About Red Flags and Winning After Narcissistic Abuse

Warning: Long read, sensitive content.

It’s funny how life teaches us lessons, the irony and the nostalgia of a time gone by. It has been over six months since I was served papers for divorce my then husband filed in court behind my back. I have spent last six months in therapy, recovering and healing from the damage left in the wake of my dead first marriage. Yet I feel the luckiest person on earth for this blessing, for it helped me grow multifold as a person. I am fortunate to have had a great therapist who reminded me of what’s important in terms of personal responsibility, and why I can’t let anyone decide my self worth for me. I was confused and always reeling from gut wrenching pain back when I was in that marriage, as well as after he left. I was forced to move again for the third time in the span of a year, across country, alone.

It was worse than the pain a person feels when their loved ones die. I say that from personal experience of loss, knowing I can actually compare what it feels like. I have had self doubt for a long time, I have gaslighted my own experience so many times to not hate the antagonistic people in my life. They say it’s called cognitive dissonance. I understand it to be the tool of survival when faced with abuse. Narcissistic abuse is as horrendous as any other abuse. It’s cruel, it eats a person alive from the inside, it eats away a person’s self esteem and confidence, it leaves them not recognizing themselves in the mirror.

On the positive side, if you are lucky to have the ability to fight it and to do the work needed to heal from it, you come out a winner for life. So that is what I tried in the past six months. I rode a bike for thousands of kilometers to gain sanity over my trippy mind, and to raise money for a cause, to feel useful and impactful in a world where many only need validation when they ask for meaning. I have watched and still continue to watch thousands of videos by survivors and winners of betrayal and abandonment like Lisa Arends, renowned psychologists like Dr. Ramani Durvasula to understand the dynamics and semantics of naunces, patterns and behaviors in narcissistic relationships, women empowerment channels like one by Lisa Bilyeu called 'Women of Impact’ where they talk about empowering various aspects of our personality while remaining kind, did many hours of personal therapy with my awesome therapist at BetterHelp, Rosemary Carol, read many books on recovery and empowerment, books like 'The Grief Recovery’, 'Atomic Habits’, 'This Is Me Letting You Go’, ‘Girl, Wash Your Face’ and 'Man’s Search For Meaning’, joined groups to witness other survivors share tragedy and also hope with other members and when I was ready, tried to help others in my situation. This article is one I am writing in a similar hope to help someone who needs help in knowing where to start. Not to mention a PhD dissertation I am writing to give meaning to my own personal journey as a human being and empower my own self with education, knowledge, wisdom, resilience and persistence.

Depending on where you are in your healing process, consider what you already feel comfortable with and work with what you don’t feel good about. Everyone’s journey is different and we can all learn something at each point in our lives. But most importantly, always be kind to yourself.

Here are a few things to know:

  1. Knowledge is power. This is especially true if you have never been in any narcissistic relationship in your life. Learn about personal responsibility, flying monkeys and enablers, gaslighting people and invalidating their experiences, walking on eggshells around the narcissist and their enablers, being empathetic and trauma bond with an abuser, being authentic, yet also protecting yourself against people who diminish , invalidate your experiences. If you come from a traditional family system like me, it is especially important to know how narcissistic expectations play a role in shaping a child, and how to deal with them when you encounter the grown up golden child as an adult narcissist. But most importantly, if you are someone who struggles with confidence and self respect, learn ways to value yourself first. Never believe anyone who tells you that you don’t matter, because you do. Remember, as an adult, we are one hundred percent responsible for our own behaviors, knowledge and happiness. If you’re not happy, learn more to find ways to become happier and then do something about it, don’t wait for someone else to come and save you. Get up. Make a change in the way you think and behave and deal with life. Knowledge is power.
