Warning Signs of Narcissism in Toxic Relationships with Kim Saeed - Identifying Codependency and Narcissism in Relationships
What are the red flags of narcissism? Today Kim Saeed and I will cover them for you in detail. As you might expect, codependency is also a common phenomenon among people who are in relationships with narcissists. This is because the narcissist has such unreachable standards in any relationship that the “supply” is treated as an extension of the narcissist’s self when it’s convenient – and as nothing, when it’s not. Does that make any sense?
The narcissist and the codependent have no sense of self – so they need to have a connection to someone else (the narcissistic supply) in order to sort of siphon off their energy and personality.
Are You in a Codependent Relationship with a Narcissist?
When two people have a very close relationship, it’s natural and mentally healthy to depend on each other for certain things. However, if one of you loses sight of who you are, in order to please only the other person, the relationship can become very unhealthy. One of the most troubling relationship elements is codependency. Not sure? Watch this video and go through the warning signs of narcissism in toxic relationships we will share with you - and be very honest with yourself. This will help you understand if you’ve fallen into a pattern of codependency in your relationship.
Disagreements are common between even the best of friends. There are also people in the world that seem to enjoy being difficult. It can be challenging to assert yourself without creating additional drama.
Most of us are so uncomfortable in contentious situations that we either walk away or become angry and escalate the level of disagreement. What if you could resolve it instead?
Whether your disagreement is with a spouse, coworker, or neighbor, there are strategies you can use to find a resolution or at least avoid an all-out war.
Resolving disagreements is definitely a skill worth learning. Try these techniques to defuse disagreements and arguments:
Seek to clarify. Sometimes, what seems like a disagreement is simply a miscommunication. Ensure that you clearly understand what the other person is saying. Ask questions and clarify the situation. Also, be certain that the other person understands your position.
Take a break. Get a cup of coffee together or an ice cream cone. Spend some time together doing something enjoyable. You both might forget all about your argument while enjoying a hot fudge sundae.
Ask yourself if it’s important to agree. Reaching an agreement on child-rearing might be important. Agreeing on which political party is better might not be as important. Many differences are okay and need not impact a relationship. Be sure that the disagreement is worth continuing.
Avoid taking the disagreement personally. Once your ego is involved, it’s much more challenging to resolve the conflict. Likewise, avoid attacking the other person on a personal level. Stay on task and lower the stress levels.
Keep the volume under control. As you get louder, the other person will become more agitated and increase their volume as well. Maintain a calm, reasonable tone of voice.
Put on your listening ears. The most common thing to do while someone else is speaking is to think of what you’re going to say the second they stop. You can’t formulate an appropriate response and listen effectively at the same time. Focus on what the other person is saying while they talk.
Be aware of your non-verbal communication. You might not realize the message you’re inadvertently sending to the other person. A large part of communication is nonverbal, so your gestures and facial expressions are meaningful.
Walk away if the situation spirals out of control. You don’t have to stand there and take verbal abuse. Be willing to walk away and resume the conversation at another time when cooler heads prevail.
Be willing to admit you’re wrong. No one is right 100% of the time. If you realize that you’re wrong, admit it and move on. Apologize. Offer a solution to the situation.
Any disagreement can quickly get out of hand, potentially damaging your relationship with the other person.
Having a productive disagreement is a skill. Take the time to ensure the disagreement is worth continuing. Listen carefully and clarify what you say and hear. You might find that you don’t have a disagreement at all!
Disagreements are part of life. Learn how to handle them effectively. Place your focus on finding common ground and discovering a resolution that you both can move forward with.
Kim Saeed is a motivational self-help author specializing in recovery and rebuilding after toxic love. In 2013, she founded Let Me Reach, a life transformation company that teaches people to flourish after narcissistic abuse.
Her writing has been featured on Selfgrowth.com, Thought Catalog, The Mind’s Journal, MOGUL, and EverythingEHR. She has also been a guest expert on several radio shows including Mental Health News Radio, The Overwhelmed Brain, and Codependency No More. In 2016, Kim founded The New Life Academy, which is an online school dedicated to helping survivors of narcissistic abuse to restore and redesign their lives. Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education and has a multidisciplinary background in teaching, organizational development, HR training, and research. Her blog, Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed, has reached 195 countries. Her work has been shared in non-profit women's shelters and has been lauded by therapists and mental health experts.
Do you have racing thoughts and anxiety? It’s hard to focus on anything else when anxiety takes control of your mind. You’re filled with worries and uncertainties. You can’t calm down or rest. It's a common occurrence for people dealing with narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
Fortunately, there are ways to control anxious thoughts, and it just takes practice to master the techniques.
Try these tips to control your anxiety:
Distance yourself from the worrisome thoughts. Learn to look at your anxious thoughts in a different way.
The key is to reshape how you think about things.
When you get an anxious thought, immediately identify it as a sign of your worry and not reality.
Labeling your thoughts correctly raises self-awareness and makes it easier to control them. It also gives you something else to focus on instead of constant worry.
Ask yourself questions. When you get an anxious thought, stop and ask yourself these questions:
What is the real reason for this anxious thought? What am I really afraid of?
Is there real danger, or is my mind simply playing games with me?
Is the negative outcome I’m imagining likely to happen?
How can I stop or change these negative thoughts into something positive?
View your thoughts as data. Sometimes it’s helpful to view your thoughts as data and your mind as a data processing center.
You’ll get a lot of data coming in throughout the day. Some of this data can be incorrect and confusing. This is an example of anxious thoughts.
You may also interpret the data incorrectly. This means you allow the anxious thoughts to take over and control you. You let them grow and fester.
As the data processing center, you get to decide how to handle all the information. Remember you’re in control. This means you can choose to toss out or ignore the incorrect data.
Also, keep in mind that the brain is designed to detect danger and is hypersensitive to it. You may pick up on things that aren’t even real.
Focus on the present. Many anxious thoughts are focused on either the future or the past. You can break free by focusing on the present.
Avoid thinking too much about the past or future by interrupting these thoughts. Notice when you’re thinking about the past or future and guide your thoughts back to the present moment.
Sometimes thoughts from the past can make you afraid of the future. Remember that the past doesn’t have to repeat itself. You have the power to change how your future will be shaped.
Take action. Anxious thoughts often prevent you from taking action. They keep you stuck in fear and worry. Learn to take action even when you’re afraid.
Find one thing you can influence positively in that moment and take an action.
Action can actually decrease the number of anxious thoughts you have on a daily basis. It can show you that there’s nothing to be afraid of, that you’re powerful, and that you can make a positive difference.
Get rid of unhelpful thoughts. Some thoughts may be true, but they aren’t helpful.
Learn to tell helpful and unhelpful thoughts apart.
Then, start to filter out the unhelpful ones. For example, if you know that the odds of making a perfect presentation at work are low, but you still have to do it, this is an unhelpful thought. It doesn’t encourage you to do your best.
Anxious thoughts don’t have to control your life. You can use these tricks to effectively take control of your mind when you find yourself worrying. If these tips aren’t enough, consider talking to a therapist for additional help.
What is a random act of kindness? It’s doing something kind for someone without receiving any type of reward, reciprocation, or recognition. It could be shoveling your neighbor’s driveway while he sleeps or buying coffee for the next person in line.
Random acts of kindness might seem like something that’s great for the person on the receiving end of the kindness, but the person being kind actually gets a lot out of it, too!
Kindness also benefits those that observe others being kind. One small action on your part can do so much for so many people.
Discover the benefits of practicing random acts of kindness:
You feel good about yourself. How can you not feel good about doing something so selfless? You feel like a million bucks when you do something for someone else.
Most of the kindness we give or receive comes with strings attached. Giving flowers to your date isn’t quite the same as giving flowers anonymously to the old lady that lives on the corner.
On some level, we expect something from the kindness we dole out to the world, even if it’s just improving our image to those around us.
A random act of kindness is different, because your intentions are entirely pure. Try it! You’ll love how good you feel about yourself!
You realize that there’s enough to go around. When you give something away without any hope of receiving anything in return, you’re sending yourself a positive message.
You’re showing yourself that you have sufficient resources and time. There is no lack, no scarcity. In fact, there’s an abundance - plenty for you to be grateful for, as well as the recipient of your kindness.
You strengthen your health. Research shows that practicing acts of kindness reduces anxiety and increases happiness. Research subjects also report feeling more energetic, positive, and less depressed. Kindness also reduces pain.
Being kind is an easy way to boost your physical and mental health.
You make others happy. When you’re kind toward someone, you make them feel important and loved. Plus, the people around them are likely to be happier, too. Your simple act could also start a chain reaction of kindness. The person on the receiving end of your kindness might decide to do the same for someone else. And so on.
It helps the people that witness the act of kindness. The impact of your kindness reaches further than you think. It has been shown that just witnessing kindness lowers blood pressure and increases levels of hormones that are associated with feeling optimistic.
A few random acts of kindness include taking in the garbage cans for your neighbor, leaving a complimentary note on a windshield, giving a small gift card, or cleaning the snow and ice from someone’s car. The possibilities are nearly endless. What ideas do you have?
You can have a huge impact on the world just be being kind. You’ll help yourself, the recipient of your kindness, all those who witness it, and the multitude of people down the chain.
A simple act of kindness doesn’t have to cost you a dime, but the returns are priceless.
There are countless opportunities to be kind each day. Think of someone you could help in a simple, but meaningful, way. Try to be kind without any expectation of receiving anything in return. Notice how you feel afterwards. You won’t want to stop.
You only have so much time and energy to spend each day. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to exhaust your resources on anything that you can’t influence. Worrying about the rain won’t make it stop. Being annoyed by the fact that you’re only 5’ 2” tall isn’t going to cause you to grow.
However, we spend much of our time and energy in negative emotional states over issues that are beyond our control.
