Escaping a narcissist; By Elise Smith (Brooke)

Updated: Apr 4

Please see my article on "How to spot a narcissist"

Those that have read my book series "The New Zealand Dream" will know my story. In book two "Growth and Destruction" I share how I spent 8 years living with a narcissist who gradually wore me down and the fateful night he tried to kill me.

Please see my article "You Will Never Take My Soul"

I won't ruin the books for you and share my whole story here. If you want to read about my life journey and the full story, please visit Amazon to purchase my books;

My Story Brief

I meet Alister 17 years ago on a computer course I was attending at the time. I was newly married to a man that was dragging me down; he had a wicked temper and often lashed out violently but had never physically hurt me. Living with him was like looking after a teenager he was very immature, I felt trapped as we had a three-year-old little girl together. I was always picking up after him and doing everything for him as well as looking after our girl. I was on the verge of leaving him, as I may as well do things on my own, I thought.

Alister was a little older than me by four years. He was charming, sweet, and understanding, as they all are at first. He swept me off my feet by writing me poetry, listening to me pour my heart out, and promising me the world.

My husband at the time and I became more and more estranged, he kept saying he was changing but I never saw any results and the violent outbursts increased. He would yell and scream at me frequently frightening me, he would put his fists through walls and our stereo. He sent a pram flying across the room, landing embedded into the wall behind me, while I was nursing his daughter. But the last straw was when he took to our Ute with a hammer. It was decided we would part, and he started a farm job out of town, leaving me with our three-year-old to look after by myself.

Meanwhile, Alister convinced me more and more each day that he was a wonderful person and we grew closer and closer. Months down the track, I found myself in desperate need of help. The hot water cylinder in the rental home I was in burst, and I woke to ankle-deep water throughout the whole house. I had to leave in a big hurry and the only person I could think of to go to for help was Alister. I knocked on his door early hours of the morning and was welcomed into the huge five-bedroom house he was boarding at. The owner Rod offered me and my three-year-old a room for as long as we needed and I gratefully accepted.

I had now known Alister for a little over a year, our friendship changed into a relationship and we spent nearly every day with each other. I had not seen any red flags or warnings, just sugar, and honey. Well, this started to very slowly and sneakily change, subtle cues here and there which, looking back, I recognize as red flags. Our occasional shared drinks at the dining table turned into a daily ritual, everyday someone turned up with a box of beers. Alister would get into horrendous fights when he drank too much, but he promised me he would knock this on the head.

Then both of us got the surprise of our life, I was at the doctor's as I had decided to go on the pill, Alister and I only slept together once. Well, the doctor did a standard pregnancy test first, and the results were positive! We got a bit of a shock as we had only spent one night together, but we pulled ourselves together and Alister said he would be there for me all the way.

I started to recognize now some of the red flags he revealed as we moved ahead in our relationship. The drinking continued and the fighting; he began calling me the odd name; he accused me of sleeping around and said the baby was not his. I wrote him a letter trying to express my feelings, and he did not even read it, instead; he set fire to it, burning it in front of me. I eventually did leave after he pissed the bed one night from drinking too much, then got angry at me for sleeping in my daughter's room instead. I moved into a caravan park and tried to make a fresh start.

Soon Alister wormed his way back into my life and appeared to have changed. He even stopped drinking. We moved into a house together and awaited the baby's arrival. Things were happy for a while, about six months. Then he started drinking again. The name-calling was a daily thing and he would throw things at me too. The name-calling turned into outright abuse and threats against my life, he isolated me from my friends, no one wanted to be around his behavior.

So I kicked him out, and he went to live with his mother. This did not help enough the abuse continued, I went to the police with graphic threats of how he intended to end my life. Then apologies would come again, my heart would melt, the promises and lies I swallowed. This carried on for months.

Finally, I brought my own house and vowed never to let him in. But I did, and things got worse and worse. He became physically abusive, drank even more, and was now taking party pill drugs. The pattern of kicking him out then taking him back continued, I even managed to leave long enough to start another relationship for a year before he saw an end to that with the constant harassment, the baby is now 4 years old.

I put the house on the market and decided the only way to keep him out of my home and life was to leave town. I brought a new house after a year of searching and managed to keep a healthy distance from Alister. I did not stop him from seeing his son as he never did anything bad to him and was good with him. But I would drop him off at Alister at a safe distance and pick him up again the same way. Alister would still abuse me using his phone I learned to never engage in this or face-to-face conversation. If he was not talking about our son, then I ignored him completely. After months of this, Alister stopped the abuse. He had stopped drinking again and was even doing counseling.

Yup, you guessed it: I believed his lies and let him come to the house to see his son. With no abuse going on, no evidence of drinking or drugs, I slowly started to trust him again. I was struggling financially to pay the mortgage and take care of two kids; I was really desperate for help. I became unwell with a pain condition which limited the hours I could work. My boy would always ask where daddy was and when he could see him again, I knew he missed him. I had no luck finding a suitable border or flatmate to share the costs, Alister suggested he could move into the downstairs room and help with costs. Not having any other options, I agreed.

Now that he was back where he wanted to be the whole time, first, the name-calling started back up, then the drinking, and now much worse physical abuse towards me. Often I would have to lock myself in my bedroom and ring the police, or the neighbors would ring the police. The police regularly turned up at our door, they were no help I was only offered patronizing comments such as "you two just need to sit down together, have a cuppa, and talk it out." Despite the broken furniture and holes in the walls, they believed everything was just fine.

This time I sunk into a world of depression and isolation. My self-esteem was non-insistent, I believed his lies. Alister would turn any disagreement or incident into my fault. My health got worse, and I became bedridden. His mother and he took over the house, his mother moving in.

