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5 Ways of Moving on After Going No Contact with a Narcissist

Once you have gone no-contact, no matter how much you wanted to do it, it may still feel like you have ripped out a part of your own body and you can do nothing but wait for the bleeding to dry up.  There are ways of moving on after going no contact with a narcissist, however, even the thought of doing so can leave you inexplicably frozen in either turmoil or indecision.

For me, what was even harder than moving on was feeling like the narcissist had left a part of himself with me. I could see him everywhere I turned, especially in the places we had spent time together.  I could feel him with me at all times, in my mind and body, as if he was telepathically reaching out to me.

I would sometimes have the thought that the fact that we were both on the earth meant we would never be far enough away from each other for me to truly be free of him.  Despite everything he had done to me, I feared that a part of me would always be in love with that undefined piece of him that he had left with me for the rest of my life.


Moving on After Going No Contact with a Narcissist Means First Moving On From Holding On

The strange thing was that a part of me did not want to lose that feeling, even though I didn’t understand it.

There was another part of me that wanted, needed, to be free of that tie, so I took conscious actions to force myself to start letting him go.  What anyone who has never been in a relationship with a narcissist doesn’t understand is that there are actions that have to be taken to move on from the feeling of holding on before one can move on with one’s life.

These were things that I did after I went no-contact in order to help myself move on from him and begin to get my own mind back, to gain control of my life. They didn’t work overnight, but they did work for me pretty quickly.

If you’re struggling to let your narcissist ex go and to remove him or her from you’re sphere even if you’re in no-contact, here are five things you can try to purge him or her from your heart and move on.





1. Write a List of Everything The Narcissist Ever Did to You That Was Damaging.

This item comes in two parts.

First, make the list.  make it as detailed as possible. What insults did he or she hurl at you? How many times did he or she cheat?

Write it all down. Nothing is too small. The invalidation, the smears, the lies, the gaslighting, the double standards, the verbal abuse, the physical abuse, the things they used against you, the silent treatments… it all goes on the list.

The caveat here for me was that sometimes I’d get so angry, I’d feel like telling him off. Do not do this.

Instead, write all the lists you want and need to.  Perhaps put them in the form of letters, telling him or her what a jerk he or she is and do not send the letters. Write, write, write until you can’t write anymore. 

However, the goal is to purge yourself of emotion about the relationship for the moment, to rid yourself of the desire to reach out or hold on, not incite the emotion. 

What that means is to stop often and get a read on what you are feeling.  If you find your emotions are building, rather than fading, then stop and use another form of emotion management, such a soothing activity or distraction. 

2. Keep reading your lists and your letters until you can no longer deny all of those things you may have put out of your head or repressed.  

By actively reading and writing, with a consciousness you may never have done or been able to do with the narcissist present in your life, the pieces may start to come together about what was done to you and how.  You may feel less sad and more indignant–but this is a good thing.  That indignation will build a wall in your heart and help you mentally to “stand up” to the narcissist in case he or she returns. 

Even if he or she doesn’t, that emotion will help you put the distance there emotionally to analyze what took place and then help you move past the connection you were unable to break before.


2. Avoid People Who Are Victim-Blamers.

You’re trying to make a major life change by recovering and letting go of the narcissist so you can move on. The last thing you need right now is someone judging you for having been in the relationship, or even judging whatever emotions you may still be having even though you’re no longer in it.

Victim-blamers make it harder for you to make the changes you need to make because they have an image of you as someone who somehow invited the abuse. The pre-conceived role they have defined for you in their minds colors their interactions with you.

You don’t need that negativity and lack of support holding you back while you’re trying to break out of an old mindset and take the next steps to move forward.

This may or may not include people who call you codependent for what happened.  At this point, while you are still feeling connected to the narcissist, it may not be the best idea to examine what either brought or kept you there

What you are doing is trying to break the connection.  The narcissist used manipulation tactics on you that can work on anyone, regardless of their own state of mind, and codependence for these types of relationships especially damaging for victims of mind control. 

