When You Feel Stuck in a Rut After Narcissistic Abuse

When You Feel Stuck in a Rut After Narcissistic Abuse

Ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut, or like you’re just spinning your wheels? I know the feeling – and so do most other survivors.

Sometimes, in narcissistic abuse recovery, we get stuck and feel frozen, like we can’t do anything. We might even have bouts of dissociation.

Watch this video for additional information.

The Painful Transition From Narcissistic Abuse to HAVING a Normal Life

After being involved with a narcissist, you may feel depressed and uncertain about your future.

That’s okay! You’ve done the hard part by recognizing that you need help getting out of the relationship and healing from it.

All that’s left is to figure out what support system and resources will work best for you.

What is dissociation as it relates to narcissistic abuse?

Dissociation is a process by which the individual disconnects from their body and feelings.

This can make it difficult to experience and remember the abuse and process and grieve the experience.

If you’re struggling with dissociation in your recovery from narcissistic abuse, this video is for you! We’ll discuss the symptoms and how to overcome them so you can start rebuilding your life.

Dissociation is a common symptom of narcissistic abuse. We’ll discuss its causes and effects and share tips on overcoming it in narcissistic abuse recovery.

This episode is for you if you’re struggling with dissociation in your recovery from narcissistic abuse. We’ll discuss the causes of dissociation, its effects on your life, and how to overcome it.

By the end of this video, you’ll know more about this common symptom of narcissistic abuse and how to overcome it!

The Key to Overcoming Feeling Stuck

Some of us struggle with clutter, so I will use this as an example of how we get stuck.

Clutter can be a highly stressful and destructive problem for some survivors because they feel stuck and unable to function.

Maybe you can relate? If so, you’re probably feeling many things: overwhelmed, confused, stressed, and embarrassed, not to mention depressed. 

And who could blame you for feeling this way? I’ve been there myself, and I’ve felt exactly like you do.

Read this next sentence carefully: It is NOT your fault. 

Clutter can literally be a symptom of your abuse. YES. 

If this sounds like something you struggle with, you might want to look at my free 30-day home makeover challenge

Coach Tip: One Thing

I came up with a little hack that has helped me whenever I felt stuck – and I still use it today.

It is so simple you probably won’t even believe me – but try to do one thing.

Yes, I know, it sounds like it’s TOO simple.

But hear me out. When I felt stuck over the years, I’d eventually permit myself to STAY stuck.

And then I’d tell myself I just had to do ONE thing – that if I wanted to, I’d be able to stop right after that one thing. (For example, if my house were messy, I’d make myself clean off just one table).

And even though I allowed myself to stop at that point, often, that was enough to keep me going – that feeling of accomplishment would push me forward to do the next task, and then the next, and so on.

How to Begin Healing After Narcissistic Abuse

It’s hard to ask for help when you’re feeling so lost and alone, but here are some steps to help you get the kind of narcissist abuse recovery support you need.

Step 1: Consider Your Support System

When you’re trying to recover from narcissistic abuse, it can feel like there’s a giant hole in your life where your support system used to be.

Now it’s time to look at the resources that are available to you right now.

  • Do you have friends or family who can support and encourage you?
  • Do they know about your experiences with the narcissist?
  • If not, do they want to know more?
  • If so, what would they most want to learn about?
  • What do they already know?
  • Is there anything else they need to understand?

Step 2: Ask Yourself

The second step is to talk through the following questions with someone who is safe and supportive and who will listen without judging or criticizing.

  • “What am I feeling right now?”
  • “How long have I been feeling this way?”
  • “What is contributing most strongly right now?”
  • “What do I need?”
  • “What would help me move forward?” 

Step 3: Skip the Sugar-Coating.

The next part is difficult: you’ll have to be brutally honest with yourself here.

This might be hard to swallow, but you’ll be lucky to have a good support system when you finally realize what you’re dealing with.

