Recognizing you are in (or have been in) a narcissistic abusive relationship is a lonely and isolating experience. Most people have never even heard the term narcissistic abuse, let alone understand how damaging it is. So you may find yourself looking for healing from narcissistic abuse, but when you look around, no one seems to understand.
It’s Mother’s Day and you see the advertisements everywhere. People’s hearts melt as they think about the love they received from their mother and how they couldn’t have accomplished anything without her support. Sadly, you can’t relate to these feelings. This was not your experience. Your mother was selfish and critical, and your role growing up was to make her feel good. You express this to a friend and confide how much you hate Mother’s Day.
You comment that there is no way you are honoring your mother and your friend replies, “Oh come on, she’s your mother.” A pain of guilt hits the bottom of your stomach and you begin to wonder if your friend is right. This just adds to the confusion of your childhood experience.
Next scenario. Your anniversary with your partner is quickly approaching. Instead of feeling excited to celebrate, you can’t believe another year has gone by and you still feel trapped and desperate for freedom. Your relationship started out great but then quickly became full of confusing experiences. After arguments you leave feeling confused, blamed, and attacked.
The daily hurt you experience is so deep it’s physical. Your partner withdraws and you can’t seem to communicate with them how hurtful this experience is. You wonder if they even care. Sharing your frustrations with a friend you are told, “Relationships are hard, it takes work.” This reinforces the feeling that you aren’t doing enough and you somehow have control over fixing it. But something just doesn’t seem right.
These are examples of the two most common types of narcissistic abusive relationships: parent and partner.
Both of these experiences lead to feeling alone, discouraged, and questioning your reality. This is all part of the narcissistic abuse. But when you try to talk to people about this, they don’t understand. Their comments and good intentions actually reinforce the abusive feelings.
The Realization of Narcissistic Abuse
When someone has the realization that they have experienced narcissistic abuse, it can feel absolutely overwhelming. You may have been suspecting it for a while, but then the light bulb goes off which leads to a wave of emotions crashing over you. You begin to feel like you are drowning and you can’t seem to get a grip on reality. Now you really do wonder, “Maybe I am crazy!” More than ever, now you need someone to throw you a life preserver and tell you they understand. That you aren’t crazy and that healing from narcissistic abuse is possible. You are not alone!
Healing From Narcissistic Abuse
If you relate to any of this, I’m throwing you a life preserver. There are people who understand and who can help you heal. Here are some ideas…
- Therapy: Find a therapist who specializes in narcissistic abuse. Understanding narcissism, the abuse, and how it has impacted you is an important part of the healing journey. A trained professional guiding you through this process is the best way to healing
- Online support groups: You may be surprised how many online support groups are dedicated to narcissistic abuse. Just make sure the message is of hope and healing and that people are moving forward in their journey and not staying stuck in the muck.
- Support groups: Many areas have actual groups that meet either for group therapy or a support group. Meetup.com is a great resource for finding support groups for narcissistic abuse.
- Out of the Fog: This website has a wealth of information. Check out the toolbox tab for excellent strategies for communication and setting boundaries. (I always recommend avoiding the forums, this is often overwhelming and re-traumatizing for people.)
I promise, you are not alone. There are many people out there who have experienced something similar. Every day people are walking the journey of healing from narcissistic abuse. Don’t just tread water any longer. Take the step and find some support so you no longer have to walk this alone.