Last week I posted a short video on the effects dating a narcissist had on me after leaving the relationship.
As of now, the video has over 30,000 views and there were dozens of comments showcasing that it resonated with numerous users on the platform. Within those comments, victims of narcissistic abuse expanded on their stories and experiences. Within their stories arose a common theme that made my heart absolutely ache…
“I’m trying to discover my sense of self again…”
“He broke my soul, I left without a support system…’
“I don’t know who I am, what I like, I don’t know what to do…”
“She hurt me to my very core… I’m still recovering after three years.”
“They gaslit me into another dimension.”
The words hurt to read because I remember all too well how it feels to end a relationship with a narcissist only to realize that the healing journey is only just beginning.
To backtrack, many years ago I was able to walk away from my narcissistic abuser after almost a year of dating. At the time I assumed that it would be the same as any other break-up. I expected to cry, spend time with my friends and support system, and quickly build myself back up.
Those of you who have been through a similar experience is most likely already aware that the aftermath of psychological abuse is unlike any “normal” break-up.
In the months following our break-up, confusion and despair were around every corner. Self-hatred coursed through my veins, and the confident woman who had once stared back at me in the mirror had been replaced by someone I failed to recognize at all.
The strongest of all of those emotions was anger. Anger that I had allowed someone to strip me of my worth. Anger that I had allowed someone control over what I thought and what I felt. Anger that I now questioned everything because I been gaslighted and invalidated for so long.
One question became more and more prevalent in my mind.
Was this going to be the rest of my life? Was this horror going to last forever?
Today I am able to reassure you that the horror does not last forever.
Although I may write about what I experienced both mentally and physically after dating a narcissist, it is to help victims, not because I cannot let go of what happened.
Just on a high level, I had to relearn how to trust myself, how to know myself, how to set boundaries, and how to love myself again.
Within those hard lessons, there was plenty of good as well. I was able to relearn how to trust myself, and how to feel joy. The joy was a kind that I had never felt before because I had suffered from codependency that was another part of my mental health I started to focus on.
All of that being said, this message is meant to reassure you.
I want you to know that it is completely normal to feel lost after leaving an abusive relationship. I want you to remember that what you have gone through was horrendous, and something that you should have never experienced.
Healing takes time and it is truly a journey, not a destination. There are days when I still feel the aftereffects of my trauma, but I am now equipped to work through it in a healthy way.
Please remember that if you feel lost, and you don’t know who you are right now… you are not alone.
In fact, there are many survivors ready to stand by your side as you pull yourself back off the ground stronger than ever.