When you break up with a narcissist, you suddenly have so much time. What do you do with all this time? You have been longing for time to yourself, you’ve been thinking about how your days and hours have been eaten up with this person’s unreasonable demands, with being afraid of when they’ll get mad again, you’ve been walking on eggshells forever, but now it seems that time just stretches out for eternity.
What are you going to do?
The problem is that you’re emotions are still tangled up in the emotionally and/or physically abusive relationship. All these days, months, and even years of walking on eggshells have reprogrammed your heart and mind to be anticipating every need, every demand from your partner. You’ve been emotionally dragged into their craziness. This has the effect of making you feel guilty and responsible for how they feel. It’s like you can never get anything right, yet sometimes you get lucky and they might be “nice” to you. It’s like gambling.
Gambling can become very addicting. You pull the arm of the gambling machine down over and over and sometimes you hit the jackpot – in this case, instead of hitting the jackpot, sometimes he/she is nice to you, but you didn’t actually do anything differently, it was the mood they were in and they decided to throw you a bone.
You see, when the abusive person changes from being loving to cruel, as you feel the tension building up to another abusive event, and then it happens, our hearts and brains just can’t put the two sides of this together. On the one hand, this person says they love you, they sometimes treat you so lovingly, then on the other hand, they become so mean and vindictive, they abuse you verbally, emotionally manipulate, or even hit, kick, shove, or otherwise physically attack you.
This just doesn’t make sense, it just doesn’t add up to being in love with you and our hearts become broken. When our hearts are broken, the abuser returns to being charming and acts loving again. This senseless, confusing behavior twists your thinking, twists your heart into believing it must be something you’ve done to deserve this. These are brainwashing techniques.
In psychology they call this the “Stockholm effect” or “trauma-bonding”. In popular parlance, we call it brainwashing, some compare it to being addicted.
But now you’ve made the break, you’ve been waiting to have your life back, but now, for some reason all you can do is think of him/her. Not only that, but you feel all alone and lonely. You wonder if you really are in love with them.
NO, you are not! You are trauma-bonded. It is natural to feel lonely after getting out of an abusive relationship. This is the beginning of healing, the beginning of getting back into a more normal life, the beginning of developing a natural balance in your relationships – ones that have a natural give and take, ones that have respect, love, and trust.
Here are 5 healing steps can you take to get your heart and mind back into balance and heal from the loneliness after the trauma-bonding, or the brainwashing that you’ve gone through.
- Do not call, text, email, or contact this person in any way – EVER!!
- Do something every day that you like to do – you can’t think of anything? Make something up, take a bath, read a book, watch a movie you choose, go for a walk, get a coffee at a different coffee shop.
- Reconnect with family and friends. You’ve probably lost contact with them. You may have broken bridges due to the controlling partner’s demands and may need to make-up with them.
- Find someone who gets it, who understands how hard it is to leave an abusive relationship, and who will support you no matter what. Others who have gone through the craziness of a narcissistic or sociopathic relationship will understand what you have gone through and the struggles of loneliness as you begin healing.
- Be kind to yourself. This is hard to go through. It is hard to recover and heal from an abusive relationship. Let yourself cry and grieve the loss of your hopes and dreams.