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Taking Your Power Back From Narcissists

No matter how careful you may be, it’s likely you’ve come across at least one narcissist in your life.  They will do anything they can to make sure they always have control of their victims.

The most helpful thing I have found to do in these situations is to pray.  Asking God to help me remain calm, think logically rather than emotionally & have creative & effective ways of dealing with their manipulation has been incredibly helpful.

Simple acts such as providing too much personal information, strong emotional reactions, & tolerating control & manipulation can all contribute to narcissists having the power.  To take your power back, you need to do the opposite of those things.  Don’t share personal information.  When the narcissist provokes you, remain calm even when you have every right to be angry or hurt.  Instead of giving the narcissist their way when they try to control you, act as if you don’t notice what they are trying to do.

It is also so important to practice self-care.  Take the time to keep yourself grounded & pay attention to your feelings & thoughts.  Allow yourself to be honest & real with yourself, & reject any guilt that may influence you to stay with a narcissist or tolerate their abuse just because they make you feel you should do such things.  Listen to yourself & understand that your feelings are valid & important.  You never deserve to feel guilty or ashamed of being upset over how they treat you.

It is also important to recognize your own strength & power.  Remind yourself that with God’s help, you are capable of getting through anything, & you have every right to take control of your life!  Make sure that you are fully aware of how you are feeling & staying true to yourself.

One important step in taking back your power from narcissists is to recognize their behavior & know when it is happening.  It’s vitally important to be aware of those times when their behavior turns manipulative, controlling, or abusive & be willing to take steps to protect yourself.

Another step in taking back your power from narcissists is to be willing to set boundaries.  It can often be difficult & ineffective to stand up to a narcissist & tell them no, as you do with those who aren’t narcissists.  Narcissists are notorious for barreling over healthy boundaries &/or portraying themselves as innocent victims when someone tries setting boundaries on their abusive behavior.  This often makes victims give up their boundaries rather than deal with the narcissist’s abusive protests.  But it’s important to remember that you have the right to have boundaries, to be respected & treated fairly.  If a narcissist continues to disrespect you, it is important to protect yourself however you need to do.  Changing the topic of conversation, hanging up the phone or leaving can be subtle ways to do this.  If all else fails, find a way to turn the conversation back to the narcissist somehow.  They almost never pass up an opportunity to tall about themselves.

Being aware of your own reactions to them also helps to take your power away from narcissists.  Narcissists view strong emotional reactions in their victims as a sign of weakness, & use these reactions to control & manipulate.  It’s best to stay in tune with your emotions to make sure you are not giving them power when you respond to their behavior.

Lastly, a great way to help yourself in these situations is to practice mindful reflection.  This can be done through activities such as praying & journaling to help you become aware of how their words &/or actions are affecting you.  Self-care is important anyway but it can also be helpful in recognizing the narcissist’s manipulation & how you can best manage your responses to their behavior.

Taking back your power from narcissists is ultimately about recognizing their tactics & having the willingness to protect yourself.  It’s not easy but it can be done.  The more you do it, the better you will become at it.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

When Someone You Are In A Relationship With Wants To Change You

For most of my life, I have been in countless relationships with many toxic people.  I grew up with narcissistic parents, have narcissistic relatives & in-laws, was once married to a narcissist, & have had more narcissistic friends than I can remember.  One thing every single one of them had in common was the desire to change me.  Prior to learning about having healthy relationships, I knew it was very annoying but I had no idea how abusive this was.  I dealt with their toxic behavior by trying to be whatever those people wanted me to be, & can tell you something.. it was absolutely NOT worth it!!

People who try to get other people to change to please them aren’t pleased with anyone or anything.  This means that they never will be pleased for long with the changes anyone else makes for them because they are so focused on things they consider flaws.  When someone changes one thing, they will find something else they think needs to change, then something else & there is no end to their list of things they think need to change.  Why make yourself miserable, constantly struggling to please someone who never will be pleased with what you do anyway?

There is also the fact that the things that people like this consider flaws rarely are actual flaws.  More often than not, they are simply differences, not flaws.  These imaginary flaws could be things like your hair color, the style of clothing you like, your taste in music, your favorite hobbies or even personality traits such as being introverted over extroverted or being “too sensitive.”  None of these things are flaws or bad in any way.  Anyone who thinks they are flaws clearly has issues.

People who want others to change for them often seek out those with people pleasing tendencies.  People pleasers are more than happy to do anything other people ask of them, even when it means making big sacrifices such as parts of their personality, & this just shouldn’t be.

