Healing from Narcissistic Abuse: How Long Does It Take to Recover From Narcissistic Abuse

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on May 15, 2023
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It is not uncommon for people who have been in a relationship with a narcissist to feel overwhelmed, confused, and deeply hurt and other people’s feelings.

Narcissists have a way of manipulating their partners and causing tremendous pain, emotional wounds, and damage to the psyche.

The Online Mental Health Reviews team is qualified to write about recovery from narcissistic abuse due to our extensive expertise in the mental health field.

We are knowledgeable about various therapeutic approaches and understand the complexities of emotional abuse recovery.

In this blog article, we’ll talk about why it is not surprising that healing from NPD trauma can take time and significant effort. If you or a loved one have experienced narcissistic abuse, it is crucial to understand why healing can be so difficult.

1. Narcissistic Abuse is Covert:

One of the significant challenges with healing from narcissistic abuse is that it is often covert. Unlike physical abuse, narcissistic abuse is psychological and emotional, and there are no visible bruises or scars.

Psychological abuse is usually done behind closed doors, making it hard to identify and, therefore, harder to heal from. Oftentimes, people who have experienced narcissistic abuse don’t even realize that they are being abused, which can make the healing process even more difficult.

2. Trauma Bonds:

Another factor that makes narcissistic abuse challenging to heal from is the development of trauma bonds. A trauma bond is a strong emotional attachment that forms as a result of intense, emotional experiences, such as the highs and lows of a narcissistic abusive relationship itself. These bonds are challenging to break and often lead to people staying in abusive relationships long after they should have left.

3. Gaslighting:

Narcissists are masters of gaslighting, which means they manipulate their partners into questioning their reality. This manipulation leads to confusion, self-doubt, self-worth, and a lack of self-esteem. The effects of gaslighting can be devastating and make it challenging to heal from the trauma of a narcissistic relationship.

4. Fear and Intimidation:

Narcissistic abusers often use fear and intimidation to control their partners. This control can lead to a sense of helplessness or powerlessness, making it difficult to recover from the abuse. The fear of retaliation or further abuse or abusive behaviors can cause victims to avoid confronting the situation, and instead, live in denial or try to cope in unhealthy ways.

5. Lack of Support:

Often, people who have experienced narcissistic abuse do not receive enough support or validation from their loved ones. This lack of validation can further contribute to feelings of isolation and can exacerbate the healing process. Those around the victim may not fully understand the impact of narcissistic abuse and may minimize the victim’s feelings, leading to a lack of support and understanding.

Fortunately there are ways to find support and therapists for narcisstic abuse, despite the difficulties.

What Happens to Your Brain After Narcissistic Abuse?

According to PsychCentral, in an excellent article about long-term narcissistic abuse causing brain damage, narcissistic abuse is a form of emotional abuse that can have a serious impact on the brain.

  • Long-term exposure to narcissistic abuse can cause damage to the hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
  • This damage can lead to memory loss, especially short-term memory, as well as difficulty with concentration and focus.
  • In addition, victims of narcissistic abuse may experience changes in their brain chemistry, including an increase in stress hormones and a decrease in serotonin levels.

These changes can cause further psychological problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is important to seek help if you are experiencing any of these symptoms due to narcissistic abuse.

What is the Fastest Way to Recover from Narcissistic Abuse?

Recovering from narcissistic abuse can be a difficult and lengthy process – and thinking in terms of speed won’t help you heal faster. It is important to remember that healing takes time and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery.

However, there are some steps you can take to speed up the process.

  • The first step is to acknowledge the abuse and set boundaries with the abuser. This will help protect you from further harm.
  • Additionally, it is important to practice self-compassion and exercise self-care during this time.
  • Lean on supportive people in your life for emotional support, such as friends or family members, or consider seeking professional help if needed.
  • It is also beneficial to learn more about narcissistic abuse so that you can better understand what happened and why it happened. Doing so can help you move forward in your recovery journey.
  • Lastly, make sure to be patient with yourself as you heal – it may take years before you fully recover from the trauma of narcissistic abuse.

By following these tips, you can begin your journey of healing from narcissistic abuse and start moving towards a healthier future for your family members and yourself.

