Believe & Invest In You · Surviving Narcissism

Forgiveness | Forgiving a Narcissist

Forgiveness is a tough subject for many people. It is frequently misunderstood.

What is the definition of the word forgive? Per Mirriam-Webster, the definition of forgive is 1) to cease to feel resentment against (an offender), 2a) to give up resentment of or claim to requital, b) to grant relief from payment of.

Requital is giving something in return, or in compensation of. This means that when we are in complete forgiveness, we release the person we are forgiving from owing us anything.

In simple language, forgiveness is an act of letting it go, and the ‘it’ in this is anger, hate, malice, and the desire to be compensated for whatever behavior or act we are forgiving.

Forgiveness Initiates Healing

In this blog, we are focusing on the forgiveness of narcissistic and/or emotional abuse that we have been subjected to, which is typically difficult to forgive. Healing, however, becomes obtainable once we release and forgive toxicity.

Non-Forgiveness is Destructive

Non-forgiveness can be harmful. When we do not forgive, we harbor certain feelings and emotions, such as hurt, shock, anger, and frustration, all of which can eat away at our mental and physical well-being.

When we forgive, we release toxicity from our minds. When we forgive, we choose peace.

Forgiveness is a Choice (to Release)

Forgiveness is a choice. It requires thought and action.

Forgiveness does not validate abusive or manipulative behavior. When we forgive, we are not saying that narcissistic behavior is okay, instead, we pardon any or all maltreatments that we may have experienced and we no longer expect anything in return from the narcissist.

Giving Grace

Forgiveness may sound like we are giving grace, and in many ways, I feel that is a chunk of it. I believe, both humanely and biblically, that we must love regardless of behavior.

Loving does not mean that we subject ourselves to more abuse, quite the opposite. We give grace, release any hate or malice that we may have held in our heart, which gets us into position to pray for the person, and to be who we need to be as we walk in life (without any bitterness, or spreading of toxicity to others).

We pray because everyone is worthy of healing. Whether or not an abuser heals is not our decision to make. We pray that our response reflects love, but that does not mean that we subject ourselves to harm and/or additional abusive emotional or physical situations.

We give grace because God gives us grace, and we honor each other as human beings regardless of any choices that we have made in life. We give grace out of courteous goodwill.

Notice how grace looks nothing like hate or malice?

Anger and Frustration is Okay for a Time

It is okay to feel anger for a time, and short-term feelings of frustration can be healthy. It is okay to experience these emotions and feelings as long as we do not let them destroy us.

We learn much from feelings of anger and frustration. Both etch into our awareness the need for change in our lives. For example, it could be time to instill physical or mental boundaries. When we recognize anger and frustration in ourselves, we become grounded in reality.

Saying I Forgive You to a Narcissist

If you tell a narcissist that you have forgiven them, they may lash out in anger. They may gaslight you, i.e., “You are crazy!” “You are out of your mind!” “You are the one that needs to be forgiven.” “You are the abuser!”

Narcissists typically do not take responsibility for their behavior, and if they do acknowledge their behavior, they will justify it. So, they do not easily accept offers of forgiveness, and they respond with, “What do you mean you forgive me? I have not done anything wrong.”

If a narcissistic or emotionally abusive person in your life pushes back at your forgiveness, continue to forgive. This means you will continue to heal, and you are one step closer to a sense of peace. It may not happen today, but it will happen. Remember, you must take care of yourself. You have to release toxicity. You must let it go.

Self-Care and Kindness

Another aspect of forgiveness is to allow yourself self-care. You allow kindness towards both yourself and others. But how does this look different than grace?

Self-care is much different than grace in the respect that we must not give so much of ourselves that we run dry. We must remember that we cannot fix another person ourselves. Only that person (and God) can set healing in place if the narcissist confesses to and accept that their behavior is wrong and that they also seek and agree to professional help.

Remember, professional treatment seldom helps a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Read more on this topic here.

If you are codependent, you may lack healthy boundaries. You may fail to recognize that you are not responsible for the happiness of others in your life. This may often lead you to want, or feel responsible for the fixing of others in your life. When you cannot help, it can feel like your vital air supply is cut off. This may lead you to forgo self-care, to completely give everything that you have to a relationship or a person that emotionally is unable to give back, leaving you high and dry with nothing.

Read more about codependency here.

This is a tough situation, but you must let it go. You must forgive. You must take care of yourself. Feel whatever you are feeling for a short time, recognize when you are healing, and peace will follow.

One last, but most important thing — abuse is never right, and abuse is never okay.

Action Step - Prayer Time for Women:


"For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." (Matthew 6:14 NIV)

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. (Psalm 32:1 NIV)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? UP to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." (Matthew 18:21-22 NIV)

Heavenly Father, 

Sometimes, the abuse that I experienced rears up and bites back. I work hard to look upwards and not bend as I feel myself starting to sway here and there in the emotional winds. 

There is nothing more important in my life than you, Father. I praise you for forgiving me even when I sin. I praise you for loving me unconditionally. 

Please check my heart for any hidden malice or unforgiveness that may hold me back from healing, and may lead me to sin. Please guard my heart so my response to others is pure and reflects you despite any onslaught or abusive nature. 

Today, I pray specifically for _____________ . You are the healer, Father, I am only your daughter. It is not my job to fix or heal anyone...this comes from only you. 

In Jesus' Name,

Amen


Pray for forgiveness of sins. Pray for strength. Pray for the healing of others. Pray for those that strike against you. Pray for wisdom. Pray for God to clean your heart of any unforgiveness or malice that you may hold towards others. Remember, prayer — seek, knock, believe, and you will find. 

Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussions about coaching, aromatherapy, and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.

The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice, or other institution.

Personality Traits (Introverts, Codependents, Etc.) · Surviving Narcissism

What is an Empath? | The Dynamics of an Empath/Narcissistic Relationship

What exactly is an empath? Mirrian Webster defines an empath as one who experiences the emotions of others, and a person who has empathy for others.

Some descriptions of empaths mention paranormal abilities, but an empath is not a mind reader. An empath cannot pick up on what someone else is thinking.

Empaths Feel the Emotions of Others

In my own position (I am an empath), an empath feels the emotions and feelings of others, and they can feel this emotion as if it were part of their own experience. Someone’s pain becomes an empaths pain. Someone’s joy because an empaths joy.

The danger in picking up on the emotions of others is that these feelings can easily be absorbed. Unless an empath has matured, i.e., they have developed an awareness of their ability to sense the emotions of others, and has developed mindfulness to block what they are picking up on, they can end up feeling tossed around due to whatever is going on in other’s feelings and emotions.

This awareness takes work, and what it equates to is feeling the emotions of others only momentarily, without letting it sink in under the skin. In other words, the empath develops the ability and mindset to say, “They own that (feeling/emotion). It is theirs, not mine.”

Empaths Can Appear Sensitive

Empaths can appear to be sensitive people if they allow the feelings of others to change their trajectory in day-to-day life.

The question that I like to present to empaths is, do you use this ability maturely, or do you allow it to wreck your life?

Empaths Have Strong Intuition

Empaths have intense intuition. They have gut feelings about people that others may not have.

An empath can sense danger or a dark side in a person. An empath can sense when someone is not being genuine. Empaths can see right through a fake persona. This can feel frustrating, alarming, and sometimes, depending upon the situation, hurtful to an empath.

Empaths are Often Introverted

Empaths and introversion are personality characteristics that frequently go hand in hand.

This means that most empaths love people. They are huggers. They adore seeing people that they have not seen for a while. Empaths cherish hearing that life is not only okay for others, but excellent, but after a period of small talk, it becomes tiring. The empath feels fatigued and is ready to head home, shut the door, and recharge.

This is quite the opposite of an extrovert—a person that feels drained or feels as if they hit bottom when they are running on a deficit of social interactions.

Empaths are Frequently Targets of Narcissists

Narcissists are drawn to empaths because they seek a person with a big sensitive heart which enables them to initially love bomb/manipulate/groom the target.

The big question is, how in the world can an empath NOT pick up on the narcissist’s dark side? The answer is remarkably simple. A vulnerable empath may feel starved for a trusting connective relationship, which leads them to absorb the narcissist’s early attempts in the relationship. In other words, they are blind-sided due to their vulnerabilities and craving for love.

An empath may not pick up on the intensity of the initial relationship with the narcissist until they are drawn completely in, and then they experience overwhelm. The overwhelm fogs the empaths perception at that point.

Once the empath picks up on the stark cold reality from the emotions and feelings of the narcissist, it can be particularly heartbreaking, shocking, and confusing.

What an Empath Can Do To Heal from, or Navigate, a Narcissistic Relationship

Therapy, Counseling, or Coaching. I always recommend therapy and/or professional counseling when a client needs deep healing. Coaching is also an option, to help the client get back on their feet…but coaching does not involve therapy. We are not therapists or counselors.

Mindset and Mindfulness. The development of mindset and mindfulness is key to healing from a manipulative or emotionally abusive relationship. If the empath chooses to remain in the relationship, both of these areas will help the empath to set boundaries that will help to protect their own emotional and mental well-being.

What do mindset and mindfulness look like in dealing with a relationship with a narcissist?

  • Recognize when the narcissist’s emotions and feelings are invading your space and your thoughts. Recognize when your heart feels as if it is breaking, or when you feel completely drained, that your emotions may be multiplied not because of your own thoughts, but because of the intensity of the narcissist’s feelings and emotions.
  • Remember that YOU must spiritually and mentally take care of yourself. Narcissists believe that their interests hold the most importance in life.
  • Recognize and believe that you are worthy of being loved and respected in a relationship, and learn to call any/all abuse by its name a.b.u.s.e.!
  • Develop an awareness. Look deep into yourself. What feelings of your own are you sweeping under the rug? What are you not allowing in your life that you, as a human, deserve and need?
  • Be honest with yourself. Are you trying to fulfill your need for a loving relationship with a narcissist who may be more interested in controlling you, or in fulfilling his own needs?
  • Are you looking for approval? Are you trying to do ‘everything right’ in the relationship to gain respect and love from your emotionally unavailable partner?

Ask Yourself These Important Questions

Are you honoring your needs today? Are you taking care of yourself? (You may have a big heart, but your needs matter!)

Are you allowing yourself time to think? (Time to be alone, to think and recharge your ‘batteries.’)

If you are in a relationship with a person who displays narcissistic behavior, are you setting limits and boundaries that help protect you from the weight and onslaught of any manipulative attempts?

Have you developed a boundary system that projects, “These are their feelings and emotions, not mine.”?

Action Step: Prayer Time for Women:

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)

Heavenly Father,

You have given me this incredible ability to love and to sense the emotions of others. I am so grateful for this ability, but today I ask you to help me guard my heart. I ask you to grow my wisdom and strength so that I do not turn to the left, nor the right, and that I only keep my heart and intentions on you, and not on the thoughts and opinions of people. 

Help me to focus on spiritual things that are of you, and not of this world. 

In Jesus' Name,

Amen

Pray for strength. Pray for wisdom. Pray for discernment. Remember that prayer is comprised of 4 parts  — seek, knock, believe, and you will find. 

Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussions about coaching, aromatherapy, and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.

The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice, or other institution.

Personality Traits (Introverts, Codependents, Etc.) · Surviving Narcissism

Codependency | Codependent in a Narcissistic Relationship

helping hands (codependent in a narcissistic relationship)

In this blog we are focusing on codependency, or a codependent in a narcissist relationship, but not so much codependent relationships. We will talk about that in a future blog.

What is Codependency (Codependent)?

The definition of codependency (via Oxford Languages): Excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one who requires support on account of an illness or addiction.

In my experience, this ‘illness or addiction’ that a codependent may support in others, includes the bolstering of narcissistic behaviors.

Codependency in a relationship often affects a person’s innate ability to have a healthy relationship. These relationships can look good from the outside looking in, while the codependent typically silently struggles to maintain the relationship that is one-sided (i.e., with a narcissist), manipulative, and frequently is emotionally toxic and/or abusive.

If you are codependent you may feel as if you must keep others happy, and this comes at a price, a risk, and most often a sacrifice to your own needs and peace in life.

Codependents Lack Healthy Boundaries

If you are codependent, you may lack healthy boundaries.

You may fail to recognize that you are not responsible for the happiness of others in your life.

If you are codependent you may have poor self-esteem, and this may lead you to feel that your sole purpose is to please others. Your self-esteem dips if or when you cannot help others. This typically happens when the codependent is rejected (i.e., someone refuses their help), or when the codependent cannot help a person or a situation for whatever reason (life happens). To a codependent, the inability to step in and fix or help is like cutting off a vital air supply.

Codependent Caretaker Role

If you are codependent, your lack of self-esteem may lead you to feel miserable when someone you care for is not happy. This typically initiates feelings of guilt, or a sense of personal responsibility, and it can stir up an overwhelming desire for you to caretake.

Codependency and caretaking is a mentally and emotionally unhealthy mix.

In a narcissistic relationship, codependents feed the narcissist’s need for attention, admiration, and control. The codependent loses out in life as their needs are buried and ignored in this relationship…a relationship that does not contain a healthy and loving dose of give and take. In a codependent/narcissistic relationship, one constantly battles and seeks being fed from the other.

Do you know someone that you resist sharing your life challenges with? You avoid because you do not want them (the codependent) to jump in with unsolicited advice, or to get in their car and be on your doorstep immediately? Or to research your problem (online) and come up with various diagnoses, or multiple ways to ‘fix’ you? It is as if this codependent person doesn’t believe you have a mind of your own. As an adult, you more than likely want to take care of yourself, but as a human, you are social, and you want to share how you feel, however, you avoid sharing your problems with someone with codependent traits.

