Her Story; Recovering From a Narcissist
I’ve debated for the last three years on whether or not I should share this on my blog. It may be the most personal writing [and longest] that I have and will ever share. Do I allow myself to become that vulnerable? My only thought is that by sharing it, it may help someone else know they are or were not alone. That moving on and recovering from emotional distress is possible.
I’ve debated on sharing my thoughts, my intimate communications, because I know there are several people out there in the world that I am going to upset, offend, or sadden. I know that people will disagree and [especially in this time in our lives], people are more hateful than they have ever been. Do I want to deal with that online drama?
Because I realize that even over the last three years of slowly recovering, that I have continued to be without my voice. I have chosen to remain silent and up until May of 2020, I was still [involuntarily] allowing the manipulation randomly into my life. I was hiding behind social media blocks, phone number blocks, and/or just flat out trying to ignore it all each time I was contacted [method different each time].
I am not here to play victim. I am not here for sympathy or condolences. I am here, refusing to be silent any longer. I am here, to give hope to someone else that may think they are stuck where they are.
You’re not. I’m proof. I currently live a life that I wouldn’t trade for anyone or anything else in the world. I have a loyal man that treats me like a Queen and loves every single flawed part of me. He loves exactly who I am, how I am, and I have never had to censor myself. I have loyal friends that I wouldn’t know what to do without. I have a support system that makes me grateful for every single day.
I see beauty in the days now. I hum in the shower again, and I love myself.
As I look back on my ‘Facebook Memories’ prior to 2019, I see myself deeper than anyone that ever looked upon those photos. That’s sort of what prompted this writing. This need to get it all out there in the open. They saw a smiling girl with a motivating caption written, and blue hues. They saw a girl that was trying to be positive and happy for an insignificant social media world because her own life was facing so many obstacles and tribulations. I see the sadness in my eyes, not that sparkling window to my soul. A smile of defeat and loneliness even though every room was crowded. I remember how alone I felt and how I felt that I couldn’t talk to anyone about it because I was afraid of the judgement. I didn’t want to ruin lives or reputations just because I was in an emotionally unhealthy situation that I [chose] to stay in.
I remember that girl that stares back at me. I remember how lost, confused, and broken she had been. Those blue eyes were dim and she had put herself on autopilot with life just to get through each day.
One day turned into two, two days turned into a week, that week turned into a month, and that month turned into each year that droned by with monotony. Of survival. Of trying to believe that there was a purpose in this life for her and she just had to hold out for it. Nothing was fueling her, sparking her passions, she was…just there. Alive but not living. Strong but emotionally weak.
Alive but not living.
I was hiding. I’m done hiding.
When you corner the lion, she will grow stronger.
I am here to reclaim my voice and to never again fall silent to situations that are not healthy for me.
That girl is but a ghost of my past and a memory I will always keep with me because her absence is appreciated and noticed. Her absence is the proof that I have grown into someone that I want to be.
Her absence is proof that those I choose to allow in my life now appreciate me and show it in the friendships we share. In the depth of loyalty and support they offer. Her absence has allowed me to finally have love, respect, trust, and devotion between myself and my partner.
My mother once told me,” Your friends are the reflection of who you are.” I smile at that now. My friends, my framily, my Love… I wouldn’t have attracted those individuals seven years ago. They wouldn’t have wanted to spend long amounts of time with me. I respect the people in my life more than I would ever be able to explain to them. They do more for me than I’ll ever be able to do for them but still I will continue to try to show them, in every day actions and unspoken words, how much I really do appreciate them.
I look at those photos and realize that I was never broken. I was repairing from a history of toxicity, unhealthy relationships, of bad choices, of grief over lost loved ones, and a lack of appreciation for who I was.
Most often when people come to me for advice, I always remind them to “Choose their battles wisely so they can win the war.” Outside of a professional environment I don’t think I can truly give that advice anymore. I feel it might be the same as telling someone to stay alive but not live their life. If I had chosen to fight each battle, I would have never had to fall victim to the war. I would have never allowed myself to be mistreated or underappreciated. I would have seen the lack of respect sooner and walked away from situations that didn’t deserve me.
Don’t ever give up your voice.
I am not here to tell you what they specifically did to me and to account for every minute of bad behavior. Instead I have chosen a different method. I have made the decision to share with you, one simple e-mail that I sent when I was that weak, confused, lost, tired girl that refused to stay where she was. That finally put her foot down and thought, “I deserve better than this.”
Step One to recovering from a narcissist? Stand up for yourself.
