Tag Archives: emotional abuse

How to disarm the narcissist in your life

Do you have a narcissist in your life that is causing you emotional pain? First of all, know that you aren’t alone. Narcs are often wolves in disguise and their tactics are so subtle, that you don’t realize how harmful they are until it’s too late to do anything about.

I’ve recently gone no contact with the narc in my life and honestly, it’s the most liberating feeling in the world. I feel lighter. I’m sleeping again. And with time, I’ll be able to move forward and onto healthier relationships again. That’s the goal with the healing, at least for me at this time.

First of all – let’s cover what a narcissist is. You may already know this if you’re on the internet doing research. And yes! That’s part of healing too. Arm yourself with information.

Narcissistic signs and red flags

Love-bombing in early stages of communication. This may be declaring that you are like no one else they have met. A rare unicorn. You make them feel things they have never felt before. This is to hook and reel you in – and trust me, it works. It helps to form the trauma bond.

Often are manipulative and controlling to the point you feel as though you are an emotional slave to them. They may try to isolate you from your support groups. They may want to know everything you are up to. And they may stalk your social media accounts – this is what my ex did. At first, I thought it was because he was invested or being protective. Until it wasn’t.

They believe they are superior to others and that rules or boundaries to not apply to them. They will make everything about themselves.

They will never apologize for their mistakes. Or if they do, they will keep making the same mistakes and hurting you again, then finding some way to blame it on you.

I could go on — but I’ll use a separate post for that.

Here are things you must do, when you’ve severed ties or ended a relationship with a narcissist. It won’t be easy. The longer the relationships are, the harder it will be to let go of. But these are necessary steps to help you move on.

This list isn’t complete by any means, but they are things I’ve done personally to help with my healing.

Go no contact

Going no contact is difficult especially when there is a trauma bond or feelings there for the other person. Trust me, I know. I lived with the abuse for nine months, even after the breakup, I thought we could be friends.

To go fully no contact, you’ll need to do a few things:

Block them on social media – that means, don’t look them up to see their new activity. Seeing them move on with their life, will just make you miserable.

Unless you share a child or other responsibilities with the person, block them all together on mobile devices, or phones. Some abusers will use fake numbers to get in touch with you – just keep blocking their new numbers.

If you can’t block the person, then mute notifications so that you won’t see them. That said, it’s better to fully block them out of your life if you can.

One thing a narcissist hates, is being ignored. They will do what they can to get your attention. Don’t give them that satisfication.

Stop beating yourself up

This was in no way your fault. If anything, you are likely a good person with a big heart that attracts negative people. It happens all the time, especially to empaths who have a large social presence online.

Darkness to light. Dark energies are attracted to light energies and their main goals are to feed off your energy, until they almost break you. Break you down to a point that you will be easy to control and manipulate.

Know this wasn’t your fault. Once you recognize that you are in an abusive situation, that’s the start to a new life for you. If needed, ask for help to get out of the relationship. You don’t have to do it alone.

Get yourself in a good mental and emotional place

This is crucial, and I say this as someone who is coming out of a six week depression that nearly ended my life. Luckily, I managed to keep going. I was determined to stay strong and not let him win.

This may mean practicing mindfulness, or daily acts of gratitude. Or it may mean spending time with your friends and going out and enjoying life. Reconnect with nature. Go for walks. Take a camera and go capture the natural beauty. Go on a trip. Go visit some long distance friends.

It’s important to socialize and maintain those relationships. I’ve found that during your low points, you really find out fast who your friends are. Those who leave you while at your lowest, aren’t friends at all.

Take a hard look at the narcissist’s behavior

You’ll find yourself months after the relationship sitting up in bed one night and going, “Oh! That isn’t right. That makes sense now.” when you realize what was going on in the relationship.

Once you see the pattern of abuse, you can’t unsee it. Once you learn their wicked ways, it will be easier to spot in new relationships or partnerships. And that person will never look the same to you as did once you realize how toxic they were.

