The 10 Stages Of Healing After Narcissistic Abuse: What To Expect And How To Cope
If you have recently left an abusive relationship with a narcissist, you may be wondering what to expect in terms of healing. Narcissistic abuse can be incredibly damaging, both mentally and emotionally. It can leave you feeling shattered and you may feel like you will never heal. But you will.
In this blog post, I will discuss the 10 stages of healing that typically occur after narcissistic abuse.
I will also provide tips for coping during each stage.
What Is Healthy Narcissism
Part 3What do you get out of protecting your abusive ex and blaming yourself instead?
We not only blame ourselves out of habit and because of our history, but also because it serves some hidden psychological purpose. In order to move on, It helps to recognize what you are getting out of protecting your ex and putting all the blame on yourself.
This was a hard question for Laura to answer. She finally said:
If it was my fault, I can make it better. I loved the way he made me feel in the beginning. He kept telling me how special I was and that I was so beautiful! That is hard for me to let go of. No other man ever made me feel so confident. If I accept that he is a Narcissist and nothing I do can solve his problems, I have to give up on ever getting him back the way it was before. I realize that whenever I think about him, I only picture him the way he was in the beginning, not when he was abusing me.
Part 4Write down a true statement next to each belief in Part 1. Make sure it is what your mind tells you is true .
Here is Lauras new list:
How To Heal From Narcissistic Abuse
This article was co-authored by Jay Reid, LPCC. Jay Reid is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in private practice in San Francisco, CA. He specializes in helping clients who have survived a narcissistic parent or partner. Treatment focuses upon helping clients identify and challenge self-diminishing beliefs as a result of narcissistic abuse. Jay holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and an MS in Clinical Psychology from Penn State University.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 40,950 times.
A narcissist is someone who is deeply self-involved and lacks empathy towards others. Narcissists can suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, which can cause the person to want to hurt your feelings, damage things that you love, and cut you down with sarcasm and verbal abuse.XResearch source If you have recently gotten out of a relationship with a narcissist, there are ways that you can heal. If you are still in a relationship with a narcissist and want information on how to get out of the relationship, scroll down to Method 2.
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Where To Find Narcissistic Abuse Support
Seeking help and support from narcissistic abuse is very important for your well-being. There are many ways in which help is offered from psychotherapy sessions to online support groups. Having the availability of online support can be helpful during this pandemic as a lot of us are trapped in our homes with narcissists and havent realized it yet.
Moving On From A Relationship With A Narcissist
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How To Identify Narcissistic Behavior
Dow explains that narcissists are good at seeking out warm, sensitive people that they feel they can manipulate. If you think that the person you’re with could be a narcissist, Dow says it’s important to ask yourself these questions:
- Am I getting my needs met consistently?
- Do I sometimes get a very strong feeling I am being manipulated but then ignore it?
- If I’m being honest with myself, am I being controlled and not getting my needs met?
- Have I been forced to sacrifice my other relationships and priorities in a constant attempt to serve this person’s needs?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, then it’s possible that your partner, family member or friend, is a narcissist.
While Dow explains that most narcissists are younger men,he notes that this isn’t always the case. That said, he says there are qualities to look out for.
If you’re wondering if someone you’re interested in is a narcissist, look at their other relationships. If they have a consistent pattern of relationships that were purely transactional or self-serving, that’s a definite sign of narcissism.
“We all want to get our needs met, and that’s healthy,” says Dow. “The difference is that narcissists will throw others under the bus with no guilt if it means their needs are being met.”
Dow says that another way to recognize a narcissist is to notice if they’re constantly looking for praise. He urges his clients to remember that “confidence is quiet while insecurity is loud.”
Healing From Narcissistic Abuse
Escaping a narcissistic relationship is not the end of your journey to healing, it is just the beginning. While you may have some idea how to deal with your divorce, recovering from an NPD relationship can be anything but clear. Peeling back the layers from that onion is going to require patience. So, it is crucial you take an honest look at the impact of your exs behaviors and the dynamics in your relationship.
