Too Good to Be True?

Are you in a relationship in which you feel like you’re on a roller coaster or a merry-go-round that you can’t figure how to get off of? Is your boyfriend, fiancé, husband super sweet one moment and then moody and accusatory the next? Is there passionate lovemaking one night and explosive arguments the next day? Are there little red flags going off here and there that you’ve been choosing to ignore? Does he call his ex-girlfriends or wives crazy, manipulative lunatics? Does he play the victim in past relationships? Maybe he says he just hasn’t found the right one until he found you. Fate has brought you together. Maybe. But still, something’s off, something’s not quite right. Perhaps he’s an addict…drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex…you’re not sure if he is. Is that the problem? The underlying problem to many, if not all, addictions is a personality disorder. Maybe that’s it. There are different kinds of personality disorders and many different things to become addicted to. So, there are many combinations that can potentially become a destructive force to your relationship, your marriage, and ultimately to you, the victim. In an effort to help my fellow womankind, to warn you, to open your eyes, to validate what you might be experiencing and feeling, to let you know that YOU’RE not the one who is crazy…I write this blog…at 2:00 in the morning. This weighs heavily on my heart for you. If you’ll just consider the words that I present to you. I came across this article earlier that explains what narcissism is and what it looks like to be in a relationship with a narcissist. There were some inappropriate words in the original, so I did change a few words to make it PG. I’ve posted the link to the original if you’d like my reference to the article. If my words have rung a bell in your heart, please read this…

A relationship with a Narcissist has been compared to being on a roller coaster, with immense highs and immense lows. They have been described as the proverbial Jekyll and Hyde, one way one minute, another the next.

People usually get into relationships for love and the need to connect and bond with another. Narcissists get into relationships for entirely different reasons. They do not feel love and they lack the ability to connect and form normal attachment bonds with others.
Narcissists need people more than anyone. Because their entire sense of self-esteem and self-worth is dependent on the admiration of others, their emotions are a precarious balance of needing others and needing to be left alone.
Narcissists feel an enormous void inside of them. This void is ever present and the only thing that fills it, is the love and esteem of another. The fix is always temporary though. A Narcissist describes it this way, “It’s like my brain is constantly seeking something. It’s like I’m always chasing a carrot at the end of a stick. Nothing I do satisfies me, at least not for long. I feel like I only do things because I’m supposed to, because society does it. I don’t feel like I belong anywhere or with anyone.”
Narcissists are completely self-absorbed and are oblivious to the wants and needs of others. They enter into relationships in an attempt to fill this void and to make sure that they have someone who is always available for sex, an ego stroke or whatever need they may have. A relationship with a Narcissist always follows three phases, the over-evaluations phase, the devaluation phase and the discard phase.
The Over-evaluation Phase
A Narcissist is very careful when choosing a target. Typically, they will choose a victim based on their status. They must be attractive, popular, rich or extremely gifted in some area. The greater the status, the higher the value the Narcissist places on the Supply derived.
Once a target has been chosen, it’s almost like the Narcissist gets tunnel vision. They are hyper-vigilant in their pursuit and will project the perfect image that their victim wants them to be. They are excessively caring, loving and attentive at this stage. They shower their targets with attention, compliments and literally sweep them off their feet.
They place their target on a pedestal, idolize and worship them. Their target is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Here the Narcissist is ecstatic, full of hopes and dreams. They will talk and think about them constantly, they are euphoric. This is as close as a Narcissist will ever get to feeling love. This kind of idolization is what others would call infatuation.
The victim is likely so caught up in all the attention and is usually thinking at this point, that they have found their soul-mate. Their pursuer is exactly what they want in a partner (because the Narcissist is mirroring what they have learned appeals to their target) and they can’t believe how lucky they are and that this catch is still single.
What they don’t know, or could ever be prepared for, is what comes next.
The Devaluation Stage
The Over-Evaluation phase, if you’re dealing with a Somatic Narcissist, usually lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months, just long enough for the Narcissist to be confident that they have secured their target’s love and devotion. Unbeknownst to the target, what they were witnessing in the early phase was the Narcissist’s false self. In this second phase, the mask comes off and the Narcissist starts to reveal their true colours.
The shift could be gradual or almost seemingly overnight. Suddenly the attention they so lavishly gave you is gone and replace by indifference and silence. Days or weeks could go by and you won’t hear from them. They don’t return your phone calls, they don’t keep a single promise and you’re starting to suspect that they might be involved with someone else. The target is left baffled and confused and wondering what they did wrong to cause such an abrupt turnaround.
Narcissists become bored easily and what usually starts happening in their heads at this stage, is that the void begins to emerge again. The high they were feeding off of is waning and they begin to question your worthiness, that perhaps you weren’t so special after all, because if you were then the void wouldn’t still be there.
They become moody and agitated easily, blaming you for even the slightest transgression. They start to disappear more frequently and they give you the silent treatment in an attempt to create distance. As the Narcissist withdraws, the target starts to cling and your demands for his attention and your need to understand what’s happening, grate on his nerves. The harder you cling the more the Narcissist pulls away. They start to blame and criticize the target for everything, treating them like an emotional punching bag.
At this point the target is an emotional wreck. The Narcissist has left without any explanation and they can’t figure out how one minute they were put on a pedestal and now it’s like they don’t even exist. The Narcissist is a projector and they are projecting their emotional turmoil onto you. They feed off of other people’s misery (as long as it’s caused by them) just as much as they feed off of your admiration, either way it makes no difference to them.
It is this person, this cruel, indifferent, unfeeling, sadist that is the behind the mask. Most targets desperately try to find the one they fell in love with. What they don’t realize is that that person never existed. They were a facade an act put on by the Narcissist to secure their Supply.
The Narcissist will take no responsibility for their actions, because they simply don’t care how they’ve treated you or how you are feeling.

