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11 Reasons You Might Miss Your Period PART FOUR

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CONTINUED. . . 

Hormonal imbalance

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition where the female sex hormones are out of balance. It can cause cysts on the ovaries and prevent ovulation from occurring regularly. In addition to missed or irregular periods, PCOS can also cause excess hair growth, acne, weight gain and possibly infertility. Your doctor can do a blood test to check your hormone levels if you think PCOS may be the reason for your menstruation problems. If PCOS is the cause, your doctor may recommend birth control to regulate your periods.

Thyroid disorder

When the thyroid, the gland responsible for your body's metabolism, doesn't function properly, it can cause abnormal menstrual changes. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can cause periods to be lighter and less frequent; additional symptoms include weight loss, rapid heartbeat, increased sweating and trouble sleeping. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) may also cause periods to be less frequent but heavier; it may also cause weight gain, fatigue, dry skin and hair loss. A blood test can help your doctor determine if you have a thyroid disorder.

Perimenopause

The average age of menopause is 51. Anywhere from two to eight years before that, a woman experiences what's known as perimenopause, the period when the body gradually makes less estrogen and moves toward menopause. During this time, it's not uncommon to have changes in the menstrual cycle — periods may come more or less frequently, be shorter or longer, or be lighter or heavier. But you'll also likely experience hot flashes and night sweats, sleeping difficulties, vaginal dryness and mood swings. If you're concerned about your symptoms, your doctor can check your hormone levels with a blood test.

Though a missed period can be emotional, try not to jump to conclusions until you find out what's really going on. A visit to your doctor can help pinpoint the cause, and if you're not pregnant, coax your next period along and get things back to normal.

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11 Reasons You Might Miss Your Period PART THREE

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The truth is, although many women assume they're pregnant if they miss a period, there are plenty of other things that can cause them to be late. Here are the 11 most common reasons for a missed period:

Excessive exercise

Of course working out is good for you. However, when you overdo it (and possibly also restrict meals to lose weight), your body doesn't produce enough estrogen to complete the menstrual cycle. Some women — such as ballet dancers, gymnasts and professional athletes — are at greater risk for amenorrhea (missing a period for three or more months in a row). But you don't have to be a pro for exercise to mess with your system. Working out excessively without taking in enough calories can also cause disruptions.

Some signs that you're overdoing it include extreme or rapid weight loss; decreased physical performance; or forcing yourself to work out through injury, illness or severe weather. Slowing down a bit and gaining a little weight if needed should get things back on track.

Change in schedule

Believe it or not, switching things up — for instance, working the night shift instead of the day, or travelling across the country — can throw off your internal body clock, which regulates your hormones. Sometimes this results in a missed or late period, but it should return when your body gets used to the change or your schedule goes back to normal.

Breastfeeding

If you're breastfeeding, you may not see your period for some time, since prolactin — the hormone responsible for breast milk production — also suppresses ovulation. Many moms don't have a period for months (or at all) while breastfeeding. But a lapse in your cycle doesn't mean you can't get pregnant. Remember, ovulation occurs before you get your period. It's possible for you to ovulate and then get pregnant before you ever see your period. So if you don't want back-to-back babies, use protection. Your period should return within about six to eight weeks after weaning your child. If you haven't gotten it three months after you stop breastfeeding, talk to your doctor.

Medication

Probably the most common medication to cause menstrual changes is birth control. Hormonal contraceptives such as the pill or patch work by stopping the body from ovulating — and no ovulation means no period. But what about that monthly bleeding you have while using one of these methods? What you're really experiencing is withdrawal bleeding, a “fake” period caused by the drop in hormones when you take the placebo pills in your pack or go patch-free during the fourth week of your cycle. Sometimes, though, the birth control suppresses the hormones so much that you have very light bleeding or no period at all during that week off. And some pills are even designed to stop your period for a longer amount of time (three months or more). Other hormonal birth controls, such as the Depo-Provera shot or the Mirena IUD, thin the lining of the uterus to such a degree that there may be no lining to shed monthly.

Emergency contraception, or the “morning after pill,” can also affect when or if you ovulate, so if you've taken it recently you may experience a late or skipped period (bring this up with your doctor).

Some other medications that can cause you to be irregular are antidepressants, some antipsychotics, corticosteroids and chemotherapy drugs.

If you've recently gone off the pill in the hopes of getting pregnant, you may notice that it takes a month or so for your cycle to regulate itself — in which case a skipped period might just be your system getting back on track. If you're not sure whether it means you're expecting, visit your doctor.

 

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11 Reasons You Might Miss Your Period PART TWO

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CONTINUED . . . 

The truth is, although many women assume they're pregnant if they miss a period, there are plenty of other things that can cause them to be late. Here are the 11 most common reasons for a missed period: The truth is, although many women assume they're pregnant if they miss a period, there are plenty of other things that can cause them to be late. Here are the 11 most common reasons for a missed period:

Stress

You already know that stress can trigger a number of unpleasant side effects, like headaches, weight gain and acne — and it can also affect your menstrual cycle. When you're under physical or emotional stress, your body produces the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Elevated levels force the brain to decide which bodily functions are essential and which are nonessential until the anxiety-inducing event is over.

