Why Moving on from a Narcissist Is So Hard and May even Look Impossible

Why Moving on from a Narcissist Is So Hard and May even Look Impossible why moving on from a narcissist is so hard and may even look impossible
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Moving on after being with a narcissist is not the easiest thing to do. It’s a dark path filled with spells of fear, despair, shock, helplessness, sadness powerlessness and every other kind of negative emotion you can think of. You’ve been utterly battered by someone who exploited almost every corner of your life as they sought to supply their needs.

You’ve been discarded and you’re now trying to piece your life together while you’re overwhelmed by those emotions. Recovery from a narcissist is more difficult than that of a normal relationship because in normal relationships, you may not have much resentment towards your partner and you’re even coordinating together as you part ways.

In case of a narcissistic relationship, they’ve probably inflicted a huge damage in all the aspects of your life (physical, financial, spiritual and emotional). It’s a damage you will carry with you which makes you feel overwhelmed and helpless. Even though, you’ve physically left the relationship, the actually battle is now unfolding and that is “How do I move on with life?”.


The difficulty of your recovery also depends on how the relationship ended as you may have been discarded when you were at a critical stage in life, say (sick or without a job). So, what are some of the reasons which make moving on look like it’s a hard mountain to climb after being involved with a narcissist. These reasons will help you understand and even prepare you for what lies ahead.

1. Uncertainty and Lack of Closure

The first reason why moving on is hard is the uncertainty over the whole situation. There’s just this uncertainty of whether they’re actually gone or if the relationship is truly over. They might have left you, ghosted you or just gave you a prolonged silent treatment. You’re used to them pulling off that on and off switch in the relationship to the point that you think they’re bluffing when they discard you. Most times, there’s no mutual agreement that the relationship is truly over.

They will not offer you closure as in the case of a normal relationship (read more here on why they don’t give you closure). They may just leave you without any sort of ‘closure talk’ which leaves you confused and not knowing what to do. You are there waiting for them to talk so that you can start discussing your divorce process but they’re nowhere to be seen.

So, there’s no mutual agreement on the next steps the relationship will take. It’s like being left in the middle of the ocean after the ‘captain’ had disembarked the ship without even letting you know, and so you don’t know if you’re to wait for the captain, sail back on your own or even where to sail back to. This makes it hard to just move on as you’re unsure of the directions you need to take.

2. You’re not Yourself

The other thing is you’re not the person you used to be. The relationship has left a dent in your self-esteem and you feel like a shell of the strong person you used to be. You feel duped and you feel like a fool for what you put yourself through.

Through their constant verbal abuse and various abusive ways, you’ve further developed negative beliefs about yourself. You feel so unworthy, unlovable and it’s like your life has no value at all. When you have low self-esteem, you will struggle with coping with life challenges in an effective way. You will not just trust you can pull it off on your own and that the weight is so much for you to carry.

You will see everything as very hard and not as a challenge to surmount. It brings about this resigned feeling and powerlessness when it comes to standing up on your own. The narcissist may have ‘built’ your self-esteem earlier on in the relationship only for them to wreck it over and over again. It’s the reason, you may feel so small after leaving the narcissist. You’re just this small person who has lost touch with their internal resources and everything, even the thought of moving on just seem like a huge unsurmountable task.

A normal relationship will at times even leave you better than before the relationship. On the other hand, a narcissistic relationship will erode every single spark of inner strength and positive self-image you might have had before being in that relationship leaving you feeling feeble and just disconnected with your authentic self. When you’re not yourself, you’ll not be using all your inner resources to help you overcome the challenges you’ll face when you’re moving on with the narcissist. When you’re not yourself, you will even take the blame for what happened in the relationship and you will not want to even look further ahead to the life which is out there waiting for you.

3. You’re Traumatized and You’re Experiencing Aftershock

The relationship has left you traumatized and you’re even operating your life in survival mode (read more on survival mode here). When you’re living in survival mode, everything in your life feels like a trigger or is filled with landmines and so you have to thread carefully. You’re also experiencing abuse aftershock (read more here) because all those unhealed wounds you’ve been numbing in the relationship as well as other wounds you’ve picked up from the relationship are now screaming for your attention.

When you’re traumatized, the logical part of the brain will not function properly and the survival brain is the one which takes control. The logical part of the brain which deals with critical thinking, planning and organization dims when you’ve been exposed to constant stress like when you were in the narcissistic relationship.

This means that you will find it hard to logically see the situation you’re in and forge a way forward in your life. You may logically understand that the narcissist is not the best one for you and you’ve got to move on or let go but you just can’t do it. You’ve read about them and you now know they cannot change their ways but it’s still not enough. You feel powerless to just move on. Logically you’re capable but after a few tries, you find yourself back in the same cycle again.

This is because the root cause of the problem is beyond logic and it lurks in the unconscious part of your mind which is far much powerful than what you can cognitively do. This is why you may give you all but you still struggling since your subconscious, which is the powerhouse, holds deeply-rooted beliefs about yourself.

Logic is just being shuddered and clouded by all those traumatic memories and unhealed wounds from your past experiences. When you’re traumatized, your past is running the show behind the scenes and you may find it really hard to move on. It’s like trying to sail a ship without releasing the anchor (the anchor now are the subconscious beliefs you have about yourself like, “you deserve the abuse”, “you deserve what you’re going through”). It might move for a small distance but it will still find itself being held back or stuck. When your logic is overpowered, you will find it hard even replying to those emails from your divorce lawyer or even just following up with the divorce process.

4. Frustration by the Narcissist

The other common reason why moving on from a narcissist may be a tough challenge is they will frustrate you in the whole process. They may delay court process, divorce process or just settling for any kind of parenting ‘agreement’ with you. They will intentionally make it hard for you to get what you want.

They may as well manipulate or corrupt the authorities to work to their advantage. You may find yourself in situation where you’re not even getting a shilling from the settlement. They may bully you and take all the finances and assets depending on how transparent the system you’re operating with is. They may also threaten to terrorize your life or even make you lose that job which further makes it really hard for you to move on.


You’ll be feeling as if they’re still controlling your life even when they’re a million miles away. Realistically, they make it hard for you to get those things necessary when moving on from a relationship which makes you want to literally fight for it. You may get frustrated to the point you just give up with even trying to move on with life. So, the relationship is over but they make it look like it’s not over.

5. Isolation and Lack of Support

The last reason which may make it hard is you may find yourself in situation where you don’t have any support from your friends or family during the moving on process. When you were in the relationship you might have unknowingly isolated yourself from your support network so as to preserve the relationship.

The narcissist may have insidiously convinced you that you need to cut off your family and friends so that you can build a great relationship together. You may have also developed grudges with friends who advised you to leave the relationship. The narcissist may have also tarnished and smeared your name in the neighborhood and everyone is seeing you as this monster who deserves what they’re going through.

So, at the end of the relationship, you may find yourself feeling like a lonely island in the middle of an ocean. You don’t have where to run to or places to seek support and refuge. When you lack support, you will find it hard to move on. The truth of the matter is, it’s easier to move on when your ‘loved ones’ are backing you up but when they’ve deserted you, it will not be that easy.


Moving on after leaving an abusive relationship will look like a tough task but it’s not impossible. It’s one of those mountains where once you surmount it, you’ll come out as a better person than what you were even at the beginning of the relationship. Do not walk this journey alone, there’s help out there which will enable you see what you’re not seeing or even lessen the burden you’re putting yourself through.

Also, do not focus so much on getting support from your friends or your loved ones, it’s also okay to seek support from strangers like us if you really feel that what we’re talking about resonates with your experiences. Another thing is if you’ve been trying and trying but you really feel stuck, change your method but do not allow yourself to resign to the state of “it’s impossible to recover from abuse”. Once you start your healing journey, you will regain your logic back and you’ll be able to face life challenges with a clear lens without those false beliefs yourself hijacking your thought process.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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