Are you in a relationship with a narcissist?

Are you in a relationship with a narcissist?

Here’s a scary statistic; 35% of women report either a current or past relationship with a narcissist.  35%.  Are you one of us?  Are you uncertain?  Let me help you clarify.

~ You firmly believe that your partner is smarter, wiser & more capable of managing life.  You depend on him/her to help you navigate your life because they have helped you realize that you are unable to do this on your own.  Your thoughts & choices cannot be trusted because you have made some grave errors in the past.  He or she is more likely to provide a solution to the sticky situations you find yourself in.  Without their constant guidance, instruction or input you would not be able to complete even the simplest of daily tasks.  Tasks you thought you could manage, such as choosing appropriate outfits, how to properly clean a home, effective discipline for children and managing finances are too much for you.

~  Your partner is very compassionate about the abuse you have suffered in the past and understands that because of the damage done to you, you are too broken to survive on your own.  He or she is your protector, your hero.  Your partner can see through the manipulation of your family & friends.  He or she knows that you are unsafe with them alone.  Your partner has suggested that you start to create distance between you & the people you thought loved you.  To keep you safe from these people causing further harm to you, perhaps you should cut ties all together, because your partner is the only one you can trust to keep you safe.

~  Your partner is always considerate enough to point out that little changes would be a great improvement.  “It’s too bad you can’t put together an outfit like her.  She’s hot in those heals with her hair up like that.”  He is also very careful to point out that you do not suit an up-do in heals, because it makes you look like a hooker.

~  Your partner encourages open dialogue to discuss the relationship.  You feel valued when you offer suggestions for improvement and he explains the reality of your situation: “I wish you looked at me they way you look at her.” “I look at her that way because she is strong & confident, something you will never be because you’re too broken.”

~  There have been times when you have doubted the wisdom and the authority of your partner, but each time you question this, he is able to mention a friend or co-worker who feels the same way he does, thus proving that you are once again to broken to form an opinion about anything.

~  You are fully aware that you are damaged goods and are so grateful that your partner was willing to take pity on you and love you in spite of your past.  You are unlovable to everyone and without him to save you, you would be lost.

If any of this sounds familiar, then you are in a relationship with a narcissist.  Let’s insert the appropriate terms for each point above:

Gaslighting – creating uncertainty in your thoughts, beliefs & abilities.  This is used to diminish your self-worth and create dependency on the narcissist.

Isolation – creating distance between you & your support system.  With your family & friends out-of-the-way, your abuser has more control.  You are no longer guided by outside positive influences and are fully dependant on him.

Shaming – sounds like a compliment, but leaves you feeling small & insecure.  Used to reduce your self-confidence.

Deflecting – blames you for their indiscretions.  Narcissists are unable to accept responsibility for their actions.  They deflect accountability and choose to be the victim of others.

Triangulation – Bring a third-party into a conversation to back up their thoughts & beliefs.  Used to force you to second guess your thoughts & beliefs.

Projection – they are unable to accept their own feelings of worthlessness, so they cast these feelings on to you in such a way that you are convinced they are true.  They project their insecurities onto you.

How do I know this?

Because I was one of the 35%.  I was in an 11-year relationship with a narcissist.  I was told that he was forced to sleep with other women because my being pregnant made me fat (I gained 12 pounds in 9 months).  I was told that cocaine & hookers were necessary because of the burden I placed on him.  I was told that he deserved the settlement from my injury for dragging my sorry ass around all these years.  I was told that I was lucky to have him because no one else would put up with my stupidity & laziness.

I was also told that it didn’t have to be this way.  I heard whispers of strength & determination.  I saw the fear in the eyes of my daughters.  I heard the inner voice tell me that this is not what I would choose for them.  This is not the example I wanted them to structure theirs lives on.  They were worth more than this.  They deserved more than this.  They, my girls, gave me the strength & the courage to want more, believe more and hope for more.

How do you break free from a narcissist?

Start by listening for that voice.  The voice buried deep inside you that tells you this isn’t right.  The voice that brought you to this article.  The voice that has led you to secretly seek out alternative solutions, choices & possibilities.  Look around you.  Find your source of strength.  Is it in your children, your family or even a memory?  When you’re ready, reach out.  There is always someone close by that will support you.

