My narcissist father has sent me what seems like a genuine apology. Do I trust it?

For the last month, I have been in a state of inner turmoil. My father has been contacting me via email, telling me that he is finally divorced from his wife and talking to me like I am a client who owes him money.

He doesn’t have my new contact address or phone number luckily, so this has made things easier for me.

He has been trying to get me to return the money which I took from our shared account, after his suicide attempt. He has sent me 3emails, with all emails completely focused on the money. I have not replied to any of his attempts to make contact with me for the last 2 years. I have been very strong and have handled all his nasty emails with confidence in myself & with determination. I hadn’t allowed myself to be affected by his words or to feel hurt.

Last week however, he sent me a very nasty email which finally got to me and caused me a lot of anxiety over the weekend. I guess it was his last attempt to pressure me into giving him his money!

I am copying and pasting his email into this blog post, so you can see for yourselves.

His emails may be triggering *** So please read with care!

I thought you would be sensitive to the fact that there is a danger to loose my house and be homeless while you will have the house I wrote in your name, when I die. I gave it to you as a present [stupid me ]!

I will never forget my stress finishing the house for you and I will also never forget being a taxi driver for you when you were at school, taking you and all your friends to wherever you needed to go.I will never forget the money I spent for your studies in private schools and at university and the money I gave you to cover your expenses in England.

I haven’t done anything bad to you, only to myself with my wife. You have treated me like Judas treated his master. What kind of daughter are you not allowing your mother to give me your phone number?? S and A are disgusted with you and because you are such a monster, I am afraid more people HAVE to know about what you did, so you will become a person with no family!! I will contact the whole family to tell them what you have done, so they can help me!

How will you feel when I am dying? Your conscience will drive you mad after your crime..

Don’t you think if we were ok and you needed some help with money that I wouldn’t give it to you? If I save the house and I am able to sell it I will give you something then. If you will send me MY MONEY IN A WEEK I will do as I said.

I am ashamed to be your father!

After all the above, I spent a weekend feeling unsettled and anxious. Deep down, I know that I have never done anything morally wrong. When I took my father’s money, I did it with good intentions. I did it to provide him and myself a safety net to fall back on, when he finally divorced his wife and was too unwell to look after himself. I did it to cover any medical expenses that may come up or any other expenses that I would most definetely be burdened with. In the future, I am going to be the only person that will help my father when nobody else will. I will be the only person that will sort out the mess and chaos he will most likely leave behind.

5 days after the above email, which I yet again didn’t reply to, my father wrote me his first emotional, remorseful and apologetic email.

The words in this email, are the words that every adult child of a narcissist hopes to one day finally hear from their parent. Every child that has been abused or neglected by their parent, dreams of an apology or at least some genuine emotion, that shows love and regret.

These are his words:

I am very sorry for all the things that happened between us. I don’t excuse myself for panicking and acting unreasonably and inconsiderately towards the people around me, especially those dearest to me. I know many people don’t like me anymore and I know I have pushed so many people away.

Please excuse my panic because I’m in danger of losing my home because of a loan from the bank that need re-paying. I won’t be able to sell my home until this loan is paid off and I just want to make our lives easier.I would never have followed through on my threats as I would never have wanted to ridicule my own child or in fact be blamed for not raising you right.  I did everything in my power to raise you right.

My threats were just a way of pressuring you in my despair, so I don’t lose my home.

When I die, you and your brother will both have a share in my business. You will also have a home. I will not talk to you again about the money that created this whole mess between us in the first place. Keep it, if it makes you happy. You are worth more to me than all the millions in the world. Please, just pray to god, that He forgives me for all that I have written to you and that he watches over me.

Please do not hesitate to communicate with me. I don’t blame you for anything or need to forgive you for anything. Since I can’t have all my children near me, I would love some communication as much as possible, and when the financial situation allows it, I would love to go on a trip to see you. Unfortunately for me, my depression still continues with frequent panic attacks. I hope nevertheless, that I will be able to stand beside you for as long as I continue to live,  as best as I can manage, as a relatively wiser father.

I love you very much and I apologise for hurting you because of my needs.

I don’t know whether to trust these words as they are so contrasting to his last email. These words touched me so much, that I cried over and over again. That little girl in me, that has just wanted to feel loved by her father again, was awoken by these words.

I feel hope and confusion.

I feel compassion and feel deeply sad for him.

