Why Recovery From A Narcissistic Relationship Can Be Extremely Challenging.

Three questions I often get asked are. How long will it take to recover? Why is it so hard to recover? And when I was doing so well. Why have I taken steps backwards?

How long has various factors? The first is we are all individuals. It also depends on how long you were with the narcissist, how many you’ve been around and who you are? What do you want from your life now? The only true answer is you can, and you will recover.

Taking steps backwards is ok and part of life, don’t worry about those. Easier said than done. Instead, focus on the steps you have taken forwards. How well you are doing, life gets challenging at times, we all have bad moments, low moments, one of those days, it’s learning to make those days less and less, so when a situation hits, you don’t let it affect your entire day.

Why’s it so hard to recover? Well, to start with, we are constantly being told it’s hard, so we believe it’s hard, we are told by those who’ve survived before and all the obstacles it’s going to be complicated and tricky, so then when you’re doing well after a week, a month or six months, your mind begins to think, this was supposed to be hard so some of the us then question what’s wrong with me why is this so easy, then we start looking for obstacles. It becomes hard again, instead focus on if you work on yourself one moment at a time, if you look inwards to heal and recover step by step, it will become easy to recover, and remember that it will become easy, the more your mind hears it from you, the more it believes it and the more it’ll help you make it easy. I’m not saying it is easy; I’m saying focus on the fact it is, don’t miss steps out, just keep looking at the things you have healed from so far, or where you’d like to be next year at this time, focus on creating the thoughts in your mind that work for you.

Most men and women who’ve experienced relationships with a narcissistic person all share a similar experience, similar emotions and similar confusing thoughts, especially until the fog begins to lift. Even when you’re out and know you know you want nothing to do with them. The games they play or the court battles you face, they keep you trapped in that loop, still abusing you through vindictive games, court systems and smear campaigns, and when you feel angry or hurt, or sometimes stupid believing that they might be nice when they were just setting up another devastating blow. You didn’t see it coming. You might question your own emotions and motives. They still have you doubting yourself, questioning you when it’s not you, or never was you. It’s time to pass responsibility back to the rightful owner, the narcissist, and take a stand and responsibility for learning the real reality and your own happiness. Remembering you are not stupid, and even the most intelligent and wisest of people get sucked into the world of narcissistic people when we haven’t yet learned about something. We don’t know what it is or what will happen. Life is about learning. Most of us don’t look at a book and just read it. Others taught us how to read over time. Nobody is stupid if they can not read. It just means they haven’t learned that particular skill set.

Recovery from a narcissistic relationship is something on its own level of crazy-making. While you’re trying to piece your own life back together, raise children if you had them together. Battle through divorce courts and custody battles, the narcissist makes it as hard and as ugly as they possibly can. Beginning to learn that you can control your actions, you’re reactions. Your emotions only, so situations don’t affect you in the painful, long-lasting way, there will be those moments, it’s learning to do the task at hand you need to do, then bringing your focus and mindset back into joy, happiness and the things you have to be grateful for.

Your belief systems and values have been taken down and destroyed bit by bit, everything you believed about human beings has been brought into question, and there are the contradictions left deep within your own mind, loyalty, honesty, promises, the truths have all been denied to you on some of the most hurtful manipulative levels, by the most self-destructive people in the world. Learning what your beliefs and values were and adjusting them to what they need to be now, beliefs and values are different from person to person.

Examples of beliefs.

  • A belief that family is most important.
  • A belief in religion or not.
  • A belief in work/life balance.
  • A belief in honesty is the best policy.
  • A belief in loyalty.
  • A belief in family values.
  • A belief in respect and manners.

We can keep our own beliefs for us, yet learn not all others have the same.

Examples of Beliefs that work for us.

  • A belief that you can and you will.
  • A belief that you can.
  • A belief that dreams are possible if you put the work in to achieve them

Examples of Beliefs that have worked against people

  • A belief the titanic was unsinkable, so people stayed on board and not enough lifeboats were placed on.
  • A belief that life is meaningless.
  • A belief that you can not do something.
  • A belief that the whole world is broken.

Examples of values.

  • Loyalty.
  • Commitment.
  • Passion.
  • Respect.
  • Courage.
  • Perseverance.
  • Open-mindedness.
  • Appreciation.
  • Generosity.
  • Honesty.