I did this by sending an e-mail, that quite honestly, I didn’t want to send. I was pushed, poked, and prodded over the edge until a reaction was forced out of me. I responded exactly as they wanted. I was upset for a long time about that, about being manipulated [again] into giving acknowledgement. But now I realize that getting out how I felt, saved me. It was the first step I took to saving myself. It went against their plan. I was reminded of my own strength. I was able to save the pain in a folder and re-read it any time I felt that I needed to apologize. My pain on paper allowed me to start letting go of it emotionally.
There are times that I have wished that ‘Unrefined Life Adventures’ was anonymous and I wish that I had never introduced myself. Yet it is far too late for that. I didn’t start out as a stranger because I wanted anyone reading what I had to say, to know that I was real. Sometimes people forget that behind every phone call or post, there sits a real person with feelings. People that make mistakes but also have kind hearts and compassion. I didn’t want to be lost among the faceless.
If anyone has made it this far, thank you. I know that this letter may not make sense in its entirety but if you are facing an emotionally distressing relationship, if you are having to deal with a narcissist or a manipulative person…I hope that you find even one sentence that helps you. I hope you find a few words that make you remember your own strength.
So here I sit, writing and reading my story, listening to: Fight Song by Rachel Platten
I have made edits to the original. I have done this because some of it is too specific and some of it needs to remain private. I have not added anything but I have removed sensitive information or things that I just can’t bear to share with strangers. No words are untrue but some are harsh. I don’t agree with the letter in its’ entirety anymore. There are comments about knowing that I was loved, even though I realized over the last few years that it was never love. Narcissist’s can’t love. They can only adore. There are comments about being a good human instead of being good at faking humanity. And yes, I removed some more of the intense vulgarity of foul language. Some still remains.
Take the words with a grain of salt from an angry, deceived, and lost soul that was only trying to find her way to the top of the water because she was tired of continuing to be drowned.
Step One in recovering from a narcissist? Stand up for yourself.
A letter to my long ago past,
You hurt me. All the time, you hurt my feelings and I put a smile on my face and I try to be the person you need. I try to take this shitty situation for both of us and make it as best as I can FOR YOU. And in doing that, you hurt me over and over again because you don’t think about what it is doing to me. Instead, you choose to twist that knife in my side more and more at every opportunity you get.
Have I done that to you? What have you done to make this easier on me?
Sometimes though, love isn’t enough. Not after what we put each other through. I want the absolute best for you out of life and I want you to get your shit together. I want you to stop being selfish and arrogant and prideful. I want you to act like a man, a real man. A man’s man. Not this shell that does what he knows he has to and no more. I want you to get morals and beliefs and standards. By god, get some standards with the people you hang out with, date, introduce to [your child], and let in your shower. Be an example for your kids. I want you to get that Loyalty tattoo but then actually live that life. Understand what the word means, truly understand it. And I’m not just talking with a significant other but with friends and family. Go see [your child] more than just once a year. Talk to your mom weekly. Do random acts of kindness for your friends. Be the person they want to call to babysit or when they need help mowing their yard.
You take advantage of the fact that I don’t want or like confrontation. You take advantage of the fact that I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings and I will avoid doing so at all costs. You take advantage of the fact that I won’t speak up or be like a “normal crazy ex” and tell you to go to hell. I wish sometimes I could be that person. I wish that I could speak my mind and move on but it just isn’t me because unlike everyone else, I do care and that is one switch I can’t turn off. I try to be compassionate and considerate and I try to make the best out of shitty situations.
Why haven’t we had “that” conversation? This conversation? Because I don’t want to tear you apart, I don’t want to tell you all the things that I hate about you and that I don’t like. I don’t want to make you feel bad about yourself or make the situation harder than it is for both of us. You feel like shit. I feel like shit. What is me making you feel more like shit going to do? Is it going to make me feel better? No. Is it going to make you feel better? No. Even in all your attempts or “intentions” to make your point on still loving me or wanting me back you find a way to stab me in the heart again, to make me feel like it’s all my fault, to cast blame, to make me feel just THAT MUCH worse about myself. I DON’T WANT TO BE THAT PERSON. I’ve never wanted to be that person. I don’t want to make you feel like you aren’t enough for anyone. We just aren’t compatible, we want different things out of life, and we have different life perspective. That is the TRUE, real, and short way of summing up why we didn’t work out. It wasn’t because lack of love. It wasn’t because of one specific act or circumstance. But that isn’t enough for you. You need more, more details, more specifics. I don’t want to be the person that points out all the bad because it is just my opinion, it may not be truth of who you are 100%
But maybe that is what it takes. Maybe for your sake, I need to be that person. So be it.
