Finding myself after narcissistic abuse

My last week has been fabulous. It is truly amazing how no contact has had such a profound effect on my mental and emotional well being. That one week of seeing the Narcissist a few times to get my stuff back really messed with me… but I am back on track and feeling better than ever.

One of the best parts of the last few weeks is that I feel like I am finally getting myself back. Over the years of being married to the Narcissist I slowly lost all of the tiny threads that made me… me. I became a mirror of the Narcissist… I slowly adapted all of the things that he thought were important and that he liked and appreciated and made them “mine” as well. Only they were never really mine because I couldn’t even have those things in ways that made me happy. It is crazy to look back on now because I can see it so clearly… but the entire time it was happening I really didn’t realize how bad it had become.

When I first started thinking about leaving the Narcissist I was scared, scared that I would never be happy again, scared that my friends and family wouldn’t want me back, scared that I would never be able to find love, scared about all of it. The reality is that no part of this journey has been as scary as I thought it would be. It has all been easier than I expected and right at this very moment, I am happier than I ever was during my 8 years with the Narcissist.

So here are my current baby-step success stories…

  • I dyed my hair red… sexy, sassy, dark, Melissandre from Game of Thrones red. This might seem like a minor thing but it actually feels like a huge accomplishment. The Narcissist was obsessed with his own looks and viewed everything about how I looked as an extension of him. Getting my hair done while I was married to him became a stressful thing. He would insist that we plan out whatever it was that I was going to do which often involved a lot of pictures and back and forth until we both agreed on something. For a while he insisted on coming to the salon with me when we first got back to the states. He always positioned it that I should be thankful that he cares about the things that most other men don’t care about. He would give my poor hairdresser anxiety because he was always asking questions and critiquing her work. If he didn’t come with me to supervise he would often be upset with me after the fact because my hair wasn’t something enough… not dark enough, not long enough, not highlighted enough… you could fill in any blank there. Eventually I just started doing the same thing over and over again because it worked and he didn’t complain too much. So needless to say, a spontaneous big awesome change in how my hair looks with no one to answer to feels freaking amazing.
  • I have Nana’s blessings! I saw my my grandmother last week at a family cookout. She lives on the other side of the country so I usually only see them once a year. She is pretty old fashioned and very religious and isn’t a big fan of divorce. I was pretty uneasy about having to tell them about my big life change and actually wimped out and made my mom tell them for me. She came up to me at the cookout, gave me a hug, and said I am so happy to see you smiling so much. It was pretty awesome.
  • I actually feel like I could start dating again. I went through a brief period after I found out that the Narcissist was sleeping with Southern Rose already where I joined online dating apps and thought I should get myself out there again. It was fun at first to just flip through the catalog of guys and exchange a few text message conversations but when one of them actually asked me to hang out I got instant cold feet. I realized that I wasn’t ready yet and just decided to not focus my time and energy on it. Instead, I chose to spend time with friends and family and enjoy my summer. I hit a point over the last few weeks where the idea of dating actually feels exciting instead of feeling scary. I think I am going to jump back in and see what happens.
  • Last night I slept without the ‘pillow body.’ For the first time since I moved out of the house in April, I actually took all of the pillows off the bed, and stretched out for a night of sleep where I hogged the entire bed. Prior to last night, I was lining up the big throw pillows so that they took up half of the bed and I didn’t feel so alone. Again, this sounds like something little but it was 5 months in the making.

Getting my life back has been one of the best parts of this journey. It has been well worth the anxiety and the scariness of it all. It has been worth the sleepless nights, worth the tears, and worth the worry.

I have remembered that I am my own very special person and I am embracing that every single day.

9 thoughts on “Finding myself after narcissistic abuse

  1. That’s great! You sound like you are making wonderful progress. I have to tell you every time I read one of your posts about him and the craziness you lived through it makes me claustrophobic! I just want to scream. I’m so glad you’re out of that relationship.

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  2. Wow. I can so relate to your past. Sadly its my present and I’m thinking and wanting to leave MY narcissist. I’m so happy for you that you’ve been able to move on even if its with baby steps as of now. 🙂 Best of luck dear.

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    1. Thisbittermarriage, it was a very overwhelming decision for me and took me far longer to actually go through with than I wish… but I am so very glad that I did. There are small moments where I miss the man I thought I was married to… but overwhelmingly I am so happy every single day to be free. I hope you get the strength to chose what is best for you. ❤

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      1. I think you hit it right when you said that you miss the man you thought you were married to!! I have found that is the hardest part… I really miss the man I thought he was and it has taken me a long time to finally accept that he is NOT the man I thought he was….it has gotten easier now that I fully believe that he is not that man, he is someone i don’t even know, it is painful still but now when I think of him with all those other woman I am reall ynot that upset because now i know that he isn’t having or had any meaningful relationships with any of them. he treated us all the same, they are no more special to him than I was and although it doesn’t make what he did to me, or to them any better, it makes it all a little easier to take, it isn’t just me, it is every woman, no matter what you did, so makes it a little less personal… one of his ex girlfriends told me that I had dodged a bullet because I never lived with him, she is right, that would have made it so much worse, my heart goes out to all of you who were married to one… lots of love and light to all… Michelle

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  3. I have read all your post and even though he sounded nuts this last one has me scratching my head. I have never had my husband say one thing about my hair except one time I ask him and he said yes he liked it. If your husband was that involved and the minutia of your life no wonder you had to leave. He was eating you alive

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    1. Moi, yes he was absolutely eating me alive. He always framed it in a way that he cared so much about me that he cared about my hair, my nail polish, my clothes, my skin care, etc. etc. but it was suffocating at best. I literally felt like a doll that he got to dress up and make look perfect all the time, it was exhausting. What is crazy to me is that I didn’t always see it in the moments, but I look back now thinking WTF!

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