Most breakups are not amicable. They usually leave us feeling pain, anger, and emotionally wrecked. When you break up with a narcissist, you may experience all of that — times ten. You might be stuck with a toxic bond that you will need to unravel and cut off on your own.
Breaking up with a narcissist will be the ultimate test of will and emotional strength beyond all breakups because it can lack a true end date. With the average break up it is very clear you are no longer in a relationship. With a narcissist, there is an unhealthy attachment that has been formed along with the anger and grief and the desire to get away. On this emotional roller coaster you will experience the highs of finally being free and the lows of actually missing this person – this is called a trauma bond.
Be aware of negative patterns
A trauma bond is an attachment formed through intense emotional experiences with another person; usually someone who is toxic. It holds us emotionally tied to an abuser. An unhealthy cycle of being in an on-again, off-again relationship with narcissists will have a person yearning for them every time, and you may even initiate contact to see if you can work things out.
Narcissists really know how to get you back. They manipulate ex-lovers into believing they were the root of all problems in the relationship. If they do take any blame, they will say it will never happen again, and love-bomb their ex back into their graces. Once they have you where they need you (when you are supplying their narcissistic needs again), the cycle of abuse will start over. A trauma bond is not love. It’s torture.
How does one break this cycle?
The first step is being aware you are in this trauma bond to begin with.
According to Thought Catalog, there are five things to take into consideration.
- You know they’re deceptive and conniving, but you can’t seem to let go.
- You do everything to please them and are loyal to a fault
- You feel addicted to them and lose far more than you gain.
- You are driven to the brink of self-destruction.
- You forget your worth and value – and you’re willing to lower your standards for this toxic individual, time and time again.
Break the cycle
Once you admit that you are in a vicious cycle with a narcissist, you may implement a plan to break negative patterns. Remind yourself of the reality. Do this by writing a list of all the toxic things an abuser has done. Write a list of all the positive things you stopped doing since being in the relationship, or create an affirmation to ground yourself in truth. Your affirmation would remind you of the truth when you start to miss your ex again, e.g., “Truth is that he’s an abuser and I deserve to be loved, safe, and free of fuck boys”. Keep your lists nearby or memorize your affirmation for the low times when you feel an urge to phone your ex.
Rebuild healthy connections. It is really easy to remain disconnected from your natural support system after having gone through hell. You may struggle with trust issues, in any type of relationship after a breakup, and will be hypersensitive to anything that reminds you of what you went through. Push through this. Spend time with old friends, host family dinners, and pick up that hobby you dropped when the narcissist ex was being self-centered and jealous. These things will help you reconnect with yourself as well as reclaim confidence. What you are doing is replacing the unhealthy attachment with healthy connections with trusted people and positive activities.
Lastly, talk about it. Talking about your trauma in a safe environment is a good way to get through it. The more you discuss it, the less power it has over you. Without taking steps to heal yourself immediately, you leave yourself vulnerable to be abused again, or to become the abuser in your next relationship. Be ready for heightened awareness of how toxic the relationship really was, this awareness is a part of the healing process and plays a huge role in creating replacements for unhealthy stuff left behind.