Expert Q&A: How Can I Start to Repair My Mental Health After Getting Out of a Relationship With a Narcissist? by Dr. Bethany Cook Clinical Psychologist
Q. "How can you get away from and repair yourself after a narcissist has messed with your head?"
A: Getting out of a relationship with a narcissist is no different than leaving a physically abusive and controlling relationship, it can be very, very difficult. The abuse they’ve done is internal, emotional, mental and at times feels more painful than physical hurt. Remind yourself of your inner strength and the strong woman you were before you met this person. I know you were a powerhouse because a classic trait of narcissists is to prey on self-confident women. They enjoy slowly chipping away at your self-esteem and who you are so that by the time they are done you might not recognize the person in the mirror. Don’t worry. She’s still in there and you’re gonna get her out! Below are a few steps to help you heal and recover. Good luck. You’ve got this!
- First thing you do is find a safe place to move/live away from the individual. There will more than likely be an increase in the love bombing from this person once they know you’re “serious” about leaving. Don’t fall for it. Stand your ground and keep your boundaries.
- Join a couple online support groups for survivors of narcissist abuse. Don’t feel you need to participate right away, but reading others stories will empower you to start trusting yourself and your gut again.
- Seeking out therapy will always be beneficial. Not only can a therapist help you develop and learn coping mechanisms for managing your own feelings/stress toward this individual, they will also teach you how to notice red flags so you don’t end up with a similar personality. (Humans love “familiar” even if it's bad for us and we can unconsciously repeat patterns.)
- Read some books on how other people recovered and build your own “program.” Several books have been written about this very topic. Two of my recommendations are below.
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