I am Me.

 

(Photo courtesy Smashapps.org)

“Are you still you?” she asked.  I didn’t know how to answer.  Am I still the exuberant, hopeless romantic little girl I once was?  The brown-eyed, full-hearted girl that dreamt too big and loved too much?  I just didn’t know.  It was in reflecting the fellow narcissistic abuse survivor’s question that my head began spinning and begged the question: Who was I to begin with?

Often in life, mistakes initiate life lessons and point us in the right direction.  As Carrie Bradshaw said, “Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate. Without them, what would shape our lives? Perhaps if we never veered off course, we wouldn’t fall in love, or have babies, or be who we are. After all, seasons change. So do cities. People come into your life and people go.”

But what if those mistakes cloud the image you were supposed to be?  What if my biggest mistake in staying with an abuser during my most formative years stunted or overshadowed who I was to become?

Perhaps the cruelest of all abusers, Narcissists, dubbed ‘energy vampires’ eat away at the soul of their victims.  Once free from the sociopath, a victim usually finds recovery in feeding her soul through spirituality and meditation.  Dr. Sam Vaknin, author of “Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited,” describes a life with a Narcissist:

“He infiltrates her defenses, shatters her self-confidence, confuses and confounds her, demeans and debases her. He invades her territory, abuses her confidence, exhausts her resources, hurts her loved ones, threatens her stability and security, involves her in his paranoid states of mind, frightens her out of her wits, withholds love and sex from her, prevents satisfaction and causes frustration, humiliates and insults her privately and in public, points out her shortcomings, criticizes her profusely and in a “scientific and objective” manner – and this is a partial list.”

So the question remains, “Am I still me?”  Although I may not have experienced the pursuit of finding myself during my late teens and early 20s, I have definitely grown and realized things I hate (cruelty) and love (compassion and ambition).  Like most traumatic situations and occurrences in life, abuse taunts and demands one’s inner strength to take hold, and once it does, the growing begins.  While I in no way feel lucky to have been a pawn in a delusion game of control, I am thankful for the person who has emerged from the other side of the darkness.  Although my empathy, compassion, and loving nature were constantly targeted and victimized during my relationship with a Narcissist, it is such characteristics that allow me to grow and achieve in my life of freedom today. 

I miss the innocence, naïveté and loving trust I once gave away, but in those empty holes perseverance, inner strength and inner trust of my own self and personal decisions emerged.  I have realized that no one can take ‘the real me’ away unless I allow them to do so.  I am still me–I may have a few unexpected scrapes and bruises, but today, I see the best image of myself. 

Sometimes I find myself drifting away with the thoughts of hindsight and the incessant questions of “Who would I have been had I never said ‘yes’ to him?”  In those vulnerable, self-defeating moments I remind myself of Carrie Bradshaw’s quote, “As we drive along this road called life, occasionally a gal will find herself a little lost. And when that happens, I guess she has to let go of the coulda, shoulda, woulda, buckle up and just keep going.”

Buckled in, I’m taking off in life, and every once in a while, when I catch a glimpse of my own reflection in the rear view mirror, I smile at the woman I’ve become.

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Comments
2 Responses to “I am Me.”
  1. Jaclyn Rae says:

    “Buckled in, I’m taking off in life, and every once in a while, when I catch a glimpse of my own reflection in the rear view mirror, I smile at the woman I’ve become.”

    Fabulous line, absolutely fabulous. You write beautifully 🙂

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