In today’s article, we are going to discuss your concerns around healing from trauma bonding in response to yesterday’s article (which you can read here) where I outlined some of the reasons and how trauma bonding happens. It's my hope that this article will help you to finally begin the process of breaking free from the grips of trauma bonding after experiencing narcissistic abuse and move forward with your recovery and healing journey.
Also, please remember to give yourself the necessary space and time to grieve the loss of this relationship (click here to read article) and what has happened to you - Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will the completion of your healing journey happen over night. Furthermore, trauma bonding can have a negative impact on your life in three key areas if you do not take the necessary time to heal and they include your emotional, mental and spiritual self. As such, knowing how to properly detach and sever ties with your abuser and heal will be integral to your ability to reclaim your power and move on with your life.
But, how exactly do you get over your toxic ex, the narcissist, if you are still addicted and trauma-bonded to this person?
I always say - start with your WHY.
When you are healing from trauma bonding, you must have a reason for leaving your toxic partner. It's not enough to just want to leave and then do nothing about it. There must be a clear reason that leads to your ultimate why for leaving and never looking back.
What's at stake if you decide to stay and continue to be emotionally abused?
Are you willing to waste another day of your life being possessed and controlled by your toxic partner?
What about your goals and dreams for your life? Are you prepared to give up on them and live a life that is truly not in alignment with the essence of who you are?
Are you not fed up with being someone's play toy? Only to be taken off the shelf to be toyed with then carefully put away, until your toxic partner is ready to play with you again.
It is a never ending loop of crazy-making that ONLY YOU can put a stop to
Speaking from personal experience, in my opinion, there are two ways out of an emotionally abusive relationship with a narcissist; you decide to stick around and try to work things out until your toxic partner has had enough of you and moves on to their next project without warning. This will usually happen suddenly at the end of the relationship when they devalue you one last time, completely destroying what's left of the woman you use to be.
The other way out is when you've reached your breaking point - you've had enough!
You simply can't take any more of their BS and are finally ready to leave the relationship and rebuild your life; even if it means you have to leave that relationship by the skin of your teeth, but one thing you know for sure you are getting out of this toxic cycle by any means necessary. However, a question you may have never considered asking yourself is what's it going to take to permanently leave and never look back?
What wasn't obvious for me in the early days of my recovery and healing journey is that I wasn't aware of the fact that my uncontrollable, up and down emotions towards this person and the relationship were holding me back from clearly seeing who this person truly was; thus, making logical, decisive decisions for myself while being enmeshed in such a toxic relationship had stopped me from making a healthy decision to permanently sever ties and move on with my life.
This is key when preparing and ultimately deciding to leave an emotionally abusive relationship and one that continuously holds victims back from taking that leap of faith to finally walk away from a narcissist and that would be your inability to emotionally self-regulate long enough to carry through with making the right decision for your life and break free from the cycle of emotional abuse and the only way to do that is to enforce your no contact rule and create an ACTION PLAN (click here for more info) that will successfully get you out of the situation you are in for good!
Healing from Trauma Bonding isn't an overnight process and must be taken seriously.
Unfortunately, what usually happens is that you will be sucked right back into the trauma bonding cycle if you are not strategic in how you are going to move forward. This is where many women, including myself, have had the most trouble because in your mind for a brief moment, for example, when your toxic partner has, yet again, given you the cold shoulder and disappeared on you for a week that short separation between the two of you probably gave you some much needed clarity and time to realize that this relationship is not healthy and that it's time for you to get OUT! But, in that moment of sanity and clarity, here comes your toxic partner, again, with their 'love bombing' and promises to change and treat you better, and once again you are looped right back into the crazy-making, emotional roller-coaster of being stuck in a destructive, toxic relationship.
This is what I referred to in PART ONE of this article as Intermittent Reinforcement.
When you are dating a narcissist or some other toxic personality type they know how to manipulatively reward and punish your behavior as if you were a child. A good example of intermittent reinforcement would be when your toxic partner has ghosted you for a week and you in return have been frantically calling and texting them needing their fake love and half-ass attention (an addictive response that I spoke about in PART ONE). In return, they will then perfectly time the moment when they will swoop back in to save the day and grace you with their 'love bombing' and shallow conversation of future faking the life they are pretending to want with you - sound familiar?
Putting Distance Between the Two of You - The No Contact Rule:
This is why 'going no contact' is a powerful self-protective, but also a healing tool that we as survivors implement and utilize with DISCIPLINE when we are serious about putting controlled distance between ourselves and our toxic ex-partners.
Going 'no contact' is important for three reasons:
(1.) It gives you the opportunity to detach and remove yourself from the toxic energy of being in such a relationship with a manipulative person. What we don't realize while dating a narcissist or some other toxic personality type is that while we are immersed in the daily toxicity and destructiveness of that relationship, we lose a bit of our soul and our own authentic selves in order to survive, adapt and most importantly to be accepted by this monster we've trusted with our heart.
(2.) Going 'no contact' gives you the necessary distance to detox, deeply reflect upon why you've decided to stay in such a manipulative relationship; as well as allows you to hopefully see the relationship and your partner for what and who they truly are. I spoke about taking time out to reflect upon your WHY for wanting to leave this relationship at the beginning of this article for a reason. Once you know your WHY, the next logical step is implementing physical and mental distance between yourself and your toxic partner, so you can regain control of your reality, rather than being manipulated into believing your toxic, ex's distorted reality.
