Realizing You Have Become Stronger After Enduring Narcissist Abuse…

Now that I am safely divorced and apart from my narcissist, I feel more invigorated by the day. I am on a path of discovery that I couldn’t comprehend one year ago. It is somewhat true what they say about “time healing all wounds.” Although time does help, it does not heal if you do not look within yourself to discover how deep your wounds have been inflicted.

It was shocking when I put some time and distance between the painful experiences I endured to recognize just how miserable and controlled I was living day to day. I was not living, I was merely surviving at best. I was incredibly altered when I married that man. Every day was a torment. He never asked me how I was sincerely, nor did he care. I had to repeat myself like a parrot because he never listened to what I had to say, unless he realized that he could save it up and twist it somehow to use against me later. A narcissist has no interest in you or anything you care about, because all their minds can wrap around is their own. They have no capacity to truly love, they are merely an empty shell of a human being.

Now that I am done with that part of my life, I have been focusing on my wants and my needs for the first time in almost a decade and it feels so wonderful! I hardly ever think of him, unless it is to remember he is calling to talk to the kids. I don’t waste my thoughts on him if I can help it, he does not control me anymore. But it is interesting how his abuse can still haunt me over the simple things I do now.

When I find my mind jumping to a moment where he would abuse me in the past, I experience a great wave of appreciation that I don’t have to endure it anymore. It hits me like a jolt, then I try to push it to the side and move on. I used to hate when these moments jostled me, however, now I take a second to be grateful for them because I no longer have to live under his rule. These moments solidify my fortitude.
I almost relish it when he tries to upset me know, because I just laugh and shake it off. He has lost his power over me and he knows it. He has not tried to upset me as much either because he knows he doesn’t have the same effect on me that he used to. One time at the pick up of the kids, he was talking to me about something that upset him and I looked at him and casually threw my head back and laughed. He looked at me stunned and confused. I wish I could have taken a picture of his reaction because it was priceless.

What I am trying to say is that the longer you are away from your narcissist and go “no contact” as much as possible, the better you will begin to feel.  As the days and moments slowly pass after you have left, only then can the wounds finally have a real chance to start the healing process. With this distance, you will be able to look deep into yourself and figure out what parts are missing and what parts you need to repair.  With time, you will get to the point where the narcissist’s actions annoy you rather than upset you. You will be annoyed that you didn’t see through his or her antics sooner, you will become irritated that you used to let it bother you so much in the past. When you get to this point, you will realize how much stronger you are now. It is a wonderful and powerful place to be! This is YOUR time, relish it!

 

 

My little birdie…

After spending seven years stuck in a marriage to a narcissist, I got used to being in the dark. After all, he never would tell me about his past life before me. He would just tell me the bare minimum and gloss over the details. I always thought that it was strange, as I am an open book. I enjoy talking about the past, it helps me see how far I have come in my life. I am a huge fan of reminiscing. I am a scrapbooker for goodness sake! While I would have jumped at the idea of looking at baby pictures or embarrassing junior high photos of my ex, he never wanted to even show me. Also, he could care less about looking at mine. I figured that maybe he was just not a sentimental guy. Why else would he not care, or else strive to conceal his past?

Well, after I divorced him, there were so many unanswered questions lingering about who he really was. The man I thought I was marrying was not at all who he turned out to be, he transformed into a stranger on our honeymoon. That is a story for a later time. Well, it is funny how fate can intervene when you least expect it to help give you closure. While I was attending a conference for my work, a new colleague (who I will rename, Brad) sat down next to me and we began chatting. He asked me about my divorce and if it was amicable? I then told him a little bit about my divorce and how my ex was only amicable at the mediation because he had a new girlfriend who he already had impregnated. Brad couldn’t believe it and then he asked me if my ex was a foreigner.  I laughed and said no, and explained that my ex was from a nearby town. Well, then Brad asked what my ex’s last name was and when I told him, he was floored. He then said “Oh my God! Your ex is a relative of mine!”