The truth is that you’ll be among the majority of survivors if your support system isn’t up to snuff.

Why? Because narcissists are good at isolating us during the abuse, which leaves many survivors with no one (or almost no one) to support them effectively when all is said and done. 

Don’t worry, though. I’ve been there, and because of that, I have done my best to make it possible for you to recover with the kind of support I WISH I’d have had back then. 

In other words, my team and I have you covered, no matter your budget.  The following list of free and lower-cost support options might help you as you embark on your narcissistic abuse recovery journey.

Here’s Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery 

Intermittent Reinforcement: #1 Way Narcissists Control and Manipulate You

Intermittent Reinforcement: #1 Way Narcissists Control and Manipulate You

If you’re in a toxic relationship with a malignant narcissist, you probably feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster.

Do ever feel like you can’t control your emotions, or are you worried because your feelings have been all over the place for years?

You might be dealing with intermittent reinforcement as a form of manipulation from the narcissist in your life.

What is intermittent reinforcement?

Intermittent reinforcement is a pattern of callous treatment mixed in with random bursts of affection. This behavior may lead you to believe the narcissist loves you, but in reality, it’s just another way they manipulate you.

In other words, the narcissist (whether they’re a grandiose or a covert narcissist) gives you the illusion of being loved and cared for by behaving in a loving way between intermittent bursts of abuse.

Worse, intermittent reinforcement can leave you confused and disoriented since it’s unclear why the narcissist has “rewarded” you. This devastates your self-esteem as you realize that can never do or say enough to please the narcissist.

It’s part of the cycle of trauma bonding and why we get so stuck in toxic relationships. If someone in your life has NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) or at least recognizable traits, you might be used as narcissistic supply.

The narcissist might be generous with gifts, compliments, or praise to get their victims to trust and depend upon them.

Unpredictable and random acts of affection are followed by cruel behavior, but the cycle continues as though nothing has happened.

In this episode, Angie Atkinson will explain how to recognize signs of intermittent reinforcement in a toxic relationship with a narcissist and what you can do to deal with it.

Above all, remember this: We’re all humans. We all make mistakes, and we all hurt each other at times; it’s what makes us human, but that doesn’t excuse how someone treats you.!

If you find yourself in a cycle of abuse, do something about it. You don’t deserve to be treated like this!

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

NARCISSISTS ARE COMMITTED TO MISUNDERSTANDING YOU! Try this to be understood.

NARCISSISTS ARE COMMITTED TO MISUNDERSTANDING YOU! Try this to be understood.

Ever tried to explain something to a narcissist, and they pretended not to understand? It’s like speaking another language from behind a brick wall; in other words, incredibly frustrating, to put it mildly.

I should know. After all, despite what the narcissists in my life have claimed, I’ve become pretty successful in my communication skills – I literally communicate for a living. Some people say I’m pretty good at it!

And yet, even with a very simple concept, the narcissists in my life have always acted like they just couldn’t comprehend what I was trying to explain – no matter how many different ways I’d say it.

Narcissists choose to make you feel unheard and misunderstood.

Eventually, I would come to understand that they chose to misunderstand. It was a form of gaslighting, and it drove me insane!

After a while, I had to acknowledge that I was dealing with someone who was showing malignant narcissist traits.

The truth will set you free in narcissistic abuse recovery.

Once I finally figured out the truth – that I was dealing with a malignant narcissist, I felt devastated.

And yet, as painful as that was, it also relieved me beyond belief because it explained so much – and it proved that I was relatively sane despite the narcissist’s claim to the contrary.

Has the narcissist taken your identity away?

Before I discovered I’d been dealing with abusive narcissists in my life, I found myself feeling like I had nothing – like I had become a shell of the person I used to be.

I was so wrapped up in making the narcissist happy that I stopped feeling any desire for things and situations.

I lost myself and didn’t even know where to find myself! Nor did I want to be around other people.

I was overwhelmed by this person’s need for attention and narcissistic supply, not to mention his blatantly clear intention to misunderstand me and make me uncomfortable.

Why do we focus on fixing the toxic relationship?

We focus on fixing the toxic relationship (and ourselves) for several reasons; denial, trauma bonding, and toxic hope.

Whatever the reason,  when I found myself at the point of being actively devalued, along with occasional silent treatment discards, I was fully focused on one goal: to fix this person and make it all okay again. It was all I could think about.

Of course, the only thing I had any control over was myself – and even though I was pretty sure that I couldn’t make the narcissist become something new, I was also someone who isn’t afraid to do a little work and fix the broken parts of ME.

So, I’d always focus on whatever was wrong with me and try to fix that (in hindsight, it was nothing but deaing with undiagnosed and unrecognized C-PTSD symptoms ).

I thought if I could fix ME, maybe the narcissist would naturally ease up. Of course, I was wrong there. I got a little mad at myself.

But then I did something SUPER dumb…

I tried to help the narcissist. 

No matter how hard I tried, I never found a way to fix this person – at least none that worked.

Through the lens of my FOG (fear, obligation, guilt), I figured I’d try to fix the broken parts of “me,” thinking maybe he’d catch up – or that his behavior might change on its own if I was perfect.

Of course, the narcissist was pleased with this development. It offered plenty of chances to both love bomb and devalue in alternating rhythms, the intermittent nature of which is the very basis for trauma bonding.

But it also offered plenty of invalidation; I had zero support during this time, and I felt more alone than ever.

Narcissists don’t want your help unless they want it. 

I couldn’t believe how clueless this supposedly intelligent man was able to act, but I must have believed his BS on some level.

After all, I would spend hours trying to figure out exactly how to explain something, I would even write down what I wanted to say and say it as calmly and carefully as possible.

But rather than trying to defend bad behavior, I’d shut my mouth and get lectured by the narcissist on my apparent lack of communication skills.

You can’t fix a narcissist.

For the narcissist, there was clearly no desire for change on his part, and his sense of entitlement blew my mind.

He reminded me often that he thought I was a total loser, someone who needed all this mental health help – and sometimes, he’d even convince me that I wasn’t as smart as I’d led him to believe.  It got so bad that I literally started to believe him.

Narcissists do not change. 

The fact is that narcissists simply do not change because, in layman’s terms, they don’t think they need to change. Their personality disorder essentially causes it to feel impossible. 

Not only that, but their glaring lack of emotional or compassionate empathy for you or anyone else is exactly the reason why the narcissist has no remorse when they flip everything around and become angry with you.

You are NOT crazy!

I “needed help,” they’d say. So obviously, I felt like no one understood me, and I felt alone and completely insane – and the narcissist took advantage of my weakness at the moment and assured me that this might be the only time I’d ever been right.

(If you can relate to that, please know that you’re NOT crazy – and know that the narcissist behaved this way on purpose to add “mental health” issues to your plate.

That’s because when you don’t trust your own judgment thanks to their abuse, narcissists will actively try to disturb your peace and, yes, even your sanity. They can’t stand for you to be happy.

Even my friends didn’t get why my relationships were so toxic.

It floored them, they said, because I was so easy to get along with. After all the years of hearing about how awful I was to live with, you can imagine my surprise to hear otherwise.

But my friends weren’t alone in their confusion. In fact, I got plenty of feedback from anyone who had the nerve to offer it.

For example:

  • My toxic parent mystified them, but they’d say in a horrified voice that she was my MOTHER and I had better repair the relationship with her before it was too late. That last part, for the record, means they would shame me.
  • People would tell me to just get over it and move on.
  • Some suggested therapy – but that never works with a malignant narcissist.
  • When it came to my toxic marriage, it was even worse – they were annoyed and would ask, “why don’t you just leave already if it’s so bad?” (NOT helpful, btw!)

