Bonchay is also a survivor, so when she realized that very few people knew about narcissistic abuse, she felt moved to take action to raise awareness.
Her book, “I Am Free,” is a groundbreaking compilation that uses real-life stories to illustrate how survivors can escape unhealthy relationship dynamics.Meet Bree Bonchay, the founder, and discover why this day matters.
Talking World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day with Founder Bree Bonchay
Why is World Narcissistic Awareness Day so important?
“Narcissistic abuse is such an under-recognized public health issue because describing what you can’t see or prove presents a huge challenge, and narcissists can easily present themselves as loving guardians and partners,” Bonchay said in a press release, noting that this is why she had chosen to use the hashtag #IfMyWoundsWereVisible.
“That’s more people than are affected by depression,” she said. “Yet there is a lack of public education and awareness campaigns about it.”
Think about how profound this is: If this were any other physical or mental health issue, it could qualify as a pandemic — underscoring the need for greater awareness.
“It’s important we raise awareness about narcissistic abuse not only to protect the individual victim but because ultimately it impacts us all,” she said. And this, my friends, is one of the many reasons we are here at QueenBeeing, doing what we do to serve our fellow survivors.
What does the #IfMyWoundsWereVisible hashtag mean?
“We came up with the hashtag, #IfMyWoundsWereVisible, because, unlike physical abuse where a single strike or blow, narcissistic abue often leaves marks or bruises and qualifies an act of domestic violence, narcissistic abuse is invisible,” Bonchay said. “Narcissistic abuse is the sum of many unseen injuries.
World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day is an occasion to remember that abuse has no boundaries and that everyone should be informed about narcissism, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), and narcissistic abuse recovery.
Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today
When you experience a spiritual awakening, it can change your life for the better. You’ll find that you’re making moves that will automatically manifest into positive steps that improve your well-being both physically and emotionally.
You might notice that you begin to withdraw from some of the old crowd of friends and acquaintances that you know. Once you start on a journey of spiritual awakening, it can open your eyes to the truth about your relationships.
You might discover that while you’re growing and evolving into a better person, it creates too much space between you and the old crowd. You don’t feel the same, so the relationships don’t feel the same.
Once you’re more aware, you may sense that what was okay before is not okay now and you feel awkward around those people. What was once acceptable might feel like you’re surrounded by people who deplete your joy and positivity – especially if those people have a cynical or hateful way of looking at the world and other people.
It’s normal to begin to feel pulled toward people who are more in sync with your newly heightened self. When you’re around those people, you don’t feel mentally and emotionally wiped.
Instead, you feel positive about yourself and the world. You’ll notice that you have a deeper one-ness with people who are also spiritually awakened. There’s an emotional and a spiritual link.
Once you experience a spiritual awakening, you’ll feel a deep desire and motivation to take action when you see suffering. You’ll feel driven to get involved in your community as well as around the globe.
Your desire will be to make a difference – to leave an impact on the lives of other people. When you do see someone suffering, you might feel grief and be inspired to see how you can help.
You’ll find that you’re pouring your life into other people and you’ll feel as if you’re living out your purpose. Going through a spiritual awakening is like walking through a door into freedom as you lay aside the things that keep you from being fully who you are.
You’ll discover that not only do you feel more energized and happier, but that you also have room to take part in what inspires you. You’ll discover a stronger motivation to go after what it is that you want to accomplish as your soul becomes freer to manifest who you are creatively.
It will seem like it’s all one connection and that you’re taking part in what it was that you were born to do all along. The craving for a spiritual awakening sets you free to throw off the constraints that have kept you burdened by how the world or other people say or think you must live.
You’ll be free to toss aside the pretense of living a life that’s not truly you as you learn who you are and what it is that matters to you. The way you see the world and the people in it will change and you won’t be willing to live in any way that defies what your purpose on earth is.
This knowledge will lead to an incredible lightness within you because you will be in touch with who you are. You’ll understand that it’s you, not others, who knows what you’re meant to do as you reach a point of consciousness you didn’t previously have.
Your life will improve physically as well because once you become aware, you’ll feel a desire to nurture yourself and to take care of who you are. This often leads to a better way of eating so that you desire foods that build your energy and your health rather than those that take away from it.
Food isn’t the only physical manifestation of an awakening. You’ll go through changes that improve emotional areas of your life. One of these areas is in how you view emotions.
You’ll come to understand the power of negative and positive emotions. This will help you to understand what kind of reality it is that you’re creating for yourself. When you fret and you become anxious, it leads to a state of constant alertness, fear and worry.
This makes it harder for emotions such as love and happiness to be fully realized and manifested in your life. But through a spiritual awakening, you’ll discover that the negative emotions lose their power and you’ll act out of compassion and courage in your own life and in the lives of other people.
