Narcissistic abuse takes away your confidence on every level. And often, redeveloping your self-confidence can feel completely impossible after going through such intense ongoing trauma. Many survivors of narcissistic abuse also find themselves struggling with social anxiety and even agoraphobia.
How do you rebuild self-confidence after narcissistic abuse?
Okay, so we know that life is more fun and a lot easier if you feel confident around others. And when you’ve been through a toxic relationship that has completely wiped your self-esteem out, it might feel really difficult to make it happen. But the good news is that the skills that make this possible are well-known but can be uncomfortable to develop. And, if you’re willing to be a little bold, you can start rebuilding confidence immediately. To start, watch this video, which offers tips on how to develop rock-solid self-confidence after narcissistic abuse.
Want additional self-confidence tips for narcissistic abuse survivors? Watch these videos, and read the following additional tips on how to do just that.
Level-Up Your Post-Narcissistic Abuse Confidence
Talk to people.
You become more comfortable with something when you do it a lot. Most confidence issues are based on fear – ESPECIALLY for narcissistic abuse survivors. By talking to a lot of people, you’ll show yourself that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Fortunately, there are people everywhere.
Tip: Consider getting a part-time job that involves speaking to people. You could be a waiter, salesperson, customer service rep, or any other job that requires interacting with others. You’ll earn some extra money, too.
Schedule your social life.
Be sure you have a few hours of social activity planned into your life each week. Get out of the house and have a little fun with others.
Study confident, powerful characters in movies.
Look at movies with strong characters and note how they stand, move, and use eye contact. What is it that makes them appear so in control and formidable? Which movie character do you wish you could be like? Study them. Check out this list of best movies for narcissistic abuse survivors if you need a little inspiration.
Have controlled emotional reactions.
Think of James Bond. You could tell him he has mustard on his shirt and a satellite was about to fall on the building. He might wink at you, say something funny, and then take another bite of his hotdog before taking any action. The most confident people underreact. You might also recognize this as a version of the gray rock technique.
Maintain confident eye contact.
Look everyone in the eye with great confidence. You’re not in a staring contest, but you can’t lower your eyes in deference if you want to be viewed as a powerful person. Practice your eye contact with everyone that crosses your path.
Stand up straight!
Slouching and appearing smaller than you really are can make you feel less confident than you need to feel. Seriously! Imagine you are a famous person walking among your greatest supporters. How would you stand? Try to maintain that same posture whether you’re addressing the masses or taking your trash cans to the curb.
Create social opportunities for yourself.
There are many ways you can make yourself the center of attention (in a good way!). For example, the following.
Have a party.
Start a meetup group, or join one. Check out meetup.com for ideas!
Inform your peers of one of your goals, such as losing weight.
Attend networking events.
Get a group of people together to go out to the movies or to dinner.
Get some friends together for a poker night.
Expect success, nothing less!
Remind yourself of your successful social interactions in the past. Visualize success in the future. Have high expectations for interactions in all social situations. Imagine entering a room full of strangers and boldly speaking with the most attractive or influential person there. The world would truly be your oyster. That confidence would overflow into other parts of your life.
As you continue your recovery from narcissistic abuse, developing your self-confidence will be an important way to level up. When you get a handle on this important part of your life, it will change everything – in a very good way.
“No matter what you’re going through, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you’ll find the positive side of things.” ~Demi Lovato
The Brick Wall in Narcissistic Abuse and Toxic Relationships
If you ask me, being in a relationship with a narcissist feels a lot like running your head into the same brick wall, over and over. And despite the fact that it gets bloody and beaten, you don’t stop. You just keep running your head into the wall, hoping to get through it (and make it happy) – and while you logically realize, eventually, that there’s no breaking that wall down, and that the wall is not capable of change, something in you makes you keep hitting the wall, bloodying your head and hoping for different results.
How do you find hope when you’re dealing with narcissistic abuse?
So let’s talk about the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m about to wax philosophical on your ass, so get ready. If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a narcissist, you can probably agree that eventually, you stop living for yourself and start living to avoid the next blow-up, drama, or manipulation.
So many people have come to me as they were beginning the process of recovering from an abusive narcissist asking me how I was able to redefine and rediscover myself after escaping my own narcissistic abuse situation. And this is what I tell them.
As I see it, living without that kind of passion is sort of like living in the dark. Food doesn’t taste as good, the air doesn’t smell as nice, the colors don’t seem as bright.
Without passion in our lives, it’s as though there’s a barrier between our senses and the world around us, one which doesn’t allow us to fully experience our lives.
This barrier could present itself in the way of depression, anger, fear, or any number of debilitating emotions. Or maybe there’s a certain situation in our lives of which we’ve lost control. Maybe it’s simply that we’re bored, and that we’ve begun to take our blessings for granted.
This can lead to a very toxic state for our souls and even our bodies. But we can change our minds, and this can change our lives. Start now by trying this Bliss Mission.
