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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Quarantined with a Narcissist? Quick & Dirty Tips to Help You Survive With Less Stress

Quarantined with a Narcissist? Quick & Dirty Tips to Help You Survive With Less Stress

Stuck at Home with a Narcissist During the CoVID19 Quarantine? Here’s How to Deal and What to Expect

Are you stuck at home with a narcissist during this difficult time? If you are, then you’ll need tips on how to deal and what to expect. This video offers you the honest truth about what you can expect as well as tips and ideas on how to deal with the narcissist’s manipulation and gaslighting in the moment, and more.

Self-Help Tips for Controlling Panic Attacks in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Self-Help Tips for Controlling Panic Attacks in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

How To Control Panic Attacks (For Toxic Relationship Survivors) – The AWARE Method for Overcoming Panic Attacks (Actionable Self-Help Tips)

All of us experience anxiety from time to time but this is especially true for people who have been in toxic relationships with narcissists. And, it’s tougher when it evolves into a full anxiety attack or a panic attack. This is something that most of us will experience at some time in our lives and that can ultimately become crippling as you worry that heading out into public spaces could result in fainting, or that falling asleep could trigger an episode.

Fortunately, there are ways to treat panic attacks and with the right approach, these methods can be highly effective at getting the problem under control and even preventing them altogether. One such option is to use the ‘AWARE’ strategy.

What is AWARE?

AWARE is an acronym that stands for:

  • Acknowledge and Accept
  • Wait and watch
  • Actions to make yourself comfortable
  • Repeat
  • End

Each of these parts is described in detail in this video.

The key to this is essentially to accept that the attack is happening and not to try and ‘fight it’. Instead, you simply acknowledge it and then ‘watch’ it as you go about your business as usual. The very best way to fight a panic attack? To continue acting as though it’s not happening.

When you first notice a panic attack begin, you will find that the symptoms can be somewhat similar to what you imagine a heart attack to be like.

As you may expect, this in itself can be a highly distressing prospect and actually creates much more anxiety. Other people are actually afraid of anxiety attacks themselves because they dislike the experience so much.

Thus it’s common to start worrying about the panic attack itself as well as whatever triggered it. It’s this subsequent panic that can lead to escalation and ultimately result in the individual passing out of collapsing.

And this, in turn, is why it’s so important not to try and ‘combat’ the effects of a panic attack through sheer will. Instead, by ignoring the panic attack, by recognizing it for what it is and by being comfortable and allowing it to run its course you can actually find that it goes away much more quickly. What’s more, is that once you lose the fear of the symptoms, it will eventually stop happening altogether.

Of course, it is still important to try and remove yourself from any potential danger – which may mean pulling over if you are driving or removing yourself from a public space. Be sure to see your doctor before using any self-help tips you find here or anywhere on the internet.

Why ‘Fake It Til Ya Make It’ Isn’t Always Great Advice

Why ‘Fake It Til Ya Make It’ Isn’t Always Great Advice


Faking Happiness? Why You Need to Stop It, Right Now!

Want to Level Up Your Life? Quit Faking Happiness! YOU really can be happy and fulfilled after a toxic relationship with a narcissist.

Quit Faking Happiness and Learn How to Live Authentically

Many people are content with the lives that they lead on the surface, but deep down, crave something totally different. The most common excuse is that “they could have it worse, so there’s no point in complaining.” You have to be happy by your own standards. If you’re not happy working 9 to 5 at your office job, then make a change in your life. If you want freedom from a corporate job and want to start your own online business, go for it!

Don’t settle for a mediocre lifestyle and pardon it just because “things could be worse.” Of course, things could be worse. You could be homeless, crippled, starving, and tons of other unfortunate things. Don’t let that stop you from doing what you dream of – always strive for the best of the best.

Become that person you always daydream of being, because it’s attainable. The only thing holding you back from achieving these dreams is yourself. The people around you can’t control who you are or what you find happiness in doing.

You have to set your own goals and, more importantly, strive to achieve them. By feigning happiness, you’re barely fooling the people around you, but you can never fool yourself.

You’ll always have that feeling that you’re not content, or that you wish you were somewhere else in life. Everyone else might think you’re pretty happy doing what you’re doing, but you know the truth.

Even some of the people closest to you might see through your façade and realize that you’re feeling stuck. If you let it be known that you’re looking for a change in your life, those opportunities are more likely to present themselves.

The most important part of living a wholesome life is knowing what you want out of this world. Don’t try to convince yourself that stocking shelves at a grocery store is what you want.

If you want to see every corner of the world, you should strive to accomplish that, because at the end of the day, you’ll feel much more accomplished than you would living your typical, everyday life that helps make ends meet, but doesn’t do anything to contribute toward your personal satisfaction.

When you finally accomplish whatever goal you’re working towards, you can tell people that you’re happy and actually feel that way deep down. It will be refreshing to be truthful about your life.

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.

Get personal support in your narcissistic abuse recovery.

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