Narcissists are not capable of forming normal healthy attachments to people. Those that aren’t familiar with the disorder are completely at a loss to understand how unnecessarily cruel their behavior can be. The target was never more than an object to the Narcissist, whose usefulness is on the decline.
The Narcissist isn’t one to throw away a potential piece of supply though. He will keep up this I love you, I love you not charade going for as long as it suits them or as long as you allow it. He will breeze in and out of your life as if nothing ever happened, completely oblivious and indifferent to your suffering.
This mind trick is deliberate and he will keep feeding you crumbs of attention, just enough to keep you emotionally invested and available to cater to his every need.
At some point one of two things will happen: either he will find a new target and begin phase one with them, thus ignoring you completely, or you will have had enough of his psychotic abuse and you will take control and put an end to it, thus ushering In phase three.
The Discard Phase
It is almost baffling to watch the ease at which a Narcissist can pull away from his partners. Many targets are left asking themselves, “Did he ever love me? Did I mean anything to him?” The simple answer is no. No one means anything to him. Women are only a means to an end – to obtain the much needed Narcissistic Supply. Once your usefulness has run its course, you will be discarded abruptly and cruelly, without warning.
Trying to get over a relationship with a Narcissist is extremely difficult. Once it is over the target is usually an emotional wreck, whose self-esteem has been annihilated by the persistent demeaning behavior, insults and cruelty of the Narcissist. Depending on when they were able to break free, the target maybe a shadow of their former self, with a lot of work ahead of them to rebuild their shattered self-image.
As a victim tries to pick up the pieces, What must be remembered is that you were deliberately targeted, lied to and manipulated by a skilled con-artist, for their own gain. There was nothing you could have done differently and none of this was your fault. The Narcissist will repeat this pattern with every person, every time, bar none.
All former targets must be vigilantly on guard, because a Narcissist always reserves the right to revisit a former source of supply, no matter how much time has passed or how badly they’ve behaved.
Once you have broken free you must close the door on any and all contact, because if you don’t you’re headed back to a watered down version of Phase One – over and over and over again.

Remember, friend, you were created for more than this. You are the apple of God’s eye. You are worth more to your Creator than all the gold and riches in the world. You cannot fix a man or make him better. Only God can. Look to Him for help and guidance and never forget who YOU are and what YOU were made for. He has great plans for your life.
If you are dating or engaged to someone like this…run! Run as fast as you can! Get off the crazy train while you can! If you’re married, get help, now. Find a professional counselor to help you. If you need assistance finding someone, I can point you in the right direction.

I pray blessing, strength, boldness and emotional healing over every woman who reads these words. May God’s love fill your heart and help you to see yourself as He sees you.

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

http://esteemology.com/the-three-phases-of-a-narcissistic-relationship-cycle-over-evaluation-devaluation-discard/

 

Ouch, That Hurt

Annoyance. Anger. Resentment. Indignation. Irritation. Exasperation. Wrath. Displeasure. Hurt feelings.

