So, you have done the hard part. The narcissist is thankfully gone. It matters little whether discard happened or the courage was finally found to get rid of them, the important thing is that they are gone. So what next? How do you move on from being emotionally, physical and probably financially drained and abused?

It is generally a very difficult phase to cope with after the narcissist is gone. Coping with the aftermath of the tornado that blew through your life can be traumatic and exhausting. Many irrational thoughts will come up..”What could I have done?”, “If I had acted differently”, “What was it about me that made him change?”, “I want him back, I can’t live without him!”. All of these thoughts are the natural consequence of being involved with someone who hooked you in to an illusion and fantasy of being “the best thing ever”. A line from an old song comes up…” Be careful of something that is just what you want it to be!”

The first issue to deal with is making sure they never come back or have the opportunity to do so. This means applying and maintaining strict no contact. Many people and especially codependents, cope well until the narcissist contacts them for more “supply”. Many will also leave a little door open for the narcissist to come through (blocking everything except e-mail, for example).

Once this is maintained (and let’s not forget it is best for anyone to block a narcissist), work on the emotional effects can be done. The most effective method for this, in my experience is a combination of deeper therapies such as Inner Child and IFS (Internal Family Systems), combined with behavioural therapy to change present thinking patterns.

However, there comes a point will come when enough work has been processed and then what? If someone has finally reached the point where they are over the whole experience, it is important to ensure that they have been taught to meet their own needs in terms of emotion and more practical measures such as more purpose. Many codependents see their purpose as “fixing” others and being there for them and self-care is not a priority. Finding a new purpose that is centred on self is essential. A good therapist will encourage this in terms of action points once the emotional work has been done.

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