8 Powerful Self-Care Tips for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors

8 Powerful Self-Care Tips for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors

“Loving yourself isn’t vanity. It’s sanity.” ~Katrina Mayer

When you are in the grip of narcissistic abuse, it can be hard to think about your own needs. You may be so preoccupied with what is happening to you that you feel numb, or so angry that you feel like an emotional volcano about to explode. Either way, it can be hard to take care of yourself.

Is Self-Care Selfish?

No matter what the toxic people in your life would have you believe, self-care is not selfish. It is essential in order to maintain your physical and emotional health. And this is even more important for people who have survived narcissistic abuse because, for many of us, our whole lives have been about making other people happy. It’s time to focus on yourself, possibly for the first time in your life.

Have you survived narcissistic abuse?

If you have been in a relationship with a narcissist, you know how frustrating and exhausting it is to repeatedly deal with their crazy-making and mind games. When they aren’t treating you like your feelings don’t matter, they are making you feel crazy for having feelings in the first place! It can be that hard to be in a relationship with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), but you probably already know that it is possible to leave such relationships when you learn how to recognize the signs of narcissistic abuse and how to set boundaries.

What you might not realize though is that self-care is a vital part of healing from narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship. If a partner or ex-partner has been abusive toward you, you might have experienced a lot of trauma. It can be hard to get out of bed in the morning, and even to take care of yourself and your needs when you’re in the depths of recovery.

Why is self-care important in narcissistic abuse recovery?

Everyone heals on their own time frame, but by practicing some self-care tips for narcissistic abuse survivors you can improve your quality of life and begin the process of healing from narcissistic abuse. But without proper guidance, healing from narcissistic abuse can be long and arduous.

It’s very common for adult children of narcissistic parents (ACONs) to suffer from Complex PTSD. Worse, many ACONs also end up getting into romantic relationships with narcissists and other toxic people – it feels normal to them. That’s why, without proper support, it is so easy to fall back into old patterns.

Did you lose yourself to narcissistic abuse?

Narcissistic abuse is a particularly vicious form of psychological abuse. It is important to recognize that narcissistic abuse takes a toll on your mind and body.  After experiencing an abusive relationship, it is normal to feel like you have lost yourself. You may also feel like you don’t know how to take care of yourself anymore. These feelings are often due to the way you were treated in your past relationships and can develop into a very unhealthy pattern if not addressed. After abuse, your whole sense of self needs to be rebuilt and nurtured.

Self-Care Tips for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors

Self-care is important for all of us, but especially for those in the healing process following narcissistic abuse. You can use these self-care tips as tools to help you heal and recover from the effects of narcissistic abuse and re-establish a sense of inner peace within yourself. Even if you have not left your abuser yet, self-care can help protect your mental health while you decide to leave or work on other aspects of your life that are related to the abuse.

Here are some self-care tips for narcissistic abuse survivors:

1. Remember You Are a Whole Person.

It may sound silly, but if you are still reeling from the abuse of a narcissist, it can be difficult to remember that you’re still a whole, multifaceted person. Narcissistic abuse survivors often find themselves existing in a fog of confusion and pain, and being told repeatedly that they are “crazy” or “imagining things.” It can be hard to muster the motivation or energy for self-care when you feel so beaten down. If you’ve been abused by a narcissist, it’s important to know that what you’re experiencing isn’t your fault. Narcissists are experts at gaslighting their victims into believing that they have no right to their own feelings or opinions. You have every right to grieve the loss of these relationships and experiences, and to take time to work through your feelings. You also have a right to care for yourself in whatever way is best for you. This video explains exactly what happens to you during narcissistic abuse and why you stop feeling like a whole person – this is exactly why it’s so important to take care of yourself now.

2. Assess Your Needs and Make a Self-Care Plan.

Maybe the most important step in self-care after narcissistic abuse is knowing what you need in order to feel cared for and nurtured. You’ve been through the hell of emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of a narcissist. You might just need to start by taking a bit of time for yourself. You can practice setting boundaries. Take a week or a weekend and just turn off the phones, close the door, and relax. If possible, use this time to disengage from the narcissist.  Breathe deeply. Meditate. Stretch out any kinks or tension in your body. Do something creative or spiritual.  Then sit down and write down your self-care plan. Note: Make sure you pencil in time to get enough sleep and relaxation. You can’t think straight or make good decisions when you’re stressed and exhausted. Watch this if you need to remember how important self-care is for survivors of narcissistic abuse!

3. Don’t Discount the Value of Positive Affirmations.

When it comes to reprogramming your mind after narcissistic abuse, you have to take advantage of the power of affirmations. You may think affirmations are lies you are telling yourself in the beginning. But even if that is the case, keep at it! Eventually, your mind will be reprogrammed and your truth can change to one that’s far more desirable. This video offers one simple way you can get in your affirmations while you sleep! Save it to your bookmarks so you can use it anytime you need.

4. Find A Constructive Physical Outlet To Release Negative Emotions.

You, like many narcissistic abuse survivors, may have found a way to cope with the situation in an unhealthy way. For example, you might have started drinking or eating too much to stuff away the pain, anger, and justified rage that you feel on a daily basis. You know those habits are quite destructive – but it feels better than the alternative, right? If this sounds like you, you might consider looking for healthy physical outlets to release those negative emotions. This is why you will want to take up kickboxing, yoga, or dancing such as Zumba classes. Those are great ways to release the painful emotions that you are feeling. Bonus: It also helps you become more physically fit – revenge body, here you come! After all, when you consider how narcissists exploit you, you have to realize that narcissistic abuse recovery is a whole-self healing journey. Get the details on that in this video.

5. Journal Away the Pain.

You’ve spent way too much time worrying about everyone else in your life – and the narcissist has facilitated this by requiring you to make them the center of your world. This means you’ve got a lot of thoughts, feelings, and unspoken words flying around inside you, likely adding to your pain. My suggestion here is to go out and buy a journal or a diary. Or just use a plain notebook if you prefer. Either way, use this to write in every day about how you are feeling, your thoughts, what you have been doing, and any other information that is important to you. The idea is that whatever you put into this journal is just for you. You can tear pages out if they are painful to read later on, or you can keep the book forever as a reminder of how far you have come. Personally, I prefer bullet journaling these days – here’s how I do it.

6. Pay Attention To Your Breathing.

Did you know that if you breathe through your mouth, you are going to feel more anxious?  It’s true! And that will only cause you to think more about the pain you had endured. The best way to stay relaxed is by breathing through your nostrils. In fact, this is something that patients that suffer from insomnia are told to do before they attempt to fall asleep. Breathing through your nostrils will help lower anxiety levels and the more you do it, the more you will rewire your brain into a calmer state. Try the exercises I share here for help.

7. Tap Into Your Creativity

I always say that narcissistic abuse recovery is a great time to start a new project. Maybe you want to redecorate a room in your home, or learn to paint. Perhaps you’d like to write a book or a story. Maybe you’re a songwriter? When you listen to songs like Stronger Than Ever by Christina Aguilera, you know she was inspired by her own healing from abuse. And this is a positive way to deal with pain and trauma. Channeling your pain into creativity is highly therapeutic. Or, if you’re struggling with finding a project because you’re drowning in your own clutter (a common issue for survivors), you might try a decluttering project, as described here.

8. Ask For Help

Possibly the most important step to practicing healthy self-care tips for narcissistic abuse survivors is surrounding yourself with supportive people who understand what you’re going through. I think it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are millions of people who have experienced the pain that comes with being in an abusive relationship, so don’t feel like your situation is unique or uncommon. If you are struggling, be sure to look into finding a therapist and/or a narcissistic abuse recovery coach who understands what you’re going through. They can give you some helpful tips and since they may have been there themselves, they can empathize in ways no one else can. There’s also the option to join a small Zoom coaching group. If therapy or coaching aren’t within your budget, you can also join a free support narcissistic abuse recovery support group. The more support you have, the better! It MATTERS.

