5 Ways to Deal with Self-Doubt and Identity Confusion After Narcissistic Abuse
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This week, let’s talk about 5 Ways to Deal with Self-Doubt and Identity Confusion After Narcissistic Abuse
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I am Christy Jade, adoring wife, adoptive mama and narcissistic abuse survivor. I now help other women who have gone through abuse (or are going through it) find confidence, power and peace.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Welcome to, but still she thrives. Today we’re talking about the last part of this series, how narcissistic abuse affects your psychological wellbeing. And there’s a lot. There’s been a lot. This series has gone on and it is the last one. We’re ending with a bang here talking about dealing with self doubt, doubt, , and identity confusion. Stay tuned.
Speaker 1: (00:28)
Hey Queens, welcome to, but still she thrives. Do you wanna stop getting caught up in that wicked web of a creepy crawling narcissist? You find yourself up late at night replaying the abuse you put up with and wondering how you can heal Now, do you wake up hoping for healthy relationships and peace only to feel totally exhausted? And mind F girl, I see you. I’m Christy. I too had to disconnect from toxic people in my life. And I wished I could undo the damage I felt ashamed, lonely, and kind of lost. But I’m a stubborn Italian and I refuse to give up. I found ways to recalibrate my mind and body more quickly than I thought and can now share them with you. In this podcast, you will find coping tools, healing methods, and confidence boosters so you can trust yourself and find peace and freedom. So, shields up ladies, let’s go protect our peace.
Speaker 1: (01:26)
All right? We’re gonna talk about that identity confusion, the self-doubt. We know if you have been a survivor of narcissistic abuse, you can have a lot of self-doubt. Shame, we’ve touched on that. And the identity confusion is real. What does that mean? Well, this means you start to may not even recognize yourself in a relationship, right? Who you are, your values, your beliefs, even your own thoughts and memories can get foggy. You can feel like you’re crazy because of the gaslighting that narcissists have done to you. It can make you question everything. Your self-esteem can plummet. There’s a whole lot that goes on with your identity and who you are when you are in a narcissistic relationship. This does not have to be just romantic. This can be a sibling, a parent, it can be someone you’re, you know, co-parenting with an ex. This can be a friendship.
Speaker 1: (02:22)
This can be the mailman if you’re real close to him, okay? That’d be a little weird if you’re that close with your mailman. But hey, he brings some good. All right, so let’s dive in to talk about what can you do to deal with this stuff. If you are suffering from feeling like you don’t even know who you are anymore, you come out of a relationship and you’re like, now what? Who am I? I don’t even know what I want and don’t want. I don’t know which direction to go. Help. I get this question a lot as a coach, a lot of people come to me and that is the first thing. They’re like, okay, what? Now I’m out of this situation or I’m getting out of it and now I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m starting over and I’m scared I’m damaged, I’m scared.
Speaker 1: (03:04)
I don’t know who I am. I don’t know how to find that person. So let’s touch on it. We’re not gonna touch on it. Actually, we’re gonna go kind of deep ’cause we’re gonna talk about five ways. Number one, self-reflection and introspection. You do have to reflect in order to figure out who you are now, who you became, all that stuff. Because sometimes when you’re in a relationship, especially if you’re living with the person, it’s like you’re just trying to make it through. You’re just trying to make it through the abuse and walk on those eggshells to make you. Don’t make sure you don’t rattle the cart, all of that. So when you finally get out or you’re getting out, this is the time to start to reflect on what has changed. Start to ask yourself questions like, what did change during this time? Who was I before?
Speaker 1: (03:55)
If there was a before? Because sometimes, look, if we have a narcissistic parent, there was never a before. So you have to then think, okay, what didn’t feel good when I was, you know, in this situation, what were some beliefs that just went against my grain? But I went along with how did I, people please questions like this can direct you to figuring out more and more like who you are and what you do believe and what your, your, you know, value system is. What you want to do. You can say, what are my strengths and weaknesses? What do I value in life? That’s a huge one to me. We often think about, well, what do I wanna be? Or what do I think I should be? And for me, every day I wake up and part of my prayer in the morning is, God, please help me find joy and peace today.
Speaker 1: (04:47)
Those are my two words. I like to have feeling goals. Sure I have some goals for my business and this and that, but really I want to feel peace, especially after going through abuse. We need peace. We need to feel free. So how can we find that peace? What makes you feel peaceful? Ask those questions. If you, if you have a feeling goal, like you wanna feel happy or you wanna feel at peace, well, how do you, everyone’s different too. Like for me, I wanna sit and stare at a palm tree. I, I literally made my living room look like it’s, I don’t know, out of Florida. It’s got the palm trees. I got more flowers recently. The artwork is very tropical, tropical colors. Um, in my kitchen I have these long curtains that look almost like tropical vines. The pattern I am all about that beach tropical vibe makes me feel very peaceful.
Speaker 1: (05:48)
So I incorporate it in my home decor. So that’s just an example of, you know, you can bring in certain things that bring you peace, but just showing everyone’s different. You might love winter, right? I’m talking about seasons here, but it could be anything. You may love the color, like maybe the color aqua for me, this is true. Bring brings you peace. It brings me peace. Aqua reminds me of like water and the beach and whatever. So I love the color aqua. I surround myself with it. So start digging like what makes you feel whatever feeling goal you wanna feel. So first we’ll start with just one this week and you can add to it next week. But this week’s homework and I want you to email me, what is your feeling goal? What do you wanna feel? Do you wanna feel peace? You wanna feel happy?
Speaker 1: (06:34)
You wanna feel excited about life? Maybe you’re not there. Maybe you just wanna feel not scared. Maybe you just wanna feel that like contentment, right? There is no wrong answer. So figure out what do I just wanna feel? And from there, and you can write me that fierce mamay at Gmail. My email’s always in the show notes, so email me your feeling goal and if you wanna go further, you can explore that. How, how can I get there? What brings me that feeling? And you can either save that for your own little journal or you can share that with me as well. ’cause I love, I love hearing this stuff. So start the reflection process. Number two, obviously support is great. We’ve talked about that a trillion times almost on every episode about how important support is. This can be your friends, family members, but someone who you trust, right?
Speaker 1: (07:32)
Not, not the people who you have to walk on eggshells around. Not the people you’re just like, I don’t know if they’re on my side or not. It’s a mutual friend of your narcissist. Nah, I’m talking about someone. If you have them who you feel very close and safe with and they always look out for you, that is who you would open up to to seek support from. And talk about these feelings of self-doubt, identity. You could ask them questions like, what do you think my strengths are? You know, to kind of direct you into exploring something that will bring you this quote, new identity, the u two point i that I talk about, right? But sometimes an outside perspective besides someone you know, such as a therapist, a coach like me, someone who is familiar with narcissism is important, can help you see yourself in a different light.
Speaker 1: (08:27)
I always say the favorite part of my job is when I see that moment, that shift where my clients go from feeling like crap about themselves, lower confidence, not really sure who they are, scared to take the next step when they shift into like seeing them how I see them. And even just starting to see that, I can see that shift. And that is literally why I do this, because I get choked up every freaking time it happens when I see the confidence coming back or maybe they never had the confidence and they’re like, oh my gosh, I actually love myself. I, I feel good about myself. Or I know I wanna take this next step and do this. Like, you know, examples, one of my clients started her own business, like a fashion business, right? Another one went back to school. It goes on and on.
Speaker 1: (09:22)
And seeing that shift, believing in themselves and getting excited about their journey after going through abuse is, it’s just so amazing to watch. So I just love that. So that is something that is important. If you want support and have a co someone to coach you through that, I am here. Check out my, um, options to work with me also in the show notes. But I, I just love taking people through that journey. And it’s, it’s just such a huge shift when you feel like, oh, I actually am seeing myself more clearly. Now I’m getting clarity and I’m feeling amazing. And it is possible for you. That being said, number three, set realistic goals, right? And how we do this is having a bigger goal and breaking it down. I say sparkle by sparkle, right? Break down that larger goal into smaller, achievable steps because our confidence has been knocked down, right?
