Is a loved one a survivor recovering from narcissistic abuse? The following article offers solutions on how to support someone in recovery from narcissistic abuse and make the process easier for them.
A lot of clients I work with report to me that their friends and family, though well-intentioned, say and do things that increase their healing pain in the aftermath of narcissistic abuse.
People experience this type of emotional abuse in love, work, family, or friendships. Particularly in the area of romantic relationships, I often hear friends and family say things like, “Just get over it! This is taking so long!” or “It was an idiot!
Why do you feel like you still love him after all this time? or “You seem crazy because you keep talking about her nonstop!” or “I don’t get why you can’t just start dating someone else and move on.”
These comments are not helpful to survivors of narcissistic abuse. Although most well-meaning, empathetic friends and family find it difficult to witness their loved one’s pain and suffering after being in a relationship with an abusive person, there are choices of words and actions you can take that are even more powerful for you. Mehboob is experiencing tremendous emotional pain.
Try to view this situation as an unpleasant illness or infection that takes a while to completely clear its way from the system… and be patient during the healing process of narcissism and painful loss. Your friend/family member will thank you.
Healing from the trauma of narcissistic abuse is a long-term process. Here’s what you can do to help someone recover from narcissistic abuse:
9 Things you can do to help someone heal from narcissistic abuse
Here are the things you can do to speed recovery from the narcissistic abuse of a loved one.
- Validate and listen.
To help heal from narcissistic abuse, listen to your loved one’s story and pain. Part of narcissistic abuse survivor therapy is having another safe witness/witness/hear/validate their story of pain and recovery.
- Encourage your loved one to seek psychotherapy with a trauma therapist.
This type of psychological abuse results in PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder), depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and other clinical conditions that require treatment by a licensed psychotherapist.
- Educate yourself about narcissistic abuse.
For example, read my article in The Minds Journal titled: What is a Narcissist?: A Primer for the Average Person and Finding Peace After a Toxic Relationship
- Do you know that it is not your duty to heal or fix your loved one?
- Your job is to offer unconditional sympathy and comfort to your loved one.
If there is something you don’t understand about narcissistic abuse, ask your loved one. They have likely read a library of articles and books on the subject in their quest to reduce the cognitive dissonance associated with narcissistic abuse.
Read : The Narcissist’s Bubbling Fury
- Understand that the person you love is on their way to breaking the traumatic bond with their abuser.
Please read on for what a trauma bond is, why a bond is like crazy glue, and why your loved one feels like they’re going through withdrawal from a bad (albeit temporary) drug.
- Encourage your loved one to engage in self-care,
Including good sleep, nutrition, exercise, and positive social support.
- Don’t give up hope that things will be better.
Because they will. Continue to help your loved one envision what life would be like without emotional pain. Healing from narcissistic abuse can happen with effort, persistence, and continued endurance.
- Empowering him in recovery from narcissistic abuse.
Pathological people seek out intelligent, successful, and empathetic people as targets for their abuse. The survivor has been targeted because of their emotional intelligence and empathy. It will heal in time and recover.
If you want to know how to help victims of narcissistic abuse, refrain from doing the following:
Don’t blame, shame, or criticize your loved one.
Ask about the timing of the healing process and how long it seems to take to heal (on average, with no strong contact with the abuser, it may take a survivor at least 18 months to heal from a traumatic relationship, and it usually takes longer with psychotherapy and other interventions).
Discourage contact with the abuser. Part of the healing process is freedom from the ill person and no contact (or limited contact if the survivor is involved with children/business).
Do not suggest that the survivor is responsible for her abuse. Abuse is not okay. There is no excuse for abuse and it is not the survivor’s fault.
Don’t get involved between the survivor and the narcissist. Allowing the survivor to enable them to seek their own qualified treatment and legal support.