For me, I think understanding how to detach from the narcissist is one of the most powerful steps in your recovery.
However, it takes looking at what attachment is, how it relates to love and where you may have been going wrong.
So firstly, what is attachment?
Attachment theory is a psychological model attempting to describe the dynamics of long-term and short-term interpersonal relationships between humans. In other words, it is how we relate to others. Attachment styles are developed in childhood and are often dependant upon the parenting style of our parents. If we had all our needs met (physical, emotional, spiritual) we would grow into secure adults who trust ourselves and others. However, if our parents were inconsistent with meeting our needs or scary, we would grow up viewing others as unreliable and dangerous.
When we are insecure in our attachment we tend to seek validation from others. We look to them to make us feel complete and loved. And this is where love and attachment become confused.
This is a great video to explain the difference.
So in order to properly detach, we need to learn to love ourselves. But when leaving a narcissistic relationship or when your parent was a narcissist this has to happen in many different ways.
There may have been a discard or perhaps you chose to walk away yourself. Either way, this is the first step to physical detachment. You are no longer in the physical presence. Whilst initially this will hurt and you may crave them, it is necessary in order to detach yourself.
The next step is making sure you go no contact. This doesn't just mean not talking to them. It means not going on their social media, not checking emails, not driving past their house, not asking other for updates. It's like trying to give up chocolate and standing in front of Thornton's window all day - torture!
If you have children together or are related and want some type of relationship with them, time to start practising grey rock. Narcissists crave drama and want to know as much about you as possible in order to be able to find a chink to exploit you. When you go grey rock you essentially become an interesting as a grey rock and share nothing of any value to them. You restrict the flow of information and cut off their supply. They won't like it, they will fish and they will triangulate others so be aware of who you are talking to. You may need to go grey rock with many others as well.
Finally you can look at your own boundaries around this and other relationships. We have covered boundaries in our blog before so I won't go on about them now but distance can be a great way to see where you need to rebuild your boundary.
You will grieve. It is a loss. Even if you know it is for the best, you will still be grieving. For the relationship you thought it was. For the person you thought they were. For the future you planned. Don't fight it. It doesn't mean you regret it, it is your body essentially detoxing from the relationship and letting those emotions go.
Kubler-Ross developed a model of the typical grief process.
(image credit: https://www.slideshare.net/michaelcnagle/kubler-ross-grief-cycle)
You will find yourself being triggered a lot when you try to detach. This is partly your brain replaying old patterns but also an emotional connection which is unhealthy. It is also known as a trauma bond. During the relationship our brain became hardwired to associate love and many other things with the narcissist. It can be so confusing to victims because they know they don't really want to be gaslighted, ridiculed, ignored and abused but they physically NEED the relationship. The video above explains one element of this. But you also are addicted. Like a drug addict. And each trigger replays the rush. Only now you are more aware of the danger and so your brain struggles to reconcile your want to be close with your knowledge to run. This is cognitive dissonance. And it takes time to rewire your brain. I strongly recommend you read Betrayal Bonds by Patrick Carnes.
This is where many people struggle the most because they don't address the soul connection and so they keep either reliving the pain of the attachment to the narcissist or they seek our similar relationships time and time again.
This is known as a Karmic Loop.
"The Karmic Loop Of Negative Energy Patterns - The karmic holographic loop is when our thoughts and vibration does not change, hence allowing us to remain in a place that is stuck and divided, on the lower side of duality; without ever stopping to question and think if it is right for us."
These karmic loops span lifetimes and you have been replaying them time and time again in every incarnation. This is to force you into healing the original wound. You will not be consciously aware of this wound which is why so many people get limited results from counselling. This is a spiritual attachment and therefore should be treated by those who understand the depth of what you are dealing with.
You also have cords attaching you to the narcissist. A Cord of Attachment is an invisible energetic connection that allows for the exchange of emotional energy between the astral and etheric bodies of two or more beings. Again this is not a cord you are aware of but it is why you keep getting drawn back. There are many cord cutting meditation on YouTube you can try but again I would recommend working with someone who has the skill set to end these cycles once and for all.
If you are ready to Move Forward, book yourself in for a one:one session with myself. Sessions are on offer at just £39 at the moment.