I remember when my kids would scurry to their rooms like mice to hide out when they heard the narcissist coming through the door. They knew that he would start yelling and flipping out and claim that they were avoiding their chores- but it was actually him they were avoiding. He was often drunk and combative with me and with them. He was rude and didn’t know how to speak to them like human beings, only how to demand things. I remember how it felt when I heard him pulling in the driveway… the pit I would get in my stomach because I didn’t know what to expect. Was I getting the happy go lucky guy or the aggressive douche? I just never knew who was coming home. There was a time long ago, that I was excited to see him, but it got to the point that I dreaded any interaction with him. The only positive about him being home was that I knew he wasn’t out drinking and driving or screwing around.
My current relationship is much different, not just for me, but also for my children. We spend a lot of quality time together. My daughter will cuddle up on the couch with me, while he sits next to me and we will watch TV together. We talk about our days, go on little adventures and dinners. They even ask him for advice, which would never have happened with my ex. And you know what? Everyone does their chores, without bitching or getting yelled at! My home is a happy, peaceful environment- no one walks on eggshells anymore. Not only are my children comfortable around him, but they genuinely like and respect him. They will never see this man drunk and sloppy, they will never hear him yell, see him slam doors, throw things or call their mother names. I am teaching my daughter how she deserves to be treated and praying that what I allowed previously didn’t damage her. I don’t want my daughter to end up with an abusive or disrespectful man because she witnessed it as normal for so many years.
I have received so much positive feedback and so many women (and a few men) have thanked me for sharing my story because they were (or are) living in similar circumstances. Its like this private club that no one really wants to be part of, but when you are, and can share your experiences, you come to realize how eerily similar narcissists are to each other. You no longer feel the shame and guilt that comes with putting up with the shitty treatment, or worse, allowing your children to live in the environment. My blog has touched so many people who have opened up to me and who I have become closer with because we are finally being honest about what we lived with.
What I am most grateful for is that not only have I found a wonderful man, but he is extremely supportive of me and of this process of healing. He knows about this blog and has read many of my posts and understands why it’s so important. Even my therapist feels that by me blogging and helping others, it has helped me heal by vocalizing everything and forming bonds with other abuse victims.
I never thought I would find true love and happiness after all of the heartache that I experienced but life has proved me wrong. I didn’t know what it was like to have a healthy relationship after the many years of drama, abuse, distrust, anger, and hostility.
I have been with my boyfriend now for just over a year (and have known him for 25 years) and it has been an experience that I can hardly put into words. We have never had a fight. We connect on every level- emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually. I can be myself 100% of the time and never feel inadequate- in fact quite the opposite. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t tell me that I’m beautiful. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t look at me like it’s the first time he’s ever seen me. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t do something to help me and make me feel loved. He even tells me how much he appreciates me all the time and I don’t feel like I do much.
For the first time in my life, I am not taking care of another man’s every need while putting myself on the back burner. My ex would only do nice things for me during the love bombing phase or when he screwed up and needed to deflect attention from his wrong doings.
My boyfriend actually takes care of me regularly by making sure I have coffee and breakfast, he asks me what he can pick at the store, and brings over bottles of wine and flowers just because. He helps take care of things around the house, never lets me open a door, always has me walk in front of him, never leaves without giving me a kiss, and most importantly- he is completely in tune with me. He listens to me when I speak, and remembers everything that’s important.
We also have one of most important things you can have in a relationship- mutual trust. I never worry about what he’s doing, who he’s texting or talking to you. He doesn’t have a lock on his phone and I wouldn’t even think to look at it because I don’t have anything to look for. He makes me feel safe and secure in our relationship. If we are out, he doesn’t look at anyone else but me. There could be half naked women dancing around me and he wouldn’t even flinch, but my ex would have mind-fucked every girl in his vision. I don’t have to ask for time, attention or anything from him because he gives it to me without me having to say a word. It’s the most seamless relationship I have had.
There are days that I don’t know how to accept such pure love and commitment. I look at him often and ask “how are you this nice?”. I’m sure I will stop questioning it and accept it one day but I am amazed at what a gem I have found. I call him a unicorn. Every single person who has met him, loves him right away. And some of my friends who didn’t spend a lot of time with me when I was with the narc, spend a lot of time with me now. They decided to disclose how they didn’t care for my ex, but that they tolerated him for me.
My new home has a pool and one of my friends who he used to gawk over came over many weekends this summer and she told me how she felt comfortable wearing her bikini and even Brazilian bottoms around my boyfriend because he doesn’t stare or make her feel uneasy. She said that my ex was inappropriate around her and she would never have worn the bathing suits that she did if I was still with him. I still remember how he thought he was funny when I would tell him one of my female friends was coming over who he hadn’t met yet and he would ask “Is she hot?”. He claimed it was a joke, but I found it distasteful and just another way to dig at my self-esteem.
What’s really disappointing is seeing some of the friends who I became close to turn their back on me- not all, but some I didn’t expect. And most, if not all, of them know how bad the treatment was and something he did that was despicable that I don’t even talk about, but they stand by their friend. I imagine its because he’s been in their lives for so long and because they enjoy the party that he comes with. He knows how to party, entertain and likes to throw his money around. I’m also sure that he’s used the same manipulative tactics, lies and excuses for his behavior on them as he did to me. If they want to ignore the core of who he is – that’s fine, but it’s a shame that they stopped reaching out to me when I was always there for them. I’ve taken my therapists advice and stopped reaching out to those who don’t reach out to me.
Narcissistic abuse takes a long time to heal from and only those who have experienced it can truly understand how this process has brought me to where I am today. Those who question any step of it, are either not my people or just simply can’t understand because they’ve never been in the deep hole that an abuser puts you in. It took me a long time to realize that narcissists need a supply, and whether the attention they are getting is positive or negative is irrelevant, they just need that attention. So, all of the times I would be upset or crying or even yell because I caught him in a lie or doing something, he was enjoying the attention. He didn’t care that I was hurt or in pain. I remember he would shed a tear watching a dog commercial or something patriotic but I could be in pain or bawling my eyes out and it would have no impact. He had no real empathy and ultimately, he was only concerned for himself. He would always show this nice side, donating to fundraisers, crying on command when he was caught and thought he would lose me, pretending to care about other people’s problems- but this was all a façade. If anything involved too much effort and couldn’t be solved with money, he didn’t want to be bothered.
This is the difference in my normal, healthy relationship today. My boyfriend doesn’t need attention from anyone else. He is genuine and will give his time to me and anyone else who needs help without asking for anything in return. He doesn’t need a big party or expensive gifts. He is content with what he has and never makes me question his intentions. His actions match his words. His love is evident every day.
I’ll never forget when my friend told me that her goal is to find a man who looks at her the way he looks at me. Everyone can see and feel his love for me, which is amazing after these same friends watched someone I thought loved me slowly destroy me. Don’t give up hope my friends. Don’t stay with someone because you feel trapped or like there is no other option. I know its easier said than done, because trauma bonding, hoovering and gas lighting are real but you can escape the manipulation and take your life back and find true love. Believe in yourself. Believe in love.