3 Tips to ditch the shame of narcissistic abuse
Do you feel shameful about your narcissistic relationship? If so, I promise you, you’re not alone. Many of the people I’ve worked with said they felt too ashamed to tell anyone, especially when they were married or were in a long-term relationship, and everyone thought their partner was lovely.
What also happens with narcissists s is that they
- Isolate you from family and friends,
- Project all their dysfunction onto you, making everything YOUR fault
- Completely undermine your sense of self-worth by constantly devaluing you,
They ultimately leave you in emotional shreds, discarding you like a piece of trash. And when you’ve been discarded, that adds more layers of shame, doubt and self-criticism on top of everything else.
When this happens, you might feel:
- That all your confidence and self-worth has gone
- That you have lost who you were
- A deep longing to be happy and whole again
All of these feelings are common in people who have suffered narcissistic abuse. And that’s just the tip of the narcissistic abuse iceberg. You might be wondering if you can ever get over it. But I want you to know something very important: you don’t have to live with this useless shame! I’m going to give you 3 quick tips to help you right now, to start helping yourself to get out of this pit of despair. The key is to realise that what others think is irrelevant, and what you think and feel is paramount.
Tip No 1
First and foremost declare to yourself ‘This is not my fault! I am not to blame!’ You have nothing to be ashamed about. You were targeted by a narcissist… someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and that is a mental illness. Narcissists are not normal people. They don’t think like the rest of us, and their ultimate goal in life is to obtain narcissistic supply. That means attention, adoration, and being the centre of the universe. Initially it’s all rosy and you’re happy to give them the attention they crave, but it’s never enough, and they always start devaluing you. Then, when they see you hurting, crying, arguing, trying to reason with them, they don’t care one iota for your feelings, because all that is still attention to them. As long as they are the centre of your world, good or bad, they’ll take it.
So, let those facts stand firmly in your mind. You were (or are) dealing with a mental case… but one who was/is incredibly cunning and a master manipulator. Ground yourself in reality, and know that you were ruthlessly targeted by a vicious, unconscionable human being who knew exactly how to find your vulnerabilities and exploit you for his or her own gain. Feeling shame and embarrassment is just heaping more unfair abuse on yourself and you’ve had more than your fair share of that. So decide right now that you’ve had enough of this BS and you are not going to punish yourself any more. You couldn’t have seen it coming, so pack up your embarrassment and shame and send it packing.
Tip No 2
Decide that you are going to give yourself love and support, because that’s what you deserve and most of all, it’s what you NEED right now. Self-care is absolutely critical, and is so often neglected when you’re deeply mired in traumatic relationships. Very often you just struggle through each day, going through the basic motions on autopilot. What happens when you stop caring for yourself, is you’ve now got two people giving you a very hard time. You’ve got the abuser who’s done so much damage, but you are also unwittingly damaging and abusing yourself. So take a step back and evaluate your self-care routine.
Are you eating healthily? Getting any exercise? Are you drinking too much? Have you stopped doing activities that you enjoyed? Have you become isolated from all your family and friends? Are you just living day to day in state of heightened stress? Think about it all carefully, and make a list of 1 or 2 things you could start doing now to start taking control again. Book a massage, or go to the hair salon. Have a mani-pedi. Revisit a hobby or activity that you once loved. Look at your diet/exercise pattern and see where you could start making some improvements. I’m not suggesting you sign up for the next marathon but just take some small steps towards taking care of yourself. Start making regular time for yourself every single day. Review this list weekly and improve it by adding more things you can do for yourself.
Research continually supports the importance of self-care in maintaining a healthy life balance. When you’re dealing with a narcissist, your balance is totally out of whack so it’s even more important that you focus on some things where you can regain control.
Tip No 3
Find support. Could you reach out and reconnect to family or friends, and rebuild some relationships that have been tarnished by your relationship with the narcissist? Is there someone who would listen and be willing to believe what you’ve been through? You need someone who will be open to learning about narcissistic abuse so that they can begin to understand the trauma you’ve been through and what you’ve had to put up with. People can’t understand it if they don’t learn.
Find a support group to connect with other people who definitely do understand! This can be an absolute lifeline for you. I’ve had so many of the people in my groups say this, people who had become so isolated that they had nowhere else to turn, because the narc had smeared them to everyone they knew. When that happens, you really do feel as if the whole world is against you, but trust me, it’s not. That’s when you most need to reach out and know that you are not alone, that you can heal, and that you are worth it.
There are very few good support groups for MEN who are struggling to make sense of narcissistic abuse, so a few years ago I created one and I’m so glad I did. I know my group has helped so many men to heal. Here are just a few unsolicited comments I’ve received from guys in my group:
“Thanks to you Maria, I could move on from the absolute craziest experience I’ve ever been through. It started in 2019 and continued all the way until in September 2021, and I found you and your group. Nobody around me could give me answers. Big thanks!!!”
‘In the last couple of years I've been kick-hit with two narc relationships in a row that broke me down to nothing. Your FB group and videos have helped me in so many ways that it's hard to put into words how thankful I am.’
‘I also want to personally thank you for creating this group...... It has literally saved me during my darkest times…’
‘The support I have received here has kept me alive, given me hope, love, understanding, and helped me begin to heal. It is a long road to heal, but with the continued support we give each other, I hope one day soon to say YES, I am healing, healed and willing to move forward.’
‘I just want to thank everyone in this group. I've seen other groups regarding dealing with Narcissism and so many of them are filled with toxic people and either woman-hating or man-hating. This group seems to always be unbiased and not full of hate or judgement. And I think it has been helpful to me and will continue to be helpful as I begin my journey of healing from my most recent narcissistic person.’
‘This seems like a really positive and non-judgemental group. I’ve joined to try and make some sense of what happened in my last thirteen-year relationship and I’m already feeling more optimistic and confident for the future knowing that it’s not just me who has been through this sort of traumatic ordeal. Thanks everybody for sharing helpful material and experiences. I don’t wish to dwell but it’s definitely good to know I am not alone and that it wasn’t all my fault as my abusive ex-partner would have me and others believe.’
‘Just want to say thanks to the group for enlightening me, I joined this group and realised what I was in. It made me leave the relationship. It’s tough questioning your own reality, But also made me realise what makes me me, and all those things were being taken away bit by bit. Every part that gets posted on here is exactly how the relationship was. I knew it all along, just changed my beliefs because of the games. Anyhow, I learnt more over this last three weeks than ever. So cheers guys, anyone going through this in the UK and fancies a chat feel free to message. Thanks and peace!
‘I was in a bad state when I joined this group and it was reading others stories and learning what I could about narcissistic abuse that helped give me the strength I never thought I’d have. But here I am 12 months on No Contact and my life has improved dramatically. So if I can help others to find the strength to do what’s right then I feel better about myself.’
My FB Men’s only group has over 3,000 members, and it’s an excellent place to go if you’re feeling alone and need to connect with guys who ‘get it’. You can join here. Just click on the FB Group image to connect to the group.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful but more importantly, I hope you take action on the ones that resonate most with you. I also have an FB women only FB group. You can join that here. Just click on the FB group image to connect to the group.
If you'd like help to heal in weeks, not years, then we should talk because I can help. Click here to book an appointment with me.