If you’ve been through a toxic relationship with a narcissist, chances are that when it’s all said and done, you might look around and find that you’re all alone – most of your friends and close family members have been pushed away.
And then once we are ready to change our lives, we find that our friends have moved on without us – and sometimes, in ways that don’t necessarily make it easy to reconnect – stuff like marriages, children, jobs and moving house can really change a person’s life and priority list – and chances are, you’re already well-aware of it.
Of course you feel like you’re on your own, especially if you’re transitioning through a divorce or even just a change in job or the loss of a friendship or other close relationship – and going no contact in general is very tough at the beginning – you really NEED people around you to connect with and begin to rediscover life with, right?
And whether you have a job or you work at home, you might prefer to make friends OUTSIDE of work. So how do you do THAT?
13 Strategies for Making Friends Outside of Work
Don’t get me wrong, here – there are benefits to becoming friends with the people you work with. And sure, it’s convenient to hang out with your coworkers – but you may also want to make friends outside of work. However, as I’m sure you’re aware, that’s more easily said than done for many adults.
The good news? The friendships you make later in life could even be more fulfilling than those you made when you were younger – especially if you choose them intentionally. So hey, enrich your life by trying these strategies for developing relationships outside the office.
Online Strategies for Making Friends Outside Of Work:
Proceed gradually. Just like dating online, looking for digital friends can be successful as long as you’re careful and realistic. Spend time getting to know each other. Meet in public places if you decide to make contact in person.
Try Meetup.com. New apps for making friends are popping up regularly, but Meetup is still one of the most effective. Create an account, list your interests, and join groups where you’ll be surrounded by like-minded souls.
Go Next Door. Proximity is a main ingredient for many relationships, so it’s strategic to search nearby. Next Door is a platform where you can chat with your neighbors and find out about local happenings.
Use hashtags. If you have a passion for French cooking or paddle boarding, you might find companions by discussing your interests online. Using hashtags can help you reach others who are searching for the same topics.
Offline Strategies for Making Friends Outside Of Work:
Build your confidence. Of course, face-to-face communications create a stronger basis for relationships. Motivate yourself to take risks and reach out. Focus on your strengths and positive qualities. Remember that others are looking for friends too.
Spread the word. Let others know that you want to expand your social circle. Your current friends and family may be able to introduce you to their contacts or make other suggestions geared toward your interests and personality.
Follow up. How many times have you traded phone numbers with an interesting acquaintance without taking the next step? Set a goal to invite 2 or 3 new contacts out for lunch or coffee each month.
Walk around. You discover more opportunities for conversation when you leave your car behind. Stroll around your neighborhood or ride your bike. Walking a dog is a great icebreaker.
Take classes. Sign up for courses at a local university or community center. You’ll have something in common with the other students and you’ll see them regularly.
Throw parties. Extend your hospitality. Host a backyard barbecue and encourage guests to bring their friends. Volunteer for a committee to organize a block party or house concert.
Drink coffee. Find a coffee shop with an atmosphere you like. Become a regular and visit at the same time each day.
Play sports. Physical activity promotes bonding too. Research amateur sports leagues in your area or join a gym.
Practice spirituality. Your church or other spiritual centers can help you find a community based on your values and beliefs. Check the calendar for discussion groups, social activities, and volunteer events.
Making friends outside of the office can be challenging, but the rewards are great. Build a secure social network that will survive job changes and contribute to your health and happiness.
Still feeling lost? Here are a few more resources to help you make friends and nurture existing friendships after narcissistic abuse and toxic relationships.
These are a few tips to use when practicing Reiki self-healing:
1. Identify your ailment. While utilizing all the Reiki positions can be beneficial, targeting a specific area can expedite the healing process.
2. Touch your body only lightly with your fingertips or keep them hovering right above your skin. The energy flow is what is being channeled, so the actual touching of your body is unnecessary.
3. Cover your eyes by cupping your hands. This position heals sinus ailments that can be found in ear, nose, and throat, and in addition, eases stress.
4. Improve concentration by placing your palms over your temples.
5. Focus on your ears which, as with acupuncture, heal a lot of ailments. Cup your hands over your ears for this position.
6. Express yourself more clearly and ease your throat by hovering (not touch!) your hands and fingers over your throat.
7. Aid in asthma issues by placing your hands, palms facing in, over your chest. Your fingertips should be touching and your wrists should be at a ninety-degree angle to your body.
8. Control and improve digestion by placing your hands over your abdomen. This position is similar to the previous step but your hands should be about six inches further down your body.
9. Treat depression by holding your hands over your naval area. Your fingertips should be touching directly over your naval.
10. Relieve your body of sexual dysfunction, both emotional and physical, by positioning your hands over your pubic bone. Your fingertips should be pointing toward the opposite foot.
11. Treat your relationship issues by holding your hands over your lower back. The tips of your fingers should be pointed down and your wrists should be about equal to your waistline.
12. Concentrate on your feet to treat most areas of the body at the same time, as all your organs and chakras are centered in your feet. Hold one foot with both hands, one hand covering the bottom of the foot and one hand resting on top.
As a narcissistic abuse survivor, do you ever find yourself feeling like you’ve completely lost control? Do you worry about everything, even the things you can’t do anything to change or control?
If you’re anything like I used to be, you might even find yourself feeling sick with worry sometimes. It doesn’t mean you’re bad or wrong – it just means you’re normal and that you’re not alone. Many survivors of narcissistic abuse find themselves overcome with worries, thanks in part to the abuse they’ve suffered.
Worrying is a habit that many of us believe is helpful in some way, but the fact is that that worrying only has a negative effect – and that is especially true when we’re worried about things that we have no ability to affect.
Worry less and live more with these strategies:
1. Put your worries in perspective. I know how it feels to worry, believe me. And when you’re dealing with a toxic person, worries can overwhelm you really quickly. But try to shift your perspective a bit here – this is something you CAN control! You are in charge of how you see yourself and how you choose to perceive the situations in your life. For example, if you’re still in a relationship with a toxic narcissist, you may be worrying about how you’re going to get out. Instead of focusing on the worry, focus on empowering yourself with a plan to escape and on how you’re going to live your new, narcissist-free life! Or, if you’re worried about something like your weight, stop focusing on worrying about it and start doing something to change your situation right away – stand up right now and do 10 jumping jacks, or maybe get online and research more effective ways to eat healthier.
2. Expect good things to happen.Going through narcissistic abuse makes you pretty pessimistic if you think about it. After all, every day you spend with a narcissist feels like your own personal hell – right? But here’s the thing: now that you’re moving on (or preparing to), you need to stop expecting the worst and start expecting the BEST. Seriously. The fact is that you can’t worry if you expect a positive outcome. When you assume things will turn out poorly, they often do. If you need to, make sure you’re as prepared for the worst as you can be- but be optimistic. Your worry isn’t going to change anything.
3. Understand what is and isn’t under your control. We spend a lot of time worrying about things we can’t change. What’s the point? Do what you can to mitigate your risk and then see what happens. Let go of the things you can’t control. For me, learning this stuff was a HUGE factor in creating positive personal change in my own life. The moment I gave myself permission to stop worrying about things I couldn’t control, I instantly felt a sense of relief and my life seemed to be so much less painful. This intentional practice is SO powerful when you enact it! (If this sounds like something you’d like to try, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this article and try the journaling exercise I wrote for you).
4. Stay grounded in the present moment. It’s all about being mindful. Mindfulness is another (free!) powerful tool that we can use as survivors of narcissistic abuse. For the duration of our toxic relationships, we spent so much time feeling helpless and out of control that many of us found ourselves sort of living in our own heads. But if you intentionally change that and bring yourself into the present moment, you’ll find that your worries can disappear. Do this by paying attention to what you’re doing right now. Avoid thinking about tomorrow if it stresses you out. Use pattern interrupts if you need to do that to stay focused. Make the best use of your time each moment and the future will take care of itself. This video offers ideas on how to use pattern interrupts to your advantage.
5. Practice gratitude. I know that it feels like we don’t have a lot to be grateful for sometimes – especially when we’re still dealing with a toxic person in our lives, but those are the times when it may be most important to practice gratitude. When you realize how much you do have to be grateful for, the future isn’t as scary somehow. Remind yourself of how good your life is already, even if you start with things like “I’m grateful I woke up today.” You’ll worry less.
Remember: Gratitude is a habit. Take a moment each day and mentally list the things that you’re grateful for. This can do more to enhance your perspective than you think. I like to use my own gratitude practice as part of my intentional vibration management. Try starting your own gratitude journal. Want more information? This video will explain more about that and offer you tips on how to manage your own vibrations intentionally.
7. Look at the facts first. Statistically speaking, we worry about way more than we need to – or at least, more than we should. The fact is that you’ve probably worried about a lot of things over the course of your life, right? How many of them actually came true? And how often did you worry about things that you had no ability to control or even affect? You’ll likely discover that most of your worry was inaccurate or unnecessary.
Most of the things we worry about never happen. And even if they do, it’s not nearly as awful as we anticipate. Conclusion: Any time spent worrying is wasted time. If there’s something you can do to resolve the situation, just fix it. Life is short and worrying detracts greatly from life. Work to minimize the amount of time you spend worrying each day. You’ll enjoy life more, you’ll be less stressed, and you’ll be one step closer to living your very best life!
Stop Worrying Journaling Exercise
Ready to take your narcissistic abuse recovery to the next level? Grab your journal and do the following exercise. If you prefer, you can just consider the questions and meditate on them instead.
Take a moment to think about how much time you spend worrying each day. Has any of that worrying ever accomplished anything positive in your life?
Think about the things you worry about. Make a list of your concerns.
Evaluate your worries. Go back to your list and decide which of your worries are under your own control – as in, are there things you can do to change the outcome of the situation you’re worried about? If the answer is yes, take a minute to write down the actions you can take to change or affect the situation. If the answer is no, cross the worry off your list.
Imagine what you could do with all of that time and energy. Imagine how much happier and comfortable you would be if you could minimize the amount of time you spend worrying each day. What would it mean for you? How would your life look if you didn’t have so many worries? Take a few minutes to write down your ideas.
“Take the power to control your own life. Take the power to make your life happy.” ~Susan Polis Schutz
The end of a toxic relationship can feel like the end of the world. While we all understand logically that maybe it’s for the best, the pain and fear that come with this kind of change can feel unbearable – our emotional side takes a while to catch up, to say the very least.
So, you have a couple of choices here. Once you have taken the time to recognize and release your emotions (which you’ll need to do if you’re going to heal, especially since most toxic partners cause us to keep our emotions buried during the relationship due to ridicule, invalidation and intolerance), what’s next? How do you get a fresh start and truly begin to create the life you want?
The trick is to take the lessons you can, and to leave the rest behind – and then springboard into a new life.
You can reinvent yourself. Now that you’re free, you have the opportunity to write a new chapter in your life. To become whomever and whatever you want. To design your life with full intention. Imagine the possibilities!
What will you decide to do with this opportunity?
Take your life to a new level after the end of your toxic relationship with these tips.
Clean house. Take all of those photographs, love letters, mementos, gifts, and so on and pitch them in the trash. If you’re tempted to keep them for sentimental reasons, consider your ex-partner from three relationships ago. Do you still have anything remaining from that relationship? If you just can’t let go of those items yet, put them all in a box and put the box in the basement or garage. You can throw them away another day. Someday, you’ll be surprised that you ever wanted to keep any of it.
Check your health. Now is a good time to start that workout program you have been considering to make some positive changes to your body. Exercise will uplift your mood too. Lift weights, go running, join a yoga studio, or play tennis. The activity doesn’t matter as long as you get some exercise and move onward and upward. Personally, I’m all about just walking with my music in my ears or dancing around the house like no one is watching (usually when no one IS actually watching, if I’m being honest – I’m a terrible dancer!)
