The term ‘Narcissist’ is heavily overused in the world these days. However, they do exist, and they can be extremely toxic people in marital relationships. Understanding how to spot one and how to deal with one when they are being difficult is really important. And even more important, is how to recover from Narcissistic Abuse. This article series is going to be broken up into different segments: Identifying a Narcissist; Possible Causation of Narcissistic Personality Disorder; Spotting Narcissist Tactics and Habits; Dealing with a Narcissist; Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse; Treatment of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as well ‘de-bunking’ theories of Narcissism. Society has gotten far too comfortable calling people narcissists without being properly informed. Therefore, to better explain who a narcissist is, how they operate, and how you can handle a narcissist, follow along this series of articles for a 101 on Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Part 5: Overcoming and Moving On From a Narcissistic Partner
- Look to Families and Close Friends for Support, You Are Going to Need it
If you have been following along, you saw in the last article regarding narcissistic abuse that the support of friends and family is going to be key when it comes to relationships with narcissistic partners. Narcissists have a tendency to say horrible things about their partner in an attempt to save face, or lessen to distract people from whatever a victim may say about their narcissistic abuser after leaving a relationship. If you are about to stand up to a narcissist or leave a relationship with a narcissist, you need to warn some of your close friends and family members, not only of the backlash that you may face or they may face, but also because you are going to need a support system in times like these. You are going to need people who have your back, and will stand up for you if the narcissist confronts them about you. Your need to create a close group of friends to help make it clear to the narcissist that you are loved and supported, and that isn’t changing. You may also want to inform your boss or people you work with in case anything is said or done that may have a negative impact on your employment.
- Cut out People Who Are Not 100% Supporting You
If you are recovering from narcissistic abuse, you are already going to have a high level of self-doubt. In addition, there are very few people who leave relationships that do not end up questioning at one point or another I they could have it work. Having people in your life that are close to you or far that make you question yourself or your decisions more can be very damaging at a time like this. Although it is important to have friends and family who are there to challenge you and better you, now is not the time for that. You need people who are willing to listen to what you have to say, and are willing to support your decisions, no questions asked. This may result in losing some of your closer friends which can be extremely painful in a time when you are already grieving the loss of a relationship, however ultimately, it is going to be for the best.
- Seek Out Professional Help
If you have been in, or are in a relationship with a narcissist, there is a high likelihood that you are in the need of professional help too, as the emotional damage that is done while in a relationship with a narcissist can be extremely draining for a person, and leave them with a large sense of self-doubt. In addition, there are studies that show that people who have been subjected to severe narcissistic abuse can suffer actual damage to their brain. There is no shame in feeling confused, or guilty, or naïve. Sometimes it can just be worth it to vent to someone and get feelings out, whatever they may be. Whatever struggles you may be going through after leaving a narcissistic abusive partner, do not feel like you need to go through it alone.
- Educate Yourself on NPD
Sometimes when you are in a situation, it can seem so hard to see the big picture. In an effort to prevent allowing yourself to fall victim to another narcissistic abusive relationship, or allow the narcissist back into your life, the best thing you can do for yourself is to educate yourself. Read books or articles on the topic. Learn to spot the signs and read stories about others who have gone through similar situations—you are not alone.
- Understand That No Closure May Be the Only Closure You Will Get
If you were dealing with a narcissist who was in complete denial, and never sought help, you are going to be in for a very disappointing departure. That is not to sound cold, but to give you a glimpse at the reality of the situation. Without the ability to process and express empathy like a person whose brain functions normal, they are not going to dwell on the relationship like most ex-partners. In fact, they will probably say even worse things when you end. If they were unable to respect or value you during a relationship, they surely will not do it when you or they leave the relationship. And unlike many exes, they won’t look back with any regret. The reality is the best closure you will get in a relationship with a narcissist is the understanding that there really won’t be any closure. As cold as it feels, use that statement to remind yourself everyday why you had to leave the relationship.
- Block and Be Done
This is not immature, and do not let anyone convince you otherwise. If you left someone that was a narcissist abuser, and they refused to seek treatment for their disorder, it is best that you cut them out from your life completely. Block their number, their e-mail addresses, their social media accounts and all other means of communication with them.
Narcissists live for the reaction, they live to look like the better person, they want you to do something to make you look like the bad person, or make you look like you are the one at fault. Do not give them this satisfaction. They cannot handle failure in a relationship, and the thought of someone threatening their grandiose sense of self that they attempt to portray. You are better off cutting off communication with a narcissist than allowing him or her to use technology and communication to gain more emotional ammunition. Eventually they will move on and continue this abusive cycle with someone else—avoid letting yourself fall back into it. Your narcissistic ex has no business knowing what you are up to. Although it can be the most excruciating pain, erasing someone from your life that you spent so much time with, it is necessary for recovery. Day by day, things will get easier.
The Silver-Lining in It All
The silver-lining is that if you can overcome narcissistic abuse and move on from it, there will likely be a more difficult emotional struggle you will have to overcome in life. You will be able to walk away from it and eventually gain an even stronger sense of yourself, your self-worth, all while developing a strong support system that you will be able carry with you in all of life’s trials. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it will all work out.