My name is Julie-Anne. I could never have imagined that I would one day be teaching and supporting others with narcissistic abuse. For a long time whilst being narcissistically abused during a relationship, I had no idea what Narcissistic Personality Disorder or narcissistic abuse was, or that it was happening to me. I had spent well over a decade on my own personal growth as well as working as a coach and teacher myself. I really thought I had it together. However, I was very wrong.
I was born into a toxic, violent and abusive family environment.
When I was six years old my mother left my father and became involved with a religious cult. I experienced emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
I felt very alone, unloved, unaccepted and very different to the rest of my family.
As a child I felt a huge sense of purpose and a sense that I was meant to do something more in the world. I experienced an innate wisdom and being able to see and feel so very deeply, although it was many years before I fully understood what this was about.
Leaving home at sixteen years old, I was hugely determined and tenacious. I had a very self-sufficient demeanour which seemed the only way to survive, but underneath I felt desperately insecure and devoid of any sense of myself or skills for how to navigate life and a very different world from the severely restricted religious world I had left behind. My deep insecurity would particularly rise to the surface each time I went anywhere near having an intimate relationship. Each time I began a relationship I would feel debilitating anxiety and when the relationship ended, all of my childhood trauma would come to the surface and I would literally feel as though I was dying.
Attracting unavailable men and suffering heartbreak over and over again, at aged twenty-four I made a decision to be in a relationship with my best friend to feel safe and escape the pain even though I wasn’t romantically attracted to him. I felt deeply unfulfilled. We were however good friends and were together for ten years, during which time we travelled all over the world together.
Finally finding the courage to leave the relationship, all of my old insecurities and patterns re-emerged.
I embarked on my healing journey and participated and trained in many therapies and healing modalities. I also left the U.K. for the U.S.A. to work with coaches and teachers to heal my relationship patterns. Later, I trained as a Relationship Coach myself.
Living and breathing the principles I had learned, I set an intention to meet the love of my life by the end of the year. Through a series of incredible synchronicities, I met him just a few days before my intended deadline! I loved him with all of my heart, had never been so sure about anything in my life and we committed soon after meeting.
I was living my dream with the love of my life in a beautiful location by the beach, along with teaching women all over the world.
But I began to notice something was very wrong. He had different “personas” He would go from incredibly loving and kind and the person I had fallen in love with, to condescending, cold and distant, switching on a whim.
Part of my deep attraction to him was that he had seemed so committed to personal growth and development, as was I. However, as time went on he began to present himself as my “Spiritual Teacher.” He was highly intelligent and well versed in spiritual principles but would use them to manipulate and control and would tell me that this was all for my “evolution.” He would continually go into what he would describe as “altered states” and “living in other realms of reality,” where his whole demeanour would change and became very frightening. He would twist and manouvre our conversations to his benefit using spiritual principles, which in of themselves were beautiful, yet were being used to coerce me. I didn’t know what I could trust. He also made all sorts of promises and predictions about things that would happen, such as when we would have a new home. Then when they didn’t happen there would be no empathy and he would talk his way out of it with another spiritual principle. I was beyond confused and felt as though I was going completely insane.
I began walking on eggshells and became smaller and smaller until there was nothing left of me. I tried to brace myself each day for which person he would be, sometimes hour to hour or even minute to minute. I would mould myself to try to appease him and keep up with his demands. My life revolved totally around him and his world. I completely lost myself and had no voice, no rights, no me. I felt scared so much of the time.
I experienced a complete lack of empathy, self-responsibility or accountability. I literally felt starved of empathy.
I felt on edge most of the time, blamed and questioned myself constantly and was always apologizing and trying to pacify him.
I carried on teaching, in denial and desperately trying to hold onto him and the “love” I thought I had. My intuition was screaming that there was something very wrong, yet I couldn’t bear the thought of living without him even though my soul was dying a slow death being with him.
Then he would suddenly become the “loving and kind” person again and the person I had fallen in love with. I would tell myself that everything was going to be okay and would find myself justifying the most inhumane behavior. I would just keep telling myself that everything was going to be okay. I so wanted it to be okay. But it wasn’t too long before the horror story started again.
Despite everything, I was convinced we were soul mates and meant to be together. I felt deeply ashamed and abandoned by God given the journey I had been on to attract love. Nothing made sense.
After seven years and with a huge amount of courage, I left for Bali, Indonesia. I had been to Bali several times, loved it there and it was the only place in the world I felt safe enough to be. I had lost my whole identity as I had known it – my relationship, home, family and work.
I felt desperately alone in the world. I started to have major panic attacks and a complete breakdown. Deeply traumatized, I could barely breathe or function. I was also trauma-bonded and addicted to him, still unable to let him go. I couldn’t eat or sleep and my hair was falling out in clumps. Later, the severe stress also brought a bout of Bell’s Palsy and Cervical Dystonia (a neck condition).
Ubud is one of the major healing hubs of the world and I tried all manner of therapies and modalities and while some them had some effect, nothing stuck for very long.
On Christmas morning that year in Bali, I woke up on the floor in my bathroom where I had collapsed the night before. I remember stumbling out to the road just in front of my villa pacing up and down wondering how I was going to carry on and feeling completely lost and hopeless.