I was embarrassed at first and thought well… I am sorry if you are offended that I have something unflattering to say about your relative. But before I could say that, Brad spoke up and told me that he is only a second cousin of my ex and that he always stayed away from that side of the family because he thought that my ex, as well as my ex’s Mom, Dad and other three brothers were very strange. Brad stated that my ex was always condescending and an asshole at family reunions. He said that he always thought of my ex as someone who would get a mail-order bride someday. I couldn’t believe everything he was telling me about my ex. It was awesome! Brad then asked me what I though about my ex getting dishonorably discharged from the military? I shockingly said, what??? My ex never told me that! He told me that he got out of the military after he finished up his time. But Brad said that my ex was definitely dishonorably discharged for some reason that he was not aware of.

When I think about it, I remember that my ex was married to his first wife during his three year service in Okinawa, Japan and I wouldn’t doubt that he cheated on his wife while she was staying back in America to finish up school. That makes more sense to me, he always said that SHE cheated on him while he was overseas, but I do know that the military will dishonorably discharge an officer for that kind of behavior. It does fit the narcissist m.o., whereby they claim others are guilty of the very conduct that they are guilty of. I would bet money on it that he cheated on her, not the other way around. Then he lies to me and hides his shady past and wants me to pity him and see him as a dutiful soldier. What a pack of lies!

But wait, it gets better… Brad then asks me what I thought about the first girl that my ex knocked up? I knew that my ex got his high school girlfriend pregnant, which that child is all grown up now. The boy is in his 20’s and changed his last name to his mother’s maiden name because of some reason I never knew. My ex really did not have anything to do with this boy, as my ex always blamed the mother for “turning his son against him.” Anyways, my ex never went into details about that boo boo. He blamed her for “getting pregnant on purpose to prevent him from going to West Point.” He then said that she was a “crazy manipulator.” Well, Brad went on to reveal the next shocker, he said that the family gossip was that my ex actually raped her. Well, that blew my mind! It all makes sense now! That explains why there is strained relations there, also it explains why he never wanted to tell me details. They were too horrible. Brad thinks it was a rape because she was underage and my ex pressured her into it, not actually with physical force. But that is bad enough in my eyes. I remember that my ex pushed me into sex before I was ready, much too soon, so I can easily see him doing that to others.

My little birdie unveiled several other tidbits about my ex’s strange family and their schemes. I told Brad that all I ever wanted was to fit in to the family of whoever I married. But that I never could fit in with them, I was always an outsider to them. Brad then quickly said, “It’s a good thing that you never fit in with them, they are all crazy! It shows that you are a good person.” That made me laugh out loud! We even had lunch together so he could fill me in on other details. Another scary thing Brad told me was that he could see my ex as being one of those fathers that abducts their children and runs away to another country. I must say that scares me to death, especially since my two very level headed parents have been saying that is one of their fears too.

At the end of the day, I thanked Brad profusely for being more honest with me in the span of an afternoon than I got from my ex in all of seven years. Brad said that he felt bad that he was having to tell me the dirt on my ex, and said that he felt like he was betraying his own family a little bit in revealing this to me. But then he said that out of all the divorces that he has seen, that mine was the most troubling and that he was so happy that I was able to get away from such an awful man.

When you come out of a relationship with a narcissist, you will inevitably wind up alone, in the dark, and full of questions. Just when I had stopped looking for answers and was living my life, some answers found their way to me. What is important is not all of the details as to why you were lied to, but that you got away. I still wont know everything and that is OK with me. I am just so thankful that I saw my chance to run and I took advantage of it.

Boom goes the Dynamite!

Tonight I picked up my children from spending another whirlwind weekend with their father. After giving them their baths, my son dropped a bombshell on me. Out of the blue he said, “Irena is pregnant! It’s a boy, his name is Michael!” My reaction was of such shock and amazement that I couldn’t help but to laugh and smile and exclaim, “Really? Oh my goodness that is amazing!” I did not know what else to say. Partly because I had known that this would happen since the moment that my narcissist told me one month after I left him, that he was bringing a 25 year old Ukrainian “au pair” to live with him full time while he had visitation of the children for only two weekends a month.

So what I am trying to say is that I am not surprised by any means, but vindicated. This makes sense now as to why he settled our divorce as quickly as he did, because according to the math, she was pregnant even before our mediation. My ex actually took my son and daughter into the doctor’s office to witness the ultrasound!  I am not sad, or even pissed off, to be honest. But I do feel sorry for the children because in the midst of their excitement of having a baby brother, they do not realize that they are standing on the edge of the cliff of abandonment by their father. They truly have no idea that their Daddy, who they look up to at this age, already has done this twice before.

The first time, my narcissist was 16 years old, made a boo boo while he was a senior in high school and knocked up his girlfriend, who he later abandoned so that he could enter the Navy. He blamed everyone but himself for his accident. He said that “she got pregnant on purpose to keep him from going to West Point.” Then he said that it was his parents fault because they “should have warned him not to trust a girl to take her birth control.” Really? Are you kidding me? It is his own fault that he couldn’t keep his cock in his pants in yet he actually believes it was everyone else that screwed up! Well, that little baby boy, “JJ” grew up without knowing what really happened, as he was taken on by his mother’s new husband and lived in a happy home for the most part. The child even went as far as to change his last name from my narcissist’s to his mother’s maiden name when he turned 18. That was a real slap in the face to my narc. As I feel it was justified, but I could not express that to him.

The second time, a decade later, my narcissist met a girl named Jill, married her quickly then he spent three years in Japan as a flight surgeon while he paid for her to go to college back in the States. I think that this is the only reason their marriage survived during those several years, but when he came back, they mysteriously separated. I say mysteriously because he could never give me an acceptable, or believable reason. However, he said that when they tried to reconcile, she ended up pregnant “to try to keep him.” He said he filed for divorce after that, because “he couldn’t trust her.” Anyways, baby Sarah came into the world right before their divorce, then he had strained relations with that little girl, till he eventually cut her out of his life when she turned 4 years old. I met him during that time, I only got to be around sweet little Sarah a few months and really fell in love with her! I always encouraged him to keep up the visitation but he said that Jill was poisoning Sarah against him and that it was a lost cause and that we should just move to where his “dream job” was in Michigan. Sarah lived in Pennsylvania, and we were in Ohio which meant the visitation was already long distance and a strain on Sarah anyways. We were planning on marrying and he was determined to “start over” and have “our own children.” So, this is a pretty good preview of what is destined to happen to my children. He has his “new fresh start” with Irena, and when he gets bored, he will dump our children and blame me somehow for it.

Initially my reaction of the news that his new girlfriend was pregnant was of hilarity and exoneration. However, now I can’t help but feel sick at the thought that a person can really do that to someone. I gave seven years of my life, love, labor and trust to him. But I just had the shocking realization that none of that ever counted for anything. He never respected me, he never was proud of me. He merely used me to serve his needs, he never cared for me. I now have the confirmation that he most certainly cheated on me through the duration of our marriage, and it is a disturbing realization. I truly hoped that he had more class than that. But that is a narcissist for you!

Now, I know what everyone reading this is wondering, “Why in the hell would this woman girl marry this guy in the first place?” It’s bad right? I know! But you must understand, that I did not know all of this before I married him. We met and married within a span of seven months. I didn’t take the much needed time to learn about this man that I was intent on spending the rest of my life with. I leaped before I looked. Maybe a part of me didn’t want to really see. All of these distorted pieces of his past came out slowly bit by bit. Then when it was too late, the picture of his horribly disfigured puzzle came into view. I was 27 when I met him, I was coming out of law school weary after dating a bunch of immature boys and he seemed like he was an established, professional man. That appealed to me I am not going to lie. But what he portrayed himself to be in all other matters couldn’t be further from the truth. So all I ask is that you don’t judge me too harshly. I was conned, as all of you were. But what it has taught me is a valuable lesson, not to trust too blindly. Make whoever you are dating, or spending time with prove to you that they are worthy of you.

Narcissists are Extremely and Unreasonably Jealous

I have always tried extra hard to make my Narcissist feel like he was the most important person in my life. He told me at the beginning of our relationship that his ex had cheated on him which made me feel really bad for him. Because of him “playing the victim card” I always felt like that was his way of one upping me and the reason he was so suspicious of me. I reasoned that maybe his heart was wounded so badly that he was incapable of trusting anyone. I thought that his controlling behavior and suspicious nature would cool off the longer we were together. But that was not the case. As it turns out, I don’t think his ex ever did cheat on him. I now know that narcissists play the victim so that they get you to feel sorry for them, making it easier for them to manipulate you.

This is a very common move in the narcissist’s playbook. They then accuse you of being insensitive of their feelings. However, they never once stop to consider your feelings along the way. It is always about them. I would beg and plead for him to trust me and not be so suspicious when my cell phone would ring when we were together. If it was a wrong number he would interrogate me. “Who was that?“ “Why were they calling you?” I would then go as far as to Google the phone number and show him that it was a telemarketer. I was a nervous wreck when he bought me a new phone and new number and it turned out to be a previous number of some party girl who got calls from at 2 am from drunk guys at a club. They would ask for Shanikwa or someone. Then my narcissist would he would get mad at me, as if it was my fault!

I never will forget when my narcissist told me to dump every male acquaintance on facebook before our marriage, he even made me cut ties with my gay best friend. He said that it wasn’t who he wanted his future wife to be socializing with. The sad truth was that he didn’t want me to hang out with ANYONE other than him. Even my own family were enemies in his eyes. He saw my Mother as a threat because we are extremely close. He would make jabs at her on the rare occasions when we did get together. He did it in a sly, sneaky way that my Mom would later ask me why he said those odd things and I would shamelessly try to make excuses for him. I would say that maybe she misunderstood him, or that maybe he didn’t mean to offend. But she was onto him.

My narcissist was so jealous of anyone who took any of my attention that even just the act of sitting next to my Mom on the couch when the only other seat in the room was a comfy recliner where he had to sit, caused a serious fight. Later that night, my narcissist was dark and broody and confronted me as to why I would not ask my Mom to move so that he could sit next to me on the couch? He said, “your Mom should know that your husband would want to sit next to his wife.” I looked at him like he was bloody insane! At the time, we were living three hours away from my family and were back for one weekend visiting them at their house, I didn’t think anything of it when I sat next to her and not him. I wanted to be able to visit and talk with her. So from that moment on, any future visit at my parents house was ruined for me. I never knew what he would find to get mad about. I always had to put him first, so that he didn’t feel “neglected.” It was exhausting. I couldn’t enjoy the visit because it would create tons of arguments between us, so eventually it was easier to just not visit them. He couldn’t comprehend that I would want to visit with any of my family, because whenever we would visit his family, he would sit with a baby on his lap, avoiding his whole family and would make ME entertain them. He didn’t know what it meant to be close to his family, although he would swear up and down that he was “very close” to them. Liar.

So, if your partner keeps close tabs on you, vies for your constant attention, and puts down your family and friends in an attempt to steer you away from wanting to spend time with them, be forewarned!  It is a toxic relationship that will NEVER get better.  The narcissist is out to destroy you, he or she will burn everyone and everything you care about down to mere ashes.

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.

Dealing with the Loneliness after Leaving a Narcissist

You can’t live with them, so you have to leave them. But it doesn’t make the hurt any easier to bare. Making the choice to leave is not as simple as people think. Toxic relationships alter a victim’s belief system to such an extent that they have great difficulty identifying their true feelings about their reality. At the start, I felt like there was a hole inside my soul. Once the anguish of living with him began to outweigh my fear of leaving, I had no choice but to run. Months after I left, I remember feeling in no way ready for another relationship, however, I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing something. I felt sad, lonely and lost. I yearned for an understanding of why I was feeling so depleted inside.

How could I be sad about the end of the relationship when he was so awful to me? Then I realized that this is what happens after a toxic narcissistic relationship ends. When you are so used to having someone beside you, abusive or not, you still can’t help but remember the times that were good. Because during the relationship, you were conditioned to think that it would get better. The roller coaster relationship of ups and downs, good and bad, perpetuated this futile belief. But it is important to keep it in perspective, never forget the hurtful things they have done to you. Hold on tight, because that nasty side was the truest side to that person.

