I must confess I’m glad that people are considering severing the ties with their emotional abuser. You do not deserve to be treated with disrespect, scorn, nor in condescending ways, whether or not your partner is a Narcissist. I say this because it seems to be a deciding factor in whether one explores separation and/or divorce. Not to say I’m a big proponent of divorce, but when one has endured the equivalent of psychological murder, then it’s time to explore other options in life.
While I am not able to diagnose someone with NPD, I can inform clients and followers whether their partner is behaving in ways that are indicative of Narcissism. Further, there are varying levels of Narcissism, ranging from the healthy kind (which we all possess), up to full-blown.
Most people with full-blown NPD will never be diagnosed, even if they see a therapist.
Back to the question at hand…are people glad they divorced a Narcissist? Typically, not in the beginning. As with the end of any relationship, one has to process the emotions of denial, grief, and acceptance. Sadly, a lot of people stop at grief when it comes to divorcing a Narcissist. Why? Their psyche has been traumatized. There’s no closure, their self-esteem is gone, and they believe there’s no hope in life, much less hope for another partner. Then, on top of losing their homes, careers, or even their children, they have to deal with the Narcissist harassing them through the court system.
On one hand, they miss the Narcissist so much they can barely function, but on the other, being the recipient of the Narcissist’s never-ending revenge campaign is like living with a Mafia hit on them.
The fact is, left unchecked, the Narcissist’s rage will be as fresh five or ten years down the road as when their supply first fell off the pedestal. Many people are too afraid to file for divorce, terrified of what the Narcissist might do. Others experience the alternative, where the Narcissist files for divorce in the same manner as picking up the newspaper…without a second thought.
If you are considering divorcing your Narcissist, have filed and are now experiencing the violent backlash–or your partner filed for divorce and made you feel invisible–this information may seem enough to keep you rooted in the relationship or believe your circumstances will never improve…
But, the thing to keep in mind is, moving past these experiences and doing the self-work that’s so necessary to heal from this type of abuse can be one’s saving grace. It’s what makes the difference between someone who divorced a Narcissist and hasn’t healed six, eight, or ten years down the road, and another who has healed after a year or two and is happier than they’ve been in their entire life.
So, what are the main differences between people that never seem to heal vs. people who do? Why do some people seem to be happy after having gone through the special variety of Narc Hell, while others end up with medical conditions?
I’ll share a few examples. Keep in mind this isn’t an exhaustive list, but simply for demonstrative purposes.
People Who Never Seem to Heal:
- Spend all their spare time researching Narcissism, although a year has passed – While it’s very important to educate ourselves about Narcissism, especially in the beginning, there comes a time when it actually works against us. The reality is, no amount of knowledge will change what happened and further, such knowledge won’t heal us. It helps us make cognitive sense of what happened, but it won’t do anything to heal our emotional wounds. In fact, focusing on Narcissism after a year or so has passed will only continue to trigger memories of abuse.
- Don’t wean themselves off of the forums – At the start, it’s crucial to find people to interact with who understand what we went through, but again, there comes a time when a form of mass hysteria kicks in and it becomes a festival of negativity, especially when a Narcissist finds a way to infiltrate the forum and causes additional harm. Find out what you need to know, and then make the commitment to stop.
- Stick with a therapist who isn’t really helpful – A large percentage of therapists out there have very little applicable experience with Narcissism, much less how to help victims of it. If you’ve been seeing a therapist for a couple of years and you haven’t made progress, find another one.
- Believe therapy will help save their relationship with a narcissist. If your Narcissistic partner fools all the therapists you visit together, ditch the couple’s therapy, find your own individual therapist, and start exploring separation or divorce.
- Never practice self-inquiry or self-healing – Or if they do, it’s once or twice and then they stop. In order to heal from this type of abuse, it’s crucial to explore different healing methods. When you find those that work, stick with them and practice them consistently.
People Who Are Glad to Divorce a Narcissist and Heal:
- Learn what they need to about Narcissism, but then turn their attention onto their recovery.
- After discovering what happened, and after having vented for several months, they start spending time exploring healing methods…consistently.
- Practice self-inquiry and are open-minded to trying different healing modalities.
- Once finding healing methods that work, they incorporate them into their daily lives.
- Don’t repress their emotions, usually journaling them in order to work through them.
As you can see, it takes a conscious commitment to not only heal, but also to celebrate having divorced a Narcissist. Perhaps the darkness was meant as a catalyst for you to learn, grow, and experience the freedom of self-love and true joy, but you can only get there if you commit to it.
Copyright 2014 Kim Saeed and Let Me Reach