Breaking up with a narcissist reminds me of my experience with childbirth. It’s scary. It hurts like hell. It’s not something you can ever really prepare for. You feel nervous, afraid and a little relieved. You have no idea what to expect. You’re thrust into unfamiliar terrain and filled with fear of the unknown.

When you’re faced with an overwhelming life challenge and feel completely ill-equipped and unprepared to deal with it, you just have to have a little thing called faith, or what I call finding your Bertha.
 TIP 1: Find your Bertha.
What is your Bertha?  It could be your higher power, a system of beliefs, the source, the universe, a therapist or someone who has been through the same experience and triumphed. Bertha is a set of beliefs or a force greater than yourself that you have absolute faith and trust in. It could be as simple as the belief that, “the universe has something better in store for me” or “everything happens for a reason”, or it could be your higher power, God, Buddha and the list goes on.
Years ago, I was a pregnant new mom to be, in labor long enough to see three shifts of obstetrics nurses come floating in and out of my room. I was in pain and terrified. I had no idea what to expect. 
The nurses all had different personalities, some were warm and fuzzy, some were quiet and aloof and then there was Bertha. Bertha marched in my room like a drill sergeant with the confidence of an Admiral. There was nothing warm and fuzzy about her, but she was not quiet or aloof either. She had a dry sense of humour and by the way, she carried herself, it was clear that this wasn’t her first rodeo. Her self-assurance and take charge presence instantly made me feel at ease. I knew everything would turn out just fine with Bertha at the helm. This gal knew exactly what she was doing, and I could trust putting myself and my unborn child in her care. My moans and groans of pain and agony didn’t unnerve her. She was like a tower of strength. She ordered me around like a recruit. Sit up. Take a deep breath. Eat these ice chips. Do this. Do that. Bertha was no-nonsense, but she was also very calming and extremely caring and knew how to use humour to distract me from my anxiety.
Finding your Bertha becomes your beacon, your symbol of hope, your North Star, your guiding light and your Rock of Gibraltar. It’s the voice of reason. Your Bertha is the General that confidently guides you through the battlefield when you feel lost. Your strength when you feel weak. Your hope when you feel hopeless. Bertha isn’t alarmed by your pain because Bertha knows that pain it is part of the process. There’s just no escaping it. Bertha will help ease your discomfort as much as possible, but the rest is up to you. Bertha knows that if you summon the strength to endure the pain of heartbreak and the fear of the unknown, you will be rewarded with the greatest gift. Just like the pains of childbirth result in the gift of a precious new life, the pains of heartbreak and the courage to face your greatest fear will result in a precious new life, too…YOURS! “Rock bottom is the solid foundation on which you can rebuild your life”. It is your opportunity to pick up the pieces and rebuild a better version of the old you.

THE USED-TO-BE’S DON’T COUNT ANYMORE
Divorces and break-ups are hard not only because of the loss of the relationship but also because of the loss of all our dreams and hopes we had for the future. Narcissistic relationships start off on such an exhilarating high. They are the fairy tale romance we’ve always imagined. The love we always dreamed of. Then, over time, our relationship ecstasy turns into a bad trip, where we are manipulated to feel like we always fall short, are completely inadequate, invalidated, used and unloved. In the process of trying to fill the gaping hole in our partner, we lose ourselves.
When these relationships end, we experience despair, confusion, disappointment, failure and grief. We’re shoved into uncharted territory. Our whole lives change in the blink of an eye. We are completely unprepared and have no idea what to expect. We are ambushed by vicious smear campaigns. Our daily routine abruptly changes. We lose relationships with mutual friends and our ex’s family members. We feel lost and nervous about the future. We wonder what life will be like? We worry if we will ever find love again or if we’re doomed to end up alone. All the uncertainty of the unknown can feel worse than staying in a toxic relationship that we know is not healthy for us. So we hesitate to move forward and get stuck ruminating about all the good memories of how our ex used to be.
TIP 2: Remember the used to be’s don’t count anymore!

THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE
When we are sad and lonely, we often mistake these feelings for love for our ex. This isn’t real love! It is sadness and loneliness driving us to romanticize the good memories and reach into our past for a solution to end our pain. We turn our focus back in time to when we felt happy rather than concentrate on the reality of how the narcissist acted and treated us. We allow the emotions of the pleasurable memories to overrule the overall view we have of our ex-narcissist.
It’s normal to want to have someone in your life, and it is nothing to feel ashamed about. But if you are missing someone who was cruel and hurtful toward you, then it’s time to pause and ask yourself if you miss the idea of being with a person more than the person? Honestly, ask yourself if you are you confusing your sadness and loneliness for love? “Are you looking for happiness in the place that you lost it?”
It’s human nature to want to take the path of least resistance to relieve our pain. Unfortunately, this path is only a Band-aid. A temporary solution to dealing with a problem that will only prolong the pain, not solve it. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying by Albert Einstein, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. That’s where the path of least resistance leads to, the same result- more pain.
TIP 3: If you want to change your situation and see an end to your pain. It’s time to take a new path, one that is not easy. Stepping outside your comfort zone is essential to healing and recovery. “New opportunities reward people who step outside of their comfort zone”.

REPLACING THE “G” IN CHANGE WITH A “C” TURNS CHANGE INTO CHANCE
“Who Moved My Cheese” is a 96-page parable written by, Spencer Johnson, about how different people deal with major change. If you have read this cute parable, read it again. If you haven’t read it, there are many morsels of wisdom in this clever little story. A few of them are:
“Being in an uncomfortable zone is better than being in a cheeseless situation”.
“The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese”.
 “The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that exists”.
“What you are afraid of is never as bad as you imagine”.
“When you change what you believe, you change what you do”.
  “The more we stay stuck and prolong our pain and suffering”.
TIP 4: Learn to accept change. Go with the flow. Adapting to change is crucial to healing and recovery. It’s also a prerequisite to building resilience and coping with the life’s inevitable uncertainties.