I would never even consider going back to him. But it is understandable how the victim cannot help but be mournful of how their situation ended up. I slowly came to realize that I was not sad about him, but I was sad for what happened to me, because I allowed it to happen. I was embarrassed that I refused to see the truth sooner.  I was disappointed in myself that I failed to stand up for my beliefs and my family earlier.  I felt resentful of the seven years of my youth that I had given to him. I was greatly distressed by the loss of our family unit, the lost trust and love that I had placed in him, and the loss of the future that I had always dreamed that I would have.  It has all gone up in smoke now.

These feelings all added up to why I felt so miserable in the early days after leaving my narcissist. I felt like a deer caught in the headlights and there was nothing that I could do to stop the bright lights of sorrow from striking full force. That is only natural. When the wounds are fresh, the pain is real. However, with each and every day that has passed, I become more confident and grateful that I saw my situation for what hell it was and drew up the strength to leave. Better now than never, I really would have been sad if I had wasted anymore time on him. Come hell or high water, I am so thankful that I saved myself and my children from such an abusive man. It has not been easy, but I rather face the unknown possibility of potential happiness and greatness, than stay stuck in a perpetual cycle of emotional torment.

Narcissists Cannot Stand You Having Friends

A narcissist is greedy in all facets of life. He or she must have complete access to all of your love, your time, your money and your attention. He or she feels immediately threatened if you were to try to maintain control over any of these aspects of your own life. In my case, he had all of the money tied up in investment properties, I didn’t work because we agreed I would stay home with the kids. He never added me to the checking account and I had no ability to use a debit card to even get cash back at a grocery store. All purchases I made were by a credit card that he permitted me to use. Then each and every night, he perused the credit card purchases online, he justified doing so “to make sure there were no fraudulent purchases.” However, now I can see that he was just keeping track of every move I made. This is a clear example of financial abuse, he figured that since he made all the money, he could determine how it was spent. I knew better than to argue, because of his irritated answers in the past when I would question his reasons for keeping me off the checking account.

A narcissist is greedy with your time. They must have all of it. If you go somewhere, they want to go. If they have to go to a work function, they want you to go along too. They are afraid you might get away if they leave you to yourself for any length of time. I hardly ever was permitted to go anywhere alone. If I left the house, he made me take the kids, a 3 and 5 year old, how much fun is that? It was so hard to take little ones anywhere, that it was easier for me to just stay home. He did most of the grocery shopping. He knew that it would frustrate me to the point of just hunkering down and not even trying to go anywhere. Then he would proclaim, “I am not a babysitter, I don’t want to stay home and watch the kids while you go out with your friends or visit your family.” The narcissist must have you all to himself. He or she cannot stand the thought of you having a life that doesn’t involve them somehow.

One of the many instances showing how limiting my narcissist was happened when we moved to a new town and I had a 2 ½ year old and a 6 month old baby girl. I had barely seen the light of day because I had been breast feeding my daughter for those first 6 months and hadn’t slept much, not to mention getting to socialize with anybody but my narcissist. One day, when we were at the park together, I ran into a woman who had a little boy the sane age as my son and I hit it off with her, despite the fact that my narcissist was there with me. It was so refreshing to talk to another human being and I would catch glimpses of how life should be, lighthearted and understood. She knew what I was going through with motherhood and we bonded. Then she asked me if I wanted to get away from the house and go for a walk around the neighborhood one evening and she would bring along another mommy friend of hers. It was going to be a nice stress relieving “girls walk.” Immediately, asked my hubby if it was “OK with him” and he hesitated and said “yes, but don’t be too long, I am on call tonight.” I was overjoyed that my leash was lengthened for a moment. I thought for an instance that maybe my husband was “lightening up” and that maybe I would be aloud to have friends that he wouldn’t be jealous of.

Well, I would soon be disappointed again. The evening my friends met to walk, we roamed a bit further than I felt comfortable with because I remember the warning my narcissist gave me, but I was outnumbered. The girls wanted to keep walking a bit farther and I was having a great time just getting a bit of time away for myself, which I felt that I deserved after never getting any help with the kids. I was back maybe 15 minutes later that I had hoped, and all hell broke loose when I walked through the door.

