Understanding ourselves seems an easy enough task.. right? I mean we live with ourselves 24/7… right? So how come we have such misunderstanding when it comes down to us.
If you ask yourself, who are you? What are your core values? What are your answers? Are you in touch with your inner self? What motivates you every morning, are you living your best life?
Having gone through narcissistic abuse, where your identity, soul and self are torn apart how do we begin to get in touch with ourselves after something like that? Well thats what this blog is all about this week.
CONTENTS 1. Understanding the language we use to talk to ourselves 2. How narcissistic abuse affects our self-esteem 3. Internal battle 4. The self as a construct 5. How to understand the self
1. Understanding the language we use to talk to ourselves.
Thanks to the popularity of NLP (neurolinguistic programming), most of us know that when we think positively, our words and lives begin to reflect those thoughts. Whether or not we believe we’re beautiful, powerful or full of energy, studies have shown that our confidence and alertness begin to increase simply by telling ourselves that we are.
Language is the hallmark of humanity—it allows us to form deep relationships and complex societies. But we also use it when we’re all alone; it shapes even our silent relationships with ourselves. So, when we talk to ourselves especially after narcissistic abuse we will most likely emoji what the narcissist has said about us. WHY? Because this person that we have been so open, trusting and vulnerable with have used these qualities against us. So, we need up believing what they say about and to us. This forms negative self constructs.
But it does maintain many of the characteristics of dialogue. We may imagine an exchange with someone else, or we may just talk to ourselves. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a conversation. Our minds contain many different perspectives, and they can argue or confer or talk over each other.
Think about it: how do you speak about yourself… now? I’m too fat, my bum looks big, Im so ugly, no-one will fancy me etc etc…
How do these comments make you feel? What emotions come up? How do you behave as a result?
“If you watch a small child playing with her toys, you'll probably see her talking to herself.”
We can look at individual differences between people and how much they seem to use inner speech and how that relates to their cognitive profile. We can look to see if you block the language system through giving people a secondary task like repeating a word over and over, does that affect the primary thing that you're interested in? You can ask people, you can give them questionnaires, you can use different methods of experience sampling, and with new techniques, you can start to look at what’s going on in the brain when people seem to be doing inner speech.
Although the inner speech in our heads comes from that social language initially, and then this out loud private speech, when it goes underground, it can come back out again.
So, next time you say something to yourself I want you to be more aware of the language you chose to speak - remember this has a vibrational frequency - what you say you attract back to yourself … like a mirror. Think about the meaning fo those words, are they positive or negative?
2. How narcissistic abuse effects our self-esteem
With most forms of emotional abuse, the victim is left feeling powerless, worthless, and broken inside. These wounds don't leave visible scars, although they're just as painful as any physical injury.
The truth lives in our body and behaviours, and the truth will keep manifesting in increasingly strange ways until we find our way home.
Here are five signs that suggest you might still be suffering from the lingering effects of emotional abuse:
You isolate yourself, becoming more an observer of the world than a participant. Everything feels blocked. You don't feel bad — but you don't feel good either. You don't feel much of anything at all. Even when you know you should be happy, it's like there's a tight guard around your heart at all times, preventing anything from going in or out.
b) Seeking approval
This one can be really sneaky because it manifests in ways that are socially acceptable: people-pleasing, excessive accomplishing, being "nice" to everyone, and hyper-focusing on your appearance. The underlying current of approval-seeking behaviour is that you are somehow "not enough" without it. This was a lie put into your heart, and it needs to be banished forever. Our worth as human beings is not dependent on any of those things.
If you slow down and pause these behaviours, you're likely to feel a great deal of shame, inadequacy, and even jealousy. Your first instinct may be to run back to your vices, but I encourage you to sit with these feelings (and seek out professional counselling, if needed) until you really understand how much you are truly suffering. Only then can we begin to regard ourselves with compassion and discover that healthy love does not need to be earned.
This can build up over time, common signs include irritability, blame, blood pressure changes, heart tightness, frustration, and impatience. Resentment's key word is "should." (This bad thing shouldn't have happened. People should have behaved a different way.) Essentially, we are living in a constant state of resistance to reality.
