Tips for your Journey
Whether you have been on the path of healing from NPD for some time, or you are new to the trek, there is reason for hope. Below, there are suggestions for setting yourself up for greater success and growth.
Get a Therapist. If you do not have an official diagnosis for NPD, it is highly recommended that you find a qualified therapist (See the page "Finding a Therapist" on the Resources Page). Much of what is learned and applied on a journey to recovery from Narcissistic Personality Disorder is best supported by a mental health clinician. Only a licensed mental health clinician can diagnose you with a mental disorder and provide clinically sound, evidence-based treatment.
Set boundaries around content. It can be tempting to read up on NPD online, however care and consideration should be made in choosing where you focus your energy. Many materials online take an extremely negative, contemptful, and harmful view of individuals with NPD which lacks understanding and compassion. It is true that the road to recovery from NPD requires accountability and awareness for the impact one has on others, as well as a dedication to changing behaviors, thoughts, and beliefs. Yet, no matter how deeply you may have hurt others, you owe it to yourself to have compassion, hope, and motivation on your journey to recovery. Online forums where victims of abuse focus on venting and decrying their abusers as "evil" and "inhuman" is unlikely to be supportive as you start your journey. Stick to resources and therapists that can find the balance between helping someone with NPD increase self-awareness and reflection alongside maintaining understanding and compassion for who you are and how you came to be this way.
Invite curiosity. There is no one way that NPD manifests in a person, and the paths to recovery are as unique as the individuals who walk them. Ask lots of questions on your journey- of yourself, of experts, of other NPD-sufferers. Examine beliefs and behaviors with humility and a spirit of investigation. Consider the potential for recovery from substance-use disorders, such as alcohol, stimulants, or prescription medication. Explore whether you may also have unmet or repressed needs related to work, religion, status, and sexual orientation. Finally, there is no "one size fits all" for recovery from mental illness, and your path will likely contain explorations into things likes trauma, neglect, your values and needs, and your place in the world - even the universe. Above all, find a qualified therapist and supportive others, and walk your path with curiosity and hope.
Maintain hope. Of all that you have to support you on your journey, hope is the one thing you cannot afford to lose. If depression or hopelessness seems like it could be a barrier for holding out hope, connect with your doctor or other qualified provider to ask about being evaluated for medication management. Work with a therapist to specifically support the desire to keep hope alive. Seek out supportive others and experiences that help you have positive feelings about your potential for recovery. If you have setback, consider it a stepping stone to greater self-awareness. Always look for the positive- the negative can be consuming.
Start a mindfulness practice. The journey to recovery is supported with increased awareness and presence in our lives. If we can learn to stay with what is uncomfortable, we will better prepared to navigate the difficult, often painful realities of recovery from NPD. Mindfulness practices can be diverse and do not have to be a part of a religious or spiritual practice. There is a strength and resilience in the calm and self-awareness that can come from a mindfulness practice. See the "Mindfulness" section of the website for ideas on where to start.