There is a variety of information available when you research narcissism. And it will be helpful to begin reading what is presented. Each website tackles the subject a little differently and you will get lots of data. However, counseling is often the best form of treatment when dealing with this type of recovery. But it must be the right kind of therapy.
You may find it challenging to find a specialist who has a deep understanding of narcissistic abuse and is properly trained to help survivors. Unfortunately, most therapists are not specialized in this area. And sometimes a well-meaning but misinformed therapist can cause secondary trauma by inadvertently invalidating the abuse.
Here are some resources that will help in your search for the right kind of therapy:
God sometimes removes a person from your life for your protection.
Dont run after them.
navigating divorce with grace
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How To Move Forward
Going through a divorce causes plenty of pain and turmoil. When your ex-spouse was narcissistic, it unfortunately doubles the heartache. Deep down inside you may still blame yourself. You play the I should have, I could have, or I would havegame. But there will be no winner.
First and foremost, you will need to come to terms with the fact the abuse you experienced was deeply traumatizing. This kind of toxic relationship often leaves victims drained physically, emotionally, mentally, and sometimes even financially. The divorce is painful, but so is being the victim of narcissistic abuse. As you look back, you may be trying to make sense of what happened. Unfortunately, you cannot apply logic to illogical actions.
To facilitate your healing process, begin by researching and understanding what you can about this disorder. You no doubt have questions and finding information will give you some answers. Just dont force it. You may never completely understand why you were treated in such a terrible way.
Protect yourself by limiting contact with your abuser as much as you can in the divorce process. Mediation might be difficult since someone with NPD may not exhibit normal, healthy thought or behavior patterns. In fact, dont be surprised if they lie about you and do whatever possible to destroy your life. Remember, they lack empathy and compassion. They only care about themselves and will do whatever necessary to preserve their facade of a flawless image.
The Journey Of Healing
My own recovery started one particularly frantic night. I was incredibly upset and desperate to make sense of what was going on. Searching online, I happened to come across information about sociopaths and narcissists and this particular kind of psychological abuse.
This was a pivotal moment. I had never heard anybody use the term narcissistic abuse, and at that time , there was hardly any information around about it. But I knew, the moment I read this, that this was it. It shifted my whole perspective. It was shocking, confusing, although overall, an unbelievable relief. I realized this was a thing and that for the first time, other people understood. More importantly, there was a way out.
Reading more about psychological abuse, I arrived at my first key point in healing:
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What Narcissistic Abuse Looks Like In A Relationship
Although narcissistic abuse is not a formally recognized diagnosis, it is often used to describe a syndrome where being in a relationship to a narcissistic partner can adversely affect one’s emotional health. To begin the healing process, first, you have to identify the instances of abuse. This can be harder than it sounds.
Section 1 Of : How Long Does It Take To Heal From Narcissistic Abuse
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Final Thoughts On Healing After Narcissistic Abuse
People who display narcissistic tendencies arent inherently evil.
Lets not forget that narcissistic personality is partially the result of genetic factors , which result in narcissistic traits combined with certain environmental factors.
Simply put, some people develop narcissistic traits because these traits help them adapt to their environment. This is why experts differentiate between adaptive and maladaptive narcissism.
However, the fact that we have an explanation for how narcissistic traits develop doesnt excuse the abuse that narcissists can inflict upon their friends, family members, life partners, or coworkers.
To wrap everything up, the main stages of healing after narcissistic abuse are:
- Cut them out of your life completely. Implement the no-contact rule.
- Process your pain through healthy strategies like self-reflection, journaling, or meditation.
- Focus on rebuilding and consolidating your self-esteem.
- Rebuild your support network by reconnecting with your loved ones.
- Learn how to set healthy boundaries.
Recovery after abuse or trauma is a long-term process in which patience and emotional work will lead you to happiness and well-being.
Abandonment & Possible Re
At some point, your partner might enter into another relationship while still in the current one with you. This can provide them with a heightened sense of power and control, and inflate their status in their own eyes. They will continue to engage in lying, manipulative, and controlling behaviors with all of their partners.
At this point, they might abandon you and end the relationship, while blaming the relationship failure solely on you. However, in time, there is a possibility that they will return and try to draw you back into communication and a relationship with them. If they are successful in re-engaging with you, love bombing will begin anew, as the pattern restarts.
Help For Narcissistic Abuse
Individual Therapy Get personalized help with recovering from narcissistic abuse from a licensed therapist. BetterHelp offers online sessions by video or text. Try BetterHelp
Support Groups You are not alone in dealing with a narcissist. Sesh offers over 100 different support groups per month, with at least once a week focused on narcissism. First Month Free
Books On Narcissism See our handpicked selection of Narcissism Books List
Choosing Therapy partners with leading mental health companies and is compensated for referrals by BetterHelp and Sesh.
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Reflect On What You Learned
Its easy to dwell on all the negative parts of narcissistic abuse. And, indeed, reminding yourself of all that negativity is important in helping you avoid repeat situations in the future. But if these associations only make you feel worse about yourself, try to also remember how you grew, learned, and gained perspective from this experience.
How Does Gaslighting And Scapegoating Correlate With Neglected Trauma And Healing
For those who enter narcissistic relationships with pre-existing trauma, manipulative behaviors like gaslighting and scapegoating will magnify their self-doubt, self-blame, and distorted image of themselves.
Trying to process this level of emotional instability and manipulation without therapeutic guidance pushes victims of narcissistic abuse into the arms of their abuser, because on a primitive level, we all believe our significant other, family member, or other authoritative figures in our lives are supposed to want the best for us.
Addressing our neglected trauma is imperative for healing from narcissistic abuse.
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Social Media Platitudes Do More Harm Than Good
Though were grateful that narcissistic abuse has gained a lot of attention in the psychological zeitgeist, weve also seen countless posts circulating on Instagram that say things like:
You cant love others until you learn to love yourself. Or, things like:
We call bullshit.
Because while these platitudes often seem harmless, and while social media has provided many survivors with platforms to connect and engage and share stories and educate others, buying into vague social media narratives can undermine the recovery process.
There is an overwhelming wave of unfortunate pop-culture misinformation spreading through social media that conceptualizes survivors of narcissistic abuse as people who attract and are attracted to narcissists because they have a deficit of some sort, be it self-love, self-confidence, or self-awareness. And that only by recognizing and healing these deficits, will they be able to attract real love, explains Gaum.
These misconceptions are dangerous and can quickly veer into victim-blaming, which sells a message to survivors that they are essentially unlovable until they manifest some mythical state of existenceabsent of all normative insecurities, vulnerabilities, and blind spots, Gaum argues.
So instead of just turning to social media, Dr. Ramani and Gaum recommend turning to experts who are thoroughly trained in narcissistic abuse. Well get to that in a bit.
Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Healing From The Discard
Being discarded by your partner is one of the most devastating experiences you will ever face. In many respects, it is such a difficult loss because it involves the experiences of abandonment, rejection, betrayal, and oftentimes replacement. It is particularly painful because the loss is intentional and is done by someone who knows you well and who has volitionally chosen to throw you way. The pain of this personal rejection hurts profoundly because the other person is telling you that you are unacceptable.
This creates feelings of low self-worth and causes psychological trauma to your attachment system, which can result in a fear of relationships and a fear of investing in others in the future.
If you have been discarded by someone you love you feel deeply wounded because this was an intimate relationship you were vulnerable you allowed yourself to trust this person you gave him or her your heart. In the end, to be simply unwanted after all of this personal investment leaves you confused and devastated.
How do you recover?
First of all, let me assure you that you CAN recover. Your life does not have to be ruined by this experience. You can find love again. Heres some advice on how to recover from a discard:
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