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- After the end of a relationship, it can feel like you’ll never recover.
- This is especially true when you break up with a narcissist, because of the emotional roller-coaster you’ve been on.
- One day, though, you’ll move on.
- Here are eight signs that you already have, so you never have to look back.
Some people are mentally and emotionally equipped to recognise the red flags that they are entering into a relationship with a potentially toxic person.
Others, unfortunately, are either unaware of the signs, are attracted to narcissists, or have had trauma in their lives that has drawn them to these dangerous partnerships.
Whatever the reasons for starting the relationship, it will eventually end. Narcissists tire of their victims when they’ve exhausted their supply of care, money, or whatever else they were after. As quickly as they entered your life, they leave it, which can leave the victim incredibly confused, broken, and lost.
However, in time, you will realise how much better off you are without them in your life, says psychologist Perpetua Neo. Then, after gaining more clarity, one day you will finally move on.
Here are the eight signs you never have to look back, because you are completely over the narcissist who was in your life:
1. You don’t care anymore
It might seem obvious, but the main way you know you’re over someone is when you stop caring about them. When you first broke up, you might have still been so bonded to them you would immediately respond if they ever reached out.
However, once you’ve gained some perspective, Neo said you’ll find you no longer feel the need to pay any attention to them anymore.
You may still have mutual friends, because narcissists are skilled at keeping people around to do their dirty work. But if you hear their name, you’ll find your stomach no longer does back-flips.
“When they say this person’s done this or done that, you say ‘I really don’t care’ because you really don’t care at all,” Neo said. “It’s not you trying to pretend to strong – you really just don’t care.”
2. You don’t hate them
After the breakup, you probably experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. After longing for them back, you’re likely to go through a period of intense hatred. Neo said you know you’re truly over the narcissistic abuser when you don’t hate them anymore.
“One day when you realise you don’t hate them anymore, that’s when you’re completely free,” she said.
3. You feel no guilt for speaking the truth
In many cases of abuse, it’s a good idea to let it go, get as far away from the abuser as possible, and not look back. Sometimes, though, it might be best for your safety to submit a police report – particularly in the case of stalking or domestic abuse. Neo said this can leave some people feeling torn, because they feel like they are betraying their ex.
“After all, the relationship wasn’t all bad – there could be good times and all the good times are blown out of proportion, which is what keeps us hooked,” she said. “But when you realise your right is justice, you’re speaking up for other people who have been abused, you no longer feel bad for it, and you realise you’re doing something good. Again, that’s how you know you’re free.”
- Tim Marshall / Unsplash
4. You don’t look at their social media
After any breakup, it’s tempting to linger on your ex’s social media, just to see what they’re up to. Curiosity in itself isn’t harmful, but if your ex was a narcissist, then scrolling through their feed is not a healthy choice.
“Narcissists, especially covert narcissists, play on your sense of pity and they pretend to be this sad, anxious introvert with no friends,” Neo said. “That’s how they hook you in so you always feel like you’re responsible for them.”
When you no longer worry about what they’re doing, or who they’re doing it with, that’s a big sign you’ve moved on.
5. You don’t feel bad about what happened to you
“We judge ourselves for not seeing through the lies, for staying in the relationship, or even for running away or being dumb,” Neo said. “We blame ourselves for every single thing.”
Narcissists often target confident, successful people because it makes them look good. Neo said it’s important to remember not to beat yourself up for falling for it, because they are highly skilled at manipulating others.
“When you are able to look past that and you no longer feel stupid, or you feel doubtful about your ability to speak about the situation, then you’re really over it,” she said.
6. You no longer fear them
There’s a difference between being vigilant, and being terrified that every other person you meet will treat you the way the narcissist did.
Neo said you know you’re over them when you stop looking over your shoulder. You’re no longer looking for their face in the crowd, and you don’t fear every new person who comes along.
“When you’re out with different guys, and you’re not automatically thinking, ‘Oh my god, is he a narcissist?’ that again is a very big sign, because you are actively aware there are good people in this world,” she said. “If you’re thinking ‘Please don’t be a narcissist,’ you are still haunted.”
7. You look healthier
Narcissistic abuse can wreak havoc on your body. The insults and intermittent kindness keep you on high alert, and your body will respond to that. Many survivors of abuse report losing or putting on weight, breaking out in acne, and even getting chest pains.
“When they look back on old pictures with the narcissist, they will say ‘I look so old, I look so haggard, I look so thin or so fat, I look so stressed, I look so sad,'” Neo said. “When you leave your narcissist and you take care of yourself, and you’re no longer in a toxic environment, you actually get healthier. When you’re not fighting all the time, your immune system gets a rest.”
8. You root for different people in books or films
Neo said you may notice you root for different characters in films and books. For example, in “Wuthering Heights” you may have loved Heathcliff. After going through what you did, you’ll probably realise that is no longer the case. A brooding, toxic man isn’t your Prince Charming anymore.
9. Your perspective changes
Rose-tinted glasses can be good in a healthy relationship, but completely inappropriate for a narcissistic relationship, Neo said. When you look back and see the abuse for what it really was, that’s when you know you’ve moved on.