A narcissist loves to gaslight their partners. They do this by invalidating your feelings or making you think that you’re going crazy. They’ll deny accusations or straight out lie to you. They will deflect and change the subject or pick fights when you try and talk to them about your feelings. They will do whatever they can to control the situation.

The more you learn to recognize the toxic behavior, the easier it will be to set boundaries and match up with healthier partners who value your worth.

Breaking through the fear and anxiety

Narcissist’s feed off of fear and anxiety. They want to keep you feeling low and confused. They may resort to sleep deprivation tactics. This is something I faced and a lightbulb moment went off in my head after the relationship ended. I understood why he’d message me at 2 or 3 in the morning and ask me to stay up and wait for him to get home. Then texts would never come in.

This was his way of keeping me exhausted so that I wouldn’t have the energy to fight him. And for months – and I mean months – it worked. I’m still catching up on sleep now and feeling the physical effects this had on me.

Learn to stand your ground. Set your boundaries. Be firm. If they do not respect those boundaries – then they do not respect you.

Let go of the fear they have caused for so long, it will help. You need to be strong to move on from this.

Get support – you’ll need it

Join a support group or hire a therapist who is trained with trauma bonds and emotional recovery. You’ll need help from friends and family. Think of narcissists like psychological warfare or cancer.

You will go through the motions. At first, you’ll miss the person so much you’ll want to reach out daily to them. Trust me, when I say, this only makes it worse for you.

You may feel periods of extreme sadness, or you may find you want to sleep all the time. This is especially true if your partner has caused sleep deprivation. This can happen by picking fights when you are trying to sleep, or creating noise during your sleeping hours.

You may feel anger at times. Find a healthy outlet. For me, I turn to artwork, music and other creative outlets. Working with my hands keeps me busy. Reading. Writing – especially in journals or here on the blog definitely helps to keep me motivated.

Rely on your friends. Support groups can help but do be mindful of the people you accept into your circle. And do be wary of false friends who only stick around during the happier times in your life. And do be careful — choose to write in a private journal rather than a shared journal that your mutual friends can read. This will only make things worse. Share only what you need to. Keep the rest private or to conversations with a professional counselor.

Thank you for reading – what resonated with you most?

I think I’ll stop there. This post is already long and I feel I could break it up into a series of posts about toxic behaviors.

Yes, it’s possible to be a victim of emotional abuse even in long distance relationships. It’s possible to be abused without even realized that you are being abused. Sometimes the abuse is so subtle, you don’t realize it until later. This is why I’m sharing these posts about my experiences. So, that I can help others recognize what isn’t okay and to let them know they aren’t alone.

Thank you for sticking with this blog through it’s many changes, and through my many stages of grief and letting go. It’s been a year full of ups and downs. And I’m working hard on coming back up from a hard fall.

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If you want to know more – please consider following my blog for regular updates.

Note: I am NOT a professional therapist or councilor. I’m just someone who has been through some abuse from a survivor’s perspective.

How to know if you’re being “gaslighted”

Gaslighting. We’ve all heard this term mentioned in social media – but what is it exactly? There are so many new terms to learn that it can be hard to keep them all straight. I admit, being the age I am, I had to look this one up before writing about it. But after seeing multiple political posts online today about politicians “gaslighting” the public – I figured that I should do some more research on the subject.

According to one of my favorite resources, Urban Dictionary, gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse. It’s also referred to as ambient abuse – where information is purposely falsified to the victim. The purpose of this is to make the victim doubt their own memory.

There is however a more clinical definition of gaslighting.

🅱️ 25+ Best Memes About Abuse Gaslighting | Abuse Gaslighting Memes

What are some examples of gaslighting?

There are many examples of gaslighting that can occur in your daily life. Some key signs to watch out for are: the feeling of being emotionally manipulated, being made to feel like you’re going crazy, being signalled out of a group of people to pick on you over your worst fears, or receiving constant negative feedback or criticism. These are also signs of an emotionally abusive relationship that can leave you feeling depressed.

