Building trust with yourself after experiencing narcissistic abuse is one of the best ways that you can support your healing journey.
10 Ways to Trust Yourself After Experiencing Narcissistic Abuse
- Practice being decisive.
- Set reasonable goals for yourself.
- Build on your strengths.
- Reconnect with your core values.
- Stay committed to yourself.
- Learn how to be present with yourself and others.
- Remove yourself from toxic environments.
- Build healthy relationships.
- Replace self-defeating thoughts with positive self-talk.
- Learn more about narcissistic abuse.
In this article we are going to guide you through each one of these steps so you can start building trust with yourself.
Practice Being Decisive
After experiencing narcissistic abuse, it is very common to have low self-esteem and lack confidence in your own ability to do what is best for you.
If left unchecked, this dynamic can cause you to struggle with indecisiveness.
Indecisiveness is the condition or quality of being unable to decide, conclude, or resolve something.
For example, indecisiveness can cause you to feel hesitant to go No Contact with the narcissist in your life because you fear uncertainty.
When you struggle with indecisiveness for months, years, or even decades because of narcissistic abuse, it destroys the trust that you have with yourself.
You can overcome this and start to trust yourself again by practicing being decisive.
To do this you could try to make smaller decisions more quickly, take small steps outside of your comfort zone, or even try different decision making models.
When you practice being decisive, the successes that you will have will begin to stack on top of each other and help you build trust with yourself.
Our article “10 Ways to Build Self-Esteem After Experiencing Narcissistic Abuse” has a lot of helpful information about building self-esteem.
Set Reasonable Goals for Yourself
One of the most common reasons that those who have experienced narcissistic abuse find it hard to trust themselves again is because they set goals that are too high.
For example, a goal that someone might set that could be too high could be achieving indifference even though they haven’t had time to process the abuse that they experienced.
If you didn’t know already, in this context, indifference is when someone completely disconnects their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs from the narcissist (see below).
Someone who is indifferent to the narcissist is completely focused on their own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs.
Now, you can set indifference as a goal for yourself, but you have to understand that it comes over time.
If you are trying to set reasonable goals for yourself to build trust, you are much better off setting smaller ones that you can achieve more quickly.
For example, a small goal that you could set with yourself could be participating in an activity that you enjoy on a regular basis.
Another one could be dedicating a specific amount of time each week to learning about narcissism and narcissistic abuse so you can process what you went through.
Much like practicing being decisive, when you set and achieve reasonable goals, the successes stack on top of one another and help you build trust with yourself.
Build on Your Strengths
Being abused by a narcissist for months, years, or even decades is going to manipulate you into believing that you don’t have any strengths.
This is because narcissists purposely invalidate, devalue, degrade, and minimize you as frequently as possible so that they can maintain emotional stability.
You see, narcissists have many painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions suppressed within themselves.
Narcissists struggle with feelings of being unlovable, unwanted, worthless, weak, and inadequate on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, they have such low emotional intelligence that they can’t manage these thoughts, feelings, and emotions on their own.
What they do instead is 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 man who feels insecure about his weight telling his wife that she is getting fat instead of accepting the fact that he hasn’t been taking care of himself.
The parts of a narcissist’s identity that they find unacceptable are their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
It is for this reason that narcissists want to destroy your emotional stability.
It allows them to sit back and think to themselves, “I am not the unlovable, unwanted, inadequate, worthless, and weak one, they are.”
This is projection.
As we mentioned before, being in an environment like this for an extended period of time will manipulate you into believing that you don’t have any strengths.
Over time, this will cause you to lose trust in yourself and will lower your self-esteem.
You can overcome this by building on your strengths.
Various studies have shown that when we focus on developing our strengths, we grow faster than when trying to improve our weaknesses.1
For example, if one of your strengths is lifting weights, set new lifting goals for yourself and go achieve them!
Again, the successes that you have will stack on top of each other over time and help you build trust with yourself.
Now, if you are thinking to yourself “I don’t know what my strengths are” pay close attention in the next section because reconnecting with your core values could help you discover them.
