The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Overcoming Shame

The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Overcoming Shame

Have you recovered from a toxic relationship with a narcissist, or are you in the process of narcissistic abuse recovery now? If the answer is yes, then you have a pretty good understanding of what it’s like to live in a world where you’re conditioned to feel shame, right? 

How Do You Overcome Shame in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery?

If you have just come out of a relationship with a narcissist, you may find yourself feeling ashamed of many things – up to and including feeling shame about who you are as a person. This can cause significant bumps in your narcissistic abuse recovery and in your life, to put it mildly.

 

So how do you overcome shame during or after a toxic relationship with an abusive narcissist? It can feel impossible, and it might even seem hopeless – but there are ways you can work through and overcome this.

What is Shame?

Shame is a defense mechanism that protects us from the painful realities of our past. When it comes to having been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, shame feels like a deep, dark feeling that can be hard to shake if you’ve ever been in a relationship with a narcissist.

Some things you might experience as a result of dealing with shame in a toxic relationship with a narcissist include the following.

  • Narcissists will create situations that make you feel as though you did something wrong or inappropriate – even when you didn’t.
  • Shame can be an extremely difficult emotion to overcome because it makes you feel helpless.
  • Shame keeps you doubting yourself.
  • Shame fuels the lie that “you could have done more.”
  • Shame convinces you that you have no right to be proud of your accomplishments or to celebrate your successes.

What is the difference between shame and guilt?

  • Shame is an emotion that we feel when we feel unlovable. It is a feeling of worthlessness and it goes hand in hand with guilt.
  • Guilt is the feeling of having done something wrong. Shame is the feeling of being something wrong.
  • While guilt is feeling bad about our actions, shame is feeling bad about who we are, intrinsically.

Video: An In-Depth Discussion on Overcoming Shame

In this video, Lise Colucci and I take an in-depth look at what shame is, why you feel it after being involved with a narcissist, where it starts, and how you can overcome it.

Why do we feel so much shame in narcissistic abuse?

We experience shame whenever someone makes us feel like we don’t belong, or when they make us feel like we are not good enough. It’s a common emotion to feel after leaving a relationship with a narcissist because they are always trying to make us feel that way.

When we have been in a relationship with a narcissist who has been gaslighting us, projecting their own faults and flaws onto us, and making us believe that we were crazy, stupid, or otherwise inferior in some way all along, it can be difficult to avoid feelings of shame if this person was also someone who you loved very much.

It’s important to remember that the only reason you stayed in this relationship for as long as you did was that you truly believed that there was something wrong with you and that it was your fault; otherwise, you would have left sooner!

What is the connection between trauma and shame?

Nearly everyone who goes through a toxic relationship that involves narcissistic abuse will find themselves left with serious trauma issues. And when we experience something traumatic, it is common to feel a sense of shame. We may feel ashamed of ourselves and our circumstances. We may even feel ashamed that we allowed the abuse to occur and continue for so long. We may feel like a fool for not seeing the warning signs or for not having the courage to leave sooner.

This shame can be one of the hardest parts of recovery from narcissistic abuse. It is a shame that often manifests as anger, anxiety, depression, and guilt. These feelings are very isolating because they make us feel like we are alone in our experiences and that there is no way out of our pain.

What are the signs you’re being shamed by a narcissist?

 

You Have Intrusive Toxic Thoughts

Once you allow shame into your life, it becomes very easy to accept other toxic thoughts as truths as well such as:

  • “No one really cares about me.”
  • “People won’t listen to me.”
  • “I don’t deserve better than this.”
  • “I’m not good enough.”

You Accept Responsibility for Everything – Including the Shame

You might feel like the shame is yours, but it’s not. The narcissist is shaming you. He or she is projecting their own feelings of shame onto you. By making you feel ashamed of yourself and your actions, the narcissist can control you. 

You Feel ‘Dead Inside’

Narcissists have a way of making people wish for the worst. If you’ve dealt with a narcissist who has shamed you and you’ve ever thought or said you were ‘dead inside’ – that’s a big sign that you’re dealing with shame. Please remember that you deserve better. 

Dissociation (or feeling disconnected, like you’re not really here, like you’re in a fog, watching your life on a movie screen, or anything similar) is another common experience shared by survivors who deal with shame.

The Narcissist’s Behaviors 

The good news is that you don’t have to live in this hell forever. The first step to overcoming shame is recognizing the signs of being shamed by a narcissist:

  • The narcissist is very controlling and you live in fear of their reactions.
  • They blame you for their bad behavior
  • They don’t take responsibility for anything
  • They tell you that if only you did what they want, things would be better
  • They call you names and put down your appearance or abilities
  • They criticize everything you do, say, think, or feel.

How do you overcome shame?

Survivors of narcissistic abuse often struggle to move past feelings of shame because they believe they should be able to do so more quickly.

When we’re in a narcissistic relationship we are bombarded with shame at every turn—shame for things we haven’t done or shouldn’t feel guilty about, shame for things we wouldn’t normally be ashamed of (such as loving someone), and shame for things we would have felt prideful about prior to entering into the relationship (such as analyzing or understanding the narcissist).

Step One: Understand Why You Feel Shame

The shame you feel can be overcome by understanding why you feel it. Realize that the shame is not yours but rather the narcissist’s and that he or she projected the feelings onto you. Don’t take it on, and watch as the shame disappears.

Remember: You are not your shame.

Once you can see that this is what’s going on, even if they try to deny it, there are steps you can take to overcome the shame:

First, remember that in overcoming shame following a relationship with a narcissist, you are:

These are all accomplishments – they take time, effort, and energy. Pat yourself on the back and recognize how significant that is – and then go on to step two.

Step Two: Choose Your Boundaries

So, if you’re going to set boundaries, you have to know what behaviors are acceptable for you, and which ones aren’t. Be aware that the narcissist will not love the fact that you begin to change and tolerate less and less of their disrespect and manipulation. But keep going. It’s worth it – I promise.

Step Three: Learn to Set and Maintain Boundaries

Boundaries are extremely important in any relationship, whether it’s a friend, loved one, family, or lover. But in narcissistic abuse recovery, they can become even more important.

Narcissists don’t believe you have the right to have boundaries, but they are VERY concerned about their OWN boundaries,

Obviously, this causes problems in relationships with other people, most certainly those who are their primary sources of narcissistic supply. They overstep your boundaries to manipulate situations to get their own way. They will flit between abusive cycles of blame and manipulation to try and control you.

Your average person might not ever overstep your boundaries, or if they do, will correct their behavior if you note it. Not so with narcissists. That’s why it’s so important to maintain your boundaries in toxic relationships.

Learn how to set your boundaries. 

Shame Quote, Angie Atkinson

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

 

A Comprehensive Guide to Online Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

A Comprehensive Guide to Online Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

When you first recognize that you’ve been dealing with narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship, you’re likely to feel two things. First, you’ll feel a bit validated when you recognize that maybe you aren’t as mentally ill as you previously suspected. Then, you might feel a little bit shocked, angry, or confused when you realize that you’ve been living with an abuser and that everything you knew to be true might have been a lie. 

Are you trying to end a relationship with a narcissist?

No matter how they fit into your life, it can feel nearly impossible to move on when you’ve been in a relationship with someone who has narcissistic traits.

It’s difficult to understand that the person you thought you knew so well may not have been the person they seemed, and depending on the depth of your relationship, you might be rethinking everything you believed to be true.

Your Guide to Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Online

If you’re here, we assume you have recently been the victim of narcissistic abuse, and it can be hard to know where to start when you’re looking for a guide to narcissistic abuse recovery online.

This guide will help you create your own personal narcissistic abuse recovery, including pointing you toward the information you need to understand and how to find the right kind of support, whether it’s a community, coach, or therapist

Before we get into some of the resources available, let’s take a look at what narcissism actually is and how people experience narcissistic abuse.

What is narcissism?

Toxic Narcissism, as opposed to healthy narcissism, is excessive self-focus that involves a marked lack of empathy for others. It’s also called malignant narcissism.

A narcissist is someone who has narcissistic traits (and/or narcissistic personality disorder) along with antisocial features, paranoid traits, and ego-driven aggression.

They may also exhibit an absence of conscience, a psychological need for power, and an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement. In general, we’re talking about someone with a high opinion of him/herself who is a toxic, verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive person.

What is narcissistic abuse?

Narcissistic abuse is a pervasive, covert type of abuse that involves the exploitation and psychological abuse of one partner in a toxic relationship.

Narcissistic abuse involves subtle manipulation, pervasive control tactics, gaslighting, and emotional and psychological abuse.  This kind of abuse can affect a personal connection, such as marriage, partnership, friendship, or family relationships.

When you’re dealing with a narcissist in the family, they will often abuse everyone in the household and even affect the extended family members. Even professional relationships and acquaintanceships can be affected by narcissistic abuse.

What’s the first step in narcissistic abuse recovery?

It’s hard to know where to start when you want to heal from narcissistic abuse. You may have heard a friend use the term “narcissism,” but not know exactly what it meant or how it could apply to your situation.

Maybe you don’t know anyone who has been through what you have, and that makes it harder for you to know how to move on and find healing.

The first step is getting as much information as possible so that you can make an informed decision about your next steps.

How long does narcissistic abuse recovery take?

We know firsthand how hard it is to recover from an abusive relationship with a narcissist. It can take years, and some days it feels like you’ll never be free of the devastating impact they had on your life. We want you to know that it’s not true – you will get over this.

We’re here to help make sure that happens as quickly and easily as possible.

Narcissistic abuse isn’t your fault.

This is very important – you need to understand that what happened isn’t your fault, ok? It doesn’t matter if it was a relationship or an abusive experience at work or an ongoing situation with a toxic friend or relative – it’s not your fault.

That doesn’t mean you’re perfect, of course. Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s possible that you’ve made a few yourself.

But that doesn’t make you an intrinsically bad person.

Chances are if you found yourself in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, your flaws are highlighted and magnified by your abuser – but the qualities that led you to tolerate them were most likely born in childhood, thanks to some sort of trauma.

The narcissist in your life may have also been a victim of similar childhood trauma, but they just manifested their damage a little differently than you did. 

Finding your way through the fog of narcissistic abuse can be a confusing and isolating experience, but you don’t have to go it alone. We’re here to help. 

What are the effects of narcissistic abuse on victims?

While narcissistic abuse can result in profound emotional and psychological harm, as well as long-term physical effects, the covert nature can make it difficult to spot and even more challenging to manage.

Worse, if you find yourself involved in this kind of relationship, your self-confidence and self-worth are often so low by the time you realize it, you can’t or won’t leave. Learn more about the effects of narcissistic abuse.

Why are narcissists so likely to abuse the people close to them?

Not all abuse involves narcissists, but in a large percentage of abuse cases, a narcissist is involved. Malignant narcissists have little to no empathy for the people around them and who act from that perspective.

That is: they don’t care how you or anyone else feels, and you can tell because of the way they treat the people around them. 

Many narcissistic abusers might be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder – if they actually go to a psychologist for diagnosis, but this rarely happens as narcissists don’t feel that there’s anything with them. They may be overtly narcissistic, or they may be more of a covert narcissist.

In either case, anyone in a close relationship with one of these toxic people will be used as a form of narcissistic supply and not treated like an actual person. Sadly, even the most intelligent and educated people can be manipulated and abused by a narcissist.

What are the stages of narcissistic abuse recovery?

Whether you know it or not, being here and reading this page could mean you’re already in narcissistic abuse recovery. Most people these days learn they’re dealing with a narcissist by Googling their behavior. Or maybe they took an online “Am I dealing with a narcissist?” test.

