The deadly weapon of narcissistic men and abusers of all kind is denial. They attack when we least expect it, they hurt and damage us. Then, when it is so hurtful we stand in stupor in front of them, they deny reality. Pure denial. What happened did not happen and affirming it has means we are crazy. The perpetrator with whom I lived also used a variation of denial which is minimization. If I had the courage to speak against his violent behavior, he would call me a hysterical woman. Once again and as always, my friend, my sister, may we trust our intuition.
The manipulator would sometimes spend dozens of minutes during the day to repeat: “Do you know I love you? You do believe me, don’t you? This is very important“. Today, I am a different person because I learned my lesson. However beautiful and convincing the words of a man, they are worthless if his actions do not match. Moreover, I expect a congruence between my own words and actions. It is a matter of integrity and authenticity. I do what I say and I say what I do. Lastly, such an effort is essential to the positive education I want to provide for my children. Acting in alignment with my words means I teach the good example to my children, while it fosters a trustful relationship between us.
At the end of the toxic relationship I was in, the manipulator and I decided to consult a relationship counselor. The man rapidly figured out that I was trapped into an abusive relationship. We saw him a couple of times. He said something I shall never forgot: “The shame does not belong to you“. My friend, my sister, I know what it feels to feel dirty, repulsive and damaged by and because of the violence. Nevertheless, the shame does not belong to us. We did nothing shameful. We stayed far too long in a toxic relationship. Then, we had the courage to make the decision to leave. It was excruciatingly painful. It may have taken years to extract ourselves from the claws of abuse, yet we did it. May we be proud.
I am writing because I cannot keep what I learned for myself. It would be so dishonest. If one lesson I learned the hard way can spare you the pain of experiencing it, then all that pain would not have been felt for nothing.
Falling into the lion’s den is excruciatingly painful. It is like walking into the valley of death. However, this is how I learned my lesson and grew as a woman. It was so painful that I know, deep down, that I will never get caught into the trap of abuse and manipulation ever again.
In some countries, a note from the doctor listing the wounds is mandatory to file a complaint against an abuser. It is evolving. Hence, violence sometimes does not leave any marks. Does that mean, as a consequence, that emotional and/or psychological abuse and violence are less than physical violence? Not so sure. Quite the contrary, because the last one cannot occur without the first one. Moreover, some think that emotional abuse is worse because, on one hand, it does not show on the victim’s body and, on the one hand, it traps the woman into an invisible prison from which it is very difficult to leave, if an exit is even possible. Such a paradox is a reason for writing my book, which I am translating into English at the moment (November 2017). If you read French, it is already published. My aim is to demonstrate that violence, in any form, can kill.
It lies inside of us. It does not cost any money. However, it is the best tip to draw power from the inside and rebuild one’s life after abuse, when we feel our life is torn, damaged and shattered into pieces.