The aftermath and aftershock of narcissistic abuse is horrific at any time but getting through the holiday season festivities can be especially painful.
Our emotions are all over the place and ranging from confusion and grief to downright rage, betrayal and even feelings of revenge and hatred.
People around us often do not understand what we’ve been through unless they have been there themselves.
Perhaps the narcissist has found new supply and they have seemingly sailed off into the sunset while you are left reeling with your whole life torn to pieces.
Or perhaps you are no contact with abusive family members, while all around seem to be celebrating with family and friends.
Add to this the memories of the “good times” that rear their ugly head to add to the cognitive dissonance and confusion that is already rife.
You may also be struggling financially and have suffered severe losses.
All of this leaves us feeling bitterly lonely, isolated, despairing and different and separate from others.
Narcissists can play havoc at this time too – seizing the opportunity to catch you at your most vulnerable.
This is the time a narcissist may suddenly get in contact, playing on your loneliness, empathy, fear and guilt you may feel to hook you back in to their toxic game.
So how can you navigate all of this?
Plan what you are going to do on the day as much as you can.
If you are going to spend time with any family members or if for example you have a child with a narcissist ex, make sure you have firm boundaries in place.
Get very clear about when and how long this time will be. Think about how you will get there and back. Do you need a friend with you to provide support? How much time are you willing to spend there? What are your non-acceptable triggers and behaviors? At what point will you honor yourself and leave?
Do you absolutely need to see this person/people?
Make sure you have blocked/deleted all ways that the narcissist can contact you.
Make a list of all the horrific behaviors you experienced and put it where you can see it in case of any temptation to reconnect with those you are no contact with.
Be around Uplifting, Supportive People
If you can, try to plan to be with uplifting and supportive people, even if it is with just one other person and only for a small portion of the day. Who can you reach out to?
If you are going to be alone, vow to be your very best support for yourself.
Small Pleasures and Self Care
If you are going to be alone, make it a day to remember. Buy yourself some gifts, even if they are little, silly things. Wrap them up and make them look pretty.
Have a lovely, long bubbly bath with all your favorite scents and smellies.
Get your favorite food within your budget and lovingly cook yourself a meal for you and your “little girl” inside.
Go for a walk after lunch somewhere in nature – a lovely park, common, or by the river or ocean.
Spend time loving yourself up and breathing the relief that you have the freedom to do these things for yourself.
Feel gratitude in your heart that you got out. Make a list of all the things you have that you are grateful for – really feel it in your heart, breathe into it and give thanks.
It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to feel your feelings
If tears come, allow them to be. Don’t try to numb them out. When feelings come, realize that they are your signal that your little girl inside needs you.
Breathe deeply and do the following as soon as you can: Sit quietly and feel where you feel the feeling in your body. Just be with the feelings, allow yourself to feel. Try to connect with your little girl inside as best you can. Tell her you are here now, you are listening, you are going to learn how to take care of her. Tell her you will never leave her again.
Soothe her like you would a real child in distress.
Resolve to Heal
Spend time journaling about how you would like your life to look in the year ahead.
How can you get support to heal through a coach, therapist or recovery program? How can you follow through on your commitment to your little girl inside to heal her pain and trauma?
Decide right now that you are going to use this experience to heal and become your very best YOU.
Put your hand on your heart and breathe in love and kindness for yourself as you choose YOU and say YES to yourself.