“Why can’t I just forget the past and move on?” This is a very common question after narcissistic abuse! The answer is that there is a critical step in between the past and moving forward. That critical step is healing! This step cannot be bypassed or you will remain stuck in limbo land somewhere between the old and the new. Trying to avoid, circumvent, or numb out your pain is a road to continued suffering and will always lead you back to the starting point.
How long is it going to take to heal? The only way out is through! This is one of my favorite phrases and truly a mantra to live by. Healing doesn’t have to take as long as you may think. It takes great courage to take responsibility for your inner wounds and look them straight in the eye. The minute you take your focus off the narcissist, who they are, or what they are (or aren’t) doing and put that same energetic focus back onto yourself, the sooner you will see life start to unfold in front of your eyes.
Here are five quick strategies to kick start your healing process.
- Acceptance: Learn to accept what happened as a matter of fact. Reframe the scenario slightly from ‘this happened to me’ to ‘this happened.’ This moves you from feelings of victimhood back into truth.
- Feel Everything: It may seem counterintuitive at first but give yourself permission to feel everything you need to feel. Instead of pushing away painful emotions, move towards them instead. If a child came to you and said they were hurting, would you push them away? Or would you hold them and comfort them? Envision that little child as a smaller version of yourself calling out for your attention.
- Follow Your Body: Be fully aware of how your body feels. Do you have pressure in your chest? A pit in your stomach? Try comforting yourself by gently placing your hand on whatever part of your body is feeling discomfort. Close your eyes and adopt the mantra “Although I feel (blank) right now, I accept myself fully.” Fill in the blank with whatever you are feeling in the present moment.
- Know Your Worth: As babies, we are born pure and innocent. Somewhere in life we experienced something that caused us to believe that we were unworthy. How would it feel if you changed this false belief? Know in the deepest part of your soul that you matter and you are here for a reason. Knowing your worth will make you less susceptible to compromising your values and you will no longer accept poor behavior from others.
- Create Boundaries: Holes in your boundaries are like a sinking ship with holes in the bottom. Make a list of what you will no longer accept from others, yourself, and life. Then follow through!!! Every time you follow through, trust in yourself will grow.