I was a confident, proud and open woman. Then he came along and completey trashed it. Until I rose again like a phoenix.
It's tough being in a relationship. It's even harder when you are stuck with a narcissist like I was. It was one of the darkest periods of my life. The constant gaslighting, the doubt, the veiled insults... it was like he was chipping away at me. My soul was breaking and there were days when I wanted to just let the ground swallow me. I hadn't realized it then but all the independence and the self-esteem I had built growing up was just gone.
I didn't know if I could survive the pain anymore. But then, one day, I could no longer take it. I got out.
I was changed though. I wasn't who I used to be.
It was almost like there was nothing I could do right. My clothes, the way I spoke, the things I loved... nothing was good enough. All I ever heard from him was about how bad I was at everything. He would behave as if he was doing me a favor by being with me. Soon enough, I started to believe him and I began to tune out the world. I was lost in a maze of my own insecurities.
If only I had known before that every time he commented on me, it was actually just to make himself out to be the center of my world. I could no longer tell my feelings from his projections. I started to second-guess my own emotions all the time. Was I truly happy or was my happiness surface level and below were undercurrents of pain?
Every mean word, every backhanded compliment... it slowly broke down the years of confidence I had built as I became an adult. All that hard work only to become dependent on him for everything and latch on to his conditional love.
I used to be extremely close to my family and friends. But it was after being with him that ever so subtly, each of my relationships started to crumble. In defending him to them, I lost out on what I had with them. Before I knew it, there was no one but him I could turn to.
I was constantly stonewalled by him, only to watch him open up to someone else. A part of me died the first time it happened. His constant emotional betrayal killed me, bit by bit, making me feel pathetic. The way he broke my trust, I could never bring myself to trust anyone on anything ever again.
Maybe the worst part about being with him was that he would withdraw his affection the moment I did something he didn't like. He made me beg for his love and feel like he was the only one who would give it to me. I might have survived after leaving him, but I am still trying to tell myself that I am worth something. It's been a long, hard recovery and I'm still in the thick of it.
I was scared all the time that one day his temper would completely snap and I would have to bear the brunt of it. Any time he was angry, I would step back and become subservient. I used to be able to make my own decisions or argue about my choices with him. But fear of his loss of control kept me from standing up for myself.
I was always at fault. At least when I was with him. He always found a way to make me feel like I was over-reacting or like I was the one who was wrong. And then, I began to believe him. Even if things went wrong outside the relationship, I was apparently still responsible for it.
My soul was cracked but I made it out alive. I know it will take some time to undo the damage and havoc he caused me but I'm glad that I've finally put him where he belongs - in the past.