Dating a narcissist can be one of those realizations that suddenly creeps up on you. You can lose yourself and it’s easy to underestimate the detrimental effects the experience can have.
Signs of narcissism include making you believe you’re crazy or high maintenance, lying, emotional manipulation, making you think everything is your fault, someone who doesn’t recognize your needs but expects you to honor theirs and to admire everything about them. Then of course, there’s using people for their own gain. The list goes on. Being in a relationship with a narcissist can slowly but very surely shatter your self-worth, self-esteem and constantly lead you to question your own judgement.
Here are some tips on recovering from dating a narcissist. To be able to heal, come back to your true self and day by day, move forwards.
1) Know it isn’t your fault
Narcissists have a manipulative and clever way of drawing others in. Oftentimes, you can’t see it while it’s happening so don’t blame yourself. It isn’t your fault. Try and make peace with yourself on that because there isn’t anything you could have done. You’re out now and that’s all that matters.
2) Don’t contact your ex
Your ex might try to draw you back in by telling you what you want to hear or making you believe it was your fault. Don’t fall into this trap - go by what history has already taught you and cut off all contact.
3) Don’t feel bad about missing that person and relationship
Forgive yourself for feeling any guilt or shame around mourning the relationship and that person. It still meant something. It’s natural to need to grieve that. Allow yourself to. When you can release any feelings of guilt, you can begin to let go and move forward.
4) Give yourself everything you need
Channel self love and kindness to yourself. Create self love rituals. Now is the time to really amp up this practice. Take time out alone if you need to. Spend time with people who love and nurture you and always make nurturing yourself a priority.
5) Find something positive to channel your energy into
Start a new creative project, find a new hobby or go back to an old one. Part of recovering from this experience is re-discovering yourself. Immerse yourself in positive, fun things that make you feel good or like you’re learning or growing in some way. Find things to be passionate about. It will be an amazing release for you, therapeutic and a positive distraction.
6) Use this experience for good
Although you might not feel this was a good experience, it has allowed you to see that narcissism also commonly comes attractively wrapped with qualities such as charm and charisma. If you tend to fall for these qualities, you now know to look a bit deeper - what else does their personality show about them? Are there any red flags?
Remember, your experiences teach you valuable information about relationships, behaviors, yourself and what you want moving forwards. Take however much time you need to recover and know you’re not alone. Also know that you are still whole and enough. You are not broken and this was a stepping-stone to something and someone much better.