“Some people aren’t loyal to you, they are loyal to their need of you. Once their need changes, so does their loyalty.” ~Unknown
Ever have a “frenemy” – you know, the “friend slash enemy” combo, all neatly wrapped up into one friend, relative, co-worker or acquaintance? Not sure? Well, let me ask you another question.
Have you been just SHOCKED at the level of betrayal to which someone subjects you on a regular basis? Whether it’s a friend, a family member or even a co-worker, a “frenemy” is also often a narcissist, which is officially defined as “apersonwhoisoverlyself-involved,andoftenvainandselfish.”
Do you know and/or love a narcissist? If so, have you ever had one tell you that he or she “knows you better than you know yourself?” How about being told that your feelings and thoughts aren’t real or legitimate? And depending on the point in your life in which you met the narc and the intensity of his manipulation, you might even believe him.
But everyone’s got a touch of narcissism – it helps us stay alive. Still, some have what might be considered “toxic” levels of narcissism – and one of the most telling signs is when someone from whom you expect (and deserve) loyalty goes the other way and betrays you.
For example, the boss who doesn’t back you up on a project – or the one who steals your idea and takes credit for it. Or the wife who just can’t seem to get it through her head that you are a person with feelings and emotions, too. Maybe it’s your child or your father who is “touched” by narcissism – it could be almost literally anyone you are in any type of ongoing relationship with.
Why do narcissists feel the need to create such difficulties for the people in their lives? It has a lot to do with their need to be in control of every person, situation and thing they come into contact with – at least on some level.
For a narcissist, this is just par for the course – it’s how they manage relationships and how they keep themselves artificially elevated within their own fragile egos- they start by messing with your head.
This might be due to your desire to keep your narcissist happy and avoid another raging episode, or it might just be because you’re so mentally exhausted from dealing with him that you literally can’t deal with anyone else’s issues.
Loyalty isn’t a two-way street when you’re in a relationship with a narcissist.
At some point, you begin to realize that the narcissist’s loyalty isn’t with you or with any one person, but rather with whomever or whatever is offering the attention and validation that he craves, needs, must have to survive.
KNOW THIS: You won’t ever be his first priority unless he needs or wants something from you, or unless someone is watching and he needs to prove how devoted he is. And it’s really not you – it’s him.
You will begin to notice that the narcissist isn’t really a whole person. There’s a very detailed and finely tuned shell there, alright, but the narcissist left alone will begin to wither like a plant without water.
He will grow bored and depressed because he has nothing of his own to hold on to – or if he does have his own “thing,” then he wants you to love that thing too. And if you don’t or won’t? You’re the one with the problem. And he will tell you exactly what’s wrong with you and everything that you are.
Dear Narcissist: You can’t handle the truth!
Even though you and other people in his or her life can see through the narcissist, there are plenty of “flying monkeys” who can’t. And let’s not forget that the narc can’t ever believe that something isn’t right about him or her self.
So unless you want an exercise in futility, I don’t suggest that you try to enlighten him to the error of his ways. So what can you do?
Are you comfortable with only making $50k or being 20 lbs. overweight? If you don’t raise your standards, you’re stuck. Are you okay with marrying someone that hits you a few times a year and verbally abuses you the rest of the time? What is the outcome of that standard?
You’re likely to end up with whatever is acceptable to you and little more.
1. Your standards determine the lower level of what’s acceptable to you. What’s the least you’re willing to accept in your life? What do you really want? You won’t sink below your standards, but you won’t rise too far above them either. When your standards have been violated, you’ll get busy in a hurry to change your situation.
2. You can raise your standards at any time. Your standards are entirely up to you. You have the right to thrive. You weren’t put on the planet to just exist and scrape by. Determine your own destiny.
3. Your most important standards deal with your own conduct. Are you willing to tolerate being late again? Procrastination? Letting your family down? Not speaking up for yourself? Making changes in this area will have the greatest impact because all aspects of your life are influenced. Become a more effective person by raising your expectations of your behavior.
4. Determine a standard you’re committed to raising. Perhaps you’d like to make more money or take more calculated risks in life. What would impact your life the most? How would your behavior change if you adopted that new standard?
5. Visualize success in that area. Imagine yourself in that high-paying job or enjoying time with better friends. Focus on the feeling it generates. That feeling will draw you to your new standards like a magnet.
6. Take aggressive action. You’ll know when your new standards have taken hold because your behavior will change. If you’re still stuck, your standards haven’t changed enough.
7. See your new standard as a fundamental shift, rather than as a goal. See yourself as the person that makes health a priority. This is much more powerful than having a goal of losing 25 lbs. When you change who you are, many of your results will change, too.
8. Recognize when you’re living up to your new standards. If you’re trying to save more money, make note of all the times you’re behaving congruently. You might buy less expensive food at the store, skip your morning latte, or carpool to work. Point out your progress to yourself and feel excited.
9. Consider what could happen if you fail to live up to your new standards. Keeping with the money-saving example, you might not be able to pay your bills on time or you might have to work at 65 instead of retiring. Make a list and understand the pain you face if you don’t stay on track.
Tony Robbins has said that raising his standards was the most important factor in turning his life around. It’s important to set a baseline for what you’re willing to accept in life. You don’t get what you want in life, you get what you’re willing to tolerate. Have high standards and your life will rise to meet them.
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.
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.
Emotions control much of what happens throughout both our individual lives and in the world. Entire wars have begun as a result of human emotions. We make decisions about whether to get married or divorced based on our emotions. Ideas and inventions, passions, and hobbies are all driven by emotion, part of our internal drive to change the way we feel.
Emotional states affect our daily attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors. If we don’t take control of our emotional states, many other aspects of our lives will be out of control as well.
