How Do We Heal and Mourn After the Loss of a Narcissist?

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

“We, in essence, have to heal and grieve from multiple doses of betrayal and the accompanying toxic shame and self-loathing and exaggerated feelings of powerlessness.”

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Narcissistic abuse survivors are frequently told to “get over it and move on.” This is not only ridiculous and inappropriate, it is also impossible. Abuse victims have suffered from extreme trauma. Understanding that the people we loved never existed and will never be the people we want and need them to be present huge challenges to victims of narcissistic abuse.

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Narcissist abuse survivors are left with significant inner conflicts because they are faced with mourning someone they loved who will never relieve or take responsibility for the trauma they inflicted on us and who will not ever return the love our hearts long for. Our attackers have, in effect, gotten away with “murder” they were not held accountable for. Emotionally, these can pose serious healing challenges to the surviving victims.

How, then, do we deal with the loss and heal from the trauma narcissists inflicted on us when they are gone? How do we mourn and grieve the loss of a narcissist when they are still alive, when they are dying or have passed away and we are left with unresolved trauma and unrequited love?

WHY IS HEALING AFTER THE LOSS OF A NARCISSISTIC SO DIFFICULT

One of the main reasons that healing from narcissistic abuse as adults is so difficult is because at that point in our lives, we have been betrayed twice and sometimes even more times. To be betrayed by those we intimately trusted is compounded in adulthood as the repressed pain from childhood and the accompanying sense of defenselessness are repeatedly triggered. So after the loss of a narcissist, we are left to heal from the childhood wounds and grieve our childhood and grieve the loss of love that will be forever unrequited. We, in essence, have to heal and grieve from multiple doses of betrayal and the accompanying toxic shame and self-loathing and exaggerated feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness. So, effectively grieving after narcissistic abuse provides daunting challenges. It requires a reconciliation and a recalibration of our conflicting beliefs as they relate to loss, forgiveness, unrequited love, our lovability, and our pain and suffering.

“Effectively grieving after narcissistic abuse…requires a reconciliation and a recalibration of our conflicting beliefs as they relate to loss, forgiveness, unrequited love, our lovability, and our pain and suffering.”

th-8We can also mistake trauma bonding (e.g. pain- and peptide-addictions) for love. Narcissistic abuse recovery expert Melanie Tonia Evans explains in “Trauma Bonding: Is It Love or Something Else?” that “we were all conditioned to believe that powerful and all consuming feelings, and the ‘not being able to stop thinking about someone’ and ‘feeling an intense attachment’ must mean love…we were taught very little about real love – as a safe, supportive, calm, regenerating and trustworthy entity. And we didn’t realise that true and real love necessitates a deep knowing that you are the other half of a safe, supportive and genuine ‘team.'”

HEALING IS ABOUT US, NOT THEM

Healing, folks, is not about our attackers. Healing is about us. Mourning and paying respects are not about our attackers, they are all about us. We must heal first in order to effectively mourn and grieve. We must go on a journey to figure out why we loved someone who inflicted unrelenting pain on us. To completely heal we must dig deep to release the inner pain and forgive ourselves for the role we played in our own abuse. Self-forgiveness is a critical part of healing.

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Read more on the importance of self-forgiveness in healing here.

In healing, rescuing ourselves from our own despair allows us to become emotionally stronger and trusting of our own abilities and self-worth and learn self-compassion that will help us release the shame and the powerlessness and defenselessness we once felt to the unresolved trauma our attackers left us with. Healing will facilitate mourning our childhoods that have passed and the loss or pending loss of the person(s) we once loved and who we once needed to love us by accepting they never existed and will never become who we thought they were. It is a point we reach when we understand and accept the truth about what happened to us from a neutral position of emotional peace without the pain, blame and shame that our abusers shadowed on us.

Read more on the importance of self-forgiveness in healing here.

knowbetter do betterHealing provides us a divine opportunity to become the authentic persons we were put on this earth to be and thrive. It is at this point that our painful pasts will no longer matter because we have broken our pain addictions and learned to provide our own selves the love and self-respect and self-assurance and self-care that we need to sustain us and thrive and the new found belief that we are worth the effort. We have learned to use our compassion responsibly and we can reliably decide what serves our hearts and souls even in our choices of paying respects when our attackers who we love or once loved have are dying or have died. Even if they are dying, their toxicity is not diminished, just their capacity to act on it. So their “death” or pending death sadly or fortunately (depends on how you choose to view it) essentially forces us into “No Contact” that supports our emotional healing and removes us from the harm from their toxicity.

