I always say that the stages of healing in narcissistic abuse recovery are as simple as they are overwhelming. It’s not just about narcissistic abuse and how to overcome it. You should also work on learning how to identify narcissists in your life and how to deal with toxic people. It may also help to learn the language of the narcissistic abuse recovery community, and learning the red flags of a narcissist will help you avoid toxic relationships in the future. My fellow coaches and I use my DUO Method to identify the main stages of narcissistic abuse recovery.
What are the stages of narcissistic abuse recovery?
The three stages of narcissistic abuse recovery involve feeling as you are the victim, then you will feel you are the survivor. The last stage is that you will feel as if you are ready to move on. Let’s now look into these stages in detail. Learn more about the DUO Method.
Stage 1 – The Victim (Discovery Phase)
This is the stage you are going through right after you break away from the narcissist, or when you first discover that you might be dealing with a narcissist. You will be thinking about how betrayed you were, and you’ll be extremely hurt and confused. You will also be very hurt that you were led on and you’ll be extremely angry. Angry with yourself for allowing yourself to be hurt, and you’ll be angry with your abuser. You’ll feel as if you had lost time by sticking around for the abuser as well. There is also fear, fear of the unknown. And the fear of you not knowing if you can overcome this. Read more about the Discovery Phase.
Stage 2 – Survivor (Understanding Phase)
You are now past the victim stage, and you will start thinking of yourself as a survivor. You’ll still be focused on learning aout narcissists and narcissism, but this is the time when you are ready to get counseling or coaching. You’re also focused on learning more about self-care. You will be less angry but you will also be quite triggered by reminders. You have a desire to get back to your old self and to move forward. But at the same time, you will be struggling to release your abuser and you’ll be struggling to rebuild your life. Read more about the Understanding Phase.
Stage 3 – Moving on to Thriving (Overcoming Phase)
Even though you are ready to move forward with your life at this stage, you have the desire to connect with others. However, you still have many trust issues that are holding you back. The angry feelings you have towards your abuser might still be plaguing you, but you’re beginning to move forward. And you might still feel a little embarrassed about your past, and you don’t really feel like discussing it with random people. Still, you’ve joined a support group and/or you’re getting some coaching, so you’re feeling a little better each day. There is now a light at the end of the tunnel and you’re propelling toward it! Read more about the Overcoming Phase.
It’s important to note that there is no set time for going through each stage. It is all personal and depends on a number of factors. Where are you in your narcissistic abuse recovery? Take this quiz to find out if you’re not sure.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach 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 relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in 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. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.