dealing with a narcissist

What to Do When Your Family and Friends Disappear During Your Recovery

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You’ve done it.  You finally moved out, initiated No Contact and so far, you’re holding your position and looking forward to your recovery from narcissistic abuse.  You feel unsure of yourself and are having second thoughts, but somehow you maintain your resolve.

You settle down for the evening, but start missing your narcissistic ex.  You need to occupy yourself to prevent a relapse (like last time), so you try to call your buddy.  They don’t answer, and they don’t text back.  You call your cousin because she seemed so understanding the last time you confided your problems in her.  She tries to be nice, but you can detect some hesitancy in her voice.  She gives you a story about having to shop for groceries.  In a final desperate attempt, you call your co-worker, just to have someone to vent to.  He tells you to suck it up…that this, too, shall pass.

As you hang up, your ex’s number comes up on your phone, but you don’t answer.  Over the days that follow, no one is available to talk, much less for a visit.  Although you eventually block your ex’s number from your phone, you receive an email from them because you’ve been so preoccupied, you forgot to block this avenue of communication.  Against your better judgment, you click on it.  Inside, you read the same sob story about how much they miss you and can’t live without you.  You hit delete and then empty your “trash” folder.

A few weeks go by, and none of the people you thought you could depend on can be seen or heard for miles.  The only sounds in your new apartment are crickets chirping, and the sudden sound of a call coming in from Skype.  You look at the number…it’s your Ex.  You kick yourself for leaving yet another crack open.  You start to hit “Ignore”, but then…you get the overwhelming feeling that your ex was right.  They ARE the only person who cares about you.  They’re the only one who’s tried to contact you when everyone else turned a cold shoulder.  In a split second, you’re talking to your ex and accepting their invitation for dinner and a movie.

And thus starts the vicious cycle all over again.


Most of us have been through this scenario.  Recovering from narcissistic abuse can be a cold, lonely existence.  Your friends and family tired of your complaints long ago…they never understood why you stuck with your ex for so long, anyway.  They detached themselves from you because you never took their advice, and now you feel like you’ve been excommunicated from everyone you’ve ever known.

It’s because of this that many of us go back to our exes after initiating our recovery from narcissistic abuse.  Our poor, fragile minds begin to believe the lies our exes told us over the years. 

See how your friends turned out to be deserters, and your family couldn’t care less?  It’s precisely in line with what your ex wanted you to believe after convincing you to isolate yourself from everyone.

As hard and lonely as it is, stay strong.  Your loneliness was constructed by the narcissist over the years, and they are aware of your plight.  They know you likely have no one to lean on and are using the situation to take advantage of your vulnerability.

It’s important to remember that while the narcissist might the only person who will give you the time of day during this phase, it doesn’t mean they care about you. 

This isn’t the narcissist’s first go-round.  They’ve been isolating their many partners for years and they are keenly aware that you have no one around for support because this was their goal from the beginning.  

You feel so lost that you are in a prime position to not only take the narcissist back, but give them full access to all of your resources, as well, because you’re feeling generous now that it seems the narcissist cares about you, after all.  This is all part of the illusion.

What to Do Instead

If you don’t have children to care for, get out of the house!  Stop wasting away like the Living Dead and start taking care of yourself.  Get a new hairstyle, rebuild your wardrobe, and treat yourself to a nice dinner, complete with champagne. Schedule some massages and take up a new hobby.  This is the new you.

Don’t hang around your phone or computer because these are subconscious attempts to stick around for your ex.  You were conditioned to do this during their unexplained absences and silent treatments, and you may continue these behaviors even after the relationship is over.

The mind and body know how to heal themselves.  Our job is to give them the circumstances to do it…

It’s better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

If you do have children, listen to some guided meditations while they play with their toys in another room.  Start a blog, keep a diary, find some MeetUp groups in your area, do some mirror work, and if you’re able… do some online shopping.  Try to hire a reliable babysitter.  Use a reputable company like and choose someone with a lot of positive feedback.  (Do not use Craigslist to find a babysitter).

This is the time to reclaim your personal power and finally move forward in your recovery from narcissistic abuse.  Over time, you will meet new people, make new friends, and have a better idea of the people you can depend on in life…and the first person you need to rely on is yourself.

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” ~ Gautama Buddha

If you can’t leave yet, don’t fight back. The narcissist thrives on fighting to solidify trauma bonds. Ignore them or give one-word answers.

Finally, the only way to free yourself from trauma bonding is to go 100% No Contact for good. If you share custody with the narcissist in your life, Extreme Modified Contact should be implemented.  Comprehensive narcissistic abuse recovery is critical to avoid falling into the trap of betrayal bonds in the future

If you’re ready to start healing from the chains of trauma bonds and move forward with REAL narcissistic abuse recovery, sign up for my Essential Break Free Bootcamp to develop the tools you need.

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An Open Letter to Friends and Family of Narcissistic Abuse Victims - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program says April 27, 2019

[…] message is for friends and family of survivors of Narcissistic abuse. Its intention is to help you understand the narcissistic abuse cycle, and thus, some of what your […]

    Marta Prentice says May 8, 2020

    I sent this to a couple of family and friends. They may think I am still harping on this and I am crazy. I don’t care It helped me to release this. To family and friends. Don’t dismiss this and lose someone to suicide.

      Angela says May 22, 2020

      How do you go NO Contact if you have loving family members you dont want to lose? Narcs try to use them as flying monkeys.

Beth Fortes says August 22, 2018

Awesome Thanks !

annie says August 20, 2018


An Open Letter to Friends and Family of Narcissistic Abuse Victims - Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed says August 20, 2018

[…] message is for friends and family of survivors of Narcissistic abuse. Its intention is to help you understand some of what your loved one has gone through–and, […]

Shirley Akpelu says August 19, 2018

Well said, in the article. A lot of my family members and some of the friends I thought I had turned out to be covert and overt narcs, so yeah, it can be quite lonely after going no contact after narc abuse, but it is worth it. I want all flying monkeys off my back and all fake people out of my life for good, and if some of them were so-called family or friends then so be it. I have been doing some of the advice in the article, new hairdo, getting outside, online shopping, journaling, meditating, aromatherapy, praying, fasting, got a new job, seeking counseling, new wardrobe!

    Anonymous says August 19, 2018

    Hi Shirley,
    Kims insightful email came today, and at a time when I literally have this going on right now. I can’t find one person I can really open up to and be myself. Everyone else who knows me are flakes, narcs or monkeys or so it seems. So, I will just be healing on my own in isolation like I have been. Its lovely but lonely. However, I am starting to like living like a hermit! I’m being a little ficisous here. Really, I do enjoy staying to myself. I have taken a handwriting class to get some skill in doing that and I’m now about to graduate with a bachelor degree so it’s not like I don’t do anything. I really just do not like this lonely lonely place!!thanks for your positive insight though I appreciate your positive attitude.

drahma says August 19, 2018

Great post! I think what’s hard about dealing with a narcissist in your life, especially if you grew up with a narcissistic parent, is that you may be “programmed” to think that style of behavior is normal. It almost makes sense that when you leave your narcissistic significant other, your friends seem absent while you are rebuilding your life. From my experience, there are three things happening: 1)they most likely have narcissistic traits too and you have to almost learn how to make friends in a different way, 2) it’s hard for someone who is used to being an echo to ask for help, so you may think you are reaching out, but you aren’t (some friends told me they had no idea what was happening later), 3) they are living their own lives and don’t realize the degree you are hurting (what you are experiencing is so far from their experience, they just don’t understand).

It’s awesome advice in the article! I did that and it really helped. When I’m feeling the pain, I’ll go be super busy and redirect my energy. I’ve found that over time, it gets better and I got more self-reliant, but at first, it’s so hard!!!!

Lori says August 19, 2018

I would love to treat myself to something, heck anything! However, after loosing everything to my ex narc in the divorce, being diagnosed with MS, loosing my job of 24 yrs to disability, and loosing my dog to cancer (all within 1 year) I don’t have a spare dime, energy, or health to do anything nice for myself. I am merely just trying to survive. Any suggestions for my situation?

AnaNym says August 19, 2018

Dear Kim,
How do you do that? 95% of your E-Mail with your articles meet my current struggle completely….
Nearly each time. And today again! So I decided to comment the first time after nearly 1 year reading and working with your program.
Your program helps me a lot to maintain NC and understand. Break up was 1 year ago. Several hooverings on a regularly base, I have again and again to withstand and do my healing work in parallel. It works and yet I have my own thoughts back and try to create my new live, though he tries to sabotage each of my step. I am calm now, but still in a subtile battlefield, hard to escape from. I was like a „ social butterfly“ before this relationship and have lost nearly all around me. That’s sometimes so damn hard and honestly I don’t know if I am able to rebuild my network or even a network again.
It feels quite lonely and sometimes still powerless. I suffered the last days so much on that. But yes I have me and my thoughts back and I‘ll never again give this power away as I don‘t want to be there were I was with him anymore. Never!
Your Email article empowered me once again to not dive into „I am so powerless and tiered“ perception.
Thank you soooo much for your guidance from far, far away without knowing me at all 🙂

Tamara says August 19, 2018

Thank you so much for your articles. I am in the process of moving on with my life in a few weeks. Fingers crossed.