Unhealthy Emotional Responses

A codependent’s emotional response to everyday situations is often more intense compared to others. This typically results in feelings of hurt, rejection, and defensiveness. This is exasperated as others push away from the codependent in the light that they are ‘not dependent upon his/her help.’

Codependents lose touch with their own wants and needs as they maintain a focus to please others. This is not the normal ‘I have your back, my friend,’ retainage of a relationship, instead, the codependent’s mental well-being takes last place in life with no healthy boundaries.

Woven into a codependent’s lack of healthy boundaries (i.e., ‘I must take care of others, or I do not exist) is a craving for closeness with others, as well as an interesting holding back and hiding of their own emotions and feelings to avoid rejection and conflict, which leaves major holes in the building of healthy relationships.

Dependency vs Codependency

As humans, we all need each other. We are social beings. This is a shared need. We need people, a support system who listens and is here for us.

We are all mentally ‘dependent,’ to a degree. Some of us are introverts (needing a lesser amount of interaction), and some are extroverts (needing a greater amount of interaction), but our mental health is boosted by human involvement despite our personality traits.

Self-worth for a codependent is often dependent upon hearing about other’s needs, which can (consciously or not) deliver a boost to the codependent’s ego, or their sense of mental well-being, as the empty spot (needing to help others) is filled.

Fear of abandonment frequently plays into mental dependency. This particular fear often stems from traumatic childhood events like divorce, death, and abuse. (If this describes you, please seek professional mental health care. There is nothing wrong with seeking help. There is NO shame in taking care of YOU!)

Do you know the difference between dependent and codependent? I love this description (from MedicalNewsToday) – Dependent: Both people can express their emotions and needs and find ways to make the relationship beneficial for both of them. Codependent: One person feels that their desires and needs are unimportant and will not express them. They may have difficulty recognizing their own feelings or needs at all.

A dependent can be one or both partners in a relationship, and both partners can express their emotions and needs. A codependent is one person in a relationship who will not express their emotions and needs, and may not recognize that they have their own feelings or needs at all.

Help for a Codependent

How do you help yourself with traits of codependency?

You can seek counseling or therapy. Bear with me as I repeat myself, there is nothing wrong with seeking help. There is NO shame in taking care of YOU! Know that coaches have wonderful listening ears, and we are trained an experienced at helping you get from point A to point B, but if that involves helping you fix something therapeutically from your past, we stick with our code of ethics and send you to someone licensed to provide treatment.

Beyond counseling or therapy, what can you do for your codependency traits?

Openly talk with others in your support system. Your support system should be people that you can trust. People that listen without judging. People that unconditionally care for you and will be honest with you. People that do not release your confidential personal business.

The biggest gain you will receive through talking with others is that you release your emotions and your needs, desires, and wants. You are not burying your emotions and needs as you might (often do) when you only tend to the needs of others. You take care of yourself when you do this!

Develop a mindset of awareness. Know when you are putting the needs of others in front of your own emotions and needs. Develop an awareness of when you are neglecting your own mental and physical health.

Set boundaries. Set healthy boundaries that will ensure you avoid pleasing others when you are at the point of ignoring and sacrificing yourself.

Set boundaries that ensure you are aware of when you are over-responding emotionally (feeling hurt, rejected, or defensive). Note, you have to develop an awareness of these things before you can set boundaries.

The boundaries sound like this: I can do what I can do for her/him, but if I cannot help, I will not feel (hurt, rejected, defensive), because I know that I do the best that I can do in life! I am worthy of taking care of myself!

Your boundaries (to avoid codependency trails) look like an internal alarm system. When the door opens (I feel hurt, I feel compelled to help, or compelled to run and ‘fix’ someone else’s situation), the internal alarm goes off. The boundary involves shutting the door when your need to help others is greater than taking care of yourself. When the door shuts, you are left to take care of your mental and physical health (and that is more than OKAY).

Take Care of You

Love yourself. Sometimes we experience abuse or toxic relationships, and we don’t understand what is mentally happening to us until much later. So, give yourself grace, patience, and again, love yourself.

One last, but most important thing — abuse is never right, and abuse is never okay.

I would love for you to share your story in the comments. The more we share, the more we can help others. Have you had experiences in life a codependent, or have you personally dealt with traits of codependency? What steps did you take to heal?

Action Step: Prayer Time for Women:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Heavenly Father, 

Please forgive the sinful times I have put others before you. I have been weak in taking care of myself. This vessel and mind that you have given me in life have been neglected. I seek increased wisdom so that I will know when to help others, and when to simply love through listening. I realize my entry into heaven is not dependent upon my 'good works,' but it is dependent upon my faith, my belief and acceptance of you, as well as my sheer obedience. Help me to strengthen as a saint...to be obedient to you, and not to the worldly ways of man. 

In Jesus' Name, 

Amen

Pray for healing. Pray for help. Pray for forgiveness of sins. Pray for wisdom. Remember, prayer seek, knock, believe, and you will find. 

Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussions about coaching, aromatherapy, and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.

The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice, or other institution.

Surviving Narcissism

You Want to Explain Yourself (In Your Defense) to a Narcissist?

www.maryhumphreycoaching.com dealing with a narcisssist

Life with an emotionally abusive partner, or a narcissist, is more than difficult to manage. It can sap our energy, and it can be unbelievably frustrating when we try to ‘right’ the heavy situations when our partner either makes his/her side of the story up, or they accuse us of saying or doing something that they have fabricated.

The scenario often looks like this: The narcissist in your life accused you of something you KNOW you did not say or do. You want to defend yourself because 1) the accusation is false, 2) you aren’t crazy, 3) you are not the person the narcissist made you out to be, 3) you feel as if you have been locked into a prison cell with ‘guilty as charged’ stamped on your forehead. The judge and the jury (the narcissist), however, did not give you a fair trial in which you were able to prove your innocence. You have been signed, stamped, and delivered (locked up, and the key has been thrown away). What do you do now?

You want to explain yourself in your own defense (to the narcissist)? I ended my sentence purposely with a question mark. You may want to explain yourself until your innocence is proven, but is that feasible? Typically, not when you are dealing with a narcissist.

Explaining yourself to a narcissist in an attempt to defend your own innocence is usually a futile endeavor. Why is it ineffectual? Because narcissists:

  1. are wired to be on the defense
  2. are grandiose in their view of self
  3. see no wrong in their behaviors
  4. do not listen
  5. are determined to make themselves look right
  6. make you out to be the abuser
  7. project blame onto you
  8. manipulate, gaslight, and drum up anxiety and doubt in you (i.e., dismantle your self-confidence and self-esteem)
  9. intend to be the ‘top dog,’ getting want they want in life, and typically because they feel that they deserve it

Narcissists are invested in their own lies and manipulative and deceptive practices. The profit that they intend to glean from their investment is complete control of you (their victim). 

