5 minute read
A narcissistic abusive relationship is a traumatising thing to experience and can leave a permanent mark on your life, no matter the length of the relationship. When one has ended, it can be tough to value and love yourself. Many people wish to find themselves and move on, but feel totally helpless when it comes to actually doing it. Here we’ll discuss some tips for learning to love yourself again after narcissistic abuse so you can begin getting your life back.
First of all, you must acknowledge why you stayed with the narcissist even through the abuse, so that you can begin to move on and finally forgive yourself. This doesn’t mean constantly blaming yourself for what happened – you can’t beat yourself up over this forever. Don’t let this be the thing that defines you forever more. All you have to do is acknowledge what happened and then work on forgiving yourself.
Read Why is it so hard to leave an abusive relationship with a narcissist?, Why narcissistic abuse and trauma bonding is so powerful for codependents, & When hope is killing you: Narcissistic abuse by Maggie McGee to get some insight into some of the reasons why might have stayed.
Accept who they are
Understand who the person you loved really is: a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This means that there is nothing you could have done to make them behave any differently, or for things to have turned out another way from what they did.
By accepting this, you learn to forgive yourself a little more, and you can start to let go of of some of the negative emotions you point towards yourself when remembering the relationship.
Be Mindful of The Voice Inside Your Head
You may take on their voice when they are no longer in your life, so be mindful of that voice inside of your head. Make sure you interrupt your thoughts when you notice yourself taking on a destructive thought pattern.
Instead, focus on the moment, and practice gratitude. See if you can flip the thought into something positive instead. This is one of the best ways to relieve anxiety, although there are many more. Learning to incorporate mindfulness in your daily routine and following ways to relieve anxiety can really help in jump starting your healing.
Maggie also writes about this in Narcissistic Invalidation: How to stop them erasing you.
Don’t Pressure Yourself
You’ll get to where you want to be in your own time – don’t rush. Of course, you want to get better, but focusing heavily on it and rushing yourself will likely make you feel worse because to a certain extent this means you are resisting the reality of the negative emotions.
To get that place of feeling better, you’ve got to process all the hard stuff first. Recovery is a long journey, but one worth every moment. Pressuring yourself won’t get you anywhere any faster, and could in the end just make it a longer process.
People who love themselves set boundaries. Learn how to say no – this will help you to build self-respect and gain more confidence. Vow to be more picky about who you let into your life.
Other important boundaries to put in place are those with the narcissist. Go No Contact if you can. This means you need to block the narcissist, cut contact, and avoid them at all costs. Cut off ways for you to contact them, and them to contact you. Setting boundaries is crucial for your future happiness.
Read How to reclaim your boundaries after narcissistic abuse by using your values & Personal Bill of Rights for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery by Maggie for ways to put your boundaries back in place after narcissistic abuse.
Find Ways To Get Your Feelings Out
Make sure you allow yourself to express your feelings. You can write, dance, play music, paint, draw, garden, speak to a professional, or regularly meet with trusted friends to talk.
Do whatever is your thing that makes you feel you are expressing all the things you’ve been pushing down. It’s time to push them out. Whatever you do, don’t hold your feelings in, as they will come out at some point, one way or another!
For more on how journaling for example helps read How journaling combats gaslighting & frees you from narcissistic abuse.
Learning to love yourself after narcissistic abuse can be tough, but it is completely possible. Rewire your thought processes, and how you care for yourself as part of your new daily routine. The love you give yourself will go miles in healing your wounds. Doing so is also an investment in making sure you don’t find yourself in another narcissistic abusive relationship.
For more tools & knowledge on healing yourself from the trauma of narcissistic abuse read:
- From ‘soul mate’ to worthless: What’s behind the narcissist’s 180?
- What happens when the narcissist knows you’ve figured them out
- Emotionally unhook yourself & starve the narcissist of supply: Here’s how
- Getting past fear & leaving the narcissist
- How No Contact supports narcissistic abuse recovery
- Blueprint for recovery from narcissistic abuse
In line with healing your gorgeous self, any book you pick up by Brene Brown will feel like the sweetest salve to all your sorest bits. Please, please, please read Rising Strong. It has nothing to do with narcissism or APD, but everything to do with you picking up those shattered bits of yourself from the hell you’ve been through, and choosing that free and joyful you that is busting to claim the day. Read it now!
Loved everything written, i agree and felt every pain coming from this relatipnship with my ex… 20 years, 2 kids, we still live together ( dont have the money to buy him out yet), well he doesnt wanna leave;)
I cut him out of my heart! It was me or him. I got lucky😁
But he still bullys me with his “love” everyday, and how i should give him another chance, coz nobody loves me like he does! Phhh, thank u please-one narcy too much.
But i guess i needed to show my self i love my self enough in a hard way. My advice … never give up, dont blame you, afford yourself as much good moments as u can steel and survive, get stronger, build yourself secretly arround something positive. Its a game they play…remove yourself from playing field….And be happy, even if they trick and hurt u again, u will be better next time, till u dont care no more. Bless u all
Thank you so much for your very inciteful articles. You have hit the spot directly. After leaving my 34 year relationship I had a lot of repairing to do not realizing what I was living in and that I was a victim. I even felt guilty for finally making the move. People saw us as a happy couple, my husband would lavish me with gifts and we’re not short on money he is a very nice person so why would I leave??? Was their thoughts because he was so thoughtful. This plays with your mind as well. I had opposition the first few months having to defend myself.
Took 2 years to realise I was a victim and I would protect him with certain friends due to my guilt of leaving. Not anymore for the first time I’m not protecting him and I’m fighting for myself. Over these 3 years I am me for the first time.
I love your articles!!!
Dear Sheree Wright…my apologies I missed this message! Good for you gorgeous one. After all, what are lavish gifts when they are merely used to soften the harshness of reality? You have come a long way in standing your ground, and standing up for you. Getting to this space is so hard won. But my goodness, how precious & life changing it is when you get there! I love this: ‘I am me for the first time’. I feels you sister! What a feeling this is. Kudos Sheree Wright. Welcome to your best life :). Light & love to you Sheree Wright. Maggie x