(Read Time: 2-3 mins)
In the aftermath of narcissistic abuse, the survivor is overwhelmed with cognitive dissonance and is trapped in a hamster wheel of obsessive thinking, often in the form of nagging questions about the narcissist, including – but not limited to:
1. What is he doing?
2. Is he thinking of me?
3. What could I have done differently?
4. Should I have given him another chance?
5. What if he would have really changed this time?
6. Who is he with now?
7. Will he change for her and will she get the man I thought I had?
8. Does he miss me?
9. Is this my fault?
10. Was I really abused?
It feels like the narcissist has taken up permanent residence in your head. It’s extremely distressing, causes tremendous anxiety, and feels like it will never end. The good news is that it will end, and it all comes down to implementing, and maintaining No Contact.
It all comes down to No Contact.
To stop obsessing, and stop thinking about the narcissist, it’s important to accept that you’re forging an entirely new path – without him. Look forward. Don’t look back. Don’t break No Contact.
Staying in No Contact can be excruciatingly difficult due to the trauma bonding, cognitive dissonance, and the narcissist’s hoovering, but it’s essential in order to heal.
As you maintain No Contact, in order to eventually be free from the inevitable thoughts and ruminations about the narcissist, it’s important to not fight your thoughts.
Re-frame your attitude about your thoughts. It’s not a failure every time you think about the narcissist and the relationship. It is a necessary and normal part of the process of flushing him out of your system. So allow yourself to move through your thoughts about the narcissist rather than try to block them, as counter-intuitive as this sounds.
Start to embrace activities and hobbies, and new interests – an art class, travel, yoga, a book club, cooking class, and volunteering. You may have to drag yourself through this process for awhile, and will probably feel like you are just going through the motions for awhile. This is normal, but just stay the course, and you will find that you start to truly enjoy, and look forward to your new activities.
Day-by-day, bit-by-bit, as your life expands, as your individuality, sense of self, personal boundaries, and identity return, you start to feel stronger and stronger.
You find that you are becoming more interested in your own life, and are paying more and more attention to taking care of yourself, and you realize an hour has gone by – and you haven’t thought about him; then several hours have gone by; then a day – and so on, and so on.
As your deflated, collapsed heap of a self becomes filled, and you re-establish your boundaries, it gradually pushes the narcissist out of your mind, and your life’s landscape, so to speak.
And, remember, you are not getting over an ex from a broken garden-variety relationship. You are healing from a massive trauma, and recovering from a trauma bond with a monster who betrayed you, tortured you, and tried to strip you of your humanity.
It takes lots of time to overcome this, and that’s OK.
Even after you are well on your way and healed, there will be occasions when you occasionally think of the narcissist – but not in the same way. The thoughts don’t traumatize and destabilize you. They don’t make you anxious and send you into a cognitive dissonance tailspin of grief and confusion. They’re just thoughts that come and they go, and you can feel the distance and freedom from them, even as they occasionally pop into your mind.
It takes No Contact, No Contact, No Contact, time, and patience; and you can do it.