5 Helpful Tips and Reminders for Highly Sensitive Survivors of a Narcissistic Abuse

Hi everyone. Finally a new post!  It’s been a wonderful, eventful summer!  It’s been very exciting and my husband and I are so proud watching our children start their new independent lives with confidence, hard work, determination, and exhilaration as they pursue their dreams and desires. It’s an emotional time of bittersweet endings and wonderful new beginnings for all of us.

Although we still have an entire month of summer weather left to enjoy, this time of year always seems like the beginning of a new year because of the new academic school year starting locally and at universities everywhere.  The excitement of buying school supplies and getting new books with new subjects to learn about still affects me in a positive way.  I was able to master my ability to relax and enjoy myself in the summer, my most difficult season, and truly “be in the moment”.

Now I am excited to be returning my focus to my true purpose in life–comforting and encouraging highly sensitive souls (HSPs) with childhood wounds to heal and feel GOOD about themselves. To all of you sensitive souls out there reading this blog, I feel your presence and I understand your struggles and frustrations. Here are some helpful tips and reminders for survivors of an N parent:

1.  Compassion for yourself is always rule #1.  You did a great job surviving a very difficult childhood.  Instead of getting loving support you may have been ridiculed and undermined.  You DESERVED compassion but you did not get it.  You must learn to give it to yourself.  You really can be the ideal mother or father to yourself that you never had.  As survivors, you may often be too hard on yourselves.  If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, stop everything and be nice to yourself about it.  You have every right to feel stressed and overwhelmed.  Imagine the most loving mother comforting you through it.  What would she say to you?  “Everything is going to be all right.  You have worked so hard and you deserve to rest.  Put your feet up and I’ll get you a warm blanket.  How about some green tea and a warm cup of soup.” 🙂  Put your worries out of your mind–does that task really have to be done today?  No, it does not. It is very important to know that until you have unconditional compassion and love for your self you will not have the energy to give compassion and love freely to others!  Healthy, loving relationships are reciprocal–you must have compassion to give to others if you want to attract people into your life who are truly “giving” in return.

2.  Forgive yourself.  When you have an N parent you were never taught that it’s okay to make mistakes. When you make a mistake, a loving parent would say to you,  “It’s okay, that is how we learn and you learned a lot from this–maybe it is even good that it happened.”  If you had this message growing up, imagine where you’d be today!  You could glide from one mistake to the next without beating yourself up about it, instead you would say to yourself, “that’s okay, I am only human, we all make mistakes and that is how we learn.”  Also forgive yourself for trusting the wrong people.  Because you had an N parent that you trusted for a long time, you may be confused about what a healthy relationship looks and feels like.  It takes time to learn to love yourself and start attracting people who also love themselves and have real love to give.  Forgive yourself about trusting the wrong people along the way, this happening is often a necessary stepping stone on your journey to finding your true selves and honoring all of your feelings.

3. Allow yourself to have some inner confusion at times.  We all have inner confusion at times.  Even Deepok Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and the wisest psychotherapists on earth have inner confusion at times and this is how we continue to grow and learn.  This is part of the human experience on this planet.  You cannot and must not feel that you have to be on top and have it all figured out all the time!  Your N parent may have made you feel this way probably because you were so very bright and right so much of the time, they felt compelled to knock you down and never gave you credit for your brilliant ideas.  So when you weren’t on top and were naturally feeling confused about some unexplained event in your lives, they probably often took this opportunity to point out to you, “See you aren’t so great, this happened to you and this is proof!  This may have very confusing and painful to you which just further made you harder on yourselves.  You may have said to yourselves, “I must never let people see that I don’t have it all figured out. I must be even more perfect!”  If you can see how unfair this was to you as a child and how you deserved to feel okay about having inner confusion, you will feel much relief and realize you deserve to be… human.  It is so unhealthy trying to be perfect.  You must allow yourself to grieve for the time you spent feeling unworthy of acceptance and that you are not good enough as you are in each given moment.  Sometimes you have inner confusion–it is okay…let it be.  In time, the lesson you were to learn from it will be learned and you will progress again towards expressing your true voice.

4.  Guilt, shame, and doubt are thoughts and feelings from elsewhere to be ignored.  Ignoring your “inner critic” is hard to do because it feels like it’s your “self” telling you these negative messages so you think it must be true.  But these messages and feelings are not from your true self–they are incorrect beliefs from surviving your N parent which you have internalized!  You can learn to recognize them and identify them as your “inner critic” which you must ignore.  It is not the truth!  Your inner critic is WRONG about you.  Most often the exact opposite is true.  When you become conscious of your “inner critic” you can over-ride your thoughts with positive affirmations such as “I love and approve of myself”.  Getting in the habit of catching yourself  when you are unconsciously beating yourself up will change your life!  When you can stop your negative thoughts and know and believe that they aren’t true, your true purpose and compassionate self will begin to emerge. This is not easy and this leads into my next tip.  Sometimes you must get help from a safe person you trust fully to grieve and let out the pain from your abused inner child before you can begin to change these negative beliefs about yourself.

