Two Years With a Narcissist

Dr. Sarah Lyall-Neal
6 min readNov 28, 2021

What I learned about life and love as a result of the abuse

Guy in black suit frustrated in front of laptop

Henry (not even close to his real name) never hit me.

His other actions were enough that violence wasn’t necessary. I was part of a game he was playing and he toed the line until he realized his pawn wasn’t as stupid as he thought.

How we met

We met on a social media platform, I can’t remember which one but I’m guessing Facebook.

He sent me a private message introducing himself. I remember checking out his profile and seeing we were from the same part of the country, the Appalachian region. We also had at least one mutual acquaintance.

I responded and we started talking and he told me about his life in Florida. He had recently retired from the military and was currently embroiled in a custody battle for his three kids.

He explained that when he and his ex divorced, he gave her more custody because he was likely to deploy and she would need to be able to do whatever needed to be done for the kids.

Now that he was retired, he wanted more custody and he felt the state was against him.

He might have been right on this one, dads usually don’t get the same treatment as moms when it comes to custody cases.

I go into detail on this, because little did I know my whole purpose in his life was to be used to support his case.

My life at the time we met

I was in the final stages of my doctoral program and feeling uncertain as to what came next. The only job prospect in the area was with my internship.

They made the offer, I accepted, went to my car, and sobbed all the way home.

I didn’t want the job, the department wasn’t ran well and I felt demoralized. I also felt stuck. I knew student loan payments would be coming as soon as I graduated and I needed to start making money.

I hope this helps you realize where I was when Henry came into my life.

The early-stage

During the first few weeks, we texted constantly. He was ten years older than me and had been in the military for twenty years. He had…

Dr. Sarah Lyall-Neal

Sarah Lyall-Neal, Clinical Psychologist, wife, dog mom, and writer. I write about mental health, health, nutrition, and writing. ❤️