How to Get Your Stuff Back After a Narcissist Steals It
LOSS: Your belief in human decency
Yes, it’s hard to keep your faith in humanity when someone who professed to love you turns out to be a robber but you must. This is especially true if you’ve had a nightmare of a divorce or were the victim of a smear campaign which is typically part of the narcissist’s arsenal when it comes to defending his brand of truth. You have to remember that, for every person like this, there are dozens who have a code of personal ethics, who don’t need to win at any cost, and who care how their behaviors affect others. Narcissistic people are outliers, not standard bearers.
RETRIEVAL: Focus on your own kindness and empathy
It’s important to keep bitterness at bay and stay open to how much kindness there really is in the world; I know that sounds very Pollyanna-ish but, again, the narcissist’s impaired or utter lack of empathy makes him the odd man out, not the norm. Begin with yourself and reassure yourself about kindness and empathy as being real and existent. Do pay attention to the number of people in your life capable of both kindness and empathy and it will become clearer, over time, that the narcissist isn’t a stand-in for humanity at large.
LOSS: Your hopefulness
As I’ve written elsewhere, the real problem with a narcissist is that there’s no “We’ll always have Paris” moment. You know that scene in Casablanca when, once again, love has been thwarted and the two lovers will not be reunited and Ingrid Bergman asks, “What about us?” Humphrey Bogart turns to her and says, “We’ll always have Paris.” There’s usually pain and loss at the end of a relationship, even a marriage, but usually—after a period of time—you’re able to remember those moments of pleasure and emotional sparking that the relationship once offered. Thanks to the narcissist’s scorched earth policy and the lies that poison every memory, there’s no Paris to retrieve. There’s just a smoldering landscape which, frankly, doesn’t exactly fill the heart with joy. Even a photograph of the two of you together is apt to bring the bitter disappointment back in a rush. One woman, in fact, ripped every photograph of their years together to shreds, saying “I just couldn’t bear the literal portrayal of how I was had by him. I hated how happy I looked, not knowing who he was all along.”