This is the last time you get to be selfish. You have begged for this conversation without even considering how this would make me feel. I will be sick to my stomach after I send this and I will regret every truthful word, and I will feel like a shitty human being for doing this to you but I will do it because it is the last time you get to ask anything of me. This is the last time that I let you be selfish in my world. This is the last time that I will ever let you manipulate my emotions into feeling something that I do not deserve. This is the last time that I feel less than you.
You do not respect me. You love me, sure. You want me around and like that I make you feel better about yourself. But even as a friend, you haven’t learned to respect me yet. Despite what you were TRYING TO SAY …”I have two girls in my shower right now”…Do you know how many other ways you could have said that? “I have two girls at my house and being around them just makes me miss you more”…or….” I am talking to these two women and they don’t compare to you.” Anything. Instead you chose to brag and then try to act innocent about it. Seriously!? If you weren’t bragging, the fact you had two girls in your shower wouldn’t have been any sort of a detail. Also, be man and Find a WOMAN. You could have chosen anything instead of the malicious way you chose to text me. Who the hell do you think you are? The audacity you have in thinking that you can even have that kind of conversation with me right now. I would never EVER text you something like that. Good job, [History]. Good fucking job. You haven’t even dealt with our break up. Maybe if you did, you would realize that you aren’t the only one trying to handle life right now.
I feel like even though we are both going through this, I am the one offering you support. Are you kidding me!? You text me weekly and my response is always something that I hope makes you feel better, that is motivation, that is uplifting or hopeful. When have you ever done that for me or responded in that manner? Please. Go back through your messages. Tell me when.
See the problem is, no matter how much negativity that I spew at you, I still remember the times that it was great and amazing and I want to keep those memories. But so far, you won’t let me. You keep tainting it with your actions, choices, and decisions. For fucks sake, just let me have one thing.
We both made mistakes. Let me be absolutely clear. We both made mistakes. We both caused our own demise. But right now, it isn’t about my mistakes. This is about you. This is what you wanted. You wanted, knowingly or maybe subconsciously, you need me to freak out like this so you can say that I am a crazy angry ex. Now, you can blame me. My delusions. How did you put that the other day? …” I see what I want to see” You need me to have this conversation with you so you can justifiably blame me and that is okay. It really is. I will become that person for you because I became all the other people you needed or wanted me to be. Why not this one for the last act?
You see, it was never about what you DID that drove me away. It was who you are. You treated me like no more than property, not even a human being. The lies and manipulation, the complete invasion of privacy, not just a phone but emails and notebooks and accounts, laptops, basically interrogating and manipulating our friends and family as well. No respect. None. When did I EVER treat you like that? WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? The mental and emotional turmoil you chose to put me through? Fuck you.
Let’s skip forward a bit shall we? I was progressively, no longer this perfect person, trophy, to you because of all of our differences, so I had to become one. I would never, ever, feel good enough. Ever again. Not skinny enough. Not pretty enough. Didn’t dress the way you wanted. Couldn’t curl my hair. For god’s sake, you even sent me make up tutorials. How do you think that made me feel? One thing here or there would have been fine. But it was always an extreme on suggestions. Diets. Running. Nose jobs. Tiny outfits. Butt lifts. Boob jobs. You didn’t want me. You wanted someone that was better than the women historically in your life, that you could show off. Someone that you could rub in their noses just like you tried to do to me in the end.
All I ever wanted was for you to look at me with a bun on top of my head, in a baggy t-shirt, to genuinely smile. To genuinely see me for who I am. You may have done that at one point. A long time ago. The problem was after [year] you never did it again. You actually at one point said…” But I don’t like sweat pants.” I got “sexy” and “hot” which, don’t get me wrong, are great and every girl wants to hear that but I could have been hit on like that at the bar. I didn’t want that, relationships don’t survive on that. They survive on seeing people…truly seeing them and thinking they are beautiful on the inside and out. You never saw me. You never took the time to understand me. If you had, this letter wouldn’t be necessary because you would already know. This conversation you are begging me for has happened, in so many different ways, through so many different comments and conversations.