Talkspace Online Therapy for Victims of NPD

Talkspace, a prominent online therapy platform, offers support for victims of narcissistic abuse as well as individuals dealing with various mental health concerns.

  • The platform connects users with licensed therapists experienced in addressing the effects of narcissistic abuse and other mental health issues.
  • With insurance coverage available for over 40 million Americans, Talkspace aims to make mental health care more accessible and affordable. The platform provides personalized treatment plans and convenient communication methods such as messaging, phone, and video sessions.
  • We bought Talkspace and recorded our experience with their therapist, where we have a moving conversation, which you can listen to in our Talkspace online mental health review.
  • Related: Save $100 on Talkspace for the first month.

However, it is essential to note that Talkspace may not be the ideal option for everyone. For individuals whose primary concern is anxiety or depression, other platforms like Brightside Health may be more suitable. It’s crucial to consider your unique needs and preferences when choosing an online therapy service.

What are the Stages of Recovery from Narcissistic Abuse?

Recovering from narcissistic abuse can be a difficult process. It is important to understand the stages of recovery so that you can better understand what you are going through and how to move forward.

The stages of recovery from narcissistic abuse include:

Denial, shock and confusion, separation from the narcissist, protecting yourself, self-care and support, guilt, bargaining, depression/grief, the turning point, working through the pain, hope for the future, education about narcissism, and setting boundaries.

  1. In the first stage of recovery from narcissistic abuse – denial – you may feel something is off but not be able to identify it.
  2. In shock and confusion, you may begin to suspect that you have been abused by a narcissist. The next step is separating yourself from the abuser and protecting yourself emotionally. Self-care and support are essential in this next stage, as well.
  3. Guilt often follows as you come to terms with what has happened. You may find yourself bargaining with yourself or trying to make sense of why this happened. This can lead to depression or grief as you grapple with your emotions.
  4. The turning point comes when you start to accept what has happened and begin working through the pain caused by emotional abuse. Hope for the future is possible at this stage as you start to envision a life where you are free from abuse and able to take control of your own happiness again.
  5. Education about narcissism can help in understanding how these types of people operate so that it does not happen again in the future.
  6. Finally setting boundaries is key in order for healing and growth after surviving narcissistic abuse.

Recovery from narcissistic abuse takes time but it is possible if you are willing to put in the work necessary for healing and growth.

Do You Ever Recover from Narcissistic Abuse?

Yes, it is possible to recover from narcissistic abuse.

It takes time to heal from narcissistic abuse, so it is important to be patient with yourself during this process.

Recovering from past narcissistic abuse can be a long journey but it is possible with patience, self-care, and support from those around you.

  1. While the process of healing can take time and require support, recognizing the abuse is the first step. It can be hard to admit that you have been manipulated or controlled by someone else, but it is an important step in the healing process.
  2. It may help to talk to a therapist or counselor who specializes in treating trauma related to narcissistic abuse. They can provide valuable insight into how best to cope with the emotions associated with recovery from narcissist abuse as well as provide strategies for managing stress and anxiety related to the experience.
  3. Once you have acknowledged the abuse, it is important to set boundaries with your narcissistic abuser, and practice self-care. This includes taking time for yourself to relax and recharge, engaging in activities that make you feel good about yourself, and seeking support from friends and family members who understand what you are going through.
  4. Additionally, learning to trust yourself again after years of psychological manipulation is a primary goal for those recovering from narcissistic abuse.

Generally speaking, the process of recovery will also include:

Understanding your own feelings and emotions, setting boundaries with people who have hurt you, and focusing on self-care activities such as yoga or journaling. It is also important to remember that closure cannot come from the narcissist but rather must come from within.

Overall, recovery from narcissistic abuse, often from the people we love the most, our parents or partners – is possible with the right help and resources.

How Long Does the Cycle of Narcissistic Abuse Last?

The cycle of narcissistic abuse can last for different lengths of time depending on the situation.

  • Generally, it involves an idealization phase, followed by devaluation and then rejection or discarding.
  • The idealization phase can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months, while the devaluation and discarding phases may only take a few days or weeks.
  • It is important to note that the cycle may repeat itself multiple times in a relationship with a narcissist.

