Yesterday I was doing some holiday baking and I reached for the bundt cake pans – the ones I have had for over 25 years. But there was only one, and then I remembered that I only took one when I was planning my escape from the narcissist. I thought he might want to keep one of the bundt pans. How ridiculous is that?
Not only does he not bake, hates Christmas and obsesses over his weight, but it wouldn’t have taken any additional space in the boxes I packed if I had taken both of those tattered old pans. They slip into each other, after all. And besides that, new bundt pans would have cost me $5 each. I know this because when I went to the store to buy a second pan, that is what it cost.
The issue of the bundt cake pans just really brought home for me how unrealistic my mindset had been during the months, weeks and days leading up to leaving the narcissist. I was not thinking clearly or being rational. Of all the things to pack up and take – why bundt cake pans? Or as the case was – pan (singular).
And as it turns out – hindsight being 20/20, there were many, many things that I overthought, feeding into the pool of paralyzing fear and insecurity that kept me with him for far too long in the first place.
This is what happens when you stay with a narcissist. You begin to doubt yourself. You lose self-confidence. My rational mind should have taken over and told myself that whatever the outcome, I would be able to afford not one but two bundt cake pans. But my rational mind was nowhere to be found. I was in survival mode. My irrational mind told me that I would become homeless and would end up using my bundt pan to panhandle for change.
Leaving the narcissist made me feel as if I was dying. It was frightening and I still applaud myself for having the courage to defy all those years of programming and to finally leap and have faith that the invisible net would catch me. After a short initial period of chaos, the fear and anxiety began to lift. And after I realized that I was going to be okay, I did another brave thing. I went No Contact with the narcissist. I gathered enough funds to hire an attorney and I closed downs all forms of communication, including getting myself a new phone and phone number, and forced all communications to go through my attorney. I felt guilty about that at first, because the narcissist had switched from terrorist mode to victim mode. But the guilt left me, gradually. I stopped feeling responsible for his feelings. He certainly didn’t feel responsible for mine.
And then another thing happened. I began dealing with my own life, by myself, and it was so much easier than dealing with life and its inevitable pit falls, with the chaos that the narcissist created. The issues that were once enormous and painful became just small and irritating.
Yesterday as I was sifting powdered sugar over the beautiful banana nut bundt cake I had made (yes, I had to buy a sifter, too!), I chuckled, wondering how that other bundt pan was doing, all alone and abandoned over the holidays. Or maybe the narcissist has found someone who will put it to good use.
May all of your bundt pans be put to good use this holiday season!
Pam McCoy is a writer, author and co-host of Crazybusters.