After a relationship with a Narcissist comes to a screeching halt either due to the Narcissist discarding the victim, or the victim leaving, the victim often has a hard time letting go. If a victim has been in a volatile relationship with a Narcissist for any length of time, then they’ve probably gone through many cycles of making up and breaking up, and are experiencing what is known as “trauma bonding”. Simply put, trauma bonding is when the victim wants to go back to the person that has caused the pain, with the irrational thinking that if they caused the pain, then they can take it away. (Trauma bonding is similar to Stockholm Syndrome, in that the victim’s sympathize with their abusers. )
Personally, I didn’t have any ups and downs, or obvious manipulation in either of my two main relationships with Narcissists. These relationships were wonderful up until I found out about all the deceit and lies with one, and the sudden discard with the other. I don’t think I had a trauma bond or Stockholm Syndrome, but I do think I was in shock, and my brain had trouble processing what had just happened. It was like there was this lag time between my heart catching up to my head. I really missed everything we had, and I really missed him, but I’d never experienced such a malicious level of deceit before. It took about two or three weeks for them to get in synch, and it wasn’t easy.
I felt like I was going through withdrawal, and in many ways I was. I often refer to the ending of my relationships, as a “detox period”, because really that’s what it was. I tried to prepare myself as best as possible for “withdrawals”, by setting myself up to succeed in as many ways as possible. I stayed busy with work and friends, I deleted his info out of my phone, I blocked him on social media, and set it up to where his emails went straight to the trash. I knew I had to really make an effort to focus on why I had left, and why I would never go back. Quite possibly, the biggest thing that helped me during this time was to make a list called, “For when you miss him”. In my list was every hurt he’d ever caused me, written in bullet point format, so I could just skim through it anytime I felt myself missing him and wanting to reopen contact. I’d get angry enough that I’d lose all desire to contact him. Doing so really helped to stave off the nostalgia of how great the illusion was, and instead helped me to focus on how bad the truth was now.
So, if you catch yourself missing him (or her) don’t feel about it. It’s normal, and it will pass. The relationship (illusion) that they created was a powerful one, and it’s hard to get past that, and see if for the manipulation it was. If you just broke up, or are thinking about breaking up, then try and plan for how you are going to handle the “withdrawals”, because they will be there. Support groups are great for this, as are staying busy, and reaching out to supportive friends and family. You just went through hell, and it will take some time to heal, so be extra good to yourself right now, and try to ride out the withdrawals as best as you can.
My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life.
Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics.
It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.
Latest posts by Dana (see all)
- Episode 30: Book Club Discussion on “Recovering from Narcissistic Abuse” by Joanna Moore - June 27, 2017
- Live Stream from June 21, 2017 - June 25, 2017
- Episode 28: Gratitude Can Help Keep You Grounded - March 21, 2017