Does your life feel like some kind of cosmic joke that makes you dysfunctional?

I have gone through several existential crises during which everything I did felt wrong, off-balance, or just plain crazy. Here I was, living in what felt like a cosmic joke of a life, with narcissists everywhere I turned.

Even friends who weren’t intrinsically toxic were still unable to understand my issues.

I mean, after being so beaten down and being so conditioned to question myself – I really didn’t even know what I believed, much less understand how to figure all that out.

I knew I needed help.

But not just any help. I needed to feel seen and heard. I needed a way to share the times when I did not feel good enough or even like I was a “real” person.

I didn’t know how to find help. I wanted a very specific kind of help. Not from just anyone, but specifically with people who UNDERSTOOD where I was.

After searching and trying out therapists and various support groups and systems, I found no relief: no one could quite “get” what I’d been through.

But something in me told me that I couldn’t be the only one going through this.

So, I got busy and started doing my research, and right about 2012, I learned about narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse. And boy, am I glad I did – these little bits of information were life for me – as in they changed mine.

Back then, no one even really knew the term “gaslighting” – I had to go to the library to learn about it. There wasn’t much information on the internet that was easily digestible. As I began to post about this stuff on my blog, things turned interesting: many people came to me and asked for my help.

How could I help?

I was a journalist by trade, so research and writing were my bag. I knew how to write, I reasoned – and I I felt terrible when I learned how underserved this group of people was at that time. And after a lot of study and research, I took it upon myself, and I got to work creating that much-needed content.

It was a start anyway. But I had bigger plans. I wanted to build an app. And so I did. 

Easier, less painful narcissistic abuse recovery is the goal. 

My goal in building this new app was to make it easier – or at least far less painful – for our fellow survivors than I had it back then. I wanted to create content that made narcissistic abuse recovery easier to discover, understand, and get through.

I did this by sharing information and helping victims and survivors understand what they were dealing with and what they’d need to do to heal themselves. This led to an entire movement that would eventually be supported by a whole team of fellow survivors.

Over the years, we have really learned who we survivors are and exactly what we need to heal ourselves so we can evolve and thrive from here on out.

Not only do I do my best to be the person I needed in my own recovery for you, but I have simultaneously healed myself along the way.

So, I learned I wasn’t alone – and I hope I’ve helped you do the same. (If not, stick with me – we will get there!)

Get the app now!

So, why am I telling you all of this?

  • Because I’ve developed something BETTER to help you in your recovery.
  • Because after all these years, and after helping hundreds of thousands of survivors get through their recovery a little easier, I’ve created something that will intuitively help you heal and get (and stay) connected!

Narcissistic abuse recovery support that you can put in your pocket and take with you wherever you go.

That’s right! Even better, there are hundreds of narcissistic abuse survivors just like me – just like you– who have joined me, and they are finding (and giving) serious support in our new in-app tribes, not to mention the tools, tips, and helpful information that is designed to walk you through your recovery from wherever you are, right now.

Introducing the All-New Narcissistic Abuse Recovery App

Inside this amazingly intuitive and easy-to-navigate app and its private community, you’ll find a new (and more secure) way to connect with me, my fellow coaches, and our fellow survivors.

  • You will also find toolkits, trackers, helpful tips and ideas, and more from the QueenBeeeing team – all designed to make your recovery as painless as possible. 
  • You can count on not having to deal with any more judgment. No more shame or worries about narcissists or flying monkeys finding your posts or anything about you.
  • The app offers you a safe space where survivors are free to share their thoughts, ask their questions, be scared, and stay vulnerable without any judgment or shame.

Together, we’re changing narcissistic abuse recovery!

No longer will narcissistic abuse resemble a lonely, dark crawl out of hell and into the unknown.

Now, you can recover faster and with less pain with our new narcissistic recovery app and the full support of the QueenBeeing Narcissistic Abuse Recovery team and your fellow survivors!

