Free for a limited time only *Disclaimer: This ebook was written for educational purposes only and does not in any way render medical or clinical advice, legal advice, or medical or clinical services. If you feel that you have a medical problem, you should seek the advice of your physician or health care practitioner.
About the book: You’re at a party and you notice your husband getting a bit too close to another woman. After the party, you confront him. He tells you to stop being so insecure and controlling; that he’s his own man and if you don’t like it, you shouldn’t have acted like that in the first place. After arguing all night, you end up begging for forgiveness and apologize for the trouble.
Maybe it’s your mom – she’s picking on you like it’s a sport. She’s worried about what you’re wearing, what you’re eating – who you’re hanging out with – but it’s unhealthy. Instead of fighting back, you just suck it up and take it – maybe you’re too sensitive, or perhaps you really are crazy after all. Who can’t take a bit of criticism, anyway?
Maybe this stuff doesn’t happen in your life, but for many, it’s an everyday reality. If you think it could never be you, think again! Some of the most intelligent and capable people are living in painfully toxic relationships with narcissists, and they’re plagued by regular bouts of gaslighting, an insidious form of emotional abuse and manipulation that can be crueler than more obvious forms of abuse because it sort of sneaks up on you.
Because of its insidious nature, gaslighting is one form of emotional abuse that is hard to recognize and even more challenging to break free from. Part of that is because the narcissist exploits one of our greatest fears – the fear of being alone. What are you waiting for? This is the book that can change your life!
This book offers a comprehensive plan for dealing with gaslighting and other forms of narcissistic abuse. Inside you’ll find all kinds of tools to help you snuff out gaslighting and toxic emotional abuse, including the following.
Start on the Road to Emotional Abuse Recovery
The 10 Most Important Things You Need to Know if You’re in a Toxic Relationship With a Narcissist
3 Top Life Hacks for Dealing With Narcissists
3 Best Practices for Dealing With Negative People in Your Life
Narcissists in Relationships: Where Gaslighting Begins
Common Qualities Among the Partners of Narcissists
The 3 Stages of Gaslighting
How can you tell if you’re being gaslighted?
Surviving Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury: Diffusing a Raging Narcissist
Overcoming Your Narcissist: Top 10 Strategies
Staying in Control: Crucial Tactics for Managing Panic Attacks and Anxiety
8 Step Action Plan for Recovering From Narcissistic Manipulation and Abuse
PLUS: A Special Bonus Section – Be Your Own Life Coach: A Comprehensive Self-Healing Program, Including 7 Days of Affirmations and Reflections Designed Just for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse and MUCH More!
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! I feel like she knows my life, reached in and pulled me out pain! You have to consume this book. Angie hits life right on the head! Here's what she solves for you: how to get out of the pain you are in, that flows from relationships (old or new) that hurt. You undoubtedly have had these toxic people she describes in your life. Maybe you never quite understood why you felt odd, bad or worse in these relationships, so you've got to read her clear, heartfelt guidance on how to figure out what was happening to you. Whether you have been raised by a narcissist or have one as a "friend," neighbor, coworker, or romantic partner: follow Angie's example and tackle the taking back of your own life. She tells you how. I consumed every word, and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest!
This book was a quick read but filled with excellent tips and suggestions for what to be aware of when living with narcissistic abuse . Many self help tips I found useful. Would like more emphasis on breaking free from toxicity, though.
The Goddess Diaries
Thank you, Angela. You've summarized things so nicely. Your list of affirmations is so accessible. This book is like a hug on my raw nerves. I ordered the Kindle version, but I think I'll buy the paperback too, to carry with me.
Get it Now!
What are you waiting for? It’s time to TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE!
The viewer who wanted to know what if the person they were dealing with was very religious and raised to not lie. They noted that everyone says covert narcissists lie a lot. I can only assume they had found that the person they’re dealing with otherwise fit the bill for a covert narcissist.
What happens when a toxic person doesn’t fit every symptom of a narcissist? Does it mean they’re not one, or does it mean something else?
This is what is so perplexing about narcissists in relationships of any kind. Their manipulation and control tactics can be so pervasive and confusing. They are subtle and sort of hard to detect, especially if you have not been taught to watch for this stuff.
