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Overcome Narcissist Aftermath Your Grief Is Shared Fantasy, Too!

Uploaded 6/7/2023, approx. 56 minute read

Ok, bunnies and bunnets.

Today we are going to discuss a very sad topic, which is why I am going to fortify myself with a sip of wine. And the only reason is because I am super nova galactic empath, as you all know by now.

Today's topic, your grief after narcissistic abuse, your mourning after a relationship with a narcissist, your grieving of what has been and what could have been of him and you and both of you.

What I'm proposing today is going to be difficult to hear. I'm suggesting that your grief is another stage in the shared fantasy. Twilight Zone.

Ok, shoshanim and shoshanot.

My name is Sam Vaknin and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited. I'm a former visiting professor of psychology in Southern Federal University who was stolen on a Russian Federation and I'm a member of the Faculty of C.A.P. Commonwealth for International Advanced Professional Studies in Toronto, Canada, Cambridge, United Kingdom and what else, Lagos, Nigeria.

Let us delve right in.

Grieving in the wake of a narcissistically abused, abusive shared fantasy is a fantasy. Your very grief is incorporated into the shared fantasy and constitutes an integral part of it.

You mourn the shared fantasy via another fantasy of grief.

Your grief therefore is not entirely real. It is divorced from reality and this is also the key to overcoming it and healing as I will discuss in the second part of the video.


First we need to understand what is fantasy, how does it relate to grief or your grief more particularly and why a relationship with a narcissist within a shared fantasy is very different to a relationship with anyone else and therefore the breakup with a narcissist is not the same as a breakup with any other partner.

Let's start with the fact that as an intimate partner you internalize the narcissist snapshot of you.

Now remember when the narcissist comes across you and considers you a potential source of narcissistic supply, a playmate, a mother figure, a maternal substitute, when the narcissist makes up his mind that you could fit in as his so-called intimate partner in a new shared fantasy, the first thing he does, he takes a snapshot of you.

Now this snapshot, this snapshotting process clinically is called identification, internalization, introjection, yes three phases. I'm not going to it because I've dedicated like 943 videos to it so just search search the channel.

The first thing he does, the narcissist he takes a snapshot and again when I say he it also means she, there's an equal number of women who are narcissists and so please don't start to spew your endless comments about how I only use he and I actually should use they etc. I'm going to use he because that's the good common literary form has been in the last few hundred years.

Okay when the narcissist comes across you he internalizes your snapshot, he creates a snapshot of you and it becomes an internal object but the same thing happens to you.

You internalize the narcissist snapshot of you.

Now the snapshot starts off as a mental representation of you, of reality, of an external object. It's exactly like a true snapshot but then the narcissist photoshops the snapshot, he idealizes you, he creates a fantastic constant internal object that replaces you, he no longer interacts with you in reality, he interacts with your internal object in his mind but he does something a lot more pernicious.

He forces you to do the same, he coerces you into internalizing the way he sees you.

You introject the narcissist gaze in your own mind, you become the snapshot and it's very intoxicating because the snapshot is everything you're not. It's ideal, it's perfect, it's drop-dead gorgeous, it's hyper super intelligent and so on so forth.

So you would want to be, you want to be this snapshot, you want to conform to this snapshot, you want to become this idealized image of you.

You fall in love with your idealized self, you fall in love with the way the narcissist sees you, you fall in love with yourself through the narcissist gaze so you have every incentive in the world to internalize his gaze and appropriate it, make it yours.

At some point the only thing that's left in the shared fantasy is a snapshot of you.

You have become the snapshot also as an external object. Both of you share an agreement on who you are and who you are is this idealized two-dimensional cardboard cutout.

This is why it's called a shared fantasy because you share the fantasy. A shared fantasy is not so much about roles because you don't have any discernible roles in a shared fantasy. A shared fantasy is much more about who you are, about your essence. You are a maternal figure, you are a source of narcissistic supply, you are a body to masturbate with, who you are and it's a passive thing. Roles imply an active participation but in the shared fantasy you're supposed to be passive, you're reduced to two-dimensionality to become a photograph and you do it also in order to please the narcissist.

You're trying to conform to the narcissist's expectations of you, you're trying to become this idealized snapshot thereby pleasing him, placating him and preventing abuse.

Intermittent reinforcement and trauma bonding is all about this process.

You also, by becoming the snapshot, you also have an answer to the question what does he want from me. What he wants from you is to become the snapshot.

