Narcissists are unable to recognize the ways they are emotionally abusive in their relationships because their attachment to their self-regard and pride takes precedence over everything else. Their hostility can make their partners feel helpless, put them in a defeated state of mind regarding the future of their relationship, and make them doubt the possibility of change.
Healing from this kind of unhealthy relationship is possible, but requires a heroic effort. Both people in the relationship must work together through the ups and downs while shedding any actions, habits, and behaviors that could jeopardize the process. Dr. Hawkins discusses the process of healing from narcissism and emotional abuse, what it takes for a narcissist to change, and what it takes for everyone involved in an emotionally abusive relationship to heal together.
The Process of Healing From Narcissism and Emotional Abuse
Is There Any Hope for Healing?
Many individuals who have experienced narcissism and emotional abuse in their relationships often wonder if there is any hope for healing. It’s a question that plagues the minds of both the abused and the abuser. The prevailing wisdom in the media often suggests that the narcissist cannot be healed, and the abused should run away from the relationship as fast as possible.
However, the reality is often more complex. Most couples are not ready to sever the ties that bind them, whether those connections are emotional, tied to shared children, a home, or a history. This article explores the possibility of healing from narcissism and emotional abuse and what it means for both the abused woman and the abusive man.
Emotional Abuse: Understanding the Patterns
One of the first steps in addressing narcissism and emotional abuse is understanding the patterns involved. Emotional abuse is a collection of deeply troubling behaviors that include blame-shifting, defensiveness, refusal to listen to concerns, and an obstinate, argumentative attitude.
These patterns create chaos in a relationship, and they are far from trivial matters. A healthy relationship is built on mutual care and the ability to bring concerns to one another, followed by a sincere effort to address those concerns. However, emotional abusers often lack the emotional maturity required for healthy relating. Many of these individuals exhibit emotional immaturity, often described as emotional six-year-olds.
Healing Together: A Complicated Journey
The question of whether healing can happen together is a complex one. Typically, the abused women in such relationships are exhausted, emotionally drained, and may feel like they’re at the end of their tether. Still, they often cling to a glimmer of hope that the relationship can be salvaged. It’s essential to acknowledge that healing can mean different things for the abuser and the abused.
The common approach in dealing with narcissism and emotional abuse is for therapists to take a hard stance that the abuser cannot change, and the abused should run. However, there are alternative approaches. While no program guarantees absolute success, some therapeutic programs offer possibilities for healing.
Therapeutic Programs: The Journey to Change
There are programs that aim to educate abusive men about emotional abuse and narcissism, fostering empathy, teaching them to care for their partners in a healthier way, and encouraging them to take ownership and responsibility for their abusive behaviors.
Healing isn’t a one-way street; it involves effort from both parties. The abused woman also has her share of healing work to do, even though she is not responsible for causing the narcissistic and abusive behavior in her partner. This may involve addressing her own dysfunctional coping mechanisms and emotional responses.
Healing Work: The Courage to Face Inner Demons
Sometimes, facing one’s inner demons is not easy, and it can be difficult to acknowledge that both partners have their healing work to do. It’s crucial for therapists and professionals to encourage the abused women to take responsibility for their own growth and well-being. In many cases, this may involve attending individual therapy or specialized programs tailored to their needs, such as the DBT program.
Couples Counseling: A Collaborative Effort
Couples counseling can be a crucial step on the path to healing, but it should only occur after both individuals have done their individual work. It’s only when they have achieved a certain level of emotional maturity and self-awareness that they can genuinely sit together, discuss each other’s needs, feelings, and concerns, and work towards healing as a team.
The Heroic Journey to Healing
In the end, is healing from narcissism and emotional abuse possible? Yes, it is. But it’s not an easy journey. It requires a skilled hand, a lot of effort, and a commitment from both the abused and the abuser to address their issues. Healing from narcissism and emotional abuse is a heroic journey that may involve confronting deeply ingrained patterns and behaviors.
If the idea of healing from narcissism and emotional abuse resonates with you, consider reaching out to a professional. Engaging with a skilled therapist can help you understand the path to healing and what it entails. While it may be challenging, it is a journey worth embarking on for the possibility of a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling relationship.
Remember, it’s not about assigning blame but about embracing the possibility of change and growth, both as individuals and as a couple. Healing is possible, but it takes courage, effort, and the guidance of professionals who specialize in this field.
So, if you’re ready for this heroic journey of healing, don’t hesitate to seek help. It’s a path filled with challenges, but it’s a journey that can lead to a brighter and more harmonious future for both partners.
Also read: 4 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Relationship
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.