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Moving Forward After Ending a Narcissistic Relationship: 4 Tips

Moving Forward After Ending a Narcissistic Relationship: 4 Tips

Sue Leppan Transformation Facilitator & Life Coach

Moving Forward After Ending a Narcissistic Relationship: 4 Tips

Narcissism is a word easily thrown around today, which sometimes undermines the devastation experienced by the survivor of a narcissistic relationship. Depending on the level of narcissism you have been exposed to, it may vary from a breakdown in your confidence to a point of such abuse that the person on the receiving end of the narcissist’s actions may face a reality of extreme emotional trauma.

Even though it is quite prevalent today, studies indicate that it might be as high as one in six people could be classified as narcissists, it should not be viewed as only an “excessive expression of self-love”. The reality is that the behaviour and actions of a narcissist have absolutely nothing to do with self-love in the true sense but is rather a very deep-seated fear and awareness of insecurity, rejection, abandonment, and a hugely diminished self-esteem.

Therapists differ in the “number” of types of narcissism. That there are varying degrees of narcissism is true. The characteristics of narcissism are quite different than egotism and we should not confuse the two concepts. We all have a certain level of egotism within us - on the positive side, it is what “pushes” us to be better, to get up and shower in the morning, to put our best foot forward. On the negative side, it is the overwhelming protective personality that brings destruction to us in our own lives through our fear, guilt, hurt, etc. in the attempt to avoid these emotions.

Let us have a quick look at the various classifications of narcissism. (This is a very general summary and again I want to caution about going around and classifying people according to the information provided here.) You will find between five and seven classifications of narcissists, but for purposes here we will look at three major classifications.

The overt narcissist is generally described as someone with grandiose importance. This person has an insatiable desire for admiration, they tend to be arrogant and are always in search of power and success. This is the most classic type of narcissism.

The covert narcissist is basically the “opposite” of the overt. They are insecure, self-conscious, socially insecure, and introverted. They often exhibit passive-aggressive behaviour, and disregard others at the importance of themselves. When they are not socially boosted through their manipulation of self-deprecation then they resolve into a “depressive” mood of passive aggression.

At the extreme end of the scale you will meet the malignant narcissist. This is classified as a psychological disorder that takes grandiosity to an extreme level of self-importance, need for admiration, and a disregard of others. Their behaviour (tactics) is extreme and borders on cruelty at times.

Not everyone can escape these relationships - e.g., shared parenting, and business partnerships. If you are in a position to break your relationship with a narcissist, you have taken the first step towards building yourself and your walk to freedom. Certainly, the time spent in a narcissistic relationship will have an effect on the level of emotional turmoil that you might have experienced and could vary from feeling insecure to a complete rediscovery of your true self.

So you have now left your narcissistic relationship and you want to build a life for yourself. What should you keep in mind:

1. Better the devil you know. If you have come out of an emotionally destructive relationship, you might with all your might want to return to the relationship. Why? Because it is what you know. There you know what to expect and how to act. In this large world where you feel insecure and afraid, you do not know what is waiting around the next corner, there are so many people who might trigger your destructive inner chatter. You show classical symptoms of why so often abused people find a new abusive relationship - it is familiar.

It sounds impossible, but you have to ween yourself off the narcissistic partner. Not everyone wants to break you and is another narcissist.

It is difficult to accept that it is okay to be afraid, that people will not know how insecure you are, and that you will again in the future be okay. You are taking a step every day towards your emotional freedom, and you are building your confidence step by step. Have patience, be kind to yourself, and stay committed to your freedom.

2. You have a right to be here. In narcissistic relationships, the targeted person might always be questioning their own actions, doubting themselves, and find that they often live in a world where they often ask for forgiveness, are they are apologetic.

Breathe, you have as much right to be here as the next person, and your voice and actions count. When you express your opinion and someone does not agree, it is okay. It does not make you less than any other person.

You are a beautiful person. You are uniquely you and you deserve love and respect for the simple reason that you are here. You exist.

3. Learn to make your own decisions. You might have forgotten what you like and what not? What food do you enjoy? What movies do you like to watch? What time do you like to go to bed at night and what time do you enjoy getting up in the morning?

The narcissist must have complete control. This results in the prime targeted person being told “how to do everything’. When to go to bed, how to cook food, how to wear their clothes, how to speak and when to speak. There is a possibility that the abused party from a narcissistic relationship might be too aware that whatever they decided will be changed and as such in their “freedom” they still wait for someone to give them permission.

Take small steps. Start with something that is not visible to the outside world - something that if you make the “wrong” decision, that it does not matter. Remember, there is no wrong, there is only discovery. Family should also allow you to decide how you want to proceed and support you. For all that, their intentions are from a place of love, the biggest gift they can give you is to allow you to make choices for yourself.

4. Have compassion for yourself. The narcissist is a master at weaponizing your emotional triggers against you. Recognize what you emotional triggers are - fear, guilt, hurt, etc. When people speak loud or shout at you - if it does not work for you that is fine. Know it. Become aware when these triggers are ignited during the day. It is when we own our “danger points” that we can work at it and change it.

Do not gaslight yourself and negate these triggers. Each person has their own history, with their unique triggers, and they make us vulnerable to certain events. That is fine, this is your triggers, your choice to master them or not, and for you to decide when the time is right to let go. Your triggers should never be used against you, and you should never deny them. Have compassion for yourself as you move forward discovering these and when the time is right, you will work at it and let them go.

There is a promise of a beautiful life waiting for you. It might not be tomorrow, or next week, or even next year, but one day you will know that life is different. You will feel comfortable in your own skin, you will have confidence in your choices, and you will look forward to tomorrow.

Between now and then, be patient, learn to love yourself unconditionally, have fun, and always remember to be kind to yourself.

(You are welcome to contact me for a free, no obligation, half an hour consultation.)

Sue Leppan

Master Transformation Life Coach

NLP Practitioner

Qualified Energy Codes® Facilitator

Qualified BEST® Practitioner

Moving Forward After Ending a Narcissistic Relationship: 4 Tips

Sue Leppan Transformation Facilitator & Life Coach

Sue Leppan is a life, transformation and holistic wellness coach based in Sandbaai, Hermanus. Providing therapy for a range of challenges, Sue specialises in targeting and dealing with emotional trauma, self-doubt, depression, stagnation and self-centring. Whether you need help with personal issues ...

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