Life After Leaving a Narcissist… Feels Pretty, Damn, Sweet 😎

Life after leaving a narcissist ain’t no easy feat – especially at the beginning. 

It’s dreadful at first. And there’s no amount of meaningless sex that will fill that void in your heart. 

But like they say, you’ve gotta have a breakdown to breakthrough. And if you hit rockbottom, things can only get better, right?

So, here’s to the sweet life that’s waiting for you on the other side of leaving a narcissist.

But first, let’s deal with some of the struggles you’ll face.

The struggles after leaving a narcissist

You’re going to feel a cocktail of emotions when you’re finally sat alone in the silence, away from your narc.

Hopefully it won’t be as depressing as being alone in a swanky room in Bali, miles away from anyone you know. But it’ll hit you hard regardless of where you are.

Here’s what to expect:

Guilt

Like you’re somehow responsible for your partner’s behaviour. Guilty that it was all your fault that it ended this way. And boy was it not. 

You’re never to blame for someone’s abusive actions, that’s on them. Period. 

Naturally you’ll feel at fault because they’ve led you to believe that. That’s the narcissist’s way. 

Look, I’m not saying you’re an angel, all good people can do bad things. But when they’re giving you the speech that blames you, don’t take that at face value. Evaluate the whole relationship and you’ll soon see the cracks. And they appeared a long time before things ended. Narcissists are very good at making you feel guilty. After all, it’s one of the emotions that upholds the inner-workings of their abuse. 

So feel the guilt. But realise it’ll pass when you fully understand what you went through.

Shame

Feeling ashamed for staying as long as you did. Or for not recognising the red flags sooner. 

This ones a biggie. I felt it all too well. 

You feel a fool for not realising you were with a narcissist. When you learn about the narcissistic abuse cycle, silent treatment, gaslighting for example, it helps you define your experience. It gives you the vocab you never had before.

And when you realise it all, you can’t believe you stayed and put up with their shitty behaviour. It becomes glaringly obvious to you. It’s like you’ve been slapped awake.

But you can’t punish yourself for not knowing. And when you do learn the truth, it’s kind of validating. It helps you make sense of the whole relationship and you see you weren’t crazy. 

Fear

Afraid of what’s next – of being alone, of not finding love again, of being judged by others. It’s daunting and fear has a nasty habit of trumping all the other emotions. And it can even stop you from leaving.

Being alone is a terrifying thought after you’ve been with a narcissist. But that’s because your toxic relationship made you wholly reliant on them. So of course when you’re alone again, you no longer know how to fend for yourself.

Like Susan Jeffers says:

“The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it”.

So if you fear being alone, get comfortable with it. You need to take a break from romantic relationships to give you the space to heal.

This brilliant woman (@NarcAWAY), has some wise words to help you battle the inevitable loneliness you’ll feel after leaving your life with a narcissist.

The Earth’s population is nearly 8 billion people. Do you honestly think that asshole was the only one for you?! Have enough faith in yourself that you’ll fall in love again. Cos numbers don’t lie. There’s a very high chance you’ll meet someone new with that many people on the planet to pick from.

As for the fear of judgement, let people judge. We all do it, it’s human nature. And it’s hurtful to think your friends might be thinking “I told you so”. But the reality is, nobody truly knows what you experienced during that relationship. (Unless they’re another survivor – we know what it’s like and you deserve a trophy for lasting)!

So next time you feel the gloom of being alone, embrace it. Because it’s a far better outcome than being with a narcissist.

Anger

This is a dominant feeling. Finding out your lover was also your abuser is a lot to digest. That betrayal enrages you, it makes you want to fight back when you find out. You want revenge, you want to see them suffer like you did. 

Be angry, they hurt you and wasted your time. But don’t let the narcissist see that. If you act on impulse and show them your hatred, you’ll only add fuel to the fire. They need to see your emotions so they can act on them. If you give them nothing, they can’t feed off you.

It’s hard to let go of anger. I’d say it was one of the most recurring emotions for me – it’s probably why I do jiu-jitsu! It’s easy to get wrapped up in it, fantasising for bad things to happen to them. 

But the more thought you put into them, the more you take away from you. Don’t let them rule your life anymore than they already have.

Make a voodoo doll instead. Jokes! I’ve never done that before – but let me know if it worked for you! 

Let your anger be a lesson to not accept poor treatment in the future. Remember that feeling of powerlessness and let it protect you from further harm.

Sadness

Break ups are upsetting, you’ll cry an awful lot. But crying’s good – it lets the boohoos out!

On a side note, I did actually cry too much. I gave myself an eye disease (blepharitis). So maybe don’t go too far! You don’t want to be dealing with a break up and crusty eyelids! (RIP my pathetic self! LOL 🤣 at how far I’ve come)!

All these struggles are normal and you’re not alone. Acknowledging that you’re going to feel like this helps you see the process. So many people overcome narcissistic abuse. And they come out the other side stronger and happier. That’ll be you someday too.

Life After Leaving a Narcissist Means… 

Rediscovering Yourself

In other words, who are you? Or who do you wanna be?

I know you’ve lost yourself because I’ve been there too. And I’m going to reiterate something I heard Dr Ramani say on her podcast that really resonated. She said that healing and recovering from narcissistic abuse isn’t about going back to who you were. 

The experience changes you entirely and you can’t go back. You can only evolve and move forward. You know your vulnerabilities now and that makes you a stronger person. It’s like you’ve lost your rose tinted glasses and view love in a sceptical way.

You become less trusting and it makes you wiser and selective of who you spend time with. It helps you reassert your boundaries and take a firmer stance on what you want. And those are not bad qualities to have because they honour your needs. 

Take a piece of paper and jot dot down what you want for yourself for the next year. Start rediscovering who you are and where you want to be. Did you neglect a hobby you used to love? Or did you want to try something new?

Find a new hobby

I used to love mountain biking. It was my ex who got me into it. But I lost the joy for it after we broke up, I didn’t feel like it was my thing anymore. Every time I took my bike out it just made me anxious. So I needed a new dangerous sport to fill my time with!

And that’s when I fell in love with the art of grappling. Jiu-jitsu is basically normalised adult play fighting – and I bloody love it! It’s a great way to let off steam and channel aggression in a healthy way. 

Did I mention it’s also great exercise for your body and mind? You can’t think about anything else for that hour or else you’ll get beat. It helped me feel strong and powerful again. Because now I know how to brake an arm or choke someone (if I have to). 

And you know what? There’s even research to back up doing self defence for trauma recovery:

“The best way to overcome ingrained patterns of submission is to restore a physical capacity to engage and defend”.

Bessel Van Der Kolk, The Body Keeps The Score

In other words:

Feeling in control, like you’re able to defend yourself, helps simulate a sense of empowerment and self-confidence. By learning self-defence techniques, you develop confidence in your ability to protect yourself. So you feel less vulnerable to future harm. 

A new hobby can positively impact your whole life

Practicing a hobby like jiu-jitsu can help you focus better on all aspects of your life. You want everything in your life to support your training. So, you start eating better to have more energy to train. You do weights to keep you strong for the sport. Mobility and stretching become a priority. And you realise the importance of sleep. 

All these things intertwine and improve you physically and mentally. Need I say more?

One day I’ll get you into it, you’ll see!

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Sure, it’s nerve-racking at first. I still get nervous before every class (so do black belts, I hear). But I don’t let it stop me from going, it’s part of it. And I know once I’m there, I have fun and I’m present in what I’m doing.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to dance or take up yoga. Go for it! You never know what you might discover about yourself. Take it one step at a time, have fun with it, and enjoy the journey.

Life after leaving a narcissist means…

Building stronger relationships

A natural worry when restarting your life after leaving a narcissist is:

How do you recognise and avoid future toxic people? 

First things first, you gotta be able to recognise the red flags. So, look out for these warning signs:

Arrogance

If someone only talks about themselves and never seems interested in what you have to say – that’s a BIG red flag. Narcissists want to be the centre of attention, bragging about money and accomplishments. They’re entitled and when they don’t feel like they’re the focus, watch how they change.

No empathy

Have you ever tried to have a heart-to-heart with a narcissist? Yeah, good luck with that. These guys have about as much empathy as Donald Trump! They can’t put themselves in anyone else’s shoes – unless it’s for their own personal gain.

Love bombing

Such a classic sign. This will look like showering you with affection and attention right off the bat. Expect extravagant gifts, perfect dates, mirroring your hopes and dreams. It’s how they begin their manipulation. They’re hooking you in with their charm until you’re besotted with them.

Grab your own checklist of all the red flags, here →

So, how do you maintain healthy boundaries once you’ve spotted these red flags? 

You do the following:

Trust your gut

If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t ignore your instincts. Or dismiss your concerns for the sake of giving someone the benefit of the doubt.

Pay attention to actions, not just words

Narcissists are often skilled at saying all the right things. But their actions may tell a different story. Look for consistent behaviour and follow-throughs on promises.

Establish and enforce boundaries

Healthy relationships need mutual respect and understanding of each other’s boundaries. Don’t be afraid to communicate your needs and expectations. And don’t compromise on them to please someone else.

If at anytime someone tries to push your boundaries. Or make you feel guilty for having them, that’s a sign that they’re not respecting your needs. And you might want to reconsider the relationship.

Take it slow

Rushing into a new relationship can be tempting, especially after leaving a toxic one. But taking time to get to know someone and build trust can help prevent falling into the same patterns. Like the tortoise🐢, slow and steady wins the race.

Seek therapy (if you can)

I thought that passing my driving test was the hardest challenge I’d ever face. (No joke, it took me 6 times)! But navigating my life after leaving a narcissist was by far the biggest one. 

So if you can get a therapist who understands narcissistic abuse, it’ll make such a difference to your recovery. They’ll help you work through the trauma, identify unhealthy patterns in your thinking and behaviour. And give you the tools to cope and move forward.

Remember, building strong relationships takes time and effort. You’re going to be on high alert and constantly searching for toxic traits. But that’s normal because you’re protecting yourself. And by having a tougher screening process, you won’t let just anyone into your inner circle. That way you’ll only surround yourself with people who lift you up, not tear you down.

Life after leaving a narcissist means…

Finding happiness and healing

Loving yourself is hard after you’ve taken a big hit to your self esteem. But you can get that back again. And it starts with putting your happiness first. Not easy when you’ve been conditioned to put your needs last.

First, you need to stop feeling like a victim. And you do that by taking some accountability. Figure out what made you so vulnerable to their traits. Awareness of your qualities that let you put up with their behaviour, helps avoid it happening again. It gives you the power back because you know what narcissists are looking for.

So ask yourself these questions:

What was my role in the relationship? 

Why did I let this happen for as long as I did? 

What was I missing that let me put up with this behaviour? 

Was it low self esteem? Did I feel unlovable? Not good enough?

It was my deep empathy and caring nature. My ex weaponised it against me to get away with bad behaviour. I see it all now and it makes sense. He always preyed on my empathy when I would confront him about issues. Our problems turned into pity parties as arguments followed with sob stories. Like “I didn’t come home because I was depressed”. 

What, so ignoring your girlfriend’s texts and calls all night long, because you’re sad is ok then? You can drop your partner a line to say you’re staying at a friend’s house. Intentionally ignoring someone is abuse. Especially if you end up awake all night with worry.

So try and look at all aspects of the relationship, not just what they did to you. But why you stayed. Learn about yourself and it’ll help prevent future problems.

Self-care

What are the little things you can do to love yourself? What makes you feel better?

Maybe you treat yourself to a massage once in a while. Or you like a long, hot soak in a bubble bath. Maybe you like to get the blood pumping and enjoy a hike. Do whatever makes you feel good. Because taking care of yourself is important and you deserve it.

Make time for you. Even my friend Tee – who’s a single mum of three – still finds time to look after herself. She loves a sauna or a pilates class. And she makes time for these things because they nourish her wellbeing. 

