Melanie Tonia Evans

Narcissistic Abuse – A Journey To Self Love

Written by   Melanie Tonia Evans Permalink 9
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Written By   Melanie Tonia Evans

Continuing on from the topic of last week – self-love.

Self-love means you have the ability to have a deep, abiding relationship with yourself that is unconditional.

Your love for yourself flourishes, allowing you to evolve into the happiest, healthiest and most empowered version of yourself.

You have the self-respect to say “No” to those who are unhealthy, and you have the energy to love and support those who deserve your kindness.

Self-love feels like finally coming home to yourself.

So in today’s article I am really excited to share why we had a lack of self-love, and how narcissistic abuse was the wakeup call for us to finally “come home” and love ourselves. This article also discusses how to start generating love for yourself in every area of your life.

 

Treatment We Never Believe We Would Accept or Tolerate

I remember, before narcissistic abuse, hearing stories and watching movies such as Sleeping With The Enemy and seeing some friends in abusive relationships.

I thought “That would never be me”.

Stuff like that – demeaning put downs, psychological abuse, violence, pathological lying, criminal activity and purposeful mining of resources – had never been my model of the world.

I guess I had led a really sheltered life.

No one had the “perfect” childhood, and neither did I … however I was always brought up with good values, high integrity and “doing the right thing”. My parents were model citizens in this way.

Being constantly accused of affairs, being hit, threatened and stalked, police, drama, court cases, fleeing, defending attacks, being fraudulently embezzled, having my reputation smashed to pieces, and lying awake at night fearing for my life were things I NEVER thought I’d be experiencing.

But I did … and I still went back for more.

How? Why? None of it made ANY sense …

Why had I been able to walk away previously from any man who spoke abusively to me, or raised a hand to me, yet in this case I was regularly called a “whore”, bent over desks with a fist held to my head, backhanded for walking in the door late, and was trembling in my shoes every time I was held up in a checkout line (and so many more things than I could fill 10 pages with)?

Why in THIS case (that was WAY beyond anything I had tolerated EVER) did I STILL believe I loved this man and he really loved me, and it was a soul contract for me to stay and love him back to health?

This is the reason …

Because narcissistic abuse is NOT normal. It is not like any normal relationship, and its Higher Purpose goes way beyond any normal relationship.

 

The Higher Purpose of Narcissistic Abuse

I believe that relationships are all for the evolutionary purpose to grow in our relationship to “self”. And this is important because you can’t attract healthy relationship or “give” healthy relationship unless your self-relationship is healthy.

Narcissistic relationships take this to a whole other level.  I believe narcissistic abuse is more than just this; I believe it is one of the greatest and “highest level” of spiritual and self-development wake-up calls we could ever go through.

Before I believed and deeply understood this, I had a different spin on what was happening with him and me.

I believed that I alone was his only salvation, and I could rescue the shattered little boy inside who I believed REALLY adored and loved me. I believed my love could do it, and that by being his salvation, our love would be my salvation – and this would FINALLY grant me the true soul mate love that had eluded me my whole life.

After all I had never felt so connected to anyone EVER in my life.

The Higher Purpose of such a “powerful feeling of connection” was perfect … even though I didn’t see it at the time, because the agonising confusion, pulls, addiction, sustained repeated abuse, and my inability for such a long time to let go and protect and heal myself back to health, were all designed to bring forth a grand requirement.

This was all about a grand requirement to establish my own self-love.

This was “the opportunity” to establish my own connection to myself, and to start generating Life with a Higher Power, rather than assigning another adult with that job.

This opportunity was a necessary life requirement, because if I hadn’t embraced my soul’s higher plan I KNOW I would not be alive today.

What I deeply now know, as a result of my own personal journey and my journey with so many others is this: those of us who have been narcissistically abused are all faced with this grand requirement of self-love.

Initially this goes against every grain in our body.

Until very recently “loving yourself” was considered self-absorbed, and “deeply falling in love with yourself” whoa … surely that must be completely narcissistic.

If you state to a member of an older generation that your highest goal is to “deeply fall in love with yourself” you will see how they recoil …

They won’t just think you’re “selfish”, they may believe this is “un-godly”, or assume you are mentally unstable.

This is the incredible job our leaders and world have done of cloaking the truth in illusions – grooming us to not be our own person, not be in our own divine true power, demean ourselves, diminish our self-worth, and believe we have no authority or ability to know our own truth.

These “authorities”  have caused us to hand our power over, to do things that we are told to do, without questioning it or seeing what is really going on.

If we really loved and valued ourselves, which then extends to the ability to genuinely love and value others, we would not allow these levels of abuse to ourselves or each other. We would be “awake”; we would not be so easily manipulated.

Rather than be encouraged to awaken to our connection to ourselves, we were taught to be dependent and fulfil obligation, serve, “go without”, follow status quos such as “to death do we part”, and all sorts of other requirements that did not allow us to listen to or anchor into our truth, have personal rights, or follow the calling and language of our own soul (connection to a Higher Power), which has nothing to do what people have manipulated us to believe.

Often this manipulation is cloaked in claims of being obtained from a Higher Power (and of course the rules change depending on what “authority” you take these claims from), or used with the baits that appeal to our disconnected, fearful state of “never being enough” selves.

Messages like: “Listen to me and do this, and you will have money, acquisitions, status, sex appeal, approval, love and attention.”

Until we realise that is EXACTLY the manipulative hook that the narcissist brings to us for the purpose of our own evolution.

The narcissist presents – regardless of whether you are dependent on this narcissist because you are their child, or you having an adult to adult relationship with a narcissist – like this:

“I am your answer, your salvation and the answer to every insecurity and fear you had about yourself, life and other people.”

And we buy it.

As a child you had very little choice. As an adult, if you have not yet established a self-connection, you also have very little emotional choice.

If we are not awake to the absolute truth of what this is really about, we believe narcissistic abuse is simply a terrible calamity – an unfortunate showdown with real life evil.

When we are “asleep” to the higher truth, we have no idea that WHY we are susceptible is this: we have not yet learnt how to be authentic to ourselves, and healthily connected to life and our Higher Power.

And we didn’t realise that “loving self” is the first essential step to create this way of healthy being.

 

Before We Embrace the Truth

Before we realise the Higher Purpose of why narcissistic abuse happened to us, our pain becomes all about our indignation, rage, despair, and righteousness (victimhood) – and we have no clue as to why we are not getting any better.

I was there, and the really strange thing was – no matter how many times I hated him, bagged him out and reported to all and sundry what a monster he was – I still felt like I was going to die without him, couldn’t let go, and continued to try everything possible to make him “get it”.

“Surely, surely despising someone would mean you want nothing to do with them ever again?” I used to tell myself.

Nope it didn’t – it really meant I hadn’t realised the truth of what was happening yet.

If we don’t understand and accept the truth – we are not free – we are stuck in painful illusions.

We try to force this person who is clearly NOT loving us, into loving us because we are still assigning this person as our Source.

Because we still haven’t anchored into our deservedness to learn how to FULLY love ourselves, or become our own Source directly creating with a Higher Source.

This is a concept we are not generally familiar with at this point …

When we are deeply in the throes of narcissistic abuse we are still firmly cemented in the unconscious programs “The narcissist is my Source”, and even if we could get our focus on to imagining being our own Source … it feels wrong, “selfish”, or we may believe we are unworthy of such a connection, or maybe we believe it will ultimately render us “alone”.

Or maybe we DO want a healthy relationship with ourselves desperately, but we feel so helpless, hopeless, devastated and shattered that we have no idea how on earth we could ever believe in ourselves enough or have the confidence to do it.

Or maybe we don’t even know that this is a necessity, because nobody modelled it for us, or explained that it was.

The truth is: we were not programmed to know it was a necessity. Instead, we were programmed to not seek inner answers, not trust ourselves and go along with other people’s versions of how our life should be.

In our disconnected state of not creating self-love we remain powerless. The pain doesn’t go away and we try all sorts of maladapted ways to stop the pain.

My maladapted ways were about focusing fully on him, and believing if I could change what he was doing or get him to fix what he had done, or even bring him to justice and accountability regarding what he’d done, then I could heal.

It didn’t work.

And I was no closer to picking up and working with the Higher Purpose of why this had happened to me – which was all about creating my own self-love.

In fact I was miles away from it – and I didn’t know any better.

My self-talk was still abysmal.

My incessant blaming and shaming of him and other narcissistic people was causing continuous cortisol and adrenaline to flood through my system.

I was treating my body like it was a valueless vessel.

My mind and soul were similarly ignored.

I still used addictions and distractions to avoid going to my traumatised emotions, facing them and healing them.

In short I wasn’t getting it, I wasn’t evolving.

I was on a path of disintegration.

 

Embracing the Truth

My disintegration lead to the bottom of where it could go.

He was not stopping the abuse. I was still hooked. Everything fell apart.

Then I fell apart – more than ever before. This time completely.

I had no logical mind left to keep me believing in illusions, I had nothing left outside myself to save me or give me any hope for the future, and I had no physical or mental health left to continue on “as normal”.

I had the choice – leave the planet or surrender.

I surrendered.

Everything within me collapsed and I asked God to step in because I just couldn’t do life anymore.

I don’t think I did this expecting to be saved, rather I did this because there was nothing else to do.

Then the awakening happened …

That day in that absolute moment of total surrender, a truth of such blinding clarity filled me, that I KNEW the truth.

There was no missing it …

I had never known anything so CLEARLY in my whole life …

I knew the entire journey I had gone on with narcissistic abuse was for the Higher Purpose of showing me my disconnection to myself that was NOT the truth of my soul and my life.

And I was “shown” that there was a 180 degree turn possible, of coming inside myself to deeply self-partner and begin the journey of profound self-love and self-acceptance, which would then create my connection to this Higher Power and life and others in the most powerful, joyful and loving ways.

I knew then, in that moment of crystal clear clarity, POINT BLANK where my lack of self-partnering, and assigning someone else as “the Source to give me myself” had ended up – a hairline breadth away from total demise.

From a state of 37 kilos, a complete psychotic breakdown, adrenaline malfunction, Complicated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a shattered life, I had a lot of work to do.

I really had a lot of work to do … because I had been told I would never recover from my conditions, could only ever hope to manage them, and would have an impaired life for the rest of my life.

Regardless of being told that, I now knew that my own evolution was the MOST important reason I was in a human body and choosing to be having a life experience, and that everything was simply the “playout” of how I was or wasn’t signing up for that … So what else was there to do?

I was spiritual, I had always believe in “The Universe” a “Higher Consciousness” and a “Higher Power” (my version of God), but I’d never really understood what it was to “be at one” with this power.

I had previously thought of this Higher Power as some sort of “parent”, and that if I was good and had integrity God would support me … you know like “Good things happen to good people”.

I hadn’t realised until now that this Higher Power was a “partner”, and to partner with this Higher Power meant I needed to see myself as this Higher Power saw me – as worthy, as loveable and as acceptable – and that required fully self-partnering myself.

I’d never previously realised connecting to the knowing that I was unconditionally loved and supported by this Higher Power required finally “loving” and “accepting” myself first.

Now … I did realise.

The narcissist became irrelevant – it wasn’t about him – it was all about me.

He was only a symptom that showed up of my own disconnected trajectory. In fact I realised if it hadn’t been him in the stage play of my life, someone else would have needed to fill his shoes.

Throughout the following days and weeks more ah-ha’s came in thick and fast.

I realised the ways I thought about myself – that I was never good enough, the ways I demanding more and more self-perfection, and the ways I spoke to myself was identical to the way the narcissist had treated me.

I realised the harsh conditional love I treated myself with – “I will like you Melanie (not even love you that was too great a stretch) if you get this done or achieve that” … EXACTLY matched the relentless conditional demands I experienced with the narcissist.

I realised the lack of time spent getting to deeply know, connect, soothe, heal or build trust and love with myself COMPLETELY matched the absolute emotional abandonment and insane allegations I experienced with the narcissist – which had me screaming at him SO many times “You don’t even KNOW who I am!”

WHO REALLY didn’t know who I was?

It didn’t matter which realisation exploded up into my awareness one after the other after the other, it all led to the same truth – “People can only love, connect to and treat me at the level I love, connect to and treat myself”.

This doesn’t mean I was a BAD people – it meant I could be really BAD to myself.

And why are we bad to ourselves? The answer is simple, because our world and role models have taught us that we are the LAST person we should give our own love, devotion and attention to.

