“Take the power to control your own life. Take the power to make your life happy.” ~Susan Polis Schutz
Are you reeling after the end of a toxic relationship with a narcissist?
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?
Starting Over After Narcissistic Abuse
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?
9 Steps to Level Up Your Life After a Toxic Relationship
Take your life to a new level after the end of your toxic relationship with these tips.
Step 1: 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.
Step 2: 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!)
Step 3: 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.
Step 4: 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.
Step 5: 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.
Meet new people.
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.
Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today
“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 after narcissistic abuse?
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 bypass 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.
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.
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.
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?
Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today
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.
“People who try to bring you down every day aren’t important in your life, so you better treat their opinions as such.” ~Terry Mark
Whether you can classify them as narcissists or not, negative people seem to be everywhere you turn. This makes it incredibly difficult to keep your energy up – they drain the life out of a positive person.
When you’re struggling with recovery from narcissistic abuse, the effect can be more profound. When you’re living or working with a toxic person of any kind, it’s even more difficult to keep your head in the game. To put it mildly, negative people can have an impact on your attitude and your day – and if you’re an empath, it can feel impossible to escape. But there is hope for us empaths yet – and there are ways to mitigate the effect that negative people have on you.
How Do You Stay Positive When You’re Surrounded by Negative People?
Practice these strategies to avoid allowing negative people to negatively impact your life:
Understand that you can only control yourself, but you can influence others. You can’t snap your fingers and make the people around you take a more positive view of the world. But you can control yourself and how you choose to react to their negativity. (Focus on what you CAN control, not what you can’t!)You might even be able to sway people over to your way of thinking a little bit. Set a good example and be a positive influence on those around you. Accept people for who they are. It’s just easier that way.
Be grateful. One way to maintain a positive attitude is to remind yourself of the positive. When you’re feeling run down by the negativity around you, make a quick mental list of the things in your life that you’re thankful for. It will give your mood a quick boost.
Remember that it’s not about you. Everyone has their challenges and issues. There’s no reason to be upset that someone has a negative attitude. It likely doesn’t have anything to do with you at all. It could be circumstances in their life or their basic nature. Just keep on doing what you’re doing.
You have the choice to be positive or negative. You can choose to be affected or not by the people around you. Focus on yourself and keep your chin up. Take care of your business and let others view the world however they choose.
Speak up. Sometimes it can be helpful to tell people to just cut it out. Many people will push until someone calls them on their behavior. Have a frank talk with someone that’s perpetually negative. Maybe they’re not aware of the impact they’re having on others.
Spend time with positive people. Recharge your batteries with the positive energy of other positive people. Get away from those negative people and spend time with people full of positive attitude. It doesn’t take long to recenter yourself when you surround yourself with the right people.
Make the most of your time alone. Make the most of the time you have to yourself. Do things you really enjoy doing. Read positive affirmations. Watch feel-good movies. Put your attention on positivity. It can be like armor against negative people.
Headphones can help. If the situation permits, put on some headphones or earbuds. What you can’t hear can’t bother you. Consider listening to a positive podcast or music that makes you feel good. If your work situation allows this, it would be silly not to take advantage of it.
Stay away. There are plenty of people in your life who aren’t essential – in fact, many are optional. Stay away from negative people that you don’t have to associate with. You have some control over who is part of your life and who is not.
Things to Remember:
Negative people will drag you down if you let them. Take steps to minimize the impact they have on your life.
Practice gratitude each day, and you can maintain a positive perspective.
Block negative people out with headphones and stay away from as many negative people as possible.
Negative people will always be around, but you can deal with them and still be a positive person.
“Taking care of myself doesn’t mean ‘me first.’ It means ‘me, too.” ~L.R. Knost
Going through narcissistic abuse will really throw you for a loop when it comes to self-value. After all, when you’re going through a toxic relationship, or you’re raised by a narcissistic mother or father, you are taught that you don’t matter, that you have no value, that you’re not important.
But now, I hope you’re learning that it just isn’t true.
You ARE important. You DO matter. You ARE worthy.
And yes, you might think that putting yourself first is selfish. After all, have been groomed by someone (not to mention society) to think of others first, and yourself last – always, right? But the safety advice they give you in airplanes is also a good mantra for life: you need to look after yourself first before you can help other people. You cannot help anyone else if you aren’t okay first.
Here are the top four reasons why it’s important, even necessary, to put yourself first.
1. You need to fill your own cup
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the demands and obligations of family, friends, and colleagues? Whether it’s running after kids, getting your presentation done, running an eco-responsible household, making time to connect, or even staying on top of your emails, modern life can suck you dry if you allow it. There is no way you can hope to keep up unless you remember to fill your own cup. Take care of yourself and make sure you get what you need. A walk in the sunshine, an early night, a sofa and Netflix day, regular gym and yoga sessions or your monthly knitting circle. Make sure you schedule in whatever it is that brings you joy and energy. Then you can be your best you for all the other people in your life.
2. You’re in charge of your life
There’s no Fairy Godmother to save you or take care of you or give you the life you want. It’s totally up to you to step up and take responsibility for your life and your happiness. If you want to be an airline pilot or run a philanthropic foundation or a certified organic farm, that’s great. But it’s up to you to prioritize what you want in life and go for it. Reaching your dreams means putting yourself first.
3. It’s not Me versus You
Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you disregard the needs or desires of others. To live an authentic fulfilled life, you need to learn to compromise, negotiate and balance your needs with the people who depend on you. If one of those things is out of balance, you’ll be depleted and resentful, and no one will get their needs met!
Learn to find joy in receiving as well as giving, and don’t for a minute think that putting yourself first is selfish. Let other people support you, and you’ll be in better shape to support them.