Emotionally and mentally abusive relationships can be very damaging.
And, recovering from the abuse suffered in a relationship with someone who has a narcissistic personality can seem like an impossible undertaking. These powerful personality-disordered people often leave their victims completely drained physically, emotionally, mentally and even financially. However, there are numerous ways to facilitate healing and get back on track. The more you learn about these methods, the easier it will be to start the healing process.
Let Yourself Grieve
After leaving an abusive relationship, it’s normal to grieve and be angry. You should allow yourself to experience these emotions, but it’s important that you process them in a healthy way. You have suffered a loss, and even though this is a loss that will be better for you in the long run, your mind will need to go through the normal grieving process that occurs after any loss.
Be open to experiencing the pain, but find ways to focus on moving forward. Suppressing your feelings or trying to avoid them will only lengthen the grieving process. If you are unsure how to process your emotions in a healthy way then consider seeing a therapist.
Stay Away from Your Abuser
It is absolutely essential that you do not have any contact whatsoever with your abuser, because it will only make the recovery process more difficult. There is no reason whatsoever that you should stay in touch with this person, so cut ties with them completely.
A lot of people who have suffered emotional abuse from narcissists find it difficult to let them go because they have become dependent on them. You must set boundaries and adhere to them.
If you have children with the narcissist then it might be difficult to maintain “no contact.” Consider involving a third party like a neutral friend or family member. There are also professional services that can assist you; look for supervised visitation services in your area.
Start Building Up Your Self-Esteem
You may have had low self-esteem when you met the narcissist, but if you didn’t it’s very likely your self-esteem has been negatively affected over the course of your relationship with him or her. It’s important that you start working on building your self-worth because having healthy self-esteem will help you avoid toxic and abusive partners in the future.
There are many different ways that you can work on your self-esteem, but try starting with being kind when you speak to yourself. Tell yourself that you are worth the time and effort required for recovery and that you will recover.
Learning to love yourself again (or for the first time) might not happen overnight. Remind yourself of your strengths, accomplishments and positive relationships.
Also, your self-esteem can benefit from challenging yourself or trying new things so try new activities; take a class you’ve always wanted to take or travel somewhere new. Exposing yourself to new situations and places can really help put things into perspective while also helping you build confidence.
Exercising on a daily basis is shown to have both physical and mental benefits. Numerous studies have shown that physical exercise is great for depression and that it improves your well being overall.
It’s also a good idea to try getting your exercise outside in nature, as this can enhance the healing benefits of this activity quite a bit. Try running through a local park or going swimming at a local pool. You should try to devote at least 20-30 minutes a day to one of these activities.
Accept Your Thoughts and Move Past Them
You are probably going to have intrusive thoughts about the abuse you have suffered. A lot of people who have suffered this type of abuse find it difficult to recover because of these thoughts. When you start to accept that they are inevitable (at least for a while), you can begin dealing with them in a productive way.
Handle these thoughts in a way that works for you. If you feel better after thinking through a problem and you feel you should spend time ruminating over some of your experiences then that’s okay. Just make sure that you are not allowing these intense thoughts to affect your day-to-day life negatively.
Many people use journaling as way to channel their thoughts. Consider keeping a journal and allowing yourself 30 minutes per day to focus heavily on what you’re thinking. As these unwanted thoughts come up during other parts of the day, change your focus to whatever you’re doing and remind yourself that you can spend time thinking about these things the next time you journal.
Have a Strong Support System
It’s important that at least a few people who are closest to you know what you are going through so they can support you. The more support you have from family and friends, the easier this whole recovery process will be.
If you don’t have someone close to you who you feel you can lean on during your recovery, then consider working with a therapist. In fact, even if you have a strong personal support system it’s a good idea to consider counseling. A therapist can offer an outside, professional perspective. And, he or she might be able to teach you coping mechanisms that your family and friends aren’t aware of.
Recovering from narcissistic abuse takes time, so you will have to remain patient. This process could take months or even years, but it’s worth all of the hard work and effort.
You can and will move on to find healthier and happier connections with others.
Create Goals for Yourself
You should make a point of creating goals for yourself. These goals will help to keep you oriented properly in the world and give you a purpose. A lot of people who are coming out of abusive relationships feel completely lost, which is why it’s so important to have a sense of purpose.
Make sure that you are doing something every single day to meet your goals so you can feel proud of yourself and build up your self-confidence. The more confident you are in yourself, the easier it becomes to tackle difficult problems and situations.
Recovery From Narcissistic Abuse Is Possible!
While it is true that recovering from narcissistic abuse can be quite a challenge, there are lots of ways to make it an easier process. If you’re willing to commit to taking care of yourself, the process can be shortened.