When the Narcissist Moves On: Jealousy and the New Source of Supply

When the Narcissist Moves On: Jealousy and the New Source of Supply

(Prefer to watch/listen instead of read? See video on YouTube)

About a year after my divorce was final, I got a call from my ex-mother-in-law, letting me know that my ex was getting remarried. I was only mildly surprised – mostly that it had taken him almost two years to meet, successfully propose and schedule a wedding with his would-be second ex-wife. In hindsight, I’m actually kind of surprised it took him that long because usually, narcissists move much quicker. Still, I have absolutely no doubt he was dating and being “in love” with someone – more likely, more than one person, shortly after I left him, but for me, I didn’t even start dating until the divorce was final, and that itself took close to a year after I left.

Even though I did not in any way want him back, part of me felt some kind of way about this whole situation. It wasn’t that I felt jealous. I felt…confused. I felt like I wanted to contact this woman and tell her what she was in for. But if I’m being honest, I wanted to know how he was treating her. Was he being nice? Had he suddenly become the person I’d always wanted him to be? Had all the time and effort I spent trying to help him get it together finally benefitted someone, even if it wasn’t me?

Part of me hoped that he would be different for her. But the other part of me knew he wouldn’t.

It would be about five years later that I’d finally speak to her. When my now-husband decided to adopt my oldest son (the one I’d had with my ex), I had to reach out to the ex. He agreed to sign the papers because it might mean that he would no longer be on the hook for child support. Understandably, despite the fact that she’d never met or spoken to my son because he’d spent literally no time at all with my ex, his then-wife was quite concerned about the situation and showed up with him when I met him to sign the papers.

Once everything was resolved, she ended up calling me several times to discuss her husband and their relationship. She wanted to know if her experiences were like mine. It turned out that her marriage was nearly identical to mine, except she didn’t tolerate as much of his crap as I had. This led to his increasing the intensity and frequency of manipulation and gaslighting. Either way, though, she ended up divorcing him not long after. He’d end up married twice more after that, as far as I know.

The one thing I had felt worried about was that he would be better for someone who wasn’t me. But after having the opportunity to talk to both his second and third wives, I learned the truth: he was the same person for them as he’d been for me. He never changed.

Will the Narcissist Change for the New Supply?

Have you ever felt worried that your ex would somehow change for their new “source of narcissistic supply?” If so, you’re not alone. In fact, I hear this question all the time. People want to know: will the narcissist change for the new supply? Will they take everything I tried to teach them and use it successfully in a new relationship? Well, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today – narcissists and their new sources of supply – how they treat them and whether their new relationship is as good as they make it seem from the outside.

So, you’ve finally had the nerve to leave your partner, who you’re pretty sure is a toxic narcissist. And now, after years of psychological and emotional mind games, and you’re finally starting to breathe again. You are finally free of this horrible, selfish energy and you feel like you’re a brand new person! Life is just starting to get really, really good.

And then it happens. In-person or on social media, you spot your former would-be soulmate with someone new. You are startled and it feels like you’ve been slapped in the face. But pretty soon, you notice that there’s something different about them. They seem happier, brighter. Relaxed, even. They’re having a good time with a new person – maybe even someone who looks a little like you or who has something in common with you. They’re laughing, talking and even being charming.

“Who IS this person?” you wonder.

You’re confused. You’re hurt. You’re angry, maybe. A far cry from the narcissist you recently knew, your ex has somehow transformed themselves back into the amazing person you fell in love with. But seconds later, almost as if time is moving in slow motion, you realize what is happening. Your narcissist has found their next victim – and they’re in the process of love bombing this person, and for just a moment, you get a front-row seat.

Listen. I know it stings. I know it hurts when you see the person you fell in love with re-emerging after you’re away for a while. And I know that you wonder (at least a little bit) if somehow he narcissist was right all along – and if it really WAS just you.

(Side note: I PROMISE you that it wasn’t you.) Let’s talk about it.

The Truth About Narcissists in Relationships

Time for a reality check, my friend: you were never the problem in your toxic relationship. I’m not saying you were perfect. I’m not saying you didn’t make mistakes. I’m just saying that the majority of your issues in the relationship were a direct reaction to the mind games and manipulation that you were putting up within the relationship.

First, let me acknowledge that while every step in the healing process after a toxic relationship with a narcissist can be very painful, this one is probably one of the most confusing. See, while the bigger part of you knows that the narcissist is never going to REALLY change, this other little part of you still loves them – or, to put it more accurately, the version of them that you once believed was real. The one you signed up for in the first place. And that’s the part of them that they’re parading around now – so it’s like you’re mourning “that version” of the narcissist all over again.

But let me repeat: the problem was NOT you! The problem was that the narcissist took you for granted. They got used to having you around. They got spoiled by your supply. And they got bored, or you demanded that they behave like an actual grownup. Or maybe they got shiny new object syndrome, or they said they didn’t love you anymore, and left you to pursue whatever it was they wanted in the moment. Maybe you just finally had enough and you left the narcissist yourself.

Either way, the relationship ended, and you moved on. Or at least, you’re trying to. But you keep asking yourself that question: will the narcissist treat the new supply better? Will the new person get a better deal than you had?

Why the Narcissist Becomes the Person You Fell In Love With When You Leave

Maybe it would help you to understand why the narcissist has suddenly become Mr. or Ms. Perfect again. Here’s the truth: now that the relationship has ended, whether it was the narcissist’s idea or yours to end things, the narcissist was left without a source of regular narcissistic supply – and it is not possible for a narcissist to exist for long without it. Sure, they’ll have their little circle of supply. Friends, family members, even people they’ve cheated on you with. But now that you’re no longer officially together, the narcissist is out there on the prowl again, seeking out the new source of narcissistic supply that they need to save them from themselves.

This is normal – it’s exactly what you should expect from a toxic narcissist. And while a small part of you might secretly hate the new supply, the other part of you sadly already knows that it isn’t going to be all hearts and flowers for this person either. That’s right – if you really think about it, you’ll know exactly know how this story is going to go.

Narcissistic Abuse Has a Standard Cycle

Now, as you know, narcissists are very hard to live with, and even a reasonably intelligent person would feel ashamed that they tolerate the narcissist’s manipulative tactics. This means that the new supply is probably keeping any drama and BS under wraps. And if you’re being honest, you might have done the same thing back then, especially on social media. I remember being really embarrassed if anyone found out what I’d been dealing with, so I told very few people.

Here’s what you need to remember. Narcissistic abuse runs in cycles. In case you aren’t familiar with it, the standard toxic relationship pattern that narcissists use is pretty basic: initially, they love bomb and idealize you. Then they devalue and discard you. Then, many times, they hoover you back in, and the cycle can begin again.

This happens in varying iterations and it happens often inside the same relationship over and over for decades sometimes. But if I’m in your shoes at this point, I’m going to make use of the no-contact/low-contact thing and use it to my advantage. That means to block them both on Facebook so you can stop torturing yourself by stalking their profiles. It means you will not listen when some well-meaning flying monkey tries to offer you updates on the narcissist and the new supply.

It means you’re going to move forward and focus ONLY on what you can control (not what you can’t), and since you couldn’t control the narcissist while you were together, you sure as heck can’t now (nor should you want to – this person no longer your problem!). If you have kids together and you can’t go completely no contact, then you go low contact, meaning that you ONLY deal with the narcissist about the business of raising the kids. Nothing else.

But how do you deal with the painful reality of watching your ex narcissist be perfect for someone else?

How to Deal When the Narcissist Moves On with Someone Else

1. See the Patterns!

Start by remembering what you dealt with and by recognizing what the new supply will deal with soon enough, if they’re not already going through it. (And even if you’re tempted to warn your narcissist’s new supply about what they’re getting themselves into, don’t do it – even if your intentions are good. Since chances are they’re still in the love-bombing or idealization phase, and since your ex has likely told them a lot of lies about you, they won’t likely believe you anyway and you’ll end up regretting the decision to reach out.)

