Most relationships have some form of ups and downs; narcissistic relationships can have long periods of highs and only short periods of lows, keeping you trapped in that. Was it me mindset? With the help of all the blame-shifting from the narcissist reprogramming your mind. Or it can have swift movements between those intense highs and intense lows. Some of you will have the highs in the beginning and the lows coming in faster and faster as the relationship progresses. You might have found yourself questioning plenty of times during the relationship if you really wanted to be in it, and that can also leave you questioning if it was you not putting your all into it because of the confusion and self-doubt, the narcissist brainwashed you with.
A couple of things that will clarify this is. Ask yourself and write down all you did for them?
Ask yourself and write down all they did for you?
Once you have managed to break free, you might then begin to question yourself again, did I make the right choice? What could I have done differently?
In those moments, write down all the negative sides to the relationships, the times they hurt you so badly and just disappeared on you, those times they sat and watched you cry, all those promises they made and never kept. To give you clarity on the events that truly unfolded.
With all the negative effects the gaslighting has on you, gaslighting is an insidious form of mental abuse, leaving you to doubt reality, situations, history and your own sanity. It’s confusing being in the relationship and confusing getting out and staying out at the start, as you are often left with memories of the good and all the blame for the bad. You were never to blame.
Narcissistic abuse can and will cause brain damage as it shrinks your hippocampus, so you have a hard time remembering the actual events that unfolded and grows your amygdalae which houses your emotion such as fear meaning your emotional state is heightened continuously within your mind.
It can also cause cognitive dissonance. A state of mindset where you have inconsistent thoughts, beliefs or attitudes as you are living differently contradictory reality’s within your life and within your mind.
Once you are out, you might think that after a few days of grief, you’ll be able to pick yourself back up. With knowledge, power and understanding, you can for some, it takes longer. Unfortunately, it has taken a few years for others. It’s not a race or a competition. If someone recovered within weeks, learn from them, it doesn’t mean they suffered any less. They just had the ability within themselves to focus and go. If you take months, you still have that ability to focus and go. When narcissistic people keep coming at you whilst you are trying to recover, it is draining, heartbreaking. It can lead to steps backwards, feeling like you’re stuck and not going to break free, so working on recovery also varies on the narcissist that been in your life, and the games they are playing afterwards, feeling like you are taking steps back is also a very normal stage.
When this happens, look for any achievement you have made within yourself or around yourself since you have left. Write them down to keep that focus.
Recovery from narcissistic abuse is just like recovery from any negative things that happen within your life, and it takes time, work, drive and determination.
When you still have feelings for them, leaving is a struggle within itself, staying free, especially when they come with all the false apologies or smear campaigns it is also a struggle if you’ve been back and forth. You’re not alone. It takes an average of seven attempts for people to get out and stay out. Your rational side is telling you to stay away, yet you’re also looking for ways to make it work again.
When you have all the blame, it’s hard to break away from the feelings of wanting to try again, especially if you are lonely and they keep coming at you to try again.
First, recognise there is a big difference between being alone and being lonely, create new routines, write down new dreams, take the steps to achieve these for you and your future, connect with others who understand you and know that these feelings are normal, embrace them, learn from them and let the past go.
Lose the blame. No matter what happens, no one deserves this treatment. You have been in a toxic relationship. You didn’t do that to yourself on purpose. Recognise that you had good intentions. The other person did not. The blame and responsibility Are not all yours. No one is entitled to treat you this way. Pass the parts the narcissist is responsible for within your mind back to the rightful owner.
They projected all their faults into you, and it is time to give them back, write down their faults take them back out from yourself. Write down and say allowed I’m a good, kind, caring person who wanted to help. I can not help those unwilling to recognise and help themselves, and I can help me.
If it’s family members, it’s also hard to break free. The narcissistic personality disorder is on a spectrum, and some people can have a lot of traits yet not be a narcissist.
The only people you need within your life are kind, caring people who bring you down are not required.
When guilt hits, ask yourself, what is this telling me? I feel bad as it’s my mum etc., and she needs me. Recognise all those times you needed her, and she simply wasn’t interested, take action and tell yourself you do not need these people within your life. Then let the guilt go. You have every right to your own happiness.
You’ll have good and bad memories, and it is difficult to walk away from family members, those who are not as toxic. You might start with seeing if you can manage your time around them, learn what they think and feel different to how you do, observe, don’t absorb, others you’ll have to walk away from completely.
