The Intentionally Emotive Podcast with Shaun Karim
Episode 12 - How Do I Get Over My Narcissistic Ex?
When we’ve come out of a relationship with a narcissist, there is a lot of baggage that you may not understand how to unload. After all, whatever they did, they did with such precision and cunning that it can be difficult to understand what happened.
In this episode, Shaun talks in detail about what that trauma is like and how you can reposition your view on what happened so you can better understand how to move past it. The work it takes isn’t easy, but once you start, the momentum you build will transform you into the person you need to be.
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Hey everyone. Welcome to the Intentionally Emotive Podcast with Shaun Karim, which is part of the Mental Health News Radio Network. New episodes are available every Wednesday on your favorite podcast platform.
Today’s topic is “How Do I Get Over My Narcissistic Ex?”
So when I say “get over” your ex, I don’t necessarily mean this in a way where you still are fond of them. I mean get over the things they did to you. How do you process all of that? Where do you start? What is the end goal?
There are some things here that we need to understand before we know how to address these issues.
There are so many things that you need to deal with and consider if you're in a relationship with someone who is toxic or narcissistic. By the way, a lot of this also applies if you have a narcissistic family member, including your mother or father. When you're in the middle of that relationship, or especially when you've come out of it, there is so much that you owe to yourself to get your life on the right track. Your mental health, obviously; but also your physical health, emotional health, your interests–old and new.
All of that can be summed up to not only uncovering your authentic life and discovering or rediscovering yourself, but shedding all of that anger, doubt, rage, sadness, exhaustion, wondering, anxiety, and depression, and replace it all with one thing–acknowledging the transformation from the old you to the new you, this one today, and embracing every single bit of it.
You see, it can be difficult to see how much your narcissistic ex changed you. Why? Because, at first, they accepted you for exactly who you were when you first met. Everything about you was good, enjoyable, lovable, even perfect. All of the flaws that you had, they were more than OK with them. Seriously, who doesn’t want to be in a relationship like that? Who doesn’t want to be fully accepted for who we are?
Add to that this fact: assuming you’re a rational person, if there is an opportunity to be better at something, you’d do it. Right? So when someone who loves you comes to you and says, “Hey, I see XYZ, and I think this can be changed to ABC,” you’re generally pretty receptive to that.
The thing about that is, and I’ve said this before in previous episodes that I’ve linked in the show notes, if you have narcissistic or toxic parents, they trained you to continuously do what you can do to get their approval. What happens if you don’t? It may sound a little extreme, but you die. If your parents don’t love you, then they won’t give you shelter and they won’t feed you anymore. So what do you do? You change your behaviors according to what their toxicity dictates so you can continue to be accepted or “loved” by them.
Now your narcissistic ex may not know this exactly as I described it, but they inherently know that you think that they’ll continue to love you if you “improve” yourself. This is pretty cunning on their part. So they slowly and sneakily started suggesting things here and there, and more and more these suggestions turned into “you have to do this” and “no, you can’t do that; do this instead.”
So what started as someone who accepted you for you plus you, as a normal human being, desiring to improve yourself generally turned into that person molding you, manipulating you, deceiving you, into being someone who they wanted so that they could get out of you whatever they could for as long as they could. They may even try to make the relationship in a state where you have to depend on them for survival.
You became someone who was essentially their puppet. To keep things going, you started to do things you wouldn’t normally do, but things they wanted you to do, because you were convinced that they were right, you were wrong, and you have to make yourself “better” or else they’d leave you. God forbid they leave you because they convinced you that you can’t do this–life–without them.
That’s the trap they set up for you, and you fell right in it. Don’t be ashamed of that. I did that too. This is what they do. You became their victim, and I bet that didn’t feel good. Not the fact that you felt like a victim–because you may not have known that you were. You just didn’t feel right because your gut instinct was telling you that you’re not being the person you are, that you’re wearing a mask and acting out as a character that someone else created.