Dating an abuser

My ex Trigger, I’ve written about him before, was a professional gaslighter. I knew what he was doing was wrong but I had no idea what it meant at the time. I just accepted as part of who he was.

Him: “I lost my phone. I couldn’t call you for days.”

Me: “You lost your phone again? What’s this, the third time?”

Him: “I can’t help it. I went pig hunting. And it fell out of my pocket.

Me: “The first or second time I can believe, but a third time, really? How do you expect me to believe this?”

Him: “It’s not my fault I lost my phone. You are the one who wants regular contact.”

The man lost his phone on a regular basis. It became his go to excuse for not calling me for weeks at a time. He either lost his phone or forgot it at home. He was a business owner, I found this hard to believe. He was addicted to that thing.

Dating a narcissist

James, the Mr. Big in my life, was also notorious for gaslighting. Going back to the argument we had about what we were to each other back in 2011:

Him: “What do you want from me? I’m at best a part-time lover. We’re friends.”

Me: “I don’t sleep with friends. I don’t have lovers. There’s exactly one person I sleep with. You.”

Him: “I don’t believe in friendship with rules. You expect too much of me.”

Me: “Asking you to stick with plans and actually call me is expecting too much?”

Him: “We’re friends. What more do you want from me? This is all your fault anyway.”

Conversations like this just messed with my head and my heart. From one day to the next, I never knew what I was to James. When we were together in person – he was a totally different person. He made promises and talked about planning trips together. He told me he loved me. But then when we talked in between seeing each other – he was cold and distant. Like a totally different person. Everything was my fault.

The one thing about James I couldn’t put my finger on – I knew he had some feelings for me but he was using me at the same time. I couldn’t figure out why. Or what his end game was. Was it the manipulation he enjoyed? Was he in it just for the sex? But that couldn’t be it – because we didn’t always have sex when we were together. It’s a question that still bothers me today.

Gaslighting in the workplace

I’ve experienced gaslighting in the workplace too. Whether it’s constant complaints about your performance or negative gossip – these can all have a serious impact on your overall health. And as I learned recently, the constant badgering and harassment can leave you feeling burned out, or can even cripple your confidence.

I worked for an engineering firm many years ago for a few months. The economy was in the “shitter” and there weren’t many jobs available. I had applied for a job of an office manager which I was qualified for but was offered the job as a reception instead. I took it because the pay was good. It turns out that I was replacing the newly hired office manager who had worked as the receptionist for a few years.

From very early on, “Jenny” had a problem with me. I think she saw that I was a good worker- perhaps even better than she was. She complained that I didn’t do anything at all during the day. Which was partly true – it was because she never gave me work to do. I sat there waiting for the phone to ring most days.

I had to take some time off for funerals – two family members died in one week. When I came back to work, I was pretty emotional. She gave me a hug and acted all sweet but things fell apart quickly then.

“You look like you’ve been crying all night” she said. I told her well yeah, I just lost two family members in like five days. “I knew it,” she said and walked away.

Like, wtf? Who does that?

I remember walking in one morning and sat down at the desk.

“You forgot to unload the dishwasher last night,” she said and started to walk away. She came back, “Oh, and good morning.”

Or… “Don’t you see how dirty the wall is here?” she wipes it with a rag. “Why didn’t you clean it?”

Me: “Because they have cleaners for that — if it’s something I should be doing, then it should be in my job description.”

She walked away in a huff. It was after that exchange that she started making up reasons why I sucked at my job.

There was one order that I was to place for $1500 for printing. I tried the best I could do for the order, but the manager changed his mind SO MANY times. His order was scribbled all over and I did my best to make sense of it.

And who got blamed for the wrong order? It was me. I was then put on probation because “I didn’t do my job correctly.”

