Broken Eggshells: The real reason you haven’t already left your narcissist

Broken Eggshells: The real reason you haven’t already left your narcissist

“If it’s so bad, why don’t you just leave?”

walking on eggshellsLet me ask you something. Did you cringe when you read that first line? Have you heard this question one time too many?

My guess is that if you said yes to those two questions, you probably also know what it feels like to walk on proverbial eggshells all the time.

You might be in a toxic relationship. 

Toxic Narcissism: Pretty on the Outside

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist or sociopath, it often looks nearly perfect from the outside, especially to people who aren’t aware of the dynamics that happen behind closed doors.

And most likely, you don’t want anyone to know how ugly your relationship really is on the inside. Am I right? narcissism quote TS Eliot

If you’re in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, and you still manage to talk to someone outside of the relationship about the problems you have, you’ve probably heard the “why don’t you just leave” line (or some version of it) more times than you care to admit.

But what the (probably genuinely) concerned friends and family members don’t know is how very, very complicated your life can be.

The Complicated, Convoluted Price of Loving a Narcissist

When you love a narcissist, you might be mentally exhausted already – and for anyone else to add problems to your plate? The sheer thought of it makes you want to vomit.

You might find yourself becoming increasingly isolated in an attempt to maintain your sanity. The simple act of engaging with normal, happy people can make you want to run and hide, sometimes.

And in some cases, your narcissist will do everything in his power to add to your isolation, to make you feel more alone – and to put you in the position to be completely dependent on him, physically, emotionally and even financially.

What They Don’t Know Can Hurt You

While you understand that your friends and family members love you and mean well when they ask you questions like this, it can seriously affect the way you see yourself and your life.

Often, you forget that you’re even “good enough.”

In fact, for many people in relationships with narcissists, it gets even more serious. Not only does your self-esteem take a nosedive (as if there were much lower it could go at this point), but the isolation factor brings trouble to your relationships with other people in your life.

Why Friends and Family Cut You Off When You Won’t Leave

Often, a concerned loved one becomes tired of hearing about your problems and cuts you off because they can’t stand to see you go through that – they don’t understand “why you just don’t leave if it’s so bad.”

You have no choice but to let them walk away because you’re so exhausted already and you don’t even have the energy to explain to them anymore. Then, of course, your abuser gets what he wants – you, more isolated and under his or her control.

And you? You feel more trapped than ever.

Why You Hate It So Much When They Ask Why You Stay

It’s probably one of the most upsetting and annoying questions anyone could ask you, when you’re in the thick of a narcissistic relationship. So, why does it bother you so much when someone asks you why you don’t just leave?

For one, you’re the only one who really knows how very complicated that would be to make your escape.

Plus, you know he or she will make it as difficult for you as possible if you do choose to go. And, in many cases, you’ve lost a lot of friends and don’t have much money of your own – the narcissist made sure of it long ago.

The Narcissist’s Spider Web of Control

The more your abuser can control in your life, the more you can feel trapped in the narcissistic “web” of control.

And often, the people who love narcissists don’t even see it happening. But bit by bit, they tinker away on your personal boundaries, repeatedly and systematically crossing them, one by one.

Before you know it, you’re in the middle of your worst nightmare – and you can’t tell anyone about it because you’re so…damn…humiliated.

Because you know better, you’re smarter than this – and because, honestly, you don’t want anyone to see how weak you’ve become.

And somewhere in your mind, you focus on the good stuff, because you know that it’s right around the corner. It’s part of the ups and downs you experience in a narcissistic relationship.

Know This: It is NOT Normal, No Matter What the Narcissist Says

Despite the lies and gaslighting the narcissist has been feeding you, the way they are behaving is NOT normal. In fact, if your relationship with a narcissist were a mental illness, it might look something like a bipolar disorder – extreme highs and the lowest of the lows.

The most intense pleasure and the most profound pain. Exhilaration and exhaustion. The happiest you’ve ever been…and wishing yourself dead – all in the same day. You feel me?

But I’m here to tell you something an amazingly intelligent woman once told me: love isn’t supposed to hurt.

Stop. Read this once more: Love isn’t supposed to hurt.

How does that sentence make you feel? Have you come to believe that being in emotional pain is part of love? Apparently, it isn’t.

And know what else? Love isn’t supposed to beat you up, mentally or physically.

Love should make you feel safe, not afraid, not trapped. Love should make you feel free.

