Even better, you can implement the strategies at home, on your own – and it’ll help your healing in ways you might not expect.
On a very basic level, NLP is just a way to manage your head – it helps with communication, processes, and procedures to help improve your life. Here’s what it is and how it works.
What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)?
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is a practical and effective way to create change by modeling successful people’s language structure and behavior. NLP can help you change your behavior, way of thinking, and communication with yourself and others. NLP has also been used to treat various problems—from phobias to schizophrenia.
The two biggest principles of NLP are that the map is not the territory and that life and mind are systemic processes. Any technique you learn in NLP is built on these principles, which allow us to understand better how the brain works—and thus change undesirable behaviors into more desirable ones.
1. The map is not the territory.
The map-territory metaphor illustrates how our mental constructs differ from the reality they attempt to describe.
For a map to be useful, it must contain enough detail that we can use it even when traveling through unfamiliar territory.
This means that, as people, we have no way to understand reality. Instead, we understand our perceptions of that reality, and those perceptions may be flawed.
We use our senses to map what we believe is there.
These maps are what determine our behavior, not reality itself.
So, if your map is skewed, you’ll behave in kind.
2. Life and mind are systemic processes.
This means that the things going on inside your mind and body, and between you and your environment, are connected and can’t be isolated. Trying to do so won’t result in success.
In other words, your mind and life are interconnected, so you can’t separate the mental from the physical, social, or emotional aspects. How people treat you and your environment influences your feelings about a situation.
How does NLP work for a survivor of narcissistic abuse?
It’s also highly effective for survivors of narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships during their healing and beyond.
NLP techniques focus on feelings and emotions, which are core aspects of narcissistic abuse. This is why NLP works so well for survivors of such relationships—its emphasis on these concepts makes dealing with trauma possible.
NLP applies to all aspects of life, from representing information and making decisions to interacting with others.
Why should you try NLP in narcissistic abuse recovery?
Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s best for us when we can’t see a way out. It may seem impossible to get away from the toxic person, but you can use NLP to change your life. (And then plan your escape!)
It can give you insight into your unconscious mind and tap into your deep-seated emotions, which can help you develop the power, confidence, and self-esteem narcissists often damage in their partners.
So, by using an anchoring technique to set off powerful feelings in yourself when you think about past experiences with your abuser, you can learn to control your reactions—and stop yourself from feeling bad about what happened.
Basic NLP Technique for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Anchoring
By applying an anchoring technique, you can learn to set off positive feelings in yourself and others at will—and eliminate negative emotions associated with past experiences.
Anchoring allows you to associate a feeling with a device, an object, a certain color, or even a specific type of music. When you experience the object again, it triggers the same feelings.
This can be helpful for survivors of narcissistic abuse because it allows them to create positive associations in their minds around the things they love and eliminate negative feelings associated with past experiences.
How to Quickly Create an NLP Anchor in 4 Easy Steps
1. Choose a goal.
Decide what problem you want to solve. For example, maybe you want to feel more confident to set better boundaries with the toxic people in your life.
Imagine how it will feel to achieve the goal you have set for yourself. (So, maybe you’ll feel stronger, happier, more sure of yourself, and more confident overall.)
Remember when you felt close to how you want to feel when you achieve that goal. It might just be an ordinary moment when you felt good about yourself or a more significant moment in your life.
3. Choose and configure your anchor device.
For instance, you can touch your thumb and forefinger together or make a fist to help keep yourself in the present.
Put yourself back in that moment. Take all the time you need to remember all the details of what you saw, heard, smelled, and felt when it happened.
Allow yourself to relive the experience as if you were there—don’t think about it objectively. You won’t feel better if you ignore your feelings.
Repeat the memory until you can vividly recall it.
4. Activate your anchor.
In this step, you link your anchor from Step 3 with the feeling created here to make a new association as strong and vivid as possible.
For example, touch your thumb and forefinger together as the confident feeling increases.
Release your thumb and forefinger when the feeling begins to subside.
If you’ve done this well, the anchor has been activated, and you’re ready for the next step.
5. Test your anchor.
For example, touch your thumb and forefinger together as you did while activating your anchor.
This time, pay attention to how you feel.
You should notice a change in your feeling.
If you don’t, repeat the process until you do.
If you’ve been successful, it should feel like the anchor has been activated and is ready to use whenever necessary.
And, if you used the example I gave, you can now trigger your confidence by touching your thumb and forefinger together anytime you like.
Narcissists make you feel like you’re worthless and act like they’re better than you and everyone else. They emotionally and psychologically abuse you and then pretend you’re crazy when you react like a normal human. Sound familiar?
