How To Overcome Narcissistic Abuse

couple arguing
Mar 4, 2024 | Content

Marriage to a narcissist can leave you feeling shamed, worthless, and disempowered. Even when you recognize that your spouse is abusive, you might feel that you deserve it or brought it on yourself. At the same time, you might blame yourself for allowing it and exposing your children to it.

Beating yourself up will not move you forward or allow you to overcome narcissistic abuse. Taking your power back will, and that might involve separating from or divorcing the narcissist.

Living With a Narcissist Can Be Psychologically Damaging

Narcissists tend to belittle their companions and disregard their needs. Over time, this treatment can cause you to feel that your needs or desires are unimportant or even shameful. Narcissists do not respect boundaries and you may come to believe you are not entitled to set any.

Gaslighting is another characteristic of a narcissist. Gaslighting means denying another person’s perception of reality, but it can go deeper than that. Narcissists sometimes insist their lies are true, even when there is proof of the lie. Exposure to this behavior over time can lead you to question your own observations. Even when you retain your sense of what is truthful and real, the inability to convince the narcissist to adjust their behavior can be disempowering and disheartening.

People who have been subjected to narcissistic abuse are vulnerable and need support to move confidently into the future. The first and most important step is ending the relationship with the narcissist, but you must be prepared for hostility and drama. If the narcissist is your spouse, a local family lawyer with experience in high-conflict divorce could be a steadfast ally.

Seek Professional Help

It is difficult to overcome the impact of narcissistic abuse without help from a qualified therapist. Unfortunately, insurance coverage might not be available and even when it is, it can be challenging to find a practitioner you are comfortable talking to who is accepting new patients.

There are other sources of help available. Many community mental health centers, YMCA and YWCAs, and women’s health centers offer low-cost counseling. When appointments with an individual therapist are not possible, classes and support groups can be extremely helpful. Any program that helps you understand that you are not to blame for the narcissist’s behavior is worth pursuing.

Many free and low-cost resources are available online. Some are offered or sponsored by organizations like the American Psychological Association or the American College of Psychiatrists. Others are offered by individual therapists. Libraries are another excellent source of information about narcissistic abuse and overcoming it.

Create Boundaries and Learn How to Hold Them

One of the things you must learn when ending a relationship with a narcissist is how to create and maintain boundaries. The narcissist will try to use all the methods that worked in the past to manipulate you into doing their bidding instead of respecting your own needs. It will be up to you to fend off these attempts with strong boundaries.

When divorcing a narcissist, it is often best to cut off communication entirely. Do not answer the phone when they call, respond to texts, or allow them in if they appear at your home or work unexpectedly. Getting a new phone number and blocking them on social media is sometimes necessary. If the narcissist persists in contacting you and is threatening in any way, do not hesitate to call the police and your attorney. The police can protect you from imminent harm, and your attorney can take legal measures to help ensure your safety going forward.

Cutting off communication is probably neither possible nor wise if you have young children together. However, you can take steps such as exchanging the children in safe public spaces. You could also make a rule that any direct communication must concern the children. Keep careful records of the narcissist’s adherence to your custody order or parenting plan and all the ground rules you agreed to observe. Report any deviations to your legal counsel.

Take the First Step to Overcome Narcissistic Abuse With a Local Attorney

Divorcing a narcissistic spouse and limiting their contact with you is the first step to regaining your power. Taking advantage of professional resources that can teach you how to overcome narcissistic abuse is also critical.

Work with an attorney with experience handling high-conflict divorces and narcissistic spouses. Call the Atlanta Divorce Law Group today to get started.

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