Many of those who have suffered psychological and emotional abuse at the hands of a narcissistic spouse report that even after the divorce they still feel the deleterious effects of their mistreatment. It lingers with them. Some even wish for the “good days” when life with the narcissist was exciting. They remember the highs not the horrendous lows of those times. In some cases the recipient of narcissistic abuse has endured a chronic pattern of trauma and deprivation in childhood. This individual expects to be demeaned, criticized and humiliated. This is familiar, the norm. It is not unusual for a person who has been abused to move from one abuser to the next in an unending cycle. When you divorce a narcissist you have an opportunity to redefine yourself as a person who deserves to be treated with deep respect. As you finish the formal process of divorce promise yourself that your healing has already begun. Going through a divorce from a narcissist is a great achievement in itself.
The growing self is always in a process of moving forward. You have suffered more than enough. You are entitled to feel differently about who you are and how you are treated.
You can begin by learning how to calm your body and mind. Taking yourself out of the day to day presence and toxic vibrations of the narcissist is an opening step. Learning how to quiet the mind with a form of meditation that works for you, performing simple yoga poses with emphasis on the breath, journaling your thoughts, feelings, inspirations, poems and insights allows you to let go and become uncensored to yourself. You have held yourself in check for so many years, turning yourself inside out to please the narcissist, you will be amazed at the power that you have to find a calmness and freedom that you have been waiting for. Taking time regularly to immerse yourself in nature whether through gardening, hiking, watching and listening to the birds near you, sketching outside—is an enormous source of healing the body, mind, emotions and psyche.
Develop a solid healing relationship with yourself. For so long you have been overshadowed by the narcissist. He has stolen your light and eclipsed your creative ideas, your sense of optimism and hope, your life dreams. Vow that no one will ever do this to you again. You are the author of your own life. Seize your sense of self entitlement and deep inner peace. The time to re-start your life is now.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.