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19 Things to Remember when Recovering from Narcissistic Abuse

Recovering from Narcissistic Abuse

I am almost three months into my divorce process and the time and space have done amazing things to heal my heart and soul. I will admit, things have been much easier for me than I expected. I got a great job right away, which is gradually ramping up my hours so I have time to adjust and get my finances in order before I get off government assistance. I have all the support I need from my family and Im living with my parents, which, while is kind of along the lines of “tiny house” snug, is still comfortable and has been going really well. I think not being all by myself when the kids are gone has been a huge help mentally, and I really think the better I am, the better the kids will be able to adjust.

And make no mistake, the kids are still adjusting. I expect that process will take a while. I am not in my “final” home yet, nor is he (he will be moving as well). There will still be more transition for them, and I suppose that’s life, always moving into the next phase, changing. I don’t like the lack of stability, especially for my youngest one, who has lived in the same house her whole life, but that’s just how it goes. Some things I cannot prevent.

I think the biggest thing I have learned is acceptance and self-forgiveness. This is not the life I had planned for myself. And sometimes thinking about the future is absolutely terrifying. I worry I might be single for the rest of my life, while some days that sounds amazing. I am sometimes overwhelmed by the possibilities of my future and not always in a good way. I feel a lot of pressure to do everything “right” and be ok all the time. But, failure is part of being human and I know not everything I do will be the right thing or the best thing or even something I don’t have to go back and fix. That’s ok. I’m learning as I go. And I can’t keep echoing the critical voice I have heard for so long in my mind, I have to let that stuff go and learn from it, but move on.

I have learned not everything is black and white and I am not that great at predicting the future, my Ex has surprised me by being much more co-operative and courteous than I really thought he would be. Even after learning about this blog. Which is actually very impressive since I have been very candid and far less than kind. Does his reaction invalidate my experiences in our marriage? I would say not at all, but it does help me let things go and move on easier. And it does reinforce the idea that while you should be prepared for the worst, you may not experience it, and that should not hold you back from taking the necessary steps to heal from an abusive situation. The first step being, to leave it.

I want to be clear, I feel very blessed to be able to experience the level of forgiveness I have for him. That is whats best for me, for my kids, and for our relationship going forward as we raise our kids. I also am commited to raising awareness about narcissistic abuse, and abuse in general, because so much isn’t recognized and it destroys people who live with it. I am not full of hate or bitterness, but then again, things may be different were he making my life hell and causing a bunch of problems with our children.

I also want to be very open in my acceptance of responsibility in the demise of my marriage. I chose to leave, I chose this because I feel very strongly it was in the best interest of my children. I, as the person I am, with the standards I have, and the personality I have, am not able to be married to the man I married and show a halthy example for my children. This is not to say what he did isn’t what destroyed our relationship, because it did. But it is to say that I CHOSE this. I took power back and responsibility back for myself and decided that enough was enough. And it sucks, because its not what I wanted. It was never what I wanted. But, everything that is worth anything in this life, sucks to create. Its hard, and its going to be worth it.

Not all of these quotes are for me, some are for you. I’ve read every comment on this blog, I know you guys. We are not only our past, we are so much more. Stay strong! Even if you’re still in it. There is light right around the corner. <3

recovering from narcissistic abuse

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14 thoughts on “19 Things to Remember when Recovering from Narcissistic Abuse

  1. Erin says:

    I didn’t realize my narcissist was one until I left. My divorce has been far worse than my marriage ever was, but going back (I tried once) is not an option. Surviving the next 13 years is going to be much harder than I thought. Glad to hear that your storm has quieted after leaving.

    1. J says:

      Erin

      I was married to a covert one for 10 years. My divorce was hell and finalized a year ago. Co-parenting with her is still non-existent. Parallel parenting is the only option. I made lots of mistakes during the split up. I exposed her to many friends, neighbors, and family. I tried to go back once during the proceedings too. It’s hard to adjust to a life without the highs and lows. But rest assured, the peace you will gain from moving forward without a narcissist is far greater than anything you can imagine. Surviving won’t be as hard as you think. You’ll learn to thrive. I wish you and everyone else on this site the best. It’s not easy to leave one, but nothing that’s ever really worth doing is easy.

      Good Luck

      J

  2. Theresa says:

    So proud of you. I wish I had the guts earlier in my marriage to leave, but after 46 yrs, it doesn’t make any difference. I go about my life and he goes about his and sometimes we meet in the middle. I’ve learned to tune him out and go about my own business. God bless you and your children.

