The Key to Recovering from a Narcissist

The key to recovering from a narcissist is to find ourselves again. We must start having some self-compassion for ourselves for a change. We have an abundance of compassion for others, which is why the narcissist targeted us, but we never share any of it with ourselves!

We can be overly giving of ourselves to a fault. The narcissist knows this, which is why he/she chose us in the first place. Narcissists have an insatiable need to have someone cater to their needs at all times. Therefore, they target those they know have an overwhelming amount of empathy. They feed off of this type of person.

In order to recover, it is important that we understand we are "Empaths" or what is also known as a "Highly Sensitive Person." We are NOT "Codependents" NOR are we needy!!!!

I have written about this before. Here's a link to an earlier blog:

http://www.lisaescott.com/2011/04/23/why-narcissist-chooses-us

We have a gift and we should not share it with anyone who does not deserve it! During an interview for a class project in college, my childhood friend was asked to describe me in one word. Without hesitating, she said "SENSITIVE." Every time I take a personality test, my greatest strength is empathy. I know all of us are here because we have this unique trait in common.

We have an overpowering sense of conscientiousness along with an undeniable urge to help others. The narcissist knows this and preys on us for this reason.

We must accept that we have completely lost ourselves in the narcissist. We did not realize it while it was happening, but trust me, the narcissist planned on this all along. When we lose ourseves, we are more dependent on the narcissist for validation and that's exactly what he/she counted on. They want us to remain stuck. We must deprogram from the narcissist, which is why No Contact is so important.

I know how hard it is to face the truth about a relationship we once thought was everything we ever wanted and more. It is not easy to accept our soul mate is not at all who we thought in any way, shape or form. I divorced a man I was still very much in love with and pleaded with me not to leave him.

However, the only way to true healing is to break free from the emotional abuse of the narcissist, process your pain and find yourself again. You can do this. We can do this. Together, we can help each other find the Path Forward.

February 1, 2012 - 10:22pm
serenity1
serenity1's picture

Had contact with my narc mother and now beating myself up

Can anyone please help me with this, I am healing from my ex husband from a 12 year marriage and on my journey of recovery I realised my mother was also a Narc, Well to make a long story short, I never call her or anything or any of my family members, It always feels like I am having a black cloud over my head after I do, Well last night I was feeling sorry for her in a spirtual way and I just wanted to talk to her, She is getting old, She is lonely and she is also a horder does not get out of the house, So I sat there for a minute and before I called I told myself your doing this phone call for you, And then I reminded myself that she was a sick woman, I was trying to forgive her for my past and the bad childhood I went threw, So I am talking to her and telling her things and of course the conversation starts out with the silent treatment like normal, And then I was talking about spiritual things and I was being very genuine and sincere and then she said do you think any one else agrees with you? She said it in a sarcastic way the way she always does and I told her actualy they do, Any way the first part of the conversation did not go good, It was the same old same old, But then we got talking about other things and I actualy made her laugh which was suprising, She did not have my phone number and wanted it, I gave it to her and we talked for about an hour and then we both said good night, I felt pretty good about what I had done, I figured I did my part the rest would be between her and God, Now this morning and all day long I have slept all day because I felt like I didnt do the right thing, I told my children about it and they said I did the right thing, And then I said no I didnt, I broke the n/c and they said breaking it with her is different then your ex mom, I just have made so much progress and I have not had any contact with my ex or looked him up or anything and then I call her, I feel like I relapsed or something, Can any one give me any adivice on this, I am tired of being confused and beating myself up
February 2, 2012 - 8:18am (Reply to #23)
repressed memory
repressed memory's picture

Hang in there Serenity

I understand what your going through since not only is my mother an N, but my mother-in-law, and other family members. They are all functional but very difficult to live with. I'm going to send you a link from you tube that is very brief but to the point. You need to love yourself now and forget about everyone else. Serious!! I also have a theory about Narcs and hoarding since my mother was a pack rat. Try and let the past go as I know it is very difficult but remember they are like what they are because of their disfunctional childhood, and generally it always centers around their mother. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwTfgNolkBY
February 3, 2012 - 6:41am (Reply to #24)
serenity1
serenity1's picture

