Heal Emotional Trauma

12 Ways to Heal Emotional Trauma after Narcissistic Abuse

Every person who comes out of a relationship with a narcissist experiences the impact of emotional trauma. Although traumas inflicted by pathological people might involve physical injuries and damage, the emotional traumas are often the hardest to overcome. If unaddressed, the results of these emotional experiences can last for years.

This article focuses on the emotional aspects of trauma and what you can do to advance your recovery. Take some time to look back at your life and see if there are any old hurts that could use your attention or any self-sabotaging patterns that you can break. You can also use this as a guide the next time you experience an intense situation that leaves you emotionally smarting for a while.

These trauma-coping strategies will help you heal if you practice them regularly:

1 – Compliment yourself on making it through. You’re here and you’re alive. Whether your trauma involved only emotions or physical injury as well, the fact is that you’re strong enough to have survived. And now you have a future of possibilities ahead of you.

2 – Allow time to recuperate. You won’t be completely recovered by next week or even next month. Healing from emotional trauma takes time and rest. In the evenings after work, allow yourself some time to relax.

3 – Take it easy on yourself. You may still be going to work and carrying out your everyday life while you’re healing. Maybe you didn’t finish every task you wanted to complete while at work. Remind yourself that you’re doing what you can to get better and will soon be as efficient as ever.

4 – Think positive. Long known to conquer many afflictions, thinking positive thoughts will help you speed up your healing. When you’re thinking troubling thoughts like, “I feel so sad today,” remind yourself, “I’m taking important steps each day to feel better.”

5- Find moments in each day to do what you like to do. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day, sit outdoors and watch the birds, work on the bookshelf you’re building, or read a chapter in a book by your favorite author. Staying in touch with the things you love will help speed your healing.

6 – Let yourself cry. If you feel emotions building up inside you, it’s quite natural to want to release them by having a good cry. Crying will provide some relief and help you leave some of your pain behind you. Go ahead and cry.

7 – Listen to the music you love. Nothing brings joy to the soul in quite the same manner as music. Your prescription is: listen to music each day for at least 15 minutes. (Don’t listen to any music that makes you feel sad or reminds you of the narcissist!)  Some days you’ll find yourself extending that time a bit and maybe even singing along. Music can help you heal. 

8 – Pamper yourself. If ever there’s a time to indulge in the creature comforts you love, it’s when you’re healing from the emotional trauma of narcissistic abuse. On your day off, lie on the couch and read a book. Take a bubble bath.  Play games all day with your kids. Take a nice long walk with your best friend.

9 – Watch situation comedies on television. Laughing is good for your emotional healing process. You’ve probably seen a few comedies that you find humorous and entertaining. Now’s the time to ensure you watch a few every week. This is a bit of healthy escapism.

10 – Incorporate physical movement into your day.  Engage in some physical activity each day. Go for a swim. Lift weights, or get on the treadmill. Physical exercise releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormones.

11 – Surround yourself with the people you love. Play with your kids.  Call your best friend. Invite your brother or sister over for a visit. Remind yourself of all the positive people you have in your life and take advantage of their loving care and support.

12 – Recognize when you need help. Allowing your emotional injuries to prevent you from living a full life is unproductive, at least after the initial few weeks or months. Instead, call a mental health professional, energy healer, and/or a coach to help you sort through your challenging times.  You may need to experiment with a few different practitioners before you find one that resonates with you.

Healing emotionally after the trauma of narcissistic abuse takes time, patience, and effort. Don’t assume that the passage of time will magically heal you.  Time doesn’t heal, focused action does.  Many people assume that because they’re out, they can simply keep doing the same things and eventually heal, but that’s not true in the least.  Put the above strategies into action to speed your emotional recovery. Trust that you’ll get better and discover the rich, full life that’s waiting for you.

Supplement your healing efforts with The Beginner’s Healing Toolkit.  Grab your free download below!

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  1. Another excellent article with valuable information I need and some of them I have already done. I have plans of my own and look forward to reaching those goals. Thank you Kim for helping, sharing, caring for the survivors of this trauma and drama. Shalom always. May all your plans succeed.

