In the intricate tapestry of human experiences, the soul is a delicate essence that can be profoundly affected by various external forces. One such force is narcissistic abuse, a toxic dynamic that can leave deep emotional scars.
A traumatic experience or intense shock to the mind and body can result in what’s referred to as Soul Loss, and indigenous people have been aware of it for millennia.
It’s becoming alarmingly clear that traditional Western medicine and therapy aren’t successful in wholly treating narcissistic abuse. While they are effective in helping patients deal with clinical conditions such as PTSD, anxieties, phobias, and other similar mood/emotional conditions, traditional therapy often has no framework for dealing with the suffering that results from narcissistic abuse.
In this article, we delve into the profound impact of narcissistic abuse on the soul, explore how it can lead to a phenomenon known as “soul loss” and explore insights on healing and reclaiming our true selves.
The Missing Link in Traditional Therapy
Why do victims of narcissistic abuse often find such little relief from traditional therapy? Because it doesn’t address the largest underlying factor of what happens in cases of emotional trauma…loss of parts of the soul. Many times a patient is diagnosed with a mental or emotional condition when what’s happened is that parts of their soul have fled in moments of extreme emotional shock.
Soul loss is similar to what psychology refers to as “dissociation”.
In indigenous societies, it is broadly accepted that when life experiences are traumatic enough, they can fragment our inner spirit, or soul, which is described as ‘soul loss”. It is understood that this loss is temporary, helping the sufferer deal with the aftermath of a traumatic experience.
However, in cases of narcissistic and emotional abuse, the trauma is ongoing, resulting in serious illness, both psychological and physical. Victims effectually lose some aspects of their personality and life force, which is why a common complaint is that they don’t know who they are anymore and that they can barely survive day-to-day.
It also explains why narcissistic abuse is often coined “rape of the soul”.
“Beside himself.” Why do we describe a distraught person as being beside himself?
Because the ancients believed that the soul and body could part and that under great emotional stress, the soul would actually leave the body.
When this happened a person was “beside himself.” – Dictionary of Word Origins
Symptoms of Soul Loss
Recognizing the signs of soul loss can empower you to begin your healing journey. Common symptoms may include:
- Daily life seems pointless
- Drug and/or alcohol addiction
- Not knowing one’s purpose in life
- Blocking out parts of one’s memories
- Obsessive or ruminating thoughts
- The feeling that something is missing in life
- Suicidal thoughts or fantasies
- The inability to receive or give love
- Persistent feelings of emptiness
- Feelings of helplessness
- One’s belief that they cannot change their circumstances
So how do we go about getting those lost pieces of our soul back? Lissa Rankin, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, states:
“Sometimes the soul needs space in order to heal, and this may require the courage to make some external changes in your life. Perhaps you need to switch careers in order to give the soul more room to breathe. Perhaps an unhealthy relationship is constricting the soul, and it’s time to get into therapy, set boundaries, or even end things. Perhaps you need to find more people to love or relocate to a place that helps your soul come alive. Perhaps you need to give your soul permission to engage in more creative activities. Such external changes may be part of the prescription the inner doctor of your soul writes.
But very often, those kinds of major life overhauls are NOT NECESSARY! Reconnecting to the soul allows you to find peace and happiness right where you are in ways that are much simpler and more profound than you might think. It can be astounding to discover that you’ve had what you needed all along and have been looking in all the wrong places. Perhaps all that is needed is to see the life you’re already living in a different way.”
One major life overhaul that is necessary is leaving an abusive partner. Sandra Brown, the author of Women Who Love Psychopaths, indicated in an interview that psychopathy is our nation’s number one health crisis and costs individuals and insurance companies ten times more than depression.
Reclaiming the Lost Soul
The dangers of staying with a narcissist are very real. While it may feel like your situation is different and you might be the one rare exception, it’s simply not possible due to the fact that psychopathy and Narcissistic Personality Disorder are incurable.
Healing from narcissistic abuse and reclaiming the lost soul is a profound and transformative journey. Here are some spiritual practices and approaches that can support this healing process:
Self-Compassion and Inner Child Work: Nurturing self-compassion and reconnecting with the wounded inner child is crucial. Engage in self-care activities, express self-love, and offer understanding and compassion to the parts of yourself that have been hurt. Inner child work can help heal emotional wounds and restore a sense of wholeness.
Mindfulness and Meditation: Practicing mindfulness and meditation cultivates present-moment awareness and helps develop a stronger connection with the core self. By quieting the mind and focusing on the breath, one can explore the depths of their being, gradually reintegrating the fragmented aspects of their soul.
Energy Healing Modalities: Explore energy healing modalities such as Reiki, acupuncture, or sound healing. These practices can help release stagnant energy, balance the chakras, and restore the flow of life force energy within the body, aiding in the healing of the wounded soul.
Spiritual Connection and Nature: Seek solace in spiritual practices and connect with the divine or higher power that resonates with you. Spend time in nature, allowing its healing energies to rejuvenate your spirit. Engaging in prayer, meditation, or connecting with spiritual communities can provide a sense of belonging and support during the healing process.
You deserve so much more than emotional abuse.
Breaking free from an abusive relationship may be the hardest thing you ever do, but it will also be one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll ever make. Everyone has the innate capacity to heal themselves. But it’s likely you will need external support to heal the traumas that get in the way of your ability to tune into this gift.
I cover the applications and theories in all of these areas in my narcissistic abuse recovery program, which has been voted a favorite by professionals in the psychological community and spiritual healers alike.
As you work through the program, you will experience freedom of expression, radical self-care, and self-confidence.
The relationship between you and your inner cheerleader will become as close as a best friend.
Your true self will be revealed to you in a way you never imagined. There’s a good chance you’ll start loving the person in the mirror, keeping promises to yourself, and celebrating your choices over time.
Your new sense of self-assurance will make you feel empowered.
Discover the strength inside you to overcome crippling emotional pain, defeat helplessness, and create a meaningful, fulfilling life. The Break Free Program will give you the exact strategies to help you discover the key to transformational healing. Our beautiful community includes people in varying stages of their healing and several who are celebrating their anniversaries of no contact!
See what students and mental health professionals have to say.