Get help with narcissistic abuse recovery right now.

158 Signs You’re the Victim of Narcissistic Abuse

158 Signs You’re the Victim of Narcissistic Abuse

Could you be the victim of narcissistic abuse? If so, what can you do and how can you tell? Well, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today  – signs that you’re the victim of narcissistic abuse (see video on YouTube).



 

What is narcissistic abuse?

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.

Signs You’re Dealing with Narcissistic Abuse

Find out if you are being emotionally abused by a narcissist by asking yourself the following questions.

Does someone in your life:

  1. Act like you don’t matter to them?
  2. Act like you’re faking it if you’re sick, or even say it out loud?
  3. Act really jealous and possessive sometimes?
  4. Always expect you to take care of their feelings, but never concern themselves with yours?
  5. Always heart or love photos and videos of people of the same or opposite sex (whatever they’re into) on social media?
  6. Always hide their phone from you?
  7. Always make you wonder if you’re crazy?
  8. Always push and cross your boundaries?
  9. Always seem to kick you when you’re down?
  10. Always threaten to end your relationship?
  11. Become angry or sullen if you don’t go along with their demands?
  12. Become excessively pushy or forceful about sex, or even hurt you during sex?
  13. Become overly critical of everything about you when you don’t do what they want?
  14. Behave in ways that cause you to make excuses to others for them?
  15. Belittle your accomplishments?
  16. Blatantly lie to you about yourself and expect you to go along with it?
  17. Call you lazy when you’re not feeling well and can’t keep up with your usual schedule?
  18. Cause damage and/or give away/steal your personal property?
  19. Cause you to apologize for things you shouldn’t apologize for?
  20. Cause you to become anxious about confronting them about literally anything?
  21. Cause you to lose interest in life?
  22. Cause you to not want to do things you used to enjoy?
  23. Compare you to others?
  24. Compete with you over silly things?
  25. Completely ignore you when it’s convenient for them?
  26. Consider themselves the “boss” and insist on making all the decisions in your relationship/family/life?
  27. Constantly threaten to abandon you?
  28. Disappear for hours, days or longer without explaining why?
  29. Dismiss your pain if you’re hurting (emotional or physical)?
  30. Do things they know make you uncomfortable?
  31. Drink excessively or take drugs, and then blame their awful behavior on alcohol, drugs or their own history of abuse or tragedy earlier in their life?
  32. Embarrass you in front of friends or extended family?
  33. Expect more of people than is appropriate? (For example, getting upset if the mailman forgets their birthday?)
  34. Expect you to ask for permission to do stuff, as though you’re a child?
  35. Expect you to get over it when any tragedy happens in your life?
  36. Feel entitled to spending your money?
  37. Feel entitled to your attention and UNCONDITIONAL respect, regardless of how they treat you?
  38. Feel like they have the right to control your money?
  39. Forbid you from doing things?
  40. Force you to account for your time when apart from them?
  41. Get angry at you for things you can’t control, such as someone liking your photo on social media?
  42. Get excessively angry without warning or over tiny things?
  43. Get upset if you need to spend money on things for yourself, your kids or the house when they want to spend it on themselves or their own needs?
  44. Ghost you sometimes?
  45. Give you the “silent treatment” when you don’t do what they want?
  46. Go “dark” and not answer you or return your texts when they’re away from home?
  47. Go into your social media accounts and question everything?
  48. Go through your mail, hack your email or Facebook account or go through your personal belongings?
  49. Harass you when you’re away from them because you have to be somewhere (such as work or school)?
  50. Have a lot of so-called friends on social media they seem to flirt with?
  51. Have rules that you’re required to follow, even though they never told you this and you’re an adult?
  52. Have secret dating profiles or social media profiles you’re not supposed to know about?
  53. Have the whole “Jekyll and Hyde” deal happening – where one side of them seems charming or even sweet and loving, while the other is mean, spiteful and downright hurtful?
  54. Have weird sexual issues?
  55. Humiliate you in public or in groups of people?
  56. Isolate you and prevent you from spending time with friends or family members?
  57. Leave you hanging when you’re counting on them?
  58. Lie about you to others?
  59. Look through your phone at will?
  60. Make a point of telling you how unattractive you are or of pointing out your flaws?
  61. Make everything “all about them?”
  62. Make excessive and unreasonable demands for your attention, even to the detriment of your other responsibilities?
  63. Make threats about how they will “ruin you” or otherwise cause trouble for you at work, to your family or to others?
  64. Make you afraid or unwilling to talk about yourself?
  65. Make you afraid to make a decision without getting their approval?
  66. Make you afraid to tell them your feelings, or to express your feelings at all?
  67. Make you do things that you feel are unethical or morally wrong?
  68. Make you do things you don’t want to do?
