Narcissistic abuse often leaves us isolated and alone, and when we finally gather up the strength to leave, we find ourselves without any supportive friends or family members who really get what we’ve been through. But a lot of times, we don’t even have anyone to hang out with, much less share our deepest, darkest thoughts with. So how do we start over as adults? How do we build a new community for ourselves and start our lives over again?
Consider these ideas to develop your personal community:
1. Define your interests. What do you like to do? If your favorite activity is playing poker and analyzing football games, a group that meets for needlepoint might not appeal to you. Think about the things you enjoy and make a list. There’s bound to be something in there you can work with.
2. Consider religious and spiritual groups. Check out a few churches in your area. Try to stay relatively close to home or you might find the inconvenience is too much to overcome consistently. Keep looking until you find a place where you feel comfortable and welcome.
3. Consider groups related to physical activity. Do you like to run? Play golf? Bowl? Compete in powerlifting? There are plenty of groups you can join. You can do something you already love to do and make a few friends in the process.
4. Look at the people you work with. You might not want to hang out with the same people you work with all day. On the other hand, you already know whom you like and don’t like. Maybe you could get a group together once a week for an activity.
5. Take advantage of the internet to find people. There are many websites that cater to finding like-minded people for meeting and socializing. Meetup.com is one of the most well-known. There are many others. See what you can find and fill out a profile.
6. Consider online communities, such as SPAN and our related communities. If you’re extremely shy, have an unusual schedule, or eclectic tastes, you might have more luck online. If your interests are hairless cats and howling at the moon, you can probably find your people online. Of course, there’s plenty to be found if you’re mainstream. Just be careful. It’s important to have some face-to-face interaction in your life. Avoid having your entire social life online. There’s no true substitute for sharing the same physical space with someone.
7. Be bold and be patient. The process of finding and bonding with new people can be stressful. You’ll have to use a little courage and be patient. It might take some time to find the right group.
8. Build your social skills. Avoid using a lack of social skills as an excuse to wait to find some new people. Just make an effort to build on your social skills in the process of finding your community. Practice builds expertise.
There are people out there just like you that would love to see you and interact with you on a regular basis. Resist the urge to be a loner 24/7. There are a lot of good things happening that you’re missing. No one is meant to face the world alone.
Still struggling? Check out our Rebuild Your Inner Circle course at Life Makeover Academy!
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.