Co-NNections Recovery Stories

When I started to believe – February 23, 2021


I was raised by a narcissistic mother and married a narcissistic man. I was willing to change roles in my marriage. I was the breadwinner and he was the househusband. Despite having a masters in electrical engineering, he could not get a job in his field. The political climate and his nationality were the barriers. I had returned to school and gotten my nursing degree.

I didn’t attempt to leave my emotionally abusive marriage until I witnessed my son imitating his father’s despicable behavior toward me. I started attending CoDA after I began therapy in my early 60s. I would listen to others’ stories and compare myself to them. I would minimize my situation. It wasn’t until I separated from my husband and was living with a roommate that I could finally see the abuse that I had endured.

When I started to believe with all of my heart that I was powerless over others (step one) and came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity (step two), that is when I experienced a change in my belief system.

I began to better understand my coping mechanisms of self-deprecating humor and numbing of feelings. I learned why they were created and how to alter them. I also did a lot of inner child work and began to reparent myself in loving ways. It was when I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God (step 3) that my way was paved. By making a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself (step 4), I was able to differentiate between mine and others‘ “baggage”.

I have been divorced for 3 years now. I live in an intergenerational group house with emotionally healthy people. I have no contact with my ex husband. My mother died one year ago. My relationship with my 3 grown children is still strained but they see my growth. I am in contact with my penniless 64 year old brother who is still living in our deceased mother’s house. I give him emotional support but not financial support. I’m letting God take care of everyone…not me. It’s wonderful!

Charlene M. 12/1/20

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