“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
If you ask me, being in a relationships 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.
When you look at it that way, it seems literally insane, right? After all, the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things but to expect different results.
But in the case of a narcissist, it’s not as simple as a brick wall. It’s a convoluted mess! If you want to learn more about narcissistic abuse, you can do so here – check out these articles or this resource page.
Today, we’re here to talk recovery.
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.
When you’re dealing with gaslighting and the other ways a narcissist will abuse you, you’re almost always just “existing,” and while you might not admit this to many people, you sort of forget who you really are.
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.
Living with a narcissist means living without real passion – not the kind that drives you to do great things, anyway.
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 is an almost toxic state for our souls and even our bodies. But we can change our minds, and this can change our lives. But how? Try 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.
Not ready yet? Then keep reading.
Be brave! Discover Your Courage
Have you ever thought of yourself as brave? You may find it challenging to imagine how courage would be a part of things like your social life, going to work, or communicating with your spouse. However, courage is important to all types of situations and relationships. Remembering your natural bravery will also boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Here are some super-simple daily actions you can take to strengthen your own bravery.
Embrace yourself and:
1. Look people in the eye. If you’re shy or feel awkward, looking people in the eye or chatting with someone you just met takes a certain amount of inner strength and fearlessness. But each time you muster up the courage, you gain more self-confidence for the next social situation.
2. Speak up. Standing up for the project you want to do at work illustrates a lot about you. Although co-workers may be vying for the work and your boss might have his own idea about the person he wants to do a particular job, stepping forward to claim what you hope to do exhibits fearlessness.
Tip: You’ll be more likely to receive the type of work projects you want to do when you step up and ask for them. These courageous behaviors pay off.
3. Disagree appropriately. Being willing to stand up for yourself with your spouse shows personal strength and courage.
Tip: Maybe there have been situations when you’ve strongly disagreed with something your partner did or said. Maybe you ignored your own feelings at those times. But if your spouse keeps repeating these behaviors or comments, step forward bravely and discuss your feelings with your spouse. Doing so can actually strengthen your relationship.
4. Change how you look. Color your hair or cut it short. Or just put on make up for once! Any kind of change in your appearance reveals a certain amount of bravery. Even trying out a trendy new style or a color you don’t normally wear is a great demonstration of your firm decision to change something about yourself.
Tip: Have you ever wanted to change your image or renew your style? This can be challenging and even a little scary. Such decisions require great deliberation and resolve to follow through. But when you do it, you feel great. These simple acts of courage associated with changing your looks facilitate the renewal of your confidence.
5. Stand up for what you believe. Regardless of the venue, stepping forward to make a point is a pretty brave thing to do. Have you ever decided you weren’t going to take it anymore? Standing up for yourself can garner the respect of others, as well as improve your situation.
Tip: Whether you were the only one in the parent teacher organization who thought something wasn’t a great idea or you joined the local anti-vandalism group in your neighborhood, standing up for what you believe takes some measure of fearlessness. Stepping forward for a cause that you feel emotionally invested in requires passion and bravery.
Recognize that it takes a certain amount of bravery to live in this world of ours, and if you’re just starting out in trying to take back your life after being abused by a narcissist, this is all the more important.
Taking part in social events, speaking up at work, voicing a disagreement with your spouse and doing something to change your style or looks all reflect a sense of courage. And standing up for what you believe in your everyday life shows you aren’t afraid to express yourself.
Discover your fearlessness by acknowledging those simple acts of bravery you do every day.
You’ll be deeply rewarded emotionally and will go forward into your everyday tasks with greater confidence. Essentially, by reinforcing courage, you lay the groundwork to get what you want and deserve from life!
You’ve got this! What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.