I received an email this week from a reader/follower, and she gave me permission to share her email (and her name) with you. She had hoped I would publish a list she was inspired to write following a conversation with her friend. I read it and was astounded that something like this hasn’t been written or published before. I hope you enjoy it!
I am recovering from a 3-year relationship with a narcissist/sociopath. I am currently at three months no contact and fighting every day. I was recently talking with my best friend about everything. She was asking questions and as I was trying to explain, she said she was sorry she hadn’t been very supportive and didn’t understand the gravity of what I was going through. She didn’t know how to help me. That single conversation inspired me to write a list, “What every survivor of emotional and psychological abuse wants you to know…”.
- Please understand “just get over it” does not apply in this situation. No matter how hard or how many times we try to leave, we often cannot. It takes an average of 7 times for survivors to leave an abusive situation.
- We have become a shell of the person we used to be. Our confidence and self-esteem rattled to the core. We question everything. We feel like we’re going crazy. We feel like it’s us, and we’re to blame.
- We have been manipulated, lied to, blamed, gaslighted, projected on and objectified. We have had our feelings and emotions belittled and ignored. We have been asked to continually prove ourselves worthy of the abuser’s time and attention, in the worst way you can imagine. We have been threatened and stalked.
- We may not have bruises and scars on the outside, but we guarantee you, we are battered and bruised on the inside.
- Please listen to us. We are embarrassed to talk about our situation for fear we won’t be understood or validated. If we do choose to talk to you, please know it took bravery and courage to trust you.
- Please be patient with us. Healing, rebuilding confidence and trusting ourselves is a long and messy process. Some days we’ll be fine, other days we won’t.
- If you haven’t spent a day in our shoes, please don’t tell us what to do. We have spent months or years having our decisions and how we feel controlled by someone else.
- Please reassure us. We need to hear, “I believe you.” We need to hear, “It’s not your fault.” We need to hear, “You didn’t deserve this,” even though most of us know that deep down.
- Please check in on us. We need to know that people still value and care about us—that we are worthy of love and concern.
- Please don’t ignore us. Some of us were ignored and punished with the silent treatment because we had the nerve to stand up for ourselves. Know that if we reach out for help or company or simple conversation, it’s because we truly need you.