It’s Hard To Recover From A Narcissist So Make A Plan
First and foremost, you are not crazy. Know that. When it comes time to recover from a narcissist, there’s confusion and shame because at some point you knew you were not being treated well. But confused and gaslighted, you didn’t know how to get out of it. That’s totally normal. They don’t teach narcissism in school. It’s also common and normal to feel crazy. You wonder: How did I let this happen? Why did I stay as long as I did? And, on and on and on. Well, the reason you shouldn’t feel bad or crazy is because chances are–if you were with a bonafide narcissist–he/she manipulated you in a bunch of different ways.
You’re Not Crazy You Were Manipulated
Ta Da! Secret one! You weren’t crazy to fall for a narcissist. No one is more persistent and confusing than a narcissist hunting for a mark. They call it love bombing for a reason, and many good women are fooled by it. In the beginning, a narcissist will make you feel like you are the center of their world. You are everything to them and they are so happy to have met their soulmate. They will shower you with gifts, attention, and whatever else is up their sleeve. Also, what you need at the moment.
But, positive behaviors don’t last, and the dynamic changes. I can compare it to a frog in boiling water. When the frog hops in, the water is cool and comfortable. The poor frog isn’t even aware of the water heating up degree by degree until it is too late. Narcissists do something similar. You lose control slowly. It starts with simple things you may not care about or notice like what’s on the TV or what you’re ordering for dinner. But, in time, control of you extends to everything, and you become a kind of hostage living under someone else’s rule. It isn’t until you are learning to recover from a narcissist that you can see how that evolution happened. Give yourself time and space as you process what happened in your relationship. This isn’t fun stuff to deal with!
Clarity Is Always Key
What’s so painful is the time spent wondering how you went from being the apple of someone’s eye to their punching bag (metaphorically speaking), so don’t dwell on it endlessly. Gaining clarity about what happened and what to do moving forward will help enormously. Talk to someone with experience and knowledge if you are confused about what has transpired.
Once you have a reality check about who your narcissist is and what he/she did in the relationship, you see them more clearly and it helps let them go. It’s not your fault. You didn’t see it coming. No one does. Narcissists are fundamentally sick people. They often don’t know, or care, about the harm they do to other people. They don’t have the emotional bandwidth to connect with other people’s needs; they only care about themselves and their own feelings. If you can truly understand that and have compassion for their lack of empathy, it will help you recover from a narcissist who has hurt you.
Self Care Plan
We’ve already discussed that you are not going to feel shame about what’s happened. There’s literally no point and it does not help your head clear or confidence return. What will help your head clear and your confidence return? Glad you asked! This is the time to commit to health and wellness across the board.
I don’t know what that looks like for you but I know what it looks like for me. I get up and walk the dog outside in nature for as long as I can, I pray, I meditate, I read daily readings for recovery and self help, I exercise, and I go to healing classes like sound baths and energy cleanse (yup, I think they work.) I don’t indulge in too much comfort food or desserts. Sugar and processed foods are not the answer.
I surround myself with recovery people and am in step work in multiple programs with multiple sponsors looking at what’s happened in my life and getting responsible feedback. I create a financial plan to help keep me calm, I have professionals I can call when I feel sad or need help. I create a lifestyle that lends itself to keeping me healthy.
Ask yourself, what does that lifestyle include for me? What’s your ability to get outside like, do you like animals, what kind of exercise or nutrition can you add to the picture, do you have someone safe to talk to? When you are in the process of trying to recover from a narcissist, you have to practice putting yourself and your needs in a place of priority. It takes practice but you can do it.
Regain Your Sense Of Self
One of the worst things a narcissist does is make you doubt yourself. Are my feelings real and valid? Is what I’m doing with my life good enough? Am I a good partner, parent, whatever. When you learn to recover from a narcissist, it’s crucial to reinstate your own identity. What do I want to eat? What do I want to do today? Who can give me real feedback about my life?
These are questions that may be hard to answer at first if someone has been making decisions for you or telling you how your life looks to them. Be kind to yourself as you walk through this time of self-discovery. Don’t beat yourself up if you walk down the grocery aisle and don’t know what to pick up. It took years to submit to someone else, it will take some time to rebuild into your best self. Sometimes making lists is helpful. Outside help is great and safe friends can make all the difference when you’re looking for support or feedback.
Expect Bad Feelings To Come Up But Let Them Pass
Throughout the day you may have angry, sad, or hurt feelings pop into your mind. That’s to be expected so don’t fight them. Feel them and then move on. Use your newfound knowledge about what happened to give yourself mercy. Then, refocus on the positive things in your life or anything you’re looking forward to. The trick is not to wallow in bad feelings or self-pity. They don’t serve you in the mental health department. You want to nurture positive feelings and anything that will boost self-esteem, so limit the pity party.
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