When you read the words above, did certain people or situations pop into your mind? Did you experience these feelings today?  Are you struggling right now over something that happened that you can’t quite seem to get past?download

Let it go. What is “it?” No, I’m not referring to “Frozen.” It boils down to one word…OFFENSE.  As John Bevere rightly named it, “The Bait of Satan.”  (I highly recommend that book, FYI.)

Let me be transparent, as usual.  I have maybe once in a while, from time to time, battled with feeling offended.  Offended for something someone said to me or didn’t say to me.  Offended for being ignored, overlooked, not appreciated, underestimated, and so on.  There are million and one reasons that can be found to become offended.  I mean, geez, I’ve been offended by the way someone looked at me before. I’ve even been offended by a compliment given to me by my husband! For instance, he says, “Wow, honey, I really like when you wear your hair like that.”  Then I say, “So does that mean you don’t like it how I usually wear it? You never say anything about the way I wear it every other day!”  Then of course, there’s the, “Are you calling me fat?  Are you saying my butt is big?”  I’m just going to admit right now, I’m one of those wives.  tumblr_ly4bftcwwv1qbh4goo1_500

For me, the offense that I experience has mostly to do with hurt feelings and anger. It’s usually because someone does not realize what I’m about or understand how I am. They don’t know what’s going on in my life, what I’m thinking, my insecurities, my expectations, etc.  It pretty much boils down to pride.  Ew.  Pride is just gross. Becoming offended is really about thinking too much of yourself.  OUCH.  Man, I’m really stepping on my own toes here…

I have been known to say that I’m not easily offended and I can usually pass it off that I am not. But inside, I get that little twinge of uneasy, angry, irritated offense.  I stuff it down in there and log it away to be added to a list in my subconscious. I am literally holding it against the person who offended me…my self preservation mode kicks in and I subconsciously swear that they will never hurt me again.  Walls are put up.  Relationships are damaged.  Instead of dealing directly with the problem, I stuff it and resentment builds.  Hurt me once, shame on you.  Hurt me twice, shame on me.

Now, I know many of you are thinking, “Wow, Susie is one screwed up chick.”  But, that’s okay because I know that you do the same thing, even if you don’t realize it or admit it.  I have been working on myself a lot in the past few years regarding offense and I have made progress.  You can too.

It starts with not taking yourself so seriously, cut yourself some slack, don’t be so hard on yourself! Know who you are in Christ, then you won’t care so much what people say about you or do to you. Then, give other people a break.  Give them the benefit of the doubt.  When others lash out at you or say something hurtful to you, it normally has little to do with you.  Many times, it’s because they are having a bad day or are upset or insecure about something else. And most of the time, it’s because they are dealing with offense themselves. How do I know this?  Because I’ve had plenty of opportunities to deal with and examine these kind of situations.  

Overcoming the problem with offense is hard work.  It takes prayer, studying the Word of God and dealing with people and issues in a healthy manner, consistently.  Satan knows that if he can keep all of us mad at each other and keep us from having true relationships with one another, then he wins.  Let’s fight back and not let him win, okay?

There are many scriptures that address the issue of offense, but this one is my favorite.  It’s short and sweet and easy to remember.

“Good sense makes a man restrain his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression or an offense.” Proverbs 19:11, Amplified Bible

I want to be known as a person who has good sense, don’t you?

And just one more, because I do love the Word of God so…

“He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends.” Proverbs 17:9, Amplified Bible

It all comes down to love.  How do I know what love is?  Because I have a heavenly Father who has shown me.  He sent His Son to die on a cross for me and my wretched sin, my offense.  All He asks is that I love Him back and love others as He has loved me. Truthfully, we have NO business being offended, ever.godsloveloveothers

And just a little side note…when God forgives us of our “offenses,” He literally forgets about them. Hint, hint.  If you say you forgive someone, then mean it.  Don’t hold it against them!

Let go and love.  Enjoy this beautiful song about God’s love.

 

How To Fight Back

Where are your sensitive, most exposed, vulnerable areas in your life?  Do you have trust issues from betrayals in past relationships? Have you struggled with addictions to alcohol, drugs, sexual vices, etc in your past or even presently?  Are you insecure about your appearance?  Do you live in fear that something bad is going to happen to your children or your husband?  Is your greatest concern being financially secure?  Have you lived through a traumatic experience and and are afraid it will happen again?  Do you live with guilt from past sins you’ve committed?

Think about it for a moment.  Our most sensitive areas are those that cause us to tailspin out of control mentally and emotionally. Our thought process travels down a bad path when the subject is brought up, when someone throws it up in our face or maybe we encounter a temptation from our past weaknesses.  We all have at least one area that we don’t like to be touched…ever.

