Narcissism in Relationships: How to Deal When a Toxic Relationship Damages Your Self-Esteem

Written by Angela Atkinson

“Narcissistic love is riding on the rollercoaster of disaster filled with a heart full of tears.” ~Sheree Griffin

How to Deal When a Narcissist Mentally Beats You Down

Insecurity sucks. And for a narcissist, it’s a secret that most people aren’t even aware 0f – but while the narcissist has the ability to appear completely together, in reality, he’s a big ball of insecurity and self-hate. 

What you may not know is that it’s also a narcissist’s goal to make you feel bad about yourself.

Why would that be the case? It’s all part of how their brains work – and it’s part of the gaslighting and manipulation so many narcissists inflict on the people they’re involved in relationship with.

Related Reading – Gaslighting, Love Bombing and Flying Monkeys: The Ultimate Toxic Relationship Survival Guide for Victims and Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse

You might feel like you’re all alone when you’re dealing with a narcissist in a toxic relationship, but the truth is that getting involved with one of these “Jekyll and Hyde types” is something a lot of people go through at one time or another. Sometimes, though, people have to endure so much soul-numbing mental abuse from their partners, which can have a powerfully and profoundly negative effect on them that lasts a lifetime.

After a painful episode of gaslighting or other forms of narcissistic abuse, it’s sometimes very difficult to bounce back from the mental abuse you had to endure and your self-esteem plummets because of it.  

Not only that; the torturous mental abuse you were subjected to by a narcissist is usually an attack on your personal character – an emotional assault commited all too often by your  narcissistic partner.

He needs  to make you feel worthless and insecure, but you don’t understand why – you’d be his biggest fan if he’d let you.

Why does a narcissist want to make you feel worthless and desperate?

It’s basic NPD 101 – the narcissist’s intent (whether he realizes this or not) is to gain control and boost his or her own ego (yes, women can be abusive, too).

Bottom line? The narc wants you to have low self-esteem so you won’t think for yourself. In an ideal situation, this is the time to go “no contact” (NC).

Truth is that getting out of a toxic relationship like that is the first step you need to take in order to save your own sanity. But sometimes, NC isn’t possible. What do you do then?

You learn how to deal with it. Here are some tips to help.

How to Get Through the Tough Times with a Narcissist

There are other things you’ll need to do to recover fully from the gaslighting, manipulation and mental abuse that you are experiencing (or have experienced). It’s important to stay active.

  • Start by getting “back to your life” – so  get out and do things with your family and friends, because an abuser loves to alienate you from your loved ones.
  • Keep your mind focused on other things so that you don’t isolate yourself at home and become dependent on the negative person who’s feeding into your self-esteem issues.  I have found that focusing on what I CAN control (as opposed to things that are beyond my control) is especially helpful – you have to change your mind to change your life, right?
  • Call your friends, read uplifting books or concentrate on a project like redecorating your house.
  • Do whatever it takes to keep you going. If you have a job, continue to work and take note of your goals and achievements. If you don’t have a job, look for one. Working can get your mind off of your problems and give you the necessary affirmation that you can do whatever you put your mind to – and that you’re not worthless.
  • Avoid jumping into other relationships until you’re fully healed emotionally. You’re more likely to fall for other partners who are just like your ex. You don’t want to get into the same situation as before and repeat the cycle of abuse.
  • Don’t waste time on thoughts of your ex – whether it’s negative or otherwise. Some people make the mistake of spending a lot of time with thoughts of how much they hate their former partner or how they wish they could get revenge.

Release the anger and focus on what’s important – you!  It’s time to move forward with your life. Don’t be afraid to seek some professional help. A professional can help you work through your feelings and help you build your self-esteem back up. Don’t let a toxic relationship break your spirit – get out there and take back your life!

Okay, now it’s your turn! Are you dealing with a narcissist or have you dealt with one in the past? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. 

Get help with your anxiety and PTSD or C-PTSD synptoms!

Online help is readily available and your health care professional can also point you in the right direction to get help for PTSD.

You might also like to read my latest book on narcissism in toxic relationships –  Gaslighting, Love Bombing and Flying Monkeys: The Ultimate Toxic Relationship Survival Guide for Victims and Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse

More Books & eBooks on Narcissism and Relationships



  • Angela Atkinson

    Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor 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 personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own. Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, 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 Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

Get Guided Help with Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Subscribe and get a special email series from Angie – packed with free gifts to help you heal and evolve!

Where are you in your recovery?



We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

Powered By ConvertKit

Award for Angie’s YouTube Channel

Disclosure – Click to Read


You're not alone.

We have been there and we can help you heal.

Related Articles

Refund Information

We are all going through a difficult time as our community is grieving the loss of our coach and guiding light, Angie Atkinson. All refunds will start processing in January. Please get in touch with us about any refunds that we need to give out. You can contact us at...

What is NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming)?

What is NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming)?

If you're struggling to recover from narcissistic abuse, you might be interested in learning about Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP.  It's a surprisingly simple yet highly effective treatment for symptoms of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD)...

Get Guided Help with Your Recovery & Stay Up to Date With The Latest News & Updates

Join the SPANily! Start with our free newsletter.

Subscribe and get a special email series from Angie - packed with free gifts to help you heal and evolve!

    Where are you in your recovery?
    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.
    Powered By ConvertKit

    Pin It on Pinterest

    Share This

    Share this post with someone who needs it!