But what do I do with these words?

Do I break my ‘no contact’ and reply to him?

Is he genuinely sorry?

Is he only sorry because he is finally realising that he is now on his own.

Is he just being a typical narcissist who is still trying to manipulate me but this time with softer words that he knows will affect me?

Do I give him one last chance, to see if he genuinely means what he has said or will the money issue come up again?

I am so confused right now, I need your help.

If I was talking to my coaching clients, I would tell them to go with their gut feeling and I would tell them to take their time before making a decision. I would also advise them to be weary and to try not to be too hopeful! Individuals with NPD don’t usually change!

It’s tougher to think clearly when it is happening to you, however..Especially when it’s your parent and you are very emotional..

My father has desperately tried to avoid being on his own all of his life yet sadly has succeeded in being on his own.He has pushed everyone away that cared for him: friends, family, partners etc…I remember him telling me when I was a child, that there is nothing worse than dying alone…Yet, he left his own narcissistic mother to die alone in a top floor flat in 40 C degrees heat!

I really don’t know what to think of everything..

He still seems to think that I wanted the money all for myself, when that was never the reason I took it..

I am struggling right now..

I love my Dad..

I have never stopped loving him..

I have never stopped thinking of him..

He is still alive and has finally divorced that gold-digger…

But does he deserve one last chance to make things right with me?

Thanks for reading ♥♥

Love Athina

Advertisements

When self-doubt creeps in..

21150459_835371909959522_3576313553531632522_n

The above reality, written by the amazing Tina Fuller, is something I feel often when things are stable and my life is drama free. Being the child of two narcissists, it is almost impossible to have long lasting peace when they are still alive. And even when they pass away, you still have to be prepared for even more stress in regards to property, money and their remaining family.

After already feeling miserable the last couple of days after waking up with an incredibly painful and stiff lower back, I got a text yesterday from my father which was extremely difficult to understand..

It was written in Greek with capital letters however more than half the letters were missing from each word. I ended up playing a guessing game trying to construct sentences..

Generally, since I asked him not to contact me again back, I should have completely ignored the message. However, because I could make out from the first sentence, something about tax and money, I knew he had done what I was afraid of.

Before I get to that, I have to explain a little about how certain things work in Greece in regards to putting property in a family member’s name.

In Greece, when a parent wants to put property in their child’s name, they usually follow a very odd but very commiting process. Both the adult child and parent sign a document which states that the adult child becomes the owner of the property, however the child isn’t able to make use of the property (live in it, rent it out etc) until the parent dies. Whilst the parent is still living, he/she is the one that can rent out the property and benefit from it. This can be felt as a little unfair for the adult child, as they aren’t able to do anything at all until the parent dies. Then again, they will still own a home in the end, so overall it is worth it.

In the last couple of years, Greece has introduced a new law which says that all property owners have to pay tax on the home that they own. This tax is based on the size of the property in square meters, the year it was built and the type of property. This tax has to be paid once a year and in the case of my property, which has been used and rented out by my father, he has been the one that has been responsible for paying this tax every year. This was only fair, as he has been earning 600euro every month from it and I haven’t benefited at all.

From my father’s text, it was clear that he no longer wants to pay my share of the tax and that I now have to be responsible for it. The only thing I could make out clearly from his text was that I have to pay 500 euro for the property. He then proceeded to guilt-trip me about how much I hurt him, even though he has never turned against me. Luckily, I was able to block this part out emotionally. I currently feel numb to it and I hope it stays this way.

At the moment, I am left wondering whether this will be the only contact I have from him. I am really hoping that it is and that despite delivering this not so nice message to me about the property tax, that he will continue to respect my wishes of ‘no contact’.

With both my parents as narcissists, I guess I will never fully be at peace until they are gone. As long as they are alive, I have to expect some drama.

If the worst thing that ever happens again with my father, is this tax I have to pay once a year, then it is only a small price to pay for owning a house he designed and built. Although my feelings about this home are very mixed at present, a small part of me will most likely cherish this home one day, when my father is no longer alive. Despite the fact that he turned out to be a very sick person, he was still a very giving & present father until I was 13-14 years old. Those memories will always be mine and I hope that one day, I will be able to look back on my relationship with my father and feel less hurt & less sorrow.

The calm before the storm

storm-1504607_1920

As I predicted, my father’s reply letter arrived today, even though I said I no longer wanted contact.