If you’re anything like I was when I first recognized that I was dealing with a narcissist in a relationship, it will be kind of a slap in the face. You probably thought you were the problem, thanks to months or years of conditioning from the narcissist telling you that you were always wrong, directly or indirectly.
You may have had a sort of sneaking sensation that something was going on, that something wasn’t right. But you were taught to believe the worst about yourself and taught to see the narcissist as nearly infallible. This is especially true if you’ve been raised by a toxic parent or otherwise closely influenced by a narcissist in childhood.
Since narcissistic abuse can be so hard to detect from the inside, and since gaslighting (the narcissist’s most-often employed manipulation tactic) involves causing you to question your reality and even your own thoughts and perceptions, it makes sense that you might miss it – and that you’d question yourself and the validity of your assessment once you do figure it out.
So this leaves us with the question the viewer asked: Are they still a narcissist if they don’t lie? Well, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today – can someone be a narcissist if they don’t lie, and if they can, how’s that possible and what does that look like? Let’s get started.
Covert narcissists, for example, defy the typical narcissistic profile by appearing to be shy and introverted. And some narcissists don’t cheat. Some narcissists are wealthy, controlling workaholics while others are lazy parasites who seem to do nothing but drain you dry. Some are obsessively clean while others don’t shower for weeks. Some are neat-freaks and others are hoarders.
And despite what most people think, there are some narcissists who don’t seem to be pathological liars.
It doesn’t even seem possible, but very often when you’re dealing with an altruistic narcissist or a communal narcissist, they’ll seem to be very ethical and morally bound. This is especially true when they’re using their religion as part of their plan to control you, but it doesn’t always involve religion.
Still, while these so-called upstanding citizens may seem to be above reproach, they still control, devalue, manipulate, and demoralize the people closest to them. They still seem to suck all the energy and air out of every room, and they could still be called narcissists and abusers.
And it’s true that they may never outright lie to you. However, they do pull a little trick that might be considered dishonest or at least manipulative, sort of like finding their own little “lie loopholes.”
Lie Loopholes: How the narcissist uses honesty to control you
Some narcissists will tell you they’re the most honest person they know and really seem to live up to that claim. You literally can’t think of a single time they lied to you. You trust their word, despite the way they otherwise treat you, and most likely, you blame yourself for anything that goes wrong in the relationship.
But, while that may be technically true, there’s something else going on here. They’re still abusing you on so many levels. Rather than lying, they use a tactic I like to call a “manipulated shift in perception,” meaning that they heavily influence your thoughts and feelings using manipulation and gaslighting.
How Narcissists Can Manipulate Your Perception Without Lying
1. The Brutal Truth Statement
At some point in your relationship, this kind of narcissist makes it clear they don’t lie. They will say it has to do with religious or moral reasons, or they’ll say they were hurt in a previous relationship and they need to be themselves. Or you may have told them in the beginning of your relationship that you were hurt by lying in the past, so they’ll take this as an opportunity to be completely uncensored with you. You may appreciate the honesty at first, or feel like you should, anyway. Or, in some cases, they’ll just straight up tell you they’re brutally honest and if you don’t like it you know where the door is. Now, they feel like they never need to concern themselves with your feelings, and like you’ve given them permission to do so.
2. Implied Permission to Insult and Belittle You
They use this whole brutal honesty thing as an excuse to insult and belittle you. They might tell you that you’re unattractive or that an outfit looks bad on you. They might openly criticize everything from your cooking and housekeeping skills to how you are in bed or how you raise your kids – anything that crosses their mind will come out of their mouths without consideration for how it makes you feel. Not only is their lack of empathy painfully clear, but so is their apparent disdain for everything you are. Then, they wait for your reaction.
3. Your Reaction is Rejected
This kind of disrespect and constant unfair criticism upsets and confuses you, as it would anyone. You confront the narcissist or at least question them about what they’ve said to you, about the way they treat you. You’re angry or you’re sad or you’re feeling otherwise negatively, and you ask the narcissist to be nicer to you. You ask them how they’d feel if you spoke to them the way they speak to you. But rather than offer you any validation or reassurance of their love for you, they laugh or scream in your face. They absolutely reject your reaction to their abuse. They say you don’t have the right to be angry. They say you can’t be sad. They say you asked for this honesty or that you knew they were like this from day one.
