Living on the Bright Side

For every entry I write regarding emotional abuse and identifying the tactics narcissists use to maintain control over your life, I feel the need to write a second entry regarding life after freeing yourself from the crazy-making cycle. (Yes – life after does exist! Not only does it exist, but it is also beautiful and bright and wonderful!)

So you have left the toxicity behind, most likely after many failed attempts. Without the constant ups and downs and drama and heartache, you find yourself with all this time on your hands. The time you once spent worrying and trying to do damage control is now all yours – so what the hell do you do with it? You grow, that’s what you do!

Spend this time redefining your life – everything from rekindling interests you had given up while enmeshed in the life-sucking toxicity to reintroducing yourself to who you really are deep in your soul. Don’t worry – you are still in there somewhere, and you are every bit as beautiful and wonderful as you were when you slowly began to lose yourself.

Spoil yourself. Take time to heal. Learn to love yourself again.

During this transitional period, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to go absolutely no contact with the ex-narcissist. They will see you are not only surviving but also thriving in their absence (how dare you!!!) and they will do everything in their power to bring you back down. Remember that you are the one in control now. BLOCK THEM FROM ALL ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE.

Moving on and finding that the beauty of the world still exists all around you is not going to happen overnight. It took me nearly two years before I felt “healed”. The path to happiness is not straight or smooth, but every bump and twist in the road is another lesson, another triumph, another test you can ace if you put your mind to it. And every baby step is worth the struggle, because what awaits you at the end of the path is AMAZING. It is freedom. It is happiness. It is love. It is peace. And, most importantly, it is all yours.

Go get it, because you deserve it.

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When I started my blog a few weeks ago, I intended for it to be a type of therapeutic journal that may have a couple of followers who are going through similar situations, most likely people I know from Minnesota. I never thought it would be reaching people in Sweden, India, Japan, Australia, Greece…this is so cool!!!

If you are reading this, where are you from? How did you come across my blog? Say hello!

Bygones Will Never Be Bygones

Remember that time seven years ago when you said hello to your ex-boyfriend at the grocery store? Or that time you lied about your whereabouts because you wanted to go to your friend’s bachelorette party but knew your partner would never allow it? How about the time at the very beginning of your relationship when he ghosted you for weeks so you assumed your relationship was nonexistent and went on a date with somebody else?

Of course you remember, because a narcissist will never let you forget.

Narcissists are impossible to hold accountable or responsible for their own actions and will always turn the tables on their victims. For example, you find out your husband of eight years has been seeing the receptionist at his work. You confront him and he reminds you of every single thing you have done wrong since 1994. Pretty soon you find yourself apologizing for decades-past transgressions (that you have most likely already apologized a thousand times for) and what he has done/is doing is out of the spotlight, ignored, nonexistent.

Narcissists do not forgive and forget. They hold onto every little perceived transgression and will use it against you when it comes in handy to them. They cheated on you? Well, what about the time you tried to break up with them six years ago? Remember that? Aren’t you still sorry for how that made them feel? I mean, if you hadn’t done that horrible thing all those years ago, they never would have done whatever it is they just did. Your past actions caused this, is what they will tell you. And you will believe them, until you don’t.

When most people make mistakes, they will feel bad about it, confess, and apologize. The person they have hurt will either accept the apology or decide to move on. Narcissists do not accept apologies, they use them as ammunition against you in future arguments to defend their behavior. Sometimes they will even stay in a relationship just to punish the person who has wronged them. They will pretend to accept the apology, yet bring up the issue or incident every day to make you feel bad. They won’t get over anything you have done to them, and they won’t let you get over it or forget it, either.

Find a healthy relationship where you are both allowed to make mistakes, are both able to learn from problems that may arise, and you grow together from what you learn. You don’t deserve to be punished for the rest of your life if you make a mistake and learn from it. You deserve better.

Oh How I Tried. Oh How I Cried, Until the Day he Broke Me. Life with a Sociopathic Love Rat | No 2 Abuse

Oh How I Tried. Oh How I Cried, Until the Day he Broke Me. Life with a Sociopathic Love Rat | No 2 Abuse
— Read on www.no2abuse.com/index.php/articles/comments/oh-how-i-tried.-oh-how-i-cried-until-the-day-he-broke-me.-life-with-a-socio

What a Long, Strange Trip…

My ex and I were together for fifteen years, married for almost nine of them. When we first began dating I had about ten million awesome friends – they surrounded me at work, in my classes at UMD, on nights out, and in my free time. I was always with a friend, if not a few. Looking back now, it should have been a red flag to me that my ex had a handful of people he considered to be his friends, and he didn’t even seem to like them that much. Relationships weren’t important to him – in fact, he in general despised everyone. What he liked was money. I don’t know why this didn’t concern me more at the time.

Slowly, one by one, he found fault with nearly every one of my close friends. They were bad influences on me, they annoyed him, they were around too often, they were immature – there was always something. So when we moved in together I grew more and more isolated, as he didn’t want my friends in his house.

After a few years, I realized my only social life was at work. I would occasionally go out with my coworkers if I worked the late shift, but pretty soon that wasn’t allowed, either. When he moved to North Dakota for work and I had to stay home with the kids I realized how few friends I still had contact with, but what was I supposed to do? Call them and say “Hey, sorry I’ve been such crap for the past few years, but wanna be friends again now that my ex is gone?” People don’t understand…

I don’t even remember the last time I had a weekend away. I was never “allowed” to do girls weekends or take some time to myself. My twin girls are turning eight next month and I have never spent a weekend away from them. So, now that I am narcissist-free, I bought myself a ticket to a music festival called Revival Fest over Memorial weekend. Three days of no Mom duties listening to great music (Phil Lesh and the Grateful Dead Band!!!!!!!) and camping with awesome friends. I still can’t believe I get to go. But the anxiety and guilt I feel for taking time to myself is ridiculous.

The narcissists condition us to feel guilty when we do things for ourselves. I feel selfish for spending $200 on a ticket and leaving my kids with their (fabulous) babysitter for two nights. And I realize that this is part of my recovery, this is something I will need to learn over time is that I am worth it. I deserve a break just like the next guy.

When you leave an emotionally abusive relationship one of the things you need to do is fill yourself as full of happiness as you possibly can – do new things, meet new people, discover what gives you joy in life. All the things you did for the narcissist at one time, you are now free to do for yourself.

So get out there band have fun – discover yourself and what fills your happy-tank.

And do it guilt-free, because you deserve it.

The Future is Bright

In the aftermath of an emotionally abusive relationship, life can be overwhelming, feel like complete chaos. One minute you may feel free and euphoric and confident in your decision, and then find yourself drowning in worry and self-doubt the next.

You will have the typical worries that come with every separation/divorce – Will the kids come out of this unscathed? Will we have to sell the family home? Can I take care of myself and the kids physically, financially, and emotionally all on my own?

And then you will have the worries that come with leaving a narcissist – Is he going to brainwash the kids and make them hate me for leaving him? Is he going to tell everyone we know that the divorce was my fault or I’m crazy? Is he going to burn down my house at night while I’m sleeping???

When I find myself getting overwhelmed (which, I admit, has been quite often lately since he continues to harass me) I need to take a minute to step back from the present and imagine what life will look like for the kids and I in a year from now. We will have a peaceful home where we no longer have to walk on eggshells. I will have my own income, whether it’s a book deal or a job with the school this fall, or both. I will continue to rekindle friendships that I had to leave behind when I was controlled by my ex. Maybe I will have a new relationship with a man who treats both me and the kids beautifully and is everything my ex never was.

All I know is that in a year from now we will all be in a healthier place. Our lives will not be filled with drama and disappointment on a daily basis, things will have fallen into place, and the chaos will return to order. It may not be easy, but it will still be.

So in those moments where you feel like giving up, imagine your future and how wonderful you are going to make it. Fight to turn it into your reality. And before you know it, your future will be your present.

Life will be good again. I promise.

No More Chances

If your relationship with a narcissistic partner went anything like mine, you found yourself wasting far too much time trying to not only explain your feelings, but also trying to get the narcissist to understand. Or maybe even to care about the way you felt (haha). You would send endless texts baring your soul, suggesting ways to fix the relationship, attempting to address all the issues that needed to be discussed. You would send links to articles you felt could be beneficial to your relationship. You tried to coax them into couples therapy. You tried everything, talking until you were blue in the face, frantic to find a solution to fix this relationship.

In response, your narcissist would stonewall you (my ex’s #1 personal favorite), gaslight you, minimize your feelings, completely dismiss what you said and instead comment on the weather… Their apathy would infuriate you and their control tactics would cause you to question your sanity. The narcissist is loving all the energy and power they are getting out of seeing your misery.

Everything I stated above is why I will never miss my ex. Ever.

A few days ago, he sent me a message asking “When did you become so unhappy with us?” I wanted to throw my phone.

Instead, I laughed. I laughed hard.

Now that I can see his behaviors and tactics for what they are, this was a pathetic attempt at roping me back into the cycle of abuse. “Oh, I never realized you were so unhappy. Let me fix this” probably could have sucked me back in at one point in time, but not anymore.

Now I am in a place where I can call him out on his bullshit. When did I become so unhappy?!?!?Are you kidding me?!?!? If he honestly doesn’t know the answer to that (which I can guarantee he does), then he must be a complete idiot. By asking me that question, he is telling me that he has never listened to one thing I have said in the past few years. That he didn’t read the articles I sent him. That he was ignoring all my attempts at fixing things.

And you know what? Nothing has changed. If I were to fall for this, it would be the same thing. The same issues would still exist, as would his refusal to address any of them.

The more you educate yourself on the tactics of narcissists, the more you can protect yourself from the manipulation.

Do not fall for it.

Remember, you deserve better than that.