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Turning 40 and Ditching the Lying, Cheating Narcissist
Episode 929th May 2024 • Forty Drinks: The Podcast About Turning 40 • Stephanie McLaughlin
00:00:00 00:53:37

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As Ginny Priem approached 40, she was focused on her career and enjoying the life she had built for herself. Then she met “Chad,” who worked his way into her heart and home with his two kids. A year later she met a friend who presented her with evidence that “Chad” had been seeing someone else the whole time. One of the alleged instances occurred when Ginny knew she was overriding a sense that something was wrong.  It was only after getting out of that relationship that she started to ask the hard questions like, how did this happen? Why did I welcome this into my life? That led to uncovering toxic patterns she could trace back to her childhood in a narcissistic family.

Guest Bio 

Ginny Priem is a keynote speaker, #1 bestselling author, host of the popular podcast "Drinking With Gin" and a life coach at the mastery level.

Turning 40 and Ditching the Lying, Cheating Narcissist

Motivated, successful and career-focused in her mid-thirties, Ginny Priem's life took a dramatic turn when she fell for “Chad” and his two children. Despite her initial reluctance, she embraced the relationship until a shocking revelation from a friend brought her world crashing down. This betrayal forced Ginny to confront not only the immediate pain but also deeper issues stemming from her past, including dealing with a narcissistic family background. 

Ginny's discovery of Chad's betrayal leads to a painful but empowering journey toward self-discovery, healing, and eventually using her experience to help others as a life coach, author, and motivational speaker. Throughout the interview, Ginny emphasizes learning from one's intuition, the importance of self-love, and reclaiming one's life from narcissistic abuse.

Through her story, Ginny delves into the complexities of narcissistic relationships, the importance of listening to our intuition, and the transformative power of facing the truth. 

Key Takeaways:

  1. Self-Discovery is Key: Ginny's journey underscores the importance of self-discovery in healing. Understanding your past and how it influences your present can be a powerful catalyst for growth.
  2. Letting Go of Toxicity: Sometimes, you gotta Marie Kondo your relationships. Letting go of toxic connections creates space for healthier, more fulfilling ones to thrive.
  3. Embracing Your Purpose: Ginny found her purpose in helping others navigate tough times. Embracing your story and using it to uplift others can be incredibly empowering.
  4. Meditation for the Win: Who knew a meditation retreat could be so life-changing? Sometimes, all it takes is a little mindfulness to shift your perspective and set you on a path to healing.
  5. Turning Pain into Power: Ginny's journey shows that pain can be a powerful fuel for transformation. Instead of letting it break you, use it to propel yourself forward and create a life you love.

Guest Resources

Sign up for Ginny’s Free Newsletter

Ginny’s books: 

You're My Favorite 

I'm My Favorite

Connect with Ginny on Facebook 

Connect with Ginny on Instagram 

Connect with Ginny on TikTok


Do you have the Midlife Ick? 

Download Stephanie’s guide to the Ick to diagnose whether you or someone you love is suffering from this insidious midlife malaise.

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The Forty Drinks Podcast is produced and presented by Savoir Faire Marketing/Communications


Stephanie: Hi Ginny. Thanks for joining me today.

Ginny: Hi, Stephanie. Thank you for having me.

Stephanie: It's truly my pleasure. I'm very interested to jump in and get into your story. So why don't we just jump in? Cause I'm so excited. We always start with what forces shaped you into the person you became at the beginning of our story. And for you, the beginning of our story is like mid thirties. There were, some great ups and a big down. So tell me how you got to be the person who was that.

Ginny: Oh, well, I think that I was really driven and motivated. I focused a lot of my career and I kind of joke, like I was traveling some pretty great places for fun and I was traveling a lot for work and I had, you know, my free time to spend with my friends, mostly with my dogs. Huge dog lover. But I, it was kind of like, if you were to think of a Netflix series or movie where the main female single character's, just like super career focused and traveling, doing all these cool things that kind of felt like my life.

And I really just, you know, was so career focused and oriented, driven just, to succeed. and what, what, success meant to me at that point in my life, and then I was introduced to Chad, as I call him. We'll call him Chad, that's what I call him in my book. So, I was not interested, in dating this guy, because, really two reasons. The first reason is, what I just explained, I have this great life, like, Why mess with a good thing, right?

Stephanie: Yeah.

Ginny: And the other reason is because he has two children.

Stephanie: Okay.

Ginny: And any time, you know, you introduce kids into a scenario, I was afraid that I would mess them up or fall in love with them, you know, even worse, uh, you know, that whole scenario, but eventually he kind of broke down my barriers and broke down my wall over some cocktails, of course, naturally.

And I start dating him and. Not too long after, you know, I fall in love. And then I met those kids that I mentioned and I fell in love two more times.

Stephanie: And you're in your mid thirties at this point,

Ginny: Yeah, I think I was around thirty six or thirty seven around that time. So, yeah, well, I like your generosity. We'll call that mid.

Stephanie: Well, if we're really carving down at what is it? It's early, late thirties or late mid thirties.

Ginny: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, we, you know, we can call it whatever the heck we want.

Stephanie: We sure can. Okay. So super career focused. What was your career at the time?

Ginny: So if you think like, uh, medical grade skincare, facial injectables, I worked in that industry for almost two decades.

