When Self-Help Tips Hurt: Stay Safe in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Written by QB Admin

“There are as many forms of advice as there are colors of the rainbow. Remember that good advice can come from bad people and bad advice from good people. The important thing about advice is that it is simply that. Advice.” ~Al Franken

As a survivor of narcissistic abuse (who may also be an empath), it makes sense that you’re all about improving yourself and growing forward in all kinds of ways. Most likely, you listen to, watch and read the work of several different self-help experts and various other guru-types. And for the most part, you get advice that serves you well, right?

But be careful, my friend. Take the good bits and use what you can, and leave the rest behind. Because the truth is that not all self-help advice is great advice. All of those gurus are just human, and not all advice works for everyone. Just as doctors and lawyers are wrong from time to time, your favorite self-help guru may have spread some poor advice, too.

Plus, while there are certainly many well-meaning coaches and gurus out there, there are a few who are actually dangerous and even predatory. And for survivors of narcissistic abuse, some self-help tips can actually be kind of triggering or produce the opposite effect. Some of the most common self-help tips have been shown to be ineffective or even detrimental.

A few important things to remember:

  • If something doesn’t feel right to you, you don’t have to do it.
  • If you aren’t sure, ask your doctor, or an appropriate professional, whether the tips are safe to try.
  • If you are trying something new, try it for a while, and then evaluate how it is working for you before you continue.

Follow your intuition! How do you do that? You start by listening and paying attention to your SELF.

Your body and your intuition are constantly sending signals about what’s right and what’s not right in your environment. Going with your instinct, your gut reaction to a request is often the best response. When you’re asked to do something, before you answer, take a moment to check in with your body’s reaction.

Learn to read your body’s responses so you can make the right decision for you. Think about it. How does it feel when you’re asked to work on the weekend? When your kid wants a puppy for Christmas? I’m sure you know very well.

The same goes for self-help advice. When you hear it, listen to it, consider it and then pay close attention to your body and your thoughts. If your stomach clenches, your toes curl or you break out in a cold sweat, steering clear is probably the best response. You feel me?

Here’s a recent video I did with Dana Morningstar from Thrive After Abuse where we discuss some of the “bad life coaches” that we’ve encountered in the narcissistic abuse recovery field.

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