NARCISSISTS ARE EASY TO FORGET

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Memories of narcissists fade quickly. They leave us very few memories to sustain our love so they are quickly forgotten. And once we are healed, memories of them no longer trigger our repressed pain. So they leave us with little of value or meaning to “miss.” Do we miss someone who is not capable of love and parasitically feeds off of their own children? Do we miss someone who leaves us no loving or pleasant memories to sustain our loss?  Like Maya Angelou said, “we don’t forget how people made us feel.” She was talking about pleasant feelings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 thoughts on “How Do We Heal and Mourn After the Loss of a Narcissist?

  1. Rachel says:

    What a wonderful forum this is. I have been at the hands of a Narcissist for nearly four years now. Only very recently have I been able to learn, from reading such forums, what a victim I’ve been! He has only shown his true colours in the last eight months.. OMG, if only I’d known. There I was thinking it was all my fault. He has just dumped me for the third time. His third and last time as only now do I realise the pathetic games he is playing.

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  2. Yankeegirl says:

    I think it is unusual, but the narcs’ mask remained intact for 20 years. I’m struggling like hell because there are many things I miss. I thought he was my best friend for 20+ years. It’s been 4 years nearly since the discard. I’ve made no progress in healing a sit pertains to the overwhelming amount of pain and sadness. I’ve become completely isolated and unable to contribute to other relationships in my life, unable to function really. I’m tired. So tired.

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  3. Judith Baker says:

    I also have wasted two and one half years of my life, since he left, morning him! What a waste of time!! I have been sitting here for one year now, watching television….NOT PAINTING, the one thing I loved to do….because I lost what I believed to be the “love of my life”……it didn’t matter how he treated me, I just built up all those “goog” things about him, which are all a lie!
    What a waste of my time! I married for the forth time!!! What I GUESS I THOUGHT WAS ONE DAY I’LL GET IT RIGHT. He was the perfect description of a Narcissistic personality! Quoted the Bible left and right, was kind to the elderly where I live! On and on I could go! Had me hook line and sinker!
    We married after a very short time. I was convinced this was the love of my life! From day ONE, it was terrible! And it just kept getting worse! No job…added 0 to my live monetarily, I supported him! My soc. Security was and is minimal, his was less then mine. I then, started to be threatened with abuse…I finally had to file a restraining order! It was worse then all three of my other marriages put together! I suffered a “break down”. He promised to change, of coarse I believed him. He was in and out of the apt. Four times before it became permanent!
    Now after reading your information here, I see for the first time……ME! My disorder! I NEED TO CHANGE! I want my divorce! I want to live again! I want my life! My True life! I am going to do this! Along with getting counseling, which I have already called about. Just waiting for an appointment. The counselor is very busy right now! I cried like a baby when I received this, l could not believe someone could be so kind to me! Thank you from the very bottom of my heart! Judy
    ,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Evelyn Ryan says:

      You are so welcome! You are safe and cared for here. I promise. Just focus on the finish line, self-care and self-compassion and make it ALL about you. All about you and read and reread the book!! And keep me apprised of your progress and lessons learned. And you deserve ALL the kindness in the world. Just remember, they target us because we are kind generous compassionate wonderful warm loving people and we provide them what they cannot provide themselves. They are evil and prey on people like us. We can heal. They cannot. The book includes tools and tips that will serve as an adjunct to your therapy. Blessings to you in your search for truth! Evelyn xo

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    • Evelyn Ryan says:

      I shall also repeat to you the message i sent Crystal below….

