(Read Time: 1-2 mins)
Survivors of narcissistic abuse are traumatized, numb, feel isolated, and misunderstood. They are enduring the mental and emotional distress of cognitive dissonance and trauma-bonding, and often have C-PTSD caused by the narcissist’s toxic abuse.
Friends and loved ones often feel helpless, and even frustrated as they try to help the survivor in the healing process. It’s essential for all involved to understand that healing from narcissistic abuse is not linear. It comes in waves, it has a tidal quality, ebbing flowing, sometimes it’s stagnant for awhile.
Knowing what to say can help the survivor keep moving forward, on the path to healing, freedom, and peace. The following list of suggestions may help guide you in your efforts to facilitate the healing process:
Healing Tips: 10 Things to Say to a Survivor of Narcissistic Abuse
- I wish I could understand what you’ve been through, but I can’t. I only know that it must have been horrific, and I will do what I can to help you through this.
- Leaving him/her took tremendous strength. You have the strength to leave, and you have the strength to get through this (if the survivor left the relationship)
- I know it doesn’t make sense right now, but this has saved you from destruction, and you will see this as time goes on (if the survivor was discarded)
- I’m here for you.
- Abuse is not a relationship problem. There is nothing you could have done to change the outcome, or change him. He is a narcissist. He is toxic.
- No Contact is the extremely difficult thing to do – and maintain – but it is critical to healing. Take it minute-by-minute if you need to – you can do it.
- Breaking No Contact is not a failure, you’re not weak. Focus ahead and keep moving forward, you can do this.
- Feeling like you want to go back to him/want him back is normal. It’s the trauma bond – you will be able to break it, it just takes time.
- Your feelings were real, they were just not accurate for the person you were with. The person you fell in love with does not exist.
- He/she will not change for the next partner.
This is not an exhaustive list of tips, but could provide a helpful framework as you decide how you want to help the survivor in her healing journey.
If you have helpful healing tips, please feel free to share them in the comments section.