Every person who comes out of a relationship with a narcissist experiences the impact of emotional trauma. Although traumas inflicted by pathological people might involve physical injuries and damage, the emotional traumas are often the hardest to overcome.
If unaddressed, the results of these emotional experiences can last for years.
This article focuses on the emotional aspects of trauma and what you can do to advance your recovery. Take some time to look back at your life and see if there are any old hurts that could use your attention or any self-sabotaging patterns that you can break.
You can also use this as a guide the next time you experience an intense situation that leaves you emotionally smarting for a while.
These trauma-coping strategies will help you heal if you practice them regularly:
1 – Compliment yourself on making it through. You’re here and you’re alive. Whether your trauma involved only emotions or physical injury as well, the fact is that you’re strong enough to have survived. And now you have a future of possibilities ahead of you.
2 – Allow time to recuperate. You won’t be completely recovered by next week or even next month. Healing from emotional trauma takes time and rest. In the evenings after work, allow yourself some time to relax.
3 – Take it easy on yourself. You may still be going to work and carrying out your everyday life while you’re healing. Maybe you didn’t finish every task you wanted to complete while at work. Remind yourself that you’re doing what you can to get better and will soon be as efficient as ever.
4 – Think positive. Long known to conquer many afflictions, thinking positive thoughts will help you speed up your healing. When you’re thinking troubling thoughts like, “I feel so sad today,” remind yourself, “I’m taking important steps each day to feel better.”
5- Find moments in each day to do what you like to do. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day, sit outdoors and watch the birds, work on the bookshelf you’re building, or read a chapter in a book by your favorite author. Staying in touch with the things you love will help speed your healing.
6 – Let yourself cry. If you feel emotions building up inside you, it’s quite natural to want to release them by having a good cry. Crying will provide some relief and help you leave some of your pain behind you. Go ahead and cry.
7 – Listen to the music you love. Nothing brings joy to the soul in quite the same manner as music. Your prescription is: listen to music each day for at least 15 minutes. (Don’t listen to any music that makes you feel sad or reminds you of the narcissist!) Some days you’ll find yourself extending that time a bit and maybe even singing along. Music can help you heal.
8 – Pamper yourself. If ever there’s a time to indulge in the creature comforts you love, it’s when you’re healing from the emotional trauma of narcissistic abuse. On your day off, lie on the couch and read a book. Take a bubble bath. Play games all day with your kids. Take a nice long walk with your best friend.
9 – Watch situation comedies on television. Laughing is good for your emotional healing process. You’ve probably seen a few comedies that you find humorous and entertaining. Now’s the time to ensure you watch a few every week. This is a bit of healthy escapism.
10 – Incorporate physical movement into your day. Engage in some physical activity each day. Go for a swim. Lift weights, or get on the treadmill. Physical exercise releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormones.
11 – Surround yourself with the people you love. Play with your kids. Call your best friend. Invite your brother or sister over for a visit. Remind yourself of all the positive people you have in your life and take advantage of their loving care and support.
12 – Recognize when you need help. Allowing your emotional injuries to prevent you from living a full life is unproductive, at least after the initial few weeks or months. Instead, call a mental health professional, energy healer, and/or a coach to help you sort through your challenging times. You may need to experiment with a few different practitioners before you find one that resonates with you.
Bonus Tips for Emotional Healing
Emotional healing is possible if you work at repairing the source of the hurt. As you’ll see, that may mean making some tough decisions:
1 – Remove negative influences from your life.
If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll realize something important. Some of the negative influences may very well be the people closest to you!
It’s going to be a challenge separating from them. But your emotional health is more important than maintaining those relationships.
- Do you still allow an abusive ex a window through which to contact you? This is one of the most self-destructive areas of self-sabotage when healing from an abusive relationship. We often come up with all kinds of creative excuses to keep an ex in our lives when the truth is, most of those supposed “reasons” are just ways to deny and avoid reality.
- Are any of your friends or family guilty of adding fuel to the fire? Can you identify times when they’ve encouraged you to forgive someone who offended you?
- You can very quickly identify people whose advice is riddled with negativity. Do you have energy vampires in your life? Avoid allowing the years of friendship to cloud your judgment. You can almost guarantee continued misery if you keep them in your life.
2 – Accept responsibility for your actions.
It’s pretty hard to look in the mirror, right? Deep down, you know your actions may have contributed to the hurt you feel. But it’s difficult to accept. In the same breath, be willing to forgive yourself so you can move on to better days ahead.
3 – Live according to your moral compass.
You likely have a set of morals to live by. And while you know they exist, you may sometimes avoid them when making decisions. Abandoning morals is the easiest way to make missteps in life.
- Go back to your roots. Take a hard look at what really matters to you. Start to embrace those morals one by one.
- Start to repair how you approach situations. If making a decision means abandoning your moral compass, take another route. Just like any other compass, your moral compass keeps you on track. It’s the best way to avoid getting lost in the sea of emotional decision-making, especially if you’re in a relationship where you consistently compromise your personal integrity and values.
Healing emotionally after the trauma of narcissistic abuse takes time, patience, and effort. Don’t assume that the passage of time will magically heal you. Time doesn’t heal, focused action does. Many people assume that because they’re out, they can simply keep doing the same things and eventually heal, but that’s not true in the least. Put the above strategies into action to speed your emotional recovery. Trust that you’ll get better and discover the rich, full life that’s waiting for you.
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