I have always felt a little annoyed when strangers call me things like “babe” or “hon.” It doesn’t much matter if the stranger is male or female, or whether they’re older or younger than me.
One day a few years ago, after once again being called “hon,” by a virtual stranger, I took note of my reaction–I instantly bristled at the word. Not so much that I had any sort of external reaction–just a brief, negative bit of energy that buzzed through me.
Why Do I Feel This Way, Anyway?
Now, it’s not like I sat around stressing about it.
But later, during a rare quiet moment in the day, I thought about why I reacted that way.
I remembered that growing up, a female narcissist in my life had once told me that she felt insulted when almost anyone except her husband used terms of endearment such as “hon” or “babe” with her.
She said it made her feel like they thought she was somehow less than them, or like they were being “fake” nice.
Since I was probably ten years old when I heard this, I took it as a fact, rather than an opinion. It stuck with me, this woman’s perception, and I carried it with me through my own life.
Subconsciously, I accepted and lived someone else’s perception rather than forming my own about this little tiny thing. In fact, this tiny little issue has clouded other areas of my life too.
I have often believed that people around me had ulterior motives or weren’t genuine, and suddenly, when I took just a moment to question my long-held beliefs, I realized that they existed primarily because of perceptions that were taught to me by other people.
Do You Believe What You Think You Believe?
I don’t know about you, but I can think of a LOT of different perceptions that I’ve carried through my life without even realizing it.
And when we’ve been in relationships with narcissists, our perceptions are more likely to be twisted than not.
So ask yourself: Do I really believe what I think I believe?
As kids, we form our opinions of the world almost subliminally. We gather up the information that’s fed to us from our parents, our teachers, our friends–the television–and we decide what we believe about ourselves, the world around us, the people in it…life in general.
Have you ever really thought about it? Can you honestly say that you know why you believe what you think you believe? Or are you carrying around other people’s baggage without even realizing it?
I Don’t Mind If You Call Me Hon or Babe or Sugar Toes–Just Call Me!
As it turns out, I don’t mind if strangers use terms of endearment with me. It’s not that I love it, but I don’t think it’s anything to get upset about–that’s just some people’s way of being friendly, I think. It doesn’t mean that they think less of me. And if it does, do I really care? Not so much.
So, for probably 25 years, I have held this unnecessary bit of negativity just because I accepted someone else’s perception without question.
And that, for me, was a big shocker.
How Going NC Opened My Eyes
After my childhood narcissist took the tiny betrayals too far and I was snapped into reality with an almost literal slap in the face, I finally had enough and cut off all contact with her.
While I went through the standard stages of grief during the initial separation period, I found myself growing as a person and my whole world sort of opened up – suddenly, everything I believed to be true (especially about myself) could be reconsidered.
And I realized that I was in control; that I could decide how it was going to go from here on out – and most of all, that I got to choose my own story – I was the one who got to define me. And guess what, pal?
YOU are the only one who gets to decide who YOU are. Do you feel me? ONLY you. Not some abusive narcissist. Okay, moving on.
Letting Go Of Limiting Beliefs Opens the Door to Unlimited Potential.
I think that every single one of us is carrying around some limiting beliefs that we’ve picked up from others along the way.
I say it’s time to shake things up. Imagine the freedom you could feel if you could eliminate all of the negative perceptions you’ve picked up over the years. Think about how positive your days could be–and as we all know, we bring about what we think about!
The more positive energy, gratitude and general peace you can find, the more amazing your life will get.
My challenge to you today is to identify and challenge at least one belief or perception that you have always had, whether it’s about yourself or something or someone outside of yourself.
You can start small–maybe you believe that your paperboy intentionally throws your paper in the mud puddle every time it rains.
Or you can start bigger–maybe you believe that you don’t really deserve to be happy. In either case, ask yourself WHY you feel that way, and whether it’s logical. You might be surprised at what you discover.
Are you in a relationship with a narcissist? Check out this special resource page, filled with free tools to help you recover.
Are you ready to challenge your negative perceptions and beliefs?
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach 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 relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in 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. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.