outcome?