It is very easy to get impatient with ourselves when we grieve the loss of our narcissist relationship.
Why do I miss him, he treated me like dirt? Why do I care that he is with a new woman, better her than me right? Then why does it hurt so much? I know in my mind that I am better off without him, logically I don’t want him back but why is my heart breaking? Why can’t I stop crying?
It’s been a couple of months and your friends and family are getting impatient, and you are hearing things like; “Let it go”, “move on”, “stop talking about him and you will forget about him”, “Don’t think about the good times, he was an asshole”, “you need to start dating, find a nice guy and forget him”.
Friends and family don’t like to see you hurting any more than you want to hurt. You would gladly stop hurting if you knew how, but no matter how hard you try, in fact the harder you try; the more it seems to hurt.
Grieving is how a person heals, if you bury your pain and get involved again too quickly you are more apt to either 1. Get into another abusive relationship
2. Ruin a relationship that had the potential of being good because you have unresolved hurt from your past.
Grieving can take anywhere from 6 months to over a year. With a narcissist grieving usually takes longer because the victim rarely knows all the lies and infidelity that went on during the relationship and didn’t fully acknowledge the abuse until they were out of the situation. Every time a new realization hits or lie is exposed the victim is thrown back in their healing journey. Every time they are confronted with their own denial they are set back.
People may not understand why finding out about one more affair matters when he obviously never was faithful but for the victim it is ripping the scab off of a barely healed wound, it bleeds almost as much as the initial injury. Every time new information is gleaned the scab is pulled off but every time it is a little bit more healed than the last and eventually it does heal and even if new information comes to light it is more like banging a wound on the corner of a table; it is tender but no longer bleeds. It is then that the healing process is almost done. It is much easier to heal from a relationship where there was no hidden agenda, deceit, ulterior motives because you don’t have someone ripping the scab off.
No one wants to hurt and it is natural to want to stop the pain anyway you can, booze, drugs, dating, burying your self in your work or kids. It may provide temporary relief but that pain is still there and will rear its ugly head at some point so why not deal with it now and be done with it. It will not kill you every though it feels like it.
People may tell you that you are wallowing in self pity or holding onto the past but in actual fact by allowing yourself to remember the good and the bad times and truly feeling your pain you are taking healthy steps towards healing.
The harder you try to not feel the pain the more power you are giving it over your emotions. Pick a time of day to grieve, allow yourself a 1/2 hr each day to sob, be angry, whatever emotion you are feeling and give in to it totally, allow yourself to really feel your pain. It can be cleansing, I used to start my day that way, for me it cleansed me for the day. Plus I hadn’t put my makeup on yet and it was much more convenient. Later in the day I might have a teary moment or two but I would tell myself I would allow myself to feel the pain later. At first I would have a good cry later that night also. Its ok to feel pain, its ok to talk about your ex, its ok to remember the love you felt for him and even remember the times he was loving to you. Just because he was a liar and hurt you deeply does not diminish how deep your love was or make you loving him something to be ashamed of.
If you don’t allow yourself to feel all these emotions you are more apt to call him or go back to him; that is why we break no contact after all; we are trying to end our pain. To our heart it makes sense; he hurt us, he can heal us. But it doesn’t work that way; we have to hurt before we can heal. Like a broken leg; if you keep walking on it or take the cast off too soon it will never heal properly.
Don’t feel there is something wong with you because its been a few months and you are still crying and trying to make sense of it all. You are being healthy and in the long run by processing the breakup in this way you are setting the foundation for a healthy relationship next time. It is the people who don’t feel the pain who are unhealthy, the people that get stuck in hatred for their ex or immediately rush into another relationship are the ones who will pay the price down the road with more unhappy relationships.
Any “how to” books on dating will tell you that rejection or disinterest is the surest way to get the attention of the opposite sex. If a guy wants a girl sitting with a group of friends at a club the best way for him to get her attention is to barely acknowledge her and talk to her friend. If a woman wants a guy to be interested “play hard to get”. I don’t believe in playing games and hate the thought that a woman can’t just be upfront and ask the guy out if she wants but human nature prevails. If she is too anxious she will scare the guy off. It is not old fashioned thinking, it is the facts; like it or not.
