Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Left narcissist. Struggling. Need advice pls.(26 Posts)
I left my ex a month ago, after being horrifically abused. I need advice from anyone that has left a narcissist.
At first I was in shock when I left him, in a refuge and not allowed back home. I walked around in a daze gathering evidence of all his harassment. I then changed all my details and live with family. over the past weeks I go through different emotions; shaking with stress, numb, non verbal, in physically pain where my muscles are jammed, ok, depressed, terrified, scared, crying... lots and lots of things. But my emotions seem to be getting worse not better over time.
Right now I am crying because I miss being loved I miss someone looking after me I miss the affection... I feel worthless all the time and I have no positive outlook on life as the one I love I will never be with, but I know how awful he was to me.
What stages have you been through and how do you cope?
Thanks to anyone that can reply x
First, well done for leaving.
You have done the right thing for yourself and your family.
The depression will be repressed anger. It's a sign that that inner voice that knew all along what he was doing was wrong and that eventually made you leave, is now coming to the fore. That anger and protective inner voice will soon come out big time I predict .
Because abuse is a codependent relationship I also think there's a sort of withdrawal period. You grieve that ideal mirage you had of the person you thought he was at the beginning of the relationship. The one who love bombed you. Then the one that reeled you back in, between the bouts of abuse. The one that charmed you into staying when you knew you should leave.
You have to remember that that person was not the real man. He was a mirage and only existed in your head. But you still have to grieve for that ideal that you lost.
Next, read up on abuse. Get to really understand what you've been through. It will help to come to terms with it all and realise that there's nothing wrong with you. It definitely was him and it was wrong.
Go to the support groups - even if they are on zoom at the mo - get all the help you can. You have been through real trauma and if you are to recover properly you will need help.
You can be happy again. But I think you do need to accept you will need a recovery period of a year or two.
I agree with everything that Madroid has said.
You have identified him as a narcissist, so you have figured him out, and you have done absolutely the right thing by leaving him. You are grieving for the person you fell in love with but he didn’t exist, it was just a mask. These people don’t change. They will only get worse. I have first hand experience. Have a look on You Tube just google ‘narcissist’ and watch and read the comments too. So many people affected through no fault of their own. It can happen to anyone so you must forgive yourself for not seeing the red flags.
You miss the good times but he abused you, possibly destroyed your self esteem over time. That isn’t love. You deserve much more than he is capable of giving.
Focus on yourself and surround yourself with positive friends and family that will uplift you. Even if it can only be by phone / text right now. It will help you to be yourself again. It will get better I promise. But it will take time.
You should never settle for anything like that as it so much less than you deserve. Current times are really hard and challenging, however there is someone out there who is waiting to love you and show you how you should have been treated all along
Thank you for your advice. It is helping.
I was alone for 9 years before I met him (came out of a loveless relationship). I don't want to be alone at all again. I can't do it.
Can't a narcissist love? And if not then it was all fake, which then confirms my worthlessness; I am not worthy of being loved and looked after. I never have in my life.
So then I question, what is the point of going through life of loneliness? I am not a sociable person, I like to stay at home. I don't have any close friends.
As lame as it sounds all I ever wanted was a home, a husband and lots of children and dedicate myself to this fully, to share our responsibilities together. And I can't have any of these now.
I am not after a sympathy vote lol I am pointing out facts and these facts hurt.
It most certainly is NOT a fact that because he is incapable of love, that somehow means you are not worthy of being loved. His failings and shortcomings are his alone.
Secondly, being alone should not be scary or lonely. You need to take some time to adjust to it, to learn to enjoy your own company again. The reason you are struggling with it, in part, is because you don't like you. You need to learn to like yourself again. And the way to do that is to start being kind to yourself.
Take a bubble bath, find a new hobby, go for a run. Enjoy your me-time and soon you will start to find that you enjoy your own company.
Thirdly, the anger is coming. And when it comes you may find it all consuming. Anger at him, anger at you, anger at the world. It will come and it will last. But when it comes it will also mean you are saved. It will be the beginning of you getting your strength back.
When it shows up and there are times you are feeling so angry you might burst,or you feel tempted to contact him, instead i totally recommend turning on some music and dance until you are exhausted, it really helps.
You will get through this.
I suggest also learning all you can about narcissists. To better help you understand...no,to better help you really feel, that none of this was your fault. Melanie tonia Evans does good YouTube videos.
You will feel better, have faith in yourself. And be kind to yourself.
Thank you for all your advice.
My head is in a blur like a trance sometimes and I cannot think straight.
I spoke with a counsellor yesterday they said this is normal. They said there are 6 stages of grief, so I researched this and it says that anger is like 2nd in the list. But my counsellor said it was one of the last.
How long will it take for me to get back to me? how long did it take you? I can't bear this day after day after day feeling like this.
Hmm after I left the one I lived with it took a month for my head to start to clear and probably a good few more of feeling sorta numb before the anger hit. I only lived with him for about 10 months though (and obviously, I'm not you) so things might be different for you.
