Narcissistic fathers & their sons

In my latest youtube video, I discuss the relationship between narcissistic fathers and their sons. This was requested by some of my viewers.It is just as important to raise awareness about how damaging a narcissistic father can be towards their son.

Thanks for watching!

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Love Athina ♥

Parentification

In today’s video, I talk about another type of child abuse known as parentification.

Parentification isn’t always through the known fault of a parent, as sometimes in single parent families or in families with a special needs child, the parent struggles to keep the needs of the child fulfilled appropriately. Sometimes, the parent may be also suffering from a severe disability such as a chronic condition or severe mental health difficulties, and it is only natural that the child may at times become a carer to the parent. This is especially true, if there isn’t an additional parent or family member around to support the child.

Unfortunately, in a family where 1 or both parents suffer with narcissistic personality disorder, this type of abuse is even more prevalent in both a physical and emotional way.

My video describes this in more detail:

If you have experienced parentification, then feel free to share your experience.

If you find this youtube video and blog post useful, then please like, share & subscribe.

Please support my youtube channel on my patreon page. There are exclusive patron only videos on there, which are available specifically to those of you who contribute & become patrons.

https://www.patreon.com/AthinaEhlen

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Shame

Shame is caused by negative messages. The shame I am highlighting in this video is caused by dysfunctional parents. Shame is insidious and can have detrimental effects on the way we view ourselves and others.

This is something I am very familiar with as a survivor of narcissistic abuse and I want to highlight the cause of shame, so people can maybe identify with what might have been said to them as children and so they can find a way to move forward and heal.

Love ♥ Athina

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

CPTSD= Courage Progress Tenacity Survival Determination

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Healing from PTSD is tough! Healing from Complex PTSD is even tougher.

In honour of World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day, I want to tell every single one of you survivors out there that you can look at your PTSD & CPTSD differently, just for today! ♥

C-PTSD = COURAGE PROGRESS TENACITY SURVIVAL DETERMINATION

Love ♥ Athina

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Recovery from abuse- 3 basic stages & how to identify whether you have reached the acceptance stage of recovery

Happy Monday fellow bloggers. This is quite a late post, so I hope it reaches some of you.

I have just done another video on YouTube, where I talk about the 3 main stages of recovery that someone goes through, in particular concerning the recovery from childhood narcissistic abuse. I also talk a little bit about the acceptance stage of recovery, which I personally found the toughest in my own recovery.

Acceptance that you parents weren’t able to love you unconditionally, is a painful, rejecting reality. It is easier to spend most of your adult life being in denial of this, as it is such an incomprehensible reality to accept.

Once you are able to reach this stage of acceptance however, you feel like a huge burden has been lifted off you.

I wish all of you who struggle with this sort of realisation, to be able to finally reach this stage one day.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Are you a chronic over-explainer?

Where does over-explaining stem from?

People naturally feel the need to make sure their point of view is clearly understood when in conversation with someone else. Nobody wants to be misunderstood when expressing an opinion or thought.

What happens however when someone feels the need to always over-explain something?

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Is this something that stems from an underlying anxiety, that they will be misunderstood?

Yes

Is this also something that happens because in the past they might have been misunderstood quite a lot and for this reason they have to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

Absolutely..

Does over-explaining ever make you think, that the person doing the over-explaining, must think that the person they are over-explaining to must be stupid. Does this make sense?

I have been on both sides of this. I have over-explained to someone who got what I was saying from the first sentence and said I didn’t need to explain further. They said, I am not stupid, I get it. I have also been over-explained to and could immediately tell that the other person was anxious and insecure about something.

In my experience, many individuals who suffer from low self-esteem or people-pleasing, have an almost compulsive need to over-explain. This usually stems from childhood abuse, where either 1 or both parents were unable to meet the child’s needs and were unable to understand the child’s feelings. If parents don’t have empathy, are self-centered and dont have the ability to genuinely listen and understand, then a child will chronically feel frustrated, misunderstood and alone.

Have you ever tried to explain a simple concept such as sadness or feeling alone to a person who lacks empathy?