If you diverge from the snapshot, if you deviate from the snapshot, you're gonna be punished and if punishment won't do it, he's gonna devalue and discard you because you're no longer the snapshot.

Now this is an insight, not my insight, it is Lacan's insight, his concept of neurotic fantasy.

So the fantasy in this case, you adopt the fantasy, you share the fantasy in order to please the narcissist, in order to love, to self-love, to fall in love with your idealized self and in order to answer the question what does he want from me.

The minute you find, the minute you know the answer to this question, you feel safe. If you know what the narcissist wants from you, you can gratify him, you can meet his expectations and he's not gonna torture you and abuse you and punish you.

But what is a fantasy?

I keep saying fantasy, shared fantasy, this neurotic fantasy, what is a fantasy?

Fantasy is imagination, replacing a portion of reality or all of it with imagination.

Now there are numerous types of fantasy. There is a conscious fantasy versus an unconscious one, a discursive or narrative fantasy versus an existential fantasy, state of mind.

For example saying I'm Napoleon, that's delusional but it's also fantastic, so it has an element of existential fantasy or I'm a good person, that's a fantasy.

There is a simple fantasy versus a complex fantasy, an ephemeral fantasy, passes and forgotten versus a fixed fantasy, lifelong, a common fantasy versus an uncommon fantasy, a culturally sanctioned fantasy versus a culturally dystonic fantasy, a fantasy that society frowns upon.

Now in today's world for example, narcissistic shared fantasies have become the norm. When I was born, which is when the last dinosaurs roamed the earth just before the comet, when I was born, narcissistic fantasies were culturally frowned upon. These people were sanctioned, driven away, shamed.

Today narcissistic shared fantasies are the aspiration, they are the bone tone, they are in fashion, they are fad, they are culturally, they are culturally symtonic. Culture encourages you to be narcissistic and to engage in a shared fantasy. So culturally sanctioned fantasies versus culturally dystonic and the narcissists shared fantasy transitioned from culturally dystonic to culturally sanctioned.


Then there is the discharge fantasy versus the defense fantasy, we'll discuss it in a few minutes, and there is inherited primal fantasy versus experiential fantasy.

I think the last distinction is nonsensical but there are many psychologists who adhere to it. The idea is that we inherit fantasies genetically somehow, we inherit fantasies from earlier generations. It's kind of primal fantasies, we are born with them.

Okay, I think it's unmitigated nonsense but okay, there are a few, quite a few psychologists who adhere to this. It fulfills the need for fantasy I guess.

Okay, another distinction which I think is very important is whether the fantasy is self-contained, solipsistic, has nothing to do with reality, does not build upon any figments or elements of the world or the universe as we know them, therefore has no objectivity whatsoever.

It's one type of fantasy, the self-contained or solipsistic fantasy versus what I call the incorporating fantasy. It's a fantasy that includes reality somehow but it includes reality in a way that falsifies reality.

So in this sense defense mechanisms are mini fantasies.

So the incorporating fantasy either represses reality, denies it, but by recognizing it, it recognizes it and then it denies it.

Of course you can't deny or repress something that does not exist.

You first need to accept the existence of something and only then you can repress and deny it.

So a repression or denial fantasy is actually a fantasy that incorporates reality.

And the other option is to reframe reality, to affect fiction, to emotionally invest in fiction, in symbols or in what Lacan called the signifying structure.

Okay, this is a general introduction to fantasy. Fantasies, imagination, flights of fancy, that's all there is to it. Fantasies involve compensatory wish fulfillment.

You have a wish, you don't believe you can fulfill it, you don't believe it will ever be realized, actualized or materialized and so you fantasize about fulfilling this wish and the fantasy is compensatory and future oriented.

Of course you fulfill wishes in the future.

The alternative is a reconstructive fantasy, fantasy that reconstructs the past somehow.

Many scholars say that all memory is a form of reconstructive fantasy. We fantasize about what has happened in the past, we don't really remember anything, at least not rigorously and objectively as we like to believe.

Now fantasies cater to a multiplicity of wishes, erotic sexual wishes, aggressive wishes, self-aggrandizing wishes, egosyntonic wishes, soothing wishes and most importantly defensive wishes, a wish to avoid pain, hurt and trauma.

This was Lacan's contribution to the science of fantasy.

