What about the Funeral? ~ When Your Abuser or Estranged Relative Dies

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Yes, what about the funeral, what about when your abuser dies?  Are you expected to attend, expected to pay for costs, feel guilty and make excuses for not attending?  It’s a crappy time for everyone.  Do I pretend or fake I’m sad?  Why should I pay for years of misery and abuse?

My narcissistic mother is not in the picture anymore, however, if she passed away how would the funeral be handled?  (I’ve already answered that, but will keep my answer private).

Searching high and low for a detailed answer, I came across this well-written article:


One of the biggest dilemmas faced by escapees from abusive families is what to do when our abuser or estranged relative dies. Should we make an appearance at the wake and funeral, or not? Should we go to the burial?  Should we send flowers? Should we offer our condolences- and if so, to whom?

To the very people who took our abuser’s side against us or shunned us from their family?  What kind of an act will we have to put on if people offer condolences to US?  How will we be able to pretend that the death of our abuser was a great loss when we can’t even come up with one nice thing to say about him?

See the remainder of this article at:
http://www.luke173ministries.org/655609

(reposted with editing)

Maternal Narcissism ~ Mom, only wishing you could have said these words to me…

QPTSD5-28

Recalling my childhood, my mother seldom had any positive or encouraging words for me, mainly heartless or cruel remarks, only criticizing me for one thing or another spewed from her mouth. She was continually displeased, and only now recognizing that it would be impossible to accomplish ever pleasing this woman.

I was thinking the other day, what words would myself and perhaps others wish their narcissistic moms compassionately said to them.

Mom, if only you could have said:

~I know you don’t lie, of course, I believe you

~Always come to me when you’re upset or angry, I love you

~I’ll always believe in you, whatever your dreams are

~Let’s just have a girl’s day out once in a while, your choice, whatever you want

~You look so cute in those clothes

~Don’t focus on body image, it’s what’s inside

~You’re more important to me than anything

~I’m so damn proud of you.

~I love reading your stories/artwork/playing games

~You smell so nice and clean

~Don’t always spend time in your bedroom, we should spend more time together

~Your feelings matter and you have a right to your opinion, I’m not always right and remember, we all make mistakes

~You look like something is bothering you, want to talk about it?

~Let me take care of you when you’re so sick, how about hot tea? Or I’ll sit beside you or we’ll lay in bed together

~Sure, have your friends over anytime, they are always welcome

~You’re so precious to me, having a daughter is a blessing

~Anything you want to ask me, go right ahead

~I love the way you laugh

~I’m sorry, it’s my fault, not yours/my mistake sorry I made you feel bad

~You are worthy, don’t let anyone make you feel or tell you that you’re not

~Someone is going to be a lucky man to have you as his wife

~I want to just hug you, and keep hugging you, big bear hugs

~I’ve got the best daughter a mother could have

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2019

(edited and reposted)

Should I Tell My Boss About My Depression?

For nine years I struggled with depression, resulting in repeated hospitalizations, and scraping by on disability.  Life was bleak and meaningless, but long story short, I recovered enough to return to the workplace.

In the workplace, I was battling depression every so often,  yet managed to hang onto my position for six years without divulging my secret: mental illness.  There still remains a major stigma in the working world and taking a risk to discuss my depression, unquestionably would have cost me my job in the end, and so, I kept my trap shut.

It’s a personal decision, one that you may feel secure revealing, but what about the other person?  Can they be trusted, will they empathize, or will it bite you in the butt for yearly reviews/raise/no raise?

This article in CBC News (health) is interesting pertaining to this topic.
Mental Illness In The Workplace

Other related articles:
Stigma and Mental Illness
Depression:  Have You Ever Felt Handcuffed To Your House?

(edited and reposted)

Depression – Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?

 

In our darkest moments, we can still, see some light. cherished79 com  'Living in Stigma'

Yes, it felt as if I was handcuffed to my house.

Sounds dramatic, but I was at the time.

For countless years, and at times even today, depression with its dark, unforgiving black clouds still hover over me. Eventually, I recovered from those darkest days.

Recalling the arduous years of major depression, I was housebound and felt isolated from the world.  Blackness overpowered my life; dark and muddy, depression was unrelenting, and the massive hands took hold of me demanding each full minute of my day.