While blood flow to the muscles and oxygen to the lungs will increase (part of the “fight-or-flight” response you've likely heard of), while others bodily functions, like digestion and those in the reproductive system, may stop temporarily in extreme cases. When the reproductive cycle is delayed, so is your period.

Illness

Think back to the time you should have ovulated. If you were sick, whether with a simple cold or something more serious, the stress could have put your body into that “which-function-is-most-important” phase mentioned above. So ovulation could happen later than usual or might not appear at all — meaning, your period will also be late or nonexistent. If illness around the time of ovulation is what caused you to be irregular, Aunt Flo' will likely return once things are back to normal.

Weight

Your weight can affect your hypothalamus, a gland in your brain responsible for regulating various processes in the body — including your menstrual cycle. Extreme weight loss, a low caloric intake or being very underweight stresses the hypothalamus, and your body won't release the estrogen needed to build the lining of the uterus. The same happens with eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia, which also cause estrogen levels to dip too low.

On the other hand, being overweight or gaining a lot in a short amount of time can cause your body to produce too much estrogen. The overload may cause you to go for months without ovulating or cause the endometrial lining to overgrow and become unstable, resulting in heavy, irregular or missed periods. Usually, gaining weight if you're underweight or losing if you're overweight should help your periods to return to normal.

TO BE CONTINUED . . . . 

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11 Reasons You Might Miss Your Period PART ONE

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If your period shows up like clockwork each month, being even a few days late can make you jump to conclusions. These are the most common reasons for a missed period.

It's easy to assume you're pregnant when you realize your period is late. If you're trying to conceive, you may feel excitement and a sense of disbelief. If you're not, you might feel fear or disappointment, not to mention utter confusion if you know there's no way you could be pregnant.

The truth is, although many women assume they're pregnant if they miss a period, there are plenty of other things that can cause them to be late. Here are the 11 most common reasons for a missed period:

Pregnancy

Sometimes a late period means exactly what you think: You're pregnant! Because the early symptoms of pregnancy — like cramping, bloating, nausea, spotting, fatigue, breast tenderness and even aversion to certain foods — are similar to what you may experience in the days before menstruation, it can be difficult to tell if your cycle is simply off by a few days or you're pregnant. 

The fastest and easiest way to find out if pregnancy is the cause of your missed period is to take an at-home pregnancy test. These tests detect human chorionic gonadotropin (better known as hCG, the hormone released during pregnancy) in your urine. These tests are most reliable the day after your missed period, but some tests can detect a pregnancy up to five days before you’ve missed your period.

 

TO BE CONTINUED. . . . 

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11 Early Pregnancy Symptoms to Watch For PART THREE

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CONTINUED. . . .

Breast changes

Tender, swollen breasts and darkening, bumpy areolas are among the breast changes you might experience early in pregnancy. The hormones estrogen and progesterone deserve most of the credit (or the blame) for this early pregnancy symptom. The breast tenderness is pain with a gain, though, since it's part of your body's preparation for the milk-making to come.

Your areolas (the circles around your nipples) may get darker and increase in diameter. You'll also likely start to notice tiny bumps growing in size and number on your areolas. These bumps, called Montgomery's tubercles, were always there, but now they're gearing up to produce more oils that lubricate your nipples once baby starts nursing.

Frequent urination

Two to three weeks after conception you may notice an increased need to pee. This new gotta-go feeling usually crops up two to three weeks after conception and is due to the pregnancy hormone hCG, which increases blood flow to your kidneys, helping them to more efficiently rid your body (and, eventually, your baby's body) of waste.

Your growing uterus is also beginning to put some pressure on your bladder, leaving less storage space for urine and making you head for the toilet more frequently.

Bloating

Having trouble buttoning your jeans? Early pregnancy bloating is hard to distinguish from pre-period bloat, but it's an early pregnancy symptom that many women feel soon after they conceive.

You can't blame that puffy, ate-too-much feeling on your baby yet, but you can blame it on the hormone progesterone, which helps slow down digestion, giving the nutrients from foods you eat more time to enter your bloodstream and reach your baby.

Unfortunately, bloating is often accompanied by constipation. Getting the right amount of fiber in your diet can help keep you regular.

Raised basal body temperature

If you've been using a special basal body thermometer to track your first morning temperature, you might notice that it rises around 1 degree when you conceive and stays elevated throughout your pregnancy.

Though not a foolproof early pregnancy symptom (there are other reasons your temp can rise), it could give you advance notice of the big news.

Implantation bleeding

For up to 30 percent of new moms, light spotting or implantation bleeding before you'd expect your period (around six to 12 days after conception) is sometimes an early pregnancy symptom signaling that an embryo has implanted itself into the uterine wall, which may or may not be accompanied by menstrual-like cramps.

Are other moms-to-be having the same pregnancy symptoms? Join a preconception community groups to find out!

How soon can you get pregnancy symptoms?

