How Adult Children of Narcissists Can Begin to Heal

How Adult Children of Narcissists Can Begin to Heal

“The typical adult from a narcissistic family is filled with unacknowledged anger, feels like a hollow person, feels inadequate and defective, suffers from periodic anxiety and depression, and has no clue about how he or she got that way.” ~Pressman and Pressman, The Narcissistic Family

Find Yourself as an Adult Child of a Narcissist

Are you the adult child of a narcissistic mother or father?

As you may already know, living with a narcissist can be difficult for anyone, but growing up in the care of one can affect your life in very significant ways. In other words, being the child of a narcissist is life-altering – and not usually in good ways.

For example, most narcissists use a horribly painful sort of manipulation called gaslighting – it’s the worst kind because it messes with your mind in ways you’d never expect. This is especially true for the children of narcissists, who can’t get away from it and have no concept of what “normal” actually looks like from the inside.

Many children of narcissists spend their whole lives thinking “I wasn’t good enough,” and wondering if their mothers/fathers/other caregivers could and would always be better than they.

The faces of parental narcissism

Narcissists have two faces — the one they wear in public, and the one they wear at home,” according to LightHouse.org.  “Only those close to the narcissist have any idea there is more than one face. And the narcissist’s children know best of all because children – those who have the least power – are the ones the narcissist allows him or herself to be the least guarded around.”

So, kids of narcissistic parents are forced to pretend in public that all is well–all the while knowing that when they get home, things will be different. In some cases, they dread going home because the difference is so significant.

“Narcissistic parents lack the ability to emotionally tune in to their kids,” writes Karyl McBride, Ph.D. “They cannot feel and show empathy or unconditional love. They are typically critical and judgmental.”

Many kids of narcissists express the same kind of frustration: everyone thinks their narcissistic parent is a saint–the best person ever, McBride says, noting that “while at home their children suffer in silence with their parent’s tantrums, disinterest and put-downs — this is clearly NOT the most wonderful person if you truly know them — not even close.”

Narcissistic Parents Make You Feel the Need to Prove Yourself

“Because of its insidious nature, gaslighting is one form of emotional abuse that is hard to recognize and even more challenging to break free from. Part of that is because the narcissist exploits one of our greatest fears – the fear of being alone.” ~ From my book on overcoming gaslighting and narcissism, Take Back Your Life

When you’re raised by a narcissist, you might spend your life trying to prove something–maybe that you have value. Whether you choose to become “perfect” or you go to the other extreme, your narcissist will likely actively discredit everything you do, say or feel. You might start to think you don’t matter–and that you’re not even all that “real.”

I remember believing that nothing I felt or wanted was as real as whatever my narcissist felt or wanted. Even during a recent interaction, I expected a third party to instantly assume I was wrong because that’s what I was brought up to believe. Your thoughts, feelings, and opinions are rarely if ever, validated by a narcissistic parent–and when they are, it’s only when you happen to feel the same way your narcissist does. This continues into adulthood for most children of narcissists.

Once you realize that, you might even start to tell yourself that your opinion is, in fact, always consistent with the narcissist’s opinion. It causes so much less trouble, and you’re treated to the illusion of approval if you comply. But the fact we must remember is that narcissists can’t feel empathy–so they aren’t really capable of changing their opinions. They believe they can’t be wrong.

You get to write your own story

“…all narcissistic parents fail to treat their children as authentic individuals who have their own unique characteristics and needs,” says LightHouse.org. “Narcissists treat their children as mere blank screens for projecting their own internal ‘movies’ onto.”

You see, by always acting like my thoughts, feelings and opinions had no value (like she was “better” than me), my narcissist inadvertently made me feel worthless, not good enough, not important. While I’ve since gone no contact with her, back then I was often made to feel that anything I would say to my parent that was contrary to her opinion would be met with an eye-roll and a wave of dismissal. But this is nothing new, and in some ways, it’s not this person’s fault.  Growing up, every idea I had was, according to what I saw and heard, eye-roll-worthy, and very little of what I said or did was treated as valuable. Still, today, she doesn’t respect me or my opinions, but now, I understand that she doesn’t need to–I don’t need to have her approval to be good enough. This is a fairly textbook kind of narcissistic manipulation, according to my research over the years.

“Adult children of narcissists typically describe their parents as mean, phony, self-absorbed, judgmental, dishonest, immature and manipulative,” reports LightHouse.org.

The Healing Process for an Adult Child of a Narcissist

The healing process for an adult child of a narcissistic parent is a long and sometimes difficult one – but it’s worth the effort. Whether you walk away completely or you choose to limit your relationship to only necessary interactions, you would be wise to give yourself the space you’ll need to evolve and grow into the individual you’re meant to be.

As the adult child of a narcissist, you’re bound to have picked up a few (or more) thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that aren’t really your own. So, once you get your space, start there: figure out exactly what you believe, and what you don’t. You might be surprised to find out which beliefs or thoughts you’ve been carrying around for all these years for no reason.

The next step is to begin to embrace the fact that you’re an individual who has value. Your thoughts, feelings, and experiences are legitimate and worth hearing about–and you are just as good as anyone else.

Read more: 10 Things You Need to Know If You’re In a Toxic Relationship

Help with Healing for Adult Children of Narcissists

Sometimes, our wounds are too deep to heal on our own. While some of us might kill ourselves trying to live up to that impossible standard our narcissistic parents set and others choose to go the opposite direction, all of us can benefit from learning to do better for ourselves.

Related: Take Back Your Life – How to Snuff Out Gaslighting and Live the Life You Really Deserve

McBride points out that effective therapy for adult children of narcissists has three primary steps.

  1. Understand the background, history, and diagnosis
  2. Deal with the feelings related to the history
  3. Begin to re-frame and view life through a different lens.

“The Wild West philosophy of ‘get over it already’ does not work with this recovery program, nor do simple affirmations or initial cognitive-behavioral work,” McBride says. “This specialized recovery involves cleaning up trauma first and accepting that your parent is not going to change. The change will be within you.”

Free Adult Children of Narcissists Support Group

Join SPANily Support for Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents (ACON) Now and Get the Support You Need! If you’re in need of emotional support as the adult child of a narcissistic parent, you might want to check out our free narcissistic abuse recovery support group for adult children of narcissists. Growing up with a narcissistic mother or father shapes your entire life, and this requires a special kind of support. This group is facilitated by fellow adult children of narcissistic parents. Each facilitator is also a survivor and thriver. This group is led by certified life coaches Angie Atkinson and Colleen Brosnan, along with our experienced admin team.

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Click to read my book on narcissism on Kindle right nowYour Love is My Drug: How to Shut Down a Narcissist, Detoxify Your Relationships & Live the Awesome Life You Really Deserve, Starting Right Now [Kindle Edition]

Codependent-Toxic: Portrait of a Narcissist’s Significant Other

Codependent-Toxic: Portrait of a Narcissist’s Significant Other

“Understanding how a narcissist works is the key to living or working with one. If you can understand his or her behavior, you may be able to accept it as you realize their behavior is NOT a result of anything you did or said despite them emphatically blaming you. If you can accept their behavior and not take the abuse and other actions personally, you can then emotionally distance yourself from the narcissist. If you can emotionally distance yourself, you can either cope with the narcissist or garner the strength to leave.” ~ Alexander Burgemeester, The Narcissistic Life

devastating emotional scars narcissism quoteThe beginning of a relationship with a narcissist can be very deceptive; in most cases, a narcissistic relationship begins just like any other—with the standard phases of initial attraction, infatuation and eventually falling in love.

What is a toxic narcissist?

The most commonly understood definition of a narcissist is a person who has a very inflated opinion of him/herself. In fact, most every conscious human has some level of narcissism, which at its most basic level is simple self-interest. But that’s different than the kind of narcissism we’re talking about when we are talking about toxic narcissists.

It is a toxic narcissist we find ourselves dealing with in narcissistic abuse situations. Also known as a malignant narcissist, this term refers to a toxic, verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive person who may or may not have been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.

What type of person does a narcissist go for?

What kind of person is ideal for a narcissist? There is no single “type” that a narcissist typically goes for, technically—there are no parallels to be drawn among the partners of narcissists as far as height, weight, eye color, race or any other physical or cultural characteristic.

While there seems to be no “ideal” or “standard” mate/friend/spouse for a narcissist, there are certain similarities about the relationships. For example, the narcissist typically begins a new relationship with a “honeymoon” period, during which everything seems perfect, almost too good to be true.

Living in a relationship with a narcissist can be anything from exciting and exhilarating to soul-sucking and traumatic. And it usually is one or the other—depending on what day it happens to be. You might compare it to a type of emotional rollercoaster.

And a narcissist cannot exist without someone to adore, submit to his will, be available at his whim and willing to disparage herself to his benefit. His whole identity really depends on it—it’s called narcissistic supply.

So what draws a person into this type of relationship and keeps her there?

Common Qualities Among the Partners of Narcissists

“The inherently dysfunctional ‘codependency dance’ requires two opposite but distinctly balanced partners: the pleaser/fixer (codependent) and the taker/controller (narcissist/addict,” writes Ross Rosenberg. “Codependents — who are giving, sacrificing, and consumed with the needs and desires of others — do not know how to emotionally disconnect or avoid romantic relationships with individuals who are narcissistic — individuals who are selfish, self-centered, controlling, and harmful to them. Codependents habitually find themselves on a “dance floor” attracted to partners who are a perfect counter-match to their uniquely passive, submissive and acquiescent dance style.”

While physically, culturally and otherwise, the victims of narcissism aren’t the same, there are certain qualities that typically unite them. I’m going to use the “she” pronoun here, but note that there is no single sex that is a typical victim (although, to be fair, men reportedly make up the majority of narcissists).

First, she must be insecure or at least have a distorted sense of reality, if you expect her to stick around. Otherwise, she’ll be out on the first or second exhibit of narcissism, early on in the relationship.

She will likely often belittle and demean herself, while glorifying the narcissist and putting him on an untouchable pedestal.

As a result, the partner becomes the victim, which works fine for her—she has a tendency to punish herself. Maybe she’s even a bit of a masochist. She probably feels like she “deserves” this life of torment.

She’s his eternal scapegoat, always put-upon and putting her own needs last.

“It is through self-denial that the partner survives,” says Sam Vaknin, a self-proclaimed narcissist. “She denies her wishes, hopes, dreams, aspirations, sexual, psychological and material needs, choices, preferences, values, and much else besides. She perceives her needs as threatening because they might engender the wrath of the narcissist’s God-like supreme figure.”

Victims of narcissism often call themselves “people-pleasers” or “diplomats,” but the truth is, they are often so downtrodden in relationships that they just become changed, reactive versions of their former selves.

“When you are the partner of a narcissist, you are there to project the image he wants for you—that he wants his partner to project,” writes Diane England, PhD. “Of course, your house and lifestyle probably fall into this category, too. They are all about making statements to others he wishes to impress, not about providing you with the type of environment you might find comfortable or restful–an environment that feeds your soul.”

Can a narcissist also be codependent?

Contrary to popular belief, narcissists are not necessarily the opposite of codependents. In fact, while they appear to be completely different than their victims – polar opposites almost – they actually have often experienced very similar traumas to the very people they victimize. Often the victims of childhood abuse and/or neglect, the majority of narcissists could really identify with their victims and their own issues – if only they had the empathy to do so.

For example, both narcissists and their victims both experience certain symptoms of codependency, such as the overwhelming feelings of shame, living in denial of their childhood abuse and neglect (or of their own current issues), control issues, dependency on others for their self-worth, issues with setting and overstepping boundaries and communication problems. Ultimately, while it seems counterintuitive, narcissists are definitely codependent – they just manifest it differently than their victims. The difference is that narcissists seem to turn inward, while victims seem to turn outward, with the love that they’d normally have given their parents and other family members, had they been allowed.

Do you know someone who is in a relationship with a narcissist? Perhaps you recognize yourself or someone you love in this post.

 

Symptoms and Risk Factors of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Symptoms and Risk Factors of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

You might already be aware of everything you need to know about identifying toxic relationships and how to spot a narcissist – or someone who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Today, we’re going to discuss WHY people become narcissists.

How and Why People Become Narcissists

What are the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, the official list of symptoms is as follows.

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner


Today, let’s dive a little deeper and discuss symptoms and risk factors of NPD.

Identifying Narcissistic Personality Disorder

How do you know it’s NPD?

As you can guess from the official list of symptoms above, a diagnosis of NPD would typically be made when five or more of the characteristics are identified – but generally, the condition goes undiagnosed because narcissists see nothing wrong with their behavior.

People who are involved with narcissists and those who have NPD typically report the following kinds of behaviors and characteristics – do we see a pattern?

  • The belief that he or she is “special” and the desire to only associate with people he or she perceives are on their wavelength or who will “appreciate” them.
  • The need for excessive admiration from those around him or her.
  • The expectation of especially favorable treatment and automatic agreement by people around him or her.
  • The exploitation of others around them for their own benefit or advancement.
  • Inability to empathize with others.
  • Feels envious of others, but also feels that others are envious of him or her.
  • Acts arrogant, and may try to disguise arrogance with ethics.
  • Displays an exaggerated sense of self-importance and is typically extremely judgmental.

How to Identify Narcissistic Personality DIsorder

People with NPD are good at making those around them, especially people who don’t know them intimately, believe that they are something special. Family members of people dealing with NPD will typically find themselves trying to please him or her, and feeling guilty if they fail. They may even be afraid of how the person with NPD will react if their desires can’t be met or if they are defied in some way.

Risk Factors for NPD: Why People Become Narcissists

People always ask how narcissistic personality disorder develops in a person. They want to know: how are narcissists created? How do narcissists become narcissists? Does narcissism develop as a result of nurture or nature? 

According to some researchers, NPD may be developed when a parent fails to act empathetically toward the sufferer during his or her infancy. This is common among those born to very young parents or those born to mothers who suffer from postpartum depression or psychosis.

Kids who don’t feel safe during childhood or who suffered from a lack of affection and parental praise may also develop NPD, as can those who were neglected and emotionally abused.

Related: Researchers Blame Mom for Narcissistic Kids

Those who live in unpredictable situations and who feel they cannot rely on their parents are also at risk, as are those who are learning manipulative behavior from their parents.

When this happens, the child gets sort of emotionally “stuck” at an early stage of development and while they may later understand logically that others exist and have real feelings and needs, they may not ever fully embrace it emotionally. While a “normal” child will usually develop feelings of empathy for others around them by the time they hit kindergarten, those suffering from NPD never do–leaving them to become adults with the empathic capacity of an infant.

Want to know more? Get a more detailed explanation of attachment theory and how attachment style creates narcissists (as well as codependents) in this video. 

Here are some other videos you might like to watch to better understand narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder:

More on Narcissistic Signs and Traits: The Truth About Narcissists & NPD – Understanding the psychology of narcissists and self-help for those who have been in relationships with narcissists.

Learn how narcissistic personality disorder is diagnosed. 

Are you dealing with narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship?

Need support in your recovery from narcissistic abuse? If you’re dealing with a malignant narcissist or someone with narcissistic personality disorder, you’ll definitely heal faster with the right kind of support. Which one is right for you? Here are a few options.

Still not sure? Take our narcissistic abuse recovery program test and find out which option is best for you!

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Do you know someone with narcissistic personality disorder? Take our self-assessment to gain insight into your situation.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Find the Light at the End of the Tunnel and Be Brave

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Find the Light at the End of the Tunnel and Be Brave

“No matter what you’re going through, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you’ll find the positive side of things.” ~Demi Lovato

Find the light at the end of your tunnelIf you ask me, being in a relationships with a narcissist feels a lot like running your head into the same brick wall, over and over. And despite the fact that it gets bloody and beaten, you don’t stop. You just keep running your head into the wall, hoping to get through it (and make it happy) – and while you logically realize, eventually, that there’s no breaking that wall down, and that the wall is not capable of change, something in you makes you keep hitting the wall, bloodying your head and hoping for different results. 

When you look at it that way, it seems literally insane, right? After all, the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things but to expect different results.

But in the case of a narcissist, it’s not as simple as a brick wall. It’s a convoluted mess! If you want to learn more about narcissistic abuse, you can do so here – check out these articles or this resource page

Today, we’re here to talk recovery.

So let’s talk about the light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m about to wax philosophical on your ass, so get ready. If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a narcissist, you can probably agree that eventually, you stop living for yourself and start living to avoid the next blow-up, drama or manipulation. 