Start at least one new activity. There are plenty of things you’d like to do but haven’t yet. It’s time to start doing one of them. Join a softball team or a dance studio. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, as long as you like it. Hopefully, it will be an activity that includes other people.
Evaluate yourself and your toxic relationship. Take a short period of time and examine your toxic relationship. There’s no point in repeating mistakes in the future. Figure out what went wrong and how you can avoid a similar fate. Understand how you can overcome this in the future and work on your self-confidence so you can set better boundaries. Give yourself permission to unconditionally accept yourself and to set boundaries that feel right to you – not boundaries that someone else sets for you.
Give yourself a total makeover! A lot of toxic partners control our behavior and our appearance – we aren’t allowed to wear makeup or cut our hair, or maybe we’re made to wear a certain type of style. Either way, freshening up your look can help! Change things up a little bit. Get a fresh start by updating your wardrobe, coloring your hair or even getting a fresh new cut. You’ll feel better. It’s like a new beginning that all the world can see.
Reconnect with old friends. When you’re in any romantic relationship, other relationships can suffer. And narcissists tend to isolate us from the people we’re close to anyway – it allows them to control us better. Now that you’re free, it’s time to reconnect with old friends and create some new memories. Make it a point to contact everyone you’ve lost touch with. Maybe a group dinner is in order.
Learn something new. It’s fulfilling to grow in a meaningful way. You’ve been living for someone else for too long – and chances are that the narcissist controlled both your time and your choices. You may have even been ridiculed for the interests and hobbies you wanted to indulge in. So now that no one is judging and controlling you, why not pick something that interests you and develop yourself? You might want to learn how to play the piano, paint, or skydive. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to dance. Make it happen.
Take a trip. Get away by yourself or with a friend and explore someplace new. It can be a great start to a new life, and it can be very freeing for someone who has been living under pressure with a narcissist for so long. Where would you like to go? Think outside the box and be daring. Go get your passport if you don’t already have one. The world is your oyster.
Spend casual time with a variety of people, instead of focusing all of your energy on one person. Try dating people you normally wouldn’t. Maybe you’ve just been dating the wrong people in the past. Keep it fun and simple. Tip: Wait until you’re feeling strong and healed before jumping into a new relationship. Personally, I chose to wait a year after my divorce to ensure that I was really healed and ready to open my heart to someone new. You can wait longer or for less time, but it helps to sort of give yourself a pre-determined time-limit so you can avoid jumping into something you’re not ready for without thinking.
Make the most of your newfound freedom and take some time to make a few modifications to yourself and your life. Try some new activities and reach out to your old friends.
Your life might just become the best it’s ever been.
“People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.” ~Thomas Szasz
Do you know who you are? Do you know what you believe? One of the biggest complaints I hear from survivors of narcissistic abuse as they progress in their recovery is that they don’t feel like they even know who they are anymore – and in some cases, they never did.
That’s because, while you may have had your own identity before you met the narcissist, over time, “you” disappeared and your identity became whatever the narcissist wanted it to be – often, an extension of him or her self.
Add in the fact that narcissists really don’t have an identity of their own and that they often sort of leech off of yours, or whomever the “flavor of the moment” happens to be – and well, you’re left spinning when the relationship ends. You aren’t sure where you end and the narcissist begins – or you just feel like “nothing” – like you don’t matter and you’re not important.
This is a normal perception for people who have been in abusive relationships, but it’s not accurate. You ARE important and you DO matter. And you’re right about the fact that the narcissist tried to completely erase your identity. However, unlike the narcissist, YOU will be able to find your true identity, because it’s still in there somewhere.
I told a story a few years ago about how I had gone through a bit of an existential crisis after going no contact with one of the primary narcissists in my own life. You can read that here, but the gist of it was that I had all of these inaccurate beliefs and off-base ideas in my head that had been sort of planted there by this person. It turned out that in many cases, I didn’t actually believe what I thought I believed. This, for me, was the first step in really taking back my identity: I had to release limiting beliefs that were holding me back.
Are you struggling with limiting beliefs, too?