Again people’s own perceptions of values vary. One person will respect all others, another will only respect a select few, another will only respect themselves, and another will only respect once respect is earned. It is all about knowing you and staying true to who you are.

Breakups are hard, and co-parenting can become difficult. Divorce can be tricky at the best of times with two genuine caring people. When one is merely lacking in empathy for the other, they will keep using the games they play as they want to win at all costs. It’s not a very pleasant thing to navigate yourself through. Most often, you find yourself isolated with little to no support.

Recognising your emotional pull, your beliefs and your values, you have the power to control how you handle difficult times. Creating good connections with genuine people so you can navigate your way through.

Family members are hard, especially if they were your parents. You’ve got strong ties from childhood, your beliefs we created growing up around them, years of being gaslighted, you’ve been taught or trained to respect them, put their needs above your own, doubt yourself.

You have to understand that people who put you down or hurt you have a problem within themselves. If their company is harmful to your feelings, they are not for you. You can not fix all others’ problems. You can only help if they are unwilling to accept help or see any wrongdoing in their own actions; it’s time to walk away.

You are in recovery from mental warfare, and you have to reclaim your reality, your confidence, your own thoughts, learning to manage your emotions as most of us are left full of negative emotions that hit hard, learning who they indeed are and what you’re actually dealing with.

Finding the lesson, which isn’t easy at the start, changing the ”why is this happening to me.” to ”what is this teaching me.” learning to find the things that bring you joy and happiness, especially when outside situations try to cause you pain.

When those lightbulb moments hit, one by one, you see all those red flags you missed once out. Yet, it all sounds so unbelievable, only you lived it, your left questioning why you didn’t pay attention to those red flags and your instinct sooner, mostly this is because you couldn’t see them clearly, from your beliefs to their manipulation and daily reality being rewritten on you.

You go through a stage of blaming yourself for everything, your mind has been hijacked, your mind has been manipulatively taken over, and you’ve been fed the blame game, blaming yourself for everything that went wrong in the relationship, blaming yourself for not being able to help them, for not seeing reality sooner.

Remember, if a robber walks into the bank and steals the money, the cashier is not to blame. If someone hijacked a plane, the pilot and passengers are not to blame. Pass the responsibility back to the rightful owner.

You feel like a fool. Your pride and ego have taken a knock with questions like ”how did I not see it sooner, ”why did I not leave sooner.” how can people treat others this way? No one will believe me. Why was I so stupid? How could I have been so fooled by them? You can not see what you don’t know, and they manipulate you into a trance, one that you can only take up from when you’re ready.

Nothing was what it seemed, and it’s like being hit by bullet after bullet, moment after moment while trying to work out what happened to you. So many promises were made, never kept. So many lies told, more secrets coming out, realising who you thought they were, they are not. Yet, they are. Both sides are exactly who they are. Most believe the nice narcissist isn’t real. The evil narcissist is the real person. You realise both faces they hold within themselves is them, and both are out for manipulation of others. The nice one you cared for is also not so nice when the real reasons they act the way they do come to light.

Curiosity calling, normal human feelings and behaviour. Lots of emotions play a part in this, People you once cared so deeply for, wanting to know how they are, wanting to see if life is falling apart for them as it has you, wanting to see what makes the new so special, wishing to see remorse, wanting an apology, the saying curiosity killed the cat, every time you do look, it cuts you a little deeper, if you are still at this stage don’t worry it will pass, start acknowledging you want to look, accepting that it’s only going to cause more pain, tell yourself you’re not going to, then find something to do that makes you smile, read a good book, find something that fills you with joy, something does for you, the urge to look at their social media or find what they are up to will lessen over time, you’ll get to a point where you’re simply no longer interested.

The first few days, weeks, are the hardest as time passes if you work on creating a new happier future for you, those emotional triggers become less and less, those scars begin to heal, those bad days become less and less often, the emotional rollercoaster becomes less and less, people have recovered and gone on to live amazing lives before you and you will too.

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Click here to sign up for the full, Break Free From Narcissistic Abuse, with a link in the course to a free, hidden online support group with fellow survivors. 

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The narcissists counter-parenting.

Click here for more information on recovery from narcissistic abuse, and information on co-parenting with a narcissist.

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.



Don’t argue with a narcissist.

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