So as Survivors there is an age-old question we must ask of ourselves: Do we tell new friends/boyfriends/girlfriends of our troubling pasts? And if we do, just how much do we tell them? And how early in a relationship do we reveal how another person shaped who we are today?
If we do tell, then we are opening ourselves to criticism and feedback. Which isn’t something we necessarily want or need. The point of explaining that we are a Survivor of a Psychopath or a Narcissist or (fill in your own blank) is to explain that that particular person has caused some pretty extensive emotional damage to you, perhaps some physical damage, you might be suffering PTSD, you might be hyper-vigilant, you might have some quirks and hey-let’s face it-you know yourself better than anyone else and although you think you’re drowning in a sea of emotions, really, you’re swimming in the lake with dolphins. Why do I say that? Because you understand more about where you are, where you’ve been and where you’re going than those dolphins ever will.
When I explain my story of the psychopath to someone, so very often their response is, “Why didn’t you have him killed?” “He needs to die.” Such a flippant response people let roll off their tongues. But it’s not their position to “kill” someone, I guess, so they say it. I just calmly look at them, and explain that murder is not an answer to a psychopathic stalker and explain the law to them. Words are easy to say, actions are harder, and people talk sh*t all the time. I shouldn’t have to defend myself as to why I have behaved as a victim all these years within the confines of the law. So I don’t tell my story that often to others. Unless it’s necessary. Because most people don’t really think their thoughts through realistically. Because they have lived normal, happy, cookie-cutter lives.
Now as a Narcissist Survivor, my story will garner pity. And I don’t want that either. Growing up the way I did gave me strength. It was hell back then. I couldn’t wait to get out. And the way I got out was the wrong way and it set me up to fail. I know that now but I didn’t know that back then. I was naive, young and biting at the bits to get the hell out. Simple as that. I thought I was ready to face the world but in reality, I really wasn’t. I didn’t have the skills needed because I hadn’t been given the skills I should have been given by proper parenting.
It felt good to be away from the object of my horrors yet she was still very much an integral part of my life. The day after I was married and I had left my home, I received an emergency phone call from my mother early that morning. Yes, an emergency phone call from my narcissistic mother calling me on the first day of my honeymoon. I had left my cat in her care while I would be away until I returned, and would be leaving later that day. She was calling to tell me that she could not “find” my cat.
Now, mind you, we had lived in a two-family home, with my aunt downstairs, my parents upstairs. A full attic and a full basement in this large home. My cat never ventured outdoors. Somehow, this woman had “lost” her and had to call me to tell me this on the first day of my honeymoon, begging me to come back to the home to find her.
Of course I was beside myself, so my new husband and I went back to my old house to look for her. When we arrived, there was my mother, sitting on the couch in the living room, laughing and joking with a group of people. She had invited family and friends to an “after the wedding party”, unbeknownst to me. So I arrive to this party, they look at me as if I’m crazy and why am I there, I look at them wondering why are they there because she never told me about a party. She’s sitting there, Queen of the party, cigarette and drink in hand, laughing away. What a manipulative move on her part.
I calmly ask her if she had found my cat. She tells everyone how worried I am about “Sherman”, and look how “she can’t stay away”. (She doesn’t tell them how she called me hours earlier begging me to come find her.) I turned around, walked out of the apartment, into the hallway, opened the attic door, and out walked my cat. Somehow I knew she would be in there. The attic door remains locked at all times, by the way. I picked her up, brought her back into the house, and told everyone I found her locked in the attic. I then announced that my husband and I were leaving and hoped that Sherman would survive the next two weeks.
Sherman did, as did I. And I’m not sure how my narcissistic mother survived without her scapegoat under her domain. She just had to throw in one last jab before I was finally out of the house, I guess. Twisting words to others, attempting to belittle me and have an audience for her last show. Maybe she didn’t count on my finding my cat in the locked attic so easily. She probably didn’t realize the bond between an animal and its’ owner. At the least, when I left so quickly, all anyone really knew was that I had received a call, was concerned, and loved my pet enough to make sure she was safe. To some, maybe that seemed crazy, to others, it was not. To me, it was normal love for a pet.
That wasn’t the last time she reached out her claws to strike at me. Somehow, she managed to many other times before she died 7 years later. I still shake my head at her behavior. Yes, it still haunts me. But I’ll tell it to others so they know they aren’t alone. And to those who are my friends so they understand when I am silent, looking into nothing, when deep wells become my eyes.
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