I dont know that you 'go back' to you. I mean the you you were before. Knowing there are people like him in the world, who mean people harm like that...it changes you. There a sort of loss of innocence that you dont get back.
But all life experiences change us I suppose.
You can adapt and learn from things. Learn what you dont want. And what treatment you shouldnt ever accept from others. Hopefully this exp will motivate you to work on you and to learn how to spot these people who dont want good things for you (and run). And ultimately you will be stronger, more self reliant person
Thank you for that it helps to know what you have been through too. I only lived with him for 8 months! But somehow he completely screwed my head up within that time.
Thank you though
Yeah it's scary how quickly they can get into your head and mess things up. When you live with them there is no restbite either so it's easier for them. Hope you were able to block the creep and have a clean break!
Hi , it was only after getting with a new partner that I discovered I was with my ex a narcassist for 23 years. It was my first proper relationship and I was young so knew nothing else. But since being with my partner now for 2 years I am still coming to terms with things. I have been to a councillor but wasnt ready to go into too much detail about things but now looking at hypnotherapy and hoping it can help. I was a switch to just turn off every thought that comes into my head that my new partner might say and do like my ex but they are completely different. My partner finds it hard to deal with at times but has vowed to stick by me and help me through it. So it's about 3 and a half years since we split and I am still dealing with things. I hope some day I will see things different as I do now but am not giving myself a time limit as that is just more pressure for me.
After time you do deal with things but it does just all take time.
Ithink a large part of recovery is building confidence back in yourself. I felt better when I went on a journey on my own. I'd built it up into a big deal and felt so good about myself that I pushed through it and managed to go perfectly successfully.
Is there anything that you have been putting off? Also research and read. That really helps a lot when you realise how common and consistent this sort of behaviour is. It sort of depersonalises it and stops you seeing it as your own emotional reaction rather than a response to particular (awful) behaviours.
Give yourself some time OP. It's been hard enough with the pandemic nevermind your ex on top.
What I don't get is that some days I feel ok. Like today is an okay day. I don't feel love or hate, I am still shaky with anxiety, but not so bad. What is worrying me right now is that maybe tomorrow I will be yearning so much for him.... because I did the other day and it makes me fall apart.
Most of my hair has fallen out with the trauma, I use to have thick long healthy hair and now it is barely there it looks like you know in those films where you have skeletons (like pirates of the Caribbean or Goonies) and they have wisps of hair on their head... that is me. Everyone tells me 'it'll grow back' ok fine but how can I heal my confidence and self esteem when I genuinely look like s##t?
Bolt did the counselling work? How will hypnotherapy work? Like for me, that would scare me... He controlled my brain and for me it would be like I am giving someone else the opportunity to do that too...?
That sucks about your hair, that's just all you need rn.
I think you should take a bit more time before looking into fancy things like hypnotherapy. I dont know if it's just me but...that sorta stuff would make me feel as if I needed someone else to 'fix' me. When the fact is, you need to and are capable of, helping yourself.
You need to relearn to self soothe, rather than having your feelings and emotions dependent on or controlled by someone else. That takes time. And being kind to yourself.
Just take things one day at a time. As pp said, read a lot on narcissists, watch youtube videos ect (even better if they are from other women who have gone through the same sorta things you have)...learn all you can. It will help you understand that you were not at fault. And see the patterns that underlay all abusive behaviour.
Of course reach out for help if you feel you need it. But talking with reliable ppl (who have proven they have your best interests at heart) and your councillor should help a lot.
It might be worthwhile speaking with your gp about anti anxiety or low dose depression tablets. Just a little something to take the edge off and help you through.
There is a good thread on here at the moment called ‘what one thing made you realise you were in an abusive relationship’. Please have a read. There are lots of narcissists out there and so many victims. From my own experience they only get worse with age.
Hair loss from stress is horrible to go through and has happened to me twice because of the vile things he did. I ended it but still suffering from the stress of it all and my kids are even asking me why there is so much hair on the bathroom floor even though I am constantly clearing it up. Stress can do horrible things to the body. So focus on your health first.
I am lucky as I didn’t live with mine. You got out and should be congratulated. Imagine being married to him. The abuse may have just got worse over time. You said that you were in a long term loveless relationship before that. I don’t think either of these relationships are any reflection on you at all. You have just been unlucky. It really doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be loved. There are good men out there. You are now armed with the knowledge of what you don’t want in a relationship. Good luck and pm me if you want to.
Thank you for your advice and support.
How long did it take for your hair to start to grow back? xx
You're in the middle of relinquishing the trauma bond OP and it will take time.
You have to be prepared for up days and down days but I promise you, it will pass and you'll emerge far stronger from this trauma than you've ever been.
And that strength will give you purpose. Purpose to live your best life, purpose to love again and to be loved by someone who is worthy of your love.
