I have been on that long and difficult road of healing after my life was shattered by a malignant narcissist. I know exactly what it takes to make it to the other side, leave the darkness and claim your space in the light for good.
But the road isn’t an easy one to take. It is in fact, more like a roller coaster gone off the track. Mainly because narcissistic abuse can be likened to psychological warfare, a horrible screwing with your mind that leaves the heart, mind, and soul of a victim almost unrecognizable to be sorted and picked through.
There are, however, ways to get through your healing journey and avoid the roadblocks and dead ends that throw you off the path, delaying your eventual arrival to freedom from your pain.
I know this because my journey was anything but fast, mainly because I traveled it mostly alone and had no map on how to go forward. This is why today I’ve committed my life to help those who are just starting on their road to recovery.
I did not have anyone to learn from when I was going through this process, so learn from me.
Here are the seven things you must do while healing after narcissistic abuse to find yourself again.
1. Unfriend, Unfollow, Block, Delete
Social media can be the enemy of your healing process. And it’s not just your ex you need to stop checking in on but also anyone — the enablers, fence-sitters, flying monkeys, — who could remind you of your pain and potentially ruin your day, week, month or even year. It may be tempting to see what or who your ex is up to and with but this is nothing short of giving yourself deep pain and suffering that will make you feel like you’ve driven your car right off a cliff into the ravine below.
This is because narcissists will do one of two things on social media: either they’ll post themselves and their fabulous new life showing how happy they are without you (they’re not, they’re just trying to make their internal shame for being such a loser go away) or they’ll try love-bombing you again with pleas of reuniting while promising they’ll change (BTW narcissists never change, it is not possible, they only get worse). There is a simple way to avoid this nightmare: unfriend, unfollow, block, delete.
2. Weed out the people who are not 100% on your side
Yes this is a hard one because it’s always the people we least expect to desert us in our hour of need. But here’s the thing: keeping people in our lives who are in any way, shape, or form holding us back from moving forward is the absolute way to keep us stuck or we might even end up going backward.
When you’re healing, you are vulnerable, you are emotional, you are sensitive and even initially fragile making you easy prey for those who don’t have your best interests at heart. So anyone who is enabling your abuser, anyone who is victim-blaming you is not a person you need around you. They might say things like this:
“Why can’t you just move on? “
“It’s not that bad is it? “
” He is a great father and income producer though.”
Anyone who doesn’t fully believe you, anyone who sits on the fence with the pathetic excuse of I don’t want to get in the middle of this, doesn’t deserve to be on this journey with you because of their self-serving intentions.
I had one of my work colleagues say to me after I explained some of my ex’s abuse
” you both just need a vacation away from the kids.”
It may not be clear on how to figure out who exactly these people are?
but it could be your closest friend, or who you thought was a friend or even a family member.
Ask yourself these questions:
When you’re with them and you leave the conversation do you feel better about yourself or worse?
Do you feel safe with them?
Do you feel like you have to defend yourself?
That’s all you need to know. Someone who is completely on your side will have your best interests at heart, not their own, thus you will feel good when you’re around them. Those are the people worth keeping. Those are the ones who have your back and who will be your cheerleaders the entire way.
3. Educate yourself and Empower yourself
One of the reasons so many victims of narcissistic abuse do not realize they are victims until much later or even after the relationship ends is due to a lack of knowledge of what constitutes abuse and what exactly a narcissist is.
This was me. I did not know I was being abused. I had the belief that you had to be physically hit to call it abuse. I had no bruises or broken bones to show my pain. I knew what a narcissistic personality disorder was since I am a Clinician but I could not see that I was with a narcissistic abuser. I believed my partner was opinioned, had a strong personality, was suffering from anxiety and depression but I had no idea for years he was abusive. Also because of the very nature of what narcissistic abuse is he was extremely deceptive.
My pain was very real and left me feeling isolated, alone, and unable I was to figure out what was going on until I had some help from friends.
Once I began educating myself about what was happening to me, I began to learning everything about narcissists and the abuse they inflict, I could put a name to my pain and also realize that I wasn’t the crazy one after all but neither was he. They do wear the mask of sanity.
Educating yourself on your experience is important because if you can’t name the problem then you can’t fix the problem. It’s also one more step to taking back the power from the one who hurt you, which means one more step in the direction of forward and keeping yourself moving away from the abuse and to your freedom.
4. Don’t block out the past
It is good to not block out what happened in your consciousness and I know you do not want to think about what happened. This may feel like a very hard thing to do. You must spend time reflecting on the past and examine how you got to where you are now.
This does not mean taking any blame for what happened to you by a narcissistic abuser because you did not deserve to be abused. You did not “ask” for it. It does mean, however, that you need to figure out how you ended up with someone who didn’t treat you as you deserve to be treated in life and what made you put up with it.
This was hard for me to look at and understand but I know now how our beliefs, beliefs we inherited from our parents, grandparents, other relatives, and caregivers were downloaded into our subconscious minds and these affected our choices without our ” conscious knowledge.” These beliefs were not ours, to begin with but have affected every aspect of our lives including why we ended up with who we did.
You may have had an abusive childhood which would have attracted a similar situation as an adult although you consciously would have said no way this would ever happen. It is not your fault.
5. Be the gray rock around your ex
Gray rocks are bland, boring, and not interesting. This is who you want to be around your ex-partner. Why would you pick up a gray rock? It’s just so…uninteresting. Which is exactly what you want your narcissistic ex to view you as. If you don’t do this it is most likely you will be pulled back in by your ex with his hoovering and love-bombing because he will not want you to leave. He may even stalk you or harass you if he wants to punish or destroy you.
Narcissists need their supply and drama. They are emotional vampires whose only objective is to suck the life out of anyone who is breathing.
Being a gray rock will save your sanity and keep you moving forward as any contact with them will only cause you further pain.
So don’t let them see you even breathe. Be the rock. The gray rock. Be so boring that the narcissist will lose interest and go find someone else to target. Don’t give your narcissistic ex what they want, which is your reaction, any reaction, no matter if it’s a positive or negative one.
Narcissists are not capable of caring. What they do care about is irritating you in any way they can, pushing your buttons, and getting an emotional reaction that they can then make fun of you for and count as a “win.”
It may help to go and find an actual gray rock and when you find you are wanting to contact him or he has contacted you or perhaps you have a child together and this requires some contact, it will remind you to be the gray rock.
6. Do not date or start a new relationship
It would be a great mistake to start a relationship because you are still trying to figure out what happened to you and untangle yourself from the web of this narcissistic abuser. Your perspective is most likely still skewed because of the conditioning that you have been subjected to.
You are probably not thinking straight yet and we often have feelings of very low self- worth and self- respect if you have recently left your narcissistic partner so it is not the best time to begin any relationship.
You will need time to yourself to think, grieve, mourn, cry, and rage at what has happened to you.
This must be done alone because the truth is within you, not without and not within someone else, so that is where you must be spending your time.
There is a risk that you will be attracted to the same kind of narcissistic abuser if you have not healed which would not be worth taking the chance of starting a new relationship before you are ready.
7. Forgive Yourself
This is a hard part in our journey as we have been conditioned to not like ourselves anymore, the person we have become and we often take on the blame and shame for what has happened to us convinced that it is your fault. This is what you were told by your narcissistic partner most likely.
Now it’s time to forgive yourself. Figure out why you are angry with yourself. Is it because you believe you should have seen the abuse sooner than you did? Is it because you put up with the horrible treatment he inflicted on you? Is it because you think you should have known better? Is it because you thought it would get better and were determined to make it work?
It may help to write it down whatever it is you’re mad at yourself for, write it all down. This is simple exercise is very powerful.
This is how you’re going to make it to your final destination to freedom and healing from your experience as a victim of narcissistic abuse.
You’re in control of this. You’re in control of your life. And now you’ve also got self-worth and self-forgiveness riding along with compassion, empathy, patience, and understanding.
This is the next Step in your healing journey. I am hopeful these Steps will help you.
Please go here to Read Step Seven