Are you feeling overwhelmed, exploited, and emotionally drained by a narcissistic relationship?
If so, you’re not alone. In this first of our very special Thriver Talks series, Christal discusses how she experienced this firsthand in her 13-year marriage to a benevolent narcissist.
As her health and finances suffered, she was unable to find a way to break free from the cycle of abuse.
When the COVID-19 global pandemic came around, she experienced a breakdown and was hospitalised with congestive heart failure. Christal realised that she was unsafe and needed to get out.
She explains how the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program helped her to heal her pain and rewrite her epigenetics from the ground up, allowing her to create a life of abundance and joy.
By understanding the power of boundaries, she could move on and find success in her life.
In today’s Thriver Talks Christal tells her story and how she managed to take control of her life and create her own future.
Welcome to this special Thriver Talks success story. I am really thrilled to have Christal here with me today. She was in one of my group classes and I was so inspired by her story that I really believe many community members could be inspired too. So hence, why we have Christal with us today. So thank you,
Christal: Thank you, Melanie. It’s my pleasure.
Melanie: Christal, just to start, can you briefly describe your narcissistic abuse and who this person was in your life?
Christal: Well, there’s been several. The one that was the make or break was my ex-husband. He’s what’s called a benevolent narcissist. He was just wonderful in the beginning – for about three years, he was able to keep things together. But there were things from the start, like not being held accountable, and I just wanted to avoid rocking the boat. I had such a good experience with him that I always thought it work itself out or we were just turning a corner. I was with him for 13 years.
As the years went by, different things happened. I became ill one year, and my income was a problem. He was in and out of jobs, and whenever anything like that happened, he would become withdrawn and just want to talk to another friend and get with other people. He started taking it out on me and drinking heavily, spending a lot of money on lavish dinners and paying for everybody else just to make a splashy scene.
In the end, there were critical incidents. One was after a party when somebody mentioned a relationship I had been in previously. He had been drinking heavily before getting in the car to make our way home – he was driving fast on a dark road, with cattle on the road, and it was windy. He was doing almost 65, 70 miles an hour up that road and I just thought I was gone.
Christal: Yeah, that was terrifying. So the following day, I told him, “Here’s a book. You have to read this book.” He cried and cleaned up his act for about a year or two.
We were still married when he started drinking heavily, and it worsened. Eventually, I lost my health.
There was another critical incident like that when I was getting attention at a work-related party because everyone was excited to have me on board for this new opportunity. The minute we got in the car, he started ripping into me, saying derogatory things and cussing. It was pretty bad.
Melanie: What you said at the start was the need for more accountability. That is huge for somebody who doesn’t have emotional maturity or humility and whose arrogance will not allow accountability for their actions. This is classic behaviour in narcissists. Of course, it makes you unsafe to be in there.
When you said he got his act together for about a year, was he being accountable? Was he behaving better by owning his stuff and holding his disappointments? Did he stop blaming others when things were going wrong in his life?
Christal: No, he just took the spotlight off of me and put it on other people. He’d put it on coworkers, clients, and bosses. It didn’t matter. It was always on someone other than him. He would clean up his act in certain areas for a short time but he never had it all together at once.
Melanie: It’s really key for people to understand that when dealing with narcissistic, unconscious, or immature people, they will not be met with humility, cooperation, and teamwork – whether they are friends, workmates, or romantic partners. Instead, when they have problems, they will shut down, remain arrogant, and blame everybody, including you.
As you said, he backed that off for a year. Still, he never said, “Well, this is where I could have done better, and this is where I could have healed. This is where I could have grown.” He didn’t reflect, change or put things in place in his life to enable him to have a better relationship with you and others. We might think they’re getting better, but as you said, it’s only a switching of the spotlight, which is important for everybody to understand.
Tell me about your breakdown and how bad it was before finding our beautiful community and The Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program (NARP).
Christal: Income was always a struggle because of the unstable lifestyle. When I tried to relate with other people healthily, he would interfere because he wanted all my attention. Any successful bond I had with an employer or clients when I was self-employed was damaged. I started losing my finances and was in foreclosure and on a rollercoaster for a while.
The finances were never stable, and even when he was making money, he acted like he wasn’t and was hiding it. I always felt like we were broke. I was under a lot of financial stress and stress from his personality and in fact I was still in cognitive dissonance – a sleep-like state – and hadn’t woken up yet. So here I was, dealing with all this and being very negative about myself, breaking my health.
When COVID-19 came around, I was already tired out. I saw that my marriage was not turning around this time and it couldn’t keep going like this. About two years ago, I got COVID-19 when the United States didn’t care for the nurses and doctors. I wanted to avoid being admitted to the hospital, so I tried to wait until that changed to where I knew I’d have some control over my health if I went in.
I’m small and don’t weigh much, but I put on 60 pounds of water, and my body was shutting down.
My son and daughter-in-law said, “Mom, can we take you to this hospital?”
I went in because it was run by some Catholic nuns and wasn’t in the system. They did tests, and it came out that I had congestive heart failure; 10% of my heart was functional and was ejecting blood. My stomach was distended. It looked like I was seven months pregnant – I was really sick.
Those doctors were able to hone right in and get me on the right track to save my life. I had recovered from COVID at the time, but it had attacked my heart. So that’s the state I was in.
Melanie: Sometimes these are the wake-up calls in our life to show we’ve been strong and dealing with so much for so long, and then everything can just implode. It happens to a lot of people.
Regarding the relationship, what steps had you taken to get well and have some sanity, peace, safety and emotional stability? How was that going? Were you getting better or worse?
Christal: I had read many books on communication, thinking if I did this, he’d do that.
Melanie: It’s impossible to communicate with a narcissist healthily.
Christal: It’s the most circular, crazy-making conversation in the world. It really is.
Melanie: You do think you’re going crazy.
Christal: So that wasn’t helpful.
I care for my health by being a gardener and growing my own food, so I had a healthy diet. I tried to care for myself with many positive affirmation and reinforcement. I was doing a lot of inner reflection and figuring out how to balance the different programs, but it felt like I was just jogging in place and treading water. I felt like I was drowning in a circumstances I had no control over. I was getting worse instead of better.
Melanie: Many intelligent, good-hearted, and compassionate people put much effort into their relationships. We try anything and everything to find answers, because we’re emotionally invested. It’s a huge deal for people.
Christal: He was very good at future faking. All of those things that we had planned, I was hoping that’s what would happen next. It took going through the program to learn how not to believe – it was just a setup to string me along.
Melanie: Yes, bread-crumbing is a huge thing. Of course, we want to believe there will be a light at the end of this tunnel because we are so invested.
Speaking of NARP, what kicked that off? When you did, you think, “All right, I’m going to try this”? Did you have any reservations or resistance to the inner work? I’d love to hear about your journey with NARP.
Christal: Well, I was in a really low place and had a life vest on, which would’ve shocked me back to life if I had a heart attack. When I got home from the hospital, I had 14% of my heart and a life vest on, and he looked right at me and said, “It was much nicer when you weren’t here. I liked it when you were in the hospital. You have a really dark spirit.” I thought, “Wow, that is far from the truth.”
I was spending time alone and distancing from him. I saw your program on Facebook and heard you talk, and I thought, “Yeah! How do you know exactly what I’ve been going through? How can you explain it so well?”
Because I sure didn’t have any way to even describe it, let alone know that anybody else was going through it! Because it’s so personal, yet it’s so prevalent.
When I heard that you offered a program, I thought, ” but what is going to be different about this than some of the other things I have tried?” As I kept listening to you talk about things, I thought, “Well, this already sounds different.”
I wanted out of the daily pain of emotional abuse and stressful situations I almost died from.
I knew that I had to change something in a huge way and this was making sense in a way that nothing else had. Then you said, “I’m pretty confident about this, and I’ll give you your money back, and you could make monthly payments.” I’m like, “Well, I had lost so much already. Now I have nothing to lose.”
For the first time, somebody understood what I was going through, almost like you were there with me. It appeared this was a path that I couldn’t resist.