Days upon days were devoted to gazing out my living room window and enduring life in the house, rarely venturing further than the end of the driveway.

Appointments with my family doctor or psychiatrist developed into an enormous production; quizzing what to wear, panicky about riding the bus or mixing up route times, and what to review with my doctors.

Continue reading “Depression – Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?”

You Know You…..and chronic illness

(I originally wrote this poem years ago, but it took a lengthy healing journey in therapy to finally reach the point where I felt strong and believed in myself).

******************

YOU know you are strong inside despite what mental or chronic illness has dealt you.

YOU know you are doing the best that you can, with what life has handed you.

YOU can pat yourself on the back right now, for a job well done. Mastering and surviving each day with an illness, in my eyes, is a full-time job.

Only YOU will know when it’s time to return to the working world; if that’s your goal. It’s alright to be coached and nudged, but you are really the best judge.

Only YOU know the blackness felt during depression – how the thick black mud swallows you up and is unforgiving.

Maybe YOU don’t know how very precious you are, and that you didn’t ask for this illness, and didn’t choose to be ill, and that mental illness is not a character flaw.

YOU will find society’s thinking and attitudes on invisible illness stigma still remain, but with education, perhaps people will alter their opinions and/or judgment.   

But YOU know YOU, and that is all that is important.

(Edited and reposted)

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2019

MENTAL ILLNESS: Should I Apologize for being Depressed?

shutterstock_Quotestrong4-1 (1)

An odd question. However, this thought has crossed my mind countless times over the years, forever questioning what my life would be like without mental illness.

_____________________________________________

Where would you be if it weren’t for mental illness or depression?

In the mid-1990s, mental illness first tossed me into a life of bleak, depressive despair, feeling hopeless and helpless, coupled with hospitalizations, countless medications, and ineffective ECTs.

I found myself apologizing for being ill, but why? Apologizing for an illness?

I felt guilty for my deteriorating attitude, the considerable burden I placed on my husband, absence and imperfection at work and primarily failing myself.  The slightest bit of self-confidence achieved throughout the years coupled with the status at my current job dwindled now appearing threadbare.  I was losing myself.

Depression focusses on the negatives.

For one, I kissed my livelihood goodbye. As a well-paid accounting supervisor, enjoying my job and colleagues, I imagined a lengthy career with this company, but, unfortunately, due to the constant absences caused by the illness and hospitalizations, I had no alternative but to leave my position.

Government disability followed after a lengthy two-year wait.  You discover swiftly how to become thrifty.

Back then, both hubby and I lived on comfortable salaries and jetted off to balmy climates once or twice per year; it was a routine. I was able to afford fashionable apparel, household furniture or other articles on a whim without fussing over budgeting our money. Peculiar how you take vacations for granted, as of today we haven’t been on an actual vacation in almost 20 years. (Not a priority actually).

Positives

Luckily, I worked through some issues in therapy, medication was stabilizing my depressive moods, and I was capable of returning to the working world after nine years absent.

The job I accepted was a call center position (collections), but with a prolonged absence from working for nine years, it was a daunting, rocky road in the beginning.  I was appreciative that this company gave me a chance at employment even with a spotty resume.

I survived six years with this company, only to find myself ill with depression and severe migraines, leaving me with no choice but to accept long-term disability.  But at the same time, I wouldn’t have realized the enormous extent of stigma in the workplace.

I have progressed to the point that I’m no longer hospitalized and can function daily. Extensive psychotherapy has resolved the heaps of painful issues that have been haunting me most of my adult life.

I envisioned participation in the writing field in some capacity. It has forever been a passion of mine since I was a child, jotting daily in my diaries.

It’s doubtful I would have been invited to appear on a radio show, speaking engagements, ghostwritten articles for other bloggers, or requested articles as a guest writer discussing mental health, depression, bipolar, etc.

I also wouldn’t have this fantastic blog (since 2007) that has allowed me to express my feelings about my experience struggling with PTSD and depression.