Last night I went to bed full of anxiety and today I asked my husband to check the mailbox, as I wanted nothing to do with it.

I knew that if I had his letter in my hand, it would be too difficult to not open the envelope and read it.

Luckily, we folded the letter and put it into another envelope and my husband posted it back. I asked him to write the address as well.

I feel sick to my stomach again from all the fluctuating emotions and utterly exhausted from the tension.

I worry that things are going to get worse from now on and that the next letter will be from his lawyer.

I need to find out what my rights are, for taking my dad’s money from our shared account. After his suicide attempt, he scared the shit out of me. I immediately envisioned a future with even more stress from his gold-digging wife. My therapist also warned me that financially things wouldn’t be good, as narcissists and particularly my father are controlling and irresponsible with their money. She said that I have to be prepared for chaos. This is why I took a portion of this money from our account. I also took this money cos I could see how careless he was being towards himself and his health. I wanted to have some money aside to help him in the future, when he had nothing left.

This of course, will no longer be necessary. Now, I am just protecting myself.

Due to the fact that I live with CPTSD, I have never been able to work full time for very long. My chronic exhaustion, bad memory and general bad mental health has made it very hard to even start considering saving money for the future. Most people in their mid 30’s have already started saving for their retirement. I haven’t been able to do this and this scares me.I also know that it isn’t my husband’s responsibility to pay for me, or to pay for any future expenses that I have because of my irresponsible father.

Now that I didn’t read my father’s reply letter and successfuly sent it back, I will crawl into bed and sleep. I will sleep so I don’t have to think about it anymore and I will sleep cos I feel exhausted.

His words will no longer poison my mind..

His desperation will no longer affect me..

His shaming will no longer hurt me..

I have already suffered enough..

Now is my time to focus solely on myself..♥♥

My narcissistic father’s reply

Unexpectedly, I received a reply letter from my father on Saturday. It took 1 day and a half to get from Greece to Germany, which is incredibly fast, especially because he only paid 0.90 cent to send it. I guess the world is trying to tell me how urgently I must cut ties with him once and for all.

His letter was full of guilt-tripping, lies, fabrications and talk about money.

Malignant narcissists are excruciatingly worse when they age but in all honesty, his reply is pretty much what I expected (minus the last glimmer of hope that I had, for him to say something like ‘forget about the money, I love you, lets talk’)

This is what he wrote after 1 year and a half of not speaking to me:

I can’t say I am happy to have received your letter because you hurt me very much with your words, although I am glad you are ok.

If you really love me, as you say you do, you would have made contact with me to see how I was doing, as you left me in a really bad state when you left Greece, without knowing if I was going to live or die.

A lot of what you said in your letter is right however you had absolutely no right to take my money that I worked so hard to make. I made a stupid mistake recently to buy a new piece of land without selling the house I am currently still living in and I am currently in desperate need of money.

You tell me that you never want to talk about money again, yet you still haven’t returned the money you took.

The reason I removed your photograph at my office is because you hurt me, however I have never seen a photograph of me in your things.

I am not able to write more due to my deep distress however you shouldn’t have let go of the flat you were staying in. I never told you you had to let it go!Now, all you have done is add more stress to my life because I now have to once again pay the maintenance costs etc. It seems you want to cut all ties with me and for this I am sorry.

When I was in the psychiatric clinic and my wife was telling you she had no money to pay it, you never offered to pay with the money you had already taken.

Unfortunately, my depression continues and I am in a very bad way and you have just made we feel a whole lot worse. Thanks a lot!

Can you please return the money?I will appreciate it and then things can go back to how they used to be with us.

I also love you a lot but you hurt me way more than I ever hurt you!

After I read the letter, I took a deep breath and then cried. I cried for the fact that he once again tried to guilt-trip me into returning his money. I cried because he said I never called him after I left Greece and that I left him in a state of life or death, which is ridiculous! I called, left messages and even sent him a birthday card, to which he ignored completely. I visited his place of work, for him to ignore me, as if I was a nobody.He explained why he had removed my photo and then made up the ridiculus fabrication that he has never seen a photo of himself in my things!!! How could he?!He hasn’t visisted my home for 8 years and in the holiday flat in Greece there were 2 photos of him and me when I was younger, which he obviously never noticed. I had also sent him wedding photos of all of us from 2014 which I never saw anywhere in his things.

It is incredible to what lengths a narcissistic parent will fabricate stuff just to achieve the purpose of manipulating and guilt-tripping their child into compliance.

He then accussed me of adding more stress to his life because I let go of the holiday flat that HE had set up in the first place! A flat that he had set up because I could not live in his home of 5 bedrooms, due to his ridiculous dysfunction and his controlling wife.

He also thanked me for making him feel worse! What a childish way to speak to your child?!

and the ‘I love you’ he said at the end, means absolutely nothing when he then says ‘I hurt him more than he ever hurt me’…

The only thing he seems to be sorry about is that he realises that I want to cut all ties with him.

He is probably more sorry about this due to the fact that he won’t get his money back, not due to the fact that he has just lost his daughter.

After this weekend, I realise how deeply I hoped that he might show me a normal human emotion as a parent..That he would realise that he has lost me and that it would matter more to him to re-connect than to talk about his money..

My father has left me nothing..No relationship, no love, no feeling of acceptance, no feeling of gratitude and I am actually disgusted that I am half of this person..I have been fighting a feeling of nauseating emotional pain all weekend and I don’t know what to do with this feeling..I have also been battling a terrifying fear of sending my last letter to him ever, which from an outsider’s point of view is ridiculous. It is ridiculous, because I know that if this was someone else’s blog post I was reading, I would say ‘No contact is essential with this person and you don’t have to be afraid, as you have already been dealing with the loss of this parent anyway.

In my last letter, I will state exclusively that I no longer want any contact and that he no longer has a daughter from this day forward. I will be cancelling my mobile phone number and will return any future letters to him. I have to make sure ‘he really gets it’, that he understands that this is the end of our relationship.

My hubby even offered to call my father at his office and let him know that after I received his letter, I am no longer wanting to talk to him and that it is for good. My hubby would warn him and say, that ”you have one last chance to save your relationship with your daughter and that if you want, you can fly to Germany in a few days and make amends”.If then my father doesn’t do it, then we will both know it is truly over.

I have been feeling extremely low, guilty, torn, worried about his mental health and worried about my own current state of mind. Last night I wanted to end my emotional pain..Knowing that your parent doesn’t love you is the worst pain you will ever know.I also realised how much stronger the trauma bonding is with my father than it was with my mother. When there are so many good memories with your abuser, as well as bad, the trauma bonding is even harder to break. This is why it has been extremely hard for me to completely let go and cut all ties with my father.

I am prepared now however, as I no longer have anything to lose.

I never had a healthy father (or mother), so I have always been an emotional orphan.

This is it!

I will send my last letter to him this week..My phone is on air-flight mode so he cannot call me…Luckily, here in Germany I don’t receive any calls from anyone, as I use Viber and Whatsapp so it isn’t a huge loss to have my phone off.

My sanity comes first and to anybody else out there who has a malignant narcissist for a parent, then ‘No Contact’ is the only way to restore your sanity!

I am soon to find out what this truly feels like.

f573ef5bb3b89b0109e81fa040625650d4b08eedc45f32f2b51d2057396b1435d158e207ea74dbe4bc986d2675fecd98

eb6112529c5144f602068b8c3c7ae760

Thanks for reading

Love Athina ♥

The black hole..

I am struggling today..

My father made contact again..I am right on the edge of replying to my father’s messages..phonecalls..just to make them stop! ..I know that won’t happen though…

I don’t want to be sucked into the black hole again..People with NPD do that..They are very good at sucking you back in…Whether it is soppy messages, guilt-trips, the silent treatment etc….I can’t forget this..

My father has NPD and doesn’t see the world the same way I do..

His voicemails were full of complaints..

First voicemail:

”Not even a call for Happy New Year? One day when you have children of your own, you will know that the love of a parent for their child never goes away, no matter what”..

Second voicemail:

”You can see that it is me calling you and yet you continue to ignore my calls. All I wanted was for you to be happy.Wishing you all the best. That’s it from me”

Third call and no voicemail..

His voicemails sound like a cry for attention..His voicemails make ME sound like the heartless daughter who will not respond…

This isn’t so however..

He gave me the silent treatment for nearly a year..and then suddenly decided to make contact again…He ignored my attempts to make contact and he ignored me when I stood in front of him, which hurt like hell..