I’m not feeling brave enough to put my own vulnerabilities out here on the “world wide web” today, but I will admit that I am “attacked” in these areas more often than I care for.  In the past, I have not dealt with it in a healthy manner.  tailspinHere’s the order of my mental/emotional tailspin (perhaps you can relate):  anger, emotional pain, regret, bitterness, feel like giving up, questioning who in the world I think I am, feeling like a failure, depression, inability to function normally.  Sounds crazy, huh?

The really crazy thing is that I know I’m not the only one.  The Bible says that there is an “accuser of the brethren” that has been accusing people day in and day out since the beginning of time.                                 accuser

If you are a born again believer, you are a brethren…FYI.  The silver lining is that at the end of time, the “accuser” will be thrown into hell, literally, and we will be with Jesus.  But until then…

I Peter 5:8 tells us that we are to be sober and vigilant because our adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, looking to see who he can devour.  How does he try to devour us?  By attacking us in our vulnerable areas.  And he knows them well.  The scripture continues to admonish us to resist him and remain steadfast in our faith and to be comforted to know that you are not alone in your sufferings.  As Christians, we all go through it.

But how do we resist the enemy and remain steadfast in our faith?  What does that even mean?  It’s hard when our own personal weakness, failures and insecurities are the ammo he uses against us.  He does not fight fair at all.  And what would you expect from the father of lies?  He’s the master of telling you lies about who you are and who you aren’t.

I’m going to show you how to fight back.

Psalm 121:5  “The Lord is your keeper;  the Lord is your shade on your right hand.”

When a solider would go into battle back in the Bible days, he would carry a shield and a sword.  The shield would be carried in his left hand and the sword in his right.  The shield represents those areas in your life where you are strong, areas where you have no issues, temptations, weaknesses, etc.  The right side, the side with no protection, represents the side where the enemy would attack. The place where our weaknesses are fully exposed.  But we are not completely at the mercy of our enemy.  We have been equipped with a very effective tool with which to fight back – a sword.  A solider would never go into battle without his sword to fight off the advances of the enemy.  And neither should we.  Our sword is part of the armor of God that is provided for us when we become born again.  We wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  The Bible.  We can fight back by filling our minds with truth from God’s Word and speaking it over our lives.  Daily, continually.  Day and night.  And especially when we are feeling attacked and confused.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

God guards the vulnerable parts of our lives with His Word.  If we speak His Word, fill our minds with His truths, we will be strengthened in those areas where we are weak.  We will be able to quench the fiery darts of the enemy.  Speak the Word in times of temptation, fear, insecurities.  Who I am in Christ.  What I have in Christ.  NEVER lay down your sword.  Have it ready in your hand at all times.  Practice even when you are not being attacked until it becomes second nature to wield it without hesitation, with expert skill.  Before your mind even goes to a bad place, you can speak the Word and end it there.  Nip the lies in the bud immediately with the truth of who you really are!  It really does work!

And that, my friends, is what you call, “Fighting the good fight of faith.”

Change is Coming…You Can Count On It!

Last Tuesday was a bittersweet day for me and my girls. It was their last piano lesson with our piano teacher, who after 50 years of teaching, is retiring. I say “our” piano teacher because she was MINE also.  She has a mother and sister who she must look after, as well as several grandchildren who live in different states. It is time for her to hang up her teaching hat and enjoy spending time with her family. A new chapter for her and a new chapter for us, too.                                                          photo (7)

As she and Emma played their final duet piece together, “Sweet Dreams,” I was overcome with emotion. Tears burst uncontrollably out of my eyes as I tried desperately to swallow my emotion. The song they played was hauntingly beautiful and when they finished, Mrs. Orlando was also crying. That was it. We both cried on and off for the remaining hour as Emma finished her lessons and Lily played through hers. By the end of their lessons, as she was saying her final farewells, she was nearly sobbing, I was sobbing and Lily was crying  too. Mrs. Orlando loves my girls. My girls love her. As do I.IMG_2859

You see, Mrs. Orlando is more than just a piano teacher.  She taught me excellence, determination, grace, poise and confidence. There is a handful of people I can give credit to for the person I am today.  She’s on the list.  I am grateful that she had 5 years with my Lily and 4 with my Emma, but I am sad to see it come to an end.  Now I must carry on in her stead, be the teacher to my girls that she was to me.  It’s a huge task, but I’m up for it…I think…What an awesome opportunity to exercise my heart for teaching.