I understand the feeling of whole-heartedly wanting to prove your innocence, or to ensure the story that the narcissist conveys to others does not falsely drag you down into the dirt, so how do you stop the narcissist? How do you defend yourself? You don’t, but you can try several methods (boundary setting and going gray rock) that involve changing yourself to protect your mental well-being.

Boundary Setting

Boundaries include both mental and physical barriers and dividing lines.

Create a mental boundary that involves awareness. You are aware that the narcissist is trying to manipulate you, and you are fully aware that you cannot change their behavior.

What the narcissist does not realize is that you are aware of their emotional abuse, and in setting this mental boundary, they cannot touch your sanity, your self-esteem, nor your personal beliefs. You own who you are, how you think, your core values, and how you operate your life accordingly. You are calm. You respond ‘to the point,’ but always in a calm manner. You make no attempt to prove your story or innocence.

Is this easy to do? No, it takes practice. It is like weight lifting. You cannot hold a heavy object up in the air for long periods of time until you have built up the muscles to do so. With a narcissist, you must build your mental muscles up in order to cope.

Create a ‘civil treatment’ boundary that may help to deter verbal abuse. It sounds like this…with calm and to-the-point conviction, “When you are ready to discuss this in a civil and reasonable manner, we can return to talking about this.”

Leave out any acknowledgment of the narcissist’s jabbing words or manipulative attempts. Your attempt is to ignore all of that. You are the calm one in this scenario, and you are taking care of yourself!

Some narcissists rely on passive-aggressive behaviors to deal with their own insecurities, and for the same reason, they are critical and suspicious of others. You can face this type of behavior with calm, and set your own pace in life (having the friends and family that YOU deserve and want), and you can remain mentally collected as you do so.

Calm Conversation From the Battleground

Here is an example of a narcissist that frequently criticizes others, procrastinates in an attempt to keep his wife away from her family, and often utters criticism towards his wife’s family, friends, and people in general. His attempt(s) did not work in this example, and my client illustrated herself as calm, cool, collected, and to the point.

Amber’s sister invited her and her husband, Tom, to a Christmas gathering.

After several weeks had passed, Amber decided to no longer quietly wait for Tom’s response to the invitation. She calmly got straight to the point and asked Tom, “Christmas is coming up. Are we going to my sister’s house?” (Amber had mentally prepared so *she didn’t feel as if she were walking on eggshells as she approached Tom.* She was aware that Tom might react in a negative manner regardless of how she approached the subject.)

Tom sneered, “You know how your sister thinks her **** does not stink. I guess you prefer her and her family over me. You want to be just like the Joneses.” (Notice, Tom’s criticism and words that denote his lack of confidence. His words felt like a sting from a whip momentarily to Amber, but Amber turned it around and processed his words as a deep insecurity.)

Amber ignored the cutting words. She did not jab back. “I need to respond to my sister with a yes or a no. Are you going with me?” (That changed the tide. She was going to the family gathering, and this was her way to practice self-care, and to support her family despite her husband’s biting words. Tom could now make the choice to go, or not to go, but it was not his place to stop Amber from going.)

Gray Rock

Gray rock is a behavior strategy you can use to appear unresponsive and uninteresting to the narcissist. When you gray rock, you do not feed into the narcissist’s twisted needs. You go neutral. You do not show any feelings (no hurt reaction, no trying to defend yourself, no facial expressions that reflect sadness, anger, or frustration)…nothing.

Respond to the narcissist’s prods with a shrug, utter a “meh,” or a short non-committed response, such as “yes,” “no,” or, “I don’t know.”

Note, the narcissist may use your gray rock attempts against you. I use the word ‘may’ loosely, because, in my experience, they will use it against you. They typically will throw you under the bus as they feel they have lost control. They fight back with accusations that you are cold and non-supportive, just to validate that you are the problem and that they are innocent.

When a narcissist no longer feels they have to defend themselves from you (when you step back and let them live with their own behavior and thoughts), they are left to deal with their own feelings. Some narcissists will go into a rage. Some will look for other love interests. Some will start a smear campaign. Be prepared, flex your awareness muscles, and be safe!

Gray rock is used for several purposes, one is that you remain calm and that you do not feed into the narcissist’s fire, but gray rock is also a strategy with the objective being that the narcissist loses interest in you, and eventually, you are off the ’emotional abuse’ hook.

Take Care of You

Sadly, you may have wanted your relationship to look different than it does (or did) with a narcissist. I understand. We all understand.

Just remember, you have to take care of yourself. You own who you are, and nobody can steal that away from you.

Abuse is never right, and abuse is never okay.

Believe & Invest In You · Goal Setting and Prioritizing · Life's Challenges & Choices · Women in Transition

Have Patience

Have patience. When it feels like it is taking forever for your goals and passions to take on a semblance of motion, it may feel like it is ‘all wrong’. Do not quit. It may not be the ‘right time’, and when the time is right, you will know it. You will then receive all of the tools that you need to move forward. #godsplans #holyspiritled #patience

Surviving Narcissism

Elements of Healing (From Narcissistic Abuse) Part 2

www.maryhumphreycoaching.com elements of healing from narcissismHealing from narcissistic abuse is a process, and it looks different for everyone because every relationship is unique, and the same goes for emotionally abusive relationships.

You may be wondering where am I with my healing?

It is impossible to determine the number of steps or elements involved with healing from emotionally abusive relationships, but I am covering 8 main components. I discussed the first 3 of these pieces in Elements of Healing (From Narcissistic Abuse) Part 1 (here).

4. Reclaim Identity

You may not be the same person you were prior to entering a relationship with a narcissist, and then, you may not want to be that same person.

When you reclaim your identity you know who you are. You know your beliefs, core values, and which direction you want and need your life to take to maintain your mental well-being. You also know how you want, and should, be treated in a relationship.

You may not want to be the same person you were prior to the emotionally draining relationship because you are now stronger, more aware of what a narcissist looks like (their tactics and behavior), and you know what you might have lacked when you locked elbows with the narcissist. As you reclaim your identity, you are either working on regaining what you (then) missed, or you solidly have it under your belt today.

5. Self-Compassion and Celebrate You

As you heal, you have compassion for yourself. You no longer blame yourself for the narcissist’s behavior. You no longer believe that if you do the right thing, or say the right thing your relationship will upright itself and the narcissist will get better. You stop laying a guilt trip on yourself for getting into the relationship.

You learn to celebrate yourself.

You do even the smallest of things for yourself. You get out and do what you love. Sometimes, when we are in the healing process, it is accompanied by financial difficulties. Go out and spend little. Go to a bargain movie, the library, a thrift store, or, buy yourself something within a small budget. Start a journal (so very therapeutic)! The point is, celebrate YOU, celebrate your accomplishments…celebrate your life!

(Celebrate Your Accomplishments. Read more here.)

(Does therapy help a person diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Read more here.)

6. Feelings May Stick Around

Know that the feelings and emotions that you have—hurt, pain, frustration, confusion, grief, shock, etc., may stick with you for a while.

Think of it as what it is, a grieving process. You have lost yourself to a relationship that you thought was ideal. You have lost the relationship with the partner that you thought was the love of your life.

When we grieve, it takes time to heal. Today, we may feel the hand of healing upon us, and then tomorrow something may trigger us to feel emotions that we thought were buried and long gone. Allow yourself to feel what you feel at the moment.

Allow yourself to acknowledge the where and the why of your feelings, but, I want you to pat yourself on the back at the same time. You are in the healing process and what you feel today is not permanent. You own your good feelings, and you own your uncomfortable feelings (they come and they go).

7. Seeking New Love Relationships

While you are healing, one of the last things that you should do is seek a new love relationship.

Give yourself time to heal. Give yourself time to recognize the milestones that you have reached in your healing. Give yourself time to understand who you are. You do not want to take the hurt, pain, or doubts, with you into a new relationship.

You may feel starved for love after any period of time with a narcissist, but love comes in many forms. The best form for you until you have healed is a friendship and not a romance.

When you give yourself time to heal, you will learn to expect what you need in life. You will expect respect in a mutually give and take relationship. You will know what is healthy for you.

8. Your Support System

You may have been in a narcissistic relationship, or in one, where you were led into isolation and for a time, you didn’t recognize it. It may have separated you from any sort of support system, leaving you to feel alone, as if you were on an island with your enormous struggles.

Especially when you are in the healing process, and this is always a human ‘need’ in life, ensure you have a support system that is made up of at least several people that you can trust and rely on.

Your support system can be friends, loved ones, or professionals that have your back. They listen with a non-judging ear. Your well-being is a priority to the people in your support system, and you are confident in your trust in them.

With a support system, you should find an honest mirroring back to you when you either thrive or slide back.

9. Speak as a Survivor

What you verbalize in life speaks volumes of how you view yourself. Are you a victim? Remember, you own who you are internally, and nobody can claim your thoughts, actions, beliefs, or core values. Are you a survivor? You may be a survivor. I hope you are! But, are you a thriver? Do you emanate a strong person that has the ability to, and/or, made your way beyond the hurdles of narcissistic abuse?

My own story (about being a victim): I was in a session with my life coach. I mentioned how angry and downgraded my boss led me to feel. He made me feel belittled, frustrated, and hurt. My life coach didn’t go easy on me, she let me know that I had adopted a victim mentality.

Victim mentality is defined by Merriam-Webster as the belief that one is always a victimthe idea that bad things will always happen to one.

I compared this definition to my (what felt like abusive) boss and how I related to his behavior. I then asked myself some questions, and these are the questions that you can ask yourself (in relation to how you feel about the emotional abuse that you have/are experiencing):

  • Am I always a victim?
  • Will bad things always happen to me?
  • Am I allowing his/her thoughts to victimize me, or am I setting mental boundaries and not claiming his/her thoughts/ideas/abusive words as the truth?
  • Am I living my life (mentally and physically) based on my own beliefs, thoughts, and core values? Or, am I mirroring a victim mentality?

My wake-up call/answer: I am NOT a victim! I have this!

Summing the Healing Process Up

The healing process is like a three-part book.

  • Part 1, the first section, you will not either understand or know what you need to heal from.
  • Part 2, page by page, your needs, wants, and well-being, as well as how to heal, arrives (gradually) from each page that you turn.
  • Part 3, you recognize your healing milestones. You recognize that you have closed one door and you have opened another. You recognize that you are breathing (an image of) fresh, clean, non-abusive air. You now feel free to enjoy your life. You trust yourself with renewed compassion. You stand on solid ground.

I hope you enjoyed this two-part series. We would love for you to share your own healing experience(s) in the comment section below.

Surviving Narcissism

Elements of Healing (From Narcissistic Abuse) Part 1

elements of healing from narcissistic abuse www.maryhumphreycoaching.comHealing from narcissistic abuse is a process, and it looks different for everyone because every relationship is unique, and the same goes for emotionally abusive relationships.

You may be wondering where am I with my healing?

It is impossible to determine the number of steps or elements involved with healing from emotionally abusive relationships, it may be limitless, but in this blog, I have identified 8 main components.

1. Acknowledgement and Acceptance

To acknowledge abuse, you give it a name. You call it what it is. It is not “it might be abuse.” It is not “abuse, but he/she is good to me.” It is not “Abuse, but he/she does not mean it.” It is abuse, emotional abuse. Period.

Acceptance mirrors acknowledgment. You do not make excuses for the narcissist. You do not deny that you have been abused. You accept, and you do not fight the fact that you have been abused. Abuse is never okay.

2. Set Boundaries

Boundary setting is also limitless, but when healing from narcissistic abuse, there are three main constituents important to the process.

Physical boundary. You go no contact. You put physical distance between you and the narcissist. You change your phone number. You change your social media profiles or accounts. Or, you may block the narcissist from finding you, calling you, or commenting on your social media accounts and online platforms.

Not everyone must take measures to go no contact (some narcissists will walk away without any further contact).

You may not be able to go no contact. You may be a parent with under-age children. You may share custody of your children with a narcissist. It is impossible to manage joint custody of younger children without some form of communication.

Conversational boundary. This boundary includes communicating with the narcissist, but this can be a tool to keep abusive behavior out of it. This involves making a statement to the narcissist, such as, “When you can talk in a calm and non-abusive manner, we can have a conversation about this.” Then, stick to it.

Mental boundary. There isn’t a soul on this earth that can change how you feel/think/believe. You know your own core values. You guide your life based on your beliefs and values. When/if you are being emotionally abused (and I hope never), or perhaps when something has triggered a memory of emotional abuse, let your mind go to the truth of who you are. You are not who or what the abuser says you are (see Gaslighting Narcissistic Manipulation). You are also not your thoughts. You are your beliefs and values…this is your TRUTH. You own this, and nobody can touch it!

It can be challenging to mentally put yourself in your place of truth, especially when you are in the midst of turmoil with a narcissist. It will become a habit once you practice it a number of times. It can be difficult to remain calm and to maintain a stoic facial expression, but the less emotion you display, the less you will tangle with the narcissist. The worst thing you can do is to fight back with your own defensive words. When you are defensive, it feeds the narcissistic. It validates, in the narcissist’s mind, that you are the problem and that their behavior/words/abuse is okay. Remember this, you will continue to heal as you practice this mental boundary. There will be a day in your life when you obtain and recognize healing milestones!

3. Myriad of Emotions

When healing from narcissistic emotional abuse, you feel a myriad of “normal” emotions.

Confusion sets in early in the healing process, and typically it occurs before a victim understands what they are dealing with (narcissism). Confusion sounds like, “What is going on with my relationship?”, “Why is he/she so mean and uncaring?”, “Is he/she mentally sick or unstable?”, “How did my relationship go from being a perfect love match (i.e. love bombing) to what it is today?”, “What is this? I do not understand what is going on!”

Once you work your way through the muck of confusion, the wheels of healing begin to move.

Grief (sadness, depression) is an early part of the healing process. Even though some levels of depression can be dangerous (please seek professional help if you are thinking of harming yourself, or if depression stops you from functioning in your day-to-day life), know that sporadic and brief periods of grief and sadness are normal to the healing process.

Grief comes and it goes. When it comes early in the process, it hurts because it is a loss, and it hurts ‘big.’

A client shared her story of healing and grief: She was out with her husband (a narcissist) at a shopping mall. She knew that her marriage was deeply troubled (mental abuse and adultery that the narcissist felt no shame for). The reality that her marriage might be unfixable had begun to hit her. She was walking along in the mall, in the middle of a non-stressful conversation with her husband, when a round of grief took her by surprise. She dashed into a store where she saw shelving that she could hide behind and she cried…she bent over in sheer emotional pain. When she was able to gather herself together, she returned to where the narcissist was waiting. His words were, “What is wrong with you? People are going to think you are an idiot.” Did she feel a sting from that comment? Yes, but it also validated that even though he knew that she was grieving, and why, he still chastised her for her behavior. This became one of many turning points for her to do something to regain control of her life. Devastation eventually transformed into a sense of surety.

Shock appears early in the healing process, and this where acknowledgment and acceptance are important. Shock diminishes once the abuse is called what it is. A victim may feel a sense of shock before they feel confusion, but just as often, the sense of shock, to a lesser degree, can return throughout the many stages of healing.

(As a life coach, this is my main goal, to educate others so that they recognize what they are dealing with—narcissistic emotional abuse. A person doesn’t know what they don’t know!)

Shock can take on different looks, depending upon circumstances. In the very beginning, when the victim starts to recognize the narcissist’s behavior, it can sound like this, “I am shocked. He/she acts like they do not care about my feelings. What happened?!” Later in the healing process, the victim might feel momentary shock, “How did I spend 20 years of my life with this person?”, and then the healing continues on from there.

Anger is healthy when it doesn’t get in the way of our healing. With healing, anger must be turned into forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean that we believe the abuse is okay. Forgiveness means that we have released feelings of vengeance, hate, and hurt towards a person that we feel has harmed us. If we harbor these feelings it becomes toxic. We create anxiety and pain within ourselves, and this can lead to mental and physical unwellness.

Fear is healthy as long as it is a momentary feeling. Fear is a mechanism that can keep us from physical harm. Fear alerts us that something is wrong, that we are facing ‘real’ danger! Fear is not healthy when prolonged.

You may trust the narcissist, but you may find yourself suddenly fearing them or their behavior. This is a healthy ‘warning signal’ of proposed danger. Fear speaks to us, it tells us to take action to ensure our safety.

Anxiety is never healthy. It can lead to mental and physical health problems when prolonged. Anxiety is similar to fear, except anxiety can become chronic. Anxiety is often a manifestation of perceived fear, or fear of a poorly defined threat.

Anxiety might keep a victim awake at night. Anxiety might become a barrier in the healing process. An example of how our fear-related anxious thoughts can become a barrier to healing, “I just might not ever get out of this situation with (the narcissist), what if they turn the tables on me?” These words speak of fear, doubt, and anxiety.

Paranoia is common, especially for victims that have been involved with a covert narcissist.

Covert narcissists lack self-esteem, which makes it difficult for victims to live their lives. The covert narcissist often believes that people have hidden agendas. This can manifest into stalking the victim, and it can lead to the victim developing paranoia for some time to come. The victim may continue to feel the narcissist is watching their every step, even though it might no longer ring true. Paranoia, especially when it includes distrust, can eventually dissolve as the victim heals.

(Fear, anxiety, and paranoia are OKAY for temporary periods of time. Seek professional help if you chronically experience either/or, and if it interferes with normal functioning in your daily life.)

Shame is one of the more painful aspects of healing from emotional abuse.

Shame can prevent you from opening up to others about the abuse.

Shame can prevent victims from leaving the abuser, or from acknowledging that they are a victim of abuse.

Shame keeps people in abusive relationships for years, sometimes lifetimes. Shame can lead the victim to feel that they somehow deserve the abuse, or that if they were ‘better’ the abuse would not happen.

Always remember this: You cannot change or heal the narcissist by being better…by saying the right thing, or by doing the right thing. Clinical therapeutic treatment typically does not help a person diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, NPD (read more here). You did not cause narcissism in the abuser. Do not validate the narcissist’s behavior through your sense of shame!

I will discuss co-dependency and enabling the narcissist in future blog posts. Both of these personality types (victims) fail to recognize that abuse is wrong, and that abuse is never deserved, and each can type can blame themselves for the abuse.

Continued reading, part 2 of this blog series will be published soon. In part 2, I discuss reclaiming identity, self-compassion, celebrating you, length of healing (it may take time, and give yourself time), talk with people in your support system, and speak as a survivor, scratch that, a thriver, and NOT a victim.

Surviving Narcissism

Self-Absorbed People Are Not Necessarily Narcissists

www.maryhumphreycoaching.com self-absorbed people

Self-absorbed people typically have similar markers to those of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), however, people who are ‘ate up with themselves’ are not necessarily narcissists. Each of these parallel personality traits has the potential to pull you down mentally and damage your self-esteem, however, narcissists typically thrive through a string of manipulative tactics—emotionally abusive tactics that someone who is simply self-centered may not be ingrained with.

Self-centered people are rooted in seeing life through their own eyes and they often fail or don’t want to make the effort to see life through your eyes. Their actions are often filled with defensive dominance.

What are the top characteristics of a self-absorbed person?

On the defensive (insecure and vulnerable) – They do not accept that they have flaws. They compare themselves to others and typically find ways to hold themselves to a level above. They fiercely fight for their own identity (we all should protect our own identity with a humble attitude), even if they are flawed or have made mistakes. When they make mistakes, they uphold themselves with gusto to preserve their image and claim innocence. They protect their point of view and often do not stop to consider yours. It feels frightening to the overt self-centered person to open up and be vulnerable, even when you genuinely want to help, for their fear is that you will see their weaknesses and shortcomings.

Dominate relationships – They love using the words “should” or “must.” Telling others what they should or must do is done in an attempt to place themselves in a seat of authority. They verbalize commands of correction to get what they want.

Opinionated – They can talk incessantly about other people. They are over-consumed with their own self-image, point of view, preferences, and desires, which leads them to perpetually talk about their opinions, and to lack consideration for the opinions of others.

