Setting Boundaries with Toxic People

Setting Boundaries with Toxic People

Setting boundaries is the first step toward taking back your power after narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship. I can’t think of a quicker way to regain personal power and your own sense of self in a situation than knowing what your boundaries might be and being able to set them with others. Toxic people notoriously will try to destroy your boundaries. They will use many forms of manipulation to make sure their will is asserted over yours and push your boundaries farther and farther back until you cease setting them.

What are boundaries?

Setting boundaries can be confusing when you may have never had healthy examples of them in your life. Boundaries can be many things including physical, material, mental, emotional, sexual or spiritual.  Boundaries create a separation between yourself and others including your needs, will, wishes and actions. They are your personal choice in saying no, in setting limits, in maintaining personal belongings, in having your own thoughts and opinion, in what you will do or won’t do with your body or in your feelings about personal beliefs or faith. You can see how a narcissist with their need to control and create a delusional reality based on THEIR own wants and need for supply would not want others to have boundaries plus do all they can to break down any boundaries a person may have.

Know your boundaries: what do you need?

Do you ever struggle with knowing what it is that you want or need? Do you then feel ok about creating the boundaries necessary to make sure those needs are met? Boundaries can be difficult enough without dealing with a toxic person as well. When you place a boundary in a healthy situation it can be difficult because of the fear of the reaction of others and your perceived beliefs about how others feel about you. WIth a toxic person, this is made worse because of the abuse. Not only that but have you noticed that the longer you are around toxic people the less you even know how you feel about things or what your needs even are? Having your thoughts and actions devalued and criticized really can lead to so much self-doubt that it can be hard to even know if what you are thinking is reasonable and right. One thing that can help to ask yourself, “what do I need?” or “ what do I think about this?” before replying to things. Knowing or even just asking that “includes you” –  it shows you that you matter and allows you to begin understanding where your boundaries are.

Learn to grey rock, say no and stick to it!

A narcissist will see any boundary you place as an invitation to argue, manipulate, or criticize you.  They may also see it as an ultimatum placed by you and give you anything from heated arguing to silent treatment because of it. As with all dealing with narcissistic abuse, it is not going to get better. One key characteristic trait of narcissistic abuse is the pushing and disregard of boundaries. Grey rock when your boundaries are not being respected, do not engage, argue, defend, plead or any other reaction besides calm indifference.

Here are a few tips for setting boundaries with a narcissist:

  • Know what you will not tolerate, understand where you personally draw the line. For example,  like name-calling, devaluing, silent treatment all will be met by grey rock and disengagement. You will not argue, plead, debate, defend or give much attention to such treatment
  • Set your own time/agenda. You choose how long you will wait, do things, sleep, eat, visit friends or family, or any other time/action related thing and all abusive manipulation will not be argued with or defended. Again, grey rock!
  • Do not have expectations that this will resolve anything within the relationship with a narcissist. Generally, this boundary-setting is a one-time event. Nothing will fix the relationship with a narcissist and living a life of grey rock is not a solution, it is a technique meant to help you diffuse a situation until you can get away.
  • Focus on your worth. You are a thinking, feeling and loving person whose needs are as valuable and important as anyone else’s. You deserve a say in your own life and that should be respected. Respect yourself while you place boundaries. Focus on yourself and your needs.
  • Exit plan! Create an exit plan and get away. Ideally, you will see you have worth and value far beyond the way you are treated by this toxic person and get away from them as far as you can. Going no contact is the ultimate boundary.

 

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Working the Phases of Trauma Recovery After Narcissistic Abuse

Working the Phases of Trauma Recovery After Narcissistic Abuse

We say the words, “DISCOVER, UNDERSTAND AND OVERCOME NARCISSISTIC ABUSE” often enough that many of you may be very familiar with that phrase. Let’s look a bit at how working the phases of trauma recovery after narcissistic abuse might look.  Each of these phases can go on simultaneously because healing from abuse is in layers. Different discoveries, understandings and overcomings happen at different times. There will be times during your recovery where you will feel like you are going backward but please do not be discouraged, this is normal.  Layers of healing and mountains of growth are what happens for anyone evolving out of toxic abuse into a thriving survivor.

DISCOVER

What we discover in this phase is not only about narcissistic abuse but about how the abuse affects us as survivors. You may come to a lot of realizations as you discover the things about narcissistic behaviors that make it abuse, realizations about how you feel as a survivor of abuse and also that you are not alone. Validation of the way you feel and that what you experienced truly is abuse is what can help you in this phase to realize you truly are not alone. There is a lot of information being taken in when in the discovery phase, it can cause a bit of overwhelm as well. Keep at the discovery and things will become more and more clear as you enter into the next phase of understanding.

