The healing journey after being in a narcissistically abusive relationship for two decades, following being raised by a narc parent, feels like it has no end.
Some days are good. I’ll be standing in my newfound power and freedom where nothing can bring me down. Then other days, I’m back down there, in amongst all of the sadness, shame, guilt and inability to trust anyone outside of my small support crew.
One of the biggest trauma points that continuously shows up for me is the absence of trusting after narcissistic abuse.
Here I share a little of my own struggle with learning to trust again after a long-term, abusive relationship. If you can resonate, feel free to share some of your own story in the comments at the bottom, because we really aren’t alone, although it feels that way much of the time.
This post contains affiliate links, for more information, see our disclosures here.
Trusting After Narcissistic Abuse… the struggle is real
Whenever I think about the fact that I miss being intimate with someone, a deep feeling of sadness rises up within me. And then come the tears that just do not want to stop.
Directly intermingled with intimacy (for me, anyway) is trust. Something that I no longer possess.
Until the moment that I left my narcissistic husband, I’d always been such a giving and trusting person. Always.
In hindsight, that’s what drew him to me like a magnet in the first place. My ability to give people the benefit of the doubt and show compassion and empathy were second to none. The skill of always putting others first and preempting their needs even before they themselves knew them, was right up there.
I trusted this guy wholeheartedly. He was so attentive and allowed me to be vulnerable, while quietly listening for hours. Finally, someone saw the real me and accepted me for who I was – the one thing I’d been craving throughout my whole childhood.
If only I knew then what I know now. The gift of hindsight, right?
Enter the toxic tale of the empath and the narcissist.
|READ: The Narc & the Empath →|
Where does the lack of trust stem from?
To be honest, I think my biggest lack of trust is in not being able to trust myself.
I was with the guy for twenty years and although so many moments did not feel good, I didn’t actually acknowledge that it was an abusive relationship until after I got out.
After all, I was primed by a narcissistic mother from the moment I was born. My boundaries were so incredibly low (almost non-existent). My highly sensitive nervous system’s default setting was constantly on ‘survival’ mode. I was functioning on permanent eggshells.
|READ: Common Things Narc Mothers Say →|
I was so used to living with high anxiety and a fried nervous system, I didn’t even recognise that that was the place in which I was living. It was just my ‘normal.’
Again, gaslighting and manipulation were also ‘normal’ for me, to the point where it was extremely hard to even see it happening. Of course I trusted the words that were coming out of my husband’s mouth, what reason did I have to not trust him? Everything always seemed so plausible and he would say just the right words to get me on side with him.
Only since I’ve left have I learned that words mean absolutely nothing. A person’s actions however, will tell you everything you need to know. Looking back, armed with that piece of knowledge, his actions spoke out the manipulations and bullshit lies, loud and clear.
But again, the empath’s ability to give people the benefit of the doubt feels more like a curse than anything else. It’s what he used as one of his many weapons time after time, like Groundhog Day on repeat.
Ultimately, I feel sick that I trusted someone so incredibly pathetic and deceptive, with all of my heart, only to have it used against me and breadcrumbed back to me. How can I open myself up to anyone again after that? How can I trust myself to not be hoodwinked again?
At this point, I can’t and I won’t.
Sexual narcissistic abuse
Not only did the garden variety of covert narcissistic abuse erode all of my trust, but my suspicions and research have dug up another integral piece of my personal puzzle.
I believe my narc ex is also a sexual narcissist.
I didn’t even realise that sexual narcissism is an entirely different entity until I started looking into it. I guess I just figured that all narcissists displayed these egotistical attributes in the bedroom, however that’s not necessarily the case. While not all narcissists are sexual narcissists, the two traits are very closely linked.
Let’s have a look at sexual narcissism.
Sexual narcissism is where a person has an extremely self-centred perception of sex. They can display behaviours of entitlement, grandiosity, manipulation and selfishness around sex.
Entitlement – believe they have a right to sex whenever they want it
Sense of Superiority – an overinflated view of their own sexual performance
Demand Admiration – need validation for their performance
Low Empathy – don’t really care about your needs or wants
Payment – expect sex in exchange for things they’ve done or given
Manipulate – gaslight, guilt and coerce you into having sex
Withhold – take away their love, affection, money etc. if you refuse sex
I’d like to share some examples of sexual narcissism in my ex, as it may help you identify whether or not that was a part of your narcissistic relationship as well.
My ex would expect sex a bare minimum of three times per week, no matter what was going on in life, how tired I was or whether I wanted it or not.
I remember falling asleep on the couch one night (I was wrecked) and woke up to him helping himself. When I said, “what are you doing? I was asleep,” he totally denied that I was sleeping and said I was just “pretending to be asleep, but was actually enjoying it.”
Sense of Superiority
This sense of superiority was more in the way he did things. He had a very egotistical air about him, within the activities themselves and even just prancing around naked after showers, trying to get attention.
I never felt true love or respect from my ex and while he appeared to show generosity in the bedroom, I always felt the underlying ego about it.
He enjoyed seeing me in pleasure, not because he was a loving partner who cared about me, but because it inflated his ego and he took it as a direct result of his performance.
Then afterwards, he’d want a medal for his efforts… because at the end of the day, it’s all about the narcissist.
My ex seriously treated sex like an exchange for goods and services.
If I was too exhausted for sex by the time my head hit the pillow, he’d say, “Oh… I just thought my wife would want to have sex with her husband after working hard all day.”