Find your tribe

Surrounding yourself with others who’ve gone through similar experiences can be incredibly validating. You’ll feel less alone and might even learn some new tips for healing. Plus, it’s a great excuse to meet new people and make new friends. You’ll bond instantly with other survivors.

But you can also find connections through shared interests. Like LP, who’s travelling Asia right now with a bunch of strangers she met through her organised tour. She’s stepped out of her comfort zone to do what she loves and met some great people along the way.

So, don’t be afraid to try new things. Sometimes you’ve gotta give yourself a wee push in the right direction. You can always give it a go once and never go back again if you hated it! But at least you tried. It all helps to rebuild your confidence and make you feel happy in your own skin again.

Life after leaving a narcissist means… 

Saying goodbye to all your problems!

There’s so much to look forward to when you cut ties with a toxic partner. You realise how many problems they were adding to your life. And you no longer have to deal with them. 

You’ll feel awful for months while you get them out your system. But you’ll also lose a bunch of stress that was attached to them. 

Imagine a life where you’re free to make your own choices and pursue your dreams – without being controlled or belittled. That’s the life waiting for you on the other side of leaving a narcissist. It’s a life full of possibilities, self-discovery, and true happiness.

And there won’t be anymore…

✅ DRAMA or mind games

✅ Doubting yourself

✅ Arguments and walking on eggshells

✅ Guilt, confusion and feeling ashamed

✅ Silent treatment and gaslighting, or

✅ Feeling physical symptoms due to stress.

Life after leaving a narcissist means…

CELEBRATING 🎉

Jumping for joy: life after leaving a narcissist

This ones my favourite. I love celebrating you. And you should celebrate you.

You’ve come bloody far. Not only have you survived the abuse. But you’re learning from it and you have a deeper understanding of yourself now. You’re no longer someone people can fuck with.

Life after a narcissist is the end of your beginning. You’re free now. And damn will that start to feel pretty sweet!! 

This is empowerment. You’ve taken back control of your life and that deserves a celebration.

Here are some fun ideas to do that:

Take a trip

Whether it’s a day trip, a weekend getaway or you ditch your 9 to 5 to go travelling. Go solo, with your friends or kids. But pick somewhere monumental to represent your milestone. It’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on your journey and embrace your newfound independence.

Treat yourself

Prefer something more tangible? Then buy yourself a new outfit or a piece of jewellery. Or do the classic: get a whole new hairstyle! That’s exactly what I did – along with a new tattoo. I needed something new just for me!

Throw a party

People have divorce parties now. So why not gather your girlfriends and cheers your new life together? You could even make a piñata with your ex’s face on it! Have a laugh and celebrate your win. Focus on feeling good about your decision to leave. A mini party could help enhance that.

Document your journey

This is a good one because it also shows you how far you’ve come. You can look back and see how much progress you’ve made. You’ll see the sad sap you once were and how much you’ve blossomed! 

Photos and videos can help with that too. I have some funny ones of me smoking fags in the Philippines when I was feeling pretty low! But now I look at those memories and I actually see a lot of good in them. It also helped that I had my best friend there making me smile everyday. 

And hey, you might even be inspired to write a blog someday 😉

Remember, celebrating your victory isn’t just about the big things. It’s also about the small victories, like getting out of bed in the morning or exercising. Take time to recognise and celebrate all the progress you’ve made, no matter how big or small.

Leaving a narcissistic relationship can be a long and difficult journey, but you did it. You are stronger and more resilient than you ever thought possible. So give yourself credit for making it through such a difficult time. 

Keep pushing forward with confidence and pride. And you’ll soon see how sweet life after leaving a narcissist can be.

4 thoughts on “Life After Leaving a Narcissist… Feels Pretty, Damn, Sweet 😎”

  1. Books have been the hobby that saved me because they stopped me over thinking in the early days. Now they are a habit I could never give up! Coming up to 18 months since I left and I don’t even think about him now & I’m loving life! x

    1. I like books for both escapism and learning. I wish I read like you, you must be so wise with all the books you’ve read. Love seeing how great you’re doing x

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