Survival Tips

by Grace Belafonte, Life Coach

Living in the aftermath phase of a pathological relationship can be a grueling experience. These tips are a vital way to cope.


You will not find any peace until you accept what is happening in your life. Try the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.

(Hear the meaning of the words as you say this.)

Disengage with the Pathological

Create distance between you and the pathological. Do not communicate directly with the pathological unless you are forced to by the court. Then, set up a voicemail system that can transcribe and forward messages to you via e-mail.

Establish a Reliable Support System

Sounds like an overused recommendation, but as a survivor, a strong support system is a life-saving grace. It is important that those you lean on are completely trustworthy and “get” what is happening.

Spiritual Nourishment

If you believe in God, use God to get through this. If you don’t believe in God, rely on something else; 12-steppers believe in a higher power. If you have to, trust someone else’s belief that things are going to be ok.

Physical Nourishment

Eat healthily. Cut out simple carbohydrates (refined sugar in candy, cakes, cookies, etc.) And add daily exercise (walking is good) between 20 to 40 minutes a day. Take Vitamin B12 which reduces the effects of stress on the body and helps calm the nerves naturally.

Intellectual Nourishment

Validation offered in books by credible sources can be amazing; but, if you find that the books are making you feel more powerless because of the seriousness of your situation, then put them down and read positive books.


In the aftermath, you may feel overwhelmed with issues. Try to visualize little compartments in which each issue can be stored. Work on one issue at a time. While working on one issue, detach emotionally from the others so you can focus.

Next Indicated Step

Think in terms of your next indicated step when you are overwhelmed. If you are open to solutions in your life, they will show up. When you wake up in the morning, ask “what can I do next in such and such area.” And just do it. Stay out of the future.

Quiet the Ache

First, acknowledge that how you feel is normal. Even though this person is bad for you, the pathological is usually quite conning and extremely charismatic. Have someone available who “understands” the situation and who can talk you down from the “compulsion” of wanting to talk to or be with the pathological. You do not, however, need someone in your life who will tell you shouldn’t feel that way. You just do. What you need is someone to help you act appropriately despite your feelings.

Create a Positive Outlook

Know that one day this will be over. At some point, you will feel certain doubt that you will not get through this. Every day that passes is one day closer to the whole situation being a thing of the past. Look for any good things that could arise in your life because of this.


Sit down daily, close your eyes, and find one thing to be grateful for. It could be as simple as being able to breathe, or walk, or that you have a great friend who loves you and believes in you. It could be the joy you get from a child, a pet, etc.

Forget about Revenge

Revenge does not serve anyone. It may be a nice thought to have a predator get his karma… you cannot be the one to do it. Thinking and planning revenge only feeds the resentment you have inside. Let it go. Live emotionally free.

Right size the Predator

It helps to look at the person who has harmed you in ways that reduce his/her power over you. For instance, nick names that are funny or lessen his or her power are great.

Don’t Hammer Yourself

If you are dealing with a pathological, please don’t take it personal. There is probably a long list of others hurt too by this person. This happened because you were vulnerable, not bad. Evil people target loving, caring people. This does not mean you should stop being loving and caring. Please continue to be the beautiful person you are. You are armed, now, with information. Use that information so that you are no longer vulnerable and easy prey. Yes, it IS possible.

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