Monday, June 9, 2014

Leaving my narcissistic husband changed my life



This post has been floating around in the back of my head begging to be written for a while now. When Kirsty came up with the prompt the biggest chance you've taken I knew it was time to finally get it out. I'm just hoping it makes sense now that I'm writing it because its a jumbled mess in my head.

When I decided to leave my ex-husband I really had no idea how much of a monument-us decision it was. Something just clicked in my head and I decided to do it. From that moment there was no going back, no second guessing, nothing. Once I decided to leave I couldn't go back. I couldn't imagine being with him for a minute longer. I'd had enough. Its like a light suddenly came on in my head and I could see clearly through all the bullshit and finally I realised I didn't have to live that way any more.

To set the scene for those who aren't familiar with my original blog posts, my ex-husband was the quintessential (abusive) narcissist*. I just had no idea at the time. He started out all charming. He was super attentive and affectionate which I loved at first. Having been single for a few years before meeting him, I was relishing the fact that someone loved me so much  that he wanted to spend all his time with me. I saw it as adoration in the beginning, but what I didn't see was that he was actually doing it so that I was spending all my time with him. So he always knew where I was, who I was with and what I was doing.

At first it was subtle, but it became more and more obvious as time went on. He slowly isolated me from my friends so that everything in my life was about him. He started out by not letting me go out with my friends without him. Then it went to not being allowed to go anywhere without him, even my mums house. Then we were only allowed to have friends who were married, because married people understand what its like to be married??? So eventually the majority of my friends dropped off and stopped bothering to invite me anywhere because they knew I wouldn't go anyway. I only had a handful of friends who stuck around and they were mainly people I worked with who knew the situation at home.

Soon he progressed to taking my car to work on my days off so he knew I couldn't go out when he wasn't there. On one of those days he actually had a car accident and totalled my car. Incidentally on that day mum had picked me up to discuss solicitors and how I could get out of the relationship. But, when I came home to find out my car was totalled my self confidence was shattered. My car was the only thing that was mine, just mine, and it was gone. All plans of leaving were destroyed along with my car.

So I stayed and endured a few more years. Years of being told how useless I was. How much my own family couldn't stand me. How he was the only one who truly loved me. How if I ever left him I'd never find anyone else who'd love me like he did.... etc etc. The constant taunting and verbal abuse cut so deep that eventually I became numb to it all.

Sometimes while you're going through a situation you can't quite comprehend just how big a deal it is or the effect it will have on life going forward. Sometimes, you're so invested in it that all you can do is keep going in order to survive. Its easier to keep facing what you know instead of facing the unknown. It was definitely a case of better the devil you know. He had eroded away all my self esteem and self confidence, I was emotionally crippled and couldn't imagine facing the world on my own.

Until one day it all changed.

I got to my breaking point and I'd had enough. It didn't matter what the future would be like. It didn't matter if I never found anyone else and if I was on my own for the rest of my life, because being on my own would be a thousand times better than being with him. The light bulb moment was when I found out he'd been cheating on me while we were in the midst of an infertility battle trying to conceive a child. When confronted he told me it was all my fault (amongst a whole heap of other bullshit stuff). At that point I just laughed. It was so clear to me how much an ass@*#! he was. The first thing I thought was "what if I have a daughter and she sees him treat me like this and thinks its ok".

That thought was enough to make me decide to leave. It was so over. I'd put up with a lot, but there was no way I was going to put a child through that reality. And so I decided to leave. I didn't care about the consequences, I didn't care about what might happen after. I didn't have any idea of the huge battle that lay ahead of me in order to do so, but even if I had, I still would've done it.

Its only now years later that I've really grasped what a huge chance I took. I've been seeing a psychologist for my PND and when we were talking about my general history he came up. I didn't go into detail, just a brief overview of how controlling he was and that I left. Without hesitation the first thing my psychologist said was "you're so lucky you got away from him because hes the type of person that ends up killing his wife". It kind of hit me in that moment what a huge step I'd taken. It also made me realise how incredibly grateful I was that I had done it and how lucky I was that it didn't go badly. All the statistics point to the fact that women in abusive relationships are most at risk when they're leaving the relationship. Put that together with the fact that it nearly sent me bankrupt and I could've ended up forgoing children because of it...and yea... it makes me realise just how huge it was.



Its without a doubt the biggest chance I've ever taken in my entire life and its had the biggest pay-off. While I went through months and months of emotional and financial hardship afterwards, because he was still trying to control me, I did come out the other side. And the other-side is wonderful. Life without him is nothing like he said it would be (surprise, surprise). It's liberating. It's freedom. I finally have my life back and for the first time in years the future can be whatever I want it to be.

If I never took that chance I wouldn't have the life I have today. I wouldn't have this blog. I wouldn't have fallen in love and wouldn't have my daughter. Sometimes taking a chance is the best thing you can do.


Toni x


Linking up with Kirsty and Alicia.


*Characteristics of a narcissist

  • Has an exaggerated sense of self importance
  • Is pre-occupied with power
  • Requires excessive and continuous admiration
  • Has a strong sense of entitlement
  • Has to be the centre of attention
  • Believes that they are special (more important than others)
  • Exploits others for their own gains
  • Lacks empathy for others
  • Is arrogant in behaviours or attitude

69 comments:

  1. This is a really great post - it's honest and generous. Good for you, what a huge step at the time, and glad you saw clearly enough to make that break (and what a wake up call from the Dr, saying that - you must have been shocked).
    There's not a lot I can say, but you should be proud of this post. It's a big deal.

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    1. Yea when the psychologist said that it was a huge shock, like holy hell heres a trained professional who doesn't even know the worst he did and shes telling me that hes one of THOSE guys. I knew he was bad, but I was super naive about how far it could've progressed.

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    2. Thank you for sharing your experience with the world. I've recently published my own story of surviving an abusive relationship with a narcissist and I know how difficult it is to put it on paper. However, so many other people need to hear it. I almost lost my life because I kept it to myself. Now I have an amazing life and I couldn't be happier. Thanks again for speaking up!

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    3. So glad that you came through your experience ok Jenn. I agree people do need to hear about these type of relationships. I think society still turns a blind eye to abusive relationships in many ways and its sad that the judgement is almost always directed at the woman for staying or "putting up with it". If only people could understand just how much of a difficult situation it is to be in then maybe they wouldn't be so quick to judge and maybe there'd be better support systems in place.

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  2. Good on you for leaving, Toni, and for taking back your life. I can't imagine what that would have been like and how you endured it for so long. I am so happy to see how your life has completely turned around because of that decision, that chance you took. Hugs and high fives to you!

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    1. I think I endured it for so long because for years I really truly believed I was worthless and that I was put on this world to take other people's crap. Then one day it clicked that I didn't have to live like that. I think for the last two years of the relationship I was waiting desperately for someone to save me from the situation then I got to the point where I just realised I had to save myself.

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  3. I know you might have gone through the pain all over again while writing about this experience but you've written about it , its shows that you're over it ! If you've set an excellent example for you daughter of not taking any s**** from anyone. All the best for future :)

    Hugs,
    Shainee
    apieceofshe.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Shainee, she was definitely the driving force behind my decision even though she didn't exist then (I hope that doesn't make me sound crazy).

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  4. wow, your honesty. This insight into what life could be like in these circumstances is enlightening. Thank you.

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    1. Theres so much more I could've written, but I didn't want it to go on for a gazillion pages. Hopefully sharing this glimpse into what life is like for those in similar situations will help others be more empathetic.

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  5. I'm so glad you were able to get out, and that you've found happiness now. Thank you for sharing, you never know it might help somebody else to have the courage to take a chance too xxx

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    1. Hopefully x
      I never knew I could have the life I have now, I couldn't see out of the darkness before. Hopefully this will show others that theres always a chance to change your future if you want to.

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  6. Thank you for sharing. You are string and brave and deserve the best x

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  7. Thanks so much for sharing this very honest post Toni. I'm in awe of your courage to walk away and build a beautiful life that you so deserve x

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    1. Thanks Kirsty - in the beginning it didn't seem real to be this happy coming from such a different past, but now I'm relishing it and realising it IS my reality and I do deserve it :)

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  8. So brave of you to take that chance and then write about it. I was also in a controlling relationship some years ago and it does take so much time to get over...I have always said I would rather be single for the rest of my life than put up with a pig... good on you and thanks for sharing..

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    1. I think its taking a lot longer to emotionally heal than I thought it would. Every now and then things pop up that make me remember situations or make me have crazy dreams that hes still controlling my life. I think my mind is scarred a bit more than I first thought.

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  9. I am so happy that you had the courage that it took to get out of that relationship, I hate to think where you would be now xx

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    1. I constantly imagine what life would've been like if I had my daughter with him and I can imagine how shit it would've been.

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  10. Thanks for your honesty and I admire your courage, both in leaving, and in sharing. I know what it's like to finally reach breaking point and I don't regret the choices I made, hard as they were at the time.

