When you’re a survivor of narcissistic abuse, you may have trouble managing your emotional state, especially if you’re deep in the throes of grief and anxiety as you transition to life without the narcissist. Issues connected to C-PTSD and other after-effects of the trauma you’ve just experienced will run rampant in your mind and body until you find a way to heal.
In the meantime, there are so many things you can do to help yourself feel better right now. For example, you could use a pattern interrupt to shift from feeling weak and worthless to feeling empowered and worthy.
What is a pattern interrupt?
A pattern interrupt is a way to stop one of your habitual reactions. This can be helpful because you can stop yourself from reacting in an unhealthy way and choose a better response. It can also be used to help your brain notice small things that you might otherwise overlook.
This concept is commonly used in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), as well as other self-help practices, to help people change their habits, thoughts, and emotions. In other words, pattern interrupts are deliberate actions that break undesirable habits.
You can use pattern interrupts to redirect the flow of a conversation when it’s going too far off-track, or when you’re ready to move on to talking about something else. They’re also useful for breaking up long monologues by other people.
Most importantly, pattern interrupts can help you get through the difficult moments in your relationships, including the one you might have or have had with the narcissist. This way, you can truly begin to heal yourself and take back your life – one baby step at a time.
How does a pattern interrupt help?
Pattern interrupts are highly effective for so many different aspects of narcissistic abuse recovery, and this is one more way they can be used. During and after a toxic relationship, your grief, anxiety, and depression can become automatic behaviors – patterns – that you fall into without thought.
So, when you begin to work on letting go of the narcissist and the toxic relationship, you can use mindfulness to pay attention to your thoughts and ideas, and then you can choose to use a pattern-interrupt to change it.
Try These Simple Pattern Interrupt Ideas
Pattern interrupts are part of NLP (Neurolinguistic programming). Sounds complicated, right? But it’s so simple. Here are some quick and easy-to-implement pattern interrupt ideas for you.
- Try a simple affirmation you repeat to yourself in the moment.
- Try standing up and moving into a different room of the house.
- Try taking a quick shower.
- You can brush your teeth or hair or wash your hands.
- Try to count all of the items in a room that are a certain color.
There are so many other options to interrupt these toxic patterns in your own mind. Here’s a quick video where I explain pattern interrupts in more detail.
Pattern Interrupts to Change Your Emotional State Quickly
If you need to change your mood or emotional state in a hurry, you have options available to you. Your emotional state affects your attitude, focus, decisions, and your ability to act.
The ability to manage your emotional state is a powerful skill that must be mastered if you want to be able to get the most out of each day. If you can control your emotional state, you can be happier and more successful.
Surprisingly Effective Pattern Interrupt Strategies for Emotional Control
Your emotions are actually body feelings created by your thoughts. If you move your body, the way your body feels will change. Moving is one of the most effective ways to change your emotional state. There are many ways to use your body to alter your emotions. Here are just a few options:
● Stand straighter.
● Do jumping jacks.
● Stand up quickly.
● Spin around.
● Walk like a robot.
Laughing feels really good! Make yourself laugh and you’ll feel differently, and the change is instantaneous.
● Think about something funny.
● Watch your favorite comedian.
● Talk with your funniest friend.
● Read a joke.
3. Give yourself a change of scenery.
It’s amazing how much difference you can feel if you just move to a new location.
● Spend an hour at the coffee shop.
● Go to the library.
● Walk around the park.
● Sit out on your back patio.
4. Do something that frightens you.
If you want to take your mind off your current thoughts, fear is an effective way to do it. Your emotional state will change, guaranteed.
● Strike up a conversation with an attractive stranger.
● Have that conversation you’ve been avoiding.
● Go to the pet shop and ask to hold that scary-looking snake.
5. Drink a large glass of cold water.
A good drink of water can change how you feel. Making sure that it’s cold makes the experience jolting. Pour yourself a tall, cold glass of water, stand outside, and drink it.
6. Use heat or cold.
Anything that impacts your body significantly can impact your emotional state, too. Heat and cold are all-encompassing experiences for your body. Your attention can’t help but notice them. Your brain and body are also taking notice. Your blood vessels expand or contract. You sweat more or less. There’s a lot going on when you expose yourself to significant temperatures.
● Sit outside on a hot or cold day.
● Take a hot shower or bath. Sit in a hot tub or sauna.
● Try a cold shower or bath (this is known to help tone your vagus nerve – which is shockingly effective in helping to heal your trauma).
7. Sing or hum.
Singing is a novel way to change how you feel. If you’re not used to singing, it can feel awkward. If you sing regularly, you do so because it’s enjoyable. Either way, your emotional state will be impacted. (Also good for the vagus nerve!)
8. Do something new or unexpected.
Shock your system by doing something totally out of character.
● Pull out the bike you haven’t ridden in years and go for a ride.
● Take a walk around the neighborhood if you rarely do so.
● Go out to a new restaurant.
● Call an old friend you haven’t spoken to in ages.
● Eat a tablespoon of hot sauce.
● Shake things up.
You have an emotional state of some sort every waking moment of the day. The real question is whether or not it’s a useful emotional state. Even more importantly, is it the optimal emotional state for the current moment? You can change your emotional state with practice. You can even change it quickly!
Get Help With Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
- The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this to be the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. Offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
- Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups – We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery, as well as some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
- One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
- Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist – If you’re looking for a therapist for narcissistic abuse recovery, either because you cannot afford coaching and want to use your health insurance or because you have additional issues you need to address that do not fall within the realm of coaching, you will want to find the right therapist for you – and as far as we’re concerned, that therapist must understand what you’ve been through. This page offers assistance to help you do exactly that.
- Where Are You in Recovery? You might not be sure exactly where you fit in and what level of recovery you’ve achieved. If that’s the case, you’ll want to check out this self-assessment to help you determine exactly where you fall in the stages of recovery from narcissistic abuse. Once you finish and submit the assessment, you will be given resources for your own situation, along with recommendations of which groups to join.
- Which Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program is Right for You? If you aren’t sure which program you want to utilize to facilitate your recovery from narcissistic abuse, this self-assessment will help you decide.