Reflections on My 6 Years Post Recovery from Narcissistic Abuse

This week on Facebook, I’ve gotten a few notices for “My Moments” from 6 years ago.

6 Years ago, I was escaping an abusive relationship with a malignant narcissist. When I look at those pictures, I am flooded with many memories of what my struggles were at that point in my life. “Struggles” is the best word I can come up with to describe what was going on, because I truly was STRUGGLING; struggling to understand how to cope with what I was facing, struggling to understand what was being done to me, struggling to understand what kind of person could do what a narcissist was doing to me and struggling to reconnect with my identity in the aftermath of narcissistic abuse.

NONE of these struggles were easy, clear, or a straight line towards becoming healthier. We all have heard that struggles or pain in our lives signify great learning lessons and evolving character. None of my life experiences have represented this truth as much as the narcissistic abuse experience.

At the time, this abuse was VERY PERSONAL. My boundaries had been so obliterated by the narcissist, that I was the classic domestic abuse victim:  self blaming, self loathing and trying everything in my power to “fix” what the narcissist said was wrong with me so that the loving feelings could return and we could be at peace once more. In hindsight, NONE of this was real. These were attempts by my abuser to escape accountability for his horribly abusive behavior. I was a scapegoat. My abuser used and perverted the concept of “love” and “peace” to control me. I wasn’t in a loving relationship at all. There was no love or peace that was going to return when I got my behavior to be good enough. To an insatiable and projecting narcissist, there is no “good enough”.

As a result of my abusive relationship, I struggled through 3 grieving cycles. One was to grieve the false relationship – the one that I was manipulated into believing existed. Secondly, I grieved the true relationship; the twisted, highly manipulative, abusive situation I found myself inexplicably trying to unravel myself from and finally, I grieved my relationship with myself; my identity.

What other experience in our lives can we honestly say encompassed 3 grieving cycles? Narcissistic abuse is so abhorrently different because we are dealing with a personality disorder, a psychopathy that is unmatched by other normal experiences with normal human beings.

My level of fear after ending the abusive relationship was directly related to the psychopathy of the person I let into my life. The narcissist that abused me, threatened my life and launched a legal smear campaign to defame me. All attempts I made to protect myself were met with disbelief and resistance because those who were in a position to defend me were manipulated and taken in by my abusers honed skills to  manipulate, lie and confuse.

I had a great desire to not only protect myself from further harm but I was gravely concerned for all the potential victims that were sure to follow.  I wanted to warn the next victim and protect her from experiencing what I went through. Ultimately you cannot save a person from themselves. However, all those who are destined to grow from this experience, will eventually see the light for themselves and find their escape. Trust this truth and respect the boundaries of others.

I’m happy to share that the woman who was targeted after me and I, have now had the opportunity to meet and discuss the details of our respective (back to back) abusive relationships with the narcissist we shared in common.  We are both members of a club we never wished we’d become a part of. What has been most interesting about our discussions is the exact mirroring, manipulations and lies told to us by our abuser. It seems that some of the lies he even worked on and perfected to suit them to her, his new victim. Neither of us believe that what we experienced was love, but we concluded it was nothing more than the carefully orchestrated and targeted abuse by a rather psychologically disturbed narcissist.

Through my  recovery from narcissistic abuse, I developed a focus that empowered me to rise above and overcome the struggles. I focused on myself. As a result of grieving the theft of my identity, I clung to the truth of the serenity prayer. It has been the core of my recovery, which states:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference

With regard to narcissistic abuse, I adapted the serenity prayer to say, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (the narcissist), the courage to change the things I can (myself) and the wisdom to know (have boundaries) between the differences.

Gaining knowledge about narcissistic personality disorder is only the first part of the recovery equation. It’s a formidable part, as knowledge goes a long way towards empowering us to gain clarity about this particular abuse.  To understand a narcissist’s mentality, defense mechanisms and modus operandi help us articulate what behaviors were abusive and why. We discover through knowledge of NPD, that the darkness, confusion, chaos, toxicity and abuse belong to the narcissist not ourselves and that by a narcissist’s very nature, they targeted us and perverted the concept of love to trap us into serving their pathological needs.

