January 12, 2022
While the term dumped is often used when one person leaves another in a relationship, being left by a narcissist can be particularly painful. A narcissist does not show any compassion or care. Instead, they simply discard you when you are no longer of use in their life. They are able to do this with ease since other people are objectified in their minds, and they are the superior person. It is their happiness that matters, and any negative impact they cause is not their problem; it is yours.
Being discarded in a relationship brings up thoughts and emotions that can be a core part of your life’s history. The loss of the relationship is a trigger for issues with abandonment, self-blame, rejection, emotional wounding, and humiliation or fear. The longer the relationship has lasted and the more you have sacrificed to maintain the relationship with the narcissist, the more emotionally damaging and painful the loss will seem.
In addition to dealing with these extremely devastating emotions, the narcissist has typically moved on and is in a new relationship. This sense of being replaced is devastating to those with abandonment issues. It can seem as if they are being traded in for someone better than they are. To make it more difficult, the narcissist typically flaunts this new relationship and goes out of the way to lavish the new partner with gifts, love, and compliments in public and even in front of you. This can also be done on social media, with a never-ending stream of photos of the two of them together.
However, people can overcome these very real feelings of being discarded and move forward with their life. This often includes learning more about themselves, becoming more aware of the red flags of narcissistic personalities, and developing an ability to set boundaries.
Tips for Healing and Recovery
It can be very difficult to work through things on your own. Reaching out to a therapist or a tribe of like minded indivuals, such as those in my Inner Circle, who are working with people recovering from narcissistic abuse can help provide the guidance, support, and safe space you need to move forward.
In addition, it is also important to:
· Prepare for the return – in most cases, the narcissist will circle back to partners at some point in time. This is often triggered by the new partner leaving or ending the relationship. When this happens, it is essential to be emotionally strong and feel confident in yourself to set the boundary and say “no.” Entering back into the relationship, even when the narcissist promises things will be better, is setting yourself back up for a future discard.
· Work through past wounds – abandonment and fear of being alone is often linked to emotional trauma from childhood. Often this includes parents or a caregiver who was emotionally distant, neglectful, absent, abusive, or who had issues with addiction or narcissism. Working with a therapist or joining my Inner Circle can help to address these issues and test possible negative beliefs about yourself that are contributing to the challenges of moving forward and understanding the abusive nature of the relationship with the narcissist.
· Experience the emotions – attempting to avoid grief and push down feelings of sadness, loss, abandonment, and pain only results in adding to the emotional wounds you already have. Experiencing the emotions through journaling, therapy, and the natural grieving process prevents this issue from creating the potential for even greater feelings of abandonment and loss.
· Develop new skills – boundary setting, communicating your needs, and learning about self-care and self-love is also important to do after you have dealt with the emotional response to being discarded by a narcissist.
It is critical to understand that it is painful and difficult to be discarded by a narcissist. Getting the help and support you need is the best way to heal and recover while also making positive changes in your life. Narcissists typically do not change and have no interest in changing. Learning how to detect these people in the future and avoid putting yourself in their path of destruction is the best way to protect yourself.
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Sherry Gaba, LCSW and Transformation Coach
Author of Love Smacked:How to Stop the Cycle of Relationship Addiction and Codependency to find Everlasting Love