How to work through self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness when dealing with traumatic events like abusive and toxic relationships

I began writing a book in January 2018 called You Are Enough: 5 Steps To Move From Struggle To Strength.  I had no idea where my book would go and if people even cared to read what I had to say. However, I was in the midst of such personal turmoil and heartbreak that writing for me was a way of processing all of my hurt.  

I met Mr. N at age 34 when I moved to California and joined the Air Force as an officer. We had a whirlwind of a romance and it progressed very quickly. That was the first red flag, but I was so wrapped up in how much he loved and adored me, that I ignored my intuition and fell deeply in love with him.

We began dating in October 2012 and were engaged five months later on Valentine’s Day 2013. We got married in October of the same year. Our wedding was in Napa, California, and it was, to say the least, absolutely perfect. A fairy tale.

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One moment I think I’m living the life of my dreams. I had fallen in love. I finally found the “one.” The one person with whom I could enjoy my dream life. Things were going so well, and this person seemed to be everything I could’ve ever hoped for. He seemed to know exactly how to make me feel loved and how to fulfill my every need. Life was wonderful. Everything was perfect!

But then the unthinkable happened.

The person who once seemed to adore me began to change. He seemed annoyed, unhappy, and started saying and doing things that made me feel uneasy, criticized, anxious, and confused. I could bring up so many behaviors that I thought was out of character about him at the time, but it actually revealed exactly who he was all along.

There are many traits to look for when it comes to diagnosing someone as a narcissist. One of these traits is called Love bombing. Love bombing is an attempt to influence another person with over-the-top displays of attention and affection. We’re not just talking about romantic gestures, like flowers and trips. Love bombing invariably includes lots of romantic conversation, long talks about “our future,” and long periods of staring into each other’s eyes. It’s the combination of words and deeds that make love bombing so powerful.

Mr. N never controlled me—like telling me I couldn’t go out with my friends or wanting to know where I was every minute. He actually encouraged me to spend time with friends, and honestly did not care what I did or who I talked to. I now realize it was a way of controlling me because I gave him full access to my life because I actually wanted him to care about what I was doing and who I was talking to. He closed me off to his entire life, so I gave him access to mine. This included my phone, computer, friends, you name it… all in the hopes that he would do the same. He never did.

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The behavior escalated. I caught Mr. N in hundreds of lies, being disloyal, and having an affair for over 14 months of our 2.5-year marriage. But despite all of the atrocious things he did, it was me who was treated like “the enemy.” Mr. N refused to be accountable, was not genuinely remorseful, and despite being so caring and concerned for my well-being in the past, at this point in time, he treated me as if I didn’t exist.

Over time I began feeling even more bewildered. I began questioning myself and questioning if I was the crazy one. This is called gaslighting.  Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person, in order to gain power, makes someone question their reality. As I began researching more about narcissism and gaslight, I immediately became overwhelmed with emotions when I was able to confirm that the following statements support the behavior of who and what a narcissist is, and that Mr. N, indeed, fits the criteria:

  1. They tell blatant lies.
  2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.
  3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.
  4. They wear you down over time.
  5. Their actions do not match their words.
  6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.
  7. They know confusion weakens people.
  8. They project.
  9. They try to align people against you.

This is what I dealt with for the last five years of my life. Mr. N, who used to “adore me like no other,” made me begin to believe I was “never good enough.” I was blamed for all of the problems in the relationship, no matter how much I tried to explain, prove, fix things, or justify myself.

He made me out to be the crazy one. He had everyone believing that it was my fault the relationship wasn’t working. He convinced our friends and family that I was a liar and a horrible person, and that he was the abused one. The perpetual insults, micro-managing, distrust, put-downs, and threats shattered my self-esteem and confidence.

Mr. N filed for divorce in 2014 and pulled the papers 3 different times. He kicked me out of our home on 2 different occasions but would always ask for me back. Our divorce was final in 2016.

Mr. N stayed in my life for the next 2 years. He would contact me telling me he missed me, made the wrong decision with divorcing me and even took me on a few dates. I believed everything he said to me and I allowed him to come in and out of my life and control me. I was still fully committed to him even after he divorced me.

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Despite the horrific abuse I dealt with from Mr. N, I stubbornly clung to the dream. I kept praying, fighting for, and clawing away to try to get him to return to being the man I thought I had married. Like a drug addict, I kept seeing him and hid it, even after we were divorced.

Rather than getting better, dramatically and rapidly the punishment and abuse got worse. My shame, hopelessness, and powerlessness spiraled down into a black hole. It was so very difficult to accept that the “love of my life” was now maliciously deceiving, abusing, controlling, and deliberately hurting me.

Mr. N was there stripping me of my confidence, my mental, emotional, and physical health. He stripped away all belief in myself, which left me convulsing in the gutter while he pranced away with his “goodies,” otherwise known as my heart and the things that were closest to me— including my dogs, family, and friends.

Basically, the people that judge, attack, and criticize the most are deeply unhappy with their own inner being. This is what a narcissist does, but does so to the extreme. That is why Mr. N was never happy. He would idealize me, devalue me, and finally discard me. After some time had passed, he would be back in my life doing exactly the same thing. It was a cycle that continued for years.

I realized Mr. N—who I thought was my dream come true—is, in fact, my worst possible nightmare. In February 2018 I realized that this was the end. There was no going back. This realization made the trauma even more unbearable. My faith in life felt shattered.

I ruminated over so many self-sabotaging thoughts and questions, such as how would I ever get free from the obsessional thought loop about the utter cruelty, contempt, and trauma I endured? How do I ever regain trust, belief in myself, and self-confidence when it was all taken away from me? How was I going to find closure?

Did Mr. N ever apologize? Did Mr. N ever repay the money and property he ripped away from me? Did Mr. N ever go around to his family, friends, and networks, where he smeared my image, to fess up to his lies?

No, of course not.

So what did I do to find closure? I began working my 5-Step System. I learned that my closure has nothing to do with him. Rather, it has absolutely everything to do with me. My unfolding and my inner being.

Once I began re-engaging in the 5-Steps, I was able to find closure. I was released from being an anxious, traumatized, powerless, depressed, PTSD-ridden woman to being an expanded, healthy, and prosperous one.

I am finally able to say again that I am enough. And I 100% truly believe it!I  No longer judge or blame my former self. I am thankful for the “old” me because “she” brought me to my knees.

So many of us, while surviving our wounds and simply living our lives, have yet to awaken to our true power and how amazing life really is meant to be for all of us. The truth is: this agony that you have felt powerless to change, you actually do have the power to change the circumstances. Whether it be in a relationship, career, or mindset, the power is within you. You have to get to a point where you no longer manage your internal traumas. Instead, you need to purposefully release those traumas and mental blocks to finally begin to believe you are enough!

Surround Yourself with the Right Team

This has to be my favorite hack.

The value of having a great team behind you cannot be measured but trust me, when you finally have the resources to build a great team, you’ll say to yourself, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

A team can mean so many things to different people, a team can be hiring a rockstar group of contractors, a team can be a group of business colleagues that keep you accountable but also keeps you sane.

The most successful online course creators know that they need to ask for help when it’s important. You can get to where you want to go faster with the right support helping you along the way. All in all, remember to trust your gut and your judgment.

Being an online course creator can be one of the most rewarding things that you can do in your business.

We can get lost in our head at times and the passive income is a big draw but remember who you are creating courses for, your online audience.

Keep them in the loop, get them involved, ask them questions and let them know what’s coming next.

About the Author

Megan Fenyoe

Megan R. Fenyoe is a Veteran, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Transformational Mindset Coach, Best Selling Author, Professional Speaker and Host of The Blonde Bombshell Podcast. She is a contributing writer for Thrive Global and also owns her own health food franchise through the Juice Plus+ Company.

Megan is an Amazon Best Selling Author who recently published her book You Are Enough: 5 Steps To Move From Struggle To Strength. Megan has been featured on SiriusXM Radio including the Jenny McCarthy show, TV/Radio Shows, multiple podcasts, as well as various magazines.

As a Transformational Mindset Coach, Megan will transform your negative self-talk into positive self- empowerment believing you are ENOUGH! How does she do this? She takes you through her proven 5 Step program that will move you from struggle to STRENGTH.

WHAT’S DIFFERENT: Megan has gone through many struggles throughout her life most recently being involved in a narcissistic abusive marriage. For many years she was living a life without meaning and purpose. Megan has successfully transformed every area of her life using her proven 5 Step System and is now living a vibrant, beautiful life. A life where she truly believes she is more than ENOUGH.

Megan’s passion and purpose in life is to share her story in hopes to support and encourage others to believe they are more than ENOUGH!

meganfenyoe.com

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