Narcissists are manipulative, egotistical, and often cruel.
They get a feeling of superiority by making others feel inferior.
Why do narcissists often get away with their abuse?
Narcissists are experts at using emotional and psychological manipulation to get you to do what they want and to gain control over you. This makes them feel more secure, and when you become their primary source of narcissistic supply, it gives them a sort of emotional dumpster.
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.
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.
One of the hardest things about recovery from abuse is that physical wounds heal faster than emotional ones. Abusive relationships can be physical and emotional, making it difficult to heal if you are experiencing a physical injury.
Regardless of the type of abuse you’ve endured, ending a toxic relationship can be difficult and affect your mental health. You may find it difficult to cope with day-to-day activities, and you’ll most likely suffer from mild depression.
But some solutions can help make your life easier after ending an abusive relationship. In this post, we’ve provided seven valuable tips to help get your life in order while healing from your breakup.
1. Take Things Easy and Learn to Relax
After breaking up with your abusive partner, you may find that small tasks are difficult to do, especially if you’re suffering from depression. Something as simple as cooking a meal can be taxing. It’s important to take it easy and get the rest you deserve.
One of the ways you can relax is by allowing a company to make your meals for you. Read up on meal delivery service reviews to find a company that suits your needs. You can then spend more time getting the rest you need to heal from your breakup.
Furthermore, you can also find other ways to ease your stress, such as hiring someone to clean your home or getting a babysitter to help take care of your children for a few hours. You don’t have to take on life’s burdens alone. So get the right help so you can focus on moving forward.
2. Spend More Time with Friends and Family
The worst thing you can do after a breakup is to isolate yourself from your (healthy) loved ones. If you spend too much time alone, your mind will constantly be reminded of the abuse you endured, and you might ruminate.
Additionally, if you’ve filed a restraining order against an abusive ex, you should consider staying with friends or family until you feel safe. Ensure that you also have someone you trust on speed dial in case of an emergency.
3. Find Yourself Again
Sometimes after being in a toxic relationship for so long, you may not know how to cope on your own. You now have the freedom to enjoy life, but to find yourself again, you must:
One fun way to find yourself again is to revisit music or movies you used to love. Or finding your style and aesthetic that your ex-partner may not have approved of. Consider taking up a hobby as a healthy distraction and to keep your mind focused on something you enjoy.
Some trauma counselors specialize in helping people who’ve come out of extremely abusive relationships. Counseling can improve your mood and boost your self-esteem. Furthermore, you’ll learn to live a normal and healthy life again with advice from a professional counselor.
5. Consider Taking a Trip Away
After an abusive relationship, you may need a few days to clear your head and avoid unhealthy distractions. Consider taking time off so you can go on a short trip.
Maybe you can go camping for a weekend or stay in an Airbnb outside the city.
You may also feel safer being away from home because your ex-partner won’t know where you are. This gives you time to think about your future and how you will handle your breakup effectively.
6. Cut All Ties From Your Abusive Ex
The worst thing you can do when breaking up with a toxic partner is to keep in contact with them. They may try to lure you back into the relationship or go as far as threatening you.
Not accepting any messages from your ex’s friends or family
Not answering phone calls
It can be difficult to get over a breakup if you’re still in contact with your ex. You’ll take longer to heal from the trauma, which isn’t good for your mental health. So don’t accept phone calls or messages after the breakup.
7. Focus On Your Goals
The best way to get over a toxic breakup is to focus on your goals. Maybe you want to finish college or change career paths. You now have the freedom to do whatever you feel is good for your future without someone bringing you down. Use this time to focus on what you truly want out of life and go for it.
You can make your life easier after breaking up with an abusive ex. Use the tips in this article to help you through the process so you can take your life back!
Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored post.
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“You could be a really great and fabulous person, but if your method of communication with a woman doesn’t trigger her physical attraction by “pushing the right buttons,” you will only ever be “just a friend” in her eyes.” ~Sahara Sanders
And if you’re dealing with a narcissistic partner or close friend, this person became aware of the “buttons” or the triggers you had initially and then exploited them.
By doing so, they also learned the “layout” of your buttons; by now, they can push them in their sleep.
Why Narcissists Push Your Buttons
Narcissists become very knowledgeable about who we are and what makes us tick. They also know what to do when seeking a reaction from us – and perhaps more frustrating, they get narcissistic supply from driving you crazy.
For the record, emotional vampires are incredibly toxic people who drain us of our energy. Not all emotional vampires are narcissists, but they’ll all leave you feeling empty and emotionally exhausted.
They are like parasites who intentionally provoke our emotional reactions, allowing themselves to feed off our emotions, energy, and resources.
