How to outsmart a narcissist once and for all!

Outsmarting the narcissist is important for your sanity and so you can feel in control of your life. Narcissists are experts at controlling your life with different manipulation tactics and they are very skilled at turning empaths into codependents.

This video will help those of you who deal with a covert narcissist, to feel empowered and strong again. The ‘deflect’ technique that I talk about in this video is especially good when dealing with a covert narcissist however isn’t advisable when dealing with a physically abusive narcissist.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

How to heal from childhood abuse

A lot of my followers on this blog and also subscribers from my youtube channel keep coming to me with the same question ‘How do I heal from childhood abuse?’.

Although this is something I have already addressed previously, I have decided to actually explore this in as much detail as I possibly can.

I will address this with reference to my own recovery journey and also by looking at research done by psychologists, psychotherapists and trauma specialists such as Pete Walker, Wilhelm Reich, Dr Bessel Van Der Kolk and many more.

Healing from childhood abuse isn’t a simple process. It takes a huge amount of courage, inner strength & resilience. It requires a willingness to become more self-aware of our own dysfunctional coping mechanisms, that we may have learnt from our primary caregivers.

If our parents were high on the narcissism spectrum, we will have endured years of all or some of the following:

  • neglect
  • hypercriticism
  • parentifying
  • infantilising
  • pathological envy
  • blaming
  • patronising
  • mood swings
  • pathological lying
  • aggression or passive aggression
  • gaslighting
  • controlling behaviour
  • emotional blackmail
  • scapegoating
  • silent treatment
  • shaming
  • invalidation
  • isolation
  • intimidation
  • verbal abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • physical abuse
  • engulfment

Living in a household with abuse, causes the child to develop Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Complex post traumatic stress disorder is a more severe form of PTSD and has the following 5 features:

  1. Toxic shame
  2. Self-abandonment
  3. Emotional flashbacks
  4. A extremely harsh inner critic
  5. Social anxiety

Emotional flashbacks are the most characteristic part of CPTSD. They are sudden and sometimes prolonged age regressions to the overwhelming feelings of being abused or neglected as a child. Emotional flashbacks don’t have a visual component. These flashbacks do however include an overwhelming feeling of fear, shame, alienation, abandonment, depression and emotional pain. They can range in intensity from subtle to unbearable.

Toxic shame is the when an individual has an overwhelming feeling that they are flawed, loathsome or stupid. It completely destroys a person’s self-esteem and causes the person to abandon themselves emotionally. This creates a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness.

The inner critic is the internalised punishing voice of our abusive parent. If we had a parent who was a bully and constantly called us names such stupid, pathetic, too sensitive, ugly etc, then we will have this voice within us, even if our abusive parent isn’t in our life anymore. It will be a habitual inner bully that punishes us instead of supports us.

Other symptoms of CPTSD are:

  • Feelings of loneliness and abandonment
  • Fragile self-esteem
  • Attachment disorder
  • Developmental Arrests
  • Relationship difficulties ( Fear of forming relationships or forming relationships that are too dysfunctional)
  • Hyper-arousal / extreme flight/fight response
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Oversensitivity to stress
  • Dissociation
  • Exhaustion
  • Body armouring  (which involves tensing of muscle tissue whenever stress or emotion is experienced. To protect itself, the body takes a defensive, tight, and stiff stance. On a tissue level it enters into a muscular holding pattern that resists change and release. Unexpressed emotions such as anger, fear, and grief are common causes of this phenomenon. This was first described by psychologist Wilhelm Reich).
  • Impulsivity
  • Inappropriate anger

 

The stages of recovering

To recover from abuse and trauma, we must first educate ourselves on a cognitive level. We must understand that we most likely suffer with CPTSD and that it isn’t our fault that we are suffering. We have to put the blame where it belongs – to our abusive primary caregivers.

Secondly we must find a qualified therapist/specialist coach that will help us with the very difficult task of shrinking the inner critic. The inner critic can be a very difficult part of recovery to tackle, as the negativity from this critic has become automatic over our lifetime. It may take a long time to stop the inner critic from affecting us. Constant awareness of when the critic is present will help us stop him in his tracks and try and replace the negative criticisms with positive affirmations and self-compassion.

