“The path to freedom requires but one thing: that you choose to take it.”
(Read time: 1-2 mins)
One of the most distressing elements in healing from narcissistic abuse is the intense emotional conflict between the relief at being free from the toxic dynamic and abuse, and the longing to have what you thought you had, with the person you fell in love with. There is a tidal quality to this emotional and mental struggle. The conflicting feelings ebb and flow, and sometimes pound the shore of your soul. It’s a turmoil trap of pain, confusion, and emotional exhaustion.
Being physically free from the relationship with narcissist is not the same as being emotionally and psychologically free from the narcissist. The relationship may be over technically, but in nearly every case, ex-partners continue to be emotionally and psychologically enmeshed with the narcissist, which causes ongoing emotional turmoil. The only way out of this is to un-weave yourself from the tangled toxic dynamic.
This doesn’t happen overnight. Recovering from a relationship with a narcissist is a process. It can sometimes feel like two-steps forward, three-steps back, one step sideways and two-steps forward. And that’s just fine. It is important to remember that you are healing from serious trauma and harm, and not recovering from a relationship that just didn’t work out.
The path to freedom: 6 steps to take
1. CHOOSE: make the choice that you are going to get out of the turmoil trap and take the path of healing.
2. ACCEPT: accept reality – as painful as it is – what you thought you had, and what you thought you were going to have with this person was an illusion.
3. COMMIT: the road ahead will be bumpy at times, you will feel doubt, anxiety, fatigue, grief, anger, despair, frustration, and confusion. This is normal. It is uncomfortable. It is painful. And it is not permanent. It will pass. Remember, even if you stumble and fall on your face, you are still moving forward. Stay committed to your healing journey. There is no timeline when it comes to healing from narcissistic abuse. It will take as long as it takes. Accepting this doesn’t mean you are being passive about the healing process. It means that you are being realistic.
4. CARE: make a focused effort every day to do at least one thing that nurtures you. Overcoming the narcissistic abuse requires practicing self-care on a consistent basis. This can involve a variety of things such as getting a massage, starting a regular exercise program, taking the time every day to read a book you have been wanting to read, have a spa day, take a bubble bath, etc. The important thing is to prioritize caring for yourself on a daily basis.
5. EMPOWER: educate yourself about npd, c-ptsd, co-dependency, healing from abuse, and joining a support group is empowering and validating (validation for what you endured and experienced is extremely important).
6. CELEBRATE: every day! You have an exciting road ahead of you. Be patient with yourself and know that the path you’re on is bringing you to freedom and opportunities that can positively transform your life in ways you never expected.
The past is your lesson. The present is your gift. The future is your motivation.