Chapter 3: Why I Write

Chapter 3: Why I Write

When I first told a trusted friend that I was tossing around the idea of writing this blog, she looked me in the eyes and said, “Why bother?” She had supported me for years as I traversed the hurt, abuse, and emotional turmoil associated with dating, sharing a home, blending a family, marrying, and, finally, leaving my narcissist after he assaulted me for the second time, only to have to fight off his smear campaign made possible by his flying monkeys and break free from an intense trauma bond five-plus years in the making. 

My friend’s question of “Why bother to write the blog” was valid and heartfelt, and one that I have asked myself more times than I can count.

Often, when I woke up at 3 am drenched in sweat because I had just had a dream about my narcissist or his monkeys, I would ponder if putting the most painful experience of my life down in writing would be therapeutic or retraumatizing. Was I a fool to make myself so vulnerable? But each time I thought about it, I concluded that writing it down was the right thing to do.

Maybe my decision to take a risk and write this blog has something to do with my personality type. Per the Myers Briggs Personality chart, I am an INTJI know there is a lot of controversy among professionals regarding whether the Myers Briggs Personality test is valid, but when I read what an INTJ female was, it fit me to a T -- to include stating that most INTJ women only wear black, grey, and white. A picture of my closet quickly reveals that aside from one or two items I keep around for special occasions (like a shirt for Christmas or Halloween), my entire closet – consisting all of 4 pairs of pants, 27 shirts, 4 jackets, and 3 pairs of shoes – is black with an occasional gray sweater or white and black striped shirt. 

From what I have read, INTJ women make up about 0.5% of the population but somehow about 90% of my female friends are INTJs; we are a rare bird, but we seem to flock to one another. I am a thinker and highly analytical. I am not warm and fuzzy. I am candid and to the point – even downright blunt at times. In the words of Dr. Suess, I am as cuddly as a cactus, as charming as an eel. I swear like a sailor and have a colorful vocabulary that stems back to the days when I wasn’t called Ekho but, instead, Sergeant. All this is true.

But I am also a loyal friend and ally. I have a strong sense of right and wrong, and I do my best to stand up for what is right. I would give someone the shirt off my back and literally offer my house to a stranger in need (much to the chagrin of my significant other). I am extremely thoughtful about other people's feelings so much so that I have created a new way of sitting at a table when we have an odd number of dinner guests so that the person on the end does not feel left out.

In other words, I am a little rough around the edges on the outside but soft and caring underneath my thorny exterior. I am an extreme empath who constantly considers how my actions might impact others. I go out of my way to make others feel included and welcomed. My narcissist is the exact opposite. He is charming and charismatic on the outside, but dark and selfish on the inside. I think this is incredibly important for understanding how my narcissist manipulated me and others before and after my assault. 

Before I started to write this blog, my overly analytical mind spent many sleepless nights doing a cost-benefit analysis. While I could take up the next ten pages detailing the results of my midnight musings, I will keep it simple. I came to the conclusion that I am motivated to write my blog for both selfish and selfless reasons.

Blog as Selfish

On the one hand, I am using this blog as a means of processing my own feelings, dealing with the never-ending sea of emotions that are associated with my life with and escape from my narcissist, and making sense out of my experiences in a healthy way so that I can heal from my trauma and move on with my life. I am still young. I am 42 years old and have a good job, two loving children, a nice home, a solid social circle (now clear of faux and fair-weather friends), a great community, and a wonderful life partner who cares for me in a way no one else ever has. Truth be told, I think I have the best shot that I have ever had at living a meaningful life surrounded by people who genuinely care about me. But from everything that I have read and the dozens of trusted people I have talked to, I know that I have to process my trauma if I have any chance of making the next 40 years of my life my best ones yet. And I am determined to do just that! I am ready to live my best life.

Being able to put my experience and associated feelings down on paper (or a computer screen) is a huge step for me. After my second physical assault by my narcissist – which left me with a concussion, broken collarbone and, even more traumatizing, an array of flying monkeys trying to make me out to be the villain and my abuser the victim, I could barely talk about my experience. I cried every day for months. The mere thought of writing about it made me sick to my stomach and, truth be told, I felt so much shame and confusion that I didn't want to think about it much less discuss it.

