A breakup with a narcissist usually involves the victim being discarded because they no longer have enough value and life to take away in the narcissist's eyes.
I recently talked to a survivor of narcissistic abuse, who told me that she felt extremely frustrated that she hadn’t been the one to cut things off first and felt incredibly embarrassed that she had been dumped by someone who had mistreated her.
In all honesty, I completely understood why she was upset. In reality, it would be great if we were the ones to end things with the people who don’t treat us well. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes we are left with the broken pieces of ourselves after a toxic relationship, and it’s up to us to do the work.
If you find yourself in a similar situation where a Narcissist has discarded you and feel like you don’t know where to start, I accepted the following three truths to begin my healing journey.
You have to accept the person that you ended up with was not who they initially presented themselves to be
Years ago, I was dating someone who crafted his persona to be hardworking, kind, and charismatic. At first, he wore the mask extremely well, and everything played out like a fairytale.
As time went on, the mask began to slip. The hard work stopped when any obstacles presented themselves at his job, and he blamed everyone else for not seeing his potential. The kindness was replaced with cruelty towards everyone, even his own cat, which he ended up leaving outside to die. The charisma was an act, brought on in part by the many uppers he was taking to keep the high going.
The reality is that I did not mourn the person that was standing in front of me at the beginning of the relationship. I had fallen in love with the man behind the mask, and the realization that it had all been a lie was one of the hardest truths I had to accept.
Remind yourself that what you endured does not have to be what you tolerate in future relationships
Many people who are in a relationship and suffer through narcissistic abuse often repeat their own patterns.
Although I had not endured abuse akin to what I went through with the narcissist, several other partners had been emotionally abusive before him. The narcissist was the first man ever to hit me, but there had been men before him that caused me to be desensitized to the emotional abuse.
The behavior that I tolerated with the narcissist was the wake-up call that I had needed for some time. After the discard, I realized that I had been tolerating toxic behavior repeatedly because I didn’t know or accept what I truly deserved.
Allow yourself a moment to recognize how incredible your life is without the narcissist
Although it is a topic I often revisit to help others who have gone through narcissistic abuse and are on their healing journey, my personal experiences feel almost like a different lifetime.
Yes, every moment is still one that I can picture in my mind, but the young woman that existed is now one I barely recognize because of the strength she holds.
It is so incredible, and I am so blessed that I cannot help but think of how horrible things would have been if I had chosen to stay in the situation with the narcissist.
There are still some mornings when I wake up and have to remind myself that the life I have built with my partner, friends, and family is my own.
As you begin working through what happened, it is natural to feel grief and hurt. However, while you work through those feelings, know that it will pass, and as you heal, the hurt will continually fade until it becomes a reminder of what you will never tolerate again.