The 10 Stages of Healing After Narcissistic Abuse: What to Expect and How to Cope

If you have recently left an abusive relationship with a narcissist, you may be wondering what to expect in terms of healing. Narcissistic abuse can be incredibly damaging, both mentally and emotionally. It can leave you feeling shattered and you may feel like you will never heal. But you will.

In this blog post, I will discuss the 10 stages of healing that typically occur after narcissistic abuse.

I will also provide tips for coping during each stage.

The effects of narcissistic abuse

Narcissistic abuse can be devastating. The narcissist has a vast toolkit of abuse techniques that they can use to break you down – gaslighting, abuse by proxy, triangulation, future faking, hoovering… The list goes on, but what is certain is that the abuser will choose those tactics that will inflict maximum damage.

The result is that you end up feeling like you are not good enough and are not worthy of love or respect.

The narcissist will make you feel like you are going crazy and that you are the one who is responsible for the abuse.

In fact, they will even make themselves out to be the victim, claiming that you are the abuser!

The stages of healing after narcissistic abuse

The first stage of healing is often denial. It can be difficult to accept that you have been a victim of abuse. You may find yourself making excuses for the narcissist or trying to convince yourself that the abuse was not as bad as it really was. This is normal and it will take time to come to terms with what has happened.

The second stage is anger. You may be angry at yourself, the narcissist, or even those who were supposed to protect you. It is important to allow yourself to feel this anger and to express it in a healthy way. Writing, journaling, and talking to a therapist can all be helpful outlets for your anger.

The third stage is bargaining. This is when you may start to wonder if there was anything you could have done to prevent the abuse or if there is anything you can do to get the narcissist to change.

It is important to remember that YOU are not responsible for the abuse and that there is nothing you could have done to prevent it. The only person who can change the narcissist is the narcissist themselves.

The fourth stage is depression. This is a normal and necessary part of the healing process. You may find yourself feeling sad, hopeless, and helpless. It is important to allow yourself to feel these emotions and to seek professional help if you are struggling to cope.

Lean on your friends and family for support during this time. The narcissist will probably have tried to isolate you from them, but this is the time to reconnect. They can be a vital support system during your healing process.

The fifth stage is acceptance. This is when you finally start to accept what has happened and begin to move on. You may still have good days and bad days but you will start to feel more like yourself again.

The sixth stage is forgiveness. By this I do not mean forgiving the narcissist, but forgiving yourself.

Often victims blame themselves for having put up with the narcissistic abuse and not walking away from the narcissist. The truth, however, is that narcissistic abuse is insidious and wears down your self confidence. You end up in a state of learned helplessness and caught in a cycle of negative self-talk that is difficult to break.

So it is important that you show yourself the same understanding that you would show a friend who has been through a similarly traumatic experience. Forgive yourself, and let it go.

The seventh stage is hope. This is when you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You begin to believe that things will get better and that you can heal from this experience.

The eighth stage is rebuilding your life. This may involve setting boundaries with those who have been toxic in your life. You will also start rebuilding your self-esteem and creating or expanding your support system.

The ninth stage is moving on. This is when you finally reach a place where you can look back at your experience with the narcissist and not feel pain or anger. You come to the realisation that you have learned much and will not repeat the same mistakes in future. You may still have days where you struggle, but overall you are able to move on with your life.

The tenth and final stage is happiness. This is when you reach a place where you are truly happy and at peace with yourself. You have finally moved on and are ready for the next phase of your life.

Healing after Narcissistic Abuse – Trust the process

If you are currently going through these stages of healing from narcissistic abuse, remember that there is no timeline for the process. Everyone heals at their own pace.

Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself the time and space to heal. If you find yourself struggling, reach out for help from a therapist or friend who can support you. There are also online support groups available that can provide you with additional resources and support.

If you are currently in an abusive relationship, please reach out for help. You deserve to be safe and you deserve to be happy. There is no shame in seeking help, and there is no reason for you to suffer any longer. Please reach out to a friend, family member, therapist, or domestic violence hotline for support. You are not alone.

If you have been impacted by this article, please share it with someone who may need to read it.

For Further Reading

The following posts will give you tips on how to deal with the narcissist in your life –

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. When you use one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me. At no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission, which helps me run this blog and keep my in-depth content free of charge for all my readers.

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