I had an email today from someone struggling with finding themselves again after leaving a narcissist. The N destroys a person so completely that the person actually feels shattered into a million pieces too overwhelmed to even know where to start the process of putting themselves back together.
This was my reply to her
First of all, this is all normal! well, as normal as life can be with a narcissist. They ALWAYS try to turn the tables and make themselves out to be the victim, always!! and because we AREN’T narcissists we start to doubt ourselves, it is all part of his manipulation and control. I wasn’t even there, I don’t know him or you for that matter and just from what you said in this email I would tell you, HE IS THE NARCISSIST and you are the victim. For one thing a narcissist never doubts themselves. Did you ever hear him say that he doubted himself? that he didn’t know who he was? that maybe he did abuse you? No! because he is a narcissist!!!
It is also normal to not know who you are. You did so much changing for him, you would give him what he said he wanted and it was never enough so you ended up being someone you aren’t and still being treated like shit. Of course you don’t know who you are.
You won’t ever be who you once were, this experience will have changed you forever. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, we all have to change and grow or we stagnate. Hopefully we all grow and become better as we age, right? This is your opportunity for immense personal growth.
When I got to the point of being almost immobilized with self doubt and didn’t know who I was any more I could only think of one way to deal with it. I took time to myself and I did a critical self assessment. I went back over the relationship and honestly asked myself, where did I screw up? what could I have done differently? Sure there were times I was not proud of where I totally lost it on him but why did I do that? How could I have better handled it? and you know what I came up with?
It was all so fricken dysfunctional I could have never dealt with it rationally or reasonably. No matter what scenario I came up with the only solution I could come up with other than what I did was to leave him a lot sooner. If you can go through the relationship and find things you did wrong I would be very surprised.
I started with my son. I love my son, I could never give up my son being in my life, James made it all but impossible to have a relationship with my son. Then I hit work, I always wanted to work, I need to work, I tried to work, James made it impossible to work yet he wanted me to be self sufficient. there was no way I could have handled it differently because he was asking the impossible. Now he is with a woman who was self sufficient because she was left with money when her husband died. But James has drained her of all her money and he still isn’t happy. There is no pleasing them.
I also took myself a part, I was broken anyway and had to put the pieces back together, it all seemed so overwhelming, when you are in a million pieces where do you start? Write it down, your flaws and good traits. What you have always been told about yourself. For me James always said i was too sensitive, my family has always said that about me too. So I looked at it, I decided yes I am sensitive but because of that I have always been there for my family, so they liked it about me when they needed it but not when it didn’t suit their needs. I decided that i probably needed to work on not being as sensitive and giving and needed to pull back a bit which I have done and it feels good. I listen to my gut a lot more than ever before. I took several personality trait tests on the internet and found it really interesting and gave me a better sense of who I am and that I am ok just the way I am. it takes all kinds to make the world go round and we fit in there somewhere.
It will take time to get comfortable with the new you, it is a weird experience that not everyone has the opportunity to do. We go through life being told things about ourselves and how we “should’ be and we just kinda go along and most people get through life being what they have been told they are and they know no different. You have the opportunity to be the most authentic you that you can be. That is a gift, believe me! it takes time and work, you have to go back to your childhood and friendships and analyze what you have been packing that wasn’t yours to pack in the first place. But when you are done you will have an inner peace and direction that you have never known.
Congratulations on not succumbing to his pressure and manipulation and for reaching out for help. Pat yourself on the back and be proud of that. You are on track, just keep looking forward, don’t look back, don’t let him suck you back into his sick world. You are on an amazing journey, you have just come across a bump in the road not a detour.
Right after replying to her email I got this video in an email and I thought it was a great compliment to the message I was trying to convey. Enjoy! Let your “YOU” shine!