Another improvement that you’ll notice is that you’re no longer invested in emotional drama. You will no longer want to be in the middle of arguing and negativity.
Situations where someone is verbally hurting others or where there’s a situation that stirs up negativity will be distasteful to you and you’ll discover that it’s easier to leave it alone and walk away and not engage in drama.
This strength in you will ensure that you have peace. After a spiritual awakening, you won’t want to engage in situations where you’re sitting in judgment and you won’t put up with that negative track playing inside your own head, either.
You’ll learn that it’s easier to love others and yourself in a way that you never have before. You’ll be able to view yourself with tenderness, love and grace and you’ll extend that to others as well.
The change that you’ll go through will help you see that you can serve others without getting recognition. It won’t matter to you if someone else gets the glory. You won’t need your ego pumped up.
Instead, you’ll just be happy that you can make a difference in the lives of other people. With all that you do and all that you give back, you’ll find that it’s done from a deep well of joy.
You’ll appreciate your life and the lives of others. You’ll find that you have a spunk and a vitality for life and for giving. The well of happiness you have inside will overflow within you and you’ll see that you can find contentment in any situation with any circumstances.
The Types of Spiritual Awakening
When you crave a spiritual awakening, that can mean different things to each person. For some, it’s religious based. For others, it’s simply a different kind of awareness, so let’s look at how these options compare.
Some people begin with a desire to have a deeper connection to God or a higher power of a religious nature. Many people start to seek a higher power as they become aware that they’re not completely fulfilled.
They may start to feel empty and feel a strong need for spiritual accompaniment on life’s journey. Some people think of this as an awareness that they were created by a being and when they go through it, they feel stronger and more peaceful once they feel a connection to God.
It helps them be able to handle stress better and they believe that there is a higher power that they can turn to with life’s frustrations and problems. Another type of awakening is to experience an awareness of intellectual growth.
This awareness can be sudden or gradual. It’s an experience where a person grows in wisdom as if their eyes are opened when they weren’t before. When you have this type of spiritual awakening, it makes you more aware of growing and transforming your life into something that makes you feel as if you’re living out your purpose.
When you experience the awakening, it feels like you have a different type of energy vibrating through you and filling your body. You feel connected between your body, mind and soul.
This allows you to obtain a higher degree of consciousness. When you experience a mind awakening – which is basically the same as an intellectual growth type of awakening – you see things differently, more clearly than you have before.
It’s as if you suddenly gained wisdom that you didn’t have previously. When this occurs, you’ll not only look at yourself through new eyes, but also the people and the world around you as well.
A mind awakening stretches the boundaries of your mental state and enlarges your ability to understand your existence. It’s like you were seeing and understanding through a cloud before and now all of a sudden, that cloud is gone and everything is sharp.
You’ll be able to view your life in a way that’s objective so you can see deeper into it. You understand what’s real and lasting and has purpose and what doesn’t.
You’ll find it easier to disengage from things that don’t have any permanent value in the world. This type of spiritual awakening allows you to be more mindful than ever before.
You’ll be able to be fully present in your life and live in each moment. Your life becomes richer and deeper and more meaningful. One type of spiritual awakening that a person can go through is known as an internal self awakening.
Most people believe this has to do with who you are at your core. This type of awakening can change you as a person. It makes you behave differently and it’s almost as if you’ve become a completely new person.
You desire a wholeness within yourself and you seek complete authenticity in every area of your life – from yourself, from your relationships and in your career. This type of awakening makes you reject anything that doesn’t ring true and doesn’t help you grow as an individual.
When you experience it, you become more tolerant and more loving toward yourself and others. You may also go through a spiritual awakening that has to do with your soul.
This isn’t to be confused with an awakening as in acknowledging a higher power. This is a sudden craving for spiritual connections. Instead of seeing yourself as just a person, you begin to see yourself as someone who has spirituality.
This awakening makes what you experience in life change your consciousness. Your sense of energy and your awareness of who you are will grow. You’ll be able to feel a stronger link between yourself and what’s true to you spiritually.
Your mind and soul will be more in tune with nature and you’ll begin a path of purpose that will lead you toward a deeper evolvement of who you are. Finally, there is an awakening that’s linked with different beliefs in the consciousness.
You’ll find this within certain yoga practices, in Buddhism and in Zen practices. This type of awakening also gives you a deeper level of consciousness – which is often referred to as enlightenment.
Plus, you’ll develop a new connection that allows you to feel completely true to yourself. Not only will you feel one with yourself, but with the world as well. You’ll feel a new freedom from constraints within yourself and a true awareness that will allow you to feel the light within yourself.
When you experience this kind of spiritual awakening, it makes you have harmony as well as be able to walk in it.
