Narcissistic Abuse: Personal Growth Expedited
An incredible personal journey with a reveal that made it all worth it.
There’s a happy ending to this rollercoaster ride of human drug addiction, I promise.
Narcissism. Toxic relationships. Adult bullying. Gaslighting. Whatever the word is that brought you here, I hope reading my story gives you clarity and strength. This was originally an informal thank you to Ms. Melanie Tonia Evans, international narcissism recovery expert. Her blog saved me, as it has saved so many others. Melanie, you are amazing. Your initiative is transforming LIVES and there is an incredibly strong wave of gratitude flowing your way. You are always in my prayers.
Too many gifted people have written wonderful, motivational and helpful articles about this phenomenon of narcissism and NPD, that plagues our society. I’m not going to explain what it is or how you spot one. This is the article to read when shit has hit the fan and you’re grappling for an explanation. I have a whole list of excellent quotes that were so on point, that I had to save them. I’ll mention a few at the end of the article but lets start with….
How I ‘Attracted’ A Narc & What Kept Me In
I got into a really unhealthy ‘relationship’ (in true millenial sense, it wasn’t even defined as such) soon after I moved to L.A. I met the narc on a set. He was 10 years older than me and honestly I wouldn’t have even noticed him had he not initiated conversation. He did things right from the very beginning that were insulting. Too early on, I was scolded for expressing an opinion and given harsh silent treatment. And you know what made me hold on? This crazy need to prove to a stranger that I wasn’t a ‘bad person’. THIS is what trapped me.
The whole thing lasted about 4 months but it felt like a year in burnin’ hell.
It was very much on his terms, I feigned coolness (the ‘chill’ girl). But oh, it was like being on a self destructive drug 100%. The highs and lows were intense and it wasn’t helping that I was in a new city, unemployed, with no support system. I thought my depression was post grad school anxiety and I believed getting a job would solve all my problems. Because I come from a culture and a family where the concept of arranged marriage is so strong, the level of guilt and shame were devastating too. Cognitive dissonance at its peak, it was wearing me out and how. I tried to get out of it, but ‘he wanted me in the ring, taking the hits.’ He then slowly revealed that he did time in prison, and in fact had a 6 year old son. This was blatant dishonesty and too much to handle for someone who tends to fill in blank spaces with excess empathy. You’d think I would walk out at this point but no, it hurt and I let it eat me on the inside. I rationalized all the while, knowing this was not ‘right’ but I really didn’t know how to help myself so I just suffered.
Breaking point happened when after yet another childish blow hot/blow cold showdown (a characteristic narc rage episode) he accused me of being childish. This was a game changer.
At 24, I’ve moved and restarted my life around three times. I had just gotten my Masters and, at this point, I was employed too. I knew I was a high functioning, responsible adult so this attack was transparent. I went into no contact more out of anger, dismissing his behavior as totally ridiculous. I should mention that at this point, I had spent one whole day unable to move just coiled on the floor crying and then this other day when I couldn’t get out of bed, because I just woke up crying. In retrospect, that was really my subconscious crying out.
One of my friends came to visit around this time and even broaching this subject led to tears. “I’m always in control of my feelings, how was this happening!” By nature, I don’t seek out help and the few who tried to help with what details they knew, couldn’t save me. He wasn’t even physically in my life regularly at this point but the narc’s wounds are insidious to say the least. They’ve wired you to be on the edge and due to the complete lack of boundaries, the triggers keep jolting you.
Around the same time, one of my friends from an older job informed me that she was going to quit because she felt bullied by her boss. I thought she was overreacting because this ‘boss’ threw her weight around due to feeling small. She overcompensated so obviously that it was pitiful; everyone in the office knew this. And then it hit me. This was MY situation. I was being bullied. There was no better word to describe that text msg fight from weeks ago. Ignoring anything I have to say, taking potshots.
I looked up adult bullying and before I knew it I landed on a page about narcissistic personality disorder.
It was a kick in the gut. It all checked out. You know the feeling. I read extensively about it, including Sam Vaknin’s work. I let it all out and it felt like a breakdown. I was going through so much pain and I wasn’t one to write about it in forums. I also noticed that 95% of articles were rooted in fear. They all presented the narc as a person to be feared, this experience as one most unfortunate and to run away from a narc. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that this was just a really bad experience. There had to be more to it. So I kept reading and searching until I found what I needed.
Negative Legacy Emotions & Family Wounds
Melanie Tonia Evans’ blog is one of the very few that urges you to dispel ‘logic’. It holds instant appeal to a spiritually inclined person. She insists you go deeper and her method is far beyond do’s & don’ts. If you embrace it, there’s blinding clarity on the other end. People with a responsible streak may find it easier to bite the bullet — that this incident is not actually new. This whole episode is internal wounds showing up and has little to do with the person triggering the experience. You’ve ‘invited’ this into your life and self partnering is the only answer (read her blog to truly understand what I’m oversimplying here).
The universal perspective liberated me and it kickstarted the most intense form of self reflection. With a strong intent to heal myself, meditation as a practice started. At some point I must have very deeply wished that I never want to feel this helpless again because, as you will see, the universe consistently aided me in my healing.
It was not easy, it still isn’t.
While I was ‘getting better’, he showed up outside my door at 11pm one night because ‘I didn’t answer to any calls or texts’. If I hadn’t had my narc 101, I would never have recognized this behavior as a complete disregard of boundaries. I was afraid that this meant I was back to square one. But something was different, I was calmer. This helped me understand an important aspect: narcs operate in the realm of the mind. I needed to install a doorbell system in my mind. More meditation. And I kid you not, he never got that close again.
In time, I began to really understand narcissism for the genetic, spiritual virus it is. Turns out I sacrificed a lot of childhood needs because I craved approval. I couldn’t always remember incidents but I recalled the tense feelings, anxiety, and walking on eggshells. During my teens I was constantly admonished as being argumentative and ‘impertinent’ and I ‘toned down’ eventually to be more accepted. I was bullied a lot by adults all through my school life. In fact, I can’t go back to Dubai (which is where I grew up) because I still associate it with the childhood wounds of this environment. I deeply internalized all of it and yes, despite being a high achiever the feeling of emptiness and this consuming need to please was killing me.
The only thing that saved me was my creativity — art in the form of music, dance, writing and theatre.
I turned 25 a few weeks ago and it’s incredible to know the truth of the first quarter of my life.
I didn’t directly ask for this narc episode but let me confess I did ask for spiritual growth last year around this time. I am now able to see this experience for what it was.
Refuse to view this as a debilitating life event. Find it in you to do the work and seek the real purpose behind it. It will be tough; spiritual growth can often feel lonely, depressing and even ‘self sabotaging’ as we are always taught to shut out any negative with mindless positive. We owe it not just to ourselves but also the future generations, humanity at large, to be the most authentic version of ourselves.
Lets be clear, I take complete responsibility for what happened, which is different from accusing yourself. It means I’m going to show up and do what it takes to set things right. A few other things that helped me were journaling regularly, spending time on Medium (such a sucker for motivational, honest pieces), this wonderful book, and becoming a lot more spiritual. Being a Hindu, beyond the rituals. I harbor no ill feeling towards my parents. If anything, I love and empathize with them even more because their wounds were worse. Most adults of their time were never taught to tune into their feelings. They took the responsibilities of early marriage, career, children all the while ignoring their own unfulfilled needs and suppressing the unresolved chaos. I pray that they will introspect and rid themselves of their profound childhood pain, and go on to achieve their higher purpose in this life. I have nothing but love, forgiveness and hope for the two souls who deeply loved and cared for me in the only way they knew.
This experience has also clearly informed me about my professional roadblock. What has been holding me back as a filmmaker? The need to be accepted, which I have equated to love for a long time, has led to a lot of self censorship. I want to be a documentary filmmaker and there is so much courage, detachment and outcome independence I need to foster, as I embark on a mission to explore truth. I have given in to online bullying in the past but no more. The only validation I need is from me. I’m driven by ethics and if my intent is right, nothing can bring me down.
Clearly, now’s when the real fun begins.
Signing off with overwhelming gratitude xxx
“The gift that the narcissist gives you is a hard and tough lesson on yourself. The narcissist gives you a matrix and an obstacle course where your very survival is at stake. It’s a deathmatch race. Make it through alive and your life will be purified. You will be able to see things for exactly what they are. You will be able to spot a narcissist early and back away slowly. You will know secret knowledge. Survive the Petty Tyrant and you will know great truth.”
I promise you this: narcissists are the most powerful force on the planet reflecting back to us our own unhealed wounds. This presents an incredible opportunity to embrace self-reflection in order to heal into your fullest potential — if you accept the truth of this. (Source)
Emotionally generous, empathetic, forgiving, honest and willing to take responsibility. Narcissists view these qualities as vulnerabilities or weakness and use them against their victims. In reality, these qualities are strengths the fragile narcissist is totally void of. “It’s more courageous to have a soft heart in a hard world”, then the opposite. (Source)