Doubt is like the rude uninvited guest that keeps showing up to your party. It’s the rain on your parade. It has the power to completely overhaul your plans, what actions you take and to keep you stuck replaying the same tapes over and over again.
If you don’t understand doubt – where it comes from and what its motives are, you will continue to believe that it’s real and in return, you will settle for less than you deserve, it will stop you from going after things you really want, it will make you responsible for everything and everyone and it will keep you stuck in the same place. Doubt creates fear, confusion, anxiety, shame and sorrow. Doubt is something codependents wear like a warm blanket. It’s soft and comfortable and it feels like home.
Every time I get a new client, the first thing they say to me, after they’ve finished telling me their story is,”I’m not sure if he/she is a really great person and I’ve just made a huge mistake.” This after they’ve spent the last 25 minutes listing all the horrific relationship crimes they’ve been victim to. Their doubt is making them question their reality past and present.
Doubt is part of the disease of codependency. It comes from those childhood tapes that keep replaying the same message over and over again – that you’re not good enough, that your needs aren’t important. It’s the critical parent voice always trying to keep you where you are and beat you up emotionally. If you stray too far from believing that you’re unworthy and start to believe that you just might deserve something better, it will always show up to remind you of your core belief.
The one thing I know for sure about doubt is that if you don’t become aware of it – if you’re not mindful of what it is and what it can do to you, it will control your life – in every single possible way. It is the low emotional energy that permeates around our being and draws ‘like’ things to us
Doubt and the Law of Attraction
A friend of mine recently went to one of those I Can Do It seminars . I think that’s what it was called. It had a host of new age celebrities – some from the documentary The Secret, Gabrielle Bernstein was there among others and my friend had a really great experience. She posted a picture she took, on Facebook, of an overhead, which I’ve posted at the top of this post.
Under the heading -Top 10 Things that Hold You Back From Living Your Purpose, it liststs:
- Putting yourself last
- Trying to control other people
- Playing small
- Always assuming the worst
- Doubting your higher wisdom
- Staying in toxic relationships
- Needing the approval of others
Now call me crazy, but this list sounds like a lot of the symptoms of codependency. Very likely they compiled a list of behaviors that keep your emotional energy low and didn’t know what they had once they were done compiling it.
I know that the Law of Attraction is real. I’ve seen it work in my own life – for good and bad.
As many, who have read my blog for a while know, I was in a car accident several years ago. I had never been in an accident before. Not even so much as a fender bender. I always felt confident behind the wheel, but after that accident I suffered Post Traumatic Stress. I kept reliving the accident day in day out. I’d see myself crashing when I closed my eyes at night. I was always anxious behind the wheel and within 2 ½ months I’d had another accident. There was so much emotion behind it. I was fearful and anxious. I visualized crashing constantly and I let my mind just ran amok with it and it produced the fruits of that labour. I’ve had it work for positive things in my life too, but make no mistake it is real and it’s the same law that brings the codependent and the narcissist together.
It’s that pesky emotional energy that we learn from our parents and they learned from their parents. I remember reading about experiments in psychology text books back when I was in university. Low socio-economic status was always something they would consider as a factor in this and that experiment.
In real life, low socio-economic status refers to those individuals who live in poverty. It’s the single parents living in government assisted housing and living off of government assistance. That’s the image I always got when I glossed over those terms and I came to realize that this “status” was the blanket I referred to earlier. It’s the emotional vibration that a parent passes down to her off spring. It’s why these off spring go off into gangs and commit crimes and have babies with several different people and these babies grow up and have the same life.
“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to us more than we think we are worth.” – Iyanla Vansant
Codependency doesn’t always or only exist around poverty. That’s just one area where it can manifest and thrive. The focus of one’s codependency seems to be whatever is of import to one’s care givers. My parents never had a lot of money and my mother was obsessed with physical beauty – so my shame was always geared to not having these things. This was the song of the critical parent voice in my head, always making me settle for less financially than I deserved and why I never felt comfortable in my own skin.
Codependency is a disease. It’s destructive and it keeps you from living a full authentic life. To beat it, it’s important to know what it is, where it comes from, how it manifests in your life and what its agenda is. Once you can point out these things – once you can label it (in the present moment as it’s happening in your life) – it loses its power.
“I had no idea there was such a thing as Resistance. I believed the voices in my head. I acted out. I blew up my marriage and blew up my life, rather than plunge a sword into the heart of that book.
