Looking myself in the mirror invoked a sense of fear and hatred- why I haven’t looked at myself in the mirror.
My ongoing story of recovery from Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome.
This post is part of a series of my stories and poems called The Cult of Shameful Shane on the effects this abuse has had on me.
Hi, my name is Tricia Lynn. I am a professionally diagnosed victim of Narcissistic Abuse. I am not a therapist or an expert on Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome (NAS). I’m simply a girl who fell in love with a narcissistic boy, now sharing my experiences through writing.
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’ve experienced this type of abuse first hand, or maybe you know someone who has. You certainly can’t miss it on social media platforms. The whole world is asking if they have been abused by a narcissist. They are also asking if they are a narcissist.
Google Trends reports this topic to have an alarming search increase since 2004. It has psychologists questioning if we are having an epidemic of narcissism, fueled by social media, attention-seeking celebrities, and self-absorbed millennials.¹
I won’t get into great detail in this post about what a narcissist is or if you have been the victim of one. I’m pretty sure you already know this information. If you don’t, you can “google it” and learn quite a bit. Better yet, speak to a mental health professional if you think any of what you read sounds like something you are/have been experiencing.
The best defense to this epidemic is educating yourself so you can spot it before it’s too late.
Hearing the term: Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome
I began therapy in 2008, after the suicide of my little brother, Jamie. I sought professional help for coping with his death. I was a wreck. I was suffering from insomnia and using drugs to stay awake in an attempt to avoid the recurring nightmares. My therapist immediately diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and admitted to an inpatient mental health facility for three days.
It was during this time that I first heard the term Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome. It was a topic spoke about during group therapy sessions I attended during my 72-hour stay. I listened attentively but didn’t think it had anything to do with my issue of suicide, sleep problems, and PTSD. I did my three-day stay, continued therapy for PTSD for over a year, got back on my feet and wouldn’t hear about NAS again until 2014.
Back to Therapy in 2014
Jump ahead to the year 2014, I’m back in the same therapist’s office. I had contacted him again after having a miscarriage in my third trimester. I knew this loss had triggered my PTSD. I was suffering from some of the same symptoms as I had when my brother died.
The difference this time was I hadn’t been successful with the coping skills I had learned in 2008. There was much more going on inside my mind this time. I couldn’t name it. I just knew it felt like I used to feel when I was a young girl. I wasn’t even sure what those feelings were called. I didn’t share those when I was in therapy before. Those unnamed feelings weren’t a part of me in 2008. I had chalked them up to something I’d outgrown long before then.
So, the therapy sessions began. I shared the story of the younger man I had met in 2013. I gave the embarrassing details of the failed relationship with this man and how I didn’t find out I was pregnant until after we had gone our separate ways.
I confessed how ashamed I felt at getting pregnant by accident in my forties. I cried when I told the therapist of the shame I felt when this man had called me a liar and how it felt to go through a pregnancy and miscarriage alone.
I told him how I was drowning in debt from the medical expenses not covered by my insurance for the pregnancy, miscarriage, and funeral.
I filled my therapy session with the story of how this man’s silence was justified and how this man didn’t have to help me financially with the child. I was fucked up, I told the therapist. The man had told me all this. He had called me out on all my horrible personality traits and he was right. I shared how it was only my fault for getting pregnant and how terrible I had made this man feel while we were dating.