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No Contact with a Narcissistic Family Member and Grief

We haven’t found grief discussed much in social media, blog posts or other sources.  Sometimes the best choice is to go NO contact, and, your lead to believe everything will be rainbows and unicorns.  Maybe for some people that happens, but there is a grieving process we go through.

When you go no contact with the narcissist, keep in mind that it usually spreads from there to other family members and friends.   The narcissist has already created the trap, created doubt about you within their entourage (aka harem).  They have already reinforced you as the perpetrator. Family members and friends, believing the lies the narcissist has been spreading about you, also tend to disappear and are no longer in your life.

We grieve these relationships, no matter how bad they were, because, they were somewhat of a norm to us.  We developed coping to some degree to get through.  Once NO contact is put in place, you lose a part of your life.  Phone calls, cards, holidays, daily life is all different.  There are times when you are doing something or see something that you would have normally shared, but now… silence.

Grief has 5 stages, and we all don’t follow any set pattern in getting through.  These 5 stages are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.  Hopefully Acceptance is at the end of these and you can move on with your life.  You may skip several of these steps or be stuck in one step longer than someone else. Healing happens gradually, it can’t be forced or rushed.

Dealing with grief:

  • Acknowledge your pain.
  • Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions.
  • Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you.
  • Seek out face-to-face support from people who care about you.
  • Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically.
  • Recognize the difference between grief and depression.

What do the five stages of grief mean?

Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”

As we previously mentioned, you don’t have to go through all of these stages in order to heal.

Myths and facts about grief and grieving:

Myth: The pain will go away faster if you ignore it.
Fact: Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing, it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it.
Myth: It’s important to “be strong” in the face of loss.

Fact: Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a normal reaction to loss. Crying doesn’t mean you are weak. You don’t need to “protect” your family or friends by putting on a brave front. Showing your true feelings can help them and you.

Myth: If you don’t cry, it means you aren’t sorry about the loss.

Fact: Crying is a normal response to sadness, but it’s not the only one. Those who don’t cry may feel the pain just as deeply as others. They may simply have other ways of showing it.

Myth: Grieving should last about a year.

Fact: There is no specific time frame for grieving. How long it takes differs from person to person.

Myth: Moving on with your life means forgetting about your loss.

Fact: Moving on means you’ve accepted your loss—but that’s not the same as forgetting.

Emotional symptoms of grief can be – shock and disbelief; sadness; guilt, anger, fear. Most of us that have been abused by a Narcissist, are empaths.  The Narcissists behavior is so foreign to us.  We can’t understand how someone can behave like they do, since it is so opposite of how we behave.

Physical symptoms of grief can be – Fatigue, Nausea, Lowered Immunity, Weight loss or weight gain; Aches and pains and Insomnia.

Seek support while you are grieving.  Find someone you can trust, and if need be, seek counseling.  Remember that most people don’t know what to say while you are going through this.  If they personally haven’t dealt with a Narcissist, it may be hard for them to understand.  Some recommend turning to family and friends, this can be awkward, since we are already no contact with certain family members.  This is possible if there are some family members not in the Narcissists web you can confide in.

Take care of yourself while you are going through this process.  Also keep in mind, there are social media support groups (private groups) that can assist with healing after narcissist abuse. Sharing and getting support through these may help you work through your grief, and also let you know you are not alone.

Reading and researching Narcissistic behavior and discovering coping skills may also help you.

Remember there are things that may trigger you, (Holidays, anniversary’s, birthdays, milestones, seeing something in a store, etc..).  Give yourself some grace, if something does trigger you, this is Normal!

While you are taking care of yourself, get out, make new friends, join new groups, and engage in hobbies you enjoy and things you haven’t had time to do,  things that are positive and strengthen you. Going back to the things we enjoy and that bring us happiness feeds our souls.

Remember you are not alone and we are in this together.

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