Congrats, you’re on your way to finally taking back your life. Are you ready to leave? Have you already left, or are you still trying to decide what to do? Are you struggling with leaving or having left, but you don’t know why?
Do you wonder why you still want your narcissist when they’re so terrible to you? Or how you can possibly miss someone who abused you relentlessly? It isn’t your fault that you feel so drawn to your abuser. As it turns out,you are LITERALLY addicted to the narcissist. It’s called trauma bonding.
In addition to trauma bonding, there are so many practical reasons it’s so difficult to walk away and never speak to the narcissist in your life again. For example, narcissists isolate you. They do this in several ways after the discard phase of the relationship. First, the narcissist may try to sever your connections with friends and family so that you are dependent only on them. The lack of social connections available to you means that when they tell you not to see them or talk with them anymore, you have no social support system to turn to. That’s why it’s important for you to maintain your connections because if something does happen after going no contact, you can be sure that a narcissist will not allow you any support from anyone except them.
I want you to ask yourself a question: Can you see how your narcissist might feel like a drug to your brain? You might be interested in this book.
This book offers an in-depth guide to surviving and thriving during and after life with a narcissist, in whatever degree necessary for your life. You’ll learn to recognize narcissism in those around you, plus how to identify and stop typical manipulation techniques, such as gaslighting, in their tracks. (Read More)
Studies Show that Stress and Life Trauma Lead to Major Health Issues
A study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine has indicated that once anxiety and depression set in, you’ve unleashed the possibility that you’ll develop heart disease in the future. Are you really going to let the narcissist keep killing you? It’s time to take back your life, my friend.
We all know some of the factors that contribute to heart disease – primarily genetics and our poor food consumption (or lack of healthy foods in our diets). But most people never consider sheer stress and anxiety as a source of actual damage to their body’s heart.
Study Shows Connection Between Disease and Depression
The study – carried out at the School of Population Health of the University of Queensland in Australia, was focused on women over 40 who had experienced stress but who had no sign of heart disease. Over time, their depression and anxiety seem to be a factor in the development of heart disease.
It was a 15-year look at how heart disease developed in these women. Researchers were looking for both depression and anxiety combined as a contributing factor. What they found was that the women who were newly diagnosed with heart disease during the study were more likely to have both depression and anxiety.
What scientists concluded is that when you have these types of mental health issues to fight in your life, your nervous system can’t perform accurately. And when you’re depressed, you tend to lack physical activity, engage in unhealthy food, cigarette, and alcohol addictions, and neglect your overall well-being.
10-Year Study Connects Life Trauma and Heart Attacks
Another 10-year study by the Heart Foundation found that heart attacks can occur from major life traumas, such as the death of someone you love, disasters of nature like hurricanes, tornadoes, etc., and domestic terror attacks. The study also found that chronic stress – especially in women over the age of 45 – contributed to more heart problems as well. But that doesn’t let men off the hook, though.
Other Factors May Apply, But Trauma and Stress Remain a Top Factor
No study to date has singled out stress as the sole determining factor for having heart disease, but there’s no mistaking the fact that it can contribute to it. It could be because depression and anxiety cause poor self-care behaviors.
One thing doctors know is that a large number of patients’ visits to the doctor are due to chronic stress. It can take a toll on your body, causing fatigue, panic attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more.
What happens when you get stressed is that your body experiences a fight or flight reaction. Your adrenaline gets pumping and you tense up. Your heart rate soars. Fat gets released into your blood because it’s used to give you a jolt of energy. Even your blood clots more easily.
This wouldn’t be a problem for your heart if it happened once in a while, but for many individuals, depression and anxiety is never-ending problem. Your heart needs rest and relaxation. It shouldn’t always be battling increased blood pressure, a barrage of cholesterol, and a rapid heartbeat. What will happen is that your heart might start beating abnormally more often than not. Your arteries can thicken, too – setting you up for a heart attack or stroke.
Gauging Your Stress Level for Heart Health
When you’re dealing with narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship (or narcissistic abuse recovery), you almost certainly will live with stress – not to mention depression and anxiety – and it can absolutely affect your heart health. Some people have minor stress while others are mired in it and don’t even realize how bad it’s become.
Ask yourself if you’ve been going through a lot of traumatic, nerve-wracking, or frustrating situations in the past year. That might include:
Changing jobs, having stress in an existing one, or having no job
Adding to your family either with birth or marriage
Losing a loved one or a good friend
Long-term health issues
Struggling in a toxic relationship
Continual stress like traffic
Struggling with money
The Body Keeps the Score
As the book says, The Body Keeps the Score. Think about how you’ve physically felt lately. Stress is evident in our minds, but sometimes we overlook the physical effect until it’s too late. If you’re burdened by an unhealthy amount of stress, you might notice a few common stress signs early on.
Your jaw might hurt in the morning. This is a sign you’re clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth at night. You might also suffer from headaches and feel stiff in your neck area.
As stress really takes a toll on your body, symptoms get more serious. You might have dizzy spells, insomnia, feelings of panic attacks where your heart is racing, you’re sweating and you feel nauseous.
Ways to Cope With High or Chronic Stress During No Contact
If you’re stressed out due to the ongoing abuse, you aren’t alone. But you’re going to want to do what you can to get it under control so that your heart is protected and you’re not setting yourself up for a heart attack or stroke.
First, there are some things you don’t want to do when it comes to managing your stress.
Consider whether you want to take medicine and if you would prefer to avoid it, be sure to tell your doctor. Medicine can certainly take the edge off during recovery, but it absolutely will not help you learn to cope, so focus on both therapy and self-care so you can get through the hard times.
Don’t feel bad if your doctor does prescribe something to help you temporarily soothe your emotions. At their discretion and based on your health, your doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety or anti-depression medicine. Follow your doctor’s orders (in other words, take it as prescribed), and be sure you see your doctor when you’re ready to wean off of the medicine. There’s nothing wrong with doing what you need to do to get through the hard times, especially when you’re medically supervised.
Don’t use food to help you get in a better mood. The comfort food that many people use to self-medicate during stress only causes more problems for your health.
Never turn to alcohol (or drugs) to help ease your anxiety. None of these things assists you in building a healthier heart. They just do more damage to your body.
Exercise by itself helps your heart – but it also releases endorphins, which help your stress levels plummet back to a manageable level. You can get as little as 20 minutes of exercise a day to reap the benefits of exercise.
Practice good time management.Whether you’re rushing around because you’ve over-scheduled yourself or you’ve procrastinated to a point where you’re now panicked, a lack of time is one of the top stressors most people list about their lives.
Implement good sleep habits. That means you’re protecting your heart by getting plenty of Zs at night. You can’t function properly and handle stress gracefully when you’re running on empty.
Just as not getting plenty of sleep can be a problem, it can also be a problem if you get too much sleep. That’s a sign of depression, so if you can’t get out of bed and face the day, it might be time to call the doctor and set up an appointment for professional help.
Eliminate any stress that you can.
In addition to the narcissist, stressors might include:
Things like nutrition may not sound like it affects stress levels (and in turn heart health), but it does. When you feel like your energy is drained because you’ve crashed from a sugar high, and you’re not tired – it makes you unable to handle stress as well.
Learn how to say no to other peoples’ demands. You might have people from your personal life, from your child’s school, from your church, or from work trying to get you to take on more responsibilities. If you need less stress, don’t be afraid to say no.
It’s been proven that optimists live longer than pessimists. That’s because those who look at life with a glass-half-empty are often suffering from heart-sabotaging issues like depression and anxiety.
But it’s not as easy as flipping a switch and suddenly thinking everything is all rainbows, hearts and unicorns. In fact, you’re not supposed to wear rose-colored glasses and be fake about how great life is, either – but there’s nothing wrong with faking it til you make it.
What you need to do is work on a mindset where you’re realistic about what life has given you and then tackle it with a positive attitude that you’re capable of working through any issues that arise.
There’s always going to be stress in your life. It’s unavoidable as a whole. But with the right attitude, you can meet situations head to head and handle them with ease.
Every day you need to reiterate to yourself that you’re capable of handling whatever arises. Stay level-headed about what’s going on. Don’t overreact and make a bigger deal out of something than it really is.
Take a deep breath and look at whatever’s happening and think logically about how you can make it better. Don’t let feelings of doom and gloom overrun your thoughts.
Chances are the worst-case scenario will never happen, and even if it did, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll recover from it. How can you get a better mindset that helps vaccinate you against stress and protect your heart?
Practice positive affirmations. This is when you vocally and mentally reaffirm to yourself that things are going to be okay. Some people start their day off this way and end it this way – or call on positive affirmations during times of crisis.
Smile. Research shows that smiling actually improves your stress handling abilities – but not just any smile will do. It needs to be a full smile where your eyes and the muscles around the mouth actually change shape.
Find ways to laugh a lot. Whether it’s through a funny show on TV or a date night out to a live comedy club, laughter can help people physically and emotionally. When you laugh, the lining of your blood vessels dilates and improves blood flow.
Finding ways to manage your stress won’t just ensure that your heart is protected. It’s going to give you a better quality of life, which will improve your relationships, too.
That’s all for today. Before I close, I’d love to know if you’ve personally gone no-contact and what your biggest struggles were – plus, what worked for you. You never know who you can help by sharing your own thoughts and experiences!
Get Help With Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
These resources will help you with your narcissistic abuse recovery.