The Danger of Negative Expectations in Your Recovery from Narcissistic Abuse

By Kim Saeed | Energy Healing

Oct 08
the danger of negative expectations

Many of us have heard of the placebo effect, which asserts that the subconscious mind is so powerful, your thoughts have the ability to manifest healing.

There have been numerous studies published proving the amazing power of your mind in recovery. In one such study designed to determine if the beneficial effects still exist when a patient is aware they’re receiving a placebo, nearly 60 percent of the patients given a placebo pill reported satisfactory relief from the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), compared to only 35 percent of those who did not receive any treatment.

Even more astonishing, those who took the placebo reported progress that was effectively equal to that reported from people taking the strongest IBS medications![1]

Placebos generally have far fewer side effects (if they have any at all) than prescription drugs, injections or actual surgeries – and they often work just as well as the standard of care. In fact, placebos work about 18-80% of the time, and not just in your head – they can actually dilate bronchial tubes, heal ulcers, make warts disappear, drop your blood pressure, and even make bald men who think they’re getting Rogaine grow hair![2]

The Nocebo Effect in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Unfortunately, the placebo effect has a doppelganger called the nocebo effect (“I will harm” in Latin), and its power is bringing about negative outcomes because of one’s belief in them. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy in which being informed of a pill or procedure’s potential side effects can actually provoke adverse reactions.

So what does all of this mean in the world of narcissistic abuse recovery?

It means the longer you research narcissism (past a reasonable limit) and hang out on the wrong narcissistic abuse “recovery” forums, the longer it could take you to heal, both psychologically and physically.

Some people never heal.

One sad example of the nocebo effect is evident via a comment left on my blog recently. A lady had been on one of the “recovery” forums and was told it takes ten years to process having been in love with a narcissist (with its devastating betrayals) and another ten years to heal.

So, according to the advice this woman received, she was ready to believe that she wouldn’t heal for approximately twenty years.

And that’s the danger of following the wrong abuse recovery forums and pages. A true recovery forum will focus less on narcissism and more on how to heal from the effects of it. A true recovery forum will help its followers transition out of the dark place of devastation into a place of empowerment and healing.

If a blog or recovery forum you follow is publishing the hundredth post about gas lighting, it may not be the right forum for you if you truly want to heal. If a site you visit consistently complements their narcissism posts with psychologically damaging visuals, you’ll want to think twice about what their true motives are.

What this means for you

The effects of narcissistic abuse are very real. I see evidence of it every day and experienced narcissistic abuse syndrome myself. But, when it comes to healing from it, there should be an organic transition from learning about the tactics of the narcissist to how to heal from those tactics.

If you suspect you have a medical condition, you might go to a web site such as WebMD and type in your symptoms. The natural progression would be “what to do” in order to heal the condition. You wouldn’t focus for years on looking up the symptoms. You would make an appointment with a doctor and do what you needed to do in order to get better. You might change your diet, commit to get more rest, or create more balance in your life.

The same goes for healing from narcissistic abuse.

Simply put, the longer you focus on narcissistic abuse and its devastating consequences, the longer the nocebo effect will take a toll on your health, livelihood, and mortality. There is simply no benefit in continuing to research narcissism five to ten years after the experience with a narcissist unless you are studying to be a licensed therapist, social worker, or other such healer.

In the event that you want to make sure you never attract another narcissist into your life, there are only two things you need, neither of which have to do with a narcissist.

Of course, if you are just learning that someone in your life could be a narcissist, you’ll want to educate yourself about their behaviors and what to expect. But, I would recommend limiting such research to six months or so – much like an academic subject in college. Then, you’ll want to graduate to the area of healing yourself.

Choosing habits that heal

The thing to remember is that in every moment we are alive, we have the power to choose. If you’re feeling powerless in the aftermath of narcissistic abuse, the empowering alternative is to learn ways to bring yourself out of the ashes of devastation. Focus on how to love yourself, how to create healthy boundaries, and the power of energy healing.

The wounds that we need to repair in order to heal and grow from the experience of narcissistic abuse lie on the subconscious level. If you are feeding your psyche more and more material revolving around misery and defeat, then it will do little more than keep you in that disempowering place. Instead, hang out with people that are choosing healing habits. Follow forums that encourage you to move forward, not ones that keep you in a place of powerlessness and resignation.

Your mind can help you heal from the effects of narcissistic abuse. You just need to nourish it with healing information and practices.

