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. …


The difference will either make or break you

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It wasn’t until I was in my mid-forties when I finally learned what abuse actually looked like.

That’s right…45 fricking years of putting up with behavior I had normalized since it lacked the physical component to define it.

And even then, even when I had my life demolished by a clinically diagnosed narcissist who used every weapon in his arsenal to destroy me and our children, I still couldn’t wrap my head around what abuse included since I’d spent my entire life seeing it through the lens of someone who had never been physically harmed. My pain didn’t look black…


How they take “stabbing you in the back” to a whole new level

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Sometimes the people you’d take a bullet for are the ones behind the trigger. ~Unknown

My ex-husband, a clinically diagnosed narcissist, used to keep a machete under the mattress on which we slept. Whenever I changed the sheets, I often took it out to look at it, sliding the long slender blade out of its leather sleeve. I was both fascinated and horrified by it since it slept underneath me every night, its presence supposedly designed to make me feel safe, yet I felt anything but.

It was sharp and could quietly slice through a piece of paper as my…


Those tough but necessary lessons we all need to learn

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We all know the saying: The truth will set you free.

When it comes to healing after narcissistic abuse, however, the subtitle should read: But first, it’s going to hurt like hell.

The reason is due to the uncomfortable and painful lessons that loving a narcissist brings. Like when we’re little and learn that Santa isn’t real, our bubble of naivety and innocence is burst to bits as the truth steams toward us like a runaway train…with us still on the tracks.

Since narcissists use such tools as gaslighting and projection (known as the “crazy-makers” for those of us on…


At least in his words

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There is a scene toward the end of the movie Private Benjamin where the woman played by Goldie Hawn discovers a necklace that isn’t hers in the bed of her fiancé, played ever so arrogantly by Armand Assante. The necklace belongs to their young housekeeper, a woman who when confronted starts to cry and swears that it fell off while she was making the couple’s bed.

Because of previous red flags in the relationship, Goldie’s character, Judy, angrily confronts her soon-to-be husband, Henri, of cheating. …


And puts you at risk for further heartbreak

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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…


Fourth grade did not disappoint. Though my father did.

photo of the author in fourth grade

His name was Bobby.

The boy I kissed. Not the scar. Although that would make sense to name it after him.

We were in fourth grade together and I was nine. As any early Gen Xer knows, by this age I was already several years into my status as a latchkey kid. Walking to and from school with my little brother in tow was normal, as was coming home to an empty house and taking care of ourselves before our parents got home from work.

It was the seventies. You really had to be there.

Fourth grade was the year…


My least favorite day of the year

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As a single mom and abuse recovery coach, I often use Father’s Day to post something directed at other single moms or abuse victims who had less than stellar fathers. And trust me, there are a lot of us out there.

Yesterday, however, as another Father’s Day crawled along as it always does in my home (or maybe just in my head), I couldn’t summon up the desire to put a post together for social media. …


The devil doesn’t need an advocate

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Random commenter on Medium referring to my belief that narcissists should be held accountable for their acts of cognizant abuse:

I feel sorry for you that you’re so cynical and don’t believe everyone is capable of change. All people are born innocent and are good at their core.

I totally agree with a small part of this person’s comment. But in context with the bigger point? No.

Just no.

First, no need to ever feel sorry for me. Pity never got me anywhere, certainly not self-pity. When I was in the deep dark hole of despair, otherwise known as narcissistic…


And other ironies that came with being married to a narcissist

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A traffic jam when you’re already late

A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break

It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife

It’s meeting the man of my dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife

And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

Alanis Morissette

He got the bumper sticker from the men’s Christian group, Promise Keepers, whose mission was to help men live with integrity. On a blue background, it said: I LOVE MY WIFE with a red heart in place of the word love. …

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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