The most common questions that most survivors start asking themselves after getting out of a narcissistic relationship are:
How could I have been so blind?
Why didn’t I listen to all the warning signs?
How could I have put up with being treated so horribly and not even realize?
How could he be telling all these people these horrible things about me?
How could I have stayed with them long enough to have children and to get our children wrapped up in this mess?
Once you start hearing yourself ask these questions, STOP! Remind yourself that you are the VICTIM in this story.
Narcissists are SO good at making sure that even after you end all contact and relations with them, they still have some control over your mind.
Never EVER forget that NONE of this was your fault. You cannot blame yourself for the choices you made when you were under their spell. How could you have seen the demon behind the mask?
Lately, I have been going through a rough patch myself and have had these questions swarming my mind always. How could you not feel at least some sort of guilt for everything? I began to feel guilty for all of the pain and suffering I put my friends and family under, the terrible choice I thought I was making for myself, how I let myself ignore my instincts and all the many red flags that kept popping up. I couldn’t understand how I couldn’t see what everyone else was seeing.
One of the most important things that you need to realize is that your body was reacting correctly! All of the times you felt uneasy, dirty, worried, or unsure about anything that was happening in your relationship, that was your body reacting the right way. All along your unconscious knew that you were not in a good situation and wanted to get you out. However, the stronghold that the narcissist had on you made you stay. That was NOT your choice no matter how you may think it was. All of this is a good sign! Your body does know how to react to unkind situations! Trust your instincts! They’re working just fine!
No matter how many times my friends or family vocalized their true feelings towards my relationship with my narcissist, I was still controlled by my narcissist, Alex, and didn’t want to hear their truths. It hurt me deeply to hear all the people I cared about talk so badly about someone I thought I loved. However, it also validated my concerns with the relationship that I kept to myself deep down. It was the turning point for me to force myself to step back and honestly look at my relationship. My true self did hear their cries to help me see the truth, but Alex was also talking in the other ear, discrediting anyone that would try to talk badly about him.
How could any survivor blame themselves for not listening to the cries of the ones who genuinely care about them when narcissists have SO much control over their minds. You cannot put that blame on you. Narcissists know how to discredit everyone other than themselves, and at that point, the narcissist is the only one who makes your decisions for you. You don’t have your agency anymore.
When I was with Alex, he was my first serious boyfriend in a long time. I was completely inexperienced with serious, adult relationships. The last real boyfriend I had was back in high school, almost six years before then. I didn’t know what was healthy or not in relationships anymore, especially when the relationship became so serious. I didn’t know if it was normal to have to make so many accommodations for someone you love. Was it normal that I had to defend him so often to everyone else? Was it normal that I would have to lose so much of myself for him? Was it normal that I would have to force myself to do things I didn’t want to do because it would make him happy? Was it normal to not seem to get much in return, or am I just not noticing the very few things he would do for me? I had always heard that relationships take sacrifices, but I felt like I was the only one making them.
IT WAS NOT NORMAL!! This is why asking others these questions is extremely important! Yes, every relationship is unique and has its own experiences, BUT a relationship with a narcissist is very different. More often than not, most aspects of a narcissistic relationship will NOT be healthy. No matter how much dating experience you might have, a narcissist can convince you that what they are making you do or think is entirely reasonable. They have to have all the control in a relationship and only want you to talk to them or the people they approve of when you have any concern about the relationship.
When I was questioning whether or not I was okay with the fact that my family did not like the man who I loved and wanted to marry, or at least I thought I did, Alex only wanted me to speak to a couple of family members that he approved of or his therapist. He was not happy whenever I would talk to anyone else and even was upset at the fact that I wanted to speak to my own therapist. THAT IS NOT NORMAL! But it is okay that I could not see that at the time. How in the world was I supposed to see how I was being treated when Alex was always controlling every little thing in my life? It is NOT my fault.
Some survivors have stuck with their narcissist long enough to marry them, and even have children with them. Not all narcissists are as diabolical as the worst kind that I typically write about. Some narcissists only bring out their nasty sides in certain situations. You may not have seen all of the signs that I have mentioned before because they don’t have all of the qualities of a typical narcissist, or your narcissist was very good at hiding them. It is NOT your fault for staying with them long enough to get children intertwined in everything. Marriage and dating are different. With marriage, people expect you to put more effort into saving the marriage, especially when you have children involved. I’m proud of all of you who have tried to make things work in your marriage when things seem never to get better, especially when you are selflessly doing it for your children. However, if you notice more and more narcissistic tendencies in your spouse, it may be better for you and your children to get out of that situation. No one would blame you for leaving someone who can never own up for their mistakes, always lie to make them seem like the hero instead of the villain, not treat you with love and respect you are due, or any other evil narcissistic qualities.
Once you can leave that old life with the narcissist behind, gently and kindly inform your kids about the narcissistic tendencies that their mommy or daddy may have so that they can protect themselves when they are with the narcissist without you. It is essential for them to know, without making your narcissist look like a horrible person, so that your kids don’t fall under their spell or believe any lies that your narcissist may tell your children about you to make you seem like the bad guy instead of them.
Your kids will still get all the love they need and deserve from you! You will be able to control more than you were able to before in your marriage, and therefore make life better for your kids. Don’t blame yourself at all for “putting them into this terrible situation.” How were you supposed to know? Narcissists are master manipulators.
The most important question most survivors ask themselves: Why me?
Narcissists are dark demons that know deep down that they are the scum of the earth, but will never admit to that. They noticed your light, strength, and happiness and sought to destroy it. Nothing brings them more joy than to be able to put someone like you under their control. It’s a challenge that they welcome.
You were chosen out of the many as an incredible person that they sought to destroy. No matter how long they had you under their spell, don’t ever forget how amazing you are. You still have that light and strength in you. That is something they could never take away.
It is not fair that you had to go through something as horrible as this, but it wasn’t because you were weak and easy to control, it was because you were so strong that they feared you. The only way they could stop fearing you was to control you and break you down as best as they could.
No matter what your narcissist may tell others now about you is a lie. They HAVE to be seen as the victim and NEVER the villain. Anyone who knows you will never believe their lies. You have to trust the person you have always been. Anyone who believes their lies is not worth having in your life. If they genuinely think you are this horrible person that the narcissist is making you out to be, they don’t know the real you.
I know you can bring back that incredible light and strength that you may not feel as strongly anymore. You are a survivor. That means that you endured something horrible, and came out of it alive! You’re still here! You can push through the after-effects of being with a narcissist. Use that incredible strength and light to be a blessing in others lives.
YOU STILL HAVE WORTH!!