If you’re like most survivors of narcissistic abuse, you might still be struggling to feel good about yourself. You might also not be very self-accepting, and most of us don’t end up actually feeling like we have any self-love to speak of – not to mention self-confidence. For that reason, I wrote this self-acceptance and self-love inducing guided meditation for you.
I worked with a professional voice artist to create a simple, relaxing, and motivational meditation for self-acceptance that leads to unconditional self-love. You can listen in the morning to get you going or play it while you go to sleep at night. I suggest you use it for at least 30 days for maximum effect.
How do you figure out which limiting beliefs you’re holding on to?
It’s definitely a process to suss out your own limiting beliefs, but it’s a worthy one. For me, it took looking back at my childhood traumas and the beliefs I learned growing up before I discovered that they were holding me back. This is when it finally clicked for me; how could I ever live the life I wanted if those very thoughts and feelings were preventing it from coming to fruition? It was time to let go. Can you relate?
What are the limiting beliefs holding you back from narcissistic abuse recovery?
There are several limiting beliefs that can hold you back in your recovery from narcissistic abuse. You may have developed these due to childhood trauma and/or the trauma the narcissist inflicted on you. Regardless of how you came to believe these things about yourself, they will prevent you from healing and getting over your ex. It is time to let go of what’s holding you back so you can move forward and create a healthy future for yourself!
Why do we feel so powerless after narcissistic abuse?
One of the biggest struggles for survivors of narcissistic abuse is learning that they need to start putting themselves first or consider themselves a top priority. This seems easier than it might actually be, especially for those of us who have been through the hell of being connected to a toxic person. In addition to our own perceptions about what we SHOULD be, we have society telling us that we’re supposed to always put other people before ourselves.
Think about it: how many times did your mom tell you not to be selfish? How much social pressure is there for you to be selfless?
3 Limiting Beliefs You Need to Let Go Of Today
If you’ve been in a toxic relationship, you know how hard it can be to put yourself first. If you’re having trouble prioritizing yourself without guilt, there might be something holding you back. Now is the time to let go of those limiting beliefs and take control of your own life.
1. If I set boundaries, no one will like me!
You’re allowed (and, in my opinion, you have a responsibility) to set boundaries. But narcissists have this way of pushing your boundaries and eventually eliminating them, so you might be a little out of practice. The first thing I want to do is reassure you – if you start to take care of yourself, your friends and family will like you even better. They’ll be relieved to finally see you getting your needs met.
The unfortunate thing is that the people who might push away from you might also be toxic. But for those who are your real friends and who really care, you’ll find something very different happens. If you’re polite but firm, they’ll accept that you can’t run yourself ragged doing what everyone else wants all the time. They might even respect you more for your honesty!
2. Everyone counts on me to be the strong one!
You know that friend who is constantly inviting themselves to dinner at your house? The one who always seems to have the neediest, most dramatic problems ever? Who thinks that “caring” means you should spend time listening to their never-ending parade of complaints about how hard their life is? Are you falling into the role of the victim/rescuer? You’re having a tough time and no one hears you. Do they even care or are they just used to hearing your sad stories?
Having been scapegoated and played, the eternal caregiver is a self-inflicted victim role that narcissists make their victims adopt by exploiting their vulnerabilities. In a way, they are emotionally manipulating us into sacrificing ourselves on the altar of their false emotional needs, which are as hollow as their pathological ego. It’s time to step out of our people-pleaser roles and reclaim our true identities, to become more authentic and whole.
You might be wondering why you feel the need to take care of everyone and everything. And if you don’t start taking care of yourself, might you become someone who gets burnt out and resentful? After all, it can be exhausting to have other people always relying on you. So take some time to get some rest. You deserve it after all!
Cut yourself and everyone else some slack and let other people help too. As a bonus, if you make sure your own needs are satisfied, you’ll be in a much better position to give.
3. But, it’s not right to put me first!
It may seem counterintuitive, but putting yourself first is actually good advice. It is not selfish to start caring for your physical and emotional health. When you don’t put yourself first, you’re telling your unconscious mind that other people are more important than you. And listen – believing you can’t achieve anything, and you don’t deserve to succeed is a recipe for staying stuck.
Why do you need to leave these limiting beliefs behind you?
Are you drained of energy by putting other’s needs before yours? Or perhaps you’ve given up on believing your needs and desires will ever come first? These three core beliefs need to be challenged and overcome if you’re going to develop a healthier attitude to putting yourself first. Like changing any habit, you need to practice and take baby steps first.
Have a look at your own needs and desires, and practice saying yes to what your body, mind, and heart need.
Are you having trouble keeping yourself from falling back into your toxic relationship?
