“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us” – Alexander Graham Bell
So, you’re breaking up with a narcissist? Or you’re divorcing a toxic husband or wife? First, let me say that I’m sorry you’re going through that – and I know how bad it can get. I’ve been there, and I’m hoping I can help you to get through it with a little more ease than I did. Now, this won’t be your standard breakup advice article. That’s because, if we’re being honest, there’s plenty of breakup advice online, but most of it is geared toward helping you get your ex back. What if you either don’t want him/her back – or what if know it’s useless because you’ve already recognized that you’re in a toxic relationship with a narcissist?
What to Expect When You End a Relationship With a Narcissist
You might already know that narcissists hate when you move on. But does the narcissist miss you after you go no contact? Do they miss you if they discard you? And what should you expect when you go no contact with a narcissist? So, what should you expect when you end a relationship with a toxic narcissist? There are certain common narcissistic behaviors you can expect to deal with if you leave a narcissist (or they leave you). Here’s a quick rundown for you.
The Difference Between Breaking Up with a Narcissist and a ‘Normal’ Breakup
What if you want advice on how to move on as quickly and pain-free as possible? Maybe you’ve read all the standard breakup advice and you don’t see how any of it really applies to you. There’s a reason for that – it’s because narcissists aren’t normal, so breaking up with a narcissist is pretty much a big cluster-truck of messy, painful, and confusing. So, what is the difference between a normal breakup and a narcissistic discard? First, you have to understand the differences between a narcissistic love and a healthy one.
Why does it hurt so much when you go no-contact with a narcissist?
You might wonder why it seems like breaking up with a narcissist seems to hurt so much more than breaking up with anyone else. There’s a reason, and you might be shocked when you learn why: it’s because you literally become addicted to them. Seriously! It’s called trauma bonding.
Trauma bonding is a common issue for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Similar to Stockholm Syndrome, it is a condition that causes abuse victims to develop a sort of psychological dependence on the narcissist. While it may appear to be a self-destructive behavior (especially when it leads you to stay with or go back to an abuser), the truth is that it develops as a survival strategy during abuse. Unfortunately, trauma bonding is also what makes recovering from a toxic relationship significantly more difficult. And it can literally leave you feeling like you are desperate to connect or reconnect with the very person who traumatized you, ruined your life, and abused you.
In other words, trauma bonding in narcissistic abuse is the reason you can’t stop thinking about the narcissist – in this video, it’s explained simply and clearly in simple language that anyone can understand.
So, how are you supposed to go forward from here? The narcissistic abuse relationship cycle is pathological. How do you keep going after narcissistic abuse? Here’s what you need to know.
Narcissist Discard, No Contact and What You Need to Know NOW
The narcissist’s discard can make you feel like your world is ending – and going no contact as difficult as it can be can also end up making your life so much better. In this video, I’ll explain exactly what you need to know to get through the difficult parts of no contact and to thrive as you move forward.
Here’s everything you need to know about going no contact and healing after the narcissist discards you.
More Helpful Videos for Narcissist Discard, No Contact, and Healing After the Discard
- How to Make a Narcissist Miss You After Discard in 4 Simple Steps
- Can they still be a narcissist if they don’t hoover after discard?
- Narcissist Discard: 7 Mistakes to Avoid & What to Do Instead
- The Narcissist’s Idealize, Devalue, and Discard Cycle
- Narcissistic Discard vs ‘Normal’ Breakup: What’s the difference?
- No Contact vs Narcissistic Ghosting and Silent Treatment
When the Narcissist Finds Someone New
It can absolutely break your heart when you find out that the narcissist you once thought you’d spend your life with moves on with someone else – and especially when they do so before you do. We may understand logically that it’s all about getting narcissistic supply and that it doesn’t really reflect on us directly. But it doesn’t hurt any less, despite the fact that we recognize this person is simply the narcissist’s new supply source.
Want to know more? In this video, I’ll explain exactly why you should never feel jealous of the narcissist’s new source of narcissistic supply. Here is what is really going on with the narcissist’s new source of narcissistic supply and exactly how you can deal with it.
How to Start Healing After a Toxic Relationship with a Narcissist
Here are a few strategies that you can use that will help you move on and find peace as you go about healing and recovering from the narcissistic abuse you’ve just experienced:
1. Focus on those things, and people, that make you feel good and positive about yourself and your life.
Think of the things you enjoyed doing before you and your ex were a couple. If your relationship was a long one, remembering a time when you weren’t with him might be a little challenging at first, but you can do it.
2. Focus on making any changes that you’ve been meaning to make.
If you’ve been planning on getting in better shape, now is a great time. If you’ve been planning on changing jobs or taking some classes to advance your career… now is the time.
3. Join a support group, such as SPAN, and connect with people who understand what you’re going through.
Narcissists cause a very specific type of pain and psychological injury to their victims – and often, the only people who really get it are those who have experienced it. That’s why you should consider joining a support group such as SPAN.
These kinds of action steps and activities will allow you to feel hopeful and positive about your future – which will allow you some peace in the short term and may even help you move on more quickly in the long run.
