Getting over a relationship is hard enough, but trying to recover from the pain of narcissistic abuse seems insurmountable. If you are ruminating over “what could have been”, perhaps the following checklist will put things into perspective.
1. Don’t Turn Crumbs Into Trophies
If you’ve been discarded by the Narcissist or gathered the courage to leave yourself, you may romanticize what really happened in the relationship. Ironically, when you were with your abuser, you were miserable and yearned for a different life. Then, when that opportunity presented itself in the form of the Narcissist taking a new lover or your leaving after choosing not to be abused anymore, suddenly the relationship was lollipops and rainbows.
The reason for this is rooted in your brain chemistry. You were so conditioned to being abused and accepting less that whenever the Narcissist threw you a crumb, you experienced an exaggerated high. You tend to remember everything through rose-colored glasses, as if it was all wonderful. In this case, longing for and obsessing over an abuser is evidence of having been brainwashed.
If your Narcissist discarded you, it may be even more tempting to imagine he or she was perfect and you weren’t. Remember them as they truly are, zero…not a hero.
2. Remember Who You Were Before the Relationship
Who were you before you met the Narcissist? Were you satisfied and happy? Did you have friends and hobbies that kept you busy? Now’s a good time to rekindle old friendships and connect to interests you had before all of your time and energy was sucked into an eternal abyss.
That happy-go-lucky person you were is still in there, and is the main reason you were feeling so sucky with the Narcissist. The part of you that you had to suppress to keep your toxic Ex happy is who you need to reconnect with and bring back to the surface.
3. He’s Not All That
One of the biggest challenges in getting over the Narcissist is grieving over lost love and what could have been. You’re left to pick up the pieces and accept that the life you’d planned is no longer an option.
It’s important to remember that they aren’t the only person you can experience love with (and it was one-sided, at that). Granted, you have a journey ahead of you in order to get to a place where you are ready for another relationship, but the point is, you will know love again.
Hope can be a terrible thing if it keeps you stuck in the past. Instead of allowing your toxic Ex back into your life, make space for real love and happiness, whatever that may look like for you.
You won’t spend the rest of your life alone. But first, you need to work on the reasons you stayed in an abusive relationship. Learn to love yourself and stop looking to someone else to validate you and your worth.
4. Acknowledge the Need to Let Go
Trying to hold on to the Narcissist and force them to be human and love you is torturous. This succeeds in nothing more than your feeling ashamed, foolish, resentful, angry, and obsessed with making it work.
It also perpetuates your feelings of not being good enough, and so you keep attracting more of that kind of energy into your life. When you’re holding onto something, you’re in a place of not having, and this is what you’ll keep getting.
Let go and make peace with yourself.
Let go and open yourself up to new possibilities.
“Some people believe that holding on and hanging in there are signs of strength, but there are times in life when it takes much more strength just to let go.” ~ Ann Landers
5. Replace Fearful Thoughts
Another reason it’s so hard to let go of the Narcissist is because you’re reacting from a place of fear. You internalized the lies they told you. Lies that made you believe no one else would ever be interested in you, that you aren’t attractive anymore, that you weigh too much, are getting old, and the like. In turn, you may believe it’s better to have a fraction of so-called love than none at all.
When you’re holding onto these fears, the Narcissist wins. They want you to remain fearful so you will keep letting them back in whenever they get bored or the new supply doesn’t pan out.
Stand strong. Remind yourself that a better life is possible.
“Sometimes the strongest thing you will ever do will be to let go of someone. It will be painful, you will suffer guilt, and you will second-guess yourself, but for your own sanity and quality of life, there will come a time where you hand them to God, with your love.” ~ Lee Goff
Copyright 2014. Kim Saeed and Let Me Reach.
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