Copyright 2016. Kim Saeed and Let Me Reach

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[1] PLoS ONE December 22, 2010

[2] Psychology Today August 6, 2013

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About the Author

Kim Saeed is a narcissistic abuse recovery expert on a mission to help abuse survivors to heal, find purpose, and live joyfully after No Contact. She also hosts a podcast called Heal, Grow, Evolve, where she aims to help people create meaningful lives and relationships after emotional abuse. Listen and subscribe at www.healgrowevolvewithkim.com

Leave a Comment:

(27) comments

Nicole L Shetrone August 9, 2017

I too am in severe pain & was left literally with no money & no where to go. I am finding that in being upset with always believing & defending him in his lies & selfish manipulation, I have a part to play. Whether blinded or lied to I now am left with alot of anger not only towards him for not being an honest man, but at myself for falling for it! I have to remind myself who I was before I met him 15 years ago. I was confident raising 2 children on my own & self supporting. To get back to that woman I chose to leave, is the best form of breaking free of all my worries, rejection pain & insecurities I’ve come to know all to well. And to break free of what & who he tried to create in his narcissism to feed his sickness. I want him to see he can’t get the best if me, but more importantly that through all this that I am stronger for it & will continue to be the woman I once was. . . but BETTER! So show him you are better because you ARE!

Reply
Jennifer November 11, 2016

The Sunday morning prior, I filmed myself crying so that I would have something to look at when he came back, again, to remind myself, how much pain I was in due to the gas lighting from the Saturday night events, when he allowed me to finially see his daughter after a month of punishment. I was fired from my job Monday. I am and have been suffering from the punishment, discard, lies, you name it. I nearly took my own life, better said, I have thought about taking my own life more in the past 5 months then ever. We were supposed to have dinner yesterday, ( I forget that its almost 5am and I’v yet to go to sleep ) and he became infuriated when talking about me being on time, I was 1 minute late last Saturday. I told him I would not be coming, that I wasn’t going to punch a timecard. I’ve gone from a size 29, to a 25….I can’t eat, sleep and I’m depressed. I have no job, and have been in my home I just purchased after raising my two girls alone less than a year. It’s been almost 8 years of sheer insanity. This last one, has nearly killed me and cost me my job. I need help, desperately. Thank you for the tips on not hovering, staying away from too much information and research. Really makes alot of sense. Thank you.

Reply
    Anonymous July 14, 2017

    I’m so sorry to hear how much pain your in.. I’m also in so much pain. We can do this we can get through this. Your stronge and God sees you!! May God restore your job and give you want you need and want!!

    Reply
Rebecca October 11, 2016

Thank you Kim! You give me inspiration to move on with my life….and to truly heal and find my happiness. Thank you!
Rebecca

Reply
    Kim Saeed October 12, 2016

    Hi Rebecca! Thank you for stopping by and for commenting. I wish you nothing but the very best in your healing journey. It’s great to have you as part of the Let Me Reach tribe 🙂

    Kim
    XoXo

    Reply
      shakti October 12, 2016

      Hi Kim,

      Yesterday, because of some legals documents I answered to my ex text and broke the no contact after 6 month. Even do , every month he finds the way to text me about some papers work that need my response. Incredible that this week I was feeling better than ever, thought that I was begginning to heal , after one year and a half of devastading breakup (2nd breakup) relationship of 10 years.
      Yesterday searching in the internet about why ex wants to return , I found your website and I’m very thankful for all your articles, for the clarity you speak , for all the free information you give. I had read and wacht videos last year about narcissist and they did help me to understand that this was a real thing, I didnt know this could exist. Never thought this could be happening to me. Still I’m having doubt .I want to heal, I want to stay away from this false , fake love , that seems such a perfect man , a gentleman, my coach, my friend , that I still dont believe he has acted with consciousness. I have read some of the comments and some people said that it takes years to overcome. Please help me. Any advice will be appreciated.
      Thank you

      Reply
        Kim Saeed October 15, 2016

        Hi Shakti,

        It does take a while to heal, but it doesn’t have to take years. It depends on how committed someone is to healing their wounded inner self.

        There is no quick answer that will “magic away” the pain. The best course of action is to first leave the narcissist for good, because any amount of interaction is damaging. Then, set about the journey of healing. I do offer personalized mentoring if you’re interested. Here is a link for your review: https://letmereach.com/heal-life-coaching-mentoring-options/

        The best advice I can give is that doing nothing will definitely guarantee that it will take years, which is why some people never heal. Specifically, you’ll want to seek a qualified therapist and aside from that, work with someone who is educated in the dynamics of narcissistic abuse, as well as experiment with different forms of energy healing.

        Hope that helps!