Mastering your emotional state is an essential element to achieving success, contentment, fulfillment, and happiness.
Learn how you can master your emotional states with the easy strategies in this guide.
There are individual differences in what people decide to do with their story. What enables one person to experience personal trauma and tragedy and then decide to use it to their advantage in life, while that same situation makes another person feel like life is not worth living?
Some of the most incredible, happy people have experienced great personal tragedies.
On the flip side, people with every advantage in the world sometimes squander it and spend their days in addiction rehab centers as a result of drugs and/or alcohol.
What story are you telling yourself?
Ask yourself these questions:
Is the status quo in your life just the way it’s always been and there’s nothing that can change it?
Or, on the other hand, is there some way that you can you use your experiences to propel you forward toward greater success and happiness? How?
If your current story doesn’t serve you, then change it!
Beginning to change your story involves figuring out the meaning of events and issues in your life. It also means challenging the current story you have in your head and figuring out your life’s purpose.
Let your story encourage you to take action to make your dreams come true. When you’re living your life’s purpose, you’ll find greater contentment as you pursue your passions and arrange your life around what’s most important to you.
Changing your story requires you to look back into your past. But what about the present? How do you control your emotions on a daily basis in your regular routines? For this part of your emotional mastery, practice self-awareness.
There are certain automatic thoughts that all people have that go a long way in dictating their emotional states.
For example, how do you feel when someone cuts you off on the highway? Do you allow yourself to become angry and upset? What about when you get a flat tire or you don’t get that promotion at work?
Use these strategies to become more self-aware and take charge of your thoughts:
Assign a different meaning to things that bring on negative thoughts.
For example, what does it mean when someone cuts you off on the highway?
Instead of being angry, one way you can think about it is by reminding yourself that not all drivers are courteous as you think they should be. Plus, realize that you don’t know their situation. Perhaps they have an emergency.
These new thoughts diffuse your anger so you can let it go and move on.
When you control what’s going through your mind at any given moment, you’ve put yourself back in charge of your emotions.
Just as you can adjust your story to support you, by practicing self-awareness you can alter your current thoughts to support you, too!
Research has shown that gratitude goes a long way towards achieving a state of happiness. In fact, it’s hard not to be happy when you’re feeling grateful.
When you live in a state of gratitude, you’re also more likely to show prosocial, helping behaviors. Others tend to reciprocate such behaviors, and you end up with a circle of greater happiness for everyone involved!
You can practice gratefulness in many different ways.
Consider these methods:
Spend five to ten minutes in quiet meditation and focus on the different things you’re grateful for in your life.
Uplift someone. Another is by going out of your way each day to compliment or thank someone, without expecting any recognition in return.
Help others. Spend time volunteering at food pantries or homeless shelters.
When we start taking small steps on a regular, daily basis to take control of our emotional states, we become more skilled in emotional fitness. Emotional fitness and awareness cultivates maturity, astuteness, and success, and can make a positive difference in your overall quality of life.
As humans, we’re sometimes very hard on ourselves – and this is especially true when narcissistic abuse is or has been an issue in your life. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, our beliefs can sometimes be very damaging to our self-esteem. Unfortunately, these negative talking points in our head sometimes keep us stuck in a rut.
A great psychologist, Albert Ellis, had many tokens of wisdom to pass around. One of his ideas centralized around these negative thoughts, which he often referred to as irrational beliefs.
Discover how you can stop this vicious circle and turn your self-talk into words that support and encourage you, instead.
The first step to stopping negative self-talk is figuring out what is triggering these negative beliefs in the first place.
Albert Ellis called these so-called triggers “activating events.” These can be everyday occurrences that happen to us or around us. Anything from having your boss or supervisor yell at you and take away your project to experiencing a run-in collision with a deer on a country road can be an activating event.
Are you in conflict with another? Did something not go your way?
Further, triggers can also be incredibly personal to you and unique to your life. These are sometimes referred to as “red flags.” Red flags are issues that pertain to you alone, such as your weight, family and close relationships, integrity, and anything else that you deem sacred.
When these issues get raised, they immediately set off an alarm within you.
Identify Irrational Beliefs
These irrational beliefs are the real culprits behind why we get upset or angry at the triggers we’ve just experienced, according to Albert Ellis. It’s not the trigger itself, but the beliefs that cause the negative self-talk.
Ellis claimed that these irrational beliefs are responsible for our emotional states, also known as the consequences of our beliefs. In this way, by identifying and then changing these beliefs, we can experience fewer emotional consequences.
For example, let’s look at this process:
You just learned that you got turned down for a promotion at work.
Getting turned down for the promotion is the activating event or trigger.
The underlying thoughts or irrational beliefs you might be having include, “I’m never going to advance my career,” “My boss hates me,” or even “My boss is never fair to me.”
These beliefs or thoughts can lead to emotional consequences of sadness and depression.
Dispute Irrational Beliefs
The idea behind identifying these negative, irrational beliefs is so you can do something to change them.
You can change them by challenging these beliefs. This is a process of examining the truth and reality and seeing that it is different from your belief.
In the prior example of getting turned down for a promotion, a series of questions can be asked to help you sort through reality from these irrational beliefs. You want to challenge yourself by asking questions that are almost the opposite of your identified beliefs.
Some of these challenge questions may be:
What is the truth in this situation?
Do I have evidence to support that my current beliefs are true?
In the example above: Are there times when my boss has been fair?
Is it true that I’ll never advance in my career, or is this just a minor setback?
These questions can help you identify the truth from what you may erroneously believe or negatively think about a situation.
If you can identify the truth, this can lead you to think differently and avoid suffering the emotional consequences of the trigger in the first place.
Follow this process whenever you notice thoughts that are unkind to you. Change your beliefs and you’ll find your self-talk becoming words of encouragement, instead.