Preparing for the Aftermath

“There’s been a lot of flying monkeys around today,” I messaged Ben Tuesday. I got a group text from one of Ben’s sisters saying, “Be the change you wish to see in others…..” It was an excerpt from a conference talk. I showed it to my counselor who said it seemed passive aggressive to her. I also got a text from Ben’s mom, whom I haven’t heard from in probably a year. It said, “I love you dearly and I am wondering how you are doing….” I told her that I am good and that I am studying about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I was listening to a podcast. It was true.

I found an excellent podcast by a woman named Christine Hammond. It is called “Understanding Today’s Narcissist.” I’ve listened to hours and hours of information about the disorder and how to deal with those who have it. Ms. Hammond says that if someone in your family has this disorder, you need to become an expert in it. I can’t claim to be an expert, but I am learning. The biggest takeaway I’ve learned it, don’t put up with narcissistic behavior in your family. If you do, it will spread. Like cancer, catch it early and kill it or you’ll end up with a big mess.

Even though the primary narcissist is dead, his flying monkeys are ready to neutralize the threat to his perfect memory. Because of that, I have taken several steps to protect myself from them and any spies that they may have. It feels a little paranoid, but I am still in recovery, and I don’t need to invite persecution into my life. Even so, I am preparing myself for the worst.

Assuming that they do come across my post or hear about it, they will likely attack the substance of it, including denying or minimizing the predatory behaviors of the narcissist. They will accuse me of slandering the dead. They will assume the worst of motives for my behavior. They will likely try to hoover Ben back in by accusing me of being a narcissist or worse. After the storm of defensiveness is past and they realize that we have moved on, there might be some self-reflection. Eventually, perhaps there will be some healing. If not, that’s okay too. At least I’m not carrying around the guilt of my silence.

Nothing has really changed since before I found my voice. I’m still in counseling. They still think I’m the problem. Nothing is different except in me. As I read the words of my post to my counselor, and I asked her what she thought of it and she said, “Right on the nose,” and then she praised my ability to explain complicated things in a simple way that is easily grasped. I felt a surge of pleasure at her praise. It feels good to be praised for doing something well.

My relationship with Ben is solid. My boys are growing up loved and secure. They are an asset to their schools and to their community. I am feeling an increase in my confidence. The past can be full of abuse, but the only person who can decide to end it in the present and future is me. I can be honest, open, and brave. I can say no to abusive behavior. I can surround myself with loving people and relationships. I can help others to make the journey from victim to survivor. I can’t change my husband’s family, but there are so many things I can do.

Even though there are voices around me casting judgement or criticism, I can’t hear them anymore. I’m listening to one voice, the voice inside me that channels the spirit. It confirms my path. Though adversity is certain, I am also certain to endure it. I drink deeply of the Love of my Savior who strengthens me. He knows my heart and that it is acceptable before him. It is enough.

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