“Our self-respect tracks our choices. Every time we act in harmony with our authentic self and our heart, we earn our respect. It is that simple. Every choice matters.” ~Dan Coppersmith
In theory, putting yourself first sounds like a simple thing. Just do it, right? But it’s not always so easy, is it?
If you’re like most survivors of narcissistic abuse, chances are you think that putting yourself first is a little selfish. After having dealt with a toxic narcissist who could blame you? Narcissists are notorious for tearing us down and making us think we don’t matter – and that THEY do. Not to mention the society that teaches us that we’re supposed to be selfless – all the time. People are often praised for being unselfish, right? It’s not easy to shake off that conditioning. But it’s important for your health and wellbeing that you learn to put those fears aside and start putting yourself first.
Living a balanced and fulfilling life requires a balance between your needs and desires, and those of others. You’ll be in better shape to support other people if you fill your cup first. You will exhaust yourself if you run around everywhere helping everyone. It’s likely to make you feel overwhelmed, even angry and resentful. And that’s no help to anyone!
Did you know? Putting yourself first is good for you! It’s true. Studies have shown that putting yourself first has a range of benefits including
Being taken more seriously and respected by others
Your resilience in dealing with stress is enhanced
You have more control over your life
Your self-esteem will improve
Better physical and mental health
Putting yourself first can be as easy as learning to take responsibility for your own choices by being assertive about your needs. One of the most powerful ways of being assertive is learning to say no calmly and straightforwardly. Are you able to say no when you need to?
Journaling Exercise: Take a few minutes to answer the following questions in your journal.
Does saying no make you feel uncomfortable? Why or why not?
Do you feel like you have the right to say no when you need to? If you said no, are you willing to change that perception?
Can you think of a time that you wanted to say no but couldn’t? In hindsight, what could you have done differently?
What are some phrases you can use to say no when you need to? Write them down and commit them to memory for future reference.
Filling your cup
I don’t know about you, but when I’m not taking care of myself, I find myself feeling DRAINED and EXHAUSTED. The fact is that taking care of yourself is essential as no one can do their best if they’re exhausted. Pushing yourself past your limits will make you sick. In these times of 24/7 availability and communication, it is more necessary than ever to make sure you get the rest and downtime you need.
Filling your cup means taking time out for you, whether that’s spending a quiet evening watching TV, or a weekend hiking in the mountains. It means getting enough sleep; it means setting some boundaries and doing what’s right for you.
Setting a good example
If this still isn’t sitting right with you, consider this. Would you want your friends and loved ones running themselves ragged after you? What do you say when you see your friend or family member is stressed out or overwhelmed? Chances are you’d tell them to relax, right?
The people in your life who have been toxic aren’t really relevant here. But YOU are, and YOU matter, my friend. If it helps, think about what kind of role model you are to your kids if you have any. Not only will they follow your example they’ll pick up on your mood. If you’re stressed out and overworked, your kids will think that’s normal.
“Trust your own instincts, go inside, follow your heart. Right from the start. go ahead and stand up for what you believe in. As I’ve learned, that’s the path to happiness.”~ Lesley Ann Warren
Ever notice that many survivors of toxic relationships tend to be people pleasers? It’s true – we want to be assertive and to stand up for ourselves, but we feel like we need to know exactly how assertive is TOO assertive.
After all, we don’t want to upset anyone. It just isn’t in our nature to be jerks for no reason, and we most certainly do not want to deal with conflict – we’d sooner live in misery than willfully enter into conflict – at least before we get to the point in our healing when we understand the value of standing up for ourselves.
Of course, as empaths, we look for and try to walk that fine line – that place of balance between assertive and aggressive, because we care how people feel and we don’t want to make them feel bad if we can avoid it.
We think about it far too much, and we ask ourselves, “Am I assertive to the point of being aggressive?”
The goal is to find that fine line in between too much and too little assertiveness. It’s really about balance and understanding how to pick your battles effectively. It’s about knowing exactly when to push a little more, and when to kind of step back.
It is about learning to establish personal boundaries for yourself and for others around you.
The Truth About Personal Power After a Toxic Relationship With a Narcissist
There are a lot of moving pieces to the whole narcissistic abuse recovery process. As we work on our healing and our personal evolution, we also must find our own voices, and that will include learning to stand up for ourselves like we did before we tangled with a toxic person in a relationship – or maybe even in ways that we never have before.
If you’re going to create and maintain personal change in your life intentionally, you must learn how to do exactly that – to overcome the need to shy away from changes that make you uncomfortable.
For example, let’s say someone at work is causing you a lot of stress because they won’t stop hitting on you at the workplace. Maybe you feel nervous about reporting this to your HR department, so you don’t say anything at all. Instead, you quietly tolerate it as your coworker relentlessly pursues and abuses you.
Is this situation comfortable in any way, shape or form? Absolutely not. You will dread going to work and you will remain on constant alert when you’re there. You will be mentally and physically affected by the stress of the harassment and abuse. So, you’re essentially putting yourself in a longterm misery situation in order to save yourself a few minutes of discomfort.
Of course, you already know you DO have the power to CHANGE this – and all you’d have to do is tolerate a few minutes of discomfort during the time you make your report to HR. After that, the situation can be resolved for you and this will take away a possible lifetime of ongoing harassment.
How to Stand Up for Yourself
It’s time to learn to be more assertive, my friend.
Now, listen. I know that the idea of assertiveness seems too simple to create any real personal change in your life, believe me. But as a survivor of narcissistic abuse, it’s not always easy to stand up for yourself, especially when it involves conflict, or it feels risky.
You can try dialing down the risk and build your assertiveness muscles in the way you deal with the dozens, if not hundreds, of small decisions you make every day. Think of all the times you choose to stand in your power or to go with the flow. Here are some top tips to help you stand up for yourself every day.
1. Start small
If you feel less than confident about being assertive, take baby steps at first. You can start by adjusting your posture to a more confident shoulder back and chin up stance, that says to the world “take me seriously.” If you’re a serial apologizer, try removing “sorry” from your everyday personal dictionary and save it for when an apology is warranted.
Resolve to try being more assertive at every opportunity. You probably know that it takes time and preparation to form new habits, with the latest research saying 66 days is the magic number. Schedule a reminder in your calendar, and practice asserting your needs daily for 66 days until it becomes automatic for you.
Maybe you’ve got a difficult meeting or conversation coming up, or there are some situations which always make you feel anxious and small. Try imagining the scene and write yourself a script where you stay in your power. Work out what feels right for you and try it the next time such a situation arises.
4. Practice patience
You might find that your new assertiveness provokes negative responses in people who are used to you being compliant. It’s a good practice to stay calm but assertive if they try to override you. Don’t react or be defensive, count to ten and stay in your power.
5. Be clear
When you’re standing up for yourself, it’s important to be very clear about your position and to avoid infusing it with emotion. Be straightforward and say what you want without being passive-aggressive or indirect.
6. Practice saying no
When you’re clear about what you want and what you don’t want, saying No politely but firmly becomes a whole lot easier. Work out what’s important to you and don’t leave room for doubt in the mind of the asker. Saying no doesn’t make you a mean or rude person, it’s a sign of strength and certainty, and everyone will know where they stand.
7. Watch these videos to help you learn to stand up for yourself, set boundaries and to take back your power.
“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.
“Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do.” ~Rachel Wolchin
As an empath, you’re a giver. Often, you give more than you should, and often beyond what you can. Trust me, I get it.
As we both know, that leads to becoming a people-pleaser – and before you know it, you’re overwhelmed with toxic “emotional vampires” – also known as narcissists. The worst part is that even when you clear all the toxic people out of your life, chances are that at least every now and again, you’ll meet someone who tests your patience. You know the type I mean – those people you just need to enforce your boundaries with, or they’ll overwhelm you.
Often your body will start sending you signals that this person isn’t respecting your boundaries, but sometimes you can be so preoccupied with wondering if they’ll like you or not, that you can miss the cues. If you start feeling uncomfortable, here are seven signs that you need to up your boundary work and protect yourself from other people’s egos.
1. You feel exhausted. Egocentric people (toxic narcissists) don’t respect other people’s boundaries. They are exhausting to be with as all they do is take, take, take. If you have to have contact with someone who makes you feel like this, manage the time and place, so your exposure is limited, or you can share the energy suck with someone else, a friend, family member or colleague.
2. You feel angry and resentful. When your boundaries aren’t respected, you end up feeling angry and resentful because someone is taking advantage of you. Does this person always cancel at the last minute or ask you to pick up their child or do the monthly project report? Do they take all the credit and do little or none of the work? Time to stand up for yourself and draw some lines in the sand.
3. You feel defensive. Is your boundary predator always finding fault or criticizing you? Do you constantly feel on the defensive? People who don’t respect boundaries make themselves feel better by criticizing others. Don’t fall for this, it’s abusive, and you don’t have to put up with it.
4. You feel you can’t refuse. It’s easy to end up in a position where you feel you can’t say no. And once you establish that pattern, it’s hard to refuse. But it’s always ok to say no, it’s always a choice available to you. Unless it’s an emergency, you are perfectly entitled to refuse to do anything you don’t want to do. End of story.
5. Is your body trying to tell you something? Notice how your body reacts when you’re around a manipulative or gaslighting person.
Does your stomach tighten?
Are your palms sweaty?
Is your mouth dry and your heart racing?
Your body is signaling that this person isn’t safe to be around. Put yourself first and get out of there! Pay attention to the cues you’re being given and keep those boundaries strong.