5 Mistakes to Avoid When Recovering from Narcissistic Abuse

Are you recovering from narcissistic abuse? Never do these things!

Escaping narcissistic abuse is a big step, but you should know that the healing journey is just as important. Studies by the National Institute of Mental Health report that nearly 20% of people in the United States experience narcissistic abuse in their lifetime, and a significant portion of survivors struggle to break free from the cycle of analyzing the abuser’s behavior.

This article will discuss the mistakes many people tend to make when recovering from narcissistic abuse and how to avoid them so you can focus on healing yourself. You need to learn how to become more resilient and how to create a fulfilling future filled with healthy connections and self-love. So, get ready to reclaim your power and build the life you deserve.

recovering from narcissistic abuse
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1. Understanding the abuser is a healing detour

When you are healing from narcissistic abuse, you are taking part in a marathon, not a sprint. People want answers, and this may lead some to start detective work and try to decipher why the abuser treated them the way they did.

But this is one of the most common mistakes people make when recovering from narcissistic abuse. Starting this type of “investigative work” might make you end up stuck in this circle and will make you waste precious time and mental energy.

Yes, it is incredibly important to understand the abuse, as this whole process and the validation will make you go further, but if you fall into the trap of dissecting the abuser’s childhood or motivations, you will be stuck in a dead end, and it will be extremely frustrating.

You should instead invest your energy in understanding yourself and trying to understand what attracted you to the narcissist. Self-reflection is an incredible tool that will help you get stronger, and you can use it to identify potential vulnerabilities.

There is one thing you should always remember while recovering from narcissistic abuse: the abuser’s past is their burden to bear. Just focus on yourself.

2. Closure with a narcissist? No way!

When recovering from narcissistic abuse, there is usually a void left, and this might make you seek closure. We can totally understand this craving, but you should be careful because this can be a recipe for relapse. It is like you leave them a door open, and they can come back into your life anytime they want and start the abuse all over again.

Looking for closure gives the narcissist free rent in your headspace, and if you get in touch with them, it is the perfect chance to twist the narrative or deflect blame, two well-known manipulation techniques. These people live for drama and control, and what you should do is stay away from them.

Also, if you are expecting a sincere apology from a narcissist, we want to tell you that this is almost impossible. When they offer you that half-hearted “sorry,” chances are that they are just reeling you back into the unhealthy relationship you used to have.

When recovering from narcissistic abuse, avoid the mirage of closure and focus on healing yourself. The real closure you are looking for is not coming from the exterior; it comes from within. Embrace self-compassion, try to surround yourself with positive people, and things should get better.

3. Going it alone: not seeking professional help

Recovering from narcissistic abuse can be extremely difficult, and one mistake many survivors make is navigating all of it alone. Maybe you are reading lots of books about it and listening to hundreds of podcasts, but nothing will beat a trained professional who knows exactly what you are doing and is ready to understand and guide you.

If we imagine this process as a complicated maze full of twists, turns, and dead ends, we can definitely say that the self-help resources are kind of a map, but when you work with a professional, it would be like having a guide that can show you how to get out of the maze in the most efficient way possible.

Look for a therapist who specializes in trauma and narcissistic abuse. They will provide you with valuable support and be there to help you unpack all of the negative experiences while also supporting you to develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Many individuals who are recovering from narcissistic abuse underestimate the power of professional help, but it is your chance to change this. You don’t have to take this journey alone, so there is no shame in seeking professional help.

4. Abusing substances and other distractions

Recovering from narcissistic abuse is a complicated process, and along the way, you can start feeling raw and exposed. One thing that people start doing when they feel like this is finding “peace” in various distractions.

Mind-altering substances, partying, and spiritual practices are all on the list because they can help by giving you that sense of calm and that feeling of getting stuck in time. You might get the impression that nothing bad will happen again, but in reality, these distractions are just stopping you from experiencing real healing.

When you are recovering from narcissistic abuse, the only way to heal is by facing the pain head-on. We know that this is not comfortable at all, but it is a crucial part of the price. Using substances and distractions will only numb you for a while and keep you from facing the real problems.

recovering from narcissistic abuse
Photo by LightField Studios from Shutterstock

5. Not facing your trauma

The aftermath of an abusive relationship and recovering from narcissistic abuse can create a storm of confusing emotions. One of the worst things you can do is ignore these emotions and pretend that everything is fine. You can’t just lock the trauma away and hope it will never resurface. It will always do so, and the way it can impact your life can be catastrophic.

It is known that unresolved trauma builds up, and the worst part is that it resurfaces in unexpected ways. It can affect us in various ways, and depression and anxiety are just two of them. While you are on your healing journey, you want to avoid causing greater damage. This is why you should acknowledge the pain and be aware of its impact.

You should let yourself express your emotions and process what happened. This is the only way to release the pressure and move forward. Dwelling on the past will help no one, so open that box and let the healing begin.

Recovering from narcissistic abuse is a challenge, which means there will be setbacks, moments of doubt, and days that feel overwhelming. Avoiding these common mistakes will help you heal faster.

This is just a start, as there are numerous resources and trauma-informed therapists who are ready to be by your side throughout this journey. Also, remember that compassion for yourself is key. Celebrate any small victory, get ready, and build a brighter future for yourself and those you love.

If you want to learn more about narcissistic abuse and learn from it, this book might be really helpful: Recovery from Narcissistic Abuse, Gaslighting, Codependency and Complex PTSD

You should also read: 9 Alarming Signs You Have Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome




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