9 Tips for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
1) You are not alone.
There’s no such thing as “Narcissist in your life”. Most victims of narcissists don’t even realize they have been abused until much later in their lives.
They may feel guilty or ashamed about being abused, but there really isn’t anything wrong with them because they’ve never experienced any form of healthy relationship before.
2) Your feelings aren’t real feelings.
If you were truly hurt by someone, then you would be feeling something other than happiness or sadness. For example, if someone was physically abusive to you, then your body would react in some way.
However, when someone is emotionally abusive towards you, your mind will always go through the motions of thinking happy thoughts and enjoying things like food and socializing. This type of emotional abuse causes depression and anxiety which are very common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
3) You can’t change anyone.
No matter what you do, nothing changes. When someone is emotionally abusive, they control everything around them.
They tell you what to think and how to act. Even though they may say mean things, they still have power over you because you’re dependent upon them for survival. So while your brain might be saying all these negative thoughts about yourself, your heart is saying “I love him/her.”
4) You can’t trust anyone.
Some victims of abuse end up being afraid of talking to other people because they feel like everyone is going to judge them or blame them. They start feeling like everyone is a potential abuser and even their loved ones are part of the problem.
They start believing that they’re unworthy or incapable of being loved by anyone.
5) There’s no such thing as “moving on”.
In movies or TV shows, abuse victims always manage to “move on” from their abuser. In real life, this isn’t something that just happens.
You don’t wake up one day and forget everything that happened to you. It takes months and sometimes years to actually get over an abusive relationship. You need to talk to someone about what happened, but you can’t trust anyone because you already assumed that everyone is an abuser. This type of thinking can lead to suicidal thoughts or self-harm.
6) You can’t blame yourself.
Unfortunately, abuse victims blame themselves for everything. A lot of the time, you start believing that you deserved to be treated a certain way and there was nothing you could do about it.
It’s important to move past this mindset because it’s not your fault that someone chose to treat you like trash.
7) You’re having trouble remembering the good times.
You used to laugh all the time in the past with this person. Now, you can barely bring yourself to smile without feeling guilty about it.
You might start feeling like it wasn’t really love after all if you can’t even remember the “good times”. This type of mindset is very dangerous because it can lead to thoughts of suicide and self-harm as well.
8) You feel like you need them in your life.
You really like this person and wish you could be friends with them. In fact, you’re willing to do anything to make that happen even if it means putting up with their insults and verbal abuse.
You feel an extreme sense of vulnerability when you’re alone and have a hard time feeling “whole” without this person in your life.
9) They make you feel good about yourself.
Being abused makes you feel worthless and like you have no control over your life. The one thing that’s always present is the abuser.
They make you feel powerless and they’re the only person that makes you feel good about yourself. You feel like without them, you won’t be able to feel happy or positive about anything ever again.
10) You feel hopeless about the future. You feel like nothing in your life is ever going to get better.
You don’t see a future for yourself because the present is so miserable. Your dreams and aspirations have all vanished. You just feel trapped and there’s no way out. The abuse may not even be that bad, but you’ve convinced yourself it’s not worth leaving because of how miserable you believe your life will be without them.
After reading this, you might not agree with everything on this list. That’s okay.
You don’t have to. This list isn’t here to convince you that you’re definitely in an abusive relationship. This list is here to give you an idea of how you might be in an abusive relationship even if you don’t realize it. It’s easy to blame yourself when things aren’t going your way. However, if you feel like any of these points describe your thoughts and feelings, then it might be time to reach out for help.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your family or friends, or if talking to them hasn’t helped in the past, there are national hotlines that can help you. You can reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
You’re not alone in this. There are people that love and care about you.
Even if you feel like nobody cares or understands, the truth is that there’s always someone you can talk to. Never forget that.
You are worthy of love and respect. You don’t need to stay in an abusive relationship if you don’t want to.
Always remember that you’re not alone.
If you or someone you know is being abused, please seek help. You can reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
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The column is published every Wednesday.
Thank you for reading.
Sources & references used in this article:
Assessment and treatment of patients with coexisting mental illness and alcohol and other drug abuse.(Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 9.) by RK Ries – Public Health Service, 1994 – lib.adai.washington.edu
Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors by EM Ryan – 2015 – books.google.com
Can Psychopaths Change?| Can an Abuser Change? by R Freeman – neuroinstincts.com
Narcissist Abuse Recovery: The Ultimate Guide for How to Understand, Cope, and Move on from Narcissism in Toxic Relationships by J Harrison, M Dixon – 2019 – books.google.com