Breaking Free From Narcissistic Abuse

Katharine Chestnut
7 min readMay 17, 2024

If you’ve found your way to this blog, chances are you or someone you care about has experienced the devastating effects of narcissistic abuse. As a survivor myself, I understand the confusion, pain, and sense of isolation that comes with being in a relationship with a narcissist. The manipulation, gaslighting, and emotional abuse can leave you feeling lost, broken, and unsure of how to move forward.

But I want you to know that you’re not alone, and there is hope for healing and reclaiming your life. Breaking free from narcissistic abuse is a challenging journey, but it’s one that countless survivors have navigated before you. I’ve read memoirs, like the Wolf Blogs, and always leave feeling hopeful for all survivors. Here, I’m sharing my own experiences, as well as insights and strategies that have helped me and others break the cycle of abuse and rebuild our lives.

Throughout this journey, I’ll emphasize the importance of mindfulness, self-care, and reestablishing trust — both in yourself and in others. Let’s move forward together and rebuild your life after narcissistic abuse.

Healing from Narcissistic Abuse

Stages of Healing

As I began my healing journey to heal, I realized there were distinct stages I had to go through. Verywell Mind highlights the importance of recognizing the abuse first. For me, this meant identifying the instances of manipulation and control in my marriage. It was difficult at first, but acknowledging the abuse was essential in moving forward.

Next, I needed to come to terms with the reality of my situation and understand why I had tolerated it for so long. This led me to confront my own emotional pain and patterns, including my addiction to my partner’s validation.

Dealing with Grief and Loss

Healing from narcissistic abuse in a marriage also meant dealing with grief and loss. I experienced a range of emotions, such as denial, anger, and sadness. Although it was challenging, I understood that it’s common to feel these emotions and sought support from friends, therapy, and even support groups. This helped me gain closure and move past the grief.

Rebuilding Self-Esteem and Confidence

To start healing, I need to recognize one of the hardest parts of my recovery was in rebuilding my self-esteem and confidence, which had been severely damaged by the abusive relationship. Here are some steps I took in revitalizing my self-worth:

  1. Self-compassion: First, I learned to be kinder to myself and to let go of feelings of unworthiness. I practiced self-compassion by reminding myself that I was not to blame and that I deserved a healthy, loving relationship.
  2. Boundaries: I set clear boundaries with others and myself, learning to say no when necessary and to protect my emotional well-being.
  3. Self-care: Taking care of my physical and emotional needs became a priority. This meant eating well, exercising, and finding activities that I genuinely enjoyed.
  4. Forgiveness: Finally, I learned to forgive myself for any mistakes I made during the relationship. This step was crucial in overcoming feelings of guilt and self-harm.

Throughout the entire process, having a strong support network of friends and professionals was invaluable. As I navigated the stages of healing, dealt with the grief and loss, and rebuilt my self-esteem and confidence, it was the encouragement and understanding of those around me that truly made my recovery possible.

Are you ready to embark on a empowering journey of self-discovery and healing?

Seeking Support and Resources

Therapy and Counseling

When I realized I needed help to heal from narcissistic abuse in my marriage, one of the first steps I took was to seek therapy and counseling. It was important for me to find a therapist who was experienced in dealing with this type of abuse and understood the complexities that come with it. Through therapy, I learned how to cope with my feelings and developed techniques to navigate the emotional and mental challenges of recovering from narcissistic abuse. It’s crucial to remember that healing takes time, and a professional therapist can lead us through our journey at our own pace.

Support Groups and Online Communities

Another resource I found beneficial during my recovery was joining support groups and participating in online communities that were focused on narcissistic abuse recovery. These support groups provided an understanding and compassionate environment where I could:

  • Share my experiences and feelings
  • Listen to others with similar experiences
  • Learn about new coping strategies
  • Receive validation for my emotions, which helped with trust issues

One site that especially helped me w as the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program (NARP) by Melanie Tonia Evans. I highly recommend this program and the community of survivors of abuse is a fabulous place to heal. Having a support network helped me feel less isolated and made the healing process more manageable.

Helping Friends and Family Understand Your Situation

As I progressed in my recovery, I realized it was essential to help my friends and family understand what I was going through. Educating them about narcissistic abuse and the effects it has on the brain, as well as the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, helped them become more supportive and empathetic of my mental health condition during my recovery.

When discussing my experiences and feelings, I was able to:

  • Establish boundaries
  • Seek comfort and understanding
  • Rebuild trust in relationships
  • Create a stronger support system

Everyone’s healing journey is unique, but by seeking professional help, connecting with like-minded individuals and involving loved ones, we can all find the resources to recover from narcissistic abuse in our marriages.

Moving Forward and Rebuilding Your Life

Self-Care and Mindfulness Practices

As I started my journey of healing from narcissistic abuse in my marriage, I realized the importance of self-care and mindfulness practices. I made it a priority to pamper myself with activities that made me feel loved and nourished, from taking relaxing baths to treating myself to a massage. By practicing mindfulness through meditation and deep breathing exercises, I found it easier to let go of negative thoughts and emotions while also learning to be more present with my feelings.

Starting (and restarting) my own mindfulness practices, led me to start creating my own guided meditations. While I started with with meditations geared towards abuse recovery, overtime I branched out and now have over 50 meditations available on the free app, Insight Timer.

Connect with your Higher Self to lovingly release any negative energetic cords.

I also wrote my first book about the special type of mindful journaling I started practicing 20+ years earlier. Inner Affirmations was created with much love for those that were seeking to find their joy along with reconnecting with their inner wisdom.

Reestablishing Trust in Relationships

Another key aspect of my healing process was learning to trust again. It’s normal to feel guarded and hesitant after experiencing narcissistic abuse, but gradually, with the help of therapy, I began rebuilding my ability to trust others in my relationships. I focused on surrounding myself with supportive friends and family, and allowed myself to take baby steps when entering new romantic relationships, openly discussing my fears and insecurities.

Rediscovering Your Hobbies and Interests

During the course of my marriage, I lost touch with many of the hobbies and interests that once brought me joy. In ending a relationship like this, I made a conscious effort to reconnect with these activities to rediscover who I am and what I love. I found solace in pursuits such as painting, hiking, and dancing, which not only provided me with a sense of accomplishment but also greatly improved my mental health.

In my journey of moving forward and rebuilding my life, I learned how crucial it is to prioritize my well-being, reestablish trust in relationships, and rediscover my hobbies and interests. I believe that by embracing these principles, I’ve made significant strides towards healing from the trauma of narcissistic abuse in my marriage.

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Disclaimer: The information shared in this article comes from my personal experience as a survivor of narcissistic abuse and should not be considered professional advice. I am not a licensed psychologist, therapist, or mental health professional. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, please seek help from a qualified professional or contact a local support organization. The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute professional guidance, diagnosis, or treatment. Every person’s journey of healing is unique, and it’s essential to prioritize your safety and well-being while seeking support from trained professionals.

Originally published at on May 17, 2024.



Katharine Chestnut

From the world of marketing and sm biz, to self-care and wellness practices. She is committed to help others discover their wisdom.