Recovering From a Relationship With a Narcissist – Heal The Wounds Within
Getting over a break up is hard, but break ups with a Narcissist are harder than usual. Recovering from a relationship with a Narcissist might be the most painful experience you’ve ever dealt with.
Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who’s ever been in a relationship with a narcissist and you’ll hear the same story.
“They are the most self-involved, self-loving, abusive people I know.”
The worst part is, narcissists are seemingly wholly unaware of their disorder– which makes the narcissistic abuse you faced even worse…
There was never any hope of reasoning with them or changing them. They are who they are and who they are is perfect.
If only you had known that to begin with…
How The Narcissistic Abuse Cycle Began
Looking in from the outside, it’s almost hard to see why anyone would fall for a narcissist.
After all, they are incredibly selfish, obviously self-obsessed, and don’t deal with criticism well, right? The relationship didn’t start that way though.
It began almost like any other relationship. Actually, it began better than probably any other relationship you’d been in until that point.
At first, narcissists come off as passionate, charismatic, ambitious, and charming. The perfect cocktail of attractive personality traits. It was probably a little bit of a fairy tale in the early days.
Once you become invested in the relationship, however, the facade begins to fall away. It begins subtly, a snide comment here, a small criticism there.
Little “snips” that carry the appearance of reasonable criticism but are lightly dipped in venom.
Shortly though, once you’re invested in the relationship, the real abuse begins. Most of it is emotional, stemming from the narcissist’s idea that they are the epitome of human excellence.
They would constantly put you down and mock you, calling out things that you are insecure about, but have little control over.
Most of what they would say about you was negative, whether it was true or not.
They would hyper focus on mistakes you made, areas or skills that weren’t your strong suit, and constantly downplay any accomplishments. (If they even paid attention to your accomplishments at all.)
The Way Narcissists Maintain Control
Disclaimer: If you’re feeling a little upset about how this blog has been going so far, I apologize. It’s not my intent to upset you, but to recover fully as a Narcissist survivor, we need to explore the reality of the situation. Which means analyzing Narcissistic behavior and the impact it had on you.
Narcissists survive and maintain their own delusions of superiority by pulling down the individuals around them.
They constantly feed their own egos and work diligently to destroy anything that could challenge their beliefs about themselves.
Hence, if you do anything that outshines them, or demonstrates your own excellence- you will be put down.
As noted above, narcissists always begin relationships by being playing the part of the man/woman of your dreams.
As the relationship progresses however, narcissists begin using their partners to reinforce the beliefs they have about themselves.
A large part of this involves wearing away at their partner’s self-esteem until it’s almost non-existent. This cycle is done subtly and over a fair amount of time, so the progression happens almost unknown to their partners.
While they wear down their partner’s self-esteem, narcissists subtly build up their own images in the minds of their partner.
Instilling beliefs like:
“You’ll never find anything better than me.” Or “You should be grateful that I’m staying with you.”
Beliefs like this, create a reluctance in partners to leave a relationship, because they really do begin to see themselves as needing their narcissist partners.
This is PERFECT for the narcissist since it ensures a source of self-esteem for a long, long time. (In some unfortunate cases… entire lifetimes.)
At this point, you most certainly realize how horrible a relationship with a narcissist can be. However, this isn’t the worst part… breaking up is even scarier than the relationship.
The mix of the toxic relationship itself and the harsh break up, make it so difficult to recover from a relationship with a Narcissist.
Breaking up with a Narcissist
If you’ve ever found the strength to break up with a narcissist after you’ve been in a committed relationship with them, hats off to you.
You’ve done what seems impossible to a lot of people. You also know intimately how arduous the end of your relationship with a narcissist can be.
Narcissists don’t simply let you go and try to heal from this relationship. You were a core part of their self-esteem.
Having someone “need” them as deeply as they think you did, is important to them, and losing that person directly challenges the beliefs that they have about being superior.
So instead of letting go- they fight and they fight HARD. They will battle you until you are emotionally and physically devastated, especially if you have children with them. All of this in a desperate attempt to force you back under their control.
If you were the dumpee and not the dumper, it’s just as bad.
Often times there is no build up, things are proceeding as per usual, with you tending to a narcissist’s needs as you always do. Doing everything you’re “supposed” to, in order for them to be happy.
Then one day you wake up and they’re telling you to get your stuff and leave. Just like that.
No sympathy. No warning. They’ve simply found a better “fit” and want a “clean break”. All of a sudden your entire reality is drastically shifted and you have to adapt quickly, while you’re emotionally traumatized.
