Let's focus on the aftermath of narcissistic abuse.
I’m not going to lie to you… the beginning stages after leaving an abusive relationship are going to be very hard. I’m telling you this because I don’t want to promise that the light at the end of the tunnel will magically appear. That is simply not true.
In some ways, it’s a journey that is ever ongoing. You have gone through an experience that is life-changing. You won’t emerge on the other side as the same person. My hopes are that you emerge stronger, wiser, and with cultivated boundaries.
Here are the signs that you are becoming to heal from the narcissistic abuse that you endured.
#1. You can smile and it’s real
When I was in a relationship that involved narcissistic abuse I believed that I was putting on a good act that everything was fine and that I was happy.
However, when I looked back at photographs that were taken where I was in that relationship I realized that I could visibly see the pain that I had been in. My smile wasn’t the same and there was a darkness behind my eyes that had never been there before.
It wasn’t until the moment that the relationship ended and I walked away from that things began to change.
There is a photo that I love that was taken several weeks after I left my abuser. The light is back in my eyes and I’m throwing my head back laughing. I was finally starting to look like myself again.
#2. You don’t spend time obsessing over contacting your ex
There is really only one rule when it comes to the aftermath of a relationship ridden with narcissistic abuse.
You need to go no contact to ensure that you can fully break the trauma bond and begin healing. However, that is obviously easier said than done.
Even after months had passed I thought about running into my ex everywhere I went. On the commute to work, I would look out for his car because I knew that we took a similar route. As much as I wanted to stop thinking about him I was struggling so hard to keep myself from reaching out and telling him that I missed him.
It took around a year but I suddenly realized one day that I was no longer thinking about contacting him.
#3. Your heart/body no longer feels heavy
During the midst of the abusive relationship, my mind didn’t want to admit what my heart already knew.
Every day I would wake up feeling heavy and exhausted. I was constantly anxious and distressed, even when we were together. I kept telling myself that I was happy but really I something within me seemed to know that I was in a dangerous situation.
Our bodies often will be showing physical signs that something is wrong whereas our minds will try to tell us that we are okay. The reality is that I wasn’t okay.
This was actually the first obvious change that I noticed within myself after the relationship ended. Every day I would wake up and the world felt a little brighter and my heart felt a little lighter.
#4. You feel relieved that it is over instead of sad
When things first ended I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my body and crushed by my ex’s hands. It was unlike any other break-up that I had gone through because of the trauma bond.
For months I walked around in a fog and I was so sad about the entire situation. I’m not sure when that shifted but as I began to learn more about the abuse I had endured and the man behind the mask… I realized how much danger I was in.
Yet even though logically I should have been relieved that it was over,I wasn’t right away. I was heartbroken.
But slowly as time went on the fog lifted and I felt the peace filling my heart. If you are going through this please know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Please know that it takes time to heal from psychological scars, as they come from a form of abuse that is often undetected or completely overlooked.