narcissistic abuse trauma recovery

The 5 Phases of Narcissistic Abuse and Trauma Recovery

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When people think of trauma, they tend to imagine isolated events like natural disasters or car accidents.

But trauma can take many forms.

Narcissistic abuse is a soul-crushing form of trauma because it slowly builds up like an avalanche. In many cases, it affects your identity and mental health on a very deep level for several years.

That’s why the stages of healing after narcissistic abuse are an ongoing process – not an instantaneous event.

Healing from complex trauma and PTSD from narcissistic abuse requires a much different approach than recovering from isolated traumatic events.

Just like someone working through drug or alcohol recovery, it’s crucial to work through the phases of trauma recovery.

It’s not fast or easy, but you’ll come out the other end more dignified, stronger, and kinder than you ever were before the abuse.

Why Healing from Narcissistic Abuse Is Different

In reality, complex trauma from narcissistic abuse is similar to living under siege from war (fighting and psychological torture) and a blockade (emotional, spiritual, and even physical isolation) for many years.

This is not to say narcissistic abuse is on par with living in a war zone but that the same psychological implications are at play.

Like someone living under the threat of war for several years, you start to wonder why this abuse happens to you while others get to live in peace. It feels like you’re being tortured by a blockade restricting your access to the rest of the world.

Surely, something must be wrong with you or this abuse wouldn’t continue.

This outlook generally doesn’t apply in cases of trauma from car accidents and other isolated events.

Sure, some folks might suffer a car accident and wonder why God would allow such a thing to happen to them. But in general, people tend to recognize that car accidents and natural disasters are random events over which they have no control.

People don’t usually blame themselves for fires and earthquakes but we blame ourselves for narcissistic abuse. Healing from narcissistic abuse is different because it attacks your very sense of self, your psyche, and your spirit.  

How Narcissistic Abuse Affects You on a Deeper Level

Narcissistic abuse is a frequent outcome of trying to have a healthy, functional relationship with a personality-disordered person over a long time. It’s a disordered person’s reaction to having a close relationship

Over the course of a relationship with a narcissist, you will develop cognitive dissonance and a devastating trauma bond due to their strategic use of psychological manipulation techniques such as the silent treatment.

At first, you might suffer through a heated fight every now and then. Things calm down and you write it off as a one-time event.

You ignore the red flags. They’re just a tortured soul, right?

But then the fighting increases its pace. You start to notice that in every scenario, you’re wrong – even when you started the conversation by asking for an apology or basic respect.

How many times have you tried to confront the narcissist – even politely – about something they’ve done that hurt you only to have them turn the conversation into an abusive situation? How many times have you found yourself apologizing to the narcissist at the end of these conversations?

The narcissist must always be the victim – even when they’ve treated you horribly.

If the narcissist always has to be the victim, that means someone else must always be the perpetrator. Yep, that’s your role: You’re the antagonist and they’re the protagonist in the hypothetical movie playing inside the narcissist’s head.

The problem is that after weeks, months, or years of this very subtle manipulation, you start to actually believe it on a deep level – usually without even realizing it.

It impacts how you view yourself and everyone around you. You start to believe that you’re worthless, can’t do anything right, and no one could ever enjoy your company.

The Choice Point

Each time you experience another cycle of emotional abuse with the narcissist, there is a window of opportunity called a Choice Point. It’s in this place where we have the chance to change the negative cycles that have become a pattern in our lives.

In that space, we can either keep making the same choices that keep us entangled in toxic relationships, or we can choose a different path.  We can choose other ways of behaving and different ways of thinking.

Every choice we make is creating our future. 

It’s challenging to stop and think about this when you’re in constant fight-or-flight mode during narcissistic abuse.  But, the choices we make now not only affect our future, but the futures of our children, our grandchildren, our workplaces, our neighborhoods, and our society.

In moments of betrayal and emotional devastation – which are inescapable inside narcissistic abuse – we just want to feel better about ourselves, to stop the pain, and for things to change back to “normal”. 

But what we typically don’t think about in those moments is what could happen in the next week, year, or decade when we choose to stay in toxic relationships.  We don’t recognize that we are creating ripples that will affect our friends and family, other individuals, and ultimately, the world.

Many people believe they’re immune from the effects of narcissistic abuse – until they get fired from their job, their pet is harmed or killed, they have a psychotic breakdown, or their child commits suicide due to constant verbal assaults and being made to feel unworthy. 

  • We don’t ponder that we might be ruining our career because we won’t stop answering an abusive partner’s text messages in the middle of a corporate meeting – putting ourselves at risk of homelessness.
  • We may not recognize that when we experience repeated stress from emotional and verbal abuse, our brains are being restructured… for the worse.
  • We don’t think about how staying in toxic relationships will likely set our children up to be either narcissistic or codependent, thereby perpetuating generational dysfunction.

But, what can you do when you’ve just found out the narcissist has cheated (once more) or you’ve discovered they told you a whopper of a lie (once more) and all you can do to get through the moment is breathe into a paper bag to prevent yourself from hyperventilating? What can you do to get off the crazy, haunting roller coaster ride?

heal from abuseYou always have a choice

It’s almost impossible to think rationally during moments of emotional abuse.  But, even during times of unbearable anguish, there exists that fraction of a second when your cognitive mind says, “See, we knew this would happen.  I don’t know why you won’t listen to me.”

But then, your traumatized subconscious mind tries to beat your cognitive mind to the ground.  Almost instantly, you start wondering how you can make the narcissist accountable or how you can get back into their good graces so they’ll choose you over their affair partner. 

These are your choice point events.  And there are much larger forces at play.  Choice points are not random episodes, but wake up calls.  Times where we need to read the signs and make better choices. 

Some choice points are extremely important in our lives… life-changing turning points.  When we can bring our awareness to when important choice points are at hand, our lives can become greatly enriched with far wiser choices.

Narcissistic Abuse Trauma Recovery Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Complex trauma from narcissistic abuse takes a long time to develop – sometimes years or even decades. It’s imprudent, then, to believe that healing from narcissistic abuse can be instantaneous (and you shouldn’t trust anyone who tells you otherwise).

The narcissist spent years slowly chipping away at your sense of self and spirit. As a result, healing from complex trauma and PTSD should be an ongoing process.

To be honest, complete freedom from the past isn’t really an attainable (or even an ideal) goal.

This is what people realize as they work through the phases of trauma recovery.

Narcissistic abuse doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be your whole story, but it is a major chapter in your book. It’s unwise, and quite frankly unhealthy, to think that you can simply “snap out” of this mentality while healing from narcissistic abuse.