It is also important to recognize that recovery from a narcissistic personality disorder and abuse can take time and requires professional help. It is not something that can be done overnight and requires patience and dedication to healing.

If you are struggling with mental health issues related to narcissistic abuse, it is important to seek help from a qualified therapist or counselor who specializes in this area. They will be able to provide you with the support and guidance you need during your recovery process.

Learn The Cycle of Narcissistic Abuse

Want to learn more about narcissism, like if your parent is narcissistic, or if you want to heal your damage from narcissistic abuse but don’t want to go to therapy or take medication?

There is an advanced course for therapists that gives them dynamic and specific skills to heal gaslighting, codependency, torn attachment, narcissistic abuse, and the grief caused by these relationships.

This course gives mental health professionals the tools they need to help their clients (or the people taking the course) move on with their lives. It does this by giving them easy-to-use treatments from the most popular approaches, like CBT, DBT, and EMDR.

Codependency, Narcissism & Trauma Bonding: CBT, DBT & EMDR Strategies to Free Clients from Toxic Relationships (https://onlinementalhealthreviews.com/free-clients-from-toxic-relationships)

Why is it so Hard to Recover From Narcissistic Abuse?

Recovering from narcissistic abuse can be incredibly difficult.

The abuser may use tactics such as gaslighting, belittling, and shaming to make their victim feel like they are not worthy or capable of making their own decisions. This type of emotional manipulation can have long-term effects on the victim’s mental health and lower their self-esteem

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Narcissistic Abuse?

Everyone’s healing journey is different, and the length of time it takes to recover depends on many factors, such as the severity of the abuse and the individual’s resilience.

In general, recovery from narcissistic abuse can take anywhere from months to years, depending on how much work you are willing to put into healing yourself.

It is important to focus on taking care of yourself during this time by engaging in self-care activities such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, learning to incorporate mindfulness into your daily work and life, exercising regularly, and spending time with supportive friends and family members.

What is The Timeline of Healing From Abuse?

When it comes to healing from abuse, there is no set timeline. Everyone’s journey to recovery is unique and will look different for each person.

According to, DomesticShelters.org, the timeline for healing victims of narcissism goes something like this:

  1. The first phase, Safety, and Stabilization, focuses on helping trauma survivors regain a sense of safety in their bodies and relationships, which may take months or even years to achieve.
  2. In the second phase, Remembrance and Mourning, survivors start processing and assigning meaning to their trauma with the help of trained counselors or therapists, allowing them to grieve and express emotions.
  3. Finally, during the Reconnection and Integration phase, individuals begin to redefine themselves beyond their traumatic experiences, forging meaningful relationships and creating a new sense of self. In some cases, they may even find healing and growth through missions such as mentoring or advocacy.

Can You Fully Recover From Emotional Abuse?

The answer to the question “Can you fully recover from emotional abuse?” is yes.

With patience and support, it is possible to heal from the trauma of emotional abuse.

Overall, healing from emotional abuse takes time but it is possible with the right resources and a strong support system in place.

How Long Does It Take to Recover From Narcissistic Abuse Conclusion:

Healing from narcissistic abuse can be a long and difficult journey. It requires a tremendous amount of courage, effort, and time.

It is essential to remember that healing from narcissistic abuse is possible, and there are many resources available to help.

Therapy with a licensed mental health professional experienced in narcissistic abuse can provide accountability, validation, and coping strategies.

There are also support groups and online forums that can provide a community of understanding. Remember to be patient and kind to yourself as you take the necessary steps toward healing from this trauma.

Please know online therapy for narcissistic abuse offers NA victims numerous benefits, healing, and there are local NA therapists who apply basic NA recovery principles.

Our team wants to hear your opinions too! Tell us know which mental health software product that Online Mental Health Reviews should analyze and evaluate next. Please share your discount codes, horror stories and your experiences so we may all benefit!

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If You Are In Crisis

During a crisis, waiting for an online therapy session might not be the safest option. If immediate help is needed, dial 911, especially if there are intentions of harming oneself or others. If thoughts of self-harm arise, call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Assistance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Another option is to call the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 800-662-HELP (4357). This helpline offers free, confidential services that assist individuals struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues in finding treatment and receiving information 24/7, all year round.

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