If you are in recovery from being with a narcissistic person, you can practice the following on your road to recovery:
1) Do NOT blame yourself. You will likely feel foolish and stupid for staying with a narcissistic person for too long (and any amount of time is too long). You might wonder: what did I do wrong? or what could I have done better?
2) ACCEPT that there was nothing you could have done to save or love the person into being a healthier person. Most people with Narcissist traits have brain anomalies where the part of the brain that involves empathy is either smaller or deformed. Also, they usually have some sort of trauma around age 2 that involves sudden neglect or lack of nurturance.
3) RESEARCH everything you can about Narcissists so that you don't take things personally and can understand yourself better (you are either a empath, HSP, codependent or other Narcissist as these are who narcissists are typically attracted to). Knowledge is power. Recognize your steps in this dance of dysfunction so that you are no longer attracting narcissists into your life.
4) EXPECT that your friends and family will not understand, take the narcissist's side and may not be there for you. A narcissist is so cunning that they will fool not only you, but your friends and family too. Your support system may not come through for you either because the narcissist has manipulated them into choosing their side, the people in your support system can't admit they were duped and rather would believe that you are just "too sensitive" or "crazy" - beliefs that the narcissist's feed, or are dealing with their own feelings of grief and betrayal with the narcissist. Perhaps, they are also too overwhelmed with their own issues to tend to you in your time of need. Usually HSP (aka empaths or codependents) come from a family of narcissists who make the HSP's (highly sensitive person) suffering all about them.
5) Do NOT go to the narcissist for answers. Narcissists are known for being compulsive liars, for thriving on the ability to get away with anything up to murder (i.e. OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony) and enjoy creating suffering in others. You going to them for answers to your confusion is likely to just confuse you more and cause more suffering. Plus, it gives them narcissist supply. Let go of your need to know exactly what happened and just trust your intuition and/or your higher power that whatever you need to know will be revealed to you at the exact time you need it to. I know this has been true for me and it's what inspired the song The Truth is On It's Way.
6) GET THERAPY for yourself and any children that were affected by the narcissist's emotional abuse. You may have been physically abused and if so, you'll want to find a domestic violence advocate to support you through the process. You are likely suffering from PTSD as the narcissist thrives on making others believe they are crazy. Therefore, some people around you (neighbors, friends, family) may actually collude with the narcissist and call you crazy or label you unhinged. Therapists who lack experience with NPD and PTSD may also think you are crazy. Therefore, it is important to find a therapist who specializes in trauma and knows a lot about NPD. You may want to look for a therapist who specializes in EMDR and or other trauma-specific therapy.
7) SET BOUNDARIES with the narcissist. It would be best to not have any contact at all especially if you are in a vulnerable state when you first make the empowered choice to walk away from the narcissist. They will prey on your fears, whittle away your self-esteem and control/manipulate you until you are dependent on them or independently apathetic. If you are going through a divorce or have kids with a narcissist, try to go through a third party that is hopefully neutral. There are lawyers who specialize or market themselves around having experience with narcissists. Look for a lawyer that works for you if you are going to divorce because otherwise, the narcissist will take you to the cleaners and leave you high and dry. Sometimes, divorces from a narcissist person takes years because they have trouble letting go of the control they have over anyone. You may also have to set boundaries with family members who primed you to be with and stay with a narcissist or are not supportive of you. Notice if you feel more positive or negative after spending time with or talking to a certain person. Make boundaries based on your own feelings instead of trying to please others or make everyone else happy. The narcissist also has some elements of approval addiction and this is why they can't say "no" to other women, opportunities to cheat on you, etc.
8) Accept that THERE WILL BE NO FORGIVENESS from the narcissist though they may say they forgive you and say that they hope you can both sit down for a cup of tea someday. Narcissists try to keep people in the loop within their control if at all possible. Emotionally stuck at the age of 2, they throw temper tantrums and really only experience one emotion: some form of anger or rage. They will always be outraged that you abandoned them even though their actions lead to your jumping ship. Don't expect that the terms you chose for the divorce will be uncontested.
9) Understand that THERE WAS NEVER LOVE coming from the narcissist. Deep down inside, they hate themselves and therefore, they cannot love another. This is a hard thing to accept, especially if you've been with the narcissist for a long time. It is a hard thing to accept that you may have wasted years of your life believing the narcissist's lies and having hope that things will get better when they never had a chance to get better. The only thing that may be a wake-up call for the narcissist is their partner finally having the courage, bravery and strength to walk away. And then, it will take several years of therapy for them to change because we are talking about a personality defect after all. It is a bitter truth to swallow that the narcissist never loved you but at least this can give you comfort when you realize that they don't love their mistress(es) either.
10) PRACTICE SELF-CARE AND SELF-LOVE. Now that your self-esteem has probably been whittled down to nothing, you will have to practice a lot of self-care and self-love to recover from the abuse you suffered. Follow your dreams and passions that were likely discouraged or unsupported by your narcissistic partner. Eat healthy food, try to get good sleep (this will be hard at first), spend time with positive and supportive people and allow pleasure, blessings and all the beautiful things life has to offer to flow into your life. Now is your time. Be careful not to jump too fast into another relationship without doing work on yourself and giving yourself time to grieve your losses (not the narcissist but the loss of years of your life that were taken from you). YOU ARE FINALLY FREE. Always remember this. Practice this affirmation: I forgive myself for accepting and allowing a lack of personal power.
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