Imagine this. You’re seated in the corner of a dimly lit room with no opening but a small window on one side of the wall. Although there’s a thin streak of light penetrating the room, you can’t help but feel the walls closing in on you. As you stare at the shards of glass in the middle of the room, a surge of fear rises within you. It terrifies, weakens, and renders you hopeless.
Deep down, you know you’re not supposed to feel trapped and powerless. Life isn’t meant to taste so bland as is evident of the streak of light from the window. The light beckons sunshine, peace, and happiness in a bigger and happier world outside your four walls. If you’ve ever been trapped in the tight wedge of narcissistic abuse, you’ll agree that this is precisely how it feels.
But what if I told you that you should thank the narcissistic monster who ripped your heart out and ate it in right front of you? Sounds crazy, I know, but as a survivor of narcissistic abuse myself, the experience transformed my life in ways I couldn’t possibly imagine.
If you’ve been through a similar experience, allow me to show why you should be thankful to the narcissist because although you may not see it, they were the catalyst that paved the way for the person you are now. Here’s how you’ve evolved, although you may not realize it.
1. You’ve changed your behavior for the better.
I cannot begin to tell you how much I blamed myself for falling for the narcissist and wondering how I could have been so naive to ignore the red flags. I’m sure you’ve felt the same regret and bitterness and have asked yourself why you didn’t leave the relationship sooner. You’ve told yourself how your life would be different hadn’t you fallen into the narcissism trap.
You know what? Contrary to what you might say to yourself, the fact that you were willing to let someone in your heart means you’re stronger than you think. The only reason you became an easy target for the narcissist like I did is that you craved love and affection. Because you couldn’t stand being isolated, your boundaries were not very strong.
And although you could see the little red flags waving at you, you believed everything the narcissist told you even though deep down, you knew there was no sincerity. It wasn’t your fault. You just happened to be in love and so deeply connected that all you knew to do was to turn a blind eye. But the deeper you sank in the emotionally, the more your happiness, peace, and self-esteem became like shards of glass.
Although the road to recovery was long and windy, you eventually found the courage to pull yourself out of the darkness, and you did not only found yourself, but you also transformed your life. You learned to embrace your own company because you finally realized that the presence of someone in your life doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not lonely. So you began fueling your emotional reserves instead of expecting someone else to fill you up.
It took a while, but slowly and steadily, you felt your self-worth improving. And for the first time, you recognized the validity of your feelings and no longer took your opinion for granted. You swore you would always acknowledge every single strand of emotion going through you. Nothing would be swept under the carpet ever again.
Now? Putting yourself first is in your default settings, and you do so unapologetically because you feel compassion for the person you are — who you’ve always been.
2. You’ve taken control of your life.
I’m not sure I had a clear and concise plan for my life when I was in a relationship with the narcissist. Because I had shrunk in the big shadow his domination cast over me, my life was nothing but mundane existence. I was like a person running on the same spot. But when the relationship turned into a smoldering pile of rubble, I found my big girl shoes and took control of my life.
You’ll agree with me that gone are the days you built your life upon the sinking sand of insecurity and vulnerability. The years you would easily push aside or toss away your ambitions and dreams entirely just to accommodate the narcissist who thought of nobody but themselves.
Fast forward to the present moment; you’re not only secure, but you can finally think for yourself, no longer needing permission or validation to hold the steering wheel of your life. The pain you’ve gone through purged your insecurities and gave you a voice that you now use to have a say in the direction of your life.
Just like gold, you’ve been through the furnace and have come out more robust, and you now know what it truly means to be free. With your emotional chains now broken, your life is no longer appended to your narcissist abuser. The cherry on top?
You’ve become a ninja now, sifting through the problems in your life and discovering solutions to move your life forward, which means you’re no longer stuck. In fact, in your journey of self-discovery, you’ve unearthed strengths and capabilities you didn’t even know you had, although they were there all along, lying dormant waiting for you to tap into them.
3. You’ve become healthier.
When my relationship ended, I suddenly had so much time on my hands and I took up running. It changed my life by making me stronger and healthier. I fell in love with my body again and my self-esteem improved exponentially. If your former self could see the person you’ve become, they would barely recognize you.
You no longer suffer from eating disorders and insomnia. Your once weak frame now oozes energy and vitality because you now exercise your body, eat healthily, groom, and clean up after yourself. This isn’t just because you have more energy; it’s simply because life isn’t as unbearable as it once was.
You’re now conscious of the incredible beauty surrounding you- from the golden sun to the azure skies. You can’t have enough of the soothing feeling of sand between your toes and acts as simple as lying on the soft grass fill you with a gush of peace you never knew existed.
“I think that we are like stars. Something happens to burst us open; but when we burst open and think we are dying; we’re actually turning into a supernova. And then when we look at ourselves again, we see that we’re suddenly more beautiful than we ever were before!” ― C. JoyBell C.
Just like the words of Joybell, it took the hate to experience self-worth. The silver lining of having your heart broken into a million pieces is the grace, strength, and resilience which you now carry with you. You had to go through the pain to be born into your new self. The scars you bear show that you’re a survivor.