In the short term, use any and all escape mechanisms you have that make you feel better. It doesn’t matter if it’s eating ice cream or vegging out in front of the t.v., as long as you only focus on positive people and activities you will be able to cope with the pain and loneliness better.
But a tip from me to you – limit the amount of time you let yourself grieve. For a long-term marriage type relationship, I wouldn’t go more than a few weeks to mourn – for shorter relationships, I’d cap it out at a week. Tell yourself that you can mope and mourn and do what you need to do, but on the target date, you are no longer allowed to whine about the past and you’ve got to move forward with a more positive and focused attitude.
Believe it or not, this really, truly works – just give it a shot. This video offers more tips on healing after narcissistic abuse.
What are the next steps to take in your healing after narcissistic abuse?
So, you already know that the relationship was going nowhere fast, and you know that it’s best to call it quits because if you don’t, the cycle will just continue. Or maybe you’re the one who got dumped. In either case, knowing the truth about the situation can’t take away the pain and loneliness – but when you use the DUO Method to recover, you have a working plan to help you get through the pain.
So first, you’ve got to discover the problem and acknowledge it. Obviously, you’ve already done that at this point. So, after discovery, you’ve got to learn to understand the situation better – and here’s where you are now.
If the person you were involved with is a narcissist, you may be reeling and confused by the constant roller-coaster ride your relationship has become. And now that you’ve been discarded, you can rest assured that, while your narcissist will most likely come back at some point, it’s definitely not going to be worth your trouble to try again.
Narcissists are very unlikely to change if they ever do. And even if they appear to change, it’s generally only in an attempt to get what they want – to manipulate you into coming back to them and being their source of narcissistic supply – the person who keeps the narcissist’s ego lifted up and serves as an emotional dumpster when the narcissist feels a certain amount of narcissistic injury.
If you’re not still sure where you are in your recovery, you might like to take my free narcissistic abuse recovery stages self-assessment, right here.
Bonus: Set Yourself Free by Being Your Authentic Self
Authenticity is underrated. It’s more than being honest with the world. It’s about being honest with yourself. There are many advantages to being authentic. Most importantly, you’ll no longer feel the need to change your words and actions to impress others.
You can relax and be yourself. Before you can be authentic, it’s important to know yourself. This includes your values and goals. Authenticity becomes possible when you know what’s important to you. Embrace authenticity and present yourself honestly:
1. Give up the need to appear perfect. Excellent is good enough. But seriously, when you don’t need to appear perfect, you’re in the position to be honest. No one can be perfect and honest at the same time. Avoid putting on a show for the rest of the world. You’ll only feel bad about yourself later. It’s okay to be less than spectacular. Be the best at being yourself. .
2. Know your values and live by them. If you know your values and live by them consistently, you’re already doing well in the authentic department.Make a list of your values and determine the five that are most important to you. Are you living your life according to these values? Would it be obvious to others that you hold these values? Decide to make your decisions based upon your values. Be willing to share your values with others.
3. Notice when you’re not being authentic. It’s not easy to be authentic all the time. You might find yourself transforming based on the situation. A first date is a good example. Are you being authentic or pretending to be someone you’re not? Take note of those times your authenticity starts to wane
4. Know your goals. What do you want out of life? Do you know? Are you willing to let others know? By knowing your goals, you can you live your life accordingly. Make a list of your short-term and long-term goals. How well do they align with your values?
5. What are your defining characteristics? Describe yourself honestly. Now ask yourself if a casual acquaintance would describe you the same way? How about someone that knows you well? How about your closest friend? * How many people know you well? If there aren’t many, ask yourself why. If you’re living authentically, it should be easy for someone to develop an accurate opinion of you. * What are your “negative” characteristics? Are you impatient or messy? Are you willing to allow others to see these characteristics or do you attempt to hide them?
6. Tell the truth. If you’re being authentic, why would you need to lie? This pertains especially to anything you say about yourself. Admit your mistakes, weaknesses, and frailties. Share your opinions honestly and freely.
7. Simplify your life. Get rid of everything that’s extraneous. What you choose to keep will be representative of your preferences and your true self. Find your true essence by stripping away the non-essential. Start with the clothes you never wear, the things you never use, and the activities you don’t enjoy. Only keep the things that mean the most to you.
8. Do what you say you’ll do. Keep your word and follow through on your promises. You’ll feel more congruent, and others will view you as more congruent. When your words and actions match, you’re demonstrating authenticity. Life becomes easier when you’re living authentically. You’ll no longer feel the exhaustion that comes with constantly changing your opinions, attitudes, and personality to please others. You’ll no longer feel the need to protect yourself from others. Be authentic with your thoughts, words, and actions. Invest the time in yourself and learn to be free.
- 121 Things Narcissists Say When They Are Gaslighting You
- True Survivor Stories: 28 Things a Narcissist Does When Love-Bombing (Beware!)
- Toxic Relationship Recovery: Deciding Who You Want to Be After Narcissistic Abuse
- Surviving Narcissistic Abuse: 65 Things You Might Say to Your Narcissist If You Could
- Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Get Out of the Fog with Mindfulness
- 30 Life-Changing Facts About Narcissists in Relationships – QueenBeeing
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.