The effects and aftereffects of narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship can be physical, neurological and psychological – and these issues can, without intentional healing, last a lifetime. One of the most painful things that we deal with as survivors of narcissistic abuse is the complete destruction of our self-esteem and our ability to trust ourselves, thanks to the control, gaslighting and manipulation that narcissists inflict on the people closest to them.
Perhaps most distressing is the fact that narcissistic abuse can cause neurological issues – also known as brain damage. On the plus side, the neurological changes caused by this long-term trauma can be reversed, thanks to our brain’s neuroplasticity.
3 Simple Steps to Reprogram Your Mind After Narcissistic Abuse
As you probably know, our minds, more specifically our subconscious minds, control our lives. We are what we think or believe. Research has shown that there is a mind-body connection and that the mind can help us overcome health problems.
You may feel able to make positive changes on your own with a little knowledge and some resources. You can find a ton of information online or by going to your local library.
If you need help, there are hypnotherapists, NLP practitioners, and coaches that can be hired to work with you.
Whichever route you choose, one element that is crucial is your attitude. For any method to be successful in creating change in the subconscious, you have to want the change and to believe totally in its success. You cannot succeed without this belief.
While every method is different there three steps that each uses to reprogram your mind.
- To achieve relaxation you have to take your brain to Alpha level. This is the level where you are able to ‘speak’ directly with the subconscious. Alpha level brainwaves are experienced first thing in the morning as you first awaken and the last thing at night just before you go to sleep. In Alpha level, you are awake (conscious) and aware of your surroundings but your subconscious is fully alert and you are most responsive to learning and accepting new ideas. You can achieve Alpha level by practicing relaxation techniques.
- Picture your goal as an image or movie with you ‘in the moment’. It must be in the present so you must be living it. Use all of your senses to make it as real as possible. Tell a story and if you can add some humor even better. Your subconscious loves stories and it loves humor. By fully engaging your senses it becomes more real. Make the scenes really bright and colorful. Hear the sounds, feel the emotions. Touch and taste things.
When visualizing always answer these questions:
- What can you see?
- What can you hear?
- What can you feel? (Physical touch as well as emotions.)
- What can you smell?
- What can you taste?
3. While visualizing yourself living your goal it is also important to affirm this. You can either say your affirmations out loud or just think them. To make them even more powerful and effective you can write them down and display them wherever you will see them regularly throughout your day. You can also record yourself saying them out loud and listen to them first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Affirmations must be:
- In the present tense.
- Said with positive conviction. (You must believe in what you are saying.)
- Include emotion.
For example, if you’re worried about a presentation you need to give at work, you might use affirmations such as the following.
I am giving a presentation to my department and superiors. I am standing at the front of the room. I feel confident and calm. I am speaking with conviction. I know my topic. My presentation is interesting and fun to give. The audience is listening intently. They are smiling and nodding their heads as I speak. My voice is confident and easy to hear, even at the back of the room. I am standing tall wearing my favorite navy suit. I feel smart.
Knowing these three simple steps can help you successfully program your mind for positive change.
Other Helpful Resources for You
- Narcissists Brains Are Different Than Yours: How and What It Means
- Brain Health: 3 Things That Affect It
- Change Your Mind, Change Your Life
- Law of Attraction: Flow Don’t Fight:
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.