Cross the Bridge to Your Other Reality

A Way Out

When attempting to leave an abusive partner, most people get sucked back in several times before making the break.

Why do you think that is?  Why can’t we just pack our things and leave?  We know it’s in our best interest (and perhaps that of our children).  Yet, we find ourselves reluctantly staying time and again.

When I think about it from a personal perspective, I realize that in my own abusive relationship, I didn’t see myself as having the power to make the choice.  I did have the power, but I didn’t exercise it.  There was a subconscious belief that my Ex was the one to dictate whether the relationship would end or not.  I effectively gave him the power to choose instead of giving that power to myself.


One scenario in particular played out repeatedly, like a nightmarish version of Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day.  My Ex, always one to administer the silent treatment, would often pack all of his things in suitcases and leave.  While he was gone, I would come to the conclusion that this time was for real.  While part of me missed him (the trauma-bonded me), another part of me felt happy.  I could finally move on with my life.  I would write in my diary of all the things I’d do for myself and for my children.  I could actually see a door to another reality, just waiting for me to pass though.

Then, without warning, my Ex would return and shatter that vision.  When that happened, I would spend days in a depressive state, loathing my very existence and praying that I wouldn’t wake up the next day.

After this happened several times I realized that not only did I despise my Ex, I detested myself for letting him back in.  Until one day, I ended the insanity.

Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around” ~ Tom Cruise – Vanilla Sky

Think about the power of that statement.  Every passing minute, you have the chance to change your reality.  With every minute, you can make the choice to stop making excuses and turn your can’ts into cans.

When it comes down to it, we all have the power to leave.  When I ended it with my Ex, I realized I’d had that same power all along.  Essentially, I’d kept myself there…not him.

Right now, you could get up from your computer and start planning your new reality.  You could make some calls to see where you can move to…maybe with a friend or family member.  Check into room-mating with someone.  You could call the Domestic Violence center in your area and get into transitional housing.  If you’re not working, you could find a job and get out on your own.  There are ways to change your existence.  People do it every day…every minute.

Unless.  Unless you prefer to sacrifice freedom for a false sense of security.  Does a roof over your head really mean more than your happiness…or that of your children?  Is having a comfortable bed to sleep in really worth the price of being abused…sometimes while your children watch?  This isn’t about judgement, it’s about facing objective reality.  It’s about rejecting false security for growth.  It’s about shedding the cloak of “victim” and deciding to take your power back.

When this minute passes, you will never get it back.  Oops…it’s already gone.  But, what can you do in this minute to change your reality?  Are you going to stay in the path of the looming 18-wheeler that’s headed straight towards you, or will you make the choice to get out of the way?

You Hold the Power

The power is in your hands.  Cross the bridge to your other reality…this minute.

What can you do this minute to change your reality?  Feel free to share your plans with us!  Or, if you’ve already made the quantum leap into your new reality, share your successes in the comments section.

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  1. Anonymous

    “Get a job and get out on your own” isn’t so easy in today’s economy and with an xN who tried to keep you isolated and dependent so there is a large gap in employment, plus being older. I still don’t know how to break through this despite being divorced and 1 year nc. And are there steps to deprogram the “trauma bonds” ?

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Anon. Yes, there are ways to reduce and eliminate the trauma bond. Though it takes a lot of experimentation to find what works on an individual basis. It took me almost two years to completely heal from my own experience with narcissistic abuse, but that’s because I didn’t know enough back then to realize that healing is something that needs consistent, daily effort. Reading books is a good start, but the real healing comes from self-reflection and self-work – specifically, transformational healing methods.

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  5. Fellow Survivor

    Kim, Anna Valerious of the narcissists suck blog called the school where these creature learned their craft ” The Hell Demon School” By the way, my narc was the Valedictorian and graduated with high honors. She majored in “covert stealth soul destruction”.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Fellow, I think mine must have been right being yours when they graduated. In fact, mine went on to create his own little start-up in soul destruction, which is faring well.