  69. Make you doubt your sanity?
  70. Make you dread spending time with them?
  71. Make you feel completely worthless?
  72. Make you feel guilty for anything and everything?
  73. Make you feel jealous by complimenting and flirting with others in front of you?
  74. Make you feel like hurting yourself sometimes?
  75. Make you feel like you need to always prioritize them above yourself?
  76. Make you feel like you need to earn their love or loyalty?
  77. Make you feel like your opinions are not worth hearing or expressing?
  78. Make you feel like your reality is twisted?
  79. Make you feel like you’re always sort of “on guard” and hypervigilant of their moods?
  80. Make you feel like you’re constantly on edge?
  81. Make you feel like you’re living in limbo?
  82. Make you feel like you’re not allowed to say no?
  83. Make you feel terrible every time you spend time together?
  84. Make you feel ugly, stupid, or otherwise unsavory?
  85. Make you feel uncomfortable about spending time with friends, other family members or anyone else?
  86. Make you feel unheard?
  87. Make you forget who you are?
  88. Make you go without things you actually need, like food and personal care items?
  89. Make you hate going on vacation?
  90. Make you regret your accomplishments instead of lifting you up when you do something good?
  91. Make you responsible for maintaining the relationship while also making it feel impossible?
  92. Make you the scapegoat for all the arguments or problems in the relationship?
  93. Make you wish you were dead?
  94. Make you wonder if you’re even a real person?
  95. Make you feel like you’re always “walking on eggshells” or living with constant stress, anxiety or generally in fear?
  96. Manipulate you with the constant threat of mood changes and impending rage?
  97. Minimize your feelings or act like your feelings aren’t important or don’t matter?
  98. Never apologize to you unless they’re trying to get something from you?
  99. Not concern themselves with your needs, ever?
  100. Pick you apart?
  101. Play games with your head? Tell lies in order to confuse you or blame you for something you didn’t do?
  102. Play the “poor me” game anytime they don’t get what they want?
  103. Pressure you to use alcohol or other drugs, even when you say no?
  104. Refuse to admit wrongdoing, or if they do, it’s only if they can blame it on someone else?
  105. Refuse to allow any privacy?
  106. Refuse to allow you to access your money or family money?
  107. Refuse to allow you to work, if you want to?
  108. Refuse to be nice to you?
  109. Refuse to get a job and require you to pay for everything while they do nothing?
  110. Refuse to make plans with you or if they do, cancel them at the last minute?
  111. Refuse to post photos of you together on social media?
  112. Require you to do things for them, such as housework, laundry or other kinds of support without reciprocation of any kind?
  113. Ruin all the holidays for you?
  114. Ruin your birthday every year?
  115. Ruin your day when they’ve had a negative experience outside of you?
  116. Ruin your plans every time?
  117. Say overly critical things about your body and appearance?
  118. Say really mean things to you and when you get upset, claim they were joking?
  119. Say they know what you’re thinking, even when they clearly do not?
  120. Say things that don’t make sense and get angry when you point this out?
  121. Say things to intentionally confuse you?
  122. Say you’re mad at them when you’ve shown no indication of this and then get mad at you for not admitting you’re mad?
  123. Seem to find reasons to rage at you even when you do everything right?
  124. Seem to have double standards – as in, they’re allowed to do what they want, but you aren’t allowed to do what you want?
  125. Start arguments with you and others in your life through gossip or other forms of manipulation?
  126. Steal or hide money from you and/or your family accounts?
  127. Take control of everything in your life?
  128. Take credit for anything you do that’s good or that’s recognized by someone else?
  129. Take out their anger about other things on you?
  130. Take your paycheck?
  131. Tear down your friends?
  132. Tell or imply to others that they are interested in them when they are in a relationship with you?
  133. Tell or imply to others that they are sexy or otherwise attractive?
  134. Tell you how to dress, directly or indirectly?
  135. Tell you no one else will love you or that you’re unlovable?
  136. Tell you that you’d be nothing without them?
  137. Tell you they know you better than you know yourself?
  138. Tell you you’re too sensitive all the time?
  139. Threaten to hurt themselves or YOU if you threaten to leave?
  140. Threaten to hurt themselves when they don’t get their way?
  141. Threaten to take your children away from you, if you have them?
  142. Threaten you with physical harm or make you feel afraid of how they will react when you speak or act in general?
  143. Triangulate you with other people in your life, pitting you against one another?
  144. Try to control every second of your day?
  145. Try to get revenge on you if you make them angry?
  146. Try to pit your kids or other family members against you or each other?
  147. Try to steal your thunder (as in steal your spotlight anytime the attention is on you)?
  148. Use religion to belittle and/or control you?
  149. Use your insecurities against you?
  150. Withhold affection in order to punish you?

