It can be a difficult process of recovering from narcissistic abuse and this time calls for self-compassion, time, and tolerance. It’s important to realize that recovery is possible if you have been affected negatively by narcissistic abuse. Let’s discuss the six essential steps for recovering from narcissistic abuse so that you can reclaim your power, restore your self-esteem, and forge a better future for yourself by recognizing these stages and overcoming them.
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Stage 1: Awareness and Acknowledgment
This first stage of recovering from narcissistic abuse is becoming mindful of the elements of the relationship and recognizing the maltreatment. This stage involves seeing the manipulative approaches to acting, grasping the impact on your mental and physical health, and recognizing that the relationship was unpredictable and unsafe. It might include facing the agonizing truth and realizing what you thought was a perfect relationship, was actually a lie.
“If it’s too good to be true, it is”
During this stage, it’s beneficial to reach out to trusted friends, family members or therapists who can help you make sense of your feelings. Educating yourself on narcissistic abuse and toxicity in relationships can empower you in your healing and in future relationships.
Stage 2: Setting Boundaries and No Contact
Setting firm boundaries and going no contact with your abuser is critical or recovering your power and creating a space for your healing and safety. This stage includes laying out clear boundaries and maintaining absolute no contact. This includes blocking their phone number, removing them from any social media, staying away from places that they are known to frequent and in some cases, you may have to cut off contact with people who are still in contact with your abuser.
Going no contact is no easy task, however. Your abuser, used to being in control, may not take your request seriously and try to entice you back into contact with them. DO NOT FALL FOR IT! Remain solid and help yourself to remember the vicious cycle you have gotten away from. Surround yourself with an emotionally supportive network that is there to help you during those tough times. Especially those times you feel that you just need to contact your abuser. Being with a narcissist can create what is known as a trauma bond which is much like having an addiction. You can read more about trauma bond here.
Stage 3: Emotional Healing and Self-Care
The third stage is about putting your focus on yourself and your healing. This is the time for self-evaluation and self-care. Do things for yourself that make you feel good. Do things for yourself that you would want a healthy partner to do for you. Draw yourself a nice bath with scents that you enjoy, candles and music. Take yourself out to a nice dinner. Go to a spa, take a walk in the park, re-discover an old hobby or learn a new one.
Treatment can be a crucial part in this stage, offering a safe place to assess your feelings, heal from the emotional and mental abuse and give you time and space to re-build your self-esteem, confidence and love for yourself.
Stage 4: Rebuilding Self-Esteem and Identity
Narcissistic abuse often leaves victims with shattered self-esteem and a distorted sense of identity. This stage involves rebuilding your self-worth and rediscovering who you are outside of the abusive relationship. Focus on your strengths, values, and passions. Engage in activities that promote self-growth and boost your confidence.
Surrounding yourself with supportive and positive people who appreciate and value you can be instrumental in rebuilding your self-esteem. Participating in support groups or connecting with others who have experienced narcissistic abuse can provide validation and a sense of community.
Stage 5: Processing and Healing from Trauma
Narcissistic abuse can cause significant trauma that needs to be addressed for complete healing. This stage involves processing the trauma associated with the abuse, which may require professional help.
Therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), or trauma-focused therapy can be beneficial in guiding you through the healing process.
Working with a qualified therapist can help you understand the impact of the abuse on your mental and emotional well-being. They can provide tools and techniques to help you cope with triggers, manage anxiety or depression, and rebuild a sense of safety and trust in yourself and others.
Stage 6: Reclaiming Personal Power and Thriving
The final stage of healing from narcissistic abuse involves reclaiming your personal power and embracing a thriving life. This stage is about moving beyond being a survivor and stepping into a life of empowerment and fulfillment.
Focus on self-growth, self-empowerment, and setting new goals for yourself. Explore new hobbies, pursue your passions, and surround yourself with positive influences that uplift and support you. Celebrate your progress and acknowledge the strength and resilience that has brought you to this point.
As you heal and rebuild your life, remember that your experiences can be a source of wisdom and compassion. Consider supporting others who have been through similar situations, either through sharing your story, volunteering, or advocating for awareness of narcissistic abuse.
Healing from narcissistic abuse is a journey that requires patience, self-compassion, and support. By acknowledging the six key stages of healing and working through them, you can reclaim your personal power, rebuild your self-esteem, and create a life filled with authenticity and joy. Remember that healing takes time, and it is important to prioritize self-care and seek professional help when needed. You deserve a life free from the shackles of abuse, and by embracing these stages, you can pave the way for a brighter and healthier future.