Recent FAQ on Narcissistic Abuse Recovery at QueenBeeing

Recent FAQ on Narcissistic Abuse Recovery at QueenBeeing

After a recent poll of my email subscribers, I noticed a few commonly asked questions and thought I’d share the answers with you as well. (Though, if you are one of my email insiders who completed the survey, you may have already seen this. If you aren’t, you can claim your spot on the inside right here). I’ll even give you some helpful free stuff when you do.

If you don’t see the answer to your most pressing questions below, please check out my FAQ pages as well – I’ve got a surprising amount of information covered there, too.

Without further delay, here are the answers to the 9 most recent frequently asked questions about QueenBeeing Narcissistic Abuse Recovery.

Q. Can you start publishing the transcripts with your videos?

A. I recently started doing exactly that. Check out my Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Blog and let me know your thoughts!

Q. Can I email you my questions and expect to receive an answer?

A. If I’m being honest, I get hundreds of emails every day. There is just no way I can possibly answer all of the questions that come my way, especially when sometimes people send me lengthy stories that I need to read to understand what they are going through. I DO try to answer as many emails and messages as I can, but it’s really hard for me, and I don’t currently have anyone who can help me with certain types of questions. This leads me to three suggestions for you:

  • First, if you keep your question to one paragraph or less (say, no more than 350 words), I am far more likely to catch and respond to your question.
  • Second, if your question is about something like an appointment, a group, a class/course or where to find something, you can always email my office manager Melina, at [email protected]. If she doesn’t know the answer, she’ll know where to find it.
  • One last tip: use your search bar in Google and/or YouTube and type your question along with my name (for example, you might type something like, “angie atkinson what is gaslighting?” to be directed to both my YouTube videos and/or my QueenBeeing blog posts on this topic. I have done a LOT of work in this field and a lot of people are surprised that this simple tip will often get them the answers they have been seeking. (It could save you time, anyway!)

Q. Why did you name your website “QueenBeeing” anyway? Isn’t that kind of narcissistic?

A. Well, it all started with my own need to feel powerful. (Click here to read my story) This made-up word “QueenBeeing” felt powerful to me. There is a lot of symbolism in it for me (read about that here). In fact, you might say it’s a whole art form – or at least a lifestyle. You can read about the Art of QueenBeeing here and see if it feels like a fit for you. Once you’ve read my reasons, I don’t think you’ll feel like it’s so narcissistic after all. It’s more about reclaiming personal power than anything else.

Q. I wish there were other ways to be part of the community. I am not on Facebook or any other social media, but I would like to be part of a group like you have on Facebook. Am I right that I would have to pay to subscribe to be part of a non Facebook group? I am not sure what my options are.

A. I totally understand. You’re right that the free groups are primarily Facebook based and I know that doesn’t work for everyone. However, I do have an off-Facebook option at MySpanily.com that is available. It does cost $3.99 per month as it costs me money to keep it up and running. However, if you are in a position where you cannot afford $3.99 per month and you really need the off-Facebook support, please let us know – I’ll gift you a membership. I want to support everyone I can and this is one place I am able to bend a little, and I do when someone needs the help.

Please Note: if you want to help cover the costs of memberships for people who can’t afford them, you can submit donations to my PayPal account under [email protected]. You’ll see my business name, BlissFireMedia, LLC – don’t worry, that’s me.

Q. I would like to see real survivors giving video testimonials about their abuse and life with their narcissists, how they managed to leave and start over, how things went for them and what steps they had to take to get to where they are now, and what their life has been like, since; ways it’s improved and ways in which it has deteriorated. Maybe a once weekly slot that a survivor volunteers to fill and allows to show on your site​.

A. This is an excellent idea! The only issue is that a lot of survivors don’t want to put their faces on camera. However, I would be thrilled to work with anyone who would be willing to share their stories on camera. If you’re one of those people, let us know and we’ll send you instructions on what to do. And don’t forget that we do have a whole section of survivor stories on QueenBeeing.com. I would LOVE to help you share your story too! You can learn more and submit your own written story here, if you’re interested. It may take a couple of weeks to get published, but we do our best to say on top of entries.​

Q. Perhaps you have it already, but I’m looking a place to reach out for counseling. I am seeking one on one.

A. I do offer one-on-one narcissistic abuse recovery coaching, as do my fellow coaches. You can learn more and schedule an appointment by clicking right here. We also offer group coaching and many free support groups, if you’re interested. Learn more about that right here.

Q Could you offer more courses on Udemy?  Could you offer more learning courses anywhere online?​ 

A. I’ll consider adding more courses to my Udemy selection (I just noticed the two I have there are currently part of a huge sale Udemy is having!), but in the meantime, you might want to visit Life Makeover Academy – I have TONS of free and paid courses there for you. If you have a course topic you don’t see over at LMA that you’d like me to create, please let me know! Like I said, I want to do whatever I can to serve you.

Q. Is there a way to find content for me personally, for just the stage of recovery I’m in right now? 

A. Yes, I have a little quiz you can take to figure out where you are in the recovery process (click here to try it) and your results will direct you to some resources specifically for you. If you already know which recovery phase you are in, you can click here to find the resources you need. I’ll keep working on making this easier for you to find and always appreciate your ideas and thoughts on this stuff – please let me know if you have any thoughts on how I can make everything easier to find for you.

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.

Recognizing and Overcoming the Pink Cloud in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Recognizing and Overcoming the Pink Cloud in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery


We’ve talked before about how the trauma bonds we develop with narcissists affect the same part of the brain as any other addiction. We are literally addicted to our toxic relationships, and that is why it’s so much harder to end a relationship with a narcissist than anyone else.

Just like any addict, we need to recover from our toxic relationships and gain control over our addiction.

There’s one phenomenon that early in recovery puts us at risk, and if we fall for it, we will end up “relapsing” and find ourselves falling for hoovering from the narcissist – or worse, chasing after them.

It is called the pink cloud, and it is a term that is used to describe the feeling of elation that many addicts and alcoholics feel shortly after detoxing and moving into sobriety.

They feel excited and hopeful in ways they didn’t before, and things seem to be moving in the right direction for the first time maybe ever.

There is only one problem with the “pink cloud” syndrome – and that is quite simply that it can make people dangerously overconfident in themselves and their recovery.

This overconfidence can sadly lead to a relapse.

It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it happens to many in narcissistic abuse recovery as well.

For example, when you first leave a narcissist, you can start to see the possibilities of a life without constant control and codependency.

You feel like you’ve overcome your trauma bonding and you have all of this hope – you feel like you’re on top of the world!

With all of this new goodness coming your way, you start to think this is how you’re going to feel all the time. Like life has just turned on a dime and the only way to go is up.

It is an amazing feeling!

And while I want to tell you to hold on to it as long as you can, I also want to be realistic with you and let you know that it won’t last forever.

You’re still human and you’ll still have bad days. In fact, I would venture to say, you may find yourself feeling a sudden drop from the cloud, and you’ll feel like you’ve crashed back to earth in a most undignified way.

Reality will set back in and you’ll realize that even without the toxic person in your life, there are still difficulties and hard times.

You may find yourself stuck in a deep depression if you’re not careful – remember, you weren’t allowed to show your feelings completely with the narcissist, so you may have sort of numbed out in order to get through it.

Letting go of the narcissist and working on your healing will require you, at some point, to mourn the relationship and work through all the hard feelings that go with it.

When you’ve lived in this constant state of control and numbness for so long, you might find that “normal” – you know, living without someone holding you down and without someone always sort of “managing” your every move – it might feel like you’re high on life.

You can’t even recall, if you ever knew, what real life feels like – and you have most likely forgotten how it feels to deal with your emotions.

It is good to feel happy and excited – it can help you to start to heal and make intentional choices. Don’t get me wrong.

But be aware that the pink cloud will eventually dissipate and you’ll need to keep pushing through the hard parts. You might think you don’t need help and you can just start living.

And I think you CAN just start living – but you must also stick with your support groups, and/or your coach and/or therapist. Don’t assume that “pink cloud” means all done healing.

Here are some tips to help you get through the hard parts of the dissipating pink cloud.

1. Focus on finding balance. In the relationship, all emotions are extreme. You deal with the highest highs and the lowest lows. After the relationship, start to focus on calmness and releasing the need to feel “extreme” emotions in order to feel normal.

2. Try to steer clear of the narcissist and places you know they will be. Find a new route to work, or go to a different grocery store/bank, etc. Reduce the temptation of going back when you create new ways to do your business.

3. Create new routines and traditions. After you are away from the narcissist, start creating new routines and traditions right away. Do things differently than before and when it comes to holidays and celebrations, keep the stuff you love, but release the traditions that don’t fit anymore – and in either case, add in new stuff and new ways to do things.

4. Do not fool yourself into thinking you can be friends with this person or just see them a little bit. Addiction is addiction. You wouldn’t just take one drink if you were a recovering alcoholic, right? The same principle applies to our recovery from toxic relationships.

5. Get support from a group, a coach or a therapist, at least. And stick with it. Don’t let the pink cloud push you away – at least not for too long.

6. Watch for triggers and have a plan in place for when one hits you.

7. Keep your eye on the prize – know why you’re doing all of this. Creating the life you want and deserve.

Get Unstuck with this ONE Thing

Get Unstuck with this ONE Thing

The Secret To Self Motivation – It’s Motivational Monday! Today we’re talking about how to get stuff done when you’re feeling stuck. So often, when we’re dealing with the aftermath of a toxic relationship, we find ourselves feeling stuck and like we just can’t get anything done. Today, we’re talking about exactly what you can do to stop feeling stuck and start getting stuff done!

My Cards:

Hoovering

Hoovering

When you end a toxic relationship with a narcissist, you might think that it’s over – but very often, the narcissist has other ideas. in fact, more often than not, the narcissist will do something to suck you back into their drama – or even fully back into the relationship – using a technique called hoovering.

What is hoovering?

Hoovering, named after the famous vacuum cleaner company, is what we call it when the narcissist tries to “suck you back in” after you’ve left them or ended the relationship, or after they have discarded you. They may use some kind of personal problem or dramatic issue to pull you back in, or they may use love-bombing. Hoovering is always an attempt to obtain more narcissistic supply from you, and in many cases, it can be an attempt to reconcile the relationship. It can also just be a manipulation tactic used to get you to break no contact.

What are the signs of a hoovering narcissist?

The first thing you need to remember here is that there is no level to which a narcissist won’t stoop – nothing is off-limits for them. Here are a few ways narcissists might engage in hoovering you.

  1. Finally saying that one thing you’ve been dying to hear. Narcissists are infamous for holding things over your head and for feeling justified in not giving you what you want and need in a relationship. For example, if you were dating a narcissist for 10 years and you just wanted them to pop the question, they might hoover you with a diamond ring and a proposal. Or if you were married to the narcissist and always wanted a baby, they might hoover you with an offer to try to get pregnant.
  2. Future faking you. Narcissists are known for their future-faking ways – where they promise you an amazing life together and never follow through. Many narcissists will use future-faking as a way to suck you back in. They will promise you the world – maybe they promise to buy you a house, or to finally go to couples counseling, or to really stop cheating on you this time. Most often, they fail to deliver, but use this future-faking in order to get you back into their clutches – and into the relationship.
  3. Getting you involved in their drama. As someone who has struggled with codependency, you’re especially susceptible to helping someone in need. The couldn’t be more true for someone you love or have loved. So, a narcissist might come to you with some big problem or issue in their lives that they need your help with. This could be something as serious as the death of a loved one that they just can’t make it through without your support, or something as simple as an argument with a friend or a coworker. One of my clients told me that her ex tried to hoover her by bringing his sick dog to her house and asking her to help take care of it. Like I said, they have no limits.
  4. Accidentally “butt-dialing” you or sending you a text “meant for someone else.” This is a sneaky one. Narcissists will often “accidentally” call your phone or text you something random and mysterious so that you’re enticed to call or text back and ask what they need, what they meant by that text or why they called. Then, they’ll pretend that it was an accident or that they meant to call or text someone else – and before you know it, you’re in a full-on conversation during which the narcissist will try to pull you back into the “circle of supply.”
  5. Swearing that they can’t live without you. When they realize that you’ve truly moved on, a lot of narcissists will use a resounding declaration of love and claim they cannot live without you. They’ll say you’re their soulmate and they’ll even pretend to admit their own flaws and faults in order to get you to fall for it. This will effectively begin a whole new period of love-bombing, designed to suck you back into the relationship.
  6. Engaging flying monkeys to do their dirty work. Narcissists always have a crew of flying monkeys on hand – people who are happy to “do their bidding” for them. This may include flying monkeys who are willing to help them manipulate you without remorse, and it may also include “unwilling” flying monkeys – well-meaning people who fall for the narcissist’s lies and who are really trying to help. In hoovering, narcissists send the flying monkeys your way with worries and concerns about your (or the narcissist’s) well-being, all designed to get you to communicate directly with the narcissist or to manipulate you with drama.
  7. Suddenly recognizing the error of their ways. In a last-ditch effort to get you back into the relationship, some narcissists will come to you in tears, telling you they’re a terrible person and admitting “everything they did wrong,” which is often done by parroting back exactly what you’ve been trying to tell them for the duration of the relationship. They’ll say things like “I know I don’t treat you right” and “You really do deserve better than me” in order to soften you up and pull you back in.
  8. Using fear and intimidation to bully you. Some narcissists will even go so far as to try to scare you back into the relationship. They may also use guilt or blame-shifting to force you back in. And bullying is a very common manipulation tactic for most narcissists.

These are just a few of the ways narcissists will try to hoover you. This playlist offers a more complete list of ways that narcissists might try to hoover you back into the relationship.

How can you deal with hoovering?

The next question on the mind of every narcissistic abuse survivor is usually, “How can I avoid the hoover?” Here are a few of the most important things you can do.

  1. Remember that knowledge is power. Simply be aware of the fact that the narcissist may try to hoover you and become familiar with the signs of hoovering. That in itself can be enough to help you avoid falling for it.
  2. Use the gray rock method. Don’t show any emotion and only talk to the narcissist if you must, about what you must. If you have no shared children or shared business, you can completely go no contact.
  3. If possible, eliminate their ability to contact you. Change your phone number, block them on your social media and don’t answer the door if they come calling.
  4. Focus on YOU for once! Take the time you need to do self-care, to do that redecorating project you’ve been meaning to do, or to just do more nice things for yourself. You deserve it, and it’ll help you to distract yourself from the narcissist’s hoovering attempts.
  5. Reconnect with old friends, and make new ones. While you shouldn’t jump into any romantic relationships too soon after ending a relationship with a narcissist (because you need to heal first), it’s a great idea to dive into your friendships. Since you may have lost touch with old friends as a result of the narcissist isolating you during the relationship, what better way to celebrate the end of it? Reach out to your old friends and consider making new ones by getting involved in a group of like-minded people. Maybe that means taking a class, going to church or synagogue or joining a local club. You can also look at sites like Meetup.com to find groups of local people with similar interests. If that feels like too much, start with one of our online support groups for survivors of narcissistic abuse. 

This video playlist goes into more detail and offers more coping techniques for how to avoid being hoovered by a narcissist.

Why haven’t I been hoovered yet?

This question is often asked by survivors of narcissistic abuse who aren’t quite ready to be done with the narcissist just yet. They actually want the hoover because they want another chance to try and fix the relationship. While this question is one that makes me a little sad, I totally get it. And there are a number of reasons the narcissist may not be hoovering you.

Get the full rundown of reasons the narcissist isn’t hoovering in this video.

Bottom line: even if you do fall for hoovering and get back into the relationship with the narcissist, chances are that any change you see will only be temporary. Once the narcissist knows you’re back “in” officially, they will quickly return to their usual manipulative, abusive ways. Don’t fall for the hoover!

Trauma Bonding

Trauma Bonding

Trauma bonding is a common condition among narcissistic abuse survivors and their abusers. Thanks to an ongoing cycle of intermittent reinforcement, many survivors of toxic relationships go through this, much like kidnapping victims and hostages do.

Trauma bonding is often a bigger issue for people who also grew up in toxic and abusive homes, partially just because it feels like “normal” to them.

As Warwick Middleton said, “The capacity for dissociation enables the young child to exercise their innate life-sustaining need for attachment in spite of the fact that principal attachment figures are also principal abusers.”

What is Trauma Bonding?

Trauma bonding is often used interchangeably for the term Stockholm Syndrome.

“In 1973, Jan Erik Olsson walked into a small bank in Stockholm, Sweden, brandishing a gun, wounding a police officer, and taking three women and one man hostage,” writes Rachel Lloyd. “During negotiations, Olsson demanded money, a getaway vehicle, and that his friend Clark Olofsson, a man with a long criminal history, be brought to the bank. The police allowed Olofsson to join his friend and together they held the four hostages captive in a bank vault for six days.”

Lloyd continues: “During their captivity, the hostages at times were attached to snare traps around their necks, likely to kill them in the event that the police attempted to storm the bank. The hostages grew increasingly afraid and hostile toward the authorities trying to win their release and even actively resisted various rescue attempts. Afterward, they refused to testify against their captors, and several continued to stay in contact with the hostage-takers, who were sent to prison. Their resistance to outside help and their loyalty toward their captors was puzzling, and psychologists began to study the phenomenon in this and other hostage situations. The expression of positive feelings toward the captor and negative feelings toward those on the outside trying to win their release became known as Stockholm syndrome.”

Similar to Stockholm Syndrome, it’s a condition that causes abuse victims to develop a psychological dependence on the narcissist as a survival strategy during abuse. Of course, this makes recovering from a toxic relationship significantly more difficult than it might otherwise be. While bonding is normal in healthy relationships, trauma bonding is a sort of toxic version of this that results in an abusive relationship – verbal, physical, or otherwise.

What does trauma bonding feel like?

Trauma bonding is the feeling of being addicted to a person. And it literally causes you to become almost physically addicted, due to the ongoing cycle of intermittent reinforcement. You are fighting a battle within yourself and it turns out that your own body is sort of against you on this one. The cognitive dissonance and the feeling of addiction are what lead us to stay with a narcissist in a toxic relationship even when we logically know better.

“Many survivors have such profound deficiencies in self-protection that they can barely imagine themselves in a position of agency or choice,” writes Judith Lewis Herman. “The idea of saying no to the emotional demands of a parent, spouse, lover, or authority figure may be practically inconceivable. Thus, it is not uncommon to find adult survivors who continue to minister to the needs of those who once abused them and who continue to permit major intrusions without boundaries or limits. Adult survivors may nurse their abusers in illness, defend them in adversity, and even, in extreme cases, continue to submit to their sexual demands.”

This video explains how trauma bonding directly affects our decision-making ability and why it causes it to feel so hard to let go and move forward from a toxic relationship.

“Their experiences led them to create assumptions about others and related beliefs about themselves such as ‘this is my lot in life’ and ‘this is what I deserve,'” writes Christine A. Courtois. “Some also learned that personal safety and happiness are of lower priority than survival and that it may be safer to give in than to actively fight off additional abuse and victimization. When abuse is perpetrated by intimates, it is additionally confounding in terms of attachment, betrayal, and trust. Victims may be unable to leave or to fight back due to strong, albeit insecure and disorganized, attachment and misplaced loyalty to abusers. They may have also experienced trauma bonding over the course of their victimization, that is, a bond of specialness with or dependence on the abuser.”

What is cognitive dissonance?

Cognitive dissonance is a form of psychological stress or discomfort that happens when you simultaneously hold two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. Often affects narcissists as well as their victims at different times and for very different reasons. Are you struggling with cognitive dissonance during or after narcissistic abuse? Get your free cognitive dissonance toolkit right here.

This video offers an overview of cognitive dissonance as well as actionable and practical self-help tips for healing from cognitive dissonance.

How does trauma bonding affect your body and brain?

Is there such a thing as narcissistic abuse-induced trauma bonding? Yes. And, this is exactly why you might find it so difficult to get over a narcissist. It is like you are literally addicted to them! It might even by why haven’t already left the narcissist. When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist or sociopath, it often looks nearly perfect from the outside, especially to people who aren’t aware of the dynamics that happen behind closed doors.

And most likely, you don’t want anyone to know how ugly your relationship really is on the inside. Hint: think Stockholm Syndrome (aka trauma bonding) – codependency – and feeling stuck.

How can you manage and heal from trauma bonding?

It isn’t easy, but it’s totally possible to heal from trauma bonding – or at least to manage it into submission. In this article, my fellow QB coach Lise Colucci explains how self-care can help. Lise also runs a small group coaching program for healing from trauma bonding.

If you find yourself stuck in a toxic relationship, these practical steps will help you heal from a trauma bond and finally let go of the narcissist, once and for all. The heartbreak is painful, but the healing is real. We will discuss the psychology of a trauma bond and how to let go of the narcissist, plus PTSD and NPD and how they work. Being trauma bonded to an abuser is being tied to something you know harms you yet still feeling unable to get away. The emotional ties alone are confusing and challenging. Here are a few ways to help you break those bonds too.

Think you’re trauma bonded with a toxic narcissist, but still not sure? Try this test.

Are You Dealing with Trauma Bonding? Take the Trauma Bonding Test

 

Our Recent Posts About Trauma Bonding

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