Bonding With A Stranger

I had a wonderful and unexpected experience last night.

I went over to my girlfriend’s for a visit and to use her internet. While I was there she had some friends drop by. The girl was very outgoing, talkative and upbeat kind of person and I immediately took a liking to her, she was typical of the kind of friends my friend has. Usually when my g/f gets a group of her friends together there is a lot of lively conversation.

I was only listening with 1/2 my attention because I was trying to catch up with comments on here, so I don’t remember how we got on to the topic of this girls eye; but she revealed that she had lost her eye due to her ex somehow hitting her in the face with a broom. She recalled the events and said she remembered him being angry and hitting a box with it, he said it broke and flew and hit her by accident, the police say the broom was intact when they investigated the incident.

Either way, she lost her eye and now has a prosthesis eye. I must say it was very hard to tell she is a very pretty young woman. But she was saying the police pressed charges against him but she refused to testify against him and even walked into the courthouse with him holding his hand. She related some of the abuse she suffered from him and I closed my laptop and was listening at first but then I asked if she had ever researched narcissism or psychopaths and she hadn’t even heard of narcissism which is so typical as we all know. Before I knew it, it was like it was only her and I in the room. We went back and forth, one barely finishing a sentence before the other finished it for her and guess what! Our ex’s had the same name!!
Just as it is in here, our stories were eerily the same, and she felt as I do that she was lucky to escape with her life.

There was one guy in the room and my girl friend who both sat quietly and listened to the exchange that went on for God knows how long.

It got to be 2:30 in the morning before I realized I was getting sleepy and she said she had to get going. My g/f said something about us really having a bonding experience and almost group therapy session and mentioned that the guy had shown a lot of respect and restraint to just sit there listening and not getting bored. He said he didn’t mind at all because his biological father had treated his mom badly. But we were all in agreement that it hadn’t been depressing in the least, we all felt better for it. The other girl said she hadn’t talked about it like that before, that she wasn’t usually that open especially with people she doesn’t know but with me understanding where she was coming from and not judging her for staying etc she felt comfortable to share her experiences and in sharing them she got closure and insight into feelings she hadn’t previously acknowledged. She is with a really nice guy now but shares children with her abusive ex and said he still scares her, he can still control her and she knows she can’t be his friend but she has a hard time cutting him from her life. She knows his new g/f and he hasn’t changed at all and of course everything is always her fault as we all know too well. She admitted she can’t hate him, she doesn’t want to go back but no one understands why she can’t hate him. She said there must be something wrong with her. I told her I totally understand and there is nothing wrong with her.

I invited her to come here for a visit and I hope she does.

When she was leaving she came over to me and introduced herself and I stood up and gave her a hug. I felt like we had formed a very special bond last night. We might never see each other again but we both came away from this chance encounter enriched with a new understanding and feeling less alone.

She was very happy for me for getting my new job and she said admired me for my strength to over come and survive. But I was looking at her and seeing this upbeat, strong woman who has survived way worse abuse then I did and thinking how strong she is.

There is a huge misconception about abused women and men; it is that they are weak.

I think the reason people are abused and don’t leave is not because they are weak, they do it because they are strong. They think they can withstand the abuse and help their abuser, they are giving, loving people who won’t give up on the person they love when things get rough. Not every one can love like that, not everyone has the strength to endure that kind of daily verbal and emotional abuse. We may eventually feel broken because we have depleted all our resources but that strength is in us and we get strong again. If you think you can’t survive the pain you are feeling, if you think you aren’t strong enough, know that you are stronger than you know, you have already survived what would bring some people to their knees. You will survive!! Just don’t hold it inside, don’t let his words echo in your ears, speak it, put a voice to your secret fears that it really is your fault and release yourself from undeserving guilt over your own abuse.

