Ruminating is continually going over a thought or a problem, like a loop within your mind.
Negative “Why is this happening to me?”
Anxious, overanalysing past situations, what they meant, what you could have said, made different, overanalysing future events that haven’t taken place yet.
Obsessive thought patterns seem challenging to break free from, making it difficult to concentrate on other things.
Overthinking or obsessing over the negatives within life, like when you listen to a piece of music, and it loops around and around within your mind all day, appearing when you least want or expect it.
Going over the same problems without reaching an outcome within a narcissistic relationship, issues rarely get solved, and drama seems to appear whenever a narcissist is near. Even when the relationship is over, we can find ourselves ruminating.
It’s easier to let go when it makes sense. During the relationship, we are gaslighted into things not making sense, also into fear, isolated from support and not getting validated, leaving us with the thoughts of.
I could explain myself better.
What if it’s me?
Am I overreacting?
Am I too emotional?
What did I do?
If only I had.
It wasn’t that bad.
They’ve had a rough day. I should have dropped it.
It’s my anxiety.
Due to a narcissists devaluation and invalidating our thoughts, feelings and opinions, we can quickly become distracted, often having sleep deprivation too, with the release of cortisol due to the stress we live when around narcissistic people, we become anxious, feeling worthless and inadequate, often then ruminating about the negatives more, becoming more anxious, unsettled, restless, struggling to sleep, becoming more depressed and finding it harder to switch off, making it easier for the narcissist to coercively Control us, with everything happening we find it easier to fawn in order to protect ourselves as we are most often drained and seeing the day to day extremely challenging.
Narcissists set them the environment. They’ll happily create drama, then stand back and watch everyone else trying to fix it. They help through their gaslighting words and devaluation of who we are, withholding attention, affection and support, so we question ourselves, telling us we’re too sensitive, overreacting, overthinking, if we go to them with a problem, they’ll tell us to deal with it, yet however we deal with it is often wrong. When we approach a narcissist to sort financial issues or household issues, we can receive passive-aggressive behaviour such as silent treatments or sulks. If we push to reach an outcome, we might get the rage, leaving us with no clue what to do for the best, often living in fear of leaving and fear of staying, overthinking on what’s best to do and how best to do it, doing nothing through fear.
Once out, the narcissist’s never-ending games of hoovers and smear campaigns can leave us thinking what next? What now? This only leads to more ruminating of the past, of pain, of the negatives, cycling the patterns of sleep deprivation, anxiety, anger, emotional mood swings, confusion, feeling drained, that with our continued thoughts of.
Perhaps I’m the narcissist?
Perhaps they’re not a narcissist.
What if it’s me?
What if they change for the next person?
How did I miss the signs?
How could I be so stupid?
If only I’d set clear boundaries.
Did they ever love me?
Thinking about the good times, thinking about the bad times.
What could I have done better?
To end the cycle of ruminating, first, we have to get out of the negative situation we are in, not easy. However, that choice changes everything, and we just have to take it. We have to make it a must for our own health and sanity, then take it one decision and one moment in time, safely stepping away from the narcissist and their games.
Sometimes our memories are connected to our emotions. When a memory triggers that emotion, it can pull us back into the pain of the past. Connecting a new positive meaning to the pain of the past can help.
When faced with a situation with a narcissist, co-parenting, a family event or work colleague etc., try to focus on how you want the event to go and move away from the worst that could happen when your mind thinks of the worst attempt to focus on the best.
( never to excuse or go back to a narcissist who got you ruminating in the first place.)
So a family occasion where you know a narcissist will be their provoking, focus on the people you can chat to, focus on having fun with those, if you have to speak with the narcissist, limited communication, recognising and observing they unbelievable yet now believable behaviour.
Distract yourself with whatever distraction works for you.
When you find yourself ruminating, pattern interrupt, focus on your breathing, start by breathing in and counting 1234, hold 1234 and breathing out 1234 and keep going until you feel the ruminating pass, find a memory such as a picture to look at to make you smile or bring yourself to the present moment, focus on what you’re doing in the here and now, or something positive you’d like to create for your future.
Talking a walk, fresh air, take photos, practice mindfulness, meditation, yoga, exercise, watch or listen to something uplifting, or makes you laugh.
Start goal setting, look at things you’ve achieved in the past to give you a boost that you are capable of, set small, easily attainable goals first to show yourself you can, then work towards bigger goals. Celebrating each one, goals set by you, can be as simple as smiling the next time you pass a stranger, to starting your own business, planning that house move.
Understanding your triggers to see if you can change the meaning to those triggers, you can not change what you don’t understand.
Go and do the things the narcissist stopped you from doing. This can give you a boost of freedom, call that friend, do that hobby, buy that item, walk how you want, talk how you want, live how you want.
Set your own expectations for yourself. Don’t try to live by others only your own, raising your standards of behaviour you will and will not accept from others, whilst lowering expectations of those people who will just never honestly care for you or those around you, not to lower your expectations to allow them to disrespect you, raise those standards and boundaries that the narcissist took down, lower your expectations of their level of understanding so they no longer get to you, recognise their behaviour so they no longer drag you into their games.
Click the links below to join Elizabeth Shaw – Life Coach on social media for more information on Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse.