Gaslighting. Emotional abuse. Manipulation. Constant criticism. Isolation. Being made to feel inadequate. Shaming.
Take a trip down the rabbit hole with this raw look at how it feels to be in a relationship with a narcissist. Tactics and their effects are exposed with stories of recognition, endurance, healing, and renewal. This anthology focuses on truth told through nonfiction essays and poems.
“Gray Matter” by Jolene Hughes
Life happened. He happened. One thing after another after another after another. I sat and coped. I survived. I retreated to my padded cell within a cave within a gilded box at the center of an impenetrable maze. I stopped writing to deal with the happenings, and the gray matter grew a sick sort of slime mold, the kind that feeds on words and thoughts and feelings until I had none of those things anymore.
Writing had been a protective force, connected to and strengthened by my soul. The less time spent writing and creating made way for the creeping destruction of my core self, that demolished a piece of my soul’s architecture, a room, cross beam, and story at a time. Until I woke realizing I was killing myself by coping. My safe cell had become my prison, and my soul was slowly dying. I could no longer write. It took a year of hard weightlifting, teaching my clumsy hands to draw, and forcing my moldy brain to make my fallow flesh and mind cooperate. I could only draw without thinking about what I was drawing. Then I graduated to painting. Each brush stroke was effort, to the point of tears. Soul therapy is hard work.
Once I could write it felt like a dam broke, vomiting murky water and detritus from a lake’s cold trenches over jagged edges and exposing the darkest depths to the glaring scrutiny of a winter sun. The violent shaking split the concrete wall first down the midline, which begat more cracks splitting open, wider, deeper along the curving face of the reservoir. Years of layered sediment stuffed down by gravity and pressure far from the light and passers-by, and years of ignored hairline fractures led to that moment, those few slow seconds in which a fortress was leveled.
And once I was alive again, I was what happened to him.
PRE-ORDER THE NARCISSIST’S PLAYBOOK
Edited by S. K. Miner and J. Kathleen Marcus
Approximately 250 pages
6″ x 9″ paperback with glossy cover
Free eBook included with pre-ordered paperback
Publication date: March 2017
Featuring works by: