When I look back at young me, teenage me, 20 something me, I can’t help thinking, ‘man that little girl didn’t have a clue what she was doing.’ I was a bit of a paradox, because I had an innately, happy disposition, but I was always negative, always critical, never satisfied and always focused on what I didn’t have.
I was lucky enough to have my life completely torn apart by my Narcissist, and yes, I did say lucky. I was lucky, because I had been given a wake-up call. Rather than live out the rest of my days unhappy and slowly dying inside, the universe saw to it, that I take a look at my life and all of the poor choices I was making. I get a lot of emails expressing the deep, emotional pain people are in and they want to know – What do I do now? This hurts so much – How do I survive it and make it stop?
You’re in Pain – That’s Good!!!
If you cut your arm, you can’t expect that that arm will stop bleeding and hurting immediately, just because you want it to. You have to allow it to go through the normal healing process, starting from the inside out. The same can be said of healing emotional wounds. They progress at exactly the right pace that they’re supposed to. There is an advantage to healing an emotional wound though, and that is that we can speed up the process by simply shifting our perspective. The moment I changed my focus from the woe-is-me pity party I was having, to actually coming to grips with the fact that I was so much better off without him, my recovery went into overdrive. I realized that this was exactly what I needed – this break-up was my time to get my life in order. So when you are in emotional agony – think – that’s good – Why? Because it’s our soul’s way of telling us that we are off track – we are not loving ourselves – we are not living an authentic life and this is our chance to figure out where we’ve veered off course and to set ourselves straight.
But it Hurts
The second step is to take your focus off of what you are missing and put it on all you have to gain by moving forward. Steer your thoughts away from the past and all the dreams for the future and focus on the here and now. One of the things you can control are the thoughts in your head. Steer them towards who is here now, supporting you and loving you? When I lost everything, I had to let go of it, or be consumed by it. The only thing I could focus on, were things that were right in front of me and I began to appreciate who was there, reaching out to me, when everyone else had left. You really find out who your friends are and how much your family means to you. The truth is, everything that I fought so hard to keep, really meant nothing at all. I remember thinking, ‘I’ll lose my house,’ and this was so distressing to me, it kept me anxious and up at night, but really it’s just a house and keeping it was not worth all the anguish I was putting myself through. I should have been thinking, ‘I’ll get my own house and it will be mine and no one will ever be able to take it away.’ Look at the little things and be grateful. Do you have a roof over your head (even if it’s a friend’s couch)? – be grateful. Do you have food in your belly? – be grateful. You have more than the vast majority of people on the planet already.
We all need to feel connected to people and never more so when we feel lost and in pain. Contact your friends, even ones that you haven’t heard from in a while. There is nothing more important to me than deep meaningful conversation. That’s how I express myself and how I feel connected. Even when my friends were at work and I couldn’t be around them, I would still go for a walk at the beach and interact with as many people as I could. I loved going out for dinner, drinks, a movie, or just hanging-out. Just being around people energizes you and forces you to be in the moment. Have fun, don’t be afraid to laugh and be silly, it really is the best medicine.
Assume the Position
Meditation is the ultimate form of connection. It’s during this time that I really feel like I am part of something much bigger than myself. I feel rooted and deeply attached to everything around me. When I meditate I seek answers to questions that need answering, I look for advice and guidance and it’s here that I ask for help in my writing and to be a channel for God’s wisdom. I also use this time to focus on what I want in my life. It’s where I do my visualization, showing the universe what I want to have and accomplish. When I am in this space I feel nothing, but love and joy. When I’m done, I truly feel like I am vibrating on a different frequency, I’m fully relaxed and fully at peace. Meditation feels so incredible it amazes me that more people don’t do it. In the coming weeks I will post a guided meditation that I’ve recorded, on Youtube, for people who have never done it, but would like to try.
Take Care of You
In the week following my break-up I discovered that I could go 3 days without eating. If you’re like me you can’t eat when you’re in the midst of a massive depression, but not eating really did a number on my health and I certainly don’t advocate it. Instead, cultivate the mindset that this is your time and you need to make up for all the times when you weren’t taking care of you. Start experimenting with food and prepare healthy delicious meals that taste good and nourish the body. Incorporate exercise into your daily activities and you will be amazed at how good you feel, even if you haven’t exercised in years, start with a walk, just start moving. There is nothing like the rush of the natural endorphins that come from giving your body the physical activity it needs. Eating right and exercising forces you to a) be in the moment (try thinking about emotional hurt when you’re in the middle of a run – you can’t) and b) Put the focus on you. When you start to feel good physically it naturally merges into how you’re feeling emotionally.
