It seems that defining someone as a ‘narcissist’ has become a bit of a adjective
thrown around without serious consideration by some people. A word to described
a friend, acquaintance, ex lover or family member, it is so common it has almost
become too nonchalant. While awareness of any mental health issue is healthy”,
narcissistic personality disorder is a serious condition that should not be applied
lightly to someone, just because you are mad at them.
I am writing this article, story, journal, truth, from my own perspective after
spending 6 years in silence and shame. Hating myself, taking the blame for
everything, hiding behind the ‘public happy mask’ and slowly but surely slipping
into a catatonic, numbed emotional state to just survive day by day the punishment
inflicted from someone I had given my all to – my whole self. I didn’t know who I
The abuse I suffered was such a dark and horribly confusing vacuous hole, where I
spent years not realizing what was happening to me, completely oblivious to my
narcissistic partner creating a malicious, isolated and demoralising world to feed
and supply his disorder. I still have not definitively decided whether or not his
actions were consciously intentional or not , but the outcome was still the same.
It is my hope that by writing this and giving information that surrounds narcissistic
personality disorder, that those currently suffering may see some of their
experience in mine, and gain the power and knowledge necessary to take the steps
needed for escape and eventual healing.
Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control another human being through the
use of tactics such as fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion and
manipulation. While emotional abuse from a narcissistic person doesn’t leave
visible physical scars, it is just as damaging on one soul/self.
Many people who are in an emotionally abusive relationship with a narcissist feel
because they are not being hurt physically, they are not being abused. But
emotional abuse can seriously damage a persons mental, emotional, physical and
spiritual health. It is proven to cause anxiety, depression, a low view of self worth
and low self esteem, and is often more psychologically harmful than physical abuse”,
as the victims of narcissists more often than not blame themselves. The road to
recovery from emotional abuse at the hands of a narcissist is a long and hard one”,
but the first step is to recognize you are in an emotionally abusive relationship with
a narcissist, AND GET OUT!!!!!
I am a hopeless romantic. I fall hard and fast, all in or not at all, and always see the
best in everyone I fall in like/lust/love with. This situation was no different at the
Overwhelmed by the adoration and attention I was receiving, I jumped in the deep
end, believing that when he told me he loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his
life with me, that I was his soul mate and that I had finally brought meaning and
purpose to his life, only moments/days after beginning our relationship.
I was drowning in his love and passion. I was everything he had ever wanted and
more and he went about proving it daily with grand gestures for me. We couldn’t
keep our hands off each other, making love several times a day whenever and
wherever we could. Not an hour went by where I didn’t receive a text from him
when we were apart. He wrote me poetry, he told me I would be his wife and the
mother of his unborn children.
I didn’t give myself any time to reflect, to think, to question and there was nothing I
could do but ride this wave of sudden all consuming love. It was like skydiving –
seriously scary as hell, but I didn’t want to not jump.
That was then, the beginning, before I new anything about a narcissistic tactic early
on in relationships of what is termed ‘love bombing’.
Love bombing can be best described as a manipulative move involving attempts to
gain control by moving the relationship forward quickly, constantly bombarding with
attention and affection.
He was perfect. Everything he did, said, wanted, needed was perfect. It was like he
could see inside my mind and soul and new exactly what (I thought) I wanted in a
He had been searching for me his whole life and that we had been brought together
by destiny at the right time for each other.
That was then, the beginning – before I realized or knew anything about the fact that
he was essentially ‘grooming’ me.
A predatory act, calculating and cruel to maneuver me into a more isolated and
dependant frame of mind, and vunerable to accepting future manipulation and
I put all my chips in. I laid all my cards on the table. Without reservation, without
question I gave him my all. Every part of me. Over and over, again and again and
This is the part where upon reflection I realise that I had created the perfect
breeding ground to support his disorder, as I know now that I am an empath.
