When you end a toxic relationship with someone with narcissistic traits, you might be experiencing a great deal of emotional pain and confusion – breakups are hard, even if you know that you had no other choice. However, this experience can also be a catalyst to review everything in your life and make some changes to ensure a better future for yourself.
Whether you have been married to a narcissist for years or dedicated a few months of your life to dating one, you are likely to be left wondering what you could have done differently or if the emotional abuse could have been prevented.
You know that the relationship certainly was not healthy, but you still remember all the good times you had together. These memories may lead you to miss the person you left or crave their company, making you feel like you never really managed to break free from their influence.
Luckily, there are ways to recover from such an experience – you just need to know where to start. This article will provide you with an outline of everything you can do to help yourself heal from the trauma. Read on to learn more!
Once you have come to terms with the fact that the relationship you managed to get out of was not a healthy and loving one, you need to learn how to set boundaries. If you are afraid that you might miss your ex-partner or even consider getting back together with them, cutting off all contact right after ending the relationship is a wise choice. Limiting it as much as possible is also a good alternative.
Keep in mind that going no contact is not supposed to be just a boundary for your ex, but also for you. Initially, you may feel tempted to reach out, check how your ex is doing, or respond to their apologetic messages. Do not hesitate to block their number, change your email address, and block them on social media accounts. Out of sight, out of mind.
Of course, cutting the contact off might not always be possible, especially if you have children together or if there is something else that brings the two of you together regularly. In such a case, try to stay respectful to them, but, at the same time, learn to demand respect in return.
If you cannot avoid a conversation, set a boundary that will help you leave immediately once things go south and your partner starts calling you names, swearing, shouting, or pleading for you to resume the relationship or give them another chance. Additionally, avoid sharing any personal information with them – if you moved or changed your job, got a new number, or have some plans for the future, keep them to yourself.
Seek Professional Help
After leaving an abusive relationship, some people still feel hesitant to talk to a therapist about what they have been through. However, getting professional help may be one of the best things that you can do for yourself on your road to recovery.
A therapist can help you identify and name all the confusing feelings that you are experiencing, enable you to create a plan for the future so you can avoid making wrong choices regarding your ex, and help you stick to the boundaries that you created for yourself.
If you think that you are too busy with work to go to a therapy session, you can try online therapy. A skilled and knowledgeable online therapist will help you determine why you were once drawn to somebody with narcissistic traits and give you tips on preventing this from happening again.
Do not hesitate to explore your options, and keep in mind that some people try out several therapists until they find the right one. With that in mind, do not get discouraged if something does not work out right away.
Take Care of Yourself
When you end a relationship with a narcissist, you may feel so emotionally and physically drained that you no longer recognize yourself. That is why it is important that you start practicing self-care again. You can start by doing the following things:
- getting enough sleep,
- making time for the hobbies you neglected,
- allowing yourself to rest and relax even if you have not finished all your chores,
- spending more time with your loved ones,
- attending therapy,
- staying physically active,
- eating a balanced diet,
- developing new routines (morning routine, night routine, skin-care routine).
Taking care of all your needs during the recovery process can help you feel stronger and make working through your emotional distress easier.
Remember that recovery does not happen overnight. It might take you months or even longer to regain your confidence and sense of freedom. Take things slowly, and do not try to force yourself into any particular time frame – if it takes you three months to feel better, then it is great, but if you need a year or longer, there is nothing wrong with it.
Be patient with yourself and be patient with the healing process. As time goes on, letting go of the relationship will be much easier. Eventually, you should find yourself in a place where you will feel ready to explore new relationships and date new people again.
To sum up, healing from a relationship with a narcissist is a great challenge that often comes with a great deal of emotional pain and trauma. In order to recover from narcissistic abuse, you can try to set boundaries for both yourself and your ex partner, work with a professional therapist, and develop new habits that will allow you to take better care of yourself.
The healing process might take a while, often much longer than you initially expected, but you should take things at your own pace and avoid rushing from one recovery goal to the next.