Healing from Narcissistic Abuse–Remember to Release

30 Dec

So this last year you discovered you were in a narcissistic relationship or even raised by a narcissistic parent. You’ve probably also discovered the narcissist will never see it, will never agree with you about this and of course will never change. Bottom line the narcissist is not interested in your happiness.

Realizing this probably brought a sense of peace because now you no longer need to jump through hoops to play a game you can never win. You’ve survived the holidays with a good friend and a couple of pets, but now what? It’s time to


1. Allow or enable to escape from confinement; set free. 
“the prisoners would be released” to set free, let go/out, allow to leave, liberate, set at liberty

2. Allow (something) to move, act, or flow freely

It’s the end of the year–time to remember and release. It’s time to clean out the closets and give back everything you don’t need. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need more guilt trips, shame or arguments about who I am and what I believe or how I choose to live my own life.

So where is the line for narc returns? Where in the world do we give all this crap back? Not to a store. Not to a friend or spouse, and certainly not to the narc.

Of course we are speaking of all the non-material junk dumped on us by critical, judgmental and narcissistic people. It’s not like taking a sweater the wrong size back to the store. At first it seems there is nowhere to take it, so we hold it all inside wondering how to absorb the pain. But you get to decide how this story ends.

Remember how those twin towers fell on 911? They imploded because they could only hold so much stress. People implode differently, we can only hold in so much heartbreak and stress and if we don’t figure out how to let go, we will eventually crash. Many have paid with their health, but narcissistic relationships are not worth trading for your health, so it’s time to remember and release.

You can call up the narcissist and demand an apology, but if you are dealing with a bonafide narc, they won’t say sorry. You probably know that will never happen.

You can play the victim and whine to your friends and spouse (whining and telling your messy story are two completely different things). You can feel like a victim, but then you’d be giving the narcissist even more power to ruin your life. Maya Angelou wrote, “Don’t whine, whining just lets a brute know there’s a victim in the neighborhood.”

Sharing your messy story will help you get your power back because it heals you and those who listen. You can also journal. It’s fun to release our stories—through writing and art. A couple years ago, I took an art journaling course from Brené Brown that was really fun and healing. This opened me up to taking more art classes online and I have found profound healing through making and releasing art. Telling our stories heals us, but it also heals others. It’s good for all of us to know we are not alone.

You can defend yourself and try to correct all the lies the narcissist has spread about you to friends and family, but the truth is it’s not you, but the narc. And your true friends already know the truth and the others won’t care.

Sophia Owl, cherilynclough.com, http://www.redbubble.com/people/littlered7/works/22403369-sophia-owl?asc=u&c=541259-soul-sanctuary

My favorite Art I made in 2016–A reminder! Prints and cards available here

You could also join the narcissist in beating yourself up and giving shame messages to yourself, but ouch, why even go there? Shame never comes from Jesus.

We remember and release. It’s a lot like catch and release if you like fishing. Don’t be scared of what you will find in the past. If you invite Jesus into the past, He will sort through this mess with you. If you don’t do religious stuff, you can still go through the spiritual practice of remember and release.

Maybe it’s been awhile since you cleaned out your closets, if so, you might need to go all way back to 1999. But no matter how far back you go, remember and release will help you make room for a better new year.

You can write a letter to the narc and tell them how much they hurt you and mail it in a bonfire. Remember the narc doesn’t care how you feel so this part of release is important, but don’t mail it to your narcissistic parents or ex-lover. This is just so you can acknowledge what happened and forgive yourself for letting them do this to you.

Whether you tell your story, journal or make art, if you are a Christian, Jesus is different from the narcs and He cares about people who are abused, so He is leading you away from the narcs. Some Christians will say give it to Jesus, and that sounds nice, but to date no one has actually shown me what that looks like. A friend suggested we invite Jesus into the mess and that seems much more feasible to me. Jesus is knocking on the New Year’s door of your heart and he is asking to come in, we don’t have tidy up our hearts for him—he already knows all of our secrets and he loves us anyway.

If you are not religious, you can still find gratitude for your journey with different signs along the way where the universe or karma was bringing you to a better place. Someone is watching out for you despite the pain. Open your eyes to this new and healing journey.

Remember and release has nothing to do with forgetting. As a matter of fact when we journal, make art or tell our stories, it helps us to remember and release our pain so the healing can continue.