Narcissists love to keep you “stuck” and one of their most effective ways of doing this is to gaslight and manipulate you into thinking you’re worthless. This negative mindset is reinforced with nearly every interaction you have with them. When you’re ready to take back your life, one of the most important things you can do is to release those “wrong” perceptions and to create new, healthier ones – and then to operate from there.
So, in a nutshell, you need to by-pass the negative mindset that you’ve adopted and shift to optimism and positivity. That’s because what you attract into your life is highly dependent on what you think and talk about most of the time, as well as the beliefs that you hold in your mind. This means that being positive (and intentionally choosing/curating your beliefs and understandings about yourself and the world around you) will attract more positive experiences and outcomes in your life, while negativity will attract more of the opposite. Implementing a practice of repeating positive affirmations every day can help you attract and manifest everything you desire in life.
You can also use my favorite practice of writing down or reciting to yourself 10 things you’re grateful for and 3 things you love about yourself – it’s the ultimate “vibe changer” – I call this intentional vibration management. I discuss that concept in more detail in this video.
Once you’ve released your limiting beliefs, you can start working on sort of “filling your vessel” or deciding what it is you really want for yourself and your life. Figuring out who you are and what you need to do in order to have a fulfilling life could be the most important and satisfying questions you’ll ever answer – and this is true no matter what your age and no matter where you are in your own narcissistic abuse recovery.
So how do you “find yourself” after a toxic relationship? How do you decide who you are and who you truly want to be?
Start here: try these suggestions to guide you in your search.
Clarify your values. Knowing your values helps you to make sound decisions and prioritize your activities. Consider how your values relate to your daily life. Look for opportunities to live in agreement with them. Summarize your philosophy into a personal values statement you can refer to when needed.
Understand your strengths. Do you know where your talents lie and what you feel passionate about? You’ll accomplish greater things with less stress when you choose a path that lets you leverage your main assets.
Build support. Finding yourself is tough work. You’ll need a sturdy network of family, friends, and colleagues you can rely on for advice and support. Being generous about sharing your resources with others increases the likelihood that they’ll want to do the same for you. **Note: since a lot of survivors of abuse find themselves isolated and removed from friends and family during the abuse, we often find ourselves feeling pretty alone afterward. That’s why I’ve created the SPANily, which includes several free online support groups and offers a great way for you to start building your own support network with people who truly understand where you are and where you’ve been.
Create flow states. What activities boost your energy levels and make you lose track of time? Whether you love playing the piano or solving physics equations, chances are these flow states will suggest the fields in which you can excel. I discussed the flow state for survivors in this video if you’d like some additional context.
5. Set goals. Having a destination in mind guides your steps and keeps you on track. Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years?
Finding and Accepting Your Truths
Listen to yourself. Finding yourself is about living authentically. Pay attention to what your mind and body are telling you. Notice when you feel engaged and when you feel lost. Is there a pattern behind these situations? You have to learn how to trust yourself again! I made a video about that – you can check that out right here.
Accept your feelings. Acknowledge your emotions, even when they cause you discomfort. Trying to suppress the truth will backfire and produce more stress. When you accept your anger or sorrow, you can start thinking about positive options for dealing with it. Remember that during your abuse, your feelings were likely invalidated consistently. This is why it’s so important that you accept (and validate) your own feelings during recovery – because they do matter and they are worth having.
Ask your friends. While you’re cultivating self-knowledge, you may benefit from listening to how others view you. Their feedback may point out the qualities and habits that you overlook.
Read literature. Observing how characters in movies and novels behave may teach you how to handle similar events in your own life. You may find yourself viewing a long-standing conflict in a new light or experimenting with a different way of responding.
Welcome new experiences. Breaking out of your comfort zone is bound to reveal surprising facets of your personality. Taking an exotic vacation or leading a pilot project at work may inspire you to plan a bigger transformation.
Get spiritual. For many adults, spiritual beliefs play an essential role in defining themselves and their goals. If your faith or spirituality is central to your life, study the scriptures in your tradition, talk with other members of your community, and put your beliefs into action. If you’re not already involved with a particular brand of spirituality, now is a good time to start thinking about what resonates with you. Whether you’re into traditional religion, science or something else, get clear on what feels spiritual to you.
