Learning how to love yourself again is one of the most important steps that you can take on your healing journey. Practicing self-love will help you to build self-esteem, find your happiness, and grow as a person.
10 Things That You Can Do to Love Yourself After Experiencing Narcissistic Abuse
- Don’t worry about the opinions of others.
- Allow yourself to make mistakes.
- Let go of the toxic people in your life.
- Practice putting yourself first.
- Be compassionate with yourself.
- Learn how to forgive yourself.
- Stop ruminating about the abuse.
- Do things that improve your self-esteem.
- Set healthy boundaries.
- Allow yourself to grieve.
This article is going to guide you through each of these steps that you can take to start loving yourself after experiencing narcissistic abuse.
Don’t Worry About the Opinion of Others
When you are healing from narcissistic abuse, it is very common to be affected by the opinions of others.
This is because not everyone will agree and/or understand all of your reasons for distancing yourself from the narcissist in your life.
For example, it is very common for those going No Contact with a narcissist to receive pushback in the form of name calling (e.g. “You are being so dramatic, just talk to him/her. What’s the worst that could happen?”) from the world around them.
One of the best ways that you can love yourself after narcissistic abuse is to remind yourself to not worry about the opinion of others.
Well, this is your healing journey. Of course, you can get help from others along the way. But at the end of the day, it is still your journey.
Healing from narcissistic abuse is about completely removing yourself from the narcissistic abuse cycle so you can rebuild, heal, and become the best version of yourself.
If you get distracted by the opinion of others, you could experience overwhelming amounts of self-doubt, self-blame, and anxiety that pushes you back into the narcissist’s arms.
Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes
After being abused by a narcissist for months, years, or even decades, it is very common to feel like you can’t make mistakes.
The reason for this is because being trapped in the narcissistic abuse cycle feels like your entire life is being examined under a microscope.
The narcissists pays really close attention to everything that you do or say so they can invalidate, devalue, degrade, minimize, and humiliate you as much as possible.
In addition to this, you might also feel like you can’t make any mistakes because of the narcissistic rage that you experienced.
Narcissistic rage is the unpredictable, unjustifiable, and explosive response that narcissists have when they experience a narcissistic injury.
For example, if you were putting away the dishes and accidentally dropped a plate and it broke, this could send the narcissist into a narcissistic rage.
This could look like the narcissist physically attacking you, verbally abusing you, or even shunning you.
Over time, this type of environment could manipulate you into believing that you are not allowed to make mistakes.
After escaping the narcissistic abuse cycle, reminding yourself that you are allowed to make mistakes is an important step that you should take to start loving yourself again.
Let Go of the Toxic People In Your Life
One of the best ways that you can love yourself after experiencing narcissistic abuse is to surround yourself with people who respect you, care about you, and value you.
You see, one of the ways that narcissists keep you trapped in the narcissistic abuse cycle is by isolating you from your loved ones.
Narcissists typically isolate you by surrounding you with flying monkeys and narcissist enablers.
A flying monkey is someone who has been manipulated by the narcissist into helping them abuse others.
A narcissist enabler is a person who gaslights those experiencing narcissistic abuse because they themselves don’t understand narcissistic abuse.
If you want to start loving yourself after experiencing narcissistic abuse, you can’t be afraid of letting these toxic people go.
Creating a healthy support system, a network of people who provide an individual with practical or emotional support, is one of the best ways that you can love yourself after narcissistic abuse.
Practice Putting Yourself First
Narcissists expect and demand that you prioritize their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs over your own.
This is because narcissists don’t value your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs, they only see you as a source of narcissistic supply that they are entitled to having.
A Quote from One of Our Community Members
“When I found out my grandmother died I was out on a dinner date with my narcissistic ex husband. My ex was furious that I started crying because I was making him look bad apparently. He didn’t care, or even try to comfort me. He was only concerned with how I was making him look.” – Amy
Because of this, it is very common for you to feel uncomfortable with putting yourself first after you have escaped the narcissistic abuse cycle.
If you want to heal from narcissistic abuse, you are going to have to start loving yourself by putting yourself first.
A very good way that you can start doing this is by learning how to say “no” to others.
After months, years, or even decades of being forced to prioritize the narcissist’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions over your own, you could feel like you have to say “yes” to people even when you don’t want to.
Over time, this dynamic will destroy your self esteem, and subsequently, stop you from loving yourself.
After escaping a narcissistic environment, you can love yourself by finding ways to put yourself first on a regular basis.
Remember, your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs are just as important as anyone else’s. You have the right to protect your well-being by putting yourself first.
Be Compassionate With Yourself
Narcissists use the people that they abuse as sources of narcissistic supply but they also use them as repositories for their suppressed painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
You see, narcissists struggle with feelings of being unlovable, unwanted, worthless, and weak on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, they are incapable of managing these painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions through healthy forms of regulation because they have low emotional intelligence.
To protect their emotional stability, they simply project them onto others.
Projection is a defense mechanism that occurs when someone takes parts of their identity that they find unacceptable and places them onto someone else.
For example, a woman who cheated on her husband accusing her husband of cheating instead of taking responsibility for her infidelity.
The parts of a narcissist’s identity that they find unacceptable are their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
So, they try to destroy your emotional stability through abuse and manipulation so they can think to themselves, “I am not the one who is unlovable, unwanted, inadequate, worthless, and weak, they are.”
After months, years, or even decades of being a repository for a narcissist’s painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions, it is very common to have a very negative self-perception.
You can change this and start loving yourself by being compassionate with yourself.
For example, you can try doing daily affirmations.
Affirmations are phrases or statements that we repeat to ourselves to help us shift our minds in ways that, hopefully, improve our lives.
Here are some affirmations that you can start using today:
Learn How to Forgive Yourself
After experiencing narcissistic abuse, it is very common for you to have low self-esteem.
One of the things that comes with low self-esteem is self-blame. Meaning that you blame yourself for the abuse that you experienced.
Now, self-blame is a very common dynamic to see among those who have been abused by a narcissist, but it is also very unhealthy.
You can start loving yourself by forgiving yourself.
One of the best ways that you can do this is by taking the time to learn about narcissism and narcissistic abuse.
You see, when you grasp a comprehensive understanding of the abuse you experienced, you are going to quickly figure out that the abuse was not your fault.
The manipulation tactics that narcissists use are incredibly powerful and play on your deepest hopes, wishes, desires, insecurities, and vulnerabilities.
Forgiving yourself is a very important act of self-love that you must use if you are to protect yourself and heal from narcissistic abuse.
Stop Ruminating About the Abuse
Rumination is defined as engaging in a repetitive negative thought process that loops continuously in the mind without end or completion.
It is very common for those who have been abused by a narcissist to struggle with rumination on a regular basis.
Sadly, for those who aren’t able to overcome rumination, they remain physically and/or psychologically trapped in the narcissistic abuse cycle for months, years, or even decades.
Rumination prevents you from having a successful healing journey.
It is for this reason that one of the most powerful forms of self-love that you can use after narcissistic abuse is stopping yourself from ruminating about the abuse.
One way that you could do this is by practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Working on remaining present and stopping rumination will help you build self-esteem and show you new ways that you can love yourself.
Morella Devost, a Counselor and Clinical Hypnotherapist, Speaks About How Mindfulness Can Help Who Have Experienced Abuse
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Do Things That Improve Your Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves.
As we mentioned before, it is very common for those who have been abused by a narcissist to have low self-esteem.
Remember, the manipulation tactics that narcissists use are designed to destroy your self-esteem so the narcissist can project all of their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions onto you.
Doing things that build your self-esteem is a fantastic way to love yourself after experiencing narcissistic abuse.
Our article “10 Ways to Build Self-Esteem After Experiencing Narcissistic Abuse” is a great resource that you can use to build self-esteem and start loving yourself.
Improving your self-esteem will help you make better decisions, build healthy relationships, and protect your overall well-being.
When you have good self-esteem you will also have the motivation that is required to chase and be the best version of yourself.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Healthy boundaries are the limits you place around your time, emotions, body, and mental health to stay resilient, solid, and content with who you are.
They help protect you from being used, drained, or manipulated by others.
After experiencing narcissistic abuse, the first act of self-love that you should do is set healthy boundaries with both yourself and everyone in your surrounding environment.
For example, a boundary that you could set with yourself is that you are going to restrain yourself from engaging in meaningful interactions with the abusive/toxic people in your life.
Doing this will prevent them from having access to your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs, and subsequently, protect your emotional stability.
A boundary that you could set with others is to prioritize your personal time for self-care.
Remember, you have a right to protect your well-being by putting yourself first. Your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs are just as important as anyone else’s.
By setting healthy boundaries that protect your well-being (i.e. learning how to say “no” to people) you are loving yourself.
Allow Yourself to Grieve
Grief is the response that you have to loss. It’s the emotional suffering that you feel when something or someone you love is taken away from you.
Often, the pain of loss can feel overwhelming. You may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness.
After experiencing narcissistic abuse, it is very common to grieve the following:
With that being said, your grieving process is one of the most important parts of your healing journey.
When you allow yourself to grieve, you allow yourself to let go of the past and re-investing that energy elsewhere.
Allowing yourself to grieve helps you emotionally detach yourself from the narcissist in your life and is one of the best forms of self-love that you can use after narcissistic abuse.
Angela Avery, a Licensed Professional Counselor, Speaks About Overcoming the Sense of Loss After a Narcissistic Relationship
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About the Author
Hey, I’m Elijah.
I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years.
I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.
Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.