When you’re dealing with gaslighting and the other ways a narcissist will abuse you, you’re almost always just “existing,” and while you might not admit this to many people, you sort of forget who you really are. 

So many people have come to me as they were beginning the process of recovering from an abusive narcissist asking me how I was able to redefine and rediscover myself after escaping my own narcissistic abuse situation. And this is what I tell them. 

Living with a narcissist means living without real passion – not the kind that drives you to do great things, anyway. 

As I see it, living without that kind of passion is sort of like living in the dark.

Food doesn’t taste as good, the air doesn’t smell as nice, the colors don’t seem as bright.

Without passion in our lives, it’s as though there’s a barrier between our senses and the world around us, one which doesn’t allow us to fully experience our lives.

This barrier could present itself in the way of depression, anger, fear, or any number of debilitating emotions. Or maybe there’s a certain situation in our lives of which we’ve lost control. Maybe it’s simply that we’re bored, and that we’ve begun to take our blessings for granted.

This is an almost toxic state for our souls and even our bodies. But we can change our minds, and this can change our lives. But how? Try this Bliss Mission.

Bliss Mission: Discover What Inspires You

Begin with figuring out what inspires you. Then, find a way to make it happen. This can help you to start living with passion, and living with passion is one of the first steps to becoming whole, to becoming truly happy.

Whatever your passion or inspiration, take some small step toward it today, and let the rest flow. If you’re not sure where to start, consider taking a walk to clear your head, or writing in a journal to work it out. You could draw or paint a picture, or cook your favorite meal. Take a bath or do a little yoga. Whatever works for you.

Tell yourself that today is the day that you begin living with passion and purpose. And then, my friends, do it. Your life will be richer and your heart will be happier.

Feel good! You ready? Let’s do this. 

Not ready yet? Then keep reading. 

Be brave! Discover Your Courage

Have you ever thought of yourself as brave? You may find it challenging to imagine how courage would be a part of things like your social life, going to work, or communicating with your spouse. However, courage is important to all types of situations and relationships. Remembering your natural bravery will also boost your confidence and self-esteem.

Here are some super-simple daily actions you can take to strengthen your own bravery.

Embrace yourself and:

1. Look people in the eye. If you’re shy or feel awkward, looking people in the eye or chatting with someone you just met takes a certain amount of inner strength and fearlessness. But each time you muster up the courage, you gain more self-confidence for the next social situation.

2. Speak up. Standing up for the project you want to do at work illustrates a lot about you. Although co-workers may be vying for the work and your boss might have his own idea about the person he wants to do a particular job, stepping forward to claim what you hope to do exhibits fearlessness.

Tip: You’ll be more likely to receive the type of work projects you want to do when you step up and ask for them. These courageous behaviors pay off.

3. Disagree appropriately. Being willing to stand up for yourself with your spouse shows personal strength and courage. 

Tip: Maybe there have been situations when you’ve strongly disagreed with something your partner did or said. Maybe you ignored your own feelings at those times. But if your spouse keeps repeating these behaviors or comments, step forward bravely and discuss your feelings with your spouse. Doing so can actually strengthen your relationship.

4. Change how you look. Color your hair or cut it short. Or just put on make up for once! Any kind of change in your appearance reveals a certain amount of bravery. Even trying out a trendy new style or a color you don’t normally wear is a great demonstration of your firm decision to change something about yourself.

Tip: Have you ever wanted to change your image or renew your style? This can be challenging and even a little scary. Such decisions require great deliberation and resolve to follow through. But when you do it, you feel great. These simple acts of courage associated with changing your looks facilitate the renewal of your confidence.

5. Stand up for what you believe. Regardless of the venue, stepping forward to make a point is a pretty brave thing to do. Have you ever decided you weren’t going to take it anymore? Standing up for yourself can garner the respect of others, as well as improve your situation.

Tip: Whether you were the only one in the parent teacher organization who thought something wasn’t a great idea or you joined the local anti-vandalism group in your neighborhood, standing up for what you believe takes some measure of fearlessness. Stepping forward for a cause that you feel emotionally invested in requires passion and bravery.

Recognize that it takes a certain amount of bravery to live in this world of ours, and if you’re just starting out in trying to take back your life after being abused by a narcissist, this is all the more important.

