I am real, but I am not A.J. Regal Posts

1950s photo of a couple on opposite ends of a couch, staring into space, not willing to talk with one another.
“If he thinks I’m going to apologize, he’s got another thing coming. I don’t care how badly I hurt him. This is my life.
And I can treat others however I like,” thought every narcissist throughout the history of the world.

(Trigger Warning: If you yourself have been a victim of emotional abuse, please proceed with caution.)

It happened so many times that all of the details have blurred together in my memory. I can’t describe a particular context or setting, but I know one thing for certain: it happened dozens of times, and it followed the same script every time.

Early in our marriage, my wife had successfully trained me to not respond when her words or actions caused me to feel demeaned or inferior, not until at least a few days had passed.

“You bring up these criticisms too soon,” she had told me, amid a handful of other similar, arbitrary restrictions.

denial perception trauma

Three monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

The low ceiling of acceptance

Randi recently shared an unusual story with me. She works as a guardian for vulnerable adults, and this past Fall she came to understand two very different versions of a situation involving one of her wards.

After speaking to the parties involved, Randi understood the details of both sides of the matter very well. She knew that only one version could be true, she understood which one was true, and which one was false.

Yet that didn’t stop her from concluding with those most peace-loving, non-judgmental words of all:

The truth is somewhere-in-between.

The value of pity

Imagine that your neighbor, the woman next door, breaks down and tells you through her tears that, unbeknownst to you, her husband physically abuses her. She shows you the bruises under her shirt. You see the evidence.

denial sacred cow trauma

What happens to a person when society must deny that they exist?

a unicorn looking across a snowy plain

“I MATTER! I MATTER, I MATTER, I MATTER!” the words screamed through my skull on that sunny late afternoon just two Augusts ago.

Just minutes before, I was standing in our kitchen, arguing with my wife, my covert narcissist abuser of over 30 years. I didn’t know it at the time, but her capacity to manipulate and exploit me had recently grown to new and devastating heights.

What we were arguing about, I can’t honestly remember. What I remember most vividly, though, was the point when I asked, I pleaded, for her to stop ramping up emotionally.


Have you ever wondered what life must be like for someone whose life experience is completely different from your own, though the person doesn’t appear on the outside to be very different from you at all?

Ever wonder what it must have been like for a person to have been:

Given up for adoption as a result of fear and shame?

Raised by two emotionally abusive parents, one a rage monster, and the other a shame machine?

Raised as the stereotypical golden child of the family, the one who can do no wrong?

Identified as gifted early on in school, only to have to repeat a grade later because of a clerical error?

Shamed for loving things that other children were allowed to love?

Raised, morally speaking, by fictional characters like Captain America, Batman, and Spider-Man?

Discouraged for trying new things that other children could freely enjoy?

So broken inside that, upon reaching adulthood, you believed you couldn’t ever love or be loved, and that you’d be a failure at adult life?

recovery trauma