I am understanding more about mothers that are Narcs

repressed memory, Thank you for sending me that link, I just watched it, I am just going to work on my self and just keep trying to love myself, I dont want to sound selfish, But I must to heal, I think I am not going to call her for along time, If really ever It just brought me down, But I think the n/c has to be for family members also, I also think others in my family were and are Narcs, Like I said I think my grand mother was on my fathers side, She would always pick one child to spoil then the other, Pinning children against children, I think that is one of there specialties, If one child does not give them what they want or disagrees, Then they start favoring another and disgarding the other, Back and forth like a vicious cycle, It is no wonder half of us are messed up, We grew up in homes with Narcs our whole life before getting involved with one on a romantic level, As I said earlier I think the n/c should be for all Narcs, Because our mental well being has to come first for once in our lifes, We have to take charge and start loving us, That is also strange that you mentioned that your mother was some what of a pack rat, I am the complete opposite, If anything I throw every thing away and then I regret it, I dont ever want to be like her and that is why I think I am the way I am today, Thank you again for writting back
February 3, 2012 - 12:26pm (Reply to #25)
repressed memory
repressed memory's picture

I'm glad you enjoyed the

I'm glad you enjoyed the link. Love yourself. The N mothers abuse their children emotionally, physically, everyway. They manipulate, lie, pin us against one another, pick favorites thus give unequally. When I became too big for my playpen, mother use to tie me to the clothes line outside and told everyone that it was so I couldn't run away. The reality was to keep me away from her, ignore me, punish me, like the dog catcher with the catch pole and crate. She was extremely jealous of my father's love. That's exactly what people do to dogs. Take care.
February 3, 2012 - 1:41pm (Reply to #26)
Annabelle0831
Annabelle0831's picture

I'm glad you enjoyed the

Dear repressed memory, Wow, that is so sad, I cannot even imagine what that would be like. Thank you for posting. I hope you are well on your journey. Mine is going better, unbelievably my divorce conversation (The 3rd in a week) went quite well. No push back.
February 1, 2012 - 9:23am
Annabelle0831
Annabelle0831's picture

Divorce Discussion...not going as planned

I tried to have the divorce discussion with my husband. We have been separated for 4 months. He asked me if I was seeing someone, seriously, I said "No" but honestly thought it might be easier if I said "Yes", then maybe he would just go away. He then told me something was not right, that I am not in reality, that I have been lying to all of my friends and therapist about him. He is a good husband, etc. I got sucked into a 2 hour conversation with him, trying to justify why I wanted a divorce. I read the 10 signs of an emotionally abusive relationship, he said "Those things happen in all marriages, that it was normal." He then said he would not consider divorcing me until he sees a list of all he did, and why I want a divorce. I am a fairly assertive person at work, and with most of my friends, what is wrong with me that I get sucked back into arguing with him? Feeling I have to defend my decision to him? We have been married for almost 9 years, together for 11.
February 1, 2012 - 8:53pm (Reply to #20)
lulub
lulub's picture

divorce discussion

So familiar, I also thought that somehow I had to justify why I want to get away. I realized TODAY that I do not have to justify. We are stuck under the same roof financially until this house sells but I have moved to the guest room. I have decided just to not talk with him anymore, not the silent treatment, just told him I will not be pulled in to another 'conversation' that goes in circles. he can out talk me, and when I hit a nerve he screams till I shut up, he is very crafty at confusing me and making me feel like I am so off base that it leaves me speechless. He will never see this in himself, I know that now. It is like trying to reason with an unreasonable person, or trying to reason with someone when they are very drunk, it isn't going to happen. I'm not even mad anymore, I pity him, but more so for his next victim. He will not make it alone for very long, typical of men over 50.
February 3, 2012 - 1:51pm (Reply to #21)
Annabelle0831
Annabelle0831's picture

Divorce Discussion

Dear Lulub, It is so interesting how all of us have such similar stories, I read through some of the posts and I feel like a light has gone on inside my head. My husband was the same, sewing half truths with lies, so it sounded like he may have my best interests in mind, when really it was all about him. We finally had the discussion, 3rd times a charm for me, and he agreed. Now it is just a matter of moving forward. We do have a child together, she is young, so no contact isn't really a possibility for me. But I am trying to keep conversations to a minimum as it just confuses me more. As my therapist put it, he is like a toxic poison to my brain. Hope all is well with you.
January 22, 2012 - 12:15pm
ready2receive
ready2receive's picture