Read here more about the wife abandonment phenomenon.
Whether you were the dumper or the dumpee, breaking up with a narcissist is one of the worst experiences you could have in life.
If you’ve been in this position, you probably found yourself extremely distrustful of people afterward. Most likely you have yet to form a close relationship- romantic or platonic- and spend an inordinate amount of time keeping people at arm’s length.
I don’t blame you, after you’ve just freed yourself from one terrible situation, the last thing you want is to make a poor judgment and find yourself right back where you started.
You probably find it hard to trust your own judgment when it comes to people.
All of these feelings are reasonable. It’s not your fault that you feel this way, but you need to start taking charge of your own healing as soon as possible.
In the next section, I’ll show you how to recover from your relationship with a narcissist.
How to Recover From a Relationship With a Narcissist
1. It Wasn’t Your Fault
The first step in the healing process is understanding that none of this was your fault. At first, narcissists are incredibly charming. They are adept at reading people and understanding what they look for in a partner.
Once they know what you want in a relationship, they will present the perfect picture for as long as it takes to get you invested. They are adept at this.
It’s not your fault that you were taken advantage of. The simple truth of it is, you were a person who had the courage to open up to someone that you felt was compatible with you.
Even psychologists have trouble identifying narcissists at first glance since they are so pros presenting a good face.
They are masters of manipulation and can always make you believe that they have the right answer to any problem.
Be grateful that you don’t have their “skills”.
2. Surround Yourself with Love
It’s never a bad thing to be around people that you know genuinely care about you. When you’re recovering from the emotional abuse of the narcissistic relationship, it can help to have people around that you can open up to and be real with.
Reach out to old friends and close family members who have historically been there for you. They’ll be the best ones to have around, since they’ll remind you of what real love feels like. Thus allowing you to begin making new connections again.
If you’re in a position to, reach out to a therapist once you’re comfortable. Having professional treatment in your corner, hearing your concerns and doubts – especially the ones about trusting new people – can be immensely productive on your road to recovery.
3. Dive into a Good Book
I recommend reading the book “Trust After Trauma” written by Aphrodite Matsakis Ph. D.
This book focuses deeply on the nature of traumatic experiences and how we can learn to heal and open ourselves up to experiences after having been through traumatic abuse.
Aphrodite does a phenomenal job of addressing the pain and isolation that often follows long after traumatic events. The book comes with a number of exercises designed specifically to help you recover.
It’s perfect for you. Give it a shot.
4. Give Yourself Time
Don’t expect your wounds to heal the moment you decide to take action on them.
The healing process from a narcissistic relationship will still take time and you deserve as much of it as you need. If you find yourself struggling to make progress, try shaking up your routine and including activities that make you happy.
Find time to meditate and practice living in a state of gratitude and abundance. You’ll be back to normal sooner than you think.
5. Narcissists are a Minority
Make a distinct effort to remind yourself that according to statistics, only 8% of men and 5% of women are narcissistic.
Meaning that you’re incredibly unlikely to run into another narcissist for a looonnggg time if ever.
Further, since you’ve already dealt with one, you’ll have an easier time identifying a Narcissist when you encounter one, and thus avoiding deep relationships with them in the future. The signs of a narcissist are always there and you will be a pro at noticing them from the get-go.
6. Rebuild Your Wounded Self Esteem
Make a concerted effort to begin rebuilding your self-esteem.
Start off by practicing activities that you’re already good at so you can feel the satisfaction of practicing them. Maybe an instrument you play, yoga, a sport- it can be anything.
If you don’t have a skill already try picking up something simple and practicing it regularly.
Don’t judge yourself harshly, just let it take its natural course. You’ve just escaped an abusive relationship with a narcissist and you’re picking up the pieces, so go easy on yourself.
You should also make use of Subliminal Mind Training using the audio recordings on this site.
This will give you a ZERO PRESSURE way to change your emotions. Subliminal recordings are full of positive suggestions and binaural frequencies that bypass your conscious processing to reprogram your subconscious mind directly.
Click here to download the audio that I personally recommend for your situation.
I created it especially for you, a survivor of a relationship with a narcissist, so the hidden suggestions are associated directly with the pain and suffering you cope with.
Using this unique formula will make your recovery process happen faster than it would otherwise.
Recovering from a relationship with a narcissist is always difficult. It’s not something to be taken lightly since you could end up taking poor experiences with you into future relationships. ESPECIALLY if you don’t allow yourself to heal properly.
So don’t rush it. Find Support. Use a healing meditation and most of all, remember that this wasn’t your fault.