4. You’re Put in Your Place
The narcissist continues to minimize your feelings and treat you like you’re unimportant. They remind you that your feelings aren’t valid and that you don’t have the right to feel anything about this situation. And, whether directly or indirectly, they communicate that you really shouldn’t feel anything because only the narcissist has feelings that matter. They imply that you’re stupid for not being already aware of this unwritten rule by now.
5. They Justify Their Behavior
“Well,” they’ll say. “You always say you don’t want me to lie to you. You claim you want the truth. But obviously, you are the liar here because you can’t handle the truth.” No matter how horribly they’ve treated you, they will never admit any wrongdoing or take any responsibility for hurting your feelings. Everything they’ve done up to this point, they’ll swear, has been in the name of being honest with you and everyone.
6. They Play on Your Fears to Keep You in Control
This is where it gets really sneaky. See, when you don’t just agree that you’re the total piece of poo that the narcissist wants you to believe that you are, they’ll really dig deep and begin to play on all of your biggest fears. And if you keep feeling upset or angry at them for being so rude and disrespectful to you, or if you refuse to agree with their assessment of you, they’ll start the threats. They’ll say things like,” Well, if you’re going to be mad at me every time I tell you the truth, I might as well just start lying to you.”
7. You Are Triggered Into Submission
This is where the narcissist will exploit your fears and push your buttons to trigger you and get you deeply enmeshed with them and under their control. So, basically, they are manipulating and controlling you by presenting themselves as upfront and brutally honest. If this is a non-parent relationship, you’d have initially found this quite refreshing, since other people in your life have hurt you by lying and playing games.
Your history of trauma in relationships is exactly what makes you vulnerable to being triggered when they threaten to lie. And since your behavior during a trigger moment is less rational and more self-protective, the narcissist accomplishes 3 things that help them get you to submit to them.
You’re feeling scattered and confused. This means that you are easier to control and manipulate because of the stress and the sort of primal mode you are in when you feel triggered by one of your biggest fears. You feel crazy and begin to doubt your perception once the full effect of the gaslighting kicks in. You might even feel dependent on the narcissist to tell you what you see and think in some cases, and now not only are they controlling your actions but also your thoughts and feelings.
Your fears are used to keep you in place. The narcissist has established that you can and will be moved by your fear of losing them or of being alone. If you’re anything like I was, one of your biggest fears is being the last one to know your relationship is over. You are afraid of being humiliated in a situation where you’re the only one who doesn’t know what’s happening in your own relationship. And another biggest fear is that some toxic person in your life was right and you’re actually doomed to being not good enough (or otherwise deficient) forever. And then there’s the most common human fear that we are all a little embarrassed to talk about out loud – that fear of having no one. The fear of abandonment.
You get deeper and deeper into the trauma bond. You’re enmeshed with the narcissist. They control you through the active infliction of their own perception. They teach you and make sure you don’t forget, that their needs are always more important than your own. They make you feel like you’re not a real person and that your feelings and thoughts and ideas aren’t relevant or worth expressing – not to mention worth actually hearing or implementing. That prevents you from ever reaching your true potential as you lose yourself a little more each day.it changes you and could limit you forever if you allow it.
If you’d like to learn more about how trauma bonding works, as well as how you can start to heal, be sure to take a look at these videos.
So, does any of this sound familiar to you? If so, you should definitely take a look at the playlist I’m going to leave for you in the pinned comment and description as it will help you learn how to stand up for yourself and begin the healing process.
One of my clients told me a story that is all too familiar for anyone who has been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist. During her relationship, her ex would consistently accuse her of cheating and wanting to cheat on him. He had become so obsessed that he was secretly tracking her car with a hidden low-jack device he bought on the recommendation of a private eye friend of his, and he’d even put apps on her phone and computer that allowed him to watch her every move.
Later, she would learn that he was a self-proclaimed “love addict” who had been actively cheating on her for years, sneaking around and hiding everything. Turns out, while she’d been doing everything in her power to be transparent and to soothe his insecurities in the relationship, he’d been the one cheating and hiding the whole time. He was clearly projecting his own bad behavior on to her – a common way narcissists manipulate us in relationships. But was he doing it to distract her from his bad behavior, which it thoroughly did, or was something more at play here?
Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. It is part blame-shifting and part misdirection of a person’s inner insecurities, behaviors and issues.
Do Only Narcissists Use Projection?
Anyone can find themselves projecting – it isn’t just a narcissistic quality. The fact is that we all have insecurities. And even the most emotionally balanced among us can find ourselves subconsciously projecting our worries and insecurities on to the people in our lives. In most cases, we aren’t really even aware of it. But when we’re dealing with toxic narcissists in our relationships, whether they’re our partner, family member or friend, we are often actively being psychologically abused, and our self-esteem – if we ever had any – takes a nosedive.
So, when we project, it’s our subconscious sort of seeing qualities or issues within ourselves that we consciously deny. And then, without realizing it, we sort of attribute the feelings (or the issues) on to someone else. A lot of times, this is because the way we feel makes us uncomfortable and we don’t really know how to deal with it or can’t bring ourselves to do so.
For example, if we are stressing out and worried that our boss dislikes us, we might think, “Wow, she really hates me!”
But if we don’t have any actual evidence other than a general sense of negativity around her, we might ask ourselves how we really feel about the boss. The fact is that it’s possible that we’re just projecting our own stuff on to the boss. It’s possible that we don’t like her or feel somehow threatened by her.
In general, if you find yourself projecting, you can trace the trigger back to something that happened to you that made you feel insecure – and the situation you were in reminded you of that time. For example, during my pregnancy with my oldest child, my ex-husband made me feel like my changing body was grotesque. He was literally disgusted by me.
Eventually, I’d leave him and six years later, I’d find myself in a new relationship, pregnant with kid number two. And even though I would go on to have that baby and another four years later with my second husband, I struggled a lot during my second pregnancy with projection issues. I was triggered by my condition, and even though I logically knew that my husband loved my body during pregnancy, my thoughts raced and I struggled with doubting this and thinking he must be secretly disgusted as my ex had been.
I managed it, knowing logically what I was doing. But, boy, was it difficult!
Projection is a Primal, Reactive Behavior
Here’s where it gets interesting. Projection and our ability to resolve it within ourselves is all about emotional maturity. In fact, projection is considered a primitive defense because it preserves the ego by ignoring and/or distorting reality on some level.
In other words, projection is a primal, reactive behavior that is used by children and that eventually, most of us grow out of on our own, or at least we become aware of it and actively work to overcome it as I did with my pregnancies.
(For the record, my third pregnancy, though it was physically harder than the others since I was 32 years old by then, was far more emotionally satisfying as I had recognized that I was projecting old feelings onto my second husband, who didn’t, in fact, have the same issues as my ex, in the moment with my second and worked to get through it. That was because I had by that point developed enough emotional maturity to recognize the issue and deal with it.)
But narcissists tend to be emotional toddlers (or at best, emotional pre-teens) no matter how old they happen to be at any given moment. What I mean is that while they may appear to be a regular adult when you first meet them, narcissists are notoriously emotionally immature. In fact, on so many levels, their emotional maturity (or lack thereof) and manipulative behaviors can be compared to those of a toddler. But at least a toddler is cute. Narcissists can be downright ugly (on the inside at least) and while most of us begin to develop empathy as early as two years old, narcissists aren’t so lucky. They either never develop empathy or lose it during their own traumatic experiences in childhood. (In fact, if you have a minute later, take a look at the video I’ll leave right there and in the pinned comment for you – this is a literal comparison, not a figurative one. )
Narcissistic Projection vs. ‘Regular’ Projection
So, as you might imagine, narcissists are different when they use projection. While they may also be projecting due to their own insecurities, most of the time, projection acts as yet another manipulation tactic. This can become a serious issue, especially since it is often directed at people like us – people who are sensitive, empathic and who care too much about how they feel – at least until we recognize what they are.
And since many of us were also raised by narcissists or other toxic people, our own emotional struggles and lack of confidence can then be compounded by any narcissist we are in a relationship with, thanks to their extreme manipulation and gaslighting during our relationships. On the narcissist’s part, the goal is to divert your attention from what is really going on. By distracting you, not only do they get you to focus on yourself as the problem, but they also get you to take responsibility for the problem.
