Being in a relationship with a narcissist is not only confusing, but can be emotionally draining and debilitating. Learning how to untangle yourself from the narcissist is not easy, but essential to your well-being and happiness. While narcissism has become a sign of our times, it is frequently misunderstood. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a disguise for a deep-seated sense of shame the person with NPD lives with, but often does not realize. The shame and insecurity they feel causes them to lash out at others and be overly controlling and abusive in their relationships. Learning about NPD and how it manifests itself in both personal and work relationships is an essential survival skill in today’s increasingly narcissistic world.
Step 1: Understand It
We educate ourselves on the personality of a narcissist.
Being in a relationship with a narcissist is like being on a roller-coaster ride that never ends. One moment, you feel loved, adored and cherished. The next, you feel devalued, discarded and abused. A narcissist engages in "crazy-making" behavior in order to make you feel as though you are losing your mind. He wants to keep you guessing and doubting yourself at all times. This way we become dependent on him and he is in control. Once we learn to see the narcissist for the person he really is, we are finally able to free ourselves.
We realize we do not need this person in our lives to feel whole and complete. We were whole and complete before this person entered our lives and we will be whole and complete once we end our relationship with this person. It is the Narcissist who is preventing us from being truly happy. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!
Step 2: Get It Out
We find an outlet to share and express our emotions.
We absolutely must process our feelings before we can recover or heal from any painful experience. This is not only important for our emotional health, but our physical health as well. Repressed feelings are toxic. Research tells us unresolved emotional trauma floods our bodies with hormones, which leave our immune systems weak and vulnerable to attack. The key is to find an outlet to express your feelings. Whether you do this through writing, working out or playing music, your feelings MUST be felt and dealt with before any healing can occur. WE GOTTA GET IT OUT!!!
We have a need to organize the trauma and chaos we experience in life. To express ourselves in a creative way helps us feel as though we have made sense of a senseless situation. Until we do this, we will always obsess about it. Sharing our story with others here validates our experience and reassures us that we are not alone in our struggle.
Step 3: No Contact
We accept the only way to restore our sanity and regain control of our lives is through No Contact.
The only way to break free from a narcissist is to establish and maintain a rule of NO CONTACT. We must treat the Narcissist as if we are breaking a toxic drug habit. A Narcissist programs you to question yourself….question everything you do, in fact. This is his goal from the very beginning. He knows if he can cause you to doubt yourself, you will become dependent on him for validation and keep coming back to him.
It is critical that you understand you will never get over a narcissist if you remain in contact with him. You CAN and WILL deprogram from him, but ONLY if you establish NO CONTACT. You must cut off all contact with him in order to break free.
Step 4: Get Real
We no longer deny reality and are ready to face our anger and fear.
This step is dedicated to dealing with the feelings that are the most difficult to process and confront - Anger and Fear. We avoid these emotions like the plague. However, we must reverse our habitual pattern of trying to avoid pain by allowing ourselves to feel the moment and understand what it is we are meant to learn from it. We must totally commit to our reality. Only then do we experience the world fully. Only when we don’t hold back and prepare to escape, do we experience life and truly find ourselves. Commit to staying in the moment. Things become very clear when there is nowhere to escape.
Anger and Fear are your most powerful emotions because they can motivate you to make necessary changes in your life or they can paralyze you to remain stuck in a state of pain. Surrender your ego! When we do not run, we discover our innermost essence. Whatever arises, we do not judge. Give up the idea that pain can be avoided and have the courage to relax with the reality of your situation. The way you handle your Anger and Fear affects all of your relationships, especially your relationship with yourself. It is critical to realize WE MUST GET REAL TO HEAL!
Step 5: Wake Up
We tap into the power of our mind to awaken our spirit and find ourselves again.
Whatever arises, we must not judge. We must not avoid. We must use everything that happens to us as a means for waking up. The human brain is amazingly powerful. Yet, until recently, we did not know how to harness its power. Thanks to recent advances in science and technology, we now know that our brains are much more plastic(changeable) than we ever thought. The concept of brain plasticity, known as Neuroplasticity, is one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in the last decade.
This field of research has proven that our brain is not permanently hardwired, but rather able to change physically, chemically and anatomically in response to our thoughts, experience and behavior. This means that we can alter and heal our brain by directing how we respond to stimuli. It is a step-by-step process and takes time, but we now know we can reverse the damage caused by emotional abuse and psychological trauma. After being brainwashed by a Narcissist, we MUST RETRAIN OUR BRAIN!
Step 6: Heal
We have a newfound compassion for ourselves and commit to live in the moment.
We must lighten up, relax and go easy on ourselves. Many of us find it easy to have compassion for others, but have very little for ourselves. It never occurs to us to feel it for ourselves. Living life with an unconditional love for ourselves changes everything.
We get rid of the “should haves” and the “could haves” and gradually discover ourselves by being honest and staying in the moment. Without any agenda except for being real, we begin to find ourselves again. We assume responsibility for being here in this messy world and realize how precious life is.
By learning from the moments in life, we become more compassionate and can aspire to live in the now. We can relax and open our heart and mind to what is right in front of us in the moment. We see, feel and experience everything more vividly. This is living. Now is the time to experience enlightenment. Not some time in the future. Keep in mind, how we relate to the now creates our future.