You will be in a better frame of mind to examine any particular once you have moved on from holding on.  This examination could actually be categorized in the second aspect of moving on from this type of damage.


3. Keep Reading About Narcissism and Narcissistic Abuse. 

The influence the narcissist had over your thoughts will fade away the longer you’re in no-contact, but continuing to read about narcissistic abuse will validate your experience when you start to have doubts.  It will remind you that nothing about what happened was normal or acceptable. You will see your own story reflected in other people’s stories over and over again.

The similarities between what you read and what happened to you will start to drain what the narcissist left behind out of your sphere.  It will start to sink in that we are all feeling the same thing, that there is nothing to miss because all of our stories are carbon copies of one another; we are missing ghosts.


4. Think Like a Narcissist.

Seek out the videos, books, and articles created by narcissists themselves that explain their own behavior (e.g., the works of H.G. Tudor). When you start to see the world as they do and understand how very differently they think from you, it will begin to erode your own desire for the narcissist.

You will be so disgusted by the narcissist’s manner of viewing people and relationships, that you will want no part of it. You can start applying what you read generically about how they think to your own situation, and start giving yourself pep talks, especially if you start to get nostalgic or miss the narcissist: Why do you want to hear from someone who seeks to use and control you like this? If it actually worked, he would be secretly laughing at you for falling for it. He doesn’t even miss you. Do you really want someone controlling you like this, and so blatantly, now that you know what’s going on?  

You will, maybe for the first time, be able in your own mind to start rejecting the narcissist (instead of the other way around) as you reject the narcissist’s way of thinking.


5. Take Yourself and Your Life Back.




Were there things you changed or hid about your life just to keep the peace and keep him or her from questioning you (settings on your phone, for example)?

Change them back. Now. Do what you need to do to that is in your power to do to purge the narcissist from your sight or your psychic influence.

If there are things in your home environment that remind you of him or her, get rid of them. Get new sheets. Redecorate. Do it in colors you love, maybe ones that the narcissist would not have approved. Move furniture around.

Stock up on food the narcissist didn’t like that you love. Watch some television shows or a movie that the narcissist never liked or wasn’t interested in. Do some things you had put on hold because he or she was dominating your life and you never had time for, or you shied away from because he or she mocked them.

Take up a new interest that had always looked appealing. Invite a friend out that you haven’t talked to in a long time, especially if it’s someone the narcissist had isolated you from in some way.

Anything you put on hold, left behind, put off, ignored, didn’t explore, felt bad about, or changed to appease the narcissist, drag it out and let it shine. These are the things that are going to take the space that the narcissist was squatting in.  That space belongs to you and you can and should put in it whatever you want to without guilt, without fear.

They are the things that will help you start living your life again in small steps, one day at a time.


Taking Your Mind Back is the First Step

I engaged in these five things to keep the narcissist from having any more power over my life. 

I had made a deliberate decision that I did not want to be in love with someone who had only not really loved me as I had loved him. I did not want to stay connected to someone who had lied to me about the nature of his love and had repeatedly and intentionally done things to hurt me.

It hurt to let go of my love and to believe these things. I wanted to keep believing the lie–but believing it was hurting me. 

Although these actions are not a substitute for therapy with a qualified therapist, they can be done in the absence of one. It is a really good idea to seek out a therapist who has a background treating trauma and abuse, particularly one who is either knowledgeable about narcissistic abuse or is amenable to learning more about it.  

In the meantime, however, believing a lie was keeping me from getting my mind back. Giving over control of my mind was and keeping me from doing the type of moving on that would help me get my life back.


If you’d like to get a copy of the toolkit that I developed to help take your life back, it is available at this link:


A version of this article also published on Thought Catalog:  5 Things to Help You Move On After Going No-Contact With a Narcissist

Kristen Milstead

Kristen Milstead is a narcissistic abuse survivor who has become a strong advocate for finding your unique voice and using it to help others find theirs.


