4 Secrets to Healing from Narcissistic Abuse

13 Jun 2024

4 Secrets to Healing from Narcissistic Abuse

Have you come across the oft quoted saying on Instagram: “A Narcissist doesn’t break your heart, they break your spirit, that’s why it takes so long to heal.” It’s one of my personal bugbears.  I understand that it offers a certain gratification, inasmuch as it – rightly – suggests that the breakup of a narcissistic relationship is no ordinary breakup.

However, for me at least, that gratification is more than offset by learning that it breaks the spirit – ouch! – and makes healing a long, old process.

Today I want to look at the thinking that helps you heal the heart that a Narcissist has broken – whether that Narcissist be a partner, a parent or a much-loved friend and specifically four powerful secrets to healing from Narcissistic abuse.

#1 Choose helpful not harmful

First off, one of the things that expedited my own healing journey was choosing to believe what was helpful rather than harmful to my morale – without flying in the face of self-evident reality. I would invite you to do the same.

As regards what a Narcissist breaks, they surely break your heart and do horrible things to your self-worth. However, my experience of working with survivors has shown me that Narcissists do NOT break your spirit.

Despite what we have been through, in our different ways, there remains an intact core of spirit. The challenge is reconnecting with it

I hope that this message will help you to do so.  Just knowing that you have an intact core of spirit serves to put you in a more helpful frame of mind.  That matters.

#2 Your headspace, your narrative

Have you ever thought that Narcissists are all highly successful real estate investors?

What kind of real estate do they invest in?

Other people’s headspace.

Narcissists waste no time in trying to take possession of your headspace.  That is what all their lovebombing is about.

Lovebombing is actually a takeover bid for what goes on inside your head. And because they wrap it up in fine words and too-good-to-be-true promises it works. Sadly.

Once they have possession of your headspace, they proceed to trash the entire locality. This is the point at which they smash your self-esteem and lead you to believe that everything about you needs to undergo redevelopment. By them.

It takes a while to admit to yourself that Narcissists use a wrecking ball to knock down every structure in your life. Then, the only thing that they put up, throughout the wasteland that they have created, is billboards of their own faces.

But here’s the thing: they don’t actually own the real estate that they have smashed up, you do. It does take a while to rebuild however…

The sooner you embrace the – accurate – principle that EVERYTHING that they have told you is a self-serving lie, the quicker you can start to rebuild.

Narcissists tell you how awful and worthless you are so that they can be the rulers of your heart and mind.

They tell you what a cruel and dangerous place the world is so that you will rely on them – the most cruel and dangerous person in it – to protect them, so that they can abuse you with impunity.

As a general principle, you want to rid yourself of every last one of their “teachings”.

However, hard things are without the Narcissist in your life, it is still a vast improvement on having them constantly trashing everything that you hold dear.

#3 Accept that you might well have a skewed and unhelpful vision of what healing looks like

I would say that every survivor that I have ever spoken to had a clear idea of what healing looked like.

In every case, that idea looked like a construct from the silver screen.

Healing allegedly looks like you, perfectly groomed, at your perfect weight, going through your perfectly ordered life, in a perfect location, with a perfectly unrufflable smile on your face, flanked by an adoring perfect partner and a small army of fans, friends and cheerleaders.

Maybe if we all moved to Hollywood, it might be easier to make that scenario materialize.

Or maybe not.

What I believe healing looks like is liking and being at peace with yourself through the good times, the less good times, and the chaotic times, regardless of your weight, grooming, financial and relationship status and the state of your home.

Healing means valuing and treating yourself like you matter.

It also means holding onto a belief that you can make your life work in a way that brings you joy and fulfilment – even if you don’t yet know how to do that. The Hows tend to sort themselves out provided you take enough action to move the dial on your situation, even ever so slightly.

Healing means believing in your own resourcefulness.

#4 Don’t get caught up in the mechanics

Narcissists make a habit of telling you that nothing you do is ever good enough. They understand and capitalize on the power of repetition to make you believe the lies they feed you.

Their goal is to discourage and demotivate you sufficiently to keep you dependent on them.

It can be hard to recognize how great a part this learned hopelessness has played in your life. Certainly, it is something that I hear a lot about from survivors: they tell me that they have made some little progress and then something happens that takes them straight back to square one.

At that point, they have learned that the only thing they can do is throw up their hands and give up.

This morning, I was talking with my lovely book-keeper about the considerable challenges that I am facing as a result of my partner’s health problems. She sweetly said to me that I can only take one step at a time.

There are days, for all of us, when one step is already a huge achievement.

But it struck me that that step could be forward, sideways or, in fact, backwards. Not to mention the many possible combinations of one step forward and two steps back, one step sideways and…

Or there could be no steps at all.

As a general principle, we take a dim view of the whole step issue. One step forward feels too fragile or doesn’t feel like enough. One step back feels like a catastrophe and a loss of control. A sidestep feels like we don’t know what we are doing. No step feels like total failure.

Why do we make such a big thing of it?

The superficial answer would be: “because this is my life that I’m talking about”.  The more useful and relevant answer is: “because that is how the Narcissist has taught me to evaluate my world.  Everything that I do – or don’t do – is both a major problem and an inexcusable failure.”

As regards my own current predicament, I know that am all over the place: forwards, backwards, sideways, stock still, not always sure which way is up.

I also know, in the moments of clarity between the stepping and stuckness, that something in me is growing and evolving into a better version of myself, sanded down and polished, if you like, by these tough times.

I’m not saying that I like it, at all, but I do know that something valuable will come of it.

And I would ask you to hold that belief about yourself.

Allow yourself to heal your way

Healing is not about reverting to someone you once were. There was always room for you to be more at peace with yourself and grow into a more exquisitely crafted version of yourself.

There is always room for a person to grow into an even better version of themselves. That can be one of the great joys of the journey.

Healing is immensely worthwhile. Good things will assuredly come of it.

But the process often sucks.

Give yourself grace to heal messily, chaotically, confusedly, blindly, if you have to. Give yourself that grace.

Let go of the self-recriminations and the “shoulds”.  Allow yourself to reconnect with that unbroken core of spirit, be respectful of the time that it takes and – in the time that it takes – you will heal beautifully.

Allow yourself to heal your way, in the time that it takes you. It might be as frustrating as hell. But it will be worth it.


Do you need more support with your healing, rebuilding your self-worth, getting closure on a narcissistic relationship?

Here’s how I can help you:

  1. Feeling paralyzed by the past – book a one-off Breakthrough Session to get beyond what is blocking you.https://recoverfromemotionalabuse.com/
  2. Want ongoing insights into narcissism, as well as tools and techniques for healing, and a supportive community around you – check out my Break Free Membership​
  3. Need 1 on 1 support to fast track your healing: email me at annie@anniekaszina.com.


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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