This is the very definition of gaslighting. I can’t go into details of what happened after that as I signed a “non disclosure” document prohibiting me from naming the company. But… let’s just say, it worked out in my favour. I got a little extra money out of the deal, quit – and went back to government contracting.

Sometimes you just have to get out of a bad “relationship” – otherwise the constant negative nitpicking will cripple you.

How to stop gaslighting?

Stopping someone from gaslighting you is a tricky thing to do. You can’t change how a person is, but you can change how you react to them.

What I’ve found is that these people are looking for a reaction. Their main purpose is to inflict pain on you. Or to blame you for their misgivings.


When it comes to relationships, you can set boundaries. I learned this after splitting up from James for the last time. I learned to be vocal about my needs without being clingy. I learned that we weren’t compatible and that’s okay too.

Work Place Relationships

When it comes to work relationships – the best thing to do is get everything in writing. Document everything. Keep track of emails. If you have a verbal conversation with someone, write up a summary email of the details, and send it to that person with a cc to your supervisor if necessary. If you’re asked to do something that isn’t in your scope of work – get it in writing.

Family Relationships

Yes, family can gaslight too. I have one relative who often makes me feel guilty for not wanting to attend social gatherings. Parties just aren’t my thing. I’ve chosen to ignore these little remarks. How? I just stop responding to the conversation. Eventually, the person will learn to correct their behaviour – or at the very least, you get a break from toxic relationship.

Have you been gaslighted before at work? If so, let me know in the comments.

To learn more on gaslighting, here’s a good youtube video from Psych2Go.

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How to recognize emotional abuse

Emotional abuse comes in many forms and isn’t always easy to recognize. Sometimes abuse is subtle while in other cases, emotional abuse can leave lasting scars that never fully heal. I speak here, from personal experience and I am going to share some warning signs to look out for.

Unfortunately, I’ve been in my fair share of abusive relationships. Not just emotional abuse, but physically and verbally abusive as well. I’ve learned over the years what are some major red flags early in a relationship.

But emotional abuse is a harder beast to recognize. Sometimes the abuse is so subtle, you don’t even realize it’s happened – until it’s too late. By this point, you’re invested in the relationship.

The worst part of it? The abuser will use tactics to keep you isolated from your support group. And worse – they will at some point, try to blame everything on you – so you’re constantly apologizing for something that isn’t your fault at all.

It’s messed up, isn’t it? And maybe I can’t word this so eloquently as I’d like to, but here are a few warning signals to look out for early on in relationships.


A classic tactic by emotional abusers is to try and isolate their partners. In early stages of the relationship, they will spend as much time with you, getting to know you and wanting to talk to you all the time. It may seem like they are enthralled by you – and they very well may be.

But this is often a tactic abusers use to isolate their victims. In some cases, the victim won’t even realize it until they’re totally cut off from their friends and family.

Some things I’ve heard from former partners:

  • “I don’t want you to see that person, I don’t like how they treat you.”
  • “I want to spend all free time with you, is that so wrong?”

Keeping you isolated from your loved ones is a sign of emotional abuse. This may lead to physical abuse and makes it easier to hide. The abuser also knows that without your support group around, they can get away with more devious behaviour.

Emotional Neglect

My ex, Trigger, used to ignore me for weeks on end. I realized later, that this was extremely unhealthy and it was a form of emotional abuse. He would ignore me – I’d get upset over it. He’d come over and apologize and blame his PTSD. Things would get better for a month, and then he’d go right back to ignoring me. This went on for nearly FOUR years. I won’t even count the last year as a relationship. It really wasn’t – in hindsight.

Some abusers will outright punish their victims by purposefully ignoring them. This is especially terrible when living together. Ignoring someone as punishment after a fight is not only emotionally abusive but it’s also highly manipulative.

In many cases, the victim will apologize for something they didn’t even do or weren’t at fault for – until the abuser speaks to them again.