5. Consider reaching out and getting help.  If you are projecting bouts of anger and despair onto your loved ones and are confused about why this is happening, it helps to understand the roots of this confusing pattern. In inner child grief work, this is called “transference” and is a very important and necessary part of the healing process. It is as if you must pull the other person into the drama of the original feelings from childhood so that you can process these feelings and heal them in the present day. Post traumatic stress (PTSD) is the eruption of past unresolved childhood pain into your relationships in the present. If you don’t understand what is happening it can wreak havoc on your present relationships. But if you work this out with a skilled coach or counselor that you fully trust, you can learn to understand your feelings as they come up and you will not need to act on them. You can learn how if you are able to display the out-of-control feelings with this safe person who is able to stay impartial and unaffected and still be compassionate even to angry or blaming projections. Depending on the severity of the abuse and the transference symptoms, look for an experienced and sensitive counselor or coach with knowledge of inner child healing and are humanistic in their approach.  As a coach I can help clients with mild symptoms of post traumatic stress–I have experience with this as I not only worked through my own transference and projections with a therapist but also because my husband and I worked through our projections and transference from our childhoods onto each other to the point of working through most of our co-dependence issues. We were able to do this because of our deep trust in each other and because of my training, my own self-growth which had to happen first, and my knowledge about healthy communication skills, grieving our losses, and what constitutes healthy boundaries. 

 I will be sharing even more helpful healing tips here on my blog in the coming weeks and months.  As a highly sensitive person who survived an N parent, you can learn techniques to love yourself and heal your childhood wounds so that you can have the peace of mind and confidence in yourself that you DESERVE.  I hope that my tips have been comforting to you.  You are a special highly sensitive soul and your healing is necessary so your God-given gifts and true self can be actualized and all your dreams can come true.  You survived a N parent–be kind to yourself!  Now is your time for healing.  I care and I am here for you.

With love,


5 responses

  1. Sounds like a great summer! And both kids being out of the house….bittersweet for sure. My sons are only 10 & 12 but I know that time will be here before I know it. I too feel like the beginning of the school year is a new year and love the excitement of buying new school supplies, books and looking forward to all the new things they will learn.

    These are some great tips and all so very true. #5 is the toughest for me. Not the reaching out for help part, that is something I’ve done and am still working on. But I do become easily irritable when I’m anxious and rarely even know why I’m anxious. Sometimes I realize I’m snapping at people and that my reaction does not match the situation but sometimes I don’t realize that until later. And even then I rarely know why. Oddly, I have never ever expressed any anger or even irritability with my therapist. Having read this post I wonder if I simply want to please her….want her to like me…as a surrogate mother of sorts. I do talk about everything, past and present but perhaps I haven’t been as open and honest in therapy as I thought? Have you ever experienced this with a client?


    1. Hi Cyndi, Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your experiences. You ask a great question and a it’s great subject that I am happy to address and clarify. First of all, I want to reassure you that avoiding conflict of any sort with your therapist is very normal and common. Establishing a deep trust in this relationship is vital and can take as long as the client needs. Typically, later on after a trusting relationship is established when the client feels very comfortable disclosing more personal and painful confusion, that is when transference feelings naturally start to come up. However, some clients who have perhaps had therapy in the past or have already experienced quite a bit of painful self-growth and awareness can project their childhood pain onto a therapist much sooner and with more intensity. It is important that the client try to discuss these feelings that they are experiencing with the therapist but that the therapist allow the client to decipher what these feelings may mean regarding a connection back to original events in childhood with guidance if requested. I believe a client-centered approach (where the client takes the lead) to be the most beneficial to the healing of the client. Unconditional support of whatever feelings the client experiences in their own comfort level and time frame is essential to establishing the deep trust that will eventually help the unresolved pain to naturally come up and be released and resolved with the therapist. Cyndi, it sounds like you are right on track with your therapist and she is responding to your lead which is great!


  2. Thanks for responding Roxanne. This all makes complete sense of course. However, I have been seeing the same therapist for almost 3 years. The first year I saw her every week. I feel as if I trust her completely and have disclosed all sorts of things I never disclosed to anyone, including myself. I have admitted to many many things I am ashamed of, cried and even bawled uncontrollably in her office. I have had many “light-bulb” moments in her office and realizations of all sorts. I see her as a professional who I pay to help guide me. I also see her as someone I would likely be friends with under different circumstances. It’s really odd to me that no transference has taken place.

    On the other hand, I used to become very angry with both of the marriage counselors my husband and I saw. The first one was a woman who turned out to be all wrong for us. The second one was a man who was brilliant as far as I’m concerned, and if not for him I believe we would have divorced. But at the time, I had no problem yelling at him, calling him on things I thought were nonsense, pouting and all sorts of juvenile, but necessary, behaviors. I do NONE of that with my personal therapist. It’s so strange. I haven’t seen in her in several months but am going back next week and now have to bring this up. Thanks again Roxanne, you always make me think! 🙂


  3. Roxanne,
    When someone works extra hard at bettering themselves because of growing up in dysfunction and gets to a point where they feel confident about themselves, what may cause them to ignore their gut instinct and go back to an environment that may not be good for them and try to make things work and knowingly hurt themselves in the process? I did this and it almost made me want to give up because I thought I knew better than to let this happen to me. I’m assuming the answer may be there are still unanswered questions and unresolved issues that may retrigger self-doubt even though it is unwarranted.


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