House of Mirrors

by Beatrixkiddo

As a child, I loved the fun house. Looking into distorted mirrors, I was thrilled to see something other than what was real. As far back as I can remember, this is what I craved. What was it about reality that was so disturbing, or at least so undesirable to me? A child’s enchantment with the house of mirrors at a carnival seems normal enough. But for me, I see it now as a symbol of a much, much deeper problem in its earliest stage. A soul sickness that would grow like kudzu over time and threaten to choke the life out of me.

Narcissistic abuse and my addiction to being on the receiving end of it has all but killed me. (And it has almost done that several times.) I cannot explain how or why my eyes became open to this a few short weeks ago, but I do know that a profound shift in my makeup has occurred since that time. I think it is like a blind person who undergoes a successful operation and is given instant sight. (ok, that may or may not happen like that, I don’t know, but you get the idea.)

Once the eyes have been opened, you cannot go back to life as a non-seeing person. And it is for this that I grieve. All my life I have been angry. At them. At myself. At situations and life itself. At God. Once my eyes were opened to the realities of NPD and living with narcissistic abuse, the anger, for me, simply fall away. I am not angry at the sick ones anymore. I am not even angry at myself. But I am so, so sad. (And a bit frightened.)

I loved illusion. And so I attracted people into my life who were masters at creating illusion. I fed them by “oohing” and “aahing” at their wonderful gift to me, a hand-picked fantasy just for me. The problem is, I have yet to encounter an illusion that lasts. I think it is in the nature of illusion to change and warp and distort. Like the passing of time moves and alters a shadow. Something which appears to be that which it isn’t cannot remain constant. Because it isn’t.

How sad it is that someone came by and straightened out all the mirrors in my house and now all I can see is things the way they really are. Which leaves me with a really long list of fallen fantasies to grieve over. Like the romance. And the promises. And the vacations and travels left undone. And the house with the picket fence that will make everything bright and new again. You get the idea.

So, fine, I’ll take the time to grieve. I’ll forgive them all and myself too. And maybe through this process, I’ll heal enough to know what to do next. I’ll heal and I’ll learn how to face my fear and make sane decisions for myself, my life and my children. Because I have bought into the lie that I have been the insane one for a long time. And I guess, in a way, I have. But in a different way than I thought. Like my insanity was reflected back to me through a crazy mirror too. Which I guess makes sense, why wouldn’t it be?

So here I sit, pouring my heart out over the internet to a bunch of strangers (who feel more familiar to me than those who are supposed to be closest to me in my real life), trying to make sense of it all. I know my ex is toxic. His NPD glares at me daily as we battle for custody of our teenagers.

And thank God for this new knowledge and support because I am learning how to stop feeding it and stop battling and just trust the truth’s ability to be heard.


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4 Responses to House of Mirrors

  1. PhoenixRising says:

    Thank you for your post, Beatrixkiddo. I, too, loved the illusion and so much that I was willing to sacrifice the real for it. The cost was very high – too high – but I paid it nonetheless and then some.

    The loss of this illusion was very much like a death – a slow agonizing one in my case. My grieving period lasted a long time.

    Take as much time as you need. And know that the pattern for the death of illusions is the same as for the death of anything else. It happens in cycles, returning to visit you again and again, until finally one day, you realize you are free from it.

    But that’s okay, because if you have a child with the ex-N, he or she will have plenty to toss your way to keep your busy!

    You know, you are heard…what’s so beautiful to me is your willingness to speak. Finding one’s voice is an amazing thing.

  2. Survivor says:

    You were not the insane one, you are the survivor. One does what they need to do to get through the moments. Your were a casualty of the war. The good thing is that you have a chance at a healthy life now, one without the craziness and confusion of the NPD. I grieved for a long time, not really for me but for my children. I believe I have finally found some peace but it took time to get here and it doesn’t mean there won’t be some incidents where the sadness may creep back for a bit. You are a survivor.

  3. Survivor says:

    Are you ever waiting for the other shoe to drop? I remember that expression so well when I was growing up. It seems like the most appropriate statement when dealing with the NPDex. Right now he is being accommodating, too accommodating. I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have seen this happen many times and I am trying to figure out his motives. I know that waiting for this other shoe to drop doesn’t help me. The fear and anxiety begin to creep in. That other expression starts coming into my head, dying a thousand deaths before my own. I put on the brakes and realize I am sabatoging my moment of peace. He will turn like he always does but that is out of my control. I need to live my life for me and not in fear of the other shoe dropping or the “what ifs” we all face. So here is a day that I realize I can take one of two paths. I choose the path of peace and not chaos.

  4. PhoenixRising says:

    Very well put, Survivor. I think that’s part of the toxicity of narcissists – the anxiety they produce in you by their intermittent behavior.

    When we were together, I learned not to be too happy when things were going good. For one, pure joy seemed to really unsettle him. He would get angry with me if I was too happy – even with him! Because it put responsibility on him to keep it up, and it felt like a demand from me.

    And I couldn’t get too sad either, no matter what he did, because that was an indictment against him. And what how much of a bitch was I to make him feel guilty?

    You are wise to choose peace based on what you want for yourself and not predicated on what’s going on with him. I think with normal people, it’s okay to take cues from what’s going on in their lives – it’s about empathy and connection.

    But with a narcissist, they are so arbitrary, and have personal agendas of their own that can switch at a drop of a hat, that you can’t make that connection – without going crazy.

    You’re right, the other shoe can drop – or in the case of a narcissist, you can find that shoe knocking you upside the head. Well, if it happens, it happens. They rob enough of our happiness, without us anticipating it and experiencing it emotionally before it happens.

    I’m glad you choose peace. You deserve it. 🙂

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