At the age of 12, she didn’t know why she cared so much about her friend, the one who was a notorious mean girl. The one who played the games that mean girls do… She didn’t understand why that friend mattered so much to her, even more than those she had known forever, even more than the ones who had proven themselves to be kind, caring girls….
She didn’t understand until nearly a quarter of a century later why that person seemed “right” – seemed familiar…. In the two years before she ended the friendship with her narcissistic friend, she often questioned herself, “Why do I even care so much about someone I don’t respect, someone that has hurt me so many times?”
She didn’t put two and two together, that the friend who called her names and ignored her, was a lot like her dad, who shamed her and ignored her.
And when she did finally get it, she was so terribly sad. She thought she was better. She thought she had healed from her dad. She realized that the little girl and the woman weren’t as different as she thought. She started to own her mistakes. She started to see that she had let herself down, she had taught her friend that it was ok to abuse her.
It wasn’t ok.
She decided that she didn’t need friends that attacked her, that called her names like “pathetic” and “doormat.” She decided she didn’t need friends who used her, and lied to her. She didn’t need friends who ditched her and left her stranded. She didn’t need friends who ignored her. She didn’t need abuse to be whole.
She vowed then, she would do whatever it took to change herself. It wasn’t her job to change anyone else. Her only job was to be the best version of herself that she could be.
It was time to honor that little blonde girl who had suffered through hours of her father screaming at her precious mom because she didn’t want her little brother to cry. The little girl that had covered his ears instead of her own, to drown out the dark, violent yelling in their small apartment. The little girl who had cooked and cleaned for her mom when her mom went through a horrible depression and couldn’t function. The little girl who at 9, often had a 4 year old brother and a 2 year old sister tagging along, because they knew that she would take care of them. That little girl deserved a better ending than this.
She needed to heal… to become an open, loving, happy, whole, and positive woman. To not have her entire life defined by those who had never really cared about her anyway. To not let those – who take and take, but don’t know how to give – win. She vowed to be better for her sweet kids, her loving husband, and her many good friends. They deserved better. She deserved better.
And so the journey of a million miles began. It is slower, longer, and much much harder than she ever anticipated. But it is unmistakably right. She has never regretted the first step, even though she didn’t know that the abuse would escalate, that she would even fear for her safety, and at moments, even her life.
She now thinks she’ll write her own ending, instead of letting a narcissist do it for her.
She will not be defined by this.