I have been on this journey for a few years now, and I feel pretty strong and resilient. I consider myself a pretty positive person. I am much better now at recognizing my own strengths and weaknesses and manage to not judge myself too harshly. I am proud of the life I have built and excited about the challenges that the future holds. Mostly I don’t let my triggers dictate my behavior. Like in my first work place after leaving my narcissistic boss, I would bury mistakes deep in the waste paper container, rather than using the box next to my desk. My former boss had the habit of digging through our waste paper every night, and the next day he would confront us with our mistakes (mistakes that had been caught and binned I would add).
“You made a typo in this letter?”
“Yes, I know. I spotted it as I was about to send them out. So I did them again.”
“You wasted 50 sheets of letterhead, do you know how expensive that stuff is?”
“I do, but I figured you did not want an incorrect letter to be sent out”
“Yes, but still!”
I still have moments though, that my own thoughts or actions completely surprise and shock me. Those are usually moments when I make a mistake, say something stupid or otherwise ‘disappoint’ myself. For most people in this world, that is just life happening. For survivors of abuse though, that can be the trigger for a minor melt down. On a bad day (when I am tired, for example) burning the toast can make my mother’s voice jump right into my head: see, you can’t do anything right.
Those of us who have had to live with an emotional abuser have a hard time shaking that voice out of our mind. When life throws us a curve ball, or even in our dreams… it can happen at any time. Our minds are like a haunted house. Sometimes we hear disembodies voices in there, sometimes we see full body apparitions. This is how the abuse perpetuates, even long after we have left the abusive situation.