He is the one who attempted suicide as a way of controlling his wife…He is the one who always chose his NPD wife over his own daughter for the last 12 years…He is the one that didn’t want to make changes in his behaviour and is aware he is treating people badly.He is the one that hired a lawyer against me to return his money..that threatened to kill himself again because I wasn’t doing what he wanted..that hurt me over and over and over again..that abandoned me over and over again..

So why the hell do I feel like a heartless daughter because I wont pick up the phone??!

The biggest difference between the two of us is that he lacks empathy and I don’t ..

I feel absolutely everything & it is exhausting..I feel his pain, I feel his desperation but I know I must continue to keep my distance..

I never explicitly told him that I don’t want any contact anymore, because it was too destructive for my mental health to get back into a conversation with him..

Since he won’t stop making attempts to get back in touch with me, I am starting to realise that he just isn’t getting the message.

I have decided to write him a letter..In this letter I will tell him what my terms are in regards to having contact, if at all..

In this way I don’t have to ‘talk to him’, as talking to him means more drama, more guilt tripping, etc…Every time he calls and leaves a message it unsettles me greatly..

I love him despite everything..I just can’t help that..

It has been an emotional evening and an unsettling start to this week..

On the bright side, I woke up to a snowy Germany today..♥

Love to you all ♥

Athina

What it feels like..

fontcandy-22

It is important to let go of the need to try and fix or help your npd/psychopathic parent.

They are not able to change..

They will take you down with them..

They will exhaust you until you have nothing left for yourself..

Always practice self-care and keep minimum or no contact if possible.

Love Athina ♥

Please don’t use this post as your own. Always re-blog and ask for permission if you want to use any of my images.

Is the silent treatment over?

After a very emotional week and a tearful birthday yesterday, I finally started feeling a little better this morning. I was happy my birthday was over to be honest, as I didn’t have to think about the disappointment of not having caring parents. I survived the fact that my father wasn’t going to contact me after a year of not talking and that from now on my birthdays and holidays were going to feel a little more empty.

Around 15:15pm today when I was having an afternoon nap, my father actually attempted contact. Luckily I was fast asleep so didn’t hear my phone. It was in my bag on a very low volume and since I hardly have anyone calling me on it, I didn’t think to check it. After about 2 hours, my husband and I went out in the car to head to the shops and I wanted to check the time on my phone. There was a txt message and missed call and I already knew this was unusual. First of all, nobody calls my phone. My 2 friends here in Germany always send me Whatssup messages on my phone and the rest of my friends contact me through social media. If I get any coaching clients that is also via email.

It is incredible to think that after a year of no contact, after no effort to acknowledge me when I walked into his place of work, after the fact that he had removed my photos from his work desk and after the fact that he has purposefully tried to punish me from taking money from our shared account for over a year, he now decided to call me, a day after my birthday! Why?

Why would my Narc father call me to send me his wishes after all this? A normal, healthy father might eventually realise his mistakes, put his selfishness aside, apologise for the way he treated his daughter and do everything he could to reconnect. My father isn’t normal or healthy however and he has proven this time and time again.

Like I said, I missed his call when I was asleep however he had also left a voicemail. I was sitting in the car with my husband wondering whether it would be good for me to listen to his voicemail or whether to just delete it. My husband put his hand on my leg and said,” Listen to the voicemail if you like and then we can talk about it. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.”

I listened to the voicemail and it was a very simple message saying ” Happy birthday, I hope you had a lovely day yesterday, wishing you all the best”.

In all honesty, I felt anxious, I felt confused and I felt like nothing had changed, whilst at the same time worrying that the shit was going to hit the fan all over again.His voice sounded calm, collected and genuine, like it used to be before his suicide attempt, before he discarded me, before he hired a lawyer against me. That calm voice was the Dad I had been missing, the Dad that would drive me to work, the Dad that would play basketball with my friends and I when I was 13, the Dad who would laugh a lot and bring kittens home, so my brother and I could play with them.This ‘nicer’ Dad was waking up this little voice inside me saying ” See, he does love & miss you after all”.

This little voice however, was instantly drowned by common sense. The common sense which says that Narcs have an ulterior motive. That they don’t just forgive unless there is something in it for them. That they don’t go from cruel, hurtful & neglectful to warm and forgiving without a reason.

