Heal Emotional Trauma

12 Ways to Heal Emotional Trauma after Narcissistic Abuse

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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.

Ready to get started with a proven action plan?

There are so many possibilities that lie ahead. One way to begin reconnecting with your lost self and your soul is with the THRIVE program.

THRIVE is all about living in harmony — both within and without – after leaving a relationship or situation where you felt abused, abandoned, and discarded.
… Because without healing and harmony, there is chaos, struggle, and suffering.
… Without healing and harmony, there is no love, no compassion, and no light to reveal your transformed path.
Until you realize the deeper implications of WHY these areas of healing are connected — and how YOU access these levels of healing on an intimate, personal basis — you will find yourself working much harder than necessary and letting people treat you in ways that violate your core essence.
THRIVE will help you achieve the Elements of a Healed and Balanced Life.
The teachings in THRIVE empower, inspire, and heal the Mind, the Body, the Spirit, and the Soul in the wake of toxic relationships and other emotional injuries sustained over your lifetime.

☯️ If these words are speaking to you, then know that you have come to the RIGHT place. Click here to learn more about THRIVE.  

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Harriet Msungam says July 24, 2021

Thanks kimsaeed ur really helping me healing just through ur emails am able to grasp alot

Jorja Bennett says July 12, 2021

Thank you for this incredible information that supports those recovering & healing from this kind of abuse. I look forward to working w you Kim, and your Thrive program as I seek safety, healing and healthy, mutually- nurturing relationships!

Jermena says July 12, 2021

Kim, this is so beautiful..

Kathryn Carpenter says May 30, 2021

The first week he was gone I was so busy going thru the house to see what was in it, then throwing
out all his stuff. I had no idea that he didn’t throw away anything. The house was filthy & I was enraged & shocked!!

John says April 11, 2021

I never had the 1st idea of what a narcissist was, 4 and a half years later. I’m blown away as to how someone becomes a narcissist? I’ve been without her for a month now. I have good and bad days. I want to understand how someone gets programmed to become a narcissist? She was sweet and innocent at least i thought. Wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Angus Skinner says November 1, 2020

Should I move on & delete them as a friend on Social media

    Kim Saeed says November 2, 2020

    Yes. This is the best and most effective way to gain peace.

Debbie Peterson says September 4, 2020

I’m just getting out of 33 years with a narcissist. Until a year ago I did not know what a narcissist was. At that time both my boss and my husband were narsacists. I totally almost died. I thought I was going crazy. I’ve been going with out him since 6/19/20. I’m lonely and scared but I am really happy. I still hurt and want someone to just give me a real hug and hold me like they never want to let me go. That’s a great dream right now. My dog and garden and blues are savior’s right now.

Rhiannon says June 7, 2020

How can i do this? It has been 44 years. I am so overwhelmed. I want to go back so bad.

Elizabeth says May 28, 2020

This is such a horrible, lonely, torturous feeling!!!
Thank you for all the help you share…
I want so desperately to heal this pain…

Svetlana says January 7, 2020

I was for a long time in abusive marriage with narcissist. At first I was scared if I run away, he would find me and kill me but when my life was in a danger of being killed at home, I ran away. I started with nothing to build my life again. I have it back. Most precious I am having my peace. Ex is on restraining order….. It took me so much effort to get better. Was on medications for depression. Yes, I followed exactly what you are saying Kim, plus I am reading books about life, which helpedme alot. When is hard I am taking long walks. My heart is breaking for every woman which is suffering. Narcissist is the worse person one can deal with.
Thank you for doing enormous job by healing wounded souls. My admire.

Geraldine says January 4, 2020

I’m a long way into recovery but the hardest part is forgiving myself. I had a full and active role in all of it from the beginning and I inflicted the damage on myself. No person who didn’t “need” people or a special someone to make themselves feel better, would put up with these people for a day. It’s a harsh discovery and a very hard journey to go on to realise what made you become that person from childhood. That was the beginning of the journey and it’s been hard to look at all the reasons that led up to me accepting and even pleading to have this awful person in my life.

Arielle says September 4, 2019

Today is day 1 of no contact. Love of my life for 4 years. He checks all the narcissism boxes. Last year he got verbally abusive and he moved out. I found out two months ago that he soon after that got another girlfriend and they had been together for a year and he got her pregnant. She ended up miscarrying. For the last two months he went back and forth between us, declaring his love for me, only to take it and give it to her. I realized their entire relationship had been on social media and I had no idea. She was getting all his love and he had nothing but anger and resentment left for me. Yet I stayed. Today is day 1 no contact. All social media is blocked and cell numbers. And yet I feel like I would take him back in a heart beat even though the brain knows better.