From my own experience, and further study on the subject, I’ve noticed that one of
the core traits of a person with narcissistic personality disorder is that they are
‘wounded’ in some way. Something, somewhere in their life, usually arising from
childhood causes the narcissist to feel unvalued and worthless and they constantly
have the need to seek validation from others. So in comes the empath, the ‘fixer’, the
healer. Empaths have the ability to absorb other peoples pain and suffering and
often take it on as if it were their own, and when not consciously aware that they are
doing so, they do not set up boundaries to protect themselves so they quickly and
easily bond with the narcissist in order to try and fix and repair any damage, and
attempt to eradicate the narcissists pain.
I was so full of understanding, empathy, sympathy and forgiveness. I should have
listen to the quieter voices in my head suggesting that something didn’t add up, but I
didn’t (it was destiny after all!) I didn’t want to see the tiny flaws surfacing in our
picture perfect relationship and existence, and the idea of our bright and happy
future together being tainted, it just wasn’t on my radar.
Anytime another side of him was exposed, or rather a side I had found out about on
my own, I found it easy to ignore my ‘inner voices’. (please NEVER ignore your inner
voice/gut instinct/whatever you call it as 9 times out of 10 it’s spot on!) The
remorse he showed seemed so full of sincerity, and he promised that all his bad
behavior was in the past. He promised. Over and over, again and again and……
He desperately wanted to leave the man he used to be behind and his hatred for his
past was gigantic. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. He was misunderstood”,
deep down he was a really good person who would never hurt anyone…..especially
I have always seen the best in people. I have always given people the benefit of the
doubt and believe that all humans, whether they are aware of it or not, are most
made up of inherently good qualities, destined for greatness.
That was until I experienced within this relationship a habitual and compulsive web
of lies in order to suit a persons own agenda and needs.
And I’m not just talking minute fibs, I’m talking full blown pathological lies.
Over the period of our relationship, if I ever ‘called him out’ after stumbling across
something new about him that made me question our relationship, he would drown
me so fast in so much love and adoration I couldn’t help but have blurred vision to
the truth. I would often question my own intentions to ‘assume such terrible things
about him’ (his words) How could I ever think that he would do ‘that’! I would be
completely guilt ridden for even asking him about it, because I loved him afterall”,
and I was supposed to be his soulmate, as he claimed. If it wasn’t for me he wouldn’t
be the changed man he had become.
Then in comes the ‘improved’ and ‘desirable’ behavior. All in a ploy to suck me back
in, like an expensive Dyson Vacuum cleaner. The vacuous hole I spoke of earlier.
We became the couple who in public had it all. He showered me with public”,
affection, adoration and praise. When we met new people they wanted to hear our
story of love, and I became an expert at telling it. I always left out the nitty gritty
smaller details of course, those unpredictable moments or untruths uncovered.
They appeared so often, and then I was ‘bombarded’ and they’d disappear so
quickly, it was easier just to ignore them and push them out of my mind. Names of
women here and there, a past high flying career, an extensive athletic career…all of
which I was to finally realize were part of the pathological lying in order to ‘keep up
with the Jones’s’
Normalising things like this was a great way to desensitize me to his abusive”,
manipulative and inappropriate behaviours. He manipulated me enough that I
would agree and accept anything. It didn’t matter that it was completed conflicted
with social norms, the law, or my own basic code of behavior.
He was good looking, charming and charismatic. For the first couple of years I was
the sole receiver of his gifts – this made it easier to continue to ignore the inquisitive
side of me that was interested in the real truth, be left behind and eventually
forgotten. By the time he began sharing his charm and attention to other things, and
saving less and less for me, unless I had something he wanted such as approval or
sex, I had already unconsciously resigned my true self and had pulled up a seat in
the front row of this one man show.
Social situations became a spectacle, I was in blind awe of how he engaged a room
and captured every inch of energy there was to be taken. I thought everyone liked
him, and he was particularly good at charming women in his presence, no matter if
they were married or single, young or old. Nothing mattered more to him than
making them smile and laugh at the hand of his own efforts. He new where to get
his ‘supply’ from.
Narcissists have an insatiable need to supplied with approval, attention and adoration
of others solely for the purpose of building themselves up and confirming their false
sense of entitlement and superiority.
