Toxic Relationship Recovery: Deciding Who You Want to Be After Narcissistic Abuse

Written by Angela Atkinson

When you’ve been involved in a relationship with a narcissist, you might find that you forget who you are a little bit.

In fact, it’s one of the most common concerns I hear from readers and my narcissism support coaching clients – that they aren’t really sure who they are when they’re in recovery from a toxic relationship that involved narcissistic abuse. Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Tips

Related: Rewrite Your Story After Narcissistic Abuse: Start Here

You may have been so relentlessly tortured by the gaslighting and other forms of narcissistic manipulation that you have literally lost yourself – you don’t even know where to begin to remember who you once were (or who you could be now).

This is almost always true in the case of someone who has served as narcissistic supply for someone they lived with, such as a spouse or parent. 

And in some cases, especially with parental narcissists, a survivor may never have known who she was to begin with. These are the survivors who most often tell me they have no idea where to start. Of course, those in longer-term relationships (regardless of the nature of the relationship) often feel exactly the same way. 

Related: What to Do When a Toxic Relationship Makes You Feel Like You’re Not Good Enough

For example, one of my clients is a 47-year-old woman who was married to her narcissist since she was 17. She had no idea where to begin defining herself when she finally freed herself. 

Where do you begin? How do you decide who you want to be after narcissistic abuse?

I’m going to be straight with you. There’s really no mystical equation here. It’s very simple – and yet a little bit complicated if you don’t fully understand. 

You simply DECIDE. You make a choice and you choose what you want. Yes, I’m serious.

You get to choose your life, your personality and everything about you – and you don’t have to listen to anyone else when you’re doing so. Listen up, my friend. 

You are the result of your own thoughts. So think INTENTIONALLY.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” ~Buddha

Vishnu as the incarnation BuddhaThis particular quote, for me, sums up something I know to be true, a concept that has become one of the guiding principles in my life.

To me, this means that we’re in control of our lives–or that we can be, if we learn to control our thoughts, be open and flexible in our beliefs, really feel and fine-tune our vibrations–we can choose our own lives.

I believe this because I have experienced the benefits of intentional thought–and because I have experienced the disadvantages of not intentionally choosing my vibrations.

Does Buddha’s quote resonate with you? What does it mean to you? Are you ready to reinvent yourself after narcissistic abuse? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below.

Need more help with a narcissistic relationship? Check out this resources page for victims and survivors of narcissism, right here. 

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