“Most people in the psychology field believe that if we do not get a child to bond at a deep level with someone by age eight, we have lost them. We can never recover them and teach them empathy. Never.” ~Patti Henry, Author of The Emotionally Unavailable Man
Emotionally unavailable people in relationships can often be appealing to people – especially those of us who like to help “fix” people’s problems, those of us who enjoy solving a good mystery, and those of us who may have experienced an overly emotional person in a toxic relationship. In some cases, you can potentially take steps to connect with an emotionally unavailable person and actually create some positive change in both of your lives. But in the case of the emotional unavailability being a side effect of NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) or otherwise on the cluster B spectrum – or even with someone who just has strong narcissistic tendencies but who hasn’t been officially diagnosed with the personality disorder – you’re going to be fighting a losing battle if you try to create genuine connection.
What does it mean to be emotionally unavailable?
Someone who is emotionally unavailable refuses to let his or her guard down. People who have been hurt or rejected often in their past may take this position without realizing it. They may find it difficult to trust new people or anyone at all if there has been significant trauma in their lives. In many cases, these people can be helped with counseling, coaching or even simple discussions with their loved ones. Toxic people, such as narcissists, who are emotionally unavailable might also be helped through counseling or therapy, but usually refuse to get or accept help as they don’t see anything wrong with their behavior.
How does it feel to be in a relationship with someone who is emotionally unavailable?
Whether the emotionally available person is your partner, your parent or your best friend, you might find yourself feeling very lonely and even rejected by this person. You might feel unloved, and you might feel like their repeated rejection of your attempts to connect are related to a big wall this person puts up around him or herself. You feel like this person isn’t there for you in the way that a normal parent, partner or best friend would be. It’s a one-sided kind of relationship.
Can an emotionally unavailable person change or heal so they can become more emotionally available?
This depends on whether you’re dealing with a toxic narcissist or a “regular” person. In both cases, the behavior is most likely a subconscious way to self-protect themselves. They refuse to allow themselves to be vulnerable to you in order to reduce the chances that they might be hurt or rejected again – or to manage their own emotional response if it (inevitably, in their minds) happens to them again.
However, with narcissists, we need to consider the fact that they have impaired empathy, which could also appear to be emotional unavailability. And we must remember that while it’s theoretically possible that a narcissist could create true change in their lives, it’s also highly unlikely that they will. That’s because most narcissists are unable or unwilling to take any sort of responsibility for things that go wrong in their lives and their relationships – so they generally look to blame someone else (with deflection and projection) and see themselves as victims or at least innocent bystanders.
How do you deal with an emotionally unavailable person?
If you’re dealing with someone who is capable of change, it could just take some time and some talking to work the situation out. You could sit down and have a conversation with this person and ask thoughtful questions about how they feel and why. Do your best to make that person feel safe and comfortable with you and like they can trust you, and then show them this in your own actions and behavior.
If you’re dealing with a narcissist or another kind of toxic person, the game changes. In this case, it’s unlikely that the person will change at all, nor will they be willing to admit they have a problem, to begin with.
“Like arsenic, toxic people will slowly kill you. They kill your positive spirit and play with your mind and emotions. The only cure is to let them go.” ~Dennisse Lisseth
Healing from a toxic relationshipseems like an impossible goal for many survivors of narcissistic abuse, and this is true for a number of reasons. This healing guide offers not only solutions but also resourcesto help you learn not only how to heal from a toxic relationship, but why you were there in the first place. Plus, you’ll learn how you can level up your life after a toxic relationship and begin to evolve into the person you’ve always wanted to be.
A Comprehensive Guide to Healing After Narcissistic Abuse in a Toxic Relationship
Now that I’ve left the toxic relationship, I cannot seem to function like a normal person. How do I get through this?
One breath at a time. This is one of the hardest parts of this process. Healing seems so far away right now that you can barely even imagine what that might look like. This is a really tender and emotional time, so the first thing a lot of survivors do is to self-isolate. Take some time to mourn the relationship, if you need it. Remember that this is a process and that healing won’t happen overnight. Be patient with yourself and if you need to take a little time for yourself, go ahead and do it. If you need time with friends, arrange that too. You might be dealing with depression – visit this page to get help with depression. Get free support from one of our online narcissistic abuse recovery support groups.
I feel like I want to die. How do I deal with feeling suicidal after a toxic relationship?
