Friday, September 19, 2014

I see Narcissistic People

This week marks One Year since leaving what may have been the worst relationship of my life.  I've debated whether or not to talk about it, because the details are hard and the story isn't pretty.  But at some point, you need to let go of the things you've been holding on to and that is what I'm doing.  If I can help one person, if one person can see something in my story that helps them... then it isn't in vain.  This is my story.  

It's been nearly a year since the break-up and as I get closer and closer to the One Year mark I can't help but think about how far I have come from the way things were, and how far I have left to go.  I've made progress, but as I look back and read "Breaking up is hard to do" written a mere 4 days after I was forced to call the police on the man who had been living in my apartment for over a year and had been in a relationship with for nearly three, it makes me a little sick.

I was so tangled up in the web of Narcissistic Abuse and when I read that post, I can see it.   I see all the nice, sweet things I wrote that were not really the truth and actually symptoms of what I had been living with during the entire course of our relationship.  I can still see the complete and utter denial.  I see how hard I tried to still be pleasant and "make nice" even though I knew he was going to make things hard for me.

When I read what I wrote back then, I can see that even when it came to our breakup I approached it and wrote about it as if I was left with no other choice and not acknowledging that I wanted the relationship to end and he finally gave me the last and final reason I would ever need to leave.

The scary and sad fact is that I don't know that I would have left if things hadn't happened the way they did that day. 

I decided that I needed serious healing, that I needed to fix the things about myself that led me to being in that relationship or it would be every relationship I ever had for the rest of my life.  I started reading.  I started looking at myself and moments when I ignored my intuition, and started exploring why I ignored it and how to learn to trust it and strengthen it.  I began looking at events that had transpired, and started to see manipulative patterns. Then I looked at my other relationships - platonic, romantic, even professional - past and present to see if I could figure out why I let someone treat me like that.

And then it hit me... the behaviors I was victim to in that relationship have been present for most of my adult life, through much of my teen years, and even some in my childhood.

That is a hard pill to swallow.

I'm not saying I had a horrid childhood, blaming my parents or the system, trying to portray myself as coming from a hard place, or saying that I'm completely surrounded by Narcissistic Abusers.  What I AM saying is that life is an example of Pointillism: every experience you have, book you read, person you encounter, song you listen to, food you eat... is like a tiny dot on the canvas of your life applied in patterns to make an image.  A series of canvasses foretelling what will be, who we are, and chronicling our life story.


In a lot of ways there have been a lot of "dots"- things that happened that I never told anyone, behaviors and hurtful comments that I excused or allowed people to get away with, people who hurt me that I made excuses for or tolerated for years - and when all of those "dots" were combined it created a picture of a woman who would tolerate all of the tiny little dots that equal one big bad relationship.

There are people out there who might say I was overreacting.  There are people who would say that if you look for something hard enough, you'll find it.  I wholeheartedly agree that if you're looking hard enough, you can twist anything into being what you what it to be, but I feel like I was finally opening my eyes to what was going on around me the entire time.

I started paying closer attention to the way people reacted to the things I said and did.  I started to notice there were people in my life who instead of respecting my decisions would try and cajole or manipulate me into doing what they wanted me to do in spite of what I said I wanted.  I began to notice how certain people would say rude or hurtful things to me every time we spent time together.  When I would question or confront people about the rude things they said to me they would respond with gas-lighting.  Distancing myself from people because of the gas-lighting led to them giving me ultimatums about our relationship.  I started seeing the same Red Flags and behaviors in many friendships that I should have seen (or not ignored) in my previous relationship.  I started seeing my ex everywhere.

Me too, kid.  Me too. 

It made me angry.

The horrible things my ex did that people told me I didn't deserve, things that people held against him and judged him for were things that some of the people who were closest to me were also doing.

I tried to explain to people when they would do things that bothered me.  I tried ignoring the gas-lighting and tell someone how their behavior or choice of words bothered me.  I even flat out compared things that were said or done to stories of things that actually happened in an attempt to explain myself to people.

There were people who just didn't get it and I lost some friends.  The upside is that I began to really see the people that I didn't need in my life.  In a lot of ways, it gave me the push I needed to start removing people.  When you're struggling to find the energy to function, it becomes a lot easier to see where your energy resources are being used and abused.  I also started changing how I look at friendship.  In the end, I started realizing the people who show the same signs and red flags as someone who might be an abusive partner probably really aren't the best of friends either.



If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse, please call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233  or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). They have people on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week who can offer support and lists of resources in your area. 

Other resources with information about Domestic Violence and Abuse:

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