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.

Books to read…if you are Divorcing a Narcissist

If you are like me, you thirst for information to help arm yourself against your upcoming battle of breaking away from your narcissist. When I first realized what kind of person I was married to, I went online to try to discover all I could about how to handle the situation. Marriage to a narcissist is difficult at best, so I knew that divorcing one would be the challenge of my lifetime!  Knowledge is power and you have to take the lead in learning all you can about the possible situations that you may face when deciding to leave your narcissist. There are common threads with these relationships, there is no such thing as an amicable split with one. Be forewarned! The more you know the better off you will be when making your split. If you can learn from others mistakes, all the better for you!

Besides online resources, I also went to the library and discovered some amazing books that help give insight into what problems I would likely face when divorcing my narc. I am so thankful that I read these two particular books and strongly recommend that you check these two out if you are facing a divorce with your narcissist.

Splitting by Bill Eddy, JD. The author is highly qualified on this subject becausIMG_1667e he is a family lawyer, therapist, and divorce mediator. This book is very helpful because it dives into topic of divorcing someone with Borderline Personality Disorder as well as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It focuses on high-conflict divorces from the perspective of the court, and the best way to navigate the process and gives amazing strategic advice to the victim. I always felt that my ex was Bi-Polar because he would switch between hot and cold at the drop of a hat. Our relationship was an emotional roller-coaster, filled with either extreme highs or sinking lows. This book made clear what I could be dealing with in my upcoming battle and was invaluable to me.

Will I ever be free of you? By Karyl McBride, Ph.D. This book is helpful bIMG_1666ecause it focuses on how to navigate a divorce with a narcissist and protect yourself and your children during and after the difficult process.  It is a different take than “Splitting,” because it is a woman’s perspective that has a personal quality to it that is both reassuring and informative.

Preparing yourself before you leave is extremely valuable to your success in escaping your narcissist as intact as possible. The more you educate yourself, the stronger you will be to handle what your narcissist throws at you.  You can do this!

Learning About Who I am and What I Want Now…

One lesson that I am learning after leaving my narcissist, is of the importance to understand who I am and what I want out of life. It is so liberating to remove the dead weight he placed upon my shoulders of his wants and needs. I am now free to focus on me for the first time in a long time. I still put my children first in most instances, but I also realize how important it is to “put my oxygen mask on first” or else I wont be any good to my children.

I am discovering how much stronger I am now that I am away from that unhealthy relationship. I have learned the hard way, that I would much rather be on my own than suffer in a narcissistic relationship, where I was very much alone anyways. Because narcissists lack the ability empathize, he had no capacity to emotionally support me, he just latched onto me and sucked out my energy much like a leech or a Dementor in Harry Potter.

Another lesson I have learned is that I do not need a man in my life to be happy. First, I need to be happy with myself and happy on my own. Which I joyfully feel that I am finally at that point. I am really enjoying this time for me and for the chance to discover who I really am. I have been given an amazing opportunity for a job that I never imagined I would get. I am delighted to find that I have an aptitude for it. It is a challenge that I am now up for and it is great to be able to get out of the house and be around other professionals and utilize my schooling to help contribute to society. It gives me more purpose when I get up every morning. I feel as though I am part of something bigger now. I also put my children into a small private school and they are really enjoying it, which is a huge step for me because I had dreams of continuing to homeschool them through their young years. However, I had to adapt to the life of a single mother and those who fail to adapt will eventually succumb.

There have been so many changes in the past year that I can barely wrap my head around it, but these changes have been welcomed blessings. Everything has been falling into place since I took back my life and left my narcissist, much better than I could have ever dared to dream. I am even on track to build my house, which is something I have always dreamed of doing someday. It is funny that in order to achieve that dream, I have to do it on my own, not when I was married. Better now than never, and it will be all mine without the narcissist’s approval.

It is an amazing feeling to know that having a man in my life wont define me anymore. Now don’t misunderstand me, I do not fantasize about becoming some crazy cat lady and dying all alone, however, the thought doesn’t scare me so much anymore either. If there is to be anyone that I chose to share my life with, he will have to be amazing and be a compliment to who I am now. I strongly feel that I will not settle for anything less. I am not desperate to find someone, because I am content with my life and who I am becoming.

Sure it would be wonderful to find someone someday who honestly loved me for me, everyone yearns for that, someone who truly has your best interests at heart. But I don’t really know if that is possible this day and age. My past relationships have not proven to illustrate that as a feasible outcome. Maybe I am jaded after coming out of a train wreck of a marriage, however I feel that many people are just out to use you for their own selfish needs. After emerging from a smothering narcissistic relationship, I realize just how important it is for each party in a relationship to have their own hobbies and life, which ultimately makes each more interesting and gives you more to talk about. Then you have the things you do and share as a couple. It is not healthy for a couple to “do everything together.” Whoever wants to be a part of my life will have his work cut out for him. I once read that you should make a list of what you want to find in your future partner because it increases your chances of success the next time around.

So, here it goes… if I could place an order for a perfect partner, he would have to be someone who has much in common with me, I will no longer shift who I am to make a man happy. He will have to like to travel, but also enjoy relaxing at home. A man in every sense of the word, strong and solid, who makes me feel safe and appreciated. Someone who is capable, kind, and honest. Someone who appreciates nature and being outdoors. Someone who can teach me new things, and brings out the best in me. Someone who likes to cook nice dinners, but also enjoys dressing up once in a while to go for a fun night out. He will have to be smart, but not a smart ass. Confident, but not cocky. Humble, but not meek. And lets not forget someone who can make me laugh, for I dearly love to laugh! A sense of humor is so important in life. I know these qualities I look for in a mate seem contrary, but life is about balance, it is not good to be too much of anything for a variety of reasons. There must be an equilibrium. I am finally finding out who I am and I never want to lose myself in someone ever again.

