7 Ways To Reduce Self-Doubt After Narcissistic Abuse

By Kim Saeed | Initiating No Contact

Jul 29

Perhaps you have fallen victim to the control and manipulation of a narcissist. You may have become aware of the toxicity in the relationship long ago, but have been too emotionally attached to your abuser to leave the relationship. You could even be free from your narcissist now and are wrangling your way through the healing process.

The narcissist may be anyone who has a tremendous impact on whether you believe in yourself and your abilities. This is most often a parent, intimate partner, sibling, or boss. You have gradually lost yourself as you have succumbed to his or her psychological conditioning. After a while, his gaslighting instilled confusion and anxiety in you to the point where you detached your sense of reality. You have become consumed with self-doubt and are easily controlled.

Learn the Warning Signs of a Narcissist Before Another Strikes 

A true narcissist has these traits embedded in their personality and in many cases may be clinically diagnosed with “Narcissistic Personality Disorder.” In order to avoid slipping into a long-term pattern of the “Narcissistic Victim Syndrome,” it is important to understand how the mind of such a person works.

  1. The most notable trait of the narcissist is his pompous sense of self-importance. He clearly doesn’t care about the wants or needs of anyone but himself. He blatantly exaggerates or brags about his achievements and talents, looking for recognition as being superior to other people. His exaggeration is a way to mask his low self-esteem and emotional insecurity.
  2. He often talks about his terrible childhood and seems consumed with it. He projects his cognitive dissonance onto you or others about that time in his life by seeming agitated and quick to anger. This is his coping mechanism for feeling so conflicted.
  3. He denies responsibility for having many failed relationships in his life. Nothing is ever his fault.

Likewise, as his victim, you tend to have the opposite personality traits. You are highly empathic and forgive your narcissist repeatedly. You are more thoughtful and caring of others than you are about yourself. It is generally in your nature to be overly cooperative, so people easily take advantage of you. When it comes to your abusive partner, you ignore the proverbial red flags of his unacceptable behaviors. Worse, you overcompensate for his most deviant behaviors, and you must take care not to let it lead you down a path of self-destructive behavior, such as substance abuse or self-mutilation.

Why You Are Filled With Self-Doubt After Narcissistic Abuse

The longer a target suffers through narcissistic abuse, the more they are programmed through psychological conditioning. Once you finally leave your narcissist, you still feel chronically detached from yourself and your life for a time. You can even find yourself missing your abuser, and feeling a lot of self-doubt because of that.

Self-doubt is very common among adults who were raised by narcissistic parents. If this happened to you, then you grew up hearing your parents tell you how pride is a bad thing and how you were never going to amount to anything good. You may now feel incapable of giving yourself credit for your good traits and accomplishments.

Regain Self-Trust And Diminish Self-Doubt After Narcissistic Abuse

  1. Get into a counseling or recovery program. Many communities offer free counseling in a group setting and sometimes they even offer free one-to-one counseling for victims of domestic abuse.
  2. Tell yourself positive affirmations daily. Telling yourself what a smart, loving, beautiful, and capable person that you are while looking in the mirror should eventually reprogram your thinking and help you feel good about yourself again.
  3. Read self-help books about abuse recovery and finding the heart to trust your judgment.
  4. Go with the flow of the healing process. Don’t rush yourself or be hard on yourself when you feel doubt creeping in.
  5. Reevaluate your needs in a partner. Make a list of the absolute must-haves and no-ways and don’t settle for anything less. Ask yourself if he/she exhibits those traits.
  6. Focus on listening to your inner voice and keep it positive. This is a great time to incorporate positive affirmations.

Learning the warning signs of a narcissist is very important. Knowledge is power, so empowering yourself to see the warning signs listed above can encourage you to overcome your fear of falling victim again.

Regain your self-trust after narcissistic abuse.