  1. Contact your local abuse shelter: they will help you with a safety plan, housing & Legal Counsel
  2. Contact your local Police & tell them you are planning to leave a toxic relationship& ask for a Police Escort if needed. Let them know of any weapons in the home.
  3. Begin to slowly save & hide money.
  4. Pack a bag of essentials & leave it with a friend
  5. Download this Safety Plan for Domestic Violence 

You cannot fix this person.  They do not see themselves as the problem.  They feel you are the problem.

The honeymoon (those moments when you are treated like a queen, the apologies, the gifts, the promises) won’t last.  You know this.  This is just another manipulation tool to get you to stay.


You are never alone in this.  There are thousands of narcissists in this world, but there are millions of survivors.  When survivors band together, we begin to thrive, to dream, to create & to conquer!!  Together, we will change this world.  We’re ready for you to join us.  Let us know how we can help.

Click here to read more stories of survival.

Andrea Scarborough
Life / Parenting Coach

“I’m tired.” she said.

“I’m tired.” she said.

Tired of taking the blame, making excuses and following the rules.

I used to have dreams, hopes and a very clear vision of how my life would play out.  I wanted a career, a family, vacations and friends.  I wanted to be happy, secure in myself and feel safe.  I wanted all of that.

Somehow, I find myself trying to live up to someone else’s standards.  Someone else is calling the shots, making the rules and creating the expectations and try as I may, I am losing myself in this process.  I used to have the ability to make decisions.  I had a choice, I had a voice.

Now, all of that is gone.  You took away my power, you hushed my voice.  You said no one would listen to me.  You said I was wrong.  You said it was my fault.  You told me I am weak.  You made me feel stupid.  You took away my friends and shunned my family.  I am alone with you now, and I am afraid.

I am afraid for my safety, maybe not physically, because you have never laid a hand on me.  But I am afraid of hurting myself because I am unable to live up to your standards.  I am afraid of the world around me, because you said I wasn’t strong enough to handle it.

My life was not supposed to be like this.  How did I get here?  How do I get out?  I am in a dark hole.  I cannot see the sun.

I look at this huge scary world around me and I see people laughing.  How can you just laugh without someone telling you the joke was funny?  Aren’t you afraid your laugh is too loud?  What did you have to do to get permission to be with friends?  I’ll bet you’ll be in trouble when you get home.

Hanging out with friends is a distant memory, but it is a fond memory.  If I allow myself (in the quiet moments while you are gone), I remember laughing.  I remember not having to worry about what time I got home.  I remember choosing who I spent time with.  If I really work at it, I can remember.

It is these memories that get me through.  It is these quiet times, when you are gone, that I am free to remember, free to feel, free to just be.  I know I can’t spend too much time in my memories, and I know I can never share them with you.  It is a sacred place in my heart and in my mind that keeps me going.  There is a voice in these memories that speaks to me.

This voice tells me I am strong.  I am smart.  I am tough.  I can be more.  I can want more.  This voice tells me I belong in a sidewalk café enjoying a coffee with friends.  This voice gets a little bit louder each time I visit my memories.  I am so torn.  Torn between who I thought I was, and who you say I am.     There is something missing.  A piece of the puzzle that doesn’t quite fit.

I know you are stronger and wiser than I am, but I just have a feeling.  A feeling that it doesn’t have to be this way.  Other people look so happy and free.  I think I want to try that.  I want to experience joy (is that even a word, I’m not sure).  I want to feel the sunshine on my face and drink coffee with friends.  I used to be quite smart, I wonder if I still am?  In my memories I dreamed of living by the water, playing on the beach and I think I felt important.  What if there is truth in my memories?

You are so brave going out into the world everyday to earn a living for us.  I could never do that.  You said the world would just eat me up.  You said I’m not strong enough or wise enough to venture out there.  You said that I am grateful that you are willing to do this for me.  Am I grateful?  I’m sure I must be, but this doesn’t feel like gratitude.  This feels like obligation.  I think I want to try.  I think I am going to try. I think I can.