  2. Red Flags. It is so important and powerful to know about behaviors of people. It helps to recognize red flags early on, even when the fire of love and desire and family expectations burn in your head and heart. I was going through my journal entries from my time in that marriage, and from before, when I decided to write this article. Seeing those entries made me realize, I ignored red flags and that is on me. I was hurt so many times by his bad behavior, which he covered later by apologizing and which his family covered up by saying he is a victim of many bad relationships himself and bad behaviors which I endured and defended him on. I constantly found myself defending his bad behavior, all the time. I was under immense pressure of my idea of how life should proceed at that age. That idea was heavily influenced by my family’s expectations and their life knowledge for a happy time.
    I wanted a family so bad that I made family with a covert psychological abuser and eventually, inadvertently, got hurt. All this prevented me from seeing those red flags early on. The times when he abandoned our relationship for long periods of time, the time he said he was messed up in ways people don’t understand easily, the time he didn’t make our relationship his priority and kept conditions on it, the time he blamed everyone from his past for the bad things that happened and took zero personal responsibility for anything, the time he got triggered on small expressions of opinions and took them vehemently personally, the time he asked me to consider my options as he was seeing other women on the side without telling me, the time he displayed hypocritical behavior for things that mattered to me, and the times he didn’t care about me and my emotions.
    I ignored many red flags, and kept honoring my commitment to this wonderful potential of a person till the time we were married and many months into the marriage. Potential, never the reality of that person. I called it loving him back to life in my head. I knew from my mother that loving someone unconditionally heals wounds deeper than oceans, and I didn’t know any better. I lived in a dream of having a great life with him. He is educated, well settled and doing good things with his career and life, and these things made me ignore the blaring red flags in front of me on how he treated me. I kept thinking he will treat me better when ‘xyz’ will happen. The conditions changed with every event of ignorance — maybe when I am thinner, more athletic, maybe when I prove myself to be smarter, maybe when I prove my worth to him as a societal gem that he can flaunt amongst other narcissistic friends, maybe when I care for his family more, maybe when I give him more gifts, maybe when I loosen my control over my own money, maybe when I stop asking for emotional support during life changing times, maybe when I ignore boxes of memorabilia of his past relationships I found in our new living room as we moved apartments (that he transported to our new apartment, and kept there for weeks even after seeing me crying my eyes out looking at that stuff), maybe if I ignore the letters I read in that box, where women, yes, plural, wrote long letters trying to make him understand that his behavior was hurtful, even after brutal arguments where we both lost tempers, and he left me crying my heart out each time. I remained hopeful. I remained delusional. I got brutally hurt. He finally discarded and disposed, backstabbed and left in a way that caused maximum damage to my career, my finances and my self-esteem. Like I was trash that needed to be thrown in a dustbin and never to be seen again.
    He didn’t care.
    It is critical that you open your eyes to obvious red flags about any person. If they make you feel uncomfortable, not at ease being yourself, if they criticize a lot about you or others, pay attention. These flags are red and are trying to tell you something to prevent a lot of hurt. Don’t ignore any of the red flags.
  3. Fighting through the abuse to self discovery. If you are reading this part, you might be in the thick of the abuse cycle. I request you to please get some space from the narcissist, and meditate if possible. RESPOND, and not REACT. You might have tried speaking to the narcissist in your life about their bad behavior, and it might not be working as you thought. They may have in turn blamed you for everything, or dismissed your feelings or invalidated you flat out. They may have dodged any responsibility for anything they have said and may have tried to gaslight your own feelings. They may have been successful to an extent. I take by your presence here, there is still some something in you that is trying to tell you, it is wrong. Something is off, something is uncomfortable. In the thick of abuse, our mind plays tricks and anxiety overwhelms our emotions and behavior. I encourage you to at least give yourself an hour before you can talk again. If possible, take a few days off and take a trip to visit a friend or a relative. If you can afford, take a solo vacation or vacation with close friends. If nothing is possible, take an hour long walk alone in your neighborhood or in a safe place.
    Please try to calm you mind and try to remember your own personal values, the person you were before you loved the narcissist. Yes, it might be hard to remember at this point, you might feel like you are a better person with the narcissist, but remember, its only a trauma bond you feel. It might be devastating to know what you feel is a trauma bond with an abuser, and so please be kind to yourself as you make this realization. I encourage you to list all the things that you feel in a journal somewhere. Good or bad. Just write down how you feel at that moment. Its crucial to remember your feelings when the narcissist tries to manipulate you back to enabling them in their usual ways. I encourage you to speak with your old friends and your trusted family when possible, and try to remember the person you are, when you are not defending the narcissistic abuse and the abusive relationship. Remember, abuse is not only physical violence, it can be much deeper than striking a person with a hand and displaying vile behavior. It can be stonewalling when you feel unheard all the time, it can be non-communication or vile communication styles about things that matter to you, it can be any and all behaviors that make you uncomfortable with a person. Pay attention. Write them down. Date these entries, so you can find patterns in your feelings.
    The narcissist and their enablers are trying to devalue you, and make you feel that you are sh*t and they obliged you by taking you on in their lives. This is part of their play to make you forget your own worth. RESIST.
    I encourage you to find a phrase to remind yourself of your own value and to repeat to yourself when your own mind or your abusers try to devalue you. Mine was, ‘I am enough’, and ‘I am the diamond’. The first one came after I was out of the relationship for good, disposed and discarded initially, but then I took my power back and refused to give in to the hoover of him and his family. The second one was a mental response to his sister’s enabling, initially in our marriage I had shared my mental confusion with his sister and she responded with long voice messages telling me what a diamond he is, and how making me wear a big diamond on my finger shows how much he is committed to the (sh*t) person that I am. My healthy mind at the time responded with this phrase, ‘I am the diamond’. Eventually as the abuse and devaluation proceeded, I forgot who I was and my own worth and value, and I started valuing myself with the value of the relationship I had with him. So when I found myself disposed off and discarded like trash, I took off the diamond ring I was wearing and bought a steel ring for my middle finger with the phrase ‘I AM ENOUGH’ engraved on it. It is a constant reminder to me as I trudge through muddy waters of healing after its over. I wish I had done this while I was with him.
    I want to give credit to his best friend and his wife, who helped me during the discard, in remembering my own worth. They told me truths that were hard to hear and broke my heart, but eventually helped me open my eyes to his abuse. They introduced me to the term gaslighting and narcissistic abuse. They told me I wasn’t the first person they were consoling and they told me his real character as it were, and not the one he pretended to have in front of new people. He is a covert narcissist, possibly undiagnosed for far too long. Yet I feel lucky to be let out easier than most people going through this sort of abuse in life. I wish healing upon him, and nothing else. I do not want to be a part of that abusive cycle ever again. I am grateful, for everything. I wish the same indifference and healing for everyone going through such abuse.
    Now, if you feel you have the resources, please try personal therapy before you try to do anything else to mend the relationship with the unwinnable narcissist. My biggest mistake was my commitment to the marriage, to come out of the ring only in a body bag. It was the dumbest promise I could have ever made to myself. I had my reasons to think that way at the time, as I was dealing with the trauma of my sister’s divorce in the years preceding that mistake. It was wrong, nevertheless. I refused to deal with my emotions as accepting the reality would mean I would have to take steps to leave the relationship. I was scared. I was gaslighted into believing that I am not enough, and that I can never have a better partner than the one abusing me emotionally. I was manipulated into believing he was a good person and that all marriages should work, if enough love is poured into the life of an abuser, after all, he wasn’t physically violent. I was blinded by my own love and desire to be with him so much so that I kept my eyes closed even when I could see. I was scared. I needed help. I was looking for that help in one place where I would never get it.