Copyright © 2015 Kim Saeed. All Rights Reserved

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(16) comments

Maria August 3, 2015

Disillusioned, I understand how you would feel like that because you wanted to those things too. But consider it a blessing that you didn’t. I used to be that woman who was pregnant and he was so sweet to in public. I’m sure he’s ex girlfriend at the time felt jealous and worse thinking how lucky I must be. However, the lucky one was her. Little did I know the hell that he was about to put me through towards the end of my pregnancy and then it became worst after our son was born because that’s when I actually met the true monster and the man behind the mask. And the one who was jealous of all his ex girlfriends that were able to get away from him without a child, was me. Please don’t let him win by making you feel this way. Always remember that is all fake and not real no matter who he’s with. They are not capable of real love and you are!

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Jenny August 3, 2015

Hi again Dissilusioned

I understand how you must have felt physically sick.
But it is him who is sick!!!
I feel so sorry for this unfortunate women who is pregnant …. She has no idea of the misery and abuse which waits for her when the ‘ honeymoon’ is ôver.
Of course he hasn’t changed! He cannot . At the moment she is supplying first class attention to him… He will be on a high . Wait until that pregnancy is advanced and he starts to look at other women.
Wait until the baby arrives and he isn’t centre of her attention any more .

Pity her and the child …. She thinks she has it all now but it won’t last as you know!
Be free of them all. You are the lucky one .
Good luck
Jenny x

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Disillusioned July 31, 2015

Thank you Jenny, Maria and anonymous, i wish you all the best. I am not quite so buoyant as I hoped to be when I heard some news this evening that made me feel physically sick even though my head is supposedly in a better place (actually it is, I can see him for what he is now and that is such profess! Also can see my life is for living and with him I was putting up with misery and a lot of horrible behaviour for too long!). The new woman is apparently pregnant, I thought this might happen and when she has been coming into my space at work I did think she looked in the early stages of pregnancy but I wasn’t sure, but my instinct on that was right, and he has been seen kissing her in public (something he told me he found abhorrent before displays of public affection, more lies….) and generally acting the devoted partner. I also heard how he lied about her to secure her post at work. There are just so many lies and I just don’t want to hear them or any other stories. The fact that I physically react and feel ill when I hear the stories or see him isn’t good, even though I can say I am starting to feel happy and positive again my physical reaction dismays me a little. The rawness is clearly still under the scab. It hurts to know he seems in love, having a child, having out himself on the line professionally for her. Maybe it is love, maybe he has changed. I feel sadness for what he promised and didn’t deliver as I really wanted those things with him. Even though now I see they would not have been real and tied me to him to my cost. But it has made me very sure that moving away physically is the best solution to heal, hearing about him or seeing him just brings back feelings of sadness and hurt. My version of no contact of moving 500 miles is maybe a bit extreme but I suspect the only way for me to have peace of mind and long term happiness. The fact it is a great job is really a bonus! Who knew that the emotional scars would take so long to heal? But good days are now in my life and I will work to keeping the good and working to leave the bad experience with him in the past where it belongs.

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Jenny July 30, 2015

Hi Dissilusioned
You sound like you are in a good place now. I am 9 months out of a 7 year narc relationship. A lying, cheating, deceitful monster. He has done so much lasting damage to me and my family. No need to go into details. You will understand because you have lived it too.
Reading posts like yours give me strength to keep on.
I’m almost there I think and this week I begin counseling to try to finally still the obsessive thoughts I relive over and over again of the good times and the horrendous times I had with him.
I don’t want to think about him at all although I know this isn’t possible. They are hard to get over but I’m thankful that the love that lingered has now gone at last.
You go and be happy with your new life. Leave him behind to carry on on the same vein. Pity his new woman as I pity the new woman in my ex’s life. They don’t change.

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Disillusioned July 29, 2015

I’ve posted a few times here in the last few months as I’ve struggled to get my head round the behaviours of the man I loved and also my response. Even when I found out he cheated I still loved him, still thought he could be what I thought he was not what I found out he was. I got the job I went for 500 miles away, it has taken me a week to decide to take it, I have been filled with doubt over my abilities, something that I would never have doubted a year ago, but he chipped away at me, telling me I wasn’t good at various bits of my job, my team weren’t any good I wasn’t managing them correctly, I wasn’t a good parent, I wasn’t good at this or that, and he was always telling me these things for my own good. I had placed him on such a pedestal that his views had become so important, it was so important not to upset him, or challenge – something I just do, or did. Anyway, I got the job, I’ve debated taking it, wondering if it is the right decision, and I realised today after talking to my new boss, it absolutely is. It’s a great opportunity in its own right. It validates my abilities. And the bonus? It is away from him and his new woman, away from the threat of more false allegations, the threat of having to see him and ever have to talk to him again. I am finally realising the stuff I put up with, in fact even apologised for as if his actions were my fault was plain ridiculous. I just didn’t understand half the time what was going in – the FOG. Today I feel excited for the first time in months, confident that I can do things again. My colleagues and friends have already noticed the difference. It’s an amazing feeling to suddenly realise that all the self doubt, the self blame, the hurt and pain have been caused by my reactions to his actions. Psychological conditioning you call it here Kim. I have also missed him, missed him so much, to the point I contacted him only a few weeks ago to receive false allegations. I am happy to admit he scares me, intimidates me, frightens me. And I think he did for a long time, I just wanted to believe the lovely kind man he showed me was real. That the care was genuine, the only care that was genuine was mine for him. I am starting to laugh at the stories I believed. The lies. They are ridiculous and I am stopping blaming myself for being taken in. Life was good before this man. I believe it will be again and I am now on a true path forward. Being with him has been the worst experience of my life, but I have learnt a lot from the mistakes I made in believing him and allowing myself to be duped and mistreated. Thank you for this post and the many others, it has kept me sane at a time when I have been so confused and helped me through my need to understand what happened to me. I don’t know if this is the end, he may well still try to do me harm at work as he threatened before. But I have an exit strategy, one that is positive for me. I feel a bubble of happiness and positivity inside me again. Thank you to everyone who has shared their stories and responded with compassion to my posts. Getting over this kind of experience is hard. Harder than I would have believed if I had not experienced it myself. I don’t know if I am completely there, but I now feel I am on the journey back to being me, or me with the wisdom of lessons learnt to help guide me forward. Good luck to anyone who has felt the emotional pain and distress of being involved with individuals who I now believe are mentally sick in some way. Be strong! Getting over the complete disbelief and hurt is not quick or easy, but I am starting to see, it is possible.

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    Anonymous July 29, 2015

    I wish you so much happiness and courage to move on with your new life!
    I have been married and divorced and still with the same man for 49 years of abuse and tonight once again alone while he is out with his so called friend. A women he went with in High School in 1963, he is a lier and a cheater
    He has border line personality and very narcissistic! I wished I had left him years ago to stop the suffering I feel inside my heart. So go girl and don’t ever look back, your on your way to a new beginning and wonderful life. One I wish I had!!

    Reply
    Maria July 30, 2015

    Wow, your comment and story couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I am also out of the fog and it has only been 3 months since I finally ended it with my narc and left him after years of cheating, lying, and psychological abuse. We share a child, so I have not been able to go completely no contact on him. However, similar to your story, I’ve also been blessed with a great opportunity in another state, which will allow me to finally be free from him and give my son a happy stable environment. Of course the narc has been fighting me tooth and nail to try to stop me from leaving. All of a sudden, he now has a connection with our soon (which he never did before or cared to spend time with him even when we lived together) and has been trying to give me the guilt game of how I am taking son’s father away from him and how am I damaging our son. He has been hoovering and trying to convince how much he regrets his actions and wants me back in his life starting “fresh”. I swear he is so good at acting and crying with tears as if they are real. There is no way in hell that I would ever go back to that and I know that leaving will not only help me, but is my way of also protecting my 18 month old son from future abuse from him. I am way stronger now and I am just counting the days to finally be away from him. It took many days of crying and suffering and pain and eventually a lot of strength to crawl my way out of the hell that I was living in with him. I feel like I finally have a chance at being happy again.