The voice in my memories is growing louder.  It is telling me that I am tired.  I am tired of being at fault, taking the blame and making excuses.  I am tired of living by your rules.  I am tired of trying to be the person you expect me to be.  I am tired of not being me.  That’s it!!  Right there, with you, I am not ME!!

I am going to be me!  I am strong.  Strong enough to venture into the world.  I am smart.  Smart enough to know there is more to life.  I am tough.  I am tough enough to break though all the pain, the heartache, the disappointment and find a way to be ME!

“I am tired,” she said, “tired of you.”


If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please contact your local Abuse Hotline for help!

When you are ready to create your future, please contact me.  I will help you get there!!

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My Name is Jenny

My Name is Jenny 

Written & submitted by Jenny Ambrose of Puree Fantastico

I am the Best Small Graphic Design Business in Los Angeles for 2014-2017, winner of Addy awards, owner of all of the awesome. Spreader of the joy, font knowledge, and endless gradient (and glitter!) love. Encourager of the silliness, the feeling of freedom, and the loudest laughter.

But I am also the same person who suffered through PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder from 10 to 28, has had to deal with colonoscopies and laparoscopies BECAUSE of those disorders, but I am also the person that found a way to heal. Really, fully, entirely heal. I’ve changed things about myself I used to take wholly for granted. In my mind and my heart, I’ve changed right down to the cellular level. My mitochondria sing the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma

Joy

To walk away fresh and renewed, happy, fulfilled, and whole by 32; walking away from a life of chaos and parents each emboldened with their own special flavors of narcissistic personality disorder and into a life full of heart and authenticity. My inner voice is my own, and the boundaries I have are grown from a solid foundation within myself. I lovingly nurture a life composed of a wonderful equally strong and tender marriage, FIVE relentlessly needy (but totally loved) animal babies, hilarious, intelligent, grateful friends and colleagues who lift me up, support me, challenge me, and contribute to my craziness (aka The Kubrick project!). I am loved in my life, and most importantly, I am loved BY my life.  

I truly believe that it was my multitude of passions that allowed me to connect deeply with my truest self, carving a pathway overriding all of the nonsense that was to come. It was listening to my truest voice when all others tried so hard to drown it out. It was following my gut even though I thought I was diving head first into the deepest pools of insanity. There were times when nothing made sense, and times when even the things I thought made sense was nonsense but sticking with myself has always lead me exactly where I need to be.
So, whatever you do, wherever you are, and whatever you are faced with– always choose you. You will always make the best choice there is. I promise.


Thank you, Jenny, for sharing your story!!  As I said to you, your energy precedes you!!  Thank you also for contributing the artwork for this post!!  It is beautiful and expressive!  

Please Leave Jenny a Comment below and be sure to subscribe to my blog to read more fantastic stories of triumph, adversity, success & survival!

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Denyse’ Story

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LeeAnne’s Story

Kim’s Story

Staci’s Story

The Phoenix Rises

How The Hell Did I Get Here?

How The Hell Did I Get Here?

Written by: Staci Hissong – Staci is a gifted & compassionate Life Coach using her story to empower others.


Standing with my back against the wall, literally and figuratively, with his hands on either side of my shoulders and it struck me; “How the hell did I get here?

Of course, that is not how my story started. That is not how any survivor’s story starts. Most stories start with glitter and rainbows, with affection and love, with gifts and adoration. And then it’s like a fucking switch flips and you are left standing in the dark with confusion and hurt. My story is not the exception. It starts when I was a 19 year old, college sophomore during “Welcome Week,” out with my friends and deciding to leap up and kiss a ‘friend’ that would turn in to so much more. It started innocently enough; a lot of flirtation, hook-ups, and laughter. Feeling carefree and understood, moving from the occasional hook-up to actual dates to staying the night with each other every night. Sleeping alone became a thing of the past, which is quite hilarious to me now that two full sized humans slept in a twin-sized loft each and every night because the idea of being apart was more uncomfortable than the actual closeness the beds provided. The first year continued with butterflies and unicorns and I did not believe it could be possible to be happier. Then summer hit. We were thankfully from the same hometown so we did not have to figure out distance in our relationship, but we did come from different socioeconomic situations. His Dad would write a check for his tuition each semester, and I sit here 12 years after graduation still paying off my loans. This meant I had to work every day that summer, so I did.

 And that is when the switch flipped.

He no longer was the center of my life. I had to do what was best for me, and that was finding a way to sustain living through the upcoming year with work. He started getting angry at me all the time because I could not go to every party. I could not stay out all night. And I would say no to things, which was completely different from how the previous year of our relationship had been. The arguing started, and really never stopped. Everything was consistently my fault because I did not put our relationship first. He hated this and let me know with his words. Very loud and hurtful words at times which I will explain later. He then decided we needed to “take a break until we got back to school,” which I later found out meant he was sleeping with another girl from home but wanted to get back to our relationship when he had my undivided attention. I was devastated, heartbroken; but I figured there were only a few weeks before we went back to school, so it would all work out.

 “Welcome Week” was upon us again and I anticipated things going right back to normal. But little did I know, that was not his plan at all. He wanted his cake and to eat it to. He invited this girl up to school, and SHE was the one to tell me she started sleeping with him. Are You Fucking Kidding Me? This has got to be a joke. All while he was telling me we were “working things out,” he “loved me,” we were “meant to be.” Well fueled by heartbreak and a lot of liquor, I walked in on him with her at this party and instead of being the stereotypical girl and going after the “other woman,” I went after him. I punched him repeatedly in the face and busted his nose. His very fit friend had to lift me off of him with such force I had finger bruises on arms from the strength he had to use due to my adrenaline. As I stood there, he just kept calling me a “crazy bitch,” over and over and over. A term he used quite often when speaking to me. A term that set something off inside of me due to my history with depression and anxiety, as well as self-harm behaviors. All things that he knew about me and used against me at the drop of a hat. Knowing that I was terrified that I may actually be “crazy,” he took every opportunity to reinforce that fear. Every interaction over the last few months between us had been toxic. Ending in screaming and crying and just plain ugly words being spewed.

 At this point, I should of walked away.

That’s what you would have done right? He had finally made it apparent I was worthless and everyone else thought I was crazy, so why in the fuck would I ever even speak to him again? Well, because I loved him. Did you just say, “how?” to yourself? Don’t worry, today that is what I say too, but understand he had taken the power and control from me and from our relationship well before this situation happened. I was dependent on any morsel of attention and positive words he would give me. And without fail, two days later he called, we talked, worked it out, and went back to dating. The thing was, he continued to sleep with this other girl…for what I found out later was months. And I caught him many more times; and he managed to convince me I was the crazy one for driving by his house to see if she was there or going through his phone when he walked out of the room. So, I forgave him every time. Each time, losing more and more of me. I lost like 30 lbs in a month from the stress, lost friendships because I would not allow myself to see what they saw, and just chose to look the other way.

 The Honeymooning

The thing was, if you did not know what was being done and said behind closed doors, you would have thought we were good together. Until we added the alcohol and my insecurity crept out and his vulgarity towards me crept out and we would cause a scene at every party. And then go home together afterwards like nothing was abnormal. He consistently told me what a worthless piece of trash I was and how lucky I was to be with him.

 I stayed in this relationship until right before my 22nd birthday. Almost three years. Three years of questioning my sanity. Three years of him whispering “You’re crazy” to me in front of people where no one else heard until I would lose it and he would be like what are you talking about? Legit, making me look crazy!! In front of friends, at the bar, in an elevator with a stranger in Chicago. Any time he could. Three years of on and off toxicity. One time I followed through with ending the relationship. He called me 53 times in an hour without me picking up. He called my parents who told him I was back at school, when in reality I was not. I got a call from my roommate shortly after that he was at our door screaming and pounding on the door and she did not know what to do. I recommended she call the police, but that never happened because he left and started calling my phone again. Then he left me a voicemail stating he needed to talk because his mom was sick, and he needed me. I fell back in, and within a week, right back to the screaming and name calling. On my 21st birthday, I went hard as many people do on their 21st while away at college. He carried me back to his house, which everyone gave him so much credit for taking care of me. We went into his room and started having sex. Well I was definitely too drunk to do that, and the motion made me vomit down the side of his bed. He picked me up, threw me in the shower and left me on the floor in there for I could not even tell you how long. The next morning his roommate told me he could hear me crying through the wall; saying that I was going to die and he wanted to come in and help me but knew I was naked and felt like that would violate me. My boyfriend was upstairs, so the roommate went up to tell him he could hear me, and my boyfriend did not budge. He kept drinking and left me there. When he finally came to help me out of the shower, we went back into his room where he brought new sheets and stood there while I was made to change them since I was the one who got sick on them. I stayed with him still for almost another year!!!

 It finally ended, 

It finally ended one night when he picked me up from the bar after a bar crawl and he was yelling at me and I just did not care anymore. I had no reaction. He yelled more, I just did not have it in me to fight back. He said it was over and I said ok. (He was also sleeping with a mutual ‘friend’ of ours by this point as well). I felt free. I was ready for it to be over. I finally was done, relief! But it again would not prove to be so easy. He had expected me to fight to keep the relationship as I always did, and when I did not, he became infuriated. He began calling me repeatedly again and telling me he wanted everything he ever bought me back. I finally just said fine and threw up my hands. If that would end this, then I would give it all back. I walked over to his apartment, which by this point we only lived like seven minutes apart on a walk and gave him the bag of stuff. He said he was going to give me back everything I had bought him. I stated repeatedly I did not want anything back because that was not how gifts worked and he got so angry. He began screaming and yelling at me that I was going to take it all. Upon refusal again, he picked up the DVD player I had bought him and threw it at my head. Now I don’t know if you all remember how heavy DVD players were, but they were not these lightweight things like Blu-ray players are today. I moved and did not get hit, but I remember being completely frightened for the first time of him in that moment. He emotionally hurt me, verbally abused me, spiritually broke me, but he had never laid a finger on me. But in that moment, I felt that possibility upon me. He lunged at me and I flinched. I will never forget what happened next. He backed me up against the wall in his dining room with his hands on either side of shoulders and said “You think I’m going to hit you? You really think I am going to hit you? If I was going to hit you, I would have done that a long time ago!” I moved out of the way and left the apartment. That was it, it was the moment, the breaking point. I knew we were completely over. On that seven-minute walk home, he called my phone numerous times and left me four voicemails. The final voicemail stating I was a “fucking cunt who should’ve killed [myself] a long time ago” and would “never amount to anything and be poor” and would be “worthless without [him] because no one else would ever want [me].” I got home, locked that apartment door as hard as I could and sat in my room and sobbed.

 We saw each other out in public regularly following that. There are only so many bars in a college town after all, and we had many of the same friends. Many more ridiculous exchanges, or avoiding one another, for the final two months before graduation. I saw him a few months later back in our hometown. I broke down and slept with him only to find out he was still seeing that mutual ‘friend’ of ours and made sure to let me know after we had sex that he was glad he was done with such a “whore” like me. And that was that. We were over, ties cut. Until three years later when he was at a bachelor party I think, and he called me and begged to see me, still with the same girl from the end of college. He had nothing but negative things to say about her and just showered me with words of affirmation. He just kept saying we were too young when we met and the love he had for me was just too intense for that age. And even then, there was a part of me that believed that to be true. I refused to see him though so at least there was some progress on my part.

 The Journey to Myself

Fast forward to five years after graduation, I was beginning an internship for my Master’s degree in counseling at a domestic violence shelter. Before you can work there you have to go through an intensive 40-hour training course. The first day of the training they defined domestic abuse. HOLY SHIT! I had been in an abusive relationship? Are you fucking kidding me? But he never laid a finger on me! How is this possible? But it all made so much sense. I cannot be around men who raise their voices, I had severe trust issues in relationships, and I felt pulled to this internship for some reason. I had been going to therapy for about four months at this point and I walked in to my next session and said, “Did you know my college relationship was domestic abuse?” My therapist threw her hands in the air and said “Oh, thank god! I have been waiting for you to get there!” I suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following this relationship. My view on a relationship was so fucked up it made sense why I could not make one work and I kept choosing the wrong men.

