If you’ve ever dated a narcissist, you know how confusing and draining it can be. Initially it was wonderful. He swept me off my feet. It happened so fast that I did not even have time to think about it. But soon enough, the narcissistic behaviors began to show.
He was always on his phone and never had time for me or our relationship. However hard I tried to rekindle the flame, I was not able to get through to him. He was emotionally distant and made it clear that I was not important.
The situation rapidly escalated into abuse, as he manipulated me into believing things that were untrue, or made me doubt my own intuition. He was overly critical of me and made me feel bad about myself.
The relationship finally ended, but it left a trail of trauma that I had to learn to heal from. It was not easy and there were times when I felt like I was drowning in the pain of what had happened. But, with time and work, I slowly began to move forward and heal.
The Narcissistic Abuse Cycle
Looking back, I can see that the narcissist acted to plan. He swooped in, using standard narcissistic tactics. I was overwhelmed by the attention, the gifts, the romantic dates and the steamy declarations of love.
It was only later that I realized I had experienced the Narcissistic Abuse Cycle. What I was experiencing was the idealisation stage, where the narcissist showers you with attention. I thought it was love, but it was a ploy to control me and make me dependent on him.
When the idealisation stage faded, he left me feeling bewildered and hurt. Suddenly, everything I did was wrong. The narcissist had now entered the devaluation stage of the cycle, where he belittled me and made me doubt myself.
I Dated a Narcissist – Recognising the Narcissist’s Manipulation Tactics
It was only after I had been discarded that I began to understand how the narcissist manipulated me. He used tactics like gaslighting, guilt-tripping and projection. These are common narcissistic behaviors, and it took time for me to recognize them.
Gaslighting is when the narcissist denies something that you know to be true, making you question your own sanity or judgement. Guilt-tripping is when they make you feel bad for something that wasn’t necessarily wrong or your fault. And projection is when they blame their own mistakes and failings on you, in order to deflect their own responsibility.
I Dated a Narcissist – Healing From Narcissistic Abuse
The healing process is ongoing and there are days when it can feel like a never-ending battle. But I have learnt to trust myself and my instincts again, and that has been empowering.
It is important to remember that healing from narcissistic abuse involves more than just dealing with the scars left behind from the relationship itself. It means learning how to love yourself, recognize your own needs and giving yourself permission to pursue a life of happiness and freedom.
This is hard work, but it’s worth it in the end. Taking care of yourself, mentally and physically, will help you heal from the trauma of dating a narcissist. It may be difficult at times, but if you stay focused on your own healing, you will eventually find peace and contentment again.
Here are some tips I learned along the way.
Healing from Narcissistic Trauma – Acknowledge the Experience
The first step in recovery from narcissistic abuse is recognizing the trauma you experienced and its effects on your mental health. It’s important to understand that narcissistic abuse is real and has serious psychological repercussions.
Many people who have been in abusive relationships with narcissists feel shame or guilt for not recognizing the signs earlier or for “allowing” themselves to be treated so poorly.
The same thing happened to me. I beat myself up about not leaving sooner, or not recognizing the warning signs.
But it’s important to remember that narcissistic abuse can be incredibly manipulative and insidious. It can be hard to recognize that someone you love is controlling and manipulative until it’s too late.
Don’t Blame Yourself
It took me a long time to realize that my experience with the narcissist wasn’t my fault. You must understand and accept that the narcissist is the only one responsible for their own manipulative behavior, and you are not to blame.
You need to view your own behavior and reactions as normal responses to an abnormal situation. No one deserves to be manipulated or mistreated like this and you did nothing wrong.
Reframe Your Experience
Once you’ve recognized the trauma of your experience, it’s time to start reframing it as something positive.
This means shifting your mindset away from victimhood and towards self-empowerment.
Recognizing that you have the power to make decisions about yourself can help you take back control of your life and move forward with strength and confidence.
Additionally, positive self-talk will help you reframe your experience as something that has made you stronger instead of weaker.
Seek Professional Help
In the months after the narcissist dumped me, I struggled with depression and anxiety. My family was worried about me and they convinced me to see a therapist.
Therapy allowed me to talk about my experiences with an unbiased professional who could help me process and move on. With the right help, I was able to overcome my fear of being manipulated by another person in a relationship again.
Having someone to talk to was essential for helping me regain my sense of safety and trust in myself.
Focus on Self-Care
The most important thing you can do to heal from narcissistic abuse is focus on self-care. Take time each day to acknowledge yourself, your strengths and your worth as a person. This is how I learned to love myself again, after the narcissist destroyed my self-confidence and self-respect.
Take care of your body by eating healthy foods, exercising, getting enough sleep and engaging in activities that bring you joy.
Finally, give yourself permission to enjoy your life and to be open to new experiences. Don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back from living a full and meaningful life.
I Dated a Narcissist – Final Thoughts
Healing after a narcissistic relationship is not easy but it’s possible with the right support and mindset. By acknowledging your experiences, reframing them in a positive light and focusing on self-care, you can start to feel better and move forward with renewed confidence.
Remember that it’s not your fault and you are worthy of love and respect. With time, patience and dedication to healing, you will find peace again.
I made it, and so can you.