      Just hang in there…Baby steps, my dear and self-care and self-compassion. Take very very good care of yourself. We have to mourn what never was and understand that YOUR love was real. YOU did not do anything wrong and were just seeking love…so forgive yourself for your complicity. These emotional vampires find us, groom us, con us and manipulate our energy from us. But why did we love someone who inflicted such pain on us? We cannot heal at the same level of thinking that causes our emotional pain and that makes us vulnerable to emotional vampires. In healing, we answer that question and rescue our own selves and sacrifice for own healing and recovery and in the process we not only rebuild but come back stronger. I and so many others at my page are living testaments to our real power and strength..we take our power back and learn to become better versions of ourselves. You are worth so much better and I am here to help you take your power back and understand the level of love, compassion, and caring you truly deserve. You are safe and respected here….and very much appreciated. Blessings! Evelyn

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  4. Crystal says:

    I just want to say thank you for posting this, I am a few weeks into the divorce and I still can’t accept it, he made me so happy, and there are times I remember crying and begging God to make the pain go away, and now I sit back and catch myself wanting so badly to hold on to the happy times when he really did make me feel like a princess, that maybe it was my fault or I could have done things differently, or that mistakes I may have made, made him worse. I feel alone, I know that if I stood back and heard someone tell me the story I have lived, I would have told them they needed to leave, but I can’t accept it myself. I still love him. I wish I could commit to No Contact without him filling my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Evelyn Ryan says:

      Just hang in there, Crystal. Baby steps, my dear and self-care and self-compassion. Take very very good care of yourself. We have to mourn what never was and understand that YOUR love was real. YOU did not do anything wrong and were just seeking love…so forgive yourself for your complicity. These emotional vampires find us, groom us, con us and manipulate our energy from us. But why did we love someone who inflicted such pain on us? We cannot heal at the same level of thinking that causes our emotional pain and that makes us vulnerable to emotional vampires. In healing, we answer that question and rescue our own selves and sacrifice for own healing and recovery and in the process we not only rebuild but come back stronger. I and so many others at my page are living testaments to our real power and strength..we take our power back and learn to become better versions of ourselves. You are worth so much better and I am here to help you take your power back and understand the level of love, compassion, and caring you truly deserve. You are safe and respected here….and very much appreciated. Blessings! Evelyn

      Like

  5. Rachel says:

    Healing from people like this, who actually take pleasure in inflicting pain on others, requires knowing it’s not your fault. That person was like this before and after you knew them. They do this to anyone and everyone, and if you feel targeted know its a statement of how sick they are. Think about it, does a well-adjusted person who is emotionally healthy and mentally well, go around looking for people to mess with for no reason? Fundamentally, these people are sick. Even if you were vulnerable, remember that a mentally well person would not use and exploit your weakness for their jollies. They would show you empathy and compassion. It’s not your fault. All you need to do is heal. I am a big believer in EMDR for trauma therapy if it works for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Evelyn Ryan says:

    Just hang in there. Baby steps, my dear and self-care and self-compassion. Take very very good care of yourself. I very well understand your sadness after being born into a herd of narcs and being married for 20 years. We have to mourn what never was and understand that YOUR love was real. YOU did not do anything wrong and were just seeking love…perfectly noble however in healing we learn our true self worth and what we are really worthy of. She found you. YOU did not find her. These emotional vampires find us, groom us, con us and manipulate our energy from us. Did you love her? Yes. Did I love him? Yes. But why did we love someone who inflicted such pain on us. We cannot heal at the same level of thinking that causes our emotional pain. In healing, we answer that question and rescue our own selves and sacrifice for own healing and recovery and in the process we not only rebuild but come back stronger. I and so many others at my page are living testaments to our real power and strength..we take our power back and learn to become better versions of ourselves. You are worth so much better and I am here to help you take your power back and understand the level of love, compassion, and caring you truly deserve. You are safe and respected here….and very much appreciated. Blessings! Evelyn

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  7. Ann says:

    I am just so damn sad. It doesn’t go away. It doesn’t leave my head or heart.

    I was so happy. Happiest I EVER have been in a relationship in my life, I 100% believed I had a true partner for life. I woke up happy to be next to her, even single morning. I don’t have that. I never really did either I guess. I wasted so much time after the shocking D&D (and the year of torture/pull-in-push out in denial/ignorance/hope plus the 8 months of “trying” anyway.) and now on just a few days of true No Contact. If I’d walked when my mom said to (right when she walked out) that would saved me almost 50% of the time wasted. I’ve worn out my friends who either are burnt out, still under her charm, my family you just want me to move on..now. I feel alone.

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