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Codependents Anonymous helps me. Sometimes there's a history of toxic behavior that gets worse with age or infirmity. It may have been there for a long time and you are now recognizing it.

I didn't realize how bad things were, because I thought all families were like ours. Now I'm learning how to recognize healthy people and set boundaries with toxic ones. It helps to be around people who have been through similar situations and can tell you that you are Not crazy and Not unreasonable. A lot of us are caregivers, too.

CoDA has meetings in person and online. If people hang around after the meeting, stick around. I get just as much benefit after the meeting as I do during the meeting. It's like a 2 for 1 bonus.
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ventingisback Nov 9, 2022
Great idea, thanks!
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I didn't have one, but often counseling is needed if this represents a lifetime of abuse. We can carry that forward and we can suffer all our lives if it isn't addressed with professionals who are good at what they do. We get trained to expect abuse, and we create the same situations for ourselves long after the loved one is gone because we cannot forgive their human limitations and move on, building a good life for ourselves. I wish you good healing and a happy life. For me this is my one chance at it, and I won't give up a happy productive life. Please consider getting help.
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ventingisback Nov 8, 2022
Thanks a lot!
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3 things i find useful when dealing with verbally abusive people:

1. make decisions for yourself.

abusers have a great desire to CONTROL you. to decide for you. to "OWN" you. emotionally abusive people often force you to put their needs, desires, and demands above your own. maybe they've been doing that your whole life. time to break free. you might not realize you're a prisoner.

2. re-learn your preferences.

you may have lost touch with your own preferences for things. spend time reclaiming yourself. do things that you enjoy without worrying about pleasing anyone else. abusers WANT you to be unhappy, and want you to refrain from seeking happiness - you might even start fulfilling their wish, because you noticed when you're happy, they treat you worse.

3. protect your self-esteem.

you're a wonderful person. don't believe the abuser's lies, garbage, nonsense.

and take a hug with you, from me.

bundle of joy :)
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ventingisback Nov 16, 2022
Thanks for the advice!
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I think the best possible thing is to completely cut off contact. However with a parent I can see how that would not be so simple.

In my case I had to live with/deal with a true blue narc sibling and one brief relationship and what helps a ton is this cognitive behavioral trick; if thoughts of them pop in your, had, immediately think of something else. Anything! Baseball scores, chocolate, puppies, whatever. Just blast over that thought of that person with any other thought.

This cognitive trick is not the easiest to make automatic and it took me about 30 days of really consciously doing it to make it a habit. But once it becomes a habit…freeeedooooom!!!

I still have to hear about my sibling now and then and have to deal with that, but I swear by this cognitive trick for freeing up brain space that these narcs take up!

Give it a whirl and some time . Good luck!
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ventingisback Dec 19, 2022
Thanks a lot!
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also from the internet. useful:

change the focus to yourself:

“So, this is what I did.
I changed my focus.
I stopped reading so damn much about NPD and trying to figure his behaviour out. Instead, I read about surviving emotional abuse, dysfunctions and trauma bonding.

I stopped focusing on understanding why the NPD person was doing all this, stopped trying to understand that behaviour. I stopped trying to figure out how to fix him.

I started focusing on myself.

I started trying to figure out how to fix myself.

When you start building yourself back up, you’ll be able to make a very simple, yet monumental, change: You’ll stop giving a f*** about that person.”
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ventingisback Dec 21, 2022
Thanks! I will make that shift of focus!
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One way I’m trying to heal is by looking at the effects of verbal abuse, and seeing:
(1) Do I have that problem?
(2) What am I going to do about it?

Potential effects of abuse on the victim:
—low self-esteem
—depression
—anxiety
—physical symptoms
—stress eating
—time wasted
—lost opportunities because your energy and time are spent on healing
—you start believing the abuser’s lies
—you start losing yourself. You miss your former self. You miss YOU.
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My therapist used to have me go through 'what does' scenarios. "what does a loved and cherished daughter feel like? Can I achieve that when I am NOT that?

What does a childhood without abuse feel like? Can I overcome the past traumas or are they 'who I am?. I'm not doing a good job at explaining what she said to me. She has me create in my mind a 'healthy' version of myself. I don't naturally have one!

It's a slow and often painful process. Like healing from a deep physical wound. You heal, there may or may not be a deep scar, or there may be no signs. The challenge is to get to a place where the scars are not what defines you.

And NEVER giving up.

I have only just realized I do not have to take insults, meanness, disrespect or actual hatred from anyone. I can walk away. Sometimes that is what you have to do. Even with family, who should be our BFF's---but they can hurt us more than anyone else.
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ventingisback Nov 11, 2022
Thanks a lot! This is really helpful! I’ll ask myself the same questions, and remind myself of the same things.
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I'm working on recovering from this and I am not going to take my mom's abuse anymore!

She may not be physically abusive but she IS verbally abusive and calls me a "b***h" when I don't want to cater to her stupid asinine demands

I need to get out of here before she reaches the point of being physically abusive

I am creating an action plan for next year to cut all ties with her and finally become independant and autonomous!
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"Some of us go on to lead successful lives. Others are destroyed."

I think its the personality of the child. Some realize its abuse and get away as soon as they are old enough. And others, are easier to manipulate because they feel if they do what I am told, maybe they will love me. They end up doing the caring because they think "if I do this, maybe it will be appreciated and I will be loved for it"

I have a SIL who I have never fully understood and we went thru 10 yrs of not talking because of the way she treated me during a visit. On a trip South, a couple of weeks ago, we stopped at siblings' houses and stayed a couple of nights at ea. Had a pretty good visit with SIL. Of course, you wait for that shoe to drop. If she was not my SIL, she would not be someone I would want as a friend. My MIL was a person I did not get close to, too unpredictable.

I am so sorry you were abused. From what I have read Narcissists can be very abusive and manipulative. I think they are born this way and will never change because they won't or can't recognize their flaws. The only thing you can do, IMO, to help yourself is go no contact and work on yourself. Know your a good person. Get some self-esteem. Recognize your weaknesses and your strengths, we all have them. Then learn boundries. Learn to stand up for yourself. It comes down to I do not deserve this and I do not need to put up with it. Your an adult and deserve respect.

Your elderly LO needs your more than you need them. Remember this. This they need to know. They find out by you walking away. When they get abusive, you stop what your doing. Tell them when they can be nicer to you, you will come back but you no longer will take any abuse they dish out. If it continues, you will never come back. The State can take over their care. You will have no control over where u are put. You tell LO what ur willing to do and not do. You also tell them that as their child, you are not obligated to do anything. What you do is because you want to, not because they demand it of you. A thank you goes a long way. My Mom always said thank you.

There's a few longtime posters here that have laid it down from the beginning what they will do and won't do for a LO. And they don't waver. Its how they get thru caregiving knowing they have some control.

There r a lot of people in your shoes on this forum so you will have lots of support.
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ventingisback Nov 29, 2022
Hi JoAnn, thanks!

"Some of us go on to lead successful lives. Others are destroyed."

Yes for sure. But I don’t mean AFTER the abuse. For sure there are people who were abused in the past, and who later have happy lives.

I mean DURING the abuse. I don’t know anyone who’s CURRENTLY being abused, and who’s leading a happy life at the same time. I know plenty of abused people, on the contrary, who’re crying, unhappy, then recover some days later, then unhappy again: it’s the cycle of being abused.

“I am so sorry you were abused.”

Thanks for your words, really. And I’m sorry also, to hear SIL and MIL aren’t nice people.

“The only thing you can do, IMO, to help yourself is go no contact.”

In fact, I see that being in contact AND being happy, might not be possible.

"if I do this, maybe it will be appreciated and I will be loved for it" 

Some abused people maybe are looking for parental love. That’s not why I help. I help because it’s the morally right thing to do. I helped set up caregivers for my mom. I helped solve financial issues for her (I’m a financial expert). Etc.

“You need to work on yourself. Know you’re a good person. Get some self-esteem.”
“It comes down to I do not deserve this and I do not need to put up with it. You’re an adult and deserve respect.”

Thanks! Yes!
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Hi all! I don’t know if this helps anyone, but I noticed something while watching a movie:

It was a dispute between an abusive mother, and the daughter standing up for herself.

It was very clear, watching the movie, what’s going on. The mother wanted to start a fight. She wanted to pick on her daughter. She wanted to make it look like it’s a dispute. But it’s not a dispute. The daughter is just defending herself.

What I mean to say with this is that sometimes by being an outsider, you see much more clearly what the abuser is doing (their strategy).

If you’re being abused, you already know what your abuser is doing is wrong. But seeing it from the outside, makes it even clearer.

After that movie, I see even more clearly what my mom is doing.

She wants to fight.

Don’t fight. Walk away. (Unless the comment is so outrageous that you must stand up for yourself. But be aware, the abuser will just keep fighting (or ignore you), trying to make you feel worse and worse; and taking your time, energy, emotions, trying to rob your day, trying to ruin your day).
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