healthy love after narcissistic abuse

Making Space for Healthy Love after Narcissistic Abuse

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How long have you stayed with the narcissist, waiting for them to change?  To go back to the person they were when you first met them? Five years?  Ten years?  More?

Can I be straight up with you?  No matter how they try to convince you otherwise, narcissists don’t change.  No matter how sincere it feels to you when they hoover.  Deep inside, you know this to be true.  Yet you’ve decided to give them another chance…a chance to prove that they are truly sorry for what they’ve done.

If the narcissist truly had plans to change their abusive ways, you would have already witnessed sincere effort on their part.  Yet, you hang onto the dream, doing all the same things you’ve done before, but hoping for a different outcome.

This article isn’t a lecture on the definition of insanity (though you probably do feel insane at this point).  It’s to illustrate that the true love you want doesn’t exist with the narcissist.  It’s to highlight the necessity of severing the relationship and healing so you can make space in your life for the person who will one day love, respect, and admire you.

Commitment doesn’t mean normalizing and accepting abuse

Of all the elements of a lasting, healthy relationship, commitment is one of the most crucial (aside from open communication).  Commitment means that both partners are willing to weather the relationship’s ups and downs.  It entails being realistic (not idealistic) about what real love consists of, which includes basic criteria such as:

  • Friendship
  • Emotional resiliency and maturity
  • Trust
  • Honesty
  • Openness
  • Reciprocity (give and take)
  • A sense of individuality apart from the relationship

True love and commitment do not require you to tolerate abusive demands and behaviors such as:

  • Giving up your sense of self or your truth
  • Accepting blame, criticism, or ridicule
  • To accept being called names
  • Taking on the responsibilities of two people (meaning that you carry the load that’s normally shared by a couple)
  • Accepting infidelity
  • Being dominated and controlled (physically, emotionally, or financially)
  • Tolerating repeated and prolonged silent treatments
  • Being coerced into performing degrading acts in the bedroom
  • Repeated guilt trips used to manipulate you into believing you’re damaged goods and incapable of a good relationship – with anyone

All of the latter actions are indicative of your relationship being based on psychological manipulation, and you should begin making plans to leave if you want any chance of moving on and finding true love.  While no relationship is without its challenges, true and mutual love offers you feelings of trust and security even when the road is rocky.

Making Room for your True Love

1 – Going No Contact (or implementing Low Contact in cases of shared custody) is the only first step in creating space for your true love.

The reason is simple – the narcissist will not make any lasting changes.  He or she will pretend to change long enough to hook you back into the craziness, only to go right back to their true self when they feel comfortable that you’ve changed your mind or lost your will to leave (often within mere minutes of tricking you into forgiving them).  The reason for this is they intuitively understand how much courage and strength it took you to get to the point of almost leaving.  The fact that they hooked you back in once again proves they still hold intense power over you, and further, that it would take double the strength and courage next time.  Over time, many victims of narcissistic abuse simply give up. 

This is what the Narcissist counts on.

2 – Don’t fall for the hoovering.

I’ve heard of extremely far-fetched campaigns by the narcissist to win back their primary source of supply.  They will claim to have started counseling, gone on medication(s), read books that you suggested, left the person they cheated on you with, had a divine epiphany, talked to their priest or a clergy member, gotten Baptized or saved, claim to be in the hospital, considered suicide because they’re in “so much pain”, almost gotten fired “from the stress”…and the list goes on. 

These so-called life-changers are simply to play on your sense of integrity and make you feel guilty so that you will forgive them and take them back.  On your end, you’re feeling there’s finally hope for your future together.  On their end, they’re convinced there’s nothing they can do to lose your love, and are already plotting ways to make you pay for even considering leaving them, in addition to strategizing how they can continue seeing their side-supply. 

There is no “true love” in this scenario for you.

3 – Don’t start dating until you’ve worked on the wounds that kept you tied to the narcissist.

This means don’t go out to bars, subscribe to online dating, or look up old flames.  Will it be lonely?    Very.  However, until you get to a place of healing and forgiving yourself, you will only attract another toxic relationship.  That doesn’t mean you must reach a state of sagehood in order to be ready for a meaningful relationship.  In fact, assuming you’ve done most of your healing work ahead of time, a soulmate will help you in your journey of healing…not re-open your wounds and throw salt in them as would another narcissist.

4 – Cut the energy ties with past lovers, including the narcissist.

You need to unhook from past lovers to make space in your life for your true love.  Otherwise, you won’t be able to invest yourself fully in a new relationship.

5 – Set your intention.

Visualize what you and your true love will do together.  Include images of the two of you laughing, dancing, playing, and even making dinner together.  Make space in your closet for your future partner to hang their clothes.  Empty out a few of your drawers and make a place in the medicine cabinet for their stuff.  Then wait.  Not compulsively…trust in the process.  A gardener doesn’t pull and tug on the sproutling in his or her garden.  They plant the seed, nourish it, and let it grow on its own.

