Many survivors have had the unfortunate experience of being in multiple relationships with
narcissists. Even one short relationship with a toxic partner can really wound your heart and make you
apprehensive about love.
However, thanks to wonderful things like neuroplasticity, therapy, mindfulness, prayer, family, and friends, both the heart and mind can heal. It is a process and healing looks different for everyone so be gentle and kind to yourself on this journey.
For once, I decided to take my own advice and take a year off from dating and I want to share with you all that I have learnt and the benefits that I discovered.
Taking a One-Year Dating Detox After Narcissistic Abuse
What I tell clients and what I decided to do after my last narcissistic relationship was to take a
one-year detox from dating and dive into some deep emotional work.
I tend to have an insecure attachment style and ever since I was a teenager, I have always had a romantic partner. Being in a relationship used to be my comfort zone, even if it was an abusive one, having a boyfriend felt normal and reassuring to me.
At first being alone was challenging and anxiety provoking. I even felt a great deal of shame about being a single woman in her 30s. After a while being single got easier and I am so thankful I decided to take a year away from dating.
So what are the benefits of doing a one-year relationship detox?
You lower your risk of falling for another narcissist.
It is easy to become accustomed to abuse and to accept unhealthy relationships, especially if that is what you have been conditioned to accept since childhood.
Sadly, abuse feels normal to many people. You need to take time to process the relationship and to identify what was and what was not healthy about your ex. Time really helps to provide you with clarity. A new partner will be a distraction from your healing and ability to process the relationship.
You get to know and love yourself.
When you are in a relationship with a narcissist, it is always all about them. It is easy to forget about your likes, dislikes, passions, and goals when you are placating, people pleasing, and walking on eggshells.
Spending time being single helps you to focus on your values and priorities in both relationships and life. Knowing more about what is important to you, what you are willing to accept, and what your boundaries are will aid and protect you in future relationships.
You have time to heal your old wounds.
Many of our behaviours are learned coping skills that help us to navigate our relationships and environment. Sometimes our unhealthy ways of thinking and acting are rooted in childhood trauma or other bumps and bruises that we received along the road of life that get carried over into our romantic relationships.
Taking the time to heal, process, and grieve any emotional baggage will not only help you to feel happier and more fulfilled, but will also help you to break the cycle of dysfunctional relationships. Reflecting on the “whys” and origins of our patterns and behaviours provides us with so much insight and an opportunity to grow. Healing old wounds will help you to make meaningful changes to your behaviours.
I am now coming to the end of my one-year dating detox and getting back out there again. I am happy to report that I am tackling dating with confidence and calmness. I am more analytical and pay more attention to behaviours and head for the hills as soon as I see a red flag. I do not feel the need to dress to impress, be perfect, cook fancy dinners, or win anyone over. I no longer feel like I need to work hard and earn love. I feel more comfortable with who I am and I know so much more about what I want in a partner.
I am very proud of the emotional growth that I achieved during my one-year detox. For the first time in my life, I do not feel like I need a partner. I no longer feel anxious being alone or shame being a single woman.
This is key because I am less likely to settle or ignore my intuition when I observe something that makes me feel uncomfortable. I am also proud of myself because I did the emotional work during my dating sabbatical.
I did therapy, exercised, practised mindfulness, educated myself about narcissism, childhood wounds, and attachment styles, and reconnected with myself on a spiritual, physical, and emotional level.
After a relationship with a narcissist ends, I cannot recommend taking a year off from dating and
doing the work to facilitate your healing journey enough. Taking one-year off has benefited so many of
my clients and really changed my life for the better. Love, romance, and relationships can sometimes
feel like an addiction. You may crave these things but try your best to take a year just to focus on you
and your healing.
I bet you will thank me for this advice next year!
Sending you lots of love,
Jenny Tamasi, Survivor and Author of
The Psychologist & Her Narcissists A Guide to Surviving Toxic Relationships by Jenny Tamasi is a self-help book and memoir written by a psychologist who survived two relationships back to back with an overt and then a covert narcissist. Due to the sensitive nature of the content in this book and for the author’s own safety, Jenny Tamasi is a pen name and few people know the author’s true identity.
Jenny Tamasi has worked in mental health for over 12 years providing outpatient counseling, workshops, and conducting diagnostic testing and evaluations. Professionally her interests include mindfulness, childhood psychological disorders, learning disabilities, and addictions. In therapy sessions, Jenny uses an eclectic mix of cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, visualisation strategies, meditation techniques, and breathwork to help her clients achieve their goals.
Jenny also has a master’s degree in French and loves to travel and explore new cultures and countries. In her free time, Jenny enjoys spending time with her family and friends but what she loves most is being
outside in nature with her dog. She is starting to explore the world of writing and is truly enjoying this new professional endeavour. Jenny hopes that you find her book healing and useful and that it can help anyone who may have previously been or is currently suffering in a toxic relationship. You can purchase her book from Amazon.com.