The Importance Of Grieving After Narcissistic Abuse

By JH Simon

Grieving after narcissistic abuse

Table of Contents

After the initial high of the ‘light-bulb’ moment passes, when you have awoken to the truth and created distance from the narcissist, a heaviness might come over you, threatening to pull you down into a terrifying abyss.

Grief is a healing tonic which restores the Self to a point of equilibrium, clearing the way for someone new to emerge within you. It is a necessary part of recovering from narcissistic abuse.

The Death Before The Rebirth

While in a narcissistic relationship, you were identified with a grandiose construct i.e. the false self of the narcissist. The narcissist presented you with a confident, bullet-proof persona who had all the answers, and who could conspire with you to create a fantastical future. The perfect love. Success. Family. Anything you dared dream of.

The narcissist also knew the ‘right’ way to live. They judged your every move, suggested what you should do more, and what you should stop doing. They questioned anything about you they did not like. Even your friends and family.

You attached to the narcissist’s all-knowing, all-confident persona. Meanwhile, the identity you brought into the relationship was dismantled thread by thread. You were reprogrammed according to the narcissist’s grandiose vision of how life should be, and above all, how you should be.

This identity which the narcissist constructed within your mind, body and soul — intended to serve the narcissist’s cult of one — is now crumbling. Because it was intended for a very specific and unique purpose, its entire reason for existing, i.e. the narcissist, is now gone.

Your ego drew security, confidence, purpose and hope from the narcissist’s false self, and it wants all those things back. The ego does not care where you draw your identity from, it only insists that you should have one. It does not realise that you can rebuild yourself in a more independent, actualised and empowered way.

That is the essence of awakening to your personal power. The awareness of what happened and allowing your old identity to die is a terribly painful yet necessary phase in the recovery journey.

The Grieving Process

Before you can rebuild, you must grieve. Ideally, you want to direct your awareness into the heaviness, to expand your consciousness and accept the depression in all of its ferocity.

Take time each day to direct your attention toward any feeling of heaviness for as long as you can tolerate. Note its intensity. Where in the body does it manifest? In the chest? In your throat or face? What does it long for? What memories does it dig out? Can you feel the neediness, the desperation of your situation? Above all, can you feel the horror of staring death in the face? Allow it all.

Let your face droop, let your shoulders soften, let yourself be as sad and depressed as needed. This will feel unbearable, but it is the way. The only way. Do not think about it or analyse it, simply observe it and allow it to happen. Just when you think it will never end, it begins to transform.

But that could be days, weeks or months away. For now, simply take time out each day to do this practice. When you become overwhelmed, and surely you will at the beginning, get up and do something that brings you relaxation and joy. Take a bath, spend time with a good friend, watch your favourite TV show, go for a walk, do exercise. When you are sufficiently filled, go back into the heaviness and sit there i.e. be conscious with it.

This sounds like elementary advice, but the ego has a way of tricking us into avoiding our grief. Be reminded now of the simple act of showing up for your Self. Keep reminding yourself every day. No matter how much it hurts, stay present. Allow yourself the time, space and grace to simply grieve. You can be sure that when the work is done, the sun will shine again, and the darkness will recede back into the depths of your being.

Then your spiritual growth can begin.

Want to learn more about narcissism? Check out How To Kill A Narcissist and How To Bury A Narcissist for the definitive resource on overcoming narcissistic abuse.

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