"That evening of research changed the course of my life for the better, and marked the beginning of a journey toward healing and self-discovery which has led me to where I am today." Read more of Mags' story in her blog

Where Stewart finds the playbook and opens Mags’ eyes

I was at the office and Stewart worked from home. It was the spring of 2012 and a month or so after we made the necessary move away from my parents’ place to a small apartment in a new city. While I was at work, Stewart turned on the news. A gruesome murder had been committed. The perpetrator chopped up the victim’s body and delivered various body parts to different locations. The guilty party turned out to be the victim’s lover. A narcissist, the news anchor called him. All Stewart could think about as he looked at the murderer’s face on the screen was, ‘Wow! He has Mags’ mother’s signature smirk!’

Upon seeing the facial expression of that killer, and hearing the word ‘narcissist’, Stewart turned to the Internet. A quick search had turned up numerous results on the term. As he read, he began to recognize my mother’s in the behaviors described. It explained so many of the crazy things that had happened to us.

Upon returning home that night, he shared what he had learned with me, ‘Mags, you need to read this. I’ve found your parents’ playbook.’ And he wasn’t wrong. What I learned as I and my, now, husband spent the evening researching Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) was mind-blowing. I am not saying that I am in any way professionally licensed to draw the conclusion that my mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but I became pretty certain that she displays many of the behavioral traits (compiled by professionals) of people with cluster-B personality disorders.

After stumbling upon this illuminating information, I was overwhelmed with relief that we were no longer under my parents’ roof.

We had just spent the previous year living in their house since we had to sell our own. Both of us had found ourselves without work and we were struggling to make our mortgage payments. Not wanting to foreclose we sold the house and moved in with my parents so we could get back on our feet. That year nearly broke us. In fact, a few weeks before we moved Stewart had had enough. He started throwing his clothes on the bed. “I am done, I am leaving” he shouted. I begged him not to and made a promise, “Give me three weeks to get us out of here. If I can’t do that I will help you pack.” We moved two weeks later.

That evening of research changed the course of my life for the better, and marked the beginning of a journey toward healing and self-discovery which has led me to where I am today.

Although this evening marks the start of my healing journey, the story starts many years earlier.

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While I may technically be the Director here at SwanWaters, my unofficial title is Healing Cheerleader! I’m a survivor of childhood emotional abuse and workplace bullying. And believe me when I say that I’ve walked the walk when it comes to healing from trauma. I firmly believe that we can undo some of the damage that abuse has done to us, and learn the necessary skills to handle life and all it brings us.

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