This is a big one. If your finances have been entangled with your narcissistic partner, it can take a while for you to find your footing. Sometimes, it is easier to walk away from everything than to fight for your share. The emotional battling and the scars it will leave is just not worth it. But to even come to that place of resolution takes internal work. For some of us, it can mean starting entirely from scratch. And that can feel scary…
Success stories of people who soared after leaving abusive environments can come to rescue here. They can serve as great inspiration. While painful at first, leaving a toxic job, family dynamic or relationship can add wind to your sails in the long run. Turning a ship around may take time and effort. Debt payments, extra work, selling precious items to buffer the budget, etc. can be daunting and painful to deal with. But all of that is temporary. It’s a necessary stage that precedes generating freedom and security. It’s a path of self-trust.
People say that necessity is the mother of invention. I’d add that desperation is the mother creativity. It is often in times we are pushed to come to extreme ends that we surprise ourselves with how brilliant we can be.
Many targets of narcissists who write me share horrific stories of them being deprived of nearly all means of material support. Some are forced to beg for food for themselves and their children. If this is your lot, turn to your support circle for assistance.
- LEGAL HELP. Enlist legal help, if you can. If you do so, make sure that whoever you hire is familiar with domestic abuse. Your lawyer will have to be at least somewhat familiar with manipulative tactics and not be seduced by the superficial charm and cleverness of your ex-partner. Otherwise, they may end up siding with the sly narcissist.
- FAMILY SUPPORT. There is no shame in asking your parents, cousins or even friends for financial support to help jump-start you on your new path. That’s of course if you know that you can trust them. In this way, such angels in human form can help you not only materially but also emotionally. Knowing they are there for you praying for your success and believing in you can help a lot.
- EXPLORE OPTIONS. If you can, look for a job, even something part-time or freelance to give you a financial buffer. Most of us know more than we think. We all have something inside us that other people need. Dig deep. Having your own source of income will give your self-esteem a boost and make you feel better and more empowered.
- SAVE & PREPARE. If possible, open a savings account and start putting away cash that you will need to carry out your escape. If you can’t do it in your name, ask your parent, sibling, cousin, or a best friend if you must. Again, it has to be someone you can trust.
Once you are able to have enough savings to sustain you for a period of 1–3 months, make your leave. But do so quietly. Another option is to look for abuse shelters in your area that offer material and psychological support.
A form of financial abuse that is much subtler in execution includes your partner depriving you of your ability to grow. Just when you get your big break, they will put up a fight or guilt trip you for even considering it. They will stand in a way of advancement at work or an education opportunity. If they do it for long enough, it can severely rob you of choices, making you dependent on them. That’s the point.
Narcissists act in such irrational way because they are jealous and competitive. No matter what happens, they just have to be better than you and therefore control you. Your success is threatening to them. Hampering your progress in the name of ‘love’ is a form of abuse.
Perfectionism as Abuse Training
If you haven’t been able to get good traction in your career or creative life, you may be a victim of childhood neglect. It tends to make children vie for parental attention and prove their worth by trying to be ‘perfect.’ It cloaks nascent individuality in shame and guilt, inhibiting healthy development.
Perfectionism is internalized abuse that gets planted early, before we are able to reason it out of our existence. Narcissistic parents tend to expect a lot of their children. After all, their kids are extensions of their own egos. But too often the kids get caught in a double bind. While they want to succeed and make their parents proud, they will sense a passive resentment when they come home with a trophy. Or their parents will subtly insinuate that their children’s talents belong to them.
This dynamic that has its roots in scarcity paradigm can set in motion a toxic DNA of desiring to succeed in adulthood but getting your efforts sabotaged by fear or procrastination. Success is equated by loss of control and/or fear of retribution from a jealous parent. The way to reverse this is to realize that there is no such thing as perfection. The Universe is an abundant place where everyone’s voice has a place to be heard.
‘We are all perfectly imperfect.’
