How I Healed from a Narcissist Boyfriend’s Abuse
By the time my narcissist boyfriend hit me, we were more than a year into our relationship. Though he had yelled at me plenty, I had no clue until the moment his hand crashed into my face that physical violence was in his repertoire. Nor did I know he was a narcissist and already priming another woman to replace me. I did know, having been tipped off by his daughter, that he had kept secret from me an addiction to meth. I should have left upon this discovery, but I was far too enmeshed to escape. Besides, my narcissist boyfriend promised to change and I thought forgiving him was the high road.
The Effects of a Narcissist Boyfriend
Before I met this man, I was strong, confident, and happy. I had a very successful business and more friends than I could count. By the time my narcissist boyfriend was finished with me, I literally did not recognize myself. I could not look in a mirror. His constant insults about my body had triggered an eating disorder and I had dropped nearly 40 pounds rapidly–not to please him but from pure anxiety. My eyes were dead. I could barely get out of bed. I cried all the time.
Learning that I Had a Narcissist Boyfriend
Fortunately, as I revealed my story on social media, many people told me something I had totally missed about the guy: He was a narcissist. Digging into research about narcissistic abuse, I saw our story was nowhere close to an original. The similarities between our relationship so closely matched others' accounts of abuse that it seemed like these disordered abusers all used a secret handbook—love bombing victims early on, then ghosting and insulting, then discarding them, then luring them back in for another round and another. I hated how badly I had been duped by a violent con, but knowledge is power. Through educating myself and working with a trauma specialist, I slowly began to understand how, having been raised by an abusive, narcissistic parent, I was programmed from birth to subconsciously be drawn to others like my narcissist boyfriend. Such is the power of familiarity.
Healing from the Narcissistic Boyfriend’s Abuse
My best healing tool came in the form of Bob, an 88-year-old Indiana farmer, father of my friend Ellen. He wanted to live closer to her in Austin after his wife died but preferred the country. I had just bought a ranch near the city. We agreed, sight unseen, to become roommates. Bob taught me to run the ranch and, far more importantly, became a new father to me. In demonstrating what true unconditional love and secure attachment feel like; he shifted my heart.
Bob and I only had 14 months together before he died. In that short time, he loved me back to health. I still feel him around me every day when I go out to feed the horses, cows, and chickens. I still hear him reminding me I deserve respect. I listen. I believe him.
Adopting a new parent late in life was not advice I found in an article on healing from narcissistic abuse. Discovering this cure was purely a lucky stumble on my part. I think there should be a program to match adults plagued by childhood trauma with loving elders who can help them find a new way to live.
Because through this I learned: you can heal from a narcissistic boyfriend’s abuse.
This article was written by:
Spike Gillespie is an award-winning memoirist, blogger, and journalist who specializes in writing about mental health and mindfulness. Her new book, The Tao of Bob, is about how an old farmer helped her recover from narcissistic abuse. She blogs about her healing journey at www.EmotionalRapeSurvivor.com. You can follow her ranch life story on Facebook.
To be a guest author on the Your Mental Health Blog, go here.
Author, G. (2018, April 6). How I Healed from a Narcissist Boyfriend’s Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/yourmentalhealth/2018/04/how-i-healed-from-a-narcissist-boyfriends-abuse
Author: Guest Author
I’m so glad I stopped and read this tonight! I always save the ones that sound relatable of course, but this one is not only very relatable regarding the abuse and being dumbfounded when the word narcissist became something that will always be in your history and vocabulary, but the particular things you personally dealt with, as I did, but for much much longer.
I too, was raised by a narcissistic/control freak of a mother. She’s still alive today, and I’ve been no contact with her at nearly the same time my already crumbling marriage was imploding around me and inside of me. 16 years I was married and living with this man that I deeply loved. It was the classic charming handsome man that was giving me all the attention and love (I believed), that I’d been chasing most of my life, be it from my non affectionate parents. The non loving parents that gave me no foundation for my own self esteem. The parents that I thought weren’t abusive or neglectful because I wasn’t beaten or abused physically other than the occasional punishment with a belt my mom would let my dad know I needed when he’d gotten home. He never even knew why. He did it as his “duty” to discipline, as the father and breadwinner? I wasn’t a bad child. I knew to keep my grades up and mouth shut. It was a time when children were seen and not heard. My mother ran a tight ship and all that mattered was what others thought.
I didn’t figure this out until seeking out therapy for myself against my narc husbands wishes. BUT, I was being so deconstructed by him subtly for years that I’d lost a great job and ended up on disability due to major depression. The therapist I was seeing opened my eyes to the word narcissist regarding my mother and finally when she dug out of me that my husband who loved me, as I wanted to believe was in fact a covert narcissist, psychopath. It was a lot to take in. This was prior to everything crumbling. The money I was making no longer coming in. That was a very rude awakening for myself as he refused to stop living his life he had hard earned to sacrifice anything for me. Nothing. And I felt as guilty as could be.
Then the drugs started coming in that he’d tried hiding until he just stopped and figured what was I going to do? His drug of choice thf same that you mentioned along with anything else.
I’d never lived that way in my life and was trapped.
It all caved in after I’d found proof in my hands that was not deniable about cheating. I’d never not trusted him as far as that went and there it was in my hands one evening and that was the defining point where I told him to leave.
After a long drawn out act that could win an Oscar he’d left the very next morning. Awoke a totally different man. Didn’t deny it but wasn’t apologizing. They never will nor never do.
I knew that Saturday morning when he left that I was then his number one enemy. I saw it in his empty black eyes and in his words as he left telling me very smugly to file for divorce.
Two years later that divorce was finalized but never over. 5+ years later it’s still not over in many ways although I’ve struggled through hardships I didn’t think I’d get through. I’m still struggling.
The difference in your story and mine is your friend, the wonderful man who taught you how to love and respect yourself. The man who you only had a short 14 months with. I’m so very glad of that healing coming to you by way of that amazing person.
I’m thrilled to know you had each other.
I have no one. My family disowned me upon my stopping contact with my mother and my only daughter from my first marriage out of high school was successfully brainwashed when my now ex decided to purposely smear my name with her and nearly every friend I had. I’ve lost my professional friends. My old friends. My daughter was my rock and we’ve not spoken in 6 years. I’ve got three beautiful granddaughters I’ve not seen in 6 years. This he all stole from me as I can’t blame her for believing his convincing lies. As narcissists do, he made me the crazy one and himself the victim. Even made me the drug addict.
As I lie here in bed at 2 a.m. typing this I know there’s not one person I could call in a crisis other than a hotline. My dog is my life. She’s the reason I’m here still. I’m worried about the day she’s no longer here. That will be a devastating time in my life again. She’s all I truly have and the only love I have in my life, even though I love my daughter unconditionally she’s told me she loves me because I’m her mother. Only reason. I told her I didn’t want that kind of obligatory love. I don’t believe I love my own mother and can’t see myself mourning her death when she’s gone. I’ve never had a mother and very little of a father. I’ve never felt so empty and broken as I have all these years. There’s no pill. No therapy. No nothing that can heal this pain of being abandoned by my daughter. I can’t learn to live along side the pain and I’ve yet to find a purpose for myself that I could manage a day without a breakdown.
I wish you so much happiness in your life. It was a joy to read that you’ve healed through what many would think an unlikely source. It’s those sources we need in our lives just as you’ve been amazing for him in his last 14 months alive.
This was very much a unique and fabulous thing to read and it gives me a little hope.
Thank you so very much for sharing your story of healing ♥️
Kudos to Spike! I, as many others as well, can relate to her experience - and it’s wonderful to know that I am not alone. As a smart woman, I was dumbfounded at the person I had become while in my recent relationship. Thank you for the honesty and healing.