Stay strong. Stay purposeful.
I was in a relationship with a covert narcissist for 6 years, it ended last summer and I went through absolute hell and was suicidal ( I have a DD so I would never have done anything but I wished like hell it was an option). I used to watch problems about real life murders and wish something like that happened to me... I was in a very bad place which makes me ashamed now when I think of it . It does get better , and it does get easier but I'm still going through it.
From where I was though, I have come so far.
Being in a relationship like that , it was inexplicably horrendous . You feel really alone with it . And he just never stopped looking for an opportunity to hurt or abuse me ... I'm so sorry it happened to you. I've done some reading and if you want to ask questions I will try to help. Xxxx
I dont feel like I have a purpose anymore.
I read the freedom programme book and it gave the charateristics of the abuser, then the charateristics of an ideal man.... well, I ticked most the boxes in both characteristics, as he fitted in to both. Which is so confusing.
I feel numb.
I don't feel love or hate.
Some days I want him back so he can hold me tight and look after me.
But most days I am like so thankful for being out of it.
And then I am confused like, maybe he was really actually fine, and it was in my head. The police didn't believe me and he got away with it all. The SS question my decisions as to why it took me 4 weeks to get away. 4 weeks. The time before this was a fuzzy but those 4 weeks I figured it out and destined to leave him. We only live together 7 months!!!
I feel so alone. But then in my mind I am thinking sometimes, Id rather experience the abuse and have a bit of love than no love at all.
I know I will never go back to him.
But I feel so worthless even more so without his little bits of love.
Any advice?? xxx
It isn't little bits of love, its little bits of acting.
Think of it this way: if someone had a puppy and they fed it and walked it and took care of it and told it they loved it 99% of the time...but spent the other 1% of the time kicking it - are they a good dog owner? Heck, are they even a good person? No.
All that good stuff was an act to keep you where he wanted you. There is no good him. There is onmy the bad him and the mask.
You don't abuse people you love.
And even if those little bits of love were real, you don't give tablescraps to people you genuinely care for. You give your all. Like im sure you did for him. Until you realised you couldn't keep pouring into a cup that fundamentally has a hole in it.
Wow ' pouring into a cup that fundamentally has a hole in it' wow that was an amazing line. Thank you so much. xx
There is so much good advice on here.
Regarding the hair loss. Mine continued to fall out for about three months the first time he seriously hurt me, then it grew back fine. After he reeled me back in again just to hurt me even worse the second time it caused 2 months of severe hair loss so far. But he is out of my life for good now so it won’t happen a third time.
I am so sorry that the police didn’t believe you. But if he was a caring person who treated you well you wouldn’t have even considered reporting him. Remember that always and you will get over him. There are no excuses for his behaviour.
Living with a narcissist , it's not something that you can explain fully to anyone. It's a massive headfuck, it will take you months before your mind starts to clear properly. But it will start to clear.
Have you ever heard of the false mask? That's the persona that they put on to trap you , to entice you , to make you fall in love with him .. the boxes you ticked that made him the ideal man came from the false mask.
The boxes you ticked that showed he was abusive? That was the real him. Don't doubt yourself. No abuser is all bad, it would be so much easier to walk away if they were all bad. No, these fuckers mix a bit of good in to really confuse us.
You have to stay away from him to get a chance to clear you head. You are doing amazing .
You posted on mine so I though I’d say hello and you can ask me anything.
I left my husband of 11 years February last year, he led me to have a breakdown. That word has terrified me but it was the only way out of that marriage. For 6 months or so I felt incredibly guilty for being so weak, I was faulty, I was a weak wife, I couldn’t cope with a normal life, I was mentally unwell...blah blah, but I also knew I was scared of him, but I didn’t know why. My head was spinning, my anxiety through the roof. My brain had shut down, I was unsure of where I was, I was on autopilot. My memories stated to return and I started the freedom programme. It all went very downhill as my memories re-traumatised me and I was told I had C-ptsd. I completely cut all contact with him and over the past few months I’ve started to feel more comfortable in my body. I am not the same person who I was but I remember who I was now. Now I am angry, now that the fog and fear and the brainwashing is moving I’m so so angry!
So that’s where I’m at after 15 or so months of leaving! It’s a long battle, going no contact will speed it up for you. You have to ride it out, like coming off drugs. It at times will not feel nice but just keep doing one day, one hour at a time. All the really terrible scary feelings will pass.
Hi Fighting back. Wow that is exactly what I am going through. The fog brain washing body and mind shut down auto pilot. Scared but didn't know why, confused, severe anxiety all those things you said and yes PTSD. I bought the freedom program book and it helped. I don't know if I am ready to do the actual program as I am scared it will re traumatise me too.
Yes I guess it is like coming off drugs.
This morning I woke up at 4am thinking I was going to die I went in panic mode and nearly ran into my parents to save me from dying.
I have no idea why that happened... Did you experience anything like that?
Please login first.