As survivors of narcissistic abuse, many of us find it hard to be assertive. Passivity is often viewed as a form of politeness. We’re raised to make others happy, even at our own expense.
The other end of the spectrum has its own unique set of challenges. Aggression isn’t pleasing to others. Others are likely to give up too much when faced with aggression. This creates negative feelings and damages emotions.
Assertiveness is an attractive option and provides multiple benefits to you and those around you.
Learn to be assertive rather than passive or aggressive and enjoy these perks:
1. Boost your self-esteem. What could be better for your self-esteem than speaking up for yourself and taking action to influence the world around you, Depression is often caused by feeling a lack of control. Assertiveness is a form of taking control and responsibility.
3. Increase your communication.Part of being assertive is speaking up for what you want and being open with your desires. If you think about the least assertive people you know, you don’t know them very well. They keep everything to themselves. Assertive people have an openness to them that non-assertive people do not.
4. Accomplish more. When you’re open with your opinions and wants, and you’re taking action to make them happen, you’ll be shocked by how much more effective you can be.
5. Others assume you are confident. There are multiple benefits to being perceived as confident. People will assume you’re more capable, intelligent, and have better leadership skills than someone that is less confident. It’s also attractive to others.
6. Get what you want more often. Imagine you’re in a group of people, and the subject of choosing a restaurant for dinner comes up. The person that offers a suggestion usually “wins.”Most people are too passive to offer an opinion. This tendency can be found in all facets of life. Those that are too passive sacrifice too much in making others happy. This might seem noble, but it’s a frustrating way to live. The belief is that you’ll eventually receive what you want if you let others have everything they want. This rarely works in real life.
7. Get in touch with your feelings. When you suppress your emotions and desires, you lose touch with yourself. By consistently pursuing that which you desire, you’ll gain a much better understanding of yourself.
8. Win-win situations become the norm. When you’re too passive, the other person gets things their way. When you’re too aggressive, you might have things go your way more often, but the other person is resentful. The best opportunity for both of you to be satisfied with the outcome is to be assertive.
9. Enhance your decision-making skills. Passive people often base decisions on the least confrontational solution. Aggressive people are biased in the opposite direction. Those that are assertive have a more neutral stance. Their passivity and aggressiveness don’t taint their perspective. Decisions are less emotion-based.
Assertiveness is a combination of honesty and respect for others and yourself. When you’re assertive, you’re honest about your intentions, wants, and desires. You aren’t forcing them on others, but you’re willing to express them and own them. You’re also being respectful by not hiding your intentions.
Passivity and aggressiveness aren’t pleasing to others and are less effective than assertiveness. Allow others to respect you by being more assertive in all your interactions. You’ll enjoy the results!
Getting involved in a toxic relationship with a narcissist is something that more people deal with than you’d expect. And when you have to endure mental abuse from your partner, it can have a tremendously negative effect on you that lasts a lifetime. It’s hard to keep “being yourself” sometimes, especially when you consider all the mental abuse and emotional torture you had to endure and your self-esteem takes a major nosedive because of it. The narcissist does it for a couple of reasons – he or she does it to gain control and boost his or her own ego (yes, women can be abusive, too) – to make you feel worthless and insecure.
Listen, no one is perfect. You accept your friends and family even though they’re all flawed in a unique way, right? Why not give yourself the same courtesy? Focus on your positive traits and forgive yourself for your flaws and mistakes, alright?
Accept yourself as you are, right now, in this moment. You are good. You are okay. And you are going to get through this. I promise.
Now it’s your turn: Have you struggled with your self-esteem or self-image during or after narcissistic abuse? How’d you manage? What would you tell a friend who was in the same situation? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below – and let’s discuss it.
“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
The Brick Wall in Narcissistic Abuse and Toxic Relationships
If you ask me, being in a relationship 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.
How do you find hope when you’re dealing with narcissistic abuse?
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.
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.
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 can lead to a very toxic state for our souls and even our bodies. But we can change our minds, and this can change our lives. Start now by trying 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.
Resources to Help with Gaslighting in Narcissistic Abuse
“Calm self-confidence is as far from conceit as the desire to earn a decent living is remote from greed.” ~Channing Pollock
How is high self-esteem different from arrogance?
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 really happy with life.
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?
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 newfound 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.
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?
Get Help WIth Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
These resources will help you with your narcissistic abuse recovery.
Did you know breastfeeding isn’t for everyone? Well, believe it or not breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks! And this new mom could really use some help from some of you more experienced ones out there.
My Crazy Breastfeeding Attempts, Tongue Tie and ‘Helpful’ Nurses
While I was pregnant, I was so excited to breastfeed and have that bonding experience with my son.
Well as it turns out, in the hospital my son was having trouble latching on to my breast.
No one even mentioned that there was such a thing as a tongue tie.
And it kind of pisses me off, because if they had, I could have had them clip it in order to have that bonding experience with my son.
Instead the nurses told me to start supplementing, because he was losing to much weight. And being kinda new to this whole mother thing – I did what they said.
Ever since I have been trying to get my supply up. By pumping pumping pumping.
In fact I even purchased three different pumps in order to find the best one for my breast.
I was also eating lactation cookies, staying away from caffeine. The whole nine yards. None of it was working. I was devastated that I was only able to feed my baby formula.
That’s when I decided to…
Stop concerning my self so much about it, and to try to believe that it might just come naturally, And instead of pumping, to actually put him to the breast to feed. And just see where that got me.
So as of now, I’m working hard to get my supply up and still having that skin to skin mouth to breast time, regardless if he is getting any milk or not. So far, so good.
I could really use some advice – can anyone help me out? Have you had to try to re-lactate before? How’d you do it? What tips can you offer? Thanks in advance.