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After the Narcissist, You Will Recover

“A Narcissist doesn’t just break your heart, they break your spirit….that’s why it takes so long to heal.” — narcissist_survivor

After experiencing and living through emotional abuse and trauma, there are days where you will feel like you can’t move forward, where you feel worthless, where nothing matters anymore…..but I am here to tell you recovery IS possible.

Right after the truth was revealed and after my relationship with my abuser ended, I was shocked, devastated, and a reeling mess. There were so many emotions that I would transition to, from hour to hour….for months. I couldn’t believe my reality or even comprehend that I had been taken to this place of depression and self-destruction. I suffered from severe depression and anxiety as a result of the abuse.

In the beginning, about three months into the relationship, I knew something was off, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I had never experienced being intimately involved with a mentally unstable person or an abuser. I was always someone who was giving and loving in my relationships, always loyal and trying to make things work. Now I know those qualities are what someone with NPD looks for in relationships, in order to be able to manipulate for their own self-satisfaction or benefit.

Looking back, repetitively going through the pedestal and devaluation phases (although I didn’t know what that was in the moment), I was made to feel like I had done something wrong, that I was crazy and I wasn’t good enough. I had already started to reach out for help, but I had no idea how bad it was going to get. Prior to this relationship, I was in a very good place in my life, winning in my career, happy, gorgeous and having fun in my life. Initially, I thought that person coming into my life was only going to enhance it, based on the initial charm and love bombing.

When the first bit of what I now know as triangulation occurred, I immediately sought out counseling. I couldn’t comprehend why I wasn’t good enough to love. That was exactly how he wanted me to feel, in order for me to keep running to him and I would, in hopes to finally get his love and acceptance. A sad cycle. I started counseling sessions, some light started to peek through and that really was the first step of recovery. Though there was a long, tough road to travel still at that stage, it did help me to put the pieces together in the end. No recovery process is easy, we will all have different steps to take to get to the rainbow at the end. What I can advise, is what did and didn’t work for me and I only hope to help other women who have endured this horrific mental anguish.

My abuser kept stringing me along and placating me for weeks after the breakup, which occurred because I found out he was living a dual life. I wish I would’ve gone no contact from the moment I discovered his transgressions. I was so manipulated, that I was begging him for answers and reasons as to why he did what he did. Of course, he turned it around on me and blamed me, then threatened me that he would never be my friend and would change his phone number and pretend I never existed if I exposed what he had been doing. During those moments of discovery, he really showed his true colors and I knew right then he was the antithesis of a friend and I could care less to have any further relationship with him. I did end up exposing him…..the very next day, he kept his word and changed his phone number.

That was the beginning of my recovery process. I had to digest that the man that I thought I loved, never actually existed. An entire year of my life was wasted (thank God it wasn’t more), everything, from day one, was a lie. I had to wrap my head around that. For some strange reason, I still felt love for him, but I had to realize it was love for a person that wasn’t real, just a character in a grand story he had conjured up.

I was so depressed, the other aspect that was really hitting me hard was the rejection. I was cognizant that he was a mentally ill person that purposely hurts others, but I just couldn’t process the rejection properly. I kept feeling that if I were more like his wife, maybe this wouldn’t have happened to me. This overwhelming feeling of not being good enough plagued me, but that was what he had ingrained in me for months. I literally spent two months in bed, staring at the ceiling and crying. The only thing that made me feel somewhat comforted was binge eating and drinking. That is what I strongly urge anyone going through recovery from narcissistic abuse, NOT to do. I absolutely regret gaining so much weight as a result, but I did learn from that part of the experience, to appreciate myself as I was before, after and always.

I also decided that I would not date and practice celibacy for a year. That is something I do advise, to clear your mental space and focus on your recovery. A lot of people are not going to understand what it is like to suffer from mental/emotional abuse and will not resonate with your story, especially if they have not suffered themselves. Realizing that brought me to seek out online support groups. There are so many wonderful groups and resources, this is where I learned about NPD, heard stories like mine and got encouragement from other victims. These types of forums helped me to put the puzzle pieces together, bit by bit.

The next phase that I went through was not having excitement about and confidence in everyday life. I had lost all motivation to succeed in my career and fitness. I just couldn’t figure out what would make me feel love or happiness again. I was just trudging through each day, I couldn’t feel anymore. So, seven months into celibacy, I thought I was ready to start dating again. I wanted to see if that would help to refresh my spirit. I approached dating with a more casual mindset, I needed to tread lightly and not get too emotionally bound to anything. There was a lot of trial and error, but I quickly learned where my weak spots were and what I would not accept from men. However, I was still having triggering moments during this process. Certain men would display narcissistic traits or behaviors and my mind would be taken back to abusive scenes from the past. I was also having a hard time functioning in everyday life, I was paranoid and scared to shop in certain areas of town, in fear I would run into my abuser. I started having panic attacks while grocery shopping. Normal patterns of my daily life, things I would see, places I would go just kept putting memories of him and all the suffering, into my brain. I would literally ask God, out loud, to get him out of my head.

After some additional trials in other areas of my life occurred, I realized I needed to make a change. While not everyone will be able to take this type of path, I decided that I needed to move to a new town, a new state. It wasn’t an easy choice and I was a bit resistant, but in my situation, it needed to be done. The first few weeks of being in a whole new environment were difficult. There was a bit of a culture shock, feelings of sadness, feeling overwhelmed in an unfamiliar environment. Soon all of those feelings were replaced with a feeling of freedom and I felt like a weight had been lifted. My abusers’ energy wasn’t here in this new place. There were no haunting memories surrounding me anymore. It felt amazing. Then, one morning, laying in bed trying to wake up…..it all just clicked. I no longer had a single feeling towards my abuser, not love, not hate, not sadness, clarity was all I could feel. At that moment my heart felt open again and I realized there wasn’t something wrong with me, I didn’t cause any of the things he had done to me…..the simple truth was, there was something wrong with HIM. As simple as that realization is, I finally and truly accepted and understood it.

It had been just over a year from my last conversation with him. I didn’t feel burdened and hopeless anymore!

Going through such a painful and dramatic experience absolutely changed who I am. I do take accountability for not taking care of my health and for my weight gain, but who I have become emotionally is worth all of it. I have grown into a far more compassionate and understanding person. I’ve been able to recognize the worth of my soul and what I truly want from this life. My heart is now open in a way it never was before and I am now ready for a fulfilling relationship. I now know how to properly navigate and foster a healthy relationship and I now know how to recognize what isn’t right for me. Invaluable teachings. Recovery will happen. Just be gentle with yourself.

“A woman who values herself has no problem walking away from a situation in which she is undervalued.” — Matthew Hussy

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9 Comments on "After the Narcissist, You Will Recover"

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@ashleighmariemonroe that was a great survival story, one that I needed to hear! I’m glad you got back to yourself and healed much from the narc. Thank you for sharing your story.

Dear Ashleigh Marie and Kristinan,

Just getting out of a FRIENDSHIP with a sociopathic woman.

At first, it seemed like a healthy, equal friendship, but over time, I noticed she was very critical of me and others, to the point I started to measure my words carefully before letting them out of my mouth. Was walking on eggs when I was around her.

Now I am friends with GROUPS rather than individuals, led by a highly trained facilitator. Have found these kinds of groups have been healthier than individual friendships.

Thought of “backing up,” and thinking of her as an activity partner, rather than as a friend, but, sadly, I realized it wasn’t working, as the critical attitude was continuing.

Have learned to think in terms of “emotionally safe spaces.”

The upshot of all of this? Not only watch your lovers but also your friends for sociopathic behavior!

