7 Signs You’ve Arrived as a Survivor of Narcissistic Abuse

7 Signs You've Arrived as a Survivor of Narcissistic Abuse

When you come up as a survivor of narcissistic abuse.

Recovering from narcissistic and emotional abuse can seem like an ordeal of the most grievous kind.

You may have endured months of struggle and suffering without knowing if you’re making any progress because the pull to go back remains strong.  You miss the moments under your abuser’s sway because, in your traumatized mind, cognitive dissonance and memories of so-called “good times” cloud your objectivity.

How do you know where you stand on your road to recovery?  Victory isn’t always in-your-face.

Arriving as a survivor of narcissistic abuse comes in waves, even ripples, but if you experience the following seven signs, you can feel gratified knowing that healing is within your reach.

7 Signs You've Arrived as a Survivor of Narcissistic Abuse

Here are 7 signs of a survivor of narcissistic abuse:

1)  You’ve begun to appreciate that self-care is something you need to participate in inconsistently.

Not only because you are healing from emotional abuse, but because healthy people, in general, understand the importance of putting on their oxygen mask before they can help others.

Life can be stressful enough without the added obstacle of toxic abuse.  It only stands to reason that if you’re healing from narcissistic abuse, your body and mind require extreme self-care.  This might include reducing social engagements, staying off of the internet, saying “no” to friends and family, taking a nap when you feel exhausted, and making time to do meditations.

You resist the urge to make excuses as to why you can’t take care of yourself, realizing that even single mothers can work self-care into their schedules.  If you are a single mother, you deliberately get a babysitter on occasion to take yourself out.

You do guided meditations at night.  Your journal and do mirror work.  If a friend asks you to visit and you don’t have the energy, you respectfully decline.  You take the initiative to be a little “selfish” because you understand the need to do so after putting out other people’s fires for too long.

2)  You do what it takes to protect your mental and physical space.

You no longer acquiesce to things that intrude on your privacy and peace of mind.

Most narcissists and other Cluster-B disordered individuals pull out all the stops when trying to hook a previous source of supply back into their realm of crazy.  They pretend to have changed, to want to be friends (especially for the “sake of the kids”), to be just another normal person going through a typical breakup or divorce.  They may go so far as to tell you their relationship problems with their new partner.

Arriving as a survivor means you no longer want, nor tolerate, any of those things.  You want peace and autonomy so badly that you are willing to go complete No Contact and resolve not to let them into your home anymore.  You don’t leave yourself open to any of their tomfoolery, and instead, put up all necessary boundaries to protect your new sense of peace.

3)  You no longer care about how your Ex will react to your decisions.

You don’t worry whether your life choices will make your Ex angry or make life “inconvenient” for them.  You understand that true fulfillment means honoring your own dreams, desires, and ambitions regardless of how your ex may respond.  As long as you abide by any court orders in place, you know that your future is in your own hands.

4)  You may start to notice that some of your other relationships have been a big energy and time drain, and you resolve to do something about them.

You’ve gotten into the habit of honoring yourself and releasing that which doesn’t serve your highest good.  Consequently, you’ve become more sensitive to other relationships in which you feel taken advantage of.  This doesn’t mean that you would dump a friend in need, but rather that you’ve started noticing your relationship ‘climates’.

44 thoughts on “7 Signs You’ve Arrived as a Survivor of Narcissistic Abuse”

  1. Avatar of MoonGold

    In my case, it has been a friend [still current]. What these articles don’t mention [I may have missed it] is that such friends have a high level of charisma, part of their attraction. The problem is, that when you realise that something is wrong and you confide in your other friends, they simply don’t believe you. They see only the charisma So it is a double blow and you go back to thinking there is something wrong with you. Luckily I have arrived at the point where I have twigged what has been happening. The article has been a revelation because it has confirmed all of the conclusions that I had come to independently; the ultimate reassurance. Unfortunately it has taken almost 20 years, but I got there in the end! Just another point, I have not ditched this person and we are still friends, I just have a more self-protecting approach to the friendship and I am much firmer with her.

  2. Avatar of Melonie

    You no longer consider what happened to you a punishment, but rather an eye-opener because you understand that it happened so you could heal the wounds you’ve carried since childhood.

    Can you explain what this means?.. I have read everything there is to read regarding the subject and I cant get my head around this. Why since childhood?…. The narc was my husband… does this mean we were doomed to marry a narc from childhood?… because there was something wrong this us?… please explain

    1. Avatar of MoonGold

      Hi Melanie. There is another article in this group about narcissistic parents. I suspect that it is referring back to this.


      As Caroline Horist says below, anyone in your life can be a narcissist, parent, partner, and even a child.