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26 thoughts on “Bonding With A Stranger

  1. Not everyone has the strength to break free either, we get so worn down we feel like an extension of them, there just for them and until we get that sense of whole self with needs outside his, it’s hard to do. Bravo for she, you and me. We are not weak, you are so right, we are very strong. Write on xo

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    1. Aurora, thank you, how have you been? Haven’t seen much of you lately and was thinking about you today actually. I hope everything is going well, at the very least; peacefully.
      Hugs to my neighbor and sister in healing.
      Carrie

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      1. Thanks, Carrie for your kind wishes and thoughts. I think of you as well and hope all is moving along healthily. I struggle daily with many issues but am much better than a year ago when I first fragmented into a kajillion pieces. Slowly gluing me back together thanks to the validating, wonderful souls in this community. Hugs to you as well, Carrie and thanks again xo
        Janice

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  2. that was a great story. your karma will be good.it is such a revelation when we figure out what we have been dealing with, for months i tried to get my head around what went wrong, i was so good to him, loved and accepted undonditionally,…………….once i figured out what my husband really was it blew my mind and completely changed my reality.i liken it to disovering that their is really not a santa claus or easter bunny as a child,,,,,,,,suddenly our whole world has changed and now everything makes sense and we feel a loss of innocence, disappointment at being “tricked”it hurts somethihg deep inside because the revelation is like knowing you were with a vampire or a robot or a space alien. meaning…. they are not human they are basically walking shells ready to mirror supply to suck them in……………..
    i think you really helped that girl. i wish her happiness.

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    1. Julie, it was quite an eye opener for me. After listening for a while, I didn’t know if I should say anything, I wanted to just let her talk. I remember now how the conversation started, they were talking about organ transplants and she said now that she had lost one eye she is always fearful something will happen to her good eye and she will be blind. Then I asked what happened to her eye and she said she got a broom in the eye. I asked how on earth that happened and she then told the story. When I asked her if she had ever heard of narcissism she immediately wanted to know more. I rattled off a few traits and I could see her have an epiphany, after all these years she had the answer. I know how that feels, after blaming yourself all the confusion and head games to finally have an answer is huge. To be able to talk to someone else who has been there is huge.

      I was so glad I was able to do that for her, it was so unexpected and it made me realize how many victims we probably meet everyday and don’t even know it because they never speak about it and think it is their fault.

      Experience is only a waste if you don’t learn from it and use it to help others. I am so glad I am given the opportunity to use my experiences to help someone else. It truly makes it all bearable.

      She said she is with a wonderful man now. I really liked her! I smile just thinking about her, you know I think we all have a spunkiness to us because of it. That kind of abuse has to cause changes to a person I know it changed me. When you are stripped down to nothing and have to rebuild yourself and your life, when you have lost all pride, and self respect it leaves you able to be nonjudgmental, you view life with raw honesty, and your innocents has been taken away, you have knowledge thAt a lot of people never learn. Once you have lived with the devil you are never the same, I don’t view it as a bad thing, but it does make you appreciate other people more and life more. I don’t know how to describe it, I didn’t do a very good job. Hahaa

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  3. This is a horror story! It’s amazing how much a woman can take, but women are survivors and I’m just remembering that movie “Steel Magnolias.” Literature, especially classic literature, often use the metaphor of flowers when it comes to describing a woman’s beauty … but our beauty inside never fades or wilt. It just becomes stronger and more pronounced throughout the years. You are stronger now and understand more now … keep on keeping on. I’m glad that you met that girl and was able to help her and listen to her story.

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  4. I am new to this site. It has been 2 years since I kicked my husband of 30 years out! Of course he has a much younger girlfriend. I could never have had the courage to do it if not for my then 15 year old son! He had been begging me to kick his father out for several years! He saved my life! I have three children with him and they all hate him! It has taken me this long to even entertain that something is wrong with him. He was so good at his abuse of me. With a lot of help I am starting to realize the hell I have lived for so long. Always thinking something was wrong with me! In the process of a divorce that of course is going to leave me without a place to live, massive dept, and no education! So scared!!! At 50 Im having to start new and not sure I will make it! Will I ever find peace in this mess?? I feel so broken! Any words of encouragement?

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    1. Joann, yes I have words of encouragement!! There is life after the N! Hang in there! You are stronger than you realize, life is just beginning.

      You have a very smart son who loves his mom and needs to see her being respected and living a life without fear.

      I know it’s scary, and I say that from experience because I left when I was 53 with $5 and enough fuel to get to my g/f’s and 1/2 a pack of smokes. The last two years have been hell, I have cried an ocean of tears and wanted to give up so many times but I knew I couldn’t do that to my son (even though I had one failed attempt). Most of that time is a blur but it is the two year anniversary today and my life is getting better by leaps and bounds.

      I know being without a place to live is scary, if you can sleep on a friends couch, anything! Swallow your pride, I know its so hard but I guarantee you once you are totally free of him life will slowly get better.

      Once the divorce is final (why won’t you get anything out of the divorce settlement? You should) go “no contact” your son is old enough he can communicate with his father if he wants.
      1. The fastest way to heal is to not give your ex any opportunity to cut you down. Any contact with him is toxic, I can not stress that enough.
      2. Come here often and feel free to vent, cry, voice your fears rage; whatever you need to get through the day, that hour or 5 minutes. Everyone here has been where you are and understands and won’t judge. You will get unconditional love, support and encouragement here.
      3. Be patent with yourself, allow yourself to grieve and don’t let anyone tell you what you “should” be doing. You have endured years of abuse you are not going to heal over night and just “get over it”.
      4. Remember it was not your fault. You did not deserve to be abused; no one does!! I am sure your ex is rubbing your nose in his new found “love”, he doesn’t know what love is! He will never be able to feel love and the new woman will find out soon enough. You will heal, he will always be an abusive soulless a-hole, he will never change, he can’t.
      5. I know you feel broken and all alone but you are stronger than you realize, you just survived abuse comparable to the abuse POW’s suffer and are probably suffering from PTS have you talked to a professional about your situation and what you are dealing with. Not all of them are aware of the horrific abuse a narc dishes out, you have to find one that specializes in that kind of abuse.
      6. He is going to be on your mind constantly and you are going to feel like you are going crazy sometimes with the erratic emotions and you’ll wonder why you don’t run out of tears. You will feel empty, uncertain, overwhelmed and unable to cope, all signs of PTS. You have to remember that for however long you were with your ex he made sure he was the centre of your world. Everything you did in the day somehow involved him and trying to keep him happy. You have been told you are wrong to feel what you are feeling so you have become dependent on him to even tell you what to feel, every word you have spoken for years has been chosen before hand in hopes it wouldn’t provoke a N rage. Every decision you have made has been made considering how he was going to react.
      It is going to take time for you to trust your own feelings, desires, decisions and to feel you can make it on your own. But the day will come.
      I have a lot of information on here about healing, plus reading other women’s stories is very helpful in letting you know you are not crazy, you are not alone in your suffering.

      Please comment often, ask for advice and reach out to us. We care and we are here for you.

      Hugs to you and your son!
      Carrie

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  5. I wish I had a friend like you. Everyone here seems to have figured out their spouse was a “n” so early on in the relationship. I applaud you all for your strength and insight. I just found out after 26 years and I am trying to understand why it took me so long. You all are truly amazing and inspiring to me. The strength you have is unbelievable. I am so tired all the time. Congrats again on the new job.

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    1. Likescoffee, you didn’t realize he was an N because you WERE with him that long; you didn’t know any better. My mom was with my dad almost 30 yrs before he discarded her. No one talked about narcissist’s 30 years ago. I never knew what an N was until 5 years ago while googling abusive behavior. I can’t believe how many people have never heard about narcissist’s when its been in the medical journals for years. I had no idea how close they were to being psychopath’s either or that psychopath’s were incurable. We grow up seeing movies about psychopath’s and think it isn’t real, it could never be our husband or neighbor.

