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I left a narcissist

Updated: Nov 10, 2021

For 10 years I lived through an unhappy and abusive marriage with a full blown narcissist. The world had no clue. Our facebook photos were picture perfect. We appeared happy. We had the fancy high rise apartment with sweeping views, amazing holidays across the world, multiple sports cars, great jobs, and beautiful children. Behind closed doors, the picture was very very ugly. I didn't have happiness, peace, respect, or safety. As I put up with his bullshit "for the sake of our children," he got bolder. He thought he could get away with more and more. He thought I would never leave. He was wrong. Everyone has a breaking point.

As I started seeing the impact of an unhappy marriage on my children, I knew that something had to give. This wasn't just about me anymore. I saw fear cross my daughter's face when she spilled bubble water on the floor. She quickly grabbed me to clean it "before daddy gets mad." I heard her asking her daddy why he threw things around the house. She closed her ears as he yelled at the top of his lungs. This wasn't normal. This wasn't the life I wanted for my children. It wasn't the life I wanted for me.

As I drove away from that painful chapter, I was shaking and sobbing. The tears fell for so many reasons...sadness, relief, anxiety, fear, and even happiness. If I thought leaving him was hard, I was in for a rude shock. Leaving a narcissist is the biggest insult you can give.

He threw everything imaginable at me to destroy me. But every weapon thrown at me, flipped into a positive. He slandered my name, with work colleagues and friends...they ended up being my biggest supporters and were disgusted by his behaviour. He refused to give me any belongings from our home...I set up a home from scratch, untouched by ugly memories from the past. He took me in and out of court, often for trivial reasons, accusing me of horrendous atrocities...but he was brought to tears at the strength of the evidence I had to absolve myself and incriminate him. He delayed the valuation of our home until the 11th hour...only for it to be valued at its peak before covid brought the market crashing down a week later. I walked away with a big fat bonus I had never anticipated. The list is endless...every dagger, a blessing in disguise.

Life as a single mum was tiring. I worked long hours to keep up with mortgage repayments, to pay school fees, to keep my children clothed and fed, and to keep life as 'normal' as possible for them. It killed me that for every dollar I earned, more dollars were leaking out in legal fees. It was so so disheartening and gut wrenching. I felt I was treading water all the time. I remember the sinking feeling as I stood in front of the freezers at Coles, unable to afford the 'nice' meats, and questioning my sanity at the life I gave up. And then I saw my children...happy laughing, safe, their innocence and their childhood preserved to the extent possible and I knew that what I lacked in monitory safety was dwarfed by everything else I had gained.

Life provided. The week I realised my oldest offspring had outgrown most of her clothes, a friend visited armed with bags full of beautiful clothes. My fridge was never empty...friends and family would descend with delicious meals. On a day I wanted set up a makeup table for my daughter, I was heading to Kmart when on the road side was thrown a beautiful dress up table. Although the mathematics made no sense, I was never left in want. I discovered the depth and richness of my village.

Judgement came in troves. The supposed stories of my life also came in troves. I came to a point where other's judgements and expectations stopped impacting me. My only goal was to make decisions that benefited my children and fed our happiness and peace of mind. The lifting of that weight was enormous. I could finally live a life that was free.

The road has been rocky, scary, uncomfortable, and unfamiliar. It has also been liberating, happy, peaceful, and rich. I lived in a prison and although the journey leaving that prison has been hard, I wouldn't trade what I have now for anything. The legal leakage has stopped. I can buy the 'nice meats' now. Our home is full of love and trinkets associated with happy moments. My children are happy and safe. I am happy and safe. From the ashes, we rose.

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