Overcoming Guilt After Narcissistic Abuse


In this course, Cynthia Eddings (therapist) shares her thoughts on overcoming the guilt narcissistic abuse causes.

Please watch this video lesson, then move on to the resources we’ve created to help you implement her advice into your daily routine.

Guilt Reflection and Self-Compassion Exercise

This exercise will help you implement the advice of therapist Cynthia Eddings into your daily routine. 

It will lead you through a series of steps that will help you define, reflect on, and evaluate the guilt you might be feeling after experiences with a narcissist. 

It will also encourage you to practice self-compassion, a crucial aspect of healing from narcissistic abuse. 

By completing this exercise, you will be better equipped to process and overcome the guilt associated with your past experiences.

Step 1: Define the Guilt

Begin by asking yourself, “What am I feeling guilty about?”

Then, once you’ve identified the source of your guilt, write down your answer. 

For example, “I felt guilty after I told the narcissist that I needed some time for myself because they reacted by saying I was selfish and uncaring.”

Step 2: Reflect on the Guilt

Reflect on the circumstances that caused your feelings of guilt.

Ask yourself: 

  • What happened that made me feel guilty?
  • How did I feel, and what was I thinking when it happened?
  • Were there other things going on that made the situation harder?
  • What was I trying to do?
  • How did the narcissist’s actions make me feel guilty?
  • Did anything similar happen before with this person?
  • Was the end of the situation what I wanted or expected?
  • Do I feel a little guilty or very guilty? 
  • Should I feel guilty? Does it feel right for the situation?

Step 3: Reflect on the Narcissist’s Role

Next, think about the role of the narcissist in the situation.

  • How did the narcissist act or react during the situation?
  • Did the narcissist say or do anything that made me feel guilty?
  • Do I think the narcissist was trying to make me feel guilty on purpose?
  • Has the narcissist acted this way before? How did it make me feel then?
  • Did the narcissist blame me or make me feel responsible for something?
  • Did the narcissist ignore or dismiss my feelings or thoughts?
  • Did the narcissist make me feel bad for having my own needs or boundaries?
  • Did the narcissist twist the truth or lie about something?
  • Did the narcissist make me doubt myself or my judgment?

Step 4: Evaluate Your Guilt

Ask yourself: “Have I truly done something wrong, or am I taking on the narcissist’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions as my own?” 

Here’s an example:

“After reflecting on the situation and the narcissist’s role, I realize I haven’t done anything wrong. 

I was setting necessary boundaries for my well-being, which is a healthy and important thing to do. 

The narcissist, however, reacted by dismissing my feelings, blaming me, and making me feel guilty, which are common manipulative tactics they have used before. 

I can see now that my guilt is a result of taking on the narcissist’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions as my own rather than a reflection of any actual wrongdoing on my part.”

Step 5: Practice Self-Compassion

Now that you have analyzed the situation, understood the role of the narcissist, and evaluated your guilt, it is essential to practice self-compassion. 

This step involves talking to yourself with kindness, understanding, and love, as a compassionate parent would speak to their child.

First, acknowledge your feelings without judgment. For example, say to yourself, “I hear you. I understand that you are feeling this way.”

Second, validate your experience and feelings. Tell yourself, “It’s okay to feel this way. Your feelings are valid, and it’s okay to feel upset about what happened.”

Third, express love and support for yourself. Tell yourself things like, “I love you just how you are,” or “I am here for you.”

Fourth, practice being present with your feelings. Tell yourself things like, “Tell me more about how you feel; I am here to listen.”

Fifth, acknowledge the strength it took to reflect on the situation and evaluate your guilt. Say things like, “I see you. I see the effort you are making to understand and heal.”

Sixth, based on the narrative you created in Step 4, create affirmations that reinforce your new perspective and remind you to practice self-compassion. 

For example, “I have the right to set boundaries and care for myself without feeling guilty. I am worthy of love and respect.”

Repeat these messages to yourself whenever you feel guilty or critical of yourself. 

Remember, it’s okay to feel upset, and it’s okay to seek support. You are doing the best you can, and that is enough.

Building a Healthy Support Network: Insights from a Therapist​

This interview and checklist are designed to help you assess the level of support you receive from the people around you.

As therapist Cynthia Eddings advises, surrounding yourself with supportive people can be crucial in overcoming the guilt narcissistic abuse causes. 

These resources will gain insight into who provides the most supportive and nurturing environment necessary for your healing journey. 

Remember, healing is a journey, and seeking support along the way is okay.

Interview with Heather Kent about Healthy Support Networks

Identifying Your Supporters: A Quick Checklist

Rate each item on a scale from 0 to 2, where:

  • 0 points: The statement doesn’t apply to the person (No)
  • 1 point: The statement sometimes applies to the person (Sometimes)
  • 2 points: The statement always applies to the person (Yes)


  • Listen Actively: Do they attentively listen, making you feel understood and valued?
  • Validate Your Experiences: Do they acknowledge and accept your experiences as valid, helping you trust your feelings and perceptions?
  • Educate You About Narcissistic Abuse: Do they offer valuable information about narcissistic abuse patterns, helping you understand that you’re not to blame for the abuser’s actions?
  • Encourage Self-Care: Do they promote self-care and stress management, enabling you to regain control over your physical and emotional health?
  • Help Set Healthy Boundaries: Are they supportive in helping you establish personal boundaries, contributing to your autonomy and self-worth?
  • Offer Practical Support: Do they provide tangible assistance, offering you stability and showing that they’re willing to support you in real ways?
  • Provide a Safe Space: Do they create a non-judgmental environment where you can freely express your thoughts and feelings?
  • Help Rebuild Your Self-Esteem: Are they instrumental in helping you rebuild your self-esteem, enabling you to develop a healthy self-image?
  • Help Build a Support System: Do they encourage you to establish a wider network of support consisting of therapists, support groups, and trustworthy friends and family members?
  • Remind You of Your Value: Do they consistently affirm your worth, counteracting the negative messages from your abusive relationship and reinforcing your self-esteem?

After you’ve scored each item, add up your scores for a total of 20. A higher score suggests the individual is more supportive:

  • 16-20: This person is extremely supportive.
  • 11-15: This person is moderately supportive.
  • 6-10: This person is somewhat supportive, but there may be room for improvement.
  • 0-5: This person may need to be more supportive in your current situation.

Remember, this isn’t science. It’s just a checklist. So please take the scores you get with a grain of salt.