If not for mental illness, I’m uncertain I would be the compassionate, understanding, and accepting person that I am towards others now. I have enormous patience when speaking with anyone struggling with mental illness or other invisible illnesses. Also, a thirst for knowledge on subjects related to medical information, and if not afflicted, I may not have researched.

I continue to struggle with depression on an odd day with frustration, regrets, and tears – but that’s not unexpected, I suppose. We’re courageous, but must forge onward, and be strong.

We’re in this together, you and I, and we must never apologize for our illness.

(edited and reposted)

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2019

 

Women Have Heart Attacks Too!

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Ladies, go with your guts. The chest pain you may experience could be a heart attack and not indigestion, a panic attack or just in “your head”. Don’t be afraid to show your face in the emergency room just because you are a woman and the facts have shown that men usually suffer from heart attacks.


My story occurred in August 2018:

My chronic migraines strike daily, and I suffered a horrendous two weeks of these excruciating headaches, and measuring on the unintelligible doctor’s pain scale of 1-10 the pain was nothing short of 10+ each day.

However, migraines had nothing to do with what was to follow.

Seated on my recliner chair attempting to ease the throbbing migraine pain, I suddenly felt an unusual kind of aching; surrounding my chest area above my left boob.  It wasn’t an intense or stabbing pain, but similar to somebody wrapping and pulling a massive bandage across my chest becoming more and more agonizing.

As my upper left arm and shoulder gradually began to feel terrible pain, it was now radiating down my left arm and behind my shoulder blades. Also, breathing was becoming difficult.

What the hell was this?  I was puzzled.

I’m aware from health research that pain felt on the left side of the body can signal a heart attack, but as a healthy female, with no prior heart problems or family history of heart attacks, I was questioning the ‘heart attack’ theory.  Besides, the pain wasn’t overly “painful” compared to my migraines. Continue reading “Women Have Heart Attacks Too!”

Narcissistic Parenting – From the ‘roots’ up

A Narcissistic Parent will drench fresh water on their golden child s plant daily yet merely permitting the scapegoat child s plant to receive tiny sprinkles of water on the odd day forever shadowed by the sun Deb McCarthy

I learned this bit of wisdom from my therapist during one of our many sessions discussing my narcissistic mother.  She explained it very clearly how a parent has children (plants); she waters some and helps them grow and flourish, yet the others who aren’t so lucky receive less attention and ignored.  I now understood how my mother cared and treated my brother vs. myself.   Do any of you feel this way?

(This was very popular when first posted in April/2017, being one of the favorite quotes I wrote about narcissistic mothers.)

The “Everything Happens for a Reason” statement is Crap

Opinion

I think about this statement often, and when someone utters these words, it pisses me to no end. 

What precisely does it mean, and why do people say it? Are they so narrow-minded, wrapped up in religion, or in another world?

Does it mean when there is a world disaster, a plane crash due to a mechanical issue, a school shooting, childhood sexual abuse, people diagnosed with an illness, cancer,  kidnapping, serial murderers and rapists, riots, war veterans killed or any other horrible occurrence, it happened for a reason? Please explain.

For me, it goes way back to my very ill years struggling with major depression and my mother once commenting the ever so “everything happens for a reason” words. Really, mom? You mean the sexual abuse, which led to therapy, which led to depression, which led to hospitals, a myriad of meds, which led to suicide attempts, countless ECTs, which led to losing my career, almost foreclosure on my house, hubby losing his job, losing friends and let’s include the horrible migraine headaches etc. What exactly do you mean?

I don’t believe people recognize how much these words can sting, it’s almost a “whatever”, said in a flippant moment. IMO, just support that person, show comfort and most of all keep your trap shut.

Edited and reposted

Written and copyright by Deb McCarthy 2019

How Graphic Design Has Helped My Migraines

As you have noticed, it appears that I have deserted my very own blog! 

I suppose this is accurate, but you see, I’ve been on a bit of an adventure, and spreading my wings too thin.

I’m delighted I kept this blog open and sincerely thank everyone who continues to read all of my earlier postings while leaving comments that I’ve neglected.  I genuinely apologize for that.

In early fall 2017, I began writing articles for a site called Virily.com (they pay writers for their work) and thoroughly relished writing quizzes of all things.  My writing has steered me to various spheres, but I’m new to inventing a quiz!

What was most exhilarating was realizing an old passion; art design!

When I was on Virily, a blogging friend revealed that she designs for a site called “Redbubble.”  This miffed me, but as soon as I heard the word ‘design,’ I needed to investigate.

Redbubble.com is a ‘print-on-demand’ (POD) marketplace whereby a designer or artist uploads an image of their design to appear on a multitude of Redbubble products.  They sell merchandise such as framed prints, apparel, mugs, pillows, duvets, cellphone cases and laptop sleeves, clocks, tote bags, etc. via online shopping.

All production, shipping and customer service is their responsibility, therefore, you don’t have to carry your own inventory and uploading is free.  They pay you a percentage of each sale.

Continue reading “How Graphic Design Has Helped My Migraines”

Quote – PTSD – Narcissistic abuse from mom

NARCISSISTIC MATERNAL ABUSE

My mother was uncaring and ignored me for most of my life...and wonders why I ve abandoned her now that she s elderly? cherished79.com blog "Living in Stigma"

I wrote this quote referring to my narcissistic mother. She fails to recall the days of ignoring me, criticizing or showing no empathy, nor caring about me the way a mother should. Her emotional abuse has had an enormous impact on my life, and I remain in psychotherapy to this day.

Now she is elderly, feels isolated and displays signs of illness questioning “Why don’t you ever visit or come over for lunch because it’s lonely every day in this apartment?”. Hmmm, I wonder why?  Typical narcissist, not recognizing their own personality.

I finally went NO CONTACT three years ago as I was tired of her never-ending abuse.  Best decision I ever made.

PTSD ~ When a child comes to you…

Make your own photo about LISTEN to the child BELIEVE them VALIDATE their feelings and PTSD Childhood Sexual Abuse ... on PixTeller

If my parents had of believed me when I was eight years old, I wouldn’t have been in therapy for 20 years healing from the impact of their ignorance.   Thank you, Mom and Dad

Is your doctor always running late? Does 10:15 become 11:15?

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Doctor’s appointments, do you really ever get in @10:15?

I doubt it. Success in seeing your doctor at the scheduled appointment time is like a crap shoot, and typically not my luck. I’m forever on time, I don’t know why she never is and I keep forgetting to bring my camping gear to set up for the day.

You recognize a dilemma when the receptionist slides the plexiglass window and smiles, “Hi Deb, she’s a little backed up this morning, we’ll call you soon”. ‘Backed up a bit, call you soon?’ “Backed up” in my experience translates to at least a minimum of 1 hour or more.

I detest these ‘backed up’ doctors, people are trapped in the waiting room fearful to leave for even a snack or pee break in the event your name is called. I think to myself, “Why did I take all morning off work, run like an idiot for the bus, not grab a coffee or something to read on the way, all so I wouldn’t be late for this appointment. Why do they book every 15 minutes, when they’re never on time?

