Overcoming narcissist abuse, by Elizabeth Shaw.
Getting your emotional security back after leaving the narcissist, more on anxiety.
So when you were living with the narcissist did you have a certain sound you feared, like the sound of the car pulling onto the drive. What mood they were going to wake up in, slamming of doors. Worrying what time they were coming, even though nothing was actually happening at that moment but You just had fear as to what could happen. Just being terrified of them coming home and building yourself into a state of hypervigilance. Dreading what kind of mood they were going to be in. Were they going to wake up or come home on some form off an attack? Or were they going to be in a good mood? What could you do so they were in a good mood? Do you ever get any flashbacks of these fears? Were you suddenly in fear or have dread and terror. This is because your nervous system whilst been with the narcissist has been trained. Your body is trained to tense up and go on guard because you could never predict what was going to happen when you saw them or spent time with them. Were they going to be happy will you get a hug or a kiss. Or would they be on the attack, and just stab you in the back even though you didn’t think you’d done anything wrong. The sound of them shouting your name used to send shivers down your spine. as you’d no idea if it’s good or bad and you’d just tense up. You’d not doing and you hadn’t done anything wrong yet your heart was pounding.
You’ve left that person and you have new happiness in your life then a car pulls up that sounds the same as the narcissist, or the car the narcissist drives everywhere you go You suddenly find yourself looking at them. Say they drive a BMW, suddenly you notice every BMW that drives past you never noticed BMWs before now there are millions of them everywhere, and it puts you on edge until the car comes closer and you know it’s not them. Start looking for Audi’s instead if you do this it helps if you find yourself noticing the car they drive, make a mental note to look for a different one. It will stop soon enough.
Even when you know it’s not them because they’re miles away, your body goes into that panic and that stress. Your adrenaline starts pumping and it can last for hrs after you heard the sound or whatever moment reminded you.
Becoming aware that this happens and why it happens is a good start to processing it and moving forward. It’s rediscovering that it’s just a memory and your imagination is just sending you on edge because of the past, tell yourself that nothing is about to happen.
It could be the stress of it all now you are out and dealing with it all, the anger, the shock of everything that happened now you are back to reality.
So the anxiety creeps back up from when you were with the narcissist even though you are no longer with them, sometimes instead of dealing with it you just keep trying to push it away.
Do you do the whole oh no I do not want to go there, go away to your feelings? Let those feeling come out and when they do, reinforce to yourself by telling yourself over and over. “I am safe, I am safe, “every time until it sinks in. If you wish to tell yourself also “ it’s just a memory” because in your new found reality it is just a memory. It doesn’t go away
Straight after you break up. Your subconscious got trained into thinking that way over months or years of abuse, so now you need to retrain that subconscious, so whenever you get those feelings, you have to tell yourself the truth about the situation you’re in right now.
At the start try telling yourself now that where you were however many months or years ago when it came up. You’re no longer in that place, you’re so much better and so much safer now.
When you first got out of the relationship you may not have allowed all your feeling to come out. Survival instinct, denial, instead you push them all down and away. Then all of a sudden you get to a safe place and it all comes out. That’s fine it happens with the body and minds it’s a survival instinct. It takes time as for how long that’s down to you, to start taking the steps to allow yourself to feel what you need to and talking to yourself kindly. everyone handles it differently. Whatever the feelings you get after leaving or however many months after. Allow your self to feel it then correct your self. With “ it’s understandable I feel this way after what I went through, but I’m not in that place any more. I’ve got this now”
You got out, you got to a safe place then it all comes out, all of a sudden and you feel like you’ve taken a step backwards .you haven’t this is normal for moving forwards.
You are allowed to let it all up and out in order to recover.
All the emotions you had in that relationship have sunk in when you leave you to bury them deep, but they are still in there. Now it’s time to let them all back out, you are allowed to feel them so you can let them out, let them go, train your brain to know you are safe again.
It took time to slowly change yourself for who they wanted you to be, now you can take your own time, without fear or pressure to become who you want to be for you.
You will start off with a sense of relief and peace when you are first free. The rest will follow in time, it gets easier every day, you may have a moment where you think it’s got worse, but when you stop and think of how far you’ve come since the days of the narcissist relationship, when you remember what that relationship was truly like how it made you feel then to who you are today. Look for the positive in today.
It’s ok if you’ve got other stuff on and think I can not deal with this right now, but when you can deal with it let it out and give yourself and emotional peace.
You can sit and reflect, dance to some music, talk to friends, go for a walk, paint and let them out. Or write it all out. Then write about what’s good in your life now.
It’ll not last forever if you let it all out, once you acknowledge it for what it is, sometimes we can be scared to look at it for what it is, bringing up bad memories, but it’s better to let it out than keep it buried. you observe it and look at it being aware of it and it’ll already be changing. Don’t be afraid to look at it as you’re taking steps to change it and you’re doing amazing. Remember now you can start taking actions for yourself, then you’ll start getting results for yourself, then you’ll gain new perspectives on your own life and your own new belief systems. You’ll be encouraged within yourself to achieve more positive outcomes for yourself.
So when these fears crop up, remind yourself “ it’s just a memory I’m safe now”
Even if they are throwing threats your way at the moment because you’re co-parenting. Remind yourself of threats they’ve made in the past that they never carried out. Obviously, some will have bigger safeguarding issues where the children don’t see the narcissist, therefore stick with the “ it’s just a memory I’m safe now”