You find yourself wondering what you could have said or done differently to avoid that last fight – you blame yourself and – even though the narcissist is gone, you still hear his or her voice in your head – you literally almost abuse yourself on their behalf in their absence.
You replay your favorite song over and over to relive the good times – and you cry tears of misery as you do. Just as often, you find yourself remembering the abuse, almost as if it’s against your will – and you relive it over and over again. Heck, you may even fantasize about how to win back that person’s love.
While a certain amount of sadness is natural, the sooner you accept the situation for what it is – an abusive, personality-disordered person who pretended to be someone they weren’t (the narcissist’s “false self”)- the sooner you can reclaim your life.
So, I’m sharing 13 simple, effective – and proven strategies for how to look ahead and move on with your life. It’s time to stop letting the narcissist control you and start taking back your life.
Changing your Perspective
- Affirm your worth. Splitting up can leave you feeling guilty or rejected. Instead of thinking that you’ve failed, focus on what you’ve learned. Remember that you deserve happiness and fulfillment.
- Take responsibility. At the same time, acknowledge the role that you played in any conflicts. By examining your actions, you discover what you can do differently next time. That’s a lot more powerful than being a victim.
- Face reality. Chances are you’d still be together if you were really soul mates. When you stop idealizing your old flame, you’re more likely to notice other interesting singles.
- Talk it over. Connect with family and friends who want to support you at this difficult time. They may have similar experiences and fresh insights.
- Identify triggers. Everyday sights and sounds may bring back disturbing memories. Take your ex’s photos off your phone.
- Set goals. Empower yourself by taking on an ambitious project. Use your extra free time to reflect on your purpose and priorities. Maybe you want to devote more energy to your career or community activities.
- Care for your health. Does a broken heart make you lose your appetite or drive you to seek comfort in a pint of Rocky Road? Protect your emotional well-being by staying physically fit.
- Consider counseling. Whether you initiated the breakup or it came as a surprise, you may be feeling overwhelmed. A therapist or a certified life coach who specializes in relationship abuse issues can help you cope with your loss and replace your previous patterns with more rewarding behavior.
Trying Something New
- Redecorate your surroundings. If your apartment reminds you too much of your ex, restyle your space. If you can’t afford to replace the furniture, there are plenty of low budget solutions, like a fresh coat of paint or building a headboard out of an old door.
- Expand your interests. You may have been neglecting your hobbies if your last partner didn’t share your passion for opera or volley ball. Resume the activities you love, and discover some new outlets.
- Schedule a makeover. It’s easier to reinvent yourself when you’re comfortable with the way you look. Browse magazines for ideas or start small if you’re still figuring out what works for you. If a tattoo seems too radical, shape your eyebrows or get a pedicure.
- Travel the globe. Pick a destination you’re excited about seeing. Look forward to interacting with others who see you as an individual instead of half a former couple. Enjoy feeling capable on your own as you figure out foreign currencies and sample the local cuisine.
- Stay busy. There’s a difference between accepting your grief and wallowing in it. The more you do, the less time you’ll have to stare at the phone.
YOU CAN bounce back after a toxic relationship, my friend. Soothe your hurt feelings and shift your attention to the future. By using your old relationship as an opportunity to work on yourself, you’ll be preparing for a new and more lasting love. You GOT THIS! <3 Stay strong!
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.