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As a survivor of narcissistic abuse, I get asked a plethora of questions. The one commonly asked is, “How do we stop feeling empty after suffering narcissistic abuse?”
Oh man! That’s the million dollar question right there. There’s no magical pill, no secret remedy, no cosmic drink to make the pain go away. There’s only time.
I wish I had something better to say than that to the many narcissistic abuse survivors, but I don’t. And getting over narcissistic abuse is such a long process that the time spent healing from it almost seems like an eternity.
And even with all the work I have done within myself in this healing process, I think there will always be a part of me that will feel empty from the abuse.
Not only the emotional and physical abuse he inflicted on me, but also the damage that his crappy behavior did to our son.
You see, our son got to watch from a front-row seat all the abuse he inflicted on me.
Ultimately, he became emotionally abusive to our son, which is what hurts me the most, mostly because I should have left a lot sooner than I did.
The guilt I feel for keeping my son stuck in that situation is almost unbearable, and also what makes me feel even more empty inside.
I find myself spending my days reassuring my son that he is loved and wanted, sometimes overcompensating to make up for the absence of his biological father.
These days, the ex-narc refuses to even acknowledge our son, telling those who still believe his bullshit that his son isn’t biologically his, which is so very untrue and hurtful to our son.
But I get it... It’s how he makes himself feel better about abandoning his son and the woman who loved him more than anything.
The ex-narcissist has also moved on with another woman. In fact, he moved the same woman into our home that he triangulated me with, and had been cheating on me with, just a few short days after we left him.
As for our son... he doesn’t seem to mind his absence at all, which is a good thing, I suppose. However, I see how his father's emotional abuse has affected him in the way he interacts with his girlfriend.
I mean, he’s not mean to her or abusive in any way. He’s like I was in my relationship with his father. He's always wanting to talk about and work on the issues as a couple, so they can grow. It seems admirable. However, he’s so afraid that at any given moment, the other shoe is going to drop, because he will want to work out the issues right then and there. He becomes afraid that she will just leave him, or give him the silent treatments like his father gave me over and over again.
Because his father conditioned him to believe that we weren’t worth working out the issues and growing together as a family.
This pains me to my core.
And guess what... he also feels an emptiness deep inside from the emotional abuse his father did to him. Even though, admittedly, he does not miss his father's presence in his life, he still feels an emptiness in his soul.
And who could blame him???
So how do we stop feeling so empty???
Only time can heal us. We have to fill ourselves back up with the love and support that we give to each other and also give to ourselves. We need to nourish our souls from the outside in.
We’ve set clear boundaries with his Father, and this was and is for our own emotional safety.
This means we’ve had no contact, because his father has a habit of repeatedly crossing even basic boundaries.
More importantly, we worked on ourselves. We are both very different people today. I, for one, have learned to “practice the pause.” I’m not as reactive as I once was, because there’s no need to be in my life any longer.
I find myself listening to hear the other person when they speak and share thoughts, rather than to judge or react to them because feeling heard is such a basic need that we all have, and one that needs to be respected by those we allow in our lives, just as we should respect their need to feel heard.
I have a great family, four wonderful children that love me so much and a very supportive ex-husband that more than supports me on my healing journey.
But the only real key here is the time you spend working on yourself when you replenish your soul. As they say... so within, so without. You really will start to feel whole again.
And that right there is the best feeling in the world, especially after going through emotional warfare.
So, pick yourself up off the ground and get to work on yourself. Be gentler and kinder to yourself. Breathe in and breathe out. Most importantly... forgive yourself for not knowing you were with an abuser. None of us survivors knew right away that we were dealing with covert narcissists, because this type of narcissist really does fly under the radar. And by the time we have them figured out, the damage has already been done.
So stop worrying about the narcissist, because they’re not sitting around worrying about you. Stop blaming yourself for all the damage done and the narcissist's shitty behavior. It wasn’t your fault and there was nothing better you could have done to make him love you or idealize you ever again.
You could have brought the issues to the fore in a million different ways on a thousand different days, and you would have still yielded the very same results every single time.
So, please take the time to feel and then heal. That’s the best advice that was given to me, and now I’m passing that advice down to you. Take care of yourself. Nourish your soul.
'Til Next Time,