— Pia Mellody
Having been through a relationship with a narcissist can be a training in perfectionism, or serve to further reinforce old patterns. They (and you) expects lot of you. If you are already programmed for it, it will be easy for them to manipulate you into becoming who they want you to be — the ‘perfect’ partner who never complains, is always there, ready to serve. The ground has been set. So you give until your reach a point of exhaustion or breaking.
While you try hard to mold yourself to fit the perfect image of what they seem to want at the time (which can change daily and even hourly), they are never satisfied. That’s the nature of the game, you see. As long as you keep spinning on that hamster wheel, they are in control.
Influencing Your Relationship with Money
Since many narcissists have a poor appreciation for one’s work and therefore don’t understand what it takes to create a sense of stability, their relationship with money can be wishy-washy. I’ve experienced this myself and also witnessed it peripherally.
What is money? It’s simply a tool to store value that you can use later.
Narcissists have no trouble getting into debt and have their partners pay for it. They will live above their means and spend frivolously, often what’s not even theirs. It’s a way to show you that they deserve it (they are God’s best creation, after all!) and also a way to enslave you with debt. The idea of saving for later doesn’t really compute. It’s all about now and what they can get. Tomorrow never comes.
Exposure to this kind of mentality for long enough can damage your own relationship with money. For example, I grew up in a household of opposing polarities. My father was a saver and stasher while mom believed that money grows on trees. They argued about it all the time. Since I had a much stronger relationship with mom, I inherited her belief that money would just be there when I needed it. I could just ‘attract’ it. This kind of thinking got me in big trouble later on and I attracted a 100K debt instead.
Even though I obviously lacked constructive guidance in childhood, I did take responsibility for having created the situation. It was the only way to repeair my finances and heal my relationship with money.
Changing Your Perspective
When you acknowledge your innate resourcefulness and make a few key calculations, you may discover that your financial situation does not really stand in the way of your freedom and sanity. Staying with your abuser will not only cost you money, it will also rob you of your peace, wellness, creativity, confidence and focus — all potential wealth builders. Even if you have to take a massive loss, you will eventually rebound. You will find your independence and respect. You will connect with your purpose. Your self-esteem will rise. And you’ll learn a ton in the process, about yourself and other people.
I warn you, whoever you are… Oh, you who wish to probe the arcanes of nature, if you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither shall you be able to find it outside. If you ignore the excellencies of your own house, how do you intend to find other excellencies? In you is hidden the treasure of treasures. Oh, man, know thyself and thou shall know the Universe and the Gods!
— Oracle at Delphi, Greece
Self-healing after enduring years of narcissistic abuse will begin the process of peeling away layers of old programming. Once you are away from the abuser and able to breathe again, those old patters will surface. You may be triggered by benign events, experience flashbacks of painful memories, and even miss the abuser. All of this is normal and due to the trauma bond. And it will pass with proper healing. Once you make your decision to leave and invest in yourself, the clockwork of life will begin to shift in your favor.
The answer to the how is yes.
Be prepared as or some time, it will feel as if you are powering through an avalanche of feelings and life will just seem unbearably hard. In those moments, remember this: it’s not a fall, but a call you are experiencing. What it takes is a shift of perspective. If you choose yourself over and over, it is impossible to have a bad life. This process is about undoing old, false beliefs and letting go of destructive habits. It is not easy work, but it works!
Recovery is a process or reclaiming lost parts of yourself you left behind because you were either ashamed or afraid of them. What catalyzed such self-banishment were opinions of other people who were unwell. By choosing you over and over, you reverse that trend. As a result, the quality of your life will vastly improve. You will have yourself in greater capacity than you ever had before. If you don’t see it this way just yet, it’s okay. The FOG will eventually lift and a new clarity set in.
I hope this post was helpful to you and look forward to meeting you in the comments. Feel free to share this article with anyone who may benefit.
If you are suffering from the shock of being subjected to narcissistic abuse, have a look into my FREE three-step SOS program available on my website.
For more info, check out the video below and another one titled 5 steps to leaving the narcissist.