Very early pregnancy symptoms (like sensitivity to smell and tender breasts) may show up before you miss your period, as soon as a few days after conception, while other early signs of pregnancy (like spotting) might appear around one week after sperm meets egg. Still others (like urinary frequency) often appear about two weeks or so following conception.

That said, early pregnancy symptoms crop up at different times in different women. Some experience very few (if any) of these signs until several weeks into their pregnancies.

Though many women never feel any early pregnancy symptoms, others suffer from them all. If you've missed your period and are experiencing fatigue, morning sickness, spotting and tender breasts, you may just want to grab yourself a home pregnancy test — and then drop by the doctor’s for a blood test to confirm it. 

No matter what symptoms you're having, the only way to know for sure that you're pregnant is to make an appointment with your OB/GYN.

Be sure to schedule the visit as early as you can so you can get the best care possible right from the start if it does turn out that you're experiencing early pregnancy symptoms. And if you are expecting a baby, congratulations! You're embarking on the journey of a lifetime.

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11 Early Pregnancy Symptoms to Watch For PART TWO

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CONTINUED. . . .

Smell sensitivity

heightened sense of smell is an early pregnancy symptom that makes previously mild odors strong and unappealing. Since it's one of the first symptoms of pregnancy many women report, babies might be in the air if your sniffer's suddenly more sensitive and easily offended.

Morning sickness or nausea

That telltale, queasy feeling known as morning sickness can hit you at any time of day — and it typically begins when you're about 6 weeks pregnant, though it can vary and strike even earlier.

Hormones, mainly increased levels of progesterone (though estrogen and hCG can also take some credit), can cause the stomach to empty more slowly, resulting in this early pregnancy symptom resembling seasickness.

Food aversions

Your extra-sensitive nose may be responsible for another early sign of pregnancy: food aversions, where the thought, sight or smell of certain foods you normally like can turn your stomach (or worse, contribute to your morning sickness).

This early pregnancy symptom can be triggered by anything from chicken (a common one) to something seemingly more benign, like salad.

Though this isn't one of the very early signs of pregnancy, it does tend to pop up in the first trimester. Blame those pregnancy hormones again, especially early on when your body is flooded with them and still getting used to all the hormonal changes. Don't worry: This early pregnancy symptom often passes by the second trimester, when things have settled down in there.

Mood swings

Yet again, blame those pregnancy-related hormonal changes for the mood swings you may be experiencing once you're expecting. As early as 4 weeks into your pregnancy, you may feel a PMS-style moodiness; later in the first trimester and often throughout the rest of pregnancy, you could be up one minute and anxious or down the next.

Aside from pregnancy hormones running amok, your life is about to change in a big way, so it's completely normal for your moods to go haywire. Do what you can to give yourself a break, eat well, get enough sleep and pamper yourself. Deep breaths! It's all going to be okay.

TO BE CONTINUED. . . . .

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11 Early Pregnancy Symptoms to Watch For PART ONE

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Are you pregnant? Look for these early pregnancy symptoms. Some of these first signs of pregnancy can show up just a few short weeks after conception.

Before you even pass that pregnancy test and know for sure that you've got a baby on board, you may get a heads-up in the form of some early pregnancy symptoms.

But because many of these early signs of pregnancy will be similar to symptoms you have right before you get your period, it may be hard to tell the difference. 

While pregnancy tests and your practitioner can offer definitive answers, here are 11 telltale early pregnancy symptoms that may reveal you're expecting:

Missed period

It might be stating the obvious, but if you've missed a period (especially if your periods usually run like clockwork), you're probably suspecting pregnancy, and for good reason. A missed period is one early pregnancy symptom all expectant moms experience!

Some women have what seems to be an unusually short or light period after they've already gotten pregnant. It's actually often implantation bleeding (more on that below), but it can be mistaken for your last menstrual period. So you may not realize you missed your period, at least at first.

Fatigue

Imagine climbing a mountain without training while carrying a backpack that weighs a little more every day. That's pregnancy in a nutshell!

In other words, it's hard work, which is why fatigue is an early pregnancy symptom almost every mom-to-be experiences.

When you get pregnant, a huge amount of energy goes into building a placenta, the life-support system for your baby. All that can zap you of your usual get-up-and-go, and cause pregnancy fatigue shortly after you conceive.

Morning sickness or nausea

That telltale, queasy feeling known as morning sickness can hit you at any time of day — and it typically begins when you're about 6 weeks pregnant, though it can vary and strike even earlier.

Hormones, mainly increased levels of progesterone (though estrogen and hCG can also take some credit), can cause the stomach to empty more slowly, resulting in this early pregnancy symptom resembling seasickness.

TO BE CONTINUED. . . .

 

 
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Divorcing the Narcissist – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly PART TWO

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CONTINUED. . . . 

There are ways to make divorcing the narcissist the best decision you’ve ever made, and it starts long before you file any paperwork.

