Forgiveness and trust after Narcissistic Abuse, in spite of what you might be feeling right now, is possible. However, I must point out here that there are 2 stages of forgiving – one for yourself and one for the narc… but that comes a long way down the road of recovery – and for some, they will never be able to fully forgive.
I think when you are fresh out of the relationship, the last thing you need to think about at this stage is forgiveness of the narc, although I’m totally on board with your forgiving yourself.
So let’s take a look at forgiveness and trust issues, and see how you can deal with them.
FORGIVENESS - OF SELF
Learn to forgive yourself. When the time is right and you’ve started to think clearly again, your first priority to yourself must be to forgive yourself because you will undoubtedly have a million thoughts running through your head saying:
How could I have been so stupid? Why didn’t I see it sooner? Why did I put up with it so long? What’s wrong with me? Why didn’t I spot the red flags? Why didn’t I trust my gut when I knew something was off way back when?... and so on.
You can drive yourself mad with all this and frankly, you’ve had enough of being driven mad and what you need now is some respite.
So here's a very short way to begin taking that step.
So sit down somewhere quiet and peaceful, take a few deep breaths, relax, and tune into your emotions. Acknowledge them as they come up, and then, say ‘Ok. I accept that’. This emotion that you are feeling is part of your reality right now, so it’s important to accept that.
But then ask yourself if it’s doing you any good? Ask yourself are you able to let this emotion, this ‘right now in me’ emotion, go? And if you are, then release it. Let it go.
Tell it to leave you, that you no longer need it. You can imagine this letting go and releasing in any way that makes sense to you. Feel the sense of release when you do this.
Now, reach for a better feeling to replace that one. Recall something wonderful that you know to be true about you, and focus for a few minutes on that.
If you are NOT ready to forgive yourself, accept that too. Just say, 'Ok, right now I'm not quite ready to forgive me. But I'm going to plant and water that seed.'
When you’ve done that, say to yourself ‘Ok, I forgive me - or I will soon forgive me...I made a big mistake. It was NOT my fault. I accept that and I’ve paid for that mistake. Now it’s time to forgive me’ - or 'Now it's time to water the seed of forgiving myself... I will be ready for that soon'...
Go over this process until you really feel an inner shift. And forget about forgiving the narc for now. You’re a long way off from being able to do that.
Now, this is just the beginning of planting a seed of forgiveness within you and there will be much more work to do at a deeper level later on, but by doing this, you're acknowledging that forgiving is a critical component in your key to full recovery.
FEAR OF TRUSTING ANYONE - totally understandable.
You’ll be afraid to trust anyone again and who can blame you? You trusted this narc, gave him or her your heart and soul, and they crushed you. They treated you abominably, tried to destroy you, and left you in emotional (and often physical and financial) shreds.
Learning to trust again will take time and it will happen, but you need to give yourself time to be back in the ‘normal’ world, with normal people, because when you do, your natural instincts will flourish again and allow you to recalibrate. Or you can learn and develop new levels of self-worth and value about who you really are.
Spend as much time as you can with your 'safe' people in the early days, but gradually allow your horizons to expand and meet new people. Learn all you can about NPD and abuse, and learn to spot the Red Flags that show up in the early stages of all Narcissistic Relationships. Narcissists are pathetically predictable, and when you know what to look for, you'll spot them a mile off. Then you can give them a very wide berth. If you want to know more about the read flags, check out www.top50redflags.com
Look for people who are genuine, whose actions match what they are saying, who have reliable stories that you can check, who don't bitch about their past lovers, or their family. Look for people who treat others with respect, regardless of who they are. Look for someone who is not going to totally gatecrash your boundaries 5 minutes after they meet you and who start Love-Bombing you like there's no tomorrow. Red Flags like these are always waving in the winds of a Narc attack. Pay heed now, or you'll pay dearly later on.
If you think back over your relationship, especially in those golden early days, you'll probably remember that your gut instinct often told you that something was wrong, but you were on such a high in this new 'Love-Bombing' phase, that you chose to ignore the warning signs.
Trusting your gut is vital and as you go forward, you'll remember this. You'll heed it as your radar is sharper now than it's ever been. But, you also know that not everyone is a Narc, so don't let what's happened in your past poison you to all future possibilities. Learn how to give 'normal' people a chance to shine.