Yours truly,

Monica

OMG! this is the first time I’ve heard another victim say what you did about having panic attacks, etc in direct relation to certain places, like the grocery store. I’m unhappy to hear that it happens to others, but at the same time relieved to know it’s not just me! I thought I was the only one who couldn’t go to the local store without chest pains, stomach issues, and migraines; shaking at the checkout; getting flustered, sitting in the parking lot until I can get myself together again, etc. Mine, however, is not that I’m afraid of running into the perp, mine is because my perp conditioned me so badly while in certain places that now I have some sort of “phobia” or ? I avoid places now, and they are places I used to love. Miserable!
I am always happy to read of similar situations to mine because it helps me realize there actually is something wrong with my relationship, and offers me options to deal with it, or leave-however, sometimes when I mention seeing a similar situation in a published account to my therapist, I feel like she thinks I’m reading things and then adopting them as symptoms. I hate that because apparently, in my experience anyway, these types of relationships run extremely typical and similar courses!

I still have a mental ‘list’ of places/things/activities that I’m uncomfortable doing, because of years of abuses. I still hate playing cards (pitch in particular), camping, boating, fishing, board games (Monopoly in particular), church holiday celebrations (i.e. Easter, Xmas Eve, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day)..all of these were supposed to be fun, enjoyable, meaningful..but he ABUSED them, made them into attacks against any enjoyment I might have gotten from them. And often made ME feel inferior, because I didn’t enjoy doing these, as HE did. I’ve heard these are called ‘triggers’. The longer I live as a single, the less they bother me, but they still do. Sometimes, I just ‘muddle through’..and try not to get upset when people don’t understand.

Hi Askquestions, look into Adrenal fatigue as the root health issue causing your panic attacks. The adrenal glands regulate the body’s blood pressure, blood sugar, cortisol & adrenaline levels (fight, flight or freeze mode) and over 50 hormones. They are a HUGE deal and often over looked at the root health issue. Symptoms include anxiety, panic attacks, depression, mood swings, sleep issues etc.

For more info see Adrenal fatigue .org & Dr Lam. com also google. See symptoms list on both sites. Once you get your adrenal glands working properly the panic attacks will go away along with other health issues. The stress from a toxic relationship will cause adrenal fatigue along with a poor diet, high pace life style etc.

On another support site, the site greater asked if anyone had any health issues during their relationship with a narcissist/sociopath….over 400 people responded YES and listed their health issues. They were ALL adrenal gland fatigue issues.

askquestions,

If your therapist is saying such things, it makes me think she does not understand psychological abuse/sociopathy, in which case she is not helping you and is only making things more difficult for you. Have you thought of finding someone else?

And understanding how the perp put the phobia in place typically helps to get rid of such phobias. Your therapist should be undoing these phobias as part of your recovery, not just helping you do deal with them.

I am still being attacked by the flying monkey on social media it’s taken a toll on my life, I can hardly work I cry non stop. She takes my face and puts it on a picture calling her me a slut and is spreading lies saying I “service men”. I’ve contacted my local police he said because she is not directly contacting me there is nothing he can do. I have messages from her- saying she will take down her fake sites and stop If I agree to her condition which is to never contact the wife of this man.

I already agreed to everything in fear of her nonstop harassment. She lives in PA and I think the crimes on bullying are different so I’m trying to go talk to a officer there. I can’t take it anymore. She’s made a fake page and uses it to attack, it has followers and it’s public. She is defending this man when I told her the truth

I’m exhausted. I am at my end I cry I can’t eat or sleep and no one is helping my local police says call an attorney. I believe that she is doing a crime. Even if it’s only social media she is attacking me. Has anyone been in a smear campaign this bad ???

A smear campaign is pretty bad, to be honest, especially since you’ve did nothing wrong and they just keeping getting at you. I have to deal with my ex-N’s friends (who are either enablers or narcissists) smear campaigning me to other people, and other people will do “justice” for the “victim”. I know how you feel, you should do what you have to do no matter what, make her stop and ask someone to accompany you for safety.

Thank you for sharing your story. I have had exactly the same negative experiences physically, mentally, and emotionally. Your story helped validate to me these feelings are reall and the natural consequence of having been involved with a disordered person. It is taking me years to recover. The legal system is the worst abuse of all. A system that I had hoped would validate me sadly does not but has provided loopholes for the abuser to continue torturing me for 6 years. Thank you again for sharing that there is light at the end of the long dark tunnel. There is hope of waking up one day to a peaceful mind and heart. There is hope of feeling something again other than numbness and a joyless existence.

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