Most psychological or spiritual paths will outline the reasons resentment is toxic, but releasing it is not quite so simple. We need to be kind to ourselves and not feel any sort of shame for carrying this resentment. All we need is the simple intention to release it, and it will begin to happen. I personally have found forgiveness (and self-forgiveness) to be very effective, but there are many other paths. Once we stop focusing on the "bad other," we finally have time to tend to the wounds in our heart.
d) Judging and analysing
This is a personality shift that happens slowly. You hear nice words coming out of your mouth, but your thoughts are somewhere else entirely. You find yourself obsessively analysing everything others do, to the point that it becomes difficult to trust anyone. You hyper-focus on behaviours, holding others (and yourself) to very high standards.
Once again, the key here is self-compassion. You need to be kind to yourself and understand that these are all protective mechanisms — a fear of not being in control. Judging ourselves for being judgmental is an infinite loop that can only be broken by love. You did not ask for this. You did the best you could with an impossible situation, and the more you can rest in this truth, the softer your heart will become.
e) Anxiety and depression
Insomnia, appetite changes, constant fear, a sense of doom, and hopelessness: self-destruct mode. This is your body saying "no more." Your patchwork — the above four solutions — aren't working anymore, and your body is going to torture your mind until you surrender to the only permanent solution: love.
3. Internal Battle
Instead of searching your memories, try feeling your feelings. The simple truth that you are a real, suffering human being can break open even the tightest heart and bring you to a place of self-compassion that you've never felt before — perhaps a new reality where you are as kind to yourself as you've always been to others.
After emotional abuse, there are so many lies obstructing the heart: not enough, inadequate, worthless, bad, broken, replaceable, unlovable, my fault. The good news is you can heal this stuff. The bad news is there's no quick fix — just a lot of patience, hard work, and dedication. It may take months or years of practice, but finding love for yourself is a permanent solution. In this journey, we leave behind the splitting of "old cheerful self" and "new abused self" in favour of a whole self who is loved and accepted completely.
4. The self as a construct
What is the self?
There are many books and blogs and research articles trying to find this concept out. I know from various psychology lectures that Ive gone to over the years that philosophers and theorists have for decades tried to get to the bottom of this conundrum.
But what I do know is that the self consist of mind, body and a soul, and its these three things that connect us as a being in the world.
What does it mean to ‘be’ in the world?
Each and every one of us will have a different idea about this - well the narcissist in you life did and it was very different to your interpretation of this question.. right? so what does it mean for you to be here right now in this stage in your life?
We have to embody our experiences of ourselves and make meaning of them. That is how we construct the self. This book: ‘The Power Of Meaning” Emily Esfahani Smith talks about just this. This timely and important book argues that the search form meaning deepens our lives and our pursuit fo personal happiness.
Especially if you have gone through something like narcissistic abuse you will mean too question what life means and why you’ve had such an experience in your life… why you? You may start to question your past and your upbringing. But is it just those experiences alone that will answer why the narcissist was present in your life? I don’t know, but Ive often wondered this myself in my search for meaning in my life.
There are many constructs that contribute to our meaning of self and our life: such as
culture and meaning
All of these elements will contribute to what the self means to you and how you present that in the world around you. So, it goes to say that whatever personal projection you hold about yourself, this will almost certainly be mirrored in your external world. Much like the narcissist when they project their own insecurities and delusions onto you. This projection will cloud your own identity and self-construct so you begin to embody what the narcissist has said to you and about you. BUT, if you unpick this and really read between the lines pf what they are saying this is all projection on their part because most probably none it is actually true.
So, I ask again, what does it mean for you to be in the world? In this time and place? What do you know about yourself? What would you like to know?
5. How to understand the self
In order to understand yourself you have to be connected you to yourself. You have to fully transcend and get to know you. Getting in touch with your core values and your beliefs. Ultimately this comes from having a stable sense of self and this is something that requires working on you, having self compassion and positive self regard. Allowing time and space for you to work through things emotionally and cognitively. With this comes an inner understanding and a self-knowledge - you begin to develop confidence because you know yourself.
Emotionally you’ll become stronger and this develops your personal boundaries. Having inner strength is all about confidence and there is nothing sexier than confidence. You’ll also see how positively your life will change and what wonderful things you’ll attract into your life. What you need to give yourself is TIME.
What does your representation of you mean to you? What do you project to the outside world? How do you find yourself 'being' in the world? What are your goals and dreams?
These concepts were discussed this live session, you can view it here: