A narcissist’s insufferable need to protect their falsified identity by devaluing others is complex. The ferocity, frequency, and intricacy of a narcissist’s approach to devaluing others often keeps their victims trapped underneath the weight of the manipulative structure that narcissistic abuse creates so it is important for victims to learn how to stop a narcissist from devaluing them before it is too late.
Journaling about your core values and practicing daily affirmations is the most reliable technique you can use to stop the narcissist in your life from devaluing you because it puts you in a position from which you can acknowledge and understand that their devaluing statements are only as real as you let them be.
You should read our article Why Do Narcissists Devalue Others for more context but their incessant tendency to devalue others originates from a deeply rooted maladaptive cognitive function that makes it impossible for a narcissist to stop themselves from devaluing others.
It’s for this reason that journaling about your core values and practicing daily affirmations is a far better approach because narcissistic abuse causes victims to lose sight of themselves. The most important part of the healing journey is the individual embarking down its path, not seeking out justice, closure, explanations, change, or apologies from the narcissist.
Understanding How Narcissistic Abuse Causes Victims to Lose Sight of Their Identity
One of the ways that narcissists are able to maintain power and control over their victims for so long is by manipulating them into losing sight of their identity.
How do they do this?
Through narcissistic mirroring and future faking, narcissists are able to absorb an extraordinary amount of information about their victim’s identity and use the information to manipulate their victim into believing that the narcissist is the perfect person for them and envision a healthy, happy, and secure future together.
This happens in every single narcissistic environment, not just romantic relationships, so the overarching issue is that narcissists place their victim up on an emotional pedestal where the victim conceptualizes a healthy, happy, and secure image of themselves, the connection they have with the narcissist, and the future.
When the narcissist senses that their victim has become attached to the feeling of being happy, healthy, and secure with the narcissist, they kick the pedestal out from under them causing them to fall into the devaluation phase.
The devaluation phase is home to many blatant forms of narcissistic abuse like narcissistic rage, scapegoating, triangulation, flying monkeys and so on. The compilation of all of these different forms of abuse causes a lot of psychological tension within the victim’s psyche because of the healthy, happy, and secure vision they were manipulated into developing in the beginning stages of the relationship that they still believe in.
What happens next?
The victim is forced to choose between abandoning this healthy, happy, and secure image they developed for the relationship or find some way to justify staying in the relationship. Through gaslighting and intermittent reinforcement, narcissists are able to manipulate their victims into staying in the abusive relationship.
For starters, a narcissist will justify their behavior through gaslighting, the denial of one’s reality. In our article 6 Powerful Examples of Gaslighting In Narcissistic Relationships we explained the six different types of gaslighting thoroughly but for this article you should focus on traditional gaslighting, the denial of one’s thoughts, emotions, feelings, and needs on a regular basis.
The reason being that the moment that the narcissistic relationship makes a switch from the perceived happy, healthy, and secure beginning stages to the devaluation phase, the victim is going to start asking questions about the way they’re being treated.
To remain in control of the situation, narcissists will use gaslighting to minimize and invalidate the victim’s feelings. The amount of confusion that this creates for the victim is overwhelming.
In front of them there is a person who understands them better than anyone else. It could be a narcissistic boss, partner, friend, or family member but the point is that this person understands what the victim desires from the relationship they share and is able to accurately “mirror” that back to them.
Then the same person starts the devaluation phase where they’re irritable, distant, sneaky, mean, and abusive while simultaneously manufacturing a false sense of hope within the victim’s psyche that this pain is only temporary and the healthy, happy, and secure vision they once had is still very much alive.
For some, this is too much to handle and they try to escape the narcissistic abuse cycle as quickly as they can.
Unfortunately, the narcissist has one more powerful trick up their sleeve, intermittent reinforcement. Intermittent reinforcement is the delivery of a reward at irregular intervals.
When a narcissist isn’t able to control their victims with gaslighting and they sense that they’re slipping away, they’ll use all the information they absorbed about the victim’s identity during narcissistic mirroring to create the perfect “reward” to manipulate them into staying in the relationship.
How does this make the victim lose sight of their identity?
After experiencing this cycle of abuse and intermittent reinforcement over and over, victims of narcissistic abuse begin to crave the high points of the dysfunctional relationship. The high points are the “rewards” that intermittent reinforcement gives that reminds the victims of the healthy, happy, and secure vision they had, manipulating them into a false sense of hope and ultimately staying in the abusive environment.
We spoke about this more thoroughly in our article Why Do Trauma Bonds Feel Like an Addiction but according to a Harvard Health article, “addiction involves craving for something intensely, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences.”
The behavior patterns of victims of narcissistic abuse fall under this definition of addiction.
- They have an intense craving for the high points of the dysfunctional relationship.
- They remain in the abusive environment despite the consequences.
- The narcissist becomes their only known source of happiness and they lose sight of themselves in the pursuit of it.
How to Journal About Your Core Values and Practice Daily Affirmations to Rebuild Your Identity and Stop a Narcissist From Devaluing You
One of the most challenging hurdles one must overcome once they realize that they are the victim of narcissistic abuse is re-evaluate. You see, the hard part about a narcissist betraying you is that the intensity of their manipulation often causes victims to make some type of life decisions based around the healthy, happy, and secure version of the narcissist that they developed a connection for.
Once they realize that they’ve been manipulated by the narcissist, they’re forced to re-evaluate the narcissist, their own future, themselves, and their own capability to conceptualize an accurate version of reality.
It can be a really traumatizing experience that can leave victims lost, doubting or even hating themselves. It’s for this reason that journaling about your core values and practicing daily affirmations is so helpful.
Tips For Journaling About Your Core Values and Examples of Daily Affirmations Victims of Narcissistic Abuse Can Recite
One of the hardest, but most rewarding parts of the healing journey for victims of narcissistic abuse is reconnecting with their core values. The reason being that narcissistic abuse is designed to make the victim feel like they aren’t allowed to put themselves first.
Below are four really important aspects of one’s core values that victims of narcissistic abuse should be aware of when journaling about their own core values and an infographic of daily affirmations one can use during their journaling journey.
We STRONGLY suggest that one should reconnect with their core values with the guidance of a proven supporters, people who understand narcissism and can be trusted, and/or medical professional to avoid any confusion.
Re-Educate Yourself on the Dynamics of a Healthy Relationship
Everyone is going to have their own definition of what a healthy relationship looks like but in a healthy relationship you should feel comfortable setting boundaries, expressing your emotions, sharing your vulnerabilities and insecurities, and being yourself.
Journaling about your definition of a healthy relationship and sharing your entries with supporters and qualified medical professionals is an exceptional first step towards repairing your identity after narcissistic abuse.
Rediscover What You Want In Life
A narcissist is very good at manipulating their victim into neglecting their own thoughts, needs, emotions, and feelings to cater to the narcissist’s every need. After an extended period of time, this level of manipulation can cause the victim to lose sight of what they want in life.
To begin to let go of this forced blindness, victims of narcissistic abuse can start this by writing your goals in a journal and setting smaller daily goals to them achieve them. By doing this, you’ll teach yourself to be comfortable taking charge of your own life.
Rebuild Your Self-Esteem
The purpose of narcissistic abuse is to erode your emotional stability so the narcissist can project their negative emotions onto you. Over time, victims of narcissistic abuse could believe all of the negative emotions that a narcissist is projecting onto them and internalize their instability.
One of our Unfilteredd Participants’ favorite ways to rebuild self-esteem is to do everything that the narcissist said you can’t. If they said you’re a terrible writer, go write a book. If they said you aren’t attractive, go have a photoshoot done. If they said you’ll never truly live life, go travel the world. The list could go on forever but the point is, find what makes you happy and aggressively pursue it.
Rebuild Your Identity
Rebuilding your identity starts with acknowledging that the limitations that the narcissist in your life placed on you are only as true as you let them be.
You can start by reconnecting with the life you envisioned for yourself before the narcissistic abuse, and if you don’t like that version of yourself, work hard to create a new one. Put yourself in situations where you’re forced to push your boundaries in a healthy way, redefine your limitations, and learn how to truly be happy.
What Should You Take Away From This Article?
Journaling about your core values and practicing daily affirmations is a fantastic way to stop a narcissist from devaluing you. However, in order for it to work you must understand and accept the importance of finding the answers you seek from within.
Journaling about your core values and practicing daily affirmations is part of your healing journey. The narcissist in your life has no place in your healing journey. With help of a medical professional you’ll quickly realize that healing is a battle against yourself.
The abuse you suffered was not your fault but it is your responsibility to let go of the limitations the narcissist in your life trapped you under and it begins with finding the answers you seek from within.
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All of the content that Unfilteredd creates is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for clinical care — please visit here for qualified organizations and here for qualified professionals that you can reach out to for help. This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.
Kaywell, Joan F., ed. Using literature to help troubled teenagers cope with abuse issues. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004.