Our article “Why Do Narcissists Use Projection?“ has a ton of helpful information about the role that projection plays in a narcissist’s life.
Reconnect With Your Core Values
One of the reasons that narcissistic abuse destroys your mental health is because narcissists force you to prioritize their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs over your own.
This is because they do not value or respect your existence. They only view you as as source of narcissistic supply that they are entitled to using.
Because of this, it is very common for those being abused by a narcissist to lose sight of their core values.
Core values are personal ethics or ideals that guide you when making decisions, building relationships and solving problems.
In other words, core values are the foundation of how you live your life.
When you reconnect with your core values, it can help you understand your purpose in life, revive your sense of self, help you create a life that you enjoy, and give you the self-confidence that you need to start building trust with yourself.
If you are ready to reconnect with your core values, you can click here for a free guide that will help you go through this process in four simple steps.
Stay Committed to Yourself
A common reason that those healing from narcissistic abuse find it hard to trust themselves is because they don’t stay committed to themselves.
For example, they have a goal of going to the gym three times a week but for the past three months they have only been going once or twice a week.
Over time, this lack of self-commitment can destroy their self-esteem and the trust that they have for themselves.
Now, this lack of self-commitment often happens because people don’t feel comfortable prioritizing their own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs.
This has a lot to do with the fact that narcissists expect and demand that their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs are the focus point of their relationships.
Because of this, it is very common for those being abused by a narcissist to become comfortable suppressing their own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs on a regular basis.
The first step that you should take if you are trying to build trust with yourself by staying committed to yourself is making your well-being a priority in your life.
A simple way that you can start doing this is by saying “no” to people.
After months, years, or even decades of narcissistic abuse, it is common to develop a habit of saying “yes” to people even when you don’t want to.
This is not prioritizing your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs, it is the complete opposite.
There isn’t a special technique or a secret trick that you can use to start staying committed to yourself.
You simply must acknowledge that you have a right to make your well-being a priority in your life and then you must stay disciplined and committed to the path that you are on.
Keeping commitments to yourself is a fantastic act of self-love that shows that you value your own goals, desires, and trust yourself to make good decisions for yourself.
Learn How to Be Present With Yourself and Others
One of the most common reasons that those who have experienced narcissistic abuse find themselves unable to take steps towards building trust with themselves is rumination.
Rumination is defined as engaging in a repetitive negative thought process that loops continuously in the mind without end or completion.
For example, imagine that you have been narcissist free for a few years now and you have decided that it is time to get back into the dating scene.
You have your first date with a really nice man/woman and everything seems to be okay.
Now this man/woman is not a narcissist but you have allowed rumination to convince yourself that they are one.
After your date you spent hours thinking about your past relationship, the abuse that you experienced, the red flags that you missed, and the time that you lost.
When you finish ruminating, you are convinced that you can’t trust yourself to make the right decision and decide that it is best to just cut the new date off and never speak to them again.
Over time, this habit can destroy your self-esteem and the trust that you have for yourself because you aren’t allowing yourself an opportunity to grow.
Rumination holds you back from having a successful healing journey.
You can overcome this by practicing being present with both yourself and others through mindfulness.
Mindfulness is 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.
For example, meditation is a form of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a very therapeutic technique that helps you be present with yourself and others.
When you are present, you can manage your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs more efficiently.
For example, being present allows you to stop yourself from ruminating and focus on the here and now.
Over time, being present with yourself and others will help you build positive relationships, improve self-esteem, and build trust with yourself.
If you would like some help practicing mindfulness, click here to download our free guide that will help get you started.
Remove Yourself From Toxic Environments
In order to protect yourself and heal from narcissistic abuse, you have to remove yourself from toxic environments.
There are so many reasons that this has to happen but the one that has to do with building trust with yourself is the fact that the abusive/toxic people in narcissistic environments are very good at convincing you that you are to blame for the abuse.
These abusive/toxic people are flying monkeys, narcissist enablers, and narcissists.
