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  • Lynn Catalano

Things I’m Leaving in 2023 (Effects of Narcissistic Abuse)


At this time of year, the end of the calendar, it’s a good time to reflect. When you’ve survived something as grave as narcissistic abuse, it’s a really good time to take stock of things to leave behind.

I’m letting go of some big things and leaving them in 2023.

1. Discovery of My Father’s Cruel Delight in my misfortune

Recently, I came across my narcissistic father’s text messages and emails to family and friends telling a story of how he had been victimized by his only child (me). He went on taking unmitigated glee in any of my failures. This was beyond disturbing and hurtful. I’m going to have to reconcile just how delighted he sounded in my darkest disappointment. Discovering his texts and emails celebrating my failures and plotting my destruction was difficult to read and digest. I have to reconcile those things myself. It’s going to take some time. I know he never loved me. A “friend” of his sent me a message telling me about his despair at the loss of our relationship. This is exactly the story he told others, how he was the victim. That’s all it was, a story. You see he walked out of my life every time. I find this impossible to believe as he instigated every separation. I never walked away from him.

I spent years going back to him, he never accepted responsibility for his actions, never wanted to talk about what happened. I would bend myself into a pretzel to accommodate him only to have him walk out again, and again. He only wanted me around when it benefited him.

Don’t forget that people who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder are disordered. They do not react normally or have real relationships. Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition in which people have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance. They need and seek too much attention and want people to admire them. People with this disorder may lack the ability to understand or care about the feelings of others.

2. Friends Who Haven’t Contacted Me

I’ve always considered myself to have many friends. I’m pragmatic about my poor qualities but I know I’m a good friend. I’ve been shocked who has reached out to talk to me after this year of low lows and who has not.

I recognize that emotional abuse and narcissistic abuse aren’t easy for everyone to understand. When you know someone who’s suffered an immense crisis, you show them kindness. It’s easy to be there when things are going well. Everyone likes to pat you on the back when you’re successful to celebrate.

I have been really moved by those who showed me kindness and equally moved by those who haven’t even talked to me. Their silence has said much. People think they know what happened when they actually have no clue.

As we get older, our circle of people important to us shrinks. This year, mine shrank a lot. If you’re reading this and we knew one another but you never reached out to ask if I’m ok, please don’t now. I get it. My experience has made you feel uncomfortable.

Narcissists intentionally turn people against you, especially friends and family. They tell their story and it becomes the smear campaign to destroy you. People who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder need to maintain their feeling of superiority. Once you confront them with something they’ve done or said, they need to regain this feeling of superiority. They use the smear campaign to diminish you, turn the tables, make themselves the victim, and turn people against you.

Luckily, few people know the cruelty which comes when you finally determine that enough is enough and end their relationship with someone who is out for revenge.

In order to protect my own emotional, mental and physical health, I had to get off the merry-go-round with my narcissistic father after years of him walking out of my life while giving me the silent treatment for weeks, months, even years and then he would decide he was ready to be a family again. I went back again and again and again desperately trying to make this relationship work. He continued to walk out.

3. The weight of other people’s opinions

This one may be the most difficult. Why does it matter so much to me what other people think? It’s a huge sign of growth to be able to not take things personally.

I wrote about this in my book “Wrecking Ball Relationships: How to Identify, Live With or Leave the Narcissist in Your Life.”

"To figure out a way to manage my life with less rage and more joy, I looked for outlets. I needed to strategize how to peacefully co-exist with my father. I went to a professional for therapy. I took Zumba and kick-boxing classes. I also read the book, “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s a transformational code of conduct based on the rules of ancient Toltec wisdom.

The four agreements are:

1) Be impeccable with your word.

2) Don’t take anything personally.

3) Don’t make assumptions.

4) Always do your best.

These agreements seem basic, but they’re actually an incredible expression of high emotional intelligence. {The second agreement is particularly appropriate here} The second agreement is about respect, understanding you’re not the only person on the planet, not everything is about you. If you make a habit to not take things personally, anger, jealousy, envy and even sadness will disappear as a result. You’ll gain empathy, compassion, and respect. These are all great transformational characteristics.”

It's a daily struggle for me to not take things personally. This is perhaps the most challenging of the agreements for me. It’s easy to feel a deep and lasting hurt from someone’s words or actions. But today I resolve to lose the weight of other people’s opinions.

I believe one of the best ways to counteract this is to show gratitude and focus on all the good in my life.

I am leaving these negatives in 2023 and going forward with what’s truly important. I’m focused on those people closest to me. I’m no longer dwelling on the past. I’m ready for change.

If you are ready for a change, let’s go together. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, either romantic or in your family, it’s time to say enough is enough. They are not going to change. You have to change.

If you haven’t made any changes, if you’re still in that toxic relationship, questioning yourself, 2024 is your year. Change is uncomfortable. It’s much easier to stay where you are. But change comes from uncomfortable places.

Don’t step into another new year in this toxic situation. Often, we stay in these cycles of abuse because we don’t believe we deserve something better.

You do deserve better.

I have a group starting soon. I have a limited number of seats available for serious people who want to be able to recover from this and never be in this situation again. Get more information here:

Don’t wait another day.

This is why it’s so important to talk to someone after you’ve suffered this type of abuse. But not just anyone. You need to find someone who’s familiar with narcissistic personality disorder. You see, I didn’t get here by accident. I didn't set out to become a narcissistic abuse recovery coach. But after I’d suffered this kind of abuse, I realized that my story and my experience could help so many people who’ve suffered similarly. When someone tells me about their struggles and their story, I’m not just understanding. I really get it. I’ve been there. I’ve felt those same emotions, that same rage, and loss.

I can help you.

Don’t suffer in silence from narcissistic abuse, let’s talk.

Click here to book a free session with me. Don’t wait another day.

You can find my book “Wrecking Ball Relationships” on Amazon and

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