 So here I am.

Twelve years removed from the relationship, seven years after realizing that I was in an abusive relationship throughout college. This is the first time I have ever put pen to paper about it, or more so fingers to keys. I actually just verbally told my story for the first time last October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to do my part in spreading the word that not all abuse looks the same. I can tell you in writing this, I still cannot believe that was me. I am such a different person today than I was then. First of all, I am older and wiser and the regular grey hair I have to color proves that. But more than that, I have grown as a person and as a woman. I was so quick to judge when I was younger, and I can guarantee if someone else told me this is how their relationship was I would ask them what the hell was wrong with them to stay? And now, I understand there are so many underlying factors to an abusive relationship that others will not understand. And yet, almost all of these relationships are the same at their core. It is about power and control for the abuser and stripping you of who you are.

 Healing

This process has taken a very long time for me. This is not something that I got out of magically found glitter and rainbows again. Um, fuck no. It did not happen like that at all. It is only over the last year that I can share this story without shame; still not without anger but I am working on that. It took therapy, self-reflection, and a lot of personal development to get here. And where is here? Well I now own two of my own businesses, I have a Master’s degree and am a Licensed Professional Counselor, and I can finally say that I can see some good in the world. I am mindset coach now for women to help them build their confidence and learn how to move forward in life.

 Empowering Others

I love that I get to empower women each and every day. If you find that you are still in a toxic relationship, YOU ARE WORTH MORE! I know nothing I say to you can make you fully believe that, but I hope that in reading this story you can see that you are not alone and there is a strong network of women who will help uplift you when you are ready.

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Tina’s Story

LeeAnne’s Story

Denyse’ Story

Kim’s Story

When Love Becomes Dangerous

When Love Becomes Dangerous

Written by: Kim Love  – Kim is not only a survivor of abuse, but she is now a successful entrepreneur & author.


I’m not the first woman to fall in love with the wrong man and I’m not likely to be the last. When it happened to me, it was like living in a room with no air. I felt suffocated unless he was there beside me. I couldn’t function without him which became dangerous because when we fought, he would “forget about me” for days. Dating a narcissist is one of the most dangerous habits you could have. Everything started off wonderfully, dating him was exciting and we were always doing something fun.

When I first met him, we were friends and he would often refer to me as his “Princess.” I could do no wrong and his loyalty to me kept me warm. It was like I was high on a pedestal that I would never be able to get down from. When we started dating it was that man that I had been friends with for years that I thought that I would be dating. But within a few months, things started to change. He had always called me intelligent and smart; he was impressed with the fact that I was a writer, but suddenly everything I did was “stupid.” He started saying it so often that it made me wonder if I actually was. I used to feel like I was on top of the world when I was with him but then I started to feel awful every time I was in his presence. He started to say things like my career wasn’t “a real job” or that I needed to work out more. After a while, it was as if I could do nothing right and I started to fall into a deep depression.

It’s sad when you love someone so much and you have a hard time understanding why they have changed. You assume you must have done something wrong and they make you believe that you did. He used to be so kind and now I was struggling to do anything I could to please him all the while he was telling me that I was “the worst girlfriend he ever had.” I had a hard time processing that because I was trying so hard to make him happy.

We got into a huge fight one day and he told me that the world would be a better place if I killed myself. I knew then that if I didn’t leave that he would probably push me to do just that. Leaving was a struggle because he would always pull me back in with promises that things would be better.

Lesson Learned

I know I’m not the only woman or even man who has struggled in a similar situation. There was a time in my life that I used to think that I was too strong ever to get involved with an abusive man but with a narcissist, you are often blindsided. You don’t see the signs until you are already in love and committed to that person. I made a mistake but I was able to correct it by leaving and I know that there are so many women out there that never do. They don’t realize that there are women just like them, a support system that can get them through anything.