Either way, for most people, the first step in narcissistic abuse recovery is looking at the warning signs of a narcissist. The second step is learning about the effects that being in a relationship with a narcissist had on you, and what you can do about them.

The third step is to take all that knowledge and put it to good use so you can evolve and create the life you really want. Read more about the stages of narcissistic abuse recovery here. 

Start Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Here

As survivors ourselves, our goal is to help victims of narcissistic abuse find the support they need and deserve in this difficult time. We’ve built a powerful narcissistic abuse recovery system just for you, and we’re here to help you build and navigate your own path to recovery.

Here’s a roundup of some of the best online resources for recovering from narcissistic abuse.

Resources & Information for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Personal Support for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery 

The journey to recovery from narcissistic abuse is not easy. But it can be so worthwhile.

If you’re feeling stuck, contact a narcissistic abuse recovery coach or therapist who specializes in helping survivors of narcissistic abuse.

Whether you go the self-help route or you get some support, these resources can guide you through the recovery process and help you regain control of your life.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Guided Meditation for Self-Acceptance and Self-Love

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Guided Meditation for Self-Acceptance and Self-Love

If you’re like most survivors of narcissistic abuse, you might still be struggling to feel good about yourself. You might also not be very self-accepting, and most of us don’t end up actually feeling like we have any self-love to speak of – not to mention self-confidence. For that reason, I wrote this self-acceptance and self-love inducing guided meditation for you.

I worked with a professional voice artist to create a simple, relaxing, and motivational meditation for self-acceptance that leads to unconditional self-love. You can listen in the morning to get you going or play it while you go to sleep at night. I suggest you use it for at least 30 days for maximum effect.

If you like the idea of healing while you sleep, you might also want to add in my four-hour guided sleep meditation for narcissistic abuse recovery and healing, right here. 

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Meditation for Self-Acceptance That Leads to Unconditional Self-Love

See guided meditation on YouTube

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Affirmations for Self-Acceptance that Leads to Self-Love

I accept myself as I am.

I deserve to be loved and I am worth loving.

I have many positive qualities and traits.

I am not perfect, but I accept myself as I am.

Everyone has positive and negative characteristics.

I am comfortable with who I am.

I am becoming more accepting of myself as I age and mature.

I have learned a lot about myself over the years.

I accept the good and the not-so-good easily and comfortably.

I know that perfection is unattainable, and I am okay with being imperfect.

Life can be challenging and dynamic.

As I strive to strengthen my skills and abilities, I do the best I can with what I have.

My imperfections make me unique and interesting.

I embrace my imperfections and invite the world to experience them.

I accept myself without condition.

I avoid trying to live up to the narcissist’s image of the ideal person.

I can be a perfect me, as myself in any given moment, and that is enough. To try to do anything else is an exercise in futility.

I am honest with myself regarding my personality, physical characteristics, and view of the world.

A high level of self-acceptance allows me to experience the joy of life.

Life can only be fully experienced from a perspective of self-acceptance.

Today, I accept myself, just as I am.

I am also willing to accept others as they are.

I am practicing acceptance on every level.

Self-acceptance is a key part of enjoying life.

I love and respect myself without condition.

Despite what I may have believed before, I now know that the love I have for myself is the most important love of all.

When I love myself, I am better able to love and care for others.

I am better to myself and the world when I am able to love myself.

I have great respect for myself and my many accomplishments, even the small ones.

Self-respect is a big part of finding my own happiness and fulfillment on my own.

I don’t need anyone else to be happy.

I treat myself with the respect I deserve.

I am worthy of self-respect and enjoy feeling good about myself.

I am learning to maintain high standards for my behavior and face the world in a way that allows me to sleep peacefully at night.

My good friends and those I consider my family are proud to be part of my life.

It is easy for me to show them love and respect because I maintain these qualities for myself as well.

I attract more healthy, like-minded people into my life.

Self-love and self-respect make it possible to have authentic relationships with others.

