Navigating the Storm: Radical Acceptance After Leaving a Narcissistic Relationship

Navigating the Storm: Radical Acceptance After Leaving a Narcissistic Relationship

Navigating the Storm: Radical Acceptance After Leaving a Narcissistic Relationship

This is one post in a series of posts from The Smith Firm regarding personality disorders in marriage and divorce. This series is directed to those leaving a narcissistic relationship and the challenges that may be present in leaving, staying gone, and thriving after. We hope this helps those who are going through this. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, suicide, or any of the symptoms identified, we recommend you contact a mental health professional or call 988 to connect with someone immediately.

Breaking free from a narcissistic relationship is not a straightforward journey. Dr. Ramani Durvasula, in her enlightening book “It’s Not You,” sheds light on the complexities of post-separation dynamics and the pivotal role of radical acceptance in managing the aftermath.

The Two-Step Process of Radical Acceptance

Leaving a narcissistic relationship demands a nuanced understanding of the two-step process of radical acceptance. Firstly, it involves acknowledging the unchangeability of narcissism and the enduring impact of narcissistic abuse. Secondly, it requires acceptance of the challenging process that unfolds after leaving. Radical acceptance is essentially accepting the things you cannot change and out of your control in your relationship dynamic.

The Fallout of Leaving

Narcissistic individuals, sensitive to rejection, often react with vindictiveness, manipulation, and rage when faced with abandonment. Their reluctance to relinquish control adds another layer of complexity. Radical acceptance becomes a powerful tool in anticipating and managing the post-separation abuse that is likely to unfold. The efforts to regain control by way of accusations, fear, threats, or even “hoovering” to manipulate you back.

The Bleak Reality of Post-Separation Abuse

Dr. Durvasula compassionately explores the harsh reality that post-separation abuse can become so intense that individuals might doubt their decision to leave. She shares experiences of clients who, amidst the storm of abuse, contemplated returning to the toxic relationship simply to make the suffering stop. She highlights the reality that separation does not end the narcissists efforts to manipulate and control, therefore, radical acceptance is necessary to know its coming and process it without internalizing it. For those contemplating or going through a divorce from a narcissistic partner, Dr. Durvasula offers a crucial warning about the bleak and abusive nature of the post-separation phase. By fostering radical acceptance, she guides individuals through the storm, empowering them to stay firm in their decision despite the overwhelming challenges.

The Power of Radical Acceptance

Radical acceptance is not about condoning abuse or surrendering to despair; it’s about acknowledging the harsh realities and finding strength within to navigate them. Dr. Durvasula’s insights emphasize the importance of self-awareness and resilience during this tumultuous period.


In the turbulent aftermath of leaving a narcissistic relationship, radical acceptance emerges as a beacon of strength. By understanding the unchangeable nature of narcissism and bracing oneself for the post-separation challenges, individuals can embark on a healing journey. Dr. Durvasula’s wisdom serves as a guide, urging those in similar situations to hold onto their resolve and reclaim their lives.

The Smith Firm attorneys understand the issues faced by a husband or wife living with a spouse with a narcissistic personality disorder and we are prepared to help you navigate the issues unique to your situation. Contact us at (405) 843-1000 or confidentially at