Melanie: I’m so pleased. That’s what we love about NARP. It’s a solid solution to healing rather than just information hence why it’s helped so many people. I love that I’m in those healings. My voice is soothing and supports people so they feel like they’ve got a spiritual sister holding them through their recovery, which is so important – to know you’re not alone and you’re not mental. This happens to more people than you could ever imagine.
So, Christal, Source is so large and in charge. You’ve been broke, taken to the brink with a health wake-up call, which is what happened to me too. Our souls were saying, “How loud do we need to turn up the volume for you to stop choosing them and this insanity and fully turn inwards to choose yourself?” You probably wouldn’t be alive if you didn’t.
Christal: Oh, certainly I’d be gone. That would’ve killed me. I wouldn’t have recovered because I left the hospital at the beginning of January and found NARP on January 21st, about three weeks later. Doing NARP meant things started to unpeel, and little pieces would fall in and keep on making sense.
Then after a month or two of going through those processes, a lot started to fall away. I started seeing things differently and believing I had a choice and boundaries. As a gardener, I want to plant something, test it, and see how it turns out. So I tested my boundaries with customers at work or with family at home and saw the kind of responses I got.
It just blew me away. The significant change in the other people around me was because I could come from a place of peace and not a place of demanding that other people do things. It was a real turnaround and turning point for me. At the same time, it was my wake-up call. I couldn’t blame people for things now that I was doing the boundaries. Then, I did that next big chunk, probably the most significant – healing the victim mentality.
Melanie: I was just about to say that NARP finally puts you in control of the creation of your life and gets you beyond those abuse programs and patterns we were stuck in.
Christal: That was the biggest change. The benefits have been tremendous. But as far as what has made the most difference in my life is walking with that understanding and awareness – Quanta Freedom Healing is from the DNA level. It rewrote my program. So I don’t have to try to be different. I am completely different.
It’s like trying to forget you speak English – you can’t undo speaking English. Once you know it, you know it. The change in my head was very physical, and I remember the situation and visualisation. I honestly felt like my head had just parted, and I could see all the patterns in my life and all the times I had wondered, “What had happened, or why did I get this kind of result?”
It was all back to that one thing. It had to do with boundaries and living with a victim mentality.
Melanie: Absolutely, it’s so beautiful. With Quanta Freedom Healing, we can access the spiritual apparatus like defragging a computer (our DNA) of these problematic, painful, traumatic programs, getting rid of them, and bringing in the Higher Self Source programs, which are the empowerment programs. It’s like having an upgrade – we are just different.
It’s incredible to think it wasn’t that long ago in the COVID era that you were potentially on death’s door.
How fast would you say was the progress? If you put it into timeframes, and could share where you are today? How long did that take?
Christal: At first, it didn’t feel like much movement because of the cognitive dissonance. I call it the trauma drama.
I had to give myself permission, parent myself, and say, “You can’t do that anymore. There’s more to your life than what is running you in circles right now.”
At the beginning of the program, I was dealing with things like how you run your life daily, who you talk to, and how you interact with people. I had to let go of the need to live in a commerce state and come in, settle down, and find wisdom.
That process took two months. Once I was aware of the victimisation, I started working on that, but there were a lot of tears when I figured that out.
Melanie: It can be emotional when loading up and letting go of old coping mechanisms. It’s a relief to cry it out when you’re doing the visualisation. You make space for that healthy download to come and anchor in.
How did it go with him? What happened there?
Christal: Within six months of having an epiphany that awakened and rewrote the DNA of my soul, things happened quickly. Well, I got a divorce, and I came back.
There was a critical incident where I told him, “I’ve got one foot this way, and I’ve got one foot that way. Right now, my other foot will join and walk out the door.”
I said, “This is it for you. If you screw up, that’s it because I’m done.” I let his mom and dad know what I had done.
Then we went to my dad’s funeral, and he was in all his narcissistic, benevolent glory. I just thought, “You make me sick. This is so over.” But I had to fake it because I didn’t want him to know. His drinking had turned violent at this point in the relationship.
I told his mother that if he threatened me, I would call the police. So they knew. Of course, he didn’t touch a drop of liquor the whole fnueral and couldn’t wait to get in the car.
The divorce happened right after I returned from my dad’s funeral because of how he behaved there, which just made me sick. I went to work and told them, “I’ve got to go in and file.” I went in, got a restraining order, and filed for divorce.
Melanie: I love this. Did he try to fight back? Did he crumble? Did he try to lap on? What did he do?
Christal: There was a constant knock on the door when he was sick in bed with COVID, and I said, “Somebody, you need to go see?” He goes, “No, I’m sick.” “Oh yeah, you must get up and answer the door.”
He acted like it was no big deal like it was the neighbour stopping by. He goes, “Oh, can I have 15 minutes?” I said, “No, you can’t.” I was just telling him, “I want to do this. I want to get it quick. The divorce papers are on the way.” It was really strange.
Then, within 15 minutes, he was gone and out of my life. I had a restraining order stating he could onlywrite to me or text – because I did not want to hear his voice again.
Melanie: This is really interesting after being bullied and threatened by narcissists. When someone does the inner work to stand up and connect with their actual ‘innerstanding’, the narcissists crumble into dust. It happened in my life, too.
They will acquiesce because it’s the hugest insult to their ego when you are empowered and not emotionally dependent on them. The gig is up.
They have to move on and get away when you are detached and no longer emotionally derailed.
So did you have to separate property with him? He didn’t try to go you for the house? Because a lot of them do.
Christal: Well, I own the house. I had owned the place for 10 years already. So he actually moved in with me. He had a lot of stuff there, but he could only have a police escort to come back to the house and take them. It took him a month to get his stuff.
Everything was in my name, and he wasn’t paying his share even though he had agreed to it in the divorce papers. I shut his phone off, and he called me from a different phone, and I was like, “Oh, who is this?” I didn’t know. We battled on stuff like that for a while.
Then, I turned his phone off because he wouldn’t give me the title to the truck I wanted, yet it was paid for. So, I did hardball over that, but boy, boundaries the whole time, no contact.
Melanie: Yeah, I love that. If you give an inch, they take a mile. If you try to cut a deal and keep the peace, they will make mincemeat out of you. You just have to stand up, put the boundaries in place, lose the fear, and walk that powerful solid line. It’s an emotional battle. You’re in a spiritual war with these people.
The state of your inner being is king, and you worked on that with NARP, and that’s why you got great results. I’m so happy for you.
Christal, tell us about your life now. What does Christal’s life, mission, and soul purpose look like now? Because that’s what excited me when we spoke.
Christal: That’s heaviness is all in the past. When I started walking out of that and on my own, the first thing I did was fix my house, and I had a friend help me with that.
I felt really good getting all that old stuff out and I completely decluttered. That was a lift. Repainted the house and cleaned it up. I have a real estate background, so I could sign a purchase lease purchase on my home this last December. A lot of things have happened really fast.
I posted an ad on Craigslist, and a family from another state called on my birthday. I leased my house out to the family, who have horses, which I also had. So that was really neat.
She paid me what I needed to keep my mortgage current, so I’m off worrying about foreclosure. She pays me on time and lives happily. I’m making my own money, and I’ve covered all my expenses in my town.
My home base, which I’ve owned for 20 years, is now protected and cared for. So that feels like a real success.
Melanie: That solution was inspired, and you just had the idea.
Christal: Yes, it worked out wonderfully. Now I needed a house and wondered, “Where will I go?” My kids had asked me if I could move in with them and help them expand their business because my daughter-in-law has a business.
So that’s what I’m doing now: living with my family.
It’s pretty exciting! I’m going to relocate again here pretty soon to cooler weather because it’s very hot in Arizona. I just put a word out there for another job, and it came within two days. One job opportunity ended abruptly last Friday because I put down a boundary.
It was a mutual parting of ways, and I immediately started picking up on that. I’m like, nope, this isn’t working.
Then the cool thing about it was I didn’t ruminate about it. I didn’t go over and over the situation in my head. I felt the right thing to do and went with that. Some really positive things have happened in less than a week after that.
