Many people get “stuck” in their recovery from narcissistic abuse. We learn, we understand, we know what happened to us, but we wallow and can’t figure out how to start recovering. I was stuck for about two years before I had an incident that was a slap in my face and a wake up call. I realized I had to get unstuck. After that, my healing came very quickly and I made huge leaps and bounds in my recovery–more in a month than in the previous two years! I have written about this before in my blog about acceptance.
Just like we can get stuck in the abusive relationship by thinking we can change and fix the abuser, we can get hung up in recovery by wanting things to be different from what they really are. We want justice, we want fairness, we want the truth to come out, we want people to hear us and believe us, we want the smear campaign to stop…we want all of these things and we wait for them to happen. In reality, rarely do these things happen after we leave a narcissist. Sometimes they take years, and sometimes they don’t happen at all. We can’t make our recovery dependent on these things that we cannot control, yet that was what I was trying to do! I wanted to convince others and get them to see my side and it was driving me nuts that they wouldn’t hear me. The harder I tried, the crazier they thought I was! My attempts were back firing on me!
That’s when I started learning some hard truths. Experience/life/the universe was showing me these realities, but I was trying to deny them or change them. I didn’t want to accept that others really didn’t care about what I was trying to tell them. I didn’t want to accept that I wasn’t going to get an apology for the abuse and secondary abuse. I didn’t want to accept that the narcissist wasn’t going to be held accountable. And yet, to accept those truths instead of fighting them was exactly what I needed. I needed to let go of what I wanted other people to do, and accept the reality of dealing with a narcissist and society.
I started making a list of truths that I needed to accept and face and ended up making them into my eBook Recovering From Narcissistic Abuse: The Warm Hard Truth.
It includes facts like: the narcissist is not sorry and never will be, the narcissist probably isn’t going to pay child-support or any other court-ordered payments, courts and police officers probably aren’t going to understand just how bad narcissism is, you are going to lose friends, and more. I found that accepting these things was essential, because it helped me grasp that only I could help myself and protect myself from the narcissist. I kept counting on life to be fair, and while I waited for that to happen, I was stuck and I was going nowhere. Making the decision to get up and make life fair for myself instead of waiting for others to do their part was the best choice I ever made!
2 thoughts on “Stumbling blocks to healing from narcissistic abuse”
Thank you so much for sharing. You took all the words right out of my mind – verbatim, I think ! Your writing gave me a ‘wake up’ call and a ‘to do’ list for myself, thank you again.
Joanna, your courageous voice is so important in this journey through their madness. I just listened to a validating and life-affirming book, and think of all you do for so many of us.
“I have chosen the wilderness because it is where I can tell the truth, and gather with my fellow outsiders. But this limp will remind me of the cost of what lies behind me, what will always feel a little sad and a little bruised. Was it worth it? Unquestionably. And I hope the limp shows my fellow wilderness dwellers that I am acquainted with pain and didn’t make it out here unscathed either.“
— Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness.