July 9, 2016 at 7:39 pm #160
The term seems pretty straight forward. But while we are experiencing periods of extreme stress (which dealing with crazy people does, by default), it is easy to forget the most basic functions. During periods of stress, I have become so worked up, that I had forgotten and/or neglected the following functions:
1) Eating. I lose my appetite and forget to eat;
2) Forgetting what day it is;
3) Hygiene (all of it);
4) Focus (not eating exacerbates this);
5) Drinking too much alcohol;
6) Withdrawing from contact with friends/family.
This is why Self Care is so important when you are forced to deal with crazy people. Disordered people WANT to break you down (because you are easier to control). They want you to be too weak or tired to stand up to them or to stand up for yourself against the abuse. They want to have ammo to criticize you about.
If you find yourself in the crosshairs of a disordered person and want to survive the onslaught, here are the things you need to focus on so you don’t fall down the rabbit hole:
1) Keep in contact with your friends and family. Abusers want their victims to be isolated and to keep all of their abuse a secret. Friends and family will help you, if only for emotional support, if you open up and ask for it. Chances are they’ve noticed and have been waiting for you to finally get tired of being abused.
2) Try to stay sober. People who are depressed and in the midst of trauma will self medicate. You may be a social drinker while you’re happy, but when you’re emotionally beaten down or even terrified, you WILL drink too much.
3) Exercise. I’m not suggesting you join a gym or take up yoga (although those aren’t bad, either). But just go to something physical every day. Even if that’s just walking the dogs. Get out and get moving. It will boost your serotonin levels and it’s good for your overall health.
4) Eat Healthy Foods. If you under-eat (like I do) or you overeat when depressed (like most people do), then keep your refrigerator filled with only healthy foods. If you’re going to overeat then it’s better to eat too many strawberries than Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. When your cortisone levels are high (from stress), your metabolism is going to slow down, so think of those Cheetos as having twice as many calories (kind of the way the heat index is always hotter than the actual temperature outside), while you are under stress. Limiting the simple carbs from your diet and replacing them with complex carbs like green vegetables and dark red fruits and vegetables, will naturally help to reduce the chemical and physical symptoms of stress on the body. Eat a bowl of oatmeal. Feed your body as if you liked it.
5) Shave Your Legs. While you’re at it, brush your teeth. Get your hair cut. Change the sheets on your bed. Run a hot bath with Epsom salt in it. Eat a scoop of ice cream. Hug your dog.
What are the little things that you can do to take care of yourself?
August 3, 2016 at 4:35 pm #403
- This topic was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by Pam.
I understand to some degree ‘self-care’ after exiting an abusive relationship. But I think this type of stuff is pretty easy to do personally, and it can make a big difference in the short-term. But I think that people who get involved and stay with personality disorded people show themselves a lack of care in a deeper way, for example readin reems of info on the disorded person, or trying in vain to fix or understand the problem. This in part is to remain attached to the person, or to, as I have read elsewhere ‘split-off’ the bad parts of the abusive partner to remain in the relationship. I think the underlying thing is to fully realise who awful this person is in their behaviour, let the penny drop that the relationship is fake, the person is a liar, a cheat and maybe violent and fully see the horror that is the truth of this person. I think the self-care is really about spending the time understanding your own problems, which may be a much less pleasant feeling that reading about theirs strangely enough, the somatic feeling I think dictates the abused remaining obsessive over the ex and their issues. But I think the way round this is to look at your issues and why you stay there in a different light. Do not in any way blame yourself for anything that is not your fault (as some people will take the blame for everything their partner did – I wasn’t strong enough, funny enough, good looking enough etc etc), you did nothing wrong, you fell in love with a mask, you were kind and considerate and humane. Let it be a lesson to how good a person you can be, you need to tell yourself these logical and positive messages. Give relationships a break for a little while until your self-esteem resurfaces then tackle to issues of red flags and making yourself personality disorded proof.