  1. Kristen Milstead

    Hi Stephanie: I’m so sorry to hear about what you are going through. So much of what you describe sounds so familiar to me. There are so many of us who have been through some of these same scenarios and though you may feel alone, please know you are not. There is a vibrant community online of people who are willing to offer support and many resources as well to help. Please look for the youtube videos of seasoned coaches such as Richard Grannon that can empower and keep your mind strong, practice self-care and meditate if you can, and try Tracy Malone’s page with thousands of resources, including links to local communities maybe in your area that offer support I also have a free toolkit for recovery here and page here on my website that contains a list of books that I found very useful in the early days. Both are located on tabs at the top of the home page. Please let me know if you need help finding them. Stay strong! -Kristen

  2. Stephanie Allen

    Iam in the middle of a custody battle with my soon to be ex husband of 17 years. I’m struggling really bad. No one understands what I’m going through or what really happened to me. He has turned my sister which was my best friend against me. And I feel so alone. He has moved on with a new woman and says how happy he is and actually found love. I have 3 children with this man. And gave half my life too. It’s so hard to truly let go bc he is all I can remember since we were together so long. But he has tortured me and made me out to be the abuser. He has done everything from abusing my kids, sneaking out in the middle of the night to physical abuse. But mostly verbal I’m actually a pretty girl but he tells me I’m gross and ugly. It’s horrible. Why do I think I miss him sometimes and I can’t seem to get it in my head that he never loved me even though he tells me that he didn’t. I don’t want this new girl around my kids. And I’m scared the courts will believe him and lose my kids. I’ve read that verbal abuse can cause you to have autoimmune disorders and I developed narcolepsy, fibromyalgia, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome and more. I’m disabled and on disability bc of his abuse. Now I believe I’m dealing with PTSD and I’m scared I may never get better. My 2 teenaged boys have learned to not respect me from him and they are depressed and one is suicidal. Is there anyway for me to prove or anyway help the courts to realize the truth of what he has done to us. Because he makes up so many lies about me like I’m a drug addict bc im on Medicine for my health issues he caused. I want my life back bc I can’t do anything my house is a wreak and my life and I’m scared I may never be me again.

  3. How is it that we become addicted to learning about narcissism even once it’s over?
    Yes we looking for reasons and answers but it’s of no use as they are Already on to the new supply not giving a damn about you.
    Don’t we still give them too much head space ? What happened to mind over matter?

    1. Kristen Milstead

      Truly, I think it’s because so much of what they did doesn’t make sense to us and we are left with a big puzzle. That’s why one of the things I started doing was the “think like a narcissists” piece. Once I tried to get in their head and understand why they do what they do, it answered some questions for me and I stopped sitting around wondering why things happened like they did. I think I could have waited months or years longer to just let it fade away but this worked faster for me personally.

      1. Kristen, I understand completely. I just broke off my 3 year relationship on April 2 after months of steadily increasing abuse that culminated one night in some physical violence and being called horrible names that I didn’t deserve. I put up with 3 weeks of roller-coaster behavior after that, with him alternating between begging to come back and verbally abusing me when I didn’t immediately do what he wanted. I finally went no contact 6 days ago with a restraining order. I heard already started therapy a couple of weeks ago with the intent of trying to figure out what is wrong with me that I would put up with someone like that. But I also want to understand what’s going on with him because I am left with questions about how much was actually real, or if I was just used the entire time. I bought the book Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft yesterday and stayed up very late last night, reading almost the entire book. I feel it’s an important part of the process of learning how to stay away from relationships like that to not only figure out myself, but learn how the mind of an abuser works as well.

      2. Kristen Milstead

        Hi Sarah: I’m glad to hear you’ve been able to go to therapy! That book you mentioned is a great one. It’s my strong belief that, though we do need to understand what our own vulnerabilities are, we do need to understand our abuser as well. Understanding narcissistic abusers helps us to understand how what they did wasn’t personal and can help us move on, and, as you said, also helps us learn what to be on the look out so we don’t fall for this kind of thing again! -Kristen

  4. Thanks Kristen , going on 10 months no contact , amen … slowly getting better , it was great the first year and wham 3 more years of who f**k is this ? True colours came out , when you have never dealt with this behaviour , it really turns your world upside down .all I can say is “I’m the normal one “because I know what empathy is ????

  5. Thank you , my first 3 months had been hell of no contact … the nightmares of him screaming at me inches away from my face, I would recoil and tell him it was not right … the joking around he did , was hurting me to the core , was not normal … the lies I questioned , made him go off like a rocket and saying I was crazy …. I went from kaos to deafening peace and quiet!!!!! After he put his hands on me for second time , I had enough , called the cops , I was so broken inside and made sure he could not contact me at alll …. I gave 100% to the devil … NEVER AGAIN , thank you again , great advise.

    1. Kristen Milstead

      Hello Susan,

      Thank you for visiting my website and taking the time to share what you’ve been through. I’m so sorry that you’ve had to go through this. The pain that they put us through is some of the worst we can experience. I’m so glad you’re free of him now.


  6. Hey Jackie…. pls get in touch with me to chat…. I’m looking for some non judgemental support….

    1. Hi Sabrinia,
      I’m here:-)

      1. If the two of you would like to exchange E-mail addresses, please contact me privately and I can arrange it.

  7. I might also add that while I haven’t had a PTSD-like episode in a while, I did last night, so the first thing I did this morning is pull up my blog and read key pieces where I’ve detailed some of the abuse and absurdity. You DO have to focus on taking back your space and your life.

  8. despair2deliverance

    Very helpful. And getting new sheets was the first thing I did when I got her out.

  9. Very helpful. And getting new sheets was the first thing I did when I got her out.

  10. I can relate to what Jacky commented about not being able to remember so much of the bad things he did. I think my mind would block it out, line amnesia. I didn’t WANT to believe he (or anyone) could ever be so foul. I literally forgot the worst of the worst and clung to the best memories, this torturing myself and prolonging the abusive relationship to a place beyond any hell I had ever imagined in my worst nightmares.

    1. Hi,
      Yes i understand you. Do your best to remember and write it down. It helps when you feel weak and missing him. Today I find myself thinking about all the times he would seem to understand me and i believed his words. It looked like he really wanted to work it out but i dont believe that anymore. I think it was all about him, to get what he wanted and be the good guy for the outsiders. Is it a bad thing to think this way? I feel guilty about not trusting and insecure because i dont want to blame when it could be my fault.
      Does somebody recognize all of this?

  11. Yes you do! It’s very hard and you’re actually in what I think is one of the most difficult stages of recovery right now. You can make it through this! Maintain no contact and it will eventually get easier. Your thoughts and feelings will start to shift as you feel more empowered.

  12. Hi,
    The way you explain and write really helps me with getting through this difficult times. It makes me feel i’m not crazy because sometimes i think i’m making a big issue out of nothing. Its strange but often i cant remember the way he treated me in the two year relationship. I know there were a lot of times i felt alone and was thinking its not oke i have to get out of here but when i try to remember what happend in detail its very hard. I was reading your articles and then the memories of his behaviour came back. That helps to bring everything back to reality. Still in that process its hard to not miss him. Yesterday i almost did unblock him but convinced myself not to.
    Not remembering what has happened makes it harder to recover because i keep thinking about the good times, blaming myself and missing him more because of that. Everyday gets better but thats also painfull sometimes because reality kicks in more and more and that means he will never be in my life again. Its getting clear to me that i deserve more love and have to keep healing my codependency issues.
    Thanks again Kristen.

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