Healing from a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath takes a very long time. If anyone had ever suggested that I would still be having repercussions from after this long, I would have never believed them. The PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) is still very much there, even after having therapy. It’s something that I am not sure I will ever be able to “turn off”. Perhaps it serves as a useful tool now to protect me, I don’t know, but I do know I’d feel happier without the nearly constant low grade anxiety (and sometimes full blown panic attacks). It can make it very hard to things that other people find ordinary. Being around new people, attending new places can be especially difficult until you learn to trust them. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find that trusting anyone new is difficult and takes a long time…….because as most of us have seen, you can know someone for years and still have them turn against you. Or believe that someone loves you and then have them try to destroy you.
Building a new life can also seem next to impossible. I don’t say these things to discourage you, but to show you that you are not alone in what you are feeling. People will tell you to go out and “make new friends” after you’ve lost all the existing ones. It takes courage and persistence. Depending on what stage of life you’re in, it can be difficult since many people are busy with being partnered and raising children. Also, dating is a huge obstacle to overcome as you learn to trust again and also deal with the triggers. Someone that I could trust told me yesterday that I probably have Complex PTSD, which is a PTSD that has originated from multiple sources of trauma. I have to read more about it, but it sounds likely. Especially if you’ve had multiple relationships with disordered individuals and the trauma in each relationship was slightly (or majorly) different. And when you add to this the “normal” stresses of every day living, it can be overwhelming.
Just last night, someone was texting me long into the night, someone I’ve never met with but felt comfortable enough to share my phone number with. I repeatedly told him I needed to sleep, but he kept texting. I could have turned off the phone but then children or family members wouldn’t have been able to reach me. This morning I blocked the number, since, if you can’t respect that I need sleep and you need to stop texting me, then you’re not going to respect much else. I don’t know if the blocking stops texts or just calls. Then the PTSD kicks in and I start to worry about what kind of “retaliation” he might have because I’ve blocked him. But, I rationalize, he has no idea where I live. So today I feel tired and irritable on a day when I have so much work to do. This is the thought process that you acquire after a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath. It gets easier just to be alone and stay alone (or so it seems). Going out on any kind of a limb, even giving your phone number out, can totally freak you out, especially when you find that there are so many people out there who are just plain inconsiderate and rude (they don’t even have to be a narcissist or sociopath!).
It is such a process and I know we have to keep moving forward. We have to keep focusing on the people and pets and things that bring us joy. We have to be willing to try to trust again and breathe through the angst. We have to be willing to let people get close to us. Little by little maybe we can be able to share bits of our soul again. I know that just feeling like I’ve said “too much” is enough to trigger huge anxiety. I have found lots of prayer to be helpful. Working with your Higher Power (by whatever name you call it) can be immensely calming. Your Higher Power always has your back and if you ask your angels to be with you, they will be, protecting you and helping you to move forward. Call upon your faith, whatever that may mean to you.
I have a big project coming up that is stretching me to the limits of my comfort zone. It’s something an ordinary person wouldn’t have an issue with. I know that the potential is there to open new doors for my career as well as forming new friendships. I have to “feel the fear and do it anyway”. I have to trust. I have to trust my own intuition that this is a good thing for me and I have to trust the other people involved. I have to dive in. To let this opportunity pass me by because of fear would not be a good thing. And, yet, it is so very hard.
While obviously, right now, I don’t have any great words of wisdom about moving forward. And the jerks still show up, like the one last night, who refused to stop texting me when I asked him to. But I write so that others may know they’re not alone in what they’re feeling and experiencing. People do not understand what it’s like to be in (or in the aftermath) of a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath. They don’t want to hear about it anymore and want us to get over it already and move on. What they don’t get is that we desperately want the same thing, but it just isn’t that easy for us. I have found that just the simple every day things become overwhelming to me, living in the manner that I used to live just isn’t possible right now. Everything and everyone becomes a possible threat. It really sucks. The anxiety and PTSD can be super intense.
So, one day at a time. Sometimes one breath at a time. Just one foot in front of the other at a time. Inch by inch, ever so slowly, moving forward. Reach deep inside and find the courage to try some new things that stretch your boundaries. Little by little you’ll find you’re making progress. It’s very hard but I understand. And you’re never alone with this. Never, ever alone. There are countless other survivors of narcissists and sociopaths out there. Feel the fear, breathe and do it anyway. Trust your Higher Power that really amazing good things are on the way.
With endless love and courage,