Finally on the outside, looking in…

In case some of you are wondering why I used a photo I took of some gothic looking windows on my homepage, it was a decision based on my personal memories of being trapped inside a narcissistic relationship. I am recently divorced now, but when I was married to my narcissist, I spent many moments looking out of the windows at the sky and the trees and wonder what life would be like if I left. What would life be like if he was not a part of it anymore? How would I feel? He was such a fixture in all areas of my life that I couldn’t really see my life without him and his abuse. I could not wrap my head around a life without torment. I was staring off into the unknown.

But in those moments, standing on the inside looking out the window, I felt like Rapunzle trapped inside the tower. I was not permitted to do things on my own away from him. I had to ask “permission” to go see my own parents! He kept me on a tight leash to say the least. He used the excuse that he needed me to take care of the house, the children, etc so that I would not be able to venture out too long. I only got my hair done two times a year and if I was gone too long, he would text and call and act perturbed that I was still gone. When I walked back through the door, he would be agitated that he had to watch the children and would throw a fit and make me feel guilty that I had ever left. Meanwhile, the whole time getting my hair done I could not enjoy it because I was filled with worry that he was getting more upset by the second.

I once asked him if it would be OK if I went on a weekend girlfriend’s getaway someday. A wave of insolence washed over his expression at the very mention of it. He said, that he doesn’t go away with his friends, so why should I get to go away with mine? Well, he did not even have friends to go away with anyways, so that was a moot point.
That was the sneaky tactic he used during arguments. He claimed that he did not do this or that, therefore, I could not either. How can you argue with that approach?

I will never forget the loneliness that consumed me when I was with my narcissist. Despite the fact that he ingrained himself into every facet of my life, I was alone. He was emotionally absent. I never felt supported or encouraged in any of my endeavors. Even baking a birthday cake for the kids was a challenge. I enjoy being creative, so it is fun putting lots of effort into making fabulous cakes for my kids. Last year, I made a pirate ship for my son that had every detail accounted for, even little fondant molded cannons. I even made a fondant unicorn sculpture for my daughter one year. I love spending time on the details, as I equate that with love. However, my narcissist would always get grouchy and resentful when I devoted any time to making the kids cakes because that meant that was time I was not giving to him. I would ask my narcissist to keep an eye on the children so that I could concentrate in the kitchen. He would ho and hum and tell me that it wasn’t his job to do that because he “was not a babysitter.” Then he would ask me why I needed to go to all that work and that I should “just go buy them a dairy queen ice cream cake or something.” He always acted irritated and mad as hell each birthday that I would ask him to be helpful in any way. It usually ended up with me trying to frost a cake with a child attached to my leg because he wouldn’t try to even keep them occupied. So, I learned that if I wanted to enjoy the process in any way, I would spend time during the day (when he was at work) for a week before the party sculpting the details out of fondant so that I could attach them at the last minute so that it did not infringe on “his time.”

Being married to a narcissist is all consuming. Standing on the inside looking out of the window I could not imagine how my life could be if unencumbered by him. All I could see was a tangle, but now that I am safely outside the window, looking back in, I can see how hopeless I felt. I had no joy left inside, I was depleted and exhausted in every way. Just after I left him, a friend of mine asked me “Are you excited?” At that moment, I was confused at the question and just replied that I was terrified. I felt that something inside me was dying, how could I be excited about it? But now after nine months have passed since that question, I can honestly answer, “Yes! I am excited and hopeful, happy, and grateful that I listened to my gut and my family that I was in a terrible situation. I suffered the death of a life that I had hoped that I would have, but now I have a new chance at a life full of new beginnings. I look forward to each new day and what amazing possibilities that could come my way.

One thought on “Finally on the outside, looking in…

  1. Pingback: Being in isolation #5 Isolated Biblical figures and Confessional isolation – Belgian Ecclesia Brussel – Leuven

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