I am so thankful for these articles, this is exactly what I have been experiencing and I am looking forward to rediscovering who I am without him

Jill says August 19, 2019

Right now I’m only on the 10th day since no contact and breaking up and I already see my ex back on Facebook hunting down women and I saw one of them happened to be a girl I was friends with and I asked her why would she do that after I opened up to her and told her everything about how he hurt me and she talked about her ex too and how he hurt her. But I got mean after she replied that I have no life and I shouldn’t be sitting around checking people’s friends on Facebook. Um so excuse me if you don’t want me to see your friends then why the fuck do you not have it private. I went on to tell her not to feel special and the only reason he added her was because she’s in a bikini on her profile picture and all he wants is naked pictures from her and told her not to feel special but I guess he’s going for older women now because he probably thinks they’ll eat up his attention since he’s my age 35. I want to message her back and tell her everything else she’s about to go through but I’ll do it here so I don’t take it out on her. I want to tell her how she’s about to become his mother and take care of him and his kid while he goes behind your back sexting other women and oh have fun cleaning up his puke because he drinks all day and doesn’t bother to even eat or take care of himself. Oh yah and have fun while he rejects intimacy with you and you catch him watching porn and oh yah he will love bomb he shit out of you but it will all be fake bc no one could ever love someone so mean and backstabbing as a covert narcissist. Well good luck to you honey because that ain’t my problem no more…….

    Riley says April 14, 2021

    I relate to these comments, but was not married. Relationships are never personal to narcs because they are false selves. Mine got abusive, in writing and made plots against me. They are betrayers, infested with demons. I’m out of this correspondence now after he revealed his cheating while we made plans. I pity the new victim. I’m free!

jani b free says August 3, 2018

Spot on Kim. Love it. The only thing that I would add is to get a pet, a rescue would be even better. Mine has given me sooo much and played such a part in my healing I can’t even say. I named her Lily after Lileth Fair. A big music concert to empower women put together by Sarah mclachlin. She one of us, a survivor. She does a song called monsters. It’s amazing.

Shirley Akpelu says July 30, 2018

Another excellent article with valuable information I need and some of them I have already done. I have plans of my own and look forward to reaching those goals. Thank you Kim for helping, sharing, caring for the survivors of this trauma and drama. Shalom always. May all your plans succeed.

Karla Venegas says July 30, 2018

I have always been healthy and sporty(yoga and running sometimes) and I also practice raha yoga (meditation). My narcissist used to love my “good vibe”. when he made the discard and i tried no contact several times, I was lost, i started drinking in an unhealthy way, partying, having sex with anyguy. But then, i wanted to recover, i became even more healthier, quit smoking, started training for real. It’s been a year and a half now since the discard. Next novemeber i will run my first half marathon and i I have never been this healthy and spiritual. After him i got in contact with God more than before. And after the crises i saw the light by taking care of my body thru healthy habits (food, excersices, no crazy party)

    Jill says August 19, 2019

    Oh god I know exactly what you went through I started smoking and taking muscle relaxers which I’m already prescribed but I started taking them just so I wouldn’t feel the pain he cause me emotionally. After we break up I message all the women I see him adding on Facebook and I even made a page about how you shouldn’t date him and I have about 40 women on there but then one women is now friends with him so I don’t know if he went on my page and friended her or what the fuck but it almost gave me a panic attack last night and I’m trying everything not to message her mean shit. I called her out on my abuse page and asked her why would she be friends with him after I told her everything and she wasn’t nice at all about it she told me I have no life and that I shouldn’t be checking everyone’s profile okay honey first of all why would you even accept a request from dudes you don’t even know it’s so desperate looking and a lot of women are doing it to get attention and her profile picture is her in a bikini so obviously she’s gonna attract men that only want to fuck her. I want to curse her out so bad but I just said good luck to you I tried to warn you and now you’re on your own and I’m sure he’s doing it to get me all worked up and it’s working and I’m not this jealous crazy person he’s making me act like. I hate myself. But yesterday I went back to church after months of not going and I worked out all weekend and I’ve quit smoking too so I’m getting back to the healthy path like you did. I can’t wait till it’s been longer than 10 days ughhhhh.

      Paula cuffie says August 21, 2019

      Let it go u cannot warn people. I get it.. I did the same. These nuts are going to use people no matter what. She don’t see it. Yet! Maybe she will. But karma is real.. he will meet the woman that’s gonna be his nightmare!. Trust me. He knows who to pic. Vulnerable needy women. Hes not gonna go for some one who see red flags.

Tanja says July 29, 2018

You can heal once you let go of your ex and go no contact. You can’t still hold them in your heart and expect to move on with your life. It does take time and time does heal. I couldn’t sit around and moan about my ex, as much as I loved him, he was a problem and he had to go. I didn’t care what he did or with who after I let him go. He someone else problem now. Thank God.

    Jill says August 19, 2019

    How did you not care afterwards? I’m struggling with that right now seeing him adding all these half naked whores on his Facebook page makes me sick and relive the memories of him doing that while we were together….

      Amanda says August 22, 2019

      Jill, u have to block him on social media. You have to go no contact, and that includes having no connection to him online. When you’re stalking him online you are just keeping everything fresh in your mind and he is still provoking emotional responses from you. A narcissist will often do awful things to hurt you just bc he knows you’re watching. If you truly want to heal and get over him you must go no contact completely. Or else you’re still letting him control your emotions. I hope you find peace ❤️

    Paula cuffie says August 21, 2019

    Smart thinking.. here, here! Someone else problem o like that!