If you had ever stopped to pay attention to me, genuinely pay attention to me, you would know that. You would remember, you would know. You would be able to tell. You wouldn’t need me to spell it out for you in a letter or in a conversation
Communication. We do not have it. Trust. We do not have it. I do not trust you. And I don’t mean it as a, “I don’t trust you, you are going to cheat on me”…. I mean I do not trust you with secrets, with information, with my emotions. You fear I am not communicating with you so your first thought is to put a tape recorder in my car!? Then when shit falls apart is when you choose to go to therapy and ask me to go with you. Instead of trying that first, before you invade my privacy AGAIN. I am scared to death that there are more tape recorders or video cameras in my car or house. Do you have any idea what it feels like to have no privacy at all? To always wonder if you or anyone else can hear or see me? You are the last person in the entire world that should have ever made/make me feel that way but I do, every single day when I go home, I wonder. I need a man in my life that doesn’t react. That no matter how much I lack in communicating, he will show me how to do it by communicating TO ME. You never gave me another reason to trust you after things went to shit the first time. Did you open up to me and respect me enough to not let me walk into another life decision that you doomed from the start? No. You didn’t. Why the hell would I communicate with you when I know you don’t, can’t, and won’t do it to me? My lack of communication is 100% because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and I don’t like confrontation. I don’t believe that you can say the same thing. You want all of the things like respect, trust, commitment, without earning any of it. You don’t deserve. Earn it. Reciprocate it. Act and be how you expect to be treated and with what you expect in return. You deserve nothing and yet you think you should automatically deserve it all.
I don’t fight? I didn’t fight? I ran away? I asked you for TIME, just time and patience to work things out, to come around and learn to talk to each other and you couldn’t even give me 24 hours before hitting me with a freak out and an ultimatum. Go fuck yourself. I ran from nothing but an ego so big that no one else could fit in the same room with him. I was crossing T’s and dotting I’s and putting my effort into getting living situations settled, and packed and mending a relationship with [your child]. I was fighting by packing your lunch every single day, leaving you notes, supporting your job and trying to do everything I could to get you to keep your chin up about work. To be encouraging. I was trying to encourage you to form your own friendships. I was planning trips and trying to make sure you didn’t get bored. That you didn’t get bored with me or of me. I pay attention to you. I don’t need someone else to tell me what you are doing, I don’t need tape recorders, I don’t need to go through your phone. I actually paid attention to you and the life around us and between us because I was the one putting in that effort. Not you. But I didn’t fight…I didn’t fight because you were to blind to see HOW I was fighting. To self-absorbed to see that maybe we fight in different ways.
You actually admit that you have to be the center of attention. You know what I want? Someone that can walk into a room without being noticed. That doesn’t have to have the last word or that doesn’t cut me off when I talk. Someone that can see maybe something is bothering me but doesn’t ask me 6 times in public. Someone that wants to wait to ask me privately so they can get the real answer because you should know me well enough to know that I’m not going to complain around other people. I want someone that asks me how my day is and genuinely listens instead of just waiting to speak. I want someone that thinks I’m beautiful no matter what I have on and doesn’t take longer to get ready than I do. I want someone that appreciates me and knows how to show me outside of sexual intimacy. I want those lunch box notes in return and someone that attacks me as soon as I get in the door. Not the game at the end of the night of “is she going to show me she wants me.” I want someone that wakes up early and has a full day. Someone that ends their exhaustion of a day with me on the front porch and doesn’t have to talk about themselves, that can actually just enjoy my presence. I want small town love, I want bonfires instead of bars and BBQs instead of restaurants. I want someone that has their own life, and their own friends that comes over and has a beer with him in the garage. I want to go dancing and not feel guilty about it. I want encouragement and I want to feel appreciated. But above all else, I want something that feels right and that comes easily and naturally. Something we haven’t had for a very long time.
You need to stop rubbing my face in things that would hurt your feelings if you were in my shoes. You need to start acting like a friend instead of a child and you need to stop blaming me for things, you need to stop being an asshole, and you need to take responsibility for your actions. Take responsibility without thinking or saying…”But she also”…No. Take the blame. Take the responsibility. JUST LIKE I DO. Be the better person. Be better than me. Because I’ll be honest, I am so tired of trying to be the better person, or trying and being the understanding person that if you don’t step up, I may snap. I will lose my shit and no one will want that. I know that you want to feel important, you want people to make certain things “about [History]” and you need to feel loved and wanted and needed. But if you are always making yourself the center of attention, if you are always making it about yourself, you are not leaving any room for anyone else to make you feel special. You are your worst enemy. Put yourself last so someone else can put you first.
I will not be discussing this with you. I know you are going to want to. I know you are going to try. But I’m telling you now, that I am not going to argue with you, I’m not going to listen to you point out what was wrong or what I took the wrong way. You have talked, spoken, explained, and had the floor for the last 3 months and months previous. I know your side, your stance, and your story. I am simply saying my peace and that will be the end of it. I hope you can respect that because none of this is up for discussion.
With a heavy heart,
July 20, 2020 + several years in the making