      If you get with them when you are young you don’t realize the manipulationS and head games and you don”t talk to anyone about it because you don’t want to admit what you put up with and they are telling you that it’s all your fault anyway.

      Don’t feel bad that you stayed that long, it was 10 years for me and I never would have left if he hadn’t forced me into it. I probably would have been there 25 years too. I had gotten to the point of accepting the relationship and him as he was and given up trying to explain why I was hurt or why upset. I doubted my own perception of things and after time a totally dysfunctional relationship is our normal. The more dysfunctional it becomes the more isolated the victim becomes because they can’t relate to other people’s relationships and other people would think you were lying if you told how things are at home so time goes by, before you know it 20 + years has gone by.

      It is because society doesn’t know about them and the damage they do that I started this blog, to educate people. We need to teach our kids about these people so they can recognize the signs and get out before its too late. We see it on the news or read about some guy who killed his wife and kids and assume we would have known somehow that he was capable of that and not been involved with someone like that. When they show a picture of the guy its a mug shot and he looks deranged so we assume all psycho’s or narcissist look like a nut case (we don’t even hear them being called N’s) they don’t show him when he is the family man next door.

      At least you know now, that its not all your fault and he can’t change. I’m sorry you have endured it for 26 years, you must be have very strong character to still be standing after that long. You are to be admired for enduring it and now for wanting to learn about it and make life better for yourself. Its never to late to be happy. My mom thought she would die when my dad ended it (a week after the mortgage was paid off) she left with nothing because he told her that was the way it was but later, away from his influence she took him to court and got her fair share. She has been happily married to her 2nd husband for almost 25 years. She says now that she would have left sooner and she wants to send my dad a thankyou card because her life is so much better. She didn’t feel that was possible when she was with him. She is so thankful now that she is not with him.

      I am so glad you are educating yourself, knowledge is power and it is never too late. Even if you choose to stay with him, at least you know what you are dealing with and won’t feel crazy any more. And you always have a place to come when you do feel crazy.

      Good luck
      Hugs
      Carrie

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  6. well, it took me ten years and by that time he locked me out of the house when he discarded me,…i guess i should be thankful.i miss the “original” man i met and fell in love with but today i think i finally wrapped my head around it,m 6 months very limited contact, that he was never who he pretended to be… he shapeshifted into what he thought i wanted and got me to fall for him, it took him lots of effort time and money…. once he got married to be the cracks became more and more but i loved him by then, major devalue didnt start til my pregnancy but there was definitely some incidents before where i realized things didn’t add up with him, but my parents really really really loved him,he was so damned responsible acting and worked alot, and even painted their house….just ingratiating himself into the family,,,they now know what he is, i think at first they blamed me but based on the fact i found about the incessant cheating,online porn addiction, and affair with married with children co worker that came to our house parties frequently…., well, today i realizedm and i was happy, hey, i don’t have to see him, i don’t have to listen to him berate me, blast tv all night , ignore me, etc. toward the end i think he was trying to get me to leave or something, or just disgust and terrorize me….but i had some days where i became angry because i was deceived. i think today i am at the acceptance stage and thankful to be away from this disordered person.l don’t miss his crazy , horrible, evil family either. im sure they have united and made me the common enemy. he really disrespected my familhy in the end and they treated him like their own son, but they too noticed changes in his behavior in the last 2 years and they couldn’t put finger on it… i always defended and deferred to him, saying stuff like, he works so hard… blah blah blah…..,i realize i was classic stockholm syndrome and im honestly relieved i am not with this man and today i don’t care about his OW or his new “exciting “life without me

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  7. This is such a great site. It’s like you all live with me and know how he is. I thank you all. Your stories are amazing. I feel less anxious after reading your stories and the encouragement is so appreciated. Hugs to all.

