Mod 1: Concepts for healing

First, the bad news: you’ve concluded that you’re the victim of a narcissist.

Now, the good news: The worst is over. You are facing a lot of challenges now, sure. But the journey to your much happier future has already begun. There are countless people who never wake up to their victimization, or who feel powerless to change it, or just can’t bring themselves to make the effort. You are not one of those people. There’s one ally you need most in this fight: yourself. You have everything you need, right now, to fix the mess you’re in.

You are Lucy Westenra, waking up from her thrall to realize she is going to be free from the vampire. (Oops…I should have posted a spoiler alert! LOL)

5 steps to starting down the road

Here are your first goals as you begin your rise:

1. Strengthen your conviction that you are dealing with a narcissist. Read all you can about their nature and reflect upon your own interactions with them. This conviction will serve to be a foundation for the decisions you make and the attitudes you foster going forward. It’s essential to your grounding.

2. Understand your personality traits which make you prey to the manipulations of the narcissist. Pay attention to the ways you think and feel, and how they feed into the narc’s schemes. It’s not so important at this stage to change those thoughts or feelings as it is to simply take note of them and observe them.

3. Examine and evaluate the reality your feelings suggest to you. The mind-control techniques and manipulation of your narc have convinced you of many things about yourself, him and your world that may well not be true. When your emotions tell you a story such as “I’m an unattractive person” or “I have a duty to put up with this” or “I’m going to be punished any minute now,” or “it seems like he really loves me,” don’t assume they are relaying the truth to your brain.

4. Let your emotions process. You have probably been trained to stifle “undesirable emotions” like sadness, anger, and frustration. You can allow yourself to feel these things when they arise, remembering not to let them tell you any upsetting narratives, as mentioned in #4. An emotion that is processed never lasts forever. Cry or yell or beat a pillow, and you’ll find there is release and the pain passes.

5. Be compassionate with yourself. This maybe should be considered your top priority, in fact. Remember that you are the long-standing victim of a mentally dysfunctional person hell-bent on using you without any thought of your needs or rights. It’s understandable that you are confused, hurting, struggling, and making missteps. Treat yourself with the compassion and support you would give someone else going through these challenges.

6. Live in the NOW. Learn to move more of your attention from the troubled past and the unknown future to this moment in time. (We’ll learn more about this in the Mod 1 Exercises and Meditation.)

Your main challenge: brace yourself, here it comes…

The number one goal of the victim of a narcissist is very clear-cut: NO CONTACT.

Yes, I’m saying that you need to utterly and completely separate yourself from your narcissistic abuser. This may be the father of your children. This may be your only sibling, or your boss on the job you need to pay your bills. This may be your parent, or even your own child. But the fact is, this person has built up a relationship of abuse with you and will continue it as long as you have a connection.

Remember, NPD is virtually incurable. Even if it were curable, the last person to effect a cure would be the victim of the narc. Can you imagine a rape victim attempting to reform her rapist? This is no different, except the recovery rate for narcissism is lower than that of being a sexual deviant…it’s practically zero percent.

Obviously not all situations permit 100% no contact. The most common exception is when you share children with a narcissist, because the law and logistics require some ongoing interchange as you raise your children. It is not uncommon, however, that the narc parent is happy to move on and have nothing to do with the kids—sad and hurtful in one way, great and helpful in another. If you share property, particularly ownership of your current home, that’s going to take some time and work to disentangle. If you have a narc boss, you may want to find a new job before quitting (although frankly, unemployment is preferable to long-term narcissist abuse, so that’s up to you).

However, do not think that you shouldn’t go no contact with a close family member just because they are blood kin. Family bonds are meaningless if narcissistic abuse is at play. People forfeit their right to familial attachments and respect when they choose to abuse the people who love them. I don’t care if you are dealing with an elderly, dying parent who needs you for caregiving. If that person had no living relatives, they would have alternatives for care available to them. They shouldn’t be able to leverage such a situation into prolonging their lifetime of torment of you.

For many, the logistics of no contact are very difficult. Loss of connection with “family bystanders” can occur. Of course there is loss of property and financial support in the case of divorce. Money and career setbacks, loss of friends, prestige, and stability are common issues.

Nevertheless I maintain, there is only one way to secure your future happiness, and this is it. My mom had countless reasons like these to stay with my dad, and she was mostly miserable for the last half century of her life and died in despair. I split with my ex-husband when I was 36 and got an entire new and happy life, found a great dad for my girls, and bounced back from bankruptcy to financial security.

The short term is intimidating, I get it. But the big picture is what matters. This is your whole life we’re talking about, sweetie.

So as soon as you are able to comfortably face it, start contemplating what you need to do to escape from the influence and control of your narc. This could include any or all of the following:

  1. Building a support group of sympathetic family, friends, and professionals to assist you.
  1. Saving or borrowing the money you need to make the required changes.
  1. Seeing a lawyer to make sure your finances are safe and discuss divorce…and don’t rule out bankruptcy if that’s necessary.
  1. Consulting a women’s shelter for legal advice, aid, support and possibly shelter.
  1. Finding a new place to stay or live, temporary or long-term.
  1. Keeping notes on your abuse, and your children’s if applicable, if any legal action is going to be involved.

These actions don’t need to be taken immediately—unless you want them to, or if you feel any serious threat to yourself, your children, or your property. But it’s crucial as you recover your strength and emotional wherewithal to recognize your ultimate goal and start working toward it.

If you are simply in a dating relationship with a narc, you could start today. If there is any possibility of you suffering physical abuse, you should start immediately! Whatever your circumstances, think of it as a prison break, for this is no less serious business than if you were locked in Alcatraz.

A resource for parents to limit/control contact

Talking Parents is a site for divorced people with shared children to use to communicate with each other. This site can be a great resource to give you more control over your communications with your ex narc, as well as forming a legal record of what is said. As part of the divorce process you can get a court mandate that communications are conducted through the site. This can really help make it easier to protect you from your ex’s attempts to continue his abuse and manipulation after the breakup.

Coping with the stress

While in the long run your stress will be reduced, clearly the steps you are taking now in your recovery are a whole new source of stress. The emotional upheaval, confusion, anxiety and grief are difficult to handle, I well know from two traumatic bouts of narc-escape. But there are definite, proven ways to reduce the stress and alleviate the painful emotions.

It’s clearly time to get started on them sooner rather than later. Time to move on to the Mod 1 Exercises.

Copyright © Lucy Rising