  3. Hala says:

    I am so happy for you. I can almost taste your freedom. I know it’s hard but it’s so worth it to live a life without someone verbally and emotionally trying to break you at every opportunity. Sometimes for days at a time with no break. I’m hoping that maybe, just maybe, when it’s time for me to find my bravery and leave.. he will surprise me by not being a monster through the divorce.
    I wish you so much love and light.

  4. J says:

    It only keeps getting better. My kids adapted so well, but they were very young. Choosing between marriage and mental health is the worst choice ever, but cherish your sanity. I’ve struggled to forgive my ex and myself, but each day gets me closer to that end goal. Samantha – thanks for continuing to provide awareness.

    J

  5. BronxMom says:

    Please post an update! Thanks for your honesty.

  6. Nicole says:

    Thank you so much for blogging your experience. I was in the middle of crying my eyes out about why my husband was treating me this way when i came across your blog. It all makes sense now, my husband is a narc! Almost every single detail fit. I cant even tell you how many times i said to myself that it felt like i was walking on eggshells, always second thinking (if saying anything at all) what to say to him, afraid that he’ll get mad or it’ll stress him out or cause him to draw away from him. So many times i wondered what I was doing wrong that caused him not to have intimacy towards me except when he initiated it. I realize now that it was all about control. My husband and I was long distance for the beginning of our relationship and he did and said all the right things. I thought i was getting a caring, supportive, normal husband. but as soon as we got married and started living together, he changed. I vividly remember being only one month in to us living together wondering “what did i get myself into”. he changed immediately, everything was too stressful and he would make me feel like shit just for asking normal questions like how his day was. I even had to tell him it was not okay that he come into the house and not talk to me, and he was pissed that i felt that way. I caught him having multiple emotional affairs and he blamed it on me for going through his things and for being stressful. he NEVER communicated but also got mad that i was able to things myself. I was very independent when i met him and he always tried to make it seem like he “saved” me somehow. Even telling me a couple of times that I wouldnt know what to do without him. Hes also not emotional supportive, AT ALL. I can only depend on him to pay the bills, anything other than that im on my own. I noticed a while ago that when we’re in front of people he acts like the husband i want him to be, very attentive and affectionate, but once we’re back home he immediately becomes distant. In the 3 years that we have been together, I only remember him saying sorry once. We’re separated right now and i’ve been taking it hard, wondering why hes treating me this way and how he can act like all of this is nothing. While we’ve been separated i let him know that my granny had passed away, he text’d me that he was sorry and didnt know what to say and immediately right after said he had to start getting ready for bed and goodnight. didnt ask how i felt or if i was okay. nothing. Its been so many times that i felt like he was playing mind games with me to make me think im crazy but now i know that it wasnt me, it was him. Every since we separated i have been racking my brain on how i could have been a better wife and this blog made me realize that it wasnt me, it was him and no matter how high i pt him on a pedestal and did practically anything he asked, it was never going to be good enough. it wasnt me, it was him. thank you for this blog. i am glad that you got out of your situation as well. i hope the universe blesses you with all things peaceful during your journey.

    1. Brittany says:

      I’m excited i stumbled across this blog when I googled “how to stay married to a narcissist” and I could have written your post myself! Literally, the exact same everything :-/ so we separated after I caught him having emotional affairs (of course my fault) and I filed for divorce, but I was pregnant with our second child and he convinced me to come “home” (although it’s “his house” when he wants it to be) after our son was born, and of course nothing has changed. I don’t think he is currently having affairs, but he is such an excellent liar, I would never know for sure. I truly wished I never gave him a “second” chance. He will never change, actually he is getting worse with time.