That relationship was built in a way where if you left them, it would be so difficult for you to move on so that either you’d try to find a way to get back in or they would sneak back in and you’d allow it. That’s what they wanted. That’s how they maintain their control over you. This is all so that you never get over them, and in the process, you lost yourself. You don’t know who you are because you’re too preoccupied being who they want you to be. That’s it.
So you’ve assumed this identity that isn’t you, that you can’t resonate with, that makes you feel anxious, that makes you feel like you’ve abandoned yourself. Now this next part can go either way, whether you’re still in a relationship with them or if that relationship has already ended.
We all want to be seen and validated. We want people to understand us so that we’re not always explaining ourselves to someone like we did with that narcissist. We even fake being someone else, no matter how much, so that they’ll accept us. We put ourselves in social situations with people that we may or may not like because we’ve learned that we typically thrive in close-knit groups.
There’s something here that you need to understand if you’re in that position right now. You have to be OK with being misunderstood. It’s OK if people don’t “see” you. It’s fine if people don’t “get” you. Part of being misunderstood is being authentic, being yourself. So if someone misjudges you? Don’t get angry about it. Don’t allow that to trigger you. If it’s someone in your life who is important to you, having a conversation to clarify that will be met positively.
When you were judged by that narcissist, those judgments were essentially chains. They held you down because they were designed that way. They needed you to stay right where they had you; they couldn’t allow you to think for yourself, to progress in life, to attain things that would boost your self esteem, and one day understand that not only were they holding you down, but that they were wasting your time for their benefit. Don’t forget that.
Let’s say you’re at home watching TV, eating dinner, whatever. Your front door is unlocked, and some stranger opens it and walks right in and does whatever he wants. Would you be OK with that? No, of course not. You’d kick him the hell out of your house. How dare he do that? Who does he think he is? Your home is your abode; this is where you rest, where you eat, where you play, where you think, grieve, enjoy people’s company, invite people in when you want, and so on.
So if you wouldn’t allow just anyone to enter your home, why would you allow someone to get in your head knowing they don’t belong there? I know that sounds simple. I also know it’s not easy, but the more you are mindful of things like that, the stronger that muscle gets, and the easier it’ll be over time. So when that narcissistic or toxic person shows up, either literally or figuratively, kick them the hell out!
There is work for yourself that needs to be done. You need to sit quietly with your thoughts and go through all of those things that you know were wrong, and you need to understand what you would do differently today and tomorrow, and you have to stop being the character they forced you to be and naturally fall into the person you’ve become.
Notice I didn’t say who you were before you met them. You DO NOT want to go back to being that person. That’s part of what got you in trouble in the first place. You’re different now. You’re more aware. You’re wiser. Your filter works better. You have a much clearer idea of what you don’t want in your life; and that will eventually lead you to understand what you DO want in your life.
The transformation as you get over your narcissistic ex is something that will help shape the rest of your life. That anxiety they gave you? It’ll be replaced with peace. That confusion they gave you? It’ll be replaced with harmony. That manipulation? It’ll be replaced by innocence. All of the things they did to belittle you, negatively impact your self esteem, and control you? You will no longer tolerate ANYONE, narcissist or not, to do that to you ever again.
I’m not saying you need to walk around being an asshole to everyone. What I’m saying is as you continue to do the work to get over your ex, and as you discover who you are today and who you want to be tomorrow, you need to believe and live that with conviction. So stand on that rock and do not let anyone knock you off of it.
There comes a point in your life when you can no longer blame the state you’re in on someone else. Eventually, you need to take responsibility to make the changes you know need to be made. They don’t need to be made overnight; that’s impossible, but you have to start somewhere and it’s OK to start small. Build the momentum over time, learn what you like, learn what works for you and what doesn’t, and remember that you’re in this spot now because you’re free from those chains.
So crawl, walk, run because they’re not holding you back anymore.
All right, guys. Thanks for listening to the Intentionally Emotive Podcast with Shaun Karim. Don’t forget to subscribe on your preferred podcast platform and check out www.shaunkarim.com.