The Effects of Narcissistic Projection
When narcissists project their own issues on to us, we tend to actually personalize it and in some cases, we even accept the projections as true, or we worry that it could become true. Then, we might actively work to change something about ourselves that doesn’t need changing – or that isn’t even a quality or issue we have, but rather one of the narcissist’s projections of their own issues or qualities. Alternatively, we will spend our lives attempting to soothe their projected insecurities and ignore our own wellbeing in the process. In either case, it spells disaster for our core selves.
But on the plus side, if we can learn to recognize when the narcissist is doing this and identify it as projection, then we can label it and choose to see it for what it is and not internalize it.
So, how do you know if a narcissist is projecting on to you?
Since narcissists are well-known to lack self-awareness, it makes sense that they wouldn’t necessarily be consciously aware of their projecting thoughts and behaviors. And, since the narcissist’s ability to feel any self-esteem or self-worth is entirely dependent on how other people see and perceive them, they have a tendency to deny that they are in fact flawed humans who, like everyone else, have their own shortcomings or limitations. But rather than accept and recognize them, the way I did with my pregnancy issues, they will blame the people around them for anything about themselves they deem less than perfect.
So, in a way, you could almost say that narcissists tell on themselves through their projections. Using the example of the cheater who accuses his partner of cheating, we can see that projection is one way they reveal their own bad behaviors and ideologies on to us. It’s how they show us who they are and tell us what they’re doing.
When the narcissist projects on to you, they are essentially calling you by their own name, in a way. They’ll accuse you of doing whatever it is they are actually doing, or what they’re considering or planning to do. And since narcissists aren’t prone to feeling guilty for their behaviors, even when they should, they end up assigning that guilt to you through projection. Does that make sense? They unconsciously deny the existence of a feeling or action of their own and attribute it to you or someone else, thereby externalizing it.
Some people would call this intentional manipulation. Others would say it’s a subconscious way for them to avoid taking personal responsibility for their behavior. I say it’s a combination of those two things.
Examples of Narcissistic Projection in Toxic Relationships
Let me make this a little easier to understand by sharing a few examples of psychological projection in relationships.
1. The Narcissist Says You’re Something They Are.
This is where the narcissist has some insecurity about their personal selves and then they either call you that thing or they put a lot of pressure on you to change it. For example, if the narcissist is lazy around the house, they will accuse you of the same. Or they might constantly complain about the extra 10 pounds you’re carrying around, while they’re carrying an extra 50. They might even say something like, “You never put my needs first. You only care about yourself.” Sound familiar?
They do this because in fact THEY never put your needs first (or even second), and they care only about themselves. And think of the example I explained with my client in which she was constantly on-guard to stay transparent with her partner after being constantly accused of cheating or wanting to cheat, and later learned it was actually her ex who cheated.
And in some cases, they are projecting on to someone else in a similar way. Maybe they over-focus on the fact that a neighbor doesn’t keep their yard tidy enough, while their own yard leaves a lot to be desired.
2. The Narcissist Plays the Victim.
This is one of the most infuriating types of projection: when the narcissist plays the victim – also known as narcissistic injury. When the narcissistic person abuses or victimizes you in some way, they will act like you’re the one who did it to them, and they’ll twist everything you say and do to fit the narrative. For example, if you finally get fed up with the way they treat you and go no contact, they will tell everyone (including anyone they’re currently grooming to be their new source of supply) that you did everything they did. They play the victim, play up the sob story and get plenty of narcissistic supply out of the deal.
3. The Narcissist Flips Accusations Around.
When you call the narcissist out on something they’re doing or have done that upsets you, they will turn it all around on you and before you know it, you’re the one apologizing. So, for example, if you notice that your partner is paying too much attention to a particular person of the opposite sex (or same, or whatever y’all are into) and you call them out on it, rather than explaining and or acknowledging their behavior and trying to change it, they instead find something to poke at you about. In the case of this example, they might say you are overly jealous and have nothing to worry about – but that if you continue to bother them with your nonsense, they may as well go ahead and cheat on you anyway. I mean, after all, you’re accusing them of it. What is really going on here is that they’re once again deflecting their bad behavior on to you and getting you to focus on what they’re accusing you of instead – so you end up trying to stop being jealous and end up allowing them to do things that make you really uncomfortable in order to prove that you’re not. It’s crazymaking, to say the very least.
