I am often asked how long it will take to get over a narcissist. Grieving the loss of a relationship with a narcissist is not the same as one with a healthy well-adjusted adult. The process has many stages and can only be understood by those who have been through it.
In a typical breakup, we grieve the loss of love, the pain of saying goodbye, the sadness of something wonderful ending, broken promises and halted dreams.
When grieving a narcissist, this pain is compounded by the reality that this person never loved you. He targeted you. He put on an act and hypnotized, brainwashed & manipulated you for a deliberate purpose: to seduce and control you. And it was for a specific reason: to ensure you would be present to stroke HIS ego and cater to HIS needs.
You realize he is not who you thought he was at all. Not even close. Not even real. There is no resemblance between this selfish, controlling man and the man you fell in love with years ago. You remember, that caring and compassionate man you thought understood you like no one else. Unfortunately, that man does not exist. He never did. And no matter what you do - never will again.
You must also try to understand how you went from being idealized and put on a pedestal to being completely devalued and discarded. You can't do anything right and nothing you do is good enough. You must accept the fact that you were not an object of love to this person, but an object, a mere source of Narcissistic Supply to feed his ego; nothing more, but certainly nothing less.
The only closure you can possibly hope for in a relationship with a narcissist is the knowledge that this person is permanently disordered and disturbed. You must accept him for what he is and all his limitations, must move on and create a new life for yourself.
I believe we must create a new life for ourselves. We owe it to ourselves. Life is short and this is it. This is not a dress rehearsal. This is life. Live it and embrace it. We must live in the moment and be honest with ourselves at all times. We deserve real, genuine love. Believe it or not, there are people out there who are capable of it.
It takes a very, very long time to get over a narcissist. Please be patient with yourself, and by all means, allow yourself to mourn him. Get into therapy. Read all you can. Do not rush into a new relationship in an attempt to avoid the pain. Deal with it now so you can truly move forward.
I grieved more over my divorce six months after it actually happened than I did when I went through it. That's because when you go through a breakup or divorce, you are numb, in survival mode. You are dealing with intense emotions and feelings, while at the same time, trying to create a new life for yourself. It takes incredible strength, courage and determination. All your energy is focused on getting through the transition. You don't grieve until later. Much later. It's all a process.
But you must grieve. You must allow yourself to mourn him. When you do, it is gut-wrenching and painful. This may be where you're at right now. If so, I know it feels like the pain will never end, but trust me, it takes as long as it takes. It will take time, but you have to get it out. Don't be afraid to cry as often as you need. It's cathartic and necessary in order for you to move on. Don't be afraid to get angry... that's your self-esteem returning and you can channel it into doing things for yourself to help yourself heal.
If you repress your feelings, you will remain stuck. We must feel our feelings to move on. Be gentle with yourself and proud that you have the courage to feel. When you feel, you know you're alive, right?
I'd rather feel pain and know I'm alive than feel nothing. The one thing a narcissist can never take away from us is our ability to feel. A narcissist cannot feel at all. A narcissist will never feel, which is precisely why he is so jealous, envious and covetous of those who can.
Be grateful you have the emotional capacity to feel and love again in the future. A narcissist does not have that and will never have that. A narcissist will simply go on preying on people to get his/her needs met - over and over and over. Embrace your life and your ability to feel the joy of love again. It will come to you if you stay true to yourself.
(Note: Women can be just as Narcissistic and damaging as men. This blog post is in no way an indictment of all men as Narcissists.)