How to Overcome Self-Doubt by Dr. Taylor Damiani 


In this course, you will learn five strategies to overcome the self-doubt that experiencing narcissistic abuse causes.

In case you didn’t know, self-doubt is the feeling of questioning or lacking confidence in oneself and one’s abilities.

It can manifest as:

  • Hesitation in decision-making
  • Avoidance of new challenges
  • Persistent feelings of inadequacy
  • Physical symptoms of anxiety, such as a racing heart or muscle tension
  • Overthinking simple tasks
  • Fear of judgment from others
  • Procrastination due to fear of imperfection
  • Constant internal comparison with peers.

Right now, you might be wondering, “How does experiencing narcissistic abuse cause self-doubt?”

There are many different answers to this, but the overarching reason this type of abuse leads to self-doubt is the systematic undermining of the individual’s perception of reality, self-worth, and trust in their judgment. 

You see, narcissists use manipulative tactics designed to gain control and maintain a position of power over the person they are abusing. 

These tactics typically involve constantly shifting the narrative, questioning the memory of the person they are abusing, diminishing their feelings, and setting unattainable and unpredictable standards.

Over time, this creates an environment of instability and uncertainty and causes those on the receiving end to internalize it.

When this instability and uncertainty gets internalized, it causes the person the narcissist is abusing to constantly question their actions, decisions, feelings, and worth, causing tremendous self-doubt.

Now, let’s move on to the next section, where there is a clip from our interview with Dr. Taylor Damiani, a psychologist from California.

In this clip, Dr. Taylor Damiani will guide you through 5 strategies to overcome the self-doubt that narcissistic abuse causes.

5 Strategies for Overcoming Self-Doubt by Dr. Taylor Damiani 

Implementing Dr. Taylor Damiani’s Advice Into Your Daily Routine

1.) Set Small Goals and Celebrate the Successes

Here is a video lesson and guide to setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. 

Step 1: Specific

Your goal should be well-defined and specific.

For example: “I will overcome self-doubt by actively recognizing and challenging three negative self-beliefs I’ve internalized from past experiences.”

Step 2: Measurable

Your goal should be quantifiable or have some tangible measurement associated with it.

For example: “Each week, I will note down one negative belief I’ve recognized and write a positive counter-statement. I will have three transformed beliefs by the end of three weeks.”

Step 3: Achievable

Your goal should be realistic and attainable.

For example: “While it’s challenging to change deep-rooted beliefs overnight, focusing on a few over a set period feels achievable and manageable.”

Step 4: Relevant

Your goal should align with your overall objectives.

For example: “Building my self-confidence and reducing self-doubt is important for my overall mental well-being and personal growth.”

Step 5: Time-bound

Your goal should have a specific timeframe or deadline.

For example: “Over the next three weeks, I will dedicate time to this goal, aiming to transform three negative beliefs into positive ones by the end of this period.”

2.) Identify Your Values and Set Goals Aligned with Them

Here is a writing activity that you can use to identify your values and set S.M.A.R.T. goals that align with them.

Identifying Your Values: A Writing Exercise

Engaging in the “Identifying Your Values: A Writing Exercise” is a transformative journey towards self-awareness and clarity. 

It helps you dissect and understand the foundational beliefs that drive your actions and offers a roadmap to align your life with what genuinely matters to you. 

By looking into your past, analyzing present choices, and envisioning a future grounded in authenticity, this exercise provides a clear lens you can use to discern and embrace your core values, ensuring your life’s decisions are in harmony with your true self.

  • Step 1: Reflection on Past Experiences

    Begin by thinking back to various phases of your life – childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

    Identify three distinct moments or experiences that brought you intense joy, fulfillment, or a profound sense of purpose. 

    These can range from significant milestones to seemingly small everyday moments. 

    Describe each event in detail, recounting not just the event itself but the emotions you felt, the people involved, the environment, and so on.

    The more vividly you can paint these memories, the more precise the associated values will become.
  • Step 2: Uncover the Values

    Now, for each of the three memories, analyze the core components that made them significant. 

    What were the central themes or patterns that emerged? 

    Were you being recognized for an achievement? 

    Was it a moment where you felt deeply connected to someone or something?

    Did you stand up for something or someone, showing courage? 

    For every aspect you identify, try to associate it with potential values. 

    For example, if you remembered the joy of teaching a sibling to ride a bike, values might include “patience,” “mentorship,” or “bonding.”
  • Step 3: Prioritize Your Values

    You’ll likely end up with a diverse list of values from Step 2. 

    To make them more manageable and insightful, narrow them down. 

    Select the ones that strike a chord with your core being—the ones that resonate profoundly with who you are or aspire to be. 

    Arrange these in order of importance to you. 

    This ranking helps when you face decisions that have competing values.
  • Step 4: Define Your Values

    With your values in hand, it’s time to give them depth. For each value:

    Reflect on where this value might have originated from in your life. Was it a lesson from a family member, a personal experience, or maybe even a reaction against something you disagreed with?

    Describe how this value manifests in your life currently. How do you embody it? In what ways does it influence your decisions or behaviors?