It took me seven more years before I found the courage to face that dragon again – and another ten years after that before I had finally learned how to lay him out. Here’s one thing I can tell you and you can take this to the bank: Slay that dragon once and he will never have power over you again.” – Steven Pressfield
The above quote is by novelist Steven Pressfield. He’s probably best known for his fiction writing, having penned best sellers like The Legend of Bagger Vance and The Gates of Fire, but he has also written a few non-fiction books for writers and artists. Some of the titles include, Do the Work, Turning Pro and my favorite (an intentional play on words) The War of Art. In these short works he talks about overcoming the enemy. He calls it resistance, and one could easily sub in the words doubt or codependency. In all these works he talks about how our doubt/resistance/codependency tries to keep us from our goal. It stops us from accomplishing all that can and from being who we were menant to be. Resistance is the distractions we create for ourselves, it’s the critical parent voice that tells us we can’t do it and that we don’t deserve it. If these voices and beliefs go unabated we will never overcome them .
“Remember the enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is resistance.
“The enemy is our chattering brain, which if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.” – Steven Pressfield
One could argue that all people suffer from doubt and that is very likely true, but I would temper that statement with – the lower the sense of self-worth the higher the doubt. I see it like a teeter totter. The higher your sense of self -worth the lower your level of doubt.
Codependency is the low emotional vibration that we create within – it’s a negative feedback loop that keeps bringing to us more low emotional energy people and experiences. We learn it as children and we live it as adults, never knowing or understanding why we can’t get ahead.
You slay this dragon through awareness. Once you can identify it, you can stop being burned by it’s fire. Once you stop listening to it, you become it’s master rather than it’s slave.
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You nailed it with the new clients who recite a litany of abuse they have received from their partner, and then question whether they are making a mistake in ending the relationship. I have done the same thing to my friends, repeatedly. You would think that telling my story of decades of verbal and emotional abuse would help convince me that I was right to leave, but 15 months later and I stil live in doubtville. I found this site when I googled cognitive dissonance – knowing that is at the heart of my current issue. Either my Marriage to my N is worth saving, or in saving my marriage I will lose my mind. One or the other must be true but my doubts have me stuck in an awful purgatory. Add to that the guilt of leaving him all alone and me feeling responsible for his happiness and I am living in hell even though I no longer am living with him. I know that he never gave a second thought to the hell he put me through with his constant criticism, contempt and name calling, plus the projection, deflection, band blame games. But he could be very nice when he wanted to be. Holidays are the worst. I don’t miss the drama and the yelling and the manufactured arguments. But I feel like a drifting ship with no anchor. Thank God my kids are finally happy and not walking on eggshells any more. Except one of them is taking after her dad and trying to control me with her anger and criticism. And when I get that from her I experience an almost PTSD flashback of life with the N. And my completely irrational response is to doubt myself and think it may have been a mistake to leave the N. As if staying with him would stop her from turning into him! It’s so helpful to read these posts and all of your responses. Thank you everybody. I spent years planning in my head how I would leave the N when my kids got older but I never realized how hard it would be to break these ties of guilt and obligation and fear.
Mary, it was good to read your post and when you speak of the guilt felt when leaving them…I can totally emphathise with you. For me it was Mother induced in that she she was always trying to make me responsable for my siblings happieness and hers! I now réalisé how abusive that is to à child and how irresponsable of her. Although I am aware of this, I still have yet to slay that dragon! Getting there as I am sure you will do too
So great. Thank you for this. These blog posts are like therapy for me right now.
Greetings, and happy new year.
I am new to the site but not the feelings, the abuse (verbal, emotional, and physical), my story is so bizarre (you think?). I am just glad to be here where i can finally connect with others who are working on themselves.
I asked my g.f. today (dealing with ‘our’ situation and we also have a ‘troubled son’ in common, i asked her, how do you handle the mundane, doing laundry, preparing meals, do you still cook? those type of things, the everyday things…
I am just glad to be here and i am trying to find out where Savannah’s first post is! so i can start right at the beginning….but in the big picture, isn’t it all the same flipping day?
I am angry with myself right now, angry because i divorced him, got away, and here he is…in my place due to some financial situation, latched on when my family and i were in a family crisis with my sister suffering from cancer and we thought she was on her death bed…that’s when he made his move and rented out the apt. he was living in..(his brothers condo), anyway, the first time, mistake, the second time a choice, so not only is he sick, i’m sicker….
thank you for being here, i thought i had this all sussed, i realize i know nothing, my head does, but i just can’t seem to internalise it, i don’t know where to start, how to get unstuck, how to just take care of me without being a ‘bitch’….
Very good article. I’ve always had trouble with this.
Realizing that every choice and decision is my fault, I started making better choices, which in turn made my life better!
I used to be in the fetal position for weeks after an encounter with my N family or N Ex.
My recent encounter with each, I remained calm and matter of fact and indifferent to them. It was great! And I didn’t dwell on it. It’s over, goodbye. No longer the fetal position!
It has taken 6 years to get to this place. I’m finally seeing and feeling what was out of my reach for my whole life.
