6 Key Steps To Get Over A Narcissistic Relationship
February is supposed to be the "Month of Love" so I wanted to dedicate the ENTIRE month to the topic of #SELFLOVE. There is NOTHING more important than taking care of yourself after the end of a narcissistic abusive relationship. It is absolutely vital to your healing process. So, this month will be full of helpful tips, ideas, reminders all about #SELFCARE which is the 1st step towards the ultimate goal of #SELFLOVE. We'll dedicate a whole month to that topic in the near future, but for now baby steps!
And, for kicks & giggles...but to also show people the depths and lengths narcissists go to "love bomb" their prey, especially in the early years of the relationship, there will be another series in the month of February called "Love Letter From A Narcissist." So whether you have a Valentine or not, join our #SpunkyDivaTribe and follow along with us this month.
There are many elements involved in healing from Narcissistic abuse. Just as with any loss, there will be periods of grieving, denial, anger, and depression. However, unlike a typical break-up where you would eventually get to a point of acceptance, many victims of narcissistic abuse stay fixated and obsess about their abuser, often suffering as long as ten years or more post-breakup. Most of us, if not all of us, completely lost our identities due to the narcissistic abuse we endured.
Perhaps you have been asking yourself the following questions since the end of your relationship: “Why does it take so long to heal from this heartache?”, “Why can’t I stop thinking about the person who treated me like crap?”, “Why do I still love him/her after what they did to me?”, “Will this pain ever go away?”
Therefore, it’s so important during the healing process to take care of yourself. We need to relearn how to love ourselves, take care of ourselves, and put ourselves FIRST again.
The following are six key steps for getting over Narcissistic abuse. They are probably most applicable right after the breakup when it's still fresh and you are feeling raw (perhaps dazed, lost and confused) with emotion.
I hope they help you and perhaps assist you in moving forward.
1. Make sure you’ve gone NO CONTACT in its truest form!
Many victims of narcissistic abuse prolong their suffering by leaving a window open in the event their toxic NarcX decides to reach out…or admits his wrong and apologizes…or begs for “one more chance.”
If you give the Narcissist the slightest “inch” back in your life, they will take advantage of it, play on your emotions and weaknesses, and suck you right back into the crazy cycle of abuse. This is the primary cause for not being able to heal. At this point the victim can turn the corner and become a “survivor”, but they have to cut off all contact (and eventually all feelings) with the Narc in their lives. Otherwise, no true healing can occur.
If you have children with a Narc, a very rigid parenting plan for modified contact should be legally documented, entered and enforced. While I don’t have kids of my own, I’ve seen this up close and personal…so some words of wisdom advice: DON’T TRY TO “PLAY NICE” and let your Narc use the kids as a reason to have contact with you or his family. Some women become torn with this area only to get lured back into the abuse cycle, hurt and frustrated.
Remember, Narcs are very cocky and smug in their belief that you will give in to their manipulations. If you keep in contact with them that only feeds their ego and feelings of entitlement and perceived power.
2. Learn grounding techniques and self-soothing methods
Narcissistic abuse is an emotional trauma. It targets your primal abandonment wound. When you feel betrayed, rejected, and abandoned by the Narcissist, your amygdala hijacks your rational thinking and sends you into fight-or-flight mode. That will need to be unlearned…“deprogrammed” if you will.
There’s not a lot you can do to prevent this from happening completely, but practicing self-soothing methods and grounding techniques will help damper this emotional hijack if repeated consistently. The best techniques are the same ones used to help with PTSD triggers and emotional trauma.
Learning to self-soothe is the critical first step because otherwise, any activities you engage in to heal and move forward will be drained away by the emotional hijacking caused by your amygdala.
3. Allow yourself to grieve and be angry
Narcissistic victims sometimes try to convince themselves that they shouldn’t acknowledge or allow these feelings to exist. They try to suppress or bury feelings of grief or anger. However, not allowing yourself to process them often leads to very detrimental outcomes at a later point in time, such as getting stuck emotionally and physically. This can manifest into symptoms or behaviors such as the following:
- Staying stuck in a sad, angry, or depressive state, or often feeling emotionless
- Signs of suppressed anger
- Prolonged exhaustion, fatigue, depression or indifference
- One or more addictions
- Repeated avoidances
- Some type of chronic pain or illness
- Obesity and/or eating disorders
4. STOP being obsessed with researching "Narcissism" 24/7
During the “Discovery” phase, learning about the topic of narcissism and narcissistic abuse is important to your understanding and recognizing the characteristics of abusive relationships. But, when it’s time for you to truly heal, you have to focus on YOU, your healing methods and your self-care!
Constantly researching the topic and obsessing on the traits/behaviors your Narc displayed during your relationship keeps you focused on HIM…NOT on YOU & YOUR HEALING! Implementing healthy, positive self-care patterns might seem really hard to do at first, but with a lot of patience, practice and self-love they will become HABIT & help you heal faster.
5. Work on YOUR Self-Esteem
A Narc’s primary goal is to make you feel rejected, invalidated and invisible. They do everything in their power to “break you down.” <find quote about the type of empaths/ppl Narcs target> Narcs make it their mission to take away every ounce of self-esteem because that’s how they keep you hooked. They instill in your psyche that “I’m damaged goods…nobody else will want me so it’s better to have someone who treats me like crap than to be all alone with no one at all.”
Remember, most if not everything that comes out of a Narc’s mouth is a LIE…including the negative things they say about you.
6. Seek professional help if you believe you're suffering from any type of psychological trauma, such as "complicated grief"
Complicated grief is a severe or long-lasting form of grief that takes over one’s life. It’s common in the aftermath of abusive relationships because victims never get the validation they wished for, or the sense of closure they desired. Victims may also blame themselves, self-doubt, self-hate or feel extreme feelings of shame and embarrassment.
What makes this type of grief so painful is that a victim has to grieve twice – once for the person who love-bombed you and for whom you fought, begged and pleaded hard with during the soul-shattering abuse; and you also grief the end of relationship.
It’s time to take care of YOU now! Please seek the help of a licensed therapist who specializes in emotional abuse and trauma. Don’t feel bad if it’s necessary to go on medication to help you cope, just ask about non-addictive ones that you can use on your most difficult days.
What are some of your #SELFCARE tips after surviving narcissistic abuse and/or domestic violence? I’d love to hear them!
At the end of the month I'd like to put together a compilation of all the #SELFCARE ideas into one reference list.
So share your ideas & let me know in the comments!