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How long does it take to get over a narcissist?

Recovering from narcissistic abuse is a journey that requires time, patience, and effort. Narcissistic abuse occurs when an individual with narcissistic traits manipulates and controls their partner or those around them for their own gain. The impact of this type of abuse can be devastating, leading to psychological and behavioral effects that can linger long after the relationship has ended. However, by understanding the impact of narcissistic abuse, following the stages of recovery, and utilizing tools and strategies for healing, it is possible to overcome this trauma and build a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Understanding the Impact of Narcissistic Abuse

Psychological effects

Narcissistic abuse can have profound psychological effects on the survivor. Emotional trauma is a common outcome, as the survivor may have endured manipulation, gaslighting, and constant criticism. This can lead to a diminished sense of self-esteem and self-worth, as the narcissist’s constant demands and disapproval chip away at the survivor’s confidence. Additionally, trust issues may arise, as the survivor may find it difficult to trust others or their own judgment after being deceived by the narcissist.

Behavioral effects

Narcissistic abuse can also manifest in behavioral patterns that survivors may adopt as coping mechanisms. People-pleasing is a common behavior, as survivors may have learned to constantly seek validation and approval from the narcissist. This can lead to a persistent need to please others, even at the expense of their own well-being. Codependency is another behavioral effect, where survivors become excessively reliant on the narcissist for validation and a sense of self-worth. Setting boundaries can become challenging, as the survivor may have been conditioned to prioritize the needs and desires of the narcissist above their own.

Stages of Recovery

Acceptance and acknowledgment

The first step in recovering from narcissistic abuse is to acknowledge and accept that the abuse occurred. This involves recognizing the signs of narcissistic abuse, such as the constant manipulation and control, and validating one’s experiences. It is essential for survivors to understand that the abuse was not their fault and that their feelings and experiences are valid.

Detachment and No Contact

Establishing boundaries and cutting off all contact with the narcissist is crucial in the recovery process. Detaching oneself from the narcissist allows space for healing and prevents further emotional harm. This may involve blocking their phone number and social media accounts, as well as avoiding places where they may be present. It is important to create a safe and narcissist-free environment in order to focus on personal healing.

Healing and self-care

Seeking therapy or counseling can be immensely beneficial for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Therapy provides a supportive and non-judgmental space to process the trauma, work through the emotional wounds, and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Engaging in self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and creative outlets can also support healing, as it nurtures self-love and self-compassion.

Rebuilding self-esteem and identity

Rebuilding self-esteem is a crucial part of recovering from narcissistic abuse. It involves rediscovering personal strengths and talents that may have been overshadowed or undermined during the abusive relationship. Recognizing one’s own worth and cultivating a positive self-image is key to moving forward.

Potential Challenges and Obstacles

Hoovering and gaslighting attempts

One of the challenges survivors may face on their journey to recovery is the narcissist’s attempts to regain control. The narcissist may try to Hoover the survivor back into the relationship, using manipulation and false promises to lure them back. Gaslighting, where the narcissist denies or distorts their abusive behavior, can also be a challenge to overcome. It is essential to stay strong, maintain boundaries, and remember the reasons for leaving the narcissist in the first place.

Emotional triggers and setbacks

Emotional triggers and setbacks are common during the recovery process. Certain situations, places, or even certain behaviors displayed by others may remind survivors of the abuse, leading to emotional distress. It is important to practice self-compassion during these moments and seek support from trusted friends, family, or therapists who understand the journey of recovery from narcissistic abuse.

Peer pressure and external judgments

Survivors of narcissistic abuse may face external judgments and pressure from others who may not fully understand the complexity of the situation. Friends or family members may urge them to reconcile with the narcissist or question the validity of the abuse. It is important to trust one’s own experiences and seek support from those who believe and support their healing journey.

Tools and Strategies for Healing

Surrounding yourself with support

Building a support system is vital in the recovery process. Joining therapy groups or support groups with others who have experienced narcissistic abuse can provide validation and a safe space to share experiences. Trusted friends and family who offer empathy and understanding can also be a valuable source of support.

Practicing mindfulness and self-reflection

Engaging in mindfulness practices such as journaling, meditation, or other mindfulness exercises can help survivors reconnect with themselves and process their emotions. This self-reflection allows for self-growth, self-awareness, and a deeper understanding of one’s own needs and desires.

Educating yourself about narcissism

Learning about narcissism and understanding the disorder can empower survivors to recognize red flags in future relationships and avoid falling into similar patterns. Knowledge is power, and arming oneself with information about narcissism can help prevent future abuse.

Moving Forward and Thriving

Rebuilding trust in oneself and others

Recovering from narcissistic abuse involves rebuilding trust in oneself and others. It is essential to learn to trust one’s own instincts, judgment, and emotions after being manipulated by a narcissist. Building healthy relationships based on trust and mutual respect becomes a priority.

Establishing healthy boundaries and relationships

Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is crucial in moving forward and thriving after narcissistic abuse. This involves recognizing one’s own needs and communicating them effectively to others. Learning to say no and honor one’s own boundaries cultivates a sense of empowerment and self-worth.

Embracing personal growth and self-development

The recovery process is an opportunity for personal growth and self-development. Embracing this journey allows survivors to reshape their lives in a way that aligns with their desires and values. By focusing on personal goals, exploring new interests, and investing in personal development, survivors can create a brighter future and distance themselves from the pain of the past.


Recovering from narcissistic abuse is not an easy or quick process, but it is possible to heal and build a life free from the effects of the abuse. Understanding the impact of narcissistic abuse, following the stages of recovery, utilizing tools and strategies for healing, and surrounding oneself with support are key to this journey. It is important to be patient, kind to oneself, and maintain hope for a brighter and healthier future. Remember, you are not alone, and there is healing and happiness beyond narcissistic abuse.


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