It’s Over: Detoxing the Narcissist

freedomThe journey to a healed life after narcissistic abuse is not a quick and easy one. Reminders of past conflicts continue to hurt and create new pain.  It is common to lose contact with you own needs, desires and sense of self when you have survived purgatory.  Recovery from relationship abuse is a lifelong commitment of dedication and hard work that is well worth the effort.  You will find freedom, love and serenity if you keep showing up. It is inevitable that there will be times of sadness, tension or outright anger.

I believe there is a psychic enslavement of the person when a narcissist captures codependent supply.  Breaking the chords of entrapment requires the body to detox itself of unhealthy hazardous emotional waste.  The detox symptoms produce anxiety, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, headaches, poor concentration, depression, obsessions, and social isolation.   Detoxing symptoms are similar to post-acute withdrawal from drugs.  Among the signs of addiction are compulsion, obsession, and denial, craving, mood swings, and unpredictable behavior.  As the relationship or addiction progresses control over thoughts and behavior are lost.  Your life is no longer under your control and the losses became increasingly profound.  Like alcoholism or drug use, withdrawal from the narcissistic relationship shares many of the same benchmarks, as does the process of relapse.  In the beginning, your emotions will change minute to minute and hour to hour.  As you continue to heal the good stretches will get longer and longer.  Detoxing the loss is necessary but not a steady progress; rather it will be two steps forward and one step back.  You are likely to experience periods of emotional instability.  Grieving is important and so is knowing what it is you are grieving for.  I recommend that you list your losses on paper as a preventive measure against relapse. Crying in front of other people as you process your grief is understandable.  Grief isn’t always predictable, not always controllable.  Cutting off all contact with your abuser is necessary for your own mental health and the only way you will guarantee not going back.  If you have children a mediator or attorney will need to communicate for you.

Many partners hang on for years hoping the narcissist will own up to what they have done and admit to their cruelty.  The withheld admission of wrong doing becomes “unfinished business.”  The lack of closure when you leave can contribute to obsessive thoughts about getting revenge.  The spiritual challenge becomes one of letting go of the desire for retribution. Hurtful behavior is in the past; remember your freedom involves giving up the urge to punish.  You need to accept that the narcissist is incapable of caring about your feelings or loving you.  Narcissistic entitlement is a self-serving, one-way street attitude that creates bitterness and resentment in the abuser who feels entitled and in the people around them who don’t like being treated that way.  If you don’t accept “what is” the narcissist gets to continue to destroy your life.  You become a volunteer martyr when you refuse to heal and give up a victim mentality.

Treatment for the survivors includes education, individual therapy, changing unhealthy behavior, and courageous exploration through which you rediscover yourself and identify self-defeating patterns. You pull through the dark night of the soul by creating a new life.  If you don’t create a new life, the factors that brought you to your victimization will eventually be repeated.  You can set goals and direction for your life and place value on yourself.  You can love and encourage yourself.  You stop the abuse by sitting on your hands and doing nothing when you feel the urge to contact your abuser.  After a while you will develop confidence to change your life.  Peace will become more important than chaos and drama.  You will own your power and life will be manageable.

Thank you for reading my post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes put an end to relationship abuse.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.




13 thoughts on “It’s Over: Detoxing the Narcissist

  1. mine may be a bit different situation… I was married to an alcoholic narc man and got away, went to stay and take care of my elderly Dad who had Parkinson’s. He passed on 6 mos ago. My older sister , who I think may be a narc., is very jealous and controlling and insecure and is making my life miserable and pain filled. I’m a very empathic person. She wrote me a letter after Dad passed accusing me of all kinds of untrue things and said “if I’m wrong, please forgive me” well, the damage was done. She lies and twists things around to make it so believable and she even believes it. Now, her husband and adult son are against me because they believe her too. I know in my heart that I haven’t said or done any of the things she accused me of and I can actually prove it but I just want to be left alone and I feel anything that I say or do will just make matters worse. This has devastated me because it’s my own sister and I didn’t even get time to properly mourn my Dad whom I took care of and there is jealousy there too… before she started on me. She lives 8 miles away and only came to see Dad for 3 hrs on Sunday and wasn’t there for him when he was going through his worst times. I guess all because I was there and I didn’t even know it until it was all over and I’m still in his house and I think that’s part of the problem, I plan on buying my own home in about 8 months if they don’t try to kick me out sooner…
    Any advise for me?
    I’m just trying to keep my head down and mind my own business. I’ve unfriended her from fb because she posted personal things to me that had no place there. I’m sure that made her mad and “broke her heart” She goes into rages and has accused me of things that she seems to believe…. I can’t sleep for the nightmares and am just sad all of the time. We are not youngsters, She is 67 and I’m 61.
    I also have an older sister, the oldest that has been mistreated also but not like me since I live closer I guess and I’m the youngest. My oldest sis always has my back and loves me unconditionally and is not jealous or hurtful.

    • Dear Mary,

      I suspect you have been a good enough sister for long enough. You do have the right to create a life that works for you that doesn’t include your sister. Life is short and I bet you experienced your share of pain. I would look at empowering myself through legal channels in regards to your fathers property. You might need to walk away and quit fighting. Love your older sister now, her unconditional love is precious. Be good to yourself. I am sure your father would want that for you. I am wishing you the best. Thank you for writing to me.


      • Thank you so much Roberta for taking the time to reply. It helps to get feedback, maybe even validation from
        someone on the outside. Ya know? I’m going to get past this and take care of me for a change and distance myself from the negativity.
        Again, Thank you so much.
        Mary Norrell

  2. Hello
    I have just separated from a person who I believe is a narcissist, he was the one who called the separation after 16yrs of being together, in short he was in hospital for 7 mths, and this was the period I felt “free” so to speak. And could see what he has become.
    My questions is what if you have a child to the narcissist??
    Any advice on this would be great

    • Dear Anne,

      Having a child in your situation makes things more painful. You want to avoid a power play; he may eventually distance himself if you don’t participate in using the child as a pawn. Your best bet is to go through legal channels and have someone you trust exchange your child for visitation. I would make sure that you get legal advice from someone who is familiar with the narcissist. Do not criticize or put-down your child’s father in conversation and remind your child that the break-up is not their fault. I am wishing you much strength and courage.


  3. I agree with a lot of this. However,i do have to say. I left my narcissistic ex-wife and entered a relationship with an absolutely amazing woman very soon. Admittedly, we’ve known each other for years. Longer than the relationship I left. So, it was easy. I think that having someone who has your back is VERY important,and can’t be discounted. But learning how to love and trust again is difficult. But we all need someone to help us reprogram.

    • Dear Robert,

      I agree with you. Having someone who is concerned with your welfare is a valuable/functional part of a partnership. The odds of meeting a narcissist in the dating arena are high. Re-programming is important along with fully grieving the relationship ending. Learning how to love and trust again is part of completing the grieving process. Many of us with good intentions jump into new relationships before we are emotionally available. It becomes important to understand our healing. Love and trust will then come intuitively.

      Best Regards,

  4. Hi Roberta,

    I’m so happy I found your site. I believe my boyfriend has NPD. For years I knew something was so wrong with him, and our on and on relationship. The truth is, I’m only here because of the kids. I’ve been to court with him before, I don’t want to do this again.. yes, I left him then went back:(
    When I do leave again, hopefully for good, I will remember your post on detoxing. Thank you for helping people like me.

  5. Roberta, having just found your site a couple weeks ago, I am so grateful! It has been a year since my breakup with a N and I am still learning about what actually happened and why.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating this amazing resource – you have admirable insight.

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