Audio Version (10:34)
Workplace bullying and abuse (narcissistic or otherwise) can leave emotional scars that can last for years, impacting not only your work life but also your overall well-being.
Recovering from such trauma (which is precisely what it is: TRAUMA) requires dedicated effort and self-care.
Having been subjected to workplace narcissistic bullying myself and helping dozens of people to identify and overcome it, in this article, I’m focussing on five effective ways to begin your journey toward healing.
For more information on how to identify and deal with narcissistic bullying in the workplace, I have a mini-course on YouTube. Click here to watch.
To watch the extended video version of this article, click here.
1. Acknowledge The Abuse
Validate Your Experience
Firstly, acknowledging it for what it is, ABUSE, is crucial for healing to begin.
Gaslighting and manipulation might have made you doubt your own perceptions, but acknowledging what happened is vital.
It’s important to note here that:
Emotionally mature, centred and mentally healthy individuals do not feel the need to bully others, and systematically attempt to destroy them.
Learn about narcissistic behaviour and abuse tactics. Understanding these patterns can help in healing and prevent future encounters.
Unfortunately, from both my own experience and through working with dozens of people who’ve been subjected to narcissistic abuse and bullying, without education, it often happens again.
I read a statement a few years ago that stuck with me: NARCISSISTS CAN EASILY SPOT SOMEONE WHOM ANOTHER NARCISSIST HAS PRIMED.
2. Seek Support and Guidance
Therapy and Coaching
Consider seeking professional help. Therapy and coaching provide a safe space to process emotions, regain self-worth, and develop coping strategies.
However, one HUGE caveat here is that if you’re going to go to therapy or coaching, please make sure that the person understands narcissism AND trauma. Many do not. I know because I train therapists and coaches on narcissism.
Without that basic understanding of narcissism and trauma, therapy can do more harm than good. I know that from personal experience. So, I want to ensure you’re asking the right questions and getting the right therapist/coach for you.
Connect with supportive friends, family, or support groups. Sharing experiences with empathetic individuals can be validating and aid in recovery.
Just one thing to note on this, though: many people do not know about narcissistic abuse, and so they may urge you to do something inappropriate given your circumstances.
Others will always see your problems through their lens. So if you get advice from others, albeit well-meaning, and it doesn’t feel right to you, you don’t have to take it. Go with your gut feeling/intuition. Deep down, you know what’s right for you.
3. Embrace Healing Activities
Engage in activities that bring joy and foster creativity. Painting, writing, music, or any form of artistic expression can aid in healing.
Hobbies where you become so absorbed that you don’t see the time passing are brilliant for this. When this happens, we call it ‘being in flow’. It massively benefits our nervous system, helping it return to homeostasis (baseline) and helping you feel physically and mentally ‘safe’.
Rebuild Social Connections
We tend to self-isolate when we’re under ‘threat’ (i.e. going through abuse) as our homes are often consciously or subconsciously a safe space. We stop doing our usual hobbies and interests. We stop going out to meet friends and family, preferring the safety of our homes and solitude.
It’s essential to break out of that habit slowly. If it feels a little daunting or overwhelming, start small. Arrange a coffee or a quick lunch with a trusted friend or family member.
When we are with people who care about us, we release oxytocin (the love hormone). When we’re low on oxytocin, the symptoms can include low mood, anxiety and even depression. We are tribal animals. We need to be around others we trust to feel safe.
4. Self-Care Activities
Weaving self-care activities into your daily/weekly routine is really important. I’ve discussed the following things in more detail in my video: 041 – 5 Simple, easy-to-use, science-backed tools to build your MENTAL TOUGHNESS and manage STRESS, so I won’t go into the full details here.
Meditation, Self-Hypnosis and NSDR
Meditation, self-hypnosis and NSDR (Non-Sleep Deep Rest) practices are powerful tools for managing stress and anxiety, especially long-term. At their core, these techniques focus on being present ‘in the moment’, cultivating awareness, and training the mind to observe thoughts and feelings without judgment.
There are so many clinical studies on the benefits of these practices that it’s tough to ignore.
Journaling and Expressive Writing
Both journaling and expressive writing can be a therapeutic outlet for managing stress and anxiety. Journaling allows you to express your thoughts, emotions, and concerns, helping to declutter your mind and gain perspective on challenging situations.
We can’t process difficult things when they’re stuck in our heads. It’s impossible, so talking to someone about our problems or (if that option isn’t available) writing them down is clinically proven to have massive beneficial effects.
Exercise, breathwork, mindfulness, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique – often referred to as ‘tapping’), Havening, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) are all brilliant tools to help regulate your nervous system.
Apart from EMDR, I use all of those techniques frequently and interchangeably depending on what’s going on in my life.
5. Focus On Career Recovery
Evaluate Your Options
Assess if staying in the current workplace is feasible or if a change is necessary for your well-being.
However, it’s important to remember that we take ourselves with us wherever we go, so healing and self-care are critical first steps to moving on, whether that’s within your current organisation or not.
Without rebuilding your confidence and self-worth, simply moving on from one job to another or organisation to another will not necessarily solve your problems.
I have a free mini online course that can help evaluate what you want from a job; it’s called ‘Get Clear’. Click here for more information.
Consider acquiring new skills or certifications to enhance your professional profile. This can empower you in your career transition.
Read books, listen to podcasts, sign up for free webinars and courses in person or virtually. Use YouTube! More than any other time in history, our ability to learn new things is literally at our fingertips.
Learning new skills (whether they’re related to your job or not) is another excellent way to build your confidence and self-esteem.
Recovering from workplace narcissistic abuse and any kind of bullying is a challenging journey that requires patience and self-compassion.
It’s crucial to prioritise your physical and mental health, seek support, and gradually rebuild your confidence.
Remember, healing takes time, but you can emerge stronger and more resilient with dedication and support
I’m not saying it’s always easy; it does take consistent work, but you can do this. If I can, you can too.
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Finally, as always, thank you for your continued support.