The reply is usually uncaring and hurtful.

Have you ever tried to reason with someone who has a low IQ and has intellectual disabilities?

They are not able to understand certain simple concepts because they just aren’t able to and if you insist on trying to make them understand, you can make yourself feel crazy with frustration.

When does over-explaining become chronic?

This usually happens when someone is unable to simply state something, that doesn’t need explaining, to someone who hasn’t even asked for an explanation. It becomes chronic when a person feels the need to explain in great detail and repeats themselves over and over again.It becomes chronic when it is a habitual thing that someone does all the time, even with people that are understanding and empathetic.

The particular thing I would like to highlight in this post, is that over-explaining becomes habitual for people who have suffered narcissistic abuse. If you are constantly around someone who makes you doubt yourself by gaslighting you, who doesn’t validate and understand your feelings and always tries to manipulate you, then it is only natural that you will be chronically frustrated when communicating..

I would love to hear your thoughts on this..

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Much Love Athina ♥

Dealing with elderly narcissistic parents

As narcissists start ageing, things actually get much much worse.When they are no longer able to charm others with their good looks, good health & successful business, they start losing control over others and their mask starts to fall.

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Narcissistic people live their life as pathological liars and bullies, so as they age further, instead of maturing, they just get worse. They become more demanding, more cruel and more horrible in their elderly years.They still try to manipulate others but aren’t very good at remembering the lies they have told, so people  catch them out in their lies.Their immaturity and tantrums become even more evident and healthy colleagues,friends & family start distancing themselves even more.

If you are someone who is emotionally struggling with an ageing narcissistic parent, just remember that you don’t owe them anything. You didn’t ask to be born into a family that was abusive. You don’t have to look after them when they are dying or when they are seriously ill. As a healthy son or daughter, your love is unconditional so they might exploit that for their own gain and still treat you like crap.

No matter what you decide to do, don’t do it out of guilt or because you feel you owe them for providing you with food and shelter.

You always have the right to walk away and look after yourself first.It doesn’t mean you stop loving them. It just means that you put your own health first.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

What is hoovering?and why you have to protect yourself

 

A lot of my posts recently are dedicated to dealing with dysfunctional relationships. I don’t want to lower your mood by any means, but feel it is important to talk about issues that are more common than people think.

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For those of you who have unfortunately experienced dysfunctional relationships in your private life, you might have heard of the term ‘silent treatment’. People who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, usually will shut people out that they are supposed to care about for long periods of time. This usually comes after an argument where the victim (spouse, partner, family member, friend) says or does something that the narcissist doesn’t like. This can be anything from a simple disagreement, to a criticism or to just refusing to do what the narcissist wants.

When the narcissist isn’t getting his/her way, he/she will use the ‘silent treatment’ to control his victim.

The silent treatment is a form of punishment, a way of attempting to control a partner or others into doing what he/she wants them to do. It’s a withdrawal of approval, and can generate much fear in people who are vulnerable to this.

Giving people the silent treatment means that a narcissist shuts down to them, closing his/her heart and refusing to interact with them or acknowledge their presence. He/she acts as if they’re invisible, not responding to them at all or giving them a very minimal and withheld response.

He/she hopes that in treating them this way it will give them the message that they have displeased him/her. They have done something wrong in his/her eyes and deserve punishment, deserve to have his/her “love” taken away.

Of course, what he/she is taking away is not love at all, since love is unconditional. What he/she is taking away is his/her approval, and for approval-dependent people, it is a powerful form of control.

When the narcissistic person decides that the silent treatment is over, usually because they need something from you again, they will then start to use what is known as ”hoovering”.

What is hoovering?

Hoovering is a technique that is named after the Hoover vacuum cleaner, and is used by Narcissists (and other manipulative people) in order to “suck” their victims back into a relationship with them. Hoovering is often done after the silent treatment is given or the victim has left them. This behavior often starts off subtle and unassuming, and is done through voicemail, text messages, email, phone calls, notes, other people, or through any other form of possible communication with the victim. Because the Narcissist knows the victim’s weak spots, they will generally tend to target these areas in order to reopen communication.  Once communication is reopened, the Narcissist generally promises change–which never, ever happens for any length of time.

  • Text messages pretending to be concerned: “How are you?”, “Hey, I’m thinking about you”, “I know things didn’t work out, but you really do mean a lot to me. I just want you to know that.”
  • Text messages acting like nothing happened: “Hey stranger, long time no talk” or “Hey what’s going on?”
  • Text messages on or about special occasions/holidays: “Merry Christmas”, “Hope you are having a good birthday–wish I could be there”, “Are you going to Molly’s wedding next weekend? If you’re going, I won’t go–I don’t want to upset you.”
  • Text messages about the kids (especially if they’re not his): “I was at the park today and saw a cute kid that looked just like Jason. Just wanted to say I miss you guys.” or “I know you hate me, but please tell Ava that I wish her a happy birthday and I’m sorry I can’t be there.”
  • Text messages about an upcoming event: “Hey, I know you said you never wanted to talk to me again, but Disney on Ice is this weekend, I was thinking about taking the kids.” or “Aerosmith is playing next weekend and I have an extra ticket–you wanna go?”
  • Text messages about things you like to do that he’s never been interested in doing with you before: “Hey, there’s a vegetarian cooking class this weekend, you wanna go?” or “Wanna go wine tasting this weekend?”
  • Text messages about bogus family illnesses or some sort of crisis (including his own): “I think I might have cancer, can you talk?” or, “OMG my mom just had a stroke.” or “What does a heart attack feel like? My left arm really hurts,” or, “I can’t handle this anymore, I’m going to kill myself.”
  • Text messages that are supposedly meant for someone else, but sent to you by mistake: “See you in ten minutes xoxo” (Supposedly for his current girlfriend–sent to upset you.) “The boss just moved the meeting to Wednesday at 3pm.” (Supposedly for his coworker–sent so you feel a sense of obligation for the coworker.) Or, “Sam called and said John is in the hospital and to call him immediately.” (Supposedly sent to someone else, but sent to you so you feel a sense of urgency to get back to him.)
  • Text messages that are guilt or pity inducing: “Can’t we work this out? Please give us another chance.” “What about the kids? You know how hard it is having divorced parents–why would you want to do that to them?” “I have a lot of issues. I get that now. I’ll get into therapy. I promise.” “My alcoholism is out of control. I need help.”
  • Text messages about sex/deep connection: “I miss snuggling with you.” “You always be the love of my life.” “You are my soul mate, I’m sorry I let you down.”
  • Text messages that attempt to flip the hoover back on you: “Did u just text me?” or “Did you just call me?” or “Did I just see you drive by?”
  • Text messages, when all else fails, making bogus accusations to get some type of emotional response:  “Why are you calling my mom and bugging her?” or “I just found out you cheated on me.” “I’ve moved on. You need to quit stalking me.”

All of these examples are just one big fat manipulation for you to open the door and let them back into your life. Don’t fall for it!

Source: http://narcissistsupport.com/narcissists-hoovering-techniques/

So far, in my personal life I have had recent contact from my narcissistic father, after a year of the silent treatment. Luckily I have decided on ‘NO CONTACT’ and even though it is still incredibly painful to see how destructive and insensitive my father is, being in control of what happens has been incredibly powerful in my recovery.

I have received 2 voicemail messages so far : Wishing me Happy birthday and asking me how I am.

I haven’t replied to either of them, as I know he doesn’t genuinely mean them..

He using ”Hoovering” as I am the only person ‘he thinks’ will help him. He is abusing my unconditional love & kindness to get his needs met.

Luckily I am recovered and will no longer play a part in his games.

Have you had an experience similiar to this? If not, do you have any friends that might benefit from this information?

Please re-blog this post if you think it could help someone.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Low self-esteem & emotional flashbacks

Healthy self-esteem is essential for good psychological survival. It enables us to feel more fulfilled and secure in our choices, career paths and relationships. When this is lacking however and also goes unchecked, it may lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, sometimes with tragic results.

