How do you break a trauma bond and the need to contact a Narcissist?
Answered by: Essay Dolan,PhD candidate in philosophy
Here is what I did. . . it is not without major risks. . .
Blocked him from social media and did NOT look into his life AT ALL. Unless someone passes on news that he is not doing well, I do not want to know what is going on in his wretched (however it appears) life. That has helped.
Sent a whole whackload of notes laying out what he’d done and how deeply he had hurt me, and how he’s also harmed my son as well. That was like a series of victim impact statements. It was helpful, in part, as he didn’t respond. Eventually, he did respond. His response was so over-the-top idiotic that it was helpful and led me to attempt a real no-contact. I broke that a few times to send additional pained / horrified notes and to attempt to sort out some kind of child support / help paying for the therapy I needed after his abuse left me with PTSD.
Against common advice, I began dating fairly quickly after the abusive relationship ended. Twice, I thought I’d found a decent man yet each time, that man was yet another narcissist. (I’m autistic; apparently we’re dark triad magnets. That is certainly true in my case. Working on it! In any case, back then, I was such a WRECK as a result of the abuse that a respectful and emotionally healthy man would never have touchd me — sexually — at that time given the deeply vulnerable state I was clearly in.) Though I initially hoped for more from those relationships, I was able to transfer quite a lot of the trauma bond onto these new men. (There were others, too.) They functioned like methadone. It was a fascinating experience. Fortunately for me I was lucky and didn’t get any infections from them. Once the narcissistic traits started coming out, I was able to see what was going on in a way that I hadn’t been able to do with the man who abused me. I was able to set and enforce boundaries. That helped me to heal. Because I was not at all in love with these men, they didn’t have much power at all to hurt me (not in the way I feared most, any way).
DANCE DANCE DANCE. I began dancing, and recording myself while dancing. For these dances, I often put on an outfit. It’s a meditative experience for me. Fortunately for me, the recorded results are quite flattering which has helped to rebuild my self-image after my “life partner” did about everything in his power to diminish me and instill in me the notion that I’m a worthless burden that pretty much no one likes. That’s utter and complete bullshit. I just had some fun fuck dates with the man I found most attractive from all of the online dating pages I’ve been to. (I’m quite pleased with myself on that one! HA. That may seem shallow, but it is reassuring to me and the experience itself was really, really good. Nice memories and, it seems, more to come. We had loads of fun.) More recently, I’ve had a date with another beautiful man, which went really well, and led to a lovely follow-up note from him eager for a second date. Now that I am healthy, emotionally healthy men are indeed interested in me (and still, the narcissists keep coming too). As you work on healing, keep in mind that your abuser (I’m guessing. . . a charismatic sort) was drawn to you because you do have amazing traits. . . even if that same person went on to treat you like a worthless nothing. . . Build those traits up!!! Enjoy them! Make the most of them.
I read A LOT and spent a fair bit of time here. When I was doing especially bad, the only way I could fall asleep was by taking two Benadryls and listening to podcasts (often about narcissistic abuse). Books and articles on Upward Spirals and on post-traumatic growth were especially encouraging to me. Recently, I attended a conference on addictions and recovery, which covered loads of relevant insights: do strength training, run, swim (effortfully), get into nature, improve your social supports, play an instrument, tour your city and explore your options to find the best fits for you (e.g., churches, social groups). . . .
Doing meaningful work. I aim to weave silver linings out of various hells that I’ve endured. At the end of the day, I want to say THAT WAS HARD, but it was worthwhile. I survived and now I have grown and gained in wisdom that I can use to help others, and to better enjoy the rest of my life, while better and more thoroughly appreciating healthy, loving relationships.