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How to Heal from Narcissistic Wounding
I came here years ago looking for this answer. I was broken and emotionally spent. I guess I was looking for a simple fix, a magic word or an effortless remedy for a broken heart and fragile emotional state.
I have learned a lot here since then and hopefully shared knowledge here as well.
I think that after all of this time I finally have the answer to this question. But because it is a complex question there is no simple answer. I can tell you what worked for me.
First it is important to understand that this is going to take time. The amount of time varies from individual to individual and depends on factors such as the length of the relationship, the severity of the final discard and most importantly how YOU reacted to it. Time does NOT heal all wounds but what we do with the time that passes DOES.
The next important thing to do is TELL YOUR STORY. Tell a close friend or relative and definitely join a board like this and/or other support group. Telling your story is a huge part of healing because it helps separate fact from fiction and reality from illusion. If you are lucky it also allows others in your life to provide much needed support and will power.
We talk a lot about NC here and the values of it but I would like to stress that healing cannot take place without it. Those with children who must maintain limited contact may have a more difficult time but can still be successful if proper boundaries are in place.
NC tells the N ENOUGH and your silence says more than any words can ever express. But alas NC is not for the N it is for you. It frees you from expecting a call. It frees you from “knowing” what he/she is up to or who they are with. NC is to an N relationship as Morphine is to postoperative pain.
Read everything you can about NPD. There are many excellent books and articles available and there is a lot of information here on the board. Once you begin to see the patterns of this pathological behavior you are able to put it in proper perspective. This does not happen overnight because many of us rely on doubt to keep our hopes alive but the more you educate yourself the more knowledgeable you become. Knowledge is power, the power you need to emotionally separate and let go of an unhealthy situation.
Education helps you to see that your situation is not unique but in fact part of an overall pattern perpetrated by a pathological personality.
REFRAMING YOUR THOUGHTS
Our brains believe everything we tell it. When thoughts of doubt, regret and idealization of the N come to mind they must be immediately corrected with a FACT. For me, I often completed an unwanted thought about the N by saying to myself “Yes, but he is disordered and can never be normal.”
Acceptance also falls under this category. Accept the N for what he is and know that he can never change and that you were never a person to him and only an object of supply and target.
Examination of FOO
It is not an accident that you were attracted to or acted upon by an N. It is also no accident that you were are target. We need to dig deep into our past and identify what made us vulnerable.
REBUILDING SELF ESTEEM
For so long somebody was knocking you down, eroding your self esteem whether you were aware of it or not little by little your sense of self was being taken from you. This is the nature of the parasitic relationship between an N and his target. The extraction of narcissistic supply eventually includes all of your feelings of self worth and individuality.
Self esteem GROWS with self control. It also flourishes when we give ourselves credit for our small successes on a daily basis. Set a small goal for yourself every day and give yourself props for achieving it. For me it was being able to stay NC or go to work that I praised myself for in the beginning.
REBUILDING YOUR LIFE
Instead of allowing his absence to be everywhere, create a world where your presence is. Create new memories. Do new things, go to new places and if you don’t feel like it, force yourself and then give yourself credit for doing it.
Keep a daily journal where you write your inner most feelings. Include your successes and also your perceived failures. This is an excellent way to measure your progress, enrich your sense of self and to eliminate those ruminating thoughts that go through your head.
All wounds heal from the inside out, emotional wounds are no different. Healing cannot be rushed but we can keep the wound free of infection with proper care.
There will be times when we pick at the scab and re-open the wound but this does not mean failure it only means delay.
Your have the power to heal, it is inside of you right now you just need to learn how to use that power.
My avatar is Dorothy and her red shoes. With those shoes she had the power to go home all the time and just never realized it. Please know that each of us has a pair of those red shoes and with them we can accomplish anything.