Perhaps the most well known effect of abuse is low self-esteem.

Low self-esteem means that we have a persistent feeling of worthlessness. It also means that we have a habit of judging & rejecting ourselves constantly which causes us a huge amount of emotional pain. This emotional pain, is something that people with normal levels of self-esteem can’t possibly understand.

For those of us who grew up in abusive homes, this was a daily part of our lives and we considered it to be the norm. We intrinsically felt bad when we weren’t able to do something right, such as get good grades at school or be good at sports.We hated taking part in anything competitive, we always avoided the limelight and hated participating in class conversations, for fear of making a fool of ourselves.We avoided any situation or person who made us feel rejected, hurt and vulnerable.The core of this lack of self-worth was due to our parents telling us on a constant basis that we were not good enough, not smart enough, not lovable enough etc..The more constant and long lasting this was throughout our childhood, the more destructive the damage.This then stays with us for life, unless we have years and years of therapy.Even though most of us are intelligent and full of potential, our nasty inner critic tells us we aren’t good enough.This self-hate, sabotages any chance we may have of making something a success, before we even try it. We actually avoid trying things, to avoid the possibility of failing. To others, this may seem ridiculous. To those of us who have suffered abuse, this isn’t ridiculous at all. We have already suffered a huge amount of emotional pain in childhood which then continued into adulthood. Some things we can heal in therapy but others might be a bit more challenging, as they are so deeply ingrained in us.

For those of us with low self-esteem, we might notice that as we begin a new project or work on some goal, things begin smoothly and we are filled with optimism. After a little while, however, things start getting harder, we get worried and we start to beat ourselves up.This process repeats itself as we move forward with our goal so that it seems like we’ll never reach it.Too many of us give up at some point because we’re overwhelmed by the feelings of worthlessness.The minute we make a mistake, we fall apart emotionally. In a sense, it gets even harder as we move closer to the goal because during times when things are moving ahead smoothly, we get our hopes up.low selfesteem

This sort of dynamic is what happens after abuse. Although most people are able to deal with obstacles, an abuse history can lead others to feeling overwhelmed by feelings of worthlessness. Most people understand that an obstacle to a goal is part of the process, no matter what creates it, whereas for abuse survivors, an obstacle may be seen as a challenge to our self-esteem, proof that we mess everything up, that we’re not capable as others are. These dark feelings can overwhelm us so much that we give up.

Another effect of abuse, that is linked to low self-worth, is when we have an emotional flashback. In adulthood, a tone of voice, a firm look or a certain opinion about something we have or haven’t done, may trigger us into an emotional flashback of when our abusers told us we couldn’t do something and made us feel worthless. Some ‘red flags’ of an emotional flashback, are when we overreact to a present situation because it brings up feelings from the past. These feelings completely hijack us and it is very hard to control them or realise they are actually from the past.We are usually also overcome by feelings of helplessness & hopelessness and a lot of the time they can be linked to feeling worthless.An emotional flashback can be hugely emotionally painful and once again, others have no idea why we are so upset.

So how do you manage chronic low self-esteem?

Since chronic self-esteem is caused by the vicious inner critic that our abusive parents created in us, we have to learn ways to silence this critic. This critic tells us all the horrible things that our parents made us feel when we were younger.

We have to learn to become aware of it and every time we think a destructive thought, we have to stop it. We have to challenge the negative thoughts that pop up dailyand say ”Stop it” or ”That’s a lie” or ”Your father was wrong, you aren’t worthless”.We also have to give ourselves small challenges that we can work towards. The more we are able to achieve, the better we will slowly feel about our ourselves. The more evidence we start to see of ourselves actually being more adventurous or more successful, the better we will slowly feel about ourselves. This takes a lot of persistence, effort and help from a coach or therapist.

If you are interested about how to cope with emotional flashbacks then please check out my post here: https://couragecoaching.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/child-abuse-complex-ptsd-managing-emotional-flashbacks/

Thanks for reading

Much love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

How to protect yourself from narcissistic parents

A quick 2 minute video on ‘How to protect yourself from narcissistic parents’:

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.