THOUGHT BLOCKING & SWITCHING
Education is key to setting yourself free. Continue researching Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Devour all the information you can. Read articles, watch YouTube videos, follow blogs about narcissism and join an online support group or two. Arming yourself with education and knowledge of NPD will empower you to keep moving forward. 
Every time your thoughts turn to your ex, instantly block and switch them to educating yourself about narcissism. For instance: If you think to yourself, “I wonder what my ex is doing right now?”, Then read an article about narcissistic personality disorder. If you think to yourself, “I wonder if my ex-misses me?” Read an article about narcissistic tactics of manipulation. Or, if you if think to yourself, “I miss my ex”, then search for a YouTube video about malignant narcissism. Use this thought blocking and switching technique to reduce the amount of time you spend focusing your energy on your ex and substitute your thoughts with educational information about NPD.
TIP 5: Use the method of Thought Blocking and Switching to decrease your focus, energy and attention on your ex. Instead, concentrate your energy on substituting thoughts of your ex with ones (info/data/articles) that dissolve the residual brainwash and accurately depict the realistic versus the romanticized version of your ex.

IT’S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY
Let them out. Feel your feelings. You will have good days and not so good days. You might feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster at times. You will feel a lot of conflicting emotions including; sadness, fear, RELIEF, confusion, ANGER, freedom and resentment. Don’t fight your feelings. If you try to ignore or suppress your feelings, you’re likely to prolong the grieving process and get totally stuck in it. Openly discuss your feelings. Join a support group. You will benefit from hearing similar stories from those who have been there, faced the pain, and as a result, are living happier lives. The support of people who understand exactly what you are experiencing is vital to healing and recovery.
Find a therapist who will help you identify your vulnerabilities that contributed to your susceptibility to the narcissist’s manipulation tactics. Take an honest self-inventory. Were you at a low point in your life when you met the narcissists? Was your self-esteem compromised? Were you lonely or did you just come out of a bad relationship? Do you lack good boundaries? Do you have childhood wounds, perhaps an unavailable or narcissistic parent?
Start keeping a journal. You no doubt will be triggered by memories of the narcissist’s cruelty and criticisms. These intrusive thoughts may cause a wide range of emotions and manifest themselves when you least expect them. 
Be prepared. The littlest things may set you off. For instance: You may be draining a pot of spaghetti and find yourself hearing your ex’s voice condescendingly correcting you about the “right” way to drain spaghetti. Writing these experiences down will release them and diminish their power and presence in your life. With time they will slowly begin to fade.
TIP 6: The more you identify your feelings and express them, receive validation and support from those who truly understand your experience, the more you will come to healthy realizations that will decrease some of your pain and self-doubts.

THE “IF ONLY’S.”
Breaking up with a narcissist is 1000 times harder than a normal break-up. One of the many reasons for this is first they pummel us with manipulation, assault our self-worth and stealthily erode our self-esteem. Then when the relationship is over, we beat ourselves up for the things we did or did not do and berate ourselves for staying longer than we should have and for the signs we failed to recognize.
Accept that the narcissist is what he/she is. They are totally incapable of love and deep connection. Nothing you did or didn’t do would have changed the outcome. You were not loved for YOU as a person. You were viewed as an object and loved for your utility, not for your individuality. You were used for the perks you were able to provide. You were their human helium tank that maintained their inflated view of themselves. I know it sounds harsh, and it’s a very painful realization to accept. But the acceptance of this fact is also the very thing that will accelerate your healing and set you free.
Narcissists are as capable of giving love like a rock. (And yet, you’ll get more love from a pet rock). This is why they can replace people as easily as replacing an empty toilet paper roll. The day will come when you view them in a similar way- just as useless and worthwhile as an empty roll of toilet paper. Have faith in your Bertha; the day WILL come.
TIP 7: Try not to personalize the break-up. Don’t dwell in the “if only’s”. “If only I tried harder”; “If only I didn’t disappoint him/her”; “If only I were a better wife/husband”; “If only I saw the signs”; “If only I listened to my instincts”; “If only (insert blank)”. The “if only” game doesn’t change anything. It just keeps us trapped. It makes our future, just like the past –a dry, barren, exhausting wasteland of blame, guilt and shame.

PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM!
Narcissistic relationships should be measured in dog years. If your relationship lasted 5 years, that’s equal to 35 years in Narcville. A relationship with a narcissist is nothing short of exhausting, depleting and emotionally draining. Having your self-worth and identity systematically and stealthily dismantled can leave you not knowing which way is up. It’s not surprising that so many survivors feel like empty shells of their former selves. The deliberate erosion of their identities and self-perceptions through the constant daily drip of projections, distortions and ambient abuse leaves them wondering how to put the pieces of their lives back together, especially when they don’t even know who they are anymore.
Before you can rebuild yourself and your life, you have to undue the brainwash and the negative feedback loop that was installed in your mind. For instance: If you were accused of being selfish, unfaithful, uncaring, lazy, needy, controlling and so on, then you have to challenge the narcissist’s projections and distortions. Were you accused of acting needy or controlling because he/she stayed out all night and didn’t call you? Then ask yourself, “Is it reasonable to expect your partner to call you, especially if they are going to be out all night?” Heck yeah, it is! Or, were you accused of not being able to take advice because you didn’t do everything the narcissist’s way? Ask yourself, “Is it reasonable that I should be expected to do everything someone else’s way?” Heck no it isn’t! If you are uncertain about the answers when challenging the negative feedback loops playing in your head, ask your therapist, ask your support group or a trusted friend.
TIP 8: Challenge and disown all the narcissist’s distortions, projections and brainwash you internalized. These qualities are not yours to keep. Give them back to their rightful owner. For every negative feedback loop, you erase from your psyche, install an accurate new interpretation or message in your mind and play it over and over again, Sam!

THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTIONS
I know when you were in the relationship with your ex-narcissist you asked yourself at least a thousand times “why am I putting up with this crap?” Or, “why am I staying in this relationship when all I ever feel is miserable and unloved?” 
Now, is the time to search high and low for the answers to those million dollar questions. They are questions only you can answer. Hint: A good place to start looking for clues that will reveal the answers is to examine your fears, guilt, shame, insecurities and your past childhood wounds. The more brutally honest with yourself you are, the more you will uncover the mental traps that helped hold you hostage in a toxic relationship.
At the beginning of the relationship, during the idealization stage, the narcissist’s make-believe, fairytale love alleviated you from confronting your mental traps. The power of the idealization stage concealed the mental traps from your consciousness. The constant showers of love and adoration, in the beginning, acted as a band-aid that shielded the wounded parts of yourself. Since the source of the healing was external, the effects were only temporary and dependent upon the narcissist’s “love” and approval.
We tend to attract people at our common level of woundedness. Identifying and addressing our wounds is the most powerful form of narc-repellent for future relationships. Healing our wounds from the inside out is the only cure for lasting recovery and a narc free life. Start by confronting your fears of abandonment, loneliness and unworthiness and facing your insecurities. 
Just as your ex’s “love” had the power to temporarily extinguish your mental traps and make you feel wonderful, your self-love has the power to PERMANENTLY extinguish your mental traps and make you feel fabulous.
The journey to self-love and acceptance is a daily habitual process formed through small and consistent actions. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s taking care of your mind, body and soul. It’s making your physical and mental health a priority. It’s embracing who you are, flaws and all. It’s replacing automatic negative thoughts with positive ones. It’s turning the thought, “I don’t think I can make it” into “I can do anything I set my mind to”. It’s surrounding yourself with only those who are 100% team YOU. It’s not settling for less than you want and deserve. It’s finding your passion and purpose. It’s learning how to fill up your cup. It means not needing a relationship to feel worthy or whole. It’s ridding your life of any unhealthy habits and addictions. It’s daily gratitude for the good things in your life, however small. It’s staying in the present moment, the magnificent present, where there is no worry about the future or sadness about the past.
TIP 9: Practice the steps of self-love daily. Heal yourself from the inside out. Make your physical and mental health a priority. Replace automatic negative thoughts with positive ones, even if you don’t believe them entirely at first. Your thoughts directly influence your feelings. The more positive thoughts you have, the better you will eventually feel. Practice an attitude of gratitude –it will add more positive thoughts to your emotional bank account. The more you repeat the steps of self-love and incorporate them into your daily routine, the quicker your mental traps will disappear, your self- esteem will improve and your boundaries will automatically strengthen by default.

STINKING THINKING
While journeying on your path toward self-love and putting the pieces of your life back together, there will be times when you will need to use Reality Testing to bypass the hurdles and stumbling blocks created by all that stinking thinking. 
Reality Testing is a therapeutic technique used to assess and adjust our perception of a situation for what it is rather than the way we fear it to be. For instance: You may fear you will never find anyone else and may even convince yourself of this. You might say something to yourself or others like, “I will NEVER find love again”. The thought that you will NEVER find love again is a cognitive distortion. A cognitive distortion is simply a way that our minds convince us of something that isn’t true. Usually, these types of cognitive distortions include the words “always” or “never”. It’s important to apply the technique of Reality Testing to contest these damaging cognitive distortions. They are as destructive to your psyche as a narcissist’s constant battery of projections and gaslighting.
The population of the world is estimated at 7.13 billion. So now tell me how it is possible that you will never find love again? The only thing coming between you and finding love again is the cognitive distortion in your mind. Give it the ole’ narcissistic discard! This is your movie, rewrite the scripts!
TIP 10: When you hear yourself making negative, self-defeating statements that include “always” and “never”, challenge them and play the devil’s advocate. Use Reality Testing to disprove their authority and power in your life. Thoughts = Feelings = Actions. If you change your thoughts and beliefs about your situation, your emotions and feelings change as a result. Your feelings directly influence your actions. When you act differently, you create a different outcome.

DETOXING FROM LOVE
The impact of the “love bombing” stage is intoxicating and incredibly addictive. Understanding the chemistry of the chemical bonds of love will help you stop obsessing about your ex and speed up the healing and recovery process.
During the idealization stage, our brains became drenched in a potent cocktail of love bombing and pleasure-inducing chemicals. Adrenaline provided that surge of energy and excitement during the initial attraction stage, and also is the cause of why many lovers require less sleep and lose their appetites. Then add in the drop of serotonin levels associated with falling in love, which diverts your mind and drives you to obsess in an OCD like fashion about your lover and nothing else. Lower serotonin levels are found in people who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder- go figure! Pour in a little oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “bonding hormone”, which forges the attachment between partners. And top it off with the ever-present chemical, dopamine, which stimulates feelings of pleasure within the body and just happens to be the same addictive chemical that’s released when you eat chocolate or take a hit of cocaine. So, it’s not all that surprising that a break-up is much like trying to kick a bad drug or alcohol habit.
Since your brain has associated your ex-lover with these pleasure-inducing chemicals, just the thought of him or her triggers this dopamine response and the motivation to contact your ex, much like a drug addict obsesses about obtaining that big high. This explains one of the reasons why so many people tend to obsess over their exes after a break-up in a very similar way a drug addict obsesses about getting their next fix.
TIP 11: Going cold turkey is the quickest way to detox from your ex. You can’t have a little fix now and then. It doesn’t work like that. It only prolongs the withdrawal symptoms (pain). Implementing the No Contact method (or minimal contact in co-parenting situations) and Going Stover* is the only way to speed up the process of healing and recovery.

