No Closure At the End of Your Relationship? What Now?

No Closure At the End of Your Relationship? What Now?

Why do narcissists refuse to give you closure in a relationship?

Are you desperate for closure after the ending of a relationship with a narcissist?  Rarely is the need for relief from the discard allowed by the narcissist – and being able to speak your mind and discuss the issues you lived with if you have gone no contact is practically a foreign concept.

Lack of Closure After a Toxic Relationship Leaves You Reeling

Feeling the need for closure in order to move on and heal can perhaps be one of the more frustrating things survivors of narcissistic abuse go through after a discard. I know that for me personally, it left me feeling like it was impossible to stop thinking about the narcissist and I even struggled to forgive myself for having been with them in the first place. Can you relate?

What can you expect from the narcissist at the end of a relationship?

With a narcissist, if you get closure then you are one of the rare few. The narcissistic person will not allow you to get the closure you need. Instead of closure you get the silent treatment, smear campaigns, gaslighting, blame-shifting, the narcissist playing victim, hoovering, and repeated abuse. In other words, anything but closure.

They might even call you the abuser. Of all the people I have spoken to about the abuse they have suffered, not one has said they have had closure directly from the narcissist.

Can you create your own closure so you can move forward with your healing after narcissist abuse?

Absolutely you can! This video talks about why a narcissist won’t give you closure as well as ideas for how to move forward with your own life to create the closure you seek.

Get Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Now

Additional Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Resources

‘Love’ with a Sociopath: The Cookie Illustration

‘Love’ with a Sociopath: The Cookie Illustration

~THE COOKIE ILLUSTRATION~

What is ‘love’ with a sociopath like?

Well, imagine there’s a vending machine in front of you with one big red button that says, ‘FREE COOKIES’. At first, the cookies are so delicious.. so euphoric. But afterward, every time you press the button, you receive a painful electric shock.

But you keep pressing the button, hoping.. becoming frantic. After about the 99th time of getting shocked, you get a broken chip of a cookie.

You actually feel sad, yet you are thankful for at least having this broken piece of cookie.

When you finish the broken cookie, you realize you would gladly get shocked another 99 times to get another broken piece of cookie. Desperation is now a daily occurrence.

So you continue, accepting the malfunction and the biting pain of each shock. You now live on your knees in front of the cookie vending machine.

Then one day, the cookies stop coming.

That’s ‘love’ with a sociopath. It’s not real love–this is trauma bonding.

Only you can stop it.

This is the behavior of addiction.

~~

And…that machine is deriving power from harming you. Power that it will use to continue harming you as long as you stay.

Do you want a better life? Then do the work of recovery.

Trauma Bonding

Trauma Bonding

Trauma bonding is a common condition among narcissistic abuse survivors and their abusers. Thanks to an ongoing cycle of intermittent reinforcement, many survivors of toxic relationships go through this, much like kidnapping victims and hostages do.

Trauma bonding is often a bigger issue for people who also grew up in toxic and abusive homes, partially just because it feels like “normal” to them.

As Warwick Middleton said, “The capacity for dissociation enables the young child to exercise their innate life-sustaining need for attachment in spite of the fact that principal attachment figures are also principal abusers.”

What is Trauma Bonding?

Trauma bonding is often used interchangeably for the term Stockholm Syndrome.

“In 1973, Jan Erik Olsson walked into a small bank in Stockholm, Sweden, brandishing a gun, wounding a police officer, and taking three women and one man hostage,” writes Rachel Lloyd. “During negotiations, Olsson demanded money, a getaway vehicle, and that his friend Clark Olofsson, a man with a long criminal history, be brought to the bank. The police allowed Olofsson to join his friend and together they held the four hostages captive in a bank vault for six days.”

Lloyd continues: “During their captivity, the hostages at times were attached to snare traps around their necks, likely to kill them in the event that the police attempted to storm the bank. The hostages grew increasingly afraid and hostile toward the authorities trying to win their release and even actively resisted various rescue attempts. Afterward, they refused to testify against their captors, and several continued to stay in contact with the hostage-takers, who were sent to prison. Their resistance to outside help and their loyalty toward their captors was puzzling, and psychologists began to study the phenomenon in this and other hostage situations. The expression of positive feelings toward the captor and negative feelings toward those on the outside trying to win their release became known as Stockholm syndrome.”

