After my breakup with my long-term Narcissist I went through a phase of reaching out to people I hadn’t spoken to in a long time and I would try to make new friends everywhere I went. I was lonely and I was trying to put my life back together again with healthy activities and good friends to spend time with.
I would always tell them my story and my story was always about my Narcissist and how I had overcome the abuse and the trauma it created. A lot of people were inspired by it. Some people would awkwardly change the subject, but most looked at me with kind eyes and a sympathetic head tilt.
I can remember going to dinner parties and looking forward to telling my story. To me it was a triumph of good over evil. It was of empowerment and positivity. Who wouldn’t want to hear my story? I thought.
Slowly but surely, my story became part of my identity. Who was I without my story? I was proud of it, yes, but at the same time it continued to keep me in the position of a Narcissist survivor and I hadn’t figured out what to do with my new eyes and my new outlook on life.
At the same time, my ex-Narcissist had gotten himself married and was expecting a baby with his co-worker that he cheated on me with, while I was still telling my story. True I had been working on myself and had made great strides along my path to wellness, while he just jumped right into another relationship with another codependent, without spending a minute single, to work on his stuff.
It wasn’t until much later that I realized that I wanted to be much more than my story. I didn’t want the rest of my life to be about how I got over him. I didn’t want him in my story anymore, so I stopped telling it. I realized that he was just a chapter in my life, not the entire book. I had more people, places and adventures to write about that had nothing to do with him.
I had given so much of myself away in that relationship that it took a while to figure out who I was and where I wanted to go.
I let go of the blame and the shame and realized that this was my opportunity to be better. It no longer mattered that he had moved on, my self-work was way more important than anything he was doing.
He was always going to be the same person, while I was going to be different, better, healthier. I was bound and determined to make the rest of my story the best part of my story.
The most important things I learned from the experience were:
- The need for Autonomy. I needed to get to a place where I didn’t depend on anyone for anything. I needed to become autonomous in every way.
- I knew that I deserved better and I was never going to accept less than what I deserved ever again.
- I was never going to put the needs of another before my own.
- I was never going to lose myself in another relationship.
- I learned to tame my emotions and how to stop them from controlling me.
- I figured out me. Who I am, what I like, what I want to do, my circle, my boundaries…
- I figured out what I can control and what I can’t.
- I learned to let go of people, behaviors and possessions that weren’t healthy.
Most importantly, I learned that I am fully and completely in charge of my own life. I get to create and define my experiences. I determine my value. I determine my perception. I choose to look at the world in a positive light with gratitude and joy always. I determine who gets a front row seat in my life and who does not. I define what success looks like to me, because the pen is in my hand.
Well sure, that last chapter was a page turner, but wait till you get a peek at my next one.
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Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn at freedigitalphotos.net