Are you a Victim of narcissistic Abuse?
I stared at the screen, reading over the titles, subtitles; the long endless list of hundreds and thousands of links to websites, videos, articles, studies, books, and stories of victims who have survived Narcissistic Abuse. I stared at the screen in absolute dismay as I read, watched, and processed this new reality. It was a reality that I could have never considered or fathomed. It was the only reality that made sense of all the madness that had consumed me and left me in a disoriented fog for the entirety of my relationship with her.
As I read the stories, the cycles, the patterns, and the cookie-cutter ways in which this pathology called narcissism plays out– I felt myself having an out of body experience. The stories were all the same.
All I could think was,
“That is me, that just happened to me.” I could have written their story and they could have written mine. I was bewildered.
Are you fucking serious? This is a thing?!?!
Yes, Kayko, it is a REAL thing.
I was in a textbook relationship of manipulation of almost four years. I was one of those women that I watched from a Lifetime movie that I watched from my adolescent room, snacking while in my boxers and an oversized t-shirt. I would root for the woman in the movie to escape her sociopathic abuser, outsmart his vengeance, and for her to gain her power and freedom back with her head held high.
How could this be? How could something that felt so real, that went on for so long have been an illusion? What about that time she told me how much she loved me? What about those grand gestures of love? Where was I this whole time? How did I let this happen to me?
With each sentence I read, this pathological understanding of this sickness was destroying everything I had ever thought I knew and felt in my relationship. Surprisingly, it was actually liberating me. It was the only thing that made it all finally make sense. It was the only thing that could thread all of the screams that I had shouting within me, it was the only thing can validate all my confusion, it was the only thing that could diagnose what just always felt so fucking off.
I was in her movie and in love with her character. I was the co-star and she, the narcissist, was the star. She acted out the role of a passionate and intense lover who had never felt the way she did, as she did for me. I was her girl, the love of her life. We fell madly in love and despite all the things that could and would go wrong—our love was all that mattered.
Were there red flags? Absolutely. Did the role and character she played ever waver? All the time. She fell out of character and would pull a stunt that was quite disappointing, disrespectful, and inconsiderate. It would leave others including myself, hurt and confused. Her mask would slip and it left us questioning her integrity and intentions. Then she pulled the mask back up, would do a grand gesture, a thoughtful act, and eventually, once again we would all be on board—hey we are all humans right? Some would walk away and never come back. Looking back, it seemed she knew it was a movie because she always believed and thought people were watching us. She always wanted to be “ON” and when our movie wasn’t playing out as she desired, I was “ruining it.”
She was a pantomime, she was a hologram, she was a regurgitated projection of all the mannerisms and personalities that she studied from movies and observing others. She would take on the interest and traits that she thought people would love. Sometimes I would catch her quoting me or others without giving any credit. I remember it giving me an uneasy feeling but I brushed it off thinking it was her absorbing and growing and I should be happy she is learning.