The next step in recovery is verbal ventilation and the very painful process of grieving our childhood losses. Verbal ventilation is when we speak in a way that releases our painful emotions with a safe person. Grieving our childhood losses means that we actually allow ourselves to cry, be angry and really feel the deep pain of not having had healthy parents. Grieving can take a long time and can sometimes last for a couple of years. In grieving, it is important for us to also grieve our loss of self-esteem and safety.

Once we have successfully grieved, we then must deal with the feelings of abandonment via somatic healing and via learning how to become self-compassionate in moments of depression or anxiety.

Lastly, we will need help with dissecting all our defences, especially those that no longer serve us. We may have picked up defences and behaviours from our abusive parents that are dysfunctional and we will now need support in stopping these defences and practicing more healthy ways of coping.

A very important part of recovery is to learn how to be patient with our progress, as sometimes it isn’t straightforward. Recovery is a journey and self compassion is crucial.

A great mantra according to Pete Walker, is

‘Progress not perfection’

Expecting perfection in recovery isn’t going to help us move forward..

Progress however is key!

Thanks for reading!

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Happy New Year!

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Narcissists can give you fleas

What does it mean when narcissists give you the fleas?

Fleas comes from the adage “He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas”, which has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin.  According to Wikipedia, the quote has an almost universally agreed meaning of “You should be cautious of the company you keep. Associating with those of low reputation may not only lower your own but also lead you astray by the faulty assumptions, premises and data of the unscrupulous”

When a victim has the fleas, it means that they have picked up behaviours of the narcissist. This is mainly because they have been exposed to the narcissist’s behaviours for a prolonged period of time and have ended up feeling helpless and hopeless.

The victim will look for ways to escape and sometimes will resort to behaviours which are not characteristic but serve as a way to demonstrate their anger and alleviate the powerlessness they have been feeling.

The good thing is, that victims that use narcissistic behaviours against their abusers, quickly back down and feel ashamed and remorseful. This shows that they don’t need to be afraid of turning into a narcissist themselves.

Some examples of getting fleas can be when a victim shows passive aggressive behaviours when feeling cornered or triggered by someone close to them.

They could also at times become aggressive towards a narcissistic partner or parent.

Lastly, they may even shout at their parent or partner and even end up calling them names.

These are just maladaptive behaviours that can be changed by being self-reflective and by asking a therapist for support. Victims of narcissistic abuse live with C-PTSD so they will not always be able to cope in a healthy way. They just need the right guidance to makes changes by turning unhealthy coping mechanisms into healthy ones.

Thanks for reading!

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

10000 Subscribers on Youtube!

10000 subscribers

I just wanted to write a quick post today about how grateful I am to have reached 10,000 subscribers on my youtube channel.This is a milestone I never thought I would ever reach! My videos are most definitely not perfect or perfectly edited, yet the information I have been trying to get across is being reached!I am so glad the content I have been uploading has been helping so many people all over the world! Narcissistic/Sociopathic abuse is an epidemic and spreading awareness has been so important to me! This sort of abuse has been happening for far longer than any of us could imagine yet it has only been talked about in detail, in more recent years.

My video ‘Rules children follow in a narcissistic home’ has had over 670,000 views and has been my most validating video for so many children and adult children of narcissists! I still can’t quite believe how many people have been able to relate to the content on my channel!

Thank you all so so much!

Lots of love

Athina ♥

Things not to say to those with a mental illness

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  Love Athina ♥ © All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Loving someone with PTSD

Ever since I made my youtube video ‘How does PTSD affect intimate relationships’, I have had so many of you contact me with questions about how to cope and support your partners. The reality is that it takes a very strong person to love someone who lives with PTSD, as they also live with it indirectly.

Loving someone with PTSD can easily takes its’ toll on the relationship and on the partner doing all the supporting. It can affect intimacy, communication & the expression of emotion.

The person with PTSD may not be able to work full time or may not be able to work at all.

It is of course very different for each individual relationship, as the severity of the PTSD is unique to each individual.

The most important thing to remember is that both partners have to practice self-care..

The one doing the supporting can also end up suffering from depressive episodes or anxiety..They may also generally feel mentally exhausted..

Breaks are very important and the partner of someone with PTSD, may at times need to take a mental holiday away from their partner..This is completely OK and almost necessary for the survival of the relationship.

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Thanks so much for reading and please share this post if you think it may help someone!

Love Athina ♥♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.