When my own shadow no longer walked beside me, that was the day I realized your darkness, which I had been a part of, was taking over me. I felt as if I was a plant dying. On the inside, I was dying from the lack of illumination you failed to cast. I was withering away and felt so uncontrollable. I could not stand one more moment of being surrounded by a stranger who resided in my own body. The most painful part was that my family did not understand the person who I was becoming and neither did I. That is when I knew you had almost won. That is when I chose to take back my dignity and stand up, no matter how shaky I was. I needed to reclaim the person who I once was, without you.

The feeling of that day was glorious. I felt like a queen. I felt like myself again…

I know in the beginning it’s natural to recognize the pain that brought us to this very moment. It’s natural to spend time, thought and energy on those horrible things that were not only said but done. I do believe there is a certain amount of time we need to ourself in order to heal but by spending too much time reliving the horror, we ignore the true work that needs to be done. That true work is focusing on ourself. That true work is learning how to become the person you once were without that poison in your life. The true work is realizing what you want in life and realizing that you are so much more than some person who made you feel this way.

That very moment you realize you deserve love and respect is the very moment you are set free and are no longer shackled by his chains. That’s the very moment when you are no longer the victim but the victor.

I found solace in writing about how I felt. I also saw a pattern when I wrote down what had occurred in the past and what I wanted for the future for me. I no longer wanted him to break me. I no longer wanted a place for him in my heart. No longer was I going to focus on the demons of his past and what he had done. I took what I learned and created my own self-guide to becoming the person I was once before him…

Being grateful for the lessons you learned from him

I believe people are placed in our life for a specific reason, and they each hold specific causes and outcomes as to why. Some stay. Some go. I believe him coming into my life was the hardest lesson I’ve ever had to learn but one thing for certain is I’m forever grateful for this. I went through hell but I do believe without him weakening me to almost nothing I would have never seen my full potential that I deserved to show myself. I would have never seen what a truly strong woman I am and I would have never met my expectation of becoming the woman I wanted to be. For that, I am grateful. I learned a very important lesson from all of this madness and this was that happiness is something that comes from within, happiness is not something you should allow someone to take hostage of and happiness should be shared but never taken advantage of.

Being patient and kind to yourself

I know this may seem impossible after dating someone who’s a grandiose narcissist. So stop yelling at yourself about the past and remember what’s done is done. You cannot change the past but only move forward. You are allowed to grieve, you are allowed to cry, you are allowed to get mad. It is so important that you understand that the same kindness that you give to others you have to give to yourself. I had found I had to distance myself from my friends and family because I felt so pressured to just get over someone so quickly. You cannot lose sight of being patient with yourself. I know it’s frustrating every waking moment as you feel as if all your energy is going to someone else but remember that wounds take time to heal.

Set free from the past and forgive

I know it will take a while to forgive the person who destroyed you but in order to move forward with your life, it’s best to put the past behind you. I had to remind myself that I should always shower people with kindness no matter if that action cannot be shown to myself in return. Once you realize you are a much better person, you are able to focus on what your future holds. Remember that although this was not your fault, it is always important to forgive, because if we hold onto some part of the bitterness, we only become the person he wanted us to be. You are much stronger than that.

Reconnecting with who you are

I spent many nights alone by myself. Thinking about my past before I had met him. Thinking about the person I once was. Thinking about how to get back to that person that not only my friends and family craved but I also desired. I found comfort in being alone, because this helped me put my thoughts together. I’m not saying stay at home and shut everyone out because everyone is different. However, what helped me get back to myself was remembering the things that brought joy into my life. I loved to write, I loved to dance, going out for drinks with my friends, and making the decisions I wanted to make, but I have never felt so free and unbound by anyone as when I was out running alone. I remembered that those things made me who I am and those things brought happiness to myself.

Setting goals for yourself

I always had goals in all aspects of life; work, friends, and family. But the hardest one was for myself. It took me speaking to my sister about this. She said to me, “What does Annie really want?” I knew what I wanted but I didn’t know how to get there. I knew I wanted to make a list but every list I had always created was based solely on another person. Doesn’t seem like much of a goal does it? I took myself back to what made myself happy, learning that I needed to set exceptions for myself and myself only. I chose to complete an Ironman. To start a charity that gives back to others because my heart yearns the feeling of giving back to others. And to write to help others who have never felt as lost as I have. To stop looking for the perfect husband and focus on the goals I wanted to accomplish, because the only person I know who can help me accomplish these are myself. That within itself is the best feeling anyone can have.

Don’t let his darkness consume you, let his darkness be the very beginning of your realization. You are a queen. You are a force to be reckoned with. Choose your own destiny and give yourself your own strength. You are the only one who can heal your broken heart. You are the only one who can create happiness within.

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