Self-Betrayal After Narcissistic Abuse

Self-Betrayal After Narcissistic Abuse self-betrayal after narcissistic abuse
Photo by kili wei on Unsplash

Self-betrayal is a common theme that often occurs after leaving a narcissistic relationship. You may have experienced betrayal from your narcissistic ex-partner numerous times. They might have crossed your boundaries, insulted you, financially exploited you, broken promises, or undermined you in countless ways. Once you step out of the relationship, you may initially feel a sense of liberation, believing that you’re finally free to pursue your dreams and desires. However, what you soon realize is that instead of embracing this newfound freedom, you find yourself betraying your own aspirations and wellbeing. You become your own worst enemy even after leaving your worst enemy.

What is Self-Betrayal?

Self-betrayal refers to the act of knowingly or unknowingly going against one’s own best interests, values, or needs. It involves a subconscious or conscious decision to abandon oneself, often driven by internalized beliefs or external influences. It can manifest in various form like neglecting basic self-care, engaging in unhealthy habits, procrastination as well as compromising personal boundaries and goals.

Let’s say you need to go to work or find a new job, but you feel too tired to do it. So, you end up not going or not taking the necessary action that will get you that job. Even basic things like brushing your teeth or taking a shower become hard to do. You know these things are good for you, but you still struggle to do them. You might promise yourself to start doing them today, but then, a few days later, you find yourself still not doing them. It’s like a cycle where you want to take care of yourself, but you keep letting yourself down.

The relationship you’ve been in or your past partner may have let you down, but what you’re experiencing now is the continuation of that betrayal, even long after you’ve left those toxic environments.

When you’re betraying yourself, you engage in actions, both small and significant, that ultimately cause harm. Some of these actions you may be consciously aware of, while others may slip by unnoticed. You might find yourself doing something reckless, only to later reflect on it and question yourself, asking something like, “How could I do such a horrible thing to myself?”

After that self-reflection, instead of forgiving yourself or understanding that it’s human to make mistakes, you end up emotionally abusing yourself by calling yourself names, which further causes more harm to yourself. In short, you’re not letting yourself off the hook, and you’re constantly hating, berating, and hurting yourself. Most of your life experiences are more or you letting betraying yourself instead of looking after yourself.

Why Do We Betray Ourselves?

The primary reason for self-betrayal or being one’s own worst enemy is the familiarity with betrayal. Betrayal and repeatedly letting oneself down or experiencing disappointments have become ingrained in your identity or inner belief system. So, when it comes to prioritizing self-care, the mind finds it unfamiliar and uncomfortable because you’ve not gotten used to it. Your mind has grown accustomed to prioritizing others, perhaps at the expense of your own well-being, especially when in your past relationships you aimed to impress or to prioritize your abusive ex-partner.

However, when it comes to focusing on yourself, you haven’t given yourself the same level of attention and care. This lack of self-care may stem from subconscious beliefs that you don’t deserve it or that prioritizing your needs is selfish. As a result, you often betray yourself, engaging in behaviors that are detrimental to your well-being or sabotaging efforts to make your life better.

This cycle of self-betrayal continues because it feels familiar and predictable which is not scary to the mind which will always resist or dread change.

Overcoming Self-Betrayal

To overcome this aspect of self-betrayal is not really about trying to ‘will’ yourself. Yes, you can will yourself to do something in your life, but sometimes, willing yourself may not be enough because your mind is keeping you safe even long after you left those abusive environments. Your mind got accustomed to self-betrayal as a survival or a safety mechanism and it’s still living by it even when you’re an adult. You’ve physically grown but your mind has not grown out of that belief.

So, it’s more like you have to really work on breaking free from these subconscious beliefs or these beliefs you’ve gotten stuck in for a very long time. And that’s where you may need the intervention of therapy because therapy will help you challenge these negative beliefs about yourself. Some of these beliefs you may not even be aware of because they’re buried in the basement or in the subconscious part of your mind.

And without you working on those things, you’ll always find yourself in this state of betraying yourself.

Your life is a mirror of what you deeply believe about yourself.

A step that may help you is to constantly challenge those negative aspects you believe about yourself.


Yes, you’ve left the relationship; you’re not even dating; you’re not even thinking about going into a relationship because you’re afraid that people will betray you. But the ultimate betrayal actually is not really what other people did to you. The ultimate betrayal is you constantly betraying yourself by doing things that go contrary to your values, by doing things that go contrary to your emotional and mental well-being because you’ve gotten used to it.

So, work on freeing yourself from those negative beliefs you’ve picked up from the environment or from the people who betrayed you in the past. And then, now, you’ll get to this point where you’ll be looking forward to a life where sometimes you may, of course, slack off, but 9/10, you’ll be doing things that you know are good for you. Sometimes, you may need an intervention of someone else so that you can really understand that you are sabotaging yourself because it’s become a pattern.

You’re presently letting yourself down by not focusing on yourself, and it’s crucial to recognize that this isn’t solely due to others betraying you. While their actions may have contributed to your current state, dwelling on the past won’t change anything. Instead, focus on freeing yourself from its hold and preventing further self-betrayal.

Your lack of boundaries, avoidance of addressing past traumas, and neglect of self-care perpetuate this cycle of self-betrayal. The journey toward healing and self-empowerment is for you. It involves establishing healthy boundaries, confronting past issues, and prioritizing your well-being. By taking these proactive steps to break free from this pattern, you pave the way for a more fulfilling and authentic life.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.




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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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