Similar to Stockholm Syndrome, it’s a condition that causes abuse victims to develop a psychological dependence on the narcissist as a survival strategy during abuse. Of course, this makes recovering from a toxic relationship significantly more difficult than it might otherwise be. While bonding is normal in healthy relationships, trauma bonding is a sort of toxic version of this that results in an abusive relationship – verbal, physical, or otherwise.

What does trauma bonding feel like?

Trauma bonding is the feeling of being addicted to a person. And it literally causes you to become almost physically addicted, due to the ongoing cycle of intermittent reinforcement. You are fighting a battle within yourself and it turns out that your own body is sort of against you on this one. The cognitive dissonance and the feeling of addiction are what lead us to stay with a narcissist in a toxic relationship even when we logically know better.

“Many survivors have such profound deficiencies in self-protection that they can barely imagine themselves in a position of agency or choice,” writes Judith Lewis Herman. “The idea of saying no to the emotional demands of a parent, spouse, lover, or authority figure may be practically inconceivable. Thus, it is not uncommon to find adult survivors who continue to minister to the needs of those who once abused them and who continue to permit major intrusions without boundaries or limits. Adult survivors may nurse their abusers in illness, defend them in adversity, and even, in extreme cases, continue to submit to their sexual demands.”

This video explains how trauma bonding directly affects our decision-making ability and why it causes it to feel so hard to let go and move forward from a toxic relationship.

“Their experiences led them to create assumptions about others and related beliefs about themselves such as ‘this is my lot in life’ and ‘this is what I deserve,'” writes Christine A. Courtois. “Some also learned that personal safety and happiness are of lower priority than survival and that it may be safer to give in than to actively fight off additional abuse and victimization. When abuse is perpetrated by intimates, it is additionally confounding in terms of attachment, betrayal, and trust. Victims may be unable to leave or to fight back due to strong, albeit insecure and disorganized, attachment and misplaced loyalty to abusers. They may have also experienced trauma bonding over the course of their victimization, that is, a bond of specialness with or dependence on the abuser.”

What is cognitive dissonance?

Cognitive dissonance is a form of psychological stress or discomfort that happens when you simultaneously hold two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. Often affects narcissists as well as their victims at different times and for very different reasons. Are you struggling with cognitive dissonance during or after narcissistic abuse? Get your free cognitive dissonance toolkit right here.

This video offers an overview of cognitive dissonance as well as actionable and practical self-help tips for healing from cognitive dissonance.

How does trauma bonding affect your body and brain?

Is there such a thing as narcissistic abuse-induced trauma bonding? Yes. And, this is exactly why you might find it so difficult to get over a narcissist. It is like you are literally addicted to them! It might even by why haven’t already left the narcissist. When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist or sociopath, it often looks nearly perfect from the outside, especially to people who aren’t aware of the dynamics that happen behind closed doors.

And most likely, you don’t want anyone to know how ugly your relationship really is on the inside. Hint: think Stockholm Syndrome (aka trauma bonding) – codependency – and feeling stuck.

How can you manage and heal from trauma bonding?

It isn’t easy, but it’s totally possible to heal from trauma bonding – or at least to manage it into submission. In this article, my fellow QB coach Lise Colucci explains how self-care can help. Lise also runs a small group coaching program for healing from trauma bonding.

If you find yourself stuck in a toxic relationship, these practical steps will help you heal from a trauma bond and finally let go of the narcissist, once and for all. The heartbreak is painful, but the healing is real. We will discuss the psychology of a trauma bond and how to let go of the narcissist, plus PTSD and NPD and how they work. Being trauma bonded to an abuser is being tied to something you know harms you yet still feeling unable to get away. The emotional ties alone are confusing and challenging. Here are a few ways to help you break those bonds too.

Think you’re trauma bonded with a toxic narcissist, but still not sure? Try this test.