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    1. Likescoffee, thank you! It is a great group of supportive people I agree! I never envisioned this blog being a gathering place of so many wonderful supportive people. I feel so close to everyone here, and we come from all parts of the world united by pain and confusion, helping each other on our journey. The internet can be a wonderful amazing thing! I have been helped so much by the support and encouragement I have gotten here and I am often touched by the compassion and concern shown by the people here for each other.

      I would love it if some day some how we could all meet in person.

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  8. What a chance meeting.

    Since beginning my blog relating to my son’s sudden unexplained death, I have received many stories and requests for help from other parents sorting our details in an unexpected death of a child.

    One mother recently really set me back – the woman tells the story how her daughter was murdered (literally beaten to death and possibly strangled by her significant other) the coroner and DA’s will not help her even though she knows it is murder – the coroner has classified it as natural cause.

    These people must know that their lives are in danger and get out immediately when the first threats begin.

    You are doing such a wonderful service to share your experiences.

    I will post more on the blog and web site once I am past the court dates of these stories.

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    1. Ray’s mom, you too are doing a wonderful service. I have always been of the belief that we learn something from every experience even horrific things such as you losing your son. If we share our experience perhaps it saves someone else having to suffer like we are/did, perhaps we can get answers to our questions and provide answers for someone else and then out of a tragedy in our life we can make some thing good come of it.

      I hate to waste any experience and some times the pain is just too big to hold inside. I am ashamed to say I haven’t had time to really read much on your site. With the limited internet I have I barely keep up here but as soon as I move I will become a more regular visitor. You are an amazingly strong woman, and a good mom; I can’t imagine losing my son. Just typing it brings tears to my eyes, I admire your strength and thank you for your words of encouragement.

      The most heartfelt hugs from Canada
      Carrie

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  9. I am living with a narc. I am sitting down stairs at the the computer and I just heard him throw my cat across the room because she got on to the bed with him. Two years ago he strangled me unconscious because I had written a diary of the abuse which he found. I have subsequently developed Graves disease either through stress or from the actual assault to my neck. I am on 15 tablets a day and am waiting to have my thyroid completely removed. He ripped up my diary and threw it into the pond. He told me that I can’t get pregnant because I am infected by other men’s sperm. He has locked me out of the house that I own, left me on the street with little clothing on and threatened to kill my cats. He denigrates everything I do or want to do. If I go out (during the day) with a female friend he calls us lesbians. He won’t let me mention any friends names and if I do he says nasty things about them. If I suggest going to an evening class he says I am ‘fixated’ on doing daft things. Just like Julie, he blasts the TV up if I speak or says ‘bla bla bla’ He stonewalls me, belittles me and berates me. In the past 6 weeks he has called me useless, an imbecile, a whore, stupid, worthless, and he said there is nothing to love about me. He has not touched me in bed for a long time and if I try to touch him, just his arm for example he screams abuse at me. I have cried so much and so hard (every day) in the past 6 months and he just walks away and puts the TV on. Or he will say he needs to get away from my constant whining (crying) and will go to the pub. He has no friends of his own, is always on the phone to his mother, who knows more about my business than I do. He runs away frequently to her (3 hour journey). He has no feelings for anyone but himself. I am otherwise a strong 42 year old woman with a good job as a teacher. I am part time due to my thyroid issue so don’t earn a great deal of money. I own and run my own home and run a car. He doesn’t contribute to the bills saying ‘you paid them before I came along’. He insisted that I go part time and said he would contribute monthly. Now I am in 11 thousand pounds worth of debt. When he does work he earns twice what I earn. The start of this relationship seemed so perfect, but then I found out it was all based on big big lies. My parents won’t come round to visit if he is here (and they don’t even know any of this!). My mother in particular has sensed it.

