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How To Heal From Narcissistic Abuse

* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.

If you have very recently ended a relationship with someone who was narcissistic and because of this you had to deal and cope with narcissistic abuse, knowing how to deal with residual pain may leave you confused and not sure what to do.

How To Heal From Narcissistic Abuse

How To Heal From Narcissistic Abuse

Having to deal with someone like this can do incredible amounts of damage towards your self-esteem as well as your sense of identity and this can make moving on incredibly difficult.

Recovering from abuse can be just as challenging as the actual abuse itself but it is worth the effort to be able to move on and not have to deal with the person who dealt you so much pain in the first place.

This article is here to give some advice on how to deal with moving on from a narcissistic relationship where you went through abuse because of this.

This can be a difficult process, but being able to move on is important to be able to move on and not crave reconnection with your abuser.

Acknowledge The Abuse

One of the most important steps and probably the first one you should do, is acknowledging and accepting that the abuse happened so you can start to heal and move on from it.

This process can be difficult as the nature of narcissistic abuse is to want to blame yourself, but deep down you will be able to tell that you had been victimized and you need to recover. 

Denial is a way we sometimes protect ourselves from having to deal with our emotional distress and the process of moving on from it, but if you do not accept it, you will not be able to heal yourself from the pain your have dealt with.

The best way to do this is to look up the nature of narcissisitic abuse and see how this lines up with the experiences you have been through.

Prioritize Setting Boundaries

One of the most important steps for recovering from narcissistic abuse is limiting the potential for contact you have with your abuser as contact can end up halting progress in healing and instead having to deal with more pain.

Sometimes depending on the relationship you have/had with your abuser, it will not always be possible to completely cut off contact (for example a family member when you are still in contact with the rest of your family) but limiting how much this person can contact and harm you are important to being able to move on.

This could come in the form of limiting their access to your information and making sure no one gives them your contact information.

Prepare Yourself Emotionally

After splitting yourself from someone you had a close but narcissistic relationship with you will definitely feel some complex and often confusing emotions, these can include things like grief, shock, sadness, anger, anxiety, paranoia, and even shame.

These feelings are natural to feel after ending such a confusing and upsetting personal relationship.

But, if you are prepared for them, you can know why you are going through them and hopefully be able to deal with them in a much more healthy way.

Sometimes the trauma from these relationships can even lead to PTSD and this will need much more serious help, but if you can see this coming you can be much better equipped to coping with this.

Put time Into Working Out Your Identity

Put time Into Working Out Your Identity

When you have had a close narcissistic relationship with someone, this can end up changing the way you see yourself, especially when it comes to your self-image and confidence.

Learning to love the parts of our identity which they made you hate, and move on from the parts of your identity they had negatively influenced is important to moving on from them and the harm they dealt you.

You will need to give yourself personal time for this process so try not to be too ambitious with rushing into this.

Learn To Be Compassionate Towards Yourself

A narcissistic relationship will often teach you to not know how to love yourself and default to self-hating, so moving on from this mindset and giving yourself more leeway to make mistakes and not hate yourself for them is a big part of moving on.

Try and be less self-critical and replace what would be hating yourself with reflection so if you are feeling unsatisfied you can get to the root instead of spiraling down an unfulfilling path.

Acknowledge Your Lingering Feelings But Do Not Cling To Them

While it is nice to assume that we can simply move on from a relationship by cutting contact and wanting to move on, you will always have some lingering feelings which will take time and effort to move on from.

Just because you were in a harmful relationship does not mean you can trick yourself into not remembering the ‘good times’ and mistake this for missing them.

Acknowledging these feelings but not clinging to them is a great way to move forward!

Communicate With Those You Trust

The best way to move on from a harmful narcissistic relationship is to build up a support network if this is an issue.

This could mean reaching out to those you split from because of the abuse you went through.

These people will be able to help you commit to your goals and give you the support you need to build yourself back up from the pain you went through!

Get Professional Help If You Feel You Need It

While all this advice is valid, and you should try to follow it, you will nearly always benefit from professional help as they can help you react to the specifics of your situation in a way more general advice can not.

If this is a viable option for you, it comes highly recommended!

Emergency Numbers

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)

988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.

911 Emergency

The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

Self Abuse Finally Ends (S.A.F.E)

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Trauma & Child Abuse Resource Center

Domestic Violence Shelters & Resources

Futures Without Violence

National Center for Victims of Crime

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Prevent Child Abuse America

Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640. Both services are available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.orgOr, just dial 988

Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org

Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish

Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)

Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228

American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222

National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255

LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)

The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)

The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
1-877-330-6366 (Canada)

Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net

International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com

The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.

‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories


UK & Republic of Ireland

  • Emergency: 112 or 999
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
  • YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/

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