In the last two articles, we discussed how abuse doesn’t always come in the form of physical bruises and an all-pervading fear that never really goes away. Sometimes, such relationships also involve gaslighting and manipulation. These may not lead to broken bones but the emotional scars that they leave behind are no less painful or traumatizing.
These debilitating behaviors are exactly what people in narcissistic relationships have to go through every single day. For them, their partners aren’t the pillars that they lean on when the going gets tough. Rather, they’re the ones kicking them down, exposing their insecurities and magnifying them until those become the only things they see.
Escaping from a narcissistic relationship is undoubtedly difficult; however, that’s only half the battle. Afterward, victims must navigate the healing process, sifting through the feelings of inadequacy and inferiority that they may have gotten used to.
Another part of the healing process that they must face is trust – more specifically, the trust issues caused by their narcissistic abuser, who vowed to love and take care of them yet preyed on their weaknesses instead.
Understandably, being brave and confident enough to put their faith in other people is incredibly difficult for those who got out of a narcissistic relationship.
If you’re experiencing this right now, then don’t worry because it won’t last forever. Learning how to restore your trust is a long and challenging process so here are a few expert-recommended tips to help you out:
Art therapy has long been used to help survivors of abusive relationships work through their trauma, mainly because it has proven to be an effective way to help foster self-expression and healthy coping mechanisms. Not only does it enhance their moods too, but it also reduces symptoms of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.
Whether it be painting or journaling, there’s no right or wrong way to pursue a creative hobby, which is why doing so will allow you to learn how to trust your inner voice again. There’s no chance of you failing at this so you’ll find yourself slowly gaining confidence and letting go of the insecurity that your narcissistic partner ingrained in you.
As an act of self-preservation, people in narcissistic relationships often disassociate or mentally distance themselves from their partner’s words and actions. This may have enabled you to survive the experience with your sanity intact; however, it could also lead to you doubting your feelings and questioning their validity.
Because of this, reconnect with yourself and get to know what it’s like to be in your body again. You can start by exercising your five senses – for instance, wearing a soft sweater or eating ice cream on a hot day both produce good sensations that will help you realize that your body is yours alone and nobody else’s.
Narcissists have many tactics to make other people feel inferior to them and one of the things they do involves making subtle hints or passive-aggressive comments that cause their partner to second-guess their decisions. In the end, they doubt themselves every time they need to pick among options, even if the choice is really small, like what to eat for dinner or what laundry detergent to buy.
Learning to trust others means learning to trust yourself too so start the healing process by making decisions based on what you want and what makes you happy. Initially, you may question your choices or feel scared about being judged by other people but before long, you’ll find yourself confident that the path you took is the best one for you.
Healing from a narcissistic relationship takes time and patience. There’s no one way to go about it so in addition to these tips, always remember to be kind to yourself, as well. Your feelings are completely valid, regardless of what your abuser says.
Do you have any other advice to give to those recovering from narcissistic abuse? Feel free to share them in the comments down below – we’d love to hear from you!