Much of our pain is from being rejected, ESPECIALLY because we forgave him/her so many times and gave so much of ourselves, compromised our principles and boundaries that we are incredulous
he/she had the nerve to dump us!! When we should have dumped them long ago. And then they blame us for our own pain!! It is such a strong natural instinct to need their acceptance even when we don’t really love them any more that it feels out of our control to call them and try to get some morsel of acceptance from them.
On the same note all human’s are born with a need to give love, especially women. If the object of your love is suddenly ripped from you, you are lost without a place to put your love. You HAVE to acknowledge that pain of rejection and grieve it or you will transfer it onto the next person you are with, you will love the wrong person too soon, be too dependent on them, and the same panic you feel now over losing your ex N will surface at inappropriate times down the road.
No one can heal you except you, the ex N can’t, a new love interest can’t, only time and you. A support group like what we have here will help; a place where you can be open and honest about your feelings with the safety of anonymity and without the fear of criticism. Talk about what you miss about him , your fears about the future without him, the pain he caused you, your anger; speaking about it actually releases its grip on you. Having it acknowledged and hearing that others felt it too and hearing about other people who are further on in their journey to healing will all speed up the healing process, the surest way to slow down or stop the process all together is to try to not feel what you are feeling. You can not release what you won’t allow yourself to feel.
You don’t want the N to know you are grieving the loss of him? So what? He will get an ego boost out of it? Who cares? Once again you are allowing him to control your emotions. You do not want to tell him you are grieving, you don’t want to go to him in hopes he will heal your pain, no of course not.
But, he is probably the most emotionally unhealthy person you will meet in your life time, and you are concerned about him knowing you are experiencing totally healthy and normal emotions? Be proud you are able to feel and allow yourself to even feel a little smug over the fact that you are capable of feeling and you are healing and he will always be an empty, heartless soul vampire who will never be able to feel the intensity of the pain you feel. The pain you feel is proof that you are capable of loving unconditionally and fully, that’s why it hurts. Be thankful for your pain, it means you are healing.
Celebrate it by having a pity party, sort through old photos of you together, read old letters, go though your journals, and allow yourself to totally give in to your pain. Plan for it, make a date with your pain, a glass of wine is ok, as long as you are sure you won’t get drunk and call him. (If you call him you are prolonging the healing because he will just hurt you again adding to your pain)have a bubble bath and soak in the tub and let it out. Put on songs that remind you of him, watch a sad love movie, sob uncontrollably, don’t be afraid of it, let it go. Trying to pretend it doesn’t exist or trying to stop it only makes you more aware of it, so succumb to it and then you can let it go. You will have to have more than one pity party, like I said earlier, once or even twice a day plan for a mini pity “cocktail” not a whole party.
Remember, he may not have loved you, but your love was very real, because he didn’t value it does not diminish it. You have suffered a great loss, your hopes for the future, the hope you clung to, for maybe years; that he would return to the man you met and love you like he did in the beginning.
Maybe you now realize it was false hope but that does not mean it hurts any less. In order to heal your heart and be able to love again you have to feel the pain and accept your responsibility in your own pain. You may feel you wasted years of your life on a man’s false promises. It is never a waste if you learn something from it and come away healthier and stronger. He may have hurt you, but you were not powerless, you could have left, a lot of your pain is coming from an anger at yourself for allowing the abuse to continue, until you acknowledge that you did have power to stop the hurt, you will never feel you are powerful enough to prevent it from happening again. Not only did he betray you, you betrayed yourself; that is painful to accept.
Yes you were a victim of abuse, the key word is “were”, you are no longer being abused unless you choose to let him abuse you. Remember it is ok to grieve but don’t expect him to heal you, NO CONTACT or minimal contact if you have kids, means you are stopping the abuse and taking your power back. No contact shouldn’t be used as a means to hurt the N because they hate to be rejected, to do it for that reason you are still playing the game, dancing the dance with him. You should choose no contact because you are stopping the abuse.
I will explore ways of identifying why and what you are feeling and how to use those feelings to help yourself heal in my next post.
Happy Healing! We have 22 days before Christmas, let’s give ourselves the Christmas gift of healing so when we enter the New Year; we enter it not as victims but complete, healthy, and in control of our lives and our happiness.