After a year-long drama of dating a narcissist, plus half a year of getting over it and deciding whether or not to remain friends, I finally cut myself loose. As anyone who has made it through this type of relationship will tell you, “no contact” is the only way to go. Anything less will prevent you from restoring your sanity and your peace. Somehow everything will still be all about them. They will never truly wish for your independent happiness, and they will never change.
But after the smoke clears, there is a “meantime” period that must be dealt with. This is true after any experience of freedom or victory. Throughout history, the most dangerous and unstable time for a people is just after they have won some major victory. Unless there is a plan in place – one which can be implemented immediately – there is a backward slide toward new forms of oppression, lethargy, and chaos.
After slavery came the horribly violent reconstruction period during which many people were harmed and killed. The sharecropping industry along with the invention of “beat” cops supported a neo-slavery. There was no plan in place to protect and support the newly freed slaves. There was a rush to declare peace – to celebrate a newly unified United States, which was anything but. Similarly, after the French Revolution, the new ruling party became just as despotic, if not more so, than the old regime.
In other words, getting rid of a toxic person is only the beginning. After that comes “reconstruction.” Fortunately, I had begun my reconstruction before I left. So, after the dramatic finale of the relationship, I had new things to be excited about. I snagged an internship. I joined a gym (which I had been wanting to do for months). I started volunteering. I joined a new spiritual organization. I made new friends. The transition period was still tough, but I had tangible evidence that my life was getting better. I became genuinely excited about my own life – my newly single life.
Another reason why No Contact is so important is that whenever we make big changes in life, the old life reaches out its bony arms to pull us back. This force is hard to resist. That resistance uses up too much energy and emotional resources. Healing begins when No Contact begins. No Contact is the self-loving act of closing the door on an unhealthy situation to free up time and attention for a healthy future. That means blocking phone numbers, deleting emails or having them automatically sent to trash. It means not leaving any opportunity for the past to creep its way back in. This sounds harsh – and it’s not necessary if you’re dealing with a normal person. However, if you were in a relationship with a narcissist or a sociopath, this is not optional. It’s a requirement – if you want your life back.
And life in the aftermath seems even sweeter. I’m wiser now, more determined to fight for my own happiness. In a sense, I used to take myself for granted. But after the narcissist experience, I realize how important I am to myself. My life has value and meaning. I should be respected and cherished by the people around me, just as I respect and cherish them. Now my life is full of mutually loving relationships with healthy people. The crowd is small, but I value quality over quantity!
So, if you’re going through or coming out of a major transition, don’t just “stay busy.” Really start dreaming again – like you did when you were little. Imagine what you want your life to be, then get after it. I don’t care how old you are or how much money you have or don’t have. Keep thinking. Get around other people who are after the same things. Take your journey seriously, but have fun! And never, ever give up.
Now that I’m free, I’m drawing and painting again,
I’m writing. I go to political events. My life is full. With or without a relationship, life is good. I truly believe that and I hope you do too.
Love and peace,