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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

recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse recovering from narcissistic abuse



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32 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:


      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


      1. Kim McCulley says:

        I left my narcissist on July 6, 2017. I filed for divorce, but can’t find him. He ignores my calls and messages. I don’t know what to do. We have nothing to split, no children together, yet he is still acting in charge. I want the divorce and him gone!

        1. Lexie says:

          Currently am waiting for the response to the divorce papers. Meanwhile he is acting like we are still together even though there is a protection order and I’ve been gone for three weeks now. My fight to rid myself of my narcissist is only just beginning but I wish he was just gone!

  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.

    1. Darlene says:

      I have been married for 42 years to a husband that I never understood. I was not allowed to go to college, I worked. I am at a cross roads at what to do. My husband has started disappearing for days, he says he is at a friends…a woman that he left our church for to go to her church. He appears and creates a reason to go and then is gone for 24 hours or a couple of days. I am in the process of deciding weather to continue living thru this or Divorcing him. How do you cope with living with him?

      1. AT says:

        Either hire a PI or leave. Trust me please,he’s having an affair

  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.


    1. Mimi says:

      wow love that “choosing between marriage and mental health”…that clears it up for me! Thanks!

  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

    3. Kim McCulley says:

      Same exact story, God bless you and stay strong!

  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.

    3. Deanna A Rounds says:

      I was married to a narc for 21 years – when I left I realized “our” friends were all his friends. I had little support but the tiny crumb of self respect that remained told to me to go and go right then. My family was supportive but not local. It was terrifying and wonderful at the same time to finally be free of his stuff. I remember the first night I was in my own apartment – I was wearing sweats (not allowed at home because he hated them), watching TV and eating a bowl of cereal for supper because I was tired and did not want to cook- eating cereal for supper was never an option – it was my job to provide a good meal every night after all he had a physical job and all I did was work at a desk and on and on and on it went. Anyway that first night alone I looked around at my tiny 3rd floor walk up apartment with almost no furniture and said to myself If I never have more than this I will be happy because I know I did the right thing. I am 17 years away from that moment and it is true. It was not without struggles and worry and tears but I made it and I found myself again and I am worth loving with no reservations.

      1. Kim McCulley says:

        Awesome!! I am just now starting this journey and will need prayers. I am so proud of 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. James Lee says:

    Saw someone post one of your quotes today. “Narcissists have no boundaries. They feel entitled to say whatever they feel is true, and litter their opinions, whether it’s rude, hurtful, or not true at all. They will then get angry when you defend yourself and blame you for causing drama.”

    Took me a while, but I tracked down a whole slew of your posts, including this one. I’ve been reading them for about an hour, including replies. Really liked how you focused not just on how the whole thing affects you, but others that are involved, including children. Lucky for me, my wife and I are fortunate enough to have avoided marital issues that lead to problems that lead to separation, divorce and worse. But I get what you’ve said.

    If you’re interested, my experience provides a perspective of how divorce works for kids (in my case, there are at least seven half-siblings between five parents, although at least one of those half-siblings has half-siblings not related to the rest of us, over 36 years, one of the mothers being younger than three of them) caught in the middle when many of those parents are not just narcissists, but child abusing psychotics protected by the police and other child protection agencies.


    You can find my thoughts and observations on this at the link above. It’s a good deal longer than your blogs, and comes in thirteen parts, but provides an insight into the damage caused not just by self-centred people who happen to be narcissists, but by the very authorities who are supposed to help the victims. It reveals what happens when children, not just women, are the victims caught in domestic violence situations and then isolated and silenced, while the abusers are concealed and enabled.

    Most of the people who read it are shocked that this could have been allowed to happen, that it has been covered up for the thirty plus years since it was first reported, that it has impacted so many victims over the last forty plus years, that it still continues, that the abusers have escalated and profited from what they do, that many of those victims are now repeating the cycle of abuse, that at least three suspicious deaths have never been investigated, that nobody is concerned for the children still in their ‘care’.

    Most of those people, who know how to contact me, have asked me to write a book. I’m trying. It’s hard. The struggle with PTSD, depression, a lack of confidence, and absolutely no idea how to get it published let alone find the funds to make it happen are difficult to overcome. But, until then, I just write a blog. I speak for those denied a voice. I try to remind people that there are thousands of victims that need people to listen and help them affect positive change.

  10. 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.

    1. Ashley says:

      I pray that things will work out for the best peaceful outcome. Never feel that you are chained into a marriage. I left my marriage of 10 years because of the abuse and living with a true narcissist who is also bipolar and I would label him an undiagnosed sociopath. There is always a way to get free. I pray that you will find that way.

    2. Kim McCulley says:

      I will pray for you and your future. Remain strong, their is help out there God bless!

  11. Hannah Brown says:

    Reading this post and the comments has helped me so much today. I am in the early stages of divorce. I was married for almost 9 years, our anniversary is in a few days. I finally came to my senses and left him when he wouldn’t take care of me after getting sick from taking care of our children when sick. He told me to go back to WA (we were living in CA at the time), that I was a shell of who I was and if I was going to be a shell I had to be his trophy wife, and that I didn’t deserve the degrees on the wall (he ripped them all down in front of our kids) and that I should just be his roommate. I left a really good job to move to CA because he convinced me it would all work out for our business down there. He failed, I failed and now I’m left with regret of not leaving him sooner when I had our own place and a really good job. I’m trying to get a teaching job again. Currently living with my parents. The kids aren’t handling it well. My son wants us to get back together and makes comments about it all the time. It hurts. I can’t go back to him! I can’t ever go back! I’m searching for support groups. We both have lawyers and he is fighting for 50/50 custody. He got mad at me for taking the kids to church and putting them in VBS. He is fighting me on where they will go to school. Our divorce is so brutal right now. The storm is strong. Starting counseling this week, and I hope it helps. He became suicidal so I have the kids right now pending his physic evaluation. He blames me for everything. He will be nice one day and chew me out the next day. I though leaving him would get me away from him and his verbal abuse. It hasn’t. I thought leaving him would make things easier, it hasn’t. I’m so ready for this all to be over, but he says he will fight me until he gets what he wants. I don’t want to give in to 50/50 and struggle with standing my ground because I just want this all to be over with so I can focus on rebuilding my life. Any suggestions on groups to join or things that have helped others that have commented on this blog or you yourself?

  12. I’m at the beginning of my healing journey and these quotes spoke to me like nothing else has…thank you for sharing them, and for making me realize I’m not alone in what I’m feeling! <3

  13. Sarah Miller says:

    I am 10 months out of my abusive 9 year marriage. I didn’t realise how abusive, or how affected I was until I left. My ex is a classic narcissist. His brother suggested the possibility to me over 5 years ago and I thought he was being overly critical and unfair!
    I am currently really struggling with life on my own. I am loving being away from him and I am not looking for another relationship. I enjoy my own company. But I am finding it so hard to make even basic decisions. I am finding it scary to have the sole responsibility. I am so used to being told what I am going to be doing, where I am going, what I am allowed to spend money on (even though I was the sole income earner), and so on. I now worry about so many things. And I feel angry ALL THE TIME. I am reading more about narcissistic abuse and I am able to identify why I feel this way. But it doesn’t really make the healing process feel any better! I am also finding it hard to explain this to my close friends and family. The answer to them is so easy and so obvious. And I get it! But the reality is so much harder.
    One upside for me is that my children aren’t his children and they are older teenagers. They were also victims of his abuse and are flourishing out from under his control. Neither of them have seen him since I left. I don’t know how I could cope having to share parenting with him.

  14. Desperate Naija wife says:

    Thank you for this. Thank you very much.

  15. Kim McCulley says:

    Update: My divorce will be final August 29, 2018. I haven’t been this happy in years..I want to thank those who shared their stories. I would still be wondering why I’m so horrible.

    Love you all,

    Kim McCulley

  16. Kim McCulley says:

    That’s exactly how I found out about my Narcissist. I was crying and came across this site. I was shocked their was a word for it. Every story I read was my story. I couldn’t believe it. I read as much as I could about the subject. I’m out of that situation now and happy.

    God bless you and stay strong.

    Kim McCulley

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