As a survivor of domestic violence and narcissistic abuse, you go through highs and lows. Some days you feel empowered and on top of the world that you escaped, other days you feel completely awful and worthless, just as you were trained to feel by your abuser.
Today I’m feeling very low. I’m questioning myself for leaving. Did I do the right thing by filing a restraining order and reporting some of the more recent crimes he committed against me? We all deserve a life free of abuse, but sometimes it’s hard to see that when your brain is still fogged, which mine clearly is. For some reason, only the “good times” stand out it my mind, and I forget the bad times, even though 85% of our relationship was bad. And by bad, I mean abusive. Mentally, psychologically, and physically. It didn’t start out that way though, and that’s why I’m having such a tough time coming to terms with reality. He put me on a pedestal when we first starting hanging out and dating. That’s the man I remember and never want to forget, even though that man never existed.
Many people in my life don’t know I’m even going through this. Those who do keep saying, “Move on.” Easier said than done. You can’t just simply “move on” from the trauma until you properly heal. And at the same time, because I’m not a narcissist, I’m still mourning my relationship and coming to terms with the fact that it wasn’t reality. I was in love with an evil monster with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). And I don’t need a psychology degree to diagnose him… I lived it for over two years. So I don’t need outsiders telling me to, “Move on.”
This brings me to my next point: Don’t give advice if you haven’t lived through it. If you’re not a survivor of domestic violence or narcissist abuse, DO NOT offer your advice or tell the survivor “what you would do.” Even if you think you’re being helpful, you’re actually victim shaming. We don’t need to hear, “Well if it were me I would have just left,” or, “If he hit me, I would have hit him back,” or, “Why did you stay?” Instead, ask what you can do to support the survivor. NEVER EVER ask them why they didn’t just leave or why they would still consider going back to their abuser. You don’t get it, and for that be thankful, but you’re also causing a lot more damage to the survivor who is trying to heal.
Unfortunately, the world is ignorant to domestic violence. Whenever I’m speaking to someone about my situation and they ask an ignorant question, I try to educate them instead of taking offense. If they continue to be ignorant and think they know everything, I stop the conversation right there and move on. If they actually listen respectfully, I use it as an educational opportunity. There isn’t enough light shed on domestic violence, and unfortunately this leads to victim shaming, instead of focusing on the actual issue of domestic violence and the actual abuser.
I’ll leave off with this, as it relates to the outside world being ignorant to domestic violence: I was recently talking to a friend at a bar quietly about the two recent stalking charges my ex-boyfriend got after violating an order of protection on my behalf. The man next to me was eavesdropping and yells out, “Who cares? Just let him stalk you!” I turned to him and simply said, “He beat me…” and left it at that. The man wasn’t even embarrassed. How dare someone say that to me and think it’s acceptable? People can be so ignorant and disgusting.