Recovering from narcissistic abuse is a gradual process, but the results will be worthwhile. Narcissistic Personality Disorder can harm relationships and hurt loved ones, especially those who are close to the narcissist. Embarking on this journey, the victim may want to research narcissistic behavior to understand its effect on relationships. Implementing self-care practices into everyday life may be challenging initially; however, undergoing the process is important for those who want to heal faster. Also, be mindful that you don’t have to go through this alone and there are professionals who are trained to give mental health treatment to help you recover and move on.
Practice Grounding Techniques
The foundation of almost any type of healing is using grounding techniques, which are also known as self-soothing methods. Most people who have been abused by a narcissist have thoughts of not being worthy of respect since they were constantly rejected by a person they loved. A section of the brain called the amygdala is responsible for these irrational thoughts that facilitate emotions of sadness and panic. By incorporating grounding techniques into a daily lifestyle, people will slowly begin to live in the present and dismiss those irrational thoughts.
Here are some great examples of grounding techniques when the feelings of betrayal, rejection, and abandonment arise:
- Breathe through the core and release anxious thoughts with each exhale
- Phone a friend to engage in conversation
- Go for a brisk walk around town or a local park
- Create a list of five positive things that occurred in the past week
These self-soothing methods are also used by people battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Release Negative Emotions
There is no doubt that learning grounding techniques prepares wounded people for other important steps to healing. Almost immediately following the detachment of a narcissist, abused people should allow themselves to vent their anger and begin the grieving period. If these feelings are not processed effectively, the emotions are sure to resurface as time progresses.
The common symptoms of unresolved feelings are:
- The onset of medical conditions like eating disorders, chronic pain, and obesity
- Constantly in a state of anger, fatigue, sadness, and/or depression
- Frequent misuse of drugs or alcohol
Complicated grief may also present itself during the grieving period. Complicated grief is a severe form of grief that makes moving on with everyday life extremely difficult. Because most people end the relationship with the abuser with many unanswered questions and unrequited love, it’s easy to remain in pain.
Obtain a Positive Self-Image
One of the most important steps in resolving past issues with the abuser is to work on creating a positive self-image. Many narcissists try to make other people feel invisible and invalidated. Despite the abuser’s intentions, these emotions do not have to define the victim. An essential thought to keep in mind is that no one can make people feel a certain way without the victim’s consent.
During the healing process, it’s absolutely crucial that there is a no contact rule in place. The victims of narcissistic abuse have to let the abuser know that the relationship is indeed over and in no uncertain terms that they getting back together. If this important decision is not made, the victim is prone to get involved in the abuse again and his/her healing progress will be in vain.