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

One of the most difficult experiences anyone can go through is enduring narcissistic abuse. It can leave lasting psychological, emotional, and sometimes even physical scars. But there is hope. In this post, we will explore the 10 stages of healing after experiencing narcissistic abuse.

Each of these stages brings with it its own set of lessons, growth opportunities, and changes. You will learn how to move forward with your life in a healthier way and regain your sense of self-worth.

Healing begins today!

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.

Here are 10 ways narcissistic abuse affects the victim:

Fear. Victims of narcissistic abuse often feel scared and anxious due to the unpredictable nature of their abuser’s actions.

Self-blame. Victims may constantly second guess themselves and blame themselves for their abuser’s behavior.

Shame. Victims often feel intense shame and guilt because the abuser convinces them that the abuse is their fault. They are also ashamed about the way they are treated by their abuser.

Powerlessness. The constant abuse destroys their self confidence and they feel powerless in the face of their abuser’s manipulation and control tactics.

Loss of identity. In some cases victims are so brainwashed by their abuser that they lose their sense of self.

Isolation. As a result of feeling ashamed and embarrassed, victims can become isolated from friends, family and other social supports that might otherwise be able to help them gain perspective or provide assistance in escaping the situation..

Low self-esteem. Due to all that has been said before, victims often suffer from extreme low self-esteem because they are made to feel worthless by their abuser.

Poor physical health. Narcissistic abuse also affects victims physically. Symptoms include exhaustion, poor sleeping habits and changes in appetite, which can lead to further health problems down the line..

Difficulty forming relationships. Because narcissistic abuse damages trust so deeply , it can make it difficult for victims to form new relationships with others..

PTSD or CPTSD. Depending on how severe the narcissistic abuse was , some victims may develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or complex post traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) which requires professional treatment..

The stages of healing after narcissistic abuse

Narcissistic abuse can have long-lasting effects. The process of healing and moving on is often difficult and can take time.

The following are the main stages of healing after narcissistic abuse. That said ,it is important to remember that there is no linear path to recovery and that each person heals in their own unique way.

1 – Denial

Initially you might make excuses for the narcissist’s behaviour, or try 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 happened and accept your experience.

Unfortunately, this first step is essential in order to move forward in the healing process. It can be difficult to acknowledge the reality of an abusive relationship, especially if you have been psychologically manipulated by the narcissist into believing their version of reality.

Recognizing that you were part of an abusive dynamic is both painful and empowering, since it gives you a chance to begin healing and putting boundaries in place so that the abuse does not continue.

2 – Anger

You may find yourself feeling angry at yourself, the narcissist, and even the world in general.

It is important to accept and express this anger in a healthy way. You can try journaling, or talking to a therapist. Doing so can ensure you are able to process and release your emotions in a safe environment.

Acknowledging and working through your anger is essential for moving forward on the path of recovery. It’s okay to feel enraged by what you have been through, but also be aware that holding onto unchecked anger can hinder your healing journey in the long-term.

3 – Bargaining

At this point you start questioning if there was anything you could have done differently to prevent the abuse. You will also wonder if there is anything you can do to get the narcissist to change.

While it is normal and understandable to feel this way, it is usually a futile endeavour as you have no control over another person’s behaviour.

4 – Depression

This is a normal part of healing and it is important to allow yourself to feel these emotions to progress through the stages. You may feel sad, hopeless, and helpless at this stage, but seeking professional help can assist you in managing and overcoming the negative emotions.

Lean on your friends and family for support during this time. Despite the narcissist’s efforts to isolate you, now is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with them. They can provide comfort, understanding, and encouragement as you go through your healing process.

Do not be afraid to ask for help if needed. Getting the proper support is essential in order to prevent a relapse into negative emotions related to the abuse.

5 – Acceptance

This is when you have accepted the reality of what has happened and begin to focus on your recovery. You may still have days that are difficult, but as time passes, you will start to feel more like yourself again.

Acknowledging what has occurred is a key element in helping you heal emotionally and getting back on track with your recovery process. It can be hard to come to terms with the events that have transpired, but it’s necessary for you to move forward and make progress in your healing journey.

6 – 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.

Forgiving yourself can be a difficult process since it requires you to come to terms with your own emotions and feelings that came out of the situation.

It’s important to acknowledge any ill-judged decisions you may have made while still in the relationship. However, you need to give yourself grace and practice self compassion, because you are only human and thus fallible. By doing this, you’re able to release any guilt or shame and regain control over your life again.

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.

7 – 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.

This newfound hope allows you to keep going, even during difficult times, as it helps you to find strength and courage to face any challenges that come your way.

8 – 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. Surround yourself with positive influences that foster growth and help you move forward.

Through this process, you will be able to start living the life you want for yourself and find peace and contentment.

9 – 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.

Acceptance helps to bring peace of mind, and closure from the traumatic experience that was caused by the narcissist. This allows for increased self-love and compassion, as well as understanding that it’s okay to let go and start anew.

10 – Happiness

Finally you have arrived at a place of inner peace and contentment, feeling truly happy with yourself and ready to embark on the next phase of life.

You have accepted what happened, learned from it, and moved forward in a positive fashion, leaving behind any negative emotions associated with painful experiences of the past.

With this newfound joy comes an ability to trust yourself again, enabling you to take risks while looking forward to what lies ahead.

Tips to to help you through the stages of healing after narcissistic abuse

The journey to healing after experiencing narcissistic abuse can be a long and winding road. However, with patience and perseverance, you will eventually reach a place of inner peace and happiness.

1. Give Yourself Time to Heal

The first and most important thing to keep in mind when healing from narcissistic abuse is to give yourself time to heal. This is not a process that will happen overnight and it is important to be patient with yourself.

Allow yourself to feel your emotions, grieve the loss of what you thought was real, and take the time you need to heal.

2. Seek Professional Help

If you find that you are struggling to cope with the aftermath of narcissistic abuse, it is important to seek professional help.

A therapist can provide you with support and guidance as you navigate the healing process. They can also help you to identify any unhealthy thought patterns or behaviours that may be preventing you from moving forward.

3. Reach Out to Supportive Friends and Family Members

Another important thing to keep in mind when healing from narcissistic abuse is to reach out to supportive friends and family members. These people can provide you with a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a sense of normalcy during this difficult time.

It can be helpful to talk about your experiences with them and to share your feelings in a safe and supportive environment.

4. Avoid Contact with the Narcissist

One of the most important things you can do for yourself when healing from narcissistic abuse is to avoid contact with the narcissist. This includes both physical and emotional contact.

Seeing or talking to the narcissist will only serve to remind you of the pain they have caused you and will hinder your ability to heal and move on.

If necessary, block their number, unfriend them on social media, and do whatever else it takes to protect yourself from their further manipulation and abuse.

5. Work on Strengthening Your Self-Esteem

A key part of healing from narcissistic abuse is working on strengthening your self-esteem.

The narcissist has likely spent a great deal of time tearing you down, so it is important to spend time rebuilding your sense of self-worth. This can be done through positive self-talk, setting boundaries, assertiveness training, and therapy.

6. Learn About Narcissistic Abuse

Another important thing to keep in mind when healing from narcissistic abuse is that it is important to educate yourself about narcissism and the way narcissists operate.

Learning about what narcissistic abuse is, how it manifests, and how it affects victims can be empowering and help you to make sense of your experiences.

It can also help you to recognise the signs of narcissistic abuse in future relationships, so that you can avoid getting involved with another narcissist

The Stages of 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.

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