Life After Narcissism
A few years back, I shared on this very app how wonderful the man in my life was. Charming. Kind. Funny. Gorgeous. He was something else.
He swept me off my feet so quickly that I found myself leaving a home I loved with neighbors who were like family to me. My lease wasn't even close to the finish line, and, before I could say "No," his charm and desire for me consumed me. He had me at that very moment. I was smitten and in love... Or so I thought.
Upon moving in, my close friends and family were removed from my life... I didn't even see it happening because my priority was his happiness. Everything I did, I did for him. He convinced me that our love was to take precedent, always, even if it meant segregation from those who unconditionally love me. For one year, those very people worried themselves sick about their daughter/sister/friend, wondering where I was and reaching out to one another for answers.
He, so effortlessly, convinced me into seeing the worst of those who love me in effort to turn me against them completely... All because of what he lacked. He took every ounce of confidence I once had and manipulated me into thinking I was the problem. And, I believed him.
"The way you communicate with people is inappropriate."
"I think you should take a lesson on emotional intelligence. I've done it before. It helps."
"I don't feel comfortable with you seeing those friends. I don't trust them."
"What you're wearing makes me uncomfortable. You have no common sense."
"I don't have a problem. You're the one with a problem."
"I don't like the way you said 'Goodbye' to him."
"The (5-year-old) kids in your family need to be controlled. Someone needs to step up."
"Your aunt is very opinionated and should keep her thoughts to herself. That's wrong of her."
In the midst of it all, he deprived me of a sexual outlet and physical connection. Yet, when at the grocery store, he'd nearly break his neck to check out the local produce... Local produce meaning local women. My frustration and confusion was inevitable at this point. I was even more convinced I was the problem. Emotionally and physically. I felt worthless and insecure. I was becoming exactly who he wanted me to be... Him.
It took me two years of courting to realize that all of his projections were sure signs of deep-rooted inferiority, anxiety, and insecurity. He preyed on me like an animal in the wild, ready to pounce on his next meal. While I built him up, I tore myself down. A once fun-loving, outgoing, happy woman turned miserable and more self conscious than ever.
One week before our two year anniversary, I finally took a stand for myself and reached out to friends and family, all of who I perpetually lied to about the toxic state of my once "charming" romance. They, however, already knew. I missed so much in those two years. I grew ashamed no longer of myself as a person but of my inability to see the damage that was right before me. How could I have let this happen? My mother did not raise this weak of a woman.
My friends and family helped me plot an exit strategy to which I chose to write a short note of leave that I would eventually place on the counter before walking away from the relationship physically and emotionally. Speaking to him in person would have only convinced me to stay.
Walking away was the greatest (and scariest) gift I could have given myself. And, such a moment of ownership and liberation wouldn't have happened without a circle of support. I am so glad I opened my eyes.
Today, I am finally getting back to the woman I love. The real me. I am living my life on my terms and grateful for it. I moved back to the home I love, surrounded by people I love. I even met a man ... This time, a real man. I'm not infatuated with him. I'm realistically and genuinely happy with him in the way my heart has always wanted to be. It's different this time. I am at peace, and I am confident all because this man is, too. I am moving at my own steady pace and loving it. I frequently spend time with friends and family outside of my time with him, and he encourages such an expression of independence. He is confident and does not desire to bring others down to build himself up because he already is up. And, in more ways than one. 😉 Let's just say that I am a very happy woman in all ways. He doesn't consume me nor I him because we both know that a loving relationship is merely a compliment to each person's individual life. He is truly a light at the end of the tunnel along with my family and friends. My family, friends, and neighbors adore him... Probably more than they adore me. And, I love that.
If you're going through it, let this be a sign and/or reminder that you hold the power of your future. You can and WILL be happy. If someone tries to change who you are at your core, and tells you they love you... Know they don't love you. They love how they can control you. They love how they can manipulate you into believing you're not enough. They love how much you love THEM. As difficult as it was for me to leave, it was the best decision I had ever made. I wish I would have had a sign sooner to wake me up... So, if you're reading this, let it be your sign. ❤️ Know that the inevitable frustration and confusion will quickly turn into inevitable happiness (pictured). ❤️ And, reach out to those who love you. It's going to suck, but finally being honest with yourself is the best form of relief. You will thank yourself later, believe me. 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