Ellen M. Lerner
5 min readMar 2, 2024

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A Narcissist Destroyed my Life…What to do Now?

Photo via Unsplash

If you are still able to draw breath, your life is not destroyed. I know it feels that way but it isn’t your time yet…this is the time to bask in the glory of the new you.

I felt as if my life was destroyed as well. For a very long time. The circumstances in which I found my voice again are very difficult to put into words, because I can not truly explain it.

First, you must forgive yourself for allowing this in your life. You must forgive yourself for accepting less than you deserved. A lot less!

Then you do a bit of soul-searching. You discover bits and pieces of yourself. First, some of these bits and pieces you are going to have to gather up and put back together. It doesn't happen overnight so be patient with yourself and do as much as you can in your own time.

Educate yourself on narcissistic abuse but go one step further. Find some inspiration in life affirming people, authors, poets, writers, artists, musicians…basically, it’s time to do your homework but if all you do is read up on Narcissism it’s going to take its toll…I promise you. That’s just one part of the recovery process. Finding some inspiration is just as important if not more so than just doing research on a personality disorder that in a million years you would have never thought you had to learn about. But here we are….

Let yourself have bad days. However, as you get some distance these bad days become few and far between. Some pretty crazy sh*t is going to start happening if you have started to realize some very crucial things…if it’s finally coming together and you are able to face it,(not an easy thing to face, infact, I can not think of anything more terrifying.)

This was NOT your fault.

You were chosen for a reason. (This may be of little comfort, but just hear me out…) Because of your kindness, your spirit, that glow that radiates from within you…the narcissist saw it, and wanted it for himself/herself. And the final nail in the coffin…he/she wanted to take it all away from you. They wanted to take you away from you…because a narcissist can not stand authenticity, they can not stand when someone else is truly happy with who they are…because if they can't be happy…then No One Can!

You have become stronger than you ever thought possible.

You will listen to your inner voice (intuition) with every situation, every statement from a friend or foe, and become your very own lie detector. This takes time so please do not think that just because it is not happening this very instant that it is not going to…you have some homework to do and you need to stop defining yourself as a victim.

I too felt like a victim. I decided I did not want that to be even the smallest part of my identity…so you know what I did? I stopped defining myself that way, and in the blink of an eye I went from being a victim to being a survivor.

Now here comes the good stuff….

As someone once said to me…’Ellen, it’s time to start the weeding out process.’ She was absolutely right. You now have enough self respect, dignity and wisdom to let go of the people who are not exactly happy for your newfound respect for yourself. It is amazing how many people benefited from you being kind, not wanting to make waves, being a pushover, basically…not speaking your truth. Try as hard as you can to let go of the people who no longer fit your life and hold on tight to the people who were always cheering for you…even on the sidelines. Even when you didn’t know it. You don’t let go of those people! Ever!

You are going to not only like yourself again, you are going to discover things you never knew existed in you.

You will make peace with your past and not let this person get inside of your head again. Ever.

You will have wisdom beyond your years. Did it come at a cost? Absolutely. But what you learned (even with the madness) was worth its weight in gold.

You walked away from a nightmare. Nightmares don’t exactly fade away into the abyss in an instant. You think about them, try to understand what brought it on. You literally become your very own philosopher, teacher, therapist, life coach and as the nightmare fades away, you no longer need an interpretation of the nightmare, because it happened, you woke up feeling horrible and confused, but most people do not sit around and dwell on a bad dream. They do not ruminate for what seems like an eternity. Not for years on end. You have to try to look at it that way. You can actually grow from a terrible experience.

Start putting yourself first. I started taking vitamins and supplements. I started making plans with my friends again. I started waking up early (and I was never an early riser.) I now have an internal clock that will not let me sleep the day away like I once did. At different moments I have wondered to myself if this is my insides telling me I wasted too much time, so instead of sleeping the day away, something makes me get up early each morning…ready to face the world, wondering what the day may bring. I guess I felt as if I needed to make up for lost time…because essentially, we did lose time. But you must realize that there is still so much life to live.

‘You can not go back to the beginning…but you can start from where you are and change the ending.’

Don’t you deserve a happy ending? I think so…

Start changing not only how you view yourself but change the way you look at things…everything!

‘If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.’

A final step in the process of moving from victim to survivor is finding ways to pay it forward by helping other victims or using your experience to make a positive impact on others. Some people who have overcome narcissistic abuse go on to start blogs, support groups, and other resources aimed at helping advocate for and empower other victims.

Others find smaller and more personal ways to pay it forward. For example, they may teach their children about healthy boundaries and relationships, stress how vital empathy is. Support a friend who is in an abusive relationship, or share their own experiences with others going through something similar. When it comes to how to move on after narcissistic abuse, these are some ways of getting closure. Because unfortunately, you will never get closure from a narcissist. You have to figure out a way to give closure to yourself, and many who have reached out to me have, or have begun to…I managed to, and if I could do it, then so can you.

As I said in the beginning, this is the time to bask in the glory of the new you. Never let your past define you. As that old saying goes…’it was a lesson…not a life sentence.’ So start celebrating. Your new life is about to begin. Get ready to fall in love with life again.

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Ellen M. Lerner

My name is Ellen. I am a Composer. A Pianist and Vocalist. A Student. A Writer and most of all...I'm a Survivor.