Ever tried to explain something to a narcissist, and they pretended not to understand? It’s like speaking another language from behind a brick wall; in other words, incredibly frustrating, to put it mildly.
I should know. After all, despite what the narcissists in my life have claimed, I’ve become pretty successful in my communication skills – I literally communicate for a living. Some people say I’m pretty good at it!
And yet, even with a very simple concept, the narcissists in my life have always acted like they just couldn’t comprehend what I was trying to explain – no matter how many different ways I’d say it.
Narcissists choose to make you feel unheard and misunderstood.
Eventually, I would come to understand that they chose to misunderstand. It was a form of gaslighting, and it drove me insane!
After a while, I had to acknowledge that I was dealing with someone who was showing malignant narcissist traits.
The truth will set you free in narcissistic abuse recovery.
Once I finally figured out the truth – that I was dealing with a malignant narcissist, I felt devastated.
And yet, as painful as that was, it also relieved me beyond belief because it explained so much – and it proved that I was relatively sane despite the narcissist’s claim to the contrary.
Has the narcissist taken your identity away?
Before I discovered I’d been dealing with abusive narcissists in my life, I found myself feeling like I had nothing – like I had become a shell of the person I used to be.
I was so wrapped up in making the narcissist happy that I stopped feeling any desire for things and situations.
I lost myself and didn’t even know where to find myself! Nor did I want to be around other people.
I was overwhelmed by this person’s need for attention and narcissistic supply, not to mention his blatantly clear intention to misunderstand me and make me uncomfortable.
Whatever the reason, when I found myself at the point of being actively devalued, along with occasional silent treatment discards, I was fully focused on one goal: to fix this person and make it all okay again. It was all I could think about.
Of course, the only thing I had any control over was myself – and even though I was pretty sure that I couldn’t make the narcissist become something new, I was also someone who isn’t afraid to do a little work and fix the broken parts of ME.
So, I’d always focus on whatever was wrong with me and try to fix that (in hindsight, it was nothing but deaing with undiagnosed and unrecognized C-PTSD symptoms ).
I thought if I could fix ME, maybe the narcissist would naturally ease up. Of course, I was wrong there. I got a little mad at myself.
But then I did something SUPER dumb…
I tried to help the narcissist.
No matter how hard I tried, I never found a way to fix this person – at least none that worked.
Through the lens of my FOG (fear, obligation, guilt), I figured I’d try to fix the broken parts of “me,” thinking maybe he’d catch up – or that his behavior might change on its own if I was perfect.
Of course, the narcissist was pleased with this development. It offered plenty of chances to both love bomb and devalue in alternating rhythms, the intermittent nature of which is the very basis for trauma bonding.
But it also offered plenty of invalidation; I had zero support during this time, and I felt more alone than ever.
Narcissists don’t want your help unless they want it.
I couldn’t believe how clueless this supposedly intelligent man was able to act, but I must have believed his BS on some level.
After all, I would spend hours trying to figure out exactly how to explain something, I would even write down what I wanted to say and say it as calmly and carefully as possible.
But rather than trying to defend bad behavior, I’d shut my mouth and get lectured by the narcissist on my apparent lack of communication skills.
You can’t fix a narcissist.
For the narcissist, there was clearly no desire for change on his part, and his sense of entitlement blew my mind.
He reminded me often that he thought I was a total loser, someone who needed all this mental health help – and sometimes, he’d even convince me that I wasn’t as smart as I’d led him to believe. It got so bad that I literally started to believe him.
Narcissists do not change.
The fact is that narcissists simply do not change because, in layman’s terms, they don’t think they need to change. Their personality disorder essentially causes it to feel impossible.
Not only that, but their glaring lack of emotional or compassionate empathy for you or anyone else is exactly the reason why the narcissist has no remorse when they flip everything around and become angry with you.
You are NOT crazy!
I “needed help,” they’d say. So obviously, I felt like no one understood me, and I felt alone and completely insane – and the narcissist took advantage of my weakness at the moment and assured me that this might be the only time I’d ever been right.
(If you can relate to that, please know that you’re NOT crazy – and know that the narcissist behaved this way on purpose to add “mental health” issues to your plate.
That’s because when you don’t trust your own judgment thanks to their abuse, narcissists will actively try to disturb your peace and, yes, even your sanity. They can’t stand for you to be happy.
Even my friends didn’t get why my relationships were so toxic.
It floored them, they said, because I was so easy to get along with. After all the years of hearing about how awful I was to live with, you can imagine my surprise to hear otherwise.