After you clean out the closet of your heart from all the junk the narcissist dumped on you, chances are there will be a big empty hole left where the hopes and dreams you had once resided. That’s okay, it just leaves more room for new people and better dreams.

It’s time to start dreaming now how to make 2017 a better year. What have you always dreamed of doing? What will help you live a better story? It is only through releasing that we begin to live a more whole-hearted story.

I plan to RELEASE:

The Narcissists to play their own games
and eat their own word salad without my help–I’m so outta here!
Release the Flying Monkeys to their illusions
Release my own expectations of other people
Release all guilt and shame trips
Release weight
Release fear

And let’s not just release negative things:

I plan to
Release BOOKS I am writing
Release ART I am making
Release LOVE!

What are you going to release?
Please feel free to share in the comments.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
-Mary Oliver




9 Responses to “Healing from Narcissistic Abuse–Remember to Release”

  1. Andrea December 30, 2016 at 7:34 pm #

    That’s put a smile on my face on New Year’s Eve! 🙂 Happy 2017 from our little clan to your little clan and all the very best wishes for your projects. If you’re looking for a book, I’m a quarter of the way into a Christmas present – Jeanette Winterson’s “Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal” – looking back on being raised by a very difficult adoptive mother in the midst of religious narcia. She tells her messy story beautifully and has a smile on your face as much as she has a tear in your eye for that long-ago lonely little girl who would fight her way out of this start to life and become a very authentic, clever, compassionate, humorous adult.

    Loved her novels going back twenty years and now she’s given us a lid-off look at the painful background that shaped her and the courage and humour with which she decided her wings were for flying anyway. And does she fly! Very interesting though, that she too didn’t fully realise all the impact this had had on her, and all the walled-off emotions, until her midlife – although intellectually she always knew. It’s such a common theme for ACONs, no? And always so healing to read other people’s stories, to share their struggles and their emergence into daylight.

    A peaceful and happy 2017 to all readers of this wonderful blog and thanks again for sharing, Cherilyn!

  2. Cherilyn Clough December 30, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

    Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for the book tip! I will read it. I love to read memoirs especially since I am writing one.

    I agree with you, I think many of us do not wake up until mid-life. But once we wake up, there is no going back.

    Happy happy New Year to you and yours!

    May it be a year of peace and freedom!


  3. Marycharles Carroll January 10, 2017 at 5:40 am #


    Thank you for this blog and your art. It has brought so much healing to my life. My mother and brother are narcissists. Life with them has been very difficult and damaging. You are right when you say that they ask you “to play a game that you can never win.” At times I am still haunted by their hurtful words and action but at this time I live more healed than hurt.

    I look forward to reading your memoir.

    My prayers are with you,

    Marycharles Carroll

  4. Cherilyn Clough January 10, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

    Hi Mary,

    It warms my heart to know you have been blessed by this blog. I pray for your continued healing. Thank you for your prayers!

    Peace and freedom to you!


  5. Andrea January 19, 2017 at 6:23 am #

    All the best for your memoir and let us know when it is done so we can get a copy!

    One thing I have noticed is that personally I tend to do my best writing when I am procrastinating a really tedious chore like shining shoes or something equally pedestrian. As I have gotten older I have learnt to use this to my advantage. Just make sure you have a really pressing tedious chore you’ve been meaning to do, then sit down and write t”just for half an hour” – and you’ll be writing brilliant, high quality material for hours! 😉

    Also of course, if you’re reading excellent writing by other people it tends to spark your own creativity up too.

  6. Cherilyn Clough January 19, 2017 at 7:40 am #


    Ha! You are so right about this advantage of ignoring something else to write! Happy writing to you too!


  7. E January 28, 2017 at 8:57 am #

    This was so helpful to read this morning. Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned and putting the lessons into such clear instruction. My ‘bystander’ passed away this week and it’s stirred up what can only be described as ‘gunk’. I’m practicing all my skills and releasing anger. As that has cleared out I discovered guilt, I’m releasing that too. I’m wanting to release my truth, love, and the joy it brings to speak freely from a place of health and balance. I’m excited to write this weekend. I appreciate your blog and artwork so much. 🙏🏼

  8. Cherilyn Clough January 28, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

    Hi E,
    So glad it could help you. Life is a complicated journey and it is hard to know what we own and don’t own sometimes. I pray for you to release all you need to release!

    Much love to you!


  9. E January 28, 2017 at 4:57 pm #

    Amen! Thanks Cherilyn ❤

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