Below are 9 practices to overcome devastation caused Narcissistic abuse.
1. SET BOUNDARIES.
In order for the healing to commence, you need to put a protective shield around yourself. If you can physically get away, that is the best. Any memory of the narcissist will keep triggering the pain, slowing down your recovery. So, block them on your phone, email, all your social media, etc. Get rid of any memorabilia reminding you of them. And for goodness sake, do not stalk their profiles!
If you are unable to physically remove yourself from their environment, look into a technique called ‘grey rock.’ The ideas is that while you interact with the narc, you remain emotionally and mentally disengaged, giving them nothing to feed on. Even though you may be boiling inside, do not let them see that. Once you are alone, let it all out. Cry, scream, cuss. Whatever brings you relief.
Another form of a boundary to start practicing is learning how to say no. It will help you build true confidence. Your boundary is like a cell wall. It keeps nutrients in and toxicity out. Become very picky whom you let in.
2. GET THE TOXICITY OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM.
During the time you’ve spent around the narcissist doing everything in your power to please and appease them, you’ve been exposed to a serious mental disorder. It is extremely unhealthy to the mind of an empath. We took it in by doing what we could to ‘understand’ them and walk in their shoes. Narcissists know this and take full advantage of this empathic trait.
Now it is time to let all that dark goo out for health and clarity to be restored. One of the best things you can do is externalize it. Write a Journal about what happened, talk to a trusted friend who ‘gets it,’ engage a therapist or a coach. Join a support group to connect with others who can relate to your experience. Externalizing will help chaotic, confused thoughts click into place restoring a semblance of order. It will help clear your slate from the debris.
Other forms of externalization include movement, such as dance, deep breathing, mind-body exercises like yoga, sweating, getting a massage. All this is helpful in metabolizing the toxic chemicals that have been generated during the devaluation and discard stages of the relationship
3. ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRUTH & FORGIVE YOURSELF.
This step will begin to set your mind straight. You must accept the truth that this person was highly toxic and consciously hurt you. Realize you’ve been tricked, manipulated and abused! Your high pain threshold worked to your disadvantage, making them push you farther and farther with each abuse cycle. Seeing them as a reflection of you, obscured the warning signs and made them fly under your radar. Your best traits were used against you: empathy, desire to explore, openness, positive sociability, etcAnd finally, not realizing you were in a dirty game, you were outmaneuvered.
It was not your fault. Forgive yourself.
4. REALIZE THAT PART OF YOU KNEW.
But you disregarded it. This is a step where we begin to take responsibility (not to be confused with self-blame!) and do a rational post-mortem analysis of what happened.
Maybe you got a feeling in your stomach at some point early in the relationship. Maybe some things they said just didn’t add up. Look at that and ask yourself why you disregarded your intuitive hints. Was it because you really wanted to make it work?
5. HEAL YOUR INNER CHILD.
Taking a trip back to childhood is a necessary component of healing if we want lasting results. It will create a sense of inner cohesion, eliminate much unresolved pain and restore deeper connection to self-trust. The little one inside you needs your help. They need you to see them, hear them, love then and guide them.
6. SHIFT YOUR FOCUS.
There will be a long period of time where you will feel pulled towards the past. It is cognitive dissonance and trauma bond at work. It is a sign that there are still things you need to understand and emotions to process. It is absolutely necessary to continue this work, but instead of letting the past steal your present moments, set aside dedicated time to do just that.
Meanwhile, practice staying mindful in the present and thinking of the future you’d like to create for yourself. Resurrect your dreams, maybe even give them an upgrade. Having a sense of purpose in life and things to look forward to helps us overcome the pull of the trauma and launches us forward. Knowing your ‘why’ is a good place to start. It shifts you from being a victim to becoming the hero of your life.
7. PRACTICE LISTENING.
Your, inner quiet voice is your best friend. Even, and especially, while you are in the midst of chaos and pain, it can help navigate you out of suffering. There are many reasons why we experienced narcissistic abuse. Many of those reasons were outside our control. The world is full of manipulative characters who live to fulfill their own agenda. Now it is time for you to take your destiny back in your hands.
You can practice listening to the voice by asking yourself: how do I feel now? If you are faced with a choice, always go with the inner feeling. If you feel relaxed and open, the answer is a yes. If you are on the fence, it is likely better to hold back.
8. ACTIVATE YOUR VAGUS NERVE.
Being in an abusive relationship made us constantly dwell in a state of hyper-vigilance, even if we were not aware of it. Even during the highs, the intensity of the relationship made it seem like we are on a roller coaster ride. Other times, we were walking on our tip-toes not to disturb the abuser.
All this overstimulated our sympathetic system, pumping chemicals of stress into our bloodstream. It is one of the reasons we were so exhausted while in the relationship.
9. BE PATIENT.
Whether you get upset at yourself because you slipped up and fallen right back to the pit, or get frustrated that you are not making faster progress and instead crying again, please be kind to yourself. This healing requires deep work and deep work requires time.
Every one of us has different rhythms, has gone through different, though similar, experiences and therefore will need more or less time to heal. But know one thing, no matter how long it will take you, with persistence and commitment to yourself, you will get there. One step at a time. It is simply inevitable.