2. Realize the Truth!

Don’t sit around thinking that the narcissist’s new supply will end up getting the benefit of all the work you did trying to fix them. It doesn’t work like that. The narcissist is and always be exactly who they are. Narcissists do not change. I’m not saying they can’t – because I believe that if a narcissist were to really dig in to discover and heal their core wounds, it might be possible. But I’m saying they don’t. In all the years I’ve worked in this business, I’ve never seen it happen. I’ve never seen it happen with any narcissist in my own life and I’ve interviewed and worked with a number of psychologists and other experts who will tell you the same thing: a narcissist does not change (not for long, anyway). The most you’ll get is a temporary behavior modification, and that’s only if the narcissist gets something out of it.

3. Grieve the Relationship!

This is one place I failed in my early recovery. Rather than grieving the relationship, I decided to avoid my feelings and just move forward. That turned out to be a bad idea as it would later come back and bite me in the butt – and while the grief process will wait, it will not just go away. Eventually, you’re going to have to grieve the person you signed up for and let them go.

4. Be Honest with Yourself!

Remember that you’re not really mourning the person you lost; you’re mourning your illusion of who you believed they were. It’s an ever-turning cycle that the narcissist will repeat in varying iterations for the rest of their life. Be glad you’re off the wheel.

5. Put Yourself First for Once!

Stay focused on you, and on making your own life better. You have already been tortured enough – if you let this situation keep making you miserable, you’re only allowing the narcissist to continue the abuse and control you from afar. Take back your life, my friend, and choose to be happy, in your own way. Focus on what you can control and not what you can’t.

6. Focus on Healing.

It’s time for you to heal and release the anger and sadness. As you work on your own healing, the layers of anger and sadness will soon disappear. One of the hardest things for me and for many survivors of these kinds of relationships was mourning the illusion of that perfect relationship we wanted to truly believe that we had. Letting that go was a big step for me and many other survivors have told me the same thing.

7. Don’t Overthink the New Supply.

NEVER compare yourself to the new supply, unless it’s to feel sorry for them as you take note of the pattern that you’re thankfully no longer subjected to in your life. Don’t do yourself the disservice of trying to think the new supply somehow “better” than you; the truth is that narcissists are very picky, so chances are, if the new source of narcissistic supply “seems” better somehow, it’s only because the hasn’t ruined them just yet.

8. Skip the “What Ifs.”

Don’t “if only” and “what if” yourself to death. It’s common to have feelings of regret after any relationship ends, and you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t wonder what you could have done differently or whether something you did or said could have been the trigger that caused it all to go downhill. But that’s not the truth, and it’s not helping you – it’s only causing you more pain – and chances are, you couldn’t have changed the situation without going completely insane trying to make the narcissist happy. Remember that the narcissist will NEVER be truly happy, because true happiness comes from within – and they are empty on the inside, at least on an emotional level. Now it’s time to live in the moment and to think about how you want the future to go.

What do you think?

Question of the Day: Have you ever experienced watching your ex-narcissist get involved with a new person, or even just appear to return to the person they used to be, and how did it make you feel? What advice would you offer your fellow survivors in this situation? Or are you currently dealing with this issue? Share your thoughts, share your ideas, share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it.

What Is the Number 1 Thing Narcissists Can’t Accept?

What Is the Number 1 Thing Narcissists Can’t Accept?

(Prefer to hear instead of read? Click here to view on YouTube.) When I went no contact with my mother, my decision was made in a moment of extreme distress. It was immediately after I learned that she had done something that was a huge and unexpected betrayal – and I won’t go into that right now, but you can read the whole story here, if you’re interested. Anyway…I remember feeling completely blindsided and devastated in the moment.

Immediately, I picked up the phone and called her to confront her. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have given her the satisfaction – but I didn’t fully understand what I had been dealing with at the time. Anyway, when I told my mother that I knew what she had done, she began to scream and yell and rage. I pretty quickly told her never to call me again, and I hung up the phone.

