If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself with a person who seems to enjoy causing you pain or abandoning you at the most defining moments of your life - ghosting you on your birthdays although you treated them on their own, disappearing when you're pregnant or in labor, shaming you in front of the people who matter most to you - these are the tell-tale signs of a narcissist.
If you have a health condition or family situation they'll use that very thing to make you feel insufficient for them and to justify cheating or marrying someone else, but somehow make it sound like its all a matter of necessity or common sense.
Not all days are bad though. They throw in a minimal bone or two of good days in form of good treats and crumbs of love. You will then stay in hopes of recreating more of these good days. More often though, the home is full of tension and strife and this will eventually become your normal so that you cannot picture a better life. After all they've convinced you that nobody would put up with a useless person like you except them. You owe them all the loyalty and admiration.
Solution? Don't commit the greatest sin of all: nursing hopes that they will change or that you can somehow save them. You're the one who needs saving from them. Follow these steps:
1. Organise a pity party to mourn your lost years, the tonnes of tears and sleepless nights. Feel sorry for yourself and cry for exactly 50 minutes, then wipe your tears for the next 10 minutes and let that be the last 1 hour of your life you're going to spend on that son or daughter of the devil.
2. Execute an exit using the most appropriate strategy in the circumstances:
a) Slow Fade: gradual departure which starts with silently building your emotional and financial strength until you can pull out physically.
b) Sabbatical Leave: leaving in phases labelled as necessary breaks for spiritual or psychological alignment, but in fact you're using them to detach from the abuser and regain perspective.
c) Clean Cut: leaving at one go, best in situations of prolonged goodbye where you both knew you were supposed to part but you lacked the courage to exit or they kept manipulating you to stay or return.
Understand: narcissists are not broken people who need to be helped or fixed, but deeply flawed people who feed off your suffering. Your pain is their drug. They're entertained by your tears and they feel powerful when they keep you on the defensive and confused.
If you find it hard to wrap your mind around this degree of cruelty or to picture such people, be glad that you don't.
Author: Benjamin Zulu
Everything you need to know about Domestic Violence in South Africa.
All the forms you will need to apply for protection orders, medical examination and more.
Everything you need to know about narcissism & narcissistic abuse.
Connect to our FaceBook page for inspiration & education.
Silent Rights SA, a partner to RADV-SA who stand against Domestic Violence & GBV.
A summary of what I experienced while facing Domestic Violence, as well as information pertaining to my cases & progress.