What happens after you realize you’re in a relationship with a narcissist? Refer to “Narcissism 101” for a description of the illness.
I got the hell out of Dodge. I know for many of you getting out isn’t easy. Getting out of my 23-year marriage to a narcissist was hell on earth. Fortunately, I wasn’t married to Mr. Tucson. This made getting out much easier.
After my return to Michigan in May of 2019, I continued to struggle. Nothing made sense to me. I carried anger, self-doubt, and the negative self-talk was constant. The spiritual work I was doing was helping in some ways but, I wasn’t making the emotional progress I wanted to make.
In October of the same year, I was reading my journal and found a psychic reading I had in April from Whitney McNeil. In that reading, she saw me getting biofeedback therapy. I had no idea what that was and had forgotten all about it. I do what I always do when I want to know something, do a Google search.
Simply put, biofeedback therapy is a method for electronically reprogramming the brain and is used with traditional therapy. I knew this was the right solution for me.
I went onto the Psychology Today website and found Diane Schroeder, located in Grand Rapids. She’s been practicing biofeedback therapy for several years. I love her story because she retrained and became a therapist in her 40’s. It’s her calling. We hit it off immediately. After the consultation, she determined I would be a good candidate for biofeedback. We started the following week.
On week 3, Diane handed me a piece of paper that described narcissism. I heard the word narcissist thrown around and I used it to describe certain people. But, I didn’t truly understand the depth of their sickness until reading that paper. At the bottom was a diagram depicting the three faces of a narcissist; victim, savior, and avenger. Diane pointed out we all have some narcissistic traits but, the narcissist continuously flows in and out of the three roles. The light went on. I have been in narcissistic relationships since birth. My father was emotionally and physically abusive and I continued to choose narcissistic people for relationships until 2020.
Once I understood the seriousness of their illness, my energy began to shift. The effects of the abuse presented in an inability to self-soothe. I told Diane, “I’m in a constant state of flight.” I go from zero to 100 in seconds. My body shakes all over, and I can’t think straight. She explained that the medical term for this is “self-regulate”. I said, “Yeah, I can’t do that. I meditate, do breathing exercises, work out, and nothing helps.” She assured me she would find the right balance that would correct this issue. After a few weeks of adjusting things in my brain, I walked out of her office, feeling very calm. It was a new experience that I loved.
I was driving for a ride-share company when I received a ride request. I picked up a man and woman in their 30’s from a middle-income neighborhood 25 minutes north of Detroit. They slid into the back seat and were cordial. They talked among themselves as I drove. As we entered Detroit, the woman asked, “When you get off the freeway, can you stop at the gas station at the corner?” We were in a terrible part of the city but without hesitation, I agreed. I pulled into the gas station and she ran inside to use the ATM while the gentlemen remained in the backseat. I turned the car around so we could pull straight out. With a view of the gas pumps, I saw several drug deals go down. I sat there thinking “Hmm, there are drug deals going down. I’m not surprised.” The girl got back into the car telling me the ATM didn’t work and asked me to go to the gas station across the street. I did.
It was 3:30 pm and there were more people and more drug deals going on. I looked in my rear view mirror to see if the guy noticed what was going on. He was looking out the window, had to of seen it but didn’t seem phased. The gal got into the car and I drove several blocks away to a neighborhood tucked away off the beaten path. All but two houses on the block were uninhabitable because of fire or disrepair.
As I put the car in park in front of the house that looked like it shouldn’t have been inhabited either, the woman walked to the door, knocked, and was let in. The door was shut behind her. I sat there looking around thinking “There is a drug deal going on in the house. I have a guy in the backseat that is going to prevent me from driving away. At any moment a car could go racing by shooting everything in its path. It is was possible that I would die yet, I was as calm as could be. There was no flight response. In fact, I was so relaxed I was struggling to stay awake. After 30 mins or more, the woman walked out, apologized for the wait as she got into the car. I nodded, told her it was okay as I made my way to the freeway.
The following week I was sitting in Diane’s office with the electrodes attached to my head when I recounted the ride-share story. She was horrified. She always sat behind me at a table controlling the electrodes with her computer. I was to keep my eyes focused on the screen in front of me. When I was finished, she said “That’s horrible. You didn’t have any flight response at all?” I shook my head no. She made a couple of adjustments and called it a day. Diane said, “Shari, I’ve explained that it’s a delicate balance to find the spot where you still have flight response when appropriate.”
Our sessions continued until the end of the year. She was taking time off and I had relocated to the east side. I felt that the progress I made during the three months put me on the path to healing. The rest was up to me.
I continued my spiritual work and eventually got to the point that I reevaluated every thought, belief, relationship, behavior, response, and feeling. I released all things that no longer served me. I delved deep within to unearth a lot of unexpected memories that held me hostage. There were many times this journey was painful, prompted crying jags, unnerving, annoying, frustrating, joyous, and fabulous.
My journey continues but now I move forward with a healed mind, body, and spirit. I know this isn’t everyone’s path to recovery, but it was mine. The bottom line, choose a path that will heal and make you whole. Recognize, you didn’t get to this place overnight. It’s going to take time to become the new you. Be gentle with yourself and remain diligent. You’ll get there. Surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through. Above all else, don’t be ashamed. Narcissists are the most cunning, egregious people among us. They outsmart the smartest of people. If you’re interested please join my private Transformers FB group. It’s a group of inspired, inspiring, and those in need of inspiration.
Wishing you joy, peace, and a life free of narcissistic people.
All Aboard! The Transformation train is leaving the station. Next stop, “Inspiring Stories.“