At the time, I didn’t understand the concept of “going no contact with a narcissist,” but I would later learn that I had somehow instinctively made the right decision in that moment.

Over the next couple of weeks, I learned through the grapevine that the extended family was talking about me in some pretty interesting ways. It seemed that they believed I’d be back – and that at the very least, they’d see me for the holidays. They reportedly said I was just being dramatic and begging for attention.

In reality, I was done. And I still am. But at the time, they were apparently in denial, or so I thought. Later, I’d learn that my mother was playing the victim. She acted like she had absolutely no idea why I’d stopped talking to her, and she told people she was afraid I’d come and physically hurt her, despite the fact that I’d never even raised a hand to her or even been verbally aggressive. She of course omitted the fact that she had been very physically aggressive to me until I was 18.

A few weeks passed by and I learned that my mother had planned to send my brother to my home without notice, as a sort of “sneak attack,” to apparently “straighten me out” or confront me for having gone no contact. When I learned this, I sent a quick email explaining that he wasn’t welcome and that the police would be called if he showed up.

A couple of months after that, someone told me that my mother had been using my name in a newsletter that was sent out to around 300 people by mail – saying that I had “mental health issues” and that people should pray for me. That was taken care of with another quick email and a brief reminder that I happened to have had a much bigger audience than she did, some of which included her people. It turned out that the threat of exposure was enough to stop the smearing in this case.

So, why did this narcissist behave this way? What was she thinking and what was the one thing that she just couldn’t accept? It seemed that I had somehow managed to do the number one thing that narcissists just can’t accept. What was it? What exactly was the thing I did that made her act like that?

Well, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today – the one thing narcissists can’t accept, and what to expect when it happens (see video on YouTube).

If you have been profoundly impacted by one or more narcissists in your life, whether it was a parent, an ex, or a friend, or even a co-worker, you might already know what to expect from them. And you are well aware that there are many things that a narcissist will not and cannot accept. You know they will not accept being confronted or criticized, they will not accept you living your own life on your terms, and you know that they won’t tolerate you speaking up for yourself.

They most definitely cannot stand being humiliated or embarrassed. And they can’t imagine what would happen if they were to be exposed for what they truly are – the idea of it is so painful for them that they literally lie to themselves about who and what they are.

But none of those things are as big of an issue for a narcissist as the one we’re discussing today.

So, what is the number one thing that narcissists can’t accept?

It’s simple: a narcissist will never accept rejection. They just can’t. That’s right. Rejection is the one thing that narcissists cannot accept.

What does rejection mean to a narcissist?

Fearing and disliking the feeling of being rejected isn’t just a narcissistic thing – nearly everyone has this fear. But for narcissists, feeling rejected can happen in any number of situations. Obviously, if they are turned down when they ask you to be with them, they’ll feel rejected. Or if a friend or family member refuses to speak to or see them due to a decision to go no contact, they will feel rejected. If they don’t get the job they wanted, they’ll feel rejected. And I think all of those things are fairly normal. We can all relate to that.

However, a narcissist might also feel rejected if they simply don’t get what they want, or if a situation doesn’t go their way. They’ll feel rejected if they call you and you don’t have time to talk, or if they want to see you and you’re at work and can’t leave. They’ll feel rejected if you’re spending time with your kid and you make that a priority over them. They might feel rejected if they see you in public but you don’t see them. Or if you decide to go out with your friends one night and ask them to stay home and take care of the kids.

They might feel rejected if you win an award, because they didn’t win one too. Even if the award is for something they’re not involved with – like your job or a particular talent you have that they don’t. They’ll even feel rejected if they don’t know the answer to a question and someone else does. Or if they misspell a word and are called out on it. Or if they fail at literally anything at all.

Of course, the biggest rejection for a narcissist is the moment you decide you’re done with their abuse and you go no contact. You refuse to see or speak to them. You block them on social media. You actively avoid them. This makes them feel like they’ve absolutely lost control of you – and they have. But you’ve also taken away their source of narcissistic supply, maybe for good.

What Happens If You Reject A Narcissist?