    2. Tired wife says:

      Nicole, I am so sorry you’re having to go through this. I am a fellow wife with a very similar situation to yours except I’m still in it. I’d love to have a friend to talk to that can relate. Let me know if you’d be interested in talking. Peace and prayers your way! Catherine

  7. Ann says:

    Dear Sam,
    I am so envious of you, and the fact that you were able to figure out that your husband was a narc, and your marriage had no hope, so you did not waste half your life trying to fix something that was irreapairable. I lost 21 years of my life with a man who mentally, physically, and verbally abused me 30% of the time. But hey, 70% of the time he was an okay kind of guy, so do you break up a family and live in poverty when he’s okay 70% of the time? I’m sure you know exactly how that thought process goes. The answer is YES! I had heard of narcissism, but just thought it was someone who thought highly of themselves. Had I seen the list of characteristics of a narcissist, and the hell they reap in relationships, and how it perfectly described him and my marriage, maybe I could have saved myself much sooner.
    Your leaving while your children are young is the smartest decision you will ever make. I left when 3 out of 4 of my children were in their late teens, and were old enough to take sides, rather than the innocence of young age, and mommy love. I will never understand how someone so evil, who did absolutely nothing to help raise his children, can be so charming that he is able to turn my children, who had a really good mom, who loved them more than her own life, and who dedicated her entire life to their happiness, against her. He has abused them in the same way as he did me since I’ve left, in which they come running to me, but he is always able to sweet talk them back to him, and gets them to cut me out of their life. Even my 9 year old (who is now 16) was afraid of his dad, and thought he was mean when I left, now has a super dad, who buys him things, lets him play video games 24 hours a day, and does not expect him to do chores or homework when he is in his home. Now I’m the bad guy, and he doesn’t want to be with me. His father encourages him to swear at me, call me names, get physical, etc. so I’ll “give up” and let him go live with his dad. That will never happen.
    I just wanted to warn and prepare you that I think most narcs are kind during the initial leaving phase. They’re trying to behave in hopes that you will come back. Mine didn’t even get an attorney at first. But when they figure out that you’re really not coming back, things will change, and they will need to destroy you for having the audacity to leave. It has been 7 years since I left mine, and he continues to spend every single day trying to ruin my life financially and emotionally, and he has pretty much succeeded. He let our house, which had $70,000 of equity in it, go into foreclosure, just to ruin my credit. He went 2 years without paying child support (he’s self employed, so no paycheck to garnish), and now threatened with jail time, makes sure to pay it as late as possible. I could go on and on at the evil and destruction that has gone on in the last 7 years, but I’m sure you can figure it out.
    It will be hard. Really, really hard. You will start to think that the misery of being married to them is still better than the misery of divorce. He will put you through a hell that you didn’t think even he was capable of. You will lose friends and family because he will feed them charm and lies and destroy your reputation. They will tell you “but he’s such a nice guy, are you sure it’s that bad?” People will think you’re a psycho, because he will tell them so. He will tell lies in court, and you will fear the judge will believe him. He will be granted things in the divorce that he does not deserve, while you will go without. It will not be fair. None of it will be fair or deserved.
    But I also want to tell you that it’s worth it. Hang in there. Losing everything, being broke, losing people you thought were there for you, losing your reputation, it’s all worth it. It’s the price you have to pay to end the torture, and it’s worth every bit of it. There are men out there who will treat you the way you deserve, and not yell at you, blame you, or call you names.
    He will ruin you, but he will continue to live his miserable life, and you will rise above it all and find happiness anyway. Stick with God. Give it all up to God, let him take care of the bastard, and live the life you deserve. I’m praying for you, a woman I have never met, but want so much for!

    1. Samantha Matthews says:

      Thank You! I appreciate that so much. <3

    2. Mona says:

      What a succinct and accurate portrayal of what triumphis in the face of darkness. May God’s grace and mercy abound towards you. Thank you.

  8. Shari says:

    Hi Sam,
    I know it must be difficult now, but damn we really admire you! And wish you well, and hope you’ll tell us more about your new life, even if it’s not totally roses…Maybe a new blog? “After the Storm”?
    All the best!

  9. Tired wife says:

    Thank you so much for creating this blog. I am so happy to hear of your progress and recovery from your difficult marriage. I know you have gone through challenging situations with your ex, but you seem so far ahead of the game. I can almost feel your “freeness” that you must be experiencing. I don’t know you, but I just wanted to say that I am proud of you.
    I stumbled upon your website it a few weeks ago, as my husband and I have gotten into the darkest part of our marriage ever. I am stuck as to what to do, probably much like how you were feeling before you made the decision to leave. All of the issues are the same, but I am being blamed for something I have not done for many many years and he cannot move past it. I am chained in my marriage and am not even the same person that I was.
    I don’t like to ask others for prayers, but I have no place to feel safe to talk or even ask for prayers regarding this. Please help me to seek peace and a clear decision. I will pray for all those in a similar situation.

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