BLESSINGS OFTEN COME IN DISGUISE
Your membership to the club no one wants to be in will eventually expire. Be patient. It takes time. Narcissistic abuse is a betrayal of the heart, soul, mind, and spirit, and often the wallet too. It corrupts and completely shatters what we thought was reality and tarnishes our faith in humanity. For this reason, it takes a while to restore our equilibrium and process the trauma of our experience. Putting the pieces of your life back together and rebuilding yourself is not an easy, pain-free process, but it is a worthwhile one.
Have faith in your Bertha. The day will come where you will hardly recall the narcissist. Your ex will become nothing to you. Just someone you used to know. You will look back on the relationship as a painfully learned lesson. You will eventually learn to trust again, especially yourself and your instincts. The experience may forever leave a scar, but scar tissue is stronger than regular skin. 
You will be strengthened and move on. You will come to view the break-up as a blessing. Blessings often come in disguise. You will realize that through your relationship with the narcissist, you were given the gift of self-discovery, transformation and renewal. You will never be the same again– but you will be a better, stronger, wiser and an infinitely happier version of your old self.
Copyright © 2015 Bree Bonchay. All Rights Reserved.

breeheadshot1Bree Bonchay is a Los Angeles based Licensed psychotherapist (LCSW) who believes “relationships are the currency of life”. She’s dedicated to helping people to heal from break-ups, recover from toxic relationships with narcissists and sociopaths and to never settle for a life less than the one they dreamed of. She is a Blogger, Advocate, Facebook Toxic Relationship Recovery Forum Administrator, Radio Guest Expert, and is the Author of the book, I Am Free.

Front cover graphicClick Here To Order

*For the definition and process of Going “Stover“, click on the link and it will take you to the article titled, “How To Permanently Detach From A Narcissist”

 

Suffering from narcissistic abuse? Join Narcissistic Abuse & Toxic Relationship Recovery & Support Forum on Facebook by clicking the link.

Similar articles that may interest you are:

The 8 Most Common Narc-Sadistic Conversation Control Tactics

How To Permanently Detach From A Narcissist

The 4 Most Common Narc-Sadistic Triangulation Tactics

 

 

84 thoughts on “Tips & Tricks To Move On After Narcissistic Abuse

  1. Nicely written. I really like the concept of finding my Bertha. It is just a nice way to think of something outside ourselves that is stronger without it having to be associated with organized religion.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I love this. We are junkies, they are our drug. I believe it is the shame that is the worst part. When we are younger, we have no idea… Once we know, we think our knowledge will protect us. It fails, you cannot take a hit. I wrote a poem on this, I just thought of it.

    A Relapse Redefines

    To seek the drug that’s suicide

    A pattern the past always preformed
    Damaged people are actors
    As their label’s inform

    Twas for mine enemy
    I chose to be burned
    I skipped as I dropped
    Lost 4 “steps”
    Then returned

    Sought love from a rock
    Hence, love was denied

    Perhaps I thought knowledge
    Would shield me from my lie

    “I’m an addict”
    “Outrageous!”

    Shameful thoughts entertained

    The taste I know well
    Is what I’m starved for
    Flies me over the top
    Flings me then through the floor

    Still consumed by a passion
    A bomb ticking inside
    To its juice I surrendered

    It is my sickness, my high

    I read all the breadcrumbs
    I dropped long the way
    I truly acknowledged
    That I was living on highs

    The path grew to be broken
    So i chose to rewind

    The roads are embedded
    My path is aligned
    Vultures with black smiles
    Aim arrows at my head

    Cupid is abusive
    I now understand

    I will avoid every rock
    Since relapse was realized
    I may bounce
    I may wander

    But I will always survive

    — Audrey Michelle

    I love change – chance.
    I didn’t seek anything when I left my ex 10 years ago. Something bigger than me did take over. I know this because I accomplished it and survived the 5 or so years that followed. That time was awful. Your vulnerability must pour from you as everyone around you just uses, abuses and tortures you. I also know that something else took over because I don’t remember that time period. I didn’t really live it.
    Today I believe my higher being is destiny and my path is my instinct. I follow it and I keep being shocked by things I’ve accomplished, become.

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Audrichellepoet, thank you for sharing your poetry. It really brings to life the torment of addiction. Substance abuse, toxicity or whatever the vice may be…. One hit and your sucked right back in! Glad you conquered your demons and are staying on the path🙂 ~Bree

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    2. That is beautiful and it can still apply to me having not a partner but my sister as my Narc or a partner. Thanks for sharing….

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  3. Fabulous post having experienced this myself now. It has been over 3 years since I finally broke free and I am so much better off in every way now. It was so hard and painful to do but so worth it

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Amazing article. Very well written and touches on several key areas of the healing journey. I must admit I laughed out loud about finding your Bertha. I am a Bertha and I loved your analogy. To everyone who’s on their healing journey, stay strong, you’ve got this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am sorry, I am new at this site. What is the difference between a narcissist and a psychopath ? I am not sure in what category my ex-husband is, I would really like to know what the difference is. Thanks

