The beginning of my healing journey started with removing myself from an abusive situation and cutting off contact with the person creating it. The one time I sought help while still in a controlling, abusive relationship I faced fierce retaliation leading me to fear ever seeking help again. Towards the end of that relationship couples therapy was recommended by the family physician, but as some of you may know, a narcissist does not seek therapy except to prove themselves right and attempt to prove the instability of their partner. Fortunately, our therapist was very intuitive and experienced with narcissistic behaviors which threw my ex into a furious rage and a near assault on the aging therapist. This experience crystallized my resolve to escape and pursue a new life.
The realization and acceptance of my role in past experiences is a driving force for the fear I struggle with daily. The belief that pure chance had brought unhappiness and strife to me was blissfully ignorant. After all, the odds were in my favor that all the bad hands had already been dealt to me and the future held good luck. There may be a small nugget of truth to chance or luck but the bulls-eye painted on my back is made highly visible to those seeking to harm by my tolerance and lack of self-confidence. The fear of repeating the past is exacerbated by the knowledge that I am not entirely healed, so I reinforce my walls to rest in the safety of solitude, for now.
As much as I cringe at the memory of some of my life experiences, time has proven them a potent learning tool. Reading a book, attending a lecture, listening to my parents or friends could never teach me life’s lessons so clearly. People who dole out hurt and manipulation exist in this world in higher numbers than I care to acknowledge. The role these people in our lives is painful but incredibly wisdom forming for those who survive. There was a time when I wished for a different life where bad things never happened, and people never hurt or mistreated me. Without those bad experiences, I would not be the same person. Yes, many broken pieces of me still need mending but once healed those pieces will be stronger than ever before.
The term “healthy boundaries” is a relatively new addition to my vocabulary. I realize now that my lack of boundaries left me open to abuse and manipulation. It is not easy to define one’s boundaries, but it is entirely necessary for self-preservation. There are things in this life I am not willing to accept any longer, and I am better off alone than in another boundary-lacking relationship. The thought of another person entering my life and wreaking havoc and constant chaos where there is relative peace is unacceptable. The truth is, there may not be room in my life for any more people right now, and I am okay with that. For the time being, I plan to define my boundaries clearly and maybe even write them in stone.
Not every day is bright and the bad days still come, but every step towards healing is a triumph.
It started innocently enough with a plea to report my whereabouts to keep you from worrying about me because you cared so much. It progressed to protecting me from anyone who may wish to cause harm which included my family. It grew to encompass jealousy of my friends and an intense suspicion of constant infidelity. It escalated to crush any dream of mine that was not intended to glorify you. The final push was to destroy every trace of my dignity by devouring the souls of my children.
I could sacrifice myself because by that point I believed there was nothing left of me but I refused to surrender my children. They had no choice in the matter, no options and the only hope for them was me. It ended with me rising up to claim myself again, for the sake of my children.
We all know how it ended regardless of the fantasy you created to appease yourself and those you currently manipulate. We are healing and are stronger than you can imagine. We will prevail and live in the light, but you will always hide in the shadows of your lies.