Mod 3: Exercises

When you’re feeling emotions that want to drive you back to your narcissist, whether they be guilt, fear, or longing, there are practical things to can do to strengthen the power of your resolve. The exercises in this section address the various issues we’ve covered in Mod 3, and they all have in common that they work to clarify your thinking and empower you.

Exercise 1: Write down your testimony

One thing that helps a lot when you are in the grip of Stockholm Syndrome is to hold fast to the truths you know about your own narcissistic abuse. Sometimes those truths seem clearer than others. One thing I’ve found very helpful and frequently advise is making a sort of “grievance list.” I touched on this in the Mod 1 Journaling Exercise. If you haven’t already done so, or need to again, write down the most vivid offenses committed against you by your narc. List the things said or done that demonstrate most clearly why you are better off away from the abuse. When you feel tempted to reconnect, or feel qualms of guilt or sympathy, pull out your list and read it…intently!

Exercise 2: Find a “sponsor”

In Alcoholics Anonymous, participants have a sponsor who is their personal “guardian angel” of support. When tempted to drink, AA members contact their sponsor to help them resist.

If you are having a tough time resisting contacting or spying on your narcissist, enlist a good friend you can call when temptation arises. My counselees in the Narcissist Group of use the group itself for this purpose and post when they need help. If you are seeing a therapist or in group therapy, ask about having an individual available to you in this way.

Exercise 3: Practice your self-compassion

Of course, your handiest ally is yourself. There’s no time like the present to start practicing self-compassion. So be on the lookout for the next time you need some love and support.

Write down or print off these steps:

  1. Be aware of your own suffering.
  2. Recognize that suffering is an essential element of being human, and is okay.
  3. Let go of expecting perfection of yourself.
  4. Treat yourself with love and sympathy.
  5. Acknowledge and be grateful for your own friendship.

The very next time you feel bad, you can work on this. As soon as you can, go somewhere where you can be alone for at least a couple of minutes; even the bathroom or your car will do.

Go through the steps, as slowly and mindfully and intently as you can.

Speak inwardly to yourself with each step.

Put your arms around yourself. Even folding your arms across your chest works, and no one will even notice that.

Don’t worry if going through this exercise doesn’t seem to help. It may not make a big difference at first, but the point is, you are practicing. You’re starting to introduce to yourself the concept that it’s good and healthy to care for yourself in this way. At first it may seem unnatural, or you may not be sure what to do. But the more often you do it, the better you will become at this skill. Give yourself time.

And you can also get started with the Mod 3 Meditation….

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