The first thing you need to know here is that rejecting a narcissist, if you ask the narcissist, is practically the kiss of death. It just isn’t acceptable in their world, because their ego cannot handle the emotions associated with it. Plus, if you ask them, they’re the ones who get to do the rejecting – NOT you or anyone else.

If you reject a narcissist, you’re essentially cutting off a source of narcissistic supply. And my friend, you can expect to deal with a very unpleasant reaction from the narcissist.  For all the bravado and grandiosity, you would think that narcissists are practically indestructible. But the truth is that a narcissist will feel like their word is ending at even the tiniest “slight” that an average person would just let roll right off their back.

Let’s discuss the primary reactions you can expect from the narcissist after you make it clear that you want nothing to do with them again.

1. Narcissistic Injury

No matter what actually happened that caused you to reject them, the narcissist will quickly change the narrative of the situation to cast themselves as the victim. They will also talk about you mercilessly during this time, focusing on spreading lies to everyone they know about how you victimized them in some way.  This is what we call a smear campaign, and it’s how the narcissist sort of “advertises” their “victim status” – and at the same time, how they try to get their narcissistic supply needs met. This is very difficult to imagine for your average person – we don’t see things the same way as a narcissist. Maybe this will help you see it a little more clearly. Think about how you feel if you unexpectedly stub your toe in the dark. It throbs with pain! You might find yourself cursing and screaming about it. Well, the narcissist will react the same way to being rejected – it almost feels like a literal injury to them.

2. Narcissistic Rage

If the narcissistic injury doesn’t work, the narcissist will inevitably become enraged. They are feeling a mixture of anxiety, shame, and depression as they turn the rejection inward. And when that happens, they will direct their narcissistic rage towards you or anyone who rejects them. They will scream, yell, hurl insults, and more. They’ll call you names. They’ll tear you down as a person. They’ll dig at you on every single sensitive topic they can think of – whether it’s how you are in bed, what kind of parent you are, how you keep the house or how bad (or good) you are with money. Or, if they’re more covert, they’ll go passive-aggressive on you. They may behave vindictively by sabotaging you in ways that can really mess up your life. For example, let’s say you have an interview for your dream job. The narcissist might send screenshots of the photos your friend posted on Facebook that one time you got drunk 5 years ago, hurting your chances of getting the job.

3. Hoover and Reject

This one might be the most painful way a narcissist could react to being rejected, but it’s not uncommon. See, in this case, the narcissist will hoover you – as in, do anything they can to get you back on board with the relationship, whether it’s a romantic one, a family connection, or a friendship. In the story I told at the beginning, it didn’t work. But I’ve experienced it in other relationships and have heard it from many clients. Essentially, in order to get you back, the narcissist will say all the things you’ve always wanted them to say. And they’ll bend over backward to convince you that THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT! This time, they’re REALLY serious and they’re TOTALLY going to follow through with all of the promises they’ve made you. You’ll doubt them at first, but eventually, you might give in – either out of exhaustion or hope. In either case, hold on to your hat, because once they’re sure you’re 100 percent committed to them again, they’ll do something you won’t be expecting: they’ll reject YOU. And then you’ll be back to square one, wondering what is wrong with you and posting in your narcissistic abuse recovery support groups about how you can’t believe you fell for it yet again. You’ll doubt your own intelligence and you’ll feel humiliated and embarrassed. They, however, will – at least temporarily – feel vindicated because they “got you back” for rejecting them in the first place.

Any of that sound familiar to you? If so, know that you aren’t alone, and know that you can take back your life and find happiness.

Question of the Day: Have you ever committed the one act that narcissists cannot accept? If so, how did you manage the fallout? If not, are you considering it? Share your thoughts, share you experiences, share your ideas in the comments section below this video and let’s talk about it.

Polyvagal Theory in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Polyvagal Theory in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

“We all come from dysfunctional families. The issue is not whether our family was dysfunctional but whether we can put meaning to the experience of our lives.” ~ Stephen Porges, author of the Polyvagal Theory

I had a narcissistic abuse recovery counseling client who was really struggling with deep childhood trauma combined with a psychopathic ex who had horribly abused her since she was a teen. Now that she was free, she was feeling anything BUT. In fact, she felt frozen in fear, nearly all the time.

