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7 stages of recovery

Old 06-19-2008, 04:39 PM
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7 stages of recovery

it's been over 3 yrs since xabf moved on. I can relate to this article, even though it is written more for narcissism. I feel just replace the word addict, it adds up to the same.


The Seven Stages of Recovery
by Still Smilin

1) The Roadkill Stage
This is when you finally hit bottom due to the experience with a Narcissist.

2) The Realization Stage
This is when the answers to the questions that have been plaguing you begin to get answered and you now know what it is you have been dealing with all this time. You begin to research everything you can find on Narcissism. You usually feel better that you know, but the sense of betrayal begins to hit you like a Mack truck. Unfortunately, you start to feel angry at yourself for letting it go on for so long.

3) The Anger Stage
This is when the full impact of what you went through hits home and all hell breaks loose! Anger is uncomfortable, but I think it is a necessary step towards healing. At first, it is like an erupting volcano, then it usually evolves in focusing on how to get through. If you don't let as much of the anger out at this stage, you will stay stuck for a longer period of time. (I did this).

4) Taking Affirmative Action Stage
This is when you begin to learn to effectively focus your new-found knowledge into making life decisions. This is also the period where you begin to learn and practice techniques on how to protect yourself from the Narcissist. This is the stage where some decide on divorce, relocating, changing jobs, and lifestyle changes. This is also a time of great upheaval, because the Narcissist usually knows that the "gig is up" The Narcissist will fight you tooth and nail to win. This is a crucial stage in healing, because it is at this stage that the Narcissist will also try to "put on the charm" to return you to status quo. The Narcissist can be very vicious at this stage. It is usually best to have as little contact as possible with the Narcissist. It is also the time to continue to learn about how to continue to protect yourself and continue to focus on you and your healing.

5) The Fall-Out Stage
This is when you become more comfortable in your knowledge of how to deal with the Narcissist, where you begin to forgive yourself, where you begin to feel better about yourself and your abilities. You are actively planning your future, getting to know yourself again, and you notice how much better physically and emotionally you feel out of the presence of the Narcissist. The fog of Narcissism has lifted somewhat and you begin to get your confidence back. While this is happening, you are still experiencing the waves of the past stages, it seems to come in cycles that diminish in intensity over time.

6) The Mirroring Stage
Not everyone goes through this stage, it is a personal decision. This is when you mirror the Narcissists behavior back at them, effectively scaring them off! I was particularily fond of this stage, because it allowed me to siphon off the anger and project it back to the person who caused it. It is effective in scaring off the Narcissist, but sometimes it takes many sessions of "mirroring" before the stubborn Narcissist finally "gets it". Unfortunately for many victims, many Narcissists aren't willing to accept that it is OVER and continually try to get back under the victims skin using guilt, fear, pity, threats, violence and financial abuse. Many Narcissists keep "coming back for more NS."

Depending on how you handle the Narcissist in this stage, it will depend on how long this stage lasts. If you, even for a moment give the Narcissist ANY NS at all, show any vulnerability, sympathy, fear, or confusion, it will put you back a few stages and you will have to work your way through again. This cycle can happen many times.

7) Realization and Apathy
Once you effectively block all means of communication with the Narcissist as efficiently as possible, protect yourself from them as much as you can, gain knowledge and confidence in yourself, you reach a stage of realization that there was nothing you could have done to help or prevent the nightmare that you just lived through. You start looking for effective ways to manage your life, work towards your new future and close the door in the face of the Narcissist. The most effective way that I have found to do this is with APATHY. Apathy works. It requires very little work on your part. You display no outward emotions towards the Narcissist, who seems to forever be trying to re-enter your life for the coveted NS, you yawn frequently whenever they have something to say, you outright IGNORE their existence as if they died.

Eventually, in a sense they do die, because without your attention, without your sympathy, without your guilt, without your adoration, without your anger, and without your fear, they do wither away and die. If there is nothing for them to affirm their existence through you, and they cannot exist around you. It is not to say that they won't try. They want to be able to evoke an emotional response in you. If you don't give them any, then eventually, like Pavlov's dog they figure out the bowl is empty and move on to the next victim. This stage can take some time, because as we know, the Narcissist does not give up on precious supply sources easily.
Hugs from Still Smilin
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Old 06-19-2008, 05:46 PM
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That is very interesting. Thank you for sharing! A lot of it was very helpful to me and I could really relate to it. The only part I had difficulty with was the "ignore their existence as if they had died."