No one likes change, but it is inevitable.  Ecclesiastes chapter 3 talks about how there is a season for everything.   There’s a time to laugh and a time to cry…a time to be born and a time to die…a time to gain and a time to lose…There’s a time for everything!

“No one likes change except a baby with a dirty diaper!”   -Justin Argabright

diaper_baby

I am a person who thrives on routine.  Same thing day in and day out.  There is a certain amount of sanity that order brings to my helter-skelter mind.  But I have been learning over the past few years, that I need to embrace the change that is happening around me.  For instance, my children are growing!  That’s a major change.  They can’t stay babies and if I don’t learn to accept that change, I will continue treating them like so and their maturity and growth will be inhibited.  Another example is my husband’s work schedule.  He’s here for a week, gone for two.  An OCDer’s nightmare schedule!  But, I’ve learned to adapt and it is paying off for our family in many ways.  My husband is happy at his job and I am able to stay at home with the kids.

My point is…in order to move to the next step in our lives, the lives that we have placed in God’s hands, the lives that we pray for God’s will to be done in, the lives that we ask God to bless, the lives that we have said, “I Surrender All” about…we must embrace the change that He is orchestrating.  Each experience you’ve had, good or bad, is like the musicians or instruments in an orchestra.  God brings those experiences in to the picture at just the right time, on just the right beat, for just the right length of time.  He mixes the good with the bad, people from your past and present, hurts and happiness, to make beautiful, unique sounding melodies, harmonies and chords.  It is perfect and absolutely beautiful!  A song written by Him, orchestrated and directed by Him, specifically for YOU!                            SymphonyOrchestra_720x283

 God is the Author, the Orchestrator, and Conductor of the life that is surrendered to Him.

Orchestra-Maze2

So here’s the deal when unexpected change arises…

My piano teacher has retired.  I am sad.  My girls are sad.  I want her to teach forever.  But alas, that is impossible.  So I thank God for the time we had under her patient instruction.  I recognize what must happen next.  God has given me the opportunity to practice what I’ve been created to do.  I embrace it and look forward to what He has planned for my future.  Now, I will trust Him to give me the strength, patience and wisdom to follow through.

If you’ve surrendered your life to your Creator, you can be sure that uncomfortable change is a comin.’  That’s His way of getting you to the place where you can fulfill your destiny.  Learn to roll with the punches.  Rest in the fact that God’s in control, He has your back.  You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! il_570xN.493477028_3slt

And remember, His plans for you are more awesome and greater than you could EVER imagine for yourself!

Isaiah 55:9

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

 

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A Mommy’s Heartache

The words of my tween daughter pierce my heart like a knife.

“Mommy, why are my thighs bigger than all the other girls’ in my dance class?”

“Mommy, do you think I sing as good as my friend?”

“Mommy, why can’t I be funny like her?”  

Question after question.  Irrational insecurities.  Constant critical comparisons.

Her criticism hurts me.  Words that wound this mama’s heart.

You see, my daughter is perfect in my eyes.  She is beautiful, graceful, talented, kind, loving and absolutely perfect in every way.

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When she looks around and sees that she is not the same as everyone else, she imagines that something is wrong with her.  She listens to the lies whispered in her ear by the lips of the great deceiver.

I draw a picture for her with my words of how she has been deliberately and delicately designed by our Creator.  I explain how she alone can be Lily Marie.  She is the only one He made like her.

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But still, she is unsure and my sadness is a tangible aching in my own chest.  If only she could understand and see herself as I see her…

Just a moment though…

How often do I compare myself to other women?  Other wives?  Other mothers?  Other writers?

Daily and constantly.

Do I wound my Father’s heart when I am critical of myself?

Every time my daughter spews negative words about herself, God grabs my attention.

As I comfort and encourage my own daughter, His Words contradict the onslaught of lies from satan for both of His daughters.

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He sees me as perfectly crafted, created for a purpose.  There is no else like me on this earth.  Only I can do what He created me to do.  Only I can be Susie.

I cannot be Lisa or Kelly or Kim or Rachel…But I can be Susie.

God made no carbon copies…only carefully crafted creations.  

                                                                                       lilypointe                                                                                                                                                                                            

I am a carefully crafted creation.  My daughter is a carefully crafted creation. You are a carefully crafted creation.

Let’s be who God made us to be.  And praise Him for making us exactly how He intended.

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”  Psalm 139:14