  2. Karla Venegas

    I have always been healthy and sporty(yoga and running sometimes) and I also practice raha yoga (meditation). My narcissist used to love my “good vibe”. when he made the discard and i tried no contact several times, I was lost, i started drinking in an unhealthy way, partying, having sex with anyguy. But then, i wanted to recover, i became even more healthier, quit smoking, started training for real. It’s been a year and a half now since the discard. Next novemeber i will run my first half marathon and i I have never been this healthy and spiritual. After him i got in contact with God more than before. And after the crises i saw the light by taking care of my body thru healthy habits (food, excersices, no crazy party)

  3. You can heal once you let go of your ex and go no contact. You can’t still hold them in your heart and expect to move on with your life. It does take time and time does heal. I couldn’t sit around and moan about my ex, as much as I loved him, he was a problem and he had to go. I didn’t care what he did or with who after I let him go. He someone else problem now. Thank God.

  4. I also have epilepsy it limits what,I can do by myself I’m notrying allowed to drive no public transportation here and I have no income of my own this has been a big problem I have applied for disability but am still waiting

  5. Dear Kim,
    Thank you for these timely pointers to keep from going crazy after narc abuse and trauma.
    Some pointers I have done. Others I want to do like join fitness club and take painting and sewing classes. I talk to my bff and after 30 years we are still true friends. Thanks for caring.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Shirley,

      Good to see you here, as always 🙂 Those sound like fun activities. I’ve been thinking about taking up yoga and re-learning the French language. One day, I may even learn how to play the violin 🙂

      Big hugs,

      Kim XoXo

  6. Anonymous

    Great stuff.

    Until I got to surround yourself with people you love…

    My bff passed on 4 years ago. And my ex spread lies. After 10 years I have not one friend. Even my only bff left decided to side with him.

    It’s hard to stay positive when there is no one.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Anon,

      I know it feels lonely sometimes, but there are ways to get back out in the world and find your tribe, even if your idea of a tribe is one or two people.

      I would encourage you to find MeetUp groups in your area that are focused on things you enjoy doing. You could do Wine & Design (paint art while sipping on vino) – there are also ones where you can just paint if you’re not a drinker. Find out what activities your local library is offering and join a couple of them.

      Not only might you find a friend or two, you will reconnect with yourself in wonderful ways.

      Kim XoXo

  7. He sounds vile and has no pride or integrity. Just like my ex narc. They give themselves to anyone. Im proud now, I have self respect and integrity. Im better than him. You are better than your ex. You deserve a proper man x

  8. Anonymous

    My ex narc boyfriend lives in another town. His favorite place to be and party!
    I got the “leave me alone, we’re done” speech and I’m on week 2 of the silent treatment. Probably the 10th time in 2 years. But this is the longest he’s gone without a word.
    What stinks is that I’m sitting home alone in a family community with no single friends to do anything with. He is seeing someone, new found love and living it up in his adult largely single community home town.
    I really don’t think I will hear from him this time because I have called him out so many times. He has figured out that I know his game. Now I’m the bitch that causes all the problems and he dumped me for “someone that he can get along with that makes him happy”…..again! He is really tired of me accusing him (but I know what he does).He lies and hides phone details, computer screens and refuses to post pictures of us together on his social media. Sure is convincing this time that he is the one going no contact! I guess I am the crazy one! I know I need to go No Contact but I really do love him! It really bugs me that he can ignore me after all we have done together with our families. His seems clueless of his behavior. ..even his ex-wife was clueless ! Why is the victim the lonely one ? Wish I could go out and forget about him as easy as he parties and forgets me. Hurts to be so isolated from a fun life!

    1. A

      My story is exactly the same. They are masters at making us feel like we are losers. Be strong and no contact. Don’t let your mind imagine what he’s doing. Thats the effect of the abusive power.

  9. I loved this. I often wonder how I am supposed to heal from the trauma if I am still receiving the abuse by co-parenting with him? About once a month I get him lashing out on me telling me what a terrible mom I am and how bad he feels for my kids and just about everything he possibly can say to hurt me. Why does it still upset me when I know his tactics?? I don’t understand it… My heart still hurts. Watching him with his girlfriend STILL hurts.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Sloan…this is a common thing when co-parenting with a high-conflict individual such as a narcissist. This is why I recommend using only one avenue of communication, preferably email as you stated. I encourage my clients to use Our Family Wizard, which is a court-supervised email system. Cuts down on the verbal abuse from the toxic Ex big-time. Here’s a link if you’d like to check it out: http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=224406&U=1211641&M=25791&urllink=

      …and don’t forget to commit to healing yourself from this. Knowing his tactics won’t help you heal because it’s simply intellectual knowledge. I would suggest your first step being signing up for supervised email so he can’t continue to verbally abuse you.

      Wishing you all the best.


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