Narcissistic Abuse – The Stages from A Survivor
If you’re on this site you are most likely trying to understand Narcissist Personality Disorder, grieving and or healing from a relationship with a narcissist. There are several grieving stages after a narc relationship. I’ve been utilizing all sources during my grieving period such as support web sites, licensed therapist, books on Narcissist Personality Disorder and support systems. I was so beat down and abused that I literally hit “rock” bottom. I don’t want to disclose the cycles of abuse or ruminate over the horrific events because it’s a never ending diorama! The first thing I’d like to disclose is that narcs come from both genders. I used male gender so the verbiage flowed easier. What I’d like to do is let everybody know how I managed to move on and get on with my life. Healing from a narc was absolutely daunting, confusing and one of the hardest endeavors I’ve been through.
Stage One: Denial………… For example: “He didn’t cheat on me, he loves me, he said I’m the only one he loved, things weren’t that bad, I love him, I will never find another man who loves me, etc.” One effective way to get over the denial stage is to journal ALL the abusive languages, lies and traits he exhibited to everybody during your relationship. I wrote down all the hurtful things he said and did to me during our relationship. If it hurt, I wrote “ouch” that hurt. If I was upset I’d use profanity. It’s your healing process and chance to be authentic, brutally honest and real. Write down all your hopes, disappointments, anger, sadness, lies, and broken dreams. I also wrote down abusive things he did to his family and associates. I currently have a binder 5” thick and am still going.
Stage Two: Educate yourself and be familiar with all the pathological behaviors or Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD). There is a lot of information out there and the more we understand their psyche the easier it is to understand they didn’t love us the way we wanted to be loved. You must remember, they are incapable of loving another person. They were only with you as an extension of their ego, to fill their Narcissist Supply and most importantly, so they didn’t have to be alone. We have to face that we fell in love with a fake hollow person. They are not capable of loving us. Period. They don’t change and never will, they are broken people. The more you understand NPD the easier it will for you to understand their pathological lies and behaviors. I kid you not, when I was on a backpacking trip in Europe I hiked with a man for 300 miles who continued to talk about his ex and the abusive behaviors he endured from her. He tried to rationalize irrational behaviors for 300 miles! Please don’t’ get stuck in this trip. You can’t empathize with a narc, you can’t understand their behaviors so please walk away and don’t try to understand their lies.
Stage Three: Write a goodbye letter, write down ALL your hurt, sadness and disappointments. Tell the narcissist how he hurt you, how you felt, how many times you cried over him etc. This was the hardest assignment for me. My letter was raw and real. I also had to let go of the relationship with mutual friends and his family. Not only are we saying goodbye to our ex narc, we are saying to part of our old lifestyle Of course do not send him the letter.
Stage Four: The dreaded “NO CONTACT”. This is also a hard one, brutally hard nonetheless. No contact is very hard because it’s the absolute “closure” tool. When I say no contact I mean, no Facebook creeping, dating sites, talking to old mutual friends, email etc. Absolutely NO CONNECTION or CONTACT! Block his number, filter his emails to garbage etc. I discovered after I’d creep on his FB or interact with mutual friends it brought back some of the good memories and I was sucked back into pain. No contact is much easier on our psyche than keeping in touch with them. It’s almost like quitting smoking, each day gets a little easier. Take one hour or even day at a time. They were an addiction to us and the only way to break free is to completely let it go. If you need help in this area (I did) just remember they don’t care about you or how you are doing. They only care about themselves. Period. You are their food, their supply. They fooled you into believing they cared about you and will continue doing so.
Stage Five: Go back over stages one through four, add more notes, add on to your goodbye letter and continue to give yourself a pat on back for no contact. Give yourself a weekly reward for not corresponding to contacting anybody in the old narc world.
Stage Six: Expect hovering, they will come back and try to get in your head or back together. Remember they are only coming back when they need your supply. It’s not about you and they do not miss you as a person. They miss your lack of boundaries and how you made them feel alive. Remember if they can get a reaction out of you after no contact it will excite them. Even a negative reaction will be misconstrued and they will persist. Do not respond to them. Period.
Stage Seven: Ask yourself why you stayed in this relationship? What attracted you to him? Why did you stay? What are you deep dark secrets that need to disclose with yourself? They say, “the devil you know is sometimes easier than the devil you don’t know.” This part of healing took a long time, maybe you’ll have to go back to your childhood, understand the relationship with your parents and if and why you continually choose broken men. I’m still in this stage and most likely will be a long time. This isn’t necessarily a stage, it’s more of seeking the intrapersonal psyche. What are your automatic thoughts? When you are dreaming or thinking what’s going on?
Stage Eight: Be aware of another narc relationship. . First of all, I’d like to explain, my ex narc was attracted to me because I’m the overachiever type, responsible, empathetic, highly sensitive, loving, attractive, educated, physically fit and had very poor boundaries. Narcissists have ex ray glasses and if you demonstrate any of these characteristics you will be sought and picked by a narc. Narcs love empaths (people who are highly in tune with others emotions). They seek us because they are drawn to our emotionally sensitive traits. Remember in the future narcs will still be attracted to you, be cognizant of this!
Stage Nine: Time to rebuild your psyche and self-worth. Instead of getting recognition form a partner, get recognition from yourself. Do something! Run a marathon, take a class, join a gym, advocate for a political cause you believe in. By doing this for yourself you are training yourself to make yourself happy. I learned to run marathons by taking each mile at a time. I literally pushed myself 10% with each mile. It took along time and I made it. I even ran Boston Marathon! The 10% rule works very well, little steps!! It does sound cliché, however it is a very important step.
Be cognizant if you get stuck in a stage. It will happen and it’s a normal process to vacillate and have self-doubt. Getting stuck in the “venting” stage is too easy, be aware of it.
Stage Ten: Accept the choices you made, accept past denials and most importantly learn from your experience. Use the pain inflicted by narc as energy and knowledge to help others. I’m not going to say a prince will sweep you off your feet and you will live happily ever after. When you know you are healing you will be able to look in the mirror and see the sparkle come back to your eyes and know that you don’t need ANYONE to rescue you, you can rescue yourself.
It will happen!