But my friends weren’t alone in their confusion. In fact, I got plenty of feedback from anyone who had the nerve to offer it.
My toxic parent mystified them, but they’d say in a horrified voice that she was my MOTHER and I had better repair the relationship with her before it was too late. That last part, for the record, means they would shame me.
People would tell me to just get over it and move on.
Some suggested therapy – but that never works with a malignant narcissist.
When it came to my toxic marriage, it was even worse – they were annoyed and would ask, “why don’t you just leave already if it’s so bad?” (NOT helpful, btw!)
Does your life feel like some kind of cosmic joke that makes you dysfunctional?
I have gone through several existential crises during which everything I did felt wrong, off-balance, or just plain crazy. Here I was, living in what felt like a cosmic joke of a life, with narcissists everywhere I turned.
Even friends who weren’t intrinsically toxic were still unable to understand my issues.
I mean, after being so beaten down and being so conditioned to question myself – I really didn’t even know what I believed, much less understand how to figure all that out.
I knew I needed help.
But not just any help. I needed to feel seen and heard. I needed a way to share the times when I did not feel good enough or even like I was a “real” person.
I didn’t know how to find help. I wanted a very specific kind of help. Not from just anyone, but specifically with people who UNDERSTOOD where I was.
After searching and trying out therapists and various support groups and systems, I found no relief: no one could quite “get” what I’d been through.
But something in me told me that I couldn’t be the only one going through this.
So, I got busy and started doing my research, and right about 2012, I learned about narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse. And boy, am I glad I did – these little bits of information were life for me – as in they changed mine.
Back then, no one even really knew the term “gaslighting” – I had to go to the library to learn about it. There wasn’t much information on the internet that was easily digestible. As I began to post about this stuff on my blog, things turned interesting: many people came to me and asked for my help.
How could I help?
I was a journalist by trade, so research and writing were my bag. I knew how to write, I reasoned – and I I felt terrible when I learned how underserved this group of people was at that time. And after a lot of study and research, I took it upon myself, and I got to work creating that much-needed content.
It was a start anyway. But I had bigger plans. I wanted to build an app. And so I did.
Easier, less painful narcissistic abuse recovery is the goal.
My goal in building this new app was to make it easier – or at least far less painful – for our fellow survivors than I had it back then. I wanted to create content that made narcissistic abuse recovery easier to discover, understand, and get through.
I did this by sharing information and helping victims and survivors understand what they were dealing with and what they’d need to do to heal themselves. This led to an entire movement that would eventually be supported by a whole team of fellow survivors.
Over the years, we have really learned who we survivors are and exactly what we need to heal ourselves so we can evolve and thrive from here on out.
Not only do I do my best to be the person I needed in my own recovery for you, but I have simultaneously healed myself along the way.
So, I learned I wasn’t alone – and I hope I’ve helped you do the same. (If not, stick with me – we will get there!)
Because I’ve developed something BETTER to help you in your recovery.
Because after all these years, and after helping hundreds of thousands of survivors get through their recovery a little easier, I’ve created something that will intuitively help you heal and get (and stay) connected!
Narcissistic abuse recovery support that you can put in your pocket and take with you wherever you go.
That’s right! Even better, there are hundreds of narcissistic abuse survivors just like me – just like you– who have joined me, and they are finding (and giving) serious support in our new in-app tribes, not to mention the tools, tips, and helpful information that is designed to walk you through your recovery from wherever you are, right now.
Introducing the All-New Narcissistic Abuse Recovery App
Inside this amazingly intuitive and easy-to-navigate app and its private community, you’ll find a new (and more secure) way to connect with me, my fellow coaches, and our fellow survivors.
You will also find toolkits, trackers, helpful tips and ideas, and more from the QueenBeeeing team – all designed to make your recovery as painless as possible.
You can count on not having to deal with any more judgment. No more shame or worries about narcissists or flying monkeys finding your posts or anything about you.
The app offers you a safe space where survivors are free to share their thoughts, ask their questions, be scared, and stay vulnerable without any judgment or shame.
No longer will narcissistic abuse resemble a lonely, dark crawl out of hell and into the unknown.
Now, you can recover faster and with less pain with our new narcissistic recovery app and the full support of the QueenBeeing Narcissistic Abuse Recovery team and your fellow survivors!
You’ll get immediate access to our support tribes community.
You’ll be given toolkits and complete step-by-step blueprints to help you get and stay safe and healed, from discard to evolution and more.
You’ll be warmly welcomed as a member of this secure community by our amazingly supportive, empathy-filled survivors who truly understand where you’ve been – because they’ve been there too.
What does it cost?
While I usually price my apps at a reasonable $25 per month, this one is different. I want it to be more accessible – so I’m only charging $9.99 a month for now. And as long as you remain a subscriber, you’ll never pay more.
If you’ve used one of my previous apps, I am so excited to tell you this is the VERY BEST and most intuitive one we’ve ever built! You will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to customize for your own needs and the level of information, tools, and support you have at your fingertips!
Are you ready to get safe support and validation from your QueenBeeing team and your fellow survivors?
Then there’s only one thing left: get the app now!
Try these simple tips for getting through the day without letting the narcissist’s tactics get under your skin:
Journal or Keep Notes So You Don’t Forget What Really Happened
Keep a journal of everything that happens with this person. Write down every interaction, every word spoken between the two of you (and any witnesses), and anything else that comes up as relevant information about how this person operates in their relationships with others.
This will help build up a body of evidence that backs up your claims against them if necessary (for example: if they threaten to sue).
Create a Support System
Get support from friends who understand what’s going on and have been through similar situations before—they’ll know what resources might be available to help. Alternatively, consider joining a narcissistic abuse recovery support group or getting coaching.
Build Strong Boundaries
Give yourself permission to set boundaries. If you don’t want to talk about something or spend time with someone, that’s okay!
You don’t have to do what other people want or expect from you just because they think it’s “normal.” You are allowed to have your own preferences and values.
Recognize and Label Gaslighting and Other Manipulative Tactics
Learn how to recognize gaslighting tactics when they happen so that you know when the narcissist is trying to manipulate or control you. Learn how to call them out on their behavior so that they don’t get away with being abusive.
Ignore the Guilt Trips
Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated by guilt-tripping (e.g., “You’re always leaving me alone!”) and pity-baiting (“No one cares about me!”). Focus on your own needs rather than those of others—and remember that your needs are just as important as anyone else’s.
You can’t pour from an empty cup, as they say.
Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today
How Do You Overcome Shame in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery?
If you have just come out of a relationship with a narcissist, you may find yourself feeling ashamed of many things – up to and including feeling shame about who you are as a person. This can cause significant bumps in your narcissistic abuse recovery and in your life, to put it mildly.
So how do you overcome shame during or after a toxic relationship with an abusive narcissist? It can feel impossible, and it might even seem hopeless – but there are ways you can work through and overcome this.
What is Shame?
Shame is a defense mechanism that protects us from the painful realities of our past. When it comes to having been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, shame feels like a deep, dark feeling that can be hard to shake if you’ve ever been in a relationship with a narcissist.
Some things you might experience as a result of dealing with shame in a toxic relationship with a narcissist include the following.
Narcissists will create situations that make you feel as though you did something wrong or inappropriate – even when you didn’t.
Shame can be an extremely difficult emotion to overcome because it makes you feel helpless.
Shame keeps you doubting yourself.
Shame fuels the lie that “you could have done more.”
Shame convinces you that you have no right to be proud of your accomplishments or to celebrate your successes.
What is the difference between shame and guilt?
Shame is an emotion that we feel when we feel unlovable. It is a feeling of worthlessness and it goes hand in hand with guilt.
Guilt is the feeling of having done something wrong. Shame is the feeling of being something wrong.
While guilt is feeling bad about our actions, shame is feeling bad about who we are, intrinsically.
Why do we feel so much shame in narcissistic abuse?
We experience shame whenever someone makes us feel like we don’t belong, or when they make us feel like we are not good enough. It’s a common emotion to feel after leaving a relationship with a narcissist because they are always trying to make us feel that way.
When we have been in a relationship with a narcissist who has been gaslighting us, projecting their own faults and flaws onto us, and making us believe that we were crazy, stupid, or otherwise inferior in some way all along, it can be difficult to avoid feelings of shame if this person was also someone who you loved very much.
It’s important to remember that the only reason you stayed in this relationship for as long as you did was that you truly believed that there was something wrong with you and that it was your fault; otherwise, you would have left sooner!
What is the connection between trauma and shame?
Nearly everyone who goes through a toxic relationship that involves narcissistic abuse will find themselves left with serious trauma issues. And when we experience something traumatic, it is common to feel a sense of shame. We may feel ashamed of ourselves and our circumstances. We may even feel ashamed that we allowed the abuse to occur and continue for so long. We may feel like a fool for not seeing the warning signs or for not having the courage to leave sooner.
This shame can be one of the hardest parts of recovery from narcissistic abuse. It is a shame that often manifests as anger, anxiety, depression, and guilt. These feelings are very isolating because they make us feel like we are alone in our experiences and that there is no way out of our pain.
What are the signs you’re being shamed by a narcissist?
You Have Intrusive Toxic Thoughts
Once you allow shame into your life, it becomes very easy to accept other toxic thoughts as truths as well such as:
“No one really cares about me.”
“People won’t listen to me.”
“I don’t deserve better than this.”
“I’m not good enough.”
You Accept Responsibility for Everything – Including the Shame
You might feel like the shame is yours, but it’s not. The narcissist is shaming you. He or she is projecting their own feelings of shame onto you. By making you feel ashamed of yourself and your actions, the narcissist can control you.
You Feel ‘Dead Inside’
Narcissists have a way of making people wish for the worst. If you’ve dealt with a narcissist who has shamed you and you’ve ever thought or said you were ‘dead inside’ – that’s a big sign that you’re dealing with shame. Please remember that you deserve better.
Dissociation (or feeling disconnected, like you’re not really here, like you’re in a fog, watching your life on a movie screen, or anything similar) is another common experience shared by survivors who deal with shame.
The Narcissist’s Behaviors
The good news is that you don’t have to live in this hell forever. The first step to overcoming shame is recognizing the signs of being shamed by a narcissist:
They tell you that if only you did what they want, things would be better
They call you names and put down your appearance or abilities
They criticize everything you do, say, think, or feel.
How do you overcome shame?
Survivors of narcissistic abuse often struggle to move past feelings of shame because they believe they should be able to do so more quickly.
When we’re in a narcissistic relationship we are bombarded with shame at every turn—shame for things we haven’t done or shouldn’t feel guilty about, shame for things we wouldn’t normally be ashamed of (such as loving someone), and shame for things we would have felt prideful about prior to entering into the relationship (such as analyzing or understanding the narcissist).
Step One: Understand Why You Feel Shame
The shame you feel can be overcome by understanding why you feel it. Realize that the shame is not yours but rather the narcissist’s and that he or she projected the feelings onto you. Don’t take it on, and watch as the shame disappears.
Remember: You are not your shame.
Once you can see that this is what’s going on, even if they try to deny it, there are steps you can take to overcome the shame:
First, remember that in overcoming shame following a relationship with a narcissist, you are:
These are all accomplishments – they take time, effort, and energy. Pat yourself on the back and recognize how significant that is – and then go on to step two.
Step Two: Choose Your Boundaries
So, if you’re going to set boundaries, you have to know what behaviors are acceptable for you, and which ones aren’t. Be aware that the narcissist will not love the fact that you begin to change and tolerate less and less of their disrespect and manipulation. But keep going. It’s worth it – I promise.
Obviously, this causes problems in relationships with other people, most certainly those who are their primary sources of narcissistic supply. They overstep your boundaries to manipulate situations to get their own way. They will flit between abusive cycles of blame and manipulation to try and control you.
Your average person might not ever overstep your boundaries, or if they do, will correct their behavior if you note it. Not so with narcissists. That’s why it’s so important to maintain your boundaries in toxic relationships.
Let’s begin today by briefly defining narcissistic abuse. In a nutshell, narcissistic abuse is officially defined as the intentional construction of a false perception of someone else’s reality by an abuser for the purposes of controlling them. It involves a sort of constructed reality in which the narcissist manipulates you emotionally and psychologically over a long period of time.
It can be difficult to figure out that you’re dealing with narcissistic abuse because it can be very subtle and pervasive. It took me personally 35 years to recognize it. So how do you know if it’s happening to you? Well, I’m here to help you with that. Please grab a pen and a piece of paper, or open up a note on your phone. As you read through the signs that you’re a victim of narcissistic abuse, go ahead and make a tick mark for each one that resonates with you.
If you’ve experienced being in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, you may be dealing with symptoms that don’t make a lot of sense to you as you navigate the muddy waters of narcissistic abuse recovery. This post will fill you in on narcissistic abuse syndrome, an often-unrecognized disorder that affects victims of narcissistic abuse in profound ways.
While you won’t find the term “narcissistic abuse syndrome” in the DSM, it is one that many advocates believe should be included.
In this video, I explain what narcissistic abuse syndrome means, fill you in on the signs and symptoms of narcissistic abuse syndrome and also explain how to recover from narcissistic abuse syndrome (sometimes also called post-narcissistic abuse syndrome). In addition to identity erosion and losing the self, understanding what happens after narcissistic abuse and how to perceive it in a whole new way can really be the first step toward healing CPTSD or complex PTSD. If you are a victim of narcissistic abuse syndrome, this comprehensive healing video is for you.