Surviving Narcissism

I am a Survivor (of Narcissistic Abuse)

survivior narcissismI am a survivor.

As of this month, September 2019, I am in the process of shifting the focus of my coaching to include what God taught me through personal life experience.

I had no idea what a NARCISSIST was even though I was married to one for 18 years. That relationship ended about 20 years ago. 38 years is a long time to not realize what I dealt with and to not recognize how far I had come.

I now realize that I am more than an encourager to women, which is one of my gifts, but also an encourager to survivors.

So, what brought on this shift? I give thanks to today’s technology—I read an article and watched a video which led me to realize that what I had experienced had a name—narcissism. My story is classic, so I’ve purposely kept it short and without precise detail. I am not writing this to hurt or lash out at anyone, quite the opposite. I want to encourage other women through sharing my story.

Signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

I missed the outright and typical narcissistic signs while dating my (ex) husband as he strategized and hid them well:

  • He had grandiose ideas about himself.
  • He was preoccupied with fantasies of success.
  • He had a deep need for attention and admiration.
  • He lacked empathy for others.
  • His relationships were troubled.
  • He had a sense of entitlement.
  • He envied others.

Narcissistic Signs Gradually Emerge

Each of these signs of narcissism came out gradually. They pushed through the surface in a subtle nature and snowballed in intensity as time went on.

Narcissism Victim’s State of Denial

After 18 years of marriage, I had experienced much. But, the most confusing part of it for me was my state of denial. I refused to tell anyone about the situation. I supported him and wanted my marriage to remain in-tact.

I was embarrassed, and I stopped believing in myself.

I didn’t want anyone outside of the walls of our home to know who my husband was, and nobody did. I lived one life inside my home, another life when I went to work, and another with my children present. It was a small and tightly wrapped world. I constantly looked for ways to not let the truth of narcissistic abuse show.

To this day, I do not want to go into the exact details of the mental abuse, which began to border on physical abuse. To this day, I do not want to talk about the times he got on a bus or a plane to look for “love connections,” or whatever his fantasy was that day/week/month/year. To this day, even though he is deceased, and because I refuse to live in the past, I refuse to tell the intricate details of my story. What I will tell others, as I am doing today, is that I am no longer that woman. Fooled me once. Didn’t, and won’t, fool me twice.

My Story & Why I Do What I Do

Articles such as this one posted in Healthline cover my own story to a “T”.

Am I bitter? Absolutely not. Relieved? Yes. I learned how to become the girl that I used to know, and now I’m much better. Better in the sense that I know who I am, and I know both my weaknesses and my strengths. I know what love is about. I know what love should not be.

Who helped me? God. I sought him with a vengeance, and even though I didn’t know it at first, he led me through. He has been with me all my life, of course, but I was forced into believing that I could not worship him while I was married to the narcissist. It did, indeed, take some work to feel connected in a relationship with God. Layers of evil lies had to be swept away in that effort.

I also “dated myself,” meaning, I learned who I was, and I lived with intention. I nurtured my passions and I dropped the suppressive narcissistic-applied dome of guilt and blame. I breathed.

Fast forward to today, I am remarried (to my best friend).

I own several businesses.

I have written several books and have contributed personal stories in other author’s books. I continue to write as a freelancer, and for my pleasure as well. Journaling is therapeutic, but now I don’t keep it all to myself. Sharing is caring.

I have investigated my own personality type. Per Myers & Briggs, I am an INFJ, one of the rarest of personality types (1-3% of the world’s population).

I am an introvert and an empath. Empaths frequently and unknowingly find themselves in narcissistic relationships. Once we learn the classic signs of a narcissist, we don’t get fooled again.

I also now know my God-given gifts, talents, strengths, and passions, and I focus on “why” I’ve been given these gifts, as well as the “why” of my past. All of this culminates into the “why” behind what I do today—coaching women, writing (for business, for the encouragement of others, and personal pleasure).

Final Words

So, there’s my story. Without a ton of detail…the story behind why I have shifted from coaching women going through a transition in life to women that are survivors of toxic narcissistic relationships. I am repeating what I’ve said before: If I can do this (survive and thrive), you can do this as well!

