How does a person heal after experiencing narcissistic abuse? At what point do you realize that enough is enough? What can you do to help yourself heal for the better after a painful relationship?
In the fourth podcast episode of the How I Got Through It series, Joe Sanok speaks about overcoming infidelity and an abusive spouse with Dr. Ashley Funk.
In this Podcast:
- The turning point
- Uncovering truth
- Healing in the next phase
- Getting into a new relationship
- Ashley’s advice to her past self
The turning point
A lot of the time I was going to class, going to practicum, working on my dissertation … [I experienced] this overwhelming feeling of “[there’s] no escape”. I would be stressed out at graduate school … and I would go home and be stressed out too because I would be experiencing [what I know now to be] psychological abuse. (Dr. Ashley Funk)
Ashley felt trapped in feelings of overwhelm and helplessness.
It was not until she discovered her ex-partner’s second affair that she made the move to end their relationship, and experienced physical violence from him in her attempt to leave.
The more that Ashley learned about the situation that she was in after she left, the more she felt able to put it behind her and move on.
I got all the books I could get my hands on [about] the subject. I found a therapist who specialized in narcissistic abuse recovery and started going to therapy every week … and reading all the books on that subject matter was probably the best thing I could have done for myself. (Dr. Ashley Funk)
Educating yourself about what you have been through can support your healing process because it allows you to put labels on things that you previously didn’t understand, and shows you that other people have overcome similar challenges.
There’s something amazing about reading things and being like, “Oh my gosh, there are other people that have been through this”, and it makes you feel that you are not the “crazy one” [because] … this is something that other people in the world have experienced. (Joe Sanok)
Healing in the next phase
Ashley took steps to find new people in her area and made a group of wonderful friends for support and connection.
Unknowingly, it is in this group of friends that Ashley met her fiancé.
These people were just wonderful and I finally started to feel like myself again. (Dr. Ashley Funk)
For her healing journey, Ashley joined group therapy on the recommendation of her therapist with other women who had experienced similar things with their current or former spouses.
That [recommendation] was also very good because I could see these different stages of healing … [I could see that] this person’s ahead of me and that’s what I have to look forward to, and that was very helpful. (Dr. Ashley Funk)
She also took creative approaches to cope and heal from her experiences by turning them into artistic expressions by completing a photographic series with a close friend.
Getting into a new relationship
In her current relationship, Ashley and her fiancé value and practice deep and open discussions.
They work hard on their communication to make it accountable, kind, and consistent to serve both their needs and desires.
Ashley’s advice to her past self
Trust your instincts and your gut, and do not dismiss them. If you see the consistent red flags, if you feel the doubts, don’t rationalize them or ignore them. Trust yourself.
Books mentioned in this episode:
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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