Next, after you identify and address the damage from your narcissistic relationship, you will need a period of restoration and retraining. Just because you’re out of the toxic relationship, it doesn’t mean you’re fully healed and ready for your next relationship. There is very real work to be done to restore your sense of safety, trust, self-esteem, sense of worthiness, and peace of mind.
Being in a toxic relationship is a form of trauma. As such, it is very normal to experience a trauma response, which might include feeling exhausted, sad, anxious, agitated, detached, numb, or on guard.
These feelings don’t necessarily disappear just because you removed yourself from the toxic relationship. It will take time to soothe your nervous system and retrain your brain to feel safe in your own skin again and to feel safe in another relationship. Again, seeking out professional help can be a vital part of your restoration and healing process.
There are many ways we can keep ourselves safe from future toxic relationships: Healing the wounds that made you vulnerable to engaging in this type of relationship, recognizing red flags and heeding them, setting boundaries, raising your standards, understanding your value and worth, learning how to be whole on your own, knowing what narcissistic behavior looks, feels, and sounds like, having a zero-abuse tolerance policy, and seeking the counsel of trusted others. You might consider involving others in your future relationships as a second layer of eyes and accountability before making a major commitment.