By accepting and loving myself, I am able to give the same gift to others.

Much of my self-respect comes from the willingness to accept responsibility for my own life.

The respect I feel for myself springs from this place.

I am able to avoid worrying about the negative opinions of others because I am in control of my life and emotions.

Today, I appreciate my unique qualities. I remind myself how wonderful I am and that I deserve love and respect from the world, but most of all from myself.

Every day, my self-esteem is growing by leaps and bounds.

I am learning to be independent and I know that I am enough, just as I am, in any given moment.

I am fortunate to be overflowing with self-esteem.

My self-esteem is limitless. It continues to grow and blossom.

As my self-esteem increases, I feel more powerful and peaceful.

As I grow in my healing, I realize that having a high level of self-esteem makes my life simple and light.

Knowing that I can handle any challenge that comes my way frees me from worry and concern.

I avoid making mountains out of molehills.

Temporary setbacks are barely noticeable.

I focus on what I can control, what I can affect, and I don’t worry about things that are beyond my control.

My capabilities are tremendous.

I can feel myself growing stronger each day in my mind, body, soul, and abilities.

As I heal, I feel myself growing on a spiritual level. I am getting closer and closer to being my true self.

I love myself just as I am.

I know with certainty that I am lovable and capable.

I know without a doubt that I deserve good things, and I take inspired action as needed to manifest my best and highest self.

I am comfortable revealing myself to the world.

I am free from worrying about the approval or rejection of others.

I am totally at peace with who I am, and I do not make apologies for it.

My certainty in my abilities is rock-solid.

Even in the face of adversity, I am confident in my ability to be successful.

I know that I will make it.

I know I can do what I want as long as I am willing to put in the effort.

My happiness and success are certain as long as I persist in moving toward my goal.

I already have everything I need to win.

My self-esteem serves me well.

My professional and personal life are positively influenced by my self-esteem.

I am strong, confident and full of love and light.

Today, I enjoy many benefits of strong self-esteem as my self-esteem increases.

Each day I grow more capable and confident. Life becomes easier. The world is my oyster.

Next: Try this guided, four-hour sleep healing meditation.

New Guided Meditation for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery (Heal While You Sleep)

New Guided Meditation for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery (Heal While You Sleep)

If you’re a survivor of narcissistic abuse, you may not realize how important it can be to be able to calm down and clear your head in the heat of the moment. During your toxic relationship, chances are you spent most of your time fending off the narcissist’s emotional abuse. You may not have even had time to deal with your own issues. But the effects of narcissistic abuse are serious and can lead to a variety of trauma-related physical and mental health issues. That’s why intentional healing is so important –  and exactly why not taking care of yourself can really negatively impact your health if you’re not careful.

On the plus side, meditation is one really easy way you can help yourself heal faster – and it has a ton of benefits that specifically help survivors of narcissistic abuse. Guided meditation is also helpful for survivors of narcissistic abuse who struggle to concentrate, and it only gets better over time, as you learn new and more developed techniques to make your mind and body go deeper into the meditative state.

And, since I know how tough it can be to find time to meditate during the day, I’ve created a guided sleep meditation just for you. That’s right – you can use it to heal while you sleep!

Heal While You Sleep with This Guided Sleep Meditation for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors

This 4-hour guided meditation was designed specifically for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse. It will help you to embrace your freedom from toxic, negative, dysfunctional relationships with narcissists. You’ll experience relaxation meditation that will help in healing abandonment, healing after a breakup, and healing after a toxic relationship. And, it will help in empowering you to become your higher self as you discover and embrace your true nature. It can also help in healing codependency.


See and hear the meditation for free on YouTube as often as you like. Want your own copy?

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Guided Sleep Meditation: Get Your Own Copy for Personal Use

Please note: you may watch and listen to this meditation on YouTube for free without limitation, but if you’d like your own copy, you may purchase the audio file here.

Buy your copy

How to Use This Guided Sleep Meditation

Are you ready to start overcoming the painful effects of narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship? Listen to this guided meditation every night at bedtime for 30 days or as long as you need to do so. You may use it alone or in conjunction with other guided sleep meditations in a playlist on the device of your choice.

You may use it alone or in conjunction with other sleep meditations in a playlist on the device of your choice.

Coach Tip: Try This Guided Meditation Playlist

Consider getting creative and putting together a personalized playlist based on your own needs. It’s a small, simple, and low-cost way you can do some self-care that is YOU specific. In fact, here’s a narcissistic abuse recovery sleep meditation playlist you can use that I put together for you – featuring several different narcissistic abuse recovery coaches and meditation guides.

How It Works

Here’s what you can expect.

This guided meditation will first help you relax and fall asleep. You’ll experience a soothing, simple but highly effective talk down over calming, rest-inducing music. This section was designed specifically for you as a survivor of trauma and narcissistic abuse to help you relax and release the day’s stress as you begin to fall asleep.

Then, while you sleep peacefully, the healing magic begins to work on your subconscious with softly spoken and subliminal affirmations. This is combined with soft, healing restorative music created to help you maintain a sense of calm and to engage your subconscious during sleep or states of deep relaxation.

Sleep Meditation and Subliminal Healing for Narcissistic Relationship Survivors by Angie Atkinson – A 4-hour guided meditation to help you heal while you sleep after a narcissistic relationship. Features subliminal affirmations and guided meditation for overcoming toxic relationships and learning to love yourself again after narcissistic relationships.

What Are the Benefits of Guided Meditation in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery?

The benefits of guided meditation have been known to humans ever since it was first practiced several millennia ago. This ancient practice offers both mental and physical benefits that can be especially helpful for the kind of damage caused by narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship.

Guided meditation can be used in narcissistic abuse recovery to not only help you to relax from a busy day but also to tune into your own body and mind. It helps in finding comfort, safety, and bliss when you use it on a regular basis.

Guided meditation can help you focus your thoughts and block out any distractions in order to experience the pleasure of silence and stillness.

Sleep Better With Guided Sleep Meditation for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse

Going to sleep can be difficult during narcissistic abuse recovery as you’re prone to racing thoughts that keep you awake all night. Using guided sleep meditations can also help you to keep your thoughts in check while you’re going to sleep. Guided meditation helps you by gently guiding you through the stages of meditation, allowing you to relax and fall asleep peacefully and quickly. And, since meditation helps calm the mind and relax you, it can tremendously and positively affect your healing after narcissistic abuse. Plus, you’ll automatically feel better when you sleep better – it’s a proven fact. 

Mental and Physical Benefits of Sleep Meditation for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse

The benefits of properly guided meditation can span from relieving migraine headaches to relaxing cramped muscles to a simple moment of pleasure, satisfaction, and quiet. For survivors of narcissistic abuse, struggling with feeling overstimulated and over-stressed are common.  The abuse you suffered over the course of the years in your toxic relationship would have caused you to become trauma bonded with your abuser.

Trauma bonding leads to a change in the way your brain functions.  This can make it more difficult for you to slow down and rest – and this leads to additional stress and tension on your body and mind.

You might feel stressed and hopeless about your current home or work situation, or you might still be dealing with the narcissist in your life in some capacity. A lot of survivors think that a vacation or a break from their daily lives is the way to relieve this stress. but unfortunately, these kinds of retreats only help temporarily. Once you get back to the “daily grind” of it all, you’ll often find that you’re right back where you started.

On the plus side, using guided meditation can help you learn how to manage your daily life and your recovery with ease, patience, and a clear mind.

By using guided meditation to connect your mind, body, and soul in a calm and peaceful manner, not only will you find yourself feeling more capable and centered when you’re dealing with the daily tensions of your workplace or home environment, but by embracing the foundations of guided meditation, the situations that can usually seem impossible to stay calm through (with the narcissist and during healing from narcissistic abuse) can feel much easier and less overwhelming to think through and figure out.

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