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    1. Thank you very much for responding. I have searched and read a lot in so many sites and forums to try to find out exactly what is wrong with him… At the beginning I had the feeling that there was something “off”, something “odd”, but as years passed I started to notice his weird behavior and verbal abuse, screams, insults, bullying escalated and escalated so badly that there was a point where I realized it was beyond normal. At the beginning I mistook it and I thought he was immature, bad tempered, insecure, moody, even a spoiled little brat due to lack of a good upbringing, but then all those weird, inexplicable behavior, his provocations, attacks to me FOR NO REASON, out of the blue and without having a previous argument or fight… well, I started searching FOR YEARS, I swear to God, I typed BIPOLAR, BORDERLINE PERSONALITY, and nothing would fit. I spent years and years searching desperately without finding any help, any light to my confusion and fog.
      It was after my Gynecologist told me the “MAGIC WORD” after I burst in tears and sobs desperately because I told her that I could not keep her as my Doctor because very soon I would be left without medical insurance because my husband wanted to divorce me and I was in his medical plan, and that he had left the divorce papers already signed by him and notarized on our bed with a cover letter and a sticky note with instructions for me to sign them and notarize them, still being living under the same roof and sharing the same bed, ONE WEEK BEFORE THANKSGIVING of 2014, and that he did not have the decency to talk to me face to face, and that when I talked to him in person and confronted him, he did not want to talk to me, or talk about it, and that he was angry, screaming at me, and rejecting any kind of conversation or discussion, and that after more that one week, after begging him and begging him, when he finally accepted to talk to me (all that still living together), and I asked him why he did not have the courtesy, the decency to sit down and talk to me in person, and why he had done it in such a callous way, he responded: “Oh, no, because the scene would have been horrible and I did not want to go through that”.
      So, it was there when my Gynecologist told me: “FOR GOD SAKE, WHO DOES THAT !! HE IS A SOCIOPATH!!!!! “. After that, I rushed home after work and finally I could type that word she had told me, just to find to my HORROR, that there was a world filled with information, and every site I visited had tons of descriptions TONS OF THE MOST HORRIFYING THINGS I HAD EVER READ AND THAT UNFORTUNATELLY TO MY DEVASTATION EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM SEEMED TO BE WRITTEN THINKING OF ME, LIKE IF THEY KNEW ME AND WERE WRITTING ABOUT MY PERSONAL LIFE WITH HIM.
      As I read them, I was shaking my head and in my desperation and said: “OH MY GOD, NO, PLEASE, NO. THIS CANNOT BE, IT CANNOT BE, PLEASE, HE CANNOT BE THAT !!!”
      Ever since December 2014 I have been literally DEVOURING all the information I can find on the internet, visiting and scouring all the sites in Google, forums, support groups, videos, buying books, etc.etc., trying desperately to educate myself, to FIND THE ANSWERS THAT HE WILL NEVER GIVE ME.
      I found the terms: Narcissist, Sociopath, Psychopath are used and frankly, after studying all the information I have read, I still cannot place him in only one category, the more I read, the more I think he falls in two of them NOT ONLY ONE, and I don’t know if that is possible. I think he is a Psychopath and a Narcissist, both.
      Is that possible ? Could a person suffer from both, are they “compatible” ? I knew him for 11 years, I was married for 8, we got divorced on June 2 of 2015 (He is a Lawyer).
      I apologize for my long post.

      Thanks

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Millie, thanks for sharing your story. I myself relate to much of it. Yes…who ends a relationship in that way….. only a psychopath, that’s who! So typical, always right before a holiday…Adds to the devastation.
        All your research is serving you well. You are right on the money. Not all narcissists are psychopaths but ALL psychopaths are narcissists! So that answers your question about why your ex seems to fit so well into both categories. I wish you much peace, strength and happiness!!!!~ Bred

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      1. Hi Bree!

        I have a 2 questions that maybe you can give me advice on?

        Question/Problem #1. How do you get rid of jealousy FOREVER? The narcissist I’m dealing with I once loved, (am trying to get over)- He has social media accounts like Instagram where he constantly posts pics of his supermodel girlfriend. So I guess it makes me jealous, I don’t want to call it jealousy but whenever I see it I get hurt. I can’t look away because I’ve actually programmed myself to look at his instagram and other accounts. And now I can’t stop. And he doesn’t stop with posting pics of her. I know he’s cheating on her, but I still get hurt looking at these pictures. It’s been going on for a little more than a year now. How do I stop caring?? How does anyone get rid of jealousy/envy when you felt the dude was your soulmate? Easier said then done.

        And problem #2 Is a big one. He stalks me. He has built around 40-50+ twitter accounts that he uses at different points of the day to: 1). Annoy me to death 2). to verbally attack, makes up riddles and lyrics to also vaguely attack.

        Here’s the shocker! Using those 40-50 twitter accounts, he’ll PRETEND to be a woman, or man! They’re called role playing accounts. In case you may not know what role playing accounts are it’s when normal people from real life pretend to be other people using social media. You can pretend to be a man, woman, celebrity, model, you can be anybody you want etc. I now realize that somehow during that past 2 years he’s found out that by using these role playing accounts he’s able to get “supply”= attention from other role players. It’s the absolute perfect place to get attention 24/7 because the role players rarely sleep, are extremely chatty, and tweet practically all day. They are supportive of each others fake lives that they’ve created etc. Not only that he has created numerous Facebook accounts and somewhat does the same on there, & another spy tool. He’ll create an account where you can’t tell it’s him (except me, I know).

        One of things that hurts me the most is that on a lot of his role-playing accounts where he’s chosen to be a woman. He objectifies that particular woman. They’re usually slutty looking or pretty and he’ll post pictures pretending to be them (strange). It’s literally been 1000’s of females he’s taken the identity of. It’s scary because not only is he a narcissist but he’s a narcissist that’s LOST his own identity, he has LOST IT mentally. It’s so ingrained and he’s so knee deep in becoming other people but himself that he’s begun to believe he is one of these accounts. All the while he has a real life girlfriend that doesn’t know, bemusing! I hear narcissist love doing things they can get away with behind the scenes, when their “loved ones” don’t have a clue.

        I know he’s a narcissist. He has every symptom. There’s just constant need of outside stimulation, in the form of PEOPLE, and the fact that he’s unable to be alone, in real life or the imaginary accounts he’s been creating. This is why it’s so hard in my case to get away from someone as ruthless and mentally ill as he is. Am I just supposed to never look at the 40-50 accounts he uses on Twitter/Facebook. I know him, so it’s easy for me spot his trail of trash all over the internet. I think I’m good detective but it has a cost, and the cost for me is that I’m bonded to the guy, and hard to get out. I just don’t know how to stop this madness? How I can come to peace with myself and be okay with it. I always want to go back to him but he’ll treat worse but who would want someone who is that reckless. I do for some reason, there’s something I can’t let go of. Advice? I guess what I really want to know is what is wrong with him? Why would someone do this.