Question of the Day: How many of these signs resonated for you? What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts, share your ideas and share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it. 

More Resources for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse

 

Surviving Sexual and Psychological Abuse: My Story

Surviving Sexual and Psychological Abuse: My Story

Editor’s note: Trigger Warning: This powerful true story of surviving narcissistic abuse and sexual abuse may trigger negative emotions and other issues for you. Please don’t read it unless you feel strong enough to do so.

This is my story of how I survived narcissistic abuse and sexual abuse. Usually, I feel like no one can relate to my life, everything that happened is just way too “extreme.” That was until I discovered the SPANily. Now, I’m sharing my story because I want other survivors to know they aren’t alone.

I grew up in a very sheltered environment. On the outside, my family looked great, and was very respected in our small community.

It’s only now, years after I left them and moved across the country, that I was finally able to open up the huge can of worms that was my past, and face the reality of what happened to me.

My father molested and raped me regularly. My grandfather also did. I was punished if I reacted in any way to their abuse.

Once, I threw up after my father abused me with oral sex. He got so angry because maybe my mother would realize something from seeing or smelling the vomit. I’ll spare you the gory details and just say that he punished me by trying to rape me until I bled. I was 6 years old. This is just one example.

But it wasn’t uncommon: everything my father did, he always blamed on me.

Either it was a punishment, or he would somehow imply that I owed it to him to “cooperate.”

Or he would say, “I know you want this. I know who you REALLY are. But don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.”

He would slyly imply that this was the only way to “be good,” or to appreciate him. Often he would do something good for me, and then it was “expected” of me to at least listen to him, no?

Even now it is hard for me to say what it was he was doing to my mind. All I know is that he was smart and sly, and he had my entire being wrapped around his finger. He played with my feelings, my physical sensations, and private things I told him.

Everything was twisted around and used against me.

Being sad in our house was never allowed. He would make us dance and sing even when we didn’t want to. He had this unspoken rule that you are never allowed to be sad, and definitely never allowed to be angry. I lived in terror of anyone finding out my secret, and I learned to dissociate and forget it all myself, in order to survive.

After I moved away, I slowly started realizing how controlling and manipulative my father was. I could not place what it was he was doing! I started feeling awful every time I spoke to him or to my mother.