So fantasy is a defense mechanism and it's a defense mechanism intended to fend off and firewall and protect against hurt and pain and that's why abused children develop fantasy defenses and when these fantasy defenses go awry, they become pathological narcissism.

A fantasy can also involve a Gedanken experiment, a thought experiment, they can be experimental testing out scenarios not in reality where there would be consequences but in your mind in the safety of your imagination.

So testing hypothetical experimental fantasies.

Now this is fantasy, what about a shared fantasy?

In a shared fantasy many of the functions of the fantasy are outsourced so when you as an intimate partner participate in the shared fantasy what you're doing actually you're outsourcing many of these functions of the fantasy to your partner.

You become passive and this passivity, this relegation of responsibility decision-making and angst to use Sartre's word so this the fact that you are relieved of the burden of existence it's an existential decision, this endow you with a sense of state safety stability predictability determinacy uncertainty.

So by outsourcing yourself to your intimate partner, by allowing the fantasy to take over, functions that normally should be internal and autonomous, by doing this you acquire peace of mind.

And in this sense, the internet partner in the shared fantasy is always a borderline. Even when she is not a borderline, because what is borderline personality disorder, it's emotional dysregulation. It's very important.

But even as importantly, it's the outsourcing of internal regulation to the outside.

The borderline patient asks her intimate partner, demands from her intimate partner to regulate her emotions and her moods to be the rock around which she can construct her universe.

And in a shared fantasy, every partner, every intimate partner of the narcissist, whether she has borderline or not becomes a borderline.

In this restricted sense, she demands from the narcissist to regulate her internal environment, her mind to take over her mind.

And many partners of narcissist describe it exactly this way, as a takeover of their minds. It's kind of brainwashing.

And of course I call it in training, borrowing from recent studies in neuroscience.


Okay, so this is a shared fantasy. Shared fantasy is a fantasy involving two people, where one of the people involved transfers her mental functions to an outside.

That's a shared fantasy.

And in the shared fantasy, the internet partner of the narcissist becomes passive and adopts her view of herself, sees herself exclusively through his gaze, thereby idealizing herself and objectifying herself.

Now this is very similar to a concept first described by Lucy Lafarge, and by her, it's the Lafarge in Britain and 2006.

She coined a phrase, fantasies of the imaginer, and fantasies of the imagined.

And this pertain to object relations between a parent and a child.

Now remember that in my work, the shared fantasy relies on a mechanism called dual mothership.

You, as an intimate partner, you are the narcissist mother and he is your mother. You're each other's mothers.

So Lafarge's work is very relevant, very applicable to the dual mothership mechanism within the shared fantasy.

What she says is that the object relations between the parent and the child involves engaging together in imagining the child's experience, the parents capacity for an attitude in imagining the child imagining the child snapshotting has an impact upon the child's subjective experience of the parent.

So the way the parent imagines the child affects the way the child perceives the parent and his entire subjective world.

The two sets of fantasies, imagined and the imaginary, the two sets of fantasies, the child fantasizes the parent, the parent fantasizes the child.

The two sets of us dialectically linked, these fantasies of the imaginer and the imagined are ubiquitous but often remain silent during the clinical work. They draw upon historical experience but also altered by wishes and defenses against those wishes, with their emergence in treatment, for example.

The patient may remain in the imagined child role and cast the analyst in the imagining parent role and this is exactly what you do in the shared fantasy.

You cast the narcissist in the role of the imagining parent. You want the narcissist to imagine you and of course the narcissist wants you to do the same with him.

You're both imagine and imagined in these fantasies.

So in a later paper, LaFarge in 2009 she applied these ideas to lying and deception very interesting in itself, I'll deal with it maybe one day.

Another scholar that is of interest is Michelle Perron Borelli, 1997. Michelle Perron Borelli she said that every fantasy is centered on a representation of action, whether active, like seducing, or passive, being seduced.

And she defined fantasy in terms of a three-part structure comprised of an agent, an action, and an object of the action. Andthis structure is analogous to the basic grammatical subject verb object pattern. So it's not an accident.

Perhaps that language reflects the development of thought and it indicates that the origins of thinking of cognition are in fantasy.

It seems that the first act of meditation by the baby is fantasy, exactly as Klein had suggested. All fantasy activity, I'm quoting all fantasy activity, therefore, indeed, all thought may be conceived of as a system of transformations of this basic structure by a variety of means, changing of places by the subject and in the object relative to the action. For example, changing from activity to passivity or vice versa, the replacement of the object or the subject, the assumption of by the subject of the viewpoint of an outside observer, which is what I've been saying. You adopt the narcissist's snapshotting of you and so on.

In this view, the subject comes into being, a being, develops by virtue of these transformations.

SELF, the narcissist, gives you the experience of becoming. It is like the narcissist is giving birth to you, his womb, and he's giving birth to you within the shared fantasy. And of course because he is the birth giver, is your mother, almost in the biological sense. He also defines you or redefines you, his way of perceiving you. The snapshot, his gaze, come to be you to define you.

So when you mourn the shared fantasy, you're mourning the loss of the narcissist, you're mourning the loss of the shared fantasy, you're mourning the loss of yourself in the shared fantasy, you're mourning what could have been had the shared fantasy continued. You're mourning many things.


And I've dwelt upon all these in multiple interviews and videos over the last six years, the mourning process of the narcissistic abuse is multifarious and is prolonged, that's a prolonged grief disorder.

But it's important to understand that you're mourning something that had never existed, when we apply emotions or cognitions to something that had never existed, even if we believe that it had existed, counterfactually, that is fantasy.

In other words, your grief is fantasy, and could be easily construed and perceived as the last stage of the shared fantasy, even when the narcissist abandons you, discards you, moves on, never hovers, you find a substitute mother.

Even then, he is still with you in your head, embedded and trained, and you still see yourself exclusively through your eyes. Your mourning and grieving, your more, your mourning and grieving, they are within the shared fantasy, they are strongly indicative that you have never exited the shared fantasy, you've never separated and individuated.

When the baby, when the infant toddler separates from mommy, there is a process of grieving and mourning and trauma, in terror. And it's exactly what's happening to you, it's exactly what's happening to you.


And there are six stages of grief. There are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. And hope.

I'm going to touch upon each and every one of them briefly.

They were first described in 1969 by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler- Ross. She proposed five stages. She would interview patients who were dying of cancer, and then over the years the theory has been expanded and so forth and in 1992 Dr. Kenneth Doka, the OKA added hope to the five stages of grief. And he said he recognized that many people find it helpful to have something to look forward to after a breakup or death in the family or any type of loss that provokes mourning and and grieving. So he had headed home.

Each stage involves set of emotions. And often move back and forth between the stages, but it's important to remember that ultimately you have to cycle through all the stages in order to reach hope. In order to reach healing, reconciliation with yourself, and reclaiming and regaining you, your true self.

Because, immediately after the shared fantasy having been discarded or broken up with the narcissist or even walked away of your own accord and volition, immediately in the aftermath you are a snapshot. Does not you, you exist only within the shared fantasy.

Shared fantasy defines you. You need to move on by finding rediscovering, reinventing, if need be yourself. And this can be done only through the stages of grief.

Now breakups especially breakups of shared fantasy provoke a grieving process which is not very different to grieving over death or an extreme loss, loss of freedom, loss of a workplace that meant a lot to you. And so on.

And so you need to self affirm. You need to validate your grief. You need to validate your grief, you don't deny your grief, but accept that you have lost not only something external, but you have lost a big part of yourself.

Grief is the recognition that you had been amputated. It's the phantom pain of a missing organ or a missing you know the part of you that's been snatched and sliced off and carved off to use sanguine metaphors. It's a recognition of that part. It's mourning that part. Your identity. Identity would never be the same in the wake of a shared fantasy.

You need a lot of self compassion and you need other people's compassion. So networking and socializing and connecting with others and nurturing your sense of self via other people's input and gaze, not in an addictive way, not via fantasy. These are all very important. We'll discuss these in detail a bit later.


So the loss of the narcissist and the loss of yourself are inextricably linked, they are one and the same because the narcissist had come to be your substitute self.

Now that's a very very important distinction in a typical breakup.

You're able to tell apart yourself from your lost partner. You know where you end and the partner began. When you ended in the part and began, so when the partner walks away, when you dump the partner, when you lose the partner, you know where you end, when you still retain yourself.

So the dual mourning or the dual grief in a typical breakup is for the lost partner, in for yourself. And these are two concurrent parallel processes, not so in a shared fantasy. In a shared fantasy, there's been an measurement merger fusion. You've become one with your tormentor, with your abuser. With the narcissist.

So when he's gone, your gone, but you're not gone. Partly. You have been vacated.

So it's much more terrifying than just a typical break up. It's you mourn him and you mourn you in him. And he's still in you. You can't tell. You can't cut yourself off. You can't tell there's no boundaries. You can't tell both of you apart. There is sadness, anger, negative affects.

But because you're one with the narcissist, they're often self-directed. So in a healthy or normal relationship, when the partner walks away or when you dump the partner, you can be angry at the partner, but you'll never be angry at yourself or not to that extent.

But in the shared fantasy, any emotion, however negative, however extreme, you want to destroy the partner, you want to kill the partner, you want to incarcerate, get the partner imprisoned. You want to whatever you want to do to the partner, you actually want to do to yourself, because you are your partner. You are the narcissist. You have become one with the narcissist.

And so anything you want to do to the narcissist, you end up doing to yourself.

And all this negative affectivity is poisoning you, it's toxic.

It's the only reason you should walk away and forget and forgive if not forget, because you are one with the narcissist and it's a very dangerous game to play.

Separating yourself from another person is never easy because it involves very powerful emotions such as love and very powerful cognitions such as hope. It's never easy.

But how do you separate yourself from yourself because that's who the narcissist is.

You're your own reflection, the narcissist is who you could have been.

Your idealized, you the narcissist shapes in kind of the last is slithers over you and fits you like a glove. He kinds of slides all over you and engulfs you and encompasses you and then he fits you so snugly, he becomes like a second skin, breaking up with the narcissist is the same as skinning yourself alive.

It's that onerous, it's that tumultuous, it's that torturous. It's a horrible process to go through.

And so we need to understand that in a shared fantasy there's no harmony, there's no community, there's a hostile takeover.

There is body and mind-snatching. It's a horror movie. There was no comfort. There was no happiness.

What is it that you're mourning if not him? What did he give you in a shared fantasy? If not your own thoughts amplified, your own wishes, fantasized in your own image, idealized? There was nobody there that is the harrowing truth that is why your grief can never end.

Because you are grieving a non-entity that has never been there, coupled with you, you who have been snatched and had been rendered an absence, the narcissist emptiness and absence are contagious.

You had become a null proposition. You'd become a null sentence. You've become a nothing. A black hole, exactly like the narcissist.

And any needed craving you have for the narcissist is a needed craving for becoming, for being again, not being something, being.

I mean you just want to be again because when you are in the shared fantasy you are not that, that's a non existential state.

So this loss of self, which comes from enmeshment and suspension of being doesn't foster strong inner harmony.

You're in the position of no longer recognizing yourself and no longer comprehending what it is that has happened to you. It's a whiplash. You are totally disoriented. And this loss of identity is the ultimate form of grief.

We grieve over losses, we mourn absences, and what is bigger than losing yourself and what is harsher than being absent in your own life.

And it starts with denial. That's the first stage of grief. It's an important part. It allows you to accept that he's gone.

You need to accept his departure. It's not about forgetting. It's not about pretending that he may be back.

You need to understand that he would never be back even if he were to try to over you. You need to have boundaries and say no.

So he's gone. He's gone.

And this lacuna, this void that he has left behind is a black hole and if you get too close, it will suck you in and you will never ever escape.

Never you can't escape a black hole except as some form of radiation.

So there's disbelief, the shock, there's numbness. This derealization. You feel that your life had become a kind of nightmare or dream, a fantasy.

You know in the stage of denial that's the stage where you realize that you are living in a fantasy that you've always been in a fantasy with this man or woman with a narcissist. It's always been a fantasy.