        Great blog by the way. I read it all the time for my sanity,

        Daisy x

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        1. Daisy, you can’t let go because A) he is all over the net and B) you keep looking. Since you can only control you, you have to block, delete and not Instagram or tweet until you are in a stronger place. If I were in your shoes, I would 1) Create a new FB profile with an alias (so he can’t find you) that you use to keep in contact with your REAL friends. 2) Deactivate your old FB profile. 3) Don’t accept any friend requests from people you don’t know. 4) Block all the suspected fake profiles, his profile, the girlfriend’s profile, just going on a blocking spree! so you are not tempted to cyber peak or have any reminders.
          As far as Instagram and Twitter are concerned. Stay away…at least for now. Delete the apps from your phone, computer, tablet etc..
          You don’t want this guy who you know is cheating on his girlfriend and has so many identities he probably has lost track of who he really is. You are right, that is mentally ill!
          Let him post pictures of his girlfriend, you aren’t obligated to have to look at them. Of course you are going to feel hurt if you see them. Even if she looked like a troll, believe me, you would still be hurt. Not because it’s love, it’s not even jealousy, it’s just human nature. You haven’t been able to move on because you haven’t completely let go. If letting go means that you take an Instagram and Twitter break because you can’t resist the urge to look, then that’s what you have to do. I promise you, you will thank yourself later when you hardly ever think of him because you are in a healthy relationship with someone who knows who they are and better yet, knows how to treat you right. Social media is keeping you stuck and trapped and preventing the wound from healing. I know you already know narcissists are notorious for keeping tabs on their exes, it’s not because they have feelings for or still “love” their exes (or anyone else for that matter) it’s about control, control, control, and wanting to know if you are still under their control.
          Stay strong and Go STOVER my friend! You deserve better! ~ Bree

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  6. Dear Bree, Thank you for being a “Bertha” for many of us! I need to print this and have these steps in front of me. They are brilliant advices! I totally forgot about what’s-the-face, but I realize that I continue to abuse myself all by myself. Is this residual brainwash or a bad habit? I don’t even think of the narc anymore, but I grew up with little support or understanding from my own family. So naturally I clung to the narc relationship rather than turn to them for help, as it was met with insults of how stupid I was. It just made the narc look somewhat normal since I got put down and constant disapproval from my family. The narc seemed to be the only thing right, even though I found out he was a hardcore drug-addict, and I was scared to let go until I just could no longer take the degradation that comes with being attached to such outrageous drama. Does the drama have to be greater than our childhood drama to let it go? Not sure, but I know I willingly put up with a lot of it even though I detested it! So, I find myself, on a daily basis, mentally having super negative thoughts about many people or things, which basically indicates I have trust issues and low self-esteem. I think your exercises will help dig me out of this hole. I want to be nice with people and I find myself a bit icy or easily unnerved. Some FB posts of these pretty, seemingly free-spirited females make me so uncomfortable at times. I cringe and don’t want to draw attention to their posts, especially when they are gorgeous and take constant selfies. Inside I’m like “Fuck off!”, and wonder if this is residual brainwash? Jealous they look so happy and perfect and free, while I wear a cage around my head, and cannot see my own self-worth. Why does it burn me up when technically they are not actually doing something to me? Why do I take it as a direct nauseating assault? Well, I am lucky to no longer think about the narc anymore, but could these ugly feelings stem from that or my childhood, and how can I see me as I really am without getting thrown to the ground by a Facebook newsfeed?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is an amazing blog, thanks for sharing your insights. It helps to identify with others on their experience as it relates to all the confussion going on in my head and in my life. To know all the games and cruel tricks he played was actually that and I was not crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you so much for this blog…it has taken me years to comprehend the systematic way this personality disorder targeted me and how I fought at first, only to be met with a rage that was unexplainable. Common sense suggestions or pleas are only fodder for more insults, and a new way to approach me to “shock” me again with what he says or does…..I have gradually unfolded this (in disbelief that someone could be so cruel) and when I read your blog, I realized and accepted that this is true. I was in church and asked to forgive this person and it made me sick to my stomach to even think of it. I didn’t know how angry I was until this. Forgive him? He knew what he was doing and in the Bible, Christ says, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” He did it with intent and malice and was very satisfied (pleased) when I would cry. With your blog, I can finally accept and understand that this is real and this is what he does and will do to destroy you…I have searched my soul to ask why he got to me and it was because I had an unavailable parent (dad) and I was lonely. I am also a caring and empathetic person and have now guarded my mind, heart and soul. I cannot thank you enough as I now move forward in my journey to heal. God Bless You!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Unfortunately my mother was my Narcisst,….and it took me 40 years to escape – although I started running away with 14 – and asking for help some hundred times since then…
    The last 16 years I had been tortured physically that much,that I had invented a Bertha myself….to survive !
    I called him David Carradine – just becuase I loved him watching on tv when being a small child.
    In the worst situations I turned to him – imaginating he was kind of a good father to me. very dear – but very strong – what the situation needed.
    I learned not to be a baby anymore – not to cry like a crybaby – even when torture was lifethreating – and when it wasn´t sure I came out alive another time.
    I grow up with my imaginanationed David Carradine – and lost shyness.And not to faint and go crazy when someone I loved was killed.
    I wouldn´t be here with my beloved Western Guitar and my brave heart – if I hadn´t have my David Carradine.

    When doctors said it would be best to change my name – of course I decided to take the name Carradine…and they were impressed by the story behind !