When I entered the house, I saw my narcissist sitting in the armchair with a sleeping baby in his arms. He had a scornful look on his face. Next, I witnessed my two year old little boy sitting on the couch, with a book in his lap sleeping in the upright position.  Suddenly, a chill went through me, I knew in that instant that I was in trouble. In our house, the narcissist always read to the two year old before bed, he could have easily done so here, instead of letting our son sit on the couch to fall asleep. It did not matter so much at that point that I was not there for the bedtime routine (for the first time ever), however, the narcissist wanted to set the stage and create a show for me to make it seem like I “shirked my duties as a wife and mother.” I asked him why he did not just read to our boy and put him to bed, but he said that it wasn’t his job and that I “should have been here and not out with my friends.” He went on to say that I “disappointed our son and him as well.” He made me feel like a terrible mother when in fact, I had not done one thing for myself in those first 2 ½ years!  The tension in the house was unbearable for the rest of the evening, he wanted to teach me a lesson.  The narcissist could have put the sleeping baby in her crib, and have read to our little boy and put him to bed, but no, he laid in wait, like a malicious spider just waiting to entangle me in his sick web of madness.

From that moment on, I turned down future invites for evening walks and any event that would “infringe” upon my narcissist’s time because after all, my world had to revolve around him to avoid run-ins like this one. Looking back, his emotional abuse of me is so apparent, but at the time, I felt that I didn’t deserve to do things for myself. He always turned it around on me to make me look like I was selfish or ungrateful when in fact, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. It was awful to live with the narcissist, a living nightmare in fact. I am so very thankful that it is in my past now, and I must never forget the torment and abuses I suffered at his hand so that I will never fall prey to an unobtrusive spider ever again.

Enjoy the Holidays Your Way…

For the seven years that I was married to my Narcissist, I was never able to have the Christmas tree that I wanted. I am allergic to real trees and all that they entail. I love the idea of a real tree, don’t get me wrong, however, the pollen and the rotting tree water play havoc with my sinuses. A few days after having the tree in the house, I would be miserable with itchy eyes and nose, and would suffer with img_4900sneezing and congestion. I would tell my husband year after year that I cannot tolerate a real live Christmas tree in the house because it makes me feel awful for weeks on end, however he never cared a fig about how I felt. It was always about him, as was everything else.

However, now that I left him earlier this year, this is the first Christmas without him, and the first in long time where I am free to make my own choices about the holiday. Therefore, I bought a phenomenal replica tree that I can use year after year that is pre-wired with both white and colored lights that my children can merely press a remote to change the mood of the tree on a whim. It is awesome! And it doesn’t make me feel terrible physically.

It is funny how those little moments after you leave your narcissist remind you of the countless things you had to give up while just being involved with your narcissist. They really add up, maybe at the time you thought nothing of it, but once you have left, you slowly begin to realize just how many things about yourself that you gave up, or gave in. Innumerable moments that you acquiesced because it was just easier to rather than to fight a losing battle with him or her.

Decorating the tree this year was better than ever before because I could do so with my children without him rushing the process, where 2 or 3 of my glass ornaments would get broken because of his impatience. And for the first time this year, I placed a new ornament on the tree that I bought with my children when we went to Frankenmuth Michigan for Labor Day weekend. I bought them each their choice of ornament and I bought one for myself, a beautiful glass monarch butterfly that is proudly perched near the top of the tree. It symbolizes my life and the changes I have undergone this year. After being stuck in a cocoon during the marriage to my abuser, I have metamorphosed into a winged creature free to go where she was once forbidden. I gaze at the tree this year and can’t help but to feel proud for how far I have come in a short time and I vow to never lose sight of myself again.

I wish you all a happiest of holidays! Take care of yourselves and enjoy your loved ones.

Narcissists Offer Faint Glimpses of Human-like Behavior to Keep You Holding On.

