Ellen M. Lerner
4 min readFeb 28, 2022


What are Some Behaviour Signs and Indications that a Person is Healing from Narcissistic Abuse? What are Some Behaviour Signs and Indications that Someone is Pretending to be Healing but is Still Longing for the Narcissist?

I can only explain what I observed with myself when I started to heal. And honestly, at first I didn't even notice.

I stopped sleeping as much as I once did. I think that was an escape for me. I started to wake up early in the morning and for the first time in a very long time, I felt rested. I was so used to feeling drained, exhausted, weak, and physically sick that I couldn't imagine what was happening…it was such a great feeling.

I only ate when I was hungry. Again, I really didn't even notice. But no lying on the couch, eating junk food, although I did not become a ‘health nut’ because that was never really me…just everything in moderation. If I wanted a doughnut, I ate a doughnut. The next day, I had a salad. Balance started becoming a very crucial part of my life..but again, I was not conscious I was even doing this.

I made plans with my friends and didn't actually cancel at the last minute because I just couldn't get myself together. I started to have fun again.

I laughed more than ever before. Even if I was alone watching a movie. If something was really funny, I laughed outloud. The best laugh I had was at myself one day. I don't even remember what I did…something silly, or maybe I was just being ‘clutzy’ and I laughed at myself. There's a great quote…’You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself.’ I totally get it.

I started remembering all the good stuff in my life. Where once everything seemed empty and meaningless, now I was grateful. Even for some unfortunate incidents because it brought me to another place. A good place. Everything really does happen for a reason.

I started writing again. I felt inspired. That one is one of the best ones.

When I went to the grocery store, I starting going to the flower section and usually I would buy a bunch of flowers. You have to know…when I was in the thick of it…I wouldn't have even thought to buy myself flowers. They wouldn't have cheered me up. They wouldn't have brightened up my home because during the ‘bad time’ nothing brightened up my home…even the wonderful people who lived inside of it. I hate that the people who loved me had to see me that way…

I could go on, but the second part of your question is important and I wanted to give you my honest opinion…

Though I do know many people who (in a way) are still ‘longing for the narcissist’ still hoping they will change…things will get better…basically, hoping for a miracle… I really do not know anyone (certainly not the people who have reached out to me) who are ‘pretending.’ Not one single person I have spoken with or at the very least, know their story has ever given me the impression they were faking anything in any way. These people want help. They are desperate to get well. To feel healed and to finally be free. If they were ‘pretending’ they wouldn't be reaching out to me, asking me what can they do? How long will it take? So many questions…I definitely do not have all the answers, but I try. I even know some pretty important writers who still speak of cognitive dissonance and trauma bonding from time to time. I truly have never felt as if anyone was pretending to be healed and they were secretly longing for the narcissist.

Maybe we know very different people. Maybe we answer different questions and our answers are very different. I do know of people who believe they have got the right idea. A guru of sorts. They feel that they are ‘experts’ where this subject is concerned. I don't really pay attention to those people because it is all regurgitated information. I'd rather read a book, because some of these people think they are quite wise (to put it mildly) yet aren't even willing to hear a different point of view. They can be entertaining though…

So the beginning of your question is important and maybe some people will start to recognize certain behaviors that indicate things are looking up. I really hope so. And yes…there are still people ‘longing’ but no one I know is pretending. They have poured their hearts out to me. They know they need to walk away. They know what they are dealing with now. The hardest part is getting up the strength (and the bravery) to actually get up and leave for good, but some are headed there. Some have already succeeded. Maybe you know something that I don't. I will keep my eyes wide open, but for now, I have not come across someone lying about being just fine and dandy. As I said, some are on their way, but they are as honest and authentic as they come.



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.