Self-isolation and mourningthe relationship can be okay for a short time unless you’re in such a state that you might be a danger to yourself. Please note: I am not a doctor and I do not personally know your story. I cannot offer any medical or health advice, so if you have any doubt at all that you will be safe, you MUST contact your doctor or go immediately to the nearest emergency room. Even if you aren’t sure, please go see your doctor or other medical professional and get checked out, just to be safe. Be honest with your healthcare provider and let them know that you’re worried you might be a danger to yourself. See this page for suicide prevention resources and ways you can get help right now.
How do I stop hurting and start healing after a toxic relationship?
I know your heart hurts. And you feel lost, confused, angry and even rejected (and this is true even when YOU are the one to end the relationship). First, you need to put things in perspective. Start by reading this article that offers 10 ways to start healing faster. If you were the one who was discarded, read this.
My ex has already moved on to a new relationship. It’s killing me! How do I deal with this?
Being single feels weird to me, but I am not ready for a new relationship yet. What should I do?
I say you start here by learning to embrace the single life. There are SO many good reasons to love being single. Whatever you do, avoid jumping into a new relationship too quickly. That will set you up for a painful failure and increases the risk of getting into another toxic relationship. Take your time and heal first – there is no reason to get yourself stuck with another narcissist. And honestly, you are less likely to be an ideal partner if you get into a new relationship too soon – you may end up sabotaging it without even realizing it.
I feel like I’m walking around in some kind of fog. What is this and how can I deal with it?
**Second Edition, Updated 2019**Includes new chapters and information as well as an updated, more robust section on overcoming trauma bonding featuring Lise Colucci.
Are you tired of feeling like you’re not good enough? Do you wish that someone in your life would just put your feelings first, for once? Or maybe just to consider you at all? Tired of being told you’re the crazy one as you deal with mind games at home or work? You might just be involved with a narcissist.
Narcissists are abusers – but they don’t usually beat their victims physically. No, narcissists are sneaky – they’re much more insidious in their form of abuse. When you think of someone in an abusive relationship, you think of someone who is getting beaten and battered on a regular basis, right? But while domestic violence is heartbreaking and unacceptable, there’s another form of abuse that might be even more dangerous. But even though you can’t always see physical evidence of abuse, the kind of overwhelming, all-consuming emotional abuse inflicted on the victims of narcissists is a form of aggression that should also be recognized.
The soul-crushing kind of abuse that is inflicted on the people who love a narcissist might not be visible to the naked eye, but it can leave devastating emotional scars that never go away. Most people have no idea how much the “sources” of narcissistic supply suffer in their relationships – and yet when these victims speak up, people often mistake them for whiners and dismiss their pain. This, of course, leaves them confused and blaming themselves for everything that is wrong in their lives.
This book offers an in-depth guide to surviving and thriving during and after life with a narcissist, in whatever degree necessary for your life. You’ll learn to recognize narcissism in those around you, plus how to identify and stop typical manipulation techniques, such as gaslighting, in their tracks. (Read More)
Have you ever felt kind of cloudy and sort of like your brain just wasn’t functioning as well as usual? Or like you’re not really “here,” maybe like you’re sort of in a bubble or watching your life happen, like a movie? Like you’re a spectator rather than a participant?
If so, you might be dealing with brain fog. And, if you’ve survived toxic relationships, the chances that you’ve dealt with it are pretty high. In fact, one complaint I hear from many of my clients is that they struggle with “brain fog.” Many people develop C-PTSD as a result of toxic relationships with narcissists – and brain fog is one of several common symptoms.
Today, we’re talking about why you have brain fog and some surprising tools and techniques you can use to clear it up quickly and painlessly – all with the use of your smartphone.
Brain fog or mental fog is a common issue for people who have survived toxic relationships with narcissists. Brain fog is officially defined as a clouding of your consciousness – or in layman’s terms, we could define it as not being able to think clearly or not being able to do simple tasks. It can also affect memory or the ability to work. The term is even used among physicians and psychiatrists to indicate that there’s an abnormality in the regulation of someone’s overall level of consciousness that is mild and less severe than a delirium.
Many survivors describe a subjective sensation of mental clouding described as feeling sort of foggy, or like they’re watching their lives happen from a distance.
Some of the conditions your doctor might check for include nutritional deficiency, bacterial overgrowth from eating too much sugar, thyroid conditions, sleep disorders, and even depression. Doctors say other causes may include overeating, not getting enough exercise or sleep or a poor diet in general.
How do you get rid of brain fog?
How do you sort of “clear up the fog” so you can function normally again? Start here. I’m going to share seven powerful tips with you today -things that have actually worked for me as well as for my clients.
1. Sharpen your memory by doing some fun brain training – Research suggests that certain kinds of video games and apps can actually help to clear up brain fog – to sharpen your memory and reduce certain risks. According to one 2017 research paper, brain training games can boost your memory and could reduce the risk of dementia in your future. And a Cambridge University study found that video games helped to improve the brain function of people with early memory problems.
You know how much I love research, right? This information led me to want to test out this theory. So when the good people at CodyCross reached out to me and asked me to check out their game, I did – and boy, am I glad I tried it!
So, I have to be honest. At first, I wasn’t really too convinced this would work for me. After all, I am most definitely NOT a gamer. Still, I wanted to test out the theory, so I downloaded CodyCross and gave it a shot. And I have to tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did I kind of dig the music and sound effects as they were strangely satisfying, but I loved playing the game. It is simple and fun and gives you an interesting sense of accomplishment.
I found CodyCross both exciting and mentally stimulating – and somehow, still very relaxing. And y’all know the “free” price tag didn’t hurt my feelings one bit. Even better, if English isn’t your first language, you’ll be happy to know that the game is available in 9 different languages. It really is a way to get your brain exercise and it’ll work for any age.
It seems to be keeping my own memory sharper, and I’ve only been playing for a few weeks. The first time I played, I think I played for about 45 minutes straight. I got halfway through the second level and only stopped playing at that moment because I had an appointment!
One quick note: like I told you, this video is sponsored by the company that made the game. But my opinion is my own and in fact, part of what I promise the company is that I would only share my honest opinions with you, so that is exactly what I’m doing here. Anyhoo, that game is super fun (and I can’t lie, maybe a tiny bit addictive). All I’m saying is, if you haven’t tried it yet, you gotta try it now.
As I said, be sure to click my link to get your app. When you do that, you will be clicking an affiliate app so that I get credit for the installation.
Mindfulness – Simply going outside and breathing fresh air can help, but mindfulness is all about bringing yourself into your body and into the moment. Coping mechanisms such as meditation, deep breathing can help you not only reduce stress but also clear brain fog. Find ways to practice mindfulness at home and at work.
Do something to change your environment and/or to sort of bring yourself into the moment and into your body. It helps. A lot more than you think. You could use a mindfulness app for this one too, but for me, I keep a playlist of happy music on my Google music app that helps me sort of shake up my head a little and get back into a healthy groove.
Getting more/better sleep – Get enough sleep. Sleep is also important to alleviate brain fog. When you don’t get enough sleep, you may feel like you’re walking through a fog during the day. You’ll have trouble concentrating and thinking. You’ll miss things and doze off. Experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep each night for adults. However, you may need more or slightly less depending on your body and history. Personally, I recently upgraded my pillow and bought a weighted blanket. Not only does the blanket feel amazing and reduce anxiety, but it keeps you from feeling overheated in the night. And I’ve been using an alarm clock app that “listens” to me sleep and wakes me up at the best time in my sleep cycle. This reduces drowsiness and helps me wake up feeling more clear-headed. I’ve also been listening to meditations while I sleep. Very helpful.
Exercise – You don’t have to go crazy, but any sort of exercise that gets your heart pumping can help. Get a Fitbit like mine or any exercise tracker if you want to make sure you’re getting enough movement in – even one of the free apps offered on your smartphone that counts steps will work if you keep your phone with you all the time. Even just walking around the block or dancing with your kids while you tidy up the house can help. And hey, if you’ve got a treadmill, you can get in a couple rounds of CodyCross while getting in your steps!
Meditation app – Meditation has proven mental and physical health benefits. It lowers your heart rate and stress levels – but most importantly for today, it can help get rid of brain fog. There are tons of free meditation apps out there. One that I’ve tried and find simple and enjoyable is called Headspace.
Eating better – Focus on nutrition. A poor diet can adversely affect the way your brain functions. Eating a high-fat diet or a lot of refined sugars and carbohydrates can make brain fog worse. Take a close look at your diet. Try to eliminate sugar, unhealthy fats, alcohol, and caffeine. Focus on eating more produce and a variety of healthy foods. Eliminate artificial sweeteners because they can cause headaches and other issues. Eat healthier and more natural foods in general. There are tons of apps out there that can help with eating better. I like one called LifeSum, and you can also look at Weight Watchers, SparkPeople and a number of others.
Speaking of eating healthier, that means something different for a lot of people – those who struggle with various food allergies. So, to be safe, you might also look into the possibilities of food allergies and sensitivities. Some food allergies and sensitivities can also cause brain fog. For example, celiac disease is often associated with brain fog. If you have celiac disease, your body can’t digest gluten found in wheat, barley, or rye. You can also have brain fog with lactose intolerances. Talk to your doctor about any possible food intolerances and sensitivities. They may be affecting you in multiple ways.
Bottom line: while it feels overwhelming and almost paralyzing, brain fog can be resolved, and it doesn’t have to control your life.
“Until you let go of all the toxic people in your life you will never be able to grow into your fullest potential. Let them go so you can grow.” ~DLQ
Are you trying to ignore a narcissist in your life? Ignoring the narcissist is nearly always easier said than done. Thanks to their obvious need for attention and admiration, the narcissist is always in attention-seeking mode. And when you’ve been a primary source of narcissistic supply, you are a prime target for attention-seeking behavior (including hoovering, once you’ve left or are planning to leave a narcissist – where the narcissist tries to suck you back into the relationship). In this post, we’re going to cover everything you need to know to successfully ignore a narcissist.
How do you ignore a narcissist?
Ignoring a narcissist might feel counterintuitive, especially if you’ve been connected to them for a long time. That’s understandable. But how do you do it? You can begin with no contact, if that is an option for you.
What is ‘no contact’ with a narcissist?
No Contact is practically required to heal after narcissistic abuse. It involves removing yourself from the narcissist’s life completely, and you stop seeing, speaking to, and interacting with the narcissist. This allows you to clear your life of the negative energy they bring into every room. We’ll get into more detail about this in a moment.
What if you have kids or are otherwise legally obligated to the narcissist?
If you’re forced to deal with the narcissist due to having kids together or being legally required to for some other reason, then you will want to use the gray rock method.
What is the Gray Rock Method?
The gray rock method is a technique, named and first published by a writer called Skylar, who advises that you act about as interesting as a “grey rock” – as in, you act boring and don’t react to the narcissist’s attempts to engage you in drama. The tactic is highly effective but also infuriating for narcissists. Please note: this technique can be dangerous if you are dealing with any physical abuse as the narcissist may not react well. I don’t advise that you use this if you are in physical danger. In that case, I suggest you look into emergency resources to get you away safely.
How do you avoid getting pulled back into the relationship with a narcissist?
“You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It’s one thing if a person owns up to their behavior and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and continues to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go.” ~Daniell Koepke
This playlist will help you learn how to stick with your plan to ignore the narcissist so you can avoid getting sucked back into their drama and manipulation.
Why would you want to ignore a narcissist?
Since toxic narcissists tend to be emotionally abusive and controlling, most of the time, the only way you can fully heal from a relationship with one is to go “no contact.” This is more than just ignoring them – it’s completely removing them from your life. While no contact isn’t always possible, due to sharing kids, family responsibilities or business connections, for example, it’s truly the best option for healing. When it’s impossible to fully ignore a narcissist due to circumstances beyond your control, you can opt for “low contact,” which means you only communicate with them about whatever you’re legally required to communicate about. You keep it all business, and you do not involve emotion in your communication.
In this video, I explain 11 things you can expect to deal with when you ignore a narcissist. You’ll learn what happens when you ignore a narcissist, a toxic person or anyone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Plus, I’ll give you 7 quick ways to deal with the situation so you can stay no contact and stay safe.
Do you need to go no contact in order to ignore a narcissist?
Since no contact is not always an option, you might wonder if it’s necessary to successfully ignore a narcissist. Technically, you do not need to go no contact in order to ignore a narcissist, but it’s always the ideal option. While it’s very uncomfortable and stressful at first, going no contact with a narcissist is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself. Not only will you end the gaslighting and manipulation, but you might actually find yourself some peace and self-love in the process. Whether you’re going no contact by divorce or by some other method, you may need to consider what to expect from the narcissist when you go no contact. In this video, I outline 10 things narcissists do when you go no contact.
How do you deal with a narcissist when you can’t go no contact?
“Don’t let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and kick them out.” – Robert Tew
If you’ve ever tried to ignore a narcissist, then you know how difficult it can be. It feels impossible to us, especially in the beginning. That’s because we are often trauma bonded with the toxic people in our lives. Trauma bonding is similar to Stockholm Syndrome. It’s is a condition that causes the victims of narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships to develop a psychological dependence on the narcissist as a survival strategy during abuse. Your brain also makes recovering from a toxic relationship significantly more difficult.
Why do you keep missing a narcissist even when you know better?
Another reason it’s so hard to ignore a narcissist is that once we’ve gone no contact and are no longer putting up with daily abuse, we can develop abuse amnesia. This is a common issue for survivors who manage to finally go no contact or leave the narcissist. It’s sort of the ugly side of the whole “absence makes the heart grow fonder” thing. You literally sort of “forget” all of the bad stuff – the abuse, the gaslighting, the manipulation – all of it – and you even begin to romanticize the reality of your toxic relationship. Abuse amnesia can be very toxic for you, not to mention dangerous. as it very often leads to reuniting with your abuser. In this video, I explain what abuse amnesia is in more detail, why it happens and one powerful way to overcome it.
How can I get support for ignoring the narcissist?
One of the best ways you can stick to your plan to ignore a narcissist is to get some support. You can get the support you need in a number of ways. Here are a few to consider.
Friends & family: Talk to your friends and your family members who understand your situation (those you can trust and who are not themselves toxic) and develop a support plan. For example, your friend might agree to offer you support via text or phone when you feel weak and want to stop ignoring the narcissist.
Letting go of toxic people is an act of self-care. – Karen Salmansohn
Are you in a relationship that involves someone who emotionally, mentally or physically damages you? Do you feel like a shell of your former self since becoming involved with this person? After you spend time with this person, do you feel energized and refreshed, or do you feel drained and exhausted?
While toxic relationships are both damaging and devastating to those who are involved in them, they have a much deeper effect than most people realize. Despite popular opinion, most victims of toxic relationships are far from your standard “victim-type” personality; in fact, most are intelligent, attractive and capable. This is part of what attracts the toxic partner.
Are you in a relationship with someone who is making you miserable?
Do you ever feel drained when you spend time with that person?
Do you often find yourself feeling tired and unmotivated or even sort of paralyzed?
Do you find yourself putting that person’s needs before your own?
Do you often feel shocked by someone’s disrespectful behavior?
Does someone in your life make you feel like you don’t matter or like you’re not as important as they are?
Have you ever described the way you feel as emotionally “dead” or numb (or something similar)?
Have you ever found yourself questioning your own sanity?
Have you started to think you’re just not good enough?
What is a toxic relationship?
A toxic relationship is similar to a dysfunctional relationship but less repairable, often due to at least one partner being unable or unwilling to change and/or take responsibility for their wrongdoings. When you’re in a toxic relationship, you’ll find that it involves more negativity than positivity. Most importantly, a toxic relationship does not emotionally support one or both of the people involved. A toxic relationship will also often involve resentment, contempt, communication problems and varying forms of physical, emotional and psychological abuse.
Being involved with a toxic person (or a narcissist) in a toxic relationship will lead to a serious loss of self and a significantly reduced ability to be happy, healthy and fulfilled in your life. These relationships often feel empty or one-sided and leave one or both partners feeling codependent and miserable.
Can a toxic relationship be fixed?
While dysfunctional relationships can often be repaired, toxic ones are less likely to be worth the trouble of trying. That’s because while it does theoretically seem that narcissists and toxic people are capable of personal growth and change, it is rarely seen. So, while most narcissists COULD change, they most often will not, at least not long-term.
In this video, the QueenBeeing coaches share their advice on how to find out if your relationship has become toxic. Are you with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder? You can find out, right here.
What causes toxic relationships?
I know, you’re probably asking yourself, “How did I end up in a toxic relationship?” I get it. It’s almost always a shock when you realize you’re in a toxic relationship, and this may be due to the fact that you’re a strong, intelligent and attractive person who generally reads people like a book. But in many cases, you also had a difficult or traumatic childhood, whether it was a result of abuse, neglect or some other sort of situational trauma.