Years ago, I never would have imagined myself saying those words. I often PRAYED that I would go to sleep and not wake up. I was crippled with panic attacks, agoraphobia (from being stalked), anxiety, low self-esteem, and other conditions such as trauma bonding, victim peptides, and C-PTSD. Worse, I was biochemically addicted to my abuser just as a substance abuser is addicted to drugs.
In fact, shutting the door on a Narcissist takes many of the same methods as recovering from drug abuse.
Even after I left my abuser, I was still stalked and harassed by him. I felt as if I’d never be free from the nightmare. Then, I realized I did have the power to change things, along with the realization that I had been keeping myself a prisoner just as surely as my abuser had.
I simply chose to stop allowing myself to be abused.
Does that mean I wanted to be abused for eight years? Does it mean I deserved it? No.
“One can talk good and shower down roses, but it’s the receiver that has to walk through the thorns, and all its false expectations.”
~ Anthony Liccione
It means I finally acknowledged and accepted that I had been manipulated and controlled, used for someone else’s benefit, that I was viewed as a piece of property, and never really loved because people with this disorder cannot experience love. I finally understood that he would never change and if I wanted a different reality for myself and my children, I had to be the one to make it happen.
My Former Self Slowly Reappeared
Although I moved out of our shared residence during one of his Silent Treatments, it was only the beginning. I hadn’t fully enforced No Contact, meaning I still gave him access to call or text me. Big mistake and a story for another day.
I continued to hang onto the fantasy that he would finally realize his error and come back a changed man. But he never did. They NEVER do. Any semblance of it is false. After all, he’d come back to me a “changed man” hundreds of times…until he took the mask off, sometimes only mere minutes after worming his way back in.
I finally looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Who the hell are you kidding?!” Ultimately, he knew he wouldn’t change, and I knew he wouldn’t change, yet we both danced around this false outcome, each of us knowing how it would turn out.
Narcissists choose respectable people to serve as punching bags and scapegoats because good people limit the degree of retaliation and harm they’re willing to exact on their abuser.
It was then that I implemented No Contact by changing my phone number and blocking him from emails. I purchased a landline for him to call our son and I only answered it during the designated times I gave him. If he called outside of those times, I didn’t answer.
I stopped allowing his sister to come over and harass me. Mainly because I found out she had past arrests for assault and battery, trespassing, and telephone threats. Her behavior had been escalating, and I knew she could snap on me, so I had to involve the police.
I had to put up a barricade around myself to keep these people away. That’s what anyone in my position must do. And slowly, my former self began to reappear…only, a changed version of my former self.
The Gift in the Curse
There is a gift in what happened to me. A gift that was there, but needed my acknowledgment to be accepted:
- I now understand what caused me to stay and tolerate being abused
- I can heal the broken parts I’ve carried with me most of my life
- I know exactly what I want and don’t want out of life and plan to make those things happen
- I know what kind of relationships I want to have and what I will or won’t allow in those relationships.
- I know that the person who needs to love me, first and foremost, is myself
- I know that I will no longer look to someone else to validate me
- I now love myself with all of my quirky habits and weird inclinations
- I don’t worry much about outcomes
- I no longer expend my energy on meaningless friendships, forced interactions, and unnecessary conversation
- I truly believe everything will work out for my highest good
- I have faith in God and the Universe that everything I want in life will manifest
The Journey Back to Self
All of us are capable of the journey back to self. But it’s one we must finish alone. Granted, there are people who love and support us along the way, but they can’t walk the path for us. They can’t rescue us. They can only accompany us so far, and then we must travel the rest of the path with nothing but our own will, determination, and desire.
Once we decide to take this path, we can’t look back or ruminate over the “what ifs”. If we can do that, we will reach self-love and appreciation. We will take care of ourselves and our needs, which will in turn make us a better person for ourselves and those who love us. We will enter into a state of awareness that ensures we will never allow someone to abuse us again.
It’s a cognitive shift that dictates, “What he did to me was wrong. Being complacent, submissive, and tolerating abuse is not being loved” and resolving to not let your giving nature be taken advantage of ever again.
“It’s not what you have on the outside that glitters in light, it’s what you have on the inside that shines in the dark.”
~ Anthony Liccione