Looking at ourselves, the next step in recovery takes TREMENDOUS courage. It’s my opinion that as targets of abuse, we are very reluctant to take on yet another project of fixing and changing ourselves mostly out of sheer exhaustion. We are tired of being told we need to change, adjust, bend and compromise who we are. Yet, it is this very process of focusing on ourselves that we need to rescue ourselves.

To be honest, at a certain point in recovery I became very averse to talking about narcissism. I was  tired of talking about “them”. I didn’t want my future to be so deeply connected to that one horrible example of humanity that it precluded me from enjoying the other 99% of the population who weren’t psychopathic monsters.

My struggles began to transform into life lessons learned. When you’re completely broken down by a narcissist, there’s really no where to go but upwards. I took a look at the rubble that laid before me (my former identity) and said to myself, let’s start here. I picked up each piece of myself  I saw shattered. The first thing was my unloved, hurting self. I scooped her up and held her. I nurtured and loved the vulnerable person that had been betrayed. I let myself cry, throw a fit, get angry, and fume. When I spoke in the critical way the narcissist spoke to me, (internalized critical voice) I silenced it. I made a conscious choice to speak kindly to myself. I gave myself such exceptional self care and nurturing that it evolved into feeling like I was worth that love and care.

The more loving care I showed myself, the more my worth increased and the more my worth increased, the more it increased the message to myself that I was worth protecting. Think about that for a moment. How often are we taught as children, especially if we were raised by narcissistic parents, to protect ourselves?  You cannot be simultaneously exploited and protected at the same time.  The concept of protecting myself blossomed in my life. I parallel protecting myself and my worth with that of a valuable worldly asset. Not many of us would leave a million dollars laying on our porch at night, but how many of us with a disconnected sense of value would freely allow a narcissist into our lives? There’s a real threat of danger to letting a disordered person near us. Once we learn that danger, we begin taking the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and in turn our sense of self worth increases.

As our actions to protect ourselves become a hard and fast rule (boundary), another life supporting concept emerges:  TRUST.  One of the greatest losses in narcissistic abuse is the shattering of trust; trust of others, of humans in general, of world views and trusting ourselves are all shattered by a narcissist’s abuse.  Through recovery, our fear is extinguished by the little risks we take towards trusting again. When we assert a new boundary, say for instance, standing up to someone who’s intent is to use us. Saying, “No” challenges our fears of selfishness and our desire to please others and gain their approval. By asserting boundaries, we begin to trust ourselves again.  We realize that we take protecting ourselves seriously. We realize that even if a person charms their way through our first line defenses, we immediately give them the boot when we identify what’s going on. Our trust to take care of ourselves and perform the right action to keep our circle clear of toxic people increases every time we make the choice to follow through on what our boundaries are.

When you trust that you can count on yourself to discern and deal with undesirable people, you start to release the fear that you are unsafe; that the world is full of bad people who are out to do bad things to you. You accept that, yes, bad people exist, but you trust that you’ll know how to deal with it when they show up – but you don’t live your life as if there’s a monster living under EVERY rock. Guess what? When you begin to live, trusting yourself….Great people show up.  In fact, more great people show up that you can trust than do those who are out to harm you.  Whether that is a manifestation of our beliefs or trusting ourselves, I can say definitively that self-trust results eventually in trusting others.

I’ll leave the conversation here; while there are a multitude of other struggles that I’ll discuss in later posts, the crux here is that the nature of my recovery turned a corner once I focused on myself and learned to trust myself after having been a victim of narcissistic abuse. I encourage you to not let a narcissist steal one more moment of your peace. Take care of yourself, deeply. You are worth it. Your exceptional self care will transform your journey from merely tending to your hurts to truly loving yourself on your journey to becoming, valuing and protecting the person who you are meant to be.