6 – Nourish yourself, too. During your journey of waiting, don’t forget to make time to enjoy life.  Try things you’ve always wanted to try.  Start a new hobby.  Allow the new space in your home and life to inspire you.  If you find your thoughts going back to the process of waiting, simply remind yourself that your true love will appear at just the right time.  Dwelling on the time that passes only puts you in a state of resistance and will likely prevent your new love from showing up.

Rebuilding Self-Love Is an Ongoing Process

Just like the narcissist slowly chipped away at your identity, healing your self-image and rebuilding self-love is a continual process. Incorporate these points into your strategy for healing and preparing yourself for true love.

  • Surround yourself with supportive people. Go back to the people the narcissist forced you to push away – they’ll understand. Most will validate your experience and you can absorb their positive personality traits in a healthy way.
  • Do something the narcissist always said you couldn’t. Maybe this is a hobby, career, or something you’ve always wanted to experience. Do something just because your inner child wants out. The narcissist has held you back for so long. It’s time to live on your own terms. Just make sure not to act out of spite.
  • Move slowly. At first, you may have a hard time communicating with other people and making decisions for yourself. It’s okay to not know everything about yourself yet. This is all part of healing from identity loss. If you move too fast, you might end up in another toxic situation or turning to unhealthy coping tools.
  • Set boundaries and stand your ground. There are plenty of narcissists and other abusive people out there. It’s important to know where your boundaries lie and stick to them. Where will you draw the line between a healthy relationship and a loss of self-identity? What about discerning between constructive advice and abusive criticism?
  • Ban, block, and cut them out. A narcissist will use any opportunity to keep you in their web. “No contact” isn’t easy – especially since the narcissist forces you into a state of dependence – but it’s the only surefire way out of the abuse for good.

Healing from identity loss is possible and absolutely necessary to get a clear sense of your unique individuality. Loving yourself, enforcing your boundaries, and being willing to walk away from dysfunction and manipulation is the only way you’ll ever be happy – and prepare yourself for true love if that’s your dream.

Get more tools to rediscover your lost self after narcissistic abuse

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Narcwife says May 2, 2015

Reblogged this on tamdef.

Louise says March 7, 2015

This is last year has been hell. My x patner discarded me and got a resendence order our son was 6 months old. My pregnancy was unplanned I did not know this man yet he wanted our child and he love bombed me. I felt like I was going crazy and was also in early recovery myself from addiction. He cheated he lied he played god with our beautiful son I wanted to end it all. Something in me told me to leave and fight for my own life. The day befor I left he told me never to contact him again to see his son. But I had to leave he made my life a living hell. It’s a year now and I am stronger than ever but he’s still won’t allow me contact. He got a 19 year old pregnant they had their baby girl. I went through hell and back this has made me relize I was not crazy and that’s what he is. Such a awfull experience and it hurt like pain I could never explain. He holds on to our son even tho he has a new family will not allow me contact. He did when I was weak and still thought I loved him. I think about our son everydAy and miss him.but this man has everybody fooled I am the bad monster. I stay strong work a 12 step program but I have my days. I am 15 months in recovery at college. I feel free but he still has our child who I miss. I just fear my son will never understand why I did what I had to do. I am having psychotherapy. As it really left me raw. Just don’t give up and there is light. Mental abuse is the worst ever.

    Kim Saeed says March 8, 2015

    Louise, you may be able to get the custody order modified so that you can start out with visitation. Since you are in a rehab program and going to college, you have a good chance of getting it approved. Have you tried that yet?

S. Joines says January 28, 2015

I also needed to read this today. I’m going into 3 months of separation with a 4 day relapse in between. It is better to be apart. There are times I miss him so much, but then I remember the past 17 years. It took me a long time, but I can finally say….I’m DONE.

made58 says January 26, 2015

Reblogged this on HelpingOthersHelpThemselves.

made58 says January 26, 2015

Reblogged this on MadeleineMaya.

Dr. Nicholas Jenner says January 26, 2015

Reblogged this on Dr Nicholas Jenner PsyD MA and commented:
How long have you stayed with the Narcissist, waiting for them to change? To go back to the person they were when you first met them? Five months? Five years? Ten years? More?

Unfortunately, no matter how they may try to convince you otherwise when you attempt to leave, they won’t change. No matter how sincere it feels to you when they hoover. Deep inside, you know this to be true. Yet you’ve decided to give them another chance…a chance to prove that they are truly sorry for what they’ve done.

RecoveringSiri says January 21, 2015

I stayed for 7 years. 5 out of 7 years were hell. Dealing with his outwardly bold cheating. I became the other woman. I never got apologies that I’m hearing of. Probably because I never gave him a reason to apologize. I was an Empath. I always had my arms out for him to run back into. I never made him beg for me. I made it too easy. Well, nothing changed until he finally accidentally got the other woman pregnant. He finally left me to “do the right thing” and try to make things work with her for the sake of the child. They now have 2 kids in less than 2 years. We have no contact. I hate to say it, but I’ll always love him, but I have realized no contact is the absolute best! Leave first before it goes too far!!!

