Updated: Mar 30, 2020
If you are still living with an abusive, narcissistic person and are having to self-isolate or you are on lockdown, being confined with them is going to be extremely challenging, and the chances are, if they haven’t already they will use this time to further their abuse and control over you. I want you to know that you are not alone and there are some things you can do to help manage your situation.
Make a safety plan: If you feel ready to leave, you can make a safety plan, this is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Having a safety plan laid out can help you to protect yourself during this stressful time. You can learn more about safety plans here, and you can find an interactive guide to safety planning here, so use this time to think about and plan what you can do when this situation is over.
Stay connected: An abuser will use this situation to isolate you even more than you already are, if possible, make time to contact friends. Ask someone who is aware of your situation to keep in touch with you, to check that you are OK. If someone is getting your shopping, and you need help, try and slip them a note, asking them to contact the police on your behalf.
Respond but don’t react: They know what buttons to press to make you react to what they say, they will want to use this situation as an excuse to further their abuse of you. I know this is hard, but whenever possible respond but don’t react. Try and stay calm as they are looking for an emotional response from you.
Don’t stop them: So for example, if they say they are going out, and you know this is to see their “supply”, don’t stop them, let them go, as you will benefit from the peace of not having them around, even for a short while.
Practice self-care: If COVID-19 anxiety is being used to scare, trigger or abuse you, try to practice self-care as much as possible, see my tips below for helping with anxiety.
Take breaks from watching, reading or listing to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol.
Take care of your body and mind. Practice mindfulness. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate.
Connect virtually with others. Talk to people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Make time for funny/cute videos, video games, art, writing or Netflix.
For some more tips see MaxGetsCurious on Instagram.
Shift your mindset: If you feel that your mind is spiraling into a negative downwards turn, use these phrases to help shift your mindset from negative to positive.
Stuck at home = I will be safe (from virus) in my home and I get to spend time with my kids.
I will get sick = I will self-isolate and wash my hands, this will significantly decrease my chances of getting sick.
I will run out of items at home during self-isolation = I have prepared for this and I will use my items wisely. I have everything I need for now.
Everything is shutting down, I’m panicking = The most important places, such as medical centers, pharmacies and food shops remain open.
There is too much uncertainty right now = While I can’t control the situation around me, I can control my actions. Doing breathing exercises, calling loved ones, getting enough sleep and proper nutrition, prayer and doing activities you love at home will help during this time.
REMEMBER, you are not alone! I know from experience what it is like living with a Narcissist (although not during a pandemic) so I do understand some of the fear and anxiety you are feeling. I also know that each of your situations is unique and will vary, as you could be living with someone who is emotionally abusive to someone who is physically or sexually violent. If you feel that the abuse is escalating and you need help, there are the support services that can help you.
If you are in the UK: Refuge or Women’s Aid. The police are still running a normal service, so if you need them, call them. If you are unable to speak when you call the police, you can press 55, this is called “Silent Solutions” find out more here.
I am also available and I offer a free 15-minute discovery call, where we can chat, you can see a friendly face and receive some emotional support. If you want to book a video call with me, use this link.
Stay safe xx