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  • Writer's pictureLoveday Funck

Surviving the Guilt and the Shame

Updated: Mar 15

I'm currently navigating the complex journey of recovering from narcissistic abuse. This post shares my personal reflections, which may be triggering for some readers. Please proceed with caution.

Understanding the eight stages of recovery from narcissistic abuse is a personal journey I'm actively engaged in. If you haven't encountered similar situations, the following content might not resonate with your experiences.

Pokémon undergo transformations over time through nurturing, care, and attention, evolving into more formidable versions of themselves.

In relationships, there's an expectation for personal growth and positive development, such as becoming kinder, more compassionate, and more loving. Unfortunately, my partner's growth took a negative turn.

The truth is, my partner exhibits traits of a covert narcissist and is resistant to being exposed. I've taken significant steps to address this behavior, including involving the authorities. Covert narcissists often attempt to discredit those who challenge them, making it difficult to gauge their actions post-separation due to legal restrictions.

Our relationship suffered due to my increasing emotional withdrawal and diminished affection, a natural response to ongoing mistreatment, threats, infidelity, and blame-shifting, including unfounded accusations about his erectile dysfunction.

Moreover, he undermined our attempts at couples therapy through aggressive behavior towards the therapist, effectively derailing any chance of reconciliation.

While I initially detailed his abusive actions, I realize the focus now needs to shift.

Moving forward, I refuse to allocate any more energy, thoughts, or attention to my ex-partner, whom I shall refer to as Mister Rageroo. Should anyone require evidence of his behavior, I possess ample documentation.

While it's not obligatory to accept my account, my sympathies extend to any future partners who may fall victim to his initial charm. I remain open to supporting those who come to recognize his true nature and seek assistance.

I spent most of 2023 in Stage one - Denial and Stage Two - Guilt and Shame.

So, here's a fictionalized version of my stage one and stage two over the past year.

Elaine spent 2023 lost in a labyrinth of denial and guilt. The crumbling facade of her relationship fractured with the discovery of a six-month affair. He'd spun intricate webs of lies, painting himself as the devoted lover to another while claiming his relationship with Elaine was fractured beyond repair.

The emotional devastation was a whirlwind. He denied the affair's emotional depth, hiding behind the flimsy shield of his therapist's supposed agreement. Elaine, drowning in self-doubt, began therapy, desperately seeking ways to mend the broken pieces.

They entered the murky waters of couples therapy, the first session offering a deceptive glimmer of hope. But when Elaine tried to navigate the aftermath with him, he claimed amnesia. His disregard for boundaries was a constant undercurrent, a deliberate pushback against her attempts to reclaim her space.

Another session turned into a tempestuous display of self-loathing and manipulation. He weaponized therapy, launching a tirade that effectively sabotaged any chance of progress. Elaine's therapist, while unable to offer a diagnosis, shed light on the disturbing dance of narcissism playing out before her.

Meanwhile, the charade continued with his own therapist. He returned from sessions laden with tales of his therapist's unwavering admiration, painting himself the hero in a fabricated narrative. The dissonance between his accounts and reality was deafening.

Elaine grappled with the dissonance, realizing either his therapist was woefully inadequate or he was a master manipulator. Regardless, his therapy sessions were a mere performance, a self-serving exercise in ego inflation.

The emotional affair, textbook in its definition, was dismissed by his therapist. Elaine suspected a tapestry of lies woven to portray himself as the victim. Looking back, the red flags, once scattered, now formed a stark pattern, revealing the insidious truth of covert narcissism.

Despite the growing awareness, a part of her clung to the hope of salvaging the relationship. Yet, the moment she refused to be his emotional crutch, the cracks in the facade widened. He had built his world around her, isolating her from loved ones and smothering any attempt at independence.

The initial acceptance of her children's game nights quickly soured. His attempts at sabotage were subtle yet relentless, ranging from verbal barbs to tantrums fueled by fabricated grievances. Even the meals she prepared, devoured with gusto, were subject to his relentless criticism.

One game night spiraled into chaos. His rage, ignited by a perceived slight, culminated in a dramatic exit, fueled by a roaring engine. He returned, his descent into madness evident in the sleep he stole through the night, punctuated by flickering lights and guttural screams.

Unbeknownst to her, his online world mirrored the turmoil within. Suicidal and violent threats flickered on and off his Facebook page, only to be deleted. A friend, alarmed by the glimpse into his darkness, alerted the authorities.

The arrival of police and emergency services marked a turning point. He returned from a 72-hour hold, boasting about the "good" medication and clinging to a self-diagnosed case of Bipolar II, conveniently ignoring the official diagnosis of covert narcissism.

Even the seemingly mundane act of preparing a meal betrayed his true nature. A pot of pasta, deliberately ruined by a last-minute addition of meat (Elaine was a vegetarian), served as a stark reminder of the red flags she had chosen to ignore.

Elaine, finally, emerged from the labyrinth. The fog of denial lifted, replaced by a steely resolve. The path ahead was likely arduous, but the journey, once towards reconciliation, now led towards freedom.

Covert narcissism can lurk in the shadows of seemingly normal relationships. Elaine's story is a stark reminder to trust your gut and heed the red flags. If you find yourself in a similar situation, prioritize your safety and seek support. Remember, you are not alone, and you deserve to find that path to healing and to lead a life free from manipulation.

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