The trauma inflicted by narcissistic abuse is deep and can be overwhelming. The gaslighting, abuse by proxy, learned helplessness and constant fear of something, no matter how small, triggering a bout of narcissistic rage are crippling. There is no doubt that it leaves a mark and changes us – it is inevitable. However the abuse does not define us.
When I first read the quote below it spoke to me. Maya Angelou is right. It is up to us to decide how much power to give those who have harmed us. We can let our abuser mark us for the rest of our lives, dragging us down with their lies and their abuse, or we can say – yes, that happened to me, but it does not define who I am. I am MORE than that. The abuse we endured does not define who we are and who we become.
NO – Narcissistic Abuse does not Define Us!
Living with a narcissist crushes your spirit and damages your soul. I know, because I lived with one for the first twenty years of my life. However I finally broke free and when that happened I was determined to take back control over my destiny. My father had already blighted the first twenty years of my life and I had no intention of letting him overshadow the rest of my life.
I am not saying that it is easy. I am forty-six and there are still days when something happens that takes me back to those dark times. His voice still echoes in my head every now and then – triggering negative self talk that perpetuates the abuse. However when that happens I let the wave wash over me and focus on the fact that he no longer has any power over me. I survived him and in the end I outgrew him. I have become the woman I was destined to be, despite him.
The only person who was reduced by the cruelty and the sheer insanity my mother and I endured was him, not me. He tried to destroy me, but he still did not get to define who I became and what I made of my life. So the next time something triggers a memory and you are tempted to give in to despair, remember this. The abuse defines the abuser, it does not define US.
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