Then came the night that ended everything here is an extract from my book "The New Zealand Dream, Growth and Destruction."

"The sports news was blaring loudly. I had not seen any of the TV shows I enjoyed for days. I flipped the channel to one of my favorite shows, Neighbours, an Australian drama.

‘Who changed the channel?’ Alister’s mother bellowed from the dining room.

‘What do you think you are doing?’ Alister yelled at me.

‘I’d like to watch this. The news is finished,’ I replied.

‘No, it bloody well is not!’ his mother screamed back.

I dug my heels in. This high and mighty queen thought she owned the place. Alister and I were arguing and yelling. His mother joined in. Both were verbally attacking me harshly. I got angry and stood my ground. This was my house, and I was not about to tolerate being disrespected again, not in my own home!

The bitch began to compare me to my dead mother, putting her down, claiming I was like her, and calling my mother names! The nasty hag had never even sat and had a drink with my mother before. She did not know her one bit! The words she spat were all aimed to tear me down, as weak as I already was. She knew what could break me and went in for the kill.

Her demeaning, insulting words hit the air. Something snapped, something deep inside me. I saw red! My hands shook. I heaved my aching body from the couch. I stared at her sitting at my dining room table, smoking cigarettes. Complete and utter rage exploded from deep in my belly. I do not know where I got the strength from. Everything slowed down like a slow-motion movie. I lost control.

I scanned the room for anything I could throw at her. I wanted her to hurt as she had hurt me. I wanted her to feel the pain she so lavishly dished out! I grabbed the ashtray in front of her and hurled it straight at her head. The force was so intense it sped through the air, wiped through her hair on the top of her head, and embedded into the wall above her, missing her by millimeters!

Seeing this sent Alister into a spin. He was roaring at me so loudly. All I could hear were swear words.

‘Get the Fuck out of my house, leave!’ I yelled.

I kept on telling them to leave; they refused. I grabbed the telephone. ‘Get out or I’ll call the police!’ I screamed at them.

Alister sped towards me. I dragged myself down the hall as fast as I could. I could lock myself in my bedroom until the police arrived. He was too quick. I collapsed on my bed, my legs giving out with the intense pain.

Like a flash, he was on me, holding me down. He dug his knee into my legs, pushing all his weight against me. I was alarmed and aware this could encourage the blood clots to move. I was in critical danger! He was still screaming at me. His mother was in the room watching him, egging him on, and yelling abuse at me.

I caught a glimpse of Conor by the bedroom door. He was crying and telling them to stop. He vomited on the carpet. I tried with all my strength to push Alister off me to get free. The pain increased. Tears streamed down my face, blinding my vision. He grabbed my throat with both hands, squeezing the life out of me. Holy shit! He was going to kill me! I wriggled under his weight. He held my arms above my head, pinning me with one arm while he continued to squeeze my neck harder and harder. Fear filled me, the air in my lungs left my body, and my eyes rolled back into my head. All I could hear now was a sharp ringing noise in my head.

Pictures flew through my mind, memories, Bella’s birth, Conor’s birth, my mother. This CANNOT be the end! He was not about to stop until I was done. I stopped moving, became still. With the little air I had left in my lungs, I held my breath and closed my eyes. Yes, thank God it worked. He thought I was dead. He stopped, took his hands off my neck, and stood.

As soon as he did, I gathered all the strength I could muster and booted him hard in the knee. This threw him off balance. He stumbled backward. I screamed as loudly as I could this time, wanting the neighbors to call the police! I leaped to my feet, kneed him in the groin, and scrambled out of the room. Grabbing Conor along the way, I stumbled outside to the letterbox. There under the streetlights, in front of the whole street, I knew he would not follow. Anyone could be watching. I used the cordless telephone I’d snatched on the way out and rang the police.

The police arrived soon after. They took statements; they did not ask me if I wanted to press charges, neither were they forthcoming with any information as to how I could protect myself from Alister. I was so exhausted I could barely move. They took Alister and his mother away in the police car, not to the police station to lock them away where they belonged, but a free ride back to his mother’s house."

The healing

I am writing a conclusion to this story and how I found my healing in my last book in "The New Zealand Dream" series, called "The healing," this is due out at the end of this year.

Since writing and sharing my story, I have discovered healing by being able to give hope and inspiration to others. I have written many articles about my journey, please check them out on this blog, "Be Aware of a narcissist," "The cycle of abuse and violence," "Boundry setting," and "Self Love." These are the lessons I learned to escape and then heal from a narcissist, I don't write these to ask for sympathy but to save someone else from falling into the eight-year trap I lived in that nearly cost me my life.

It took me and my children another seven years to heal from Alister's abuse in our lives some scars are still healing today.

In January this year, Alister died at age 47 and left me, his son, and this world for good. I remember thinking many times before we would be better off without him, but I never wished him dead, I just don't have that sort of hate in my heart. I believe that hanging onto my bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness would only keep me imprisoned and I would never be free. I had to accept that I would never receive an apology or even an admission of guilt.

Without forgiveness I could not heal, when I say forgiveness I do not mean what I had previously done, allowing him back into my life. I mean breaking the strongholds he had over me and letting him go, handing him over to the higher power.

In January this was put to the ultimate test; despite our history, I now put all that aside, for this time was not about me and celebrating my freedom. Our son is only 16 years old and is now left without a father to who he was very close. This time was all about him, I found the strength deep within my soul to face Alister's family, to be kind, to comfort my son, and wish Alister nothing but peace.

Now I truly know I have healed and escaped a narcissist.

Rest in Peace Alister

Elise Brooke

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