Can you codify the steps to healing from narcissistic abuse?

05 Jul 2022

Can you codify the steps to healing from narcissistic abuse?

Today, I want to share with you the relatable steps not that you should take to healing from narcissistic abuse but the steps that you do take, in the hope that that will enable you to be kinder and more supportive towards yourself along the way. Those steps may well not be what you think.

Most survivors of narcissistic abuse get so fixated on the destination and getting there asap that they spend a good half their time berating themselves for being where they actually are along the healing journey. That doesn’t help them

  1. a) progress
  2. b) feel any better about themselves.

In fact, all the negative, “motivational” self-talk around where they are and where they should be leaves them stuck in emotional quicksand. Understanding the real steps along the way – which often feel like standing still but are actually a consistent, non-linear progression – is far more beneficial.

And since so much of the way our minds heal is not linear, let me ask you, are you someone who struggles with a sense of direction? Or are you one of the lucky ones in that respect?

I come from a family with more than a few practical … design flaws. I have inherited my father’s complete absence of a sense of direction. (If you had taken him out of the home where he lived for 50 years, walked him 200 yards from his home, spun him around three times and asked him to find his way back, he couldn’t have done it. I’d like to think that I could but, not uncommonly, I can lose my way in a restaurant from the restroom back to my table.)

Stumbling out of emotional abuse

For the longest time, there was a tie-up between my lack of a sense of geographical direction and my thinking processes in general. I was someone whose thinking process was all about stumbling out of the fog into the sunlight (without either a roadmap or a sense of direction).

That was how I learned about narcissistic abuse and how I healed from it.

These days, having worked with thousands of women all over the globe, I can see that the process of stumbling out of narcissistic abuse into clarity looks to be the common process – even for those who can plot getting to more conventional  destinations more effectively.

But, as you likely have discovered for yourself, that process can be messy and demoralizing.

Can you codify the steps to healing from narcissistic abuse?

So, is it possible to codify the steps to healing from narcissistic abuse?

Over the past few months, because I haven’t been feeling that great, my brain has been jolted out of its habitual thinking patterns, actually into a sort of non-thinking pattern. There has been a lot of staring into space or gazing at the University of Youtube.

Aside from the guilt, a lot has come out of it. Most notably an awareness that you can codify the steps to healing from narcissistic abuse in a way that can help you to feel better when you are feeling bad – maybe even to help you feel better about feeling bad.

Below  are my 10 authentic steps to healing from narcissistic abuse that survivors have to go through. While the order in which I have listed them may vary, to some degree, the steps themselves are all essential.

The 10 authentic steps to  healing from narcissistic abuse

1) Rebellion This is the point at which you finally realise that you cannot go on tolerating the Narcissist’s abuse, your The Worm Turns moment. By this time, you heartily dislike and mistrust yourself. You don’t know what you can do but you also know what you cannot afford to do any longer. Most survivors run a few dress rehearsals before they are actually ready to go public with this lifechanging act.

2) Discovery This is where you really go deeply into learning and understanding everything you can about narcissistic abuse and why your abuser works the way that they do. While a nascent awareness likely first led you into Rebellion, now it’s like you need to become a walking encyclopedia of narcissistic abuse in order to understand your reality and shore yourself up.

3) Mourning  Even when your brain first wakes up to the truth about your relationship, your heart does not. Instead, you are left with a mountain of sadness about the failure of your dreams, the loss of the person you thought you would love – and by loved by – for the rest of your life, the realization that someone you loved turned out to be a horrible, heartless partner and, last but by no means least, you have to face up to the fact that you were not nearly as good at choosing a partner as you had thought and hoped you were.

4) Guilt, shame and self-blame etc  One way and another, you find yourself carrying a heavy load. Between “your” Narcissist’s accusations, the “it takes two to tango” comments of unhelpful “friends”, family and community members, the need to take accountability and random information you find in books and on social media, you conflate taking responsibility for your own healing with being responsible for the way a Narcissist chose to treat you.  They are NOT synonymous.

5) The hokey-pokey  Possibly the most undignified aspect of healing from narcissistic about is the kind of emotional hokey pokey that you find yourself caught up in. You take a step into healing and then step back and either dissolve into tears or quake in fear.  A great deal of that kind of vacillation tends to happen before you can finally focus wholeheartedly on your own healing and happiness. Healing takes you so far outside your previous comfort zone that you will likely retreat to your previous “comfort zone” a number of times before you grow enough confidence to move forward without looking back.

6) Building self-awareness By the time you leave a narcissistic relationship who will likely have forgotten who you are and stopped caring about what you want from life. Healing requires you to get to know yourself as an adult woman, so that you can learn what makes you special, how to do boundaries and how to do relationships in a way that is meaningful for you.

7) Owning your own issues  This is the stage at which you own and work on your own issues. It is also the stage at which you master the meaning and limitations of accountability. Plus, you cease to hold yourself accountable for the shortcoming of others. You become clear about where other people finish and where you begin.

8) Self-compassion and self-forgiveness You finally begin to include yourself in your own circle of kindness. Previously you may well have been talking about self-care for some time now and even doing the right things, like eating healthy and exercising.  Now you begin to transform your internal dialogue by speaking to yourself empathetically for a change. At least some of the time.

9) The archaeological dig Healing is always a multi-layered process. At a certain point you move on to exploring the deeper  layers of your life and the early  wounds that me defenceless in the face of a motivated Narcissist.

10) Betrayal and deception Maybe you never actually considered that  betrayal and deception hold pride of place in your core wounds and yet… Anyone who has ever been brought up by a Narcissist has experienced massive betrayal and deception but likely not, ever, used those labels. There can be no abandonment or neglect without betrayal and deception.

So, you disregard them at your peril.

Feelings that are buried alive don’t die. Rather they wreak massive havoc in your life – until you finally address them.

Find out more about healing from Betrayal and Deception

If you have want to find out more about healing from Betrayal and Deception, you need to tune in to Avaiya University, free, online Overcoming Betrayal and Deception event.

Beginning July 11th,  you can learn from over 30 relationship experts, psychologists, authors and more who will be giving you practical tools and techniques that you can apply right away to let go of your pain, heal your betrayal trauma & learn to trust again.

I am honored to be a featured speaker during this 7-day immersion event, talking about Owning What Happened In Your Relationship.

Click here to save your spot for this transformational online event now.

Healing is all about putting together your own “cocktail” of helpful information and resources. This online event offers you a vast array of ingredients that you might want to add to your own mix.


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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The 5 Simple Steps to Healing from Narcissistic Abuse

Over the next 5 days, I'll send you some lessons and tips that I've found have really helped women to heal from narcissistic abuse.  Starting with the basics.

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