UNDERSTAND

Understanding also can mean accepting that the toxic person truly is toxic. Seeing things as they are instead of how you wish they could be opens your mind to an understanding of the situation that helps you to break the trauma bonds and begin to recover. Understanding that this is not your fault can help you to gain more self-worth as well as be kind to yourself through the healing process. Understanding the abuse can help you to separate your own needs from those of the narcissist that you were groomed to emotionally “take care of” so that you can begin and continue to see the path to healing is in self-care, self- focus and letting go of the narcissist.

OVERCOME

Finally, you get to overcome this abuse and thrive! This is not an overnight thing that just happens. Often there is a huge “ah-ha” moment in the understanding phase that leads to a giant perspective shift which then helps you let go of the abuser. Through the overcoming phase there can be a lot of grief, feelings of loss, feelings of not really knowing oneself as well as other not so comfortable things. If you feel this, it is totally normal and part of the healing. What can happen is self-discovery and a renewed focus on your own life and wellbeing. This is where the deepening of healing can take you to great places, to discover and do things that truly create a beautiful life and that get you on the path you choose to be on. Keep the hope up as you overcome narcissistic abuse, you always were enough, you always were and still are worth it!

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Narcissists Use Guilt and Pity Ploy

Narcissists Use Guilt and Pity Ploy

Have you experienced the narcissist in your life giving you a guilt trip or using the pity ploy to manipulate your feelings? The narcissist will use this to hoover, to get away with something, to deflect any blame and to play on your empathy to get their way.

Personality-disordered people can not and will not accept accountability for any issue they create and will project the issue in many ways, the pity ploy being one of them. By playing on your empathy to make you feel guilty and using that to manipulate a situation, the narcissist can gain narcissistic supply and control the delusional world they live in – as well as control of you.

The power of the pity ploy is in using your vulnerabilities and fears combined with your empathy against you through making you feel responsible for the feelings and emotional wellbeing of the toxic person. Pity ploys fill you with the mixed emotion of guilt plus compassion and that is the perfect way for the narcissist to gain supply, reinforce trauma bonding and basically suck you back into their toxic world.

Examples of Narcissists Using the ‘Pity Ploy’

Let’s look at some examples of how the pity ploy might be used. There may be many other ways but this may give you an idea and validation that what you experienced was indeed manipulative.

During a hoover attempt or during a relationship with a toxic person you may have a conversation,  receive a text or email that is filled with what looks like sorrow and despair on the part of the narcissist.  The pity ploy can be when the narcissist suddenly starts looking like the victim after they abuse you with toxic behavior. It can also be feigned or exaggerated illness or pain.

They may talk about how you are all they have and how much it hurts that you won’t talk to them. Words like,” if you really loved me then…” or  “after all the love I give you …:” might ring through the messages they send.

They may project onto you the things they themselves are doing like silent treatment, devaluing or lack of emotional connection.

Things like this set you up to defend your love and caring of this person, the whole pity ploy ripe with supply. If you really look at it, the things said are all self-directed pity seeking attempts to pull you towards them. There is no room in the pity ploy attempt for any real conversation and your needs and feelings are certainly not considered.

How do you deal with a narcissist’s pity ploy manipulation?

NO CONTACT

If this is a hoover, the best thing to do as always is maintain no contact and ignore the attempt. No contact, as always means not even reading these messages.  Delete, do not reply and block the narcissist, maintain your peace. Try to see this pity ploy for what it is – manipulation! Begin to free yourself by limiting the continued thinking about it and softening the guilt that may arise. Seeing the reality of the tactics used to gain your supply hopefully can help you to do this. Remember the narcissistic person has no empathy and is using yours against you.

LOW CONTACT

For low contact situations, look at the real need of the situation and react accordingly with your own boundaries firmly in place.  For example, during low contact with a toxic parent who you feel the need to help during this current COVID situation, you might ask if they have immediate needs like food or medicine and can those be delivered to them.

This is only if you should choose to help in that way. There is no need to respond to the emotional pity ploy for attention, only the basic need. If they write a long pity seeking message to you, simply reply to the immediate need and say nothing in response to the emotional manipulation they are using. Basically grey rock! Keep the topic to the topic of need only. You do not need to judge yourself based on the way this manipulation causes you to feel. Low contact is never easy and this is not your fault.  You are being force-fed guilt!

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How to Shut Down the Narcissist During Silent Treatment

How to Shut Down the Narcissist During Silent Treatment

If you’ve ever experienced the silent treatment from a narcissist, you’ll know exactly why we call it emotional abuse. First of all, silent treatment hurts. Most narcissists that use silence as punishment in what we call “silent treatment” know they are doing it.

They will justify the silence by shifting blame, playing victim, outright stating why you deserve it or totally ignoring the fact that they did it. The silent treatment is felt by you as pain; it literally registers in your brain the same way physical pain does.

It is no wonder we react to it and have a hard time with the silence. Stick with me here and I’ll give you some ways to shut down the narcissist during the silent treatment and also understand what is happening to you so that you can have it affect you maybe just a little bit less. But first, it’s important that you understand the psychology of the narcissist during the silent treatment.

Remember: the narcissist uses the silent treatment as a tool to assert control and power to manipulate you.

The Silent Treatment is Emotional Abuse

You might be feeling all kinds of things from frantic to totally disregarded. Who could blame you? These feelings can make some of us act in ways that show desperate attempts to “make things better,” such as fawning behaviors like begging, over-apologizing by taking all the blame, pleading, people-pleasing, walking on eggshells, or being overly affectionate with no return of affection.

Another reaction might be anger, resulting in the fight reaction. This can include things like yelling, insisting, pushing buttons or anything just to break the silence.  All of these reactions are supply for the narcissist and will not get you what you need, an adult conversation and reconciliation.

What I’ve learned from dealing with narcissistic abuse and would like to share is that it is not about really shutting down or controlling the narcissist. It’s really all about learning to control our own reactions and our own selves. This way, we can think clearly. It allows us the brainpower we need to get out and not be affected by the tools of abuse.

Easier said than done, I know. But it is really important to learn to disengage from the behaviors of the narcissist. Why? Because the silent treatment has no power if you don’t engage with it.

Shut down the narcissist’s silent treatment by disengaging.

  • Know that silent treatment is not a mature and adult way of communication and it is not healthy.
  • Stop taking the narcissist’s behavior personally. Remember that this is not about you or because of you – this is how they control and manipulate.
  • There is no fixing this and it is not yours to fix if there were a way.
  • It is not your fault!  Know that and tell yourself that.

Shut down the narcissist’s silent treatment by getting some perspective.

  • Take some breaths and look at the situation from a bit of a distance.
  • See that this is THEIR pattern and a way for the narcissist to never have to take accountability or resolve any issue in the relationship.
  • Your need for connection, resolve and care will not be met by engaging with the silent treatment.

Overcome the pain of the narcissist’s silent treatment with self-care.

  • This is where self-care comes in.
  • Remember you matter, you deserve a better and healthier way of communicating which will not be met by the narcissist.
  • Let me remind you: YOU deserve better.
  • Make your own self-care kit.

Use the silent treatment as a time of self-reflection and decide what comes next.

The silent treatment can be a pause for you to assess the relationship and decide if it is what you want in your life. Know that as long as the narcissist remains in your life, it won’t change for the better.

Take away their power by seeing your own needs and that they are not mature enough to meet them – nor do they have the empathy it takes to be healthy in a relationship.

Silence can be a time to step back and really look at who the narcissist really is. If you engage with them it is more difficult to see it for what it really is, narcissistic abuse.

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6 Ways A Narcissist Manipulates

6 Ways A Narcissist Manipulates

Being in a relationship with a narcissist is confusing and can completely change the way you feel, think or believe things about yourself for a reason. They are constantly manipulating!  There are many forms of abuse and manipulation in the narcissists repertoire of toxic behavior, the following video gives a brief description of 6 of these. Understanding the ways you are being manipulated can help you to see the situation for what it is and  the narcissist for who they are. If breaking trauma bonds is the goal,  understanding and acceptance that the abuse is real is one thing needed to help you get there. What are some ways you feel you have been manipulated by a narcissist?

Check out other videos for more information on any of the 6 ways a narcissist manipulates at Narcissistic Abuse Recovery by QueenBeeing.com.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery by QueenBeeing.com offers free video coaching each week on YouTube on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays along with videos and help on recovery from toxic relationships. Featuring certified life coach Lise Colucci and supported by QueenBeeing founder and certified life coach Angie Atkinson. 

If you are looking for an affordable way to get ongoing personalized support as well as peer support and validation in a small group setting join our private coaching group https://lifemakeoveracademy.teachable…

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Email Lise with topic ideas or any questions about the coaching options available  at Coachlisec@gmail.com

 

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