But the denial is so powerful the shock is so externally enormous that all your defenses are down you decompensate and then when the defenses are down you're face-to-face with reality and the reality is there has been no reality it's always been a fantasy and so you feel like you're in a dream trapped in a dream a bad dream a nightmare and that is when you get your first chance to process to process what's happening because you keep telling yourself this isn't happening to me I know this isn't happening to me and it is a fantasy response of course because you are still embedded in the shared fantasy you reject the idea that it's over you believe you create an alternative fantasy of him coming back to you or you going back to them or this kind of thing this is proof positive that the shared fantasy does not end when he when he exits your life does not end when he discards you and he's not over when you dump him because the first stage of grief denial exposes to you unequivocally and unambiguously that you're still in a fantasy and then when you have realized this and when you've when you have accepted that you had been imprisoned that you had been shackled and incarcerated and brainwashed and entrained and that you had been subjected to an invasion of your mind and very frequently a body then you transition to anger and feeling angry is normal and healthy be angry with everything possible be angry with yourself be angry with him be angry with God if you are delusionally inclined you're feeling abandoned you're justified your anger is justified you're right to be angry now in the shared fantasy there's a complication you remember the dual mothership the narcissist is your mother it is not okay to be angry at mother it's not the dumb thing your bad girl if you're angry at mother you need to overcome this this in your primitive reptilian stem brain the narcissist is your mother because he gave you unconditional love and he has idealized you and during the love bombing phase he acted as a mother would but he's not your mother he's never been your mother it's all been fake so you need to overcome this and you need to validate your anger and direct it at the right target and the anger is also often hampered by the need for closure like there is there are unsaid things between us there's still an unsettled account and there isn't within the shared fantasy you had all the information that you would ever need the narcissist ironically is very honest he may lie about about facts or about behaviors but emotionally at least he's very honest he's openly abusive he is clearly in training he is brainwashing his everything he does is very open in the open he often discusses these things with you he agrees with you in advance about everything from sexual fantasies to to who's in charge so you need to accept you need to accept this that there are no unsaid things between you there's no agenda left there's nothing more to talk about let alone do together so feel angry towards him feel angry towards yourself accept and validate it and allow this anger to cut him off allow this anger to dissipate the shared fantasy because shared fantasy cannot survive or subsist in an angry environment it require it shared fantasy requires the pretension the pretension of love and compassion and affection and acceptance and empathy and support and soccer and so on it's a piece of fiction it's a theater production but it cannot tolerate anger coming from the intimate bug it can tolerate anger coming from the narcissist but never from the intimate bug so need for revenge feelings of rage resentment for having disrupted you you are now a person interrupted. You know resentment for this, not allowing you to attain inner harmony and to cultivate yourself, resenting yourself being angry to yourself, even self-blaming.

You need to let all these happen.

I'm not saying you need to act on some of these things.

This anger often leads you astray, into dangerous and risky situations. Don't do not succumb to your anger. Don't translate your anger into action, but live with it, embrace it, accept it, immerse yourself in it, allow yourself to fully experience it and direct it at him as well and tell yourself, I never want to go through this again.

So this is the end. I don't need closure. I don't want to talk to him. I don't want to ever see him again.

And that leads to the next stage.

Next stage is bargaining.

You start to feel that there's something you could have done differently.

You wish you had done things differently. You wish you had tried harder, spend more time, be more understanding.

There's a sense of guilt for things you didn't do and things you did do. There's a sense of shame and blame for things you didn't say and things you did say. And this becomes overwhelming very quickly.

So you need to start to bargain with yourself, or again. If you're delusionally inclined with a higher power, you need to bargain with yourself. You need to say, I will do anything, if only this doesn't happen, or I will do this and this if God gives me another chance or life gives me another chance.

The bargaining stage is about making deals, not with anyone out there, not with the processes, heaven, for friend, never. It's striking a deal with yourself, creating a new bargain with yourself, allowing you to find a way out of the pain you're feeling.

There is comfort in knowing that you have learned your lesson and that you've incorporated your lesson into your thinking, and that therefore the chances are this will never happen again.

Ruminating on thoughts like I could have done this or I should have done that, this is a waste of time. All the codes could have would have been better. It's a waste of time unless you derive lessons and then you implement them within a grand bargain, grand bargain with yourself to salvage future relationships and your identity and to regain yourself.

And so bargaining is just an insurance policy, a self reassurance, as to the future, but of course it has very little application to the present.


Okay, it won't happen in the future. I won't do this in the future. I've learned my lesson.

Great. What about now? I'm angry, I'm mourning, I'm grieving and I'm helpless. I'm important. There's nothing you can do to the narcissist really, in the vast majority of cases, there's nothing you can do.

He passed through your life like a hurricane, like a twister, ruining everything in his path and then exited as disinterested and as indifferent and as inhuman as he has been when he entered and he left. You with a legacy of a shared fantasy inability to interface and interact with reality properly and impaired reality testing.

And of you, of yourself, that is highly skewed and unrealistic. These are the gifts of the narcissist.

And all the closure, all the bargaining in the world, and all the anger in the universe will not help you.

And so when you realize that, when you finally understand, comprehend the extent of the ruinous damage you develop, depression is an integral phase of grieving. And you should let it happen.