Are you living in a constant state of fear? 

Can you relate to living in a constant state of fight or flight, or worse, freeze? That was this woman’s reality. She had tried traditional therapy and spent thousands of dollars on various doctors, practitioners, and even alternative medicine. Yet, she was still at a complete standstill in her recovery and she still felt fearful and miserable every day. I deeply felt for her, and I really wanted to help. So, I started digging to help her find a solution to overcome her C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms so she could heal.

That is what led me to Dr. Stephen Porges and his Polyvagal Theory. My client found significant relief, and I learned new ways to help people in narcissistic abuse recovery.

What is Polyvagal Theory?

According to Porges, “The polyvagal theory describes an autonomic nervous system that is influenced by the central nervous system, sensitive to afferent influences, characterized by an adaptive reactivity dependent on the phylogeny of the neural circuits, and interactive with source nuclei in the brainstem regulating the striated muscles of the face and head.” Read more about Polyvagal Theory in Porges’ 2009 paper, here. 

In this brief video, Dr. Stephen Porges explains offers an explanation of his Polyvagal Theory and how it works.

How can we use Polyvagal Theory and vagus nerve stimulation to help us heal from narcissistic abuse and trauma? 

Going through a toxic relationship often leaves victims feeling fearful to a debilitating level. For most of us, it affects our nervous system in profound ways. In some cases, survivors find themselves living in a constant state of anxiety based on the feeling that they need to be constantly on guard – hypervigilance. This makes it almost impossible for them to relax or even to feel “normal.” They feel FROZEN or STUCK.

Through the use of vagus nerve stimulation as described by Dr. Porges in Polyvagal Theory, many survivors find relief of their C-PTSD symptoms. Even better, these exercises can be done by almost anyone from the comfort of their own home – or anywhere they happen to be.

Self-Help Exercises for CPTSD Symptoms Based on Polyvagal Theory

In THIS VIDEO, I talk about a theory developed by Dr. Stephen Porges that could change the way we heal trauma, and once I’ve given you a brief overview of the theory, I’m going to share some self-help exercises that you can do at home to help you get through the hard times.

As I mentioned, one of my clients found herself stuck, afraid and feeling frozen, and she had tried everything but struggled to find relief. After discovering what I’m going to show you today, she began to find some relief. As I learned more about the theory, I shared some of its ideas with other clients in similar situations.

In the majority of these cases, they were able to find some relief all on their own by doing surprisingly simple at-home exercises. Several reported that they felt these simple exercises made a significant difference in their ability to feel safe enough to recover.

The Role of the Vagus Nerve in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Porges proposes in his polyvagal theory that the vagus nerve has more function than previously thought and that the sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous systems are only part of the equation in how people react to the environment and trauma. Because the theory is very complicated, I’m only providing a very high-level overview and focus on the parts that will specifically help us as survivors. The Polyvagal Theory says that the parasympathetic nervous system is not only associated with relaxation but also symptoms of PTSD.

Porges developed the theory to help us understand this dual function of the parasympathetic nervous system. It points to a human survival mechanism in which the parasympathetic nervous system leads us to FREEZE or “faint” in the face of a life-threatening event. Most importantly, the polyvagal theory teaches you to engage your social nervous system to consciously slow down your defensive system.

This allows you to finally find freedom from CPTSD symptoms and to feel safe. In other words, Porges’s theory makes us look beyond the effects of fight or flight and put social relationships in the forefront so we can understand our symptoms better.

Additional Resources for Learning About Polyvagal Theory

Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support

Related Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

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

Are you ready to begin recovering from a toxic relationship? 

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 solutions and resources to help you learn how to heal from a toxic relationship and 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 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. There are several 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 taken a beating.

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 they do it 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.

The narcissist won’t return in a few cases, 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?

All of this is going to be 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?

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.