Instead of saying, Is this all there is? Living with my N.
I now say, I get to do this! I’m working for me!
May we all slay our Dragons and live our lives to the fullest.
And stop retelling people the story of your N. It just keeps you stuck there and reaffirms to everyone else that you’re down and its their turn to take an easy shot at you, too. I’ve had that happen to me by someone who claimed to love me.
Love yourself so much that you won’t let anyone or anything cross that line again.
You are so important.
Screenshot articles that give you the Ah Ha moment so you can read them again and again! One day it will all catch up in your brain, and you will say ahhhh. Life is Good.
Love you all!
This could not have come at a better time. I’m on a difficult work project well outside my comfort zone — and doubt has most definitely been creeping in. Thank you for helping me see it and giving me tools to counter it. One sentence in particular has stuck in my mind this week: “We cannot outperform our level of self esteem.” Right on — so if I want to perform at a high level the starting point is to enhance and strengthen my self esteem. Thank you for that powerful thought!
Hi Savannah thank you so much for your posts! I am free of my narc ex for almost 1.5 years I have moved the other side of the world 3 months after we break up. This has been a big decision although I miss a lot my family and friends I am happy having the opportunity to start from cero in a new and better place. This new place is literally the other side, I am from South America and I moved to Australia. A few weeks ago my ex sent me an email saying that he wants to travel here to ask me for an apologize face to face. I have lot of mixed feelings as I feel I deserve an apology and he travelling for this would be a good satisfaction but deep inside I know it is not a good idea to accept to see him here. I told him that no I wouldn’t see him but now I am afraid he just could come here out of the blue and bump him in the street, are the narcissist capable of physical violence? I am having terrible nightmares about this, he was never physical violent but yes gaslighting, silent treatments, cheating all the tactics that you describe in the blog. Should I do something about it?
Dee – I hurt for you and how you’re feeling. But knowledge is power, and if you have it now, you can work on your issues and give yourself a fighting chance for life you have always deserved and been worthy of. Grieve, then get up, get yourself a good counselor, and educate and fight for yourself.
I can’t imagine how being with an alcoholic partner could ever be part of your solution. It is actually quite typical for a codependent to have an alcoholic partner, which perpetuates codependency and all the bad things that go with it. Please do some reading on this subject. There is a mountain of it.
I wish you the strength to slay your dragon. No one can do it but you. Do it!
This is rather timely for me. As I am 3 yrs out of a Narc marriage, recently divorced (walked away with nothing, no more hoop jumping and needed to move on) and under educated for making a career change in todays job market. At times i feel the suffocation of self doubt and and anxiety rear their ugly head. I am trying to stay positive and not let those old feelings of “not being good enough” drown me. Being the oldest, my parents never participated in my desire to support my decisions in my chosen career path. I chose another, believing I was not smart enough or strong enough to move away and pursue my dreams. My other siblings have college degrees and were paid for by my parents. I have worked hard my whole life and i raised 3 children alone. (first husband was a narc as well) I made sure they all went to college and were able to take care of themselves. They make me quite proud. At this point I am trying to get by the resentment I have towards my parents and the self doubt, that is my own. It’s hard, some days are better than others, I am trying to find my way. Thanks for this validating piece that resonates with me right now. I will continue to push thru…prayers and patience. Oh the ugly shadows that we have to push away to become healthy, and happy. I will never give up. Thoughts and prayers to all who come here for love and support and to Savannah for teaching us how to deal with the broken parts of ourselves.
I am emerging from the quicksand of co-dependant existence.. slowly and carefully. My mother was, and still is, the narcissist queen. At 55 years old, I now understand how much her indifferent, controlling and competitive parenting style affected myself, my brothers and my father. In order to heal myself I had to move over 600km away and limit my contact with her. This however did not stop her from using phone calls and emails to continue her blatant denigration of my self-worth. I have now learnt how to call it out.. politely. I have also learnt how to forgive her.. after all it is her problem not mine.
I realise that the road to recovery will not always be free of potholes.. but at least I know how to avoid them… take a different route.
As I pack up and extricate myself from another failed relationship of 7 years with a narc, I am quietly rejoicing in the knowledge that I can and will achieve whatever I imagine. The best moment was calling out my narc on his deceit, infidelity, lack of empathy whilst dining in our favourite restaurant. I calmly and politely laid down the rules of dis-engagement and made him toast and shake hands on it. The waitress even took a photo.. I was beaming with a nearly full glass and he looked like a deer in the headlights and with an empty glass!
In this last year I have lost 25kg, started strength training, embarked on a new career and now travel confidently wherever takes my fancy, as a single mature woman.. without any doubts or hesitation.