This journey taught me profoundly how totally screwed up that is …

 

Recovery in the Truth

The truth was setting me free sooo much, that the narcissist became totally irrelevant.

This is not to say that surges of memories of fear, pain and anguish weren’t triggered, or thoughts of him didn’t came into my head, or that I wasn’t still having needy, empty scared panicked feelings of addiction to him.

I was.

However … I knew these feelings weren’t to do with him, they were to do with me. He was only the manifestation of my own inner stuff.

And it wasn’t like I just knew that truth and that was enough.

For any of us that alone doesn’t deliver us to the other side.

It’s all about the necessary quest to self-partner, which means getting inside ourselves and doing the work.

This means the dissolving of every false, limiting belief we have had about ourselves, about our connection to our Higher Power, and life and others, that caused us to be disconnected from “being” our own healthy Source to self.

All of these painful charges about him were only the symptom. There were deeper reasons going on inside my body – inside my subconscious programming – that needed my love and attention.

This was about my relationship to myself, up-levelling my painful beliefs, my previous young wounds and misconceptions and emotional decisions which had been sabotaging my ability to fully love and accept myself and know that I was worthy of unconditional love and acceptance from my Higher Power and Life itself.

This was all about my worthiness to be a human, alive and breathing and be filled with love, joy, purpose and inspiration and life-force without having to EARN it … rather, being able to receive and experience it simply because I existed.

Because only then could I authentically be a loving, joyous, inspirational human being contributing to myself and Life in loving, joyous, inspirational and life-affirming ways.

I knew that was the gift, the coming home of this journey, and I knew it was obtainable.

I had been “shown” it in my awakening.

I knew as yet I had never obtained this gift.

Up to date, I had always felt “not good enough”, “not worthy” and I was hiding these inner wounds with trying to get other people to love me and approve of me, and striving for perfection so that finally one day I could feel good enough to accept myself.

I hadn’t realised that “wholeness” was a state that I could JUST BE without all this faulty painful inner programming that I had been conditioned with as a child, inherited from previous generations, and absorbed from the world I lived in.

Like so many of us I had been previously “asleep”, because when we are disconnected from ourselves we don’t even know it.

We don’t know it, because we have been programmed since a very young child to only know “our normal”.

Disconnection from ourselves may be humanely “normal” but it’s not “natural”.

“Not natural” seeks establishing itself back to centre, and for people like us, narcissistic abuse smashes through our life to shine a whopping great spotlight – reflecting back to us where we really are with ourselves so that we can finally KNOW that lack of self-love and self-acceptance and obsolete self-partnering is not the life was are supposed to live.

That’s the work – that’s the journey. It’s all about coming home to self-love.

 

What Self Love Looks Like After Narcissistic Abuse

I’ll keep this about me … and what this journey has been, and how this journey continues to personally expand.

I know this is not just about me, because I passionately want this for everyone who has been narcissistically abused.

Self-love started with total dedication to myself, with the first step being cleaning out the agonising, screaming emotional wounds in my body.

Until this journey I had not realised how important the connection to my body was.

I thought it was all going on in my “head”, but I learnt it wasn’t. I realised that the thoughts in my head were a product of my inner wounds, and if I addressed my inner wounds then the thoughts in my head would change … and they did.

My body was contracted, it was shut down, traumatised and festering with emotional triggers, dread and fears of living. All of these emotions related to painful inner beliefs, ones I had always carried which had been fully activated and brought into consciousness as a result of being narcissistically abused.

To do the work meant dropping out of a great deal of “regular life” (not that I really could do it much anyway); it meant spending every moment I possibly could being intimately alone with myself, connecting with myself and deeply going inside myself to find and shift these wounds out.

This was the beginning of, for the first time in my life … profound self-partnering.

The more I self-partnered in this way, the more space opened up inside me, and I was able to bring into my inner freed up spaces a connection to my Higher Power.

That’s up-levelling – the old beliefs being replaced with the Higher Source Truths on those topics.

I was being released from my past self and was starting to evolve to a level of feelings and “being” that I had never had access to before.

I was filling with love and I was becoming love.

The more I became love the more I wanted to love me.

I stopped polluting my emotions with condemning “bad” people, and deeply understood a higher wisdom – they were merely acting out of their intense wounds that had disconnected them from themselves.

I stopped holding other people responsible for my life and well-being and started to tap into my own Higher Power for guidance.

My self-loathing, demands for perfection and conditional self-love ceased to exist.

I started to nourish and flourish myself with good nutrition, yoga, exercise and hanging out with healthy, positive people.

I embarked on adventures and pursuits that I had never had the confidence to do before.

I started speaking up authentically to people about what I needed, and how we could evolve our relationships together.

I healthily confronted and laid boundaries when required, and easily let go of people and situations that weren’t healthy without my previous fears of criticism, rejection or abandonment.

I made the solid commitment to myself that when any uncomfortable feelings in my emotions surfaced, I would continue to self-partner, find and release those limiting beliefs.

As I worked diligently at transforming into my True Self, I became thrilled with the TOTAL joy of evolving myself and receiving constant feedback from Life that what I was doing was working in incredible ways.

I was shifting out the Old Order of my life and midwifing a New Life which I had never experienced before.

This is the model of self-love after narcissistic abuse.

When we self-partner at the inner level the outer starts organically unfolding.

When we look after our consciousness, which really means transcending our previous wounded state … the rest follows.

And I realised that this was the true purpose of living …

Not “getting” things to be whole, rather continually growing towards more wholeness.

None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t had the MASSIVE wake-up call of narcissistic abuse, and none of this would have been possible if I had not started the journey inwards – the coming inside myself to create self-love.

I know the same is true for you …

I hope this article resonates with you, and you can feel the truth of what I am saying, and I look forward to answering your comments and questions.

 

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Melanie Tonia Evans is an international narcissistic abuse recovery expert. She is an author, radio host, and founder of Quanta Freedom Healing and The Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program. Melanie's healing and teaching methods have liberated thousands of people from the effects of narcissistic abuse world-wide.

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43 Thoughts on Narcissistic Abuse – A Journey To Self Love
  • tanya_as_self@hotmail.com'
    Tanya Scott
    February 20, 2015

    Hi Melanie, It’s still so refreshing 3 years on to read your work and learn about the tools you offer to assist others in recovering from Narcissistic Abuse. I feel like I’ve been on such a journey and you have been there every step of the way. I too was on my knees after 8 years of the insanity I endured in a narc relationship, until I was broken and then choose to heal. I am single, happy, balanced, free and at peace. Over the past 3 years I have set up a business with my yoga teacher on the Gold Coast called Heart to Soul Healing. We offer a sacred space and deliver one day workshops to small groups of women, numerology readings, hypnosis and yoga. I am also working with another friend Tony Collins who is an amazing spiritual facilitator and therapist. His business is Inner Fulfillment. We offer one day workshops in spirituality, regression therapy, life between life work, spiral dynamics and NLP to help people understand their true purpose for being on the planet. I also had the honour of being invited to work on a women’s retreat in Bali with a good friend who is the director and owner of Vibrant Women Personal Development delivering a numerology workshop and Past Life Regression Therapy Sessions to the women who attended. None of this would have been possible if I had not changed my inner programming and fully understood I needed to change my life and heal not only from being narc abused, but heal from my whole life – all those subconscious inner programs I wasn’t aware that I was operating from. Once I picked up my shattered self, moved through the psychic shock and then went in and worked on myself and remembered who I truly was and started loving myself and partnering with me everything started shifting. I had always wanted to work with people who wanted to deliver spiritual workshops since I was a teenager. I spent 20 years in the community and public sector as a youth worker and counsellor always incorporating spiritual tools in my practices. I thought I had it all and that I was healed and whole and then I met my ex-husband and went on an 8 year narcissistic relationship roller coaster ride ending up realising I had not truly healed at all. I had only just begun. That’s when the self love work really began. I remember my wonderful therapist Ian who supported me for the first 12 months after the separation. He said to me after the most painful healing session where I set myself free ‘that most people live in a jail all their lives and it isn’t until they unlock the door and release themselves that realise they were trapped. He said you just found the key that unlocked the door. I truly woke up in that moment and in doing so started to come home to myself. I explored my childhood, past lives and adult relationships and fully honoured them all, forgave myself and let go. Many old, outworn and unhealthy relationships are falling away and only solid, healthy ones remain. I feel 10 years younger, I laugh, have fun and enjoy the work I am doing. There is so much more to come. I just know it. Onwards and upwards always. Thank you for being there on my journey to recovery – open heart, healing soul. Love and light to you and everyone on the road to healing. Tanna Bear xx

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      February 21, 2015

      Hi Tanya,

      thank you for your post, and that is so wonderful that you went in, self-partnered and are now expanding in life doing your “life work”.

      That is so exciting!

      The planet needs people in their dharma …

      You are so very welcome 🙂

      Mel xo

    • banyanaolats@yahoo.com'
      Empoweredlady
      October 23, 2015

      Hi Tanya.
      I also want to experience what you are experiencing. Please help me, explain to me fully. You say when emotions surface you self partner. What exactly do you mean by that? What exactly do you do to honour those emotions. Kindly explain to me in detail, you can use examples. I need to be on the same wave length as everyone. So far, i’ve managed to weed out everyone who does not respect me, i dont want ex narc back, but i want to reach a point where m indifferent to him-thats the area i’m struggling in. I hate him.

  • penhaligonsusan@gmail.com'
    Susan
    February 20, 2015

    Brilliant article Melanie! You saved my life

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      February 21, 2015

      Hi Susan,

      I am so pleased you enjoyed it, and that I could help.

      Bless 🙂

      Mel xo

  • Fsandbcarter@gmail.com'
    Sandra Carter
    February 20, 2015

    Melanie, Yes, yes to all that.
    I just wanted to make sure that not only are you healed and growing, but that you won’t miss the boat on the super main point of even the incredible life we had to go through before we finally woke up!
    This life is just a drop in the bucket, our life after death is THE most important detail we need to attend to before we finally check out and by which time it is too late.
    Our Higher Power, God, and our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ will be very sad if we fail to achieve eternal life while we’re at it.
    ie. Using God to heal us in time and missing the boat on eternity would be such a forever tragedy, especially when you are SOO close.
    Eternal life, Salvation, is by Grace, it is just so simple, grace means gratis, free, a gift, no working, no trying to be good for God or anything like that.
    God does not need OUR help, what a mess we would make!!
    He has done all the work for us, CHRIST was judged by God the Father while He hung on that cross, for all of our sins, and paid the price for all, and stated, “It is finished”, the work of Salvation was accomplished on the cross by Him for us. He said “It is finished” and then dismissed His spirit.
    All that is left is for us to either ACCEPT or REJECT His grace/free gift of eternal life. If you haven’t accepted Him yet, I hope you will give it serious consideration. I wouldn’t have you ignorant, yes, I care, the bottom line is believe or burn!

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      February 21, 2015

      Hi Sandra,

      my beliefs are non-denominational … and truly I allow everyone to have their beliefs regarding what a “Higher Power” means to them … it is a personal choice, and there are many ways “back to the God within.”

      I believe “heaven” and “hell” are states, not places … regardless of whether we are in physical incarnates or not in physical bodies.

      I also believe this time is about bringing and being “heaven on earth” now.

      That’s my job and mission …

      Mel xo

    • JewelinVentura@aol.com'
      Jeri
      May 11, 2015

      Sandra. AMEN to that. I am a believer too. I think accepting redemption and the life Jesus Christ died for to give us is the bottom line. I also believe in life being multi demential and the concept of quantum physics. There is just so much we don’t understand in this dense place. But without a doubt earth is a fallen world and as such I have to conclude that life is in the blood and thus that was how we were offered redemption. Seek and you will find. I used to be new age but after reading and studying the bible I accert Jesus as my savior.

  • maureen.hughes@hse.ie'
    maureen Hughes
    February 21, 2015

    Great, great article, and God Bless you Mel I am right here, the more time I spent with myself the more I self partnered and I like who | am and now that the muck is shifted I have a nicer more peaceful place for my higher power to partner me in this beautiful life, I have such good genuine friends, lovely people such joy and peace. I love living everyday now and life is so easy its a blessing and I have a lot of love to share and give. I never thought I would recover to this level and its just great to be at this point. Thanks to YOU Mel long may your powerful work last for this community.xxxxxxxxxxMaureeh

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      February 21, 2015

      Hi Maureen,

      I am glad you like the article.

      I am so happy for you that you have come home to partnering yourself.

      I can hear how happy you are in your post, and it makes my heart sing.

      This is exactly why I love the work I do so much … thank you so much for sharing your energy here 🙂

      Mel xo

  • akmadan@easynet.co.uk'
    Karen
    February 21, 2015

    I am still on the journey, and I know I always will be. At the moment, every time I have an issue, something you write appears ‘out of nowhere’ to speak to me – today it was about forgiveness, something you may have even forgotten you wrote, about how you know if you have forgiven by whether you can genuinely thank the person for the gift they have given you. I thought I understood forgiveness (having done NARP), I thought I had forgiven to the best of my ability, and I immediately saw I hadn’t, and saw my block (to do with letting people and life ‘off the hook’).

    I love what you write about ‘authorities’. I hate how our greatest pains are treated as medical problems to be medicated, and we are told that ‘it is our brain chemistry’ (when the best way to change your brain chemistry is to activate different neurones by thinking different thoughts); it is so disempowering. Before my abuser, my greatest push to evolution was depression – I stopped seeing it as a disease, and instead viewed it as a symptom of life or thoughts gone wrong. But I dealt with it by CBT, which addressed the symptoms of my inner wounds, not the causes – and actually made me in some ways more vulnerable to sociopath abuse (the dysfunctional ‘me’ before I dealt with depression never tolerated men who abused me). Craniosacral therapy and your techniques have been invaluable to me. I am no longer a survivor of abuse. I am a thriving human being, and I thank you so much for the role you continue to play in that – as much as I thank myself for sending me the abuser and you both 🙂 xx

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      February 21, 2015

      Hi Karen,

      how powerful that you see the truth, and know it cellularly.

      Absolutely we manifested all of the perfect ways to awaken. THis is so wonderful that you have shifted and are growing so much!

      It is very true the journey is eternal – that is what the true fun and joy is about it!

      Eternal expansion …

      Mel xo

  • akmadan@easynet.co.uk'
    Karen
    February 21, 2015

    Ooops, I wanted to say more about forgiveness – I had (in my head) long ago forgiven my Mother for things, but then when my father was terminally ill, then died, she behaved so badly and made his last days so uncomfortable…. I forgot that forgiveness is not a ‘once and for all’, it is an ongoing thing. It reactivated so much, and I forgot to understand that she has shown me those wounds so clearly that I should be grateful to her. Thank you Mel, and Mum, and me!

  • BeingKarenElliott@Hotmail.com'
    K
    February 21, 2015

    Thank you for BEING you! You and all you share are amazing gifts to the world! You are a blessing to us all!

  • Beingkarenelliott@hotmail.com'
    K
    February 21, 2015

    A resounding YES!!!!!

    This article is such a clear mirror. It reflects my own knowingness and experience as well, with such incredible clarity and precision, it’s stunning.

    Your words are like a laser beam, pointing the way home, to all who relate. They shine light through what appears to be a tunnel of darkness, back to the LIGHT of all that is.

    Home, Sweet Home. True Love. From Above-Down-Inside-Out. All is One.

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      February 21, 2015

      Hi Karen,

      that is so true … it is an above / below, inner / outer – “all One” deal!

      You truly get it …

      Mel xo

  • sarahgrayson@att.net'
    Susan
    February 21, 2015

    It is a lifetime of work to come back home. Your quote resonated so much: “I am your answer, your salvation and the answer to every insecurity and fear you had about yourself, life and other people.”
    It made me think of Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.” But isn’t that what we did? Put our sense of self in the hands of another person?
    I didn’t grow up in a religious house. I didn’t grow up with a message of connection to higher power. As people walk away from organized religion, and the effort to have a relationship with God, I wonder what is replacing it? Nothing? Technology? Other people? Are we looking to the secular world to replace what we lost when we stopped seeking God?

    Isn’t that the truth- that we put our faith in this person instead of ourselves, and God? The more I’ve gone down this path of recovery, the greater and broader the message becomes. Its not just about the psychology of abuse and dynamics between dependent and narcissistic personality types. It points to a greater problem, highlights our deficiencies at where “we” (society) collectively are in our own spiritual evolution.
    We learned that we didn’t want to be fanatics and hypocrites, but we walked away from the spiritual wisdom that was more available when most attended church, when we actively sought out enlightenment and connection to source. When you finally let your guard down and decide to awaken, is there any other answer but to accept God?

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      February 21, 2015

      Hi Susan,

      we also need to understand tat any frameworks that are about separation, conditional love or judgement / fear are not bringing us home …

      We only need to look at the world to see how shame, fear and judgement has played out.

      I believe most of our symptoms need to become holistic – they need to take into account oneness, the entire “macro” they need to not just have us in our mind trying to find false substitutes for the love, power and truth that lies “within” us…

      We need to “be” this energy rather than trying to “get” it … and taking other people’s “word” about it ..

      We need to know the creators that we are and that we are blessed and loved beyond measure unconditionally because we exist.

      Source needs to flow through us, AS us …

      Then we will stop hating, damning and judging others and ourselves – and we would all behave accordingly .. we would be love … we would be authentic, and all the fear and pain would stop.

      Mel xo

  • carol.artlife@gmail.com'
    Carol
    February 21, 2015

    Brilliant article, and thank you for sharing your journey again too Melanie. My father was the first male in this life to place himself as my higher power, and then the rest followed. I was most certainly not taught to love myself, and did not see my mother love herself either – I only saw her depressed and anxious. I love this path, and am beginning to see myself as precious. To me it’s a bit like being in the garden – I chop off the dead flowers, then dead wood, and then I find the enormous roots and dig them out. Only then is the garden free to begin again – and this is exactly how I am feeling. It is not only the recent narc that I left, but over the last 12 months, I have said no to other dominating and abusive people and walked away from a couple who continued anyway. I would not have done this before. Other things have also changed – I don’t drink any alcohol anymore (dislike the feeling in my body), I eat well, sleep well, and make self-care a priority. My TV stopped working, and I haven’t replaced it (my soul does not need to watch what was on offer), and I state my preferences more. And, I absolutely need time to myself, as without it I find I feel like I can start to feel emptied out. Quiet time each day brings me back to center – sitting on the veranda watching the birds, the sky and life passing by, walking, meditation, preparing healthy yummy food.

    Yes -imagine a world whereby we each embodied self-love, each had connection and guidance from a higher power, and did not allow the old order of things to dominate. We would no longer be a consumer society – poisoning our bodies, minds and spirits and the planet , and many of the structures and big corporations that are currently running the world, would collapse. Let us all foster our own healing, and the flow on effect to healing the world. I know I am on this path for life now. Love and thanks xx

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      February 21, 2015

      Hi Carol,

      You are so welcome!

      I adore what you have written, and I love the model of “love” you are being to yourself and the world.

      Absolutely this is the path of changing ourselves and the world one person at a time.

      You truly are one of the anchors bringing “heaven on earth” by being who you are being.

      I loved reading your post, and feeling the energy from it!

      Mel xo

      • carol.artlife@gmail.com'
        Carol
        February 21, 2015

        Thanks Melanie

        I also want to share another flow on effect of self love I discovered today. I met with my gorgeous daughter and 2 year old granddaughter – and as we were sitting having morning tea, my daughter told me about how she had set boundaries with her father – who lives a very chaotic life. She told him “no” to a certain request that would have created much stress for her and her husband and daughter. I was able to say, well done sweetheart, I’m so glad you are taking care of yourself and your family.

        I have never ever told her to “do” this (she doesn’t know about QFH) – but I feel in my bones she is seeing me quietly respect myself, care for myself, and set my own boundaries. I feel at last the cycle is ending – and that my daughter and granddaughter can hopefully live in greater love and freedom than I have (and my mother and grandmother before me). I don’t think we would be where we are, if I had not found your work and healing way Melanie, and you know – I think I found it at exactly the right time too xx

  • Palmtree2@optonline.net'
    Tori
    February 21, 2015

    Brilliant words again!! Thank you Mel

  • summertimecotton@gmail.com'
    Milica
    February 21, 2015

    Hi Mel,
    thank you for writing another very helpful article. Can you please describe to us, if it’s possible, how it feels to be connected to the Source and to be love?
    Much love xo

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      February 21, 2015

      Hi Milicia,

      the feeling never stops expanding when we do the inner shift work …because effectively what we are doing is shifting out wounds of fear and emotional pain and allowing Source to flow through us.

      And by no means does this mean I am “perfect” or that I don’t have doubts and fears – I do – but the more I work at constantly evolving myself, they get less and less and less.

      It is a feeling like everything that “was” is perfect, everything that “is” is perfect, and everything that “will be” is perfect.

      And by “perfect” i mean it just “is” in right and divine order. The fear of the future is gone, and regrets and pain of the past is gone – it means you can just feel adored, supported, blessed and whole and “full” without anything or anyone in particular having to provide it for you.

      It just “is” … and from there joy, inspiration, purpose, love and fun flows through you and from you and is unconditional.

      And you are much happier to be truthful, say how you feel and be authentic with love – without any attachment, necessary outcome or agenda – rather just because you are being “source”…

      In short you feel free to truly be yourself.

      This is not something we can achieve “logically” … it is cellular.

      It’s Universal, it’s spiritual – it’s not “linear” – it just “is”.

      You can only know this when you be-come it, and thats the work …

      I hope this helps.

      Mel xo

  • summertimecotton@gmail.com'
    Milica
    February 22, 2015

    Thanks Mel. I’m also curious what is it like to be in an authenthic relationship where both partners are free of emotional baggage and have healthy self-love. Is it similar to intensive love with a narc in the beginning of a relationship (only without red flags)? Or is it something completely different?

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      February 23, 2015

      Hi Milicia,

      the start of a healthy relationship – it has absolutely a feeling of love and connection – but it is mature – it not “obsessed”, and there are not the usual warning signs that something about the narc is “off”, or something from their past appears, or some other “red flags” showing up.

      Both people are happy to get to know each other and retain interests without getting totally enmeshed .. boundaries are respected.

      It is “sane” and there are not the insecurities disguised by love-bombing or “games”.

      I have written quite a few articles about “healthy relationships” in the past that may help clarify too.

      I hope this helps.

      Mel xo

  • Katieshopsalways@aol.com'
    Katie
    February 22, 2015

    I understand now. Years ago, I was young, had a great career, and was happy. But, I was missing one thing…love. So when I met the narcissist, my world turned into a heaven as he was everything I ever hoped for in a man, and then a husband. I had to divorce him because it got too crazy and even though I knew the divorce was to save myself from all the craziness, I didn’t understand the dynamics of what was going on. I do now and that is my miracle. He faked love for me so I could be his pawn/slave while he did whatever he wanted to do in his life. He lied, stole and manipulated me to get all of his needs met, while I got crumbs now and then. And, despite his bad behavior, I still loved him and thought Love conquers all problems/issues. Sadly, God was not in my or our life, but God surely had his hand on me to guide me out of the terrible pit I was in. In addition, I suffered from sadness, low energy and some depression after the divorce and whenever he started hovering around me for attention or something.
    Today, I am on the road to recovery: made peace with my childhood wounds, forgave him, am focused on getting my needs met, Love Myself, am practicing Graditude in all I have, am not blaming/shaming others, am cognizant of accepting situations/people for what they are, still learning of my faulty beliefs and letting them go, am open to what the day brings me, have goals/intentions, and just Love life without fear, worry or anxiety. For now, I got the lesson: to be aware, accept people for what they are, to not engage in people pleasing behavior or try to change them, that bad people are around us and that one needs to maintain boundaries, that we all have a purpose in life! Hooray! I made it!!!

    • joflus@bigpond.com'
      John
      February 22, 2015

      Hi Katie,
      I doubt that knowing god would have changed anything. My ex jeeringly told me that I was now free to find a christian wife as she never had and never will embrace those values, I view them in essence as basic human decency. You are probably fortunate that he didn’t include god/religion in his armoury, I have seen some truly vicious behaviour from people who have used religious doctrine for evil, truly scary stuff.

      “Today, I am on the road to recovery: made peace with my childhood wounds, forgave him, am focused on getting my needs met, Love Myself, am practicing Graditude in all I have, am not blaming/shaming others, am cognizant of accepting situations/people for what they are, still learning of my faulty beliefs and letting them go, am open to what the day brings me, have goals/intentions, and just Love life without fear, worry or anxiety. For now, I got the lesson: to be aware, accept people for what they are, to not engage in people pleasing behavior or try to change them, that bad people are around us and that one needs to maintain boundaries, that we all have a purpose in life! Hooray! I made it!!!”

      That paragraph is the essence of the challenge we all face. A work in progress that will probably last my entire life.

      Cheers John

  • Katieshopsalways@aol.com'
    Katie
    February 24, 2015

    Hi John,

    I’ve had limited experience with Christians who in my opinion, were pseudo-Christians…go to church, read the Bible, preach the Word, but basically hate themselves and others. Also, my ex said that he practiced the Golden Rule, but this never made sense to me as his behavior indicated otherwise. Thus, fake Christians exist all around us.
    If you can fight with the narcissist, you can fight for yourself to get over your situation, get better and be free of the narcissist. Melonie gives us the tools to do so. Every article, book and program has addressed the dynamics of the narcissistic relationship, and how one can empower oneself. Thus, she is our teacher filled with experience, knowledge and wisdom. We just need to pay attention and engage in her “recipe for recovery” which takes determination, perseverance and hard work.
    The aftermath of being with a narcissist is horrific and one needs to fight for their life. Sitting on the pity pot is a time waster as the reality is that fantasy, con-games and abuse did occur. Acceptance of the situation is the answer as well as letting go, learning to forgive, and loving yourself. The keys are:
    •Hope that you will become the wonderful and powerful person you were meant to be.
    •Have Faith that all will be well, as the narcissistic relationship is time-limited–you decide when you want to let go.
    •Love yourself, the narcissist, other people, and life. For then, you will have peace and be open to new, healthy and wonderful life experiences.
    Remember: Only you are in charge of your life. You decide when you want to get better. You decide when enough is enough. And, you decide when you want to be happy, confident, loving, successful, and a blessing to others.
    DO NOT DELAY…the time is NOW. You decide…

    • joflus@bigpond.com'
      John
      February 25, 2015

      Hi Katie,
      I’m not sure what you mean by the golden rule except to say the message in christianity is one of love. This creates a quandary, to love the narcissist yet maintain strong boundaries in order to protect yourself and other family members from the crazy making. So we get to battle our own demons (attacks on our personal values) as well as the narcisisst. Faith is the cornerstone to all success.
      Cheers John

  • Katieshopsalways@aol.com'
    Katie
    February 24, 2015

    And…when you feel better, others will try to creep into your life, of which you will say NO, because you set strong boundaries!

  • nicoleadamshealthcoach@gmail.com'
    Nikki
    February 24, 2015

    Hi Mel. The Universe sure does know what we need. I had a huge shift yesterday when I went back and did Module 3 as I knew forgiveness was coming up for me. Today I feel another later of the onion has been peeled back and it is all about self love and not being worthy to even be here. I felt so stuck and could hear little Mel on my shoulder so I came to the sight to sign in for the first time hoping to gain support and the very first thing that came up was this blog. How perfect. Just what I needed to read. You’ve been there. I am not alone. And I am in tears Mel because I know I am doing the hard work and breaking down to break through…it just hurts. That moment when you realize once again that this is a long journey of self partnering and and not a quick jaunt to a destination of healed and done….sometimes that’s hard. Because I’m tired. But you remind me that learning about me doesn’t have to be bad and sad…and that there is a glorious rainbow out there over me and I have my butterfly wings. I got out of the relationship, and I DO the work. I saw and accepted the message the universe was sending me and I wasn’t scared to walk right into my fears and pain and change it around into hope and love and joy. So, even though I am weary right now from more layers being revealed, I am thankful for the gift. Love you Mel. Thank you. Always in Gratitude, your friend Nikki Weigel A.

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      February 24, 2015

      Hi Nikki,

      I’m really touched by your post …

      I promise you absolutely I know how “where you are at” feels … and I promise you with all of my heart that you are going to midwife your breakdowns to breakthroughs.

      Absolutely accept the journey, and I think really check in with the beliefs about “having to be perfect / healed now” … I intuitively feel there is a belief(s) there that’s giving you a hard time.

      Clearing that belief(s) will make a huge difference.

      Please do Nikki, come into the NARP Forum and really connect there … you also, my love, will be a fabulous support / wisdom resource for others … truly.

      I know it.

      In many ways you remind me of Tami’s journey – and look at her now!

      So much love back to you, and yes I am here for you – always energetically, and in real time also … as much as I can.

      Mel xo

      • nicoleadamshealthcoach@gmail.com'
        Nikki
        February 25, 2015

        I appreciate all you ARE able to do Mel! And you are so correct…I know I have a belief about being prefect and healed now. I need to find it and shift it. And even as I say that I feel tightness and ahhhh so much work to be done not enough time!!! going through my head. I need to breathe and figure out which module to do so I can be productive in my healing. Thank you for YOUR kind words Mel. Xo

  • deeoreilly1312@outlook.com'
    Dee
    February 26, 2015

    Hi melanie

    I just love your work .its so profound to me and fantastic help to me as i go on this journey .i never knew about narcisstic abuse until i found you on the internet. Thank god i did.

    So many thanks from bottom of my heart Dee x x

  • gwynnington@hotmail.com'
    TG
    February 28, 2015

    I have never written on one of these self help forums before, but I just felt I had to write and thank you Melanie. What I’ve come across this evening has hit me like a truck and is the first advice forum on relationships and healing that has made any sense.
    I have been in an unhealthy and abusive relationship for almost 5 years. In that time I have become a shadow of myself, and have cried more tears, displayed more anger, and become unrecognisable to myself and my family. My partner is a 47 year old narcissist, who has never had a successful relationship, and comes from a family of the same, where his brothers and father still to this day act the same way. He does not see that they are flawed in any way…
    We have been in a weekend relationship that has involved me doing all the work, driving miles to his place, supplying the food, spending the money, planning the activities, initiating the communication etc. A typical weekend (like last weekend) was to drive over, bearing our meals and drinks etc ready for a fun night, for him to give me a half attempt at a kiss, then complain because I forgot the chips. he would then take himself off for a bath, come back down, and fall asleep on the sofa, leaving me staring out of the window in tears feeling alone. When I mention I feel neglected and that he is uninterested, and that I want the 48 hours a week to be quality time, I get the silent treatment, he leaves the room, or tells me to go home. then as soon as I leave and get in the car, he phones and says sorry – come back. I feel like im on a yo yo and he keep me in a cat and mouse ‘how much too-ing and fro-ing will you do to prove you love me. relationship’. Im so tired of being tested its physically painful now. I feel like ive lost my mind, and the constant walking on eggshells has made me had a skewed view of relationships, to the point of me thinking I want to be a spinster until I die.
    I’m leaving out the good stuff too…. a terrible temper, that has resulted in a punch in the face for me, throwing things at me, pushing me out the door slamming it in my back, smashing all the gifts I (and anyone else) brought for him, calling me an idiot, a whore, a stupid bitch etc.
    Each time I would leave and curl up at home in a ball, crying at why I was being treated like this. After a week of being ignored he would start contacting me, to the point of phoning my parents, 15/20 calls and messages until I answered, turning up at work, and if I didn’t respond, he would start the slur campaign with friends and on social media, so I had his friends call me and contact me…”hey, whats happened to you and *****..he’s been round here upset. Hes a bit moody, but hes a good guy etc”.
    He had made me so insecure that I jumped like a puppy to reconcile, but after being so ground down that I told him I couldn’t take any more. He would send spiteful texts and calls, saying I was unlovable, destined to be alone, that my anger problems would drive anyone away etc…
    After a week alone, his words would ring true. I would get scared that he was right, and I would end up apologising. we would reconnect, where he would ask to ‘forget things’ and be sweet for a few weeks..then the moods, sulking, stonewalling would start again.
    I come from a broken home where there was lots of aggression, mainly from my mum. My dad left when I was small as he couldn’t take her attacks, but he made her worse by ignoring her, turning his back or going out, not hearing her reasons and leaving her to boil..until he came home then things got smashed and punches flew. I got caught in the crossfire when I was little a lot. My mum and dad weren’t ‘loving’ particularly, leaving me to play on my own and my brother and sister were a lot older, so pretty much ignored me. I have a massive fear of abandonment, and thus have never been ‘single’ for very long, since the age of 14.
    I am now 41, and sadly my dear dad, who I loved very much and was very close to, died a few months ago (on the same day as my stepdad so a real tragedy for our family).
    My partner actually has been very supportive. Before the bereavement, we all but broke up again, but I have needed someone to lean on to get through the grief in the last few months. Now time is healing slowly, my partner is busting at the seams to get back to the old ways.
    I think he has somewhat revelled in my sadness and vulnerability. He has been a different man during this sad time, because I have ‘needed’ him. Now I am taking positive steps to get over my bereavement he has turned back into an ass**le. He is using the fact he has ‘helped me’ to point out the brownie points he has earnt, therefore to excuse his bad behaviour, even this week.
    He contacted me today out of the blue to go for a meal to chat. When I didn’t ‘jump at the treat’ and he didn’t get the response he wanted, he got abusive, and said I was to much in grief for him to have a relationship with, so he was leaving me alone.
    It is only through reading all your posts for the last few hours that I have realised, you have hit the nail on the head. At the moment, because I have just lost my dad, I feel inside like a lost little girl. Very lonely, very sad, and a bit of a loser to be honest, to be 41, and still sobbing like a baby, over my life so far. I know this is part of the process, but I get up everyday with a knot in my stomach, and its not all about my bereavement, its about my partner, and how I feel like I am making him unhappy, how not to P**s him off, how to treat him today so he wont sulk and ignore me, or tell me after an hours drive and I walk through the door, to go home again if im in a bad mood…im grieving still for heavens sake…
    Something has snapped in me today. I cant ‘physically’ take it any more. My hair and skin are shot to pieces, ive never had bags under my eyes so big, all I want to eat is comfort food, cakes and sweets and hot drinks, and all I want to do when I come home is go to bed so the day disappears quicker.
    What I have read resonates so much its scary. My dear dad would be so sad to see me sitting wasting my life, he would want me to be happy (he never liked my partner anyway). I want to be strong and find the old me who was bubbly, confident and independent, and have tried to do no contact so many times and failed, because my childhood abandonment, and the ways my partner has reinforced these cruelly, get me so scared I keep going back.
    thanks so much from the bottom of my heart for sharing your advice. I will read some more tomorrow and try and put the first steps in place. I really, really appreciate what you have written…in reading this, I feel there is hope for a change and that im not alone and that is very comforting . I feel really determined to do this (and I HAVE to, this time) xxxxx

  • claytonruth@rocketmail.com'
    ruth
    March 3, 2015

    I love what you say about self-partnering. It is true, that we have nothing to give away if we have not known ourselves first. I am slowly getting better and more resolute about not engaging in negative words about my ex. Where my wound still is , is in the area of financial dependence. That is where I still get angry at the injustice. I realize it is showing me that I need to learn to provide for myself now, and no amount of wailing at the moon, lol, is going to change the fact, that I need to depend on me. What I also love about what you say, is the partnering with God (source), and in that way we are not alone. I feel such clarity and the presence of God with me, it is almost hard to describe, but it is both grounded in love, and in the truth all at the same time. I read something the other day about life being a beautiful disaster. That may not resonate with everyone, but I like it, because it frees me from the ridiculous standard I use to hold myself to. I am beginning to really relax and accept what is, in all it’s complexity and perfect imperfection. This has been a wonderful and surprising gateway to deeper connection and intimacy with others, because I am realizing, for the most part, we all struggle with many of the same things, and to grow along side others requires that kind of vulnerability. It is your vulnerability, that has moved me and drawn me, and I have learned a lot through your willingness to be so real, Mel. God Bless!

  • smartmomb1968@gmail.com'
    Martha Reilly
    March 16, 2015

    “And this is important because you can’t attract healthy relationship or “give” healthy relationship unless your self-relationship is healthy.” This made me cry.

  • P.porter@mail.com'
    JM
    April 9, 2015

    Melanie,
    I have just separated after 18 years and still struggle with what has happened. I have never dealt with any type of mental problem and can’t seem to come to grips with the ” two people” I have had to deal with. When we married I knew my wife had had a bad experience in her childhood but she seemed to be fairly ok. She had the odd meltdown but few and far between. As the years went by she seemed to go from being good 90% of the time to that decreasing to at the end she was good about 10% and out of control the rest of the time. There is no doubt she is NPD based on her atrocious behaviour. The really rapid decline in her behaviour has happened in the last 4 years or so. I have read that as people with NPD get older they get worse. Is this correct?

  • reneepanter@hotmail.com'
    Ren
    November 7, 2016

    I have read hundreds of articles and a book on narc abuse. This has been the most helpful and enlightening thing I have yet to read! Thank you!

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