  6. Fellow Survivor

    Hi Kim. I am a male who was emotionally, verbally, mentally, and financially abused. The deceit and the “hiding” and the put downs just became unbearable. I would often say to myself ” I don’t know what my life will look like if I leave her but I do know what it won’t look like” Which translates into ” Anything is better than this”. Like many who have been through this process this “trauma bonding” thing is a pretty powerful force. Getting past it is sort of like pulling gum off the bottom of your shoe, it ain’t easy. Its not so much “her'” that I miss but rather the lifestyle and the comforts of my old house.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Fellow Survivor,

      I can relate entirely. While I did have a more comfortable lifestyle in the way of material items, sadly, those items only brought temporary happiness…until I looked around and realized I was still in the same dungeon.

      The only reason I was able to afford those things-of-past is because we lived in a duplex that he and his brother owned, so we didn’t have to pay any rent. However, I was responsible all. other. expenses. Frankly, the side of the duplex we lived in was less than 700 sq ft, so you can imagine the challenges with a family of five.

      It is certainly hard getting used to a different lifestyle. In some ways, I’m still not used to it, but I know this phase of my life is only temporary. I’m working on changing my reality, and I hope this is the year it will transpire 🙂

  7. Healing

    I think many of us stay because it is so hard and painful to give up HOPE…especially hope in a person. We are told that “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes in the good, etc.” For me, what kept me there were the promises that he’d change and the hope that he would finally do it. I kept feeling like it would be a SIN to give up on him. I had to remind myself repeatedly of Oprah saying, “When a man shows you who he truly is, BELIEVE HIM.” Also, I realized one day, “Wait a minute! I’ve never asked for ten chances…I’ve never even asked for a second chance! I’m not the problem here!” Regarding the sin part, I also believed so strongly in my marriage vows as a Christian. Then I started reading scripture in the bible that says things like “Don’t even have dinner with a verbal abuser and mocker.” “Don’t throw your pearl before swine lest they trample them then turn and attack you.” (Boy, if that one doesn’t sum up life with a narcissist!). I realized God did NOT want me to be treated like this. The final straw came when he was verbally abusing me and telling me to leave (while I was 3 months pregnant and only 10 months married to him.) while my son was in the other room. When I went to check on my son he was shaking and said, “Is it my fault, Mom?” My heart hurts to even type that but the Momma Bear in me came out and I said, “No, honey, he has a problem, we are going to leave now to visit Grandma.” and we left that moment. I still thought he’d calm down and we’d repair things but 2 days later he called and said he wanted a legal separation and that I abandoned him and made him look bad. Wow. they sure can twist the truth…but the real truth is that he did me a favor by kicking me out. It was a painful two years for sure while going through a divorce with such a bully but my son and I and my baby daughter are all the better for it. Oh, and recently he told me that he could never get back together with me because HE couldn’t trust ME! LOL!!! When they discard and devalue you, THANK GOD for it!

    1. Kim Saeed

      Healing, I am very glad that you commented. I was with my Ex for 8 years, so I know how difficult it is while dealing with the delusional hope that they will someday decide to change.

      Your last line sounds like my Ex. Verbatim. It’s sometimes hard to know whether to laugh or hurl when I read comments made by abusers. It’s like they all graduated from the same school of freakishness. (BTW, mine threatened to break my teeth three days before our son was born).

      I am so happy that you were able to leave. Leaving does present its own set of challenges, but I can’t say they are any more difficult than staying and enduring abuse.

      I wish you and your little ones the very best 🙂 Hugs.

      1. Healing

        Oh Kim, I’m so sorry that JERK said that to you! They have no shame! Seriously…I swear sometimes they get worse when you are with child…I’m sure it’s jealousy! UGH. Little boy schoolyard bullies in 50 year old bodies disgust me! I’m in therapy to not be triggered by him and afraid of him anymore.

