Post election 2020
The day I kicked my narcissistic husband of nearly a year and a half out of my house, I felt a gargantuan victory like never before.
At the time, I cried tears of relief for hours and wondered why it took so much effort to finally put appropriate boundaries up. I only then understood the stress I had been enduring.
Those boundaries would prove to be the meager beginning of a very long struggle with knowing how to hold up against these types of forces.
To kick him out took an immense build up of convincing myself that I was not crazy; that I was acting in protection of not only myself, but our son. I had to accept that breaking up a family was the most sane thing to do. That year and a half of marriage allowed me to see the darkest side of my own conditioning. It had to get that bad for me to even realize that I had been raised by someone quite similar, but not quite as extreme.
That marriage was simply an amplification of the environment I knew as a child.
When you have a narcissistic parent, you learn to negate your own needs to keep homeostasis. You learn coping mechanisms to feel safe in an unsafe world. You cannot trust that your voice will be heard or considered. You even learn to not trust your own voice!
You cannot count on that parent having any empathy for your experience. You cannot know when the other shoe will drop because you have been gaslighted to the point of not knowing what is true. You cannot win…
Unless you realize what you are dealing with. The subtlety of a narcissist’s tactics and the erosion of trust in reality keeps you looking over your shoulder all the time.
To get out from under this kind of conditioning takes a strong constitution that can sustain this erosion, while slowly building up renewed trust in one’s own capacity to see.
You then push back very hard in a neutral zone of non-reaction.
By the time I was finalizing my divorce, I knew I was dealing with someone who could lie easily, recklessly, prodigiously and with malintent. He had been doing it all along, but I was hoodwinked by his charisma, intelligence, and the sociopathic maneuvers that could fool even the most wary of victims.
I cannot tell you how many arguments ended up with me questioning my own judgement and the sanctity of my own life. I cannot describe how many times I left a conversation hopeless, traumatized, and “outwitted.” The more I learned to bear the situation and not react, the harder he pushed until I broke down in utter rage.
It was then me who was the unskillful partner.
Throughout the divorce proceedings, he lied through his teeth and charmed lawyers and judges alike. He disappeared with little interest in seeing his child after that. Six years later, an expensive and traumatizing child custody battle ensued. I had to challenge my self-perception as a fair and just person and begin to fight for my child’s safety. Call me Nasty Woman or Mama Bear, but I was not going to pretend that fair visitation would work here.
I had to convince a judge that he would abandon his kid just like he did before. It would end up with my ex-husband winning visitation only to have him throw those rights to the wind a few months later when he skipped town with his next wife.
Winning the fight was everything for him no matter what the cost.
No narcissist likes to lose and by nature they are extremely litigious. They will go in for the fight just to win, no matter what. I make this generalization because I have seen it many times before.
All that bearing, however, can get you somewhere.
When you see someone “getting away with murder,” it degrades your hope and faith in humanity. You become traumatized by the fact that a sociopath can get away with it. At some point, however, if you are lucky enough to realize what you are dealing with, you can get out from under the emotional hold a narcissist has over you.
If you can see them from a neutral place within yourself and act with swift, decisive and fearless moves in anticipation of their immoral dance, you exert non-penetrable boundaries.
No nicy nice with expectations that they will take the high road, because they will never do that.
You learn to not engage. You learn to not take the bait. You learn that this type of person will go to great lengths despite any rules in place to get what they want no matter how much destruction in the wake. You learn to trust in goodness, decency and dignity because you have known this stark contrast. You learn to trust your own judgement, and you hold on tight.
You must don the armour of the light warrior, and stand up for what you know is just.
Let us try not to hover in fear that the other shoe will drop. We must stand in the light, jubilant, prepared, and not naive.
Blessings on a new era as we emerge from the collective trauma of narcissistic rule.