About a year ago, at the height of a legal battle against a narcissistic ex, after showing up to court for a hearing on an "emergency motion" I had filed five months prior, my attorney got "stuck in traffic" and failed to show. That night, I vowed to help others facing similar situations —and here we are.
The word "narcissism" is being tossed around so much these days that no one seems to care what it means, much less take it seriously. And why would they since 99.9% of the population embodies at least one trait? Take Instagram, for example. Out of the 1+ BILLION people sharing content on this platform, how many of them — do you see — spend the majority of their time posting flawlessly (filtered) selfies of themselves draped in lavish luxury? I'll tell you how many: a LOT, and I'm willing to bet that none of them give a shit about you (except me, of course).
But there is another side to all of this that is impossible to see through a filtered lens on social media, and it is fucking scary. People who have narcissistic personality disorder are terrifying because you rarely see them coming and most refuse to seek medical treatment. Instead, they suck you in with inauthenticity, using fabricated charm, playfulness, or extravagant gifts to lure you in, and attack when you least expect it —harassing you in private while publicly spreading lies to turn people against you. The manipulation that goes on behind the scenes is intolerable; it explains why no one ever believes a victim and why the (family) court system is so broken.
Still, it is tough to know what to believe when you're dealing with an experienced con-artist. There is a reason psychologists call them master manipulators; because they have no morals or boundaries and know how to twist reality to get what they want, and if you've ever had the displeasure of meeting someone like this, I'm genuinely sorry.
While many go through life never having to face a true narcissist in a court of law — Lucky You! — the number of people who have is astounding. There are thousands, if not millions, of victims of narcissistic abuse hiding out in private groups online because they are too afraid (with good reason) to speak openly about their experiences. Even scarier, the vast majority of these individuals are mothers and fathers of small children who are court-ordered to spend time with an abusive parent. Honestly, I could write an entire series on the legal debauchery that goes on behind courtroom walls, but not today.
If you had warned me ten years ago that the person I was living with could cause such much harm to so many people, I would have rolled my eyes and ignored you as I did. Learn from my mistakes and heed the warning before you end up in a similar boat without a paddle. The relentless harassment lasted years; it's what happens when you co-parent with someone of this caliber. Every day, for hours on end, my phone would chime and whistle with threats and verbal assaults from someone I thought I knew. My anxiety got so bad at one point that my hair began falling out, and then my doctor told me I was at risk for heart attack. No one should ever have to live this way, yet SO MANY PEOPLE ARE.
I recently spoke with a friend who wasted as much time and money as I did fighting the system. Like me, she is a digital creator with a wicked sense of humor, and the two of us joked about how hard it is to "be funny" when your life is falling apart. While comedy plays a vital role in my social media presence, it does not represent the whole of me as it should, and its time to make some changes. My daughter was two-years-old when I started writing my "little blog," as it was often referred to by a non-supportive former in-law. While standing in the kitchen one day, being interrogated about which publications were paying me and feeling like a complete failure, I realized that the apple was standing right next to the tree. Why did it take so long to see it?
I've always believed in keeping it real, so why not shake some toxic trees with pesticide by promoting dialogue. Come out, come out, wherever you are. Let's build this village together. Toxique, French for Toxic, is the upshot of verbal torment. It is the reason I created this column and the origin of the fire burning in my soul to this day. If you're on Instagram, consider this your personal invitation to join my public crusade, where we will shed light on serious issues while sharing a few laughs. Besides, keeping our mouths shut doesn't protect us; it only protects them.
UPDATE: This morning, the Instagram post shared in this article was removed from my account without warning. There is absolutely no reason this post should have been removed, other than someone (most likely a frenemy or former relative) related to my case flagging it as inappropriate, but I think it's important to recognize how often our voices go unheard. While this incident confirms why private groups are so popular, it won't stop me from speaking my truth, and it shouldn't stop you either. Keep fighting the good fight, friends. Rid yourself of toxins and be a good person. Karma always wins in the end.