Survivor Stories: A Priceless Work in Progress

Broken beyond words, a stark realization I had in the moment he finally had one hand around my neck and the other hand pointed right to my face.  With more conviction in his eyes and words than he had the day we said our “I dos” , he raged, “Don’t you ever think I need you or want you. Don’t you think for a second that I can’t get a better b**** than you.”  The topic at hand, of course, had nothing to do with other women or jealousy. It had to do with the fact that moments before, in a fit of grandiosity on his part, he almost killed us on a six lane highway. I braced for impact and my soul immediately released any attachment to this world assuming, “This is it”.  

Ashamedly, I admit, that was not the first time I’d heard those words uttered.  It was his go-to speech regarding pretty much anything. The most memorable of all was about a sandwich.  I actually have that recorded, too, to remind me I am not making up that story (evidence of gaslighting). The speech, however, was not usually accompanied by a hand to my neck.

Almost a year before what would be our final days together (mentioned above), I had naturally started to respond less to his behaviors.  I couldn’t control him but I could control me, and so I did. Unfortunately, where some narcissists may respond by backing down since you’re not giving them that supply, his bad behavior escalated overtime to becoming downright absurd, bizarre, and abusive.  I was no longer feeding his ego by reacting to his bad behavior and so his behavior got worse.

At the time, I didn’t have words to validate what I knew to be true.  I didn’t know what NPD was, or about future faking, or that “narcissists tell on themselves” (he actually told me he was a narcissist once).  What I knew was that whatever was happening there was not love. It was not honor. It hurt. All the time. Every day, in some way, even on the good days, something hurt.  I did not want to spend another day convincing myself that the truth was different than the evidence. I did not want to spend more time telling myself that he does love me, when he would spend any time at all telling me he could do better.  So I left.

I used to pride myself on knowing him better than he knew himself.  I used to pride myself on loving him harder and better than anyone ever had.  I used to pride myself on being able to hover ever so lightly within our house made of egg shells.  I have since learned to flip that script. I now know myself better than anyone, and love myself harder than anyone, and I now live alone in a house I am building out of solid rock.  A priceless work in progress.

Danielle S.