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 now that you can barely even imagine what that might look like.
  • This is a tender and emotional time, so the first thing a lot of survivors do is to self-isolate. That’s okay at first. 
  • 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; if you need to take a little time, 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 doubt that you will be safe, you MUST contact your doctor or go immediately to the nearest emergency room. 

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).

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

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

Anger, in some cases, can help propel you forward – especially when you still haven’t left the relationship yet.

But at some point, it can 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 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 sabotage 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?

Why do I feel so confused all the time?

Like brain fog, feeling confused or unable to think straight can be normal 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 feel like this when they leave a toxic relationship (and often, while they’re still in it!).

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

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 kind of existential crisis during recovery from a toxic relationship.

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

Feeling shame is 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 regularly, and you can bet they feel NO remorse.

Even though you’re not perfect, and 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 to 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.

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

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program Self-Assessment

Video playlist on healing after narcissistic abuse.

 

How to Stop Feeling Like You’re Not Good Enough

How to Stop Feeling Like You’re Not Good Enough

Do you ever feel like you’re just not good enough? If you do, you aren’t alone. When you’re involved in physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive relationships with narcissists, you will begin to lose your self-worth very quickly, if you had any to begin with. And while you try to maintain a good front, and though you might be you’re keeping up the facade of a really healthy relationship to most people in your life – you secretly feel like there’s something not right about you. Or at least something that isn’t quite good enough.

But why? How’d you get to the point where you began to feel not good enough? It’s often related to being raised by toxic, abusive parents.

When You Feel Like You’re Not Worth Loving

Do you ever ask yourself questions like, “Am I unlovable?” If you’re feeling like you’re unlovable after you’ve been gaslighted, discarded, and devalued by a toxic, abusive narcissist. Or, if you feel that you’re not good enough, please take a minute and watch this video. I made it for you.

It is so confusing for their friends and extended family who can sometimes see that something is wrong in the relationship. They don’t understand why you stay when, as far as they see it, you clearly deserve better. But for some reason, you aren’t on the same page. You aren’t sure you deserve better at all.

For the record, I want you to know that I am absolutely positive that you do not deserve to be abused. I am positive that you deserve to be respected just like every other human on the planet does. The abuser in your life wants you to think otherwise because it keeps you more firmly in their control. It keeps you feeling stuck – and it keeps you from leaving them. Even if friends and family beg you to leave, you stay because at least some part of you truly believes that you really don’t deserve better at all.

And, if you’re being honest, even if you can SAY that you don’t deserve to be treated that way, and even if you recognize it logically, you continue to tolerate it because you genuinely don’t think you’re worth more, or maybe you are worried because you think you’ve done something – or that you ARE something – that somehow justifies the abuser’s behavior. The truth is more likely that you are actually not the problem in your relationship at all. Normal people don’t behave the way that narcissists do with the people they claim to love.

There is No Legitimate Justification (and Absolutely NO Excuse) for Abuse.

I want you to read this next part really, really carefully. There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for physical, psychological, emotional, financial, or relationship abuse of any kind. No amount of personal flaws could possibly offer any justification for disrespect, rudeness, yelling, screaming, belittling, projection, gaslighting.

You must accept absolutely no form of abuse for any reason. Because of this, before anything else, you need to start planning your way out of this toxic and abusive relationship. Now if you have kids or other issues that will make leaving more complicated, you might be tempted to wait until the kids are gone or the credit cards are paid off, or whatever it is that’s holding you back. 

You Do Not Have to Accept Narcissistic Abuse.

Now listen, my friend. I want you to take a deep breath, and as long as physical abuse isn’t part of the equation, I want you to recognize that you don’t have to be out tomorrow or next week or even next month. It might even take a year or two. It doesn’t feel like an option at all, maybe. But don’t stress yourself out – know this: some action toward getting free can be almost as good as actually getting free.

Knowing you are planning to leave can make you feel more powerful day-to-day, and it can be a good thing to think about during the times you might otherwise dissociate or space out. What I mean is: knowing you have a plan to leave can help you feel less overpowered when you are tolerating narcissistic abuse in order to keep the peace.

Above all, remember that it’s important to be kind and compassionate to yourself now. If you’ve just discovered that you’ve been dealing with narcissistic abuse, you might get angry at yourself for not seeing it sooner. Don’t do that. Give yourself a break – none of us realized we were dealing with this until we realized it!

I don’t want you to feel pressured and rushed. I just want you to recognize that, if you really want to be able to be happy or at least to live a peaceful and even fulfilling life that doesn’t suck, you’re going to have to find a way out of this relationship eventually. And in my experience, that can begin with taking just one small step toward the life you want and deserve. Maybe that just means you start thinking about the possibility of it today.

PLANning (Planning to Leave a Narcissist) Toolkit

Even if it is going to take you a while to figure out how to get out, where to go, and what to do next, you can start putting your desires out to the universe. And you can take your first practical step by downloading my free, printable workbook and worksheets that come with the PLANning to Leave a Narcissist (With or Without Kids) Toolkit. 

Steps to Writing Your Own Story

So, now you know you don’t want a toxic relationship, right? This means that, as you’re moving forward in your narcissistic abuse recovery, you have to start figuring out what you actually do want in your life. This is the key. When you feel like you’re not good enough for the things you want and need in your life, you project that to the universe – and that’s what you get back – more feelings of being (and reasons to feel) “not good enough.”

First, Change your Mind: Realize You’re Already Good Enough.

As like attracts like, when we KNOW that we ARE good enough, that we’re “worth it,” we attract the things and situations we desire. Contrary to the teachings of many societal groups, suffering is not necessary in this life. You don’t have to wait until you’re dead to enjoy your life.

Whatever your reason for feeling that you’re not good enough – your past mistakes, negativity from others in your life – whatever it is – I’m here to tell you that you can change your mind. The power is within you. It’s not up to your mom, your boss, your spouse – it’s up to you. You are the sole individual who has the right to decide who you are, and who has the right to decide whether you’re good enough.

The first step to recognizing that you’re good enough is to identify and release negative self-perceptions. So, in short, stop believing what everyone else says about who you are.

The next part is the fun part.

Next, Decide What (and Who) Comes Next for You.

You get to decide who you want to be. Take the parts of you that you like, and focus on them. Then, think about who you want to be – and become that person.

As you take inspired action to fully express your new self to the world, you must believe that you are already your ideal version of yourself. As Robert Anthony once said, “You can have anything you want if you will give up the belief that you can’t have it.”

Toxic Relationships Make You Think You’re Not Good Enough

Do you feel bad about yourself? Do you feel like you’re not loveable or like you’re just not good enough? Watch How to Stop Feeling Like You’re Not Good Enough – Do This One Thing and Never Doubt Yourself Again: Codependency Recovery on YouTube.

Narcissists Exploit You in the Worst Possible Ways

You have more than one particular quality that narcissists use against you in toxic relationships – and you might be surprised when you learn exactly what it is (and how they use it against you!). Knowledge is power – and learning what the number one mind game narcissists play with you actually is can help you learn to outsmart the narcissist for good! This video will help you to understand the #1 way that narcissists will exploit you.

Be Aware of This Possible Complication in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

If you’ve asked yourself why you’re still obsessed with the narcissist, and what you can do to STOP that, here are the answers you need. You might find that you get a little obsessed with researching and figuring out what you’ve been through when you finally discover that you’ve been dealing with narcissistic abuse. You’ll want to know everything you can about narcissists and narcissism. You’ll be digging into your own psychological issues and trying to figure yourself out too. All of that is normal and healthy. But at some point, you might get stuck and feel almost addicted to checking on the narcissist, what they’re doing, who they’re with, what they’re posting on social media.

That’s normal too, but only for a while. You’re going to want to let go of this a quickly as you can if you want to be able to heal and to move forward.

Here’s what you need to know about healing and letting go after a toxic relationship with a narcissist.

Why You’re Obsessed With the Truth About the Narcissist (And How to LET GO and Move Forward)

Pin It on Pinterest