Melanie: I love that. Source is large and in charge! When we’ve defined our values, truth, and integrity; know we’re a child of God, the universe, and Source; and keep bringing in the light and letting go of fear; then we’re flourishing and nourished just by walking our truth and integrity. Because ‘the Field’ is our dream team and we’re connected to it. I love that too.
I’ve had a big shift in my life. Something ended, and something new stepped in, in the most amazing ways just by standing in integrity and being willing to lose it all to get it all. Rather than ever selling my soul out again.
Christal: Yes. I can have problems working with family, but I spend much time with my son. I didn’t have a typical 9:00 to 5:00 job when he was growing up. We have a really close relationship. When I’m working from home and run into something, he’s really good at that I need a little help with.
I went to him and asked him about it and he’s like, “Mom, how did you do that? How did you change yourself so much? The mom I’ve known would have never come and asked me about something like that.” I said, “I did the inner healing.”
Then another powerful situation occurred last week. I didn’t have any boundaries back in the day when I was raising him in my 20s and 30s. I was so full of victimisation.
He told me he thought that when I got a new job, I would lose it as soon as something happened – based on past experiences. He saw me not doing that. I said, “Well, you know, son, that must have been really difficult for you, and you must not have felt very secure as a child because every time I would meet somebody, they would just kind of walk all over me, and you wanted to protect me from that. You didn’t have any control, and you didn’t have any choice. I’m sure that must have really hurt you. I’m really sorry.”
He went through two years of therapy and said, “There’s no way in the world I would ever think you would say something like that to me. I didn’t even know you’d know.” I thought, “Wow, how different I am now to acknowledge the victim mentality I had been living in and not have boundaries. That’s what it did to him. Because I was still living in the dark and the life of trauma drama.
It really created a dangerous emotional place for him. Because we get so caught up in the fight.
Melanie: The defences and security blankets hanging to stuff.
Christal: Yeah. You just get used to fighting and having trauma. If you can imagine your life without that, see who you are instead of that, and have the courage to step into that, then you can live a good life without making things so hard. Things come much easier than before.
Melanie: Christal, that’s the way it’s meant to be. It’s meant to organically glow. We’re told to be in partnership with Source. We’re meant to let go and let God/Source/our Higher Self guide us instead of being led by our fears, wounds, battles, struggles, and repeat patterns. I am so thrilled for you, Christal.
What I love about you is just your beauty. I can’t even imagine the Christal you talk about, who used to be a victim. I’m sure you can’t relate to her either. She’s not there anymore.
Christal: I told my son, “I don’t have many memories of that time when that happened anymore that I can articulate and go back.” Because I used to beat myself up a lot, that was one of the big takeaways – I blessed and accepted the feelings because I alone was there.
It was not good. It’s a very negative space in there. Now, I need a positive space in my head to know it’s not necessarily me doing it or creating when negative things happen. I let that terrible thing be wrong, and I continue being good.
Melanie: I love that. So, Christal, it’s been a joy to have you on this interview, sharing your Thriver story with our beautiful, amazing community. Do you have a final word of love and encouragement to share with our community?
Christal: Be brave and willing to be open. As you become somebody new, just hug that new person because she’s been waiting. She’s been waiting to live. At this later stage in my life, I am not feeling bad that it took me this long. I’m just very appreciative that I got here.
Beautiful message. Many men also work with the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program (NARP), so please click on this link if you feel inspired. This program is for you if you’ve had enough of the pain, or you’re in the shocking battle and you need to get out, or even if you’ve got out from the narcissist but can feel the battle still living on within you.
You CAN free your true self and uplevel into your best life because that’s what thriving is all about. NARP and Quanta Freedom Healing have helped thousands of people from over 150 countries. Saved their life, saved their soul. Myself and Christal would love for you to join them and us in the beautiful community of people we have now – our incredible Thriver tribe.
Christal, thank you, darling, for sharing your story, love, and encouragement, and I will see you around the MTE community.
If you have any questions or comments you would like to send to myself or Christal, please leave them in the comments section below. We would love to continue the discussion about this show with you.