As survivors of narcissistic abuse, many of us find it hard to be assertive. Passivity is often viewed as a form of politeness. We’re raised to make others happy, even at our own expense.
The other end of the spectrum has its own unique set of challenges. Aggression isn’t pleasing to others. Others are likely to give up too much when faced with aggression. This creates negative feelings and damages emotions.
Assertiveness is an attractive option and provides multiple benefits to you and those around you.
Learn to be assertive rather than passive or aggressive and enjoy these perks:
1. Boost your self-esteem. What could be better for your self-esteem than speaking up for yourself and taking action to influence the world around you, Depression is often caused by feeling a lack of control. Assertiveness is a form of taking control and responsibility.
3. Increase your communication.Part of being assertive is speaking up for what you want and being open with your desires. If you think about the least assertive people you know, you don’t know them very well. They keep everything to themselves. Assertive people have an openness to them that non-assertive people do not.
4. Accomplish more. When you’re open with your opinions and wants, and you’re taking action to make them happen, you’ll be shocked by how much more effective you can be.
5. Others assume you are confident. There are multiple benefits to being perceived as confident. People will assume you’re more capable, intelligent, and have better leadership skills than someone that is less confident. It’s also attractive to others.
6. Get what you want more often. Imagine you’re in a group of people, and the subject of choosing a restaurant for dinner comes up. The person that offers a suggestion usually “wins.”Most people are too passive to offer an opinion. This tendency can be found in all facets of life. Those that are too passive sacrifice too much in making others happy. This might seem noble, but it’s a frustrating way to live. The belief is that you’ll eventually receive what you want if you let others have everything they want. This rarely works in real life.
7. Get in touch with your feelings. When you suppress your emotions and desires, you lose touch with yourself. By consistently pursuing that which you desire, you’ll gain a much better understanding of yourself.
8. Win-win situations become the norm. When you’re too passive, the other person gets things their way. When you’re too aggressive, you might have things go your way more often, but the other person is resentful. The best opportunity for both of you to be satisfied with the outcome is to be assertive.
9. Enhance your decision-making skills. Passive people often base decisions on the least confrontational solution. Aggressive people are biased in the opposite direction. Those that are assertive have a more neutral stance. Their passivity and aggressiveness don’t taint their perspective. Decisions are less emotion-based.
Assertiveness is a combination of honesty and respect for others and yourself. When you’re assertive, you’re honest about your intentions, wants, and desires. You aren’t forcing them on others, but you’re willing to express them and own them. You’re also being respectful by not hiding your intentions.
Passivity and aggressiveness aren’t pleasing to others and are less effective than assertiveness. Allow others to respect you by being more assertive in all your interactions. You’ll enjoy the results!
Getting involved in a toxic relationship with a narcissist is something that more people deal with than you’d expect. And when you have to endure mental abuse from your partner, it can have a tremendously negative effect on you that lasts a lifetime. It’s hard to keep “being yourself” sometimes, especially when you consider all the mental abuse and emotional torture you had to endure and your self-esteem takes a major nosedive because of it. The narcissist does it for a couple of reasons – he or she does it to gain control and boost his or her own ego (yes, women can be abusive, too) – to make you feel worthless and insecure.
Listen, no one is perfect. You accept your friends and family even though they’re all flawed in a unique way, right? Why not give yourself the same courtesy? Focus on your positive traits and forgive yourself for your flaws and mistakes, alright?
Accept yourself as you are, right now, in this moment. You are good. You are okay. And you are going to get through this. I promise.
Now it’s your turn: Have you struggled with your self-esteem or self-image during or after narcissistic abuse? How’d you manage? What would you tell a friend who was in the same situation? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below – and let’s discuss it.
When it comes to leaving the narcissist and beginning to recover from the abuse you suffered in your relationship, fear of being alone, fear of financial ruin and fear of change are all common roadblocks we deal with as we consider our options.
FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real.
Your fears are usually based on what if myths – and they almost always never come to pass. Don’t let fear cause you to sit on the sidelines of change.
Another roadblock that gets in the way is a lack of knowledge.
It’s hard to make changes when you’re not sure exactly how to go about those changes. You might be branching out into an area that’s completely beyond your scope of knowledge at the present time.
Remember that what you don’t know can be learned. Use educational resources as your catalyst for change and success. Strive for new levels of insight that you previously didn’t have.
Do NOT Settle for Good Enough
Thinking that you simply can’t add another thing to your already full life keeps many people stuck where they are. Making changes requires work. So many people see the effort as not worth the payoff – and that’s a mistake.
This belief is what keeps you rooted to that job that you hate, to those messy finances, or to that relationship that’s sucking the life right out of you. Learning better time management skills can be a catalyst for a better life as you clear out things that are a waste of time and make room for what offers the most benefits.
Don’t Stagnate: Happy ‘Enough’ Can Become ‘Truly’ Happy
Being just comfortable enough where you are can be a roadblock to motivate you to change. You’re not 100% happy, but you’re “happy enough.” All this means is that you settled for a life that keeps you locked in your comfort zone.
You’re trading a full life for one that’s half empty – because if you’re not 100% satisfied, then something is missing. That something may be the very thing that you always wanted, but because you were “happy enough,” you’ll never reach it.
Picture the next level of success in every area of your life – finances, career satisfaction, relationships, health – everything that matters most to you.
Focus on how it could be improved and then make a game plan to get you there. If you block out those thoughts in an effort to stay content, you’ll never know what you could have made out of your life if you’d give it a chance.
Wanting everything to be perfect is a huge roadblock to motivation. It’s here where people stall out. They want the new situation to be perfect before they attempt any changes.
They want the new job to have everything in place. They don’t want to take the chance that they’ll make a switch and find it’s not what they wanted. These are people who wait for the “perfect” relationship before getting into one.
Perfectionism is the killer of change because what you see in your mind as perfection doesn’t translate that way in life. That’s because there are no perfect scenarios in a life that’s lived to the fullest.
There are experiences to encounter – and not one of them will be perfect. That’s okay. Perfectionism kills progress. You don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines waiting to get into the game of life.
The number one roadblock that keeps too many people from letting a catalyst be their motivation is the fear of failure. They falsely believe that they haven’t failed yet because they haven’t even tried – so they’re safe.
But whether they realize it or not, they have failed. They’re choosing to stay stagnant in a lesser life than what they dreamed of. That, in itself, is a form of failure.
Another roadblock happens when people wait for change rather than seeking change. They wait for the perfect joint venture partner to come to them instead of seeking one out, because that requires putting themselves on the line.
They wait to see if the person they’re in a relationship with is going to treat them better, rather than speaking up about what they want and deserve. They avoid tough situations and tough conversations because they’re waiting for everything to work out on its own.
Change isn’t something that happens on a whim. It’s something that you make happen. You have to find the motivation within yourself to make that change. And it’s uncomfortable at first.
That’s okay. Take that sign of discomfort as a compliment. It’s proving to you that you’re taking action and bettering your life, even in the face of fear or uneasiness.
Your Mind Can Be a Catalyst
You get the life that you think you deserve. Your mind or your thought patterns lead you to make changes – to take action that alters the life you currently have. What usually happens when someone’s mind leads them to take action is they become so upset with their current situation, they think leaving it where it’s at is no longer an option.
Their emotions will often reach a point that they must make a change. This drive can often start out backed by an emotion. For example, if someone is in a relationship with a person who didn’t treat them that well, they’ll often stick with the relationship until a catalyst fueled by emotion causes a change.
One emotion could be anger. If the person you’re in a relationship with is unfaithful, it’s often anger over the cheating that drives the catalyst – even when the prior bad behavior didn’t induce a change.
Your subconscious knows what you truly want. What happens is this true desire becomes buried deep under what we’re willing to settle for. This is why so many people aren’t living a life full of passion.
You can tell if you’re living a life full of passion by asking yourself this question. Do I love getting out of bed in the morning? If you’re not excited about what you get to do when you get out of bed, that’s a warning sign that you need to find your catalyst.
Whatever it is that motivates you is what will drive you to wake up, ready to start and excel throughout your day. It will drive you to keep going in the face of obstacles.
You’ll continue on – even if you’re the only one who believes in you, or your idea or your change. That’s why it’s vital to your success – to your ability to thrive – that you get in a business that you have a strong emotional attachment to – something you are proud of and believe in strongly.
Did you ever hear of someone who had a terrible health scare because they made bad choices in life that led to the issue? It shook them up – and for awhile, they strictly followed the doctor’s orders.
They ate right. They exercised. They got the amount of sleep that they needed. They quit smoking. They quit drinking. Yet before several months were out, they slipped right back into their old habits.
The catalyst, which was the health scare, came face to face with personal responsibility – and lost. The hard truth is that in order for your catalyst to motivate you, you’re going to have to accept personal responsibility.
The choices that you make in life are your choices. You made them because you thought they were the best option at the time. You might have received bad advice that led you to a decision – but in the end, you were the one that made that choice.
Take Responsibility for Your Life as It Stands, Then Move Forward Being Intentionally Responsible
That’s because they see life as happening to them rather than them making life happen. Accept the responsibility for your mistakes, for your poor choices, for that awful job you shouldn’t have taken, or for that relationship that was a mess from the start that you wasted too much time on.
Once you accept it, you can move on. You can free yourself to finally accept the catalyst for change. Don’t let where you were be a stone around your neck that anchors you to the place where you currently are.
Let the mistakes you made in the past become part of your motivation – part of your growing experience. While growth is hard, all good things happen with the evolution to a different place in life.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Travel deep inside yourself without the baggage of conditioning. Be an explorer, have patience and eventually your true nature will surface. You will return from your journey with fresh skin and you will approach each day with a wonderful sense of wonder and bliss. ~~Marco R. Capristo
Whether we recognize it or not, most everyone’s habits and behavior are a result of some form of conditioning – and for those who have experienced the painful and all-encompassing abuse that a narcissist is known for, the conditioning hasn’t always been in our best interest.
It begins when we’re small children–our parents’ opinions of us begin to help us form our own perceptions of ourselves. If we’re cursed with narcissistic parents, our perceptions are skewed, twisted…often, plain wrong.
That’s because children are sponges – they absorb everything in their environment, including and especially the opinions of their parents and other prominent people in their lives.
If they tell us we’re beautiful, we believe that we are–but if they tell us we’re horrible and sick, we’ll believe that too.
And it doesn’t end there–add in the opinions of your teachers, siblings and friends…and later those of your spouse, your bosses and coworkers, neighbors and don’t forget that lady at the dry cleaner’s last week.
All of this “conditioning,” left unchecked, can sometimes add up to a very negative self image–especially if you don’t know that you don’t have to accept it.
And, we become what we perceive–we are what we believe we are.
Here’s the thing, friend. I’ve been saying this for years, and I don’t mean to nag. But please, take just a second and really focus on this next sentence.
You don’t have to accept someone else’s judgment, perception or opinion of you.
You get to write your own story.
You feel me? But seriously, go back and read it one more time if you need to – it’s that important. And, while you’re at it – tweet it out to your friends.
Fact is, you can be whomever and whatever you choose. All you have to do is believe that you can–really believe it. I mean, feel it down to your bones. And then, believe that you’re receiving it, that you’ve already received it. Own it–because it’s yours if you want it.
Bliss Mission: Choose Your Own Story
Today, I challenge you to take a look at the people around you–those you love, those you like and even those who present certain struggles. Remember your childhood, and the people you spent time with during that time.
Now, think of all the perceptions they had about you. Your parents? Your friends? Others?
Then, think about you. Have you adopted someone else’s opinion of who you are? Or have you constantly struggled against it? Do you feel guilty for being who you are, because you haven’t become what someone else wanted you to become?
Today, every time you have a negative thought about yourself, take notice and change your mind.
Cancel the thought, and intentionally replace it with an affirmation of your true desires. So, if you think to yourself, “I am always late,” notice it. Then, mentally cancel the thought and affirm, “I am always on time.”
Perception is everything, people. And you can change yours at will. 🙂 Good stuff, yes? I think so. I’ll leave you with a final thought to get your wheels turning as you begin to release any negative perceptions you’ve held about yourself.
“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”~ Carlos Castaneda
Do not allow the simplicity of this tip make you doubt its power – this is one of those things that WORKS – changing your perception intentionally, and with a little practice, not only will you see results fast, but you’ll soon realize how much control you really DO have over your own life.
Are you ready to rewrite your story? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below! Let’s talk about this.
I have always felt a little annoyed when strangers call me things like “babe” or “hon.” It doesn’t much matter if the stranger is male or female, or whether they’re older or younger than me.