How do you deal with narcissistic projection?
It helps to first recognize the issue, and then to see it for what it is – just one more way the narcissist is manipulating you – consciously or otherwise. You should also realize that as someone who might be an empath and who is sensitive, kind and compassionate, you might have the unfortunate habit of projecting your GOOD qualities on to the narcissist, so be careful with that. Be sure you take off your rose-colored glasses and see the narcissist for what they really are.
Once you’ve done that, identify and focus on your boundaries. Be sure to stand firmly behind them and to be aware of what is true and what is a manipulated falsehood designed to push you down and boost the narcissist into the position of power. Take the power back by refusing to be convinced of something that isn’t true. If you need to, keep a journal of what actually happens so that you don’t doubt yourself. It can be a really helpful way to deal with both projection and gaslighting – which, of course, can be dealt with using the gray rock rule. If you aren’t familiar with the gray rock rule, take a look at the video I’m sharing with you right here, where you can learn everything you need to know about how to use and benefit from the gray rock method of dealing with manipulative narcissists.
Are you wondering if you might have codependent tendencies? Are you constantly doing for others and have no time or energy for yourself? Are you the only one that makes sacrifices in your relationships?
Codependency is enabling behavior of one person towards another person’s addiction, abusive/poor mental health, lack of accountability, and immaturity. The traits of codependency show extreme reliance on other people for approval and a sense of self-worth. Codependent people rely on others for emotional needs in excess as well. Usually, the person with codependent tendencies spends so much of their life doing for others and trying to meet the needs of others they can not see that they are not meeting their own emotional needs for themselves.
Some signs of codependency:
This seems to be the main trait that both creates codependent traits as well as solidifies the need for those traits within a relationship. Having a lack of trust in yourself can also be a part of low self-esteem.
Poor or no boundaries.
The invisible line between yourself and others. This can be physical, financial, emotional, spiritual or any other way in which you interact with others. Even taking emotional responsibility for others as can happen in a relationship with a narcissist is lacking boundaries.
People-pleasing as well as feeling used and under-appreciated.
Likely if you are constantly people pleasing it is true that you are not being appreciated for all you are doing. This can look like ‘keeping the peace” or making sure no one is upset in a situation. It usually creates a feeling of fear of others not liking you or being displeased if you do not do the people-pleasing behaviors.
Caretaking, feeling compelled to caretake others.
This can look like anything from physically caretaking to time managing others’ lives or offering unasked for advice to situations often.
Dependency and the need for others to like you in order to feel okay about yourself.
Feeling like you can’t function on your own and fearing abandonment and rejection because of that fear.
Denying the abuses of others or downplaying abuse can be one form of denial. Another codependent denial is the denial of any of the traits listed being an issue. Because the focus of codependent people is on the needs of others they can deny their own needs as well as deny the problem of not knowing their own needs,
Difficulty saying no.
This is a form of lack of boundaries but difficulty saying “no” deserves its own mention. With the difficulty, there is also a feeling of fear of rejection. Fearing the reaction of others if “no ” is said fills codependent people with anxiety.
Fixating on mistakes (perfectionism).
Feeling like if you make a mistake you are bad, wrong, unlovable.
Trouble honestly communicating needs.
Difficulty identifying feelings and needs and fear of rejection or devaluing if any needs are expressed.
Feeling the need to be liked by everyone.
Fear of displeasing others.
The constant need for being in a relationship.
It can feel very uncomfortable for people with codependent traits to be alone. Because of the lack of knowing their own needs and lack of self-care skills anxiety can become overwhelming when not in a relationship. This is one reason most people suggest waiting a year after narcissistic abuse, take the time to get to know your needs as well as how to meet and nurture them.
Feeling judged, rejected, abandoned, as well as difficulty knowing one’s own needs can leave it difficult for people with codependent traits to struggle with vulnerability and emotional intimacy.
Fear of abandonment.
The thought of being left creates extreme anxiety.
Emotional reactivity, taking things personally.
Because of the constant caregiving and need meeting through people-pleasing of others, codependent thinking can make you hyper-reactive to everyone else’s thoughts or feelings and how they are expressed.
Need to control, expecting others to do what you suggest or say.
