It has been two years since I have started my healing journey after a toxic relationship. This morning, I remembered the first six months of counseling and all the frustration that had come with it.

While I had been struggling to overcome the trauma from my most recent encounter with a malignant narcissist, there had been nothing else I had been wanting to talk about but him. It had been important to me to leave a verbal testimony in case something would happen to me or other women involved.

My counselor had been trying to shift my focus on myself instead. Looking back, I realized this morning that I had been looking for security outside of myself rather than building the security and stability on the inside first as the first responder; a term misused by our authorities to describe a person we would call for help.

We are always the first responder on site when something happens to us. Therefore, we need to build our own coping and defense mechanisms to be able to protect ourselves first and before others can arrive in order to help us. This means to become mentally and emotionally stronger by healing any pre-existing wounds (often from childhood), understand and process ourselves and our past, and learn to establish and execute our boundaries as a responsible adult. It is our boundaries and our intuition that we as first responders need to have in place and fully rely on to guide and protect us.

It had taken me another six months (a year in total) until all of this had finally made sense and until I became the person I used to be but stronger and wiser than ever before; a mature and self-responsible adult one might say, who won’t tolerate any abusive behavior in her life any longer. Another year later, today, it seems like an inexpressible feeling that can only be felt on the inside; a feeling of peacefulness, security, and stability that only comes with healing and focusing on yourself.

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