How I Recovered From Narcissistic Abuse (And You Can Too)

Theholisticliving
6 min readMay 9, 2024

Narcissistic abuse is equivalent to fighting a gruesome war. It leaves you defeated and broken. I was a victim of narcissistic abuse for 10 years. During these 10 years, I completely lost my sense of self. I developed autoimmune diseases, and my mental well-being was shattered to pieces.

Here Is How Narcissistic Abuse Affected My Health

I felt emotionally numb. I lost the ability to perceive my reality.

Narcissists lack empathy, or the ability to understand your emotions. Or they simply do not care. They resort to gaslighting, demeaning, stonewalling, and other forms of emotional abuse to satisfy their needs. They have no regard for your well-being.

Being married to a narcissist was like walking on eggshells. There was never a right way to feel, talk, or act. I was forced to suppress my feelings and emotional needs to keep the peace in the relationship.

Gradually, I began to dissociate from my environment. I felt numb most of the time. There was a deep sense of tiredness and I had lost the capacity to process or express my emotions.

My immune system became weak, and I became more prone to infections

Narcissistic abuse certainly takes a toll on your physical well-being as well. I had lost a significant amount of weight, developed skin problems, and had very poor gut health.

I would frequently fall sick, or catch infections easily. During these 10 years, I was diagnosed with anemia, tuberculosis, and a skin disease called hives.

Moreover, the constant criticism and comparison by my ex-narcissistic husband depleted my self-esteem to a point where I hated seeing myself in the mirror. I stopped taking care of myself which further deteriorated my health.

I lost contact with my family and friends

Isolation and loneliness are often the aftermath of narcissistic abuse. I preferred staying alone because I had internalized the belief that nobody understands or truly cares about your problems.

Moreover, I had zero mental energy to engage in any social interactions.

Therapy was the first time I opened up about my struggles. I expressed my emotions without any guilt or shame. I cannot explain in words how relieving it was! From living the abuse in your head to talking out loud with someone who understands can make a great difference.

I gave up on my career and individual pursuits

One of the biggest mistakes I made was giving up on my career after getting married. My ex-husband convinced me to leave my job, and slowly took control over my finances. He ensured that I remained financially dependent on him.

So many times I thought of ending the relationship, but the financial dependency held me back. I lost all interest in my hobbies and stopped making any effort to upgrade myself.

I remained stuck emotionally, mentally, and physically in the abusive marriage for 10 years.

I could not trust anybody and became fearful of everything

After I ended my marriage, I thought everything would be okay again. However, the consequences of narcissistic abuse were deep-rooted.

I became hyper-vigilant and developed a pervasive sense of mistrust. I doubted everybody’s intentions including my own. I had a difficult time forming connections and felt extremely anxious if anybody tried to get close to me.

I realized that I needed therapy. The impact of narcissistic abuse was too serious to overcome on my own.

Here Is How Therapy Helped Me Overcome Narcissistic Abuse

I consulted one of the best therapists in the Holistic Living Wellness Center. It was a turning point in my life. In fact, therapy gave me a new life altogether!

I finally talked about what happened

Narcissistic abuse had driven me to my edge. I had lost the capacity to process and express my thoughts or emotions. I felt eerily detached from my reality. Even if I wanted to express something, I could not.

The therapist at Holistic Living Wellness Center gave me the time and space to open up. He ensured I felt safe and comfortable in every session. He was extremely patient and understanding. He asked me questions that helped to process what happened, and vent it out in words.

Imagine this: A heavy stone is tied to your chest. The weight is too much for you to bear, and you find yourself grasping for air. Then somebody comes and takes off the stone. You are able to breathe again and feel a lot lighter.

That is how I felt during my therapy sessions. I finally gathered the strength to unravel my wounds and become vulnerable again.

I realized that it was not my fault

Toxic projection and constant blame games in my 10 years of marriage had distorted my reality. My ex-husband had me convinced that everything was my fault.

In therapy, I learned how to detach my self-identity from his opinions. The therapeutic tools helped me to validate my feelings and rebuild myself again. I released feelings of guilt and shame and found the power to prioritize my needs and well-being

The grounded techniques helped to stay in the present moment and manage my fears effectively. It took time, but I could finally learn to smile again and enjoy my life as it came.

I learned to end the cycle of narcissistic abuse

I had developed unhealthy defense mechanisms to protect myself from the narcissistic abuse. I always remained in fight or flight mode.

It is important to heal yourself completely from narcissistic abuse because if you don’t, you tend to repeat the patterns in your other relationships. I generalized my negative feelings to all men and projected my fears onto them.

It was almost surreal how I was resorting to similar manipulation used by my ex-narcissistic husband. Fortunately, my therapist helped me identify these patterns and guided me on how to break them.

I felt like myself again

I was 25 years old when I married him. My life was divided into two phases. One was before him, and the other was after him.

I used to be a cheerful person with a passion for writing and reading. I had interests, hobbies, and opinions. I lost everything in these 10 years. I felt like a shell of my past self. I had forgotten how she was or what she looked like.

Therapy at Holistic Living Wellness Center helped me find my way back to myself. I would describe my journey as a metamorphosis. It transformed me into a stronger and more confident woman. If I could survive that monster, then I could do anything in life.

I removed my stack of old books and sniffed the smell of its worn-out pages. I found the creative spark rushing back into me! I gathered the energy to focus on my physical appearance as well.

I finally found the courage to say ‘Enough is enough. This is my life and I will decide how it goes.’

I don’t think it is appropriate or even possible to cover my journey in words. I know there are many men and women out there who are victims of narcissistic abuse. I hope through my story, I can empower them to take charge and do something for themselves.

Narcissistic abuse is a battle that leaves visible and invisible scars. It takes a lot to say NO to the abuse, and then heal yourself from it.

I had the support of my wonderful therapist. He helped me when I thought there was no help available, and he gave me hope when I thought death was better than living this way. And for that, I will forever be grateful to him.

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