Control feels safe. It is the main way a person with codependent traits feels like safety in a relationship. Even things like people-pleasing and caregiving can be forms of control.
Get personal support in your narcissistic abuse recovery.
If you are looking for an affordable way to get ongoing personalized support, as well as peer support and validation in a small group setting, join our private coaching group.
The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. It offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups– We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery and some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist – If you’re looking for a therapist for narcissistic abuse recovery, either because you cannot afford coaching and want to use your health insurance or because you have additional issues you need to address that do not fall within the realm of coaching, you will want to find the right therapist for you – and as far as we’re concerned, that therapist must understand what you’ve been through. This page offers assistance to help you do exactly that.
Who taught you these were truths? Why can’t you think differently even if you know they are not true? Why do you believe these limiting statements? How can you move past these beliefs? I’m sure you can see how gaining perspective and changing these beliefs could improve your life. Let’s talk about a few ways to understand and begin making that change.
Your inner child is crying out to be loved and heard
Many survivors of emotional abuse experienced things in childhood that set belief patterns for their adult life that sound similar to the ones above. Your inner child, a part of your personality that still reacts and feels like the child you were, may be calling out to be validated and loved and when you do this for yourself you can begin to heal. If you were taught you are unlovable by people who can not love, logically you can see it is their shortcoming but a part of you still holds the feelings of being unlovable as your own truth. If you were taught you can only get acceptance for being perfect, even though now you know that’s impossible for anyone to do, you may still feel the “flaws” you have as reasons you don’t deserve love. These feelings may be locked into a part of yourself that relates to your inner child. Getting what you needed and still need is now a journey of self-care.
How to find your inner child
There are a lot of ways to seek and experience your inner child. Many tips are unrelated to narcissistic abuse survival so I’ll give you one example of what survivors have told me over and over which helped them find their inner child. Tracing back the beliefs you have about yourself to childhood “programming” by adults in your life and then seeing how the child you were must have experienced that. Being raised by toxic parents, in particular, can lead to many beliefs about yourself that are limiting and even toxic to your healing. The child you were experiencing those beliefs as a reality.
Ways to heal your inner child
Once you are able to identify what your inner child is, what can you do to help? Most survivors of toxic upbringings have something in common, they never felt validated or heard. Your inner child may really need to be heard and held. We often explain away to old hurts and never really take the time to quietly listen to the needs we had as a child.
Questions to Ask Your Inner Child
Asking yourself questions can give you ideas for how to help yourself.
What does this child need?
What is this child feeling?
What would the child like to have happen right now?
What is a source of comfort and safety for this child?
Once an answer to any of these questions arises, simply start giving your inner child what they need. Visualize yourself as a child and listen to all that child needs to tell you. Spend some time asking and giving to yourself in this way then affirm to the child within that you are there, always have been and always will be. Offer a safe adult to turn to when things hurt or get scary. Be that for yourself with intention and love.
Write to Your Inner Child
Writing a letter or journaling to your inner child is another technique suggested and used by many people. This can give you a safe way to not only express what you need to say but to also receive words of kindness and nurturing directly from the person that knows what you need best – you. In being there for yourself in this way include words and phrases that you would tell a child who is experiencing the things you experienced.
Treat your inner child with THIS kind of love
Consider what you would tell your own child or a child you know personally. What would you tell your own son or daughter who was in the kind of pain you once experienced? Tell that to yourself. Every time you hear negative self talk use the words you would give to your own child towards yourself.
Check in with your inner child
Check-ins with your inner child when situations in life cause you pain or grief may also help you to honor and nurture your inner child. You may also find benefit by checking in with your inner child when you have successes as well. Talking to, writing to, or just thinking about the child within during times in your life where you feel a lot of emotion can help by adding validation both to your current situation as well as your past.
Get therapy or coaching to heal your inner child
Seeking the help of a therapist can be another approach to doing inner child work. Having the therapist there to guide and help you with the issues that come up for many people is invaluable to their healing. Coaching with a narcissistic abuse recovery coach can offer ways to begin to question the beliefs set up in your childhood and to shift perspective on those beliefs. Some people combine both to really begin a self-discovery journey while healing from abuse. Finding a trauma-focused and knowledgeable person to help is highly recommended.
How can you avoid letting a narcissist (or other toxic person) get close to you? What are some things you can watch for when you meet someone new? And what if you’re already dealing with someone who makes you wonder? You start by learning the red flags and watching for them.
First: Trust Your Gut
Before we get to the list of some of the red flags to look for, one thing to learn about yourself is how to trust your gut. Your gut, your instinct, intuition, ability to discern will often guide you away from toxic situations if you learn to listen to it, even when what you may want is presenting itself to you. For example, the charm of a narcissist, in the beginning, may show you all the things you feel you want like attention, focus, even what feels like connection but under it all you may have a sense something is really not right. You may feel anxiety or drained around this person. When you are not with the person you may feel uneasy about them or like their energy is “stuck” to you and it just feels wrong, depleting, or as some describe it “icky”. Learning to listen to your gut over being swept away by any person can help you not only to see the red flags but to listen to their warning and take action to stay away from the potentially toxic person.
50 Red Flags That Mean You’re Dealing with a Narcissist
There are many lists of red flags to watch out for. This list includes a few less talked about things that may be useful to help keep you from toxic relationships. Red flags are only a part of the picture and many of them can exist without a person being entirely toxic in a relationship. It is the combination of many red flags as well as your gut feeling that can help you determine if a relationship is healthy and right for your life. What can be learned from watching for red flags might be areas in your life to learn to have less tolerance for so that you are not engaging in relationships that do not create a happy, healthy life. After narcissistic abuse, learning to trust yourself and your own judgment of others is ultimately what keeps you safe, red flags are one piece of that awareness.
You just feel “off” or on edge around someone.
Seduction and charm. A narcissist will often have an allure that also feels empty and without true vulnerability on their part.
Idealization. The creation of a role you are to play being set up by the narcissist that idealizes you or themselves instead of seeing you as a whole and authentic person.
The feeling of this person is familiar as if you know how to “understand” it. If you are a survivor of narcissistic abuse and especially if you grew up with toxic parents there may be a familiarity you feel that gets you to overlook the uneasy feelings your gut may be trying to warn you of.
Self-centered talk. The narcissist may listen to you in order to gain information but the conversation feels like it revolves around them. They may even make it seem like they are relating to you so they can mirror and groom you.
You may feel anxious around them like you are seeking approval or walking on eggshells. Try setting a boundary not only to see how they respond, but to test how you feel as well.
Boundaries are pushed and disregarded.
You may feel manipulated
Love bombing and over the top attention is a big red flag.
What empathy you may see seems lacking or not genuine.
The situation seems too good to be true. You are unable to see the flaws in a person or they are only allowing you to see their “good” side.
They want to know everything about you.
They are not long out of a relationship and/or no time between relationships. Someone that moves on very fast, if they are even really single, generally is not a safe choice for a potential partner.
Makes friends easily but has no real long term friends. The friends they do have are activity-based only and their personality changes around each different group of friends
They show you off, you may feel like a trophy.
Job stability issues
Makes excuses, everyone else is to blame.
All of their exes are crazy.
They claim to be the ones who have to hold everything together.
Far fetched stories of glory.
You can’t imagine the “bad” side or their shortcomings.
May appear helpless or to need you.
Things feel out of balance such as you like them more than they do you.
Overtly meeting all of your vulnerability “needs” rapidly and early on in a relationship.
They do things to secure a position in your life. They may buy you things, fix things or otherwise set up a sort of dependency on them.
When the truth is revealed early on, the little warning words of truth are quickly glossed over or made to look like a joke.
You find yourself doing more for them than seems or feels right to you.
They make you feel uniquely special to the point of idealization.
They set up situations or use words which make you feel insecure.
Lies are explained away.
Pet names when you first meet them.
You overlook a lot because you see their “potential” and feel like you could help them meet that potential.
They want every second of your time.
They make you feel bad about being with others.
They take everything personally.
They are jealous of your kids or family.
They lack accountability.
They are judgemental and punitive.
They treat others like possessions
The relationship feels like a roller coaster.
They have sex addictions. Be cautious of fetishes and how they are with control.
They ruin special occasions.
You are kept in limbo over events, time and other things that require commitment.
You are isolated from friends and family.
They need extreme amounts of praise.
Your accomplishments and achievements are undermined.