    Christiane Carradine

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  10. Fantastic! Epiphanies through out this wonderfully written article! Thank you so much! I will read this over and over again to keep me on track while trying to get through a horrible divorce.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Bree, as I prepared myself for the Hoovering stage he would decend on today marking 37 days of No Contact. he pulled a new one! He had work associates show up at my job. And they spend the entire time saying how wonderful he was. Imagine my shock and I smiled and listened and thank them for stopping by. I felt sick to my stomach but realized in about 2 minutes I survived this tactic! I know he is not done but I survived and continue reading your site for strength! I am determined after 28 years to be free of this man! Thank you again for this site as it gives me faith I can continue on with No Contact!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Danielle, so proud of you! I know that sickening feeling to hear other people say such misguided comments about the narcopath, especially ones that were planted by the narcopath, but you handled it in the best way possible. I’m so glad my site has been a source strength for you. You are not alone. Peace and Happiness my friend!

      Like

  12. Dear Bree, It’s now been 16 months since the day I finally had enough and had the courage on the 2nd time to finally follow through the divorce. I moved to another city, with my daughter who I have full custody and started a new Job. It’s been hell, especially knowing that she quickly before the divorce was over with found a much older man who is an eye doctor travelling the world, once I stopped looking on face book at all her wonderful photo shoots looking soo happy I started to feel a bit better, and also learning more about Narcissism helps me. she was my first she was my high school sweetheart with her for 30 years married 25, as I learn more about Narcissism I look back and say how could I have been so blind / stupid. All my friends and family, children and even her family tell me I’m so deserve better, I’m a good man, she broke my heart and it doesn’t make any sense.

    2016- I’m working on transforming my mind with different thoughts, different goals and hobbies meeting people but this time my eyes are open more, I want to just enjoy my life in peace, I pray I find that special person someday, if not I want to be ok with that. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am in need of help for my situation…or more like advice. It’s be three years since I’ve dealt with an ex narcissistic boss who tried to wreck my life, dreams, marriage, self-esteem. I’ve suffer from PSTD, eating disorder, anemia, lack of confidence now. I thought I was being hired to do administrative/accounting work and was super excited since the economy is not the greatest to finally found a so-called half decent company to work for. Most of the people “seemed” nice. One of the big wigs in charge and owners started the BS flirting and carrying on with one week of me being hired. Touching my shoulders, asking questions about my sexual relationship with my own husband, calling my husband an old man, calling his wife an old boring hag that was only good for raising kids and cleaning. Then he kept on and on doing more and more. He would call clients stupid, worthless, dumb, naïve, useless. Make fun of how people dress, look, talk, act, their weight, hair, what they drive, where they live. Basically would call anyone with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree useless that most educated people could be conned in a hot minute, so all that education was useless to him. He had been in trouble in the past with ex business partners for lying, cheating, stealing. Manipulating the system, abusing his own wife’s money, cheating on her, exploiting, and coercing multiple clients. Come to find out all the previous secretaries and admins had been aggravated by him and quit or got fired. He ended up starting a couple more companies and parades around town like he’s King of the Universe. He told me I would have been his greatest lover and one hell of catch of a man, ya right more like what can you catch from him. All of it weighed a lot on my mind because from the get go I’m more of the humble type, sometimes issues with self-confidence, and all he did was take more advantage of that and screw up my life even more. Heard through the grapevine he is having major issues with money and clients now. Why can’t I seem to get this garbage off my mind and move forward with life? Why do people do this must damage to others? What do they get out of it? Does destroying lives and playing God make them feel better about their sh*tty selves from the get go? Thanks! Sorry for harping on it so much, but it’s extremely difficult to get over. Why do people like this think it’s ok to hurt others so much? Thank you!

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  14. I totally relate to this. Just separate a month ago. We have 2,grown up daughter’s and a 9 year old son to share. Everytime. We have to talk about our son or home that I have left, he uses it as a manipulation exercise. So exhausting.
    Ivwillvkeep reading. Thanx

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  15. I wish I had read this 20 years ago! When an intervention was done to get me out of a relationship with a psychopath the therapists I saw didn’t know how to deal with it. A lot of them didn’t even believe me. I was dosed on Ativan, Xanax, Prozac, Haldol-you get the picture; It was pretty bad. I had panic attacks on a regular basis because he made horrible threats for the 13 years that I was in the relationship. He killed the family dog when I tried to break off the relationship when we were teenagers. Only a few people were picking up on the fact that he had a problem, and that’s because he, the psychopath, would track me down at parties when I was in college. Some of my guy friends were getting really concerned. The psycho actually threatened to kill my friends if I ever left him. This was a huge reason for the panic attacks that I had. One of those guys that called him out as being a psychopath od’d not long ago so I’m seriously distraught. Several of my friends have now od’d after I got out of that relationship. So, now grief is mixed in with feelings of guilt, shame, & a myriad of other negative feelings. I started to turn towards Buddhism in order to stay in the moment, I meditated, & managed to keep my head in a better place when I got off all of the meds. The Irony is that I then found myself in another bad relationship, this time with a narcissist. What a head game that was. He was cheating on me, asked me to leave- so I left. Then he told everyone that I cheated on him in order to get sympathy from people. I had several miscarriages during our marriage & he had the nerve to lie & tell people that I had an abortion, so I had to deal with a lot of nasty comments. I stayed with him even though I knew he was cheating on me. He made me feel the same way the psychopath did, that no one else would want me. When we were trying to be friends he took me to a gun range to teach me how to shoot. He really scared me because he has some serious gear & said “I’m not going to handle it well when you start seeing other people.” It’s been years that we’ve been divorced. He has gotten remarried, but I’m nervous and want nothing more than to be in a healthy relationship. I’m honestly still scared the psychopath is going to follow through on his threats & now I have the narcissist’s comment still ringing in my ears. I wanted a career & have held back on what I wanted to do because the psychopath threatened to hurt my friends, family, & pets. His smear campaign has made my old friends think I’m a horrible person so they want nothing to do with me. The narcissist sent a message on one of my friend’s websites as me, because I left the page open on my computer-this was quite a while ago, so it pissed that friend off so much, it’s ridiculous! So the depression I have can’t be helped with meds because it’s all due to situations & not a chemical imbalance. In fact, the meds made me suicidal. It’s a miracle I’m even alive. I’m doing my best to stay moment to moment, but I still have a hard time. It’s hard to start friendships & relationships when you’re in your mid 40’s. I miss going to the movies & doing things with friends. I keep wishing they’d come around to my side & want to even hear me out on my side of the story, but they haven’t made very genuine efforts. My issues are now revolved around the nasty things being said about me. I already have low self-esteem so it hasn’t been easy to get myself to a healthy mindset. I’ve worked with essential oils, crystals, meditations, CBT therapy and a plethora of ways to use affirmations. It’s all truly exhausting! If you can think of any advice or tips to give me, I’d be truly appreciative & thankful!