Taking part in social events, speaking up at work, voicing a disagreement with your spouse and doing something to change your style or looks all reflect a sense of courage. And standing up for what you believe in your everyday life shows you aren’t afraid to express yourself.

Discover your fearlessness by acknowledging those simple acts of bravery you do every day.

You’ll be deeply rewarded emotionally and will go forward into your everyday tasks with greater confidence. Essentially, by reinforcing courage, you lay the groundwork to get what you want and deserve from life!

You’ve got this! What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

Answered: Is Extreme Self Confidence Just Arrogance in Disguise?

Answered: Is Extreme Self Confidence Just Arrogance in Disguise?

“Calm self-confidence is as far from conceit as the desire to earn a decent living is remote from greed.” ~Channing Pollock

Extremely self confident or really arrogant? How to know for sure.

How is a high level of self-esteem or self-confidence different from plain old arrogance?

~~The Question~~

Submitted by a Reader:

I was a shy and insecure kid and teenager, but the older I get, the more self-confidence I have. It didn’t come easy, though. I worked hard to get here and I work hard to stay here.

I work out and eat right, and I have a job I really love. I’m in a good relationship and I’m thinking of getting married and starting a family in the near future.

After years of feeling like I just wasn’t good enough, I feel great about myself finally, and I’m not afraid to let my confidence shine through. This is working great for me and I am mostly real happy with life. 

So mostly I’m super happy these days. 

But here’s the problem. My mom and my sister seem to think I’ve become “really full of myself.” They are always making snide comments about how I need to be humble and how I shouldn’t “brag:” so much. I don’t brag, I just tell them the good things that are happening in my life. I am trying to stay positive, like you suggest, because I want my life to keep getting better.

But these two are always saying I have to “face my issues,” which I have done already. I just don’t want to focus on them. They are just sooo negative and I don’t know how to make them stop acting that way.

What can I do to change the way they treat me? Or do you think I am the one in the wrong here?

~~My Response~~

First, let me congratulate you on your emerging self-confidence! I know how hard it can be to overcome insecurity, and I applaud you for taking charge and making positive changes in your life.

Now, as far as your mom and your sister go, the first thing you need to recognize is that, most likely, the reason they can’t be happy for you and your new-found confidence is that they, themselves, are insecure for some reason. Your success most likely makes them more aware of their own failures or insecurities.

It’s also important to know that it’s not your responsibility to help them feel better about themselves. You can definitely offer support and compliments whenever possible, but unless they have the desire to make positive changes within themselves, your input will only go so far.

So, my suggestion to you is to focus on your own perceptions, both of them and of yourself. Continue to work on feeling good about yourself and your life, and don’t allow anyone else to define you. You get to decide who you are, and you do not have to accept negative perceptions from anyone else.

Heads up: Do you think you might be dealing with a narcissist? Find out here. 

As I told another reader who was struggling with feelings of unworthiness, your mother and sister aren’t alone–approximately 85 percent of all people have felt  like they weren’t good enough at one time or another. It’s a common and unfortunate phenomenon in our society, one that you dealt with yourself in the past.

Rather than let their feelings of inferiority affect you, try just acknowledging them and moving forward. So, the next time you hear a snide remark about yourself, just let it pass. You don’t need to defend yourself–this only adds fuel to their unhappy fire. Instead, just focus on something that makes you feel good.

It can be really tough to handle negativity from the people you love, especially when you’re on such a positive track yourself. It’s human nature to want to share your joy with the people around you, and it can be disheartening when they’re not willing to be happy for you.

Just remember that no one else can define you. Not only do you get to do that yourself, but you don’t have to accept anyone else’s definition either.

As writer Peter Murphy says, “Just because someone is concerned for your welfare does not mean that their advice or input has value.”

You can also change your expectations. Remember that we get what we expect–so if you expect your mother and sister to be negative, they’re sure to give it to you. Try changing the way you feel about them. While you can’t directly change another person, you can focus on the good things about them as much as possible, and you might notice a positive change in them too.

In the end, try to stop worrying so much about what other people think and focus instead on how you feel. That’s when you’ll truly find peace.

So, how about you? How do you handle negativity from the people you love? What advice would you give this reader? Share your thoughts, ideas and experiences in the comments – let’s discuss.

 

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