Starting again. Having your life and who you are taken apart bit by bit by a narcissist is soul-destroying, and they use all your weaknesses against you. You have to start losing the false beliefs and creating real ones, working through and owning your vulnerability’s. We all have them. Once you recognise and deal with them for you, others will not be able to use them against you. You’ll also be able to open up with good people on a whole new level.
You might have moments or days when you are flying and doing well, then days with setbacks. This is normal. On those down days, recognises the good ones, get back up and go again.
If you have stages of wanting revenge, normal human behaviour is when you’ve been hurt and betrayed so much by someone. In essence, they’ve projected themselves into you, deep down what they did to you they feel on a daily basis, lost, hurt, insecurities and anger, they are missing the empathy that you have to care for others, they only see their own suffering and hide it by blaming all others, they can not dig deep and look to themselves to heal, you have to heal when you had good intentions, they had bad intentions trying to pull that out and heal, I’m not sure a narcissist is capable of healing as the first they’d have to recognise their own faults, flaws and vulnerabilities, take responsibility for their own actions, become accountable, something they don’t want to do, this is an extremely unpleasant way to live. Being themselves is punishment enough without any wrongdoing from you. It’s hard enough for those with good intentions to relive it all and work it all out.
Going to live your best life for you is the best karma. You’re entitled to be happy without purposefully hurting them. This hurts them. Do not seek revenge; it’ll only hurt who you are more.
That’s not saying if they have some form of outside karma hit, you are supposed to rise above, after all, that they did to you, it’s human nature, and you are allowed to feel pleased, if your one that would want to reach out and help them, which most of us have been, don’t they will only hurt you again. They will only pull you back into all the unpleasantries. Leave them to it and focus on you.
Questioning why you didn’t get out? All those red flags, in the beginning, all those moments you thought something wants not right, yet stayed. You are not alone. Plenty sees red flags, but without the understanding, make excuses in their own mind. It’s hard when you can see reality at the start of a soul mate that’s treating you better than anyone ever has, your living it breathing it, just because something didn’t add up that you couldn’t see, so you stayed makes you normal. Now you have knowledge of wisdom and power to take into your future. By the time they treat you worse than anyone ever has, you are often in too deep. They will find ways to make you feel like it’s wasn’t that bad or wasn’t their fault, or if you’d only change, the brainwashing is slow and intense, your mind is being held captive, and your only job is to stay safe and work it out. You can, and you will.
The human calling for curiosity, when we care for others we like to be involved in their lives, once they leave or you leave, it’s not all down to looking at their social media for what are they up to? How can they get away with this? Questioning why they can just move on without a care, they don’t. They are missing object consistency, a skill learned around the age of 2-3. You have this, so when you’ve had a connection, you still care and check in on them, unfortunately. As they don’t have the same emotions you do, this will lead you to further confusion within your own mind of why and how they can just move on, leaving you with more conflicting thoughts.
Recognise you want to look that’s normal for most, remind yourself it’ll only hurt more and leave you with more anger, questions and doubts, and focus on something else. Pattern interrupts, like when you walk into a room and forget why you went in, do this consciously, tell yourself you want to and tell yourself you’re not going to their focus on something else to take your mind away, keep going until those thoughts of wanting to look become less and less.
Anxiety and CPTSD, working on recognising your triggers, so you can get a hold of them before they escalate. Working on irrational anxiety, when your imagination uses past events to connect and think something is about to happen, and rational anxiety, when something is happening, working on your triggers and healing them one by one.
No contact is the best method to leave them in the past, incredibly difficult to start, with emotional pulls, with the trauma bonding from the dopamine from the highs and the cortisol from the lows, you are weaning yourself off a highly addictive drug, become addicted in that time to something else, a great cause, a life calling, something positive that makes you happy, as days, weeks and months pass that rollercoaster of recovery get easier. Emotional triggers and memories will pop into your mindless and less as you start creating new routines and a happier future.
Most slip with no contact, again normal. Just remind yourself why you are doing it and go again.
We all make mistakes, and there are those that acknowledge and learn from these mistakes and keep going for a better life.
Then there are narcissistic people who are very woe is me, blaming all others and keep hitting the same cycle of repeat in their lives.
You know, and you are more than capable to change your life, change one thing for you, and it can change everything you are and so.
You are stronger than you know, wiser than you know, and you have great potential within you.
Tell yourself, “I can, and I will.”
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach. She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
Click here for Elizabeth Shaw’s Recommended reading list for more information on recovery from narcissistic abuse.
Help with anxiety.
The narcissists projection.
More on cognitive dissonance.