Healing from A Narcissistic Spouse–You Come First

For most of your life, you have come second, third, fourth or even last. Now, in the aftermath of your marriage or partnership with a narcissist, you look around for the first time and realize that you are beginning to take over your own life.

It was controlled and manipulated by your narcissistic spouse for so long that it became “normal.”—Will, not at all. Some of you became physically ill as a result of your marriage to a narcissist. Your nervous system was continually in fight or flight mode–the Sympathetic rather than the relax, digest, calm mode–the Parasympathetic. You look back and remember the ugly scenes–one after the other–the constant screaming, the threats, the psychological wounding of your heart, the wrenching of your soul. You often felt like a person dispossessed and unknown, even to yourself.

You are re-starting your life and this is unfamiliar to you. You may have had a narcissistic mother or father or both parents–God help you and God bless you that you survived.

One of the most difficult aspects of this phase of re-booting your life is learning how to take very good care of yourself. You may have never had this life experience. Certainly this was not the case during your marriage or marriages to narcissists. They made constant demands, took up all of your attention and interrupted even one moment of peace.

Create a program for yourself that involves these elements: (If you think of others, add them)

1. Get the sleep that you need and deserve

2. Take quiet time with yourself that you enjoy–I call this downtime.

3. Find the kind of exercise that works best for you. Make it tolerable and doable. You will become more energetic, stronger, and calmer.

4. Learn to quiet your thinking mind through guided meditation, tai chi (you could learn more about the benefits of tai chi here), or gentle yoga that calms the nervous system and slows thought chatter. You can do this for a couple of minutes or so. Consistency not length is the key and doesn’t make any judgments about your performance.

5. Listen to music that you love. Become lost in this deep beautiful world.

6. Listen to books or read ones that put you somewhere else—Escape and have adventures.

7. Allow yourself to cry when you feel sorrow welling up. This is part of your healing process and necessary. Release the tears that have bound you to the pain.

8. Spend time with individuals you trust and who are empathic.

9. Write spontaneously– thoughts, feelings, visions that fly through your mind. Do this without editing.

10. Let your imagination go where it wishes–Take a ride on it and feel the freedom of this process.

11. Use your intuition as a guide to tell you about the next steps you are going to take as you travel the path of your healing.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.


5 thoughts on “Healing from A Narcissistic Spouse–You Come First”

  1. Comment: From Anne
    Hello there,
    I can’t tell you how much your words have been my helpline.

    I would add:

    Go back and re-read your posts to stay focused on your own healing, to keep a healthy perspective on the true nature of your relationship with a narcissist and remind yourself to reclaim your joy.

    Thank you do much for your generosity.

    best regards,

  2. I broke it off with a lady who was loud, switch tocomments that were hurtful picking on the smallest things. she demanded a timeframes for certain things in relation to stages in the relationship, lack of empathy at times, for her and my family, she would put me down with sarcastic comments, etc, I don’t know if I was mad or reading too much into it but my emotions were up and down and felt like on eggshells – started to affect my health and turned to drinking more often to keep sane. does this ring a bell for being with a narcissist?ta

  3. I was married for almost 40 years to an abusive narcissist. His constant rages, verbal and occasional physical abuse, total neglect of me sexually and as woman in every sense, almost destroyed me. Worst of all, he became ill with a chronic, debilitating neurological disease as we entered our fifties. I tried to stay despite his constant tirades and the fact that now it really was all about him and his needs, but twelve years into caregiving, I had a series of nervous breakdowns. I finally had to leave or die.

    I feel that I’ll never be normal again – not only do I feel guilt for leaving a sick spouse, but his narcissism changed the person I was and I’m not sure I can ever find her.

    I knew nothing about narcissism and abuse when I married him at age 19.

    I wish I had.

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