Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Build Self-Esteem from the Depths of Hell

Written by Angela Atkinson

Everything seems easier when you’re brimming with self-confidence, and starting life over again after narcissistic abuse is no different. Sadly, for those of us who have experienced this kind of toxicity in our lives, the ability to believe in ourselves may be a bit out of our realm of reality – especially when we’re still actively engaged with the narcissist in any way. How to Build Self Confidence in the Depths of Hell

How to Build Self-Esteem After Narcissistic Abuse

Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with a toxic narcissist in your life, it can feel like the world is doing everything in its power to destroy whatever self-confidence you might have going on.

Even so, if you’re willing to beef up your self-image and your affinity for it, you can start building a brand new solid foundation for living a life of happiness and accomplishing great things – the life you truly deserve to live. Wanna give it a shot? Let’s do it.

Ask Yourself: What do you think of YOU?

Your opinion of yourself shapes your beliefs, behaviors, and outcomes – and as we all know, those beliefs can be seriously affected by the abuse put on you by a selfish narcissist.

With that being said, there’s another thing to consider here. If you ever want to find true happiness, you’re going to need a bit of self-confidence. You literally can’t succeed (at least not entirely) without it.

So, are you doomed? NO way. I’ve got you covered.

How to Power-Up Your Self-Esteem After Narcissistic Abuse

Try these power-up strategies to get yourself moving in the right direction after narcissistic abuse. 

Start small.

When your self-confidence is lacking, start small. There are many simple things you can do that make a difference.

Here are a few:

  • Take care of your appearance. Do your best to look your best as often as possible. It’s not shallow to want to look good – and the truth is that you also feel better when you look better. Own it!
    • Bored with your look? Get a new haircut or buy a new outfit. Switch it up!
  • Get your car washed and detailed. Or buy a new pair of thigh-high boots (or whatever your equivalent of that is).
  •  Smile. There’s a chemical reaction that actually makes you FEEL better – even if it’s a fake smile. Added bonus: people will wonder what you’re thinking. And most often, smile back.
  • Fix your home up a bit or redecorate your bedroom. Same deal as your appearance – it just makes you feel better.

Take control of your internal dialog.

Notice the negative things you say to yourself and quickly edit them into a more positive version. This requires time and energy, but the payoff is huge.


You’ll be proud of yourself if you get out of the house and do something for someone else. You might even make a new friend or two, which can also build your self-confidence. As an added bonus, volunteering is free of charge.

Be prepared.

Whether you have a presentation at work, a meeting with your divorce attorney, a date, or a party on the social horizon, be prepared. Wear clothes that fit the occasion. Who will be there? What do you need to know? How can you best prepare? You’ll feel much more confident when you’re fully prepared.

  • And, if you’re like me? You’ll feel better when you plan your look very carefully. Don’t be afraid to shine – inside and out.

Set a small goal and achieve it.

Make it HAPPEN! Nothing builds confidence like success, so make success easy. Choose a small, yet meaningful, goal and ensure you achieve it. Enjoy the success. You’ll have the confidence to go after a bigger goal next time.

  • A steady stream of victories is the surest way to boost your self-confidence. You’ll feel like there’s nothing you can’t do. Count EVERY success!

Surround yourself with those who support your happiness.

Does your sister still pick on you after 30 years? Tell her to stay away until she can be kind. Spend time with others who encourage you. You only need a few good friends to make life worthwhile. Consider trimming your social circle and keep the people that routinely treat you the best.

Make a list of your strengths, talents, and accomplishments.

Rather than focusing on the things you don’t do well, spend some time being positive. You get what you put out there, energy-wise, so put it out there carefully.

One-Minute Bliss Mission: Grab a pen and a piece of paper. As fast as you can, answer the following questions. 

  • What are your greatest achievements?
  • What do you do well?
  • What are your strengths?

Make a long list and keep writing until you’ve run out of ideas. And then, sit back and simply be amazed by how amazing you are. Seriously. Do it. 🙂

Avoid comparing yourself to anyone else.

Sure, your cousin makes more money. Your neighbor only wears designer clothes while you’re hitting up Walmart. Your boss drives a better car. It’s easy to find someone doing better in some small way – if you look for it. But that’s on you – it’s YOUR CHOICE what you focus on. So, if I’m you, I’d go a different way. Instead of comparing yourself to others, try comparing yourself to yourself. Have you gained or lost weight since last month? How has your bank account changed since last year? What can you do today, right now, to become a better version of you?

  • Focus on your personal progress and forget about making comparisons to others. A strong sense of self-confidence makes every part of life easier. I promise.

Bottom Line

If you want to get through the hard times you’ll go through during your narcissistic abuse recovery, you’ve got to create a strong foundation for achieving those big goals by taking the actions required to boost your confidence and self-esteem. Self-confidence gives you the power to change your life. You feel me?

Share your thoughts and experiences. Let’s talk about it. 

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  • 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.

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