Lack of empathy – They do not want to understand the opinion of others and they are not sensitive to what others experience or feel. They refuse to consider what it feels like to be in another’s shoes.

Devalue others – Rather than having a healthy criticism of others, they use it as a tool to devalue others. They believe they are superior to others. People with this trait take more than they give, and when they don’t get what they want, they take on an attitude of contempt.

Set many rules – Self-absorbed people often set high expectations of people close to them. This leads them to judge, issue corrections, and set rules. “I expect my wife/husband to (act like this, raise our children like this, or dress like this, etc.)”

Interruptions (verbal and otherwise) – The best communication skill is to listen. Self-absorbed people feel driven to interject their own opinions and they habitually do not let people finish sentences. Self-centered people love the sound of their own voice and will talk over others in an effort to get their point across.

Self-centered people have a tendency to barge into your space, with little to no regard for your time or availability. As they propel into your space, they may say, “I know you are very busy, but …” These words are often not heart-felt, and are typically a ploy to continue interrupting.

Expect you to be available – In addition to interrupting you, self-absorbed people may feel put-off or angry if you’re not available for a talk, call, or visit. They often feel like you have an agenda that isn’t about them, “They didn’t answer my call. I know they are there. They are avoiding me.”

Two Key Differences Between Self-Absorbed Person and a Narcissist

Empathy – Most self-centered people feel and can show empathy, to a lesser degree (as compared to a non-self-centered person), however, they are good at turning it off and on. When they are looking inwards and refusing to look outwards (i.e., they are in a mood, or are arguing a point), they go blind to the feelings and thoughts of others. The most common identifier of a narcissist, however, is a complete lack of empathy.

Emotional abuse – Self-absorbed people may try to manipulate others, yet, this is not ingrained in their nature as it is with a narcissist. A self-centered person may say things that resemble gaslighting, such as, “You are so wrong…I am not even sure where you got that from,” or, “How can you believe that? Are you okay?” The self-absorbed person’s intention is not to gain control of your mind, nor to make you feel you have lost yours. Instead, their mindset is rooted in proving that they are right.

How to Deal with a Self-Absorbed Person

We all want to retain a state of calm, especially when we are dealing with a toxic self-absorbed person. One of the best ways to buffer stress is through mental and physical boundary setting.

In The Moment Boundary: How do you want to feel mentally and physically? Pay attention to your breathing, your heart rate, and your thoughts at the moment. Despite any negative emotional wrangling that you may be encountering, develop a mindset that helps you remain in a calm and peaceful place. Are you breathing normally? Slow your breathing down. Practice deep breathing. Deep breathing not only helps your body and mind live in a state of calm, but it also lowers your heart rate and blood pressure.

There is one major thing that a self-centered person cannot do to you, and that is to get inside of your head and change your thoughts. You have this.

Mental boundaries include refusing to argue. Mental boundaries can lead to physical boundaries, (i.e., exiting to another room, or leaving the premises entirely). When you leave the premises, or even when you remain in the same space, say, “When you are calmer, we can talk,” or, “When the time is more appropriate, we can talk.”

Your preferences and mental self-preservation are your boundaries, and you must stick with them. Be clear with your preferences. You cannot give someone your full attention when you are not in a space conducive to doing so. You cannot communicate in a productive manner with a person who is in an unwilling empathy-lacking mental state.

Our lives are unique, so our boundaries are limitless!

I hope this blog helped you identify with self-absorbed people. We will talk in-depth about boundaries in an upcoming blog or vlog.

Be sure to share your thoughts and experiences that you’ve had with self-absorbed people in the comments below…the more we share, the more we help others!

Surviving Narcissism

Why Victims Stay in Narcissistic Relationships

www.maryhumphreycoaching.com victims stay in toxic relationships

As an advocate for victims who are in or have been in narcissistic relationships, I all too often see blame placed on the victim for either not leaving the relationship, or for not breaking it off sooner.

If you have never been in an abusive relationship, you may wonder, “Why don’t they just leave?”

Why Victims of Narcissism Stick It Out

The list of reasons why people stay in toxic relationships is lengthy and endless. Every abusive relationship holds a unique story of its own.

Here are the common reasons people remain in narcissistic relationships (in no order of importance):

Lacks an Understanding of Narcissism – More often than not, people get involved with narcissists before they identify what they are dealing with. People that do not understand, or have never heard of narcissism (and yes, this is still common today), frequently get deep into relationships (i.e, marriage and children) before they put two and two together and realize that they are in a whirlpool of emotional abuse.

When victims do not understand narcissism, they can fall into the trap of believing that if they say or do the right thing, the abuser will change. Victims can fall prey to trauma bonding, meaning, they become hooked on the back and forth (good times in the relationship, love bombing, combined with emotionally abusive times). Years upon years, lifetimes, can be entangled in a narcissist’s web—sadly, while the victim remains in place and staunchly believies that the relationship is foundationally good and that someday the abuse will go away.

Note: True narcissists, those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), either refuse to change (refuse to accept that their behavior is not appropriate and/or shifts the blame to others), and treatment typically does not help.

Protect the Children – Divorce rates are at an all-time high, yet, victims in toxic relationships commonly keep the marriage intact because they do not want their still-at-home children to experience divorce.

It is not uncommon for a parent victim to fear losing custody of their children, especially when the spouse, or extended family, are strongly rooted in narcissism. This is like a two-prong fork, staying hurts the victim (and can emotionally scar the children) in the relationship, leading the victim parent to weigh out, “Is it bad enough for me to simply leave, and hope that I can remove my children from this pain?” Or, “Do my children seem happy and safe? If I stay, my children will not suffer from the effects of a broken home. Which is worse? Which is better?”

Fear – Fear of the unknown may keep a person deeply rooted in an unhealthy relationship.

Fear frequently sounds like: Where will I live? Will I lose my children? He/she has threatened me so many times, how will he/she react if I leave? After all these years, how can I make it in the world alone?

Shame – Victims often feel ashamed that they are involved in a difficult relationship.

Part of this sense of shame can come from Gaslighting, which is the narcissist’s manipulative attempts to take control of the victim. It can also feel embarrassing to a victim to admit that they are being abused. They may also worry that their support system (family and friends) will judge them.

Love – Narcissists are super good at love-bombing. This often happens early in the relationship, leading a partner to feel they have found Mr. or Mrs. Right, falling ‘madly in love’, and unaware that they are being manipulated and groomed by the narcissist.

In truth, narcissists often lack self-esteem and the response that they receive from their partner due to their love-bombing gives them reassurance and feeds their self-enhancement supply needs. The victim, however, can simply feel immense love, and later in the relationship, even if emotional abuse sets in, they long for the partner they “once knew.”

Financial Control – Finances in a narcissistic relationship can go in several directions, and can also involve financial abuse (preventing the victim from having the ability to leave).

The victim may be manipulated into being the sole breadwinner, with the narcissist contributing very little and reaping the benefits of a roof over their head and food on their table (i.e., a sense of entitlement). In these situations, the narcissist often feels entitled to a financial stipend, which can be costly for the victim if they feel this is their only way to get out of the relationship.

In other abusive relationships, the narcissist may have complete control of the household finances, from bringing home the paycheck to operating the bank account, to hovering over the victim to ensure they have no way to earn an income. This leaves the victim in a pickle (feeling unable to leave with no financial means). If this is your situation, know that you are not alone. Call emergency services if you are in danger of physical abuse. Otherwise, seek help through a shelter or advocacy organization. Advocacy organizations can walk you through your options.

Low Self-Esteem – Some victims enter narcissistic relationships with low self-esteem, leaving them vulnerable to manipulative abuse. Some victims lose self-esteem after being in a narcissistic relationship for a while. This can happen after months and years of verbal manipulative abuse (see Gaslighting).

Some victims are codependents. They enter toxic relationships knowing nothing better than emotional or physical abuse (raised as children in an abusive or neglectful home). At the root, codependents believe that their needs are not worth being met. Codependents become enablers, as they do nothing to stop the abuse. If this is your situation, please seek help from a therapist or counselor. You deserve much better in life.

Faith – People stick it out in abusive relationships, marriage especially, when they find no backing in their faith that supports their reason to leave or divorce.

Even after the narcissist cheats, the partner may still believe they can turn the relationship around. Manipulative narcissists are commonly chronic cheaters. It can take an enormous length of time for victims to realize that it does not matter how “good” of a partner they are…the narcissist will only blame the victim for their infidelity and they typically refuse to accept responsibility for their behavior.

There is hope. Scripture for the Christian faith, read Matthew 19:9 and Matthew 5:32.

Avoid Blaming or Shaming the Victim

Not only are victims often blamed for the abuse, but they are also shamed, which can add to a victim’s feelings of confusion, bewilderment, and abandonment. The more they are blamed and shamed, the less chance they will stand up for their own rights in life. Truthfully, shaming the victim is abusive in itself. I hope you are not experiencing this in your life!

Instead of blaming or shaming the victim, ask yourself “What can I do?” “How can I help?” You can listen. Check out these two sections Don’t Say These Things to the Victim and What You Can Do to Help in my blog Don’t Blame the Victim (of Narcissistic Abuse).

Practice Compassion

As common as narcissistic abuse is, and it is growing more common as time goes on, people in our world need to develop compassion, and I believe that can only happen through education. Education = an understanding of narcissism and narcissistic relationships.

If you are a victim of narcissistic abuse, I want you to thrive! You deserve nothing less. Have self-compassion and take care of yourself! Remember one key thing…the abuse is not your fault, and abuse is never okay.

Believe & Invest In You · Goal Setting and Prioritizing · Managing Stress

Journaling is a Form of Self-Care

www.maryhumphreycoaching.com journaling self-care

We all need self-care, right?! We are human and we are worth it!

Journaling is a form of self-care. It is holistic and mentally therapeutic.

Amongst the (way too many) positives to mention, journaling can help us control our moods, and to identify both negative and positive thoughts. Journal-keeping can also help us prioritize, work out fears, frustrations, and challenges.

“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” – Mina Murray

Five Types of Journaling

There are no set rules for journal writing. Here are five basic types of journaling:

Personal Journal – Journal as if you are having a conversation with yourself. Period.

Pick up your pen and write about your day, and don’t leave out your thoughts and feelings. Write freely and do not hinder yourself with grammar or spelling perfection. Do not be surprised if you end up with a 6-page entry for one day. It happens…and it is a good thing! Remember, this is self-talk and you will learn MUCH about YOU!

Personal journaling can be a great relationship tool. You may describe how you are irritated at a loved one or confused about a co-worker, for example, and suddenly in the midst of writing, you gain a fresh perspective of the relationship. Writing is a quiet deep-thinking way to sort out what can feel impossible.

A personal journal is also a wonderful meditation tool. As you empty out your random (or otherwise) thoughts onto paper, you may unlock things from your mind as the words flow. Scary? Not so much. Think of the peace and resolve you can experience.

Prayer Journal – Write your journal in prayer to God. Consider writing your entries as praise, followed by prayer for others, and then write your personal concerns and prayer requests. If you are a writer, you may find it easier to write out a prayer than to speak it. It is normal!

Gratitude Journal  – End or start your day with a short gratitude post. What are you grateful for today? Write your items of gratitude out as a list, or as several sentences (or more) a day.

Health Journal – You can record a myriad of things in a health journal. What did you eat? What form and amount of exercise did you complete? What was your trigger food? When did you feel a boost of vitality (or fatigue)? Later, when you are happy with your results (or not) your journal can be a method for determining what worked and what did not.

Entrepreneur Journal – Record your observations after you meet with a client, after your day ends, or whenever your thoughts are rich with fresh ideas. Journaling is a great tool to help you analyze where you are at and where you want to go. Don’t forget to log your next action steps. This works, trust me, it does work.

Powerful Throughout the Day Journaling

Journaling is typically done once a day, but micro-journaling throughout the day adds a powerful punch to the results.

Imagine journaling prayer/gratitude/and celebration (of your accomplishments) into one short paragraph-length entry ‘as it happens,’ in real-time. It only takes a moment to jot the words onto paper, or on a virtual notepad on your phone.

Here is what it looks like (using Jane in this example):

12/9/20 He (God) has helped me to get the content for my new business published. I prayed for days because I did not know how to get this part of the business started, yet, I now realize that I accomplished what I thought was impossible, and I did it in His grace. It flowed out from me! I did all of this today…in just ONE morning!

So, in this example, Jane attributed her accomplishments to God. She noted that God had answered her prayers. She also gave herself a pat on the back for her achievements.

The sheer act of writing our achievements down is powerful, especially for someone that has trouble identifying these areas of celebration and accomplishment…which are important factors in awareness and self-worth!

Take away: Write it down before you forget it, write it down so you have words to celebrate your accomplishments by!

Sometimes, our accomplishments come to us as revelations, meaning, we learn something surprising about ourselves, or all at once we see what is on the horizon and feel empowered to take the next step. These are perfect moments to jot it down (journal throughout the day). It keeps us accountable and true to ourselves!

Journaling is Not Expensive

Even though there are many beautiful journals available in today’s marketplace, journal-keeping does not need to be expensive. Spiral notebooks are great for journaling. Imagine buying notebooks during back-to-school sales (I’ve paid as low as 10 cents a piece for spiral notebooks).

Do you journal?

Do you journal, or do you have plans to start journaling?

My New Year’s intentions are to continue micro-journaling throughout the day. It has grown to be a powerful tool in my life and business. We are busy people, which means we often forget our achievements, our fresh ideas, etc., and journaling is a way to keep it going.