If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a narcissist, you’ll know first-hand the debilitating effects it can have on you.
Narcissistic traits range from (relatively) lesser behaviours such as self-absorption and an inability to listen or care about another, to more sinister behaviours such as a grandiose sense of entitlement, the need for excessive attention and admiration, a lack of empathy and at it’s very extreme, highly manipulative behaviour that can erupt into rage and violence.
Most of us have encountered people with behaviours along this spectrum, and most of us can easily avoid such people. Sometimes though, the narcissist is a parent, a sibling, a boss, or even a partner. The constant emotional abuse perpetrated by a narcissist can slowly, yet surely erode your sense of value and worth. Here’s how you can tell:
- Difficulty making decisions, often second-guessing yourself
- Walking on eggshells around the narcissistic person
- Feeling isolated and disconnected from family and friends
- Mysterious physical symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, panic attacks, gut issues, and even depression.
- Lack of interest in activities that you previously enjoyed (running, painting, gardening, etc)
- Micromanaging your life hoping nothing will go wrong and more…
So, is it possible to rediscover your sense of self and worth? Absolutely!
Many women come to me after years of narcissistic abuse.
One belief common to all those women is; ‘I am not okay as I am’
For true healing and transformation, this belief MUST be addressed. To be fair most women don’t walk in and say exactly those words, it’s more insidious than that, and it hides behind other beliefs such as ‘I’m not confident enough for that’, ‘or ‘what if they think I’m stupid’ or ‘I’m not smart enough’ or ‘what will they think of me’.
You get the picture right! No matter how this belief presents in a woman, the end result is the unconscious need to seek external validation to feel a (fleeting) sense of value and worth.
With every woman, we start at the same place, and that is to heal the parts you don’t love, and that keeps you trapped in a cycle of external validation. Then we rebuild with a strong foundation of love, gratitude and Power. Just as a tree or an animal doesn’t feel the need to prove it’s worth, neither do you. Why?
Because being enough is enough. It’s what you’ve always been and all you can ever be.
A practice I encourage every woman to embrace is self-forgiveness. It’s not always possible to forgive the narcissist – that happens when it happens, and sometimes it doesn’t. More important is to forgive yourself. Self-forgiveness isn’t about right, wrong, or laying blame, rather it serves to neutralise stuck energy surrounding events that are still affecting you. It wipes the slate clean so to speak and allows space for new possibilities. It’s a very simple process.
Sit quietly with your hands on your heart and imagine love is flowing through you. Then notice how you are feeling in your body. You may prefer to think of a specific event or situation that still causes pain. As you do this, you will come up with forgiveness statements to say out loud while focusing on your heart.
Some statements won’t make sense or even be true. That’s okay, trust the process. Doing this for even five minutes a day will soon
create shifts in your life. I’ll start you off with some samples below, and if it’s easier you can write your statements on paper before you begin the process.
- I’m sorry you were betrayed
- I’m sorry you couldn’t fix it
- I’m sorry you never understood your worth
- I’m sorry you couldn’t make it work
- I’m sorry you weren’t good enough
- I’m sorry it’s hard to trust someone now
- I’m sorry you closed your heart
- I’m sorry you don’t feel safe anymore
(And yes, the use of the third person is deliberate).
I am passionate about working with women who are ready to transform their experiences into their superpower so they can create a life on their terms and make an impact on the world if they so wish. Recovering from narcissistic abuse requires a community. It requires a woman to be seen, to be heard, to be validated, to share her experience and encouraged to step into greater power; and in turn, do the same for other women.
My online community ‘Women Thriving after Narcissism’ is designed to do just that, and was created when I realised women recover faster when they are supported collectively. If this speaks to you, join us here on our Facebook Group “Women Thriving after Narcissism”. And because every woman is different, I also work one-on-one in a bespoke program designed especially for you. You can contact me at Domenica@domenicapapalia.com or message me directly through my “My Facebook Page”.