I am a survivor.
As of this month, September 2019, I am in the process of shifting the focus of my coaching to include what God taught me through personal life experience.
I had no idea what a NARCISSIST was even though I was married to one for 18 years. That relationship ended about 20 years ago. 38 years is a long time to not realize what I dealt with and to not recognize how far I had come.
I now realize that I am more than an encourager to women, which is one of my gifts, but also an encourager to survivors.
So, what brought on this shift? I give thanks to today’s technology—I read an article and watched a video which led me to realize that what I had experienced had a name—narcissism. My story is classic, so I’ve purposely kept it short and without precise detail. I am not writing this to hurt or lash out at anyone, quite the opposite. I want to encourage other women through sharing my story.
Signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
I missed the outright and typical narcissistic signs while dating my (ex) husband as he strategized and hid them well:
- He had grandiose ideas about himself.
- He was preoccupied with fantasies of success.
- He had a deep need for attention and admiration.
- He lacked empathy for others.
- His relationships were troubled.
- He had a sense of entitlement.
- He envied others.
Narcissistic Signs Gradually Emerge
Each of these signs of narcissism came out gradually. They pushed through the surface in a subtle nature and snowballed in intensity as time went on.
Narcissism Victim’s State of Denial
After 18 years of marriage, I had experienced much. But, the most confusing part of it for me was my state of denial. I refused to tell anyone about the situation. I supported him and wanted my marriage to remain in-tact.
I was embarrassed, and I stopped believing in myself.
I didn’t want anyone outside of the walls of our home to know who my husband was, and nobody did. I lived one life inside my home, another life when I went to work, and another with my children present. It was a small and tightly wrapped world. I constantly looked for ways to not let the truth of narcissistic abuse show.
To this day, I do not want to go into the exact details of the mental abuse, which began to border on physical abuse. To this day, I do not want to talk about the times he got on a bus or a plane to look for “love connections,” or whatever his fantasy was that day/week/month/year. To this day, even though he is deceased, and because I refuse to live in the past, I refuse to tell the intricate details of my story. What I will tell others, as I am doing today, is that I am no longer that woman. Fooled me once. Didn’t, and won’t, fool me twice.
My Story & Why I Do What I Do
Articles such as this one posted in Healthline cover my own story to a “T”.
Am I bitter? Absolutely not. Relieved? Yes. I learned how to become the girl that I used to know, and now I’m much better. Better in the sense that I know who I am, and I know both my weaknesses and my strengths. I know what love is about. I know what love should not be.
Who helped me? God. I sought him with a vengeance, and even though I didn’t know it at first, he led me through. He has been with me all my life, of course, but I was forced into believing that I could not worship him while I was married to the narcissist. It did, indeed, take some work to feel connected in a relationship with God. Layers of evil lies had to be swept away in that effort.
I also “dated myself,” meaning, I learned who I was, and I lived with intention. I nurtured my passions and I dropped the suppressive narcissistic-applied dome of guilt and blame. I breathed.
Fast forward to today, I am remarried (to my best friend).
I own several businesses.
I have written several books and have contributed personal stories in other author’s books. I continue to write as a freelancer, and for my pleasure as well. Journaling is therapeutic, but now I don’t keep it all to myself. Sharing is caring.
I have investigated my own personality type. Per Myers & Briggs, I am an INFJ, one of the rarest of personality types (1-3% of the world’s population).
I am an introvert and an empath. Empaths frequently and unknowingly find themselves in narcissistic relationships. Once we learn the classic signs of a narcissist, we don’t get fooled again.
I also now know my God-given gifts, talents, strengths, and passions, and I focus on “why” I’ve been given these gifts, as well as the “why” of my past. All of this culminates into the “why” behind what I do today—coaching women, writing (for business, for the encouragement of others, and personal pleasure).
So, there’s my story. Without a ton of detail…the story behind why I have shifted from coaching women going through a transition in life to women that are survivors of toxic narcissistic relationships. I am repeating what I’ve said before: If I can do this (survive and thrive), you can do this as well!