Posted on February 26, 2017, in Narcissism. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. I’m amazed that I could have written this blog verbatim!! Only I’m not completely healed yet, I’m 10 months removed from one of the darkest times of my life, from the grip and destruction of the narc. I’m learning more and more and I’m on the journey of healing. The more I see, the more I heal. I can’t wait to see what’s waiting for me on the other side of the hurt and pain. Thank you so much for sharing!! I may not be where I want to be, but I’m on my way, and it is because of people like you that give me hope that I will make it too!! I have to reblog! Blessings!!

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  2. @ANA I really liked your post. I am finally out of the fog. What I am not seeing on any website is anyone suing them for punitive damages. Narcissist Abuse is criminal. I am moving forward with my life and I plan to get what I am entitled to in the divorce, but what he did to me is a crime and is fraud. (international marriage) He needs to pay for that as well.

    I understand you can’t “hurt” these monsters emotionally. I can live with that. I can accept that they don’t have any remorse, but hit them in their wallet and that WILL hurt. My monster ONLY cares about money and since that is the only way a court can “make a victim whole”; then so be it. Maybe then he won’t be able to “afford” to have so many others…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Samara,

      I personally have spoken with Attorneys in order to sue the narcissist civilly. While they said I had an excellent case of defamation, they told me to expect the high conflict narcissist to turn and file a frivolous lawsuit, meant ONLY to bury me financially in defending myself – so told me to think through the decision with a cold (non-emotional) approach. What narcissists have done is definitely fraudulent and criminal in many instances, however – holding them accountable is very very difficult.

      Currently, the narcissist that abused me who is employed by Clear Channel, a “family values station”, is being investigated for stalking his last victim (he placed a tracking device on her car) and I am a witness on that case.

      I entirely agree with you that something SHOULD be done to prosecute and expose these predators for who they are.

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      • Thank you for your response. I came to Australia from America because of this person. He committed fraud by luring me here. That is something that I believe I can “go after” as I have a lot of evidence and it would be a government issue. I can imagine the nightmare he can cause. I need to be smart about how I go after him. He needs to pay for ruining my life in America and sucking out my soul here in Australia.

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    • I thought as you did about getting what I deserved at least financially. I wanted justice. I wanted the court and EVERYONE to see the monster he is. I wanted him to hurt; only way I saw was financially I thought. I wanted…
      Somewhere I read “you can’t beat a narcissist.” Another thing read was “the narcissist will want to annihlate you in a divorce” I found this to be true. Most ppl soften over time during a divorce; but the narcissist is just as angry & vengeful two years latter as he was day I filed. There is no “winning” with a narcissist in a divorce in the typical sense of winning. If I wanted something, he fought even harder to keep it. I began to see “fair” or “equitable,” even legal, would not be protected in divorce. I thought EXACTLY as you, I will hurt him by what he knows – money/material things. So many ways I should have “won” on that level. He had NOTHING BUT $200k debt when we married while I had the home, car and trust fund. The only “fair/equitable/legal” thing I got in end was half of his 401k. But I did win. Only my definition of winnng changed. I won the day we were to split up household things and I said to him, “There’s nothing here I want anymore bc it’s HERE. Just keep it” I won again when I stopped caring what he got away with and others seeing who he was/is. I WON BIG bc I am HAPPY N FREE n I know peace. These are things he will continue to strive for but will never know. I won when he moved in his young girlfriend bc I am not afraid to be alone.
      I hope you do get justice. I would love to hear about ONE narcissist getting screwed. I really hope you get him by the cajones. But more than that, I hope for YOU n YOUR happiness & healing.

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      • I am feeling much more “whole” now that I have “accepted” that I got sucked in and taken advantage of and that he is a sick sob. He has made some big mistakes (besides picking me as prey) thinking that he is god and he can do whatever he pleases. I am not thinking on an emotional level any more. That is important. I am thinking on the level of a business transaction and doing what is best for my business. I made him (and myself) a promise before I left the country… that if you f*** me over after I give up my house, my job and everything and everyone to be with you – you WILL get the wrath of EVERYONE who has ever hurt and screwed me over!!

        It has taken me a few years to get myself emotionally strong as I worked out what he is. I am pretty solid now and I am calling in that promise!!!!