    Do I sound strong? I feel weak, so weak. Four years ago I thought this man was the love of my life, my soul mate. Now I am preparing to be without him. I asked myself what I would miss… the answer was nothing. I know it is time now.
    B

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    1. rosie i just saw your post , i hope you read this. please get out. better alone than in bad company,. please get away. don’t be like me and keep giving up your power like i did. he finally discarded me after he had slowly switched up the bank accounts, cut off my cards, i was not working but managing this huge house and yard and fulltime mother, constantly cleaning up his messes.i wanted a simple family life. narcs are all about chaos. they thrive in chaos. if you are the type of person who is laid back, doesn’t want conflict, they will act the same way in the beginning stages, but later they will be the complete opposite of what they presented to you in the beginning,. i believe this is the start of the devalue cycle. you cannot bring back the illusion he presented in the beginning!!!!

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      1. Thank you Julie for noticing my post. Over 2 months later and the N is still here. He went away for work for 1 month and since he has been back he refuses to leave, saying he needs to find somewhere to live that will also accept his dog. It is my dog too, but he is taking him, my lovely labrador. I believe (with good reason) that he has someone else,but perhaps she is does not have a house of her own as I did, and therefore he has nowhere to go that is free of charge. He torments and openly admits to wanting me to suffer, he has attacked me 3 times since new year’s eve (once ON new year’s eve). Why won’t I call the police???? I have an inability to call the police. I seem to not want him to suffer like he makes me suffer. In the eyes of the law he would go to prison for a long time for this. He has now told me that he has informed all the relevant authorities of MY mental illness to back his case up !!!?&%$

        I try not to cry these days. But when I am called a whore, a cheap slag and mutton dressed as lamb it is hard not to get emotional.

        You are right Julie, better to be alone than in bad company. I know when he finally does go (and maybe it will only be with the help of the police) that it will be tough at first. But I am looking forward to getting my life back, and to be able to do all the things I like without being ridiculed for it. To waking up without being ignored and belittled, to going to bed with a good book instead of being rejected. And to know that the REAL mental illness is out of my life!!

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  10. god bless you, carrie. you are a real inspiration. i have told several of my friends how much you blog helps me. you, and everyone on it.

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  11. This is the first time that I have posted although I have visited often for words of encouragement. I spent almost 11 years with a nar. All of these stories could be mine. Even after I figured out I was dealing with a nar I still stayed. Or should I say allowed him to stay in my house. I met him in a bar and he was very charming and intelligent. Within six months he was unemployed, his car repossessed, and about to be evicted. Of course he suggested moving in with me and manipulated me into agreeing. It was pure hell on earth! Rages, I know about those, he would use them to get his way. He loved to buy technological gadgets, video games, etc. I soon realized that if he got a new “toy” he would be happy and nice for a little while. Just like Pavlov’s dogs I would respond. I have the credit card debt to prove it. Every aspect of my life went to hell after I met him-physical, emotional, financial. He tried very hard to break my relationships with family and friends, as they want to isolate you. No matter the topic of conversation we had he would disagree. This would usually lead to an argument with at some point him having a full blown rage attack. The look on his face when this happened was like looking at the face of the devil.
    Names he called me-too many to list but I think everyone here knows. I finally succeeded in moving him out of my house but not until I helped him find an apartment, had his electricity and cable turned on, got him some furniture, etc, etc. He continued to manipulate and use me even afterwards. He is a diabetic and had to have his leg amputated and needed my help. He had no friends and any family he has lived too far. He manipulated me into delivering groceries and other supplies to him and I did so. I actually felt sympathy for him. Well it did not take long for Mr. Hyde to come out again. The last I saw of him he was raging as I shut the door to his apartment. I know he will contact me again when he needs something and he will try and use his physical condition to make me feel guilty. I have to stay strong . While I no longer love him in any romantic sense , he still has some control to manipulate me. Stockholm Syndrome after almost 11 years of interacting with a nar. May God bless you all ! And yes we are strong to have endured a living nightmare and still be standing to speak of it.

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