***Possible Trigger Warning
There are numerous programs in correctional institutions in which perpetrators are asked to write apology or forgiveness letters to their victims. Survivors, (especially domestic violence survivors) receiving a letter, reveals where the incarcerated abuser/ perpetrator is mentally...it's a way to safeguard yourselves and be prepared when they are released. I'm sure there are letters that are genuine and in reading them, you get a sense that the time spent in prison has changed their heart. However, there are other letters that when read you can tell are merely a "requirement" for a program to reduce time on their sentence and the words on the pages are empty and meaningless; the letter I received, was the latter...
My mom had reservations about me sharing my letter publicly, yet I was very clear on my motivation to share it.
On the contrary, I had no reservations in regard to lighting his identity on fire and revealing who he really is...
...and the narcissist tactics he and other narcs use. I see it as a learning tool not only for myself but others to be able to identify the behavior of a narcissist..even in their apologies.
Background for Video:
Anyone that has followed my story of abuse (possible trigger warning) knows I've been vulnerable and transparent about all aspects of it, from my insecurities and abandonment issues to my lack of self-worth that kept me bound to the relationship in an unhealthy way. It's not always easy to share vulnerable moments. However, I feel there is a purpose in the pain and a platform God gave me to uplift, support, and advocate for victims and survivors and educate people regarding the not always visible signs of abuse. Therefore, when I read the "apology" letter from my incarcerated abuser last year, I decided to share it because I felt it gave another glimpse into a narcissist relationship's strange dynamics.
Narcissistic abuse is often a component found in abusive domestic relationships, yet it's difficult for those who have experienced it to articulate and put it into words. Anyone that has ever been in a relationship with a narcissist knows they may apologize for many reasons, but none of which are because they are genuinely sorry. Instead, apologies are another tool in their toolbox of manipulation, used to their advantage for their calculated moves.
When I first read the letter, I had a ton of emotions; anger being the leading one! The letter pissed me off, to think this man nearly beat me to death in the most unmerciful way, more than once, then had the audacity to write this pathetic lying-ass letter! To read the lie/excuse about me being an alcoholic and addict infuriated me! As I said in the video, I am not ashamed to be vulnerable; so having the courage to admit any issues with dependencies is not anything I would be ashamed of IF I had them. Yet, to lie and say my fake addiction and alcoholism contributed to the reason he nearly took my life was total BS!
Once the anger subsided, I truly felt a more significant reason this letter found me, yet what was its purpose?
We learn the greatest lessons in the things that we suffer.
I've always said he was one of my greatest teachers...this letter proved that he was still teaching me.
This letter was confirmation of the dysfunctional life I lived for nearly eight years. Some events are a blur, and others are still clear as if they happened this morning. This letter was confirmation that the years of lies, manipulation, gaslighting, and making me question myself, were the only real thing in the relationship! Thankfully, I have seen and felt the bright glow and warmth of a healthy relationship (thank you, JESUS); the past dysfunctional cold darkness tends to haunt me from time-to-time; these haunting cold moments are something we survivors call triggers or PTSD.
The letter was triggering. However, it reminded me how far I've come in managing those triggers and how blessed I am to have survived, not only the physical assaults that nearly took my life but also the emotional ones that almost sent me to the crazy house!
I replaced the anger with gratitude and thanked God for giving me a glimpse into this man's mental stability (or lack thereof). I am grateful to be a stronger woman, no longer emotionally influenced to second guess my worth, intentions, and sanity based on someone else's perceptions.
The letter was a reminder of my favorite quote by Maya Angelou:
"When a person shows you who they are, believe them the first time."
I believe this man took his mask off and revealed himself a long time ago, and apparently, this letter was just proof of who he was and still is.
Here is a link for the article 10 Surprising Reasons Why Narcissists Apologize that I referenced in the video.