Going through a breakup with a narcissist, sociopath, psychopath or a malignant borderline can be the most gut twisting, heart wrenching, and more often than not, a depressing experience. It will test your boundaries and strength. It will turn you inside out and leave you exhausted.
But as is the case with every calamity, somewhere among the layers of despair and chaos hides a poweful opportunity.
This is not your average breakup. It makes it hard to get out of bed, let alone ‘get past it’ and get a ‘move on’.
This is because losing the ‘other’ person is not the only thing at stake here. Add to it an abandonment melange that reaches back to our childhood and a betrayal so deep, it temporarily shatters a person’s sense of self-worth and meaning.
There you are… a puddle on the floor. Your sense of self, already undermined in the devaluation stage of the abuse cycle, gets completely levelled post discard. And you are probably feeling partly insane from the crazy making behavior caused by the narcissist. Being even in the vicinity of a person with split personality who swings back and forth between kind and cruel is destabilizing. In your case, it went on for a while. And you loved them.
For a few months after the breakup, I hardly knew who I was. My older tried & true efforts at self-recovery from setbacks no longer worked. This was so much more than a setback. I was utterly devastated and in doubt of myself, thinking ‘how could I let this happen?’ My best qualities got tangled up with the criticism the narcissist dished out like candy and in the end it all crashed and burned — the good and the bad. The ‘me’ I once knew was no longer there.
Breaking the bond is like pulling a dead car up a hill. It requires time, work and strategy. It requires patience and self-love. The worst are the intrusive thoughts that seem to invade out of nowhere and keep our brain on a lock down. Forget about trying to do anything productive. Taking a shower could be a feat. This process is most difficult in the early days and weeks. It gets better with time, but can linger for many months. It makes it hard to concentrate and even sleep. There might be thoughts of suicidal ideation. This is because while in this state, the idea of a future, in which people betray each other like this can seem unbearable. The Universe is no longer seen as friendly. It is a hostile place filled with predators.
Primed for abuse.
The narc is very skilled at undermining your core vulnerabilities. However, it is likely that this form of abuse originated in childhood, which is what allowed the narcissist to fly under the radar of your awareness. In other words, his or her form of confusing behavior was familiar to you. The narcissist isolated you from the crowd by your hung head and the loneliness in your eyes. They quickly honed in on what you needed the most and promised to fill the yawning gap in your soul. Your giving nature is what they were after.
If you suffer from a trauma bond, is very likely that one or both of your parents, perhaps even a sibling, were abusive to you in your childhood. This typically happens when we are very young, which makes it hard to remember the details. Again, we grew up thinking that living in a hostile environment was normal, as we had nothing else to compare it to. We were held captive in the prison of our homes. This devastates the child’s psyche, especially since they have no ability to reason in the early years of their life, and therefore tend to beleive it is all their fault.
In order to survive, a child needs to learn to cope with this onslaught of abuse or neglect. They internalize the behavior thinking there is something wrong with them, which becomes the mantra of their life that will sabotage their teenage years and adulthood. This is how people pleasers and codependents are raised, although I wouldn’t discount here people with all sorts of emotional issues, like neuroses, eating disorders, etc. They all seem to stem from a child’s deep sense of loneliness, abandonment and rejection. Lack of parental love breeds these illnesses and conditions.
The making of crazy.
Once in a narcissistic relationship, we are once more subjected to the kind-cruel swing of behavior. Driven by repetition compulsion, we hope that this time it will be different and we will be able to appease the abuser and heal the wounds — theirs and ours — so that we can live happily ever after. We essentially bring our childhood dynamic into our relationship with the hope of resolution, which never comes.
The kind-cruel cycle keeps us constantly on guard, pumping oxytocin and cortisol into our bloodstream. Intuitively, we know that even when the abuser is being nice, usually because they want something, it is only a matter of time before their mood swings the other way and they become critical or demeaning.
Remember this: your intuition never left you. It just got temporarily clouded by the abuser’s control tactics to keep your attention on them, not you.
The betrayal is that much more destructive because after you trusted and opened up to the narcissist, they had no problem walking all over what you held sacred. This is because the truth is they never appreciated the depth of your mind or the kindness of your heart. Instead, they felt entitled to the royal treatment you offered. Their poor me victim story? Total fabrication. They used it to appeal to your kind heart and reel you in. You fell in love with a lie.
Such betrayal cuts deep and will take time for you to heal and come on the other side. But come on the other side you will. And you will be stronger than ever! You will no longer carry the burden that was not yours to begin with. The healing will expose and close the energetic leaks and you will finally have the energy to focus on your life and dreams. YOUR life, YOUR dreams. Not anyone else’s. This is why coming through narcissistic abuse is an opportunity to once and for all shatter the illusion that everyone in the world is more important than you. It‘s just not true.
Move towards truth.
The truth is difficult but liberating. Here it goes, ready? The narcissist never gave shit about who you were. You projected your inner values onto them, believing that they had the conscience and good qualities that you possess. They assisted you in this process by mirroring you. It was all a game for them. The relationship was skewed. They took and you gave. You worked overtime for two.
While they pretended you were the center of their world, they likely lived another existence outside the relationship. The narcissist is parasite. They exist to suck energy from other people. This is far from appreciation. In fact, they even figured out how to use that against you. The less they appreciated you later on, the more you felt like you couldn’t do enough in hopes that the good times would return.
As a result, they don’t deserve even an ounce of your precious attention. Attention equals love. The only person who deserves it now is YOU.
If at all possible, limit your contact with the narc, or better yet, break it all together. Block them from your actual and digital world. Change your number, if you must. It’s an investment worth preserving your sanity and giving you the space to heal.
If you need it, seek treatment. It can be extremely validating and speed up your recovery. Make sure that the therapist is familiar with narcissistic abuse. Otherwise, they may retrigger you. Work with a coach or join a support group. If you feel like you have no one to talk to, write in your journal. Externalizing your thoughts will help alleviate pressure. I’m available to offer personal help at this time. My contact details are below.
In the aftermath months, it is paramount you get rest and take good care of your body. If you need to have a drink, which can sometimes help get your mind off the narc, make sure you hydrate well so that your body can bounce back. Abuse damages our brain, as does alcohol. Therefore, I recommend focusing on brain repair by upgrading your diet and lifestyle instead of trying to numb yourself. What helped me was taking Omega-3 supplements and B-complex as well as listening to binaural beats on my headphones as I was going to bed.
Educating yourself on the subject is also helpful. Your mind will want to make sense of what happened, which is tricky because their minds work differently than ours. While they live in a constant state of threat and perceive other people as enemies or objects to be used, they know how to fool us to thinking that they are the kindest people we’ve ever met. This is especially the case with the convert narcissist, who has learned to mimic the empath.
Help is available, if you need it. Be patient and kind with yourself. Approach this process with curiosity and have faith in better times ahead. As the say, if you are going through hell, keep going. It will get better and you will get stronger.
Much love to you!
If you have been a victim of narcissistic abuse, please know you are not alone and there is a way out. If you know someone who currently suffers from it, please pass this article along.
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