Healing from complex trauma and PTSD simply doesn’t work that way. And if it did, it would be a dreadful form of spiritual bypassing. 

It’s crucial to work through the phases of narcissistic abuse and trauma recovery.

The effects of complex trauma from narcissistic abuse will follow you everywhere you go: as you seek new jobs, look for new friends, rebuild lost relationships, and try to develop an identity again.

And that new identity? It will never be the same. It will be stronger, more assertive, and even more compassionate than it was before your emotionally abusive relationship.

Healing from narcissistic abuse is a difficult and continual process but it does get better.

The Phases of Trauma Recovery

You’re probably already familiar with the five stages of grief. But what is grief? It is a traumatic event that affects you on a spiritual level.

The stages of healing after narcissistic abuse are very similar. Believe it or not, the five stages of grief are more than just a plot concept for comedy shows. It’s very important to work through each of these stages with an open heart and support system.

No one ever expects people suffering from substance abuse to recover overnight, right? No, they work through the 12 steps (or other concrete recovery programs). Ask anyone in drug, alcohol, or gambling recovery and they’ll tell you it’s an ongoing process that continues every day, sometimes indefinitely.

This may sound daunting, but have you ever met someone with years of solid recovery? They’re resilient, in control of their emotions, and living their best life.

It gets better. And the five phases of trauma recovery can help.  Below, I’m going to walk you through the stages of healing after narcissistic abuse, step-by-step, with links to all the resources you need. Let’s jump in…

1.     Emergency Stabilization Phase

This first phase of narcissistic abuse recovery is the most important, but it’s also the hardest.

You finally go No Contact from the narcissist and aren’t sure if you’ve made the right decision. (Maybe the police even made the decision for you.)

You’re still overstimulated from the narcissistic abuse which might still be flowing in the form of texts from strange numbers or relayed messages from mutual friends.

What you need right now is support and reassurance. The trauma has felt “normal” for so long that experiencing safety and calmness feels foreign and very wrong. You’re still vulnerable and afraid of how the narcissist will respond to everything you think or do.

During the Emergency Stabilization Phase, it’s critical to maintain No Contact or, in the case of shared custody, Extreme Modified Contact

If you do share custody with the narcissist, it’s imperative to accept that being civil and mature is not part of the narcissist’s makeup.  Therefore, do not settle into a false sense of security when the narcissist assures you they will come through for the kids or be honest with you going forward.

When you are deceived by their tricks and ulterior motives, they see it as an invitation to keep taking advantage of you…and to continue their tyranny and dictatorship over your life.  

The Emergency Stabilization Phase is typically the most difficult to endure because of the psychic pull to reconnect with the narcissist and the biochemical addiction that develops after enduring repeated traumas.  Breaking No Contact is undoubtedly the number one reason people stay entangled in toxic relationships much longer than they intend to, which is why maintaining No Contact should be your top priority during the stages of healing after narcissistic abuse.

2.     Punching Upwards Phase

This is when you start to pick yourself back up off the floor. Your energy starts to return after the narcissist drained it for so long. (Being the target of narcissistic abuse requires a lot of your time and attention.)

You might experience surges of anger towards the narcissist and even at yourself for allowing the abuse to go on for so long. Without proper support and recovery, you might slip back into phase one.  It’s important to note that while support groups on public social media sites might help in the beginning, they are not a source of proper support and can ultimately set you back in your recovery.  

Many people don’t realize that the reason they feel so insecure and desperate after going No Contact is that they have an insecure attachment style, which manifests as open, raw emotional wounding, as well as crippling feelings of abandonment and rejection in the wake of narcissistic abuse. 

Even if your attachment style wasn’t largely insecure in the beginning of your toxic relationship, it is certainly that way after narcissistic abuse.

People with insecure attachment styles focus intently on keeping the narcissist close, at the expense of their own interests and even their own values.  This partly explains why narcissistic abuse victims cave into demands such as repeatedly forgiving infidelities or agreeing to work and pay all the bills while the narcissist frolics and plays with their other supply sources. 

This happens because they’re desperately trying to attach to the narcissist, which only leads to more feelings of primal panic.  The only way to counteract this feeling is to find an emotionally available attachment figure after initiating No Contact.  This might be a friend, family member, therapist, coach, or God – in other words, someone who can be your Rock of Gibraltar…at least during the initial months of No Contact.  

This is where a tried and true narcissistic abuse recovery program can make all the difference.  

3.     One Foot in the Door Phase

The third of the key stages of healing after narcissistic abuse is very delicate. You start to rebuild your identity, but your past tends to get in the way. You might start to give the narcissist too much credit and think “we both treated each other poorly” or “they’ve experienced abuse, too.”

Although it’s less common than during phase two, you can revert to the earlier phases of trauma recovery at any time without much warning. That’s why support and guidance from experienced professionals or transformational coaches are so important during the entire process.

Now that you’re starting to feel confident in yourself and your decisions, you might feel compelled to reach out to the narcissist on casual terms. Maybe they’ve changed? (They haven’t.)

During this phase, you will be dealing with withdrawal from the biochemical addiction that formed after repeated cycles of abuse.  When you’re in withdrawal, your mind will tell you all sorts of things to get you to make contact so you can get a rush of dopamine.  It will tell you that things can go back to the way they used to be, before the abuse set in with full force.  

For a little while, this idea will seem feasible as your brain clings onto fragile memories, leaving you with an aching yearn.  You’ll convince yourself you overreacted to everything.  At the very least, you’ll find yourself seeking closure or an explanation.  But take heed, reaching out to the narcissist will set you back in your recovery, or worse, land you straight back into the cycle of abuse. 

Just ask survivors of narcissistic abuse who tried this approach.

4.     Objective Analysis Phase

At this point in healing from narcissistic abuse, you can look back at your past objectively without feeling overwhelmed with emotions like anger or too much regret.

You’ve spent a great deal of time looking inwards and identifying emotional triggers left over from the narcissistic abuse. Now, you’re ready to start helping others who are in the early phases of trauma recovery.

Although you’ve put a lot of work into rebuilding your identity, you might find yourself slipping back into feelings of worthlessness or doubting your ability. You might not realize this is a hold-over from the abuse, but it is.

This is where most narcissistic abuse survivors suffer from the symptoms of attempted perspecticide.  

Evan Stark, an award-winning researcher and professor at Rutgers is credited as first coining the term “perspecticide” in his 2007 book, Coercive Control. Perspecticide is the incapacity to know what you know, as a result of abuse.

