I dedicate all my words to those from my past who want me to stop talking.

Photo of author: Once a writer, always a writer

I used to be a good girl, otherwise known as a girl who only had nice things to say about the men around her and if she didn’t have anything nice to say then she better keep that shit to herself.

I also was a tomboy, backyard pool diving champion, trout farm fisherman, trail rider, horse fanatic, pinball wizard, Holly Hobby enthusiast, Jodie Foster impersonator, banana seat bike expert, ATC survivor, cheerleader-turned-party girl, and all-around so-so big sister who had a knack for finding all the good trouble.

And I used to be a gypsy. …


And why I’m not stopping any time soon

Photo by Alena Jarrett on Unsplash

If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better. Anne Lamott

Everyone and their brother, sister, and mother are talking about narcissists these days. It seems you can’t go a minute without someone tossing the label up in the air and seeing where it lands.

*Oprah’s voice* You’re a narcissist and you’re a narcissist and everyone is a narcissist!

On any given day, you can find article after article written about narcissists. Then there are articles about why we should stop writing about narcissists. And articles about how the word narcissist is overused. …


Living the lie of abuse

Photo of the author during one of her most painful years.

Every so often, Facebook will bring up “memories” of past posts I made. For the most part, I enjoy being reminded of where I was and what I was doing at any given time.

As long as it’s after 2013.

But when “See your Facebook memories from 9 years ago, 10 years ago, 11 years ago” pops up in my notifications, a wash of dread fills my body and sometimes I feel physically sick. Only because I remember the excruciating pain I was in while writing such words like…

So grateful to be with my Latin man on vacation!

I’m…


You can’t totally avoid them, but you can do the next best thing

Photo by René Ranisch on Unsplash

I have always felt pretty confident I can spot a narcissist coming from a mile away. This due to my years of study and research on narcissistic abuse, narcissistic personality disorder, and my own experience of being married to a clinically diagnosed narcissist. And if hindsight were a degree, I definitely got my Ph.D. by now with a minor in hard lessons learned.

However, upon reentering the dating world a couple of years ago, it wasn’t long before I realized just how good narcissists are at disguising themselves when you first meet them. …


How the old and new me get along fabulously.

Photo by Anton Luzhkovsky on Unsplash

Yet another morning arrived when I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the woman who stared back. Her face was puffy. Dark circles hung under her eyes. She looked tired. Exhausted. Maybe even a little crazy, since that’s what a lack of sleep for a long period of time could do.

What’s going on, I asked her. What’s happening to us?

Tears welled up in her eyes. She bit her lip and shook her head, unable to answer.

The figure of the man I loved and had married passed behind me, not even turning my way. I froze and…


A beginning, an ending, and the countdown between

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I was dreaming when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray.

But when I woke up this morning, could’ve sworn it was Judgment Day.

Prince 1999

Ah, the days of counting down, of preparing for Y2K and the worldwide computer meltdown for which the paranoid bought generators and the non-paranoid prepared for a possible interruption in our solitaire game. 1999 was the year of my second wedding, second pregnancy, and second trip to Kauai with my second husband. The first trip being with my first husband for my first honeymoon. …


I did not see that coming

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

“Your husband is a narcissist.”

Had I showered that morning? I couldn’t remember. The days passed by in such a haze that simple tasks like figuring out what to wear became daunting.

By that point in my marriage, I had already tried couples’ counseling with three other therapists, all of whom suggested I might be responsible for the way my husband behaved. Maybe I didn’t show him enough affection, they said. Maybe I hadn’t learned his love language, they suggested. Maybe I didn’t know how to communicate my feelings (apparently “Stop fucking hurting me” wasn’t clear enough). Or maybe —…


You’re only as worthy as they deem you

Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

I was waiting for class to start. I had signed up for a beginner singing class at the local community college. Though I’d been a ballroom dancer and choreographer for many years, my hope was to one day add “singer” to my resume so I could try out for musicals the local theater put on every year.

I hadn’t told my husband what I was doing because at that point in our marriage things had turned from bad to worse. I no longer recognized him. The charm and passion he drowned me in when we first met had been replaced…


And stop calling me Honey

Photo by Clayton Cardinalli on Unsplash

Up until eight years ago, I had never bought a car without a man around to “close the deal.” Whether it was a husband or father, any car lot we entered was male territory as was evident in the Tarzan-like space in which all women were expected to be seen, not heard.

As a woman, I’m quite used to men talking over me or explaining things as though I’m either stupid or a little girl — or both. But this seems amplified any time I’m in the zone of car salesmen. In the past, when I never looked at a…


And puts you at risk for further heartbreak

Photo by René Ranisch on Unsplash

When I escaped my abusive marriage to a clinically diagnosed narcissist, it was like being freed from solitary confinement. I felt like I was seeing the sun for the first time after over a decade in darkness. Not to mention, moving out of Wyoming and returning to my home state of Arizona where the warm sun welcomed me into its arms made my transition all the more literal.

I had both figuratively and literally left the cold and dark behind.

Not surprisingly, I then behaved exactly like a prisoner finally set free would. In many ways, this was a good…

Suzanna Quintana

Abuse Recovery Coach Specializing in Narcissistic Abuse * Top Medium writer * B.A. History * B.A. Women & Gender Studies * www.suzannaquintana.com

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