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Signs You’ve Moved On After Your Narcissistic Ex

Ending a romantic relationship with a narcissist is tough.  Months or years of the constant gaslighting & abuse destroy a person’s self esteem while somehow leaving victims to feel as if they should appreciate the narcissist settling for loving them.  By the time a person ends such a relationship, their thinking is damaged, but they do realize that the narcissist was abusive.  At the same time, there is often a lot of guilt & doubt involved for ending the relationship.  I experienced it myself for quite some time after divorcing my ex husband.

After the relationship has ended though, you will feel so much better.  Time & distance from a narcissist give a person clarity & make room for healing to take place.  You may be wondering what signs you can look for that you have moved on from your narcissistic ex, & this post will explain some of them.

If your narcissistic ex tries to contact you, you have no desire to respond.  Narcissists are known for attempting to “hoover” their victims, in other words, lure them back into the dysfunctional relationship.  If you cringe when you see your ex’s phone number or email address rather than get excited, this is a big sign you have moved on.  And, if your ex reaches out to you constantly to the point of harassment, be sure you document everything.  Harassment & stalking laws are changing, & you may need that documentation if you have to get the law involved.

Having no desire to know what is happening in your ex’s life is another sign you’ve moved on.  It can be common when a couple first breaks up for at least one person in the relationship to want to know what the other is up to.  They may discreetly check out their social media or ask mutual friends about them.  Losing the desire to do these things shows you’re over that ex.

Another sign of moving on is when you no longer compare yourself to anyone that person is dating or has dated.  Narcissists love to compare their victims to others they deem more attractive, smarter, etc.  Being romantically involved with someone who does this, it can make you feel as if you have to not only measure up to their other romantic partners, but be much better than them.  Losing that baggage is incredibly freeing!

Their opinion of you means nothing to you anymore.  While it’s normal to some degree to want an ex to think you’re doing well without them, it can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting your narcissistic ex to think you’re doing a thousand times better without them.  When you stop thinking that way & couldn’t care less what he or she thinks of you, you have moved on.

Severing ties with toxic people is another sign you’ve moved on from a narcissistic ex.  After dealing with someone so toxic in such a close relationship, it’s easy to become tolerant of toxic people.  Deleting them from your life is a very healthy move in any case, but if it’s done after breaking up with a narcissist, it’s also a sign that you have moved on.

Gaining self confidence is another sign of moving on.  Narcissists do their best to obliterate their victim’s self esteem.  They even destroy their victims’ ability to trust their instincts, feelings & perceptions through gaslighting.  Learning to trust such things takes time, & is a big sign you have moved on.

When you end a relationship with a narcissist, you may feel like you’ll never get better, but you absolutely will!  Be patient with yourself & don’t try to rush your healing.  As time passes, you’ll notices these things happening, & they can reassure you that you are going to be just fine.

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Common Hoovering Tactics

After ending a relationship with a narcissist, the narcissist will NOT take it well.  No one likes rejection, of course, but narcissists take that dislike to an entirely new level.  Many have been known to stalk & harass their victims to punish them for rejecting the narcissist.  Most however, do something known as hoovering.  Hoovering is when a narcissist tries to lure a victim back in to the relationship.  It is yet another very good reason to have nothing to do with the narcissist once you end the relationship.

Narcissists have many ways they try to hoover in their victims.  All are sneaky & confusing for a victim unless the victim is aware of what the narcissist is up to.

Often, they will have their flying monkeys talk to you.  They will explain how sorry the narcissist is & how miserable life is without you.  When I broke my engagement to my now ex husband, several people told me I should get back with him because he was miserable without me.  No one cared how I was without him, only about him.  The guilt I felt was intense, which obviously was the goal since it made me return to him.

The narcissist may “accidentally” run into you at the coffee shop or grocery store, & use this supposed chance meeting to tell you how much they miss you as an attempt to hoover you back.

Narcissists may use special days to their advantage, such as sending you a lovely card & gift on your birthday, or reminding you that today would have been your anniversary.  This is to make sure you think of them favorably & give them an excuse to talk to you

Narcissists aren’t above using a crisis to their advantage either.  If you have had a serious problem & the narcissist learns of it, he or she may try to contact you claiming to be concerned about you.  Or, if the narcissist has had a crisis, he or she may let you know, saying they thought you would want to know.  These are only about getting their foot in the door.

Items also can give a narcissist an excuse to contact a victim after the relationship is over.  They may ask if you have some item of theirs, even knowing you don’t have it.  It’s merely an excuse to reach out to you.

Sometimes narcissists may use technology to hoover.  They may text you, claiming it was for someone else, then try to start a conversation.  They may call you, asking if you called them, then when they say they look at their phone, they mistook your number for someone else’s, but since you’re talking, how are you?  Some will even send a message, then ignore your response.

If they can open the door of communication in any way, they absolutely will do it.  Doing so probably means they will tell you how miserable they are without you & how much they have changed.

When things like this happen, don’t be foolish as I was with my ex!  Be aware of what is happening.  They are only trying to hoover you back for their own benefit, not because they love you.  Remind yourself that they don’t miss you, per se.  They miss how you made them feel.  They miss how they could control & manipulate you.

Never forget that the primary interest of any narcissist is that narcissist.  No one else really matters to them.  This means they only want you back because you can benefit them in some way.

Remember the tactics & why the narcissist is doing these things.  These things are done only to manipulate you back into the relationship so the narcissist can abuse you further.

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Narcissistic In-Laws & The Ex, part 2

 

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Narcissistic In-Laws & The Ex, part 1

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About Harassment & Stalking

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Narcissistic In-Laws & Exes

Since I’m working on a book about narcissistic in-laws, it’s certainly gotten me to thinking about them.  Not exactly a fun topic since I’ve been through a LOT at the hands of narcissistic in-laws, but it’s also a topic that needs to be addressed.  I’ll share a blog post when it’s published as well as add the link to my website at: www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

 

One thing that recently has come to mind about these dreadful people is how they are with exes.  I’ve heard of & read so many stories of narcissistic in-laws who keep in touch with their son’s or brother’s ex, even after he has moved on to another woman & there were no children created in the relationship.  They may even have the ex’s picture hanging up in their home or a picture of him with her when they were together.  They may invite her to family functions, whether or not the new lady is present.

 

I’ve been down this road.  A woman my husband broke up with in 1991 is still a bigger part of my in-law’s family than I ever have been.  In 1997 at an in-law family party, my two sisters in-law spoke a LOT about her (when it was just the three of us together, no witnesses, of course), talking about what a great person she was & how they should hang out with her soon.  They never wanted to hang out with me, mind you.  Not long after we were married in 1998, my mother in-law told me how disappointed she & my father in-law were that my husband married me instead of this person.  Over the years, I learned that at least one of the sisters in-law not only kept in close contact with this ex, but kept my husband abreast of what was going on in her life.  Then, when we ran into her in a store two months to the day after my husband’s father died, I saw how comfortable & friendly she was with my husband.  It was painfully obvious she’d seen him recently, so I later asked what was going on with her.  Turns out not only had she been to my father in-law’s funeral, but also my mother in-law’s & took one of her sons to visit my mother in-law in the hospital.  She also lives only a few miles from my late in-laws’ home & attends the church they attended.

 

As if all of this isn’t awful enough, I also realized when we saw this woman that she obviously is still very attracted to my husband.

 

This whole situation got me to thinking about these types of situations.  If you’re in it, you’re going to need a lot of wisdom on how to cope with it.

 

I’m not saying all friendships between people & their exes or even their family & their exes are bad.  Sometimes they work out just fine or are necessary because of children or other ties to each other such as owning a business together.  When narcissistic in-laws are involved though, it’s a whole different situation.  This relationship isn’t because these people were genuinely fond of each other.  Like everything else, there is a self-serving purpose in it.  Never ever doubt that!  Your spouse may think his family’s behavior is normal but it isn’t!

 

If you wonder, watch how this relationship is handled.  Your feelings should be considered.  Your in-laws should not flaunt this person to you.  This person shouldn’t be frequently discussed fondly in front of you or her picture shouldn’t be in a predominant space in the in-law home (especially if it also includes your spouse).

 

How do they handle this relationship regarding your spouse?  Do they keep your spouse up to date on his ex’s life?  If your spouse wants no parts of the details of that ex, do they force him to listen anyway?  Do they forward her emails to him so he not only knows but has her email address as well?

 

These behaviors are all red flags, & you are going to need a lot of wisdom on how to handle this situation.

 

As always, I recommend prayer as the best place to start.  Luke 12:12 says, “For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” (KJV) & James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (KJV)  Seems to me prayer is the best place you can start!

 

Also never give your spouse an ultimatum.  People who do this almost always end up losing because no one wants to feel controlled or manipulated.

 

Stay calm when you must discuss the situation.  If you act angry or hurt, chances are your spouse will discuss the conversation with someone in his family.  From there, it would be very easy for your in-laws to convince your spouse that you’re unreasonable, paranoid, even crazy.  And, no doubt if he sees his ex, she is on good behavior.  She will look even better to him & you even worse.  So stay calm during the discussion for the sake of your marriage!

 

Do NOT tell him what you think his family is up to.  Coming from a narcissistic family does quite the number on a person’s psyche as most people know.  One thing I’ve noticed is men in these situations have a lot more trouble facing the truth about their family than women.  (No guys, I don’t hate you or think you’re stupid.  It’s just an observation.)  If you’re in this position with your spouse, I know it can be frustrating.  You see the truth so clearly but your spouse doesn’t.  Don’t work hard trying to convince him of the truth.  You telling the truth will come across to him as you criticizing his family, which in turn will make him very protective of them & angry at you.  It will drive a huge wedge between you two.

 

You can, however, gently, let your spouse know that you are very uncomfortable with this situation.  Tell him how you feel, & don’t be afraid of being vulnerable.  Better for your spouse to see that side of you than the angry side, because it won’t make him defensive.  He will be more willing to listen to you & relate to your perspective if you aren’t angry.

 

Also, what about the ex?  Is she obviously still attracted to your husband?  This is tough, I know.  I really feel your pain.  The best I know to do with this is to focus on your spouse.  Make sure you don’t stop doing things that he loves or finds attractive about you.  Do nice little gestures for him to show him you love him, like slipping love notes into his lunch box, sock drawer, coat pocket or even taping them to his steering wheel while he’s in the shower.   If you tell him what a terrible person his ex is instead, you’re only making him defensive of her & angry at you.  Yes, I know this one is HARD.  After seeing my husband’s ex, every fiber in me wanted to say exactly what I think of her & his family.  But, I knew that he wouldn’t believe what I said & would end up passionately defending them while simultaneously being very angry with me.

 

Lastly remember, all of this isn’t about you.  It’s about some pretty dysfunctional people doing what dysfunctional people do.  If the ex is still interested, well, she should have tried harder to keep him & is being foolish for not giving up.  He moved on & she should too.  As for your in-laws, they are getting something out of this relationship.  They probably want to split you & your spouse up or at the very least cause trouble between you two.  Maybe they think because she’s wealthy or in some sort of position in society, she makes them look good.  Who knows?  But you can be sure of one thing… whatever sick mess is happening in this relationship, it has nothing to do with you.

 

I wish you the absolute best in this situation!  xoxo

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism