A reader recently asked me the following question, and I think it’s an important one to ask: ¨If you figure out a narcissist quickly enough, can you make a clean break of it?¨
Narcissists are so adept at love-bombing that this typically does not happen. The best chance the partner has for a clean break is to listen to her/his intuition, and follow it. This means paying heed to the flashes of feeling, in the beginning, that something is just not right.
There are always red flags. It is typically the case that the partner feels uncomfortably overwhelmed by the narcissist in the initial stages of the relationship. There is a nagging feeling that it’s too much, it’s not a normal pace, and it needs to slow down. At the same time, the narcissist is spinning tales of being soulmates, future-faking, keeping the partner swooning and off-balance, and isolating her, making it very difficult for the her to be objective. She falls victim to her confirmation bias, which favors the narcissist.
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?
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.