As an empath, highly sensitive person, or intuitive you may unfortunately have had several energy vampires in your life over the years. One of the more extreme examples of this is a romantic relationship with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder. After dealing with a narcissist’s abuse, it is important find ways to heal from that trauma and move on.

Being in a narcissistic relationship can be one of the most confusing, painful, and heartbreaking experience for any person. It’s easy to become ensnared in their web of lies and manipulation, and hard to find the strength to move on for good. The good news is that it is possible to fall out of love with a narcissist. Here’s how:

1. Find a therapist

Finding a licensed therapist is the first step in falling out of love with a narcissist partner. Therapy can provide a safe and supportive environment for you to explore the impact your narcissist had on your well-being and mental health. Over time, your therapist can help you heal from your narcissist’s lack of empathy and find ways to spot red flags in future romantic partners.

2. Build a support system

Taking some time to evaluate your support system is key to your healing journey. Do you have safe, trustworthy friends and family around you? Who can you lean on? Who should you distance yourself from? Removing yourself from any other narcissistic relationships (or anyone you identify with narcissistic traits) is potentially the best thing you can do for your support system.

3. Grieve the relationship

Overcoming narcissistic abuse from a romantic partner includes complex, sometimes confusing emotions. Grieving an ended relationship, even a toxic one, allows you to process and acknowledge the emotions and pain you experienced during the relationship.

4. Spend time with trusted loved ones

Spend more time with trusted friends and family members is important to your mental health and wellness because of the social connection and support they can provide. Leaning on healthy relationships can help combat low self-esteem by showing you what real love looks like. It is important to avoid isolation and withdrawing – something your narcissist may have tried to do to you during the relationship.

5. Prioritize self-care

Self-care is vital to your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness, especially when recovering from narcissistic abuse. During this time it is important to make sure you are getting enough sleep, exercise, drinking water, and eating regularly. You should also make sure to spend time on hobbies that interest you. If you are having trouble with any of these, your therapist and support system can help!

6. Don’t have selective memory

Because many narcissists use gaslighting, you may have issues trusting your own memory. As you reflect on your time in the relationship, make sure to not consciously choose to remember only certain aspects of your time with the narcissist, such as the love bombing phase when they showered you with expensive gifts and affection. Choosing only to think back on the few happy moments you had with this person could tempt you to contact them. Remember and process the bad times with a licensed therapist, as this can be triggering.

7. Join a support group for survivors of abuse

A support group lead by a trained facilitator can you develop healthy coping strategies, rebuild self-esteem, and work on your personal growth with others going through a similar situation. Sharing your experiences and feelings can help you receive validation and build resilience. If you are struggling to build a support system, a support group can provide heathy interpersonal relationships.

8. Channel your emotions through art

Creating art is a great way to work through difficult emotions as it will allow you to express thoughts and feelings that are hard to vocalize in a non-verbal way. Experiment with different mediums that interest you like drawing, painting, photography, or sculpture. If this is your first time making art, you may be nervous to try this. You do not need to be a professional or trained artist to benefit from this activity! Art is about the journey and enjoying the process of creation and self-expression.

9. Start journaling

Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts and feelings out in private. A daily journaling practice can you help you identify patterns, negative thoughts, and triggers over time. Research shows that journaling is an excellent way to manage anxiety and reduce depression.

10. Get rid of shame

It is common to feel shame and even embarrassment after dealing with a narcissist’s emotional abuse. In the words of Brené Brown, a renowned shame researcher and author, “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” Brown’s research has shown that shame is highly correlated with a range of negative outcomes, and that the best way to combat shame is through empathy, self-compassion, and vulnerability.

11. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries

Because narcissistic individuals depend on us for their narcissistic supply, we may not be used to putting up healthy boundaries with others. Boundaries are the limits that you set for yourself in order to maintain your personal and emotional space. Your therapist and support group can help you define your physical boundaries (such as whether you prefer hugs or handshakes from others) and emotional boundaries (such as setting clear expectations on what behavior is acceptable in a relationship).

Additionally, other boundaries you can set with yourself that may be helpful during this time can include blocking your narcissistic ex on social media and deleting all text messages.

12. Lean into your spiritual life

Engaging in spiritual practices such as meditation, mindfulness, prayer, magick, or yoga can help you cultivate a sense of purpose and inner peace. Even just spending time in nature can be a simple spiritual practice that is easy to do on a daily basis. Now is a great time to explore your beliefs and what resonates deeply with you.

While all of the above steps can help the process, there is no timeline to falling out of love with a narcissistic partner. The journey to healing can be long, and it isn’t linear. Falling out of love with a narcissist can be one of the most challenging experiences for any person, but it doesn’t have to be impossible! With professional help, a strong support system, and intentional self-care, you can heal from the past and find happiness and true love again.

Need help? You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 at 800-799-7233