Before I was married to the Narcissist: I felt smart. I had great grades in school. I felt pretty. I had too much personality, bigger than life (cocky with it like most twenty year olds naturally are LOL. I am a mother now of more than one. I had humor. I grew up laughing. My family likes to tell stories and smile. I use to walk through the halls at college smiling all the time. I was known for my optimistic smile. It was always there. I was just as quick to laugh as I was to make others laugh. I had confidence. I lived large and bold. I didn't pay too much attention to what people thought about me because I was more focused on learning and experiencing things about them. I was impulsive like most twenty year olds are. I was trying new things as a college student. I was traveling the world, meeting new people and new cultural groups. When all was said and done, I oozed with excitement, adventure and an unwritten future.
When I was married to the Narcissist: He made me feel stupid. He made me feel ugly. He made me feel like I didn't have a personality. He made me feel like I didn't have humor. He made me feel like I would always say and do the wrong thing at the wrong time: lack of confidence. Well, when all was done to me that he had to do, I was an empty shell of a human being. Emotionless, lifeless, unloved, isolated, unwanted, lonely, mental break down, energy-less, confused, off balanced, broken, questioning everything and second guessing myself. In a NUTSHELL, your self-identity and personality and worth and health goes RIGHT INTO THE CRAPPER when married to a Narcissistic person.
* My identity became an extension of him. If he had a thought or an emotion, it was suppose to be mine as well. I wasn't to have ideas or experiences of my own. He absorbed me as an extension of himself. It used to make me mad when he used me as a back up to his ideas. Oh, he would say, "my wife and I were talking about that this morning and she and I think this and that." First, we didn't talk about it and I didn't agree with him. Oh well. I usually let it go uncontested.
* I was not really allowed to have a personality. I didn't laugh or enjoy the things in life that I should have. It was sort of a depression that could not be explained. He was sabotaging my relationships with others and taking the enjoyment out of life. I began to be numb and have no real expressions: no personality. He used to kick me under the table when I began to talk in social settings. He interrupted playtime with my kids and I. It was just small but relentless stuff that you wouldn't think was abuse, but it took its toll just the same.
* My self worth (emotional health) was deteriorating to a point that life was "just going through the motions." I was working for him, raising four kids, doing all the cooking and cleaning and errands and volunteer work, but he made me feel like I was incapable, unloved and unwanted. At one point some girlfriends were complaining about their husbands. The one girlfriend said, "It makes me feel unloved when my husband does." I remember thinking, "crybaby! I don't think or feel unloved. I know I am unloved. My husband doesn't love me or anyone really." But I kept my mouth shut and was polite as the ladies vented thinking they have no idea.
* My health (physical, mental) had taken a hit. Stress was affecting my health. Walking on eggshells will take a physical toll on your body. Ask who on FWW has thyroid issues, and all the hands go up, and we haven't even mentioned, fuzzy brain, PTSD, Stockholm syndrome, trauma bonding, Narcissistic survivor syndrome, and all those pretty little things that make us look crazy and feel crazy. These things have one questioning their own sanity... It's called crazy making!
The Here And Now, My Life After Being Married To A Narcissist: I have now started dating someone new, and he believes that all the beautiful women are beautiful as a direct result on how they have been treated. It isn't a matter of body shape or looks. Beauty comes from within. A well-loved women glow. He took one look at me, knowing me then and knowing me now, and instantly hated my ex. Oh my, look what he has done to you. What is the matter with that guy? He heard this at a "couples conference" that a woman is like a garden. You water it, weed it and care for it. If a man's wife is a mess, it is his fault for not taking care of his wife. Not all that profound, but it was nice to know that he wanted to go out again. He thought if I can give her some care and attention, she'll be back. The girl he knew was in there somewhere.
He started with encouraging me to dress like I was pretty, to feel pretty because I was and always had been pretty. He was right. I wasn't ugly. How did I get so frumpy? My hair started growing out just because I had no money for a haircut. I gained some weight. He took me here and took me there. He was feeding me constantly and telling me funny stories from his single life. Companionship, care, food, laughter, I began to bloom again. And this attention went both directions. There were things in his life to overcome too. He began to care about himself more as well. He was the man and I was the woman. Before I was the man, and the mother because the ex was the child. I was never the wife because ex had his porn. This is what being in a relationship was like? Who knew?
Conclusion: I guess you can heal from a narcissistic relationship!
Be brave ladies and do something that makes you feel pretty, just because you want too. Out with frumpy and however else he made you feel. Don't listen to his negative voice in your head. Water your own garden if you have too; be pretty and smart and successful and happy. And find your "before-the-Narc-self” and blend it with the "new and smarter" you. (((Happy Healing)))