I Was Told This While Leaving a Narcissist

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It took me a long time to free myself from a narcissist.

Sadly, there’s nothing unusual about this. It’s their standard emotional operating procedure. When you anger a narcissist, it lengthens the path to freedom.

During my long breakup, I heard the same phrase more than once.

Only from a few people but it still stung. The way words do when your skin is too damaged and thin to absorb them.

People mean well especially when they are forced to witness long-term suffering. But even well-intentioned words can miss the mark if someone has never experienced this crippling personality disorder. Because it is highly complex, severely misunderstood, and rarely diagnosed.

“You’re stuck,” some would say.

These are the words that once fought back tears.

I was already anguishing. I shouldn’t have listened. I should have covered my ears, hung up the phone, or walked away.

I should have focused on the people who had the opposite opinion in my life. Those who would shake their head and wonder how I would ever escape. Who would vocalize every time I attempted to take one step forward, the narcissist found a way to take me two steps back.

But I didn’t.

I marinated in every comment flung even remotely near my barely breathing heart. The same organ irrevocably weakened by a man who once made it beat beyond my body.

But back to that highly complex, severely misunderstood, and rarely diagnosed disorder.

Narcissists bear common traits along with a distinguishing one…the alarming lack of empathy. But there is a spectrum to narcissistic personality disorder. A narcissist can range from mild to moderate, to severe or malignant. This is just one of the aspects which will help determine your ultimate freedom.

The next would be who ended the relationship?

Anger and a need for control expose the narcissist. If the narcissist has chosen to have an affair or leave it may possibly (though not certainly) diminish the duration of the breakup. The narcissist while still, the game-playing punisher may perceive they are in control. Therefore, their anger may not be as exhaustingly long or explosive because they may feel less wronged. However, if you are the one to end the relationship the punishment may be more severe and prolonged.

Next, you must consider the narcissist’s fight for control.

Narcissists do not negotiate they win. It is the reason they rank among the lengthiest divorces. They are incapable of compromise and will fight to control either children or assets or both. They will use and confuse children either in the form of custody, manipulation, or spousal alienation. Assets will be their primary objective and will be used to control, punish, and manipulate.

And in the narcissist’s ‘own perception of reality,’ if they believe you have wronged them, they may be unrelenting for years.

The aforementioned factors are followed by how vulnerable you have made yourself.

Do you work outside of the home or raise your children? Do you make enough money to be financially independent? Do you have parents you can move in with or who can help you? Do you have control of your finances? Do you have a well thought out plan, support system, counseling for your children, research on leaving a narcissist, and legal counsel? The less dependent and the greater the plan, the sooner you can escape. Not a dramatic word for those who have left a narcissist. In fact, it’s quite accurate. If you are financially vulnerable without a plan and support system it can elongate leaving and financial and emotional abuse.

I now laugh at the words, “You’re stuck.”

I was never stuck.

I am the one who stayed in marriage counseling when he stopped going. I am the one who asked him to leave if he wouldn’t remain in counseling. I am the one who after several months of trial separation, spent two years enlisting the help of family to get a true separation. And I am the one who initiated the divorce.

I didn’t leave an individual with narcissistic characteristics. Nor did I leave an undiagnosed narcissist. I didn’t leave a narcissist who was mild. I left one who was considered malignant. On the severe side of the spectrum.

He did not leave me.

I left him.

Exaggerating both his anger and his need for control and punishment.

And though we built a business and investment properties together, I gave over control of the finances when we began having marital problems. This combined with raising our children, made me financially vulnerable. The fact there were considerable assets made the narcissist determined to hide money, lie, and prolong divorce to avoid child support.

Like many others who unintentionally entangle themselves with a narcissist, I was both naive and trusting. I did not have a plan before I left. Even though I was leaving an individual who had been diagnosed by a psychologist with narcissistic personality disorder. I still never believed he was capable of what he ultimately did. Before I knew it, my world was completely out of control and I had no safety net.

I was never stuck.

I was in the combat of my life. I was fighting for my children and their emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being while their father raged a war they had never enlisted to battle.

He was the one who was stuck.

He kept me on the front lines of a narcissistic battlefield.

The type of emotional warfare that lesser soldiers would have surrendered to.

I now laugh at the words, “You’re stuck.”

No, “I’m still standing.”

National Relationship Columnist, Freelance Journalist & Former Business Columnist. All Shapes of Love — #WomanResurrected

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