Are You Dealing with Trauma Bonding? Take the Trauma Bonding Test

 

Our Recent Posts About Trauma Bonding

How to Heal from a Toxic Relationship

How to Heal from a Toxic Relationship

This healing guide offers not only solutions but also resources to help you learn not only how to heal from a toxic relationship, but why you were there in the first place. Plus, you’ll learn how you can level up your life after a toxic relationship and begin to evolve into the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Ignoring the Narcissist

Ignoring the Narcissist

How do you ignore a narcissist? Why is it so hard to ignore a narcissist? Here’s the truth about ignoring the narcissist, including everything you need to know. Why you should ignore a narcissist, when you should avoid ignoring the narcissist and more. Plus, tips, techniques and the psychology of ignoring a narcissist.

Identifying Emotionally Unavailable People in Relationships

Identifying Emotionally Unavailable People in Relationships

“Most people in the psychology field believe that if we do not get a child to bond at a deep level with someone by age eight, we have lost them. We can never recover them and teach them empathy. Never.” ~Patti Henry, Author of The Emotionally Unavailable Man

Emotionally unavailable people in relationships can often be appealing to people – especially those of us who like to help “fix” people’s problems, those of us who enjoy solving a good mystery, and those of us who may have experienced an overly emotional person in a toxic relationship. In some cases, you can potentially take steps to connect with an emotionally unavailable person and actually create some positive change in both of your lives. But in the case of the emotional unavailability being a side effect of NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) or otherwise on the cluster B spectrum – or even with someone who just has strong narcissistic tendencies but who hasn’t been officially diagnosed with the personality disorder – you’re going to be fighting a losing battle if you try to create genuine connection.

What does it mean to be emotionally unavailable?

Someone who is emotionally unavailable refuses to let his or her guard down. People who have been hurt or rejected often in their past may take this position without realizing it. They may find it difficult to trust new people or anyone at all if there has been significant trauma in their lives. In many cases, these people can be helped with counseling, coaching or even simple discussions with their loved ones. Toxic people, such as narcissists, who are emotionally unavailable might also be helped through counseling or therapy, but usually refuse to get or accept help as they don’t see anything wrong with their behavior.

How does it feel to be in a relationship with someone who is emotionally unavailable?

Whether the emotionally available person is your partner, your parent or your best friend, you might find yourself feeling very lonely and even rejected by this person. You might feel unloved, and you might feel like their repeated rejection of your attempts to connect are related to a big wall this person puts up around him or herself. You feel like this person isn’t there for you in the way that a normal parent, partner or best friend would be. It’s a one-sided kind of relationship.

If this person is a narcissist or other kind of toxic person, it gets even more complicated. This video playlist offers a powerful compilation of red flags to look for in toxic relationships. 

Can an emotionally unavailable person change or heal so they can become more emotionally available?

This depends on whether you’re dealing with a toxic narcissist or a “regular” person. In both cases, the behavior is most likely a subconscious way to self-protect themselves. They refuse to allow themselves to be vulnerable to you in order to reduce the chances that they might be hurt or rejected again – or to manage their own emotional response if it (inevitably, in their minds) happens to them again.

However, with narcissists, we need to consider the fact that they have impaired empathy, which could also appear to be emotional unavailability. And we must remember that while it’s theoretically possible that a narcissist could create true change in their lives, it’s also highly unlikely that they will. That’s because most narcissists are unable or unwilling to take any sort of responsibility for things that go wrong in their lives and their relationships – so they generally look to blame someone else (with deflection and projection) and see themselves as victims or at least innocent bystanders.

How do you deal with an emotionally unavailable person?

If you’re dealing with someone who is capable of change, it could just take some time and some talking to work the situation out. You could sit down and have a conversation with this person and ask thoughtful questions about how they feel and why. Do your best to make that person feel safe and comfortable with you and like they can trust you, and then show them this in your own actions and behavior.

If you’re dealing with a narcissist or another kind of toxic person, the game changes. In this case, it’s unlikely that the person will change at all, nor will they be willing to admit they have a problem, to begin with.

That means the first step to dealing with an emotionally unavailable person is to determine whether they are a toxic person, or not. Take this quiz to find out if you’re dealing with a toxic narcissist. 

Once you submit your answers, you’ll be given resources to help in your situation.

 

 

 

How to Heal from a Toxic Relationship

How to Heal from a Toxic Relationship

 

“Like arsenic, toxic people will slowly kill you. They kill your positive spirit and play with your mind and emotions. The only cure is to let them go.” ~Dennisse Lisseth

Healing from a toxic relationship seems like an impossible goal for many survivors of narcissistic abuse, and this is true for a number of reasons. This healing guide offers not only solutions but also resources to help you learn not only how to heal from a toxic relationship, but why you were there in the first place. Plus, you’ll learn how you can level up your life after a toxic relationship and begin to evolve into the person you’ve always wanted to be.

A Comprehensive Guide to Healing After Narcissistic Abuse in a Toxic Relationship

Before we begin to cover how to heal from a toxic relationship, please let me remind you that you are not alone. As a survivor of narcissistic abuse and a certified life coach myself, I have helped literally thousands of survivors of toxic relationships to discover, understand and overcome them. You can do this too.

Do I need to leave a toxic relationship in order to heal?

This won’t be a popular answer, but it’s the truth. Ideally, to heal, you need to separate yourself from the toxic person. I know it’s scary and emotionally draining to even think about it, so start with practical planning – especially if going no contact with this person means you are changing your living situation (as in, if it’s your partner or spouse or someone else you live with). Think about how you’ll manage financially, where you’ll go and who might help to support you in some way. Keep your emotions at bay during planning, and don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you. Getting out of the relationship is one of the most important things you can do to begin to heal. You can download my free PLAN (Preparing to Leave a Narcissist) resources right here. If you haven’t left yet, please read this article to get some encouragement and to get your head in the right place. 

Why is it so hard to leave a toxic relationship?

I know it’s not easy, trust me. There are a number of reasons you’re struggling, the most obvious of which is trauma bonding with your abuser. Plus, after the months or years of abuse you’ve suffered, your self-esteem has really taken a beating. Read this to find out how to deal when a toxic relationship has ruined your self-esteem.  And this article will help you understand in more depth why it’s so hard to leave and how you can get past that feeling of helplessness.

Will the narcissist come back to me after the toxic relationship?

You might also wonder if the narcissist misses you. Sadly, in most cases, the narcissist does attempt to reconcile at least once. We call this “hoovering” because it’s what they do when they want to suck you back into the toxic relationship. It can be hard to resist, but you have to do it if you’re going to get and stay happy and safe. In a few cases, the narcissist won’t come back, but it’s rare. They may come back anywhere from a few hours to decades later.

What are the first steps to healing from the toxic relationship once it has ended?

Start with a little self-care. You need time to just breathe at first – you don’t need to rush it. Then, figure out what stage of recovery you’re currently in – start with the DUO Stages of Recovery Test. Don’t forget to work on beefing up your inner strength once the relationship ends. Don’t forget to take care of your inner child, too. That’s going to be really important if you’re going to resist the hoovering that will inevitably follow the end of a toxic relationship.

How do I deal with the narcissist spreading rumors and lies about me?

We call that a smear campaign, and you might be surprised when I tell you how to deal. Read this to learn all about the psychology of a smear campaign – why the narcissist does this and how you can deal with it from your end. 

Why me? I am smart and capable but for some reason, I still fell for the narcissist. What did I do to deserve a toxic relationship?

You didn’t deserve it. Know that. And you’re not alone – some of the most intelligent, successful and attractive people I’ve met have fallen victim to narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships. It happens to the best of us. However, there are certain things a toxic person looks for in a partner – check out this page. And there are things you can do to change your future and keep it free of toxic people. It all starts within yourself – you’ve got to accept, love and respect yourself enough to set boundaries and to stop tolerating toxic behavior.

Now that I’ve left the toxic relationship, I cannot seem to function like a normal person. How do I get through this?

One breath at a time. This is one of the hardest parts of this process. Healing seems so far away right now that you can barely even imagine what that might look like. This is a really tender and emotional time, so the first thing a lot of survivors do is to self-isolate. Take some time to mourn the relationship, if you need it. Remember that this is a process and that healing won’t happen overnight. Be patient with yourself and if you need to take a little time for yourself, go ahead and do it. If you need time with friends, arrange that too. You might be dealing with depression – visit this page to get help with depression. Get free support from one of our online narcissistic abuse recovery support groups. 