When in a relationship with a narcissist, you quickly learn the predictability of his or her reactions to certain circumstances. That is why you walk on eggshells, so that you don’t accidentally trip one of those hair triggers and set off an explosion. (Even though you are NOT at fault.) You tiptoe around as to not make them upset somehow because you know the awful reaction that would happen if you do, but every once in a while the narcissist will withhold that terrible predictable reaction and you are shocked and feel instant relief. You even feel gratefulness to your abuser that you had been spared his or her fury.

Subsequently, you then see a faint glimmer of hope that the narcissist has potential to change his or her nasty ways and slowly transform into a human. However, that is part of their great deception. Narcissists are incapable of change, incapable of having empathy, incapable of truly loving another person. So, narcissists throw you a bone once in a while to confuse you and keep you off track to think that all of their previous overreactions were just misunderstandings or “in your head.” These fake-outs keep you dangling by a thread.

Those very limited instances where the narcissist doesn’t rage at you when you were certain that he or she would because they commonly did in the past, confuse you greatly and help you maintain hope for the relationship. But this hope is futile. See the narcissist for what he or she really is, a soulless monster. No amount of abuse, whether be it emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, sexual, etc. is worth putting up with because a good person who truly loves you would never attempt to abuse you in any way.

How to Leave a Narcissist?

It is a terrifying yet defining moment when you discover that the person you have loved, trusted, and confided in, is actually a controlling, selfish, emotionally empty narcissist. Then you find yourself scouring the internet for answers. I know I did. I became obsessed with arming myself with as much information about narcissistic personality disorder as possible to better understand what I was up against. It was horrendous to realize that he never actually loved me, but just used me to serve up his narcissistic supply. Then, once I understood that he could never change, I braced myself for the upcoming fight.

Leaving any relationship is never easy, but leaving a narcissist is even harder. I used to believe it noble to end a relationship with someone to their face. However, leaving a narcissist can cause a tremendous backlash. Narcissists do not handle rejection well and cannot abide being challenged in any manor. They lash out at the slightest perceived insult or injury and are known for disproportionate reactions to events. Therefore, the act of leaving a narcissist triggers a huge wound to their ego, it is unthinkable to them that you would ever chose to leave them. If you feel that you are in danger, you must find a way to get out of the precarious situation as safely and as quickly as possible. For me, I boiled it to The Seven P’s.

1- Plan your escape carefully. I officially decided to leave my husband when he flipped on the lights at 6:30 am and hovered over me while I lay naked under the covers in bed, curled up in the fetal position. He then proceeded to give me the same “ultimatum” he had used in the past to get me to cower. In his booming and intimidating voice, he told me that he was tired of me be being sad about how he interacted with my parents over the Easter weekend, which also happened to be my birthday. He informed me that if I wanted to continue to act sad, that I can just leave with the kids and move in with my parents and he would file for divorce. (The incident that precipitated his reaction happened two days before, where my parents drove 3 hours to visit us for the holiday/birthday weekend and my narcissist picked a fight with them after a dinner that I had just spent 3 hours to cook. It was nonsense really, my parents thought it would be nice to take me to get Dairy Queen blizzards for all of us for an after dinner treat. But my narcissist did not want to stay home with the kids for the 20 minutes it would have taken to bring it back, and he flipped out! My parents were stymied by his overreaction and asked him why he was so upset? My dad tried to talk it out with him, but then my narcissist continued to say that they were bad grandparents and told them that I was “unaccomplished little girl.” My parents didn’t know what to do and knew that they did not want to argue in front of the children, so they decided to leave and drive 3 hours back to their home thus missing my birthday and Easter the following day.) I was devastated, horrified and embarrassed. I pleaded with my husband to apologize to them but he refused and claimed that they were picking a fight with him, which is insane. He was smug when they left, there was a glimpse of happiness on his face.

I knew that this interaction would change everything, the cat was out of the bag. My parents would see how he really was and I couldn’t cover it up anymore. I knew that if I stayed with him, it would not only kill me but kill my parents with sorrow over watching their daughter fade away. So, when he turned on those lights two mornings later and gave me that ultimatum that I was to either let go of my feelings of sadness and just be the “happy wife he wanted” or I could just take the children with me and go live with my parents and he would have papers drawn up for our divorce. You see, I had no choice but to leave that miserable, intimidating, despicable shell of a human being. I chose life. The next step is crucial in leaving a narcissist.

2- Prepare Make your preparations thoughtfully. Mental and as well as physical preparation are very important. First, you need to be in the right state of mind to be okay with the life changing decisions you are about to act on. Leaving an abusive relationship is one of the most difficult things you will have to do. But you can do it, I did. My preparations involved booking a moving truck to be picked up when he was out of town, and asking my parents and friends to help me with the move. I also had to meet in secret with a divorce attorney to understand the implications of taking our children with me and to initiate the divorce process. I had one month before his week long trip that I knew I could make my escape safely. I knew if I would have told him that day he gave me the ultimatum that I did want a divorce, he would have flipped out and who knows what would have happened. I did not want to find out. So I used that entire month to make lists of what I needed to do before I left. I was advised by my lawyer to photocopy important legal documents, mortgages, bank statements, car statements, retirement documents. Etc. I complied, but couldn’t help but feel terrible in doing so, with all of the terrible things he had done to me, I still felt vile to be sneaky, but then I realized that it was not just for me I was doing this, but to protect my children and I will not apologize for that.

3 & 4- Placate & Prevent arguments during the final stages- Before I made my escape, I had a month to co-exist with my narcissist. I intended to do so as cautiously and peacefully as possible because the events leading up to my deciding to leave him did not make the living situation very comfortable. He was quick to argue with me over anything he perceived a challenge to his authority. However, I suddenly realized that if I engaged in any more arguments with him, it could easily escalate into me needing to vacate that day and I knew that if I had to, all my planning would be for nothing. Therefore, I needed to go along with the program to please him and make him feel like he was the all mighty unchallenged one. I laid in wait for the moment when he would be gone on his trip and I could then safely make my move out of the house.

5- Patience I kept my eye on the end goal. Every time he made me feel bad, I would turn the other cheek. I felt that he was always trying to goad me into an argument, so I would pretend that I wasn’t bothered by what he was saying. I knew that I would be free from him if I could just stay calm and play my cards right. Patience is a very crucial element of the escape. You know what I am talking about if you have ever seen the movie “Sleeping with the Enemy.” That movie always makes me quiver when I see how her horrid husband abuses her and accuses her of cheating. This movie hits a little too close to home for me and was definitely of an inspiration for me when I was enduring that last month with my narcissistic husband. Each morning that came during that final month I was mentally counting down till I was far away from him. I felt like I was holding my breath for 30 days and nights.

6- Prioritize what you must take and what you must let go of. It is almost impossible to take everything with you, if you must leave the home. If you are lucky enough to own the house yourself, I guess you could change the locks and wait for the fireworks to begin. In my case, we shared the home, but I knew I needed to get as far away from him as possible for my safety and my children. So, I only took what was mine before the marriage, and anything that I knew he would not want or miss.

7- Pretend to be dominated- My narcissist had been trying to completely alienate me from my loving, giving family these past seven years and he really thought that he accomplished it that day. But what he didn’t know was that I was stronger and smarter than he took me for.  I knew that it was an asset and a strength to be underestimated.  He really believed that he had broken me, but I have something inside of me that he doesn’t: true love of myself, real empathy and a sturdy resilience.  But by me pretending to play the part of the obedient, doe-eyed devoted spouse, he felt secure in his dominance and it gave me more opportunities to accomplish my great escape.

So there you have it.  These seven P’s allowed me to make my way to freedom from my narcissist.  I know they could be helpful to your escape.  Everyone’s situation is different I know, in yet there are so many similarities in narcissistic relationships. When I saw how unreasonable and nasty he could be to my parents, who had given us their love and support since day one, it was as if the final veil had dropped and I saw him for the monster that he really was and always will be.  The bell had been tolling for a long time, I could no longer ignore it’s ringing.  It was the last straw, the definitive answer to the question that had been eating away at me. I could no longer see what I wanted to see in him, I had to see the awful truth of what was in front of me.

Half a year has passed since I packed up that truck and left. It has not been easy, but I am so thankful that I made the decision to make my escape.