When you break up with someone it’s natural to go through a period of introspection. At least I hope it is because that is clearly what I’ve been doing these past few months. That’s acceptable still, I think, because it’s been less than four months.
Here’s the thing, when you’ve been in a six year relationship with a raging narcissist you have to be honest with yourself, if for no other reason than the novelty. Honesty? Not big with the narcissistic set.
During these sessions of personal honesty I came to a realization. All of the lies and the money shenanigans and the gaslighting and the pile of tiny, shredded pieces of my self-esteem and confidence that I’ve had to start repairing led me to the understanding that, yeah I’ve been abused. In fact, every single person that I’ve given the narrative of the relationship to has come to that realization. I kind of wish someone had mentioned that half a fucking decade ago but I understand why they didn’t. How does one just casually mention "your boyfriend/husband/significant other is an abusive loser." Is there a way to do that? If so, please comment and tell me because other than just coming right out and saying that thing, I've got nothing.
The realization that one has been abused is troubling and working through it is going to take some time.
After that realization came another, even more troubling one. I have been abusive. I would put forward that everyone who has been in an abusive relationship has been abusive.
Un-clutch your pearls, bring that jerked knee down and hear me out.
In an abusive relationship, eventually you just start doing the work for the abusive party. Even if you aren’t a polygamist, which adds a whole new dimension of drama as it does with everything else, you start anticipating the abuse you’re going to receive and acting accordingly. Because if you do it to yourself, the abuser won’t have to do it. Maybe you’ll squeeze a tiny bit of control out of the moment and a tiny bit of peace for the stress. At least that’s what you tell yourself.
It’s not true, by the way. That’s not how abuse works.
This is how abuse works. The more you give the more they push and they don't stop pushing until they destroy you.
Getting out of that mindset, learning not to abuse yourself and the people around you? That’s the real work of recovering from a break-up with an abuser. That part is really hard. I'm working on it. I'm not really sure how well I'm doing thus far, but I am working.