Do not fight it. Do not medicate. Do not medicate. It's depression is super important in healing from grief and overcoming mourning. It's characterized by intense feelings of sadness and emptiness. You might feel loneliness, a distention, loneliness, and again it can provoke anger.

Why do I still want him? Why can't I live without him? When he's gone, I want you back. What's wrong with me? I've just struck a bargain with myself and minutes later I'm again violating. I'm again breaching the covenant with myself that I've made.

And so forgive yourself for being human. Depression is the crux and the gist of mourning. It's the understanding, the unmolested and uncontested understanding that you are alone, all of us are alone. That you are the only one responsible for your emotions. You can't be responsible for anyone else's emotions.

And therefore you should own your sadness and your emptiness. And even sometimes your suicidal ideation. You should own them. You should embrace them as yours. You should integrate them. You should leverage them to accomplish good outcomes.

So, there's disbelief, there's numbness, the shock at who your in your narcissist's intimate partner. Your narcissistic intimate partner at who he really was or is. And it who and it will you had become in order to accommodate you, succeedingly, depressing, because in placing yourself in this situation, consenting to become a part of a shared fantasy is the mother of all self- betrayals.

You have betrayed yourself. It's as if you have cheated on yourself. And of course you are depressed. Of course you're depressed because you have discovered that you are not a good friend to yourself and possibly your worst enemy. That is a terrifying thought, a paralyzing thought. Depression is a form of self-directed aggression.

In some schools of psychological thinking, so these intense and overwhelming feelings of sadness, isolation, hopelessness, that you begin to develop automatic negative thoughts.


New ones like I'm undeserving of happiness. I can never get anything right. No new relationship will work.

Then you need CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy.

You experience these emotions and they're not bad for you. They're cathartic. They purify you. They purge you. It's detox.

Your jump starting your own sense of self and putting down the foundations of healing.

Depression, detox, ask any junkie is horrible. Cold turkey. You know but it's normal.

Come to terms with who you are. Your grief. Your sadness and move on to the next stage which is acceptance.

And that's the final stage of grief. One before hope.

It's a newfound understanding that he's gone and the ability to discuss the relationship and the narcissist who used to be, who you used to believe was your intimate partner.

So to discuss all this openly, finally feeling that you're able to start to move on with your life, maybe, date again, maybe regain trust in other people.

You start to accept the reality and you realize that you can't change what has happened.

Your magical thinking is disabled because throughout the previous stages of grief there's magical thinking. I could have done it differently. I can change the past. I can affect the future. I can make him come back to me.

This is magical thinking that's a child's defense against the world, a world that is unforgiving, unrelenting, impartial and indifferent to you. Magical thinking is the illusion that just by thinking you can change external reality. And that's the magical part.

But it's nonsense and the acceptance phase is giving up on the enchantment of the past, on magical thinking. You will still feel, said you will still miss the narcissist, the good moments with the narcissist. You will miss the shared fantasy itself. It's very intense. It's very colorful. It's all consuming. It's wonderful. It's like being in a movie or an everlasting vacation. You will miss the shared fantasy and you will miss yourself in the shared fantasy.