    Write about how you’d like this value to shape your future. Are there ways you’d like to express or prioritize this value more?
  • Step 5: Set a S.M.A.R.T. Goal That Aligns with Your Values

    Imagine you’ve identified “Compassion” as a value of yours. Here is an example of how you can set a S.M.A.R.T. goal that aligns with it:

    Step 1: Specific

    Your goal should be clear and specific.

    For example: “I aim to express compassion by actively listening to someone in need every week.”

    Step 2: Measurable

    Your goal should have a way to track your progress.

    For example: “Every week, I will set aside time to listen to someone without offering advice or judgment. After each interaction, I’ll note down the date and a brief reflection.”

    Step 3: Achievable

    Ensure the goal you set can be attained.

    For example: “Considering my interactions with friends, family, and colleagues, finding someone who might appreciate a listening ear each week seems achievable.”

    Step 4: Relevant

    Ensure the goal is relevant to your values and long-term objectives.

    For example: “By actively listening, I’m embodying my value of compassion, providing support, and fostering understanding in my relationships.”

    Step 5: Time-bound

    Set a timeframe for achieving your goal.

    For example: “For the next 52 weeks, I am dedicated to this practice. At the end of the year, I will review my notes and reflect on the experiences and growth from these compassionate interactions.”

3.) Practice Approaching Yourself with Non-Judgment

Here is a writing activity that you can use to practice approaching yourself with non-judgment.

Practice Approaching Yourself with Non-Judgment: A Writing Exercise

Engaging in this exercise helps shift the lens through which you view your actions, promoting understanding over criticism. 

By diving deep into the context of your decisions and reframing initial judgments, you nurture a kinder relationship with yourself. 

This fosters self-compassion, replacing internal criticism with support and patience, laying the foundation for improved self-worth and confidence. 

  • Step 1: Daily Reflections

    For a week, end each day with a short reflection. 

    Write down three actions or decisions you made during the day. 

    Don’t think too hard about them; just the first three that come to mind.
  • Step 2: Initial Reactions

    For each action or decision, jot down your immediate self-judgment. 

    This might be something like “That was careless of me” or “I should have known better.”
  • Step 3: Exploring Context

    Now, for each action or decision, expand on the context. 

    What was happening around you? Were you tired? Was there something distracting you? Were you feeling pressured? 

    Describe the broader scenario without justifying or being overly critical.
  • Step 4: Reframing with Compassion

    Revisit each self-judgment and challenge it. 

    Given your explored context, can you reframe these judgments with understanding and compassion? 

    Try to write a new statement that treats yourself with the same kindness and understanding you’d offer a friend in a similar situation.
  • Step 5: Self-Compassion Letter

    At the end of the week, write a letter to yourself. 

    Touch upon the recurring themes you’ve noticed during the week’s reflections. 

    Speak to yourself with warmth, understanding, and forgiveness, emphasizing the importance of growth and self-compassion over perfection and harsh self-judgment.
  • Step 6: Pledge of Non-Judgment

    Draft a pledge of non-judgment. 

    This should be a short, powerful statement you can refer to in moments of self-doubt. 

    Something like: “I pledge to understand and accept myself fully, acknowledging that I am always growing, and I will approach my actions and thoughts with compassion and not judgment.”

4.) Recognize and Challenge Perfectionism

Here’s a writing activity that helps you recognize and challenge perfectionism.

Recognizing and Challenging Perfectionism: A Writing Exercise

This writing activity allows you to confront and understand your perfectionist tendencies. 

By comparing idealized scenarios with real-life events, you’ll see the limitations and pressures of chasing perfection. 

Challenging these perfectionist thoughts helps reshape your mindset, promoting growth and self-compassion. 

  • Step 1: Journaling Your Perfectionist Moments

    Begin by reflecting on recent moments when you felt pressured to be perfect, whether self-imposed or from external sources. 

    Write these instances in detail, describing what happened, how you felt, and why you think you leaned into perfectionism during that time.
  • Step 2: The ‘Perfect’ Scenario

    Imagine a day where everything goes perfectly according to your perfectionist standards. 

    Write it out from morning to night. How would the day unfold? How would you feel at each moment?
  • Step 3: The ‘Real’ Scenario

    Now, write about a typical day, with its usual ups and downs, unexpected events, and imperfections. 

    Highlight moments when things didn’t go as planned and note how you felt and how you reacted.
    Describe the broader scenario without justifying or being overly critical.
  • Step 4: Compare and Reflect

    Read both scenarios side by side. Reflect on the differences between the two days. Ask yourself:

    Which day seems more realistic?

    Which day seems more fulfilling or meaningful?

    Did the ‘perfect’ day lead to happiness, or did it feel robotic and void of genuine emotions?
  • Step 5: Challenge Perfectionist Thoughts

    Go back to the journal entries from Step 1. 

    For each perfectionist moment, write an alternative reaction or thought that challenges the need to be perfect. 

    For example, suppose you wrote about being upset over a minor error in a work report. 

    In that case, an alternative thought might be, “Everyone makes mistakes, and this small error doesn’t define my entire worth or capability.”
  • Step 6: Affirmations for Progress, Not Perfection

    Conclude by writing five affirmations that focus on progress and growth rather than perfection. 

    For instance, “I value progress over perfection” or “I am more than my mistakes.”