Norma J Hartsell says July 29, 2018

I also have epilepsy it limits what,I can do by myself I’m notrying allowed to drive no public transportation here and I have no income of my own this has been a big problem I have applied for disability but am still waiting

Shirley Akpelu says July 3, 2018

Dear Kim,
Thank you for these timely pointers to keep from going crazy after narc abuse and trauma.
Some pointers I have done. Others I want to do like join fitness club and take painting and sewing classes. I talk to my bff and after 30 years we are still true friends. Thanks for caring.

    Kim Saeed says July 4, 2018

    Hi Shirley,

    Good to see you here, as always 🙂 Those sound like fun activities. I’ve been thinking about taking up yoga and re-learning the French language. One day, I may even learn how to play the violin 🙂

    Big hugs,

    Kim XoXo

Anonymous says June 10, 2018

Great stuff.

Until I got to surround yourself with people you love…

My bff passed on 4 years ago. And my ex spread lies. After 10 years I have not one friend. Even my only bff left decided to side with him.

It’s hard to stay positive when there is no one.

    Kim Saeed says July 3, 2018

    Hi Anon,

    I know it feels lonely sometimes, but there are ways to get back out in the world and find your tribe, even if your idea of a tribe is one or two people.

    I would encourage you to find MeetUp groups in your area that are focused on things you enjoy doing. You could do Wine & Design (paint art while sipping on vino) – there are also ones where you can just paint if you’re not a drinker. Find out what activities your local library is offering and join a couple of them.

    Not only might you find a friend or two, you will reconnect with yourself in wonderful ways.

    Kim XoXo

Elaine Stone says May 11, 2018

He sounds vile and has no pride or integrity. Just like my ex narc. They give themselves to anyone. Im proud now, I have self respect and integrity. Im better than him. You are better than your ex. You deserve a proper man x

Anonymous says February 3, 2017

My ex narc boyfriend lives in another town. His favorite place to be and party!
I got the “leave me alone, we’re done” speech and I’m on week 2 of the silent treatment. Probably the 10th time in 2 years. But this is the longest he’s gone without a word.
What stinks is that I’m sitting home alone in a family community with no single friends to do anything with. He is seeing someone, new found love and living it up in his adult largely single community home town.
I really don’t think I will hear from him this time because I have called him out so many times. He has figured out that I know his game. Now I’m the bitch that causes all the problems and he dumped me for “someone that he can get along with that makes him happy”…..again! He is really tired of me accusing him (but I know what he does).He lies and hides phone details, computer screens and refuses to post pictures of us together on his social media. Sure is convincing this time that he is the one going no contact! I guess I am the crazy one! I know I need to go No Contact but I really do love him! It really bugs me that he can ignore me after all we have done together with our families. His seems clueless of his behavior. ..even his ex-wife was clueless ! Why is the victim the lonely one ? Wish I could go out and forget about him as easy as he parties and forgets me. Hurts to be so isolated from a fun life!

    A says September 10, 2017

    My story is exactly the same. They are masters at making us feel like we are losers. Be strong and no contact. Don’t let your mind imagine what he’s doing. Thats the effect of the abusive power.

    Jane says January 19, 2020

    It is super lonely. You’ve spent years together doing things you thought you BOTH liked to do. Then you find out that it was all false. They didn’t like to enjoy your company in any way unless you were feeding their ego..bottom line. They can’t work through problems in a relationship because they are ALL YOUR PROBLEMS. They are not a part of them…you caused it. It’s YOUR fault. You Do fall in love with an illusion of who they are…when in reality they don’t have a clue who they are. They’ve been living off your identity, which is why you feel depressed and sucked dry. I loved my narc tons and tons and I thought we would have a beautiful life together. All he did was break my heart time after time after time. Now he’s thrown it away in the trash. It thriving with new girlfriend. Soon he won’t remember my name or that I even existed. I was so excited to meet him…finally a decent person after 54 years of being single, never married. He’s a lie. So hard to face. So hard to be dumped off. So hard to be shattered into pieces. My mother (best friend) died too. I don’t even have my rock in life any more. All very sad and tragic.

Sloan says February 3, 2017

I loved this. I often wonder how I am supposed to heal from the trauma if I am still receiving the abuse by co-parenting with him? About once a month I get him lashing out on me telling me what a terrible mom I am and how bad he feels for my kids and just about everything he possibly can say to hurt me. Why does it still upset me when I know his tactics?? I don’t understand it… My heart still hurts. Watching him with his girlfriend STILL hurts.

    Kim Saeed says February 7, 2017

    Hi Sloan…this is a common thing when co-parenting with a high-conflict individual such as a narcissist. This is why I recommend using only one avenue of communication, preferably email as you stated. I encourage my clients to use Our Family Wizard, which is a court-supervised email system. Cuts down on the verbal abuse from the toxic Ex big-time. Here’s a link if you’d like to check it out: http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=224406&U=1211641&M=25791&urllink=

    …and don’t forget to commit to healing yourself from this. Knowing his tactics won’t help you heal because it’s simply intellectual knowledge. I would suggest your first step being signing up for supervised email so he can’t continue to verbally abuse you.

    Wishing you all the best.


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