OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH.
A small part of my story (and recovery).
Victims of emotional and psychological abuse and manipulation in a marriage can often fail to see it for what it is. It’s more than just someone being “mean” or both parties having their “bad mood” days. It’s more than disagreements, more than “just” depression, more than being “too sensitive” and more than “they’re just stressed.”
Often the party on the receiving end of the abuse experiences both mental health issues and physical health complications, among other things. Some victims of spouses with diagnosed narcissistic personality disorder report diagnosed fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, heart conditions, gut issues, migraine headaches, out-of-control blood pressure, extreme weight gain or loss, and much more. Of course, when you look at it in a silo and don’t factor in their environment, it’s easy to diagnose their symptoms and think they can fix it themselves. Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, healthy eating and other health options are all available, but do they really help? In many emotional and psychological abuse situations, victims (that have escaped and recovered) have used their social media platforms to say that treating the symptoms and not the actual problem didn’t help much, and sometimes made everything worse over time.
The best part? Once the abuser discards you or you leave them, so many of those health issues start improving! There are still side effects and triggers that are left in their wake, but for me, I’m not living in the fight, flight, freeze or fawn loop with him anymore. My anxiety doesn’t sky rocket when I get home, wondering what mood he is in or what he will say or do to me. I don’t freeze up anymore when I hear his truck pull into the driveway, wondering if he is drunk and will start physically threatening me over something I did days ago. I don’t hurry to get my son into bed before he comes home from work, trying to anticipate the moods, the anger, and keep it from my son to protect him. I don’t panic about decisions anymore . . . that stress of having to make the right choice and knowing whatever choice it is, it won’t be right, is gone. And I don’t roll over and play dead during his outbursts since doing anything else would only escalate his anger.
It’s a hard topic for a lot of people because it is so personal, and no story is the same. The awakening and recovery from such a situation does have some common threads, and in that many of us have found a community of support and education. We aren’t all experts and certified professionals, but we are survivors and we experts of our own stories.
A Tik Tok creator (@whatdoesitmatter is AMAZING!) recently listed nine things that you might discovery after leaving a narcissist, and I love them. They are all true.
- They were far worse than you thought they were
- Everything they ever said to you was pretty much a lie
- Their absence from your life is the gift that keeps on giving
- You were never high-maintenance and you have an extremely high tolerance for bullshit
- Contrary to what you were told, there are an infinite number of nice people around you that are way better than the narcissist [and their flying monkeys]
- You are way more capable that you were made to believe you were through their conditioning
- True happiness starts after you leave the narcissist
- The good times were really not that good. . .
- The narcissist is more than just an awful person.
I keep thinking about some of the things he said and did to me during our marriage. I am ashamed and shocked that I let so much fly. But I am an empath, a highly sensitive person. When he acted out towards me (every single day), I often thought of the reasons behind it. His own mother is a narcissist and his father was an alcoholic, among other things. He suffered from other things that I was aware of (probably more so than him). I was always aware of the pain behind his actions. And I accepted it and continued to think he was working on himself and would get better. I hid so much from friends and family. There are things that my closest friends don’t know, because I was in denial and was too embarrassed to share some of the things he did.
Anyway, I have created some fun, happy illustrations of the harsh things he (and some of my friends) said to me in the final years or our relationship. I don’t think people realize how much they can impact an abuse victim from outside the marriage… some of that shit was harsh, and only made my husband’s allegation and abuse stronger. It really makes me smile to put the bullshit into some nice pretty pictures…