JAK says December 30, 2014

My fear is that I am the Narcissistic one. I feel like I do the things that are described. Also, I don’t think he cares if I leave. Seeing the one from Maryam about Christmas, I have not been allowed to go to his family’s on holidays (or ever now)for several years even though we live together. He goes without me and stays for a week to 10 days, every Christmas and New Years is spent with his mother and father and I am not included. I recently learned he tells them we are not a couple anymore, even though he introduces me to other people in our town(they live in another state)as his girlfriend. I get upset and give silent treatment, and yell and call names so I am worried that I am in serious need of counseling and his behavior is a result of me. Where would I go for evaluation of myself?

Persia Karema says December 29, 2014

Reblogged this on Blog Of A Mad Black Woman and commented:
“…It’s to illustrate that the true love you want doesn’t exist with your abusive partner.” ~ Let Me Reach With Kim Saeed

Maryam says December 26, 2014

I don’t know what happened to what I was starting to write but I has tried and tried to convince myself things would change. Then I did fall into the trap of online dating ect without properly healing.
Five years out and I am in a place I can say I am regaining myself and who I was at a period of time that was long lost during my marriage
Yesterday, I was venturing into the past with my sister and I see now how much he changed from when I first married him

I occasionally feel the twinge of guilt knowing he maybe alone on Christmas as the kids all come to see me. But the guilt doesn’t last as long as it used too.
Time and seperation is KEY.

    Anonymous says December 26, 2014

    You are very right. Time AND separation is KEY!!! Just keep remembering that you deserve better and that he is one out of billions of people. And out of those billions of people, there certainly is someone that is right for you and will treat you way better. But first, treat yourself better and heal before jumping into something new.

Teresa says December 26, 2014

Great information!!! I am on the right track. I’ve had No Contact with my Ex for almost 6 weeks. Except for the text that I needed to send him to let him know that I was sending someone to his house to get my things. That did open the door and he texted me continually for 2 or 3 days. At that time he said everything that you mentioned in your post. Counseling, medications, church, needing to go to the hospital (he had always told me that if I ever left him, it would put him in the hospital)…..I didn’t fall for any of it!!!! Back to full No Contact!!! And Moving on. Post like this one are great reminders of where the focus needs to be, and it helps to not drift back into the same pattern.
Thank you.

    Anonymous says February 16, 2015

    Thanks you have inspired me ..

RecoveringSiri says December 26, 2014

Thank you for posting this, Kim. I needed to see/read this. Lately, I was “missing” my ex Narc (who is still legally my husband, but has left me for the other woman he’s been cheating on my with 4 out of 7 years we’ve been together now that she has his children…My husband is a Inverted Narcissist, but the woman he left me for is a Grandiose Narcissist, with Impulse Borderline traits). I know that he doesn’t deserve My love, time, and attention because of all that he’s done. I guess part of me should feel happy that he is getting what he deserves from all of the craziness she brings in his life because her craziness is beyond what he brought to mine. But the other half of me wishes he’d contact me (he has went No contact and the other woman makes sure it stays that way because she is extremely insecure, jealous, and controlling) and that we could make things work. I read that Inverted Narcissist have a much better chance of changing compared to a Grandiose Narcissist. I guess I wish that considering everything that I now informed on, I wish I could “help” him and “us” get better. But after reading this post, makes me realize that I deserve better than what I’ve been put through. At the end of the day, we all have issues, but God gave us free will to make decisions and to have choices. And it is up to us what we do with them. He made his. Ow u have to make mine, which is to consume my recovery with the Psychotherapy that I am getting for Core Trauma for my Dependent Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder and continue to keep moving on and hold on to my standards and values so that I can be emotionally and mentally healthy for the right man. Thank you, Kim. 🙂

Rebecca says December 26, 2014

Put your narcissist in prison. It really is that simple. These arrogant morons don’t pay taxes and commit all degrees of fraud. Jail the idiot and be done.

bl0ndeangel007 says December 25, 2014

A question on #3; I am extremely lonely and I really want to find someone. How do you know you have gotten to the place of healing?

alienorajt says December 26, 2014

Thank you, Kim. I absolutely needed to read this today. I have, in the last two weeks, told my Narcissist that I no longer wish to be his partner – and am now suffering the slings and arrows of self-doubt, of pitying, of guilt, of thinking it’s me and I have done stuff to HIM; all very familiar territory, I am SURE. Your post has given me much courage, and renewed determination to continue. My book, which was published on CreateSpace on Monday, feels like a symbol of change. Happy Boxing Day – and thanks again. xxx

Paula says December 25, 2014

Lovely …. very peaceful and inspirational.

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