Most of the negative thoughts you have each day are analogous to being upset over the weather. There’s simply nothing you can do about it. You’re only upsetting yourself needlessly.
There are really only two things you can control:
The time you spend “doing” and “thinking” is all that you can manipulate. You can choose what food you put in your mouth and how much you exercise. You can choose whether you watch TV or clean the house. You control whether you apologize to someone or not.
You can choose to think happy thoughts or thoughts that make you unhappy.
When you focus on what you can influence, you’ll find that you can accomplish so much more!
Use these strategies to keep your attention on what you can do today:
At the beginning of each hour, ask yourself how you can best spend the next 60 minutes. How can you use the next hour to your advantage? Asking this question will keep your mind in a productive mode. Ask yourself what you can do today that will matter.
When you catch yourself worrying, ask yourself if this is something you can control. If you can’t do anything about it, steer your attention to something else. Learn to either focus on solutions or to let go of the situation. This approach just takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets!
Be aware of your goals. Without something to point your focus toward, you’re more likely to spend your time worrying about things beyond your ability to influence. Knowing your goals will help you determine how to spend your time wisely.
Know the difference between influence and control. For example, you can influence others, but you can’t control them. Use your influence wisely but recognize the limits.
Center your thinking on solutions. Are you seeking answers or wallowing in your problems? Mentally rehashing the past accomplishes little. Using your incredible brain power to solve challenges is a great use of your time. When you catch yourself thinking too much, ask yourself if you’re thinking wisely.
Review each day. Each evening, reflect on your day. How much did you accomplish? Were your thoughts and actions productive? Or did you waste time on things beyond your control? When you spend time on this important activity, you’ll notice your behavior and choices beginning to shift.
Much of life is beyond your control. From the decisions made by the CEO of your company to global warming, there are many things in life that you can’t control to a significant degree.
However, there are a few things that you can control completely. This is where your time, thoughts, and energy can do the most good.
Avoid focusing on circumstances that you simply can’t influence. Why upset yourself further when no solution exists? The greatest gift you have is your attention. Put it to the best possible use.
In this compilation video, certified life coach Angie Atkinson explains everything you need to know about gaslighting and how to deal with it in toxic relationships, whether they are romantic, family or other kinds of relationships. Call it gaslighting, emotional abuse or even ambient - it's mind control and it's not healthy. Here's how to positively handle it and navigate through it - plus, a thorough definition of gaslighting.
Many survivors of narcissistic abuse believe they’re making progress because they’re working hard. A good way to predict the direction of your life is to measure how much of your time you’re actually trying to enhance it. Then consider how much of your time is spent just maintaining the status quo.
Most people believe they want something better and are working hard to accomplish it. In most cases, they’re expending a lot of mental energy wishing, fantasizing, and worrying. None of these are reliable ways to enhance your life. What have you done this week that will take your life and your narcissistic abuse recovery to the next level? If you’re like most people, you haven’t done as much as you'd have liked to do.
Change is challenging because there’s uncertainty. Familiarity is comforting, even if you’re unhappy. Most people naturally gravitate toward the familiar even if they’re miserable. If you can become comfortable with the prospect of change, progress is easy.
Be brave enough to create the change you desire:
Working hard isn’t enough. If you’re working hard on the wrong things, you’ll never see any progress. Effort matters, but only if you’re spending your time wisely. If you want to see real change, it’s necessary to spend time doing constructive things above and beyond what is required to live your current life. Have you learned anything new lately? Learning new information can help to create change if you use the information. What are you doing instead of learning? Watching the same TV shows? You’re maintaining the status quo. New information leads to new understandings.
Are you spending time with anyone new? Hanging out with the same people each day is another good way to ensure that nothing changes. New people can change your perspective and introduce you to new ideas.
Are you doing anything new? The same gym workout repeated over and over again will ensure that you neither gain nor lose ground. The same behaviors deliver the same, reliable results.
Going into the same job and providing the same efforts ensures the same paycheck.
Thinking the same thoughts results in the same actions.
Same hobbies? No changes coming.
What did you do today? At the end of each day, ask yourself two questions:
If I lived this same day over and over for the next 20 years, what would my finances, health, social life, and relationships look like?
Did I do anything today to take my life to the next level, or did I ensure that nothing will change in the future?
Write your responses in a journal. You’ll tire of not having anything interesting to write. You’ll spend more time trying to make a difference in your life. The answer to these two questions can predict the future better than you think.
Do you have goals? Do you measure your progress? Goals are nothing more than desired changes. If you have goals and you’re making progress, you can expect to see progress in your life. You’re choosing to maintain the status quo if you don’t have concrete goals. Any changes you experience will be due to random chance.
Most people claim they want a better life, but few are doing anything to make it happen. It’s easier to wish than to face uncertainty.
If you’re working hard but failing to gain any ground, spend some time each day doing something that will give you the chance to accomplish something new in the future. The more time you spend this way, the more progress you’ll make toward the life you desire.