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How Relearning Self-Love is Crucial after a Relationship with a Narcissist



If you have been in a relationship with a narcissist, grown up with narcissistic parents, or had a narcissistic boss at work, you know that it does a number on your self-esteem.


The constant criticisms, gaslighting and manipulation can wear you down and make you think badly about yourself. When you have been dealing with criticism on a constant basis, you can develop a harsh inner critic.


This is the internalization of all of the negative things that have been said to you over the years, and becomes a part of your inner dialogue. You begin to say negative things to yourself, similarly to the way that you have been spoken to.


You begin to believe all the negative things about yourself that you have been told.


When you start to believe in these negative messages about yourself, it can impact your self-esteem and your mental health to a huge degree.


Getting Help


You can even develop PTSD, Anxiety or Depression after a relationship with a narcissist. If you believe that this is the case, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. This can include going to a psychiatrist, therapist, life coach, or group therapy.


Whichever case you choose, it can greatly help to improve your mental health, self esteem, and to help you learn coping skills for your negative self-talk.


Working with your inner critic


One way that you can begin to heal after a relationship with a narcissist is to begin working with your inner critic. This is the harsh voice inside your head that is telling you that you aren't good enough.


When you get these harsh thoughts, you can begin to question if they are really true. For example, if you think, "I can never do anything right," then you could make a list of all the things that you do right. You can list all of your accomplishments, and realize that YES, you CAN do things right.


Take the list, and turn it into affirmations that you say to yourself. It can be things like:

  • I am a good person

  • I am a good parent

  • I am a good friend

  • I am good at my job

  • I am good at my hobbies

  • I am a kind person

  • I am compassionate

  • I am loving

Or, any other positive message that is the opposite of your constant negative thought. This way, you can use these affirmations to rewire your brain for positivity.


It helps to say these affirmations to yourself in the mirror out loud. It might sound silly, but when you see your reflection saying these things to you, your brain interprets it as another person saying this to you. This can doubly reinforce the new positive messages in your mind.


Learning self-love


In the previous exercise, I asked you to make a list of all the good things about yourself, and all of your accomplishments. This can be a great starting point for finding things that you love about yourself.


Also, it can be very healing to look in the mirror every day and tell your reflection, "I love you." Or, you can give yourself a hug and say it. It might feel strange or even difficult at first, but over time you will come to believe it when you tell yourself, "I love you."


Another way you can show love to yourself is through self-care. When you take the time to meet your own needs, you are showing love to yourself. There are many forms of self-care that extend well beyond taking bubble baths and having fancy coffee. My favorites are meditation, yoga and journaling.


Remember, setting boundaries with other people in your life, especially negative people, is a form of self-care too. Saying no to things and people that aren't serving you is a way of meeting your own needs. This can allow you to live a much happier and more fulfilled life.


Conclusion


After a relationship with a narcissist, your self-esteem is at an all time low. Trying to build back up your self-esteem with self-love is an important way to make sure that you are getting back into better mental health.


It can be helpful to:

  • Talk to a mental health professional

  • Challenge your inner critic

  • Say positive affirmations

  • Tell yourself "I love you"

  • Take time for self-care

  • Set boundaries

All of these are ways that you can work to build back up your self-esteem after a relationship with a narcissist.


For more tips, you can check out my book, A Narcissist Destroyed my Life: How do I Rebuild? It is available on Amazon.


If there are any questions that I can answer for you in a future blog post, please let me know in the comments, and I am happy to write about it!




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