True recovery must include this.

Reblogged answer from: Athena Walker, Psychopathy is present from the first breath one takes, to the last.

You go through the steps.

First deal with the immediate shocking aftermath. You aren’t going to be at a place at this stage to realize what has happened to you. At this stage, you’re sad and desperate to understand what just happened. You want the person to just talk to you. It can be fixed if you could just understand why they are so angry at you. You have to ride this one out. You have to be willing to see the hard facts that are all around you, and have been. You have just been blind to them.

When that fades, shock. This is the part where the lies and the abuse starts to come into focus. There is the stark truth that the person you thought you loved wasn’t real. This person was a photograph of lies. To get through this, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. What was real? What wasn’t. It’s research time. This stage usually has a lot of reading and education on the process of narcissistic abuse. You are going to find good information, and bad information. It does matter which you are going to allow color your vision. I will give a hint, good information doesn’t let you off the hook. What they did, it sucks. Big time and without exception it was absolutely lousy. However, you were there too, and you remained there. That means you have a good amount of work to do to.

If the information crucifies the narcissist and paints you as the pure as the driven snow innocent victim, you’re going to go ahead and want to ignore that. If you were innocent, and it was all the other person, you are going to be prime picking for the next narcissist that rolls around. Oh, and they will. They come out of the woodwork because they can smell it on you. I will come back to this in a moment. You want information that is going to force you to accept that you are a part of the toxic stew that made that relationship work as it did. So, any information that lays out the narcissist on the sacrificial alter, and pardons you, they are not trying to help you. They are trying to appeal to your inflamed sense of injustice, and almost definitely sell you something.

Now you get to be angry. Yay anger! It’s this stage where you can work out some of that negative energy that’s been building up from the devaluation stage. It was always there, you just didn’t acknowledge it. To get through this stage you have to make a really important choice. Will you use your righteous anger to cause damage, or will you use it to help. Either way, you’re probably going to swing too far in either direction. You either want to destroy the narcissist, or you are going to crusade for others. These tend to be the two outlets that people take. Just make sure you check yourself as you go. Don’t lose yourself to the anger.

Feel it, embrace it, allow it to work itself out, but don’t let it become you. Those are the people that become trapped in an echo chamber of their beliefs. No one can argue with them. They are an AUTHORITY! And nothing that contradicts what they think, no matter how well demonstrated or logical, will never penetrate the walls of their sacred narcissist free fortress of rightness.

Next, acceptance. Hopefully, you handled anger well, and you are now here. It’s not a fun stage, but it’s a necessary one. It was messed up what happened, and you have some internal work to do. You can become overly critical of yourself at this stage. Sort of a leftover aspect of the devaluation, but more tied to your damaged sense of self-esteem that you had before the relationship begin. You can take the blame entirely on your head and focus far too closely on this. That is why it is a good point to work on you. You have hopefully already started. You realize that even before the relationship, you weren’t exactly healthy. The relationship made this worse, so now it’s time to put yourself in the shop. However that looks for you, therapy, meditation, the single life, what have you, it’s personal maintenance time. Make use of this time wisely.

Last, the earned stage of recovery. You may notice that in the previous description I made no mention of forgiveness. That’s up to you, and don’t let people tell you what you need to do to move on in regards to forgiving the narcissist. That’s your choice, not their’s. It’s during this stage that you may consider dating again. You think, “I’ve got this”. I can recognize the signs now, and I am going to be fine. Hang on a second, that may not be the case at all. …

It’s not impossible, and it can be done. It’s not fast, it’s not easy, and there are a lot of setbacks. You are going to be pissed that it takes you as long as it does, and you are going to turn that anger in on yourself as criticism for not being strong enough. The fact of the matter is, it’s a process, and even when you are done with it, you are still at high risk for another narcissist. You might think, nope! I know what their game is now! I’ll see it coming from a mile away.

No, you won’t, and here’s why. You still were susceptible to love bombing. You have been trained to seek that pay off throughout your relationship with the narcissist. When the next one cozies up to you, and they will, the love bombing will feel so good to your damaged heart. You will subconsciously be drawn to it. Going forward, you have to be hyper-aware of what the other person is about. You have to remind yourself, if it’s too good to be true, it is.

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