“I thought my wife would want to have sex with her hard-working husband.”
Then after manipulating me into giving in (just to shut him up), he’d go on to berate me for not being in the mood. “I don’t want to have sex with someone who looks bored or doesn’t look into it.”
Manipulate & Withhold
If I didn’t ‘put out’ whenever my husband wanted it, he would try and make me feel guilty (see above), compare me to “all the other horny chicks who want it all the time” (porn) and tell me that I was frigid (even though he offered no love or affection).
Then, if I didn’t cave, he’d withhold what he could from me as punishment.
Sounds like dealing with a toddler, right? If I lent over to say goodnight, he’d put his back to me. If I talked to him, he’d pretend that I didn’t exist.
Intimacy after narcissistic abuse
Considering that I got together with my narc ex quite young, I’d only had a few casual partners before settling with him. So, it’s safe to say that my sexual experiences have not been largely positive, loving or emotional.
To be honest I feel too broken to even be with anyone else. I am not at all trusting after narcissistic abuse. I toyed with the idea of having a friend with benefits, without having to commit to anyone, but I just can’t open myself up to trust anyone.
I’ve been on a few dating apps, but it feels like the guys on there are only after a quick fling. I have spoken to a few guys online, but always bailed when I thought, “oh crap, they’re probably going to want to meet up soon.”
I did meet a really nice guy while out with friends one night and I think he would have been super gentle, patient and caring, but I just wasn’t attracted to him. After being with someone who I was not attracted to for so long, but stayed out of loyalty and familiarity, I just couldn’t do that to myself again.
Ultimately, I’ve come to realise that I just can’t even go there until I authentically meet someone who I get to know over a healthy amount of time (no fast-moving love bombing) and 100% completely trust.
Learning How to Trust After Narcissistic Abuse
Evidently, I don’t know how to actually become trusting after narcissistic abuse. This feels like an impossible mission for me and I can’t even visualise a day where that exists.
I have no idea what a healthy relationship looks or feels like, so I don’t trust, after a lifetime of dealing with narcs, that it’s even possible in my world.
But I’d like to think that one day, I’ll be able to experience a kind, loving relationship with a man who’s emotionally secure and takes personal responsibility. However, for that relationship to be successful, I have to face the demon of trusting after narcissistic abuse. It wouldn’t be fair on that kind, compassionate man for me to bringing all of this baggage to the table. After all, they also deserve someone secure.
So, I’m writing down these key points in how to trust again after a narc, as much to help myself as anyone else.
Trusting after narcissistic abuse:
- Learn to trust yourself first. Your reality is no longer the false, gaslit storyline that the narc had you believing.
- Learn to listen to your intuition again so that you don’t ignore or miss those early warning signs.
- Take as much time as you need to heal the trauma as it comes up. There is no time limit.
- Acknowledge how much extra information you’re armed with now and how much you’ve learnt and grown since the beginning of that past narc relationship.
- Set healthy boundaries for yourself and get comfortable in holding them.
- Choose who you have in your life (only people who take personal responsibility & reciprocate the same level of love and compassion as you do).
- Get to know people slowly, in a healthy manner.
- Don’t overshare, let people earn your information.
- Be your own source of love, approval, joy and security, so that you will no longer feel the need to seek those out from others.
- Always listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s not right.
- Take note of red flags to avoid getting caught up in the illusion of someone.
- Take people as who they are today, not who you think they could potentially be.
- Good people will respect your boundaries, not rush you. They won’t pass judgement on you or your journey.
Healing After Narcissistic Abuse
|REMOTE HEALING SESSIONS|
|Without effective healing, you risk being bound to the narcissist forever… but you are destined for so much more than that!|
If you’ve tried everything to heal from narcissistic abuse, but just cannot seem to shift things, it’s probably time to call in the big guys.
You can certainly go down the therapy pathway, which is definitely helpful, but it can also be tediously slow. Or, you can choose to enlist the work of the spiritual realm with an accomplished medium, such as Selena Hill.
Without the help of Selena, I’d still be stuck with C-PTSD and deep trauma ruling my life.
“I can fully attribute my positive healing journey to my sessions with Selena Hill and all of the cosmic guides who joined us along the way!”
– Victoria (Unmasking the Narc)
Spiritual mentorship facilitates the connection between you and the divine, whatever that looks like for you. As a result, true healing can take place on an energetic level (both in the conscious and unconscious realms).
All you need to do is show up and say, “yes.” Your divine team will take care of the rest.
SPIRITUAL MENTORSHIP SESSION OUTCOMES:
✭ Removal of stuck energy
✭ Removal of old traumas & memories (both conscious & unconscious)
✭ Past Life Regression (releasing & allowing you to move forward in this life)
✭ Understanding your journey & how it’s shaped who you are
✭ Loving & non-judgemental guidance
✭ Results & shifts with every session (much quicker than therapy)
✭ Psychic mediumship
✭ Ask questions & get direct answers
OPTIONS FOR YOUR HEALING JOURNEY:
(starting from just $8 AUD)
• Meditations (One-time download, use over-and-over again)
• Psychic Readings (voice/ video call)
• Healing Sessions (voice/ video call)
If you’re ready to reclaim your life, heal & thrive, I highly recommend Selena Hill, “the telephone line between heaven and Earth.”
Use 10% OFF Code – UNMASK
at www.selenahill.com →