I help highly sensitive people get out of the pain & frustration that comes with toxic relationships.
I know what it's like to experience narcissistic abuse.
I've lived and breathed narcissistic abuse in a variety of relationships.
When it comes to romance, when I was in my 20’s, I met someone exciting, fun & spontaneous. I felt giddy, alive and kind of high.
I thought, “Wow, they are sooooo into me. Maybe this is it? Maybe they are the one?”
I committed to them (and hopefully to more of that giddy feeling).
But the person that initially brought so much joy & such a high, also brought me so much pain and so, so many lows.
I lost myself completely.
I felt anxious and on edge, all the time. I’d catch myself thinking: "I’d better not say that, because they’ll get mad, I better not do that, because they won’t like it” I was walking on eggshells. Over time I started to wonder, “Why don't they treat me how they did when we first met?” I started to doubt myself. Occasionally, I’d catch myself thinking,“What did I do to deserve this?”
Even though I knew on a conscious level that I hadn’t really done anything. I just felt worthless. I’d wonder “what can I do to fix our relationship and get the good times back?” But to be honest, most of the time, I wasn't really present or thinking much of anything at all. I was just going through the motions, using a lot of distraction & escapism to cope.
And even worse, I hid a lot of what was going on from everyone around me. I didn’t want them to dislike my partner, judge me, or tell me to leave.
I was stuck - clearly unhappy where I was, but also unable to move on, or even take care of myself.
I wanted nothing more than to feel loved, accepted and secure in my relationship - on the bad days as well as on the good days. (Instead, I felt like faulty goods that could get tossed out with the trash if I put a foot wrong.)
I longed to be approved of (like in the beginning), and to be seen as someone that wanted to work on our relationship - together - not as the bad guy who was somehow out to hurt them or destroy our relationship - like my partner sometimes thought I was.
My journey to figure all this out was longer than it needed to be
Looking back, I really took the scenic route in my healing.
I don't have any regrets. But obviously knowing what I know now, I could have saved myself a lot of pain, fear, heartbreak, confusion and time if I'd have known how to deal with this.
It took me three attempts to leave.
I desperately struggled.
I was addicted, trauma bonded, and riddled with rumination about the ‘good times’ and the initial high.
Eventually, I moved on.
During that time when I was torn between “should I stay, or should I go?”, I dove into research on narcissists. It became my new psychology project, since I had graduated. It really helped me understand what had happened to me.
I still went back a couple more times, but through my desperation, I figured out a way to break the ties and stay away. Understanding what had happened to me, coupled with experiencing hypnotherapy (energetic cord cutting) plus some other simple steps that I did on repeat until I was free - helped me leave and stay away, for good this time.
This experience of learning how to let go of toxic people and circumstances was such a valuable lesson that came in very handy as I continued my journey.
I rebuilt myself.
My self worth was no longer on the floor. I was back to doing the things that I enjoyed again. And I wasn’t constantly distracting myself with being busy.
At least, I rebuilt myself as best as I knew how.
But it was definitely not onwards and upwards and into the hands of my loving husband like I’d imagined.
I thought that after kissing a frog, getting over it, getting over them, I’d be ready to magically but oh so gracefully fall into the arms of my real love. Happily, ever after.
I believed meeting someone amazing would be my reward for having gone through narcissistic abuse.
And eventually, I got over the experience.
I thought I had healed
I thought recognising what was going on in that relationship and moving on was the healing journey.
But it turns out, it was just the first step.
I continued to research narcissism. & I also researched codependency & people pleasing.
But aside from the odd hypnotherapy session here and there, I didn’t apply the information I was learning to myself to personally heal.
I was stuck in the same patterns, and what’s worse is, I didn’t even know it.
I had gotten over the narcissist completely. I’d even had a relationship with someone who wasn't a narcissist, but they weren't emotionally available for the type of relationship I wanted either.
But I figured this was progress and I took it as a sign that I had healed and wasn’t going to attract narcissists anymore.
At least I hoped it was. But I didn’t know for sure.
I had my doubts.
I had done the ‘obligatory single time’ that’s essential to heal though, so I must be healed, right?
But I became obsessed
Whatever I did, I had not stopped the pattern of being attracted to narcissistic and emotionally unavailable people and wanting love to rescue me.
I found myself obsessed with finding my husband.“Where is he?”
I had a timeline planned out:
meet my husband, travel the world, get married (by age 28), buy a house, maybe move abroad, get a dog, and have two children.
I was so obsessed that a simple commute to work had me wondering, “Maybe he is sitting on this train, right now?!”
I actually exhausted myself looking outside of myself for love.
So I took a day off from looking. Some time away from my own madness. And on that day, I met someone. Don’t they say you always meet someone when you are not looking? Well, I wasn’t looking on that day.
I exhausted myself looking outside of myself for love.
This time was different. They didn’t appear flamboyant or confident, like the first one.
In fact, they seemed socially awkward, vulnerable, even. Like they needed rescuing and protecting from themselves, and from a world that didn’t understand them.
They were insecure, self-deprecating, and sensitive! Sensitive! Hallelujah! “I must be onto something.” (Later I realised this was covert narcissism).
With a bit of healing and bolstering of their self esteem, I thought, they’d turn into my confident prince in no time!
They pursued me with everything they had, showering me with attention, romantic dates and lavish gifts.
They’d call me for hours at a time, giving me compliments after compliments. I’d never received so much praise in my life.
It was overwhelming. And I found myself, thinking (again)
“Wow, they are really into me, maybe this is it? Maybe they are the one!”
I felt dizzy from the heady romance, like my feet had left the ground and I had gone to love cloud 299.
I embarked into another relationship.
By this stage, a big part of me actually thought the attention was over the top, a bit strange. Faint alarm bells rang.
I knew he didn’t really know me. And the compliments were not really about me. It just felt a bit off.
I went to a couple of psychics, and they both told me that he was the one.
Since I wanted love more than anything, I thought I might as well believe them! It felt better to believe than to have my fantasy bubble burst.
Plus, I reassured myself, the psychics told me we’d be together…
Enter the second narcissist
Since he seemed so keen to invest in me, I told myself that once he actually really got to know me, he’d see my real qualities.
By that stage I had learned that I had qualities, so again, I figured I must be healthier now.
I committed to this relationship. However, I was on edge, all the time.
My body told me I was not safe.
But instead of listening to my internal cues, I psychoanalysed them.
“Why don’t I feel safe? Is it him, or is it me? Maybe it's just my overactive anxious attachment system?”
I went back to one of the psychics to confirm whether I'd been mistaken about him.
But she told me, no, he is definitely the one.
So I stayed.
He started controlling me. But it was in a way where I wasn’t 100% sure what I could detect.
My internal cues alerted me that something was going on, but I couldn’t figure out what. His odd behaviour would skim ever so slightly under my radar.
If I did something he didn't like, he seemed to withdraw and withhold attention, and that could last for weeks. He’d respond with one word, or one sentence. “Where was the affection?”
But when I said anything, he denied it, so “did he really pull away? Or was I imagining it?”
I wasn’t sure.
What I was sure about though, was that I was on edge, anxious and confused, and also attached to my phone pretty much 24/7.
This continued for months. These barely visible punishments and manipulations continued.
When he said he didn't want me to speak to certain people. I diplomatically explained why that wasn’t feasible.
But I didn’t stop too long to consider that he was trying to control me.
I made excuses for him.
A lot of excuses.
I vowed, if there was ever an actual rage or verbal abuse. Then I’d leave. I’d heard about boundaries and I thought that’s what they were.
I started to picture us living together and having a family.
Until one day…
My instinct had been right all along. And I left immediately.
The unhealed parts of me had me going down this road, again….
I turned to hypnotherapy to help me once again. This time the rewind technique for trauma. One session was life changing.