  1. First, start documenting the abuse as far back as you can remember. Assign the closet date possible to the incident and record it on paper or your computer. Make sure the narcissist does not have access to your documentation. This will help you, legally and emotionally. Legally, paperwork stands up in a court of law. Emotionally, you will romanticize the relationship, and your written account of the abuse can knock you back into reality.

  2. Secondly, meet with divorce attorneys to ask the questions you have about divorce in your state or country. This doesn’t mean you have to use that attorney or file for a divorce, but these steps will give you confidence in yourself. You gain some control back because you are handling important decisions on your own, regardless of what the narcissist has told you about your capabilities.

  3. Also, find a good therapist to help guide you through your emotions during the divorce process. A therapist can be a (confidential) rock for you to navigate new feelings and old hurt.

  4. When you are divorcing the narcissist, do your best to avoid being around them and speaking with them. Do not communicate except through your attorney. If you have children, share the necessary information only via email. Narcissists are inherent bullies, and they won’t back down until you make them. For example, Shane, my ex, told me what he would give me during the divorce and that I would be a failure without him. When I listened, I was terrified and hysterical. When I let the attorney handle the negotiations, I got what I needed and built a wonderful new life.

  5. Finally, face your grief head-on. Feel the emotions. Cry and scream if you need to. The heartache will be like a roller coaster, because one day you will feel relieved and empowered, and the next day you might feel you can’t survive. But you will. Ask yourself, “Am I mourning my dream or the person I thought they were?” Most likely, you are grieving what you wanted. That’s okay. New dreams are around the corner!

These are just a few of the points that I cover in my new book out this Fall called Girl, Get Out; How to Safely Leave a Narcissist and Keep Your Kids, Money, Sanity and Soul. What took me five years to learn is condensed into this manuscript. It is a roadmap to peace.

Survivors often ask me if I would marry Shane all over again. My answer is an emphatic no, unless it meant, hypothetically, that I wouldn’t have my son. However, I would divorce Shane again if my life could look like it does right now. I am the happiest I have ever been. I have found peace, joy, hope and yes, true love. You can, too.     

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Divorcing the Narcissist – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly PART ONE

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Divorcing a narcissist isn’t easy. If you could rewind the clock and take a glimpse at me on the day I divorced the narcissist, you would find me curled up on the floor of my bedroom, crying and shaking. It felt like the worst day of my life. Little did I know it would turn out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. I just had to get through the pain to get to the other side.

It is not a normal breakup. Most healthy people part ways with some animosity, but over time, the hostility fades, and the divorced couple can at least be civil if they run into each other. With a narcissist, this isn’t the case.

Here’s why:

  1. The narcissist will not get over the abandonment. If it was your choice to leave, and sometimes even if it wasn’t, the narcissist will have a narcissistic injury and inflict as much pain as possible on you in return. Narcissists also like to play the victim because it takes the focus off what they did to you.

  2. Divorcing a narcissist is as difficult as it gets. Doing that on top of dealing with your issues and agony while navigating your life just adds to the list. But when the narcissist is out to get you, it can make a divorce feel like a wound that just won’t heal.

  3. It hurts worse to divorce a narcissist due to the trauma bonds associated with toxic relationships. Trauma bonds are emotional ties we develop to our abusers. We live for the thrill we feel when the narcissist demonstrates kindness or perceived love. We hold on to that version of the narcissist, never losing hope, even when the abuse stretches out for long periods between the good times. It’s like drug addiction, but the drug is the narcissist. We stay for the high.

  4. The narcissist will bully you through the divorce process and beyond. Narcissists are like the kid who dropped their sucker in the sandbox when something doesn’t go their way. They throw a fit and try to make you repent.

  5. You face the unknown, yet you are still likely dealing with what the narcissist told you your new life would look. Narcissists like to plant seeds of doubt such as, “You can’t live without me,” and, “No one will love you like I love you.”

There are ways to make divorcing the narcissist the best decision you’ve ever made, and it starts long before you file any paperwork.

TO BE CONTINUED. . . .

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Healing from Narcissistic Abuse: Moving On PART TWO

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CONTINUED. . . .

Here is what has worked for me and thousands of other men and women who have moved on:

  1. Make healing a priority.  Every day you plan your day around your healing activity for the day.  It cannot come second to anything. Get up early if you need to.

  2. Find a good therapist who understands narcissistic abuse.  Mine even met my narcissistic parent when I was 19, and subsequently the narcissist I married.  He got it, and till does.

  3. Find a recovery coach. There are men and women who have survived narcissistic abuse, and sometimes, we can take your healing a step further simply because we’ve been there. If you haven’t had therapy, I believe in finding a therapist first. One you’ve worked through the cognitive results of the abuse, and you’re ready for someone to help you develop a plan for healing and your next five years, this is where a life coach or recovery coach can help.  I used to use my grandmother’s phrase, “Oh, that’s hogwash,” until I was the victim who need someone to hold my hand. And it worked. I did everything Rebecca said, and I am the happiest I have been in my life.

  4. Find a divorce class or group. Surround yourself on a regular basis by people who have been through what you are going through.  You are NOT alone. Be careful though. Sometimes these groups can quickly evolve into a “Friend group” with members dating each other and seeing each other at regularly scheduled events.  Recently a good friend called me, a bit upset. She was been dating a member of her church’s divorce group. Her boyfriend had broken up with her and immediately moved on to another member of the group.  She was hurting all over again.  My friend is amazing!  She’s smart, beautiful and great mom. My heart was breaking for her. Remember, hurt people hurt people. Your heartbreak is enough for this lifetime.  I know mine was!

  5. Join an online support group. There is Victorious Voices, my group on Facebook.  It is a closed group so no one can see what’s posted there except the members. Click here to check it out and join, of you’d like.

  6. Connect with a spiritual healer or someone from your church.  My faith is important to me, and it helped me by having someone pray with me and for me on a regular basis.  It felt good to know someone was there.

  7. Reconnect or connect with good friends who understand what you’ve been through. If a person doesn’t understand, but is a great listener, that is fine, too. Stay away from the toxic people who ask questions and judge your decisions. No one should tell you how to live and critique your life choices. No one knows what went on in your relationship, and frankly, if they aren’t going to support you, it’s none of their business. Keep it moving.

Remember that healing is not linear. It feels like a roller coaster. But if you commit to healing, you will heal your heart and soul, and others around you will notice. Your family will benefit. Mostly, you get to be you again.  You get to find peace!

Finally, my next book, Girl, Get Out; How to Safely Leave a Narcissist with Your Kids, Money, Sanity and Soul, will be published this Fall. It took me five years to develop a plan to escape my narcissistic relationship, and another three years to heal. I am sharing my story with you, so you can save time and heal your broken heart more quickly that I did.  Stay turned for the release date!

 

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Healing from Narcissistic Abuse: Moving On PART ONE

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The woman on the other end of the phone couldn’t understand me because I was crying so hard. I had seen an excerpt of a talk by Rebecca Lynn Pope, Spiritual Leader and Life Coach, at Bishop T.D. Jakes Megafest Conference. (This is of course back when conferences could happen.) After hearing Rebecca, I thought, “I have to work with this woman! She gets it, and I know she will get me!” That was the start of my healing from narcissistic abuse.

You see, I was raised by a narcissist then married one. The cumulative effect of the abuse finally brought me to my knees after I divorced the narcissist in 2015. That’s when I found myself curled up on my bedroom floor, on the phone with Rebecca. I couldn’t go on anymore. I hurt so badly that I thought there’s no way that I can raise my son, work and continue to live. I just wanted the pain to stop. I had worked with a therapist for 25 years, but I need one giant push to get over the threshold and past my pain.

If you feel you are this low, there is good news in your situation.  When you hit rock bottom, you can only go up.  And when we are at our lowest, sometimes God works wonders in our lives.  Why? Because we finally, fully invite Him in. We listen to others who have been through the same things. WE will try anything to feel better.

Survivor often ask me, “How did you begin healing from narcissistic abuse? What was that like?”

Healing from narcissistic abuse is different for everyone, but it does have one consistent trait among those men and women who have gone on to live peacefully and joyfully away from the narcissist.  That one trait is dedication.  You must dedicate yourself to healing. It is not a passive experience.

Here is what has worked for me and thousands of other men and women who have moved on:

  1. Make healing a priority.  Every day you plan your day around your healing activity for the day.  It cannot come second to anything. Get up early if you need to.

    1. Find a good therapist who understands narcissistic abuse.  Mine even met my narcissistic parent when I was 19, and subsequently the narcissist I married.  He got it, and till does.

      TO BE CONTINUED. . . . 
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8 Key Phrases You Can Use to Shut Down the Narcissist and Get them to Leave You Alone

 

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Raised by Narcissists: Why Am I Never Enough? Part FOUR

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CONTINUED. . .

Here some of the fundamental beliefs and actions that you must take to heal and live free:

Being sensitive is a gift. 

Likely, you are more sensitive and caring than other people around you.  That’s what makes you a great parent, friend, son or daughter.  It is what draws people to you. Others feel emotionally safe around you, and you bring them peace. Practice telling yourself that being sensitive is a gift because it is a treasure to others.

Practicing self-care and self-preservation is not being selfish. 

If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of others.  Commit to making sure you are rested, well and at peace before stretching yourself thin to help someone else.

Putting boundaries in place is necessary.

Dr. Henry Cloud says establishing boundaries teach others how to love us. When you set boundaries in place, you can determine who gets your gifts and who doesn’t.  You deserve to give your most magnificent self when and where you decide it is needed. Boundaries help protect you now and in the future.

Learning that you are good enough can change your life.

You must talk back to that tape in your head that says you don’t measure up and that you are unlovable and don’t matter. One way to do this is to rediscover yourself.  What makes you happy? What do you believe in? What do you stand for?  Most likely, it’s not what the toxic parent taught you.  By rediscovering yourself, you develop more confidence and more peace.

Understanding that the narcissist won’t like your changes is a crucial step.  If the narcissist is still a part of your life, that person will notice your emotional growth and confidence.  Most likely, the narcissist won’t like it.  Why? The narcissist can’t control you when you’re developing your own beliefs, boundaries, values and morals.  You are evolving into your true self.  You are no longer a puppet on a string. You are free at last.

Laura Charanza

If you are interested in online counseling, Dr. Carter has a sponsor who can assist.  As the need is there, please seek the help you deserve
We receive commissions on referrals to BetterHelp. We only recommend services that we trust.

 
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Raised by Narcissists: Why Am I Never Enough? Part THREE

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CONTINUED. . . 

If you were raised by narcissists, you likely have experienced the following:

This cycle looks like this:

Work – Reach or Miss Expectation – Disapproval – Work Harder

When this child enters adulthood, the child feels like true love is love that is earned, never freely given. I can recall dating many different men who fell for me, yet I wasn’t interested in any of them whose love I simply received.  I felt like it was true love only if I had to work for it.

1. You feel difficult to love.

When you are raised by narcissists, you are seldom allowed to develop your own thoughts, feelings or ideas about life and all it brings. The message the narcissist gives a child is, “Believe as I believe, or I withhold love and attention. If you don’t believe what I believe, you make it very difficult to love you.”

The children of narcissists either do as the controlling parent says, or they push back. Many times, this is where the child of a narcissist is told that, “You are too sensitive” or “You are emotionally high maintenance.” The child begins to believe that you bury your feelings and conform to the manipulative parent or don’t deserve love.

Again, this carries over into adulthood.  I remember when this happened during a toast at my brother’s wedding almost two decades ago. My gentle father brought up my proclivity to being sensitive. Dad said, “Laura was our sensitive, high-maintenance child.” Those words still haunt me today. Was this otherwise kind family member saying that maliciously? No, it is what the narcissist had taught him and believed to be accurate. Is it true? You bet. But guess what? Being a very kind, empathetic, caring, highly-sensitive person has made me the best friend, mother, daughter and co-worker anyone could ever ask for.

2. You must always be the adult.

When you are raised by narcissists you might think you must always take the high road when it comes to confrontations. This belief is fostered in childhood, too.  The narcissist must be right when it comes to any opinion, situation, rule or comment. Children of toxic parents learn it is okay to be wrong if mom or dad is happy.

When the child enters adulthood, this can cause children who were raised by narcissists to retreat when confronted or fail to stand up for themselves at work or home. The adult has learned it’s better to be wrong than stand up for what you believe is right.

3. You never do what you want to do.

When you are raised by narcissists you are taught to turn the other cheek consistently.  Put the narcissistic parent’s needs first. You may have been taught that caring for yourself is “selfish.” In adulthood, this can translate into caring for everyone else until it’s detrimental to your physical and emotional health.

My therapist once referred to this as being a doormat. When you constantly put others’ needs first, you are telling them and yourself that you are not worthy of love or care. Boundaries disappear, and the situation only grows worse. Many victims of narcissistic abuse find themselves repeatedly in relationships where they do all the work. And yet the other person, usually a narcissist, receives the benefits without ever giving back. 

Recovering from abuse by a narcissistic parent takes time and work, but it is possible. 

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Raised by Narcissists: Why Am I Never Enough? Part TWO

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CONTINUED. . . .

If you were raised by narcissists, you likely have experienced the following:

2. You feel like you will never be enough.

The narcissist sets unachievable expectations for a child. Whether the children’s goals are about school, musical talent or athletics, the targets set by the narcissist are almost always unreasonably high. When you are being raised by narcissists, you can never meet them. The child may try and try for an entire childhood, still falling short of the mark.

Yet, when they are not met, the narcissist looks at the situation like the child injured him or her deliberately. Narcissists like to dole out shame or the silent treatment after unreached expectations as if the child chose to fail him or her. The narcissistic parent may also withhold love and attention, immersing themselves in their own sick and injured mindset. The child feels invisible, discounted and insecure.

3. You feel like true love must be earned.

Occasionally the child will reach an expectation set by the narcissistic parent.  That parent then hands out attention and loving words, giving the child hope that mom or dad loves them now.

Unfortunately, the affirmations don’t last long, because the child will face another unattainable goal shortly after that.  Then, the parent withdraws symbols of love and attention, leaving the child working even harder for approval.

This cycle looks like this:

Work – Reach or Miss Expectation – Disapproval – Work Harder

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Raised by Narcissists: Why Am I Never Enough? Part One

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 There’s a tape in my head that plays painful words on repeat if I allow its volume to be too loud.  The verbiage goes like this: “You will never be enough. Shame on you.  You are hard to love. No one will ever love you. If your mother can’t love you, no one can.” This tape is my head is likely caused from being raised by narcissists.

Most victims of narcissistic abuse have an internal dialogue playing, often put there by a narcissistic parent. Sadly, it’s not just one or two comments that damage the child well into adulthood. It is year after year of a parent’s slow ridicule of a child, often associated with the parent setting unachievable expectations. In the end, there is a broken, inner child that doesn’t grow along with the physical body.

In a family where children are raised by narcissists, family members revolve their lives around the narcissist. 

