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Hope Is A Powerful Ally When Healing From A Narcissistic Relationship:

If you have been a victim of the narcissistic abuse cycle (whether it be verbal abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse or psychological abuse), you may be feeling right now that you have little hope of a healing journey. However, even just a glimmer of hope is a powerful ally that leads to a reservoir of determination and commitment within the self for personal self-healing. Hope and imagination go hand in hand together. Hope is a powerful force, an active emotion that gives us the ability to imagine a world where we can discover new things, learn and improve ourselves, and live an authentic life. Without a doubt, “hope” is a powerful process of healing.

10 Ways “HOPE” Assists Healing After Narcissistic Abuse: –

  1. Hope allows us to accept that our abuse hurt us, but that we survived, and can now release the shame associated with that abuse.
  2. Hope helps us challenge our negative thought patterns and replaces them with more positive thoughts.
  3. It is the hope of a better future that encourages us to engage in setting healthy boundaries for ourselves.
  4. promotes better self-care so that we can tend to our own needs (instead of always putting others first).
  5. Hope shines a powerful light on our beliefs and values, especially the beliefs and values we had projected onto ourselves without our knowing.
  6. Hope gives us the courage to embrace the unknown, acknowledge our abuse and bring our unconscious pain into consciousness (making the invisible visible).
  7. Hope affects our physiology. It can affect fundamental physiological processes like breathing, blood flow, and movement.
  8. Hope can even block pain by releasing the brain’s endorphins and enkephalins, mimicking the effects of morphine.
  9. Hope speaks to our deepest longings and can lead us back to our spiritual core (where our True Authentic Self lives) so that we can learn our soul’s purpose in life (Soul’s Mission).
  10. Hope not only aligns us with our humanity but also with our Divinity…… for becoming an actualised and authentic Self.

Without hope, there is nothing. It was Hal Lindsey, a Christian writer that said: –

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air… but only for one second without hope.”

Unfortunately, You Cannot Give Hope to Another Person If You Do Not Have It Yourself:

Well, I can assure you that hope is something I have in bucket loads. Not only am I a survivor and thriver of pathological narcissistic abuse, but having faced my adversity and woundedness, I am now an experienced “wounded healer”. I believe that this (together with my years of clinical practice and qualifications) qualifies me for navigating other victims through the troubled waters of narcissistic abuse towards their healing. Once you have processed the phenomenon and concept of narcissism, there will be a newfound hope in your ability to change yourself to protect you from being re-victimised again and again by such abusive people. On developing strong boundaries, you will refuse to dance the narcissist’s convoluted dance again. Once empowered, you will then be able to open yourself up to healthy relationships (i.e., healthy people with healthier patterns) as you repel emotional vampires (i.e., narcissistic abusers) from being attracted to you. You can then invite the right people into your orbit as you keep the wrong people out.

There Are Many Things You Can Do To Fuel That Glimmer Of Hope Inside Yourself Once You Break Free Of Your Abusive Situation: –

There is always hope! I know this from experience as someone who has lived through both types of abusive relationships with narcissists (both overt and covert narcissists). Unfortunately, I was also in an unhealthy workplace relationship with a narcissist, but I did not know what I was dealing with. But I promise you, there is life after narcissistic abuse, but first, you must embark on a personal process of healing. You will have some work to do on yourself before you become “flameproof” against such individuals: –

You must learn the truth of what happened to you while in that toxic relationship (whether it was a romantic relationship or otherwise) because the truth will set you free. Narcissistic abusers can inflict insidious harm on different levels of the self. It can comprise physical, mental, emotional, sexual and spiritual abuse, or any combination of these abuses.

Educate yourself on the patterns of toxic relationships, especially narcissistic personality disorder and high-conflict individuals (i.e., their manipulation, domination, coercive control, gaslighting techniques, character assassinations, etc.).

Go for ‘no contact’ with your narcissistic emotional abuser (or minimal contact if you have to co-parent with them). With no contact, the narcissist loses power over you, and this starts the process of returning (in part) to your former self. The experience will somewhat change you. However, that is a good thing, and for sure, you will be a wiser person.

Understand your own defence mechanisms (i.e., your passivity, your fawning and pleasing behaviours, etc.) and how they could be working against you as an adult when in the company of a narcissist.

Cultivate healthy thought processes, and have compassion for yourself. Remember, someone targeted you without your knowledge and it was not your fault.

Build strong supportive healthy boundaries and structures around yourself.

Surround yourself with positive, empathic people.

Learn to trust your intuition once again, because when you listen to it, it does not fail you.

Hope Plays A Vital Role In Keeping Us Healthy:

Hope is not an idle wish, or the vague idea of a safer future, absolutely not. When individuals have hope, they are more proactive in taking care of themselves. This includes seeking support, educating themselves about narcissistic abuse, and becoming better prepared to face the challenges of recovery. They may also choose to distance themselves from toxic relationships without feeling the need to fix them. Hope allows the victim to stay focused on the bigger picture and allows them to step back from time to time to get a new perspective of where they are in their healing process. Staying informed about the process gives the victim hope for the future and encourages them to take action. Hope is real, tangible, measurable, and an inspirational force that can change the destiny of every trauma survivor. Without hope, we waver, and we lose our source of optimism. We then ask the same question over and over: “Why?”

Getting Effective Psychoeducational Material:

For healing the abuse after an unhealthy relationship with someone with a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), I consider it vital that the victim receive effective psychoeducational material so that they can understand the abuse they suffered. They also need to understand the effects that this form of abuse had on them, especially concerning their internalised “transferred shame”. The victim also needs to understand why they blame themselves for being abused by another person. They also need help to understand the difference between self-blame and self-forgiveness. This will allow them to heal from the pain of the abuse and move forward into a more fulfilling life. This psychoeducation would come through the therapeutic process when working with an informed psychotherapist. However, if that is not possible, this information may also come through other means (i.e., the Internet (Google search engine), self-help books on narcissistic abuse, narcissistic abuse forums, uTube clips, coaching, etc.). The victim needs to understand the insidious form of psychological abuse they were subjected to.

Understanding the effects of that abuse on them will enable the victim to better understand their defenses and how those defense mechanisms can be triggered, particularly in relation to feelings of fear, shame, self-worth, and self-esteem. Victims need to go beyond the armouring of their defences whenever they felt threatened or unsafe. Unfortunately, their defence mechanisms are triggered, and they can spring into effect even when there is no apparent danger to the victim. So, getting to know and understand one’s defence mechanisms needs to be worked on. For breaking the patterns of narcissistic abuse, not only does it take time, but it also requires willingness and persistence by the victim.

The Healing Process Is A Personal Process:

It is also important to understand that the healing process is very personal. Like all progress, healing is not linear (healing does not move in a straight line), therefore it should never come with a deadline or time frame. Many victims of narcissistic abuse will discover that just when they think they have healed, they discover another wound. This is because, not only is the mind intelligent, but the body is intelligent too. Body and mind will work together to protect the individual, and that may mean that their healing only progresses in stages. This is not a bad thing, quite the contrary. If the body and mind were to give up all the defence mechanisms in one session, the individual would be so overwhelmed that they would experience emotional flooding and become dysregulated. They would most likely then experience a depressive episode or even a psychotic episode, which is often referred to as a mental breakdown. The term “mental breakdown” does not serve as a diagnosis, but acts as a warning signal showing the need for immediate attention and evaluation from a mental health professional in order to help the person stabilise. Mental health professionals may suggest drug therapy to calm the person’s system down and ease the emotional pain they are experiencing. So, for that reason alone, I think we must remember to work with the body and mind’s pace, and not force things.

Stop Trying To Know The Narcissist, Better To Get To Know Yourself Now: –

Instead of trying to learn how to cope with a pathological narcissist’s behaviour, I suggest the victim forgets about all that now. Instead, they need to learn more about how to identify what behaviours make them vulnerable to re-victimisation by other narcissists. Victims need to work on changing some of their behaviours because certain behaviours make them vulnerable to being targeted by a narcissist. You can never change a narcissist, but you can change yourself. Once you change yourself, you will also change your future reactions to all narcissists.

What Makes You Vulnerable To Pathological Narcissists? Could It Be Your Lack Of “Boundaries”?

Victims need to look at “Why me?” and ask themselves “what is it about me that makes me vulnerable to pathological narcissists?” The poet Rupi Kaur said, “Do not look for healing at the feet of those who broke you.” Wise words indeed. The answers are all within you, but to reach them, you need to dig deep and be willing to ask yourself tough questions. For example, you might ask yourself, “Could it be anything to do with what I am doing? (i.e., my “people-pleasing” behaviour, my weak boundaries, my passivity, my steadfastness, my conscious or unconscious guilt or shame, or indeed, the incredible resilience that keeps me bouncing back?). Where all the above are great attributes, and there is nothing wrong with any of these aspects of self per se, unfortunately, these attributes can be very much out of balance. Being out of balance makes an individual vulnerable to becoming a sitting target for a narcissist, where the narcissist can launch their campaign of seduction and manipulation to hook another juicy victim as their fresh source of “narcissistic supply.”

All Therapy Is “Hope Therapy” That Leads To Personal Power:

I suppose, when it comes to therapy, we can say that all therapy is a form of hope therapy. The hope starts from the beginning of the relationship, from the moment the client enters the sacred space of the therapy room. The clinician’s integrity weaves the strands of hope through the tapestry of the therapeutic process, using the finest, silkiest strands of acceptance, suspension, optimism, empathy, validation, etc. It is by modelling the therapist that the client learns how to build a culture of hope around themselves.

As the therapy progresses, each colourful strand uplifts the victim’s perspective so that they can move forward and face the future with optimism and an open spirit. In this way, the victim begins the journey of claiming back their power and identity after the psychological warfare of the narcissist’s abusive behaviours. To cross over the Bridge of Fear, the victim needs to have some kind of hope. In effect, “Hope” becomes the point on the “Bridge of Fear” where the individual may choose to stay rooted in their traumatic events and remain a victim. Or they may choose, as a survivor, to use the therapy to move them towards stabilisation, trauma resolution and integration. Thus, reaching the level of functioning that moves them beyond surviving into thriving. According to Joseph Bellezzo (Medical Doctor): –

“Hope becomes the bridge between the impossible and the possible.”

The Gaslighting Syndrome
When Shame Begets Shame
The 3 Faces Of Evil
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Christine is a Psychotherapist, Educator, Author and Supervisor of mental health professionals for over 28 years. She was part of a team in the Trauma Unit of St. Brendan’s Psychiatric Hospital, Dublin, and has worked specifically with victims of pathological narcissistic abuse in her private practice for many years.
Her books, “The Three Faces of Evil: Unmasking the Full Spectrum of Narcissistic Abuse” and “When Shame Begets Shame: How Narcissists hurt and shame their victims” set out to to help those who have been affected by a narcissist and also to address the shortfalls in a therapist’s education, so that they become better equipped to work with survivors of narcissistic abuse.Much of her knowledge has come from her post-grad studies in Criminology and Forensic Psychology, and it is through these disciplines that she has gained her understanding of “The Dark Triad”, (Narcissism, Machiavellianism and Psychopathy).
These three faces of evil are vital information for understanding the full spectrum of narcissistic abuse and the dire effects on the victims.It is her vision that narcissistic abuse becomes part of the curriculum of all Mental Health clinicians.
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