Plus:

  • You’ll get immediate access to our support tribes community.
  • You’ll be given toolkits and complete step-by-step blueprints to help you get and stay safe and healed, from discard to evolution and more.
  • You’ll be warmly welcomed as a member of this secure community by our amazingly supportive, empathy-filled survivors who truly understand where you’ve been – because they’ve been there too.

What does it cost?

While I usually price my apps at a reasonable $25 per month, this one is different. I want it to be more accessible – so I’m only charging $9.99 a month for now. And as long as you remain a subscriber, you’ll never pay more.

If you’ve used one of my previous apps, I am so excited to tell you this is the VERY BEST and most intuitive one we’ve ever built! You will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to customize for your own needs and the level of information, tools, and support you have at your fingertips!

Are you ready to get safe support and validation from your QueenBeeing team and your fellow survivors?

Then there’s only one thing left: get the app now!

Get the app now!

 

The #1 Reason You Keep Falling for Narcissists Will Shock You

The #1 Reason You Keep Falling for Narcissists Will Shock You

Have you ever wondered why you can’t resist a narcissist? Or why they make you feel so good? Or why you keep ending up with them? 

Did you ever think about the fact that, when you first realized you were in a toxic relationship with an abusive narcissist, you looked around your life and found one or more other toxic people in your inner circle? 

This video will help you understand how and why your attachment style has led you to be a perfect target for narcissists. 

Why are narcissists and codepdendents so often connected? 

You hate to admit it, but you’ve been in relationships with narcissists before, maybe more often than you even realize. You might be a bit oversensitive – some people call you an empath – and maybe you have a pretty strong need to please others.

That explains why the narcissist might be attracted to you, right?

But then why are you attracted to them, especially when you know better?

It’s easy – they’re charming, they were complimentary towards you, they were nice and courteous – everything that you want in a partner – at least at first.

There is actually a scientific reason why people with codependent personalities are drawn to narcissists – and why narcissists are equally drawn to codependents. 

Are you a magnet for narcissists?

I used to think I was a magnet for narcissists. Then I learned about what kind of codependent people attract narcissists.

The mysterious force that causes you to keep ending up with a narcissist, despite the patterns you’ve realized, the mistakes you’ve made, and the lessons that you’ve learned, has been linked by researchers to John Bowlby’s attachment theory and your own attachment style.

So, the fact that narcissists and codependents find one another irresistible really isn’t all that mysterious. In fact, we’ve got the science to prove it.

How does attachment style make you so irresistable to narcissists (and vice versa)?

The attachment style you developed very early in life is responsible for a lot of your current behaviors.

Your particular attachment style leads to codependency, which attracts narcissists and leads you to compulsive caregiving and being a “fixer” who finds value in people-pleasing and taking care of the needs of others as you ignore your own.

No matter how much they care, no matter how much they need you and depend on you, these relationships are not healthy or happy on any level – the other person is simply selfish and reckless. And that’s putting it mildly.

This is exactly why your subconscious brain is wired to seek out validation, which makes you susceptible to becoming narcissistic supply. narcissists are drawn to you just as much as you’re drawn to them – and neither of you can really do anything about it.

Is there any way to make it work with a narcissist?

Sadly, you won’t be able to work it out with a narcissist in a mutually satisfying way where you can both be happy. There are many reasons this is true – and it’s not just my opinion. 

Read: Can narcissists change? The Experts Weigh In

Bottom line: while it’s alluring to believe that you can be with a narcissist and still feel good about yourself, the reality is that when you involve yourself with a narcissist, you’re embarking on a one-way journey that leads to inevitable suffering.

The only way to resolve this is for you to break away from the narcissist – how long you’ve been involved with them is irrelevant.

The unfortunate truth is that you’ve got to go no contact and get healthy, eventually.