 

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Introvert & Personality Types

How to Keep the Conversation Going as an Introvert

Small talk wears me out. Does this resonate with you?introvert (1)

Contrary to popular belief, most introverts love people. I am an introvert. I adore people. I enjoy meeting new people and I am fascinated with in-depth life stories.

When introverts reach a certain threshold in any conversation, especially small talk, with anyone that isn’t a part of their trust circle (someone they are not in a deep relationship with), most feel a noticeable drop in energy level. Picture a battery-operated smartphone with a fast-diminishing charge. When a heavy load of data processes, the phone drops rapidly from 90% to 50%, and before you know it, the phone is at 10%—IN THE RED!

How do you recharge a cell phone? You plug a charging cable into the phone. What does an introvert do to get recharged? They go home and shut their door. Then they absorb silence in their own space and their energy level rises. For some of us, restoration happens quickly, and for others, depending upon our energy deficit, it might take hours to regain strength. Similarly, when you plug a charger into a totally dead cell phone, the display remains blank for a short while.

Small talk is the WORST type of conversation for an introvert. What exactly is small talk? Google dictionary describes small talk as, “polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially as engaged in on social occasions.”

Introverts also wear out during conversations when they lose interest, not just from “small talk.” Let’s say an introvert meets a stranger and the person they’ve met talks about their home life, their mother or father, or which church they attend and why, or how they experienced childbirth … and, well, you get the picture. Even though the introvert knows that this person needs someone to talk to, and the introvert loves that this person feels comfortable talking with them, it eventually grinds down to a “battery low” situation. Why? It is due to the randomness of the conversation, and especially when the clock starts ticking. 5 minutes becomes 15, and then it goes into a half hour … and then the introvert shifts from foot to foot with thoughts, “How can I cut this short. I am tired and need to find a good place to break this conversation off!” This is often accompanied by a draining feeling of guilt.

Introverts, what can you do to extend the life of your battery? How can you stay charged during random conversations?

  1. Do not try to put on an awkward “I’m interested” face during a conversation. That involves a lot of work! Instead, be interested.
  2. Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are having a conversation with. Ask insightful and meaningful questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. What do you want to know? What if you were writing an article about this person, what would you need to know?

Consider asking questions about:

  • Friends or family
  • Occupation or business
  • Hobbies or recreation
  • Aspirations or dreams

Remember this, you, the introvert, do love people. Your heart is huge. More than likely, your personality flourishes on you being a God-given encourager!

Finally, when you’re really worn out, have a plan of action in place. If you own a business, hand over your business card. Or, ask for a phone number, or a name to find the person on social media. Find a way to stay in touch.

Most introverts want to make friends, and I know you do too—you simply need to get to the refueling station … and that is OKAY!

Are you a Christian? This is one of my favorite scriptures for strength: 2 Timothy 1:7 ~ For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

The first time I read this passage, I thought, “Wait a minute, I have a sound mind even though I do fear!” Basically, a sound mind means we do not sway to the left or to the right when we are faced with a challenge. We remain upright and strong. I translate this to there is no fear in love. We love Him. We trust Him. We have faith in Him, and He does not prescribe fear into our lives. So, say goodbye to the enemies’ fear-filled lies!

Believe & Invest In You · Life's Challenges & Choices · Managing Fear · Women in Transition

Allowing Joy, Just Because

As a woman, do you find it difficult to find and feel lasting joy? www.maryhumphreycoaching.com

Do you find yourself digging deep into yourself, looking at what might feel like every aspect of your life and saying to self, “I am not happy with what I do, what my outcome has been this (year, month, week), nor where I am headed?”

Perhaps you have dis-allowed yourself to feel a sense of joy…

  • Just because you aren’t defined by what you do for a living.
  • Just because you aren’t defined by how much income you bring in.
  • Just because you aren’t defined by how outdated your furniture is.
  • Just because you aren’t defined by and don’t want to wear all that makeup, or change your hair to the latest style, or the clothes that you wear regardless of the newest fashions.

