By Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS
Having a hard time falling asleep worrying about your kids?
How are they doing in school? Are they making healthy friends?
Am I preparing them for all that life throws at them?
Does worry about how your child is coping with the new parenting plan or worry about their safety at the other home keep you up all night and hypervigilant all day?
You are not alone. Parents worry a ton in general, however if you have experienced domestic violence or narcissistic abuse or are dealing with family court with your abuser, this is likely not an every-now-and-then issue. You are probably chronically losing sleep.
Is there anything we can do about it?
By Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS
If I had a dollar for all of the times that I heard a survivor of domestic violence or narcissistic abuse tell me that if they knew then what they know now about post-separation abuse, they would have done things differently, I would be rich.
Victims are told to escape and that things would get better and safer. But is this really the case?
In my experience and those of my clients, this could not be any more false.
And this is especially true if you share children with your abusive partner.
You will experience abuse in another form, post-separation abuse.
So, what is post-separation abuse?
Abusive relationships are all about one partner gaining and maintaining power and control over their victim. When an abusive relationship ends, the abuser’s need for power and control doesn’t. In fact, because there is a significant decrease in the amount of control they have over their victim, very often the abuse increases.
By Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS
When Narcissists Play the Victim
"If someone in your life has a pattern of playing the victim, it may feel confusing and frustrating. You’re not alone and there are ways you can cope." In the article, How People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) Play the Victim for PsychCentral, Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS and other experts weigh in on the patterns individuals with NPD display when playing the victim and how we can respond. What is the "victim mentality" and why do individuals with NPD like to exist in this space? What are the best, proven ways to interact with someone in this state of mind? Read the full article here.
Good Girls Don't Get Angry
By Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC
As I sit with my female clients day after day, a common theme emerges. Right now, they are extremely angry and that makes them extremely uncomfortable. It is probably helpful to mention that all my female adult clients are victims and survivors of domestic violence and narcissistic abuse. Maybe that makes more sense to you now. That they are angry at the abuse they have endured and maybe that they are angry at themselves for allowing the abuse to happen. You are not wrong. Many are angry for exactly these reasons.
But they haven’t always been angry. It wasn’t safe for them to be angry. So, what has changed?
Similar to the grief process when someone you have loved has died, anger is a stage in a larger process of healing. These women are also grieving, but they are grieving the loss of a person and a relationship that was not real. They are grieving the promise that was made to them over and over again as a way to keep control of them. Some are grieving the loss of the years they spent trapped, and some are grieving the loss of their identity completely.
Leaving a relationship with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) can be incredibly difficult and confusing. But there are reasons it's so hard.
"Perhaps you've noticed that the abuse isn't "on" all the time. As a result, you may be wondering whether you should stay or go.
To add to the confusion, you may not know if your circumstances even qualify as abuse.
If this is striking a chord for you, know you are not alone. There are others out there who have been through this, too, and support is available for you."
In the PsychCentral article, How to Leave an Abusive Relationship with Someone with NPD, Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS and other experts in the field of domestic violence and narcissistic abuse weigh in on why this is so difficult, and what victims can do about it. Read the full article here.
Shame and Self-Forgiveness
"There are a lot of beliefs about the importance of forgiveness out there. I am not here to debate those beliefs or to say what is true or not true. What I would like to share is what I have seen to be important for survivors to truly heal from their experiences with abuse over the last decade, and that is the importance of self-forgiveness.
The levels of shame are extremely high with most victims of relational trauma. Survivors of sexual abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence share this in common. Shame permeates these survivors to their core, and when these ideas have been yelled at you over and over by the person who is supposed to love you more than anyone, it can feel cemented and permanent.
This feeling of permanency of shame is just that, a feeling...not truth. Shame can decrease and dissipate over time with intention. And how can one take control over the timeline of this process? By practicing self-forgiveness."
In her article for bizcatalyst360.com, Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS discusses the inverse relationship between shame and self-forgiveness. As you offer yourself more compassion and self-forgiveness, your levels of shame decrease. Read the full article here.
"If what is being mirrored back to you is a person worthy of love and respect, a reflection of your strengths and your greatness, you will likely agree and walk with your head held high. Ready to take on the world. If the people around you are reflecting something different, maybe it’s time to change who is around you.
Sounds easy. But what if the people you have around you say that they love you and that they will take care of you, but the reflection does not match? If you believe that you are unworthy and are broken based on what you see in the people around you every day, the idea of leaving and finding your new village of people where your greatness will be reflected seems impossible. In fact, you probably will take on the reflections you receive back to you as truth. That you are unworthy. That you are broken."
In her article for bizcatalyst360.com, Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS, discusses the importance of surrounding yourself with a genuinely supportive inner circle -- people who will reflect and validate the best version of you -- when healing from a relationship of domestic violence and narcissistic abuse. Read the full article here.
Let 'Em Have a Win
By Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, AC
You’ve got to be kidding me?!?!?!
My ex has won over and over again. No accountability. The smear campaigns and false allegations against me (even on the stand), and you are telling me to let him win?!?!
If you are thinking that we can’t be friends anymore, let me explain.
When you are going through a “high conflict” divorce with an abusive ex, I’m sorry to tell you that it is going to be a battle. A long one at that. And for most survivors of abuse, it feels like you are doing everything just to keep your head above water day in and day out. There is nothing fair about this situation. Nothing.
So, what can you do to get to shallow enough water to stand up for yourself and your children?
How to Share Your Story
“I have something that’s difficult to share and am wondering if you could sit with me and listen...”
Sharing your story of abuse can be extremely difficult, but doing so can be an integral part to finding the support you need to heal. In this PsychCentral article by Hilary I. Lebow and medically reviewed by Kendra Kubala, PsyD, Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS shares tips to testing the waters to opening up and sharing your story.
Read the full article here.
Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS, is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in working with victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse.