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.

In this video, I’ll explain trauma bonding in detail and give you a list of common signs of trauma bonding.

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?

In this video, I’ll break down the science of how trauma bonding works and what it means to you as a survivor of a relationship with a narcissist.

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.

Here’s a video with a ten-step plan to heal 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

Ignoring the Narcissist

Ignoring the Narcissist

How do you ignore a narcissist? Why is it so hard to ignore a narcissist? Here’s the truth about ignoring the narcissist, including everything you need to know. Why you should ignore a narcissist, when you should avoid ignoring the narcissist and more. Plus, tips, techniques and the psychology of ignoring a narcissist.

7 Ways Your Smartphone Can Help You Get Rid of Brain Fog

7 Ways Your Smartphone Can Help You Get Rid of Brain Fog

Have you ever felt kind of cloudy and sort of like your brain just wasn’t functioning as well as usual? Or like you’re not really “here,” maybe like you’re sort of in a bubble or watching your life happen, like a movie? Like you’re a spectator rather than a participant?

If so, you might be dealing with brain fog. And, if you’ve survived toxic relationships, the chances that you’ve dealt with it are pretty high. In fact, one complaint I hear from many of my clients is that they struggle with “brain fog.” Many people develop C-PTSD as a result of toxic relationships with narcissists – and brain fog is one of several common symptoms.

Today, we’re talking about why you have brain fog and some surprising tools and techniques you can use to clear it up quickly and painlessly – all with the use of your smartphone.

This video will fill you in on brain fog and offer several helpful smartphone apps that’ll clear the fog!* Or, just scroll down to see the full transcript.

Items Mentioned in the Video

What is brain fog?

Brain fog or mental fog is a common issue for people who have survived toxic relationships with narcissists. Brain fog is officially defined as a clouding of your consciousness – or in layman’s terms, we could define it as not being able to think clearly or not being able to do simple tasks. It can also affect memory or the ability to work. The term is even used among physicians and psychiatrists to indicate that there’s an abnormality in the regulation of someone’s overall level of consciousness that is mild and less severe than a delirium.

Many survivors describe a subjective sensation of mental clouding described as feeling sort of foggy, or like they’re watching their lives happen from a distance.

What are the effects of brain fog on the average person?

  • Trouble thinking during highly stressful situations.
  • Struggling to remember things.
  • Finding it nearly impossible to concentrate on anything.
  • Even the idea of being able to focus may seem like an abstract concept at this point.
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Finding it difficult to get things done, even basic things like paying your bills, showering or cleaning your house.
  • Not thinking clearly
  • Sleep problems and a lack of energy – you feel exhausted all the time.

What causes brain fog?

We know that researchers say that prolonged trauma and chronic stress, like the trauma and stress experienced in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, can cause brain fog, but it might also be a sign of another kind of health issue, so it’s important to see your doctor and determine if medical issues are causing your brain fog.

Some of the conditions your doctor might check for include nutritional deficiency, bacterial overgrowth from eating too much sugar, thyroid conditions, sleep disorders, and even depression. Doctors say other causes may include overeating, not getting enough exercise or sleep or a poor diet in general.

How do you get rid of brain fog?

How do you sort of “clear up the fog” so you can function normally again? Start here. I’m going to share seven powerful tips with you today -things that have actually worked for me as well as for my clients.

1. Sharpen your memory by doing some fun brain training – Research suggests that certain kinds of video games and apps can actually help to clear up brain fog – to sharpen your memory and reduce certain risks. According to one 2017 research paper, brain training games can boost your memory and could reduce the risk of dementia in your future. And a Cambridge University study found that video games helped to improve the brain function of people with early memory problems.

You know how much I love research, right? This information led me to want to test out this theory. So when the good people at CodyCross reached out to me and asked me to check out their game, I did – and boy, am I glad I tried it!

So, I have to be honest. At first, I wasn’t really too convinced this would work for me. After all, I am most definitely NOT a gamer. Still, I wanted to test out the theory, so I downloaded CodyCross and gave it a shot. And I have to tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did I kind of dig the music and sound effects as they were strangely satisfying, but I loved playing the game. It is simple and fun and gives you an interesting sense of accomplishment.

A Quick Review of CodyCross

I found CodyCross both exciting and mentally stimulating – and somehow, still very relaxing. And y’all know the “free” price tag didn’t hurt my feelings one bit. Even better, if English isn’t your first language, you’ll be happy to know that the game is available in 9 different languages. It really is a way to get your brain exercise and it’ll work for any age.

It seems to be keeping my own memory sharper, and I’ve only been playing for a few weeks. The first time I played, I think I played for about 45 minutes straight. I got halfway through the second level and only stopped playing at that moment because I had an appointment!

You should totally try it! Click this link to DOWNLOAD #CODYCROSS AND TELL ME IF YOU FINISHED THE FIRST CHALLENGE FASTER THAN ME!

One quick note: like I told you, this video is sponsored by the company that made the game. But my opinion is my own and in fact, part of what I promise the company is that I would only share my honest opinions with you, so that is exactly what I’m doing here. Anyhoo, that game is super fun (and I can’t lie, maybe a tiny bit addictive). All I’m saying is, if you haven’t tried it yet, you gotta try it now.

As I said, be sure to click my link to get your app. When you do that, you will be clicking an affiliate app so that I get credit for the installation.

  • Mindfulness – Simply going outside and breathing fresh air can help, but mindfulness is all about bringing yourself into your body and into the moment. Coping mechanisms such as meditation, deep breathing can help you not only reduce stress but also clear brain fog. Find ways to practice mindfulness at home and at work.
  • Get help, reach out to friends, and practice self-care. Check out this video for additional information about mindfulness techniques you can try. Thanks to more awareness of the benefits of mindfulness in recent years, you won’t be lacking in smartphone apps here. For example, there is an app actually called Mindfulness on both the Google Play Store and iTunes, among probably thousands of others.
  • Pattern interrupts – Next time you notice yourself spacing out and going into brain fog, make a point to notice it. Then realize that you are in a sort of pattern, which leads to your brain creating and reinforcing certain connections that lead to this feeling. But good news: you can sort of reroute those neural connections. Just use simple pattern interrupts when you feel like you’re stuck in a negative “loop.” For example, brush your teeth, wash your face, stand up, move into a different part of the house. Here’s a video that offers some easy pattern interrupts you can try at home. 
  • Do something to change your environment and/or to sort of bring yourself into the moment and into your body. It helps. A lot more than you think. You could use a mindfulness app for this one too, but for me, I keep a playlist of happy music on my Google music app that helps me sort of shake up my head a little and get back into a healthy groove.
  • Getting more/better sleep – Get enough sleep. Sleep is also important to alleviate brain fog. When you don’t get enough sleep, you may feel like you’re walking through a fog during the day. You’ll have trouble concentrating and thinking. You’ll miss things and doze off. Experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep each night for adults. However, you may need more or slightly less depending on your body and history. Personally, I recently upgraded my pillow and bought a weighted blanket. Not only does the blanket feel amazing and reduce anxiety, but it keeps you from feeling overheated in the night. And I’ve been using an alarm clock app that “listens” to me sleep and wakes me up at the best time in my sleep cycle. This reduces drowsiness and helps me wake up feeling more clear-headed. I’ve also been listening to meditations while I sleep. Very helpful.
  • Exercise – You don’t have to go crazy, but any sort of exercise that gets your heart pumping can help. Get a Fitbit like mine or any exercise tracker if you want to make sure you’re getting enough movement in – even one of the free apps offered on your smartphone that counts steps will work if you keep your phone with you all the time. Even just walking around the block or dancing with your kids while you tidy up the house can help. And hey, if you’ve got a treadmill, you can get in a couple rounds of CodyCross while getting in your steps!
  • Meditation app – Meditation has proven mental and physical health benefits. It lowers your heart rate and stress levels – but most importantly for today, it can help get rid of brain fog. There are tons of free meditation apps out there. One that I’ve tried and find simple and enjoyable is called Headspace.
  • Eating better – Focus on nutrition. A poor diet can adversely affect the way your brain functions. Eating a high-fat diet or a lot of refined sugars and carbohydrates can make brain fog worse. Take a close look at your diet. Try to eliminate sugar, unhealthy fats, alcohol, and caffeine. Focus on eating more produce and a variety of healthy foods. Eliminate artificial sweeteners because they can cause headaches and other issues. Eat healthier and more natural foods in general. There are tons of apps out there that can help with eating better. I like one called LifeSum, and you can also look at Weight Watchers, SparkPeople and a number of others.

Speaking of eating healthier, that means something different for a lot of people – those who struggle with various food allergies. So, to be safe, you might also look into the possibilities of food allergies and sensitivities. Some food allergies and sensitivities can also cause brain fog. For example, celiac disease is often associated with brain fog. If you have celiac disease, your body can’t digest gluten found in wheat, barley, or rye. You can also have brain fog with lactose intolerances. Talk to your doctor about any possible food intolerances and sensitivities. They may be affecting you in multiple ways.

Bottom line: while it feels overwhelming and almost paralyzing, brain fog can be resolved, and it doesn’t have to control your life. 

Share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences in the comments section below, and let’s talk about it! Now don’t forget, click here to get your free copy of CODYCROSS – and tell me how you like it!!

*Editor’s Note: The Brain Fog video in this post has been sponsored by CodyCross.

Reprogram Your Mind in 3 Easy Steps (Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Tips)

Reprogram Your Mind in 3 Easy Steps (Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Tips)

The effects and aftereffects of narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship can be physical, neurological and psychological – and these issues can, without intentional healing, last a lifetime. One of the most painful things that we deal with as survivors of narcissistic abuse is the complete destruction of our self-esteem and our ability to trust ourselves, thanks to the control, gaslighting and manipulation that narcissists inflict on the people closest to them.

Perhaps most distressing is the fact that narcissistic abuse can cause neurological issues – also known as brain damage. On the plus side, the neurological changes caused by this long-term trauma can be reversed, thanks to our brain’s neuroplasticity.

This video gives you an idea of how neuroplasticity works and how you can use it to your advantage.

3 Simple Steps to Reprogram Your Mind After Narcissistic Abuse

As you probably know, our minds, more specifically our subconscious minds, control our lives. We are what we think or believe. Research has shown that there is a mind-body connection and that the mind can help us overcome health problems.

There are many ways to reprogram your mind: NLP, hypnosis, visualization, EFT, affirmations and coaching. The method you choose will depend on your mindset and budget.

You may feel able to make positive changes on your own with a little knowledge and some resources. You can find a ton of information online or by going to your local library.

If you need help, there are hypnotherapists, NLP practitioners, and coaches that can be hired to work with you.

Whichever route you choose, one element that is crucial is your attitude. For any method to be successful in creating change in the subconscious, you have to want the change and to believe totally in its success. You cannot succeed without this belief.

While every method is different there three steps that each uses to reprogram your mind.

  1. To achieve relaxation you have to take your brain to Alpha level. This is the level where you are able to ‘speak’ directly with the subconscious. Alpha level brainwaves are experienced first thing in the morning as you first awaken and the last thing at night just before you go to sleep. In Alpha level, you are awake (conscious) and aware of your surroundings but your subconscious is fully alert and you are most responsive to learning and accepting new ideas. You can achieve Alpha level by practicing relaxation techniques.
  2. Picture your goal as an image or movie with you ‘in the moment’. It must be in the present so you must be living it. Use all of your senses to make it as real as possible. Tell a story and if you can add some humor even better. Your subconscious loves stories and it loves humor. By fully engaging your senses it becomes more real. Make the scenes really bright and colorful. Hear the sounds, feel the emotions. Touch and taste things.

When visualizing always answer these questions:

              • What can you see?
              • What can you hear?
              • What can you feel? (Physical touch as well as emotions.)
              • What can you smell?
              • What can you taste?

3. While visualizing yourself living your goal it is also important to affirm this. You can either say your affirmations out loud or just think them. To make them even more powerful and effective you can write them down and display them wherever you will see them regularly throughout your day. You can also record yourself saying them out loud and listen to them first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

Affirmations must be:

              • In the present tense.
              • Said with positive conviction. (You must believe in what you are saying.)
              • Include emotion.

For example, if you’re worried about a presentation you need to give at work, you might use affirmations such as the following.

I am giving a presentation to my department and superiors. I am standing at the front of the room. I feel confident and calm. I am speaking with conviction. I know my topic. My presentation is interesting and fun to give. The audience is listening intently. They are smiling and nodding their heads as I speak. My voice is confident and easy to hear, even at the back of the room. I am standing tall wearing my favorite navy suit. I feel smart.

Knowing these three simple steps can help you successfully program your mind for positive change.

Other Helpful Resources for You

13 Ways to Make New Friends After Divorce (Outside of Work)

13 Ways to Make New Friends After Divorce (Outside of Work)

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.

This may have happened due to the fact that your abuser pushed them away from you in various ways – or, you may have done it yourself to keep the peace.

Fact: Narcissists need to keep you as alone as possible so they can control you – and isolation is one of the tactics they use to do that.  And in many cases, narcissists also use straight up, directly overt social exclusion as a way to invalidate and further control you.

As survivors of narcissistic abuse, we also need to recognize the fact that we ourselves change profoundly due to our abusive, toxic relationships – and not always in positive ways. (C-PTSD is no picnic!)

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.

The fact is that toxic relationships inevitably lead to narcissists isolating us from other people in our lives, including our friends, and more often than not, we find ourselves feeling lonely in our recovery from narcissistic abuse.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Join the SPANily! If you’re looking for fellow survivors of narcissistic abuse with whom you can connect and bond, look no further than your very own SPANily. In fact, you can go join one of our support groups free, right here. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Drink coffee. Find a coffee shop with an atmosphere you like. Become a regular and visit at the same time each day.
  8. Play sports. Physical activity promotes bonding too. Research amateur sports leagues in your area or join a gym.
  9. 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.

 

 

Reiki for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery & Healing?

Reiki for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery & Healing?

Reiki is a form of spiritual healing stimulated through the use of different hand positions laid for varying amounts of time over the patient’s body. Some experts suggest that you can heal yourself through Reiki by adjusting the hand positions to work on your own body. Recently, I interviewed two reiki experts over on my YouTube channel. Here’s that video: How Reiki Can Help You Heal After a Toxic Relationship (Featuring Reiki Experts Heather & David from Zen Rose Garden – zenrosegarden.com)

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.

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