Speaker 1: (10:23)
With abuse. So if we are like, yeah, I wanna make a million dollars by the end of this week. I mean, I know that’s extreme, but just giving an example and then we don’t get there. That can kind of beat up our self-confidence again, right? So we don’t want that for you. So we can say a bigger goal. Let’s say you want to, um, become a nurse. You decided, oh, I have this and that and I’m great with people and I’ve always thought about it, but my ex-husband wouldn’t let me work or whatever it is. Let’s say you’re like, yeah, I wanna go be a nurse. That’s a large goal. So break it down this week. What can we do sparkle by sparkle? Just what’s the first step you can do to take that? Okay? Look at five different, you know, programs and explore them.
Speaker 1: (11:05)
Call, call one program this week, whatever it is, whatever you think you can handle that week. And then, you know, it’s just step by step, sparkle by sparkle. So having realistic goals and then also celebrating those small successes. So at the end of the week saying like, look at me, I move forward and this is what I do with my clients. I walk them through going sparkle by sparkle. And it’s so great every week to be like, they get excited to tell me, yes, I talked to this person, I did this and, and there’s this excitement and accountability. So it’s again, an amazing experience. But I do say it’s bite by bite. Like don’t just reach and try to swallow the whole thing. ’cause then you can let yourself down, which can lead to the opposite effect that we want, right? We wanna build that self-esteem.
Speaker 1: (11:56)
Number four, challenge those negative thoughts. So when you are experienced self-doubt specifically, you might have negative thoughts about yourself or your capabilities. This is where that work comes in. The affirmations that turning things around the talk therapy I do with my clients, right? To counteract those negative thoughts. ’cause we don’t have time for ’em. Uhuh, we are trying to be us 2.0 and get that new identity and feel good about ourselves. So we don’t have the space for these negative ask thoughts. . So consider the alternative to the negative. And we’ve talked about this, where you’re writing more positive perspectives, you’re switching, you know, if there’s a certain negative thought pattern you have of, let’s see, oh, I I, I can’t do that. I’m too old to switch careers. I’m too old to switch careers. Uh, right? That comes in your brain, you start writing down the opposite, right?
Speaker 1: (12:50)
And you, you go find, I, this is what I do. I go find examples. If I have a negative thought pattern, I try to counteract it with finding real life proof that it is not true. So that’s a perfect example. I thought I have had this thought myself when I changed careers actually into coaching. I’m like, well, am I too old to change? Maybe I should just go back. I worked into the television production business and I was like, oh, maybe I should just, you know, stick with television, blah, blah, blah. And then I said, you know, I, I knew I sounded negative and I’ve always been working on improving and growing. So I was like, all right, I know for a fact there’s people out there, even celebrities that started what they’re doing late in life. So I googled it and oh my gosh, the amount of celebrities alone that started and changed careers or whatever later in life.
Speaker 1: (13:42)
It’s crazy. And then also my mom, that next week or something, she was telling me about someone who was in her master’s program. My mom actually was a good example. She went back to school late in life. Um, but there was someone in her master’s, I think it was her, no, it was her undergrad, but she was, you know, older, but they were, I mean like 78 years old, something like that, near 80 years old. And how amazing is that? They were going back to school to do something different. And that just, you look for proof, you can find it. There’s always gonna be a story of someone doing something that they wanna do, they’ve decided to do at any age. And that to me is amazing. So you can do the cognitive behavior techniques with therapists. People like me, you can keep a journal, right, of tracking, like if you’re having negative thoughts, writing them and then switching them around.