Drinking, taking drugs, or using prescription medication to mask your pain are unhealthy coping mechanisms that have the ability to add problems to an already painful situation. You can’t heal and numb your feelings at the same time. You’ve got to allow yourself to feel your feelings – it’s the only way to properly heal. Everything else is avoidance.
Cognitively understand that when you‘ve developed an addiction to the drama, and the Narcissist in your life, you will have withdrawal symptoms, just like when someone quits smoking. It’s hard, but know that they will diminish over time. Change your perception and be happy that this adversity gives you an opportunity to get your life back on course. Go out, have fun and connect with friends and family and focus on what’s really important. There is no healthy quick fix to get over the pain of your loss, but you can diminish the length of time it takes, by taking care of you.
When you force yourself to live in the moment, it stops you from dwelling on the past and the future. Take a bubble bath, walk in nature, watch funny movies and read books that inspire you and before you know it, you’ll be better than ok. You’ll be a smarter, stronger and healthier version of you.
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I disagree with medication being an unhealthy coping mechanism. Everybody copes with heartbreak the way they can. Some can’t recover just by exercising or eating healthy.
My sociopath parents left my grandmother for dead when she got sick and buried her quickly with a smile on their face. My father was actually ecstatic to hear about her impending death.
Those monsters threw me into a pit of depression from which I am now slowly recovering. Pills helped me not go crazy, so in certain situations they are needed.
I appreciate your other advice. This is a good article, just like the others you’ve written.
I am a late comer to your blog but EVERY day I read something that moves me and helps me so much. Thank you
Well said. To add to this, when in ruins by a Narcissist… realize, while, yes.. you were a victim that you are also responsible for being in a place where you could be victimized.
As loving and well intended you may be, you must protect and care for you first. Not walk up to a rabid 900 pound bear in attempts to rescue him. Rather you should care for you and realize you need to stay clear of that bear.
Love others but with great care to yourself first.
Wow, I am so glad I stumbled across this blog. I’ve been in and out of a relationship for 4 years with a man that I definitely think fits most of the qualifications of those you guys have described in a narcissist. And, in that time, I’ve completely lost myself. I’ve always struggled with trust issues, but when I started dating him it was like my emotional stability fell off of a cliff, and I was anxious, insecure and felt less than almost all of the time. We had that intense, honeymoon phase, but it ended fairly quickly due to my insecurities that he was going to leave me. But there’s something about him, something that allows him to distance himself in a way that always leaves me feeling less important and not interesting, that really fuels my insecurities. When I tried telling him this in the past, he said I was more insecure with him simply because I loved him more than I had other men. However, in the end, for whatever the reason, I was always feeling inadequate and insecure, and his impatience grew, to the point that he was often putting me down, calling me childish, selfish, etc… and my identity had become so wrapped up in him that I couldn’t leave. I was terrified… In the end, he got a job in northern california, and wanted to do long distance, but I, desperate and afraid of losing him, also found a job in the same area… but when I moved up there, he was less than welcoming, and I quickly discoverd (through sneaky means that I”m not proud of), that he was at least ‘spending time’ with a woman he worked with outside of work, and lying to me about it, and somehow, I had the courage to say ‘Enough’ and walk away. It hurt like hell, and although I didn’t expect us to get back together, I definitely hadn’t quite let him go. But a few months later he contacted me, and when he heard how well I was doing, he instantly latched on and began ‘courting’ me, doing and saying sweet things that I’d always wanted to hear, and I almost took the bait. I said I needed to think about it for a month (which was a huge step for me, because I’ve always been terrified of him meeting someone else). He agreed to give me a month, or more, however long I needed. But every time I thought about getting back together with him, I got that familiar heavy, sick feeling in my stomach, knowing deep, deep down that would not be a good decision. We got together one more time, and immediately I realized I couldn’t do it. I was too angry, and too afraid to going back to the painful existence I had in that relationship. So, that brings me here, a few weeks later. I dont exactly regret what I did, and I know that regardless of whether or not I’m going to be in a relationship with him or someone else, there’s a lot of work I need to do on me, but I’m afraid that there is more I could have done, and if I had, would I be with the man of my dreams today? Is it true that I pushed him to be mean to me, call me names, etc? And why does it hurt more now than it did months ago? I guess it was much easier to end things when he was being an asshole, but when he came back as that super-sweet man I always wanted, it was much harder to convince myself I needed to walk away. I can’t stop imagining him with other women, and wondering if they are going to get the man I always wanted because they’re better girlfriends :((( I will say one thing though, its pretty incredible to be free of the constant worry that I’m going to do or say the wrong thing and upset him, and free from feeling he doesn’t really love me, thinks I’m inadequate, etc… Sorry for the long rant, I’m just in a lot of pain and wanted to paint a clear picture in case anyone can relate… Again, my confusion is, my ex definitely fits a lot of the qualities of a narcissist, and although I know our problems were not solely of my making (as he says they were), does anyone think that if they had been a better girlfriend their boyfriend wouldn’t have become such an asshole?