With perspecticide, the abuser slowly chips away at your perspective until you have no thoughts of your own. Perspecticide was first used as a psychological manipulation tactic on prisoners of war and later by cult leaders, topics I’ve written about before.

The goal is to achieve a total loss of identity in the intended target.

After all, it’s much easier to control a person when they have no thoughts, opinions, and feelings of their own.

When you find yourself slipping back into the shadows of loss of self, remember how far you’ve come.  You no longer have to be affected by the narcissist’s verbal holocaust or snide opinions.  You no longer have to be their emotional punching bag or receptacle for their hatred.  

If you’ve taken the necessary steps to free yourself, your life is a clean slate on which you can paint a beautiful watercolor of your future.

5.     Acceptance and Reintegration Phase

You can see things clearly and as they are. You know your abilities and limitations – not the ones the narcissist railed into you.

At this point, you understand how to develop healthy relationships and you have the courage to take action if someone tries to treat you poorly.

Don’t ever let your guard down too much though – narcissists are everywhere. But you’ve learned how to stand up to their abuse before it gets too far.

Healing from Complex Trauma and PTSD from Narcissistic Abuse

It’s absolutely crucial to move through the five phases of trauma recovery as you’re healing from narcissistic abuse. You need to analyze how the trauma developed in order to unravel it for good.

But with the right support, you can – and you’ll be shocked at how amazing it feels when you can flourish on the other side.

Today, after healing myself through the exact steps in The Break Free Program, I experience healthy, happy relationships that are kind, supportive, and fulfilling, and I have absolutely no trouble walking away from anyone who is manipulative or abusive because I feel safe and in ownership of my worth and power.

I want the same for you too.

If you want to become aligned with these truths to actualize your recovery out of the pain and into truly healthy, wholesome, and fulfilling connections, then I’d love to help you.

You can start this journey today by clicking this link.

As always, I eagerly look forward to answering your comments and questions below.

If you’re ready to break free and get started on the stages of healing after narcissistic abuse NOW, there’s only ONE way to do it: Let me show you how to forget the narcissist and move on.

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Leave a Comment:

Nettie says June 24, 2023

I have just read your artical. Omg, it does describe my ex husband. I stayed with him for 51 years!! My daughter knew what it was like for me and helped me leave. I shall not go into detail, but I left him in Sept 2021. I am free as he doesn’t know where I am. However, I still dream about him and his family. In my dreams he is just has he used to be when we were together. I haven’t recorded him, I can’t face it. All that matters is I’m free and don’t have to face each day wondering what the day would bring. Thank you for the artical because I do blame myself a lot still for his behavior and the constant making excuses for it to family and friends. Thank you. Xx

Anonymous says January 6, 2023

It’s been over 10 years of not being together and I still have poor self worth. Still wonder what I did wrong. What I should have done. I don’t have any friends. They were all her friends. At 63 it’s even harder for me. I see a counselor too. I’m so glad I’m not in that relationship anymore but it was 11 years long and I just wish I could erase it in my head.

Melanie says March 3, 2022

All of what I’ve experienced. This email came at the perfect time. Thank you

Steven says January 18, 2022

I lived in public housing for 9 in a half years. A cliq of narcissists would torment me either directly from them or sending flying monkies. It was as if I did not have a choice and felt raped every time they said or done something to me in their twisted behavior. I was on the verge of suicide until I won a settlement and was able to buy my own house and place. What sickens me is that the administration of housing knew how the narcissists were but they would tell victims to “learn to get along with them.” They would never do anything about their actions. The police would even respond as if the narcissts were victims when they were actually perpetrating everything. They just wanted to complain over the actions of others what they did to them. Sad selfish game and it’s even sadder that administrations and cities allow it to happen.

Lisa McGovern says December 4, 2021

Is there anyone that can reach out and help me at the moment

Donna says November 20, 2021

Will the boot camp address insecure attachment styles?

    Kim Saeed says November 23, 2021

    Hi Donna,

    The Bootcamp doesn’t address attachment styles specifically, but it does help with insecure attachment in other ways. The THRIVE program is extremely effective at this. If you’ve been out of a toxic relationship for a while and want to get to a place of empowerment, THRIVE may be the best choice and it’s currently on special. You can find out more here:



MaryElise says January 11, 2021

This is a good post. One point I”d like to make is that for those of us who grew up with a mother with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it is even more insidious because it is literally all you ever knew. Even if you did realize how crazy-making and abnormal your situation was, you don’t have the option of going no contact. You’re trapped in a prison of mental torture for all of your developing years. When I finally moved out of my mother’s hose, I truly did feel as if I had escaped from a war zone, though I still struggle to regain my sanity and self-worth. Recovery is, as you so accurately state, a lifelong process, and requires constant conscious work. I have had people tell me to “get over” my bad childhood, as if it were that easy. These are always people who have never experienced true NPD and it’s evils.

    Gloria Rose Falco says June 1, 2021

    So true! The covert Narcissist ex felt like family.

Susie says September 14, 2020

Are your courses also pertinent to daughters of narcissistic mothers? My mother recently passed away and all the trauma is coming out on me now

Been There says April 23, 2020

One reason many victims believe the trauma is their fault is because of returning to the abusive Narc many times. Friends & family tire of the drama they get drawn into, warning repeatedly do not to return to the abuser. When we do again, they throw up their hands in frustration & say this time you’re on your own—whatever happens to you happens—I don’t want to hear about it. So, when the Narc does what a Narc does again, there is no one for us to turn to in our pain. That’s why vics believe the trauma experience is of their own making.

    Donna says November 21, 2021

    Been There—- it was helpful to read what you wrote. It is exactly what has happened in my life. I left 7 times which I think is the average. It hurts that my family gave up. But I understand they don’t get it. I barely did myself.

The Road To Recovery From Narcissistic Abuse – Side Road Movie says January 23, 2020

[…] (Kim Saeed has a very realistic and wonderful blog and extremely comforting, supportive, insightful, and empowering) […]

INGEBURG MACAULAY says January 11, 2020


These 8 Things That May Be Affecting Your Health says October 31, 2019

[…] and once you are aware, to take steps to put it behind you. There’s a lot of help out there, from narcissistic abuse recovery to therapy, that can help you. Over time, you’ll notice that your health improves, […]

Lindy says October 21, 2019

My situation is really complicated because my ex was emotionally/physically abusive to me, his mom was physically abusive to her kids then manipulated me away from my family and on top of all this I had his psychosocial ex who stalked, harassed, cyberbullied and assaulted me.

