The first three steps in The Path Forward overlap and many of you may find yourself going back and forth between the three. This is understandable and no one should beat themselves up for having setbacks. No Contact often takes repeated attempts. We must remember, it is about PROGRESS, not PEFECTION.We must celebrate our progress and encourage one another to keep pushing forward.
The All About Him Forum is for newcomers just beginning to understand why a Narcissist behaves the way he does.
Step 1- Understand It
It is critical to our recovery that we understand why the Narcissist behaves the way he does. More importantly, we must understand that we have done NOTHING to bring about this drastic change in his behavior. We must accept there is absolutely NOTHING we can do to bring back the man we fell in love with and adore. We suddenly realize this man never existed. He simply put on an act to win us over.
Accepting this is not easy, but it is imperative we understand this in order to move on. We need to get real with ourselves about what happened in our relationship. Only by understanding the Narcissist do we realize we have suffered emotional abuse and trauma at the hands of the person we love.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!
People tell us to just move on and expect us to get over it, but we can't until we fully understand it, share our story with others who can relate, and organize our thoughts in such a way that we feel we have made sense of the situation.
You may ask:
“How do I make sense of a senseless situation?”
Well, this is certainly not easy, but I believe sorting out our feelings and organizing our thoughts in a way that helps us feel we have given the experience some kind of form and structure helps tremendously. Research tells us we have a need to organize the trauma and chaos we experience in life.
Step 2 - Get It Out
It makes us feel better to express ourselves in a way that allows us to feel as though we can finally put the whole crazy mess to rest in our heads. Until we do this, we will always obsess about it. Each of us must find an outlet to give creative expression and form to what we experienced.
WE GOTTA GET IT OUT!!!!
The key to Step 2 is to find an outlet in which we can express our feelings and share our story. For some, this may include talking to family members or friends, sharing here on our forum, journaling or creating art or music. For me, this outlet is my writing and my music (i.e. the "Gotta Get It Out" album I made).
Whatever it is, it is critical that you find an outlet to express yourself in a way that helps you release your emotions and put things in perspective. In my opinion, it is the only way to put it to rest in your mind so you can move forward.
Please use this forum to SHARE YOUR STORY. Write about your relationship with your Narcissist. Do not worry about grammar or punctuation. Focus instead on documenting the series of events in your relationship and most importantly, the feelings you experienced.
You will be amazed at what you learn about your relationship with your Narcissist and more importantly, your relationship with yourself as a result of putting your experience into words.
Please use your forum name when you post your story:
i.e. "Username's Story"
This will make it easier for others to find in the future.
Please put all information about your story UNDER THE SAME THREAD.
Be careful not to mention real names, places, phone numbers or any other identifying information about yourself or your narcissist.
Sharing Your Story is a critical step in your recovery. It will not be easy, but it is essential. Taking steps to take care of yourself is a positive response to pain and anger. If you repress your feelings, you will remain stuck.
A Narcissist will never give us closure, but we can help ourselves get closure by making sure we process our feelings.
When you share your story, you no longer feel alone or isolated. You feel connected and understood. It’s comforting to know you are not alone and that others can relate to your confusion and pain.
Remember, the Narcissist wants us to doubt ourselves and our sense of reality. By talking to others on our site who know the tactics these men play, you can help prevent yourself from getting sucked back in by the Narcissist. Being connected to others who “get it“ is extremely helpful during those times when you are feeling weak and want to see him or talk to him.
Step 3 - No Contact
The only way to break free from a Narcissist is to establish and maintain a rule of NO CONTACT with him. You must treat him as if you are breaking a toxic drug habit. You must realize that he has become like a drug to you.
Just as he needs others to validate his existence, he has now programmed you to believe you need him in order to survive. You must understand that you are addicted to him right now, but this is only temporary and a direct result of being brainwashed.
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.
It is critical that you understand you will never get over a Narcissist if you go back or remain in contact with him in any way or capacity. 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.
NO CONTACT means just that…..you must have absolutely NO CONTACT with your Narcissist. In other words:
No personal visits
No phone calls, incoming or outgoing.
Do not answer his calls.
Block his phone number.
If he uses a different number and you do answer, hang up immediately.
No emails, incoming or outgoing. Delete before reading.
No texts, incoming or outgoing. Delete before reading.
No Facebook, MySpace or dating websites where he may be found.
Do not look for him on the Internet.
Do not Google his name.
Do not talk to his friends or family. Avoid these conversations at all costs.
Delete and destroy any reminders of him.
Do not save emails, letters or photos. Everything must go!
Clearly, when one is co-parenting with a Narcissist, NO CONTACT is somewhat tricky. Where children are involved, the goal of NO CONTACT is to refrain from engaging in any type of communication with him above and beyond what is necessary for your children’s well-being.
Aside from this, you should not have any contact with him whatsoever. He has already taken enough from you. Do not continue to let him take more. Your days of being the doormat and servant to the Narcissist are over.
Please remember, NO CONTACT is the only way to begin the process of deprogramming from a Narcissist. Unless we physically detach and disconnect from a Narcissist, he will ALWAYS control us.
Having any type of contact with the Narcissist while trying to break free will only keep you stuck under his spell. Creating distance is the only way to gain perspective and see things as they truly are. We must break contact in order to really assess the situation.
It is this distance that allows us to look at things from the perspective of a “PLAYER” considering their next move versus a “PAWN” waiting to be played.
We often do not realize how horribly they treated us until we physically remove ourselves from their proximity. Any contact with them keeps us under their influence, which makes it more difficult to recognize what is going on.
It is only once we pull away completely and deprogram that we begin to see the extent of the emotional abuse we suffered. We are amazed by what we tolerated. This just goes to show how strongly brainwashed we were.
While they do a very good job of brainwashing us into believing we need them, we must remember that we are NOT reliant on them for survival. They have only manipulated us into believing this is the case.
We have the ability to get in touch with ourselves again. They do not. We cannot let them drag us down into their miserable world of nonexistence. The longer we are in contact with them, the longer it takes to deprogram from them. The only way to successfully start to deprogram is to establish NO CONTACT as soon as possible.