The Fork in the Road
When the relationship began, all seemed well…even promising…
Now that the relationship has progressed, all seems…let's just say confusing…even painful…
What happened over the years spanning then and now…
You hear the words of "then" loud and clear. You even remember the actions…
Praise, promises, and gratitude all woven together in a delicate mixture of quality time, gifts, and whatever else your love language may be.
Now, you’re sitting here afraid to even face the chance that this relationship might be…let’s just say…toxic. Reality is, over the years, you’ve probably pushed aside others who love you. You've probably fought to the death to defend your “person.” You've even angrily rejected the well meaning person (or people) who lovingly tried to help you open your eyes.
You see, the goodness in your heart has allowed the boss, best friend, family member, spouse, child, co-worker, or whatever other relationship to work their way into your life and trap you in their slick yet sticky web of self-centeredness. Truth be told, part of you still doesn’t want to see the latter part of that previous statement…and now, the echo of their more recent words and actions are not allowing you to see the reality of the beginning part of that same statement.
You've given of yourself.
You've given your time.
You've given your money.
You've given your talents.
You've given...quite frankly...you.
And what do you want in return? Nothing. Literally. Except for the fact that there is this underlying desire to simply be treated as if you were a human being.
Yep. You're deep in a relationship with a narcissist.
But, you're also standing at a fork in the road.
One road leads to more heartache and eventual bitterness, depression, anger, and isolation.
The other leads to...dare I say it...freedom.
You know which road you need to take, but man, it's still, for some reason, really hard to make the decision. What happens when I do start walk down the road that leads to freedom?
Well, let me give you some realities...
1. You're going to feel as if you're a baby giraffe trying to learn to walk...but even if you fall a few times, slowly but surely you will begin to find your footing.
2. You're going to be ripped apart publicly. If the narcissist can no longer control you, they will try to control how everyone else sees you. Maintain integrity, and remember the goodness in your heart, and let your integrity win. Cause, it will.
3. You're going to feel alone, but even if your journey to relational thriving means you have to apologize to some of those above mention folks who tried to help you along the way, you will find yourself more relationally secure than you ever knew possible.
4. You're going dream again, even though you've been told that your dreams are not worth anything. Give yourself permission to dream.
5. You're going to feel guilty...because the insecurity of the past years has left you feeling as if you can't survive apart from your abuser.
6. You're going to need to get help, specifically because you're going to need to learn to love yourself again and learn what it looks like to be loved and love others.
7. You're going to be okay...and in all honesty, you're going to THRIVE!
I used a very powerful word in number 5. Abuser. And I used it on purpose. Why? Because what has happened to you is nothing short of abuse. And the relationship you are in is one sided and abusive. It is you giving everything to someone who is only focused in taking.
But...which I know, the word "but" negates what I just said. BUT...true healing, true freedom comes with this reality in mind. You CAN NOT fight against them, no matter how tempting it is. No matter how bad they try to make you look. No matter how embarrassed you are. No matter how mad you become. That is a battle you can not win because you will find yourself fighting a person that does not care. You want justification. You want vindication. And you deserve it. BUT...you will only find it by taking one step down the road, followed by another, and by another...and allowing every single step to position you closer to that thing you are fighting FOR. You can fight all day long AGAINST them, or you can fight all day long FOR something.
You may not know what that something is, but I can tell you from experience that it is there. My something that I fight for now is my family and each and every Warrior we come in contact with. In hindsight, my love for those two areas was in my heart while I found myself embroiled in this type of relationship. As I began to step, guess what happened...I found myself experiencing what true love and acceptance was in the form of my wife and closest friends. And I found myself around folks who believed in my crazy dreams...folks who I didn't even know. And guess what, those folks today are people I credit with helping me today experience what it means to fight FOR something.
So, parting wisdom...don't fight them, walk. And as you walk...walk away. It won't be tomorrow, but I promise you that you will hold your head up one day, sooner than you think. And you'll look around and see a world you've always been looking for...