    If you have to go through legal battle with the narcissist, don’t lose hope. There are resources available. Many people mention that its an uphill, never ending battle, and that might be true in many cases. I would encourage you to fight for the life you want, and not the person you want it with. Don’t fight for them to become that person. If someone is rational, and capable of growth, capable of taking constructive, respectful criticism as a way to self-improvement, have empathy and are capable of caring for how their behavior influences the other person(s) around them, they will try to fix the toxic parts, and remain patient as you fix yours while remaining respectful and kind to one another. If not, do you really want to keep getting disrespected? Where are your own personal boundaries? Where will you draw the line to abuse? What is your limit of endurance? What are you going to do about the situation, if no one else is coming to save you or help you? I encourage you to reflect on these questions, alone, and work on self-empowerment alone. No one can value you, if you can’t value yourself.
  4. Find your own worth. I was a 30 year old PhD student when I married him. I was doing good alone, in a small state in the US, financially and otherwise. My life and career had meaning, I was doing impactful work through my research. I wasn’t athletic or even fit physically, but I wanted to improve that part of my life. I had some insecurities. I respected others, and I had empathy. I was beautifully human.
    Fast forward to life after one year of narcissistic abuse, I was suicidal, I felt worthless, discarded, disposable. I was out of money, job, visa, stability, security when he left. I was homeless, as I alone couldn’t afford the apartment we both used to live in, in the Bay Area, and I didn’t know if he was going to pay rent for it, and for how long. I didn’t know any legal process at the time, I didn’t know if I could take my own clothes from that apartment if I move, and I didn’t know how I was going to manage my move back to my city, and what life would be like, once I moved back. I was ashamed, embarrassed and I felt like trash. I spent two weeks in that apartment alone, before I could move back. This was in the heat of the discard cycle. I was constantly on phone with my supportive family and friends, as I was scared to be alone. I couldn’t eat in that apartment and for a very long time afterwards, as I used to cook only for him in our marriage and I felt like a piece of my heart was taken from my chest. I used to throw up most of the times if I ate, and I used to eat outside the apartment when I did, to avoid sitting on the sofa where we both hung out at night together. I will piece together the stories of how I cared for him in our marriage and how he treated me in return one day in a book. For the sake of brevity in this article, I can only summarize it by saying that the person I loved and cared for the most in this world (not realizing he was the abuser and the perpetrator in my struggle), cut my heart out of my chest, and threw it aside like trash, and walked away to never look back. I was traumatized. Possibly forever.
    So where does the healing begin? I started walking. Two days after the discard, as I went back to the Bay Area from my work trip when he called and told me he is abandoning us, I started walking. I hadn’t slept or eaten well in those two days. I remember clearly. It was a Saturday, and my sister had told me in the day that he called had called her to justify his abuse and discard to her. His only attempt at communication to anyone in my family after the discard. Ever. I wore the Clarks slippers I used to wear outside and started walking in the sun around the neighborhood. I walked about a mile before succumbing to my self-deprecating thoughts and the general feeling of desolation I had back then. I couldn’t eat that day. I had a slice of bread after my mom begged me to eat on phone and vomited that out right afterwards. I am pre-diabetic and I never could go without eating for that long, before this. It felt like someone sucked the life out of me and I was roaming in the world, flailing in the air, lifeless, worthless, futureless. It was mourning the loss of my life partner, the love of my life. I wished I were dead. I don’t remember exactly what thought pushed me to find it in me to wear those slippers and go out for a walk. Yet I found it in me. I was alone, depressingly alone. The next day, I got up while I was on phone with my cousin sister, who was just staying on the call having random chit chat, having gone through a similar situation herself, she knew talking deep and serious thoughts with me at the time would only trigger worse outcomes that what I was enduring. I started walking while on phone. As I crossed the red light of Hope Dr. and Lick Mill Blvd and turned towards the Ulistac Natural Area, I saw my own reflection in a car’s window. For a second I couldn’t recognize myself. I stopped for a minute and told my cousin what I was feeling at that moment. I was angry. I was feeling powerless till then, and in that moment I realized this city, the mountains, the air didn’t belong to that narcissist. I told myself, “its mine as well, he doesn’t own everything.” After putting off the call, I kept walking in my slippers and I walked for about two miles that day, which was a Sunday. I told myself to take one day at a time. Baby steps. From that day onwards, I kept walking. I walked even if I hadn’t eaten, slept or bathed. I walked in plain clothes, in shoes, in slippers, in sandals. I walked for an hour each day, sometimes more. I didn’t stop. I think that is where I began healing. I went on to fly back to my own city in a matter of two weeks. I arranged a lawyer and paid him retention money, understood the legal process of the divorce, spoke with few of my friends and acquaintances in the Bay Area and elsewhere, met with a couple of them, started planning my move back, arranged my temporary stay, found and scheduled viewing of an apartment, booked an urgent car shipping, shipped a couple of bags of my clothes and shipped my road bike in my car. I also spoke with my advisor and told him what had happened only to find out I had lost my assistantship the week before as my funding was redirected to someone else after I had confirmed I was giving it up to stay in the Bay Area with my then husband (unaware of his schemes to backstab). I got my funding back after a few months of coming back, thankfully I had done something right in my time here in my city for people to trust me again. I flew back on July 31st, 2021 to never turn back to him. I don’t hate the Bay Area because of what happened to me anymore.