Otherwise, your relationships will always be unhealthy, your self-esteem will never fully recover, and no matter how close to perfect your relationship may seem superficially (in other words, it’s never as good as it seems or as bad as it seems), there will always be something amiss in the long run.

Are you codependent?

Try our free codependency test here. If you are codependent, learn to relate to the narcissist as you would an addict.

Recognize that narcissists are not capable of empathizing with others and know that the only people they care about is themselves. 

One final takeaway we would like to offer you is this: in your journey towards narcissistic abuse recovery, don’t be afraid to reach out for help, whether you have a friend or family member who can help, or you need help from others who may understand better. 

For example, here at QueenBeeing Narcissitic Abuse Recovery Support, you might like to: 

Remember that:

You can also:

Narcissists do not want you to seek treatment – they will actually fight against it. But don’t let that stop you from moving forward. Seeking out help can bring along a long healthy life and peaceful relationships.

Narcissistic Husband?

Narcissistic Husband?

Are you married to a narcissist husband?

If you’re married to a narcissistic husband, chances are that you’re well aware that he is different than other husbands in a lot of very clear ways.

To allow us to break through the barriers that arise when we are unable to understand our partner, here are a few truths about narcissistic husbands.

What is a narcissistic husband?

If your husband is a narcissist, you might not feel very good about yourself and your relationship. Because of this, you’re probably wondering if you’re identifying with this article or if you’re just as crazy as you’ve been told. If that resonates with you, stick with me and take a look at a few traits of a narcissistic husband.

  • A narcissistic husband might have narcissistic personality disorder if he’d actually allow himself to be diagnosed; or at least has narcissistic traits.
  • If your husband is a narcissist, chances are that he’s self-centered, lacks empathy, and has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
  • In general, narcissists tend to think they are superior or special and are extremely jealous of others.
  • A narcissistic husband desires admiration and is preoccupied with thoughts of unlimited success, power, brilliance, and beauty.
  • Narcissistic husbands are highly defensive with low self-esteem, though you might see them as strong and powerful. Underneath it all, he’s still just a scared little boy doing whatever he needs to do to get his narcissistic supply needs met. 

If you are still with me, the next thing you need to do is to educate yourself a little more on what kinds of behaviors and traits you can see in a narcissistic husband.

 

Identifying Narcissistic Behaviors

If you’re living with a narcissist and aren’t sure what to do about it, you’ll want to learn how to identify them. After all, identifying narcissistic behaviors can help you realize and fully accept that you are being abused by a narcissist.

Plus, it offers validation of your experience, which can help you to leave the “FOG” (fear, obligation, and guilt) in the past and clarify your future. And when you know better, you do better.

What Are Some Signs of a Narcissist Husband?

If you think your spouse is a narcissist, there are several behaviors you should watch for to help solidify your suspicion.

  • He may have an excessive interest in himself.
  • He is unconcerned with your feelings and you can tell because he says the most profoundly painful things you can imagine and often leaves you hanging when you really need him (at least emotionally).
  • He puts his own needs and even wants above you and everyone else, regardless of the level of severity in need.
  • He feels very entitled and expects special privileges. 
  • He might even think he’s above the law.
  • He cheats on you, or you suspect he would if given the opportunity.
  • He makes you feel more like an employee or servant than a wife. 
  • You walk on eggshells and base most of your decisions on whether or not he will be upset by your choice.
  • He wants to be seen as the best at everything, and even if he doesn’t really believe it, he expects you to believe and will demonstrate serious narcissistic injury and/or narcissistic rage if you do not support this delusion. 
  • Speaking of delusions, he probably has delusions of grandeur. 
  • If you have kids, he may act jealous of the attention you give them, or he may use them against you in other ways.

These are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, but they’re enough to feel concerned that you might be married to a narcissist.

Are narcissists capable of loving?

This is a hard pill to swallow because while narcissists can seem to love you in some ways, especially early in the relationship, they’re also very emotionally stunted; as in they have the emotional capacity of a toddler – or at best, a teenager.