A flying monkey is someone who the narcissist manipulates into helping them abuse others.
A narcissist’s enabler is a person who gaslights those experiencing narcissistic abuse because they themselves don’t understand narcissistic abuse.
Narcissists use flying monkeys and narcissist enablers to control, silence, and isolate you.
For example, a flying monkey could say something like, “You are a horrible human being, you should be grateful to have (the name of the narcissist) in your life.”
A narcissist enablers could say something like, “Are you sure that it happened the way that you are saying it did? I have never heard him/her be mean to anyone.”
Over time, being in an environment where your reality is constantly invalidated, devalued, and minimized will destroy the trust that you have for yourself.
By removing yourself from this toxic environment you will be giving yourself the time and space that you need to build trust with yourself.
Build Healthy Relationships
Building healthy relationships and surrounding yourself with people who truly care for you, respect you, and want to help you become the best version of yourself is by far the best way that you can start building trust with yourself.
When you surround yourself with healthy people, your self-esteem is going to improve, you are going to grow as a person, and you will be in a position to do things that make you happy and help you love yourself more often.
All of this will help you build up trust for yourself, but there is another good thing that being surrounded by healthy people does, they hold you accountable.
Listen, the healing journey is a long and difficult process. You are going to have days where you are feeling great and you will have days where you are feeling horrible.
When you surround yourself with healthy people, their willingness to hold you accountable simply because they want you to be the best version of yourself will help you stay committed to the healing journey that you are on.
For example, if you are having a bad day and feel like reaching out to the narcissist in your life, having healthy people around you will stop that from happening.
If you were to be surrounded by abusive/toxic people, they would likely encourage you to abandon your healing journey, “It is about time you call him/her and apologize for the abuse that you put him through, shame on you for taking this long.”
Over time, being surrounded by people who help you make good decisions is going to give you the support that you need to build trust with yourself.
Replace Self-Defeating Thoughts With Positive Self-Talk
One of the reasons that people remain stuck in narcissistic relationships for so long is because they don’t believe that they deserve anything better than the abuse that they are experiencing.
This is because of low self-esteem.
As we mentioned before, being in a narcissistic environment for months, years, or even decades, is going to destroy your self-esteem.
Narcissists use the people that they abuse as repositories for their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Remember, by destroying your self-esteem with abuse and manipulation, narcissists are able to figuratively point their finger at you and think to themselves, “I’m not the unlovable, unwanted, inadequate, worthless, and weak one, they are.”
This is, again, projection.
After months, years, or even decades of absorbing the narcissist’s projections, it is very common to develop self-defeating thoughts.
Self-defeating thoughts are any negative views you hold about yourself and the world around you. For example, “Nobody will ever love someone like me.”
To build trust with yourself, you have to replace these self-defeating thoughts with positive self-talk.
Positive self-talk is an inner monologue that makes you feel good about yourself and everything going on in your life.
The easiest way to do this is to practice daily affirmations.
Here is a list of some of the most popular daily affirmations that our community members use to build self-esteem, confidence, and subsequently, trust for themselves.
Learn More About Narcissistic Abuse
Learning about narcissistic abuse is arguably the most important part of healing from narcissistic abuse.
When you have a comprehensive grasp of narcissistic abuse, you have all the information that you need to process and overcome the painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions that narcissistic abuse creates.
Knowledge is by far the most powerful defense against narcissistic abuse.
When you know what you are up against, you know what to be on the lookout for, you know what you need to do to protect yourself, and you know the steps that you need to take to heal.
By simply having a clear understanding of what narcissistic abuse is, you are going to be able to build trust with yourself because you will be able to avoid situations that destroy the trust that you have for yourself.
For example, instead of engaging in an interaction where the narcissist could gaslight you into taking the blame for their abusive behavior, the knowledge that you have about narcissistic abuse will help you restrain yourself from engaging in a meaningful interaction with them.
Learning about narcissistic abuse is so important and will help you build trust with yourself.
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.