Sandy says October 12, 2019

I found Kim 2 years ago. I remember thinking who is this person. She has no clue about what she’s talking about and I had only read 2 sentences.
Thank God I continue to receive emails from Kim today! Kim these emails are what kept me alive in my darkest moments.
I had no idea what a narcissist was before. And had no idea why I felt I had nothing to live for after I left my ex in 2017. I thought I was crazy! Everyone I cried to thought I had lost it I cried for almost 2 years straight. I cut all my ties to mutual friends well they cut me out. Im am pretty much alone . I am homeless since I left and have been very lonely but reading these emails help me get a lil stronger each time. I ended up having multiple strokes labor day weekend so now I cant drive so being isolated sucks and I have broke the no contact but luckily for me Im being ghosted again (the silent treatment has a name). Thank you Kim for being my only support system

    Kim Saeed says November 23, 2021

    I am glad to know my emails are giving you support and encouragement, Sandy. I hope you can heal from your strokes and maintain no contact. Regarding friends who’ve bailed, maybe this video will help:

    Keeping you in my thoughts,


Beth says October 8, 2019

What about a relationship other than romantic love? Mother daughter sister close family?

    Kim Saeed says October 18, 2019

    Hi Beth, these steps can be applied to any emotionally abusive relationship. Many folks have left relationships with family because it was the only way they could ensure their emotional survival. Hope that helps!


Anonymous says October 7, 2019

I experienced ongoing abuse and trauma throughout my life, prior to my encounter with narcissistic abuse. (Medical abuse and trauma, child abuse, parental neglect, relationship/partner abuse….) It not just one bad relationship causing CPTSD. I was born with birth defects, a genetic chronic illness, and am disabled. I accomplished a lot in spite of all of this, but have also been treated badly by the people around me because if my differences. I did not have support growing up. I never felt secure and was mistreated by many people I trusted. I do not know how to tell who is safe or how much to trust anyone. In addition, I have very few resources and live on SSDI, which is not sufficient to afford rent. This makes me materially and physically needy and vulnerable.

Disability makes me isolated and lonely too. The message I get from many people, and society in general, is that I am not good enough, have little to no value, and am not desirable except to use and abuse. (There are exceptions, but those people are not nearby.)

I don’t know how to heal from the narcissistic abuse, have healthy relationships, trust or feel safe in my situation. The conditions that make me vulnerable are ongoing and longstanding.

    Lisa says April 24, 2020

    Try to find a family justice center in your area as many of them offer classes like Pattern Changing, boundaies, healthy relationships and much more!

Why the Narcissist is Not There for You in Your Time of Need - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program says September 5, 2019

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Betty Schweitzberger says August 30, 2019

I read everything you post but I live on Social Security and I’m not able to pay even 37.00 a month. I misunderstood and thought it was free. I sent a post earlier about what it was like for me but forgot to put my name to it so I don’t know if it posted. But yes this is the most horrible thing I’ve experienced in my whole life. 19 years marred and didn’t know such a disorder existed.

Are You Dealing With a 100% Narcissist? - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program says August 22, 2019

[…] Psychological Narcissistic Abuse The Wounded Child: 7 Needs Narcissistic Parents Cannot Provide Working The 5 Phases of Trauma Recovery After Narcissistic Abuse Healing from Identity Loss After Narcissistic […]

Alison says June 6, 2019

I live in public housing and am surrounded by a few NPDs. They leave me alone for a time, then break into my apartment or start bullying me. It is calculated systemic abuse and it’s not just me, they cycle around and around to other targeted persons. I think at least two of them meet the criteria for sociopaths versus narcissists. I have no idea how to break free from this. I am stuck in public housing for now until there is a cure for multiple sclerosis. I am getting closer to the age I can move into senior housing, but this is no guarantee I will be free of the diabolical NPD personalities. I think this is a crucial recovery course. -Alison

    Paula says September 5, 2019

    I’m praying for you. Call the police when they break in!!!

Caron says June 6, 2019

I’ve been no contact for almost two weeks (again). This time I am stronger. The feeling come back of wanting to b with him again, wanting to have compassion for his self destructiveness, and dreams, but I’m soldiering on through all of that and knowing there is no going back. I went no contact because I had a conversation with him where he described things like not cleaning the house all the time, gaining weight and being lazy as terrible offences, with his voice full of scorn, but his own infidelities, repeated, were just a passing thought, not worth any scorn or regret. He also revealed himself to be rewriting history so that some of the things he did he doesn’t remember or has changed. There is no going back. So I still have the earlier stages of emotions coming back, and I’m sure I will cry again, but I’m more than dipping my toes in stage 5, and it feels great!

The eye movement thing really can help bounce you out of the painful reverie that happens, or irrational thought patterns. We have been traumatized, so trauma therapy helps.

Kim’s blog helps keep me aware, too, of what he was, and that there will be no change, and that it is better if the good parts of it don’t actually exist and to go it alone than go back and trade the trauma for the fake love and affection.

    Kim Perkins says September 26, 2019

    Just re-read what you wrote. Very encouraging. I’m in the planning stages and will re-read this for myself. I wish you hope. Take care….

Julie says May 20, 2019

I just recently found your articles and wish I had known there was a name to what I was going through all those years. I was married to one for 23 years. I stayed for my son until he was 21 and grown and finally found the strength to leave 8 years ago. It has been a long, hard road to recovery. I will never get over it, but I’m finally able to get past it. It’s amazing and so sad to see how many people go through this. I read your articles every day and I am a much stronger and confident woman.
Thank you, Kim.

Harry says May 16, 2019

Hi Kim and thank you for the article, is it usual to regress through the various stages even when at times you feel you’ve reached stage 5 ?

    Kim Saeed says May 20, 2019

    Hi Harry,

    Yes, it’s quite common. Because we have memories that will sometimes pop up from nowhere…and even the subconscious things we may not be purposefully thinking about.

    Don’t worry. We may not be able to amputate ourselves from the past, but if you’ve spent some time in phase 5, you’re doing well!


      Harry says May 22, 2019

      Thank you very much Kim and please keep on writing for us, it’s all very much appreciated.

Bill says April 17, 2019

I am a male survivor of female narcissistic abuse. And I know I am not alone. But it’s a lonely journey, nonetheless. Men are afraid of seeming weak or stupid or, even whiny, if we talk about this. Other men treated me as “less than” and sometimes defended her. Of course they did. She was a very skillful charmer and manipulator.