        When I dropped my daughter to him last night he grabbed at my chest saying how sexy I was and he missed that. I quickly pulled away and said it wasn’t appropriate and his new girlfriend wouldn’t approve. Would you believe he said, “Well, for all the money I pay each month I figure I still own them, don’t I?!!” OMG!! Because he pays child support (no alimony) and only pays half of what he should because he lied on his financials and under oath and bullied me to take less…he now feels entitled to grab at my chest. WOW. WOW. WOW. So, I ignored that rude comment because we all know that hitting them with logic never works so I simply said again, “What would your girlfriend do if she was standing here and saw you do this?” (I find you have to keep repeating one thing and not let them sidetrack you with BS like they are pros at doing.) He laughed and said, ‘Ugh, gotta go!” Suddenly it hit me that he must have been acting sexually inappropriate with his other ex when we were together so I confronted him on it and he stuttered and got uncomfortable and couldn’t even get a ‘no’ out. And all this time I thought he was at least faithful! While I don’t think they slept together I’m convinced now this was a way he kept her hooked and kept getting supply from her. Of course he feels entitled since he pays support to her, too.

        Yes, they all go to the same Narc School…would love to hear everyone’s ideas on what the classes are?

        How about:

        Lacking Empathy 101
        Entitlement – Advanced Honors Class
        Deflection Made Easy

        …LOL…ah, feels good to finally laugh about it.

        1. Kim Saeed

          D.I.S.G.U.S.T.I.N.G. – Your story reminds me a lot of my own. Mine shamelessly flirted with me, too, although I’ve remarried. They have no respect for boundaries at all. Of course, all of this was part of his vengeful plan to hook me back in. You see, I left him this time, which Narcs cannot tolerate. To them, Life’s a game and it’s all about winning.

          Love your ideas about Narc school. I may use those in a post some time 🙂 Of course, I’ll credit you (or shall I say your Gravatar name) 🙂

          1. Healing

            Hi Kim,

            I think that would be a fun post. We all need to laugh as I’m sure we’ve all done enough crying. I admit I don’t even know what a “gravatar” is? LOL. You can just used “Healing” if that’s what you mean? 🙂 Sometimes, I still fear that the ex will stumble across this site and know what I wrote was about him and there will be h*ll to pay. Does anyone else worry about that? Not that a narc would research anything to do with narcissism (unless, of course they wanted to accuse you of being one and want to be well armed in order to sound like they know what they are talking about.) Grrr…I’ve lost count of the times the narc said, “It takes two and there are no victims.” Thanks a bunch Dr. Phil…Narcs LOVE YOU! LOL
            Keep up the good work, Kim. 🙂

            Oh, and I want to say that NONE of us should blame ourselves for believing in these folks for as long as we did. I found an email from the ex from the first year we were dating. He had one of his rages and I broke up with him. The emails filled with professions of love and self-reflection and introspection were SOOOO believable…even as I read them last night…with all I know about NPD I still couldn’t find any trace of warning signs in those emails. They are pros at what they do. But, I guess the fact that he had yet another Narc rage at me should have been enough. NEVER listen to their words…ONLY act on their actions…and for me, I won’t forgive more than once.

            Peace to all. 🙂

  8. Great post, Kim! I wish I’d read it while I was still with my abuser, because I lost sight of the fact that the power to change was always in my hands.

    I kept waiting for him to change. Trying to help him to change. In the end, the biggest change came from me – when I left, and stayed gone. Getting out was the hardest (and, according to the stats, the most dangerous) thing that I’ve ever done. But I did it. No Contact helped more than I can ever say. So did working on systematically de-programming the trauma bond.

    It was harder than I even imagined. I have to work at it every day. But it is so worth it when I look at my child and know that we are both safe, and can have a good life.

    1. Kim Saeed

      I’m so happy you commented because I want those who are still in an abusive relationship to realize that change IS possible. It does come with its own set of challenges, but it’s always worth it…

  9. bethbyrnes

    I think one thing that has to be remembered, is the split almost always leaves the woman’s finances in worse shape. Older women are the poorest in our society and that has a powerful influence on decisions made early in life.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Very insightful, Beth. I ended up with almost nothing. And, I know you had challenges in this aspect, as well.

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