If you have been in a relationship with someone with a narcissistic personality disorder or even one who has some traits of narcissism, no doubt you have been hurt deeply. Having a family member, parent, or sibling with narcissism can cause great harm. Emotional abuse is just as damaging as physical abuse – this type of abuse is an assault on your soul that no one can see.
There are so many lessons to be learned from these types of relationships and the learning comes gradually as you are in recovery and waking up to it. How is your learning going?
Here are some lessons to consider:
- Pay Attention – to yourself. What are you feeling when in a relationship with this person? Common feelings are anger, frustration, shame, sadness, and confusion to name a few. Do you feel like you are going crazy in the relationship and doubting yourself?
- Seek Knowledge and Help – for yourself. If you feel something is off, it probably is. Seek professional help from a therapist or certified narcissistic abuse coach. Share with them what is happening to you and what you are feeling.
- You are Not Crazy – Narcissistic emotional abuse causes extreme self-doubt and confusion to you. This is sometimes done intentionally and is often unconscious as the narcissist projects their own shame and shadow onto you with their rigid defensive behaviors.
- Implement Boundaries and Learn about Codependence – Not all people who find themselves in narcissistic relationships are codependent, but if you have had trauma in your own life (as a child), chances are you developed codependence to cope and survive. That makes it harder to implement boundaries because you are a people pleaser. Learning to have healthy boundaries is foundational to positive mental wellness and healthy relationships.
- Allowing Yourself to Grieve – Losing love, grieving the loss of yourself and unmet needs is devastating. After waking up to what you are dealing with there will be grief that must be talked about and felt. Learning about the natural process of grief and dealing with any fears surrounding your grief is essential in getting yourself back and experiencing the growth that will naturally come.
- Trauma is Probable – If you have been in a narcissistic relationship research shows that 75% of you will have symptoms of C-PTSD. 95% of you will have full-blown PTSD or C-PTSD. This is tragic. Therefore, continue to pay attention to yourself and notice what you are struggling with. Cognitive Dissonance and the trauma bond are the most prevalent in intimate relationships and the hardest to recover from.
- You are not Alone and You Can Not Heal from this Alone – There are many resources and survivors who are a little further down the path than you are in healing. They can be a tremendous support for you. Finding your “tribe”/support group to process things with, and the right professional to support and guide you through recovery will ensure your healing, growth, and success. Be proactive.
- The Only One You Can Change is Yourself – Do not waste your time trying to change, teach, and reason with a narcissist. They have limitations and do not feel, think, or have the empathy to relate to you in the way you need them to. Implementing your boundaries taking time out to do your soul searching and gathering your strength to decide on your best path forward are necessary.
- It Can Be Dangerous to Your Health and Well-being to Continue in a Relationship With a Narcissist – Depending on where this person is on the spectrum of narcissism matters. If they have the ability to self-reflect and make changes that will last this is a win. However, they may also have to work hard at the same time to heal any addictions if they are present. Those higher on the spectrum or those comorbid with any other pathology are unlikely to change. Your discernment about your unique situation is so important for you and for those depending on you.
- The Lesson of Acceptance – This one comes in time after you have done much work. Accepting some people are wounded and will never change. Accepting yourself anew. Accepting that you have been through hell and can survive. Accepting that a new beginning is always possible, and accepting that you have changed and grown more than you could have ever thought possible is the best lesson to learn.
And when you are ready… remember if you want to move mountains, whatever those mountains of difficulty are, you must learn to forgive. Forgive yourself first, then the other but never forget the lessons learned.
Thank you, Donna, for sharing such personal thoughts. We appreciate you!
Donna’s calling is to help spiritual women understand if they are involved in the confusion and trauma of a toxic emotionally abusive relationship and to guide them to heal transform and transcend the pain into a meaningful new beginning. She has been a clinical therapist for over 20 years and is a certified holistic wellness coach who specializes in grief and loss, trauma (Brainspotting certified), and emotional narcissistic abuse recovery.