    Coming back to Columbia, SC brought another level of challenges. I was broke. I was jobless. I needed emotional and financial support. I was at a critical place in my PhD. My dad was going through a life threatening situation (RCC, diagnosed May 2021). Each day was a challenge. I didn’t stop walking. I started running a bit in between. I changed my therapist at BetterHelp after my old therapist’s suggestion to focus on trauma and healing after narcissistic abuse. My new therapist was engaging and she really changed the game for me as I worked on my healing. I am skipping a few events from that time here, as this article can’t do justice to understanding them. It was a time full of flying monkeys and trauma and healing, where I spent my first wedding anniversary making plans to improve myself and never look back. I started cycling. I gave myself a challenge. I supported a cause and felt useful again. I trained ruthlessly. I got fitter. I rode in BASC 2021. I lost 24 lbs in a span of three months. I got stronger, physically and mentally. I started to focus. I started to socialize a bit and made some new friends, while maintaining and renewing old friendships. I braved against hoovering attempts, argument attempts, against smear campaigns in social groups and against my own lizard mind trying to remind me of the good times and my own desires to be with the narcissist. I still had a long road to go before me till I reached indifference. I read tonnes of books and watched thousands of videos on psychological dynamics. I depersonalized a lot and looked at things objectively. I worked on self-improvement. I worked on creating my own worth in my mind. I worked on my own happiness. I worked on my sense of SELF. I worked on my anger issues when faced with PTSD triggers. I worked on assertive communication. I worked on mindfulness and I worked on building a space in my mind for myself where nothing and no one could touch me. I seek that space today when I feel overwhelmed with thoughts of worthlessness. I am not what happened to me, I am who I choose to become everyday. I am far from healing completely. yet I have come so far from being that miserable shell of a hopeless person, discarded and disposed off. Creating self-worth was my road out of the trauma bond. I am deeply grateful for the support I had in the time and still continue to have. I share parts of my story here in hope to help someone needing hope in the thick of it. You can do it. Be kind to yourself, have self compassion. Be your own cheerleader when there is none. Believe in yourself. Believe in the goodness in the universe that will give you courage to do what is needed to get out of the trauma and its bonds and the aftereffects.
  5. Road to better life and relationships. I am writing a book. Two books actually. One is about the discovery of systematic phenomena through my research. One is about self-discovery. If you have learned about common terms in narcissistic abuse as mentioned in point #1, you know what no contact is and you know what victory (other word for indifference) in narcissistic relationships is. I am also going through the last parts of the divorce proceedings and hoping it gets over soon. I said goodbye to everything toxic about him on Nov 17th, 2021, when I wrote a goodbye email to him. I have resisted all urges to tell him how horrible he was to me, ever since. I have had no contact with him in this time, and I plan to continue to resist all temptation to be in contact with him. I am sure he has his own version of this story and I am the perpetrator in it and I am sure he would convince other poor souls how he was such a victim to my anger. I feel triggered at the thought of him abusing more women in future. I tell myself, it is on him. It is the responsibility of those women he would trap with his charms, to know what is right for them. It is all beyond my control and it is OK. I no longer have this need to clarify what happened, as I don’t care to change his outlook towards me anymore and nor do I wish to change his outlook towards his entitled sense of grandiose self. I have let it be. I have detached myself successfully from a toxic relationship and a narcissist who hurt me. Sometimes when I see some videos or read articles that clarify what he labeled as narcissism in me vs what actually happened and how toxic it was to me, I get this insatiable urge to teach him how wrong he was about it. I resist. I can’t heal him. Not by love, and never by force. I accepted the fact that I can’t heal him to go no contact. I had to give up hope of any future with him. I had to let go of my love for a broken man (child). Its hard, letting go of love. When a person we love dies, we blame powers beyond our control, god, the drunk driver, the disease, the street thug, the toxic unsafe world and its circumstances that took our loved one from us. Yet we get to keep loving the loved ones, even after the loss. How does one do it when the perpetrator is the loved one itself. We have to kill our love for that person, and it is by far the most painful thing I have had to do in life. I no longer love him, respect him or trust him. I sometimes feel sad about how things perspired and what happened but I no longer give to him. My time, my energy, my thoughts, my love, my care, my life. He doesn’t deserve it, he never did. He never valued me enough to fight for us, why should I give my heart to him everyday anymore? I need to conserve it for a deserving person. I need to heal myself and be ready to love someone who deserves me and loves me back. There is no rush either, I have all the time in the world to heal. I had to learn to be OK alone and find solace in my own company. Learn to do everything alone. Eat alone, sleep alone, wake up alone, work alone, watch TV alone, laugh alone, be happy alone, brush my teeth alone, take vacation alone, succeed alone, cheer myself alone, dine out alone, go to races and events alone, take care of myself when sick alone. Alone, I had to become OK, and I did. It is painful and hard, and yet it is achievable. When one focuses on self-discovery and healing, it becomes achievable to let go of the pain. One day at a time. Its the fear and the discomfort of change that pushes us stay in the same place and to avoid having to learn new things and ways. Fight it. Some people find company of pets as healing. I couldn’t get a pet due to my financial constraints, so I said hi to all the pets out on a walk at the river walk near the place where I live now. I read a book by Cheryl Strayed, titled ‘Brave Enough’. It was such a powerful healing experience. I cried my heart out on many nights, and I reread the quotes from it many times till they were ingrained in my brain and till I didn’t need to read them to remember them. It was such a powerful experience, destroying and healing at the same time. Destroying the miserable shell of a person I was before self-discovery and becoming myself again, finding my own power.
  6. Healthy relationship challenges after narcissistic abuse. It doesn’t end here. Say by some divine intervention, that doesn’t always happen, and never truly happens before we heal ourselves, you have found a healthy person who cares for you deeply, after a sufficient time alone and after much healing, therapy and self-work. This new person, who you didn’t have to chase, is kind, compassionate and understands your challenges, and is willing to be patient as you heal yourself. Say you start a new relationship with this person. Please be ready for a whole new set of challenges pertaining to your past trauma in it. Relationships are anyway hard, never easy. They require constant work, sacrifices and energy.
    I encourage EVERYONE wanting a healthy relationship to watch Dr. John Gottman talk about his research on relationships HERE.
