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Today I want to tell you about 4 areas of your life where you really want to focus so you can recover from narcissistic abuse.
I call them the 4 pillars of recovery because they provide a solid foundation for rebuilding your sense of self.
These 4 aspects of your sense of self have been badly wounded by narcissistic characters through the cruel words they spoke, the silences they imposed when they didn’t get what they wanted, and their continual acts of betrayal, shaming and undermining.
It’s important to work on these aspects of your self in order to avoid getting sucked into another manipulative character in the future. Manipulators know to hone in on people who display a lack in any of the following areas.
These questions will help you notice in which areas you’re struggling the most so you can focus there.
Do you notice that you have some self-destructive behaviors?
ie: beating yourself up (literally or verbally putting yourself down about how inadequate you are or what a failure you are) or when you’re overindulging in food, substances or finances
Do you notice ways that you self-sabotage your success and happiness?
ie: you tend to give up at the last minute, you talk yourself out of going for your dreams, you don’t even try, you tell yourself that you can’t do it
If you answered yes to either of the above questions, then you need to work on rebuilding your SELF-ESTEEM.
Self-esteem is about self-perception, how you see yourself. It’s also about the effect that you have on the world around you. You can notice your self-esteem when you are taking actions to support yourself and to take control of your mind, body, behaviors in a positive way in order to have a positive effect on yourself and the world around you.
The opposite of self-esteem will show up in self-sabotage and self-destruction.
The practice to rebuild your self-esteem is to get back in the game. You’ve gotta get back up. You’ve got to start trying at life again.
Do you notice that you have a lot of shame, a general sense of unworthiness, like you aren’t enough?
ie: you hear thoughts like “I’m not … enough.”
Are you afraid to speak up about the abuse, about your needs, feelings and rights?
ie: you swallow the story of abuse and don’t share it with others because you’re afraid the abuser will punish you, you have a hard time speaking up for what you need in a relationship or friendship, you don’t stand up for your rights when someone is taking advantage of you
Are you not meeting your basic hygiene and self-care needs?
ie: you’re not bathing and you don’t even have the energy or desire to shower, you don’t make any effort on your appearance when you leave the house, or you let your home become a total disaster while you have no energy to organize and tidy it up
If you answered yes to any of the above 3 questions, then you need to work on rebuilding your SELF-WORTH.
Self-worth is about valuing respecting and knowing your value. It’s you valuing yourself. It’s about respecting yourself, knowing who you are and what you’re worth.
The opposite of self-worth will show up in shame and unworthiness.
The practice to growing your self-worth is focusing on courage as well as identifying and living by your values.
Do you constantly second-guess yourself, afraid to make the wrong decision?
ie: when you’re making decisions you go back and forth in your mind questioning yourself or when you want to say or share something but you can’t get it out of your mouth because you’re not sure if you should say it or not
Do you feel indecisive?
ie: you’re at the grocery store and can’t decide between this or that, you can’t decide what to wear and change outfits several times before going out or to work, you stand in front of the refrigerator looking at all the food but you just can’t decide what you want to eat
If you answered yes to either of the above questions, then you need to work on rebuilding your SELF-TRUST.
Self-trust is about knowing and believing. It’s knowing yourself and believing in yourself.
The opposite of self-trust shows up as self-doubt and fear.
The practice to rebuild self-trust is to listen to your intuition and act on it in 100% integrity.
Do you notice that you do a lot of people-pleasing?
ie: you sacrifice your own needs for someone else, you abandon your own feelings in order to stay in connection with someone else, you forgo your need to sleep or do something important in order to complete a job or obligation to someone else
Do you constantly put yourself down in your self-talk?
ie: you are critical and judgmental of yourself, you say awful things inside your head like “you’re ugly, old, fat, you’re never gonna find true love, who would love someone who has whatever is wrong with you…”
If you answered yes to either of the above questions, then you need to work on rebuilding your SELF-LOVE.
Self-love is about caring for and nurturing yourself. It’s about treating yourself well and accepting yourself.
The opposite of self-love is self-judgment and self-denial.
The practice to rebuild your self-love comes through self-care on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels of your health and wellbeing.
I made a video on this topic and if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend getting familiar with these 4 pillars of your sense of self so you can do your inner work with focus and intent to upgrade any areas that are depleted. You can watch the video here.
Also check out the Inner Integration Podcast episode on the 4 Pillars of Recovery After Narcissistic Abuse for an expanded perspective on the topic plus a quiz at the beginning to help you identify in which areas you’re struggling the most and some tips to overcome.
Big hug to you!
Coach & Author