        After I was in a car accident [shortly after moving here and 2 days after my house went to auction] and still in a lot of pain, I told a person that lives in our house that “a storm is coming…”

        Its been about 3 1/2 years later, but the storm is here. The winds are picking up and its going to be a huge shit storm like he has never seen! I will time this so EVERYTHING HITS AT THE SAME TIME. Its going to be epic.

        I know it may sound sick – well not to anyone on this blog – but I am getting excited about bringing him down!

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      • @Icatchstarfish thank you for the nice words of encouragement.

        I posted a long reply @mefirst that I would encourage you to read. I was sucked in by my last husband who was 10 yrs younger than me. He had no money and also didn’t own anything, but he was very charismatic and the sex … well it was great. The bad news is that he took me for a financial screwing also and bankrupted me! He was probably a narcissist, but I didn’t know about them until now. It took a while to get rid of him as he was a leech and was using me for money. It came to a head when I called the police after a dv incident. This was over a decade ago. The boyfriend after him was a passive-aggressive. He even told me he is and was proud!

        The point I am trying to make is that if we em-paths don’t learn about our selves then we will continue to attract malignant narcissists, leeches, sociopaths – monsters into our lives. I can honestly look back on my life and now see the string of aholes that I was involved with. Luckily (I am being optimistic here and sarcastic) my monster has money and property… something that I can use to get even.

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  3. God grant me the serenity to accept that I married a monster, the courage to bring him to justice and the wisdom to affect real change in the current legal system

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You have a gift for explaining all this so well. Thank you so much for sharing and I am looking forward to your next posts x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi and thank you for you post. I’ve been struggling with a breakup with someone I believe who shows narcissistic/borderline personality traits. I was never so discarded in my life. It was literally one day ‘I love you deeply’ and the next day ‘I want you out of my life’. I recently learned she reached out to her ex, telling her she misses her. Her ex has already moved on and wants nothing to do with you. I’m bringing this up because no matter what I do or how busy I constantly get flash backs of the horrible things she’s said and done to me. She doesn’t acknowledge anything she’s done. I learned after we broke up that she was backstabbing me. The person I thought who professed her love to me was speaking ill of me when I wasn’t looking. I still think about our petty arguments which always threw me through a loop.
    I can’t begin to tell how angry I am. Even though I know I deserve better and I’m worth so much more, I’m still stuck in disbelief. I don’t think I’m trying to figure out who she is but mainly trying accept the things she’s done to me. I broke and told her off in an e-mail and she went to the cops to make a complaint.
    I’m venting and really my focus should be on getting better but no matter what I do my mind is still cycling. I breakdown in tears a lot because it just won’t stop. The thoughts are still there.
    I’m hoping someone will be able to make me understand why it still hurts so much (we broke up 2 months ago and were together for 9 months) and how do I quiet the thoughts in my head.

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    • Please be gentle with yourself! Please. We ALL go through this obsessive, “shocked” phase where we feel as if we will NEVER move on. This just means that you need to sit with the feelings a bit longer. Get them out. Journalize/Blog. Get the hurt out of you. You are still in the phase of Grieving the “real” relationship – which involved great hurt, betrayal and unfathomable pain; all of which you didn’t deserve. When you accept where you are and continue to love yourself through this hard phase, you will come out on the other side READY to move on. I promise. xoxo

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    • @mefirst I did a lot of research over the last 3 1/2 years trying to figure out what happened. I was only in Australia for a few weeks when he turned on me. I am alone in this country – still. I read articles on Alcoholism, passive-aggressive behavior – all of which he does and is. Then my research led me to believing that he isn’t just one or both, but a sociopath! Long story short, when my research led me to malignant narcissist and codependency that is when I had my major break through. I would never have thought that I was codependent on any level. I certainly wasn’t on a financial level. Or a drug level. I can be alone and don’t need to be amongst people 24/7 (good thing as I am alone in a foreign country), but what I realized [this is very important] is that because of my abusive childhood, I was codependent on an emotional level. Everyone is a little codependent as humans are social beings, but its the lack of strong boundaries that gets people in trouble.

      Read about co-dependency. Humor me and read about it… you may find some answers as to how this person was drawn to you in the first place. It may also give you an understanding about yourself that will help you to break the cycle of attracting this type of monster in your life.

      I understand so much more about myself now. I understand how I wasn’t taking the best care of myself nor putting me first and doing the mental work on me that I need to do in order to really be free and happy.

      Think back to when you met this person. Remember how much you shared about yourself. They act like they get you and they get you to talk about your deep stuff so they know how to hurt you by tapping into that information.

      I have worked out so much psychological stuff and what triggers me. It is so obvious now when he tries to hurt me… I almost have to stop myself from laughing at his pathetic attempt to hurt me. I bite my tongue now because I am focused on the impending storm.

      Stop blaming yourself about everything.

      Read about codependency.

      Take care of yourself.

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  6. Ugh. I am trying… .. i dont know what is going on. He missed visitation today too.. .. that is twice.. so A full month since his last visit.. .. his last visit i let him take the boys to the mall and he bought them shoes.. ..i thought it went well, he has been bugging me to let him take the boys… his chick doesnt like him having to come to my house to see the boys… so i finally let him take them somewhere, actually the first time he asks and now he disappears again… i am confused… … i didn’t do anything. i didnt even say anything about his troll asking my boys if they like the smell of weed or if they drink.. .. the only thing i did was when his girlfriend called me to ask if they could take my boys to the mall, i was very short with her and hung up on her. I already told them both a million times that i am not talking to her.. .i have no reason too talk to her… .. so after i hung up on her i text my 15 year old and told him that they can go, to be home in a few hours and to tell his dad that person better never call me again. And i have no reason to talk to it.. .. .. my son told me that he did not tell his dad but showed him the text… .. lol.. ..my boys came back and told me dad talks hateful to her and they fight… .. i also texted his troll to never call me, that the boys are between david and i… .. ..and i blocked her on my sons phone since there was no reason for my boys to talk to her. I texted her that i was blocking her too… .. so i really dont know why HE is not coming for visitation but i am determined not to reach out too him…i am determined not to beg him to visit his sons.. .. ..it hurts me more then it hurts the boys ….. .. .. they are perfectly fine playing the xbox on rhe cold and rainy day.. .. i am the one hurt and damaged that he didnt show up… .. i hurt for my boys… i wish they had a better father… ..and it is hard for me not to fix it or try to make it better.. .. but i give up on him… .. he is a lost cause, only thinking of himself.. .. i dont understand how a man would not want to see and talk to his own sons but that is not my problem. . I see and talk to my sons everyday… . My exhusband did not want me anymore… his new hood rat troll can fix it for him.. NOT..but he thinks she can… ..

    I struggle with understanding how he could do this to his sons…

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  7. Hi, thank you for making this article. It is uncanny – six years ago I was in the same situation as you were, at the end of a narcissistic relationship. Everything you have written here is exactly right. You are not alone, there are others who have been through the same thing as you. The one difference between my story and yours is gender, I am male. I do not want to make this a gender thing because truly that is irrelevant in the wider context of abuse as an anti-humanitarian issue. I came to understand that the abuser is mentally ill. Not going so far as to experience stockholm syndrome which is what the abuser is aiming to create in these situations although the experiences perhaps fringe on it. The detachment process, as you say is to experience rising in personal empowerment. Again, thank you for writing this.

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  8. You’ve come far. 🙏

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  9. Bernabe Villalobos

    Thank you for your words; your regular emails reach me when I need them the most. After 4 years of abuse, I am myself picking up the pieces of a shattered self and trying to recover what was taken and torn apart by a narcissistic, destructive girlfriend. Being and giving the best of what I was to someone who could not even understand it, nor even appreciate it, has been a real tragedy in my life. However, I am strongly determined not to let this deeply sad episode in my life become the epitaph in my grave. And as I get better and slowly start to reach to other people, is always encouraging and inspiring to know of someone who survived at it. A sincere thank you, for caring for someone who can truly appreciate it.

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  1. Pingback: Reflections of a Survivor of NPD Abuse – Loves Illusion……

  2. Pingback: The Long Recovery from Narcissistic Abuse | Grace seeks sanctuary

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