      This has been a revelation to me too. Wish I had seen it earlier in my life.

  3. Avatar of Caroline Horist
    Caroline Horist

    i like this, but wish it was not worded in a way that is specific to “exes”. it should be clear that an unhealthy relationship with a narcissist could also be with a friend or family member.

  4. Avatar of Janey

    Oh I was just made aware recently that I have been “dancing with a Narcissist” Ain’t that the TRUTH! This article is the very first that I have read and it means so much to me. Makes me feel whole again and that its true what I have been going through is not right in any way.

  5. Avatar of Moira

    I can see that I manage most of this when it concerns my ex but I’m not sure I can spot or stop the seeds growing in a new relationship.

  6. Avatar of Bernadette

    Thank you for this interesting article. It is hard work, especially when you were emotionally abused in your childhood. It is a long, slow and difficult process. But one day, all our efforts are rewarded. We emerge. We become more mature. We reach inner stability and inner peace as all our lead is being turned into gold. It is a question of time. I wish inner transformation to everybody.

  7. Avatar of Amanda S

    Thank you for writing this wonderful piece. It’s about a year and a half since I got out of my 12 year long abusive marriage. We have two kids, and I have cut communication down to only texting about visits with them. However, he still pushes that boundary, and intermittently either tries to love bomb me or goes on verbally abusive tirades via text.

    Lately, I have been feeling like this will never end, and I won’t ever fully escape him. The kids tie us together. I’ve been so triggered and having severe PTSD flashbacks and anxiety. It’s been discouraging, and I’ve felt like I am having a really hard time healing.

    However, after reading this article I realized that I do all of these things. Number 7 is one that I still struggle with. It’s hard to break the cycle of trying to placate, and modifying your actions in an effort to avoid abuse. But, I have set so many boundaries and come so far. I just need to focus on that.

  8. Avatar of Bonnie Macon

    Thank you Kim,
    You have helped me more than you’ll ever know…… I’ve not only gotten MY life back, I’ve got a new and improved life ! <3

  9. Avatar of Emma Lovera

    Wow! PERFECT! Flawlessly written – Is it too self-assured to say I am experiencing all 7 steps; mastering some more than others, but on it 100% Great ariticle. It put this huge smile on my face. I am indeed a Survivor! – Thank you

  10. Avatar of Stacy Raider

    Sometimes it’s not always an ex’ it can also be a family member in which case they’re hard to escape. I do agree fully with the taking time out and taking care of yourself. Although it would be lovely if the narcissist would acquire help for themselves. Wishful thinking though. There will always be these kind of people who feel the need to feed off ,hurt and torture others because they cannot find their own being, worth and happiness. Pray for them as well as yourself, Jesus heals all❤

  11. Avatar of Re Bekka

    Heart needs a lot of time to heal…It´s sometimes hard to find trust, and i have to be careful, not to be unfair in my wonderful new relationship

    1. Avatar of Nikki

      Re Bekka, that is one this I still struggle with.
      Trust… I have little trust for people anymore. Weather it be your spouse or family member or friend.
      “Those people” are so good at obtaining your trust, then when you think it’s great ~boom!~ they turn crazy, mean.
      So I just stay away from everyone now.

  12. Avatar of Tracy Mayhew

    Great article except that I couldn’t remember any of the ”good times” until about 10 months post break up. I realised that he rode my coat tails for most of those too; even though he was very charismatic when he ‘turned it on’. 1-year break-up anniversary on 31st March and I will be celebrating! 😀

    1. Avatar of Tracy Mayhew

      I kicked him out so I loathed and despised him at that time (being consistently devalued does that, eh?). I had 3 glorious weeks of just thinking it was a bad relationship – not realising that I’d actually been with someone ”disordered” (putting it kindly!). Then I caught up with some mutual friends, what they said made me research and then the c-PTSD kicked in and the fun and games began (dramatic weight loss, hypersensitivity/paranoia, soul-scarring, etc, etc., etc). Then, thanks to more research, reading other victims/targets stories and realising it was like reading our relationshit autobiography, EMDR and EFT therapy and an incredible support system, did the healing begin….thank God! Thank you for your insights, information and validation Kim Saeed, it’s people like you who help others like me make sense of all the madness….and madness it is! :O Peace, love and joy to you. x