    There are common relationship factors, like assertive open communication, trust, respect, safety, intimacy, care, kindness, interests among others. And then there are issues related to healing from narcissistic abuse including hardship in trust, intimacy, communication challenges, management of emotional triggers, projection, attachment issues, full blown PTSD in general. I faced many of such challenges when I was faced with the idea of another person. Another person to trust and to respect, to love and to hold. It was far from easy, for me personally. I struggled to feel safe, to trust, to be intimate and vulnerable again. Therapy helped through all this as well, my awesome therapist Rosemary asked me one day when we were talking about my fears of giving it a try, “what’s the worst that can happen?”, and reminded me, “You survived the abuse, you learned from it, you did the hard work of healing and self-discovery, you won’t die if you give this a try, would you?”. She encouraged me gently to find safe boundaries while trying to open up to another person. She encouraged me to date. She reminded me to keep my eyes open to red flags. She reminded me to not do all the work all the time, but to actually respond to the work done by the other person in a kind way. She reminded me to not romanticize the relationship to a point where I live in my idea of the relationship vs living in the reality of a relationship. I felt empowered with therapy, it was much needed.
    One day I met this kind guy at another friend’s house and we hung out together with friends. Nothing earth shattering, at least not for me. We spoke a day later as friends and shared our stories to get to know each other. He invited me to go to a house party with him the next day. We shared our life stories some more that next night after the party. He was into me from day one and he made it known publicly. He didn’t hold back his emotions or his efforts, yet he was gentle and I didn’t feel love bombed. I made enquiries with my friends about his character and found him to be extremely honest. My dear friends warned me to take it slow though, to protect myself from investing too much too soon. Two weeks later, we hugged and kissed. It was sweet. We fell in love. We are in a serious relationship now, honestly yet gently, taking life slow and one day at a time. He isn’t scared of long distance relationships, of dreaming of a future with me, yet he doesn’t make promises till he knows he can follow through. He is there for me when I am down and I need him and he doesn’t leave me hurting when we are arguing. He helps me as I tackle my PTSD through relationship challenges. We both keep the door out of the relationship open at all times, and agreed to never make body bag promises. The knowledge that the door is always exists prevents us from feeling trapped. It also encourages us to build ‘us’ strong enough together that we don’t need to use that door out. We constantly work through our differences, and boy, there are many. We build love-maps, and we work through four horsemen of the relationship apocalypse whenever we are faced with one. During fights, we tell each other we love each other and that the issue at hand doesn’t define our love for each other. It may not be the best relationship, if such a thing exists, but it is a healthy one. We both value it individually and together. Even while knowing all insecurities of the other person, we don’t attack them during our fights. We feel safe with each other, empowered with each other, stronger together.
    Our society holds us back sometimes. I would consider myself lucky to have had the chance to be loved by someone the healthy way after the abuse. I have to address my own insecurities about how I will be judged for this by my own society. As I write this, I am thinking of the drama the narcissist and his family would cause if given a chance to read this. It would be scandalous and revolting to them. I can almost hear them saying: how dare the worthless, fat-ass, characterless woman who tortured our son/brother/nephew by not slaving away her life as directed, find love again. Moreover, I can hear my own toxic family members and drama loving relatives call me shameless and characterless to even consider dating anyone while the divorce is ongoing. Like being happy is a crime for me but not for the perpetrator himself, who might be fooling multiple women simultaneously again, who knows. I even wish healing and happiness upon him at this point, I don’t wish pain upon anyone. I have stopped getting bothered about what the society thinks mostly. Those who truly care for me would want me to be happy in my life, and those who don’t care about my happiness, are those who I don’t need to worry about the opinion of. I care about my family the same empathetic way, nevertheless. I want them to be happy as well, and I continue to care, despite the judgement. It is my personal win over the trauma of moving forward after narcissistic abuse.
    I continue to bike, work on my mental and physical fitness, my personal recovery and healing, my life and career goals, and I feel happy to be in a healthy, loving relationship at present.

I want to express my sincere thanks to anyone who took the time to read the whole article and love and care to anyone going through narcissistic abuse. Remember to value your sense of self more than anyone or anything in life and remain kind to yourself and everyone else.

For anyone feeling hopeless and suicidal, please know that help is available.

Peace and light.

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The Ancient One

PhD Candidate. Aunt. Daughter. Sister. Cyclist. Fighter. Trauma Survivor. Woman.