I have been in recovery for five years and can say that the recovery has benefitted me.I have grown in empathy and forgiveness. I worked as a popular (unaccredited) counselor in a facility that is part of a drug and alcohol treatment center. Strangely I kept getting requests from men and women to talk about relationship suffering they didn’t understand. The majority of those people were in or had just gotten out of relationships with NPD types. I think we must attract each other at some level beneath consciousness.

It was very fulfilling work. And yet, I still get flashbacks, or catch myself in ruminations about my abuser. And many women and men dismiss me if I mention it. “Oh, grow up”. Bless their hearts – they haven’t been there. As with alcoholism, another of my gifts (and 35 years sober) I need to talk with fellow victims. I have found no place to do this. I left that rehab job to put significant distance between me and the abuser – and all of our mutual friends who constantly reminded me what a “nice girl” she is. She’s 60. I”d love to hear from other men. I live in the Minneapolis area. We need a survivors group. Vampire Victims Anonymous? I want to mention that I’m a published writer and workshop leader. And I’m good at both. Perhaps all this should push me in a new professional direction?

Thanks for your work here.

Afterthought – I reread the letter and had a brief twinge of feeling stuck on the pity pot. Not so!

Sahithi says April 12, 2019

Hi everyone. This is my first time commenting on a blog. Never reached out to blogs or websites to help myself through difficult times, but this time I feel the need to share what has happened with me.

I was in an abusive relationship. Physically, emotionally and sexually abusive. It took a lot of effort and time and to come out of that relationship. I knew I had to come out of it but didn’t know how. I felt trapped and powerless. For the longest time I did not trust myself or my decisions.

With regular therapy and a strong need to save myself, I did come out. The process took a lot out of me, but I did come out and for a period of time I was happy. I was relieved and calm and in control of myself. I was working non stop and did things that I never would have imagined. I enjoyed being by myself.

It all came back to me at once when I started dating someone else (who is now my husband). This is a man who loves me immensely. The kind of affection and comfort he gives me is something I never experienced in life.

So at this phase I started to realise all the things that were not supposed to happen. Even the simplest thing as the way my hand needs to be held. When my hand was touched with genuine affection and love, it felt different. It’s new. My hand remembers how it felt when it was touched with anger.

The most simple things started to strike me and I came to realise that my body has not recovered from what happened. Now I have outbursts of anxiety. Strange sensations that don’t make sense at all.

Although I don’t remember much, on a thought level, my body still remembers. Now I am in a phase where I have come to realise the damage it has done to my very soul and my very spirit.

My self, has been damaged. It’s like I have been crushed completely and need to build myself from the scratch again. I know what would come out of this is a kind of person I have never been before. Someone with immense strength.

To all those who are reading this, who are experiencing or recovering from trauma, be with yourself as much as you can. Your resources to heal are within you and no one else.

Laura A. says March 4, 2019

I love reading your articles. They contain so much helpful information….both on recognizing narcissism and healing from it as well. It has taken me yrs to heal from the emotional wounds but I am finally learning to set boundaries and to love myself as I am. It is so totally wonderful on the other end of the trauma. Thank u for all you do Kim.

    Kim Saeed says March 10, 2019

    Thank you for your kind praise, Laura! I am so happy to know you are healing and I wish you all the very best, truly. XoXo

Children of Narcissistic Parents: Healing by Grief - The Morning Magalogue. says March 3, 2019

[…] Kim Saeed – Working The 5 Phases of Trauma Recovery After Narcissistic Abuse […]

PTSD in the Aftermath of Narcissistic Abuse - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program says February 26, 2019

[…] Psychological Narcissistic Abuse The Wounded Child: 7 Needs Narcissistic Parents Cannot Provide Working The 5 Phases of Trauma Recovery After Narcissistic Abuse Healing from Identity Loss After Narcissistic Abuse On a Dating Site? One of the Top Ways to […]

Fear, Obligation and Guilt (FOG) After Narcissistic Abuse | AMother'sHeartSongsUnsilenced says February 5, 2019

[…] “When people think of trauma, they tend to imagine isolated events like natural disasters or car accidents. But trauma can take many forms. Narcissistic abuse is a soul-crushing form of trauma because it slowly builds up like an avalanche. In many cases, it affects your identity on a very deep level for several years. That’s why healing from narcissistic abuse is an ongoing process – not an instantaneous event. Healing from complex trauma and PTSD from narcissistic abuse requires a much different approach than recovering from isolated traumatic events.”… […]

Susanne says February 3, 2019

Hello from Sweden!

From my bearth it start and had follow me since then?

Will I ever heal????….

This time it has going on in 9 years. I am totaly crashed, my spirit, my brain, my body, my work, my dance, my health, my happiness, my sense of humor, my hope, my trust…….Me and My whole own life of Everything is gone???

    Kim Saeed says February 3, 2019

    Hi Susanne,

    I am sorry to learn you are struggling. Please know it’s never too late to heal and be happy. It will take some dedication, but it’s absolutely possible. You’ll want to make sure you shed any relationships in your life that make you feel bad about yourself and also join a program and find a good trauma therapist. The therapist can help you process the trauma and the program will help you heal and stay on track in between sessions.

    I’m rooting for you.

    Kim XoXO

    Hope Wozniak says February 3, 2019

    Never give up, Sweetie. You will heal in time. God loves you and is mindful of your grief.

    Jeanne says March 29, 2019

    Oh, everything is not gone … Your post touched my heart. I too am healing, long journey ahead for me. What I have realized is my NARC wants me to feel worthless, wants my childhood abandonment issues to be in full force because he enjoys seeing me suffer. I am trying to “lean into” what is a horrible time- but this is temporary, remember that. I see the clear skies ahead way off in the horizon. I encourage you to keep your eyes on the prize of a new, healthier and fulfilling life without the NARC. Peace be with you on your healing , we are all one big tribe here looking for better, healthier lives.

cheryl wakefield says January 29, 2019

i lived with a ( what i now know to be ) a narcissist for 20 years also suffering from childhood sexual abuse and rape from the age of 8 years old by my father and with my mothers knowledge …we quickly fell in love and it was great for about 12 month i couldnt believe my luck as i already had 3 children by 2 different relationships( i had my first son while still at school ) he showered me with gifts took my children out spent money on us ….i started noticing a difference in his behaviour and accusations started mildly at first, it got to the stage where i was being accused of sleeping with his friends ( thou he never accused his friends to their face or even said anything to them it was all done while we were alone behind prying eyes i even admitted to stuff that i know i hadnt done but according to him i was a lair and he wasnt i was beat up on many occassions for nothing . he never apoligised and admit ant wrong doing .. he self diagnosed himself as a schizophrenic ( i know he isnt one now ) he had an alter ego called jim and jim was a woman hater i was living with 2 people i didnt even know …one morning he said to me ” i had to stop jim from raping you last night ” i was petrified i had nobody i could turn to he had isolated me from every body .

Karen OConnor says January 22, 2019

I was married to a Narcissist for 20 plus years . I am also a therapist . This complex ptsd is insidious and horrible . I think I am well into the reintegration phase it took 12 years . My finances are non existent , I’ve had to start over completely . Curious about that part I feel like finally I am reconnecting with the girl before I ever met him . It feels good to find her .

Erin says January 22, 2019

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is worth trying. It has helped with my cPTSD so much.

Tracy Kelso says January 8, 2019

I have an appointment with a lawyer in a few short hours, I can’t sleep because i feel like
my heart is being ripped out of my chest and the very air in my lungs hurts to breath in and exhale.. I want to cry, scream, cuss and run back to him at the same time. My God how i loved/love the man i thought he was. I’m broken and completely alone!

    Kim Perkins says September 26, 2019

    You’re not alone.

Brittany says December 11, 2018

For me, the narcissist was my sister. Decades of this starting in my very early stages of childhood. It finally came to a head about a month ago, and I blocked all contact with her. But I’m still struggling with moving forward. I think since it started so early, it not only diminished my self confidence, but kept it from ever developing at all. I’m honestly such a mess.

    Kim Saeed says December 12, 2018

    Hi Brittany. That was a very brave move. Many people have had to go No Contact with family members and it is extremely difficult, but often necessary. I wish you all the best as you move forward in your healing journey.

    Kim XoXo

Naomi says December 2, 2018

I find that a practice of waking up each morning finding something to be thankful for is very helpful. I thank God for peace and quiet for being able to sleep for whatever and it sets my day much better.

Mara says November 27, 2018

I appreciate this article. I spent a year with my narcissist. Every time I long for him in that raw, visceral way, I stop and make myself remember what it feels like to be with him. The euphoria and happiness only ever occurred for me when I felt I had “won” his affection. During those short periods of time, he made me feel incredibly important and special. The lows that followed when he would dissapear without warning or cause were bad, but the worst part was when I would confront him for disappearing or his bad behaviors following this happy time period, and he would lash out at me and twist the narrative, making me feel unimportant. He would tell me there were voices in my head making me act “crazy”. I would always apologize, at first just to get him back as quickly as I could, not because I believed his words. Towards the end, I started to doubt event sequencing, and wonder if he may be right. I am an intelligent, highly successful woman, and yet somehow allowed myself to be bent into a hapless victim by this man. The irony was often when I was with him, I pitied him for his faults. I felt superior to him during his alcoholic episodes nightly. I held him during his frequent bouts of meloncholy. I treated him like he needed my help.

    Caron says June 6, 2019

    Mara, he did need your help, but he couldn’t accept it. He will not be able to accept anyone’s help, ever, though he will always need it. He hates the whole world because he cannot shake his need.

    The good news I hope you have discovered is that what you are is needed by others, and sometimes you will find someone who can actually receive your help.

jean mitchell says October 29, 2018

read your interesting article on narc abuse and how the healing can take a long long time. I met someone earlier in the year. Knew him for about five months. He flirted like mad. Was very complimentary and after ten meetings I was well and truly hooked. He never laid a hand on me but it was me that couldn’t resist him. Long story but he didn’t live permanently in the area and was going back to his home address and returning after a few days sometimes longer. I am an empath so naturally I fell for his sob story. We became close (I recall a couple of times that there were moments when things struck me as odd but let them go. He was attractive but also strangely very unempathic. I called a halt to it once and he returned; we became close again and as the story goes he disappeared again. I cried and cried over him – like many others I thought he was my soul mate etc etc. I believe he will return again although I have for the second time told him – it’s over. I won’t let him in my house again – never had an experience like this (and I am an older person). It’s like being under a spell. It was a shock to hear it can take a long long time to heal, I am feeling a little better but still find myself crying,

jean m

Nina says October 24, 2018

I’ve just gone through two decades of abuse like this. It nearly killed me in the first ten years then I escaped to have him reenter and the last four years I’ve been more messed up than I could imagine despite that I spent most of it away from him living with my mother while he stayed on my farm….. I’ve just had two hospitalisarions for stress which has left me worse this second time. I’m terrified because I’ve swallowed psych meds again and they mess my thinking and metabolism. I’ve taken two overdoses since leaving hospital. Before this I knew who I was, or before the hosputalisatiins . I couldn’t take my clothes off I couldn’t shower. I’m still at my mother’s and I’m sock of it all. Worki f through the narcessist traumas in my own, every event in my life passo g before my eyes again in my mind, I wish I had written it all down.
I now feel insane. On the other side now is more terrifying than being in it from a who the hell am I. While he was behaving badly I still kept my sanity so I thought. Out of hospital and living with my mother against. Despite that I have a house and a farm 300 km away I’m a nut case.I should have gone to a psych appointmt should MIT have been rude to the xcase manager. God is teari g me and I’m failing. I’m sick of god or trying f to decide what he wants me to do. The abuser is still ocvupyi g my farm….. He won. I’ve turned on myself, I’ve self medicated, I’ve been the failure ti not leave my mother’s house for months on end………I’m sick of writing this stuff, I wish I had written the autobiography that went through my head for the last five years. Word for word recounting in my mind the events that happened. Now its just the sickening thought that he had my land he has the upper hand he is in control and etuoid mW sat here for months away from hi. Self harmi g……

Mima says October 22, 2018

Hi Kim,

I am having terrible time accepting many things. I am calm, but completely sad. I cry a lot. I knew (since I am extreme em-path and have great intuition) when he was with other women. I knew that when we were together. I couldn’t sleep those nights. I am 52, discarded victim of polygamist narcissist, and replaced with a friend of mine. that is even worse, to know how charming and nice he is with her…I have gone no contact, and I am counting every day in calendar. I will never open the door for this sticky snake, since I was persuaded that I am having mental disorders while he was f around and give me 6 different bacteria’s in 3 years of relationship. I spent year with therapist, and he could not even recognized him as Narc.
I had many red flags, I wanted to believe him and believe in fairy tale…he is such an old cheater and womanizer, so well organized in finding material, such an evil person..all planned – unfortunately I have no one to talk about this. And it is very difficult to carry all this feelings inside, with no one to share. So I am telling you – thank you Kim…. thank you for your articles…Love , Mima

Diane Murillo says October 16, 2018

Yes every thing you say about the narcissist is so very true. He’s the victim not you he changes everything around I never experience anyone like this in my life sad to say

Ru Weeks says October 16, 2018

I wish I would have known about this sooner. Not to long ago I feel victim to narcissistic abuse that caused me to lose a lot in life. Not only my job and home, but I was so mentally destroyed that I was committed due to friends and families fears of the vary clear multiple attempts of suicide, due to the fact I blamed everything on myself. I now am a stronger person and have been helping others grow from their own traumas. This brought me to tears while reading it, because unknowingly I took the same steps in my personal recovery. I can honestly say I’ve never been better in my life, but the scars from my past still remain, and will be a constant reminder to not allow myself to be taken advantage of again.