So, until you can finally go no contact and end the relationship with the malignant narcissist in your life, you’ve got to learn some new techniques to deal with it.
What to Do When the Narcissist is Pushing Your Buttons
So, how does a person with a reasonable amount of emotional intelligence deal with a narcissist?
Start with these tips on what you can do to remain cool, calm, and collected when the narcissist pushes your buttons and is waiting for a reaction.
Please note: These techniques are meant to be temporary measures to get along – and most survivors can only tolerate this behavior for so long before it causes longer-term damage.
On the plus side, when you regain control of your feelings, something else happens: you’re no longer being manipulated by the narcissist. Instead, it’s as if those buttons now activate themselves—you’ve re-wired them!
Did you know that the scapegoat in the family is often the first to see the truth about what’s happening in the family? It’s true – and there are several reasons why. Before we discuss the reasons, let’s ensure we’re on the same page by defining a scapegoat.
What is a scapegoat in a toxic family?
When it comes to toxic families, the scapegoat is the person who is most often blamed for anything that goes wrong, even when they’re not directly involved.
Because the scapegoated family member is portrayed as the “problem child,” the other family members, even those who would not otherwise be abusive, will take part in abusing the scapegoat.
And a lot of times, the scapegoat will find themselves falling into the role by doubting their own worthiness and beginning to believe that they really are intrinsically wrong.
What happens when the scapegoat tries to tell the rest of the family about their discovery?
In some cases, the other family members might be willing to acknowledge the issues.
But in most cases, they won’t admit what’s happening, either because they benefit from it or because they just can’t see it and are stuck in the narrative that the scapegoat is a walking problem.
The truth is that if the scapegoat’s abuse benefits them in some way, most family members don’t want to know, and they refuse to acknowledge the truth either because they are enablers or don’t want to deal with it the unpleasantness of it all.
An Example of the Scapegoat Archetype
One example of a scapegoat can be seen in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1852 novel The Scarlet Letter, in which Pearl Prynne is a perfect example of the scapegoat archetype.
In the novel, the townspeople see Pearl as an incarnation of Hester Prynne’s sin and punish her for it—even though she had nothing to do with her mother’s misdeeds.
What else would you expect? From very early in their lives, scapegoats are taught they’re worthless and cause all family problems.
The bad news is that some scapegoats never realize the truth.
The good news? Many will experience the scapegoat awakening.
What is the Scapegoat Awakening?
While you might imagine something like an “awakening” would be a huge deal, and you’d come out of such a realization with some kind of new clarity, it’s not all that dramatic and profound.
It can be considered an awakening when you realize something isn’t what you thought.
So, when the scapegoat recognizes that they’re NOT the entire world’s biggest piece of poo, they have had their awakening.
But that’s not what matters here; what’s important is what they do next.
How does the scapegoat awakening happen?
We know scapegoats are often the first family members to see something wrong.
This is partly because they’re often worn down from being scapegoated and made to feel like everything’s their fault.
It is so emotionally exhausting that many scapegoats actually start to believe that they are the problem.
This will often lead them to start researching – except they’re not researching what’s wrong with the family.
That was true for me.
If they’re anything like I was, the scapegoat begins by looking for answers to what is wrong with THEM, not the people doing the scapegoating.
How does being the scapegoat affect you long term?
The narcissist’s toxic family structure is typically characterized by chaos and dysfunction. The narcissist will use their partner or child as a scapegoat for the narcissist’s own feelings of inadequacy and lack of control.
This is confirmed by Mandeville, who explains that in her professional experience, “the rejecting, shaming, and otherwise non-nurturing, harmful, and abusive family environment my clients grew up in (and had no means of escaping from) has actually contributed to their experiencing symptoms of Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD – which is also known as complex trauma disorder) secondary to chronic parental / family psycho-emotional (and at times physical) abuse.”
You must remember that narcissists rely on their family members to meet their need for narcissistic supply – and before the “awakening,” a scapegoat will do anything to please the narcissist.
If you were your family’s scapegoat, you’ll be able to relate to this discussion, in which Lise Colucci and I talk about being the scapegoat and what happens when the scapegoat in a family situation recognizes that there’s a problem in the family.
This might involve a narcissistic parent and/or several other toxic elements.
Also discussed is how to recognize and acknowledge when there is a narcissist in a primary role and how the scapegoat interacts with the other roles (such as the golden one, the lost one, the invisible one, the funny one, etc.).
Plus: how siblings or other family members may react and choose to stick with the narcissist and their enablers and deny the reality the family is dealing with, including how they keep secrets from (and for) the toxic people and how the scapegoat is most commonly alienated and actively put down, among other things.
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