It’s a simple, gentle process that’s very effective for complex and post traumatic stress. I later trained in The Rewind Technique myself.
I was sufficiently put off dating. I stayed single & finally stopped looking everywhere for someone to love me.
I started living for myself more. I thought about what I wanted in life. I completed training in hypnotherapy and I decided I wanted to heal and travel. I got work holiday visas for Australia and New Zealand & I moved to Australia.
I was single a lot of the time, but when I did meet someone I liked, I couldn’t help but notice something was still off. Not necessarily with them, but with me!
I often found arrogant, inappropriate people attractive. And healthy people, less interesting. If I did like someone who seemed healthy, they’d often reject me. More than once, I managed to anxiously attach myself, at the drop of a hat, to someone that showed signs of interest in me.
I’d dip my toe in and out of dating. Going back and forth a few times between my own world of journaling and self reflection, and dating.
By this time I was well practiced in how to detox negative people out of my life. And I’d stopped committing to anyone that didn’t support me.
Hypnotherapy helped me heal
But I was still attracted to inappropriate people
No matter what I tried, I was unable to stop the cycle of attracting - & being attracted to narcissistic individuals - it literally felt like this habit was out of my control.
So the next step was to stop being attracted to, and investing in toxic people.
I knew I needed to heal the reasons I was attracted to unhealthy people in the first place. I just didn’t know exactly what those reasons were or how to heal them.
How did I change my life?
I decided something needed to change and I committed to the process of change.
I got help.
I drew on my degree in Psychology, my training in hypnotherapy, along with my other research and my knowledge.
I combined outside help, with inside work.
This is how I did it:
Self reflection (mostly in the form of journaling)
Core wound / Beliefs & Inner child healing
I committed. 100%. This time, to myself and my healing, with everything I had.
When I fell off the bandwagon, I recommitted & got back on it.
I scheduled weekly hypnotherapy/ coaching / psychotherapy sessions and combined it with my own practices that I developed based on my own experience and training.
Instead of learning how someone would heal theoretically, I actively applied my research to myself and my unique situation.
Rather than going to a therapy session to be ‘fixed’, I integrated what I was doing and learning in sessions to make changes in my actual life.
The sessions gave me new insights into myself, my life & what needed to change to become healthier.
I couldn't have done it alone without the accurate reflection I received from my guide because I wasn't asking myself the right questions. I wasn't reflecting on the right things that would help me to actually heal & have a healthy relationship.
I had been stuck asking myself unhelpful questions, ruminating & reinforcing things that were not helping me to actually heal & be healthy! I didn't know what I didn't know! My guide helped me focus my own self work with more efficient questions that then lead to my healing.
I used everything in my life to help me heal. I faced my fears, my emotions, my beliefs about myself and relationships. I questioned everything. I unlearned my unhealthy habits and re learned healthier ones.
I was a woman on a mission.
In three months, I made so much progress.
So I continued with my commitment.
As I dove into therapy, coaching and self reflection, I realized that much of my suffering was coming from experiences I’d had way before I met the narcissist.
And those faulty things I’d learned about myself and the way I related to people, led me to people like narcissists who continued to invalidate and take advantage of me - as long as I continued to allow them.
I realized that without taking this healing journey, I’d be holding myself back from ever having a healthy relationship.
I dove into my next phase of healing.
My journey through all this wasn't plain sailing, and to reiterate, it was longer than it needed to be because I’d spent years earlier feeling confused, running away from my problems, & not knowing what to do.
But when I finally committed to the journey, to myself, to figuring out how to change and I got help, I made healing so much more straightforward.
I was able to get to what was at the root of my suffering and do something about it to change for the better. I transformed my relationship with myself, and as a result, my life transformed, for the better.
I broke the pattern of being attracted to narcissists! Woohoo!
I had wasted years feeling confused & dancing around the idea of healing, without actually doing the healing work
The Next Step...
I needed to figure out how to have a healthy relationship.