My villa owner called an ambulance and I was taken to a local medical clinic. I felt very suicidal and a very kind doctor sat with me just holding my hand and wiping my tears. I couldn’t see how I was going to go on living or how I would ever be able to recover from all the loss of everything/everyone I had known.
A psychiatrist offered me medication, told me I was suffering from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and that the best I could hope for was to manage my symptoms. Yet somehow there was a spark within me that resisted against this.
From there I decided to go to a charitable center in Thailand especially for people who were experiencing conditions such as stress, grief and depression. It was a beautiful place with a loving community, nutritious vegetarian food, therapy sessions and a daily structure of workshops, meditation and yoga. i made some lovely friends from around the world and became close to one of the coaches; a beautiful Buddhist nun called Ani. I was there for four months.
Returning to Bali, I continued to meet some wonderful people from all over the world, as well as the Balinese people who were so loving and kind to me. There was a beautiful lady called Putu. She knew I was suffering and would come to my villa to give me a massage, a Reiki treatment, a yoga class or she would just hold me and wipe my tears. Then there’s the very kind Rusmini, my villa owner, my very own motor-bike driver Swano and Mama, who is always ready with a smile and a delicious veggie lunch. (Photos below were taken on subsequent visits).
During the darkness and despair, I happened to read a book that to my absolute amazement, described my own story. With further research, all the pieces started to make sense as I realized I had suffered severe narcissistic abuse, and in my case it carried a theme of Spiritual/Religious Narcissistic Abuse.
I began to make the connections between my childhood and relationship – abuse all in the name of God. I realized that I had also suffered narcissistic abuse during my childhood. I had unconsciously recreated my childhood through my relationship.
I realized that what I was suffering was severe trauma. This wasn’t something I was going to be able to think myself out of – this time I was going to need to address my wounds for real.
I started to see that rather than being my own source of love, I had always looked for someone else to fill me up and give me what I was not giving to myself. I saw my complete lack of boundaries – I didn’t even know what boundaries were! I saw my over-giving to my own demise and that I literally gave myself away to abusers, doing anything to have the love I had never felt.
I realized that I had unconsciously gone into all my adult relationships with the eyes of a child, trying to have the loving parent and hoping it would be different this time.
I went inside into my body and worked step by step to release the trauma from the narcissistic relationship out of my body and the huge array of conflicting emotions – the shame, the rage, the grief as well as the severe cognitive dissonance – feelings of missing him, feeling sorry for him and urges to reconnect. Then I began the work of meeting and releasing the deep wounds and trauma of my childhood. Along with this, I got to know and love the little girl inside me on a level that I had never yet experienced.
Taking full responsibility for my healing, I worked to heal all of my own co-dependency that had left me susceptible to narcissistic abuse. I allowed myself to fully feel and heal my deep feelings of unworthiness, being unlovable, unwanted and feelings of having no right to exist, along with the feelings of betrayal and injustice.
As I continued to release the trauma, I gained insights into my own behaviors and patterns, empowering me to organically start to change from the inside out. I came home to myself.
During this time I also wrote and recorded an album called “Met by Grace,” which takes the listener on my journey of darkness and despair into the joy of healing, loving myself and soaring high!
I realized my experiences had been a gift and opportunity for me to heal on a profound level and take all of the experience, wisdom, insights and healing gained to support other women.
I also began to experience my own connection with the Divine. Very different from the fearful and punishing God of my childhood and relationship, the Divine I experience is truth, light and complete unconditional love.
The more I healed, the more my outer world reflected my inner world and I began to thrive in all areas of my life. The more healthy and whole I became, the more I attracted healthy people who gave me the kindness, love and respect I was now giving to myself. Now I am so grateful for the experience that brought me to my knees and allowed me to truly heal, be my true self and live the life I was born to live.
I knew with all my soul that the sense of purpose I had always felt ever since I was a child was about to be realized. That feeling had burned within me all along and had carried me through to this point. From here I would need to cultivate the courage to share my story and shine my light in the world and to release all traumas and beliefs getting in the way, which I did.
I created Love is Always Kind to support other women to heal and soar high too, also giving performances where I share my story through my music, offering hope, inspiration and community, which brings me so much joy.
I have dual USA and UK citizenship and enjoy spending time in both countries. I also love going to back to Bali regularly, seeing my beautiful friends there and staying in the same little villa I know so well. Bali holds a very special place in my heart.
I am passionate about this mission I feel to help as many women as possible to heal from the excruciating pain and trauma of narcissistic abuse – whether it’s in childhood, with an intimate partner, in the workplace, in a religious or spiritual context or any other situation. I know the debilitating and relentless pain of feeling unloved, unaccepted and worthless, and I want to hold your hand and gently guide you home to yourself. I know you can heal and soar high into the life and love you truly deserve, and it is my greatest honor to support you. Step by step, breath by breath, you CAN be free.
Abuse is NOT living, it is merely existing. It is NOT love because love is ALWAYS kind.
Please note: I have respect for all faiths and religions as long as they are not used to manipulate, induce fear or are in any way abusive. My story here is in the context of narcissistic abuse and is directed at those who have suffered or are suffering from narcissistic abuse. It is not my intention to present myself as a victim, but rather to inspire and empower those suffering that they can move beyond survival and can heal and live the lives they were born to life with the love they deserve. There is of course much more to my story/life, including the many dark and good times. I hope to one day capture a broader view in a forthcoming book.