I feel like I want to die. How do I deal with feeling suicidal after a toxic relationship?

Self-isolation and mourning the relationship can be okay for a short time unless you’re in such a state that you might be a danger to yourself. Please note: I am not a doctor and I do not personally know your story. I cannot offer any medical or health advice, so if you have any doubt at all that you will be safe, you MUST contact your doctor or go immediately to the nearest emergency room. Even if you aren’t sure, please go see your doctor or other medical professional and get checked out, just to be safe. Be honest with your healthcare provider and let them know that you’re worried you might be a danger to yourself. See this page for suicide prevention resources and ways you can get help right now.

How do I stop hurting and start healing after a toxic relationship?

I know your heart hurts. And you feel lost, confused, angry and even rejected (and this is true even when YOU are the one to end the relationship). First, you need to put things in perspective. Start by reading this article that offers 10 ways to start healing faster. If you were the one who was discarded, read this.

My ex has already moved on to a new relationship. It’s killing me! How do I deal with this?

First, remember that narcissistic abuse is cyclical. That means that your ex is likely just starting the cycle again with a new person – so if the relationship is new, they are still in the idealization or love bombing phase. The new source of narcissistic supply won’t get a better deal than you – not for long anyway. Try to keep this in mind. And despite the urge to do it, avoid reaching out to the new supply to explain what they’re getting themselves into. You aren’t ethically obligated, and they won’t be able to hear you anyway, most likely. Because they’re in the love-bombing phase, they won’t believe you and will likely believe that you’re just as crazy as the narcissist probably already told them. Learn the truth about the narcissist’s new relationship. 

How do I deal with feeling so much anger after the toxic relationship ends?

Anger in some cases can be helpful in propelling you forward – especially when you still haven’t left the relationship yet. But at some point, it can begin to become toxic for you – and that’s when you need to let it go. Read this article to determine whether your anger is helpful or harmful and learn how to let go of it when it’s time. 

Being single feels weird to me, but I am not ready for a new relationship yet. What should I do?

I say you start here by learning to embrace the single life. There are SO many good reasons to love being single. Whatever you do, avoid jumping into a new relationship too quickly. That will set you up for a painful failure and increases the risk of getting into another toxic relationship. Take your time and heal first – there is no reason to get yourself stuck with another narcissist. And honestly, you are less likely to be an ideal partner if you get into a new relationship too soon – you may end up sabotaging it without even realizing it.

I feel like I’m walking around in some kind of fog. What is this and how can I deal with it?

This is common for people who have dealt with codependency in toxic relationships. You might be dealing with brain fog or dissociation, a common side-effect of C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder). Use mindfulness exercises and practices such as the ones shared in this article to find your way out of the fog.

Why do I feel so confused all the time?

Like brain fog, feeling confused or unable to think straight can be a normal thing for survivors of toxic relationships. Here are some reasons you might feel so confused all the time as you’re trying to heal from a toxic relationship. 

I can’t leave the house anymore. I don’t want to get out of bed. How do I stop being lazy and start wanting to live again?

You’re not alone. Many survivors of narcissistic abuse find themselves feeling just like this when they leave a toxic relationship (and often, while they’re still in it!). Social anxiety disorder (SAD) can be a side effect of C-PTSD. These issues along with a number of other factors will cause you to not want to leave the house – and there are lots of things you can do to get unstuck. In the short term, try things like pattern interrupts and baby steps to get you moving in the right direction.

My whole life seems to be a cluttered mess! Is this related to my toxic relationship?

Actually, yes, it’s possible that a cluttered home (and mind) could be a direct result of your mental state during and after a toxic relationship. Even Oprah Winfrey has talked about this before, as have many therapists and researchers. We know that a cluttered environment can increase anxiety and stress as well. Start changing that by decluttering your physical space and this can often sort of lead you to a more organized, less scattered mind in the process.

I feel like I’ve lost myself. How do I figure out who I am after a toxic relationship?