I was exhausted. Getting through each day was so hard. I blamed everything on
myself. The fact I was a mess, that I couldn’t keep it together for even a day. If I ever
sought reason for the way I was feeling, or support from him, he would tell me I was
crazy and it was all my fault and no one else’s, that I needed help and I was the only
one who thought/felt/did/said whatever it was that was going on.
I really didn’t think I was asking much. Sometimes I just wanted to go and spend
time with my friends on my own, go for a much need horseride, have some ‘me’
time. But there was always something I had to do with him, or always a way to
make it about him. Was I talking intending to bitch about him? Was I meeting
someone on the sly whilst out for a ride? Why did I want to be alone and not spend
time with him all….the…time.
So those things I wanted andneeded to bring some kind of sanity back into my mind
never happened as it was all too hard.
The stealthy subtle way he began the maltreatment went unnoticed. The ambient
abuse that I didn’t recognize until it was too late. The enhancement and fostering of
an atmosphere and situation of fear, intimidation and instability. The most
dangerous type of abuse.
During the last few years there were days where I couldn’t leave the house. I’d call in
sick to work, call off coffee with friends, avoid family. The dark circles under my
eyes from all the crying, my hoarse voice from all the shouting and begging, the
bruises from the self inflicted injuries I gave myself by punching my own face”,
hitting walls and throwing myself on the floor to try to feel anything outside of what
was happening. It sometimes almost appeared as if he had hit me. He never hit me.
On several occasions he placed his hands around my neck, professing his love whilst
squeezing what felt like would be my last breath out of me, my mind reeling
sometimes wishing it was. He could kill me he loved me so much. He would always
let go just as I thought it was ‘all over’ and then he would cry and break down
promising that it would never happen again – all the while reminding me it was my
fault he had hurt me.
I learnt how to shut off during this repetitive ritual, and pretended to listen patiently
while he reminded me how lucky I was to have someone like him love me so much
and put up with me.
I had absolutely no emotional state to support me at this stage, no faith in my own
ability, so I had no choice but to believe him. I would tell myself that I was lucky to
have him and how amazing he was, and that no one else would put up with me
because I was so ‘psycho’ (his words) I lost all logic, I questioned myself at every
moment, and when I looked in the mirror I saw a complete stranger staring back at
Narcissisists use a form of mental abuse called Gaslighting. The term is from the 1944
movie “Gaslight” in which the villain used this technique.
It involves brainwashing and convincing a mentally healthy individual that their
understanding of reality is false, making the victim doubt their own perception”,
memory and sanity.
Time went on and I became more and more isolated, although I was ‘allowed’ on
rare occasion to have dinner with friends on my own once in a blue moon, or visit
my family. Whenever and wherever I went though, the questions from him became
more and more persistent and insistent when I arrived home and then developed
into him calling or texting before I had even left or arrived at my destination.
Who did I talk to? Did I speak to any old boyfriends? Did I talk about him? What was
I talking about that was so important I had to go without him? What did I say? Why
was I lying to him? Did I find the guy I said hello to in the street attractive? Did I
cheat on him? Did I think about cheating? Why wouldn’t I just tell the truth?
What I realize now, is that this was his psychological defense mechanism in order to
gain acquittal from his own conscience, by projecting his own undesirable thoughts”,
feelings or actions onto me. Projecting an accusation of cheating or lying onto me
the victim, when the accuser (him) is actually the one cheating and lying.
As the years passed in a blur, the more and more he began to consistently belittle
me. I would sit at the table during dinner time, listening to his barrage, using every
muscle in my body trying not to cry or ‘lose it’. If I did cry or lose it, he would
reprimand me and treat me like a piece of furniture that had got in his way, not a
human being. Then came the silent treatment.
Narcissists have a preferred weapon of choice; the passive aggressive emotional
abuse in which disapproval, displeasure and contempt are exhibited through
nonverbal communication, such as glaring and intimidating body language.
To try and avoid all feeling, I used to put myself to sleep each night as early as I
could to avoid any interaction at all with him. That way, even if I knew he was lying
or found out about something he had done, it somehow made it easier. I was
completely unaware that other stronger forces were at work, and had been at work
since the beginning to keep me silent and numb.
He would ‘dose’ me with small and temporary revivals of the initial phase of our
relationship, the love bombing tactic, flat out deny his actions even in the face of
factual physical proof. He would bait me, by luring me with kindness and love, then
switch to being demanding, inattentive a cruel. Because of my completely broken
down state I existed within, I was plagued by health issues, stomach aches, nausea”,
anxiety, weight loss and panic attacks. I also lost all strength, energy and resilience
required to face any sudden additional traumatic events, such as finding out he had
cheated on me, and was lying to me about money and work. I began floating
through daily life in an almost dream state, surrendering to my self induced
emotional coma as this allowed me to take shelter and soften the edges of what felt
like a tornado threatening to destroy everything I knew. I retreated, I hid, and I gave
up all hope on anything being any different ever again, I saw no good in life.
Escaping the relationship was not easy. There was no cut and dry about it.
In my already extremely vunerable state, his manipulative powers of persuasion
increased ten fold when I told him I was leaving. Remaining mentally strong and
maintaining my grasp on reality was difficult, and the guilt and hurt I felt saw me
slip in and out of attempts to break free from the relationship. I had threatened his
ego, and he was pulling out all stops to ensure that the supply I was offering it did
not end. The love bombing increased – his repent and insistence on him changing
was turned on and he tried to extract every last inch of any empathy or pity I had for
I made the decision at a stage through this process to set concrete boundaries and
build a strong support system, and as part of his mind games he had already
contacted a lot of my friends and family to try and convince them of my wrong doing
try and make them struggle to identify with the person I was describing when it
came to him.
But I found my friends and family and a psychologist – my support network. I had
them help me uphold my boundaries and call me out if I drifted off course. Of course
there was altercations with my support network for I did drift off course many
times, for many years in fact, as his psychological hold on me was so strong. I tried
to always let them know in advance that I was grateful and appreciated all they
were doing for me.
Be kind to yourself at all times through this process. During this time, you will be
continually attacked and broken down repeatedly. You will be left doubting yourself”,
and your ability to function without the relationship. Know that you are deserving of
so much more. Your strength that has been hidden in the shadows can be summond
again. It will take time. More time than it ever takes to move through and on from a
healthy relationship. You need to give yourself some leeway and know that extreme
hard times are ahead and that they will test your resolve. Kindness to oneself is the
most powerful thing. The more you practice it, the more it takes hold within your
heart. You should always act out of kindness to yourself each and every day, until it
becomes natural once more.
It took just as much time, if not more, to get back to my true self. There is no exact
time limit for recovery, and I think it is all relevant to the depth, length and severity
of the suffering. I took each day as it arrived, trying to find even the most minute
amount of strength within myself each day, and focused on maintaining an upward
trajectory towards reaching myself once more.
I was a victim of extreme emotional abuse, most people think that that is where my
story ends, but it doesn’t. That fact is, that is where my story began.
Through education, enlightentment and empowerment I have made it through –
thriving in my new life of clarity and peace. I am no longer a victim. This, however
was only due to the journey I committed myself to by trying to understand exactly
what I had experienced in my relationship with a narcissist, which includes
understanding the language around it. With knowledge and personal growth, I was
able to forgive myself and recognize that I was not the one with the problem, and
take responsibility for my emotional development after escaping the situation.
My healing has come only because I gave myself permission to love myself and take
all the time I needed to heal. Unlike all those years ago, I immediately recognize the
woman (although somewhat older with more lines and grey hair!) looking back at
me in the mirror.
I am alive, I am loving, I am strong, I am brave and compassionate.
The one thing I am not is crazy or psycho, and I finally realize I never was. I will
never let my self worth, dignity and power be diminished by another human being
again, and will avoid narcissistic vexations to my spirit at all costs!