My name is Iris, I am 30 years old and I have moved back into my parents home. For three and a half years I was in a relationship with someone who showed the behaviour of a (covert) narcissist. Everyday I dealt with possessiveness, paranoia, jealousy, manipulation and situations in which I felt unsafe. It was a difficult time in my life, which wasn’t easy to get out of. After I did end my relationship, I felt disbalanced and got in touch with a NiceDay professional, to share and process my experiences.
It all seemed so wonderful
Our relationship started out great; we met each other in the gym, started talking and after a few times he asked me out on a date. Our first date was wonderful and we soon fell in love with each other. He paid a lot of attention to me and, like me, was looking for a serious relationship. This really appealed to me and, due to circumstances, we quickly moved in together.
After a while I started to notice that our happy place was changing. It started with little things that showed that he had a hard time trusting. I didn’t look much into that; after all he had some bad experiences and we had only known each other for a short time. Maybe he needed some time to build that trust, and I assumed all would be fine. After all, I am very reliable, loving and serious. Surely that should also become clear to him?
Time passed, but his trust issues only got worse. He got more and more jealous and didn’t want me to be friends with men, for example; he was convinced that this was not going to end well. Whenever I wanted to talk to him about this, he pretended I was missing things and was just being naive. That really confused me; my gut told me it was wrong, but it was very difficult to refute his arguments. I am not easily jealous or suspicious and I have never cheated on anyone. Still, he made me question my loyalty.
For the first time in my life I felt afraid
As his jealousy and lack of trust grew, his reactions became unpredictable and intense; he was even violent in some of his excesses. For the first time in my life I felt afraid. He increasingly asked me to prove that I was trustworthy, for example by asking for pictures of an empty passenger seat, when I drove back from work. He also checked my phone, looking for signs that I was being unfaithful. When I would speak to him about this, he would always regret his actions and promise that this would not happen again. Everything would get better.
I tried to get out
I have attempted to get out of this relationship a number of times. It always failed in the end; we had a fairly expensive house together and my family lived too far from my work. I wouldn’t be able to stay with them, if I had to leave home. The threshold to take the plunge felt too big. Plus, he always begged me to take him back, until I was so tired that I finally gave in. I loved him and also wanted him to heal and learn to deal with things in a healthy way, so that we could be happy together.
It’s now or never
At one point I got him to go to relationship counseling with me, so that we could work on our relationship and his trust issues. He agreed to this; he wanted to do anything to save our relationship. I felt hopeful; maybe things would work out this time. But, unfortunately I was disappointed again. This time, I decided to gather evidence for myself of promises that had not been kept and responses that went too far. I started reading about narcissism to better understand what was happening, and came up with a plan for when I would end the relationship.
Eventually I had made the decision. I doubted until the last moment, but it didn’t feel like we would be able to solve this together. I had all the evidence I gathered to make the good decision. Plus, we were assigned an affordable home, and as a result we were no longer stuck with our overpriced house. It was now or never.
Be kind to myself
When it was over and I finally got the space to experience and feel my emotions, I found myself feeling out of balance. You have been on an emotional roller coaster for such a long time. When you finally have time to get out, only then you realize what happened to you. I had lost my relationship and my house, but also myself.
I thought I could work it out by myself, but I needed a helping hand in my recovery. So I decided to do something nice for myself; something I had not done for a long time, since my life was dominated by my ex. I felt the need to discuss the most intense experiences with a professional, so that I could work on processing them. In addition, I had to accept that I had become a victim. Beforehand, I never thought that this could happen to me, but it did.
I had to accept that I had become a victim
NiceDay helped me to cope with my intense experiences and feelings. The unique combination of the conversations, chats and diary and feeling registrations helped me to progress with my recovery. I used the registrations almost every day through the app. When you write, you process your feelings. You try to describe exactly what you feel, which creates peace and helps you to objectively look at your own situation.
Not only did writing my feelings down help at that moment, but it was also very good to look back on. This gives you a lot of insight into your own process. For example, when I felt good one day, but didn’t feel good for the following three days. I could see in my registrations what I did that made me feel better that day. For example, did I visit family or did I look for distraction? I also really liked that your practitioner reads along. This way she could respond to my registrations right away, which allows you to focus on the process during the conversations, instead of the incidents.
Don’t hesitate to seek help
Are you in the same or similar situation as I am, or do you need help for another reason? Then don’t hesitate to seek help! What I would like to share with you from my own experience is:
- Take care of yourself and accept help. If there aren’t people around who can help you, there are many other places online where people share stories and experiences. Talking about it with a coach or therapist can also help you process your experiences.
- You may feel weak because of everything that has happened, but you have a strength inside of you that you can speak to.
- Give yourself permission to put yourself first.
- Write, especially if you can’t get a grip of feelings. It helps to understand your feelings and the situation. If you are still in this situation, writing can also help you regain confidence in your own feelings and memories.
- Go through your feelings. This is difficult, but it’s also the only way to really leave everything behind you and to get your strength back.
- Go outside every day, keep eating and drinking healthy and get plenty of rest. If things are not going well, make sure you also set your boundaries in the workplace.
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