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Toxic relationships not only destroy the past you’ve shared or the present you’re sharing. They tend to make matters worse in the future as well. Therefore dating a narcissistic abuser, can do long-term damage to the rest of your life. It has the tendency to affect the trajectory of your future relationships, career, sanity, and health. In short, the work really doesn’t end after dumping an abusive partner. The healing phase follows right after you’ve emotionally, physically, and mentally separated yourself from an abusive partner.
The process of healing from narcissistic abuse consists of lots of mental anguish, post-traumatic stress, reclusiveness but plenty of hope for a brighter future. As a matter of fact, it’s a clear indication that you want something better from your life instead of a partner that can only hurt you in countless ways. Here’s why narcissistic abuse recovery is harder than you know and how adopting certain habits can make it smoother;
Narcissistic Abuse: The Impact
Around 450 million people around the globe have a narcissistic personality disorder. It’s surely a huge number. Thus one can assume, some of these individuals can really impact some people’s lives for the worse. This kind of abuse can turn a person reclusive, anxious and result in low self-esteem. According to a study conducted on the long term impact of traumatic events like narcissistic abuse on victims;
“Narcissistic abuse has consequences similar to PTSD. It has the ability to negatively impact 3 major sections of the brain; the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the prefrontal cortex. Thus this kind of brain damage directly impacts a survivor’s decision-making skills and memory. Additionally, it increases one’s chances of having an anxiety or mood disorder”
5 Common Hurdles Survivors Face In The Healing Phase
- To make recovery much harder for you, an abusive ex will try to repeatedly contact you. In addition to being an ever-so-annoying mental presence in your life, he/she might go as far as breaking the no contact rule. Things can be even hard if you both share kids or live nearby. It gives them a knot to hold onto. So, whenever he/she wishes to engage with you, they’ll use the kids or common locality as a ploy.
- People might start turning against you due to the manipulative tactics of your ex. Couples who run in the same circle have mutual friends too. A narcissist will try to play the victim once again by labeling you as the villain among your friends. Thus the disengagement of those manipulated friends can make your grief even worse.
- You might find it harder to cope with singlehood and loneliness, especially at night time. Any co-dependent inclinations will force you into breaking the no contact rule from your end.
- People who haven’t encountered the abuse you’ve encountered might try to undermine or downplay your pain.
- You might find it harder to adjust to a new relationship because of the triggering memories and flashbacks.
Healing From Narcissistic Abuse: 6 Essential Tips Survivors Swear By
Accept Your Feelings Before You Let Them Go
It’s in fact very normal to experience withdrawals while breaking up with a partner. There’s a lot of love, consideration, and memories associated with the people we love even if they’re abusive to us. While you’re healing from narcissistic abuse and moving on to a new life you might feel like the old emotions are still lingering on.
On some nights you’ll find yourself reaching for the old photographs you both have together. Sometimes sitting alone at the dinner table will seem too sad to handle and you might want to run right back to them. It’s even possible that you’ll regret ever leaving them despite the presence of narcissistic abuse. These are all valid feelings, and you need time to process them. Accept these feelings instead of pushing them away.
It’s totally normal and if you miss an abusive partner you’re probably just as normal as anyone else. Once you’ve processed these undealt feelings and grief you’ll be ready to move on with your life. So, don’t push yourself too much, you’re only human and it’s perfectly normal to have some doubts.
Establish New Boundaries At All Cost
You’ve survived a whole lot of trouble for a long time and you deserve some respect. In order to protect both your sanity and sanctity from your abuser, you’ve got to build some new rules. Cut your contact with them entirely. This includes blocking their numbers and social media accounts. When common sources don’t seem to work, your abuser might try to have access to you through alternative ways.
Make sure that you’re hell-bent on the promise you’ve made yourself and don’t let your emotions get the best of yourself. Even if you have to establish contact for the sake of kids, property-related or other essential reasons make sure you’re not falling into the old ways. It’s way easier to just slide back into the same situation when you’re in a sensitive state like this.
Furthermore, make your abuser understand that you’ll be leaving in case they raise their voice or shout at you. If you’re having a non-physical/online contact arrangement then use a source you rarely use. This might include using a new number or email address you rarely use or have recently started using for this purpose. This step ensures that only you can establish contact when you want and your abuser doesn’t get a chance to have access accordingly to their will.
It’s About Time You Cater To Yourself
Narcissistic abuse can make some individuals a little too reclusive. The harsh words, abusive chatter, and rude behavior of a partner can often push into a place of self-doubt and self-deprecation. You’re more likely to find faults in your physique and personality if someone’s continuously making you feel like less of a person. As we all know, Narcissistic abusers are a champion at flipping the table and making their partners feel like they’re totally worthless.
You’ve surpassed that storm. So, now you’re only going to cater to what you really want while you’re still healing from narcissistic abuse. Visit the places you’ve been meaning to visit and buy that dress you’ve been meaning to buy. You’re only going to appeal to your own gaze now instead of that abusive partner who wanted to shape you in the way he/she desired to. You’re going to look perfectly well with the hair color you’ve been meaning to get done.
It’s the most perfect time to cater to yourself and jump into a puddle of self-love. Slowly but steadily give yourself the head start you need to step back into your groove. Eat a healthy diet and start physical activity to amp up those dopamine levels. Once again it’s your world and you can shape it the way you want.
Lean On The One’s You Love
While in the healing phase there are two things that escalate matters for the best; your willingness to stay dedicated to a therapy program and to open up your heart to a loved one. You might feel ashamed to share your grief with a loved one or a friend but if you really trust them enough, that’s the best thing you can do. You need emotional support to heal from your past.
Perhaps a girls’ night in or a movie night out with some close friends can motivate you once again. It’ll give you your much-needed fix for socialization and help you really understand why you need healthy relationships in your life. It’s the perfect time to let go of the mutual friends your narcissistic ex might’ve manipulated against you. Time to move on to better things and better people!
Hold Your Horses For A While
Everyone’s in a pretty sensitive state right after breaking up with an intimate partner. You might assume that the presence of abuse in your previous relationship would stop you from missing your ex but that’s not true in a lot of cases. Some survivors turn too codependent on a partner by the end of an abusive relationship. These codependent habits and the need for romantic intimacy linger on in the healing stage. will continue in the recovery phase. It’s better to take a break from relationships for a while until you’re entirely prepared.
You need time to grieve, to get rid of the traumatic memories, to garner better coping mechanisms, and much more. If you’ll jump from one relationship to another, straight after getting out a toxic one, you’re more likely to repeat old patterns. Give yourself some time to settle down and forget about the past. Get in touch with a counselor that can help you adopt healthy eating habits so you don’t fall into wrong hands once again. It’s also essential that you’re giving yourself enough time to adapt to your new life instead of numbing your pain with a whole new partner.
Believe It Or Not, You Need Professional Support
Healing from narcissistic abuse is perhaps one of the most treacherous paths to cross. Self-doubt, depressive thoughts, self-harm, or suicidal tendencies can always find their way into one’s life at that stage. One should never compromise on their mental health despite feeling like a mentally and emotionally strong individual. Professional support is extra essential for those experiencing a lack of support from personal ends; absence of a good support system in the family or friend circle.
Additionally, if you’re already dealing with a mental anomaly you’ll be in an extra comprised state while recovering from narcissistic abuse. During these sessions, you and a therapist can work your way into the causes that make you so vulnerable targets for narcissistic partners. Furthermore, if you’re doubting your stance therapy can help you realize why you needed to leave your ex in the first place.
It’s exactly what you need if you’ve been blaming yourself for the abuse you encountered. Find practitioners that specialize in domestic abuse and PTSD. The best possible option would be trauma-focused therapy or CBT to cater to most of your needs. You can also check out the local listings for credible therapists that can promise amazing consequences.
Healing From Narcissistic Abuse: 10 Signs Indicating That You’re Actually Healing
How can one really understand the impact of proper counseling and therapy programs on an abuse survivor? There are some noticeable changes that you spot in yourself and decide if it’s really working or you’re stuck in the same loop. Make sure that you’re not looking for results at the beginning of a few sessions, give it some time before you demand consequences.
- You feel more comfortable in your own skin and your confidence isn’t as low as it used to be.
- You’re not always in a rush to appease people just like you used to find ways to please a narcissistic ex.
- You’re willing to draw boundaries when things start emotionally, mentally, or physically bothering you.
- You’re not in a co-dependent relationship anymore
- You don’t blame yourself for the abuse you encountered in a previous relationship
- You’re not emotionally latching onto an abusive ex anymore
- Intrusive and invasive thoughts don’t bother you as much as they once did
- You’re not coping through unhealthy means; overeating, starvation, over smoking, alcohol or drug abuse, etc.
- You’re not on an all-time alert and scared of the unknown all the time
- You’re not forcefully isolating yourself from the rest of the world
Online Support & Resources:
You’re not alone and there are others who have been through similar circumstances. Connect with the ones who can truly relate to your grief and traumatic past. These online resources provide great insight into the life of narcissistic abuse survivors and some tips that work well for them while recovering. Do check them out;
- Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Online Coaching & Support Group
- Lisa A. Romano’s Youtube Videos On Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
- Armor Counseling & Training inc; Online Counseling For Survivors Of Narcissistic Abuse
Remember, healing isn’t a linear process. You’re going to have some setbacks but do it for yourself and the future “you” that deserves better!