Catherine says September 27, 2018

Stayed in a 36 yr marriage with a narc thanks for all the articles

Natasha says September 22, 2018

Dear Kim, my recovery from the narcissistic abuse would have been much, much slower and much more painful without your blog and the advice you’ve sent me by e-mail. Thank you for all the help you offer to us victims, or, I dare say: survivors. Realizing that all Narcs behave in more or less the same way helped me give up the illusion of his true love for me (oh, this was the hardest part!) or any authentic feeling whatsoever. My therapist is not experienced in NPD and it took me some time to realize that he’s been giving me very dangerous advice such as: stop viewing this relationship as something completely evel, cherish your beautiful memories instead or you’ll end up feeling bitter and sad. No, no, no! This was weakenig my NC attitude and yes, three months after I ended the relationship I was in contact with my Narc again, met him in the street and talked to him. He was very sarcastic (luckily: what the outcome would be if he were charming and „empathetic“?) and luckily I responded equally sarcasticly and left realizing how wrong it was to even exchange a few words with him. I also realized that my „full recovery“ at that time was an illusion. The same day I got your e-mail about quantum leaps. That is exactly what happened to me and that is why all of a sudden I felt so vulnerable again. You’re so right: there is no way to bypass a very long and very painful process of rebuilding my self esteem and cease reacting the way he programmed me. Thank you dear Kim!

Louise O'Donovan says September 22, 2018

My family helped me leave my husband after 5 attempts with my kids, after 22 surgeries in 20 years and 2 near death experiences. He turned my children – 14 +17 against me – convinced them im crazy, I was excommunicated from the Church and no-one in my old friendship/school group will have anything to do with me. I was admitted again to hospital 3 days ago as I have recurring pancreatitis and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia with every symptom listed. I’m grateful for an incredible family, new church family and allowed my old friends back who were forbidden to speak to me from him. Finally knowing I am not crazy has given me so much peace! Thank you for this article, it is helping me get maintenance help from him for the rest of my life as he never allowed me to wirk and I walked away with the clothes on my back. But I have gained my life back!

Laura says August 23, 2018

Hi, I’ve been educating myself on narcissistic abuse because my 18 year old daughter just left a 2 year relationship with one and my best friend of many years is currently in a relationship with one. The reason I know this is because I am one of many loved ones who’ve seen the red flags. In my daughter’s case, she saw it on her own and with our support she broke up with him. In my best friend’s case, she is listening to no one and I feel as if I am losing her friendship altogether. I keep hoping and praying that someday she’ll see the truth and I won’t lose her. However, it’s been a year and I fear she will marry him eventually and be trapped for years, if not permanently. Does anyone have any advice on how I can be supportive?

Sheryl says August 17, 2018

Thank you so much, Kim! Your articles opened my eyes and put a name to what I was dealing with…evil and a medically recognized disorder.

I was in a 17 year relationship with my narcissist-married for 14 of those years. I ignored countless red flags from the very beginning of our relationship but his charm and love bombing were addictive. He caused me to lose two professional careers, refused to move close to my family (we live on an island in the Pacific), after he retired he left me alone for 6 months a year to work in another state and refused to compromise. When he was angry with me, and that was most of the time, he shouted at me, pushed me, called me names, slammed doors, and would leave the house for hours to punish me (“you hate to be alone, this is why you are alone”, he would say while exiting).

I filed a TRO after asking him to leave for 48 hours the last time he pushed me-4 weeks post op on my surgical site and 3 weeks after his open-heart surgery. Imagine a narcissist anger at this. I dissolved the TRO when he did not appear because he was in the hospital with pneumonia. Needless to say, he says he did nothing and his account of the event changes every time he tells it.

He filed for divorce a month after. I am 70 years old and going through much anxiety about starting over as my income is not what it should be because of his lies about my security. We have been displaced from our home for 1 year because of a fire in our condo building-which he did not come home from his summer job for 5 months to help me. I now am dealing with the divorce, the remediation on our home with plans to rent and sell it, and trying to figure out where I will live when all this is over. I was weak several times and asked him not to go through with the divorce. I suggested we live separately so that I could keep my health insurance. Of course, it just fed his already inflated ego and he said, NO each time always placing all of our marital problems on me.

I have to admit that I feel so guilty about some of the thing I told him in anger, for bringing up the horrible things he did to me, and most of all, for not leaving sooner. All of the things you say about Narcissists taught me about what I was dealing with and confirmed that I am not crazy, to blame, or imagining and misjudging my narcissist. I was right on but too hooked into the toxic affects of a narcissistic relationship to leave. My energy, vitality, and zest for living no longer existed. I spent my days lonely and always looking over my shoulder to confirm my suspicions of his behavior. Basically, I was married-he was not.

PLEASE, listen to Kim, run, don’t walk away from this kind of relationship no matter what! It will only get worse-they will only get worse. They do not mellow with age. They get much worse because they are losing their looks, their health, their vitality, and the ability to attract prey. Even worse, if you are healthier and have aged better than them they resent you for that and their jealousy of this makes thing worst.

Kim, I can’t thank you enough.

With much gratitude, Sheryl

    Kim Saeed says August 20, 2018

    Thank you for your kind praise, Sheryl! I am so glad to know you are out of that situation. Thank you for stopping by and sharing. Wishing you all life’s best as you heal and move forward.

    Kim XoXo

Sally says August 17, 2018

Yes, it’s important to know that what’s required is for you to have total and complete control of your own, life body and thoughts. Retrain Yourself to only accept decency and respect.

Laura says August 12, 2018

Firstly, thank you so much for writing your blog. I would never have been able to end my abusive marriage without the support of my incredible therapist and such useful and eye-opening blogs like yours to help me see the truth of what has been going on.

My husband and I have been separated for six weeks now and all I feel is numbness or guilt. In my last counselling session I broke down and said “I just feel like I’ve messed up his life.” I was prepared to feel all sorts of emotions but I didn’t think I would slip back into guilt and self blame so easily. It is a comfortable place for me to be in, I guess. I realise I still have a lot of work to do. It’s hard to learn to love yourself and step out of deeply entrenched feelings of guilt and shame when that’s all you’ve ever known. But I believe it’s possible!

At some point in this process I also hope to be able to access my anger and express it in some way. I tried to do it in couples counselling but found it very hard as it was so badly received by my husband. I had to tread so carefully. I’m grateful that our couples counsellor was able to identify that he was abusive as that really helped me to believe that I am not crazy, making things up, etc. I have not gone no contact and I’m realising it’s because he still has power over me. I want to keep him happy out of fear that he’ll be angry with me. I want to be truly free from that one day. He still contacts me regularly and when we communicate I instantly feel stressed, anxious, trapped, confused…I still hope friendship is an option in the future as he is seeing a therapist too and working hard on himself and deep down I have a lot of love for him. I’m just not sure if he has the capacity or ability to really understand the problem. I can’t imagine him ever being able to truly empathise and put others first. But I have hope for him. I want him to be happy. It’s messed up! I think that a year from now I’ll look back on these days differently and see things more clearly. I would love it if my self worth did not depend on him anymore.

The journey continues 🙂

Hope Wozniak says August 9, 2018

Over 40 years of my life has been wasted thinking it would get better. It is worse than ever before and I am suffering financially, and health wise. He took all my resources and retirement and inheritances and now I cannot get the insulin I need as I am in the “gap” as they say. No money to buy insulin and get the care I need but he gets all VA healthcare benefits free and I have no resources to buy insulin. Your site helped me to identify my situation as so much “rang true” in the toxic relationship but now it is too late for me as he destroyed my life. Only by the grace of God am I surviving his destruction of me emotionally, mentally and financially and he is the same jerk he has always been. I was not diagnosed as being a narc victim soon enough. I encourage women NOT to waste any more time on their Narcs. They will NEVER change. Mine was sooooo religious but he was still a cruel Narc. Thank God He helped me to see that what he was doing to me and was not Christian at all and I did not have to bend to his every will which was full of bad mistakes and insults and everything that makes a narc a narc. Have a few good friends but do not want to wear them down with this garbage pile of a life I have. Thank you for your insights….they have greatly helped me. Now I need to heal and I am 77 years old and very depressed of the mess he made of my life and old age as he took it all from me. Not much future ahead of me. All I want is some peace and the narc still will not leave me alone. I am dependent on him financially but he is not even coming through on that. Can’t get blood out of a turnip. And I am sinking in quick sand month by month. Very depressing.

Kat says August 8, 2018

I was in a narcissistic relationship for 6 years. I was first told this by a counselor who said I needed to go no contact in order to even think about healing from his abuse. It took another three years and the support of to really ‘get it’. I went thru the ‘we could at least be friends’ phase. After understanding why no contact is soooo important, I finally became dedicated to healing ME and have now been no contact for over a year. It hasn’t been easy, but the rewards are tremendous. I’m beginning to get ME back and continue on the healing journey. Truly, No Contact IS Essential!!!

PTSD in the Aftermath of Narcissistic Abuse - Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed says August 5, 2018

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Shirley.akpelu says August 4, 2018

I am in the fourth and fifth phase of recovery. I have accepted the fact that we are through and good riddance. I have my narc radar on top. I seem to be surrounded by narc demons. I am ready to press forward to therapy as well. I have come a long way in going on three years of separation and I have a long way to go. Thank you Kim for being part of the recovery.

Rebecca says August 3, 2018

I have only been out of the house for a month and I have yet to fully go no contact…to the extent that I can with kids. I know in my head that I need to firmly let him go but I keep feeling like I can’t. There is a financial component too and that has been his hook. I keep waiting to hear he has new supply since I barely look at him let alone “feed” him. I wish I could just walk away and never see him again. But the kids and finances won’t allow that. In a way I hope he finds new supply to force me to fully let go…and yet I know it will crush me at the same time. I’m praying for a change in finances soon and the will make it easier. I hope…

Kendra says August 3, 2018


You are not alone in this cycle and feeling: “When I am not irrationally missing him I can totally see with clarity exactly what he was and what he did.” In fact, I am quoting you because you articulated the feeling so clearly, for which I am grateful. Kim has inspired me to try other coping techniques beyond congnitive work (which is exhausting and leaves me feeling like I need to “fix” myself”), including breathing, aromas, mindfulness. Recently I tried with a counsellor RRT (rapid resolution therapy) that deals with the emotional brain. When I miss him painfully, I try one of the dialogues that makes me smile in spite of my seemingly pathetic self and numbs the missing enough to take that one step at a time.

Thank you for being open with us.

More hugs.

Lisa says August 2, 2018

I am in the Third Phase. It is exactly how you describe it. It really hurts. I have deleted him and blocked him, and mercifully he is too busy with his new supply to respond, but to be honest I have still struggled in keeping “perfect” No Contact. I totally fall into these times when I wonder if I made it all up or I will say to myself that he wasn’t that bad. When I get into those weird spaces I begin to miss him irrationally and deeply. I weep. I want him back. I try to break No Contact sometimes, but like I said, both he and I have made that nearly impossible, mercifully. It’s so painful, and to make matters worse, when I snap out of it I feel like such an idiot for thinking those crazy things! I feel angry and frustrated with myself. I wish I was firmly in Objective Analysis. When I am not irrationally missing him I can totally see with clarity exactly what he was and what he did. I consider myself pretty well versed on the truth about Narcissists. I just feel really stuck in this weird phase where I periodically lose touch with reality. 🙁

    Kim Saeed says August 3, 2018

    Hi Lisa,

    Please do not beat yourself up over this. What you’ve described is completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of or angry about. Try to let yourself feel those emotions without judging yourself. What you’re going through is the dissolution of the trauma bond and it is a difficult process, but if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will eventually stop feeling this way.


    Kim XoXo

      Amber says August 4, 2018

      The entire time my ex and I were together it felt like my head and my heart were at war with one another. They still are. I understand I was manipulated and conditioned. But, I also was very much in love with him…or the character he made up. For 25 years I loved him, though we weren’t together that whole time, I feel I have nothing to look forward to because it was all a lie. I feel like I’m grieving the death of someone who isn’t dead.

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