Thursday, January 17, 2013

Healing after Divorcing a Narcissist--Self Care

Many ex-spouses of narcissists are so exhausted after their battle to get out of their marriage that they don't think about their own personal healing. Living so long with an abusive, ultra demanding, critical, self absorbed narcissistic spouse, the former partner is still living in the fight or flight mode. That has been this person's life as long as she/he was married to this classic personality disorder. The ex-spouse is accustomed to being screamed at, not being heard or understood and of course a complete lack of empathy.

One of the challenges of healing after the narcissist is to learn self care. If you have never practiced this throughout your life when you were growing up and then moving into a destructive relationship, it is difficult to realize that you deserve to be kind and protective of yourself in every way. As you adjust to finally having freedom from the narcissistic spouse there are a number of ways that you can practice self care.

Get a sufficient amount of sleep each night. The exact hours vary with each individual but learning to check in with your body will tell you the proper rhythm of your sleep/ wake cycles.

Eat balanced meals including protein, vegetables, good fats like avocados and nuts. Do not let your insulin levels spike up or plunge down by eating sugars or high fructose foods.

Learn to say "No" to people who are pressuring you because they are overpowering personalities. You have a right to make your own decisions about whom you will associate with and activities you will attend. Many of those married to narcissists have become accustomed to taking orders and being intimidated by a dominating personality. You no longer are in this situation.  Learn to appreciate your freedom in every way: your thoughts, visions of the future, your creative ideas, free expression of your feelings, time to be alone and enjoy your own company.

Many individuals are helped by setting up a daily routine of essentials that works for them. For example, starting in the morning with a quiet time for meditation, gentle yoga, listening to calming music, etc.
Developing an exercise program that you tailor to your needs to become stronger. Learn to go at your own pace. Appreciate how exercise makes you feel more grounded, calmer and clear minded.

Take time to be in Nature even if it for a short time. Listen to the birds, feed them if you want to, notice the night sky and appreciate its magnificent beauty, watch the movement of ever changing clouds, enjoy the company of animals. If you have a dog or cat, this can be a tremendously gratifying and healing part of your life. Our animal companions contribute immeasurably to our state of inner peace and our feeling of their unconditional love toward us. They teach us how to love more deeply and to experience each moment.

If it appeals to you, spontaneous writing or sketching is a source of freeing up the imagination and a great pleasure if done without editing or self criticism. 

Listening to music--our favorite kind puts away obsessive thoughts and carries us into new worlds that provide bursts of energy and inspiration. Appreciate your laughter and sense of humor and the freedom to express your silliest thoughts. This is a joyful experience. Don't miss it!

Learn to appreciate your original self, the person you were meant to be. As you become more familiar with this self you will know instinctively that you are grounded and feel more secure within. Here you will continue to grow and evolve in every facet of your inner and outer worlds. Visit my

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life

1 comment:

  1. These are some great tips. Life after divorce is very difficult. The divorce proceedings can be very tiring and emotionally draining. The next step after that would be trying to pick ourselves up. We need to take care of ourselves because there is life after divorce. These tips are simple, but logical ones in the first step to moving on.
    Ken Phillips