5 Ways To Regain Confidence After A Relationship With A Narcissist
Have we all been there to some degree? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps we are prone to being co-dependent, but the pattern of being with someone slightly narcissistic probably started a long time ago, most likely with a parent or someone you were around as a child. If you had to walk on eggshells, if you had to make sure they were doing well before you could tend to your own needs. If a lot of your life experience was revolving around making sure another person was happy, then you’ve probably been there!
I have been through my own narcissistic relationship, the beginning fun of it, the pure hell of the middle of it, and the ending. Did I say ending? Because they rarely let it end easily and without a fight. Luckily, I am so much more in tune with who I am because of this experience. I know what I want, and what I do not want, and what I will NEVER allow in my life again.
This experience also gave me the chance to rediscover who I am. I had to because I was starting from a place of confusion. It was like a tornado ripped apart who I thought I was, and I was left with debris of my life all around me. How could I put myself back together again? Then the feat of building myself up and creating a new foundation, so I wouldn’t end up back in this type of relationship? It seemed a little overwhelming, but little steps at a time, lead to a more solid foundation, a happier me, a more authentic me; then eventually, a beautiful life and even a caring and thoughtful partner.
Who knew I had to get myself fully together, confident and carefree before an awesome, well-balanced person could match up with me? Moving on for now though, before I could get there, I had to go through the steps of regaining myself. So, now you are out of the turmoil of the relationship, finally having stolen yourself away. Are you ready to get to know and love yourself like never before? Let’s get started!
Forgive yourself for anything and everything in that relationship, forgive yourself for putting yourself in that position. Write down everything you forgive yourself for, fill up a whole page if you want, as much or as little as you see fit, just write it down. Now dispose of this paper, burn it (please in a safe place), give it to the sea (since it’s paper, it should be biodegradable) OR just throw it in the garbage!
Now accept yourself exactly how you are right now, say to yourself, “I am okay with who I am, and it’s okay for me to be here. I still love and accept myself even though I have been through this experience. It’s okay for me to move forward with my life and I know I’ll find my way.” You may not yet believe or resonate with these words, but the more you say them to yourself, the more they will be comforting. So continue to say these words, or positive words of your choosing. You can also try and write words like this down each day to become more familiar with these types of thoughts.
Go do an activity with nice people. That could mean joining a walking group, a meditation group, yoga class, art class, cooking class, really hang out with anyone who is going to be supportive. You want to avoid, for the time being, people, friends or family that bring up things from the relationship you have left that make you feel badly. So, try doing an activity that makes you feel like you are part of something.
My experience being with a narcissist is that they did anything they could to diminish who I was, to remove any confidence I had and also remove all my friends; so, it was challenging to join any groups. But when I did, I found it built me up. The people were kind and supportive and helped me feel like I had something to offer and it built a community of friends. It also gave me a new focus and something to look forward to.
Now, I realized very quickly that I could never let another person treat me the way I was treated ever again, not a chance! So with that in my mind, I realized I had to start respecting myself and loving myself, because the reality is, I would have never gravitated towards that type of relationship if I already loved, respected, and cared for myself first.
I have to be honest here. I thought I already loved and respected myself. But when I look back, I saw that everything I was doing was to make sure someone else was happy, or that I was to their liking. And it sounds horrible now! I didn’t want to take a step out of line and upset anyone, but really all that did was upset me, and gave me a very shaky ground, no sense of self and a scary future. You have to love yourself first, and if that makes someone mad or upset then you know what, they need to go! It is your right a human being to be happy, to enjoy things, to take the nice piece of toast instead of the black one. You get to step to the front of the line; so, stop waiting at the back of the line! This behavior of self-sacrifice does not serve you.
I always thought I was being selfless and humble. No! Every time you say yes to something you don’t want you are saying NO to yourself and betraying your needs. So, to start really loving yourself and get a perspective change, try this activity below to shift your love and respect for yourself. Sit in a comfortable, private place. Take three, slow deep breaths. Take one of your hands and place it over your heart. Then, place your other hand on top of it. Now say out loud “I love you, I love, I love you, I love you, I have always loved you, I am sorry I didn’t know how to love you, but I am starting right now to love and respect you. I love you, I love you, I love you.” Take three more deep breaths and do this as many times as you can over the next 30 days.
Keep a Journal
Try journaling on a regular basis and specifically include what you are thankful for in your writing. Even if it’s the tree outside, anything you can start to be thankful for, will help put you in a good frame of mind. Additionally, find characteristics you admire in others and try and cultivate them within yourself. You can start by writing them as
“I am” statements like, “I am calm, I am loving, I am brave.” Let it spill on the pages. Even get a “thank-you” jar if you want, and you can write down what you are thankful for each day. The reason this is important is it helps train your mind into positive thoughts each day, which will lead to better feelings about yourself.
There are many more steps along the way, but the number one way to make sure you’ll be happy and fulfilled in any relationship is to first have a strong, loving and respectful relationship with yourself. This is the surest way to gain respect from others is to enjoy who YOU are. These tools are some small steps back to yourself, and I hope they helped. Take caution with new relationships and make sure old patterns are not being repeated. Remember you are worth it: worth your time, worth the wait for the right person; and love yourself, no matter what!
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