My physical, emotional and spiritual health is absolutely sacrosanct and the primary focus of my decision making now. Your writings came to me very late in my journey but have had an empowering effect.. you have validated what I had sensed all along.. but doubted myself. I was always OK. I am OK. I will be better than OK! Blessings.. you are all going to be amazing ♡
I have been reading your posts for 18 months, since my husband of 30 years walked out, and they have been tremendously helpful. This one came at the perfect moment, because I am ready for a “new me. Thank you!
2 year 2 months and 2 weeks out of a 15 year Narcissistic Marriage! Step one of the co-dependency was him buying my first ever cellphone. You are the Master of Your Own Destiny! Attitude is everything! And YOU can do Anything you set your Mind to Do! Slay your Dragon and know you are an awesome person and on one can rain on your parade! You many hear a not of NOs along your journey but with every closed door one will open! Be careful for people are cruel and lie a lot better then being honest! You can be your best you by making the choice everyday when you hit the floor! Thanks for sharing!
I have a question. A woman that has been with the narc (while I was also with him), recently friended me on fb and also asked me to dinner. I went to dinner out of curiosity and she mentioned him several times. They had just been to a conference together and drove together to get there which took two days. I just listened and smiled and made positive comments about what fun they must have had. Inside I was dying. I haven’t been with him for over a year, but it still hurts, you know, the old “why was I not good enough.” And I don’t even want him. It’s so crazy. Anyway, my question. Should I have said something about the fact that he used me for over 5 years and that he isn’t a nice person. Should I have asked what he told her I was (he told another woman that I was just a family friend). She seems to think he is great and she’s known him as long as I have. Does she know how many women he has been with and hurt? I didn’t say a word. A friend of mine told me I shouldn’t even be in contact with her. So confusing.
Narc use triangulation, leaving their par tiers feeling insécure. My guess is this woman was weighing up her compétition. I would stay àway !
Narcs use triangulation, leaving their parterners feeling insécure. My guess is this woman was weighing up her compétition. I would stay àway !
My advice would be that, should this happen again, recognise the ‘curiosity’ you feel as the dragon that needs slaying, then prioritise self-care and stay well away. Her words hurt you and you can protect yourself by avoiding being in that situation.
Eac time I read your articles I learn and identify wit sooo much. Thank you
This is what I am battling now. I am trying hard to leave my Narc and I can’t shut my negative head up long enough to get out. I know I have to for my own well being but there’s so many reasons why it would just be easier to stay. I am trying to find the strength to push through and not make excuses. Your site and blogs help me so much. Thank you!
Thank you so much for this. 6 weeks ago I walked away from a 10 yr relationship – 1 of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Undeniably, the right thing to do and the “miracles” that have happened to me since then have been astounding, and yet …… I still have “tugging” , this sadness,, this ” I wonder if i couldn’t have done something” – the positive things that have happened to me since I left ( cleared my energy) & thinking back on the emotional abuse & public humiliation over the past 7-8 years – that should be validation enough.. But @ 56, I’m a master at the co dependent behavior – this article is exactly what I needed to snap me back to reality. Facing the rest of the day with renewed passion & optimism . Will re read this often xx
God help me
I have just read the above & realised I & I alone have destroyed my own life walking away from good men fearing they would find out that I wasn’t really that good , not getting married because of fear it wouldn’t work & I would end up homeless in 5 /10 years
Protecting myself by staying single & living in my own bubble through fear of looking stupid or failing
Even now I always wanna run for the hills & protect myself when my relationship feels like it’s time to start making commitments ..
I am now with an alcoholic & I feel slightly better as I feel he accepts me for me but to the outside world I am strong attractive articulate inside I am a 10 year old trying to be accepted
Is this forever gonna be my life !!!!
My partner wants marriage & a future but my mother constantly tells me everyone envies me being single & being able to do what I want when I want & that I am stupid to settle down at 49 years old
I live with self doubt 24/7 & blame myself for everything
God I wish I could break free & be me whoever that is 🙁
Love & happiness to you all
I am lucky enough to live in beautiful NZ where I can look for Savannah’s post but it’s the afternoon not the early am!
Be kind to yourself . . . Some days are easier than others. Soon enough the good days will out weigh the bad.
Being critical about yourself might come easy but when it’s hard going being kind to yourself is sometimes what gets you through the day.
Kia kaha (be strong)
Once again I catch this late Sunday night-sleepy will read again in the a.m…but this is the indefinable thing I have tried to describe for years. I called it the undertow. I knew it was there and operant ..unbidden and unable to locate…I would be going great the WHAM the undertow…so angry at myself for it…… Thanks back at it tomorrow after sleep.
Undertow is a really great way of describing it. The invisible and powerful drag from below that seems, at least, to be a force of nature.