I had a desire to have a healthy relationship with someone lovely. I wanted the opportunity to get married and maybe have a family.
But for a long time I thought:
“Because of my past, I'll never be able to have a healthy relationship with someone, all the good people are probably already taken, and I don’t even know what a healthy relationship is anyway.”
I know what it's like to think that your future is doomed because of something that’s happened in your past, even when you’ve already done a bunch of healing work.
I still had some stuff to work through
I still had to learn how to have a healthy relationship.
So I made that my next mission.
Understanding Healthy Relationships
I started to research dating, love, soul mates and relationships.
I searched for answers to my questions.
“What a healthy relationship is? How can I date safely? How can I date in a way that leads to success in love? How can I believe that it’s possible to find love without getting lost in a fantasy?”
I combined the work I’d already been doing on myself, with dating.
I took what I learned about psychology and manifesting and developed my own way to find love.
I grew through every interaction and dating experience I had. And I trusted in the process.
Actually, it worked even better than I thought.
I thought I might be able to meet someone who wasn't a narcissist - and we could have a healthy relationship. But I blew away my own expectations.
I learned how to build genuine loving and supportive relationships, which led the way to building a very special relationship with my husband, David.
I went from:
Thinking it wouldn’t be possible to have a healthy relationship and find love. To not only knowing it was possible, but living it everyday.
(Of course there's always more to a story, I haven't even covered the many encounters and run in's with narcissists in the workplace, (and elsewhere). I'll save that for another time!)
So that leads me here
To what I am meant to be doing, (and as my clients have also told me).
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. A professional diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy. I’m a trained life coach. And perhaps more importantly, I have taken my own journey of healing. A journey that if you too want to take, I am here to help.
"I really, really want to recommend to you to work with Marie-Claire if you've been through narcissistic abuse, she knows her stuff."
"Marie will offer you such a powerful transformation with her hypnotherapy & coaching. She guided me through the darkness into a lighter version of myself"
"While I have done a lot of healing and therapy modalities, I found hypnotherapy with Marie to be inexplicably effective."
I know what it’s like to take the healing journey of a lifetime
I understand what it’s like not only to experience the challenges of narcissistic abuse, but to experience the challenges that come from healing it. I know what it’s like to feel confused about things and wonder if it's your fault. I get what it’s like to long to be loved by someone, even if they’ve hurt you. I understand what it’s like to feel stuck in a perpetual cycle of feeling hurt and rejected. And worry that their is no hope for change.
And I know what it’s like to take the healing journey of a lifetime. I found the reasons I was stuck, and I changed my life.
Changing my life has allowed me to help others to stop feeling stuck so they can experience relief, peace, love and healthy, satisfying relationships.
I am not the only one who can take this journey
People all over the world are waking up to narcissistic abuse, healing, reclaiming their power and living better lives because of it!
My ability to move on, heal and change the long standing patterns in my life and in my relationships is not because I am special or unique. I am no different to the people I work with.
I know how to feel small, insignificant and incapable of overcoming these obstacles, and to run away from my problems in the hope that either they'll go away, or someone will rescue me from them.
I was able to heal because I committed to and focused on healing. I sought out support. I got very clear about what was creating these unwanted circumstances in my life and I learned how to move past them.
I learned that moving on from toxic love, healing and finding healthy love is possible. Not just for me, but for anyone who wants it and is willing to put in the work. Including you.
My goals and my story of narcissistic abuse and healing are unique to me. Your story, and your goals might look similar to mine, or they might be different. Either way, I can help you to achieve them.
Working with me is a collaborative process. I tailor how I work to the unique individual I am working with. I want to know your experience, your goals and I want your input along the way to achieving them.
I am open, patient, empathetic & non-judgemental. I am not afraid to get into the weeds. But I'm also positive and forward focused. I know how to help you find resolutions, relief, your strength, your confidence, your peace, your joy - yourself!
I draw my approach and techniques from:
The Rewind Technique
Psychic / energetic cord cutting
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