Petrification: Can I Break Out?


I’ve been trying to put into words what is happening to me right now, and I’ve been complete unsuccessful.  Last week I realized that I feel dirty.  My skin feels sullied, and I want to tear it off.  At first I thought it was just my skin, and that if I could cure that part of myself, I’d be okay.  Unfortunately, it goes so much deeper then my skin.  I feel like my soul has been soiled.  I feel paralyzed.  The only way I can find to describe it is to reference Harry Potter, the Sorcerer’s Stone.  In it, the  process of pertrification is described as follows:


Victims of petrification are paralysed and unmovable, and seem to be unconscious; it takes careful examination to discern whether a victim is petrified or dead. ….A petrified ghost will turn a dark smoky grey and can only be moved using a fan


I feel like the petrified ghost.  There is nothing left in me except a dark, smoky grey of shame and disgust.  Other survivors of covert narcs describe it as feeling like an empty shell.   Until recently I would have described it that way also.  Now, though, it feels like so much more. I know all of the basics at this point.  I understand that I was a pawn in a game that I didn’t even know I was playing, because I wasn’t playing a game – I was living a life in love. I understand the techniques used to keep me in my place, I’m aware of the part I played, and the effect it had on me.

While I knew that it was my standing up for myself that ended our relationship, I didn’t quite understand how that worked until now.  I took myself off of his game board.  In an ironic twist, shortly after he left I wrote to him that he was behaving like a spoiled child, taking his ball and going home, refusing to play because he didn’t get his way.  How true those words were!  Once I let it be known that I would no longer be his pawn, that’s exactly what happened – he  left for someone who would play.  The only difference in that statement was it was I who took my ball and went home; I was the one who ended the game; refused to play under his rules.

I feel physically nauseous when I think back to how his relationship with the current GF played out.  I know that he was seeing her in May of 2013, because he ran a 10K with her.   I didn’t know at the time who “she” was, but I knew there was a she because he isn’t a runner.  He never has been, and he isn’t now that he’s hooked her.  I took the boys down to meet him at the finish line and was thoroughly embarrassed when, after seeing him finish, he disappeared for 45 minutes while we waited for him.  Of course he had to wait to greet her when she finished, and I knew that was what was happening.  Shame on me, I guess, for having taken my children there.  They, also, were embarrassed and confused.  There was no possible way for him to have “missed us” after we greeted him at the finish line, and they knew that.  My eldest probably guessed what was happening, but of course never said anything.  Sensing my fury when he finally “found” us, he decided it was the perfect time to have an early Mother’s day.  We rushed home, he and the boys quickly wrapped some extremely lame gifts, and he took us out for dinner to celebrate his run and my Mother’s day.  Just writing this leaves me feeling  shame and disgust seeping from every pour of my body.  It leaves me wishing that giant celestial fan would come blow me away, right now.

I see that their relationship must have been relatively new at the point, because when I told him, a month later, that I had cancer, he said nothing for 3 days.  Literally – Nothing.  I knew he was discussing with his GF what to do.  What I didn’t know was that he was actually feeling her out to see if she was primed enough to take him on.  Was she far enough along in the grooming process to take him in?  I guess she wasn’t, because at the end of those 3 days he came home and did his hero posturing:   took me in his arms and assured me, in his best Cary Grant voice, that “we” would get through this together.  Who else would go along with this, except a person in a state of petrification?  At that point I was the empty, grey ghost, going any which way the fan blew me.  When I think back to that moment, I remember how paralyzed I felt, how frozen I was in despair and confusion, how the cancer was almost a relief, because it offered a potential way out.

This process of recovery from the state of pertification  seems like a hurdle much too high to jump.  The only way out is to feel all of the feelings I’ve ignored for the past 22 years and, even if I do  this, there is no guarantee that I’ll ever feel whole, let alone be able to trust anyone ever again.  Every time I fully ponder the “journey” ahead of me I start feeling like I’m suffocating.  There have been several times over the past few weeks that I’ve wondered if I’m having heart issues, I have been so physically effected by this.   I have no idea how to reclaim my soul; how to free myself from this state of emotional paralysis I am in.

Implementing boundaries, working on self-compassion, writing, meditating, learning – these are all tools, aimed at chipping away at the stone I’ve become.   These tools though, feel like a chisel, when what I really need is a jack-hammer to free me.  Does anyone have one I can borrow?


This is a great read.  It quite accurately describes the entire process, as well as the state we are left in.  The entire site is a great resource.

9 thoughts on “Petrification: Can I Break Out?

  1. well you can officially change your site title, now! no longer the wife 🤘👍😁
    so many things spoke to me in this. i am SO glad you are out there writing it too (ive just begun..) – i never imagined there were so many girls out there experiencing the same thing, even though I didn’t know what it was at the time. ive been out a year and a half and, like you, knew I’d have to walk through the mud to hopefully find ‘me’ on the other side, and that i didn’t know who ‘me’ was anymore or how deep the mud was, or if I’d ever even make it there. let ALONE trust someobdy again. !!

    but you CAN. im living proof i made it to the other side. i want to find women out there, like you, and write their stories (as well as my own). dont get me wrong im still knee-deep in ptsd triggers and symptoms, and CONSTANT learning, growing, meditating, etc also…. but i did make it. in terms of what you’re talking about: the stone does burst open.

    you know what happily surprised me?? re-finding mysef turned out to be the most beautiful, empowering (beautiful..) process and im actually thankful i couldnt skip that part (like id wanted). so. it’s possible, and it CAN be glorious! worth the reward, if you will.
    and if (once) you change your title…. you can create an identity one small block at a time that is YOU and not him✨

    cheers girl, keep going… with Love,


  2. Hang in there, Sister… I have a jackhammer 🙂
    I just separated from my psychopathic narcissist husband a few weeks ago… He was so offended, that he ran off and got a new house, car, job….life… Behind my back (while he supposedly at a training seminar for his new job- ha!), and has bacsically been giving the kids an I the silent treatment ever since. He couldn’t stand the fact that I ended it, so he is doing everything he can to try and re-traumatized me. He’s literally going down the list of every tactic he used the last time I tried to leave him- the period of time that ended with me having nightmares and flashbacks, and full-out C-PTSD symptoms.
    I know that empty feeling all too well. The native cultures call what narcissists do to us, Soul Rape. (Fitting isn’t it?) it’s also known by the term dissociation. The answer? A soul retrieval. Seriously. And some really other powerful processes that I’ve recently been given. I’ll be writing about all of this on my blog- as soon as I’m done with reorganizing everything on my site.
    I really hope you stop by and take a look. I’ve been set free and I can’t wait to share with all of my sisters out there who have been terrorized by a narcissist.
    With all my love,
    ~The Narcissist’s Wife

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Petrification: Can I Break Out? – A Covert Narcissist's Wife

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