Are you dealing with the effects of narcissistic abuse? By the end of this article, I will give you some ideas to start using today, right now, that you can use to start feeling just a little bit better.
Now if you’re dealing with a narcissist in your life, whether it’s a covert narcissist, a grandiose narcissist, or a malignant narcissist, or some combination of any of those, then you’re dealing with all kinds of craziness. I’ve been there too, and I know exactly the kinds of things that they do. I’ve represented them. I’ve been on the other side of them with opposing counsel, and I’ve had them as opposing clients. I’ve seen them in all different realms. And so I know the kinds of things that they do, and I know the kinds of things that you’re going through.
So you’re dealing with things like “gaslighting,” where they actually just try to make you think that they’re crazy. And for those of you who don’t know, what gaslighting is is when they say something that is obviously completely counter to what you believe and know to be true. So for example, they’ll say something like, “You agreed that we would do it this way,” or, “We had a conversation about that. And this is what the end of that conversation was, and these are the points that we agreed on.” And you’ll say, “No, we didn’t. We never had that conversation.” I mean, maybe you didn’t even have the conversation at all, or maybe you had a conversation, but it didn’t include that. And then you start questioning your own sanity, and that’s what gaslighting is.
It’s a very, very powerful form of abuse. It comes from an old movie from the ’40s called Gaslight. And in that movie, the husband was actually trying to make the wife think that she was crazy. And so he would blow out these gaslights, and she would say, “Wasn’t that just lit?” And he would say, “No. I have no idea what you’re talking about.” And that’s exactly the kinds of things that narcissists do. All different types of narcissists use gaslighting as one of their little bag of trick things that they do to try to control you and manipulate you. So that’s one of the things they do.
Another thing that they do is manipulate you, and that comes in all different forms. It might be in emails. It could be in person. It could be in texts or whatever. But they’re constantly trying to manipulate you. They also can be condescending. They go through periods of love bombing you and then devaluing you, love bomb, devalue, love bomb, devalue. It’s a very powerful way to keep you coming back to wanting to get those love bombs back again because you keep thinking, “Well, they said that I once was the most amazing person they ever met. Where is that? I know that they thought that at one point.” And so you find yourself craving to get back to where you were before with the love bomb.
They will ignore you. They have a lack of boundaries. You’re supposed to respect their boundaries. They don’t have to respect yours, so passive-aggressive behavior. This is especially true of covert narcissists. I unfortunately have had to deal with not one, but two covert narcissist that were close to me in my world, not husbands, but people close enough that it did a lot of damage, a lot of pain, a lot of trauma. And so I know from whence I speak, and I know how horrible they can be. And absolutely, it’s gut wrenching. They literally drain the life out of you.
Another thing that narcissists do is triangulation. And triangulation is when they try to get what we call flying monkeys on their side. It’s an old reference to the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz, where she had her flying monkeys. And these are people that just are mindless or whatever. They don’t understand what’s going on. They don’t see what’s happening. And so they’re just being used as pawns in the narcissist game. And it’s meant to try to intimidate you so that you think, oh, you better behave because everybody else in your world thinks that this person is amazing, or you better behave because everybody else is going to think you’re the one that’s crazy because they’re getting these people on their side. So that’s what triangulation is, or flying monkeys.
Obviously, lying. All narcissists are pathological liars. Lovely. And intimidation, threats of violence, stalking or actual violence are some of the other things that you might see with narcissists. They tend to be more like the malignant version. But if these all sound familiar and you are ready to feel better, give me an, “I’m ready,” in the comments. I know I was ready when I was dealing with narcissists.
So when you’re dealing with a narcissist and you’re trying to get over one or you’re still dealing with one, it just can be brutal. You end up almost obsessed with how to deal with this person, and I understand that. I’ve had to do it myself. So here are some of the things that worked for me.
So one of the things was pivoting. So really, I very much try to not let these people rent too much free space in my head. So when you start getting down that cycle of really focusing in on, “I can’t believe this person didn’t see all that I gave to them or didn’t see what a good person I was. I gave all this and they still want more,” or “I can’t believe that they would treat me this way after all I did,” because that puts yourself in victim mode.
And if you’re in victim mode, then you can’t be in create mode. You can’t be in confident mode. You can’t be in getting to the rest of your life mode. So as fast as you can, pivot out of that. I mean, deal with them the way you have to deal with them. But then spend whatever time you have to do with that. And then the rest of the time, do not spend any more time on thinking about them. Easier said than done.
So what I would do is I would have a menu of things that I’m going to think about instead, whether it’s writing my book, which was one of the things that I finished while I was dealing with a couple of these narcissists. So I wrote Negotiate Like You Matter, or maybe it was creating a program for me for people like you dealing with narcissists. Or it’s dealing with my law clients or calling a friend or calling one of my kids or talking to my husband or whatever or singing a song that I love. Just anything, anything that you can do to be thinking about something other than giving that person anymore attention or space in your head. So that’s pivoting.
So another thing is meditation, really just meditating, clearing your mind. Even if it’s five minutes a day, it actually starts to change your neuronal patterns. It starts to change your breathing. Sometimes when we’re so stressed, we don’t even realize we’re not even taking oxygen into our body. So just taking a few deep breaths just refreshes the cells in your body and gives them oxygen and gives you more energy. And just picture as you’re breathing, you’re breathing in positive energy. And as you exhale, you are just releasing all that negative energy and that negative tension. So even just set your phone for five minutes a day. It’ll make a huge difference for you.
And then the third thing that you can do is raise the vibrational energy of the people that you spend time with. Don’t spend time with people who bring you down. We all have vibrational energy. It’s measurable. This is a law of physics. This is not a woo woo thing. And if you are with people who are sad or depressed or bringing you down or who aren’t supportive of you … I mean, be with people who want to fan your flames, not douse your fire. And if they want to douse your fire, then find another group of people to be with because those aren’t friends. Even if they’re family, you don’t need to spend as much time with them. You want to be with people who are going to make you feel really good after you’ve spent some time with them.
Next thing is just being active. Another way to get oxygen into your brain and into your cells is … Even if you just take a brisk walk around the block a couple of times a day or go to a yoga class or do something that’s going to make you feel like you can breathe a little bit better. So find a yoga class. Find something to do that will help make you feel more active.
And then the last thing is kind of related to the pivoting, but it’s just keep focusing on what you want and not what you don’t want. So it’s really easy to focus in on, “I don’t want this anymore. I don’t want them to be acting like this anymore. I don’t want them to be in my space. I don’t want them to be harassing me.” Just keep focusing on what you do want. What do you want in your life? You want to feel at peace. You want to feel in flow. You want to be surrounded by people who love you and you love them. Just keep focusing on that. Just keep using that as your mantra. “This is what I want. This is what I want. This is what I want.”
If you are dealing with a narcissist and you want more support in the form of counseling or therapy, I highly recommend Better Help online resources.
Why I like Better Help:
- Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment – it’s so convenient
- You can get help on your own time and at your own pace. You can schedule secure video or phone sessions plus chat and text with your therapist.
- Licensed professional counselors who are specialized in: o Depression
- family conflicts
- Self esteem
- Anything you share is confidential
- If you are not happy with your counselor for any reason you can request a new one at any time. (no additional charge)
- 3000 US Licensed therapists across all 50 states
- Available worldwide
- 4 Communication Modes – Text, Chat, Phone & Video
- Start communicating in under 24 hours
- Available on Desktop, Mobile Web, Android and iOS apps
- Schedule Video & Phone Sessions (generally weekly unless your therapist schedules more)
- Broad expertise in the network which may not be locally available in many areas.
- Financial aid is available for those who qualify
If you are interested in online counseling, Rebecca has a sponsor who can assist. If you feel you are struggling, please seek the help you deserve: https://www.betterhelp.com/RebeccaZung.