After you have called everyone you can think of (most are at work or waiting at their doctor’s office), play scrabble or crossword on your phone or delete old contacts and your cell is frantic for a charge…your name is called. Yippeee! Now you are escorted into a smaller waiting room to wait and wait and wait some more!

~~~ Article written & copyrighted © by Deb McCarthy

 

The Fog Between My Fingertips

BLACK DEPRESSION

Hollowness, loneliness

Black hole

No light at the top

Drowning

No one saving me

Why?

No future

Just black dreams

Despair

Feels like a prison cell

Handcuffed

Black fog

Feeling the fog between my fingertips

Nothingness

Empty

No treatments working?

No doctors helping?

Why?

What kind of life is this

Black death sentence

Written & copyright by Deb McCarthy

 

Guest Post ~ A Little Piece of Me

 

My guest poster today is J.E. from her blog “This is My Silence”. (Trigger Warning)

 Hello, I am J.E., 23 years old, and a PTSD survivor.

 I’m married to a wonderful man who has been my rock and encouragement throughout those days when I didn’t believe in myself, nevertheless, he believed in me.  I’m also delighted that I’m a working mother of two children (‘superheroes’), as the joy I see in their faces every day provides me with every reason, now realizing how past abusive years has an enormous impact on your life.

Writing is cathartic for me, and I’m using my healing journey to perhaps healing others.  “This is My Silence” is my first blog, and here is my story. 

https://thisismysilenceblog.wordpress.com/


A Little Piece of Me

Typing and deleting, typing and deleting.   As I am sitting on my couch, I’ve come to a realization that this is now my second draft and remain struggling with a conundrum.  It’s challenging to write about your journey, even though you may have memories floating around inside your head, writing them down on paper (computer) is difficult.

So, Where is my beginning?

I lay my jars of memories around me and search, and peering into each jar I take a moment to remind myself to breathe for a moment after each one.  As I continue my search, slowly opening and closing each jar, I come to a standstill, noticing that every single one of these memories speaks my story, but only one conveys the beginning of my life. So I will begin like this:

Continue reading “Guest Post ~ A Little Piece of Me”

PTSD ~ Marriage is Supposed to be for Love

My guest post today is from Mariah’s blog “Recluse“.

I remember the day I realized that I was in an abusive marriage. I called my mom, who lived 800 miles away blurting out my abuse and fear. I will also never forget how she responded. Mom expressed her opinions and words, and it was if blinders were removed from my eyes.

That was the day I recognized that my husband was violent and things weren’t about to change.

The Beginning

When I was in my first marriage, I was very young.  I was 20 when we were married, and I had been with him since I was 17.  Needless to say, I was hell-bent on making it work, because I was “an adult now” and that’s what “adults” did.  They kept their promises, paid their bills and took care of their responsibilities.  Except when they don’t things begin to change.

Soon after getting married, my ex-husband slowly started to show his true colors.  Long story short, he was emotionally and verbally abusive, manipulated our finances, was addicted to pornography and video games, had drinking problems, and he had an affair outside of our marriage.

Continue reading “PTSD ~ Marriage is Supposed to be for Love”

Is it all because of Genitals?

Ok, so here’s the story:

A women-only spa in Toronto, Ontario, Canada took some massive criticism and triggered a social-media outcry last week, that prohibits some transgender women from using their facilities.

On Facebook, a woman stated that she refused to revisit the spa on account that they canceled her friend’s (who is transgender) appointment due to their spa’s policy which states “no male genitals” rule.

The spa explained, “because we are a bathing-suit-optional environment, our current policy is to ensure all clients are comfortable in an environment with nudity, including minors.”

The backlash was extreme from the public, transgender and LGBTQ communities. However, the spa further clarified that it’s a ‘single-sex facility with full nudity, and unlike other facilities.’  They stated they supported these communities, but the spa has policies to adhere to.

Continue reading “Is it all because of Genitals?”

Stigma Quote

Mental illness stigma cherished79.com

I had to write this quote as it reminded me of a relative who visited me in the hospital.  Perhaps she assumed I lost my marbles along with the depression?  Perfect example of stigma.

Featured

Welcome – Connecting With Everyone Struggling With All Invisible Illnesses

“Living in Stigma” connects with everyone coping with chronic pain, mental illness, and all invisible illnesses.

My blog Living in Stigma was launched in 2007 and originally dedicated to all of us struggling with mental illness.  I felt as if I was living in stigma with my own major depression.

Many forms of mental illness comprise of DepressionBipolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, PTSD, Eating Disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and much more.

I struggle with both mental illness and chronic migraines, and with news articles, social media, research and valued readers sharing comments and opinions on my blog, it’s a reality that invisible illnesses such as fibromyalgia, lupus, headaches, recurring back and leg pain, and so many more are also a vast portion of invisible illness stigma.  Continue reading “Welcome – Connecting With Everyone Struggling With All Invisible Illnesses”

Little Girl

LITTLE GIRL

Hey, little girl, I saw you with that man

what were you doing, letting him have his way

didn’t you know it was wrong, why didn’t you stop it?

you could have said no, but you still let it happen

what’s wrong with you? how could you not know?

~~~~

I tried to say no, he was bigger than me

yet he made me feel wanted and special for once

I was his “princess” and he said I “danced like an angel”

and I was invisible to everyone else

even though it hurt, it was worth the warm feelings

that I craved so much, and he granted me so lovingly

but then came anguish and pain

~~~~

Finally, I did try to tell, but no one would listen

the words came out, yet no words were heard

no one will really know

that my mind and my heart

died back then

I was little and

I didn’t know how to say no

_______________________________________________________

Written & copyright Deb McCarthy/2017

*I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and it feels so much better to be able to say ‘survivor’ rather than ‘victim’ now.

Did you know that Friendship can ruin Therapy?

The therapist I worked with for seven years was amazing, we dealt with some extremely emotional issues including PTSD sexual abuse and maternal narcissism.  She validated my feelings and showed the kind of empathy that I’d never received as a child, therefore, I often craved her as a friend while in therapy.  I soon understood boundaries, and realized it just wouldn’t work; therapy isn’t friendship

A friend told me of an occurrence where friendship ruined the relationship with her and her therapist.  She had been meeting “X” every 3 weeks for roughly 2 years, drudging through many agonizing, uncomfortable, personal issues and trusted “X” entirely with what she disclosed, more than with any other therapist.

When she was pregnant with her second child, also experiencing difficulties with her spouse, “X” was there to convey her thoughts to.  By the time the baby was to arrive, they worked through marital issues, which alleviated the situation at home and for her.

Continue reading “Did you know that Friendship can ruin Therapy?”

Mother, Do you deserve a Card? PTSD – Survivors of Abuse

As an unloved daughter of a narcissistic mother, the cards or flowers I handed to her with ‘love’ throughout the years were given with the expectations and desires that one day she would hug me with love.  Giving her a card each year was presented or mailed with a fake smile or strained “Love you always mom.”

She by no means ever deserved a card, lunch or dinner out, and especially a visit when I was an adult.  When I moved across the country, there was one year I ‘neglected’ to send a card or call.  This resulted in a ‘hissyfit,’ possibly threw one of her notorious tantrums including tears, resulting with my father phoning me, blasting “how could you treat your mother like this?”  I can’t recall my reply, but more than likely, I said I was sorry.

A few days passed, and what do I receive in the mail, a multi-page letter from my mother ranting how self-centred I am, this is the way I treat her after everything she’s done for me throughout my life, took care of me, and will sever our relationship now.  This was due to not sending a card?

To be honest, I feel jealous of others who have/had a wonderful mother.

So to all of those who are survivors of narcissistic emotional abuse, or never received the kind of motherly care, empathy, encouragement, and love; this post is dedicated to you. You are all Warriors!

Hugs,
Deb

It’s not just a ‘headache’ ~ It’s ‘CHRONIC MIGRAINE’

These chronic migraines are not “pop 2 aspirin and call me in the morning” headaches……

Image Source: “Making Migraines Visible” image included in a slideshow by: Teri Robert on HealthCentral.com

Chronic Migraines

That’s me, that’s what I suffer with.   Winter has been unkind to me, especially January through March, where very few days did I escape not having a migraine headache.   The pulsating, throbbing head and face agony had me bedridden most days, and other times unable to wear my glasses due to tenderness over the bridge of my nose.

Since thoughts of jumping over the balcony crossed my mind to end this crap and a trip to the emergency isn’t an option anymore (wait times approx. 10-14 hrs. and their refusal to use narcotics), I had to ‘suck it up’.

My neurologist suggested Botox treatments, but I’m unsure of this method for chronic migraines, and the research I’ve done has shown some people were worse off with the treatment due to constant stiff necks and even more pain + medications.  I am considering chiropractic or acupuncture methods, but for this past week, I’m experimenting with a natural herbal medication which has shown good progress so far.  Fingers crossed!

This wonderful link provides a more in-depth look at migraines @ HealthCentral.com http://www.healthcentral.com/migraine/cf/slideshows/migraines-visible#slide=1

(updated and reposted)

Broken Trust

Trust was broken

you knew it was

But that didn’t stop your

desire and craving

~~~

My hands were tied

literally

above my head

to the bed

Who cares, you thought

I’m getting what I want

~~~

This secret between us

no one will know

I’d never tell

because you persuaded me

told me I was lucky and special

to have someone like you

a special person

for protection and care

Trust wasn’t broken

You were was entitled to this

______________________________

Written and copyright by Deb McCarthy/2017