(3.) Going 'no contact' helps you to begin re-aligning with the true essence of who you are as a Divine Feminine. As stated in reason #1, because you have been enmeshed with this toxic individual for as long as you have, you most likely have probably forgotten how to authentically connect to the spiritual essence of you were divinely created to be, thus blocking you from realizing the truth about your relationship to this toxic individual. Giving yourself time and distance through implementing going 'no contact' will support you in this process if you are willing to do the necessary inner work.
You can learn more about my No Contact, No Joke! 5-Part Audio Training Series! (Click Here)
Time and daily practice of patience
The recovery and healing process does take time and patience, anyone who states otherwise is not living in reality. Deciding to leave an emotionally abusive, narcissistic partner is not something you just wake up one day and declare that you are healed from and then move on with your life. It will take time to heal because being in an emotionally abusive relationship with a narcissist or other type of toxic personality changes you as a person. Many survivors of such destructive relationships, including myself have described the experience as being soul-sucking as if they were being drained of their life force every day they decided to stay in that relationship. Time really does heal wounds, but in this case, time will only allow for healing to happen if you utilize the physical and mental distance you've enforced via your no contact rule to self-regulate emotionally, reconnect spiritually, and strengthen your mindset - this is what true inner work is about.
What do I mean by self-regulate?
In my private 1:1 coaching program (click here if interested), we spend an entire 3-months working on helping you to self-regulate your emotions so that you can make the right decisions for yourself with clarity, decisiveness, and strategic action; rather than always acting erratically from your emotions. As I stated earlier in this article you must learn how to balance the three core areas of your higher-self (i.e. your emotional, spiritual and mental self) in order to strategically navigate your recovery and healing journey from an empowered, energetic approach. Being able to approach your recovery and healing journey from an empowered standpoint will support you in finally getting off the emotional roller-coaster you've involuntarily been placed upon while dating the ex-narcissist in your life.
Essentially, learning how to self-regulate gives you back your power, self-control, and agency to decide what is best for your life, but also helps you to get super clear around your expectations of how you should be treated in a relationship, rather than someone telling you what you will and will not accept based upon their self-serving intentions. Moreover, when you are able to correctly self-regulate, what is known as, your Executive Functioning System is considered to be fully online (all green lights!) which means that you are well-balanced and in alignment with your thoughts, decisions, emotions, and the overall flow of your daily life.
The Executive Functioning System is responsible for the following:
Regulating your emotions
Your ability to pay attention
Organizing, planning, and prioritizing your daily task
Initiating task and following through on completion
You are able to understand other people's points of view when debating a topic
Self-monitoring - Keeping track of what you are doing from one day to the next
This is why putting permanent distance between yourself and your toxic partner is extremely important because you need to give yourself that breathing space of going no contact to rewire your thought patterns and destructive behaviors, re-align your energy so that you can feel fully empowered when making the right decisions for yourself moving forward; as well as learning when and how to detox negative, destructive energies that may try to block you from moving forward in your life.
As a Breakup and Wellness Coach, I work with each of my private 1:1 clients from a holistic, integrative framework, rather than a one size fits all coaching perspective. I prefer working with my clients from an integrative, holistic perspective because when you are healing from emotional abuse, especially if you dated or were married to a narcissist it's not just about getting you to a 'happy place of love and light'. No, it's so much more than that.
When you work with me some of things you will learn is to:
Acknowledge your triggers.
Understand what your triggers are.
Why you are triggered in the first place
Learning how to reframe what has happened to you from an EMPOWERED lens.
Learning how to control and self-regulate yourself when you are triggered, instead of always feeling as though you have no control over your circumstances, thus leading you to feel powerless and defeated.
Creating a strategic comeback plan for your life moving forward.
Support and Guidance
Regardless if you were embarrassingly devalued and discarded or you finally left after having a final breakdown, you will most likely need additional support to help you stay focused and disciplined while you begin doing the necessary inner work that the Universe is challenging you to step up to and embrace as you enter into this new season of transformation in your life. You will know when you are ready to reach out and seek the support you need to help you on your journey of recovery and healing.
Just don't take too long, or you may find yourself stuck in the grieving process I spoke about in a previous article entitled Grieving a Toxic Relationship. Getting support early on in your healing journey is something I wish I myself could have invested more into if I had the money at the then time. Not having the money or access to the right resources to help me transition out of that tumultuous relationship and season of my life definitely prolonged my healing journey, but it taught me through trial and error how to not just survive being in an emotionally abusive relationship but also how to THRIVE and to live a life that is now in alignment with my true values and the Divine Feminine that resides within me.
I hope you enjoyed this week's article and have gained some valuable information to help you move forward with confidence! As a Breakup and Wellness Coach my work in this world is dedicated to supporting and helping women such as yourself to HEAL, RECLAIM and TRANSFORM your life after leaving a toxic relationship. Do reach out if you would like to discuss how I can support you on your journey of recovery, healing, and transformation.
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