The adage, “If mom or dad isn’t happy, then nobody’s happy,” often applies in home life when you are being raised by narcissists.

In a healthy family, the parents meet the needs of the children physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially and intellectually. Parents lead by effort and example, allowing each child to develop his or her own thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

When you are in a family that is being raised by narcissists, however, the roles are reversed. The parent expects the child to meet his or her needs. Think of a five-year-old trying to understand why he didn’t get a hug after a soccer game. The child thinks, “I didn’t score a goal, and now I don’t get a hug. I must be worthless and unlovable until I can score.” The parent tells the child what is acceptable, tolerated or detestable.

Another example might be with the intellectually gifted child. The son or daughter brings home an A- instead of an A. The parent, however, doesn’t say, “Great job!” The parent asks the student where the other five points went. The point is that children receive the same message from a narcissistic parent: You aren’t good enough. The unhealthy parent is teaching the child that actions or success equal attention and admiration. No success? No love from mom or dad. The child learns to do as the narcissistic parent says or be dismissed.

Here are the ways that being raised by narcissists controls the narrative of the family. Usually, the manipulative parent assigns one child the task of doing the unappreciated, unfulfilling work.

If you were raised by narcissists, you likely have experienced the following:

1. You feel shame.

Narcissistic parents are skilled at using shame as a tool to control family members. Shame is the insinuation that something is inherently wrong with a person on the inside. For example, a narcissist may say, “Shame on you.” The unhealthy parent is telling the child to feel ashamed about the person you are, not the action or mistake you have made. The parent is saying, “You are bad and not worthy of my love.”

On the other hand, a healthy parent might tell the child, “I love you, but I disapprove of your choice. Now you must face the consequences.”

For example, my son, Carson, is a great teenager who makes mostly good choices.  However, the day Christmas break started in 2019, my son walked home from middle school with four other 8th grade boys. On the way home, they decided to use spray paint from a school art project and destroy the brick wall of a business near our home. Not only did they paint a few graphic words, but they also drew pictures of male genitalia.    

I was home when the doorbell rang.  I opened the door, and a police officer was standing on the steps. “Is your son home?” Officer Peter asked. “Yes, please come in,” I answered after checking his credentials. He was indeed a police officer from our town.

I summoned the boys from the back yard into the kitchen, where officer Peter found out yes, it was this group of boys who destroyed property. The police officer expected the teenagers to clean up the paint immediately or face juvenile court. The boys were terrified.

After scrubbing the fence until the wee hours of the morning, I brought my son inside and took his phone and xbox away. But the best lesson I told him was this. “Carson, you are a good kid, and I love you,” I said. “But I don’t approve of your actions.  Therefore, I am grounding you for a month.”

I did my best not to shame him, and I didn’t teach him that this mess up defined him. Most importantly, I didn’t withhold my love for him. Using shame as a disciplinary tool would hand him a heavy burden to carry from childhood until his adult years.

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Can a narcissist actually change? PART THREE

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CONTINUED. . . .

If you are trying to get away from your narcissistic tendencies, focus on the ingredients like:

Decency: Are you known as being a decent person?

Self restraint: When you feel the need to pop off, be critical or be impatient, put the brakes on. There are other elements inside the room besides your own feelings.

Patience: Narcissists tend to be very impatient. The patient person says, “Sometimes things take a while.

Be a listener: Tune in to what other folks have to say. If someone has something to say that you don’t care for, rather than correct them, ask outloud, “I wonder what’s behind the scenes with their perspectives.”

Conscientiousness: Understand that the things you say to people impact them, and you would rather impact people in a good way rather than just to your own preferences.

Tenderness: Commit to a gentle spirit as opposed to a harsh or dominant kind of person.

As we go back to the question “can the narcissist change?” You must realize that these steps are not easy, and they require breaking of old habits. They require the commitment towards new and better ingredients.

Change can happen with many narcissists, if you are sick and tired of the way life is unfolding, perhaps now is the time for you to say “It’s time to get serious about me becoming a more mature person.” I hope that is something you would be willing to consider.

Dr. Les Carter

If you are interested in online counseling, Dr. Carter has a sponsor who can assist.  As the need is there, please seek the help you deserve:

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Can a narcissist actually change? PART TWO

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CONTINUED. . . .

There are 6 elements that a narcissist needs to incorporate in their daily life to begin change:

1. Drop your know it all attitude

Start with a sense of humility and say “It really isn’t all about me.” Just because you think something to be true doesn’t mean there aren’t other possibilities out there that could be taken into account. The narcissist says “well, I know everything.” The non-narcissistic alternative says “I want to get input from other people.”

2. Ask someone you trust for their opinion

Get with people who you know and trust will be straight forward with you and ask, “what are some things about me that you’ve noticed that I need to pay special attention to?”, If they tell you some things that are not very flattering, let it be known that you want to hear examples and listen to their input with no particular defense. Make yourself open to the instructions or observations that might be useful to you.

3. Be very specific about what you want to change

Lets keep in mind one really large truth, this world that we live in is a broken world. There are lots of people who do nice and noble things, but everyone has problems. We have all made mistakes or have landed in positions where we’ve done things that we wish we could take back. If you are wanting to be someone who says they want to change – name your brokenness. Talk about what it is you see inside, whether that be your bad temper, or your critical/judgmental spirit, and be very specific when you are talking about what needs to be different.

4. Make yourself accountable to trustworthy people

Rather than just saying “yeah I want to change,” pick a trusted friend, counselor, support group, relatives, or anyone that loves you and cares about you – make yourself accountable and let them know what you are up to. Having a sense of community around you can be very helpful.

5. Be willing to make amends for the wrongs you have committed

As you commit to change and you tell folks that you want to be a different person, there will be some people off to the side who are hurting because of things that happened with you. Be willing to go to those people and apologize to them, and let them know that you are working on changing those things. Put actions to your words. Don’t just say it, actually do it.

6. Become a student of healthy living

There are many good books out there and videos such as the one below that you can learn from. Make sure you are the person who actually wants to learn. Make yourself a student. If I want to learn how to be a better mathematician, I need to study math. Be a student of good psychology and emotional and relational skills.

 

 

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Can a narcissist actually change? PART ONE

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Often the answer to “can a narcissist change” is, no. But sometimes conviction comes upon that person and change is possible, though not easy.

There are some people that are so far down the line in their narcissistic tendencies that we call them “Narcissistic Personality Disorder.” They are so far gone they won’t make any adjustment whatsoever. Unfortunately, often times when people are asking me if the narcissist can change, they are in a state of denial and they’re just wishing for things to be different when evidence shows that it’s not going to be the case.

Let’s keep in mind that narcissism as I see it can either be a full-blown personality disorder or it can be a pattern of living or thinking that’s on a spectrum. In order to answer the question “can a narcissist change?” I want to highlight some of the ingredients that are part of the narcissistic tendency, and then go over the six things that need to happen in order for that person to actually change.

Some Identifying Ingredients of Narcissism Are:

High need for control: In order for the narcissist to change, they need to develop a non-controlling style. It’s not their job to tell you who to be or how to think.

Low level of empathy: In order to the narcissist to change, they must tune in to other individuals, and understand that their feelings and perceptions can have validity. The narcissist must recognize this and factor it into his/her communication.

Exploited and manipulative: In order for a narcissist to change, the alternative would be to stop the game playing, and if you are dealing with a narcissist, stop allowing them to play games.

Strong sense of entitlement: In order for a narcissist to change, they must drop the entitlement and learn it’s not all about them. Other people have needs and it is important to focus on zeroing in on that instead of focusing on yourself.

Need to be superior: In order for a narcissist to change, they must recognize equality. Narcissists have alternate realties, and often times they think that if they believe something, that’s the only reality there is. A Narcissist needs to understand others have their own version of the truth, and be open minded to receiving that.

Charming, but phony: In order for a narcissist to change, they must show friendliness that is sincere. Only showing friendliness when you will get something in return is phony and disingenuous.'

TO BE CONTINUED.. . . . .

 

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Narcissist Friend? Characteristics to Watch Out For PART TWO

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CONTINUED. . . .

 

2. A narcissist friend doesn’t take responsibility.

If something goes wrong between the narcissist and you, the narcissist won’t take the blame.  It will be your fault.

3. A narcissist friend projects their issues onto you.

The narcissistic friend will be needy and demanding yet tell you that you are ungrateful and unforgiving.  Don’t you know how busy and terrible their life is?

I recently had a narcissistic friend tell me that she just had to travel to the beach for a few days because her life was so stressful. (This mom doesn’t work and has lost custody of the children). Meanwhile, the three kids are home from college or on summer break from high school, left wondering where mom went for the few days they are all in town. Thankfully, the father is a very involved dad and picked up the slack, much like he does every day. Meanwhile, the narcissist told her ex-husband that he has no idea how much she goes through daily.

4. A Narcissist friend can love bomb friends, too.

Narcissists can shower you with attention and praise, but beware.  This usually happens when they want something from you.

For example, my narcissistic ex, Shane, has a close friend that he gave accolades to when he lost his job.  Why? Shane needed to use his car since his former employer repossessed his car. However, when the tables were turned, and this friend lost his job, my ex charged his friend for our old washing machine instead of just giving it to him.

5. A narcissist friend can be very jealous and keep score.

If the narcissist happens to do something nice for you, you will have to repay them tenfold. The narcissist will remember everything that he or she did for you, even if it is only in that person’s imagination. 

I remember Shane telling another wealthy friend, James, that James could buy him a beer or three one night because James “made more money than I’ll ever make in my life.” Shane would regularly take advantage of James’ generosity about using his lake house, jet skis or other toys that Shane couldn’t afford to buy.

The bottom line is that you need to understand what you are getting into when you accept a narcissist as a friend.

I keep narcissists at arm’s length and have zero expectations. If you decide to end the friendship, that will be its own challenge before the narcissist finds another victim.  Then, however, you will have peace.

Laura Charanza

 

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