  13. Avatar of Shin Kwon

    individuality is a governments worst nightmare – shin kwon
    being alone with my thoughts has become dangerous thing – shin kwon
    love is a daily ritual – shin kwon
    life is about growth. you either grow stronger or grow weary – shin kwon
    war is for worriers, not warriors – shin kwon
    life happens regardless… live accordingly – shin kwon
    being in love equals instatant gratification – shin kwon
    gratitudes lead to gratifications – shin kwon
    there are no days, just incredibly long moments – shin kwon
    cosmic shit comic strip
    you’ve already made all your decisions before you got here. you’re only here to experience how you feel about them – shin kwon
    my plan is to love you. that is all – shin kwon
    she owns her feelings and so she chooses to feel deeply. she chooses to hurt, but she is unharmed. tha fire cannot burn tha flame. none can hurt her any longer, she is invincible and has become an irresistible force of nature – shin kwon
    a sister to a brother a daughter to a mother, a mother to a son, and my lover like no other and i’ll never put another above her and there’s so much more to uncover and discover – shin kwon
    true love is too enormous to measure let alone fathom – shin kwon
    are you not light and dark? was not your brilliant flame once dim and flickering? let your inner fire roar mightier than tha flames of hell – shin kwon
    your heart, your mind, and your imagination together create a multiverse – shin kwon
    if you were completely comfortable being yourself you would never be shy around anyone – shin kwon
    time is made when taken – shin kwon
    tha shape of tha earth is not nearly as important as tha shape of your heart – shin kwon
    i am not satisfied with nor am i in disagreement with tha philosophical greats of past tense, even of my own philosophies that i hold currently. i am just always taking it to tha next level – shin kwon
    i’m tha 13th constellation. i read people not zodiacs because i see every person as a star – shin kwon
    you can do anything to water but replace it. keep this in mind both literally and figurately, but most importantly philosophically. – shin kwon
    if you want to solve differences between people, focus on tha connection between people and not what divides us – shin kwon
    fear naturally create defenses, but mental slavery will leave you defenseless – shin kwon
    choosing sides is tha root cause of warfare. think outside of tha mental concentration camp – shin kwon
    without sarcasm, there’d be more intellectuals on death row – shin kwon
    chaos leads to sanity – shin kwon
    it is what it is, but it’s also what you believe it to be – shin kwon
    you’re my motivation to get up in tha morning and tha inspiration behind everything i do – shin kwon
    forget everything. fall in love with everything. sense with your body, learn with your mind, feel with your soul, acquire knowledge through objective research and separate fact from fiction eliminating all preconceived notions, contemplate significance of information, process and comprehend data, realize it and feel it on deepest levels, acquire wisdom, apply wisdom, acquire more knowledge, wisdom through experience all tha while never falling out of love therefore in a state of perpetual happiness, ultimate satisfaction – shin kwon
    you ask why? tha simple answer would be that i fell in love. to use one word to describe tha experience, i would simply say “indescribable” – shin kwon
    instead of focusing on tha negative consequences of unfavorable outcomes, which most often tend to do, not so much by being taught to behave this way as through instruction, instead just an unconscious mimicery of what is being practiced as opposed to what is being preached within tha confines of their immediate environment which has adopted beliefs systems that subjugate and compromise their very existence which can be a breeding ground for feelings of regret and uncertainty about tha future. however, a simple approach to eliminating displeasurable thoughts that trigger dissonant emotions distrupting a person’s natural harmonic flow is by altogether altering your perception, finding tha root cause of all your anxieties and making a rational conscious decision to unchoose or reverse tha decisions that led you to perceive your life as a product of life justifying your right to criticize what was in all truth your own handywork, to lead you out of your own self induced debacle. one must simply move on, because life goes on, and it will leave your ass behind. – shin kwon
    you don’t keep secrets. secrets keep you – shin kwon
    sleep is nothing more than a dream within a dream, merrily merrily merrily rowing a boat gently down a stream – shin kwon
    freddie mercury: is this tha real life, or is this just fantasy?
    shin kwon: nothing is real. it’s all fantasy – shin kwon
    tha more things you own, tha more distractions you’ll have – shin kwon
    when you find true love, you can never fall out of love ever again. why? because you wouldn’t want to – shin kwon
    at tha lowest level of understanding, love is just a feeling. at tha highest level of comprehension, love is understood and accepted as god of everything – shin kwon
    love is tha reason behind everything you do. you will realize this truth one day if you haven’t already – shin kwon
    my love for you rivals your self love – shin kwon
    i love you just as much as you love yourself. and if you don’t love yourself then that just means i’ll still be loving you while you won’t – shin kwon
    i was mine before i was everyone else’s. now i’m just all yours – shin kwon
    i love you like there’s no tomorrow, because without you there’d be no future for me – shin kwon
    love is an entity, but also tha essence of all lifeforms – shin kwon

  14. Avatar of Sandie Ritter

    So very true – My Dad transformed slowly after my Mum died – too bad he had dementia by then or the transformation would’ve been much faster..

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