You might be surprised to know that nearly every survivor has some sort of existential crisis during recovery from a toxic relationship. Start by doing some soul-searching. Think about who you were before and who you’d like to be. Read this to start finding yourself again and figure out who you want to be after the toxic relationship. Reexamine your personal beliefs and redefine them based on who you are today and who you wnat to be. While you’re at it, learn some new ways to level up your life. And start thinking about how you want your life to look – what you want to change, and what you don’t. Think about what makes you passionate and consider starting a project to keep your head in the game (and your mind off the narcissist). And let go of limiting beliefs that are holding you back.

How do I let go of the shame I feel after this toxic relationship?

Feeling shame is perfectly normal for survivors of toxic relationships, but it shouldn’t be acceptable. YOU aren’t the one who should feel shameful here. The narcissist may have berated, belittled and humiliated you on a regular basis, and you can bet that they feel NO remorse for it. Even though you’re not perfect and even though you likely recognize and take credit for your part in the relationship, you were not the abuser and you don’t need to feel any shame for what you’ve experienced. Take the time you need to recognize this completely so that you can release the shame and be proud of yourself for doing the hard work of healing. This resource will help you start to let go of the shame, fear and misery so you can reclaim your power and start living again.

How do I start living again, once I get past the initial shock after the relationship ends?

First, you’ve got to understand that big secret of narcissistic abuse recovery. Realize that you might begin to feel lonely around now, and this can be a dangerous time for you if the narcissist is trying to get you back. It’s especially important that you get involved with healthy people – at least on some level – and that you also understand that it’s okay to want to be alone sometimes. Try using my life reset button to start feeling alive again. Sometimes, if you sort of “un**** yourself, you can just start living again!

How will I know when I’ve started to heal after a toxic relationship?

I understand that it can be confusing, and you should probably know that it won’t be an overnight shift. Healing after a toxic relationship involves a slow evolution from victim to survivor to thriver. Check out this page to find out if you’re showing signs of healing.

How can I get help with how to heal after a toxic relationship?

We always suggest that you begin with a visit to your doctor or another medical professional that you trust. Assuming you’re otherwise healthy, QueenBeeing.com offers everything you need for self-help on how to heal from toxic relationships and narcissistic abuse on your own. You can also read a number of books that will help you to recover – here’s a list of our favorites. Remember too that it will take time to heal from a toxic relationship. We also offer other resources such as coaching, small group coaching and support, free online support groups, courses and more. Check out our services page right here, visit our freebies center or take the quiz below.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program Self-Assessment

Video playlist on healing after narcissistic abuse.

 

Update: Your Love is My Drug (2nd Edition)

Update: Your Love is My Drug (2nd Edition)

**Second Edition, Updated 2019**Includes new chapters and information as well as an updated, more robust section on overcoming trauma bonding featuring Lise Colucci
Are you tired of feeling like you’re not good enough? Do you wish that someone in your life would just put your feelings first, for once? Or maybe just to consider you at all? Tired of being told you’re the crazy one as you deal with mind games at home or work? You might just be involved with a narcissist.

Narcissists are abusers – but they don’t usually beat their victims physically. No, narcissists are sneaky – they’re much more insidious in their form of abuse. When you think of someone in an abusive relationship, you think of someone who is getting beaten and battered on a regular basis, right? But while domestic violence is heartbreaking and unacceptable, there’s another form of abuse that might be even more dangerous. But even though you can’t always see physical evidence of abuse, the kind of overwhelming, all-consuming emotional abuse inflicted on the victims of narcissists is a form of aggression that should also be recognized.

The soul-crushing kind of abuse that is inflicted on the people who love a narcissist might not be visible to the naked eye, but it can leave devastating emotional scars that never go away. Most people have no idea how much the “sources” of narcissistic supply suffer in their relationships – and yet when these victims speak up, people often mistake them for whiners and dismiss their pain. This, of course, leaves them confused and blaming themselves for everything that is wrong in their lives.

This book offers an in-depth guide to surviving and thriving during and after life with a narcissist, in whatever degree necessary for your life. You’ll learn to recognize narcissism in those around you, plus how to identify and stop typical manipulation techniques, such as gaslighting, in their tracks. (Read More)

Get your copy free when you have Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime – or pay $2.99 and keep it forever. 

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