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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I was the new woman in my ex-narcissist’s life who went on to marry and have a baby with him. His relationship with his girlfriend before me ended 10 months before we met. I wasn’t involved with infidelity.
I often think about her. How she must’ve wondered about him and me and how ‘happy’ we were that we got married and had a son. We ended up divorcing after 17 years of marriage and while there were happy moments, he was a miserable, emotionally abusive man. In the beginning, I told him I got the best of him. That was the lovebombing but I didn’t know what that was. The abuse started before we got married. It started 9 weeks into our relationship. I just tried harder and harder. I wish I could tell her that we weren’t happier and she was lucky she was only with him 2 years.
I appreciate this article because I want to stop talking about him and the abuse I received at his hands. He is in another relationship. It may be a fling, it may last. I don’t know and I don’t care. She might want to buckle up because she’s in for a bumpy ride.
As for me, I am building a beautiful new life. My son is thriving and we have a strong relationship. He knows there is something off with his dad.
I wish I didn’t spend 19 years with my ex. But I am blessed I don’t have to spend another minute with him. I am like a baby bird spreading her wings and learning to fly. It feels magnificent!
‘I learned that I am fully and completely in charge of my own life.’
Oh I did too! It feels so good to be reading this checkpoint and seeing I’m on the road to recovery. I’m still struggling, feeling stupid, socially awkward, and second guessing everything that I feel and do (even this comment). But I know I am grateful to you for sharing your experience.
Thank you Savannah, for writing all these articles.
That’s very true. I suppose true moving on is not having “narcissist survivor” as our identity. It takes time though. Probably the last stage of healing is letting go of the narcissist healing mindset. Definitely something worth bearing in mind. Cheers!
I am not sure if this person is a narcissist or not. He told me he has a habbit of writting women´s names on a list to check who would be his ideal partner. I feel very weird about it because he writes the names of possible and impossible women there. He does not have a serious relationship with a woman for a decade. He´s also very critical of everything and everybody and looks sympathic and friendly when he decides to contact other people. Most of the time he´s unavailable. Weirdly enough he came visit me and asked me: “you are the woman who acually likes other women, right?” that´s weird…. cold, unhuman. I don´t want to be rude to the person, but I´m very scared. Should I block him off my contacts? I like the person very much but comething there is not right… thank you.
Well-stated and I relate very closely. I feel like that’s about where I am in my recovery, except that I don’t think I can actually get close enough to someone for a meaningful, lasting relationship. That kind of intimacy requires vulnerability and trust and a year away from my abuser, I still feel the trust centers (and maybe the love centers) in me are burned out and non-functional.
I was nodding along with each of your lessons learned, though and I’m definitely much stronger, healthier and happier now that I’m free of my narcissistic ex. Maybe I still have a way to go, though.
I found this post very helpful and will refer back to it often. This is the place I find myself now and it helped me to want to move forward and close the book finally on that sad chapter of my life.
Very educated information
I’m sick of my story and struggles, too.
I’m finally to that point in my life of your list. And it feels really good!
For those that feel lost or have no meaning in life, please buy a King James Bible and start from the Beginning.
We have been faithful to a devil, look where we are at now.
Being faithful to God is the true living waters. Your spirit will be renewed.
I am a testimony to God’s Grace, blessings, and joy from ashes.
Do not watch the Preachers on TV. They are false preachers. They just want your money and distort God’s Holy Word.
You’re never alone when you have Jesus in your heart. And His Word is full of wisdom. You will become wiser! It will fulfill everything you think is missing.
May you search for the Greatest Treasure of your life! Best wishes and blessings to you!
It’s a process. We all go at our own pace, sometimes we slip a bit as we learn, but whats important is not giving up – on your wellbeing, sanity, and ability to have a healthy and happy life. And someday, a healthy and happy relationship that doesn’t destroy you.
I really needed this article today. It’s been two and a half years since my narcissistic husband and I separated. Because of insurance reasons we are still married. I was verbally and emotionally abused as most narcissistic victims are. I also couldn’t deal with his lies, even so called white lies as he called them. My problem is, I still love him but KNOW we can’t live together. I even still communicate with his family though they live on the other side of the USA, and they send me emails when they haven’t heard from him. They are really nice people and I also still love them.
I have down sized my home and moved into a 55+ community, with a large social community. In the move I have important papers and other items belonging to my ex, but he tells me to just hang on to themBut I am finding I look at other
men as being my next abuser, and don’t trust them.
I love dancing, going out to dinner, and being in love with a man, but can’t get past the past. I am 73 and really don’t want to be alone, but afraid of
Now I’m really missing him and thinking about the good times we had, 10-12 years, before he turned on me. My daughter and best friend tell me, “get over it”. I even went through counseling and severe depression, but prayer got me over the depression. I am so confused and conflicted, more now than I was before the separation.
Does everyone feel this uncertainty like I do. I want and need to move on but seem STUCK.
That was the tonic I needed today. Wise and uplifting words. This article made me cry. Like yourself I am on a journey of recovery. Grateful for your insights.
I am almost the same age as you . It has been 7 yrs since the narc left . He quickly married a twice divorced woman and slowly slipped out of our children and grandchildren’s lives. I still have lonely times when I ”miss” him. Then I think about his atrocious behaviors and the pain and turmoil he caused our family . He was diagnosed a Cluster B by four mental health professionals who all told me to get a divorce. Even with all that , yes, I still think about him . But… I went completely No Contact , and that is the key to recovery . No communication with his family or him . The only way I could begin to heal is NO CONTACT, no cyber peeking, no anything . That way I could concentrate on me . It took 5 years for me to reach The Land of Happy . What helped : following my preferences, exercise, fresh air, journaling, on line Narc Recovery sites and a course of on line recovery exercises and meditations, making nice meals for myself , joining a health center , and getting comfortable being by myself . I too would like to have a companionable relationship with a man but am also scared that I will fall into the co-dependent trap … so I wait and keep doing things that make me happy . I put myself first . I got a pet dog who is fun and loyal. I got a part time job , I got rid of friends who weren’t healthy for me; I stand up for myself…. I let my emotions flow . I respect myself and love myself…. I use the time alone to go deep within and acknowledge my worth . Mail his paperwork to him or burn it . He’s using it to get good juice out of you. They actually LIKE it when we’re upset and they like keeping us entangled . Get rid of his stuff, go gray rock on him …and you will see improvement in how you feel . God bless.
Thanks to you, Savannah and to all the wonderful people who share their stories here, I have been able to rebuild who I am and am now a PHOENIX RISING FROM THE FLAMES!
He can’t stop me now.
Thanks Savannah! Your blog has helped me now for over 3 years…I think I have read every single article you have written…many times over! But I often feel…what now? The getting over him part…gave me a purpose and direction. My anger towards him fueled my recovery in a way. But now 3 years later…he’s already gotten on with his life…and in many ways…I feel like I’m still trying to figure mine out.
Of course…often I think how unfair…if I did the same damage to him…he would require 3 years to recover too. We were together 16 years. But now I have no one to be angry at, Except myself. So I loved your article. I think there are many of us who need direction in recovery now…what happens now?
Minus the narc…how…what…and some compassion really. We are often abandoned, living in lower standards than before, and reeling from displacement, lost of friendships, comforts, and just having to start over from nothing. I would love to see more articles concerning..what now? Building self esteem…etc. A new chapter for many of your followers, myself included!
Thank you Savannah! You are healing so many of us!
Thank you. Wise words. I’m ready to begin my next Chapter. My Narc Ex is now serving a prison sentence for the stalking and harassment he subjected me to after I finally left him and broke free. I want to be defined by what I achieve from now on, not by what I have survived over the past 18 months. I am jaded by my ‘story’ and want to close the lid on the horrific past. I choose to be the hero of my life, not a victim.
Thank you for this post.. for a moment I felt like you’re writing about my life! Mine is still a work in progress but it’s just bizarre how it all felt the same..
I’m working on my new chapter every single day.. even more empowered now knowing I’m not alone in this..
Right now I am under the radar too, feeling like being alone and lonely is the best thing. I live in a retirement development where it is all couples having the time of their lives and really dont want to know about a single woman going through something. I also have a special needs adult son with me. So I am an anomaly that no one can connect with. I am also on the low end of the financial status here. I am free of my narcissist, who lives here too and has more in common with these folks, but I am left with isolation.
I was told I’m married to a narcopath. It has been a long story, because no one believed me. I wasn’t leaving my children with him, without me. He eventually turns dangerous & did more than hurt me. Finally, he ends up in a medical building, out of state. Hallelujah, I got my freedom back. It took years of going through grief & all the steps that steps. It’s said, divorce these days is getting too dangerous. Since I gave men up for Lent, I don’t care. I know, I never want to see the jerka holic again. I’m packing up his things & once he’s near ready to get out, it will be dropped off at the families house. New people, in my life. I have a sister now, I taught a support group what giving up feels like & what to do about it. Went well. I’m an advocate & I’m advising care takers with the law. Going to write a book, if I live long enough. LOL Redoing my apt. going into an interior decorating/organizing/cleaning consultancy. Opening up an organization called “Angels at Work” free help for any abuse for anything breathing. Going back into singer. Redoing me. Going to get my hair done in a long shag & throw in a little pink. The whole entire family is being thrown in my dust. Financial exploitation is being reported & heads are going to roll. I’m woman & I WILL DO THIS THING!!!!! Getting rid of Rafferty & going back to Vevle, except anything legal, for now.
I needed this today. I’ve been flying below the radar or talking about my ex and its affecting my entire being and especially my health.
It’s a work in progress.