Narcissistic Abuse. Intimate Partner Violence. Gaslighting. Coercive Control... was that really what it was or was it just a toxic relationship?
How can you know for sure?
Were they a narcissist? Does that matter? Why does it feel like you're missing something important whenever you try to think about this?
Only you can answer these questions. But there is one thing that's certain:
WAS THAT REALLY ABUSE OR WAS IT JUST A RELATIONSHIP turned sour?
it's ok to start where you are.
All the different terms above have one thing in common: they have to do with manipulated attachment, with someone trying to control you. What if knowing that was enough for now?
What if it doesn't have to be abuse for you to receive support? What if you could focus on the pain, rumination, torment, or even confusion and fog you're feeling?
Whatever happened, it's ok to take the time you need to figure this out and the space you need to heal. And no matter what, you deserve to have your needs met. With that foundation in place, you can acknowledge:
Whether the relationship was with a partner, parent, boss, friend, or colleague, it could still be abuse. You may be wondering how all the "toxicity" got started... and how you wound up here - searching Google for things like "how to deal with toxic people" and "what is narcissistic abuse?" Worse, you may be thinking that you're crazy because everything on Google just doesn't seem to *fit* your exact situation, doesn't seem to truly describe your "abuser", if that's even what they are...
WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?
IF IT WAS ABUSE, WHERE CAN I FIND OUT HOW TO HEAL?
healing starts with knowledge
That's the part they didn't want you to know... whether they're abusive or not, they wanted you to stay ignorant, confused, lost. They wanted you blinded to all they were doing. So the first step to start healing is to get Knowledge about what happened to you. Instead of looking for answers about whether or not they're a narcissist, ask yourself: "What do I need in this moment?" That question will help you begin to look for information and methods you can use to care for yourself as you move forward.
The best way to truly heal from gaslighting and manipulated attachment is to go no contact as soon as possible.
This can be a tough thing to decide to do when you're still wondering if you're even in an abusive relationship.
And even tougher if you can't leave due to safety or having kids. If you don't have the luxury of cutting off your abuser completely, try the following two tools to help you while you work out how to navigate your circumstances:
TRUE HEALING STARTS HERE
Or you have no choice but to stay in contact with your abuser, use the Mantra Tool.
This tool is all about how you speak to yourself, which is something your abuser may be working very hard to interfere with.
Learn about using the Mantra Tool:
--> What is the Mantra Tool?
--> Reverse Discourse
--> Use the Mantra Tool For Safety
If you have kids
For some, getting out takes planning and time. If you're in a place where you can't leave because it would compromise your safety, use the Delay/Distract Tool. This tool will help you process the overwhelming emotion you may be facing at every turn.
Learn about using the Delay/Distract Tool:
--> What is the Delay/Distract Tool?
--> Emotion Power
--> The Purpose of Overwhelm
if you aren't safe
A good place to go from here is the tools
--> The Empowering Tools
Or check out the podcast created by survivors
--> The Reclaimers Podcast
If you need some quick pick-me-ups, try the blog:
--> The Blog
No matter what you choose, take your time, go at your pace, and know this:
WHERE TO GO NOW...