I remember my therapist encouraging me in my early days of therapy (I was seeing three therapists after my assault, each 1-2 times per week) to write out my feelings, and I flatly said, “No (insert the f-bomb) way.” For some reason, even the thought of putting it down on paper or seeing it come to life on a computer screen filled me with angst. My therapist explained that writing things down is often nearly impossible for a trauma survivor because it takes ideas in the head and makes them more concrete by giving them a physical presence. Suddenly thoughts and feelings are no longer abstract constructs in our heads but physical entities on paper – they become real and undeniable. It has been a year and a half since my second assault, and only now am I healed enough to write about it. Small victories.

Blog as Selfless

On the other hand, I am equally if not more motivated to share my story to help others. I want to build a community of people who are the victims and survivors of narcissists - a place for us to use our voices, share our stories, support one another, and offer care and community to one another. I know that there are thousands maybe millions of people out there who have experienced similar trauma due to having a narcissist in their life. I want these people to know, in no uncertain terms, that they are NOT alone, and that their voice matters. 

Dealing with a narcissist and the aftermath once you break free or are discarded can be daunting and heartbreaking. You feel isolated, alone, perplexed, confused, terrified – it is as if your entire world has been ripped out from under you. Moreover, you have no idea where a safe place might be to stand – which ground is quicksand, and which is firm earth. Panic and even paranoia set in as you try to regain some semblance of normalcy and sure footing, only to then be attacked by the narcissist’s flying monkeys, some of whom used to be your 'friends'. It might be the scariest feeling in the world.

When my twins died at birth, my entire body ached and I was filled with profound sadness that, like a scar, is now a part of me forever. I will never not miss them. But people comfort you and care for you when your children die. You have support and love. For the most part, no one blames you for the tragedy. There is a clear grieving and mourning practice that, in my experience, most people respect.

When you break free from a narcissist, you do not have that same support and care. Instead, people often question YOU the victim. They may side with the narcissist because they are cleverer and more charismatic. Narcissists are renowned for being able to say just the right thing to pull at the heartstrings of their audience and shmooze the right people (heck, he did it to me for 5 years). You, on the other hand, are often more honest and rawer, and unwilling to manipulate people into believing you. As a result, your narcissist gains supporters and you lose them. Subsequently, you are left with less support to deal with a smear campaign and flying monkeys. In my case, not only was I trying to heal from an assault and the loss of financial stability, my step-kids, and the person who should have been my main source of support (i.e., my husband and narcissist), I also had to fight off a smear campaign and flying monkeys, while trying to break free of a trauma bond. It is the most overwhelming feeling imaginable.  

Make no mistake - this feeling is by design, and it was ALWAYS part of the narcissist’s plan. You were chosen, groomed, gaslit, and trauma bonded only to be discarded in the end. For anyone who has ever found themselves a victim of a narcissist, it is horrifying, and words do no justice. Therefore, I sincerely hope my blog might make my readers' trauma and healing a little easier by 1) helping them to realize that there are more of us than we might think (i.e., they are not alone) and 2) offering genuine care and solidarity.

I also remember when my twins died at birth in 2013, the ONLY people I wanted to talk to were women who had lost their children. A woman I met five minutes ago who lost her child and survived to tell her story gave me more comfort than my best friend, husband, or mother. I wanted to be around people who went through the unbelievable pain and heartache that I did and, somehow, came out on the other side and went on to live a good life – because to be honest, the pain I felt after losing my twins was such that I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go on and I was even less sure that I could live a good quality life.

This blog is a place for us to do just that. We share stories – not to one-up each other – but to show that none of us are alone no matter how lonely we might feel. Our stories are tragic, unfair, and unbelievable, but more ubiquitous than we might think. We can find strength in our numbers and shared experiences.

We are Ekho, and these are our stories.

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