Recovering from narcissistic abuse can be a difficult, demanding, and draining process. You could feel isolated at times in your struggles. You may also wonder if moving on is the best course of action. However, recovery is still possible. Understanding narcissism, establishing proper boundaries, and taking exceptional care of oneself are all necessary components of learning to manage.
How Can Narcissistic Abuse Occur
The complicated psychological and emotional abuse connected to narcissistic personality disorder is referred to as narcissistic abuse. This abuse can occasionally be fairly obvious and simple to spot. But in many circumstances, it’s even more hidden and sinister. You might even start to wonder if you’re overreacting or just imagining things. This self-examination and self-blame are all components of a deadly and manipulative narcissistic abuse cycle.
It’s not just in romantic partnerships with narcissistic spouses that narcissistic abuse occurs. Another source for it is narcissism:
- Parents or other relatives
- Older children
- Colleagues and friends
- Local authorities
Recovering From Narcissistic Abuse And Its Effects
Different people respond differently to narcissistic abuse. After identifying the signs of narcissistic abuse, it’s typical to experience a mixture of rage, betrayal, embarrassment, and despair. Some people might ponder whether they contributed to what occurred. Others could get the impression that they desire to minimize or even stop the abuser’s behavior.
The following outcomes of narcissistic abuse are frequent:
- Narcissistic abuse syndrome symptoms
- Extreme shame or guilt
- Anguish over “what could have been” or “the good old days”
- Complex PTSD or PTSD symptoms
- Extreme isolation or a break from social interaction
- Anxiety about not being loved or about never being able to get over the abuser
- Attempts to escape, such as substance abuse, binge eating, or compulsive gambling
- A lack of confidence in oneself or low self-esteem
- Relationship issues, possibly brought on by separation from loved ones
- Financial difficulty
- Stressors related to parenting and co-parenting
- Divorce-related legal disputes that are contentious
Understanding Narcissistic Behavior And Recovering From Abuse
Narcissists are adept at locating kind, sensitive people they believe they can control. It’s critical to ask yourself the following questions if you suspect the person you’re with may be a narcissist:
- Am I continually having my needs met?
- Do I occasionally have a strong suspicion that I’m being misled but choose to disregard it?
- Am I being dominated and not having my needs addressed, if I’m being completely honest with myself?
- Have I had to constantly try to put my other relationships and priorities on hold in order to meet this person’s needs?
- Your boyfriend, relative, or an acquaintance may be a narcissist if you choose “yes” to the majority of the questions.
- While Dow claims that younger men tend to be narcissists, he adds that this isn’t always the case. He does, however, mention several characteristics to watch out for.
- Examine their past relationships to determine if the person you’re interested in is a narcissist. It’s clear that someone is narcissistic if their interactions have a habit of being entirely transactional or self-serving.
Recovering from Narcissistic Abuse
Here are a few steps to take in recovering from narcissistic abuse:
#1. Identify the Abuse
Abuse might be hard to identify. However, naming what occurred and validating your experience enables you to keep your sense of impartiality. Remember that abusers can change from being incredibly cruel to incredibly endearing. In public, they frequently give off an air of kindness or sympathy. However, extreme blaming, humiliation, name-calling, dominating behavior, and acute jealousy are all regarded as abusive behaviors.
#2. Cut Off Contact, if You Haven’t Already
Rarely, if ever, do abusive relationships get better on their own. The most significant course of action for reclaiming your well-being is typically to end your relationship with a narcissist. They are likely to react incorrectly because of their nature. They could urge you to return, make empty promises that you’ll change, try to ruin your reputation among others, or make fictitious threats to ruin your future.
#3. Define Specific, Clear Boundaries
Avoiding all contact with your abuser is frequently the best course of action for moving on. This strategy calls for extreme self-control but also reduces the chances of connection and “feeling fooled” back into the relationship. If you must continue to communicate (such as while co-parenting), try to establish clear, precise boundaries for communication. You are more likely to shield yourself from additional turmoil if you can maintain those limits to a greater extent.
#4. Keep Anger at Bay
Resist the impulse to retaliate if your abuser continues to make significant efforts to hurt you after you break up with them. They want you to react that way in a lot of ways. Engaging in conversation furthers the drama. Instead, concentrate on remaining as impartial as you can if you can’t escape their strategies. If you must vent, talk to a stranger who has no connection to the narcissist (mutual friends may tell them what you say or the narcissist may try to engage you in triangulation tactics through mutual acquaintances).
#5. Seek Quick Assistance
If the relationship just ended, you need someone to support, soothe, and help you. Speak with dependable relatives or friends, or think about joining a group for abuse or domestic violence survivors. Even if the abuse occurred a long time ago, seeking support is still a good idea. It’s never too late to ask for support and assistance.
#6. Narcissistic Abuse Support
Individual Therapy – Speak with a qualified therapist for specialized assistance in overcoming narcissistic abuse. Online video or text sessions are available through BetterHelp. Attempt BetterHelp
See our hand-picked collection of books on narcissism here. Book List
BetterHelp pays Choosing Therapy for referrals and collaborates with top mental health businesses.
#7. Wait a While before you Start Dating
Do not give in to the need to divert your attention to a new partner if your abuser was a romantic partner. You need time to sort through what occurred and find who you are. You might be very vulnerable right now, which could increase your vulnerability to attracting more toxic people. Instead, focus on improving your relationship with yourself instead. Reconnect with those who can love and support you while you’re grieving.
#8. Use Caution When Using Social Media
Online stalking and abuse are issues that are getting worse as we become more connected online. Unfollow and block the narcissist on all platforms if you haven’t already. Create private accounts for yourself and exercise extra caution when deciding to share personal information about yourself. What someone might do with it is impossible to predict.
#9. Construct Fresh Rituals
Maybe every Wednesday you two eat lunch at the same place. Alternately, you would spend each Christmas at their mother’s house. In either case, some rituals may cause feelings of melancholy, rage, or longing. Try to foresee those situations and consider how you might build fresh routines going forward.
#10. Establish a Reliable Schedule
Your emotional health can benefit greatly from routine. Even when life seems completely out of control, having a sense of predictability can aid in maintaining focus. Make a commitment to creating a weekly or daily routine that you can stick to. If you don’t adhere to it exactly, that’s okay. When you feel disorganized, having a template in mind can help you relax.
#11. Prepare for Grief
Any loss, even a happy one, can cause pain. After terminating a traumatic relationship, many people experience intense grief. This loss could be challenging. You can feel numb or detached, have trouble trusting people, yearn for the abuser, or have trouble going about your daily activities. 2 Remember that these signs and symptoms are typical, and they normally go away as you progress through the healing process.
#12. Let Your Feelings Out
When you first start to recover from narcissistic abuse, your feelings could feel quite intense. Try not to bottle them up or suppress them. Instead, recognize them and let them go. If you’re unsure of how to express your emotions in words, consider becoming creative with music, art, or journaling.
#13. Regain Your Identity
Many people in narcissistic relationships give up their identities. Once they recognize the abuse, they experience a hollowness that leaves them unsure of their identity and preferences. If this describes you, try to concentrate on all the advantages of rediscovering yourself. Make a master bucket list or write down at least three activities you wish to undertake in the coming month to get some ideas.
#14. Increase Your Own Self-Care
The practice of maintaining your physical and mental well-being is known as self-care. Self-care is just paying attention to your fundamental needs. 3 But it also entails making deliberate choices to foster happiness, self-worth, rewarding relationships, and a feeling of purpose. Consider how you might improve your daily rituals for taking care of yourself.
Remember that narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) affects relationships in general, not just romantic ones. You might be friends with, romantically involved with, or in a relationship with someone who has NPD in your family (a.k.a. “narcissistic mother” or “narcissistic father”). The first thing you’ll need to do is admit that you were in the relationship and were the victim of narcissistic gaslighting.
When you embrace this reality, you can start to accept the idea that what you went through was indeed emotional abuse. That means you can start to let go of whatever guilt you may be harboring. It’s very normal for you to initially reject acknowledging the relationship because denial is a kind of self-defense. Having said that, in order to heal, you must embrace the truth.
Recovering from Narcissistic Abuse FAQs
How long does it take to heal from narcissistic abuse?
You’ll need to exercise patience as it takes time to recover from narcissistic abuse. Even though this procedure can take months or even years, it will be worthwhile. You can and will find new, more fulfilling relationships with people.
Can you fully recover from narcissistic abuse?
Can someone who has experienced narcissistic abuse fully recover? It may take years for you to entirely heal from the harm caused by the psychological manipulation you had to experience. That so, it is entirely possible to overcome the abuse and complete recovery with professional assistance.
What happens to your body after narcissistic abuse?
You might continue to have physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, or bodily aches after being the victim of narcissistic abuse. After experiencing narcissistic abuse, you could also have trouble falling asleep. It’s possible that you’re anxious about what happened and have trouble turning off your brain at night.