When You Feel Stuck in a Rut After Narcissistic Abuse

When You Feel Stuck in a Rut After Narcissistic Abuse

Ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut, or like you’re just spinning your wheels? I know the feeling – and so do most other survivors.

Sometimes, in narcissistic abuse recovery, we get stuck and feel frozen, like we can’t do anything. We might even have bouts of dissociation.

Watch this video for additional information.

The Painful Transition From Narcissistic Abuse to HAVING a Normal Life

After being involved with a narcissist, you may feel depressed and uncertain about your future.

That’s okay! You’ve done the hard part by recognizing that you need help getting out of the relationship and healing from it.

All that’s left is to figure out what support system and resources will work best for you.

What is dissociation as it relates to narcissistic abuse?

Dissociation is a process by which the individual disconnects from their body and feelings.

This can make it difficult to experience and remember the abuse and process and grieve the experience.

If you’re struggling with dissociation in your recovery from narcissistic abuse, this video is for you! We’ll discuss the symptoms and how to overcome them so you can start rebuilding your life.

Dissociation is a common symptom of narcissistic abuse. We’ll discuss its causes and effects and share tips on overcoming it in narcissistic abuse recovery.

This episode is for you if you’re struggling with dissociation in your recovery from narcissistic abuse. We’ll discuss the causes of dissociation, its effects on your life, and how to overcome it.

By the end of this video, you’ll know more about this common symptom of narcissistic abuse and how to overcome it!

The Key to Overcoming Feeling Stuck

Some of us struggle with clutter, so I will use this as an example of how we get stuck.

Clutter can be a highly stressful and destructive problem for some survivors because they feel stuck and unable to function.

Maybe you can relate? If so, you’re probably feeling many things: overwhelmed, confused, stressed, and embarrassed, not to mention depressed. 

And who could blame you for feeling this way? I’ve been there myself, and I’ve felt exactly like you do.

Read this next sentence carefully: It is NOT your fault. 

Clutter can literally be a symptom of your abuse. YES. 

If this sounds like something you struggle with, you might want to look at my free 30-day home makeover challenge

Coach Tip: One Thing

I came up with a little hack that has helped me whenever I felt stuck – and I still use it today.

It is so simple you probably won’t even believe me – but try to do one thing.

Yes, I know, it sounds like it’s TOO simple.

But hear me out. When I felt stuck over the years, I’d eventually permit myself to STAY stuck.

And then I’d tell myself I just had to do ONE thing – that if I wanted to, I’d be able to stop right after that one thing. (For example, if my house were messy, I’d make myself clean off just one table).

And even though I allowed myself to stop at that point, often, that was enough to keep me going – that feeling of accomplishment would push me forward to do the next task, and then the next, and so on.

How to Begin Healing After Narcissistic Abuse

It’s hard to ask for help when you’re feeling so lost and alone, but here are some steps to help you get the kind of narcissist abuse recovery support you need.

Step 1: Consider Your Support System

When you’re trying to recover from narcissistic abuse, it can feel like there’s a giant hole in your life where your support system used to be.

Now it’s time to look at the resources that are available to you right now.

  • Do you have friends or family who can support and encourage you?
  • Do they know about your experiences with the narcissist?
  • If not, do they want to know more?
  • If so, what would they most want to learn about?
  • What do they already know?
  • Is there anything else they need to understand?

Step 2: Ask Yourself

The second step is to talk through the following questions with someone who is safe and supportive and who will listen without judging or criticizing.

  • “What am I feeling right now?”
  • “How long have I been feeling this way?”
  • “What is contributing most strongly right now?”
  • “What do I need?”
  • “What would help me move forward?” 

Step 3: Skip the Sugar-Coating.

The next part is difficult: you’ll have to be brutally honest with yourself here.

This might be hard to swallow, but you’ll be lucky to have a good support system when you finally realize what you’re dealing with.

The truth is that you’ll be among the majority of survivors if your support system isn’t up to snuff.

Why? Because narcissists are good at isolating us during the abuse, which leaves many survivors with no one (or almost no one) to support them effectively when all is said and done. 

Don’t worry, though. I’ve been there, and because of that, I have done my best to make it possible for you to recover with the kind of support I WISH I’d have had back then. 

In other words, my team and I have you covered, no matter your budget.  The following list of free and lower-cost support options might help you as you embark on your narcissistic abuse recovery journey.

Here’s Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery 

When You Can’t Go No Contact; Other ways to Stay Sane

When You Can’t Go No Contact; Other ways to Stay Sane

What’s the best way to deal with a narcissist in a toxic relationship? To go no contact, of course.

But what if you can’t go no contact?

It’s hard to imagine, for some people, but the truth is that not everyone has the ability to leave or go no contact with the narcissist. At least not right away.

Maybe they’re in your family, or maybe they’re your boss. You may be financially dependent on them, and leaving them would mean financial ruin for you or your family.

It’s possible that you’re dealing with financial abuse – or any number of things that might stop or slow you down when you try to leave the narcissist. 

Heck, it’s also possible that you’ve tried going no contact with them in the past and it didn’t work out—maybe they stalked you, harassed you, threatened to hurt themselves if you left them, or worse.

So how do you deal with a narcissist when you can’t go no contact?

If this is the case for you, it can be incredibly difficult to find a way forward when someone is holding power over you in one way or another. But there are things you can do to help. Watch this video for additional information on dealing with a narcissist when you can’t go no contact. 

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

The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Overcoming Shame

The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Overcoming Shame

Have you recovered from a toxic relationship with a narcissist, or are you in the process of narcissistic abuse recovery now? If the answer is yes, then you have a pretty good understanding of what it’s like to live in a world where you’re conditioned to feel shame, right? 

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.

Video: An In-Depth Discussion on Overcoming Shame

In this video, Lise Colucci and I take an in-depth look at what shame is, why you feel it after being involved with a narcissist, where it starts, and how you can overcome it.

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:

  • The narcissist is very controlling and you live in fear of their reactions.
  • They blame you for their bad behavior
  • They don’t take responsibility for anything
  • 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.

Step Three: Learn to Set and Maintain Boundaries

Boundaries are extremely important in any relationship, whether it’s a friend, loved one, family, or lover. But in narcissistic abuse recovery, they can become even more important.

Narcissists don’t believe you have the right to have boundaries, but they are VERY concerned about their OWN boundaries,

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.

Learn how to set your boundaries. 

Shame Quote, Angie Atkinson

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

 

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