Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Seven Stages of Recovery - by Still Smilin

1) The Roadkill Stage
This is when you finally hit bottom due to the experience with a Narcissist.

2) The Realization Stage
This is when the answers to the questions that have been plaguing you begin to get answered and you now know what it is you have been dealing with all this time. You begin to research everything you can find on Narcissism. You usually feel better that you know, but the sense of betrayal begins to hit you like a Mack truck. Unfortunately, you start to feel angry at yourself for letting it go on for so long.

3) The Anger Stage
This is when the full impact of what you went through hits home and all hell breaks loose! Anger is uncomfortable, but I think it is a necessary step towards healing. At first, it is like an erupting volcano, then it usually evolves in focusing on how to get through. If you don't let as much of the anger out at this stage, you will stay stuck for a longer period of time. (I did this).

4) Taking Affirmative Action Stage
This is when you begin to learn to effectively focus your new-found knowledge into making life decisions. This is also the period where you begin to learn and practice techniques on how to protect yourself from the Narcissist. This is the stage where some decide on divorce, relocating, changing jobs, and lifestyle changes. This is also a time of great upheaval, because the Narcissist usually knows that the "gig is up" The Narcissist will fight you tooth and nail to win. This is a crucial stage in healing, because it is at this stage that the Narcissist will also try to "put on the charm" to return you to status quo. The Narcissist can be very vicious at this stage. It is usually best to have as little contact as possible with the Narcissist. It is also the time to continue to learn about how to continue to protect yourself and continue to focus on you and your healing.

5) The Fall-Out Stage
This is when you become more comfortable in your knowledge of how to deal with the Narcissist, where you begin to forgive yourself, where you begin to feel better about yourself and your abilities. You are actively planning your future, getting to know yourself again, and you notice how much better physically and emotionally you feel out of the presence of the Narcissist. The fog of Narcissism has lifted somewhat and you begin to get your confidence back. While this is happening, you are still experiencing the waves of the past stages, it seems to come in cycles that diminish in intesity over time.

6) The Mirroring Stage
Not everyone goes through this stage, it is a personal decision. This is when you mirror the Narcissists behavior back at them, effectively scaring them off! I was particularily fond of this stage, because it allowed me to siphon off the anger and project it back to the person who caused it. It is effective in scaring off the Narcissist, but sometimes it takes many sessions of "mirroring" before the stubborn Narcissist finally "gets it". Unfortunately for many victims, many Narcissists aren't willing to accept that it is OVER and continually try to get back under the victims skin using guilt, fear, pity, threats, violence and financial abuse. Many Narcissists keep "coming back for more NS."

Depending on how you handle the Narcissist in this stage, it will depend on how long this stage lasts. If you, even for a moment give the Narcissist ANY NS at all, show any vulnerability, sympathy, fear, or confusion, it will put you back a few stages and you will have to work your way through again. This cycle can happen many times.

7) Realization and Apathy
Once you effectively block all means of communication with the Narcissist as efficiently as possible, protect yourself from them as much as you can, gain knowledge and confidence in yourself, you reach a stage of realization that there was nothing you could have done to help or prevent the nightmare that you just lived through. You start looking for effective ways to manage your life, work towards your new future and close the door in the face of the Narcissist. The most effective way that I have found to do this is with APATHY. Apathy works. It requires very little work on your part. You display no outward emotions towards the Narcissist, who seems to forever be trying to re-enter your life for the coveted NS, you yawn frequently whenever they have something to say, you outright IGNORE their existence as if they died.

Eventually, in a sense they do die, because without your attention, without your sympathy, without your guilt, without your adoration, without your anger, and without your fear, they do wither away and die. If there is nothing for them to affirm their existence through you, and they cannot exist around you. It is not to say that they won't try. They want to be able to evoke an emotional response in you. If you don't give them any, then eventually, like Pavlov's dog they figure out the bowl is empty and move on to the next victim. This stage can take some time, because as we know, the Narcissist does not give up on precious supply sources easily.

Hugs from Still Smilin