“You never fail until you stop trying.” ~Albert Einstein
As you move toward healing and evolution after narcissistic abuse, there are sometimes speed bumps along the way. Most survivors of narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships find that in order to feel satisfied and happy in their lives, they need to create personal change on some level.
Often, when we’re working toward personal change, we start with high hopes and big expectations. We develop plans and list new, better habits and schedules and ways of doing things.
We start out that first day or week or month with gusto, and when we’re really determined to meet our goals, we stick it out for the long haul and reap the benefits. We are unaware that we might be “pink clouding” in our narcissistic abuse recovery.
Once in a while, though, we find ourselves falling back into old habits and backsliding into apathy. We become so involved with or distracted by other important things in our lives that we forget to take care of ourselves and our goals.
And, when we do that, what do we do?
Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Stop Beating Yourself Up So Much
We start berating ourselves, of course. It’s almost natural to us to do this when we’ve been actively engaged with a toxic narcissist – almost like we continue the abuse of ourselves on their behalf when we’re no longer involved with them.
So, we get that negative inner conversation going. We think things like, “I was never going to make it anyway,” or “Who am I to think I can be ______?” or “I am incapable of change.” Or, “The narcissist was right – I really am stupid/lazy/crazy (or whatever their preferred insult was).”
Of course, this internal conversation begins to manifest itself in our lives. We start to fail, we start to give up before we’ve even given our healing a real chance to happen. So we give up, we beat ourselves up, and we leave ourselves feeling stuck.
Procrastination is Poison for Healing
As we feel stuck and paralyzed, the inevitable procrastination sets in. We begin to tell ourselves that we’ve already screwed up for today, so we might as well start over tomorrow, Monday, next week. The cycle continues, and we’re left wondering why we failed–and how we can find our way back to the path we desire and away from the self-destructive one we’re plummeting down.
It’s like when you start a new exercise program, for example. We know we need to exercise, and we know how to exercise. We figure out when to put it in our schedule, we set a date to start–we even put new, upbeat music on our iPods–and on the first day, we’re gung ho, sweating our butts off on the treadmill. A week later, things aren’t running so smoothly. We have found excuse after excuse to put off our workout, and now we haven’t worked out in 3 days.
Here’s the Trick to Dealing with Healing Regression in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
Here’s the trick to getting through those little regressions, whether for recovering from narcissistic abuse, starting a new exercise program or any other goal in your life – it’s simpler than you might think.
Stop Beating Yourself Up
First, stop beating yourself up when you slip. And second, get back on track RIGHT NOW–not tomorrow, not Monday, not next week. Right this very instant. For example, if you’re working on getting fit – do something this minute. If that means you get up off your butt and work out at 8:00 pm in order to get back on track, then do it, even if it feels really hard.
You will be glad you did–and each time you step back on the treadmill or into the gym, it will get a little easier. The same is true of recovering from narcissistic abuse. (And exercise can actually benefit you there, too! Endorphins are great for reducing depression, anxiety, and the feeling of being stuck.
Forgive Yourself When You Go Off-Track
Going off-track every now and then doesn’t have to mean the end of your efforts. Just consider it more like a brief detour and jump right back on track. This is true whether you’re talking about reaching out to or responding to the narcissist after having gone no contact, or you’re talking about forgetting to work out
Skip the negative self-talk, and treat yourself with a little compassion. Imagine how you’d talk to your dearest friend or relative if he or she fell off-track with his or her own goals–and give yourself the same courtesy. Remind yourself that you’re worth it–that you deserve to have good things in your life and that you want to meet that goal. Forgive yourself for slipping up, and get back on track right away.
And the next time it happens, do the same thing. Do it again and again until you reach your goal. Never stop trying until you reach that goal, and you find the healing and success you’ve been seeking. It really is that simple.
How do you stay motivated to stick to your plans for creating personal change and evolve as you go through the narcissistic abuse recovery journey?
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at QueenBeeing.com and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.