Self-Forgiveness after Narcissistic Abuse

When you’ve been devalued and discarded by a Narcissist, it’s a lot like being told you have a deadly disease.  You’re not sure if you will survive.  In fact, part of you may not want to survive because you’re in such emotional agony.  One more day in the aftermath of Narcissistic abuse seems beyond what you can bear.

Describing this fallout to friends and family often leads to additional shame.  They cannot empathize with you because they can’t possibly relate to the stories you tell them regarding your relationship.  Phrases like “he was a jerk anyway”, “just get over it”, and “you’re better off without her” are well-meaning, but do nothing to ease your suffering.

Involvement with a Narcissist is comparable to ingesting small amounts of arsenic over time.  It starts out seemingly harmless, but gradually leads to defects in cognitive functioning, high blood pressure, headaches, and stomach upset.  In severe cases, it can lead to different types of cancer.  It’s no surprise that female victims of Narcissistic abuse seem to have higher incidents of breast and ovarian cancer.

A break-up of this nature goes way beyond a normal break-up.  In addition to the typical stages of denial, grief, anger, the impact of such a union often has profound psychological, spiritual, physiological and financial effects on its victims.  Once a partner does manage to disentangle themselves and gain the much needed emotional and physical distance, either by necessity or abandonment, they are often left with some terribly distressing questions like – Did they ever love me? Did I mean anything to them at all?  How could they do this to me after what we shared together?

Medley of Misery

It’s important to keep in mind that Narcissists do not love. They have no capacity to form healthy attachment bonds to anyone. To a Narcissist, their lovers, spouses, and companions are objects; sources of supply. Accepting that you meant nothing to someone who meant so much to you is incredibly painful. Realizing that you were lied to, defrauded and manipulated from the start is enough to send even a saint into a psychotic frenzy.

The hardest thing to recover from is the deliberate mind fuck, the emotional warfare that the Narcissist uses to keep their targets emotionally invested in them.  Another disturbing element in this relationship with the Narcissist, and the one that keeps you entrapped, is that they are the epitome of projection and paradox. When the Narcissist says; “I love you.  Your happiness is important to me,” what they actually mean is, this is what I want to hear from you–and what I desperately need for myself. This explains why their words and behaviors don’t match, and why you’ve had so many conflicting occurrences that made you doubt and distrust their expressions of caring or affection. Ironically, the more you love them, they less they love you.

With the Narcissist, your sense of congruency is constantly defied. A Narcissist’s selective memory and distorted thinking convincingly make you doubt your perceptions, and have you believing that up is really down–thus you’re always floundering in confusion. There comes a point at which you can’t determine which end is up or down.

You then become obsessively focused on making sense of something that’s downright irrational. You feel unstable, so you keep attempting to fix it; to right the wrong! This alone is an addiction that keeps you going back (a control issue on your part). Even after years of separation, you might believe that things can be normal between you and your ex–but you’re mistaken.   You can never let your guard down with them, not even for a second.

Are you holding yourself “accountable” for remaining in the relationship too long?  Especially if you’re dealing with significant consequences? Owning your part in any dynamic is important–but only if it serves as a learning tool. Would you persist in scolding a small child every day for having made a detrimental mistake? Of course not! It’s time to forgive yourself.  Use this experience to heal and grow.

Suggested Readings

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Self-Confidence begins with Self-Forgiveness

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  1. Hi Kim,

    This is a great post and accurately describes the pain of being involved with a narcissist. I just began to blog about narcissism with the main focus on the aftermath and healing. For months I read about the characteristics of narcissism to understand the dynamics of such a dysfunctional relationship and I came to the conclusion that the only thing I can change are the parts of me that allowed such abuse into my life. I think it starts with forgiveness and compassion for the self. Check out my blog if you’d like, it’s great to have a supportive network of strong and positive women ( and men.) Thanks for this post.

  2. narcopathcrusher

    This post expands beyond the usual explanations of what happens after an abusive relationship. Very inspiring and validating!

    1. Kim Saeed

      Thank you, narcopathcrusher, for your very kind comment, as well as for stopping by <3

  3. Pingback: Self-Forgiveness after Narcissistic Abuse | My Blog

  4. Tony E. Walker

    I’m really glad I found this site. This is providing profound insight into the kind of relationship that I was recently involved in. I have spent months trying to figure out where I went wrong and I was being very hard on myself especially when I lost my job and the breakup that occurred 4 months later. This information has been a very useful learning tool for me and I really appreciate the wisdom that goes into this.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Thanks, Tony! I’m so glad my site has been helpful to you. I hope you’ll also check out the healing tools and meditations here on the site so you can begin moving forward and healing. Narcs bring all of our wounds to the surface, then it’s up to us to heal those wounds. Best wishes for you!

  5. Anonymous

    Wow. Wow. Wow. I have a dear friend in an abusive relationship and you writing is so so helpful. I will pass it along. You are reaching. Right into my heart and hopefully into her life.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Thank you, Anon. That means a lot.

      I so appreciate your passing my site onto your friend. I truly hope she can find some helpful info here <3

  6. Ginger

    Its been a year since I’ve seen my narcissist. I ended it on ‘good terms’, or so I thought. Shortly there after he started up with his friends wife and began the hate game against me even though I had done nothing. Finding this site has given me some real insight into what I suspected he was all along. Most days it helps to know it wasn’t me, it was him and that I’m not alone in this. Then I have other days where I’m human and I still dont get it. He just had a baby this week with his, now former, friends (now) ex wife. I had to block everyone where I could see the baby or two of them. Watching people congratulate 2 people that have damaged so many is unbearable. Thank you Kim for this site. It has helped me understand my feelings so much better and make me feel less nuts. Good night 🙂

    1. Kim Saeed

      Thank you for sharing your story, Ginger. I’m so glad to know my site has helped you make some sense out of what seems utterly senseless. Encouraging comments such as yours keep me going <3

  7. Finding my soul

    Thank you Thank you so much ,,,,,,,
    I was about to jump. ! Everything I read is like
    It’s me ! I can’t belive ppl r like this until I read
    Your blog has helped me so much I look forward
    To reading I finally see the light at the end of my pain

  8. Vanessa

    Funnily enough, I was the one that left for the last time. For the past few months he has been trying so many different strategies to get me to go back into the relationship. Very much so in the past few weeks as he knows that my life is starting to get better. I have rejected every approach, reason, expression of despair, threats, manipulation. That is, when he can get hold of me. Usually an e-mail from a different source. A sick feeling in the pit of my stomach just wont let me go there. I went through hell in the 3 years we were “together”. My work is going well now, just moved into my own unit, a space I LIKE not what he wants. I’m still going to struggle for a while to get back on top from the financial devastation I experienced with him. I participate in a meditation group, I am becoming more responsive to people and have worked very hard on me. Just a point that they can conjure a situation that even though you left them, rejected the relationship with them, it can feel like they have discarded you. My x is free to do as he pleases but to move on without any hesitation into a new relationship whilst still trying to get me back into the relationship is mind boggling! I just keep reminding myself that I was the one that rejected HIM, not the other way around. OMG they are masters of twisting things! Thanks for the post, always look forward to receiving them. No contact and the commitment to never going back is so important as if they are all like my x they NEVER EVER GIVE UP!

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