One day a few years ago, after once again being called “hon,” by a virtual stranger, I took note of my reaction–I instantly bristled at the word. Not so much that I had any sort of external reaction–just a brief, negative bit of energy that buzzed through me. It launched a bit of an existential crisis, but in a good way.
An Existential Crisis After Going No Contact With a Narcissist
I began to wonder, “Why Do I Feel This Way, Anyway?” It made no sense. I mean, it’s not like I sat around stressing about it. But later, during a rare quiet moment in the day, I thought about why I reacted that way.
I remembered that growing up, a female narcissist in my life had once told me that she felt insulted when almost anyone except her husband used terms of endearment such as “hon” or “babe” with her. She said it made her feel like they thought she was somehow less than them, or like they were being “fake” nice.
Accepting a Narcissist’s Opinion As Fact
Since I was probably ten years old when I heard this, I took it as a fact, rather than an opinion. It stuck with me, this woman’s perception, and I carried it with me through my own life. Subconsciously, I accepted and lived someone else’s perception rather than forming my own about this little tiny thing. In fact, this tiny little issue has clouded other areas of my life too.
I have often believed that people around me had ulterior motives or weren’t genuine, and suddenly when I took just a moment to question my long-held beliefs, I realized that they existed primarily because of perceptions that were taught to me by other people.
Do You Believe What You Think You Believe?
I don’t know about you, but I can think of a LOT of different perceptions that I’ve carried through my life without even realizing it.
And when we’ve been in relationships with narcissists, our perceptions are more likely to be twisted than not. So ask yourself: Do I really believe what I think I believe?
How do we decide what we believe?
As kids, we form our opinions of the world almost subliminally. We gather up the information that’s fed to us from our parents, our teachers, our friends–the television–and we decide what we believe about ourselves, the world around us, the people in it…life in general.
Have you ever really thought about it? Can you honestly say that you know why you believe what you think you believe? Or are you carrying around other people’s baggage without even realizing it?
Why do we need to let go of old, limiting perceptions to heal after narcissistic abuse?
As it turns out, I don’t mind if strangers use terms of endearment with me. It’s not that I love it, but I don’t think it’s anything to get upset about–that’s just some people’s way of being friendly, I think. It doesn’t mean that they think less of me. And if it does, do I really care? Not so much.
So, for probably 25 years, I have held this unnecessary bit of negativity just because I accepted someone else’s perception without question.
And that, for me, was a big shocker.
How Going No Contact with a Narcissist Opened My Eyes
After my childhood narcissist took the tiny betrayals too far and I was snapped into reality with an almost literal slap in the face, I finally had enough and cut off all contact with her.
While I went through the standard stages of grief during the initial separation period, I found myself growing as a person and my whole world sort of opened up – suddenly, everything I believed to be true (especially about myself) could be reconsidered.
And I realized that I was in control; that I could decide how it was going to go from here on out – and most of all, that I got to choose my own story – I was the one who got to define me. And guess what, pal?
YOU are the only one who gets to decide who YOU are. Do you feel me? ONLY you. Not some abusive narcissist. Okay, moving on.
Letting Go Of Limiting Beliefs Opens the Door to Unlimited Potential.
I think that every single one of us is carrying around some limiting beliefs that we’ve picked up from others along the way.
I say it’s time to shake things up. Imagine the freedom you could feel if you could eliminate all of the negative perceptions you’ve picked up over the years. Think about how positive your days could be–and as we all know, we bring about what we think about!
Bliss Mission: Change Your Negative and Limiting Self-Perceptions
My challenge to you today is to identify and challenge at least one belief or perception that you have always had, whether it’s about yourself or something or someone outside of yourself.
You can start small. Maybe you believe that your paperboy intentionally throws your paper in the mud puddle every time it rains.
Or you can start bigger. Maybe you believe that you don’t really deserve to be happy. In either case, ask yourself WHY you feel that way, and whether it’s logical. You might be surprised at what you discover.
Are you ready to challenge your negative perceptions and beliefs?
Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Resources
The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this to be the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. Offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups– We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery, as well as some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist – If you’re looking for a therapist for narcissistic abuse recovery, either because you cannot afford coaching and want to use your health insurance or because you have additional issues you need to address that do not fall within the realm of coaching, you will want to find the right therapist for you – and as far as we’re concerned, that therapist must understand what you’ve been through. This page offers assistance to help you do exactly that.