Bliss Mission: Discover What Inspires You
Begin with figuring out what inspires you. Then, find a way to make it happen. This can help you to start living with passion, and living with passion is one of the first steps to becoming whole, to becoming truly happy.
Whatever your passion or inspiration, take some small step toward it today, and let the rest flow. If you’re not sure where to start, consider taking a walk to clear your head, or writing in a journal to work it out. You could draw or paint a picture, or cook your favorite meal. Take a bath or do a little yoga. Whatever works for you.
Tell yourself that today is the day that you begin living with passion and purpose. And then, my friends, do it. Your life will be richer and your heart will be happier.
Feel good! You ready? Let’s do this.
Resources to Help with Gaslighting in Narcissistic Abuse
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Do you accept yourself for who you are, or are you the type of person who doesn’t feel comfortable in their own skin?
Does it kind of feel like you’re always in self-improvement mode? Like you are always trying to be someone else?
Feeling comfortable and accepting yourself is important if you want to lead a fulfilling and happy life. More than that, if you constantly focus on what’s wrong with you, you’re definitely going to find more things to complain about.
Try loving yourself instead – that makes it much easier to be happy as well as to manifest the good things you want in your life.
Here’s the thing – you might be ready to quit reading this post about now, ready to chalk me up to being another one of those quacks. But hold up! Not so fast.
It can happen. You can learn to make things go your way. And it all starts with one simple thing: the ability to fall madly in love with your very own self. No joke.
I promise you, you’ve got to love yourself before anything is ever going to change in your life. You might have to fake it a little at first. That’s okay. Just do it – because it’s totally worth your effort.
Ready to start changing your life?
Let’s take a look at how you can learn to know and love yourself like never before.
Self-Assessment: What Do I Want?
Start by reading over the following questions. Take a few minutes to jot down the answers in a notebook or document.
Who is the person that you want to become? Describe the ideal you in detail.
What are the things that you really care about?
Is there anything or anyone who you may lose if you start to live the life you truly want?
What one step can you take today to get closer to becoming the best possible version of yourself?
Write your answers out in detail. This way you have a full description of the person you want to become and why.
What to Expect When You’re Accepting (Yourself)
During this journey you also need to understand and accept that nobody is perfect – and that means all of us. We’ve all got our faults, and we’ve all gotta learn to live with them.
So, now that you’ve made the decision, it’s time. You’re finally ready to begin living your life the way you want to, and the way you deserve to!
Learn to Love Yourself
Sure, it sounds like it’s easier said than done, but what would the world be like for you if you were totally, madly, head-over-heels in love with yourself?
Maybe there are parts of yourself that you are extremely happy with, and of course, there might also be those that you hate.
Love Your Quirks
You have to stop hating on yourself and get busy changing your perception.
If you have habits that can be changed, great! That means you’ve got a place to start.
If you just have quirks, they’re just part of your personality. They identify what is unique about you, as a person. You need to accept and love your quirks!
I always say they’re just part of my charm.
In daily practice, the best place to start is to do the things that you can do – and to focus on the things that really make you feel awesome. Those are also the things that kind of show the world who you really are.
So if you’re itching to speak on something – then speak on! Never let the approval or disapproval of others stand in the way of your speaking your mind. You’ve got to be true to yourself if you’re ever going to be really happy.
Each night before you go to bed, ask yourself the following questions.
Was I the best possible version of myself today?
Did I make the right choices?
What could I have done better?
What was the brightest moment of my day?
What is the perfect vision of my perfect tomorrow.
Fall asleep with your perfect tomorrow in your mind’s eye. It’ll help you to begin to manifest the life you really want, because you’ll be drawing that beautiful, positive energy toward yourself.
Remember to be brave – don’t let fear prevent you from speaking your truth or doing what you need to do to be happy.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be rude about it – and you should always speak in love, whenever possible. Hate doesn’t foster the kind of change any of us really want.
Like I said, you might have to fake the whole “OMG I’M SO IN LOVE WITH MYSELF!!” thing for a minute – and that’s okay. Because once you master the art of “faking it,” you’ll be on the way to MAKING IT.
Maybe you won’t do the whole screaming it to yourself thing, either. But you’ve got to find a way to realize that YOU are a person who is worth that kind of love, and you’ve got to give it to yourself before you can get it or give it to anyone else.
I promise you, it won’t be boring, and it’ll be worth it when you see your life begin to resemble the one you really want. Don’t you think?
Have you ever been to a strip club? I have, once. It was a decade ago during my bachelorette party.
And to be honest, it wasn’t my cuppa tea. It was an experience that left me well-aware of the differences between men and women when it comes to visual stimulus.
I saw both male and female strippers that night and somehow left the club feeling sorry for the ladies.
Even though the men were doing essentially the same thing, there seemed to be an almost sad energy around the ladies, almost one of numbness countered by desperation.