Codependency

As always, whatever issue I am wrestling with is always addressed on this site. I have been divorced and NC for many months and have recently started a new relationship that seems healthy....but I am haunted by my label as "codependent" and afraid that I am doomed to realtionship failure. I like the way you emphasize empath rather than codependent. I will try to focus on that aspect. I just want to be able to give and receive love. Is that too much to ask for in life?
January 19, 2012 - 12:41pm
under his thumb
under his thumb's picture

empathy

thank you for this! i definitely needed to read this today! i have been questioning what in the world was so wrong with me that i allowed this to go on for so long?!? and i do still have my days of doubt, but each day the confirmations continue and i get stronger. and i do believe whole-heartedly that this is the path He chose for me for a purpose. and i intend to live each day thankful for all of the blessings among the pain. it will get better! thank you!
January 20, 2012 - 8:25am (Reply to #11)
Annabelle0831
Annabelle0831's picture

Under his thumb

Dear Empathy, I understand completely where you are coming from. I think all of the time, how could I have not seen it? I believe for some reason, I was not ready...does that make sense. I lived with it for so long, I wanted things to work out, this is my second marriage. It wasn't until my youngest said "Mommy, why does my Dad hate you so much?" Boy, this was heartbreaking. Things just fell into place. I believe I was meant to find this website to help me cope with what is to come. He is so abusive and relentless, I am sure when I approach him about finalizing a divorce, it will not go over well. Since we have a child together, I am stuck dealing with him for a long time. Don't beat yourself up about being with him for so long, just know you can move forward and have a beautiful life without him.
January 20, 2012 - 9:45am (Reply to #12)
under his thumb
under his thumb's picture

annabelle

thank you for this...we sure can commisurate. my N and i have been separated since oct and it is a truly taxing period, but i do look forward to next year!! :) we have two children together and since i said i could no longer do this he has done a 180 with everything! religion, kids, responsibilities...with the exception of his ATTITUDE. keep me posted!
February 3, 2012 - 1:55pm (Reply to #17)
Annabelle0831
Annabelle0831's picture

Under his thumb no more

Dear Under his thumb, Thank you for your response, the discussion went well. Now it is a matter of pushing forward, getting the paperwork filled out etc. Hopefully but doubtful that it will go off without a hitch. He is now living for free somewhere else, shocking!! So, he isn't so focused on me. Although we have 1 child together, I am trying to keep a minimal contact with him. Every time I talk to him, I either feel like drinking (which I am not a big drinker) or taking a xanax. How is that for a healthy relationship?
January 24, 2012 - 11:45am (Reply to #16)
Annabelle0831
Annabelle0831's picture

Divorce

Yes, I will keep you posted as to how the divorce discussion goes. I am really nervous about even speaking with him honestly. I am going to do it tomorrow night, I have a bullet point list and I am just going to use it.
January 23, 2012 - 2:54pm (Reply to #13)
Marlinmom
Marlinmom's picture

180?

I'm also separated since October. must have been the empathic witching hour! 26 years for me, finally able to say 'I am never again going to live in a situation where someone treats me like every single other possible thing, from how the car is parked to a crumb on the counter, is a higher priority than my well being.' I said that to my N recently and he nodded sort of sadly said 'I wasn't treating you like a human being. I was rationalizing every single thing as a reason to get back at you. I don't know why.' Um, because you're a narcissist?
February 2, 2012 - 1:18pm (Reply to #15)
shock and awe.some (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

Your 1-23-12 post

Hmmmmm. Interesting. I am new to this site as my narc boy friend left just 2 weeks ago. I am reading lots of similar stories to mine but nowhere have I seen anyone say that their narc actually said a truth. He actually seemed to have a feeling if at least just for a moment. So how is it going now? Through this I have discovered that I was married to an APD narc for 33 years. He set fires when he was a kid, always in trouble with the law, alcoholic, non communicative, never apologized when obviously he was wrong. I tried to leave him many times. Each time he would attempt suicide by pills or fire. My 13 yo daughter witnessed one of these burnings and suffered from ptsd. I finally broke free. It took 4 years to get the divorce. Every tiny detail was tossed back n forth by our attorneys. And the vulgar messages. O boy. Please let me know how it's going with you. I have vats of glue here if you need me to come put your parts back on you! LOL
January 24, 2012 - 11:48am (Reply to #14)
Annabelle0831
Annabelle0831's picture

180?