Finding yourself is an ongoing process that lasts a lifetime. Remember that you didn’t “lose yourself” overnight – and that it might take time to fully embrace who you are and to step into your power. But being willing to discover the truth about yourself and to accept yourself unconditionally, flaws and all, is the first step you need to take.
I realize that the idea of unconditional self-acceptance and unconditional self-love is foreign to most survivors of narcissistic abuse, so I am also going to share this video with you, where I offer some tips on how to develop rock-solid self-confidence that leads to unapologetic, unconditional self-acceptance and self-love.
You can do this. If you’re still feeling confused and don’t know where to begin, consider downloading my free “Life Reset Button,” which will help you to really dig in and discover your true passion and purpose in life. Are you ready?
Having a harmonious relationship in the workplace is essential to make your company more efficient and productive. However, since there are a lot of people that you’ll be working with, sometimes you’ll encounter an individual that is difficult to handle, especially if your employees are complaining about him. This can have a negative impact on your employees’ performance.
As a manager, you have to address this issue. Here are some tips on how you can empower your employees, especially if they have a colleague that is difficult to handle:
Be open for consultation
If you want to resolve this workplace issue, you have to know first the concerns of your employees with this particular person. This is essential so that you’ll determine the best strategies you can employ to keep your employees performing better and prevent them from being distracted.
Letting your employees know that you are open to listen to their problems, complaints, and concerns will help them become empowered. Moreover, you have to give them comforting words and proper advice so that they can handle the situation properly, especially if they need to work with the problematic person involved closely.
Give your employees recognition
One effective strategy when you want your employees to feel empowered is to recognize their efforts, even the smallest one.
Employee recognition should not be limited to brilliant ideas raised in the meeting or a great achievement that helped the company reached its goal. It can also be as simple as a slight improvement in his performance and even making an effort to reach out or resolve an issue involved with the individual he’s having trouble working with.
Giving your employees recognition even in the form of a small gesture will create a significant impact on them. It will keep them motivated, and therefore, they will do better in accomplishing their respective job responsibilities. It will also boost their morale as a valued employee of your company./ This will give a positive effect on their overall well-being.
Give them a little reward from time to time
Reward system is an effective approach to empower your employees. This will make them feel that the management appreciates their continuous efforts for the company. And the best form of reward is food. You can organize a small gathering during lunchtime, or coffee breaks, and treat them with small meals. You can order using HeyYou since it’s hassle-free and the food will be delivered right at your office door.
You can also give them time off as a reward. Employees that are awarded a vacation break or even a day off tend to be more empowered and motivated after they report back to work. Taking a break is vital to every employee, and giving them off from work will also show that you’re concerned as an employer.
Establish camaraderie and team-building efforts
The best way to empower your employees, especially if they have to handle a situation that they need to work with their colleagues they like the least, is to improve their professional relationship. It’s not your responsibility to establish friendships among your employees, but your objective is to kill the tension between the problematic person and the one who’s complaining.
You can do this by conducting team activities that will make them involved, and there will be no choice but to interact. A successful team building tasks, even when done in the workplace, can remove the tension between coworkers. Sometimes the problem between employees may stem from a lack of communication or just a slight misunderstanding.
Building camaraderie and engaging your employees to work together will not just empower them as an individual but as a whole team. Also, giving your employees an opportunity to work together and making actual interactions can break negative impressions and tension.
Be a friend and not just an employer
The best strategy to empower your employees is to establish trust and friendship. Sometimes, your employees will tend to build a wall between the two of you because of the work hierarchy. Try eliminating that perception and establish that they can see you as a friend, not just their manager/boss. Sometimes, when two individual is having difficulty working together, all they need is a friend that will bridge their gap to resolve the issue between them.
If you want to empower your employees, an essential factor you have to consider is improving their social relationships with their coworkers.
Having a conflict with their colleagues can hinder their professional growth and productivity.
Follow these tips to resolve this kind of issue in the workplace so that your employees are always motivated and empowered. This will reflect on the company’s productivity.