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Recovery looks different for everyone. It may take weeks of no-contact for you to feel relief. For those who need to be in some amount of necessary communication with the main N – your ability to hold boundaries will affect your ability to ‘heal & grow”.
Also, notice the other Ns in your life, as there likely were one or more around before you met your N partner. Similar boundaries must apply to them too.
🔅Acknowledge & accept the reality of the abuse
🔅 Be compassionate to yourself for what you’ve been through
🔅 Prepare to experience Intense & complex emotions, & that they’ll last, since we can’t always stop loving someone who hurt us
🔅 Good self-care practices can make a big difference to your recovery, which involves meeting PMES needs (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual). It also includes getting the right kind of support & help.
Things to say to a pushy abuser :
“I’m very busy. Let’s talk some other time” (Then go)
“NO.” (Don’t lie, but don’t explain or justify!)
“I need you to take a step back”
“My heart bleeds for you” / “Sorry you feel that way”
“That is not acceptable” / “STOP THAT”
“Don’t talk to me.” / “Not interested”
RECOVERING your Self
1a. Don’t take their bait
Avoid engaging. Try your best to not give the emotional response they’re craving (rage, tears….). Stay in your Adult power by being calm, & only speaking logic, using facts.
Find smart ways to stay away as much as possible, or limit the time spent around them, including special events.
Be warned: They’re likely to be angry when you pull away – since you won’t be as available to be pushed around.
1b. Don’t accidentally offer bait
🕸 Always be selective in what you share with a N – so they can’t use it against you – which they will, given the opportunity. And you can’t predict when.
🕸 Don’t give too many personal details or emotional statements that will trigger their hostile reactions
2. Clearly communicate needs & boundaries
Take some quiet time to figure out what you will & won’t accept from your N. Write them down. Be very specific when telling them your boundaries, giving practical examples. Make declarative statement – don’t hope they’ll intuit what you want.
Hand it to them in writing so there’s no denying what you’re asking for.
Print it out & post a copy somewhere so everyone (in the family) can be reminded. This prevents items being ignored or twisted (“I didn’t Know!”)
It’s also for your benefit – to keep you strong & on track. Read them often & stick to your guns as much as possible! NOTHING will be perfect, so don’t give up. “It gets worse, then it gets better, then it gets different.” AA quote
PS. No one can set boundaries until they know what their needs are. Look them up, copy & memorize.
3. Prepare an IF / WHEN list
Take more quiet time to write down every annoying, frustrating, mean, stupid thing the N might do or say. You can reasonably predict this, based on lots of experience.
Make 2-3 different columns, by degree of intensity, of their persistently bad behaviors – from least aggravating to most, to see which ones are hardest for you to deal with.
Then, still calm & in your Adult ego state – list how you plan to verbally respond, practically manage, or ignore.
“If they do/say ________ then I will do/say_____________.”
4. Believe in your RIGHTS
Find out what they are – print out & memorize lists. Constantly making yourself wrong (self-hate) & not standing up for yourself as a valuable human being –diminishes your humanity & eventually the will to live. KNOW that you have a right to be treated with resect – so you can stop apologizing!
5. Accept that you can not change them
You’ll be a lot less surprised & frustrated – not taking things as personally or as hard.
This does NOT mean accepting & tolerating the N’s terrible treatment.
But it’s imperative to know & believe that no one (that means you too) has the power to change someone’s deep-seated personality disorder, like NPD.
“Don’t let toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent – & then kick them out!”
NEXT: Recovery from N-abuse, #2