Well done! I escaped physically 6 years ago but still live in terror of him finding me. It affects the relationship with my grown up kids because I can’t be totally truthful or open about my life for fear an innocent slip of their tongue leading to reappearance of the zombie monster at my window who will go to his grave trying to destroy me. Sound hysterical don’t I? That’s how he likes it. He assaulted me the night of the split which thankfully led to him being bailed not to return to the house for a month, enough time me to start thinking straight and escape. Since then, when he finds me, he has slashed my tyres, daubed Redrum and swastikas on my last front door when he was disturbed trying to break in, had me arrested on trumped up charges and threw a party where he made my children drink a toast to their mother’s imminent incarceration for 11 years he reckoned, with his family who I supported for 26 years while he dodged them and I covered for him, all cheering them on. He gets to live openly and proudly in his kingdom like an honest winner with nothing to hide. New victims get sucked in and rallied against his crazy mad ex, his poor kids, how they suffered at my hands… My children still get sucked in by his charm and won’t brook any discussion of the past, so I never mention it because conversation just switches off and I do appreciate any time with them so we focus on good stuff and positive life plans. It’s hard to forgive, it feels dangerous to forgive in case you forget, let your guard down, get drawn back in. It’s one of the reasons I write, to inform and support others as my life, living peacefully now, has had time to distill and things become clear. I thought I was completely alone and it was all my fault. Now I know better. It’s taken all this time to feel nothing about him but gratitude for a safe distance. Forgiveness? I accept responsibility for my actions in choosing him and spending most of my life trying to make an impossible situation work and the consequences of leaving. There were dire consequences either way. I live with that, like a congenital disease. I forgive myself for mistakes I made which allowed the narcissism to grow. Forgiving a narcissist directly is dangerous for their narrative, it gets twisted into endorsement and acceptance that they are right and finally you’ve understood that, good girl. It might even enrage them, forgive what exactly? We’re not dealing here with a level playing field. Forgiveness is healthy kept to yourself and for yourself. The best remedy is complete non involvement in any way. Trouble is with kids and grandchildren on the way… there’s forgiveness and there’s keeping your family as healthy as possible. Teach them to recognise abuse and exercise non involvement or appropriate response when it happens again.

Mother, author, poet, educator, escapee. Obsessed with finding ease in relationships, health, wellbeing and the juggling of life. alexisbehrend.com