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    1. Any prolonged state of stress or depression can change your brain chemistry. So although your depression may have started out situational, it could be possible that it is now physiological too. I don’t know what medications you’ve tried. Some can increase depression but sometimes it takes trying a few different medications before you find one that works with you. In addition to considering medication, you might want to look into EMDR therapy. It’s an effective technique to treat trauma. And it sounds like that is a major component for you. Also, neuro feedback is effective for a lot of people. It’s used for many disorders and helps with anxiety and depression and even ADHD and stress.
      I hope that gives you some possibilities to explore. Don’t give up. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much for your input. I truly appreciate it! A friend told me about EMDR.I wish I could find someone in my area that practices that!

        Like

  16. This is the best article I have found or read on overcoming a narcissist. It can be done I am realizing. And I love that you say think of the relationship in dog years! When I tell people about the N In my life for only 2 months, they don’t understand the intensity. It felt like 10 years of my life. But I will use your exercises to put muself back together. I need to look back and try to understand why I always fall for it!

    Thank you so much!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh finding this article was just so needed today ! It’s so exhausting getting through this nite are of betrayal and discard! I mean who the hell wants to be in pain like this! All I want are the “tools” to get safely to the other side intact and whole and. You really provided so many ! Thankyou

    Liked by 1 person

  18. God only knows how I found this website! BERTHA I quess! I have read this article of yours over and over again ! It is full of wisdom , heart and TOOLS to help us TRULY move forward! Believe me no one who has been used abused financially drained and on and on and on by these animals wants to be in a perpetual state of pain! I need to tell you my story but .not today . Today I just want to thank you.❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  19. What a great article. #11 explains clearly as to why it’s much harder to get over a relationship with a narc. I was involved for a little over 5 years, tired the “friends” relationship for about 6 months and then I went NC in January. I live day to day and look forward to when I won’t think of him as much.

    I’m going to check out your book too.

    Like

  20. Bree this is amazing. I literally had to stop and re read the sections over and over because they were so exact and true to my own experience and I couldn’t believe what I was reading actually described exactly how I feel. Anyone who has experienced a relationship with a narcisist is a survivor. It’s been almost 2 years for me and like you suggested, a way of self healing is to constantly educate and distract ourselves with knowledge about the narcissist disorder. This is how I found your blog! I wish I came across this earlier but better late then never!! The emotion was poring out in tears as I read this. I could write a book on the torture, pain and humiliation iv experienced and how I’m still in the process of healing.. First you have to detach yourself from him (the narcissist) wich iv done but the second part of the healing is picking up the broken pieces of yourself and dealing with being left so hurt that you cant even imagine being able to trust anyone or allow anyone to get close to you again.. This sort of break up leaves you feeling physically and mentally sick, your soul is broken.. You have to learn how to breathe again, somtimes even now 2 years on a trigger will remind me about the relationship and I will get a schock that runs through me were it jolts me and takes my breathe away for a few seconds. Like the feeling you get when you’ve been winded. That’s how deep the pain is. it has been 2 years and I’m very conscious of the fact that i realy want to keep moving foward so Im about to take the biggest step in my healing process and book myself into a womens only retreat in bali so I can learn to accept and move past what I went through, I want to take care of myself and learn to meditate and centre myself and trust that this is my journey and that I’m a stronger person because iv what iv been through
    I hope to read manny more of your words Bree, I can’t thank you enough for the feeling you have given me it’s not easy to talk about what I went through because unless you’ve experienced it yourself you will never understand. Thank you again. 🙌

    Liked by 1 person

  21. So, I never loved him?? It was all hormones? The heartache is not due to a loving broken heart? I’m confused on this one.

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  22. This has been extremely helpful. I stumbled across NPD this week and it was like opening a door to illumination. It’s been four months since my ex broke up with me and no one, myself included, could understand why exactly it was so difficult to move on from or pinpoint many of the things that are scarily commonplace with NPD. Some of the descriptions of behaviors from Bree bring tears to my eyes because I finally have some form of explanation of what I went through. I’m not crazy, it is really hard and different from any other relationship I’ve had to move on from. I guess I’m not alone. This and other resources I’ve found are one of the good things of the internet. How would I have known any of this 20 years ago? Thanks, Bree.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. i love your advice to “find your Bertha”. that’s the name of my hulahoop! she and i have been estranged for too long and i know some quality time together will do wonders for my healing heart.

    Like

  24. I have been the scapegoat in not one, but two family scenarios, im freaking amazed that im still alive! The first family was my aunt and uncle, though the disappointment was there, not much pain was inflicted. The second was my immediate family whereas the most pain was inflicted. I just cut ties with them yesterday, literally just yesterday, this feels like a very scary blessing, since i know that i have no family anymore. I really hope that i will be able to start my own soon.

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