It must have been something in October, Yes, there are times when my N husband will say things like "I am so sorry, etc" rarely but it does happen. This to me was just another manipulation for him to get back into my life. The old me would respond positively and hope things were going to be good from now on. The new me knows he is just manipulating my feelings.
January 19, 2012 - 10:19am
Annabelle0831
Annabelle0831's picture

Thank you

I am new to this site, I have been separated from my husband of 8 years since October 1st,2011. I have been in therapy for over two years, I probably would not have made it out if it weren't for my close friends, family and therapist. I was led to believe I was co-dependent (which I still think I might be), and attending co-dependents anonymous meetings. I also was accused of being a narcissist, histrionic, and borderline. A year ago, I was about ready to commit myself. My sister and my therapist supported me all the way through this roller coaster from hell. My husband and I went through marriage counseling, and after 6 months of counseling, the therapist pulled me aside and said "Your husband has an archaic way of breaking you down to build you back up the way he would like you." My therapist had the pleasure of meeting my husband as well, and was alarmed. I found your website a couple of days ago. I read the description of the Malignant Narcissist by Sam Vaknin, and a light bulb went off in my head! I have never read anything that so eloquently described what I had been through. Thank you so much for this website, I cannot tell you how much it will help me moving forward.
January 20, 2012 - 9:40pm (Reply to #1)
abreva
abreva's picture

Who led you to believe you

Who led you to believe you were co-dependent? Who accused you of being a: narcissist, histrionic, and borderline? I was accused of being these things at the very end of my marriage from the N-psychopath-psychiatrist. He was desperate to corner me. He also tried to tell me I was DELUSIONAL - which made me laugh. Before all that - I was just "mentally ill". I am glad that your marriage counselor pulled you aside. That is encouraging.
January 21, 2012 - 11:48am (Reply to #6)
Doubtdispelled
Doubtdispelled's picture

I am accused of being borderline and mentally ill

I am so glad I read this post! I am constantly being told I am mentally ill and I have borderline personality disorder. I think our marriage counsellor told him he has a personality disorder and ever since, he has been saying these things to me. I think it is projection now that I have read how very common it is for Narcs to say these things. I am hoping to get away from my husband of 6 years since I finally accepted he is not the person I thought I married. Thank you so much for posting.
March 15, 2012 - 8:15am (Reply to #8)
Reluctant Shaman
Reluctant Shaman's picture

Are you being "Gaslighted"?

June 22, 2012 - 9:38am (Reply to #9)
Annabelle0831
Annabelle0831's picture

Dear Reluctant Shaman, Thank

January 22, 2012 - 2:21pm (Reply to #7)
abreva
abreva's picture

good luck

Good luck honey. I left him after 7 years of marriage. You can do it sister. It's so much better for me on the other side. SO MUCH BETTER. -Abreva
January 21, 2012 - 9:24am (Reply to #2)
Annabelle0831
Annabelle0831's picture

Who led you to believe

Dear Abreva, I appreciate your response, Yes it was my husband who said I was co-dependent. I understand where you are coming from. I have tried to be objective in this seriously messed up relationship. I read the "Co-dependent no more" book and I did read a lot of things I had done in this relationship and past relationships. I went to a few codependent anonymous meetings. So, that is where I have come up with the conclusion. I don't believe I was anything else, histrionic, borderline, or narcissist. It is amazing how someone I trusted, married, and had a child with had so much influence over me. It sounds like your marriage was similar. My husband loved to corner me. He never did it in front of anyone else until recently, which is a cause for concern. It seems to be escalating. We had 2 really nasty arguments over the holidays. That is when I had the guts to to tell him in not so nice words that I did not want to see him anymore, and ask him who he thought he was to tell me what was wrong with me. The funny thing is, no matter how many people told me I was being abused, I did not understand. He always told me I was "Not in reality" and that I was lying to myself. I actually thought "Am I lying to myself?" Then when we separated and my friend moved in to help me with the rent, she observed some of our close interactions, and she told me "He is so condescending, disrespectful, and mean to you.." It took these and my therapist to make me realize how far gone I was.It is amazing what a therapist and friends have helped me see through. I am thankful everyday for them. My therapist said "You have an incredible amount of empathy for others, Narcissists do not have that." Now that I am reading some of these articles on the website, that is probably why he picked me. My self-esteem is battered and confidence lacking now. I am working on getting that back. One of my friends last year compared me to Katy Perry's song "Pearl". And it really hits the nail on the head.
January 22, 2012 - 2:19pm (Reply to #3)
abreva
abreva's picture

Dear Annabelle, Our

Dear Annabelle, Our experiences are very similar. Getting distance and having the good fortune to have a 3rd party's observation is what initially helped me get out. I share the crazy ranting hateful threatening emails the EXNH-psychopath sends with close friends, and they understand in a new way what I'm dealing with. I shared one with a newer friend recently - and her eyes glazed over. It's so tedious to deal with. She pointed out that in every sentence he wrote it was "I" "I" "I" - all about him. She was like, He really thinks highly of himself. A domestic violence victim counselor told me that abusives often go for the "your crazy" line -- that mine was just more sophisticated because of his profession. Sinister. At the beginning of the relationship I identified myself as a Highly Sensitive Person, and he ran right out and BOUGHT THE BOOK and STUDIED IT. He knew just what to do to compromise my ability to function well. He would mess with my sleep -- interrupt my sleep, monitor naps and "not allow" me to nap. SO INSANE. It's so hard to see your way out, when you are IN IT. That's the name of the game for their success as abusers -- and also the name of the game for US to get out of it making No Contact so very important. I'd like to hear how you are working on getting your confidence back. I'm working on the same. Getting myself back. I went to church today for the first time in a long time. He killed that in me too- my understanding of the sweetness and goodness of church and faith. It was great to be back in church. I was ready. We are going to find ourselves again. -Abreva
January 24, 2012 - 3:15pm (Reply to #4)
Annabelle0831
Annabelle0831's picture

Confidence

Dear Abreva, It is funny how similar our circumstances are. It sounds like our husbands were very similar. My husband stopped working shortly after we were married. I then had to start to work full time to support our family. During his days he would read books about codependency, verbal abuse, narcissism, etc and tell me all of the things that were wrong with me and my family and friends. There was always some sliver of truth that I could hear, so I assumed he had my best interests in mind. I am by nature a very social person, I eventually stopped seeing most of my friends altogether because I was trying to make him happy. CRAZY!!! He was always convincing me of how much I needed him, when the reality was, I am a very successful mother of two smart girls. If I would have remained in the relationship, they would have continued to observe the way he treated me and thought that it was okay for their future spouses to do the same to them. Another coincidence you mentioned church. My oldest daughter wanted to begin to go to church. So in December I took my youngest with me to check it out before I committed to going weekly. (I have never been a church goer, but I don't have a problem with going either) So, I liked it, it seemed to fit fairly well with my belief system, so we went again on christmas eve for the ceremony. This time it was me and my two girls. They both enjoyed it, so I figured we would try to go weekly. I knew, absolutely knew in my gut that my husband would not be okay with it. So, he came over on Christmas, I asked him how he would feel if I took the kids to church. He absolutely flipped out!!!! "You don't have the confidence for going to church...you are a follower not a leader....you don't have the strength as a person to make that decision....you are not emotionally prepared to make....and on and on and on. We will go back to church, but honestly have not yet. I just don't want to argue about it. As far as building confidence, I am reading a lot, exercising more. I am spending more time with my friends and family. I am making goals, writing quotes that I like and Journaling. Here is a good one: "Choose freely the kind of life I desire, by taking responsibility for myself and by acting in my own best interest I will relieve my feelings of inadequacy and regain my natural state of personal power."
April 18, 2012 - 12:58pm (Reply to #5)
jennifer
jennifer's picture

Beginning to remember who I am.