        Kim

        Reply
TK October 10, 2016

Hi Kim,
Your articles have helped so much with my recovery. I finally managed to stop the hoovering by going to his First Shirt(Military). I’m totally over all the pain; however, I can’t stop the thoughts of all the lies, where he is (lives 3miles from me) or who he’s inflicting pain on. I don’t want him to inflict this pain on anyone further! I feel so bad for anyone that gets involved with him. How do I stop the continuous thoughts and
stop caring about his new victims?

Reply
    Kim Saeed October 12, 2016

    Hi TK, I’m glad to know you found a way to stop the hoovering. Regarding stopping the obsessive thoughts about his lies, it might help to journal all of them and then hold a release ceremony for yourself where you either burn them or find another way to destroy them. This would be to release the hold his lies have over your life which really have nothing to do with you as a person, but because of who he is.

    Regarding his living close to you, it’s best not to obsess about it. Just make sure you have your boundaries in place, that he’s completely blocked, and that you have a back-up plan in regards to what you’ll do should he show up “by coincidence”. Getting it all out on paper will help you get the intrusive thoughts out of your head and will also be there in the event you need to refer to your notes at a later time.

    As far as his new victims go, remember that they have their own journey to make. If you were to somehow prevent his new victims from forming a relationship with him, they would only be presented with another narcissist or manipulator at some other point, because these events happen to us to help us learn to take up for ourselves, implement healthy boundaries in our lives, and get to the core of the limiting self-beliefs and shame we carry inside.

    If you are interested in helping narcissistic abuse victims, I am going to launch some trainings in the near future. You can get signed up here if you’d like 🙂

    Kim
    XOXO

    Reply
      TK October 12, 2016

      Thank you Kim for your response! I have signed up to help narcissistic abuse victims and very much looking forward to it!

      Reply
      Smlk October 28, 2016

      Kim, it is so nice that u will
      Be holding training sessions for those who d like to help other narcs victims. Oh how I wish I could sign for it. But I feel I can’t take anyone’s pain ! I am too weak to hear others who have suffered from such characters ! Yes I read many other victims stories , and it helps me know I am not alone and I am not the cukoo one! Just wish I had that strength to listen and help others. Seriously this relationship with narc had changed me forever. Although I am a happier person than what I was when I met him , I am not the same person I was before I met him ! Although I have taken my power back ,I feel so differnt. I just can’t belive how one human being ,a narc , can do this to his victim !

      Reply
Rosie October 10, 2016

The advice to stop researching narcissist abuse has helped me so much! I was obsessed with reading all I could about it, and now that this is the only forum I follow the difference in how I feel is remarkable, Just three weeks ago I left a comment on another topic about how seeing the ex on facebook with his new woman upset me so much, since then I have blocked him from everything, I have not looked, and that has been another big breakthrough. Yeah, I’m alone now, and it’s a little scary, but along with that aloneness come a freedom. Freedom from being hurt by someone who never cared about me, freedom to do what I please, when I please, and how I please. Sometimes now a feeling of happiness washes over me like a slow wave, and I am hopeful, calm, and oh so happy that it’s over and I never have to deal with the person who hurt me so badly again. And that’s how I know I am beginning to heal, after 10 months of pain. How I wish I had known all this earlier! So everybody going through this, keep your chin up. follow the excellent advice on this forum, and believe in the knowledge that it will get better! Love to everybody, and good luck.

Reply
Candyce October 9, 2016

Moving on…I am doing this. His words come back to haunt me sometimes. He told me I would regret leaving him for the rest of my life and that it was going to hurt me to see him around town with another woman. I don’t regret leaving him..He clearly is emotionally abusive. It’s hard when you do not have some one in your life yet and no one seems to work out. I can’t tell if it’s because I haven’t met someone or if I’m just scared to get hurt again. Either way I remind myself that some people are better left in your heart and not in your life. Thanks for always telling the truth. I look forward to reading them and improving my life daily.

Reply
    Kim Saeed October 12, 2016

    Thank you for commenting, Candyce. You know, my Ex said the same thing to me…verbatim. Much to his chagrin, his former conditioning of my psyche is now gone and I feel nothing but sympathy for his new wife…I am not hurt by his moving on in the least. In fact, had it not been for my own experiences with narcissistic abuse (as devastating as they were), I wouldn’t be advocating for other victims.

    It’s truly best that you are alone now, though I fully understand it doesn’t feel that way at all. Use this alone time to heal from the trauma, write out your list of non-negotiables in your future relationship(s), and envision what you’d like your life to be like by this time next year…then start doing what you can to make it a reality.

    Once you incorporate healing habits into your life, you will open up space for the right person to come along – and you’ll also be equipped to detach from anyone who shows signs of narcissism. Make sure you are at a place where you can willfully walk away from anyone who mistreats you before you get involved.

    Wishing you all the very best!

    Kim
    XOXO

    Reply
      Smlk October 28, 2016

      Excellent advice. Shall remember this

      Reply
Ksg October 8, 2016

There’s a guy on a Facebook page who wrote a book and spends his life making memes that keep people in victimhood. Once I pointed out to him that he is codependent and he disagreed. Later he made more obviously codependent posts and I made light of them – and he blocked me from his page.

Be careful who you follow on Facebook – some people think they’re helping others to heal but they’re only keeping them in pain – for their own unconscious reasons. I’m sure he means well, but he has no self-insight to why he needs to make these memes and the contents he includes within.

I love the book ‘The Language of Letting Go’ by Melody Beattie and recommend it as your partner for day to day healing. Let it guide you every day.

Reply
    Kim Saeed October 9, 2016

    Ksg,

    Thank you for your lovely comment. I hope others see it.

    I believe I may know to whom you’re referring in regards to the Facebook page. And yes…the truth of the matter is that people who have discovered their partner is a narcissist often get stuck in the discovery and denial phase, and that’s why many blogs and forums never move past that phase – because it means more traffic, unfortunately. I have noticed a sharp drop in my own traffic because I don’t write about narcissists that much anymore, but about healing. That actually makes me happy because people need somewhere to go when they’re ready to heal…and this site will be here waiting for them. There are many others, as well.

    At any rate, I also love “The Language of Letting Go”. It’s here on my bookshelf 🙂

    Thanks again for your input!

    Kim

    Reply
Erin October 8, 2016

I have two very “loyal ” abusers .. they buthe won’t leave me alone .. I have one OFP on one and the other I’m married to . Thank god I don’t live with either . Or I honestly think I would have died from the stress .. I’m trying nicely to do the no canotwct ., for years .. my health and looks have site taken a down ward turn . I’ve tried it all ! Nothing seems to work ., I would re locate but I have family here .. 3 teenagers and a good job.

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Belle October 8, 2016

Thank you, Kim! I’ve made it, barely at times, two years after a sudden and shocking departure of my husband. This experience has left me with so much pain and reading your blog has truly saved my sanity. I am at the point that I know all I need to about narcissism and I have got to focus on letting go of what happened and the pain. The deep depression of staying connected to it is a miserable life. Thank you for the reminder that we need to focus on healing once we comprehend what narcissism is and realize narcissist can never change.

Reply
    Kim Saeed October 12, 2016

    Hi Belle! Thank you for sharing your experience and I’m sorry for your struggles. Stick around because I am bringing in a wonderful colleague in my business who can help with releasing emotional trauma and self-defeating patterns. In the meantime, I hope you’ve been able to check out my “Beginner’s Healing Toolkit”. It’s free, and you can sign up here if you’d like.

    Hugs,

    Kim

    Reply
bjacob131 October 8, 2016

I’m glad that you didn’t deny ego abuse as many women, yes women, who are life coaches etc are apparently being trained this way! I agree that learning to recognize ego narcissistic abuse, is empowering and will help keep you from getting controlled by it in the future. Healing takes time and is individual, however a brief NLP type exchange, hypnotics, is not going to do anything more than cover up and impead true healing strength in my opinion.

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Irene October 8, 2016

Thanks for this post, Kim. I’ve found that when I’m lost in the “it’s so awful, I’ll never recover” that making my gratitude list (called “Why I am grateful anyway”) helps to get out of my own self-abusive attitude and focus on the blessings that have come to me in spite of whatever happened before (his behavior or mine).

Reply
    Kim Saeed October 8, 2016

    Lovely insight, Irene. Thank you for commenting.

    Hugs,

    Kim

    Reply
Victor E October 8, 2016

Hi Kim,

Awesome article! I have seen this truth in my life. We need to learn to move on and have faith that we can continue to grow!

Blessings,

Victor

Reply
    Kim Saeed October 8, 2016

    Thank you for your kind praise, Victor! Wishing you continued success in your recovery!

    Hugs,

    Kim

    Reply
Mandy Carroll October 8, 2016

Thank you Kim for these posts. Most appreciated

Reply
    Kim Saeed October 12, 2016

    Thank you for commenting, Mandy. It’s wonderful to have you as part of the Let Me Reach tribe.

    Hugs,

    Kim
    XoXo

    Reply
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