The fact is that when a narcissist declares his love for you, he might really mean it in the moment. But he doesn’t fully “get” love. He sees you more as an object – sort of like how you see your smartphone

When you get a new smartphone, it’s powerful and amazing, packed with new features. It’s pretty and doesn’t have any scratches – and you love it for exactly what it is.

But after a while, you drop it a few times. It gets a little beat up, and before you know it, you hear about the latest and greatest NEW smartphone. 

Right around then, your current phone becomes a little less functional – it slows down and doesn’t quite run as smoothly as it once did.

And that’s right around the time you break down and get a new one. You don’t miss the old one, and you pretty much don’t think of it again. Because it’s a smartphone, not a person. 

But the narcissist sees you like a smartphone – disposable and dispensable. They love what you DO for them, but they’re not really capable of loving YOU as a person, at least not in the same way as you may have once loved THEM.

How long can a narcissist stay married?

Narcissists, both male, and female, sometimes stay married for decades. Many male narcissists won’t leave ever, at least not physically. Others will jump from relationship to relationship.

Those who cheat will often want to keep their wives around as their “mother figure,” if possible. Then they go out and do what they want with other women (and/or men), and they seem to really lean into the whole “Madonna/Whore” complex

Long story short, a narcissist can stay married for the rest of their lives, and many will unless their wives finally have enough and initiate the divorce themselves. Often, the narcissistic husband will repeat the whole cycle of abuse over and over in their marriages.

So you may never be permanently discarded, but you’ll be temporarily discarded repeatedly through painful manipulations like the silent treatment, for example.

Will a narcissist ever change?

The way I see it, it’s possible for a narcissist to change, but I’ve never seen or heard of it happening on a meaningful level.

In fact, if a narcissist husband were to successfully change, it would require him to engage in long-term therapy and to really do the work required – and it’d be no picnic.

  • He’d have to first discover and acknowledge his core wounds, those traumas that caused his personality to develop this way. ( He’d have to recognize that his core wounds probably began as early as birth, if you believe in attachment theory, which I do.)
  • Then, he’d need to accept and meaningful work through what happened to him and the fact that it caused his personality flaws (which, of course, must also be seen, acknowledged, and resolved).
  • Finally, he’d need to go to the next level and learn emotional and compassionate empathy. This would require the work of a skilled specialty psychologist/therapist and may even involve certain prescriptions and additional therapies, depending on his comorbid mental health issues. 

Bottom line, maybe it’s possible, but it doesn’t happen by the very nature of narcissistic personality disorder.

How do you deal with a narcissist in a relationship?

Once you identify the problem, it’s time to take action. You’ve got choices here – you can stay, or you can go.

If you stay, prepare yourself to continue to deal with emotional and psychological abuse for the rest of your life. It may never get better and if it does, it could be because you’ve resigned yourself to accepting the abuse. 

Of course, there are plenty of ways you can make the narcissist less difficult. You can even sort of train them to treat you with more respect.

But these tactics will only make your life more tolerable, and only if you’re willing to actively play the narcissist’s game. Trust me when I tell you that it’s only worth it if you’re also actively planning to get out of the relationship. 

That said, I know it isn’t always possible to leave right away, thanks to things like financial abuse and having kids.

In these cases, I’d recommend that you try my ethical method of making the narcissist be nice to you. It works, but it’s exhausting over a long period of time.

Otherwise, you’ll want to use the gray rock method when they try to gaslight and manipulate you, and you’ll want to get busy planning your exit. Even if it’s going to take a while, you’ll feel more empowered when you know you’re working toward your freedom.

You can get your free PLAN (Planning to Leave the Narcissist toolkit) right here.

Still not sure? Take our free Is my husband a narcissist? quiz to gain additional insight and to be given resources to help you recover from narcissistic abuse.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

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

 

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