I Gained Trauma Weight From A Narcissistic Ex

I want to love my new, curvier body, but how can I when it reminds me of abuse?

girl looking in mirror trying on jeans that are too tight New Africa / Shutterstock

I spent my summers wearing what I call my 'out of state' clothes at the Jersey Shore. They were a little too Harper Valley PTA to wear in the halls of my children’s elementary school.

My uniform was a bikini for more years than most. I went to the gym four days a week to push that boundary.

Then our marriage hit a wall.

RELATED: I Never Felt Attractive At My Size — Until My Husband Gained Weight, Too


I gained seven pounds. 

Those first pounds weren’t a huge deal because I was in great shape. But then our problems escalated.

I told my husband it felt lonely being married to him and I was thinking of leaving. His anger came out in the form of abusing alcohol. I told him he had to address the behavior or leave.


Three separate times he left while my children stood beside me and cried.

We saw a marriage counselor and discovered my husband lacked empathy

I was living with a narcissist who was drinking unpredictably and scaring our family. I should have left but I thought he was experiencing some type of midlife crisis. Six years later I initiated a divorce.

Here’s when things got really dicey. 

If you know anything about narcissistic personality disorder, a narcissist doesn’t lose.

And a wife leaving would be a defeat.

I now understood his drinking wasn’t a midlife crisis or unhappiness.

It was a narcissist punishing the woman he believed wronged him. And that frightening lack of empathy meant he would be capable of nearly anything.


He would use, confuse and abuse our children if he saw it as a means of winning.

RELATED: 15 Things I Wish Someone Told Me About My First Year Of Divorce

My weight increased with every new tactic.

A few pounds as sheriff deputies knocked on my door with warrants in debt.

A few more when the repo guys invaded my driveway in the middle of the night.

A couple for good measure as foreclosure notices arrived, health insurance was canceled, electricity was turned off, food money withheld and so much more.

I ended up in the emergency room multiple times with surface blood clots.

I have a very non-invasive blood disorder that shouldn’t bother me unless I do something that thickens the blood (smoking, hormone replacement) or if I were to have surgery.


My internist urged me to get the divorce finalized. He believed the stress of the abusive tactics was causing the clots.

I gained a few more pounds.

I couldn’t sleep, concentrate, or think straight. 

My home and children were under siege. I was in the fight of my life to free myself from a man with a serious personality disorder.

What made it worse was the charming narcissist was seemingly undetected by society. The narcissistic truth was eventually exposed but during this time it only worsened the abuse.

People who knew him would look the other way because of his charm.

You can stress eat more with the absurdity of a bully being celebrated. 

The craziness of people believing that simply because an individual is handsome, funny, and successful they refuse to believe he’s capable of abuse. Even when a narcissist is outing himself at every corner of divorce.


RELATED: I Finally Told My Dad Why I Gained Weight — And I Saw The Blood Leave His Face

No one will get involved in favor of letting a man flagrantly abuse a woman and children. Or worse, disregarding it while saying these types of things often happen in a divorce. To be clear, they do not. Good men and women don’t destroy one another in a breakup.

Extreme personalities and hyper-controlling people and narcissists do.

Add a few more pounds.

Maybe a little pinot and popcorn. I’m not sure how I got through a severely emotionally and financially abusive divorce. But the red wine and Cheetos sounded like a good idea at the time. They were the perfect accompaniment to desperation.


All told I gained a significant amount of weight.

I like to say I’m carrying extra pounds of 'Ralph' with me. The name has been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

I was a girl who went from smiling all the time to crying all the time.

It was a lot of work accumulating the pounds that accompanied the tears.

I’m happy to say I now only carry 34 pounds of 'Ralph' with me. Things are getting better these past few post-divorce years and joy is returning.


Tears have receded and pounds are slowly inching towards freedom. Sorry, I can’t help myself. I love a good pun.

People ask me why I’m not dating.

I don’t want to come out to play in this body. Divorce makes you feel bad. Extra pounds are salt in the emotional wound.

I know it’s silly to care. People tell me not to. A good man will love me just the way I am or so they say.

This weight is a reminder of a severely abusive and frightening time in my life. It’s not associated with the girl I was, but a woman that a man terrifying transformed me into.

I need to lose it.

To forget I ever entangled myself with a monster.

To go fishing for my 'out of state' clothes in the deep recesses of my closet.


To come out and play again.

RELATED: 7 Things I Learned From Being In A Truly Bad Marriage

Colleen Sheehy Orme is a national relationship columnist, journalist, and former business columnist. She writes bout love, life, relationships, family, parenting, divorce, and narcissism.