Shutting someone out for weeks at a time while supposedly in a loving relationship – it’s just so wrong. While I didn’t expect daily contact from my ex – it wasn’t in our arrangement – being ignored for weeks on end without an explanation caused me a lot of pain and I acted out because of it.

Humiliation and bullying

Humiliation is a common tactic used by bullies to intimidate their partners. Name-calling, shaming, derogatory pet-names or character assignations are all examples of how a person can humiliate you.

There was someone in my family who loved doing this to me at every family dinner. When I finally called her out for it, I remember hearing other family members say, “Oh, that’s just the way she is.”

Every time I opened my mouth up at the dinner table, any ideas or suggestions I brought forward were met with “you’re ridiculous” or “that’s not right” or “you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

She loved to publicly embarrass me and tell humiliating stories that happened twenty years ago – she still brings them up every now and then.

I remember one time she tried to tell me I didn’t know what a migraine was – after having been diagnosed with chronic migraines. That’s “just how she was”.

If I left the dinner table or stormed out of the room, I was labelled as childish and in the end – she won. I gave her exactly what she wanted.

Humiliation Tactics

Humiliation can be subtle – things like eye-rolling, smirking, laughing or even exchanging a glance with someone else can also be signs that someone is making fun of you.

Dismissiveness – so many times while speaking up at family dinner parties, I was met with dismissive remarks.

“I remember that – it happened when I was living in the basement. I loved living in the basement. It was like having my own apartment as a kid.” – I said at one family dinner.

“You never lived in the basement,” she said to me.

“Uh, yes I did. In elementary school. For like a year,” I reminded her.

Everyone else at the table nodded and she just rolled her eyes at me.

“I hate the organ music. Why can’t you just play the piano more often? The hymns are so awful,” she would say.

“You don’t have to come to church, you could just, you know, stay home,” I would reply back – and that often shut her up.

If I was in a good mood, she’d often shut it down by saying something like “you look fat in that” or “you shouldn’t wear that colour, it makes you look ugly”.

I know there’s a lot of more that I’m missing – but I think I’ve blocked out a lot of the things she has said to me over the years. I hardly see her now outside of Christmas dinners.

And the family wonders why I don’t want to spend much time with them.

Recognizing emotional abuse and standing up for yourself

As time went on, I learned to accept these people for who they are and that they will never change. I also learned to stick up for myself. And I learned that I didn’t have to call these kinds of people family. Even though we were related – I didn’t need to see them outside of family gatherings. And even then – I could keep attendance to a minimum. Which I have – happily – for quite some time now. I turn down invitations to parties, and even weddings – mostly – because I don’t want to be around these people who think so little of me.

Life is too short. I’d rather be with people who respect me for who I am – and not make a mockery of me behind my back.

I remember my brother in law telling me on the way home, “You should hear what they say behind your back.” And I should have asked for clarification on who was saying these things. I’m guessing it was my immediate family – some of them anyway.

We’ve never seen eye to eye. They look down on me because I’m not married and don’t have a lot of money. They also make fun of me because of my weight. It’s why I very rarely see them on a social level. Why would I constantly subject myself to that?

Just because you’re related to someone – doesn’t mean you have to like them. Or even spend time with them. Surround yourself with people who love you for who you are. Not those who are taking advantage of you.

I think I’m going to stop there because I’m getting worked up thinking about past experiences. I’m in a healthier place in my life now. I know what’s right and what’s wrong. I know that I can’t change who people are but I can change how I react to them.

I also know what signs to look out for in relationships. And I also know that even family members can be toxic. It’s why I write this blog under “Wendy” only – because I don’t even want them to read these thoughts here. I know there will be backlash.

If you have someone in your life who is constantly putting you down, they dismiss everything you have to say, they yell at you for no reason or they thrive off making you feel bad —

Then cut your losses. Say your goodbyes. Remove yourself from that person. Even if they’re family.

Because life is just too short to even worth trying to be a people pleaser. The issue isn’t you at all. It’s them.

