She isn’t recovering from love lost or even the failure of a relationship but from warfare.
She won’t be able to get over what happened to her so easily. She’ll need more time than you think. And your impatience will just harm her. If you won’t help her, don’t make things worse by judging her. You think she wouldn’t want to be normal or happy or the way she was before she got herself into the narcissist’s nest? She would, but she just doesn’t know how.
She’ll need constant reassurance. She forgot a long time ago how it feels to be fearless—how it feels not to be scared or not to have to be careful. She forgot how it feels not to anticipate anything bad. Therefore, she’ll need to hear from you a lot how the nightmare is over and how everything will be okay. She’ll need to hear from you how she doesn’t need to be scared and that she doesn’t need to worry because you’ll always be there to be her rock.
She’ll have a hard time trusting people. Her past taught her not to trust anyone because the one she thought was closest to her, pushed her closest to hell. That’s why she’ll be doubtful whenever someone new tries to enter her life. She’ll take any act of good towards her with a dose of suspicion, thinking she’ll pay for it later—and she’ll pay for it big time.
She’ll need some time before she welcomes someone new in her life or decides to love. Love is now a very strange and unknown feeling to her. What she once thought was love turned into the most toxic feeling and it made her a prisoner of her tormentor. She won’t allow herself to develop feelings towards anyone—let alone the feeling of love. That’s how bruised she is.
She’ll apologize constantly. Because she went through hell, she’ll have this need to apologize—even for the things she doesn’t need to. She learned that the best way to avoid emotional beatings is taking all the blame and that’s what she did when she dated a narcissist. This is something she’ll have a hard time shaking off, so don’t be surprised when you hear her saying “I’m so sorry” for the smallest thing because that’s her defensive mechanism and it will take a while before she gets rid of it.
She’ll hide her feelings. In her previous relationship with a narcissist, ‘to feel’ always came with a price. The more she showed her feelings, the worse he treated her. That’s why you’ll never be able to see what she truly feels. She’ll be scared to come off as clingy, too emotional, overly sensitive or even boring with all those emotions of hers. She’ll be scared you won’t understand so she’ll take the ‘easy’ road by always choosing to bottle her feelings up.
Nothing in this process of recovering will be easy. She’ll have frequent mood swings. Often, she’ll want to be isolated and she’ll guard her heart more than you’ve even seen. She’ll need constant reassurance—you’ll need to prove her day after day that you’re there, that you’re not leaving and that you understand what happened to her. You’ll need to show her that she isn’t alone, that you care and that together, you two can overcome whatever happened. She’ll need a lot of time and she might never become the person you’d want her to be. All of this will be overwhelming at moments.
But it will be worth it. It’s not her fault that she’s the way she is now. She just doesn’t know how to live otherwise. She’s an amazing person—or at least she was before she fell into the claws of a narcissist—but she can get better. It takes a lot of work, but she may become a normal human after all.
She needs someone who’ll show her that there are good people in this world. She deserves someone who won’t just talk, but who’ll be there for her, who’ll make promises and actually keep them. She needs someone who’ll put her first after she’s been on the bottom for such a long time. She needs someone to prove to her that she matters and someone who’ll be her shoulder to cry on.
She needs someone to help her heal and to show her that there is more to her life than what she went through with her narcissist. She needs a good guy in order to finally break free from the aftermath of dating a narcissist. So if you care, care enough to be the next good guy for her. She deserves to get the love she gave to the wrong person. She deserves to matter.
There is still an amazing girl in her. There is still a girl who’s ready to conquer the world and that’s destined to live life to the fullest—only this girl is hiding at the moment because she was broken and now she’s scared. Show her that she has nothing to be afraid of and all your effort will make sense after she recovers.