Where have I disappeared to?

By Kim Saeed | Contemplating No Contact

Nov 03
~ by Ether

Warning – Any close involvement with a narcissist is likely to lead to loss of self.

One of the most agonizing hurdles to overcome after dedicating so much energy to a narcissist is that we are left with a looming inability to derive the same enjoyment out of previous interests and the smaller things that used to touch and move us.

We lose our value for ourselves and how to appreciate value in other things.  We don’t know where to begin with moving on.

This is the damage that narcissists do to others.  It is characteristic of their abuse and has nothing to do with your real value. It is a slow attack on your very own beautiful spark of life and, concurrently, the toxic and inevitable effect of a narcissist.

Whether they mean to do it or not is totally irrelevant because of their fundamental and irreparable character flaws.  Interacting with a narcissist weakens the vital part of ourselves that is so precious; our beautiful connection to the spring of inspiration and the recognition of our uniqueness.

So what can we do when we feel we are nothing and there is no one left to move on?  When we stop deriving pleasure out of anything that isn’t related to the narcissist‘s life?

In the beginning, getting out of the narcissist’s reach (despite the emotional abuse) can feel like moving from glorious Technicolor to black and white, but it is temporary.  Initially, you feel that they have hijacked your brain and soul.

The first thing, indisputably, is to recognize that even if you feel that you love them very deeply, you must come to an acceptance that they are dangerous to your health and you cannot see them anymore.  Many of us actually have to experience real physical health problems to finally come to this conclusion.

Remove the influence of the narcissist out of your life.  Stop romanticizing them. Narcissists lack character and life skills. When you think of them, try to picture them in your head dressed as a spoilt princess wearing a dress and tiara–who cannot do anything at all unaided–having a tantrum. Make their image humorous and ridiculous because, really, this is what they are underneath all the charm.

In order to connect with our spark again, we must realize that we are rehabilitating ourselves and begin to treat ourselves as the highest priority and with care and love.

You are unique and valuable and connecting to the value of your uniqueness is the key to recovering from abuse.

Pushing yourself to slowly develop in an area or a hobby that you were previously good at and derived enjoyment from is fundamental in recovering.  By pursuing your own previous interests and removing their influence on your emotions, gradually, your love of life will return and the narcissist will become a memory.

In the beginning it seems impossible but, eventually, you won’t even remember how they managed to have such a profound negative influence on you, because you will become fully engaged in your life and path.

But tread carefully, it takes some time to recover yourself and one short encounter can set you back. They are dangerous to your very essence, to your love of life and each step towards recovering yourself must be guarded fiercely.

Be patient with yourself. Your beautiful qualities are what got you involved with a narcissist in the first place and their lack of appreciation or validation of them is what damages you.

You haven’t disappeared.  Your spark may have shrunk, but it cannot be extinguished as it is life itself and you can encourage it to grow and glow brightly.  It is these very qualities deep inside of you–waiting for you to rediscover them or, in some cases, find them for the first time–that you need to recover slowly and that will bring you back to yourself, help you to recover your identity, and to flourish as the real you, far away from these ruinous abusers.

How to Do No Contact Like a Boss! Bestseller in three categories on Amazon!

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(37) comments

Trish December 23, 2015

On Nivember 3, I posted my initial posting. My comment here is about my narcissist husband withholding sex and love for years. I’m tired. Separate bedrooms and no connection physically even at 56 has worn me down. I’ve had sex a handful of times since our 11 year old was born. It stopped. Blaming me is old. I deserve better and I want to love again healthily and be loved. It’s normal. This is not.

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Anonymous December 16, 2015

Thank you for all of the great work you are doing in bringing this issue to light. I was in a relationship with a narcissist for over 20 years never being able to figure out exactly what was going on and always feeling anxious and enslaved. The hard part now is that I feel very empty and worry that I will never find my spark again – which would be truly devastating. I am trying desperately to find myself again and am hanging on tightly to the belief that I will be even happier and more fulfilled than before. It’s very hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other when all I want to do is curl up in a ball and cry sometimes.

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    Kim Saeed December 17, 2015

    Someone, thank you for your kind praise regarding my site. It’s very uplifting and encouraging to know my work has helped you in some way.

    I am sorry you’re struggling in the aftermath of the abuse. What sort of activities are you doing to heal? Perhaps I can give you a few ideas <3

    With that being said, I still curl up in a ball and cry sometimes, but not because of my Ex narc, really. The wounds he enhanced were already there and I believe it's my younger self that gets triggered and cries, but those times are few and far in between now.

    Let yourself cry when you feel like it, and continue doing your self-care activities.

    Reply
Bradley December 4, 2015

Kim and others,
Throughout my 40 days of NC…I did not …CHOSE not to read this blog. Because it scared me….I did not want to acknowledge that somewhere in my 4 yr journey with my N…I LET MYSELF DISAPPEAR. To my son, my family, my friends. After 40 days of NC…I look back at who I was before my N….wow….where did HE go ? The very things that attracted my N to me….are the things I have lost. Love of life, energy, exuberant passion about everything, smiling, laughing, confidence…..wow….confidence. As I look back, I realize…hard to say it….but what I ALLOWED to happen to me stripped away a lot of that. I won’t use the adjectives to describe who I became…suffice to say the opposite of all of those other nice things I wrote above.
Having read this blog today, I am committed to being that person again. Because I still am that person. I just allowed someone to cause doubt and insecurity in me.
It starts in 15 minutes when I wake my son up…..THAT ME has to be back….and as much as it may be a journey….it starts NOW !!
As you say Kim….the spark is still there….just diminished. I reignite that spark today. Now. It starts with a smile.
Thank you so much.
Bradley

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    Leonardo December 4, 2015

    Thank you for sharing Bradley. My very best wishes.
    Recovery is possible!

    Leonardo

    Reply
    Ether December 6, 2015

    …..yes.
    ?

    Reply
Carrie November 8, 2015

Kim,

Your articles, advice and support have helped me to heal. I’m one year free of my N and looking back, while I feel foolish for being a “sucker”, I can’t help but be impressed with the progress I made and continue to make. I’m “me” again and I wake each day with a smile happy to be free of the drama, games and lies. I never thought I would get here so for anyone just beginning the journey I say this…read the articles, believe in yourself, forgive yourself and know that the pain will pass, you will come out stronger and he (she) will be sentenced to a life of lies, misery, unhappiness and failed relationships. Be glad they are gone – you (me) are worthy of so much more.

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    Kim Saeed June 26, 2016

    Thank you for your kind praise, Carrie. I am so happy to know you’ve found healing and happiness. Thank you for sharing your experience here for readers to see. It helps others to know that happiness is possible again after the narcissist <3

    Kim
    XoXo

    Reply
K November 6, 2015

Thank you Kim for such a wonderful blog.
The bit where you say it’s our beautiful qualities that attract the narcissist and the lack of appreciation and validation that damages us is so true Kim.
I feel that I have lost part of me, my self esteem has been knocked so badly and it has affected me in so many ways.
They cause all the damage and skip off to their next supply whilst we are left to pick up the pieces.

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Bette November 6, 2015

Thank you, thank you, thank you! If it weren’t for your generous giving of clarity, I would still be wilting on the vine and living but barely breathing (and likely drinking to self-medicate which is not a good option for me) under the thumb of the NPD person.
I see this is my phase now. And I was experiencing it so deeply I was seriously considering rehoming my two horses I’ve had since they were born and are so dear to me, and quitting my self-employment as a massage therapist which I love and once believed I was very successful at in providing healing and de-stressing for others. But now, I realize it’s so very important to not make any major decisions during this time when in mourning.
Your words are the Balm of Gilead and if you were here with me I would hug the stuffing out of you!!! XO

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Beatriz November 5, 2015

Dear Kim, I have a question. I´m totally identified with this: “One of the reasons that Empaths and Sensitives are subconsciously drawn to Narcissists is because we come into the world wanting to fix people and things that are broken and/or unjust. We are here to help other people heal”
It´s the way I feel. But I found it´s very frustrating trying to give some advices to people and see that they are not ready to realized in a clear way like I do. I waste a lot of my energy trying to fix people. And now I´m feeling I want to be alone, I don´t want to create a deep connection because it hurts me a lot. I think people must walk his/her way. But I can feel all the feelings of people. I take a lot of information about their feelings, sometimes it´s amazing but sometimes it hurts because I see that people have many unconscious problems that I can feel. It´s lot of pain for me. So,if my nature is wanting to help people, what is the limit between me and the rest of people? Now I´m trying to give some advice and then let the destiny works.
An answer would be a relief. Thank you so much.

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nessa3 November 4, 2015

I know what you mean. I dont know who I am any more,all the things I used to love, I find no pleasure in, no ambition to pursue.i feel like an empty shell walking about, going through the motions of some sort of existence.

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Peter Harrop November 4, 2015

Where does one start when it comes to sharing a story? I am a male of 40 something. My relationship with a narcissist is a story. I write this to evidence what happens when you meet the social reptile in fem form. Yes it happens to both sexes and must be made clear. There are just as many femme fatalles out there as men. Of course it would be sexist to say otherwise wouldn’t it? There are after all undiagnosed if they believe there is nothing wrong with them.
I had never been good at chatting up girls. But as my confidence grew with age I kind of thought hey lets play the dating game. The internet had arrived and it was easy to go looking at pics and profiles. In 2011 I had reconnected with a lot of old friends from the past via Facebook and, like you do, I was looking through a friend’s list of his friends if there were any others I knew. And there was this girl. Such a pretty girl. And I told her so ” Wow you are beautiful” was my simple initiated message. And so it began. She was actually my friend’s sister but diff surname through marriage. 6 months later we finally dated. I was, from the moment we met in love. Our date went well. And it seemed to go too quick. And that was me hooked. Looking back with the wisdom we now have of how they work us in Love-Bombing , the wild sex, the doppleganging etc. No wonder I fell into the trap. But there was something not right? The traits were all there and it doesn’t take long to expose them, but you cant see the red flags can you? I mean after all you fell in love. Yes there’s a book’s worth of trait examples. The Narc rage, lack of empathy, The Space ship moments. The blame shift, the financial lies. The victim act. The sleep deprivation.. Oh what a story! What a journey. The manipulation of my own family and friends thinking how good she was. Endless act isn’t it? I can remember saying to a friend of mine when she asked me “how it was going with CL?” and I clearly remember saying to her: She does my head in at times. “It’s like I’m dealing with a child at times” Yes us victims know now don’t we. That feeling of needed to trust our gut instinct and not our private parts. After all love isn’t a message on a Post It Note. So be strong in the knowledge that you survived a narcissist. It takes a chunk out but we become stronger and wiser. Toughen up. Accept it and as hard though it is with the C-PTSD scars, go and don’t fall for one again. Read all you can about the social reptiles that walk amongst us. After all we were taught to know the Golden Rule: ‘If something is too good to be true, it usually is’ And you know, for a streetwise lad, my lovely old lady neighbour stuck it in a nutshell of a phrase… “All That Glistens Isn’t Gold” Peace and Love yes, but keep your shield with you at all times. There really is some scary monsters out there. And they charm us. Sorry I am rubbish at writing. Small Pierre

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Beatriz November 4, 2015

Hi Kim, as always, thank you so much for your comments. They are a therapy for myself. I have been realized about the idea of taking care of myself with love. I´m always out of my needs and love. I´m always alert of the people´s mood. If they are in a good mood about me I´m ok,if not I feel terrible nervous. Like if all my world trembled. I feel like a little girl (because of my narcissistic mother and ex-boyfriend) in the middle of nothing. But thanks to you I´m assimilating what you say:”In order to connect with our spark again, we must realize that we are rehabilitating ourselves and begin to treat ourselves as the highest priority and with care and love” , for me and for my son. It´s like a mantra today. I thought thinking of myself with love was selfish.
Thank you so much from my heart.

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    Regan November 30, 2015

    this seems to make sense. I have been having a difficult time moving on from an unhealthy relationship with this type person. And I have lost my spark and feel lost and I don’t know where to start. I will try this . I won’t give up

    Reply
Lynette d'Arty-Cross November 4, 2015

Thank you. A good post. 🙂

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N November 3, 2015

I have a picture of me at the beginning of our relationship and one during the fourth round. The light is definitely missing…from my smile to my eyes.

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    Megan November 3, 2015

    When our relationship began, I was vibrant, alive. Then, when the crazy-making began, I used to record video diaries to work through my confusion. Looking back on the videos I can now clearly see the deterioration. A relationship with a narcissist eats you up from inside.

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Covenanthillsre November 3, 2015

Absolutely true!

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Tara November 3, 2015

I love your posts. This rings very true. I fell deeply for my narcissist and yet am very clear that he is poison to me. What I appreciate about your writing is that it is distinct from alot of the standard dating advice out there. Alot of the gurus don’t factor this into their work, especially the love coaches. For a normal guy their advice may apply. For a narcissist, it simply doesn’t apply.

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Shelly Dohren Tarin November 3, 2015

For 35 years I thought there was something wrong with me and one day I came across a site about dating a narcissist. It was like a bolt of lighting hit me and I realized what the problem was. I had flashbacks of all my previous relationships rushing through my head. Your website has been like a wonderful medication and has brought back my hope! I am now taking my time to learn to take care of myself and set appropriate boundaries. I can’t thank you enough for sharing. Your words are changing my life!

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    Kim Saeed November 3, 2015

    Wow, Shelly! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. Comments like yours give me inspiration <3

    Reply
Leonardo November 3, 2015

This article is so true! I’ve been always a very creative person. When I got involved with my ex partner I lost every interest in this area of my life.
For many years I planned and worked in my out of USA home, I accomplished a lot and had so many projects that used to keep me so excited about life and the dreams of me been there and enjoying every corner of the home I dreamed and worked for during long, long time.
When he came to the picture things started to change and in one year of the relationship I dropped off all those dreams and projects.
I regret so much this situation. I can’t believe how easy I gave up on such important part of me. Creativity was the deepest connection with my self and now I feel so lost some times.
I have been in recovery for almost 2 years and doing very good for the most part but I really miss the little inner child in me having so much joy just by feeling the texture of fabrics, the beauty of the wood and in general the enormous sources that were given to me.
I acknowledge my loss now and pray to God to help me to recover this part of me.
All my best to you all. Thank you for reading.
Leonardo

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    Kim Saeed November 3, 2015

    Thank you for your poignant and touching comment, Leonardo. Wishing you the best in your continued recovery <3

    Reply
Serenity Willow November 3, 2015

Thank you so much for all you have shared on your website! You have been the largest contributor to my healing. Your support in NO CONTACT was the only way I could have gotten away from the iron worker Narc who was once part of my life. I’m prompted to write today because of residual health issues he brought about in me.

After a couple years of him screaming at me and basically destroying who I was, I developed a bleeding ulcer on a hiatus hernia and IBS. When I would rub my belly or mention my health, he would call me a hypochondriac, whiner or a big baby. This was of course because he never complained about having stage 4 non hodgkins lymphoma with 6 months to live. Of course he’s not dead yet after 3 years because the cancer was a lie!

Anyways, one year after my first episode in the hospital, tests, scopes and pills, I have been pain free until last week. The doc explained that my small amount of work related stress now affects me on a greater level due to the couple of years of stomach stress and not seeking medical attention.

To anyone who has found yourself looking for answers here please take care and just know that your life and the lives of your children are worth so much more than how your are treated by your Narc. I’m an addictions counselor and I see so many similarities in the LOVE BOND (not love) and any other addiction to alcohol, drugs, sex, negative self talk, suicidal ideation, gambling, etc.

You can make it without the Narc and I agree wholeheartedly that the only way (if possible), is the go no contact!

Bright Blessings

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Trish November 3, 2015

I am 56 years old and still with my 62 year old narcissist husband of 13 years. We have an 11 year old daughter. I’m trying to leave but so dependent financially as he made it but now blamed me of course. I’m a wreck and trying to detach emotionally and find some of who I am again. I have to leave and it’s scary. Thank you for your work to help us all who are or have been damaged by these people.

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    Ellen Zerba December 31, 2015

    I am almost 65 now. I left my N 5 years ago with my daughter who has Down Syndrome . It’s been excruciatingly hard and painful to say the least. I was married for 25 years. I didn’t even know what happened to me or what he was until almost 2 years ago when I started reading about Narcissicism and PTSD on FB. I basically layers on the couch for 3 years curled up in a ball and cried all the time. I am somewhat healed now but have a long way to go . It isn’t a happy story but it sure is better then the hell I was living in with an evil demon.

    Reply
      Trish December 31, 2015

      Good for you to leave. God bless you and they child. I’m still here at 56 and he is 62 and our 11 year old child. She doesn’t want to leave at all probably because we will be very poor and loved her house and friends here. It’s a difficult age as a pre teen but I’m line you…almost 14 years in and I have cried and laid in bed more then I have ever done in my life. It’s disgusting. They suck the life out of us. I am planning soon to leave. Stay strong. Email me anytime.

      Reply
Laura November 3, 2015

Thank you. That is just what I needed to hear this morning. It was like my feelings were answered and validated.

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kham777 November 3, 2015

Beautiful and all so true. My narcissist stole my soul. He went in and scraped every bit of “me” out that he could. I love the word “rehabilitation.” I am still in that phase and it’s taking longer because we are “co-parenting” and by saying that I mean, I have and do everything for my boys, and he finances it. As my boys get older, I am working on less and less contact with him. It’s a challenge because I am still dependent on him financially.

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    Kim Saeed November 3, 2015

    I can relate somewhat, kham777. It does make it more difficult when we must co-parent with them. But, I’ve almost gotten it down to an art-form in regards to how he effects me emotionally. At this point, my only concern is our son, but I’m happy to report that I no long have any feelings towards the Ex at this point. Wishing the same for you 🙂

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    Maria November 3, 2015

    I am in the same position as Kham. I cry all the time, how do I get stronger? My relationship s with my children is going downhill asewll. I moved out of the family home alone . My 15 year old son is the youngest, i am so worried for him.

    Reply
    goldwhaletale November 4, 2015

    I’m there with you. It would be so much easier if we could really walk away.

    Reply
Megan November 3, 2015

This post came at precisely the right time. Thank you.

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kimberlyharding November 3, 2015

This is such needed information! thank you for sharing. It can be very scary to feel as if we have lost ourselves.

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    Kim Saeed November 3, 2015

    Thank you, Kimberly, for your kind encouragement. This was written by my favorite anonymous contributor. She’s been busy for a while, but I hope she’ll be able to be a regular 🙂

    Reply
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