You're a idealized image. The fact that you could relegate all decision-making responsibilities for someone else the fake feeling of stability and safety and inner harmony the loss of all these will never go away yes never go away but you can and should accept that this is the case show yourself self-compassion feel more courage be more courageous both for yourself and for other people find clarity about yourself who you are what do relationships mean for you how do you perceive other people what is your concept of intimacy what is partnerships in your partnership in your eyes what is your relationship not with others with yourself first and foremost do you love yourself it's a chance to recognize that you can if you wish repair yourself because yes you have been damaged and maybe even broken by the shared fantasy no matter how brief it has been and that hopefully transitions you to hope hope is when you start to see the future in a new light you begin to plan for the future you think about ways to extricate yourself from the last vestiges of the shared memory you silence the introjects you silence the voice of the narcissist in your mind you pay attention to your authenticity and authentic voice life is worth living and there are things to look forward to you're not in denial you still said you're still missing there's still a sense of loss but you are capable of happiness and pleasure finding pleasure again talk all the time talk about your grief and what has happened seek professional help if you need but ask for assistance even from strangers share share share accepting the demise of a shared fantasy is possibly the most difficult imaginable human experience I would rate it as the most traumatic experience ever yes more than divorce yes more than the death of a child yes more than the death of a loved one because the death of a shared fantasy is all three of these things it's the death of your love child the death of a beloved child your narcissist the death of a lover or a loved one your narcissist the death of the fantasy itself the death of the entire world the whole universe is vacated and abandoned and empty swirling around nothingness do not compare yourself with others and never be ashamed to talk to people your feelings are valid they're not wrong just because someone else handles loss and grief differently there are 8.2 billion people on the planet and 82.2 billion ways of handling grief and mourning take in this case it's your way my way or the highway take your way accepting accepting the end the ending of a shared fantasy is challenging even for professionals you know it's super super difficult the grief gets worse because even even when the abuser is gone his voice is here his introject is tormenting you day and night and it's very convincing because it knows you like no one else it knows you intimately because it is you the narcissist introject had become you in the shared fantasy so it's you tormenting you and you know yourself so well you know which buttons to push and you never cease pushing them hope is never lost I'm a I'm a great opponent of hope I think hope is opium for the masses but in this case I advocate it it's a self-deception it's a lie so what so what the shared fantasy is a line sometimes you need a lie to counter a lie to counter a greater lie sometimes you need a little evil to counter a greater evil so hope is not lost you will be happy again if you give yourself the chance if you love yourself sufficiently watch my video on the four pillars of self love there is life after death even the death of a shared fantasy and this life could be as rewarding and as beautiful as before or even more so because now you're wiser and older and more mature give yourself the time to heal you cannot bounce off grief overnight do not impute to yourself grandiosely the

powers of a superhero no one is a superhero except me of course grieving takes time grieving takes patience grieving takes self-care grieving takes honesty grieving takes courage honesty with yourself no spin first and foremost no lies no deceptions courage truth demands courage feel your emotions allow yourself to experience them for as long as needed and as intensely as needed don't be afraid as long as you truly experience your emotions the risk of suicide is minimal it is when you repress and suppress and reframe and deny your emotions that suicide becomes a possibility healing is not a straight line it's a jagged line and the jagged line cuts into the flesh

self compassion time kindness patience self affirmation if it works for you listen to uplifting music watch funny videos I don't know pamper yourself love yourself as a mother would mourn yourself as a mother would feelings are important they do matter first and foremost to you but share them with others connect you have a need for community it's part of who you are you we always need and gravitate towards other people we connect with other people misery loves company don't we say this funerals are mass events dozens of people if you're lucky attend your funeral the support systems we have should foster the sense of belonging and assure us that it's okay to need other people you need to nurture yourself nurture yourself process the grief affirm your experience believe in your own power empower yourself you're an agent believe in your agency you can ground yourself and you do not need to ground yourself in grief free territory you need to ground yourself in your grief you need to confront your grief head on eye to eye duel at noon okay choral you need to fight your grief as if it were a gunslinger so you need to ground yourself in your grief light a candle go to nature read a book I don't know even in your grief even in your morning you need to exit it never develop a relationship with your grief and morning as many people do never affect them never emotionally invest in them never get committed to your grief and morning never promote it never render it the most important thing in your life the thing that organizes your existence and makes sense of it never transform your grief and morning to an organizing principle or an explanatory one life is meaning outside your grief grief is about the loss of meaning the opposite of grief is excitement the opposite of grief is happiness the opposite of grief is contentment the opposite of grief is life these are grounds for a new beginning and so grief your own way experience your own grief be your own friend become your own community self nurture strengthen your relationship with yourself find yourself identity outside dish and fantasy but also do all these things with other people seek other people it's a very real process grief it's a real invalid and harsh and difficult and breaking process it's not an emotionally positive state it's a very negative state and you could easily become lost in these myriad internal processes it's intense it's overwhelming and but that's okay understand the stages of grief that are described and the uniqueness of the shared fantasy experience your body as well some people vouch for body therapies or mind body therapies try try it exercise I don't know try to see whether your body can help could be your greatest ally in some cases.

Take your time above all, don't expect immediate gratification and results. Feel your emotions slowly as in a European movie.

Validate each stage process, the process processing, the process processing, do it over and over again, regurgitate, chew on the food. This bitter food of grief and mourning.

There is no timeline for healing, take as long as needed and be extra kind to yourself during this time and allow yourself to connect with friends and family, seek support and do everything you can to attain wellness.

Above all, expel the narcissist voice from your head. Watch my videos on separation and individuation in the wake of narcissistic abuse and implement the steps there to the letter.

I wish you success.

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