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.
The damage from abuse is like a slow acting poison requiring a painful antidote. Sometimes I find it hard to remember what it felt like to be trapped in an abusive relationship and then a trigger brings a flashback encompassing every sensory detail. Numbing the pain and emotions allowed me to stumble through life for a few years, but eventually, my deteriorating condition forced me to confront the trauma. Chronic, debilitating migraines were the primary physical manifestation of my unprocessed trauma. These migraines significantly interfered with my ability to work and care for my children, but if it was not for this physical ailment, I might have delayed my search for help even longer. In working towards reducing the migraines, I met several wonderful and caring doctors, physical therapists, counselors and everyday people who helped me get back on my feet. There are so many things I would do to keep from ever having another migraine, but I acknowledge they are the proverbial straw that broke the camels back and started my healing journey. The process has been excruciatingly slow at times, but I am much stronger now and have a great deal more patience. The poison is still leaving me, and the antidote is unpleasant, but in the end I will be free.
I have repeated many things I was too ignorant to repair. At one point I merely thought I just had bad luck with relationships. Many times I was told relationship failures were solely my responsibility. In truth, healthy boundaries were nonexistent in my life, and it took lots of pain and loss for me to see that. Now I understand that because I did not respect myself, I allowed others to disrespect me. So, there is some validity to the statement that my failed relationships were my fault. I failed to repair my broken pieces and that invited manipulative, abusive people into my life. The process of repairing is well underway but still incomplete making me fear any new relationship. I am hopeful that someday I will be well enough to have a healthy relationship. Until then being single and focusing on raising my children is more than enough to fill my days while the repairs continue.
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.