As you might have guessed, many female exotic dancers suffer from low self-esteem. According to researchers, this is at least in part due to the fact that theit jobs carry such a big stigma.
Recently, new researh was published by Maren Scull, an instructor of Sociology in the CU Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Scull has conducted research on the motivation behind male strippers commitment to stripping and the effect their occupation has on the way they view themselves. And her results were kind of shocking.
“Because stripping is a stigmatizing occupation, it has the capacity to negatively affect exotic dancers’ self-definitions,” Scull said in a press release. “I looked into what motivates men to continue dancing and found that stripping led to feelings of mattering, mastery and enhanced self-esteem.”
After spending two years studying male strippers, Scull realized something profound: though female strippers are most likely to continue their work for the money, it’s all about the confidence boost for the guys, who reportedly earn much less per shift than their female counterparts.
“Initially women who dance for men may experience a boost in self-esteem, but after time they suffer from a diminished self-concept,” Scull said. “My research finds that men who dance for women generally experience positive feelings of self-worth. So much so, that men will continue to strip even when it is no longer financially lucrative.”
She added that this could be due to the fact that men and women typically have different feelings about being objectified as sex objects. Men like it and take it as a compliment while women find it oppressive or stressful.
Shocked or not? Tell me in the comments section below. Let’s discuss.
If you ask me, Jessica Simpson gets a bad rap. Whether we’re discussing her weight, criticizing her mom jeans (or showing off the latest bag or shoes we’ve sheepishly purchased from her collection because we couldn’t help ourselves, it was just too cute to pass up), we can’t seem to shut up about this woman. (more…)
Where do you go when you don’t feel like you’re going anywhere in your trip to being a healthier, smaller version of yourself? What happens to you at that moment in time where you’ve tried (what seems like) everything and nothing is working? Where does your mind and body take you when you’re stuck?
This is always a risky area for me. I would say for a solid eighty percent of my time I am on autopilot. To quote my pal Carolyn, “It’s just what we do now”, meaning going to the gym, eating properly, not binging, not freaking out about every little inconsistency or speed bump in the path, is our new “norm”. It’s just what we do. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The other twenty percent of my time is split between the extremes.
Fifteen percent of that time is spent ‘dorphined up, feeling like I’m taking on the world and conquering it bit by bit. Nothing bothers me. Nothing could stand in my way. I have a great attitude and hold my head up high.
In steps that pesky last five percent of my time, which is where I’ve been feeling for the past week. That last five percent is the part that says “you cannot win this game no matter what you do”. I’m living on “screw it” street in my little village and it’s such a dodgy area. There’s bums on the corners… big bums who haven’t seen a Stairmaster in years. There are seedy people in the shadows just lurking about waiting for you to trip up so they can dart out and rummage through your bag, stealing your hidden snack. The street pharmacists are on the corners handing out your drug of choice, be it cheesecake, chips or chocolate. Or worse yet, a cocktail of all three.
So where do you go? What do you do? Who do you turn to?
My first line of defense, and I didn’t even realize it until I started writing today, is my husband, Marco. Today, these words actually left my face and entered his ears.
“I’ve been doing horrible with my food. I just feel like saying screw it all”.
Those words were actually audible. To another human besides myself. I really said that to him. That’s when I realized he’s always my first stop on the self-destruction train. I like to run my ideas of giving up past him first.
It’s actually laughable as I write it because of course I’m never going to stop but maybe I just need a break. A break from what?
I’d like to call my second line of defense to the stand – Carolyn. You’ll remember her from this post.
She’s who I turn to next. She’s going to read this, as I run most of my posts past her before publishing and she’ll have some brilliant encouraging words to say. Or a punch in the arm, you know, whatever she feels will work at the time. Never fail though, she’s walking the walk and talking the talk with me.
Keeping in mind that this is still only a mere five percent of my time, sometimes I realize my funk is a bit funkier than I like it to be and I pull out the big guns.
When I left Novarum, the center where I got help for my food issues, they had me write a list of things that just worked for me, mentally and physically. It seemed so silly at the time to write it all down, they were so fresh in my mind, but I did it. I tucked it away in a book and just keep it there.
That’s my “big guns”, a piece of paper with words of wisdom that I wrote myself.
“Following this routine makes me more calm about food choices.”
“I no longer hide my eating or have that shame that was associated with hiding and eating.”
“If one of my goals ends up backfiring, that’s okay. This is all just a huge experiment to find that best fit for my life, which will change and evolve as I do.”
That’s just a few of the items on that yellowing piece of paper that I use, third line of defense, to keep me centered.
It is so much more than words on paper though. It takes me back to the basics. Back to where I started winning this thing. Back to the really simple ideas of changing the way I thought about food, myself, myself with food, food with myself and all things related, which in the end, was everything.
I get back to the beginning of this chapter in my life and re-read it like a favorite book.
Then I keep on keeping on because that five percent, that little flash of time, has had its moment of glory and I know how to move on.