    Reply
Anonymous July 29, 2015

Hi after 25 years with an abuser with narcissist traits things have ended badly with me being attacked and dragged along the road after challenging him on his behaviour,the police are involved and i am such a mess,im full of self doubt anger and hatred and truely believe i will never find clarity ,peace of mind or ever be happy inside again..he had done a good job on me and the phycological damage he as done to me is so profound,the police say he is a phycopath but i didnt realise that it wzs abuse ,i thought i deserved to be hit ,bullied brainwashed and treated like a slave because i was neglected in childhood and was very insecure…but this man as done more damage to me which i feel can never be undone..im praying for a conviction so he never does this to me again..he has been hurting me for 25 long years and my low self esteem has been on the floor, how can i regain my strength and self esteem back ..i am so depressed…he made me think that he was the only one who cared about me turns out he didnt love me at all but just controlled bullied and projected a lot of horrible stuff onto me…im currently reading up on phycopaths and narcissist men..its all there in black and white what he is the real him…my anger is focased on him and i cant get him out of my soul he is like a poison running through my veins..i bore 2 beautiful children to him who are now grown women but he still continues to consume my thoughts everyday..its been 4 weeks since no contact and the police have set bail conditions till he returns to the police station to find out his fate

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Ann July 29, 2015

I love reading the articles Kim writes, it keeps me grounded and keeps me centered and I can remind myself I am not crazy. What is the best way to deal with a
Narcissist when they have obtained primary custody? How do you deal with them and their equally as narcissistic partner?

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    Kim Saeed August 4, 2015

    Thank you for your kind praise, Ann. I would say the best approach would be to follow the court order regarding the details of your custody situation; document anything you find to be odd (including anything your child may tell you about goings-on at your Ex’s); and keep in mind that you can always apply for a modification of the custody arrangement according to the best interest of your child.

    Lastly, if your child starts showing any signs of emotional trauma under the care of your Ex, petition the court to have your child evaluated by a mental health professional.

    Reply
Melissa Blue July 29, 2015

Thank you thank you thank you!! I so needed this read now. I’m two weeks into singlehood after two years in the twilight zone and desperately need something to focus on to get my life and strength back. I feel emotionally beat up, foggy and half crazy. Bless you for this article.

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    Kim Saeed July 29, 2015

    Thank you, Melissa Blue. I’m so glad to know it has given you some inspiration and validation <3

    Reply
Godsmanforever July 29, 2015

Kim, I totally understand that this is not a blog to discuss God… But I am led to share what the Lord has placed on my heart…

You say this…”Tell yourself positive affirmations daily. Telling yourself what a smart, loving, beautiful, and capable person that you are while looking in the mirror”

God tells us this in His inerrant Word, the Bible…

James 1:22-25… But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

You say…”finding the heart to trust your judgment.” God tells us to fill our hearts with the love of Christ, and we will have no fear…

1 John 4:18… There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (NKJV)

You say…”Read self-help books about abuse recovery”… And I say any help we need, can best be found in God’s Word, not man’s word…

The wisest man to ever live (Solomon), gives us this advice, in…

Proverbs 3:5-6… Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (NKJV)

I don’t expect U to post this…but if U do, I pray UR readers will think about what I know will change hearts for an eternity !!

Blessings in Christ, bruce

Reply
kimberlyharding July 29, 2015

Needed this strength today. thank you!

Reply
    Kim Saeed July 29, 2015

    You’re welcome, Kimberly! So good to see you here 🙂

    Reply
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