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:
- Emotional resiliency and maturity
- 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
Check out my groundbreaking video course THRIVE!
I will give you video training (in short 3 – 10 minute bursts) and immersive exercises to help you discover new beliefs, new opportunities, and new ways of living you thought were beyond you– and restore your shattered identity and sense of self to become a better version of YOU than ever before!
Learn more now!