Narcissistic abuse is a type of emotional abuse. A narcissist thinks that everyone is beneath them and that they are superior to others, and thus they try to manipulate others by abusing them. The manipulation can take the form of insults, accusations, gaslighting, emotional blackmail, withholding, sabotage, etc. Through all this, the abuser changes the way the other person thinks, feels, and reacts. People with a narcissistic personality disorder or sociopathic tendencies commit this type of abuse.
Effects of Narcissistic Abuse:
If you have suffered from narcissistic abuse at the hands of your partner, parents, friends, or anyone in your life, then you can be exposed to many long-term harmful effects. Some common effects are PTSD, depression, anxiety, feelings of unworthiness, nightmares, body aches or headaches, feeling vengeful, etc.
How to Recover from Narcissistic Abuse?
If you are a victim of narcissistic abuse, then it must be tough for you to move on, as there are lots of contradicting feelings involved in the healing process. One part of you feels guilty as to why you tolerated all this in the first place, while the other part of you is still thinking of giving your abuser yet another chance. The truth is that narcissistic relationships are as intoxicating as they are toxic. But it’s not impossible to recover from narcissistic abuse. There are many ways to recover, especially including getting professional help from a narcissistic abuse recovery therapist. Here are four ways to recover.
1- Acknowledge The Problem
There are a few realities that you need to acknowledge or accept before you begin your journey to recovery from narcissistic abuse. First, you need to understand that only romantic relationships are not prey to narcissistic abuse. Your friend, sibling, or parent can also be a narcissist. So, you have to look for narcissistic patterns in their behaviors and accept the possibility that your friendship or bond with your family exposed you to narcissistic abuse.
Another other reality you need to accept is the fact that the person on the other end is an abuser, and they abused you. You cannot justify their behavior and give them the benefit of the doubt, no matter how much you love them. Again, it’s not necessary that you love them romantically. If your best friend has a narcissistic personality, then it’s time you acknowledge the fact that there is a problem with them that needs fixing, not you. A common response of and a long-term effect of narcissistic abuse is that the victim blames themselves for everything because they cannot acknowledge that the other person is the problem.
2- No Contact
The biggest step to recovery from any kind of abuse is setting boundaries. In this case, you need to give up all forms of contact with the abuser. This is where your strength gets tested the most, though, because it’s not easy to give up contact with someone completely whom you were once so close to. But if you can’t take this step, then it will become harder for you to recover.
It’s a very common trait of narcissists to make high promises, which they obviously can’t keep, or to show fake remorse. They do these things to fool the victim. If you and the abuser cannot cut all contact completely for some reason, like joint custody, etc., then ensure that there is minimum and restricted contact.
3- Take Care of Yourself
To heal, your mind and body need to work in harmony, and you can only become a strong-headed and strong-willed person when you are gentle with yourself. Take care of yourself. Look after yourself like you would look after a loved one. Show the world, and more importantly, yourself, how you should be treated. Since you will probably feel every difficult emotion throughout your recovery journey, you need to take better care of yourself.
You can do simple things like taking a relaxing bath, rediscovering old hobbies, getting restful sleep, exercising, etc., to calm yourself down. Take yourself shopping or to a spa. Let yourself know that you are responsible for your happiness and are better off without the abuser. These small things make a huge change in one’s mood and mentality.
4- Let Yourself Grieve
The truth is that grief is just like any other emotion that a person feels. Especially when a bond of many years ends, it’s normal to grieve. Just because you are on a journey to rediscover yourself and heal doesn’t mean you have to suppress your emotions. It’s normal to feel loss or grief, even when what you have lost will make you better off in the long run.
We are humans, after all, and sometimes we love things and people that are not good for us. So, it’s not always easy to get out of these situations without feeling pain and grief. Though, what you should focus on is processing the feelings of grief more healthily instead of suppressing or avoiding them completely.
If you are a victim of narcissistic abuse, it’s time you take a stand for yourself and walk out of the toxic relationship. Experiencing narcissistic abuse can have long-term harmful effects on you. That’s why it’s important that you acknowledge the abuse and set boundaries to start your journey of recovery.
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