I started realizing that he was a tricky slippery person. I wished I could just break off contact, I dreamed of it because I was finally realizing how low and horrible he always made me feel.

I reached a point where I finally had the support I needed to remember the stories of abuse. As it started coming back to me, I was filled with such a strong fury. It was like a huge tsunami, powerful and uncontrollable.

It was at this point that I finally broke off all contact with my toxic family. It was hard, but that anger of realizing what he did to me gave me the strength I never could have had otherwise. I was remembering extremely graphic and horrible things, and as I did, I finally gave myself permission to trust my own inner voice and follow my heart.

I started getting rid of everything I owned that was from my former life or my former family. This clean slate enabled me to go further into my past.

Step by step.

I uncovered my mother’s role in it, then the fact that my father would bring other people to abuse me… I realized that my brain has this amazing ability to heal, even the most horrfic and deep wounds.

I saw that my mind knew how to do this, and that my heart was able to guide me as to what step to take next on my healing journey, if only I would be courageous enough to listen to it.

Finally, I was in control of my life, I was free from my family’s toxic hold on me. As I started healing I grew more confident in my own body and mind, and now I am continuing to build myself anew, one step at a time. I feel better than I ever did. I am learning what it means to live a normal healthy life and I am loving every new part of it that I uncover.

When you survive hell, and come out, you are strong and also you’re able to appreciate and enjoy life in a deep and meaningful way that I think only a survivor can enjoy. Sometimes when I do something for myself, I feel as excited as a six year old, like I am experiencing the joys I missed out on as a child.

Life is so bright on the other side and it IS POSSIBLE TO GET THERE! YES FOR YOU also! Don’t take my word for it – don’t give up and you will see for yourself.

Finding Angie’s videos, and this site was exciting for me, because I was finally able to have some sort of place to put my father. He checks off every box on the list of narcissistic characteristics. I connected to everything about what Angie calls Narcissistic Abuse Rehab.

To those of you out there who are here, like me, with the courage to face your pasts and heal, my message to you is: please take a good deep look inside of yourself. Don’t be scared to listen to that niggling deep down voice in your heart. Follow what you know is true, with courage. Don’t let anyone stop you. It is SO WORTH THE FIGHT!

Want to share your narcissistic abuse survivor story? Here’s how you do it. 

#IfMyWoundsWereVisible: Why You Should Care

#IfMyWoundsWereVisible: Why You Should Care


What is Narcissistic Abuse? Why Should You Care? With #WNAAD Founder Bree Bonchay – Talking World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day with Founder Bree Bonchay – As one of the featured speakers this year, I am so excited about WNAAD! Meet Bree Bonchay, the founder, and find out why this day matters so much.

Sign up at www.wnaad.com.

World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day (WNAAD) occurs on June 1st every year. Established in 2016, WNAAD is a growing global movement dedicated to raising the profile of narcissistic abuse, providing public pathology education, resources for survivors, and effect policy change. WNAAD is an international event that is recognized worldwide.

According to Bree Bonchay, the founder, Many of the people who suffer from narcissistic abuse (a form of psychological and emotional abuse) aren’t even aware that what they are experiencing is a legitimate form of abuse, and when they become aware they are being abused, they have a difficult time describing it because it’s so hard to put the finger on.

We came up with the hashtag, #IfMyWoundsWereVisible, because unlike physical abuse where a single strike or blow, often leaves marks or bruises and qualifies an act of domestic violence, narcissistic abuse is invisible. Narcissistic abuse is the sum of many unseen injuries.

The Cycle of Narcissistic Abuse

The Cycle of Narcissistic Abuse


The Narcissist’s Idealize, Devalue and Discard Cycle – Inside the psychology of both the narcissistic supply and the narcissist or person with NPD when it comes to the invalidation of the toxic relationship cycle at the hands of these manipulative people. Also featuring Lise Colucci and Colleen Brosnan.

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