"He is going to flip the script. It's what they do." -- Dr. Bottello, my psychologist.
Surviving narcissitic abuse is one helluva journey. When you finally get out of it, it makes you realize how much your life was turned on its head. As a person who managed to live 40 years of my life with loving, grounded men around me, I was not prepared for the, excuse my French, "mind fuck" of this type of a relationship.
Flipping the script—or making the other person out to be the one with the disorder or the abuser—is in the narsisstic abuse playbook. I knew this was part of the game and was warned it would happen but I wasn't prepared for how it would make me feel to endure it. I mean, come on, right?!?! I knew it was coming! But I'm still human and it still hurts to be the one on the receiving end of abuse in the relationship and the one who is now painted as the abuser.
I remember asking both of my therapists if I am truly OK. Do I have something wrong with me? Was I not seeing it? Seriously, was HE right? Maybe he was on to something I couldn't wrap my brain around. Welcome to life after this kind of abuse. I was thankfully told by my psychologist and my therapist that no, my personality is fully in-tact. No splintering. While I do tend to dissociate from my inner child (due to childhood trauma), I am NOT suffering from a personality disorder. I am simply recovering from three years of narcissistic abuse.
I'm not gonna sugar coat it. Recovering from this type of relationship is not easy. It's a slow process of coming back into myself. You're groomed to always think of your partner constantly—tending to needs, anticipating reactions, doing whatever you can to get back to the good part of the relationship and not piss them off—that it's not easy to just move on, like many people suggest. It's easy for them to move on because when the gig is up, the gig is up. Sure, moving on from the relationship is complete. Repairing the residual go-to reactions and conditioned behavior, well, that's another story. Thank God for family, friends, and therapists who understand who I was before this relationship and who I am now.
I'm stronger now, that's for sure and getting help from many sources.
I'm rereading The Four Agreements and focusing on this one in particular.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
I saw a post on instagram that talks about how narcissists always treat the public better than those close to them because they're obsessed with how they appear to others and their self image. It's why many struggle to believe the victim's story but it doesn't mean the abuse isn't real just because other's can't see it.
I totally understand not believing no matter what is presented or felt. I really do. No one could have told me any differently three years ago. I believed what I wanted to believe. I could love him better than the many women who had let him down. It must have been their fault. I was sure I was different.
Now, I'm becoming a very discerning person who still believes in human goodness but also stands up for herself no matter what and fights to not take things personally.
Hey! I just realized I'm flipping my own life script...and this movie is about to get really freakin' good! :)
“Is there a girl in spirit with dark hair standing in the doorway?”
“Yes, there is,” I replied.
Scott asked me this back in 2011. We were lying in bed and I had channeled this lovely teenager earlier in the day. I remember being surprised and relieved he could see her, too. I can’t remember her name, but clearly, she was there and he could see her. Back then, every bit of validation from others was confirming I wasn’t losing my mind. We BOTH couldn’t be losing our minds at the same time although my scientific mind searched for other answers. Carbon monoxide leak? Too much chocolate? Not enough sleep?
Becoming a medium was far from easy or comfortable but deep in my soul, I knew it was right. I pushed much of this away over the past three years but I’m being called by my soul (and the children) to own it again. It’s part of me. It’s part of each and every one of us, to varying degrees.
I just happen to be an intuitive medium who communicates frequently with kids who suffered abuse, with children who came in and out of this life quickly through miscarriage or abortion, and with other spirits related to helping children in our world.
I haven’t written publicly about the children in spirit who were sexually abused and murdered and started coming to me in 2011. There’s risk and sensitivity around talking about cold cases and involvement in them as an intuitive medium but I will do my best to by not giving away nuggets that would put my family or myself in harm’s way. MANY mediums work on cold cases so I'm not special by any means. I was literally just a woman who fell into it without a plan or intention.
Some of the children who started coming to me were like Nate—they had no association with abuse and passed on due to natural causes. After I started to gain confidence, other kids in spirit started coming in. One child, in particular, came to me and I had no connection to her other than she was connected to a friend’s home/city. Let’s call her Anna. She told me she passed away in the 1980s and that she was murdered after being sexually abused. I had no idea what to do with this information. I wasn’t even sure I channeled it correctly or why she was coming to me. Scott and another good friend of mine who is a gifted medium, Stacey, looked up her name and the area she was from and we found her case on the internet as a missing persons case. Another medium we knew and trusted confirmed the same information we had received without knowing a thing—we just asked about the situation without giving any details.
I knew I couldn’t just sit on this. I had to figure out how to connect the dots and she was guiding me to get ahold of her mom. The thought of reaching out to anyone scared me to death.
I sat on it. I was “chicken,” as my child-self would say. That feeling didn’t last long because more kids in spirit started coming in and giving me their names and details about deaths that occurred between 1980-1995. They all had the same stories: kidnapped, sexually abused, and murdered. Scott, Stacey, and I would look them up by name and sure enough, they would be staring back at us on the computer screen. We joked—because you have to when you’re suddenly immersed in murder cases—that we were like the Scooby Do gang.
Anna was still pleading with me to contact her mother so I nervously did. It’s terrifying to pass messages to anyone but a mother whose child had been missing for 30 years? I was almost paralyzed with fear that I would be the cause of more heartache for her.
I finally reached out and shared the information I had channeled and coupled it with what Stacey channeled, who was just coming into her gifts like I was at the time. Long story short, Anna’s mom believed me and was grateful I reached out. It was the detail of the information that wasn’t known publicly that convinced her. I was relieved I hadn’t hurt her further by reaching out. She knew, as parents do, that her daughter was no longer alive and she was happy that she was on the other side helping other children speak as well.
I had a choice to make at this point. I had to figure out how to communicate what was being said to authorities. This is sooooooo tricky. Most detectives don’t believe in intuitive information and for good reason. There are good, heart-centered, gifted mediums and there are the scammers. I was a mom who built furniture in her garage who never thought in a million years I would be connecting with kids in spirit let alone passing information to the authorities about multiple murders.
I was happy that the way was paved for me. I find that happens a lot, if I’m paying attention. A friend of a friend was a cop in that area. I was able to pass the information to him and that’s where I have to stop, with the exception of saying it eventually led to more detective relationships around the country that I’ve held dear for about six years now. Each time, the dots would connect and the correct information would get to the right detectives who believe in intuition. Looking back, it's amazing to see all the dots connect.
One in particular, Mr. Mark Pucci, and I have set out to work together on many types of cases, not just cold cases. We connected three and a half years ago when we both volunteered to work on a missing person’s case in the NYC area. Our connection came through friends. He’s an ex-NYPD detective who has worked as Executive VP and Chief Investigator for one of the largest, most noteable detective agencies in NYC called Beau Dietl & Associates. He recently left that agency to start his own and we are in talks about how to work together on a regular basis—coupling intuitive information with boots-on-the-ground detective work. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for us.
I’m happy to be back in the saddle again. I’m incredibly grateful to Scott, my friends, my family, my therapists, and my fellow mediums for pushing me to recognize and honor this side of me.
Helping kids in some way, shape or form is what I’ve always done. Now, I get the chance to help give a voice to kids in spirit and it’s one of the greatest gifts of my life.
P.S. I don't seek out cold cases and they don't present themselves often. I only get involved if the child comes to me and it's meant to be. I volunteer my time and I channel much more than details related to crime. Sometimes, folks will ask me to look at certain things they see in the news. And sometimes I help find lost dogs and cats. I'm a smorgasboard when it comes to channeling, really. :)
This website is mostly about my spiritual journey through healing but my furniture company is part of that, as well.
Just sharing a link to an update on Mod Mom, the furniture company I started in my garage back in 2007. I eventually landed on ABC's hit TV show, Shark Tank, with my company.
Here's the update:
(Part two of Free Falling)
So...there I was leaving my husband for another man.
Life became complicated after High Point Market. I moved into the guest room and Scott and I told the kids we needed some space for a little bit. I communicated a lot with my new love and we tried to see each other frequently, which was easy because we struck up a business venture together. We traveled quite a bit. I live in the West, he’s on the East Coast.
The first six months were more bliss than heartache. We were forging a path for the business venture so everything felt exciting and new on both sides of our relationship—business and personal.
Little by little, small issues started to arise. Social media was one of them. Robert would ask who this guy was that liked my photo or who that guy was that commented. Clearly, he was feeling unsure about me and I naively thought that because I felt what I did for him, he would understand my love for him was true. I did not take into consideration that we met on social media, which also fueled the fire.
My new love was very open about all activities, which is a good thing considering for years he was seeking love in a lot of places and hid it. He made a point of telling me that this woman or that woman had a crush on him. I wasn’t used that kind of thing. I am not one to call things out like that; I never have been. I don’t take compliments well and I don’t presume people have ulterior motives even when they do. In many ways, I innately try to see the good in everyone and everything all the time. This is a blessing and a curse because sometimes, I don’t see clearly.
Several old friends wrote to me on social media—men who I’d known my whole life—to chat online. One said he wished he knew I was divorcing, he would have stood in line. That’s the way he is and I just laughed and wrote back I was flattered but was madly in love with Rob. I shared what I wrote with my love with the intention of being fully transparent about anything like that, as he was being with me. I was surprised to receive his feedback: “I wish you wouldn’t have said you were flattered.” I honestly didn’t know that was a bad thing to say. I thought it was normal. Sadly, this came up in fights over and over again for three years.
One time, after I had openly shared with Robert any communication with the two men I mentioned above and received less than stellar feedback, another man I barely knew wrote to me. He sent me a photo of myself. It was odd and I immediately panicked, knowing that somehow it would be my fault. I deleted the photo but not the message that followed (I don't really know why I did that, even) and then when Robert asked me if that particular man had ever written to me privately, I lied. I didn't want to deal with feeling like I was somehow to blame. It wasn't right to lie to him, but I did. I didn't know he had looked at my phone while I was out of the room and he saw the message before he asked me the question.
I started feeling really on edge about Facebook all together. We had made our relationship very public which was freeing but at the same time, I was starting to feel scared to post. Who would comment that he might feel strange about? Who would reach out and I would feel like I’m not handling the situation correctly? I started having dreams about Facebook because we would often fight there, in Messenger. If he perceived I was hiding something or doing something that threatened him, like saying I was flattered to my friend, then a fight would ensue.
I would dream we would be fighting on Facebook. I could see the words in my dream. I have had a tendency in my life to sleep walk and do things like that in my sleep. I even went on Facebook on my phone, half asleep one time, thinking we were really fighting and I needed to write back. It was clearly consuming my subconscious. I just kept feeling like no matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough.
As for my interactions with Scott, I never felt like I could do anything right there, either. I'm guessing he felt Scott’s true love for me. Even though I was totally convinced I had found the love of my life in Rob, I still obviously loved and cared for Scott as someone I was married to for 17 years and who is the father of my kids. I found that if I talked too little with him, it was a problem. If I spoke too much to him or about him, that was also a problem. I started to feel like I had to hide all communications with Scott (and delete some, because he might think I’m being too nice) or else I would end up in the dog house. And I never truly knew what would put me there.
About six months into our relationship, we were at a tradeshow together and he mentions that he noticed I make a lot of eye contact with men, particularly strangers as we were walking down the hallways. I was honestly shocked but I’m the kind of person who does question herself, so I did just that. Maybe I really did this type of thing and didn’t know it? It’s not intentional—I’ve never been a flirt. I learned early on in my childhood to make sure I looked people straight in the eye and stood tall and proud. Maybe I was too proud? I apologized and made sure he knew it wasn’t intentional. I was not looking for anyone else and I thought he knew that. Deep down, I remember feeling sad that maybe he misread my pesonality and was still not trusting my love for him. I thought of him as my “twin flame” – the once in a lifetime love that felt like nothing I’d ever experienced before. Why would I be looking for anything else? I wasn’t even looking for him when I met him!
The topic of eye contact came up many times over three years. At some point, I started to go from feeling like he had a point to feeling like maybe this was actually projection on his part. Maybe he used to make eye contact in a flirtatious way with lots of women and that’s the core of this. I would start to defend myself and plead with him but that just escalated things.
Towards the end of the three years, I casually waved to a guy at a tradeshow who had taken our photo the day before. I was caught off guard and noticed that he was looking in my direction so I gave a quick wave. We fought for five hours that night in the hotel room. I was crying uncontrollably and shaking because I felt like I was being accused of doing something wrong. At one point, he said, “Way to make him feel good, Kiersten.” This statement brought up so much shame in me that I didn’t even realize I was carrying. Shame from my childhood abuse. I clearly, subconsciously, thought I was to blame for my relative raping me and it was now playing itself out 40 years later.
What had I done? Why did this love hurt so much? Why did I keep going back even though I knew what I was in for? When I was being yelled at, I’d go back for more. I remember being screamed at on the phone and he would hang up and I would call him back. Who does that? Why would I put myself in the position of enduring more pain?
My rational brain was fighting so hard to understand. Eventually, through therapy, I came to understand two things:
Ultimately, I learned that I unknowingly created a wounded attachment to him. Our wounded parts literally drew themselves to one another and then we triggered each other over and over again. This article, along with therapy sessions, made all the puzzle pieces fit:
From the article: “As a child, depending on when the assault occurred and the developmental stage in which it occurred, the person seeks to please the adult and gain affection, attention, nurturing, love, trust, etc. A child who has been sexually assaulted blurs that idea of love, nurturing, trust, attention, and affection, and begins to believe that the only way to receive love, attention, etc., is to please the “assaulter.” This remains in effect as the child matures into adulthood.”
Sure, I was a people pleaser in my marriage with Scott, but there wasn’t any kind of abuse within the marriage at all. I felt respected and loved, even smothered with love at times. This relationship was showing me that subconsciously I indeed blurred the idea of love when faced with abuse. I was in a constant state of “please the abuser” and I wasn’t getting out of it anytime soon because the feeling of “love” was so strong.
My family and friends watched me go from a confident, social woman to someone they didn’t really know anymore who was on edge most of the time.
In PART 3, I’ll talk about the physical effects of living in this eggshell world that included literally pulling my hair out and enduring panic attacks.