A common feeling many people experience after narcissistic abuse is grief. It makes sense since there is a great deal to grieve! If the narcissist in question was a parent, you grieve the loss of your childhood, the pain of having a parent who didn’t treat you right or love you, the years wasted trying to please your impossible to please parent, the parent you wish you had & more. If the narcissist was a spouse, there is grief too, because that person married you not out of love, but out of wanting to use & abuse you. There is also time wasted with this person that could have been spent in much better ways. You also may grieve the loss of the person you thought the narcissist was at first. If you passed up a good person to marry the narcissist, there is regret & grief over losing that good person. If you had children together, no doubt there is also a great deal of guilt over giving your children this terrible person as a parent.
Whatever your situation, if you’re grieving after escaping narcissistic abuse, please know you are normal! It’s awful to experience but it’s also very normal. Grief isn’t only something to be experienced after someone dies. It comes after all kinds of losses.
You need to experience & process your grief after narcissistic abuse just as you would after losing someone you love. It is healing to cry & be angry about the unfairness of it all. Ignoring it, pretending it isn’t happening or even shaming yourself as if something is wrong with you for feeling this way isn’t healthy at all!
Rather than do those unhealthy things, why not try accepting your feelings without judgment? They’re not abnormal, they’re not wrong & you aren’t crazy for feeling the way you do. Stop criticizing them. Accept them for what they are- your feelings that are completely valid.
As you accept them, sit with them for a while. Cry or yell if you need to. I know this can be difficult for those of us shamed for having feelings by our narcissistic parent, so if those are too much, then try writing things out. If you don’t have a journal, it may be an excellent time to start one. If you want to be certain no one ever reads it, there are online journals that are private & password protected. I use Penzu’s free version, but there are plenty of others as well if it doesn’t meet your needs.
I’ve also found writing letters to the narcissist very helpful. I wrote out everything I thought & felt about what they did, not censoring myself. The especially important part of this is I never sent the letters. I wrote them to purge myself of the awful things I felt because of the actions of a narcissist, not to tell the narcissist how they made me feel or to try to make them see the errors of their ways. Doing such things is a complete waste of time & energy with a narcissist. In fact, if you do them, chances are you’ll only feel worse after instead of better because the narcissist will try to convince you that you’re oversensitive, overreacting or even crazy. Instead, I’ve found ripping the letters up & throwing them away or burning them to be very helpful.
If you have a safe friend, relative or even counselor, talking about your grief or praying with them can be very helpful as well.
You also need to be aware that grief doesn’t have time limits. You can’t expect to get over the trauma in a set time. In fact, a part of you most likely always will grieve to some degree, just like when someone you love dies. It does get easier in time though. You also learn to rebuild yourself & adapt to your new life without suffering narcissistic abuse. Whatever you choose to do to cope isn’t important. What matters is that you deal with your grief & accept it as a natural part of the healing process.