Sometimes our hearts haven’t quite caught up to our heads and when you throw a little physiology into the mix, getting over a Narcissist can seem like you’re trapped in a maze, unable to find your way out.
As we mentioned last week, the first thing we have to do to extricate ourselves from our dysfunctional relationship, is to become aware that this relationship is toxic and damaging to our sense of self-worth. That’s the easy part, because for the most part, we know when we’re being disrespected and generally treated poorly. The next few steps have to deal with driving an emotional wedge between our addiction to our Narcissist and ourselves, which will allow us to gain distance and some perspective.
In life, most of us do what we want to do, right? Somehow, some way, we’ll find a way to justify staying in a relationship, that we know is all wrong for us. The level of poor treatment one puts up with, I find, is equivalent to the level of one’s self-esteem. Often when I retell stories of emotionally strong individuals flipping the switch and walking away from their toxic relationships, those with the low self-esteem are usually in awe and very impressed with the show of strength, believing that that type of self-care is a mystery and far beyond them.
The bottom line is – you have to decide that you’re worth it. You have to see that there is a better life waiting for you on the other side of this. It’s a choice and you have to keep making the choice every day, until making that choice becomes habitual. Little by little, the more you practice self-care, the easier it is to walk away from people bent on doing you harm.
You start to make this break by practicing control over your thinking. We discussed this last week and this is something that does take practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Keep choosing your thoughts, keeping them off what you don’t want and on what you do want.
While you are making the break, it is absolutely imperative that you do not break no contact for any reason. For some who co-parent with their exes, or work with them, this gets infinitely more difficult, but for all involved, any attempt to re-establish contact by them must be ignored, because any communication will take you right back to where you started from and will drag you back into the maze. When co-parenting, make it clear that you are only going to speak about the children and their issues, nothing else. You may have to repeat that 1000 times, but you must always give them the same response, “I’m not interested, just be here at 4:00pm to take Michael to soccer practice.” Any deviation, any implied interest in what they’re saying, will have them ramping up their effort to reinstate themselves back in your life, which is the last thing you want them to do. Keep it simple – keep it about the children, or work – then disengage – consistently.
The next step is to stop talking about them. Our friends are probably ripping their hair out and don’t want to hear your ex’s name again. Because they don’t understand what you’ve been through, they are really starting to think that there is something wrong with you – so stop talking about your ex. Stop making them the focal point of your existence. The more you talk about them the more the relationship continues to exist. When you’re out having coffee or drinks and something is said and the perfect anecdote that involves your ex pops into your head – stop yourself. No one wants to hear it – especially you. Talk about how cute your new personal trainer is, or how you’ve been thinking about actually taking that course you’ve always talked about, instead. Anything but your ex – stop giving it life.
Once you’ve mastered your thoughts somewhat, the next step is to master your emotions. Remember this is a process, it doesn’t happen overnight and it takes a lot of patience and a lot of practice. I’m an advocate of allowing yourself to feel your feelings. I believe that’s the only way to truly heal from emotional pain, but as you are weaning yourself from your Narcissistic drug – you need to force control over your emotions and stifle them when they show up. Let’s be honest – this is a battle. You have to battle your demons every day, just like an addict. It’s not easy. No one said it was, but you have to find your inner fighter and battle your way through this.
When a song comes on, or a friend of a friend tells you your ex has a new girlfriend/boyfriend, you have got to practice letting this stuff roll off of you, like water off a duck’s back. Maintaining your (at this point) very fragile inner peace, has to been the most important thing to you. Keep away from people and situations that are going to throw you into an emotional tailspin. Don’t go to the pub, where you know they’ll be. Imagine what would happen if you were sitting there and they walk in with their new partner. Not only does the whole thing reek of desperation on your part, but you’d also be an emotional wreck – don’t do that to yourself. Stay away from anything that will rock the fragile peace you’re trying to establish in your life. If someone starts to talk about your ex, stop them immediately and say, “I don’t want to hear it.”
The next step is to build yourself up. Work on the broken pieces of you that allowed this to happen in the first place. Get to the bottom of your childhood hurts, read books on codependency, building your self-esteem and on creating the life you want and put those ideas into action. The best time to take up a new hobby is when you are trying to replace some bad habits – so go take that class, start going to yoga, get a gym membership, join a baseball team, hike in nature, plan that trip. Get inspired about your life.
Once you have gotten to this point you will probably feel like you’ve turned a corner, but remember your recovery is still fragile, don’t fool yourself into thinking you can handle a confrontation. Keep doing what you’ve been doing and let the past go. You don’t need the last word. You don’t need closure. You don’t need permission to walk away. You don’t need to show him how great you’re doing without him. You don’t need proof that he actually did cheat. All you need is the desire to be happy and care enough about yourself to want something better.
Get excited about starting a new chapter in your life. A chapter that’s all about you and your health and happiness. Your ex’s attempts to make contact with you should have you rolling your eyes at this point. If you’ve been consistent with no contact, they should have stopped bothering you almost completely by now and the ease at which you can shrug them off should have increased exponentially. As your interest in you and your life increases, your interest in them starts to fade away and you’ll find yourself getting more and more repulsed by their type. It’s about your energy – your vibration. The more positively you start to think and feel, the healthier you start to become, which in turn affects the level of your vibration. You will find that, not only do Narcissists and other broken types turn you off, but they will also stop being attracted to you.
It’s at this point that you will automatically start to raise your standards and instill boundaries in your life. You won’t tolerate disrespect anymore and you’ll damn well know exactly where your line is. Once, you were amazed at people who stood up for themselves – now you’re one of them.
The speed at which this process evolves is entirely up to you. This is your life and your fight. No one else can do the work for you. The one thing I can tell you for sure is, that you won’t be the same person that you were at the beginning of this battle and you’ll realize somewhere along the way, that the war you’ve been having, wasn’t with your ex at all, it was with yourself.
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