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    1. I definitely don't regret my choice even though it was so hard (to go through and for months after).

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  11. I'm punching the air right now Toni, so proud of you, what a horrible horrible person he was. I'm so happy you've finally found happiness.

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  12. Wow, well done on taking a chance for yourself! What a huge step you took, and you will provide hope and strength to other women who need it too x

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  13. Oh wow, Toni, there are so many things I want to write to you right now. First of all, I am just so so happy that you got away. In the last few months I just broke away myself from a very similar relationship. Unfortunately, we have a daughter together. He also controlled me in all the ways that you mentioned your ex controlled you. He refused to get his own car fixed when it broke and kept using excuse after excuse for why we couldn't take it to the mechanic and for nine months he used my car and I basically never left the house in that time unless it was with him. I could go on and on. He got so mad at me once because a girlfriend of mine was coming over for a cup of tea that he screamed to me/himself that it would be better to kill me and go to jail for it and let our daughter be brought up by her grandparents than have the poor baby brought up by a mother like me. He absolutely shattered my self worth and just about sent me completely over the edge. I got out just in time. Luckily I had family who could help me do that. I didn't even know what narcissist personality disorder was until after I left him. Somehow I stumbled on something about it and started reading and it just clicked. I realised he never loved me and just like you, in the beginning it felt so good to have someone so "into me" but really what he loved was having someone so into him. I was always that girl that wanted to be with a partner, but now I don't care if I never have another relationship again in my whole life. I just want peace and quite and not constantly being screamed at that I'm crazy and selfish and such a bad mother, etc etc. I told myself I would keep this comment short, and now look what's happened! Sending you love and hugs darling. xx

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    1. Lizzy - he sounds so similar to mine. I paid for days after my friend came over once. One day when we were out we ran into one of my gay friends (who he knew was gay) and I said how much I liked him because he was funny and he immediately slapped me across the face with his cigarette packet in the middle of the shops. After we broke up he came and went through our house and my laptop one day while I was at work (and erased all the abusive messages he'd left on my answering machine. So much stuff I could go on for hours.

      I'm so glad you got out! It will make such a difference to your daughters life and yours :)

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    2. That kind of jealousy is so intense with a narcissist and so difficult to understand when you're on the receiving end of it. My ex would constantly accuse me of looking at men when I wasn't even looking at them at all. He got furious with me for talking to my teenaged nephew and my sister's father-in-law because he said I was flirting with them (?!) and insanely mad at me when I spoke to my boss at a work function. I tried to reason with him that if my boss says something to me that I just can't ignore him, but he would constantly say I was flirting and attention seeking every time another man was near. It was a completely differently story when it came to him though. He was extremely flirtacious and if I ever pulled him up on it, he'd tell me I was crazy. Narcissists will always tell someone that tells them that they have made a mistake that they are crazy. My ex did the same as yours in terms of not leaving any traces of his abuse. He is also very charming which meant that no-one could believe that he would do the things he did. My own family had trouble believing it. His charm is something that really got under my skin and it was always so easy to give into it. Now I refuse to let him see me without other members of my family present so that he can't continue to abuse me. One of the biggest factors in my leaving was something you mentioned in your post. I knew I couldn't let my daughter grow up seeing him treat me like that and her thinking it's okay to accept that kind of treatment in a relationship and I also didn't want my son growing up thinking it was okay to treat a woman like that. When kids are involved there's never a perfect solution, but I know that leaving was the only way I could teach my kids that and the only way I could preserve my own sanity.

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  14. Wow, that is the most awe-inspiring post I've read. I applaud your courage and self belief. What an amazing role model you are for your kids. Thank you for writing with such beauty and honesty. xx

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  15. (I read this bed last night and wrote a HUGE reply but my phone gobbled it :( )
    A very brave and strong woman you are. I was in a similar relationship, but didn't marry him, although he asked. It took years to leave but what made me was meeting someone else who seemed to adore me, said nice things to me and generally was almost infatuated with me - I could not see how he could be such was the damage emotionally that had been inflicted on me. We bought out the worst in each other. I'm so happy for you - you have your happy ending - well beginning x

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    1. I still have 'omg is this really real' moments all the time because I don't believe it.

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  16. What an incredibly powerful and moving true story. It's like something you see in a movie or hear about it on the news yet here you are sharing your very real story. What a miracle that you found your lightbulb moment in the end that gave you the strength to get yourself out of that situation.

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    1. When I found out about the cheating behind my back and effective double life he'd been living (at least for the few weeks before I found out) my first thought was this doesn't happen to people like me, this happens to people in movies.

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  17. Toni, what a powerful post. I couldn't stop reading. I'm so thankful that I've never been in a situation like this but there are many women that are in unhealthy relationships and are unsure on what to do. I'm so pleased to see that life has been better to you on the other side. I bet you feel so blessed to have a beautiful family in a loving environment.

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    1. Yep Rebecca! I am so so grateful to have my daughter now (and that he wasn't her father).

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  18. This is a very strong post Toni and I can see how cathartic it is writing it and acknowledging what a monumental change YOU made - how big that change was for you to make in the circumstances. Well done on being brave to make the change and write about it.

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  19. Incredibly powerful post. Thank you for sharing. It's hard to analyse relationships and really work it all out even though you know in your gut that it's not right.

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    1. When I was at work and away from him I could see how bad it was but as soon as I went home he'd say something to manipulate me and make me second guess myself. Its incredibly hard when you have someone deliberately manipulating you.

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  20. Far out! I'm so glad you got away and got a new start. It must have been an incredibly difficult time for you Toni. Xxxx

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    1. Yep there were many many hours spent crying in my shower (for some reason thats where I like to cry the most?).

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  21. What an amazing journey you've had, Toni. You're so right about taking risks and coming out the other side. Here's to finally finding your joy and wonderfully new life x

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    1. Yep there's been A LOT crammed into my relatively short life so far! So glad I get to re-write my future now though.

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  22. 49 years ago, I left a similar situation, when I had become so "brainwashed" that I was suicidal. I was fortunate to be able to move far, far away and have the support of family. At the time, we had a 2-year-old boy, and I was unsure whether I was pregnant (I was). My husband tried to entice me to return; and when I would not, "punished" me and our children by not paying child support (there was no inter-provincial payment enforcement at the time). Long story short....it was the best thing ever that I could have done. With help, I raised my sons by myself; they are well-educated and productive men, with sane lives; and I am healthy and happy. A therapist told me much the same thing about my narc husband.....that he was fatally destructive.

    If you know someone (man or woman) in a situation with a narc partner, please be aware and supportive. Often, they need that support to make the break. I bless the folks who helped me and my sons.

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    1. Im glad you got out of your situation for your sake and your boys :)
      Definitely true about the support, I stayed a lot longer because I felt like if I left I'd have no support and couldn't get through it on my own.

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  23. What a brave and strong woman you are Toni. Its like sliding doors so glad you had the strength and insight to choose the other door.

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  24. Well done on taking the chance.

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  25. Wow... I really shouldn't have read that. Its made my heart pound so loud and fast that its rattling around in my head!!!

    I know we've all said this before, but its so incredible how there are so many of us who have been through it all - the darkness, misery, terror, emotional bruising, severe depression and suicide. Lucky ones had physical bruises and broken bones. I don't mean lucky, cos the physical stuff was horrific, but at least there was evidence. The rest of us were told that we were nuts, that it was all in our minds and he'd never hurt a flea. I was told in the second trial by a so called top psychologist (just happened to be connected to the lone fathers assoc) that I should go back and he didn't know what all the fuss was about. His words. Nice.

    But on a good, wonderful and very positive note ... so many of us have escaped and survived, and are stronger and more independent than ever!

    Its like they all came out of the same mould, taught to say the same words and act the same way. A wonderful lawyer I spoke to last year said they're clinically insane but until they kill anyone, will never be admitted. But what I don't understand is HOW they're all exactly the same!!!!! Its just bizarre...

    Thanks for sharing, for rescuing yourself (I waited for 6 years for someone to rescue me) and for being you. Strong, confident, marvellous You :D This goes for all of you who have survived and to those of you who might be reading this and haven't left because you are hoping they might change.... Please leave, Today. They won't ever change.

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    1. I agree the verbal and emotional abuse is a lot easier for them to hide and the fact that they're usually so charismatic around other people helps hide it even more. People never suspect what they're like behind closed doors. It is weird how they're all so similar even though they don't know each other. I wonder where they learn how to behave that way.

      p.s. - I can't believe that psychologist said that to you!

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  26. PS... And its not just men either... I have an aunt who is exactly the same as those men. She's awful.

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  27. Wow. Just wow. What a brave, bold step you took - out of the darkness and into the light. Truly admirable.

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    1. Im not sure that I felt brave at the time but I did feel like I was finally in control of my life for the first time in years.

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  28. Such a moving, powerful post ♥ I admire the courage you showed in finally leaving your partner...I have a friend who went through a similar experience and I saw how much it shattered her self-confidence and how long it took her before she was finally brave enough to leave (after getting a restraining order)...I'm very glad that it all worked out for you :)

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    1. It does seriously shatter your confidence, which in part is why I stayed for so long. I kept a heap of abusive messages on my answering machine in case I had to get a restraining order against him, but he came to the house while I was at work one day and deleted them all (changed the locks the next day).

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  29. Such a powerful post! Thanks for linking up for our Worth Casing blog of the month for June at Agent Mystery Case. Our winner is now on the blog and linkup for July now open.

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  30. So important to share these stories too. I was a victim too, and didn't realise it until several weeks of therapies. I am still paying for it years later. My psychiatrist called it the worst case of sustained emotional abuse he had ever seen. It took me several years to admit to physical and sexual abuse as well. The more we talk about it, the more we encourage others to talk and get help - and get the hell out

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    1. Yes I think there's too much stigma surrounding domestic abuse and towards abuse victims that most just stay rather than getting help.

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  31. So proud of you for having the strength to leave. Thanks for sharing your story at my blog. It takes courage to walk away. It takes courage to say, you can't do that to me. It takes even more courage to say, I'm no longer going to be your verbal punching bag. Kudos to you!

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    1. Yep and it took a long time for me to realise I had the courage to say it all out loud and through my actions instead of just in my head. I'm so glad I got out of it.

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  32. My emotionally abusive ex-husband left me for another woman and I didn't realise that I'd been abused for months afterwards, despite all my medical support team telling me what was going on. I just couldn't believe that anyone could be so manipulative and cruel. 18 years of lies has left me with next to none self-esteem and 6 years on I'm still dealing with the emotional and psychological fall out. If only I'd seen the light earlier.

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    1. I still grapple with the idea that he could of been so intentionally manipulative as well. Part of me thinks maybe he was doing it all without realising, but then its quite obvious it was all intentional. I think I was so manipulated by him that sometimes I still second guess the way I feel. I wonder if its some sort of PTSD because I still have crazy dreams and nightmares now 5 years later.

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  33. BRAVO to you!!! I grew up with an abusive, narcissistic father. I'm so glad you didn't have babies with him, yikes. I can tell you I had a VERY difficult childhood. What made it worse was how much my mother feared him so she didn't protect us much either. She stayed for way too long. It taught me to be very picky and now I'm with the right man, just like you :)

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    1. Ahhh I only just read this comment Jess. I am SO GLAD we never had kids together it would've been hell and most likely would've made me feel more trapped and helpless.

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  34. Well done to you Toni, you are a strong, powerful woman and a great example for your daughter. You deserve to be happy!

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  35. I never believed in Love Spells or Magics until I met this special spell caster when i went to Africa to Execute some business..He is really powerful..My husband divorce me with no reason for almost 4 years and i tried all i could to have him back cos i really love him so much but all my effort did not work out.. we met at our early ageat the college and we both have feelings for each other and we got married happily for 5 years with no kid and he woke up one morning and he told me he’s going on a divorce..i thought it was a joke and when he came back from work he tender to me a divorce letter and he packed all him loads from my house..i ran mad and i tried all i could to have him back but all did not work out..i was lonely for almost 4 years…So when i told the spell caster what happened he said he will help me and he asked for him full name and him picture..i gave him that..At first i was skeptical but i gave it a try cos have tried so many spell casters and there is no solution…so when he finished with the readings,he got back to me that he’s with a woman and that woman i the reason why he left me…The spell caster said he will help me with a spell that will surely bring him back.but i never believe all this…he told me i will see a positive result within 3 days..3 days later,he called me himself and came to me apologizing and he told me he will come back to me..I cant believe this,it was like a dream cos i never believe this will work out after trying many spell casters and there is no solution..The spell caster is so powerful and after that he helped me with a pregnancy spell and i got pregnant a month later..we are now happy been together again and with lovely kid..This spell caster has really changed my life and i will forever thankful to him..he has helped many of my friends too with similar problem too and they are happy and thankful to him..This man is indeed the most powerful spell caster have ever experienced in life..Am Posting this to the Forum in case there is anyone who has similar problem and still looking for a way out..you can reach him here: drosabuluspellhome@gmail.com CONTACT THIS POWERFUL SPELL CASTER TODAY VIA EMAIL: drosabuluspellhome@gmail.com

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