Stop Putting Your Life on Hold! Narcissistic Abuse Recovery is a Beginning, Not an End

Written by Angela Atkinson

If you’re going through narcissistic abuse recovery, you might feel like you need to put your life on hold while you work on your healing. Maybe you tell yourself you’ll start living when you’ve fully healed, or you think that you’re waiting for the perfect time to do all those things you didn’t do (because the narcissist in your life held you back).

Maybe you’re worried about money, so you think you need to get yourself to a better career position before you can have fun. Perhaps, due to your decidedly empathic nature, you’re concerned that taking time to focus on just yourself when there are so many things that your family needs might be selfish. Or maybe, like a lot of survivors of narcissistic abuse, you’re worried that you couldn’t even imagine focusing on such things when you’re struggling so much with actually surviving this whole narcissistic abuse recovery thing.

You want me to start living when I’m trying to heal from narcissistic abuse?

I know what you’re thinking. How can you possibly even begin to think about having an actual life when you’re in the midst of just trying to make it through and heal along the way? That is not only time-consuming but energy-draining, at least at first.

How can I live again when I’m angry at myself for putting up with the abuse?

Being angry at yourself is absolutely normal for narcissistic abuse survivors. It is just part of the process – once you realize what you’ve been through and you recognize the events, physical ad emotional symptoms, and depth of abuse you’ve been dealing with, you get angry. First, usually, the anger is rightfully directed at your abuser, and often, toward others who may have been aware of your situation but did nothing to help.

But eventually, you might end up angry at yourself, because in hindsight, it seems so clear and obvious – or because you continued to tolerate it even after having recognized the situation. This is very common for intelligent people who find themselves in toxic relationships, partially due to a high threshold for abuse often gained in early childhood. In this video, I go into depth about how to forgive yourself (and why you’ll need to).

What if I’m too damaged to start living again due to narcissistic abuse?

Well, once again, you’re not alone if you feel like you can’t even function like a normal person. In this video, I fill you in on exactly what happens to you when you’ve been abused by a narcissist. It’s not pretty.

And, listen – I get it – believe me. As you learned in the video, I went through very similar experiences and feelings during my own recovery. But I’m here to tell you that – in any case, and regardless of your reasons, putting your life on hold and waiting for someday to do the things you aspire to is rarely a good idea. Narcissistic abuse recovery is no exception.

Why? Because starting to live again IS one of the most important parts of your whole narcissistic abuse recovery process. It’s part of why you will survive and eventually thrive! I promise you.

Just think about that old saying about having kids, for example. They say you’re never really ready, so you might as well do it when you can. That sounds a little silly, especially if you’re a parent and you understand the amount of work (and money) that goes into raising a kid – but there’s a lot of truth to it! After all, as you’re well aware, we’re never guaranteed a tomorrow. Holding out for the “right time” usually just ends up costing happiness and fulfillment.

That’s why I suggest that you take a deep breath, decide what it is you want out of your life, and take action steps to get it right now. Not tomorrow. Not someday.

Like, literally, right now. So how can you do that?

How do you start living again during narcissistic abuse recovery?

Well, let’s start here. Take a look at the following suggestions to get started living your best life now. You can start small – just dream about it. Take some time to figure out what it is that you really want. Then you can dig in and get really clear on it, plan and begin doing what you need to do to make it happen. FIguring out your timelines and taking even the tiniest baby step today can change everything for you! Let me break it down a little further for you.

Take Time to Dream

Many of us say we’ll wait until a better time to go after what we want, but we may not even know what it is that we’d like to see in our lives. Therefore, your first step is to take some time to dream. Think about the things you desire. Make lists. Let yourself dream big. Jot down short-term and long-term goals.

Clarify Your Vision

Once you have some ideas, start to narrow things down. Clarify the goals you most want to meet and that seem within reach to at least begin working on now. Write them down and commit to working toward them.

Create a Map

Now you’re ready to create a framework or draw a map for how you’ll reach your destination. Decide how you’re going to obtain the things you want. Write down the steps you plan to take. Try to come up with a reasonable time frame in which to arrive at each step. Decide on milestones to mark your progress. Doing so will help keep you on track.

Take Action

It’s time to start bringing your plan to life. Decide on which actions you need to take right now to begin making progress toward the goals you’ve set. Grab your calendar and write down guideposts for these steps so that you know what you should be working on at each stage of the journey.

Have Fun

Finally, be sure you’re striving to enjoy these steps along the way. This isn’t another to-do list that has to be a chore. This is your life plan, and it’s meant to be a joy. Doublecheck your action plan to make sure there are fun activities included, and always take time to celebrate those milestones.

Keeping these steps in mind as a model for moving forward will help to ensure you’re no longer putting your life on hold. You now have a plan. As you start to work it, you’ll notice your outlook improving and your satisfaction levels rising.

You might also be interested in my book, How to Rewrite Your Story After Narcissistic Abuse.

 Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

  • Best Books on Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
  • Comprehensive Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Glossary: This is a comprehensive guide to words and phrases (related to narcissism, NPD and related conditions, narcissistic abuse, and narcissistic abuse recovery) that are commonly used in articles, videos, and narcissistic abuse recovery support groups. Defined here as specifically how they relate to narcissism, narcissistic abuse, and narcissistic abuse recovery, these terms have been developed by psychologists, coaches, therapists, and survivors of narcissistic abuse who need a way to understand and overcome the abuse.
  • FAQ Help: Whenever you need help with something related to this site or you want to know how to find something, join a group or otherwise deal with an issue you’re having, visit our new FAQ Help page.
  • Self-Care for Survivors: This is a page that covers everything you need to know about self-care, from how to build your own self-care kit to how to sign up for self-care support, and more.
  • New Resources Page: This is a one-stop overview of narcissism, NPD, and narcissistic abuse recovery, offering a long list of resources that will be helpful for you.
  • Stalking Resources Center: If your narcissist is a stalker, the information and resources on this page will help you get and stay safe.

Helpful Videos for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors

*Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only.  It’s very important to always check with your doctor before taking any action that could affect your physical or mental health.  


  • Angela Atkinson

    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 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 here at and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

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