I could have written your reply or any of these comments word for word…thanks for sharing!
Its been over 13 months since I separated from my husband. He left me for a younger woman 14 yrs his junior with a 4 an 9 year old sons. We have a 17 and 15 year old boy and girl. He was establishing a relationship with this other woman for many months before I became aware of his infedelity and asked him to leave even though he wanted to stay with me in separate rooms off course whilst he dated this other woman. He has cheated on me before and really for the past 5 years I felt him drift away… you post has helped me so much I am only now starting to accept and move on and keep forcing myself to stop wanting him back in my life and telling myself he is not good for me.
I want everyone here to know something that has been helping me deal with the break up from the narcissist (he dumped me when I was no longer useful and went on to numerous other guys who he had lined up behind my back).
We all know the incessant thoughts about them suck, especially when we know they’ve moved on and don’t even think about us any more.
So in the morning when I wake up and I instantly start thinking about him again, I straight away start my affiormations, and I just don’t stop.
I basically talk to myself non stop until I can’t think of anything else to say, and then during the day I continue with this practice as often as I can, so I am replacing thoughts of him with wonderful positive thoughts about myself. even if it feels false, and it often does, it feels a lot better than thinking about him and what he has done and his lies and wondering who he is with right now.
So i just say thinks like “I am a kind and wonderful and giving person who has a lot of love to give and who deserves to be loved just for being who I am. I have a generous soul and I am worthy of being loved for myself. I am attractive and I will attract a beautiful man who is kind, loving, generous, loyal and committed, and who loves me simply for being me, who helps me deal with my flaws and helps me enhance my strengths, just like I do for him.”
You get the idea. This is helping me A LOT.
Im struggling right now with a lot of negative feelings about a ” break up” and other situations. Having read all the comments, I just realized that i’m not the only one, who have had a toxic relationships with N. I Know that I’ll be better with time, I will heal, Im into that.
I’ve been struggling for nine months with a narcissist. Finally blocked him out of my life two weeks ago. Have been reading soooooo much in an attempt to understand and heal. And then today I found your blog. This is the best site I’ve found and has made me feel so much better about life. Most of what you wrote above I’m already doing. But you’ve just given me that added boost and I love you for that. Thank you so much. You are the best!
I can’t say how thrilled I am to have come across your site, it makes me understand more about what was happening for me. The first “love of my life” was a narcissist – and married. I met him when I was 19 (my first “boyfriend”) and I didn’t realise he was married for a couple of years. I stayed with him for 10 years. I dated very little after that and finally in my late 30s I met and fell deeply in love again – with another narcissist 🙁 My gosh, he was a charming man. He is exactly everything that has been described in other posts. I was only with him for 4 months and I haven’t seen him for 3 months and I am still broken hearted. I also lost my job 3 weeks ago 🙁 I am absolutely terrified that I will be stupid enough to go back to him 🙁 The tears I have shed over this man and the damage he caused was just horrific. He has met someone else and keeps stringing me along – I gather so I will go back to him when he’s finished with her. I have started meeting other men just in the past week and I hope so much that this helps me to move on from him for good. It’s so hard when I miss him so incredibly much. I read a wonderful quote and I have it on my phone now – in case he makes contact again (the last time was a week ago :(. “Stop looking for happiness in the same place you lost it”! Such a true saying and one I hope will help me to move forward.