In my case, the ulterior motive is the money that I still have in my savings account, that my Dad wants back. The money that I am sure my Dad would manipulate me for. That even if I were to thank him for his wishes by sending him a message, he would then wean himself back into my life, maybe even fake an apology or come up with some excuses about health problems, his wife treating him bad etc, just so he could eventually ask for his money back…Because he knows I am kind, because he knows I feel others’ pain, because he knows that he can guilt-trip me and get me to do what he wants, like he always did..because after a year of not talking, his narcissistic supply is low and he needs me..because I always made him feel good as I am his baby girl, the daughter he adores..The daughter with a heart of gold, that he proudly told people about.

The problem is that I WILL NOT FORGET the daily pain I have felt in the last year since his suicide attempt and discard, I WILL NOT FORGET the manipulation, I WILL NOT FORGET the constant lying, I WILL NOT FORGET the angry look in his eyes, I WILL NOT FORGET the day his lawyer called me,  I WILL NOT FORGET the way he ignored me when I was sitting a desk away from him in his office and I WILL NOT FORGET the day I arrived at hospital, when he was lying in a coma because of his wife’s threats!

It is too big, too much, too unsettling, too upsetting and too traumatising to just fall straight back into the way we used to speak, just so he can eventually ask for his money back.

Even though I spent the whole week before my birthday worrying about how I would get through the day without feeling down in the dumps, now that he has actually made contact, I am feeling suspicious and can’t allow myself to think of him as the Dad I remember when I was younger..

The day my Dad attempted suicide was the day everything changed..He is a sick man, whose obsession with money has destroyed nearly all his relationships and whose 2nd marriage has been an early death sentence.

Practicing sensitivity towards abuse survivors

FontCandy (18)

As a survivor myself, there have been so many instances that I recall from friends & family who have re-traumatised me by not understanding my abuse or by dismissing my feelings and experiences. This is something that tends to happen quite often. It isn’t fair to expect people who haven’t experienced trauma to know how complex the effects can be. It is ok however, to make people aware that there are helpful things that they can say and unhelpful things that they should avoid saying.

On many occassions in my childhood and even most recently,  I was told I was too sensitive by friends, that I focused too much on what my parents thought and they couldn’t understand why I allowed them to have such a hold on my life. It is impossible for people to understand the complexity of ‘toxic bonding’ with your abusers, whoever they may be..Toxic bonding is also known as stockholm syndrome..When the people who abused you are your parents, then it is even harder to break free…There are so many layers of trauma. You feel utterly devastated and lost when distancing yourself and are overwhelmed with feelings of shame, guilt, worthlessness and depression. When growing up in an abusive home, it is all you have known..So even if abusive, it is your normality and still stays that way until you are well into adulthood. To get used to new healthier patterns of behaviour you must re-train your brain to get used to healthier people. This takes a very long time and that is why survivors of complex trauma take baby steps at their own pace, with the help of a mental health trauma professional.

After my recent training as a Cognitive Behavioural Coach (CBC), I have learnt a lot about how to help people in various areas of their life. Cognitive behavioural personal coaching deals with behavioural issues such as perfectionism, procastination, time management, task management, decision making, goal setting and offers many practical steps which can help both personally and professionaly. The cognitive and emotional side of this coaching is something that is very close to my heart, as I know how hard it can be to suffer from unhelpful thinking patterns. These unhelpful thinking distortions are usually a big part of anxiety and depression and often lead to the resulting unhelpful behaviours. It can be something as small as ” I can’t do the presentation because everyone will think i’m stupid when I mumble” to ” I can’t go out for dinner because I will feel anxious and be sick”. Anxiety is a big worry for many and although it differs in severity from one individual to the next, it usually stems from one major core belief that people have of themselves. Once the core belief is identified, then the person can move forward in re-training their mind to believe a more helpful, alternative belief.

CBC is very useful for many different anxiety inducing situations and negative behaviours. I believe that it is possible to even help individuals with personality disorders to learn practical skills to improve their life. CBC isn’t obviously suitable for severe cases of depression, suicidal ideation and grief. In these cases, a referral must be made. If the person is managing however but just can’t get certain things right due to faulty thinking or bad habits, then this is fixable. Coaching can also be helpful where psychotherapy isn’t. If the coach is specialised in an area or has experience in certain issues, then this is even more useful for the coachee.

In regards to my background, I am hoping to become a specialist coach as well as a general personal (life)coach. I would like to specialise in assisting people to break free from dysfunctional relationships, dysfuctional thinking patterns and to become aware of what they are in control of and what they aren’t. I would also be very interested in helping people develop self-compassion, more self-care whilst introducing the many helpful models CBC uses.Practical skills can be taught for dealing with social situations, relationships, parenting and many more. As a survivor of narcissistic abuse, I also hope to bring this insight into sessions with clients who also suffer from the negative self-talk that results from this type of abuse.

Lastly, since I also have experience in the effects a special needs family member can have on the rest of the family, I would like to coach families on how to better manage the emotional & stressful repercussions this can have. I would specifically like to focus on the siblings of special needs brothers/sisters, as I also have personal experience from this perspective.

Moving forward, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce a first coaching session for free to anybody who has an issue that they would like to tackle. Once the session is completed, all I ask for is feedback on how helpful the session was. Feedback is more valuable to me than payment at the moment. If you are brave enough to try me out, then email me at:  courageisallyouneed@gmail.com 🙂 I abide by the Code of Ethics found on this website: Code of Ethics

Thanks for reading.

Cognitive dissonance & emotional pain when going ‘no contact’ from a parent

Today’s post comes after a very emotional therapy session. We had to press the pause button on starting EMDR with the trauma of my father’s suicide attempt, as I have been crying so much over the last week. For the last 5 days I have been struggling with the unfairness of having a narcissistic father who isn’t able to be a part of my life anymore. A lot of good memories have been popping up in between the recent bad ones. Looking through old photo albums, I saw the Dad I used to be incredibly close to when I was a little girl. The Dad who used to tell me bed time stories with me as the main character. The dad who took me to the park, the dad who played ball with me and entertained me on holiday.The dad who took me fishing and did the best that he could.

I am missing the kinder, happier dad I saw glimpses of as a young child. I am missing all those small and precious moments a dad spends with his children.

Going no contact is tough! I said it before and I will say it again. You have to grieve as your parent has just died, but he hasn’t! You remember the good and the bad and all you can do is cry because there isn’t any resolution.There isn’t any quick fix to the end of a relationship with a narcissistic parent.

It is especially tough when there was never a single apology or any ounce of understanding. The lack of love is the most painful part! The cognitive dissonance of ‘I know he loved me as he was my father and showed me in his own way’ to the reality of ‘no he didn’t genuinely love me, otherwise he wouldn’t have abandoned me’. These two beliefs contradict each other and are currently causing me so much pain.

As taken from the very useful website below, I am copying and pasting the following text as it has helped me immensely. It explains toxic bonding and cognitive dissonance extremely well.

http://narcissisticbehavior.net/the-place-of-cognitive-dissonance-in-narcissistic-victim-syndrome/

Stockholm syndrome involves the victim paradoxically forming a positive relationship with their oppressor; this is called “Trauma Bonding”. When victims of narcissistic abuse are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, they are often seen by outsiders as somehow having participated in some bizarre way that seems to support their abuse. However, to understand how the trauma bonding occurs, it is especially relevant to understand what is involved in the decision-making and problem-solving process of the victim. This theory is known as Cognitive Dissonance.

If therapists are to understand the behaviour of clients who have been victims of narcissistic abuse, then it is crucial for them to appreciate why the victim combines the two unhealthy conditions of Stockholm Syndrome and Cognitive Dissonance as part of their survival strategy. When these two strategies are in place, the victim firmly believes that their relationship is not only acceptable, but also vital for their survival. They become so enmeshed in the relationship with the abuser, that they feel that their world (mental and emotional) would fall apart if the relationship ended. This explains why they fear those people who attempt to rescue them from their abuser, and how this causes the victim to develop cognitive dissonance and become protective of their abuser.

What is Cognitive Dissonance?

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term which describes the uncomfortable tension that results from having two conflicting thoughts at the same time, or from engaging in behavior that conflicts with one’s beliefs (Rational Wiki).  Cognitive Dissonance is a communication theory that was published by Leon Festinger in 1957, a theory that changed the way in which social psychology was to look at human decision-making and behaviour.  The concept of cognitive dissonance is almost self-explanatory by its title: ‘Cognitive’ is to do with thinking (or the mind); while ‘dissonance’ is concerned with inconsistencies or conflicts. Simply speaking, cognitive dissonance is the discomfort a person experiences whenever they are holding two conflicting ideas simultaneously (i.e. Shall I wear the red or the blue dress?). Naturally, people do not like the discomfort of conflicting thoughts; this theory proposes that when this happens, people have a motivational drive within them that allows them to rationalize and change their attitudes, beliefs, values and actions, anything that allows them to reduce or dissolve the dissonance they are experiencing (i.e Which makes my bum look smallest?) . When it comes to victims of abuse, there are several behaviours that a victim may use for reducing their cognitive dissonance. For a start they may try to ignore or eliminate it, or they may try to alter its importance, they may even create new cognitions, but most importantly they will try to prevent it from happening in the first place.