Learn to stand up for yourself and be your own advocate.

But most of all, know that you are worth so much more than these abusers (and assholes) can give you.

Anxieties and letting go

It’s a double posting kind of day. Honestly, the days are so long with being off work that I get lost in my own head a bit too much. The one way to get out of my head, is to write everything down. Which is esentially – why I started this blog last spring.

The blog kind of grew from there as I started writing about different topics and subjects. I went through a phase where I couldn’t get enough of researching various topics and writing about them. Then I kind of got bored with that and went back to music.

This is how my brain works. I can’t focus on one task for too long. I get bored easily. I was never diagnosed with ADHD – when we were kids, it wasn’t a thing. Some people in my family didn’t believe in mental illnesses. And yet here I am, working on my anxiety issues and actually taking part in therapy and speaking openly about it.

I’ve always been a highly anxious person. School would stress me out. Tests. Social functions. Being around people. Later in life – my stress became about work. And then of course, men and relationships.

My ex Trigger, I haven’t talked about him in a while. He’s the main reason I’m still single to this day. He used to tell me that I “over-think everything and it exhausted him.” Yeah, he actually said things like that.

Looking back now, I know a lot of what he said was emotionally abusive – I just wanted to be with him so badly because I thought we were “in love” that I ignored the warning signs and red flags.

My brother in law recently said to me that I should “find a Bill Gates guy, a rich guy with a lot of money and marry him.” I laughed at him and said those type of guys don’t exist. Or they want a young and beautiful blonde by their side. I am neither of those things. My gray hairs are definitely coming through thanks to COVID and lack of salons.

I’ve been single now for FIVE years by my choice. My relationship with Trigger was so toxic that it has taken that long for me to “get over it”. But I think when you love someone, you never really “get over” them. You just learn to let go, and move on. I’ve forgiven him. I’ve forgiven myself. And I think, I’m ready to move on.

But I still have work to do. I still have healing to do for myself. While I’m feeling a lot better these days – I still want to get in better shape so I can go back to doing all the things I loved to do. Things like hiking. Travel Photography. I’m working on building strength in my knees so I can do long walks again.

Travel gets lonely after a while as a single person. It’d be nice to have someone just to go on weekend vacations or a road trip with – just to get out of the city. As a non driver, it’s one thing I really miss.

I’ve been single for so long now – that I think I have forgotten how to be with someone – or even let someone in.

How much of yourself do you give to a person early on? That whole “getting to know” someone phase can be fun – but really – how much of your past are you willing to share? How much of “you” do you let them see?

I guess these are things I still struggle with. I know I’m an awesome person. I can be a good friend. I have a lot of interests. I’m pretty intelligent and can carry on conversations. I have plenty of great experiences I can talk about.

But because of past emotional abuse – some words still haunt me to this day. “You overthink everything, you’re exhausting” – is one of them. “You stress too much about life in general” or my personal favorite when my ex Kevin broke up with me after one of the worst years of my life.

“You stopped being fun.”

Yeah. Some guy actually said that to me.

Those things – those words – they stay with you. And they even haunt you, no matter how much you try and suppress them or forget them.

But there’s something lacking in my life. Something I’m missing. I don’t necessarily need a relationship to complete my life. I’m not even sure that I want a relationship. But I think what I miss most is that companionship. That closeness you share with someone. Talking on a regular basis. Getting together for drinks. Or to watch a movie.

Or just take a day and drive out to the badlands and explore with cameras – because that is something I’ve wanted to do for years.

Even going to Denmark is a dream. To see my family. To see my dad’s home country. To experience my culture. But it’s all better when you have someone to share those experiences with.

I guess… even despite having a good group of friends and family that I can rely on. And even having an amazing therapist who is supportive of whatever I need to return to work —

I feel like something is missing. Something is lacking.Maybe it’s connection.

But why is it — -the things we want the most – also scare us the most?