As the days accumulate after my victorious escape from the clutches of my parents' narcissism, the nightmares have grown in frequency and have led me to be a generally awful person to be around. I find comfort in virtually nothing except emptying my mind of all thoughts by watching mindless YouTube videos or looking through old friends' 1000-count Facebook album photos. This isn't the life I want to live and I am trying my best to find ways to confront my guilt and fear.
I left the apartment of theirs in a rather chaotic rush, leaving more than half of my belongings behind. Treasured books and curtains I took weeks to select were all parted with in a matter of an hour. Their narcissism had become increasingly threatening, had made my boyfriend lose his job (a more detailed story for later!!), and made me feel generally uncomfortable and unhappy. I had spent my whole life working to be the person that they wanted me to be: I chose the college they wanted me to choose, tried to get into graduate school to make them happy, and always showed them grades that proved I'd excelled. It didn't matter. Their response was always, "okay, keep it up." If anything was out of line in the house like a dish being left out or an argument between my brother and I flared up, the repercussions fell on me because I was always the inevitable target. I finally knew there was only one choice to make: give my things up and fit what I could in the car, or leave everything I'd worked for and fall again into their world of obligation and shame....only this time it would be worse for "putting them through what they had to go through with my latest rebellion." In a movie-like escape, I fled, middle-of-the-night style and moved to a place where I am allowed to be myself. However, any daughter of a narcissist (and anyone that enables them) knows that recovery comes not only with physical distance, and I've been completely unable to distance myself from them.
The nightmares come in many forms. Either I dream they find me here and pull me from the life I've made for myself...literally....by the hair...into their car, or it's a dream about how they follow me from place to place and there is always someone watching me making me feel guilty about what I'm doing, like, private investigator style. Sometimes I even dream about one of many moments in my past where I felt such guilt and shame that I wanted to melt into the floor, like the times she embarrassed me in front of people for her humor or when she'd wake me in the middle of the night to yell at me because she knew I'd be too sleepy to respond and she'd finally get her unabashed say in how things should be. This has become and every day affair. I haven't been able to properly deal with how I feel about them as we are already financially pressed and I do not have the time to regularly confront the issue in some sort of guided therapy. Reading self-help books (like "Will I Ever Be Good Enough?" by Dr. Karyl McBride, which I highly suggest and daughters of narcissists read) and YouTube DIY videos are my only comfort, and even that isn't really good enough.
Even without them here, I am unable to feel rested, and I've grown increasingly grouchy over the past few days wondering whether all of the moves I've made are really worth it. Maybe they're right, or I'm wrong, or something. Why did I put all of my loved ones through this? Nobody deserves to be dragged into this mess. And what if I'm really crazy and have just been portraying my side well enough? Then they're efforts are really for naught. And how about all of the people I've been surrounded with who are doing fine? How are they doing it? Doesn't everyone have problems? Why aren't their problems affecting them like mine are? Simply put, excuse my French, I constantly feel like a piece of shit. Any little remark from anyone that has any sort of criticism or negativity mixed in sends me into a whirlwind of shittiness and memories of always not feeling good enough.
What's worse is that the exhaustion doesn't just come in an emotional form. I am physically deteriorating which is ridiculous for a person to be experiencing in her twenties. The stress they perpetually bring, even without their physical presence or close proximity, has taken its toll on my back and neck and have caused me to remain fatigued, even when I've slept for upwards of twelve, thirteen hours. I am in constant pain and have trouble picking things up that I've dropped on the floor because my muscles are so tense.
I need to look into coping mechanisms like writing about it like I'm doing here, but do any daughters of narcissists have any suggestions? I know I've already taken the right steps in distancing myself, and I don't think I'm quite ready to send them a letter acknowledging my hurt as I've already tried that and send myself into a two-day mental breakdown, but is there anything you do to separate yourself from your guilt? Do you have a hobby or is it more than that? I try to find solace in my husband but sometimes I just feel like he's pushing me too quickly, of course unintentionally. I don't blame him, but he just doesn't understand the extent of my weakness.
I'm just so....tired.