I decided to write this blog after watching, Forgiving the Narcissist – I am having trouble by Tracy Malone. Tracy’s video made me think about my own battle with forgiveness. I had some serious work to do to forgive the narcissist.
I needed to start with me. I couldn’t forgive the narcissist without forgiving myself first. I blamed myself for getting and staying in an abusive relationship. While I understand why and how it all happened, I still play a role by enabling and not trusting my gut.
There were several opportunities for me to either spare myself the abuse or escape it. I had a lot of “shoulda, coulda, woulda” moments post-divorce. There were so many red flags. How could I have missed them? Why did I go back? I stayed too long. Why didn’t I call off the wedding?
Oh yes…call off the wedding. You see, I had doubts about my ex-narc a week before our wedding. I can remember feeling like something was not right. At one point, I started to question my feelings for him and wondered if I was making the right decision. I don’t know what it was, but something was off. I just couldn’t put my finger on it so I considered calling off the wedding. I finally convinced myself that I was getting cold feet and feeling a little insecure.
Doh! I should have listened to my inner voice. Just think, I could have avoided the nearly five years of hell I suffered being married to a narcissistic abuser and 7 to 9 years post-divorce.
I had to come to terms with the self-doubt which caused me to make a decision that paid off in pain instead of happiness. I had to take a look on the inside to resolve any childhood issues that could have been buried deep in my psyche before forgiving myself. I also needed to understand the why and the how so I started going to counseling. After several weeks of counseling and tears, I was finally able to come to terms with my decision that put me in my ex-narcissist’s crosshairs. I also learned why my self-doubt existed and how it all shaped my world view and decision-making. With that, I was able to forgive myself.
Forgiving the Narcissist
Boy, this was a tough one! How do you forgive someone who has ripped your soul apart? How do you forgive someone who has stripped you of your dignity and identity? How do you forgive someone who lied on you and to you repeatedly? How do you forgive someone who has destroyed you financially? How do you forgive someone who is so toxic to you and your wellbeing that it sickens you to talk to them? How do you forgive someone you are no longer in contact with? It’s not easy. This was not a normal relationship or breakup.
I was 9 1/2 years post-divorce before I could forgive my ex-husband. It was hard because I was unable to move on post-divorce in peace. The marital debt prevented me from gaining traction for a long time. I felt like I was forced to relive the trauma of being married to a narcissist with every check written, bank draft, payment arrangement and ding to my credit. He, of course, moved on (technically on my dime) and started a new life in another state.
I reached a point where I could see the light at the end of the tunnel with the debt after several years. The effects on my credit were waning. At that point, I decided its time for a peaceful existence. It was time for me to live life to its fullest. It was time for a change. Time to move forward. I needed to forgive.
I didn’t contact my ex-narc since I was “no contact”. I simply wrote a letter of forgiveness (can also be used for personal forgiveness). It was not a letter to send, but a private letter for closure. I felt so much better after I had written it to my narcissistic abuser. It was like someone turned the lights on and everything was bright and new. With every day after that, I felt better and better.