Trauma can be a hard thing to deal with, especially if it sneaks up on you as memories that you had thought you put far behind you. It’s important for you to take the time to face these traumas head on for your own mental health and for the sake of your children if you have any and your future or present relationship.
There are different ways to take care of yourself. For some, a spiritual journey is a part of their recovery. You can seek out a group. It can help to connect with others in a group setting that have been through what you have been through. For me, it was a combination of amazing support from friends, exercise, aromatherapy, and meditation and counseling. I immediately started to take care of myself before the divorce even happened because I knew I needed to be strong for my kids. I knew I had to take care of my own mental health and that is not to say it went perfectly. It did not. There were days, like my 50th birthday, when my ex-narc called me and started my day by threatening me. He woke me up on my birthday to be mean to me and the result was me staying in bed all day on a beautiful June day, crying, unable to uncover my head. I felt so alone and secluded that day but later in the evening, as I tried to meditate under the covers and bring myself back to baseline, I realized that I actually did not feel as lonely as I did when I was married to him and should not have felt alone then. I pulled myself out of bed. I went to the gym, I meditated and then I had a birthday dinner with my kids and the next day I was back at baseline. Sometimes, even when they are important days and you would rather not be down, they are important to work through so we can continue to grow and repair.
One of the questions I see often in Narcissists survival groups I belong to is “how do you trust again?” The answer is simple. You work on you. You forgive yourself for staying. You forgive yourself for loving someone who did not deserve you and you make up your mind to not make an innocent man suffer for what someone else did to you. The right man will know your story and accept it. He will make sure you never fear him. He will allow you the chance to recover when you respond to a trigger and not follow with anger but rather an understanding that it is not him, it is the trauma. In order for him to be able to do that, you have to trust him. You have to be honest and vulnerable. You have to self-reflect and admit fault as soon as you know you have responded based on your past trauma. Everyone has something that helps them through. For me, it is a hug and quiet affirmation of love and I am okay. Even my children know this. For you, it may be something else but the people in my life know this, because I told them and they love me enough to give it to me when needed.
My narc has continuously tried to keep his foot in the door. I have been served more times than I can count on two hands. At work, at home, no matter what was going on as soon as I thought I was done, he would swoop in to let me know I was not safe anywhere. So if my new home could not be safe, what could be? I decided my bedroom. My bedroom is my haven. It has what I want in it. The music I need, the candles with the essential oils I like. It’s where I spend time with the man who makes me feel safe. Who makes the world go away. No matter how many times a process server comes to my door, that room is my haven. I have mentally set it up as my sanctuary and I have made sure that only good things happen there. It’s where I lay with my children talking about their day. It’s where the man in my life comes and we solve world problems or just hold each other. I am safe there. I had to finally move out of the marital home to find my safe spot. Even with him out of the house, it did not feel safe. I was constantly in trauma with my memories and I stayed so my kids could be in their childhood home but there came a time when I had to leave to save myself so I could help my kids.
I have worked hard on myself. I am so blessed to have a man in my life who is everything I have always wanted. I had to wait a long time. I had to endure a lot of abuse and pain but I have risen above that pain on my own. Moved past the abuse and into a loving, committed, honest relationship filled with love and trust and honesty. I always kept hope now I am living that hope. You see, my Narc clipped my wings. He made it impossible to fly or to be me. My new love allows me to soar into headwinds and take flight. I healed my wings. He gave me the encouragement and hope that I could again fly.
You’ve got this. It’s not an overnight undertaking. It is a process and it starts with loving and healing you.