    Kim Saeed says August 19, 2018

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed, too 🙂

Debbie says August 19, 2018

Loved reading this as its happening to me at the moment lost mum in jan as well as going through abuse hes turned my children against me and the 2 close friends i had are never get back to me wich is fine as in less than a month i will be gone free from all of this

What to do when your family and friends disappear | thelostselflifeafternarcissism says February 24, 2014

[…] What to do when your family and friends disappear […]

Anna says February 17, 2014

Oh my goodness, Kim – this is so timely! It isn’t that my family isn’t there for me. It’s just that someone can’t be there ALL THE TIME and anytime I get a free second I start to miss him, to worry about him, to wonder what he is doing, is he okay, etc. Yes, I am extremely co-dependent with this person.

I do have kids to care for and I try to keep myself occupied as much as possible reading good books. I’m going to start an exercise program and my new complex has a gym, so that’s good. Also, going for walks will be fun. I have no friends right now and don’t really know how to find any. I’m going to start going to a nice, open-minded church and hope to make some there. My therapist is out of town this week and I can’t wait til she’s back next Tuesday – need to talk to her badly!!

Thank GOD Valentine’s Day is over!! No more lovey dovey Facebook postings from those with boyfriends/husbands, no more stores full of stuffed animals and candy. I got through it – yay! At least I can forget that I am alone for a while. I feel so unworthy of love and Valentine’s Day serves to remind me of this every single year.

    girlscientist says February 18, 2014

    You are absolutely worthy of love, and you are/will be loved again.
    I hope you find new friends soon. In the meantime, read as many good page-turners as you can. It’s the best antidote to loneliness.
    *hugs* from an internet-stranger. Hang in there!

      Kim Saeed says February 21, 2014

      Anna, there is a site called where you can enter information about your locality, and it will tell you what groups meet in your area. It sounds like a dating service, but it’s actually a really cool way to meet new people, including possible friends. For example, in my area there are book clubs, a girls’ group that meets for dinner, a metaphysical church, and so on…you may want to check it out.

      And Girlscientist is right, you ARE worthy of love. Have you ever read any books by Louis Hay or Cheryl Richardson? I love them both, and they have done a lot to help me get my confidence back and think positively. I also like Brene Brown.

Hurt 2 Long says February 16, 2014

This literally brought tears to my eyes…. It is all so very true! It was an unhealthy relationship for me for so many years. Yet I truly loved him. In fact, I still do. But I know he can’t be who I need for him to be. The back & forth roller coaster ride has definitely left me scarred. My friends & family are over hearing about him & MANY times, that’s what has caused me to fold. When I’m having a “strong” day, he is so very persistent in trying to get a hold of me. He was my 1st husband & we share children. Nasty divorce & even nastier custody battle. Our oldest child (18) has now seen thru him & really doesn’t care to rebuild their relationship. After we divorced, I married a wonderful man, but that all ended way too soon. I allowed my ex narc to manipulate me into picking things back up with him & my new husband quickly divorced me. I’m not a strong believer in divorce, believing that moms & dads should stay together forever & the ex narc knew that. I was fed promises of getting back together, that he was a changed man. All lies!! I’ve always been known as a peace maker & he plays on that. For people that have never dealt with a narc, they have no clue how hard it is. Especially when it seems at times that the narcs are the only ones that “care”.

Anonymous says February 16, 2014

Yeah its tough when your support system ie. Friends junp ship on you and youre left fending for yourself. My dog has helped me through some really rough patches and is always there for me when nobody else is

    Debbie says August 19, 2018

    Bless youre heart i know where youre coming from i have 2 cats and theyve helped me so so much ive been sobbing n i allways get a gentle nudge off one of them and a purr

Evelyn Garcia says February 16, 2014

I think about my narcissistic ex more now than I ever did when we were actually together. It is obsessive, time consuming, and exhausting. He decided to break up with me, and end our engagement ( 2nd time). It has been two months since I last heard from him. I wonder if I ever will again, I wonder do I ever cross his mind as much as he crosses mine. I wonder and wonder and wonder. I have no one to talk to so the forums that I have found where I can read how people are coping with the same struggles that I am has become very helpful. I rather not mention him to anyone or say things out loud to anyone and keep things quiet because 1. no one asks how I am doing and 2. if I say things out loud I feel that it is giving him power. I feel better today than I did back in December when he ended it all. I want to go out and do things by myself. I feel I don’t remember or know myself very well to go out alone. I use too before him but haven’t since he came, left, came back and left again. I have gotten better in the area of not snooping: I would obsessively check his email every day, several times a day and I would log on to his facebook accout, I would also go onto the new girlfriends facebook account and see what was going on there, I would also check his bank account to see where he was going, where was he spending his money, and was he being responsible and not overdrawing his account. I have finally been able to hold back the urge to check these things. I no longer feel I need to do that (check up on him like he is still in my life). I want to one day get to the point where a whole day goes by when I don’t think about him. I want to get to the point where he is like any other ex- no longer there, available, not coming back, and be ok with it and move on with my day. I can feel that there is hope that I will get there, but it is so slow.

    Kim Saeed says February 16, 2014


    I am glad to know you are overcoming the need to obsessively monitor him. I know it’s difficult to stop thinking about your Ex, especially if he’s a Narcissist and you’ve been brainwashed and manipulated. You are still in the grieving period, so what you are feeling is normal. However, it’s extremely important to be aware of when you are tempted to monitor him or obsess, and redirect your thoughts. I’ve read of people who wear a rubber band on their wrist and snap it when they have an intrusive thought. The reason it’s so important to stop thinking about him is because if you don’t make a conscious effort to break the habit, you will never stop obsessing.

    What you think about the most is what will keep transpiring in your life, and manifesting into your reality. When I was still freshly grieving, I did tons of guided meditations, positive affirmations, and wrote myself postcards and posted them all over the apartment. I kept myself busy by going out more (to the mall, the bookstore, the park) and created a new pattern of thinking.

    I know you care deeply about him, but if he is a Narcissist, you will never have that reciprocated. It’s essential that you focus on your recovery and try to get some energy healing (reiki is a great method) and pamper yourself. Get rid of any of his items that might be lying around and pack up any pictures you may have.

    If you dedicate the time and effort to redirecting your thoughts and actions, it WILL pay off. I was also once in a place of obsessing about my Ex, but now I see him for what he truly is, and I couldn’t be happier that he is out of my life. You can get there, too…

Lee says February 16, 2014

Great stuff. Thanks! This is also why it’s so important never to give up on someone caught in an abusive relationship. Even one friend or family member who sticks with you, doesn’t condemn you, and is there for you when you finally make the break can make all the difference in the world! If we can do that for someone else, they may break the cycle and get free one or two cycles earlier than they otherwise would. And that could save them from serious injury or even from death, not to mention from yet more emotional trauma.

    Kim Saeed says February 16, 2014

    Lee, thank you so much for your insightful input. It’s true that if we just have that one person to count on, it can indeed make all the difference. When someone is coming out of an abusive relationship, they need a lot of hand-holding. When that’s not available, victims often stay imprisoned because there’s no one to back them up or speak logic to them. I love your idea about each one, teach one. That’s exactly what’s necessary for our society to overcome this influx of personality disorders that seem to be expanding exponentially…

idiotwriter says February 16, 2014

Fantastic advise Kim ~(as ever!)
Another odd thing can of course happen in more subtle varieties – the family and friends actually are still under the ‘charm’ of said ex –
In which case – screw the lot of them and head for the hills 😉
Narcissism in a small town – ‘How could they POSSIBLY have done her wrong?’ They are sooo charming and caring and – yeah – you get the picture 😉

    Kim Saeed says February 16, 2014

    Great input! This is most certainly true.

    In my case, my friends and family were never charmed by the Ex, but his own friends and family were, which is why I had to cut them out of my life, as well. Good riddance. I just said, “Screw the lot of them”, and headed for the hills 😀

      idiotwriter says February 16, 2014

      Oh Kim – Yes – it is all one can do hey! 😉
      Thank goodness – just thank goodness you are out of it!

armyofangels2013 says February 15, 2014

I had to teach myself how to be alone…it had been nearly 7 years since I had experienced alone time, or time doing any of the things I enjoyed as hobbies…it’s hard to believe how I lived like that for that length of time…

Lori Scott Kaiser says February 15, 2014

You are such a wonderful writer Kimberly. Spot on. I love how you always help women redirect their focus on themselves. Many of us lived for so many years been required to always focus on him, have forgotten how to focus on ourselves. For me at first it felt boring, selfish, unsatisfying, like a chore to focus on myself. Over time it’s become my new normal, and I love it.

    Kim Saeed says February 15, 2014

    Thanks so much, Lori. There’s no better teacher than experience. Your comment means a lot because it shows me that i am on the right track. Thanks for stopping by.


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