What if you allowed yourself to feel joy in the simplest of form? What if you allowed yourself to feel joy because today, at this very moment, you are exactly who God designed you to be. You allow yourself to find joy in the things that personally make your heart go pitter-patter. You free yourself to be like a child in the nature that you take the helm and believe in yourself simply because you can, and allow yourself to be her.

You allow yourself to feel joy just because you release yourself to feel joy. Break the chains that bind you to what you believe the world expects you to be. Bound yourself to be who you and God want you to be.

Break the chains that bind you into believing that you have to change because others don’t understand your path. This isn’t their life, it is your’s

Fearlessly allow joy. Bravely shut off the lies that bound you to what is false.

What is your reality today? Share with me. Let’s set ourselves free together.

P.S. The Proverbs 31 woman, the one that sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. She, indeed may appear perfect in those beautiful Scriptures, but because this is what she does: (Proverbs 31:26) She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue, she doesn’t allow herself to bend here and there as the wind blows. She works hard at this. She IS mindful of what and how she thinks. (Proverbs 31:25) She is clothed with strength and dignity; and she can laugh at the days to come. She isn’t clothed in the latest styles, she is clothed in her style—the style that speaks, “I am bold. I am courageous. I am unique. I am proud of who God designed me to be. I walk in His strength, and I do not hang onto lies that tell me otherwise.”

Amen, sisters…let’s do this!

Life's Challenges & Choices · Managing Fear · Managing Stress

The Reality of Fear

The reality of fearFear, as intangible as it is…we cannot lasso it with a rope and pull it in, yet it can affect our moment, day, or weeks if we allow it.

So, why allow fear to take control?

Fear is an emotion caused by the belief that something is dangerous.

Fear stifles us into either not moving forward, or retracting.

The next time fear holds you in its grasp, face down the falsity of this evil emotion, and embrace the reality that unless you are suddenly faced with something dangerous that you cannot change—you can always get away from the lie. Kick this four-letter “F” word—fear—out of your ballpark…and don’t sell tickets to consider its return!

Believe & Invest In You · Goal Setting and Prioritizing

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

List five things that you’ve accomplished within the past seven days that you can give yourself a shout-out for.

  1. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  2. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  3. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  4. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  5. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Did you come up with five accomplishments?

During a trying period in my career, I said to my husband, “I feel I don’t have any self-Celebrateconfidence.” He corrected me. His words were, “I see you do this…and this…and this…and these are things that I personally cannot do, and many others wouldn’t even try to do. You do these things bravely. You put one foot in front of the other and you just do what is needed, and you get it done!” He asked me for examples of things that I felt I lacked self-confidence in, and for each case-in-point that I attempted to make, his responses fired back at me, “I don’t see that as lacking self-confidence.” My blood began to stir…how dare he not listen to what I was trying to say! Then, I got it. The key was what I had said, I had used the words “I don’t have any.” 

When we define our abilities with the words don’t have any or cannot (do it), we are throwing in the towel. We aren’t looking at the broad picture. We are wallowing in self-pity, and cutting our own breath off as we smother in our self-created muck.

Another beloved person said to me, “We aren’t supposed to boast, and finding that balance between boasting and patting ourselves on the back is not easy.”

No, my friend, it is not easy when you don’t take action — but I have learned to take daily steps that made those doubts disappear.

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Every single day name at least one thing, preferably two to three, that you’ve accomplished. What have you achieved? Keep a journal of these accomplishments.

Better yet, keep a jar full of accomplishments. On a tiny slip of paper, once a day write down what you’ve accomplished, toss it into the jar. You’ll see that jar fill up, and it will be a visual guidepost that triggers self-confidence.

Acknowledge Your Achievements

Don’t lose sight of who you are. Self-care is not a cardinal sin.

You feel you’ve made a mess of things (i.e. that project, or recipe, or you forgot to pay the bills on time…). So! What did you do that was remarkable? There is always something, always. Life is one big learning experience. Hold up your lantern and shine your light!

Begin your accomplishment journal today and let me know what you learn about yourself. Let your pen fly across the paper and lift yourself up with supportive words!

Goal Setting and Prioritizing

Goal Setting Based on Feelings

I am switching up my goal setting this year.

To throw an overworked adage out — instead of calling my pursuits goals, I am calling them intentions.

The word intention may not have enough “oomph” to it for me to stick with it, so I am mindful that one of my goals is to be gritty in 2018 — meaning, what I start, I WILL finish.

I became increasingly conscious of my perceptions several weeks ago after receiving Danielle Laporte’s The Desire Map planner. I read her corresponding book, and I dove into her process of mapping out goals based on core desired feelings.

As I gravitated into my own feelings, I warmed to the thought that the real outcome that I desire in life is not entirely about money, things, or a lifestyle, it is actually about how I feel at the end of the day. There is nothing wrong with nurturing our inner-self. Nothing! In fact, our inner-self speaks to us, and that can lead to stalling or shutting down, or it can lead to growth. Let’s all focus on growth today!

How do I really want to feel (being truthful and open here)?

Nourished — mind, body, and soul. Encouraged — I can do everything that I put my mind to do (We will always fear particular things in life, because it is human nature, it is to be expected and can be healthy, but never plug yourself with “I can’t do that!”). Do I want to live my life in a manner that raises me up to what I was designed to be (by my Creator)? Yes! What makes me feel at peace? Writing, sharing with others, making a difference in the world —even when that is only my small portion of the world. I intend to identify the steps that it takes to get me there — happy, content, comfortable that I am at my full potential — and that could be just by BEING. It could also mean eliminating things from my life that block me from heading in the right direction. It is a process.

How do you want to feel right now (today, tomorrow, at the end of the year )?

What brings the most peace to your soul?

What stops you from being at rest, from obtaining that deep level of fulfillment?

I combined all of these self-proddings with prayer and meditation. I asked God to help me find the correlation between my feelings and the outcome of my life, and how to set my life intentions to better myself, grounded within my faith. This has been a positive journey. Onwards to 2018!

How are you goal planning this year, or are you?

(I am not a paid affiliate of Danielle Laporte’s products. This blog solely reflects my personal opinions.)

 

Believe & Invest In You · Managing Stress

The Value of Partaking in Hobbies

hobby

I love hobbies. Hobbies are uplifting because we do what we love without adding any perfection or time pressures. Hobbies are a positive slice in the balance of our lives.

The wonderful thing about hobbies is that they can turn into businesses, doing what we enjoy and making money at it. Win-win.

Today, I am focusing on the benefits of hobbies, not so much the business end (when the hobby becomes work).

A hobby is defined (by Webster’s) as “doing something we love in our spare time.” Meaning:

  • We aren’t getting paid for our hobbies.
  • Hobbies help to relieve stress.
  • Hobbies are an excellent way to vanish burnout.

If you do not have any hobbies, but feel you need one, here are several ways to seek a hobby out:

Dig into your past. What did you enjoy doing that you might want to do today? What do others do that you might want to do?

Visit places you do not normally frequent, and be mindful of your interests:

  • Antique store
  • Hobby store or show
  • Auction
  • Second hand store
  • Flea market
  • Farmer’s market
  • Tool store
  • Music store (instruments and recorded music)

Read DIY books. Either purchase the books or visit the library. You Tube is also a great way to discover interests.

Finding a hobby that fits your personality is important. If you have little patience, you might not want to select a hobby that requires weeks, or months, to see the end results. If you lack in patience, pick up a project that can be finished quickly.

I believe hobbies are important to us in life. Our hobby may be as simple as collecting books or music, or collecting beads for jewelry, but this is time that is invested in us, which invokes creativity, and eases stress out of our core.

What hobbies do you partake in? These are some of mine: jewelry making (wire earrings and bracelets), aromatherapy (certified, but enjoy delving in just for me), sewing (aprons, yes, I lack in patience but love this hobby), reading (How many books are you currently reading? Depends upon your mood, right?), writing (I keep journals, which is the hobby end of my writing), soap making (was a business, now a great hobby).