Healing from Narcissistic Abuse

I have spent and will continue to spend a great deal of time focused on myself and the healing that I need to do to recover from being around an husband/ex-husband with narcissitic & sociopathic traits.  I’ve written on this before, so forgive me if I cover something twice or from a different perspective.

There are various aspects of myself that needed help after I left him, and then dealt with the long court battle.  The first level which I addressed included:

1-Facing the facts that it was an abusive relationship (abolishing denial)

2- Rebuilding my self confidence .. I am worthy of a good, fulfilling life and a great relationship – just like you!

3- Self-compassion and care .. it’s okay to take care of myself as well as my kids

4- Stopping the voices in my head 🙂  Mainly… his voice and his critical comments.  I noticed that for years I would still hear his criticisms of me even without him present.  I can only imagine what an adult child of a narcissist parent has to do to stop negative self talk!  It was difficult enough from only 12 years of knowing this person.  What would a life time do?

5- Acknowledging that like many women leaving abusive relationships, many of my symptoms were related to or similar to PTSD – and that it was OKAY.  It wasn’t a sign that I was weak and he had beat me down.  It was a sign that I was normal and could only withstand a reasonable amount of abusive behavior.

6- Learning to be assertive and set boundaries, for me and my children.

The second layer of areas of self reflection had to do with looking more within myself at items like:

7- What the *(&^% happened?  Why did I get into a relationship like this?

8- How do I avoid a relationship like this in the future?  How do I recognize someone with issues sooner?

9- How do I turn my focus to the future?  How do I release anger and resentment from the past?   How do I find forgiveness of my ex’s abuse of me and my children?  How do I accept my situation, when I find it unacceptable?

Here are some patterns in my life that I noticed, and some ways that I addressed the above questions:

* I had previous relationships or people who bully in my life.  With reflection, I could date it all the way back to a girl in the second grade who bullied our class to a level that caused me to have nighmares and stomachaches about school.   In  my opinion, this behavior was something I needed to learn how to deal with it, and when I didn’t – it continued to reappear throughout my life.  It’s like God giving me the test over and over again until I could pass it.

* I had to release the need to ‘overfunction’ for others.  If they don’t do their part, then that is a consequence and a lesson that they have to deal with, not me.  I do not need to save them.  This is a part of codependency (in western terms), and it’s also listed as an attribute of being an empath (in new age, metaphysical terms).  Whatever it’s called… it was me.

* I had to learn to feel and have emotions, and that it’s okay to have those emotions.  In order to cope, I bottled everything deep inside.  If I stopped to feel or to acknowledge how deeply angry I was… I felt I might fail at defending me and my children.  Instead, it’s left there in my body to eat away at my body.  I remember a day when I was out walking and saw someone who resembled my ex from behind.  Out of no-where, I had this image of in my head of running towards him with my arm up over my head and then hitting him repeatedly over and ove, in anger over how much he had/has hurt me and my children.  I had no idea I still harbored so much anger in me, and that image was a wake up call.

* I had to find me again.  I had to love me for me.  This is somewhat related to building back my self confidence, but somewhat taking it to a different level.  My ex criticized all sorts of stuff about me – mostly the same as he does with my kids – but a lot to do with being too heavy (I am thin), not dressing sexy enough, not wearing Chanel or MAC or some other fancy makeup all the time, not bleaching my hair blonde (I am dark skin, dark hair, dark eyes… think mediterranean…. why would I do that?).

* Trusting others:  My parents always told me growing up how I was too trusting of others. This came to play so many times… again, a pattern.  I saw it in relationship to the issues with my ex in that I trusted him. Then I trusted that when he said he was sorry, he meant it.  I trusted that when he boasted that he knew about something that he really did (ha! I later learned it was only a reiteration of something he heard once from someone else and when asked… there was no actually substantive knowledge).  I also trusted, and believed that psychologists and social workers would act in the best interest of the child.  I thought that mental health professionals would have their poop together and understand / be able to recognize disorders.  I learned later that their degree and licensure is by no means an endorsement of their own  mental and emotional well being.  I trusted that the court system would act in the best interest of the child… and was dismayed to find out it doesn’t.

* Being naive and being happy being naive.  I also realized that I spent a lot of time after the relationship regretting what I had learned or saw in life as a result of my ex.  I learned about non-monogomous sexual relations, I learned about “swinging sex”, I learned about how he would lie and continually justify it as not actually lying.  I learned about personality disorders, abusive relationships, child abuse, child sexual abuse, the family court system, abuse through legal motion, controlling behaviors, adult oppositional disorder, etc., etc., etc.  I wanted to stay naive in the sense that I wished I didn’t ever have experiences that led me to learn otherwise.  Why can’t the world just be peaches and cream?

* I accepted that maybe, just maybe… God has other plans for me than getting an MBA & leading large projects and change in big corporations.  And maybe these life experiences are things which should not only help me grow, but lead me in new directions!

The end, for now.


2 Responses to “Healing from Narcissistic Abuse”

  1. Sue says:

    Great blog. I relate to it soooo much. All I ever crave are my rose coloured glasses again. It’s hard to believe that their are truly people Iike this. I had no idea. my ex. conned everyone. Yet, he was a race car driver and I was an inner city school teacher and had been a stay at home mother. He took everything and even got the kids half time. It’s been 6 years for me and I certainly have come a long way. It’s very tough not to worry about my kids and when he will teach them the same lessons he is me.
    I’m remarried to someone amazing, but I still suffer the scars and the humiliation from all the lies he continues to tell. He is king of projection. One of my favorite book was. “Freeing yourself from the narcissist in your life”
    By Linda Martina Lewi
    It was so helpful and knowledgeable. I even had her counsel me via phone a couple times.ive read so many books, blogs etc. she is a true expert and wonderful soul.
    Good luck. Best wishes. We will become more whole, stronger
    , wiser and happier.
    Sue

    • That’s awesome to know about that book. I didn’t read it – some of the reviews on amazon said they thought it fell short on it’s namesake. I did the same re: counseling with Eleanor Payson – found her insight to be wonderful help. As for your situation – it’s amazing to me that narcissists even want to take the children that much, because so many of them are truly lazy, but my guess is that being “fair” and “even” makes it worthwhile to them. I ask God to take care of my children while they are gone, and envision that he’s watching over them, and that he sent angels to do so as well. So far, so good 🙂 I agree with you that we will all be stronger in the end! I hope to capitalize on that part with me and my kids.


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