Recovering From A Narcissistic Relationship
Narcissistic Personality Disorder or commonly referred to as “NPD” is described by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) as a pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy. Not everyone who demonstrates narcissistic personality disorder characteristics is diagnosed with clinical NPD, but even so, it doesn't make these traits any easier to deal with in an intimate relationship.
In my counseling work, we often call someone who has been subjected to these narcissistic traits in a relationship as a victim of narcissistic abuse. A lack of empathy paired with patterns of inflated self-esteem and need for admiration can lead to unhealthy traits in a relationship such as intense criticism, controlling and manipulative tactics, and gaslighting.
Narcissists want their needs met, as do most people. However, narcissists tend to take drastic and often belittling actions to get theirs met, even if it means hurting you in the process. Under extreme circumstances, physical violence can even be a characteristic demonstrated by a narcissistic partner
When these things happen on a repeated basis it takes on a form of emotional abuse that leaves a deep rooted wound on one’s self-esteem, safety, and overall well-being. As a victim of this type of abuse you can find yourself isolated from loved ones, afraid to be your true self, in financial distress, co-dependent, or even coping with the stress in unhealthy ways.
Leaving any form of an abusive relationship is difficult, and if you find yourself on the other side of a relationship with a narcissistic and/or abusive partner, you are strong and capable and should be proud of yourself! However, you may still be left dealing with some trauma and pain from this experience. With this blog I am aiming to share some tips to prioritize during this difficult time to aid in your healing.
Seek Emotional Support:
It is important not to be alone during this time. Find someone you can trust and spend time with them. This time can be used for anything you need such as someone to talk to, someone to relax with, someone to have fun with. Anything that provides emotional support is helpful at this time.
This is always a piece of advice I give in counseling for anyone recovering from any form of trauma or distress. Treat yourself to things that make you feel healthy and strong.
Physical exercise is a great way to naturally de-stress and it's good for you mentally and physically. Travel. Sleep-in. Go out to eat. Do the things that you love or once loved on your own time without restrictions. Decompressing is key, however you want to do that. Coping is essential during this time, just as long as it’s healthy!
Set Firm Boundaries:
This is an important part of the recovery process because it sets you up for success moving forward, preventing slipping back into old patterns of even going back to the relationship. I always recommend taking safety precautions if necessary, like new home locks and changing your number/blocking your ex’s number.
Narcissists can often be charming, easily manipulative and have a tendency to “trick” their partners back into a relationship with them. Another good tip is to make your profiles on social media private. Spend your time with people who are not associated with your ex and minimize any contact to their social circle if need be.
Under certain circumstances, if you are obligated to keep contact with your ex if you share children or certain legal responsibilities, setting communication boundaries such as contact through a parenting app with a structured schedule is something I highly recommend.
Create a New Normal:
Now is an excellent time to begin creating new experiences, hobbies, interests, and routines for yourself. By removing yourself from the abusive relationship you have opened yourself up to a new life of freedom where you can experience joy, happiness, love, and create memories without the fear of criticism or push back.
Don’t be afraid to try new things, at your own pace, you deserve to be happy on your own terms. A lot of people recovering from an abusive relationship also join support groups, practice yoga, mediation, and additional healing activities.
Look Into Therapy:
Having emotional support from your friends and family is helpful as stated above, however, getting unbiased professional help and feedback from an expert therapist is an invaluable part of the recovery process in these situations. You may need some help to feel like yourself again. Therapy can help you to relieve the burden from any maladaptive thoughts you might be struggling with at this time like guilt or shame. Therapy is also a great aid in helping you manage any trauma, stress, or anxiety that may be lingering.
As I mentioned, if you have taken the steps to get out of a relationship with a narcissistic partner but still want some help, therapy is a great resource to begin deeper healing and processing. However, if you need help to leave any form of an abusive relationship, therapy can also help you throughout this process and prepare to do so in a safe way.
More About Me and My Therapeutic Approach
I use an individualized, solution focused approach in my work to help you begin to develop and work on your goals and your future. I also specialize in break-up recovery therapy where we can help to process this specific break-up and begin healing. Together we can focus on rebuilding your strength, self-esteem, and courage to move forward in your life to be the happiest, healthiest version of yourself.
If you or someone you know may need relationship support, break-up recovery, or are getting out of a narcissistic and/or abusive relationship, please don't hesitate to contact Bayview Therapy today at 954-391-5305 for a complimentary phone consultation to discuss your therapy needs and how I can help.
We have a big, brand new, beautiful office located in Plantation, Florida that can accommodate all your relationship needs. Online Therapy with our secure telehealth platform is also an awesome option for those with busy schedules.
For more information about my approach or my services, visit my bio here.
I look forward to speaking with you!