I may have to get to that point but it will be really hard. I believe that my A son who is suppose to be in recovery has relapsed. His behavior lately has been very much the way he behaves when in active addiction.
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:53 PM
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Kindeyes,
I think it would be very difficult to cut all ties with your child.

This was a topic on Canada msn today, how to spot a psychopath. Which ended up linking to view pages on cons, narcissists and other leaches, emotional, physical abusers etc... that you stumble upon. And basically they say if you don't feed them, they will go somewhere else to exist.

I take nothing for granted. I now have only good days or great days.
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Old 06-20-2008, 05:32 AM
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chrisea - Thanks for this post!

I can relate to all but 6 and 7 - but as the saying goes...take what you like and leave the rest

I love the name of the first stage because at that time I truely felt like my heart was a piece of dried up, withered, mutilated road kill. The second stage, I went from feeling to realizing my heart WAS a piece of dried up, withered, mutilated road kill. The third stage, I was angry at XABF, my parents, myself because everyone (including myself) let me down and now my heart was a piece of dried up, withered, mutilated road kill.

And of course the awesome 4th adn 5th stages where I realized my heart didn't have to be a piece of dried up, withered, mutilated road kill, I could do something about it to prevent it from happening again and found the beauty of a serene life on my own. I took ownership for stage 2, forgave myself and made a promise to never allow my heart in the hands of a toxic, unhealthy person or place myself in an unhealthy situation again.
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:12 AM
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Cagefree,
I like your sig... Got my 2 feet on the ground... life is good.

I have a coffee cup with a dog toasting a marshmallow over a fire. Underneath is the "Life is good" on the other side is "Do what you like. Like what you do." Also have one hanging on cupboard that says "Cap.tain (kap'ten) n. decorative dummy found on boats. See figurehead.

silly teasing me where I was & what I when thru.

betrayal begins to hit you like a Mack truck

in stage 7 I can relate to - you reach a stage of realization that there was nothing you could have done to help or prevent the nightmare that you just lived through. I guess after all, If I didn't go thru it, I would have been home that night I meet him So you get to the point of close the door in the face of the cycle. I found that apathy does work, I just didn't know I was doing it at the time. Really I was exhausted from working 70 - 80 hrs a week. That probably looks like apathy. They want to be able to evoke an emotional response in you. If you don't give them any, then eventually, like Pavlov's dog they figure out the bowl is empty and move on to the next victim. unfortunately this is what happens, happy day for me (he moved on) another pain for some other woman.

I definetly went thru the anger stage, seemed like forever. But started to calm down, when, at least I am not building any more mts of debt... I can't solve them all and soon it will be a few yrs behind me and I can really breathe out...
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:17 PM
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Wow, I have all the information I saved on my computer about the study on did on narcisism!

It is harder when children are involved. I am still hoping that my ex gets put in jail soon, and it looks like God may be answering my prayers soon.

As long as I have to deal with him on visitation, he continues to suck me in, and lie to me. I continue to cycle through the 7 stages. And I can't wait until I am able to get to stage 7 and stay there.

I think I am almost there.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:38 AM
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I have a big disagreement with this in stage 7: you reach a stage of realization that there was nothing you could have done to help or prevent the nightmare that you just lived through

To the contrary, the healthier I get, the more I see where and how I could have taken control of my life and prevented or stopped the majority of the nightmare I went through. I think the way stage 7 is worded continues to push the victim mentality that so many dealing with the effects of having an A in their life take on. I was not a victim. I made choices that led me to marry an A. I made choices that led me to stay married. I made choices that led me to leave and then divorce my exAH. The only part that I could not change was my xAH's behaviors and issues. Everything else that happened was to one degree or another the result of what I did or did not choose to do for myself.
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:40 AM
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Wow- does this ever hit home for me. I keep struggling between 3 and 4. I think I am getting over the anger and then it hits me like a ton of bricks! I talk myself into planning my future and trying to accept what has happened and try to move on and then this incredible anger takes over again and I just can't control it. It has been just over 2 months since I found out my husband was an addict and he started treatment and I feel just as angry if not more than I did then. I am at the stage of contemplating divorce. Everytime I think I have decided to stay or to go something pulls me in the other direction. I am hoping time will soon tell me what to do. I hate having all this anger, it is not good for me or my kids.
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:51 AM
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Very interesting. I kind of feel the same way about alcohol. Been sober over 7 years. I have found that alcoholics and co-depends have more in common than people think sometimes. One obesses about alcohol and the other people.

Thank's, made me think of the struggles we both go through.
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