Four stages a narcissist abuse survivor might expect

If we were to advertise on a dating site – we might list all the features and things you will experience with this “Deluxe Narc Flight”. Would you have signed up? No, mostly likely the featured listed below sounds a little like a pharmaceutical ad on an old people TV channel. By law if we take a pill that can cause us any possible side effects it has a warning label. Then WHY is there a Narcissist epidemic and there is no one to stop them from the destruction you might be feeling right now.


STAGE 1 – Betrayal/ Hurt Stage
  • Confusion
  • Rejection
  • Denial
  • Shame
  • Anger at X or Narcissist
  • Anger at yourself for not knowing
  • Anger at yourself for the lost time – the love you gave it all to
  • Fear – what will I do now – financially, children
  • Fear – for the unknown future that has been changed for good
  • Abandonment
  • Loneliness
  • Double victimized by friends and family that think you’re crazy
STAGE 2 – Detective Stage
  • Discover Narcissist Abuse
  • Discover things you never knew about this perpetrator
  • Discover you are not alone and you can find answers if you want to heal
  • Discover what made you a target/victim/supply
  • Discover that what made you a target was normal characteristics, and you did nothing wrong
  • Discover you are not crazy
STAGE 3 – Grief Stage
  • Grieve for the loss and how you have to make changes now
  • Grieve for just not knowing this could happen
  • Grieve for being fooled
STAGE 4 – Self-Awareness Stage
  • Adaptation to the new reality
  • Learning to let go
  • Learning to forgive yourself
  • See yourself in a new empowered way
  • Move forward
  • A new awareness that you will know and not attract a narcissist
  • A new skill of – tolerating less
  • Self worth
  • Trusting again will come when you first trust yourself to listen to your intuitions
  • Freedom
  • Accept that you are enough and only the right person will be let back in
  • You will learn to love again

These stages are adapted from this amazing book by Shannon Thomas.
The book ‘Healing for Hidden Abuse’ —
© 2016 Shannon Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions of these stages are adapted from the book, with consent by the author.


“REBUILDING – when a relationship ends by Bruce Fisher and Robert Alberti”, is a great book and program for people divorcing. The recovery principles are very similar so I thought I would include them here.

This is a list of stages of the “Rebuilders Program” a divorce recovery group. Many times the break up with a Narcissist is similar to that of a divorce. Of course we understand that we can certainly have narcissists in our lives that were not intimate but I wanted to put this list here to show the similar steps that must be reached to move on with your life.

1. Rejection
2. Guilt
3. Denial
4. Fear
5. Adaptation

6. Loneliness
7. Friendship
8. Grief
9. Anger
10. Letting go

11. Self worth
12. Transitions
13. Openness
14. Love
15. Trust

16. Relationships
17. Sexuality
18. Singleness
19. Purpose
20. Freedom


1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance
6. Freedom