This post deals with abuse and might be triggering for some readers.
The aftermath of narcissistic abuse doesn’t end when someone finally is able to walk away from their abuser. No, instead it can go on for months or even years after the victim has walked away.
Years ago, I dated an abusive man who had Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The manipulation, gaslighting, projecting, blaming, and shaming was something that I had never experienced in a relationship. When I was finally able to walk away from him, my outlook on relationships had completely changed.
It took years for me to come to terms with what had happened and the aftermath of the trauma is still sometimes I have to work through.
Watch: Women and Violence. The hidden numbers. Post continues below.
Based on many of my clients who have experienced this, and from personal experience as well, here is what you may experience after breaking things off with the narcissistic abuser in your life.
You may have lost your sense of self.
From the moment that you begin your relationship with a narcissist, they begin chipping away at your self-esteem.
It’s a gradual process that you won’t even notice. An insult here, a snack "suggestion" there, until one day you wake up and realise that the confident and happy person you were at the beginning of the relationship... has disappeared.
I thought I would walk away from my ex and instantly get back to the happy (and somewhat naïve) loving woman that I had been.
Instead, when things were finally done between us I felt absolutely nothing. I didn’t know what I wanted anymore; I didn’t know who I was, and I felt like someone had walked into my life, sucked my soul out of my body and kicked me to the curb.