Just my thoughts but I think the ‘victims’ of crazy people need to be much kinder to themselves in the mind before anything else.August 4, 2016 at 7:43 pm #404
I agree, John. But being kind to ourselves is not easy for co-dependent personalities. It’s the reason we often end up being caregivers in relationships. We know how to care for others, but feel that we, ourselves, are not worthy of our own love and care.
This is why taking care of our physical selves can work as a segue towards caring for our mental health and well being. If we can feel the benefits of being healthy, we may learn to love ourselves enough to believe we are worthy of our own good treatment.September 5, 2016 at 7:46 pm #532
Hello, I am new to this forum and all forums of this type really. I introduced my issues under the introduction section here. I know that I have been so guilty of ignoring myself and my physical and emotional needs for many years. I intermittently come up for a breath of air and take charge and get out of a bad relationship only to find myself back in the arms of another “taker”. Each of them has been slightly different but all require that the self be ignored in order to make them feel better, stop being abusive, etc. Self-care was also something never taught in my family of origin. In fact we were often punished for limit setting and being selfish by needing space, food, rest, quiet, or freedom of abuse. I find great comfort in learning to make a healthy schedule (something I’ve never known) and just taking time to take care of simple things such as my appearance and home. Sounds quite rediculous and sad really that I must be taught to engage in such tasks, especially as a middle aged adult. Just thinking in this way (that I am a sad and rediculous human being) is an act of self-negating behavior but I guess it is a start. I am even a caretaker in my profession and find myself surrounded by the sharks (narcissists) like I am a piece of bloody meat that they would love to devour. My newly placed boundaries are like a neurotoxin that when smelled by the narcissist they become enraged, spiteful and flail around spewing abusive comments in all directions before slithering off like the snakes they are. So I’m continuing each day to engage in positive self-talk, self-care, and trying to be patient with myself. Vowing to stay out of relationships for a minimum of 3 to 6 months while I attempt to gain back the self I so readily threw aside.September 5, 2016 at 8:19 pm #534
I know exactly what you mean! I was raised by two Cluster B parents, and when you spend all of your time walking on eggshells, there really is no time (or approval, as you noted) for taking care of one’s self. It’s a bad habit – one that causes you to feel guilty about self care as an adult.
I know for me, I go about 5 years in between teeth cleanings (thankfully I have strong enamel), hate going in for doctor check-ups, and ignore my health problems until they cause me great pain.
I recently went through a really stressful period in my life, and my negligence went into overdrive. I ended up having to write myself “to do” lists that included mundane things like: brush your teeth, shave your legs, check your e-mail, wash your clothes. It was awful but I survived and have gotten over that hump, thankfully.
I am glad you have joined the forum because it’s comforting and validating to learn of people who are just like you, who are getting through it with the support of others.
Good luck on your journey!September 6, 2016 at 4:11 am #537
Thank you Pam for validating my feelings. Your story is echoed I’m sure by many as well. I’m due for a few of those screening exams as well. Lol! I suppose I will put that on my calendar also.February 5, 2017 at 9:46 pm #1178
Pam & Dr T;
Your essays on Narcissists & psychopaths ,have been very helpful ….they’ve got their Pound flesh outa me, I’v lost years out of my life, nothing surprises me nowFebruary 6, 2017 at 1:36 pm #1179
Hi, One. Glad to hear the articles are helpful for you.
You may have lost years but you have your entire life ahead of you.February 7, 2017 at 12:47 pm #1183
Self care for me meant actively compartmentalizing the crazy (my husband’s ex). We made rules regarding when/where we would discuss her latest shenanigan. Never in the bedroom, never for more than 15 minutes, then DONE. We had an email file just for her poison emails. Moving those emails to a different file allows you to open your email without constantly seeing that crazygram hanging down there with all your other important communications—out of sight, out of mind.
Once we could contain the crazy and control OUR exposure to her we were able to regain our previous emotional health, for the most part anyway.
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