What part does Cognitive Dissonance play with victims of narcissistic abuse?

Victims living in a household where there is narcissistic abuse are living in a torturous war zone, where all forms of power and control are used against them (intimidation; emotional, physical and mental abuse; isolation, economic abuse, sexual abuse, coercion etc.). The threat of abuse is always present, and it usually gets more violent and frequent as time goes on. The controlling narcissistic environment puts the victim in a dependency situation, where they experience an extreme form of helplessness which throws them into panic and chaos. The narcissist creates a perverse form of relationship wherein the victim has no idea of what will happen next (alternating between acts of kindness or aggressive raging). This prolonged torturous situation is likely to trigger old negative scripts of the victim’s childhood internal object relations (attachment, separation and individuation). To survive the internal conflict, the victim will have to call on all their internal resources and defense strategies in order to manage their most primitive anxieties of persecution and annihilation. In order to survive, the victim has to find ways of reducing their cognitive dissonance, the strategies they employ may include; justifying things by lying to themselves if need be, regressing into infantile patterns, and bonding with their narcissistic captor. Most defense mechanisms are fairly unconscious, so the victim is unaware of using them in the moment; all they are intent on is surviving the madness they find themselves in.

As you can imagine, these states of mind throw the victim into any number of inner conflicts where defense mechanisms are called for, cognitive dissonance being one.

Reduce the stigma on abuse & mental health..

FontCandy (65)

I am sick and tired of hearing people minimise mine and others’ abuse..

I am really frustrated with peoples’ lack of understanding towards types of mental illness..

I am also fed up with hearing that I haven’t made enough progress in my recovery from childhood and relationship abuse, especially since I’ve been in therapy for so many years..

Firstly, those people who don’t understand the depth of trauma abuse can cause, are either ignorant, protecting someone who causes abuse or just can’t handle the truth so would rather turn a blind eye to it..

Secondly, there are also those people who actually do have empathy and witness the pain you go through every day but feel frustrated with the progress of your recovery or that they aren’t able to ‘fix you’..The frustration comes from the fact that they might always have to be the strong one in the relationship/marriage etc..because those who are recovering from abuse might be too overwhelmed, too ashamed, too afraid to set boundaries or just completely and utterly devastated..These people might be your husband or wife, who have to live with you daily and although love you deeply, also have their own difficulties and struggles and wish that at times you could instead support them…

For example, maybe your complex post traumatic stress inteferes with certain things that most people find really easy…like driving a car..Maybe driving a car is so terrifying to you, that your anxiety might actually cause an accident and make you a dangerous driver…However, your partner might be working full time and is fully responsible for both your lives, whilst you aren’t working or aren’t able to drive..This then puts unfair pressure on your partner, who isn’t mentally ill but also has limitations and gets really stressed..who might not feel like driving..

I am completely against people minimising mental illness but I am very understanding to those people who have to live with someone who has a mental illness..They also have to practice self-care, especially if they are empaths and feel deeply..

I am completely against narcissists, psychopaths/sociopaths using their ‘depression’ as a reason to manipulate, get their own way and have the world pity them..Not all mental illness is an excuse for being evil, acting with no remorse and hurting people….There is a difference…Lets not confuse the two…

There is also another side to mental illness. Mental illness becomes a disability if it inteferes with your every day life and you are unable to work or function..Again this is also ok, as depression is very tricky and it can completely take over your logic..

What is NOT ok, is when a disability is used as an excuse for almost anything..There is also a character behind every person, there is also DNA and there is also an ability to self-reflect or the lack of self-reflection..

Lack of self-reflection, lack of empathy and lack of remorse are dangerous in a ‘healthy society’.

To sum up this post, I will not tolerate the disability of people to cause harm with their pathological mental illnesses of narcissism or psychopathy, just as most people don’t tolerate evil..