"The Untruth of Abuse"
When you’re married to an abusive partner, whether that abuse is physical, mental, emotional or all 3, the first order of the day is to hide that fact from everyone. You become very adept at disguising your real feelings and emotions when in social settings. During the course of this blog, many friends have reached out to me to express their sadness that I never felt comfortable talking to them while struggling within my marriage. It brings me sadness to think that these kind people feel guilty in some way for not being able to help me.
The truth is that when you’re married to a narcissist and your daily life consists of being belittled and manipulated, you literally live a double life. You become the friend who always wants to help others, you redirect conversations towards them and are always available as a “shoulder to cry on” for your friends. In this way, you’re able to form relationships and function socially. Particularly when you have kids, this is a vital piece of the puzzle that is your facade.
One of the things that I grapple with, even now, 5 years out of my relationship – is the shame. I have always considered myself to be intelligent, and a strong person. If I am those things, how could I have let myself become trapped in my marriage? How could I have children with this person? The guilt and shame are almost a physical weight when you’re in the relationship, and are part of why it is so hard to break free and leave.
It’s a double edged sword, when you’ve built a fake picture of yourself to friends and even family – it’s very hard to admit how bad things are and to ask for help and support as you escape the bad relationship. Part of our intent in writing this blog is for other people who are in these kinds of relationships to realize they aren’t alone and that it’s ok to leave. Once I broke the chains of my silence, I was very fortunate to have a small group of close friends who were always there to help me. To this day, I don’t know what I would have done without them. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends – you’ll be surprised to find how supportive and understanding most people are. You need your friends now, more than ever!
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