If you are in a relationship with someone who wants you to change, this is NOT normal!  Small things, fine, such as your new spouse wanting you to use coasters when you set a drink on the coffee table but larger things like changing parts of your personality are not fine!  That is a big red flag of someone with controlling tendencies!

Remind yourself often that no one has the right to demand that you change anything about yourself, or dictate your personality traits.  Don’t give in to anyone’s unreasonable demands. 

If you think it’s ok to give into some demands, it’s not.  It won’t take long until you feel anger & even resentment.  You’ll be frustrated & miserable, too.  I promise you this will happen.  I know it will, because I have been there.  I resented those who demanded I change so much about myself just to please them.  I was miserable because I was being like what they wanted me to be, rather than what I was meant to be like.  I was miserable & they weren’t happy either because there was nothing I could do that would make them happy.  I felt powerless, too, because their love was so conditional, & based on me doing whatever to make them happy.  It is an utterly miserable way to live.  Don’t put yourself through this!  Instead, be unapologetically, authentically you.  If others don’t like that about you, so be it.  The right people, however, will absolutely love that about you.  Your voice, your thoughts, your feelings all matter.  You are worthy & you matter!  Never let anyone convince you otherwise!  Choose you, & don’t shrink yourself for anyone.  It’s never worth it!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Lacking A Healthy Perspective About Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse

When you have been abused by a narcissist (or several!), you are going to have ongoing issues as a result of their abuse.  This is likely to continue for many years, even long after the abuse has ended or even after the abuser dies.  Today we’ll be discussing one of the lesser discussed yet potentially devastating issues: lacking a healthy perspective about yourself.

Not long ago, in emailing with a friend, I mentioned something traumatic that my mother did to me when I was in my teens.  She was floored, then told me how horrible it was & how badly she felt for me.  I was stunned by her reaction.  Yes I knew it was traumatic but somehow I didn’t think it was all that bad.  This same scenario happened a few times.  Then a few weeks after that first email conversation, during a phone call to a different friend, the scenario happened yet again.  I mentioned a past traumatic experience, & she too was flabbergasted.  And again, I was stunned since I didn’t think of the experience was all that terrible.

Being prone to over thinking everything, these experiences got me thinking.  I didn’t understand why I didn’t think these experiences were so bad, yet other people did.  It isn’t like they haven’t been through the same & worse experiences, & I recognized theirs were pretty terrible. 

Then, I learned something interesting that at first I thought was unrelated.  I’m always tired, & I assumed it was because I can’t get to sleep or stay asleep without medication, & have constant nightmares.  Not long ago I got a smart watch that monitors all kinds of health processes including sleep.  It showed me that I get virtually no deep sleep.  That explained why I’m always tired, but not why I don’t get deep sleep.  I researched this & found PTSD & C-PTSD cause a person not to get the deep sleep they need.  Upon learning this, my first thought was, “wow, I really DO have C-PTSD!”  My second thought was wondering what is wrong with me?!  I’ve had symptoms of it for my entire life!  How could I doubt it?  Suddenly, things began to make sense when I thought not only of this but my interactions with my friends a few weeks prior. 

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, they dictate everything about that relationship as well as about you.  They do this through gaslighting.  After being exposed to this toxic behavior long enough, a person takes on the narcissist’s narrative.  If the narcissist claims you’re stupid enough, you believe you are in spite of having an above average IQ.  They claim you’re fat?  Absolutely believable, even if the scale says you only weigh 110 pounds.  This gaslighting goes much deeper than those superficial issues however.  Narcissists all convince their victims that what they’re doing isn’t so bad, clearly it’s not abusive, it never happened, or if it did then it’s their victim’s fault. 

This gaslighting also branches into the realm of health conditions too.  Narcissists are the only ones who have any sort of health problems, at least according to them.  Also, narcissists aren’t above faking an injury or illness or even making themselves sick, they assume everyone does it.  These two things mean that narcissists don’t care when their victims have any problems.  They assume their victims are just faking as they would do.  Or, if there is undeniable proof of a problem, they minimize it so they don’t have to pretend to care or to help the victim.

This gaslighting is why I was shocked my friends not only saw the events in my life as traumatic, but validated me & cared how I was affected as well.  It also explains why I felt surprised to find proof I really do have C-PTSD, in spite of having the symptoms for so long. 

If this sounds familiar to you, my heart goes out to you.  I wish I could help you fix this right now, but I can’t.  I can tell you some things that I’m finding out that help me though & I think they’ll help you too. 

Prayer certainly helps!  I have asked God to help me have a healthier perspective on myself & talk to Him regularly about this.  Also, when I recognize any minimizing behavior in myself, I tell myself the truth about the situation instead.  Progress has been slow going with me, but it’s still progress & that counts!   

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism