When I was a little girl, I would sleepwalk. I’d wake up on the living-room couch, or sometimes even on the floor. It left me with a very bizarre feeling because I couldn’t comprehend how I could get up from my bed and walk to another location while I was asleep.
Victims of Narcissistic abuse sleepwalk every day. I can say that with the certainty that only comes with experience. When I remember what happened to me, I realize that most of the time spent with my abuser was time spent in a state of low consciousness. I performed activities that are usually performed during a state of full consciousness while in a virtual coma.
You’ve probably heard of cognitive dissonance. While there are many reasons why a person stays with an abusive partner, cognitive dissonance probably has the strongest influence. The reason for this is that it’s basically a state of denial that victims live in. I know, because I lived in that denial for eight years. I really wanted the relationship to work. I was in love, and I thought that by forgiving my abuser and “sucking it up”, he would one day change because of the love and patience I’d invested in him. Even his family would say, “He doesn’t mean it. He has a good heart.” I fell for it every time, regardless of how much I was hurting. I kept working for an outcome that would never happen.
Before I left, his last words to me were, “I hate you. I hope you die”. His abuse was actually worse at the end than at any point during the relationship. I can now clearly see that I was in a state of denial. And while my abuser lied to me and his family lied to me, the biggest lies were the ones I told myself. I’d try to leave, and then I would reason with myself that perhaps I had been unreasonable and selfish (as my abuser was wont to tell me). Maybe if I just changed this or that about myself, everything would get better. But, it never did. Narcissists bank on these lies we tell ourselves so we will manage down our expectations and accept the fault of the relationship’s problems so they can carry on with their destructive behavior patterns.
Change is Hard I talk to men and women every day that want to leave their abusive, Narcissistic partner. Yet, they always have a reason why doing so would be impossible. Maybe it’s money, or they are staying “for the kids”. What is happening is that they are arguing for their limitations. I argued for mine, too. I argued that our son needed his dad. I argued that I didn’t want to start over in life. I argued that God doesn’t want us to divorce and expects us to turn the other cheek. “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” ~ Richard Bach Change is hard. It’s alien and unpleasant. We often tell ourselves it’s easier to stay where we are than to face the unknown. So we lie to ourselves and make up reasons why leaving the Narcissist wouldn’t make any sense, and keep slogging toward a goal that will never happen. There are always choices, and if our choices lead us to pain and misery, then it’s time to make a new choice. I am actually in a better state of awareness now than even before I met my Narcissistic Ex. This awareness didn’t happen overnight. In fact, I still have the occasional trigger, but I am looking forward to the rest of my life because I know that I have the power to influence it. When I was with my abuser, I gave him all the power. He dictated every single detail of my life…from my friends, my clothes, my makeup, and even how I interacted with my children. For the longest time I hated myself for giving him this power. But, I’ve since forgiven myself because I know it was all symptomatic of having been brainwashed. Now that I’m on the outside looking in am I able to see this with full clarity.
~ Clarity of Mind
New Possibilities I am happy with my life. I’ve come a very long way from where I was when I first left my Ex. I am a certified Practitioner in the Law of Attraction and working on an advanced certification. I will be learning Reiki at some point and would like to learn to play the Native American Flute. I meditate. I’ve gotten into essential oils after becoming educated on the dangers of pharmaceuticals. I’ll soon release an eBook regarding No Contact, and have another, bigger manuscript that I’m working on. I’ve expanded my blog into a business where I help people overcome the effects of Narcissistic abuse. And that’s just the beginning. Do you remember how you felt when you graduated high school? That feeling of overwhelming joy and peace…of countless possibilities? That you could do anything? That’s how I feel again…at the age of 43! I never would have imagined these things as possible while still with my abuser because he always wanted me to feel I wasn’t capable of doing anything great. He wanted me to believe that I was very limited in what I could do in life…but that was a lie, and I believed it. Have you been told the same lies? Do you believe them? Let me tell you first-hand…you were put on this earth to be happy, not to be someone’s emotional punching bag, ATM, and slave. Don’t continue allowing this to happen to you. The Narcissist will never change, but you can. All it takes is to make the choice and start working on your plan. Your possibilities are endless, but they can’t happen unless you make the initial decision that you’ve had enough (and your children, too, if applicable). It will be scary and uncomfortable. You will have moments of self-doubt. But, those are only thoughts, and thoughts can be changed.
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