When I first started calling myself a feminist, I got a lot of hate for it and that was okay. It was okay because the reason that I even started speaking about feminism is that a man outwardly laughed in my face asking me if I was a feminist – and I, too afraid to say yes, said: “No…” The funny part of it is that saying no on that day, made me the person I am today.
There’s a reason someone believes in something, mine is this: narcissistic abuse. It’s a fairly common problem and even scarier to maneuver through because no one will believe you.
This is why today I’m sharing the story of Twahna P. Harris, the founder of The Butterfly Society; a non-profit organization against domestic violence.
In their sophomore year of college, Twahna fell in love with who she believed was her ideal man, someone who was her “prince charming.
” It was “the perfect relationship” according to her; but eventually, the facade falls and one day she found his hand on her face as he said: “Bitch if you had kept your mouth closed, it wouldn’t have happened.”
That was it, the first time of many to come. He turned her entire life upside down by degrading her, body-shaming her, and taking control of her. He left her with no confidence of her own, sexually and emotionally abused her, and forced her to the brink of suicidal thoughts.
So, why didn’t she leave at the first sign of a red flag? because abusers like him are manipulative and smart too. Everyone adored him, to the outside world, especially her family and friends he was perfect.
In fact, so perfect, that she was even embarrassed to speak to them. He didn’t make it any easier either, he monitored everything she did until she was severed from her support system and isolated from her loved ones.
She finally gathered the courage to tell a relative and thankfully, she believed her. “I believe you. You deserve better. What can I do to help?” She said. Twahna left her partner and went to live with her relative for a while until her abusive partner promised to seek counseling and anger management if she came back.
He used all the right words to convince her, and she went, but his promises meant nothing. He didn’t change. Instead, it became worse, to the point where she found him strangling her and saying: “I will kill you if you ever leave again.”
On that very night, Twahna went to bed and prayed; and to some miracle, she heard a voice tell her it’s time to leave the next morning as she woke up.
She told her partner that she’s going to work and kissed him goodbye but instead, hid behind a building while she waited for him to come out of the apartment so she could fetch her things and leave forever.
That was it, she left and of course, life didn’t automatically return to normal. Coming out of an abusive relationship is probably one of the most haunting things, especially the consequences and aftereffects of it.
Twahna stayed strong and she stayed strong enough to create a non-profit organization to help other women stay strong too.
But abuse like this will get worse if we don’t learn how to identify fast enough. His charming, perfect, ideal spouse image and the way in which he maintained his character in front of her family and friends only indicates the finest of symbols of narcissism.
Especially how he had all the right words at all the right times and managed to strip her power away. So how do we spot a narcissist or narcissistic abuse?
According to Mayo Clinic, here are some of the symptoms of a narcissist:
“Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
Exaggerate achievements and talents
Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty, or the perfect mate
Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
Take advantage of others to get what they want
Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
Be envious of others and believe others envy them
Behave arrogantly or haughtily, coming across as conceited, boastful, and pretentious
Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office”
And below is how they would react when faced with criticism or when they don’t get their way:
“•Become impatient or angry when they don’t receive special treatment
Have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted
React with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior
Have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior
Experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change
Feel depressed and moody because they fall short of perfection
Have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability, and humiliation.”
They seem very charming and are often very likely to convince their victim that they’re perfect. Don’t fall for it, speak for yourself even when you think no one believes you.
Also Read: Lines of Flight