I write many stories about love in You Taste Like Whiskey and Sunshine; some are bad while others are wonderful. I like telling these stories because not only have they made me the woman that I am today but they give me the opportunity to help others who have gone through the same things that I have. I have also met a former survivor of abuse, Andrea Scarborough who works to help other survivors get through their experiences. The more people that talk about these issues, the more women will come forward. Abuse doesn’t define you and you can move on from your past.


To add your story to our growing list, please contact Andrea.

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Denyse’ Story

Tina’s Story

LeeAnne’s Story

My Name is LeeAnne

~My Story~

Written by  LeeAnne Chan

Sometimes it is so hard to decide where to start with my story. Do I want to go back to the beginning of my childhood? Do I want to relive the physical, emotional or sexual abuse? Probably not, only because I still, to this day, have not even begun to deal with that. I am starting to learn, however, that all my past experiences have groomed me for the crap that came next.

Most teenage and early adult years are filled with fun experiences and opportunities for growth and development. I felt mine was a time of hell. Instead of making friends, I learned to live by myself (and children) in silence. Instead of learning how to make very big financial decision about life such as what school to go to or how to buy my first home, I was blowing through every penny before my husband did. Instead of traveling the country and seeing new sights, I was stuck as 23-year old taking care of my 3 children while their part-time father was running away from his responsibilities for the upteenth time.

From the time of 14 until I was 27, I put my life on hold for a manipulative, bipolar and self-proclaimed sociopath. It wasn’t always like that though, he started out so nice and kind. I never saw the bad that everyone else saw. Until, of course, I became “stuck”. By the time I had my son, my boyfriend started to get manic and just leave us on a whim. Sometimes he would leave for a day, sometimes it would be 6 months. I never knew. At that time, I was about 19 and had a 2-year old and of course very naïve. I felt like I could still help him. Boy was I wrong.

As the years went on, his manic episodes got worse. Not only that, he was very insecure so eventually the only time I was allowed to leave the house was to go to work and then come straight home. He would tell his family, friends and church how bad I treated him and how I was the reason he had so many problems. He even had a couple psychologist initially convinced that I was the problem. They learned very quickly, however, that that was not the case. As the years went on, the emotional abuse, social isolation and manipulation took its toll on me. I became depressed. I started getting sick. I no longer could function as a human being. I couldn’t even take care of my children the way I wanted to and the way they deserved. I became the parent that never interacted with the kids, instead I opted for the couch, zoning out watching whatever mindless TV show was on while the kids did whatever they wanted to do. Little did I know that the worst was yet to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the time I was 24, I was emotionally drained. There was nothing left for him to take so he left again. This time he refused to come back until I bought a house (only in my name, he couldn’t get it because he didn’t have steady income) and of course I did because he convinced me that I couldn’t live without him. He also convinced me to get a jointed checking account with him. He started to drain what little money I had and it wasn’t long before I was getting behind on all the bills. At one point, I had all my utilities turned off and the car repossessed. For a person that was making $50k a year, this was such an  embarrassment that I could not keep my kids safe and warm. He always made sure he was well fed though. I felt so useless.

He stole my youth, my joy, my love, my dignity, now he was trying for my life. One day I decided to do something for myself. I cut my hair and  was losing weight. I was really loving my new style. He came home and saw what I did and called me a “fat pig with a dyke haircut” and left me. Two days later, he came back to the house and threw two empty bottles of pills at me. One was Percocet and the other Ambien. All 60 pills he took in front of my children. This episode finally had him committed to a psychiatric facility for a 72-hour hold. In the meantime, I was just dying inside. I couldn’t even think for myself. When he finally  came home he started addressing me as cunt. To our friends and even our children, I was no longer LeeAnne or Mom. I didn’t even care. Then, he forced me to quit my well-paying job of 7 years.  I wasn’t too upset because I did hate that place and I was no longer able to keep up with the charade of keeping it together. Two months later, he left, stating “you are a fat lazy pig that doesn’t want to work so I am moving to Kentucky.” I did not (nor did his kids) see him for over two months. During that time, we had all hit rock bottom, there was nowhere else for me and the kids to go. That is when I had an awakening.

After he came back from his trip, he started his typical name calling. Suddenly, I woke up! I had the veil removed from my eyes. I looked at him and told him I hated everything about who he was as a human being. I told him I was not those awful names he was calling me. I was not going to allow anyone to call me that again. I told him that I didn’t want my daughters thinking it was ok to be called that and I didn’t want my son to think it was ok to call any women that. Then I had the police remove him from my home. I still wasn’t out of the woods yet though,  I had a bad feeling when he asked me to take him to the mental health hospital, so I called the sheriff instead. I later found out he was going to try to kill us on the way there.  On top of all that, I lost my home and I couldn’t find work because that was the beginning of the great recession. He also tried to get me in trouble for welfare fraud which was dismissed because the accusations were unfounded. Heck, to this day I am still worried I am going to get into trouble for something that I didn’t do!  I still don’t think I am completely out of the woods but everyday is getting better and better.

My story may not sound so bad to some, but it was certainly bad enough for the kids & I. Because of my life, I know what my purpose is meant to be. After leaving him, I re-enrolled into school and finally graduated with a Degree in Economics and I am currently enrolled in a Masters program for personal financial planning and financial therapy. While I work my Masters, I have opened a retail boutique that sells happy, fun and colorful socks to adults called The Laughing Sock. I also started a monthly blog feature that showcases individuals who are passionate about their lives & communities. I also write about my insights journey to becoming an adult for the first time at 35 years old. I decided to do this to allow people into my life to see my struggle and triumphs. To allow them into my human side before I embark on the financial therapy journey. My goal is to open a non-profit to help women or men with resources and education to empower them to leave their abusive relationships in the past. I want to help people to get their lives back.

I could have chosen to stay where I was, but honestly, I was woken for a reason. I am meant to share my journey. I could think of my past as a curse, but instead, I choose to think of it as a gift. Had I not lived through this hell, I wouldn’t be able to help others. I have learned to embrace my past and use my story to empower others to do the same.

Update:

Today I am happily married to a loving, supportive man.  We, and our 6 children are healing, growing and nurturing each other towards a much brighter future!

 

 

Click here to share your Phoenix Story!

Together, we can change the world!!!

 

Her Story – The Phoenix Rises

We all have a story.  Some of these stories are cherished memories, but often times, they are stories of tragedy, horrors, abuse, neglect and shame.

I have a few of these stories myself.  Stories of abandonment, neglect, shame, violence and abuse.  It was years of toxicity from people I trusted.  People who, by position in my life, were supposed to keep me safe, guide me & nurture me.  Sadly this wasn’t the case.

It took me a long time to see that this didn’t have to be my “norm”.  I didn’t have to be abused, I deserved to love & be loved, safely, confidently and honestly, without judgement.  I have been on my self-healing journey for 15 years now, and I grow stronger everyday!!  Today, I am much wiser, more confident, more self-aware and have the ability to say “NO” when I need to.  This is an amazing life I live!!

However; I am all too aware that there are still so many caught in this toxic life.  Women who are abused, physically and/or emotionally.  Women who are desperately trying to safely raise their children in a unhealthy, toxic environment.  This is no place to raise a child and it is no place to build a strong woman.

I have decided to do something.  I can’t sit and idly watch as this continues.  I am who I am today because someone dared to give me a voice.  I was allowed to tell my story.  The more I spoke, the less I feared.  It is now my turn to offer this same gift.

This is the first in hopefully a long series of blog posts. I am offering women a chance to tell their story.  Stories of past or current trauma.  These stories will be written into blog posts and shared with the world.  Anonymity will be offered for those who need it.  I will also link back to you, if you use your story to help heal & encourage others.

I will give you a voice.  Like the Phoenix, we will rise!  Together.  

If you, or someone you know would like to participate in this series, you can contact me here.

Please share this post.  We need to turn up the volume and tell our stories!!

Tina’s Story

Denyse’ Story

LeeAnne’s Story

Thank you, to all of you who supported me on my journey.  This wouldn’t be possible without you.  xoxo