DTD Ep19 Rebuilding Trust after a Narcissistic relationship

EP19 Rebuilding Trust After A Narcissistic Relationship

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Rebuilding trust after a narcissistic relationship is a profound journey that I hold close to my heart. It's a path filled with healing, self-discovery, and the rediscovery of our ability to trust and form healthy relationships. I've shared my own experiences with narcissistic relationships, the red flags, and the steps to break free in my "Ditch The Debate & Make It Happen Podcast." Now, I want to delve into the transformative process of rebuilding trust, which is far from easy but entirely worth it.

Rebuilding trust after a narcissistic relationship is a profound journey that I hold close to my heart. It’s a path filled with healing, self-discovery, and the rediscovery of our ability to trust and form healthy relationships. I’ve shared my own experiences with narcissistic relationships, the red flags, and the steps to break free in my “Ditch The Debate & Make It Happen Podcast.” Now, I want to delve into the transformative process of rebuilding trust, which is far from easy but entirely worth it.

The Impact of a Narcissistic Relationship on Trust

Before we dive into rebuilding trust, let’s take a moment to reflect on the impact of a narcissistic relationship on our ability to trust. I’ve been there, and I know how it feels to have your trust shattered into pieces. The constant manipulation, gaslighting, and emotional abuse can leave you feeling deeply wounded and skeptical of anyone’s intentions. But what’s perhaps the hardest part of it all is the trust you break with yourself. What narcissists do to your internal self is to completely disconnect it, so you never trust yourself with anything moving forward. It all contributes to their unwavering control over you. The hardest places I’ve been in my life are when I’m in an internal battle with myself. It’s dark, messy, and painful. Don’t underestimate what these narcissistic types can do. It’s layers and layers of damage.

Let’s look at a few ways that helped me start to rebuild trust and venture into the healing journey.

Step 1: Self-Compassion and Forgiveness

Rebuilding trust starts with self-compassion and forgiveness. It’s important to remember that you were a victim of manipulation and abuse.

You need to recognize that it is not your fault. This happens to so many people. And strong people! One thing that I struggled with for ages was my shame. “How could this possibly happen to me? I’m so strong. I’m so independent.” It took me a long time to admit that it had even happened, to be honest. I was gaslighting myself: “This is normal. You’re being sensitive. It was just a relationship that didn’t work.” And it’s all lies. This is NOT your fault, and you’re incredibly strong because look at where you are! You’re here. You’re wanting to heal.

Be gentle with yourself.

Forgiving yourself really is the first step toward healing and regaining trust in your own judgment.

  • Practice Self-Kindness: Cultivate a habit of being kind and gentle with yourself. Challenge self-criticism with self-kindness. When you notice self-blame or harsh inner dialogue, consciously replace it with self-compassionate thoughts. Treat yourself as you would treat a dear friend going through a difficult time.
  • Write a Forgiveness Letter to Yourself: Compose a heartfelt letter to yourself, acknowledging the pain and suffering you’ve endured. Forgive yourself for any self-blame or self-judgment. Write about your strengths and resilience, emphasizing that what happened was not your fault. This exercise can be a powerful step toward self-forgiveness.
  • Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Meditation: Engage in mindfulness and self-compassion meditation practices. These techniques help you stay present and non-judgmental about your feelings and experiences. By regularly practicing self-compassion meditation, you can learn to silence your self-critical voice and replace it with self-loving and forgiving thoughts.

Step 2: Seek Professional Support

I can’t stress enough the value of seeking professional support. A therapist or counselor can provide you with the tools and guidance needed to navigate the complexities of healing and rebuilding trust. I personally used a hypnotherapist as that is what worked for me, but whatever modality you need – do it. You owe it to yourself.

Step 3: Reconnect with Your Intuition

A key element in rebuilding trust is reconnecting with your intuition. Narcissistic relationships often disconnect us from our inner voice. Take the time to listen to your instincts, and trust your gut feelings. Your intuition is a powerful tool in rebuilding trust in yourself.

  • Meditation and Mindfulness: Engage in regular meditation and mindfulness practices. These techniques help you quiet the noise of external influences and reconnect with your inner thoughts and feelings. Through meditation, you can learn to listen to your intuition, trust your gut feelings, and differentiate them from fear or anxiety.
  • Journal Your Intuition: Keep a journal dedicated to your intuitive experiences. Record any hunches, gut feelings, or intuitive insights that arise in various situations. Document how these intuitions played out in reality. This practice not only helps you reconnect with your intuition but also builds your trust in it over time.
  • Practice Decision-Making: Start with small decisions and practice making choices based on your intuition. This can be as simple as choosing what to eat for lunch or deciding which movie to watch. As you gain confidence in your intuitive decision-making, you can gradually apply it to more significant life choices. Reflect on the outcomes and learn from the results, whether they confirm your intuition or provide valuable lessons.

Step 4: Establish Healthy Boundaries

As you rebuild trust, it’s crucial to establish healthy boundaries. You’ve learned from your past experiences, and now you can use that knowledge to protect yourself from toxic dynamics. Communicate your boundaries clearly and enforce them.

  • Self-Reflection and Clarity: Take time for self-reflection to identify what your personal boundaries are. Understand your values, needs, and limits. This self-awareness is the foundation for setting clear and effective boundaries. Write down your boundaries, so they are concrete and well-defined.
  • Assertive Communication: Practice assertive communication when expressing your boundaries. Be clear and direct in stating your limits, needs, and expectations. Use “I” statements to avoid sounding accusatory or confrontational. For example, say, “I need space to focus on my work,” rather than, “You’re always distracting me.”
  • Enforce Boundaries Consistently: It’s essential to enforce your boundaries consistently. When someone crosses a boundary, communicate your discomfort and the need for them to respect your limits. Be prepared to take appropriate action if your boundaries continue to be disregarded. Consistency reinforces the message that your boundaries are non-negotiable.

Step 5: Practice Vulnerability

Rebuilding trust in others requires practicing vulnerability. It may be frightening, but it’s a necessary step. Start with small acts of vulnerability, gradually opening up to friends and loved ones you can trust. Building trust in others starts with taking that leap.

  • Start Small and Gradual: Begin by taking small steps in practicing vulnerability. Share personal thoughts or feelings with someone you trust, even if it feels uncomfortable at first. Gradually increase the depth of your disclosures as you become more comfortable. This progressive approach can help you rebuild trust without overwhelming yourself.
  • Choose Trustworthy Confidants: Select people you feel comfortable with to share your vulnerability. Look for friends or loved ones who have demonstrated reliability, empathy, and respect for your boundaries. Building trust in others begins with making wise choices about whom to confide in.
  • Open Communication: When practicing vulnerability, engage in open and honest communication. Express your thoughts and emotions clearly but also listen actively to the responses of the person you’re confiding in. This two-way dialogue can deepen understanding and foster a sense of trust and connection.

Step 6: Surround Yourself with a Supportive Network

Having a supportive network is invaluable in the process of rebuilding trust. Seek out friends, family, or support groups that understand your journey and can offer emotional validation and encouragement. You don’t have to go through this alone.

Step 7: Self-Care and Healing

Self-care and healing are ongoing processes. Dedicate time to activities and practices that nurture your well-being. Whether it’s meditation, exercise, creative pursuits, or simply taking time for yourself, self-care plays a vital role in rebuilding trust.

Step 8: Patience and Acceptance

Rebuilding trust is not an overnight transformation. It’s a journey that requires patience and acceptance. Accept that there will be setbacks, but each one is an opportunity for growth and learning. Be patient with yourself and the process.

  • Set Realistic Expectations: Understand that the process of rebuilding trust takes time, and setbacks are part of the journey. Set realistic expectations for your progress and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. Acknowledge that healing is not linear, and it’s okay to have both good and challenging days.
  • Mindfulness and Self-Compassion: Practice mindfulness to stay present in the moment and avoid dwelling on past mistakes or future worries. Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with the same understanding and care you would offer to a close friend going through a similar process.
  • Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate the small victories along the way. Every step forward, no matter how small, is a significant achievement. Recognize your progress and use it as motivation to continue your journey with patience and acceptance.

Conclusion

Rebuilding trust after a narcissistic relationship is a challenging, yet empowering journey. I want you to know that it’s possible, and you’re not alone. Trust can be regained, and healthy relationships are within your reach.

Thank you for joining me today. Remember, you are strong, resilient, and deserving of trust and love. Stay tuned for more episodes on healing and personal growth. You’ve got this!

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