hi everyone. ive been pouring over these posts and pages for a few weeks now, reading how much all of your stories are so much like mine. it’s unbelievable to know how many of these energy-sucking people are out in the world…. and that i was lured in by one just like all of you were. after 14 yrs of incredible emotional and physical abuse, i am making plans to leave ‘my narcissist’. he is now actively cheating on me now, to a different level than ever before, trashing me secretly (so he thinks) on Facebook, etc–he’s in the discarding phase…
the pain and disbelief is just about to much to bear at times. but then i force myself to remember how much pain i felt (i numbed out to the insults, lies and beratings after 10 years) when he hit me, threatened to kill me or take our kids and hide them, manipulated the truth right in front of my face, etc… and i realize part of this pain is me grieving for MYSELF- the strong, no nonsense, not-gonna-get-one-over-one-me woman i used to be before i met this narc. i could go on for pages, as i am sure all of you could, at the disbelief, repulsion, sadness, fear, loneliness and self-doubt that these N’s cause. it is horribly remarkable and the worst experience of my life. i am choosing to end this torture for myself and my kids’ sake. i am putting aside money, clothes, things for the kids, paperwork, etc, and creating a plan for leaving when the time presents itself. this narc is grooming someone else now, finally, and it is so hard to sit back and let it happen– because, as you all know, we have all been abused to such an extent that we take them back time after time again, and would NEVER have put up with abuse like this before they charmed us and put us under their spells. to see my narc of 14 yrs flirting and charming someone right in front of me is about all i can bear to see— BUT she is already falling for his game and i hope that soon he will just up and leave me as if i never existed. i will be so relieved, though hurt. i am letting myself be reborn and reworked into someone so strong and loving and positive. i will not let this horrible experience define me as a failure or a fool. i loved someone so much it has almost destroyed me, and they feel nothing but disdain and disgust for me because that’s all they CAN feel. i will not let myself become one of them. i will be like a phoenix, and be reborn from a purifying fire into something beautiful and strong. namaste and peace to you all who suffer along with me in this struggle. your stories are all like mine and we are not alone. thank you for this forum– i wouldve relapsed yet again had it not been for day after day of validation of what my narc is. DON’T GIVE UP– your dawn is coming too. love and light to all of you.
I have been dating a Narcissist for two years who is also married. it has been three days of no contact this is so hard. He still has the keys to my house also. I really cant speak or see him as it will make it harder cause he always tells me something like his bad leg, nobody loved him, he is depressed. Does this get any easier as I am so lost right now!!
I didn’t cry when things finally got to the point of no return. She had lied more times than I wanted to count, acted without a bit of consideration for my feelings, & made statments that made herself sound good that fell apart with a simple question. When I found her dating profile I would have expected myself to cry, but I didn’t. Instead it all made sense. There, her own words went against all her actions. She claimed to be looking for a man of good charater … (all the stuff a woman who is good should be looking for) & I knew that I was that very same man. I asked her how I wasn’t this person she claims to be seeking? She was silent. I asked her a few times over the coming weeks, & she would always be silent. I asked her how do you know what good charater is, how do you know if that person has this trait? Her answer “I don’t know.” Good charater is: how a person acts & treats others when the chips are down. When it’s rough do they still come through? Thats the only way to tell. If you don’t see that then you don’t know. Its really rare.
I just made 7 months of being Narc-free and not engaging in any contact with my ex.
Last week, I got together with an old childhood friend, who I have not seen in a few years (she lives in another state). She asked me why I ended the relationship. I was finally able to have a conversation about my N without feeling so much anger, hatred and hurt.
As my friend and I talked, I realized that I have not really cried over him or the loss of the relationship since the break-up. The one time that I did cry and crave him was the first time that I went out on a date with a new man — a sign to me that it was just much too soon for me to date and I wasn’t ready to — but I have not cried since.
I think a part of it is because I’m the one that ended the relationship, but I see now that I was already mourning and grieving our relationship while I was still in it, and right in front of him. I totally understand what it means to be next to someone but feel so empty and alone.
While my Narc and I were together, I cried a lot. I cried as I begged for him to change, to understand me, or to stop whatever hurtful behavior he was carrying out. I cried myself to sleep, alone, on the MANY nights when he refused to come home or wouldn’t call me back when he was working out of town, to “punish” me for something I did that he considered a transgression, like not answering the phone when he called, not being available when he demanded it, or going out to have dinner with friends. Some nights I also cried myself to sleep while lying in bed next to him, because I was so miserable, tired, worn out and hurt all the time. This process went on for months.
The morning that I broke up with him and told him to move out of my house, I was truly done with him. I had no more tears for him and our relationship because I was done grieving this one-sided relationship and I had reached the acceptance phase.
I’m also not crying and am no longer sad because my life has gotten back to normal and is leaps and bounds better without him. When I was not ready to leave my Narc and was in the fog of codependency with him, I couldn’t visualize a life without him. Now I can’t imagine having him in my life.
I just want to remind everyone who turns to this blog for solace and encouragement that this, this feeling of loss and emptyness that you might have after the break up, will soon pass. It may take longer for you to get there than I did (I was only with my Narc for 2 years), but one day you WILL wake up in the morning and won’t think about them. You’ll lose the urge to contact them. You’ll stop wondering what they’re doing and what they’re up to. You WILL get to that light at the end of the tunnel, which I think is indifference about your N.
When it gets hard and when you feel lonely, remember that you no longer have to take care of this person. You are no longer their slave. They cannot torment or hurt you anymore. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want and how you want now, without having to consider them.
The grass really is greener on this side of the fence — the side with NO Narc!
Yes, Savannah, spot on as usual. The experience of touching up against deep and utter indifference is indeed extremely painful. In fact, we normal humans rebel against it at our very core. We are programmed to try to make sense of a seemingly hostile and indifferent universe. Language, community, art, deep emotion — we are programmed (by God, I believe) to find meaning, to make meaning.
So when we have prolonged exposure to these bizarre constructs who represent as human, but are not (those pitiful creatures with NPD), we become deeply traumatized. Just as people with hearts could not comprehend the pervasive evil of faceless and heartless bureaucratic systems such as Nazism, we for a long time could not comprehend our tormentors with NPD. We tried and tried to tried to make sense of it, to find the meaning behind the horrific actions.
But you describe the key shift: not to focus on the abuse (we have had enough of that), but on our own humanity. To celebrate ourselves, and the vast majority of other people (thank God) who are also fully human. To rejoice that as bad as it was, the very thing that made it bad is that we are so capable of deep emotion, of finding meaning.
When I go to the core of the pain, I encounter my human heart. And just as you say, healing comes when I turn that heart outward toward other people. Not damaged, unavailable, sick people; normal, healthy, reciprocating human people. I never appreciated my close friends as much as I have since I brushed up against the deep indifference of an intimate partner with NPD. I never appreciated as much the warm interactions with other people whose souls are evident and active, like my friends at church. Thinking of how my NPD-infected lover had little appreciation for nature (they are mostly prisoners of cities, good sources of supply) makes me so grateful that I can appreciate a beautiful vista or just the blazing colors of sunset.
So yes, many of us have experienced searing pain. Prolonged exposure to a person with NPD is an emotional nightmare. It is also an existential challenge. But we who faced evil, and yes, even caressed it, are in a unique position. No one can appreciate more our own deep human capacity for love. It is our duty to express it as widely and fully as we can. So: how can you do that in a healthy and life-affirmng way today?
Can’t wait for the meditation tape!
Thank you for reminding me I don’t need anyone else to make me happy. Heartbreak is painful, yes, but the more I’ve focused on how awful he is for deceiving me, it really makes me angry. Being angry has taken away most of the pain and now I must channel that anger into something positive. The holidays are coming and I’m thinking that donating my time to those less fortunate will surely help me be thankful for all I DO have. Thanks for writing this!
one month down…still struggling, but know I’m better off. this is really hard
Thank you! This has been soooooo hard after over 20 years with my N. Drama addiction is spot on!! I have always been someone who focuses on the here and now and not waste time with precious people, even tried to teach him that. I have gotten so stuck in this it’s time to get back to me.
I love this outlook on being glad and grateful that this has happened. Its been one hell of a journey to come out of it but I’m getting there. Because of the pain I have spent hours researching people like him (my narc), and have consequently starting helping young women who are in abusive relationships. So the pain has helped me find my purpose. It just took a lot of courage to make that decision to break free and get over the addiction of him. It still hurts. Today I cried… But this email came through at exactly the rigt moment today so thank you Savannah for all the knowledge you share that has helped me through. To all those out there who are still on step 1 of making the decision to leave ~ stand firm and stick with it. I am 1 year down the line in my healing and my life is beginning to become amazing!!!
Excellent. And, I thought I was the only one who considered myself “lucky” having had the experience. The experience with a narcissist made me look at myself like never before. I have a better sense of who I am, what I like, don’t like, putting myself first, and healing from the emotional wounds of childhood. I realize now I was a bullseye for a narcissist! Never again!
I am going to put this week’s advice into action; I am ready for it–all of it. Yes, I have been addicted to my narcissist and I haven’t given it up. I pick up relationship books and still think that there is something more that I could do to resurrect the relationship (it was all my fault it was bad, anyway, right?!!!)You’ve heard me trying to go cold turkey for months; I am finally convinced it is the only way. I am about to start a new job in a new city. Perfect for reaching out and forming new friendships. I have been meditating and it is time to do that regularly. I have been walking; it is time to run. Yes, even better food has been my goal; it is time to do it. This article is all about where I am, but the big key is that I have not been successful in moving on because I am additcted to my narcissist yet.
As I finished the above paragraph, I realized that there was one piece of pending business that I needed to communicate to him; I did that. He was in a bad mood. Yay for me, because I can now end it there. I challenge myself to report to you next week on the success of my cold turkey–and the following week–till the end of the year.
Thank you Savannah, for all your help and encouragement.