Beyond the yellow brick road

Welcome survivors and victims of narcissistic abuse, to Over That Rainbow. 

Starting a new blog often comes with its set of challenges, even for those of us who are or have been experienced bloggers. I am a writer with a technological background, someone who has worked in the industry for almost two decades. I’ve had successful blogs before. I wrote more content than I can remember, both personally and professionally. I set up blogs for other people. This used to be “my thing”.

And yet, this is different. Let me explain.

Content I’ve written in the past has either come from a briefing or personal opinions and life experiences. As the empath most of us certainly are, I’ve always had a drive towards helping other people and my content was often a reflection of that.

And then I met the narcissist. It was January of 2006. Only a few months after divorcing my first husband. The story of how I went from that point in time to now is going to be told in this blog. How is this different from writing about personal experiences? That’s in the person writing.

Narcissistic abuse changes victims to their core. It’s an all pervasive, all encompassing, highly destructive type of entrapment. It forces you to break yourself free, as means of psychological, emotional, and, not rare, even physical survival. Let no mistake be made: leaving a narcissist is what we do to survive. You’ve already been in that mode for a good chunk of time long before making your decision to leave. It’s soul crushing, your physical health is greatly diminished, you’ve been walking on eggshells. You feel threatened and afraid, alone in that misery you’re too afraid or too crushed to tell the world about. And then it hits you: one day, your survival instinct speaks louder and the truth becomes undeniable: if you don’t leave, you’ll drown in the abuse and the narcissist will be standing on firm ground, waving goodbye while displaying narcissistic smirk, as your last breath leaves your body. This could  relate to an actual physical process, or to your psychological and emotional state. In either case, it’s very real and it’s all up to you, alone, to ensure your survival. The only way out is leaving.

What triggers this instinct can come from a myriad of reasons, in diverse contexts, but the breakup is never preceded by a respectful conversation between the parties, who mutually decide it’s best to go their separate ways. No… At this point in the sadistic narcissist’s game, you’ve been overtly or covertly threatened and coerced enough that there’s no other choice on the table for you, other than fleeing. And for good reasons. The narcissist, however, will ensure that such reasons never reach public or social eyes or ears. As you run for your life, the infamous smear campaign put in place long before you even realized you were a victim, will erupt in all its glory, reversing the roles of abuser and victim in the public eye. The narcissist will wear the mask of victim, while pointing fingers at you as the abuser. Recruit flying monkeys to do the same. People will believe the narcissist, because seeds of false perceptions about you have been intentionally planted much earlier in the game- and this too, is something you’ll have to cope with. On top of… well, everything else.

Flying monkeys will be found hovering from all directions while you’re running down the yellow brick road holding on to nothing but your basket. And since I’m on the analogy already, escaping the trap of the narcissist means you need all three gifts given by the Wizard of Oz:

  • A heart: self love! To say “enough is enough and I don’t deserve this”. You will need to love yourself, be empathetic towards yourself.
  • A brain: the ability to see reality for what it is. Wake up to the abuse and make the only wise decision possible.
  • Courage: I know, this late in the game you have barely enough energy to get through the day. You will have to leave behind months or years of accumulated investment in possessions, the relationship itself, a house and the illusion that that would be a relationship for life. You may have even be threatened by the narcissist at the mention of a possible breakup. It will take a whole lot of courage to face and follow through with this decision. But here’s the rub you need to internalize: staying takes as much, if not more, courage. So you already have it in you, much like the lion in the movie.

And then a new journey begins: you have to make sense of what happened to you, you may or may not be familiar with narcissistic abuse. In the case you are, you’ll be more prepared. Otherwise, it may be a bumpier road. In either case, you may experience complex post traumatic stress disorder. You may become depressed. You now have to pick up the pieces and somehow rebuild your life pretty much from scratch. And try to protect yourself and heal from the abuse. You have to establish and maintain no contact, if that’s at all a possibility in your circumstance. And even in the midst of being 100% convinced that there was no other possible alternative, you will still feel confused, traumatized, perplexed, angry and a plethora of other emotions. Night terrors, being startled by any and all unfamiliar sounds and noises, severe anxiety, constant shaking, weight loss, weight gain, brittle nails, falling hair, inability to concentrate… It is different for every victim/survivor, but it’s never an easy road. However, there is hope and healing beyond that rainbow.

So, yes, I am a different person today, as a survivor of narcissistic abuse, from the person who originally met the narcissist. I haven’t written in years, while I was too busy trying to survive and rebuild my life. But despite everything I’ve been stripped of by the narcissist, this remained: my desire and ability to help others and my determination to survive and thrive.

So, here I am. Because of the narcissist and despite the narcissist. I welcome other victims and survivors to walk this path with me, through telling our stories, sharing our insights and, ultimately, healing.

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