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.
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.
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
This 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.
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.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.