Speaker 1: (14:40)
And then of course, I’m big on the affirmations. Like every morning, every night have a set of affirmations. You say that back up what you want to feel and what you want to to believe, and you say it as I am, instead of I wanna believe I can. It’s like, no, I am capable. I can change careers at 48 years old, or whatever it is. Okay? So that can help you reframe the negative thoughts. Number five, try new experiences. Yay. I love this one. Not everybody is comfortable doing new things outside their comfort zone, especially if you’ve just gotten out of a situation. But I’m telling you, pushing yourself does help you kind of push past this cage of self-doubt, this cage of feeling like you don’t know who you are. You’re gonna try the new things and figure out what you like and don’t like and listen to your body.
Speaker 1: (15:38)
That should have been an extra one. Bonus number six, listen to your body. But we’ll get there. So engage in activities or hobbies that interest you but you may have not tried before. New experiences can help you discover the aspects of you that you weren’t really aware of. So it can provide opportunities to meet new people. I, I have definitely gained friendships through going to different classes. I do art classes, I’ve done photography classes. I took guitar. I sucked. But it was fun. I actually signed up for six months, so I had to commit to six months. Still did it. Learned a few notes. Played a little Jimi Hendrix. That was fun. It wasn’t my jam. Did photography. Took a couple classes, met some really cool people, like-minded people, artsy creatives, right? So explore, like, this world has so many different things you can do and you just explore and that helps you figure out who you are.
Speaker 1: (16:36)
If you don’t try, you’re never gonna know. And that little bonus number six that popped in there, don’t forget to listen to your body. Listen to your body. I’m serious. Your body will speak to if you get quiet. That’s why I am big on meditation and prayer. You get quiet, you empty your head a little bit, shake it out and listen. You will get more and more in touch with your intuition. You will trust yourself more and you’ll be like, yeah, I really like this, or I don’t, or something just doesn’t feel a hundred percent sometimes. I like the saying, if it ain’t a hell yes, it’s a hell no. Is that true with everything? No. Do I wanna like cook every single night? No. So, but you know what I’m saying, with certain situations where you do have more choices, . ’cause we do have to feed ourselves, and maybe we don’t have the money to have a chef or go out out to a restaurant every night.
Speaker 1: (17:33)
But let’s say things like you meet a specific person or you go and try a new activity and you’re like, I mean, I kind of like it. Do I continue? I mean, we can really feel unsure of ourselves after abuse. We, if we were codependent, which most of us us are after narcissistic abuse, you can become codependent. You are really starting to think like other people like you may be so codependent that you’re taking on what they like to do, or they’re telling you what you like to do or should like to do, right? So this is the time to get in touch with your intuition and by, by getting in touch with your body and listening and being still. And when you feel that stress, when it feels like your shoulders go up or your jaw clench is that’s your body saying like, this ain’t in sis, this is not it.
Speaker 1: (18:25)
So listen to your body. All right. So all that being said, hopefully those were helpful. Let me know if you want to email me if you’re mama C at Gmail, which is the most helpful to you? Or what do you think you might struggle with? I can give you a little feedback. But remember, it’s okay to experience these moments of self-doubt and uncertainty. Okay? That is going to happen. So I want you to give yourself grace. They’re a natural part of growth and development. And if you’ve gone through abuse, then it’s, it’s gonna definitely be in there. So we’re working through that process. So be patient with yourself. Give yourself time and space to explore who the you 2.0 is and what makes you unique. And that’s beautiful. It’s like so amazing to overcome codependency and realize how amazing you are and that you don’t need someone else to be amazing or feel amazing. So with persistence, a little self-compassion, you can overcome self-doubt and gain a stronger sense of yourself. That 2.0 you so love you guys. Let’s do a couple affirmations before we leave. All right? Hands on heart, unless you’re driving. Take a breath, relax it out, repeat after me, okay?
Speaker 1: (19:46)
I am amazing as I am. I don’t need anyone else to be amazing. I am growing and getting better every day. All righty. And know why, because you are a
Speaker 2: (20:11)
Speaker 1: (20:12)
Alright, I will see you in the next episode. Have a lovely day night, and don’t forget to check out my show notes and chat me up and email if you want.