FIRST STEPS TO RECOVERY
IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE REACHING THE END OF YOUR ROPE with nowhere to turn, call the 24-hr National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 or the 24-hr Crisis Text Line by texting “HELP” to 741-741. In an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Many victims find little understanding or support from those who are close to them because others often see it as an “ordinary” breakup. However, recovering from a relationship with a narcissist is beyond that.
Please get the help and support you need as you heal from this devastating experience.
Here’s what I’ve been doing to remain somewhat sane and functional as I work on healing from this crazy experience…
I prayed prayed prayed… and prayed some more. Then I PRAYED AGAIN.
Whatever you believe in as far as religion/spirituality goes… God, the universe, source energy, higher power, divine… I suggest you turn yourself in. COMPLETELY.
I am stronger because I trust there is something bigger than me (God) who will protect and take care of me during this time of confusion and pain. I don’t have to carry this on my own… nor do I have to figure it all out right now. Every morning (and all throughout the day) I ask (actually, beg like crazy) that He strengthens my faith in knowing whatever I was meant to personally experience, He will always back me up.
All that confidence I had in my ex-boyfriend… to always look out for me and protect me? I gave it back to God. He is the rightful owner anyway. I made that man my “hero”… so I gave that back to God as well. Because He is the One who deserves that title… never ever failing to save me, no matter what.
This also allows me to be a child (of God)… the unshakable confidence my son has in me to love, protect, and take care of him? I get to have that with God.
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ~ Matthew 11:28
I turned to friends and family who got CRAZY, INSANE ANGRY on my behalf.
I was feeling so lost and numb… I couldn’t even cry. But my friends… oh, they were LIVID. The more foul-mouthed, the better!!! Doesn’t actually fix anything, but after being completely betrayed and abandoned by the one person who was supposed to be on your side, it helps to know you have people who are genuinely on your team. Plus, I felt like I was able to somehow release my feelings of anger vicariously through them. I love my circle of support…
I had to UNDERSTAND that I was dealing with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder
After dealing with this like an “ordinary” breakup, I found myself asking the same questions: Why did this happen? How could this happen? What the heck happened? My head could not process this and I had no idea where and how I was even supposed to begin my healing.
This is not like any other breakup. It’s a breakup with a narcissist… someone with no emotional empathy, guilt, or remorse. They are physically unable to see you as your own, REAL person… just an object to fill their needs. They use you up then move on to something new when they’ve run you dry. Just like that.
I’ve studied this, worked with clients who were trying to detach from narcissistic parents, spoken to individuals who suffered from this disorder… but an intimate relationship with a narcissist? I NEVER expected to be in one. I mean, who wakes up and thinks, “I’m definitely not falling in love with a narcissist today!” ~ Actually I do – now that I’ve experienced it.
It was only when I discovered what I was actually up against, that I was no longer fighting this horrible monster in the dark.
I had to ACCEPT that everything about this relationship was just an ILLUSION.
Everything you felt in the relationship was based on lies. Yeah, the feelings YOU had were real but the person you fell in love with was totally made up… created to pose as your soulmate. The relationship as you believed, did not exist.
This will likely be one of the most difficult parts in your healing process (it was/is for me) because that idea alone is almost impossible for us – people who are not narcissists – to wrap our brains around.
Reading about it helped immensely. It quieted the doubts that kept rushing back into my head caused by cognitive dissonance: when you have two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at once.
Belief 1) Your partner does whatever it takes to earn your love and trust… you discover that they have so much in common with you… it feels like you were both literally created specifically for each other. You are lead to believe there is an emotional bond… they truly love and care about you for who you are as a person. You are groomed to feel secure and commit to a forever together.
Belief 2) He suddenly leaves you and INSTANTLY moves on with his life with a new partner like your relationship never even happened. He INSTANTLY feel for them EXACTLY what he has been feeling for you for months or years, up until just a moment ago…
Cognitive dissonance) How could your soulmate and hero drop you like trash and replace you without batting an eyelash? How could he be telling you that you’re the only woman for him and his children… then literally the next minute, have those same feelings for someone he just met?
… this creates a sense of confusion and a mindset of distrust in your own perception of what happened. Keep feeding your head with FACTS to fight this.
- Boundaries After a Pathological Relationship (Book) by Adelyn Birch
- Neuroscience Behind Idealize, Devalue, and Discard by Dr. Rhonda Freeman of Neuroinstincs
- The Psychopath’s Relationship Cycle: Idealize, Devalue and Discard by Axl Salvator
- Psychopath Free (Book) by Jackson MacKenzie
- The Sociopath Next Door (Book) by Dr. Martha Stout
- Can Sociopaths Love or Even Fall in Love? by Tanya J. Peterson at Healthy Place
Do a search on narcissistic relationships and learn as much as you can about it.
I had wonderful friends who “FILLED IN THE SPACES” my soulmate suddenly left empty.
From “good morning” texts to photos of their little children playing throughout the day… building me up and lifting my spirit. Checking in to see how I’m doing… how my day is going… planning trips and visits… asking what I’m having for dinner… begging for food photos… lol.
The guy just upped and left… there were two years worth of habits, routines, and “addictions” I had to break free from. Having an awesome circle of support to help “wean” me off from them was a HUGE BLESSING.
I made a list of his QUESTIONABLE BEHAVIORS from the devaluation stage.
After a breakup, it’s totally natural for people to suddenly remember only the “good” stuff about the relationship… it’s part of the detox/withdrawal process.
Similar to a drug addict (not that I personally know)… when you need a fix, you crave for the good feelings… you don’t think about how it’s completely killing your body, how it hurts the people around you, or that it’s absolutely ruining your life.
I also kept reminding myself that he lied and cheated on me… he had the audacity to suggest we continue with the relationship while he screwed around with someone in the neighborhood. I loved him with all my heart… trusted him with me, my son, and our future… and adored him like a hero… and this is the love, respect, and compassion I got back in return.
The relationship was your drug… and it’s important that you consciously, intentionally work on breaking your addiction… reminding yourself of the crappy, painful stuff will help you keep it real.
I searched high and low for the blessings… no way was I going to allow my experience to be in vain.
I got a taste of what it’s like to TRULY be at peace with how I was put together.
So, he was a big phony… acting like he genuinely loved and accepted me for who I am… flaws and all. But the ironic thing about this is, his all accepting “mirror” gave me permission to accept myself and feel comfortable just as I am.
I was free to just be me. I didn’t even have to work on it… I didn’t have to gather confidence to do it. For the first time, it was totally OK to just BE… with all my flaws… insecurities… everything I didn’t like about myself. Because they were all beautiful and loved just as they were.
I feel grateful just basking in this truth. No, it doesn’t make what he did right… he’s literally a heartless jerk. But I can go back to that feeling of self acceptance anytime I want… at least until I learn how to permanently live in that state of mind.
I’m learning to trust that my intuition is NEVER WRONG.
I’m a highly sensitive emotional empath. I’m super sensitive to other people’s emotions and energy… I’m like a sponge… absorbing your “feelz” and sharing them right with you. It also means, I’m super accommodating and always always always give people the benefit of a doubt – especially those I have an emotional bond with.
This double edged sword has always bitten me in the butt. I can sense you’re FLAT OUT LYING to me, but I will totally brush it aside and give you a chance to redeem yourself. I protect other people’s feelings over trusting my inner warning signals.
But this experience has proved to me that every single time my internal alarm went off, it was SPOT ON. Every empty promise… every untruth… every hidden agenda. So I’m consciously listening for my gut feelings. At times, I find myself starting to dismiss it out of habit, but immediately correct it and trust myself. I even say it out loud sometimes… “Nope, my intuition has NEVER failed me, so I’m going to trust it.”
I found that I can love and feel even more compassion for others than I ever thought I could
When I first started writing these posts, I was feeling so broken and angry… confused and betrayed. I could not think of ANYONE I disliked more than the man who disguised himself as my soulmate.
But nearly two months after he betrayed me, I feel so very sad for him.
He missed out on me and Joshua… we’re just so weird and fun with so many obscure interests and incredible goals… and more important, we’re really good people. Anyone invited to join us and treats us with the love and respect we deserve will always be given the same love and respect back… and lots of fun to boot!
But even more… my heart aches because he was unable to feel the magnitude of love, appreciation, and respect I had for him. He doesn’t have the ability to accept them with his heart as gifts of love… they were merely fuel to validate his superficial identity. I gave it ALL to him and he couldn’t even receive them.
And I feel sad that he will never be able to experience genuine, emotional love. No matter how hard the people around him try… no matter what they give… everything will only be used for fuel. Fuel burns out… it doesn’t last. And as such, he’ll always be searching for supply to validate his self worth and fill that emptiness inside him.
Emotionally unavailable… empty… miserable. Words he actually used to question himself during the idealization stage. I wish I picked up on those hints. But then what could I have done? I’d like to think I would’ve remained his friend… but he can not see me or anyone, as real people with real feelings. He’d keep on using me for supply… and nothing more. I bond with people… but with him, it will always be one-way only no matter what I give.
And then this sadness brings me right back to wishing I never met him… but that just feels so cruel. We all want to matter… that our existence makes a difference.
So I intentionally remind myself of the blessings I gained from it… and by doing so, this painful experience slowly transforms back into a gift that showed me how it feels to truly accept and completely trust myself..
… work in progress.
Thank you, puppy… for bringing this disorder to light.
This experience has forced me to find strength from within that I never knew I had. I found love and support from family and friends who I’ve alienated during the relationship. My faith in God has grown… and my self-confidence has never been more solid. I wouldn’t have had to fight for my survival & growth without your help.
I will do my best to raise awareness in hopes to reduce the number of victims and help in the healing of those who are desperately looking for answers and working to recover from this devastating experience
I loved you, puppy.
Truly loved you.
If you feel like you’re reaching the end of your rope with nowhere to turn, call the 24-hr National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 or the 24-hr Crisis Text Line by texting “HELP” to 741-741. In an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
P.S. Lemme know what you think!
Carmen is a mom, life strategist, religion teacher, best selling author, advice columnist, foodie wannabe, and advocate for victims of narcissistic abuse. She is currently living la vida loca in Vegas with her not-so-little human… prepping him for med school while pseudo-adulting, Tahitian dancing, and exploring the delicious world of bubble tea *woo!*