So in a nutshell, who am I?  I am a woman who looks forward to every day now.  A dreamer who has yet to lose hope.  A believer who sees all I have accomplished and knows that I have the strength to carry on.   A survivor and a woman who has lots of love left to give, and I will give it to my family and to myself and to anyone who endeavors to be worthy. And what do I want?  I want to always remember that what I went through has molded me into who I am.  I am stronger and smarter for it and I know now that it all happened for a reason.

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.

A Change of Perspective

Looking back at how I survived those 7 years married to a narcissist, I realize that I now am utilizing a piece of myself that I dared not do when I was with him. Now that I am removed from the horrible abuse, I am using my own perspective. The whole time I was with my narcissist, I learned to view everything through HIS perspective, HIS eyes, HIS mind. He taught me that his perspective was the only one that mattered in our relationship, and that mine was no longer relevant or even in existence.

It was earth shattering the moment that I realized that I had adopted such a warped vision of how my life with him was playing out. He made me believe that I was the problem, and that I didn’t “respect or appreciate him” when all I ever did was bend over backwards to please him. But my hard work was in vain because nothing was ever good enough.

Before I diagnosed my ex husband as being a full fledged narcissist, I used to think that he just didn’t understand women. I believed that since he grew up with 3 brothers and no sisters, he was lacking in the compassion towards a female’s mindset. But that turns out to not be the case at all. The issue is that since he is a narcissist, he has no empathy, no compassion, no real appreciation for the views of anyone other than his own. He only has contempt for all else, especially his supply, me.

Now that I have left my narcissist, I only look through his perspective when I want to prepare myself for his next swing at me. Many times, I know what he is going to do or say before he does it. But the difference now is, I believe in myself, I know I am not to blame. I am stronger and smarter than he could ever know. And I will never let my own perspective become overshadowed by him nor any other man 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.

Ways to Recover from a Narcissistic Relationship

There are many ways to cope with the abuse that has been done to us. Those who have been the victim of narcissistic abuse have two options. To stay a victim or to become a survivor. I chose the latter. I am only 7 months out from a nightmare with my narcissist and I still have to deal with him because we are going through a drawn out divorce battle with children, but I have been making little discoveries of what has helped me along the journey to rediscover myself and I wanted to share those with you. Please feel free to comment and add any that have helped you.

First and foremost,

Go NO CONTACT, unless you have children with one, then go as little contact as the court will allow.

Adopt a theme song. This sounds funny, but it really works. One of the joys of breaking free from my narcissist has been the rediscovery of my love of music. I had let my love of listening to music drift from me when I was with my narcissist. He robbed the joy from my life in many ways. Now, I find myself listening to upbeat music again that makes me look forward to future. My theme song is “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone. Each time I hear it I can’t help but dance.

Pick a new perfume or cologne. A scent is a powerful thing, when a person chooses an aroma it is extremely personal to their tastes, and by applying it to their body they are sending it out to the world as an extension of who they are. Everyone has a favorite perfume or cologne. But the other day, I tried something new and I couldn’t believe the effect it had on me! It did not remind me of “me with him,” it was like I put on a fragrance that was just all me, now. It instantly added a boost of confidence as if I were going through a metamorphosis and becoming something more beautiful without him.

Make a list or two or three. This list can be what you learned from your last relationship. It can be what you are looking for in the next relationship. Or it can be what you want to accomplish in you life during the next 5 years. But a list is helpful because it allows you to identify your priorities, you weaknesses, your mistakes, your strengths, your goals. Seeing your thoughts down on paper can jog your mind into making it happen.

Listen to old music that you used to listen to before you met your narcissist. This helps you to remember how you use to feel, it helps you regain strength and confidence of who you used to be. You begin to uncover who you really are, not who he or she made you into.

Take care of yourself, without guilt! Get your hair done, get that pedicure or massage. Just do something that makes you feel good about yourself. Don’t forget to eat well and try to work some exercise into your daily routine. Even if you start small, it pays big dividends in your self confidence and health.

Take a trip on you own. I am working on making this happen. Someday, I dream of going to Ireland or Scotland. I have heard that traveling by yourself is an amazing way to soul search. I don’t have the money or time to do this now, however, even just spending a day by myself without the internet or phone can be nourishing. In my case, it will have to do for now.

Read good books that interest you. It is so comforting and healing to let you mind escape the present and focus on bringing a story to life in your thoughts.

Do things that your narcissist forbid you to do when you were with him or her. In my case, that is pretty much anything.

Believe that you CAN!

Meet with old friends, or make new ones. You may be surprised at the response of old friends if you try to reach out to them. I was.

Talk to a support person, join a group or find a therapist who specializes in recovery from narcissistic abuse.

Look at old pictures of yourself before your narcissist entered the scene. You will be amazed!

I moved back to my childhood home after leaving my narcissist. I was up late one night just exploring my old bedroom. Looking under my bed, I discovered a treasure trove of who I used to be. I pulled out this wooden box filled to the brim of pictures of me with old friends, travels and adventures. I couldn’t believe at who I was looking at! I was happy, confident, fun, exciting. I forgot who I use to be. I come across a picture that I took when I was up in the sky parasailing in Jamaica. I forgot that I had even done that! I couldn’t believe how badly I disassociated with myself when I was married to my narcissist. He tried to destroy who I was and replace me with what he wanted me to be. It made me sick to think that I almost let that really happen. But now I am the warpath to win myself back!

Plant your feet, find yourself again and soon you will rise up tall and strong.  You will be surprised how beautiful you can grow.  Know that you are not alone, you can win this battle too!