Are you being emotionally abused? Know the signs.

According to the Domestic Abuse Project, the kind of emotional abuse inflicted by a narcissist is the most pervasive

“Emotional abuse is harder to pin down or prove, but it’s just as destructive as other, more obvious forms of violence,” the foundation’s website says. “We consider it domestic abuse if a person makes cruel, unfair comments or otherwise emotionally attacks their partner in order to gain power or control over that person.”

According to the foundation, signs of emotional abuse might include your spouse or partner engaging in one or more of the following activities on a regular basis:

  • swearing or screaming at you (part of narcissistic rage)
  • repeatedly harassing, interrogating or degrading you
  • attacking your self-esteem or insulting you, such as name-calling, put-downs, and ridicule
  • attacking or insulting people you care for, like your family and friends
  • blaming you for everything that goes wrong
  • forcing you to do degrading things, like making you kneel, or making you beg for money
  • criticizing your thoughts, feelings, opinions, beliefs, and actions
  • being extremely jealous
  • telling you that you are “sick” or “crazy” and need therapy (also  known as gaslighting)
  • using physical disabilities against you, or putting you down for your disability
  • blatantly ignoring and denying basic facts and make up lies that better suit him or her (also part of the gaslighting process)

Do you feel trapped in a relationship with a narcissist? Are you being emotionally abused? Be honest with yourself. It might just change your whole life – and in a good way. Knowing there’s a problem is the first step to creating a better outcome.

take back your powerNeed help with feeling powerful when you’re dealing with an extremely toxic narcissist?

 

Are you tired of doing for others while no one does for you? Are you tired of waiting for your turn, and it never comes? Would you like to feel powerful and strong as an individual? If you are dealing with narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship, chances are you’ve grown tired of not owning your power.

You might feel overwhelmed, worthless and simply not good enough – and if you’re like most survivors of narcissistic abuse, you might be in despearte need of validation of your experience. If any of that sounds familiar to you, you might want to check out my book – Take Back Your Power: How to End People People Pleasing, Stop Letting Life Happen to You and Start Getting What You Want

About the book: Do you find yourself giving all you’ve got and people still want more? Do you sometimes do without what you want or need in order to keep the people around you happy?

Are you afraid to deal with confrontation and do you often find it easier to just go with the flow in order to keep the peace?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be a people pleaser. Many people pleasers are also very empathic people, who are especially attractive to toxic types who love to take advantage every chance they get.

In this book, you’ll learn how to stop feeling the need to make everyone else happy and start figuring out what makes you happy, personally, and really – not someone else’s idea of what’s supposed to make you happy,

Listen up: you deserve to be happy just as much as anyone else. Stop beating yourself up and start embracing your personal power. Take your life back starting today!

 

Related resources for people dealing with gaslighting in a toxic relationship with a narcissist

Tough Love: Why You Suck at Meeting New People (and How to Fix It!)

Tough Love: Why You Suck at Meeting New People (and How to Fix It!)

Whether we like it or not, we judge one another every single day without even realizing it. (more…)

Christians and Gay Marriage: Who’s Persecuting Who?

Christians and Gay Marriage: Who’s Persecuting Who?

“Gay rights are human rights.” ~Hillary Clinton (more…)

12 Ways to Boost Your Kid’s Brain Power This Summer With Art Activities

12 Ways to Boost Your Kid’s Brain Power This Summer With Art Activities

I don’t know about you, but as a mom, I’m always looking for ways to give my kids the best possible foundation for learning and for eventually becoming successful adults.  (more…)

Do This 1 Shockingly  Simple Thing to Live Longer and Avoid Cancer

Do This 1 Shockingly Simple Thing to Live Longer and Avoid Cancer

“Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.” ~Dalai Lama

happy1Over the years, various researchers have published studies that prove it – the fact is that optimists live longer, achieve more and generally enjoy greater happiness and health.

(If you’re NOT an optimist, you probably just thought, “Oh, great – another reason I’m gonna die!”)

But stick with me, friend – and hey, I’ve got good news for you. Even if you tend to see the glass as half empty, you can tap into the power of positivity by simply learning to be more optimistic.

Why should you bother? 

While a recent study says that being optimistic can change everything from your health to how long you life, it also says something a whole lot more specific – and something I’ve thought for a long time. 

It turns out that, according to reports, researchers and doctors are now actually prescribing optimism and positive thinking for cancer patients. WHAT? Yes. 

Even nurses who work in cancer hospitals are being specially trained to keep the atmosphere and their behavior positive at work in order to best foster the positive, healing energy for their patients. 

Let’s discuss. 

“Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include increased life span, lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress, greater resistance to the common cold, better psychological and physical well-being, reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and better coping skills during hardships and times of stress.” ~The Mayo Clinic

While researchers say they’re not sure why it works, it does.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “one theory is that having a positive outlook enables people to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on the body.”

Of course, the fact is that when you’re a happy person, you tend to live a healthier life, right?

Either way, I can attest to the fact that being optimistic and keeping my thoughts in check have made a seriously positive difference in my own life. 

 Be Happy, Get Healthy: Optimism 101

So how do you start being more optimistic? Apparently, part of it has to do with who you are biologically (who knew?).

Supposedly, psychologists believe that about 50% of your optimist quotient is determined at birth.

So, even if that’s true, you’re still half full (yes, I AM an optimist!). Anyway, that still leaves the remaining 50% of your “self” that you can work on.

So how do you do THAT?

You knew I wouldn’t leave you hanging, didn’t you? It’s not so hard! Try giving yourself a little bit of training in optimism! That’s right. Train yourself to become more hopeful.

Ready? Here it is: your complete guide to becoming an all-out optimist!

You can complete most of these steps instantly, and a few require a little more time.

Instant Changes for Becoming More Optimistic

1. Get your grin on! Your facial muscles communicate with your brain. Putting on a smile will make you look and feel more cheerful.

2. Create a distraction. When you find yourself dwelling on the size of your thighs or how slowly traffic is moving, switch your attention to something more entertaining. Sing show tunes or remember romantic moments with your spouse.

3. Never let go of the ‘bone.’ Study your dog. Especially when he’s got a bone. And remember that dogs will often keep returning to the spot on the sidewalk where they found a burger wrapper last June. Let man’s best friend inspire you to hold on to your dreams, right? 

4. Count your blessings. Gratitude reinforces optimism. Wake up each morning thinking about what you’re thankful for. Write a gratitude list and post it near your desk where you can see it all day.

5. Challenge your assumptions. You know what happens when you assume, right? You make an “ass” out of “u and me.” Ha! But seriously, though. You can transform your self-talk by arguing the opposing side when you start to criticize yourself. Remember to run a reality check because unpleasant events tend to make a stronger impression than positive ones. The day your hot water heater broke stands out more than all the years it worked fine.

6. Build on your strengths. Studies also show that using your core strengths will cause you to view your future more favorably. If your friends rave about your watercolors, enter a group exhibition. Apply your aptitude with numbers to tutoring children in math.

7. Focus on solutions. Put your energy into overcoming challenges rather than STRESSING THE HELL OUT about how much can go wrong. So you need a new transmission? Big deal. One step at a time – first, find a mechanic and then look at your budget. Step, step, step – solution. You can do this!

8. Exercise daily. Hey now, you’re an all star. Go play! Physical activity is good for your mind as well as your body. A vigorous workout will brighten your outlook. Play competitive sports or sign up for a dance class.

9. Practice mindfulness. Trying to make yourself happier tends to backfire, but there is a better way. Engage fully with whatever you’re doing. As you increase your awareness and act from your heart, even tedious tasks become more meaningful and rewarding.

Go the Long-Haul: Optimism Tips to Carry You Through Your Life

1. Marry an optimist. Hope is contagious. An idealistic spouse sets a good example and encourages harmony. If neither of you is optimistic, you and your partner can work on becoming more optimistic together and find friends who will be good role models.

2. Adjust your explanatory style. When optimists receive disappointing news, they usually view it as temporary and attribute it to external causes. Lighten up if you’re taking the weather personally and remember the rain will end. It’s good to hold yourself accountable for behavior you can change, but avoid beating yourself up.

3. Plan ahead. Feeling in control also helps to boost optimism. Clarify your goals and strategies to makes it easier to anticipate obstacles and persevere. As your successes add up, the process will become more automatic.

So, this one seems like a no-brainer to me. Just put on your fancy rose-colored glasses and strut on the sunny side of the street. Being more optimistic is likely to extend your life and help you to enjoy those extra years more – and I don’t know about you, but for me? Being happy is what it’s all about. Why not do whatever you can to stay that way, safely and health-consciously? 

Pin It on Pinterest