Stephanie: Oh, wow. Okay. All right. And so lots of travel, lots of good stuff, a great income to do whatever it is you wanted to do.

Ginny: Yeah. And I don't say that in a way to be like braggy, you know, like that, that's not my MO. Like, but I think sometimes when people read my book, they're like, oh, she had fancy cars and fancy trips and she's just bragging about her money. But there is an important piece of that context when we talk about the type of people that I dealt with and encountered in this part of my life, it is an important component of the story that I was really successful. I did make a lot of money. I was able to afford to kind of buy the nice cars that I wanted or go on the nice trips that I wanted. And so, like I said, it's not in a braggy way, but it does provide some important context.

Stephanie: No, absolutely. It, it, it just sets the stage for, for what's going to come next. But before we go to next, tell me a little bit about before about a year earlier in this than this, there was a big loss in your life, right?

Ginny: Oh, yes. Um, so my brother, who was much older than me, he passed away suddenly. And that was really like the first big trauma in my life. Like the first big loss. I mean, I, I think you expect to lose grandparents, you know, you expect, like, it's just the natural order of life. But I don't think when you're 30, was I 36? I think when he passed away, I wasn't prepared for that. I wasn't prepared to lose a sibling and I'll never forget this moment. And I think this is an important lesson in life but I also think it's an important opportunity to celebrate men's ability to process and express emotion. And I'll tell you this. So I used to be someone who didn't cry. Like if you've ever seen the movie, The Holiday, like people used to joke and be like, Oh my gosh, you're just like Cameron Diaz in The Holiday like you don't cry. Do you

Stephanie: Trying to squeeze it out.

Ginny: Like, but I have become so like, I think I've now that I, in my forties live life authentically as me, I'm like super emotional. But when my brother passed away, this is one of the very, it was a very pivotal moment for me and starting to tap into and understand and honor my emotions and my feelings.

And I was on the phone with my boss at the time and I remember like, it's so vivid. These are the moments that really make us in life like that are important. I remember sitting at my kitchen counter. It had black granite countertops. It was an island. The coal, I could, like, I can feel the cool black granite countertop underneath my hands, sitting in the gray leather bar stool. And my boss at the time, grown man crying on the other end of the phone, feeling the loss that I was experiencing. And it makes me get a little choked up now, but it really felt like, because as a child, I was told things like, Oh, Ginny, don't cry. and I think a lot of us probably have experienced that, and it's kind of like, well, then don't feel. And I felt like as an adult, that was one of the first times that I was given permission to feel my feelings. And it was just such a pivotal moment and it really helped me process the grief and the loss of losing my brother so suddenly. Yeah. Yeah.

Stephanie: Yeah. And it's not lost on me that it was somebody outside your family system who was able to give you the space to do that.

Ginny: Yeah.

And it's one of those things too, like I don't think sometimes we understand the impact that we can have on people, right? Like I don't, he didn't do that to be like, I'm going to make a really big impact on Ginny's life today. I'm going to cry on the phone. Right. But it's like when you are, when you just can show people some grace and some kindness and some human connection and compassion and empathy. You just never know how far that can really go.

Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. Or the ripples that it will, you know, that it will create.

Ginny: So that was a really hard loss, losing my brother. He was such a great guy. He was a really easy relationship for me. And it was, he had an accident. He fell in his garage and he was happened to be home by himself. And it was just really like, people ask, and so I'm just very open about it. His daughter and his, um, wife they're fine with me speaking about it it publicly. It was just like a freak accident. Cause I don't want people to drop, you know, like, drop conclusions and be like, Oh, was it this, was it that? Yeah. it was like a freak accident.

Stephanie: Yeah. It was just a serious tragedy. yeah,

Ginny: it really was.

Stephanie: Oh, oh. All right. So, so, you know, these things stay with us. Obviously you were close to him. This affected you. So within the next year or so you meet Chad and you think, nah, I'm not going to do this. But how was it that he worked his way into your heart?

Ginny: Hmm. Do you want the honest, raw answer or do you want me to tiptoe around it?

Stephanie: No, God, no. We're here for real. Yeah.

Ginny: So how did he get into love bombing, gaslighting, like all all of these big terms that we might be hearing now, but it was the idealization. Some people will call it, like some psychologists or experts will call it the idealization phase where they put you on a pedestal, um, the love bombing, the constant over the top affection, the constant communication, I mean, it, it was love bombing to a T. And like, I share some of these details in my first book, You're My Favorite, where I give like the whole juicy story and all the details. But it was, and there are things you may not recognize in the moment. And this is why I'm very passionate about bringing awareness to them to help people understand and recognize the signs when you're in it.

Um, the mirroring. So love bombing is is when they like shower you with gifts and over the top. Or say things like on a second date where they're planning for the future. Or, you know, like, Oh, we should get married because we both like Sour Patch Kids. And I know that sounds so ridiculous, right? But those are the things that people with these types of, you know, personality disorders will do to try to make it seem like they're the perfect match for you. Or mirroring. So then it's like, oh, well, you like this. I also like this. And so just to give some perspective right now, he's dating girl that is, 20 years his junior. She lives in Texas and he's, you, you can see it from the outside now. Now he's a cowboy.

Stephanie: Oh, okay.

Ginny: Now he likes country music and wears a cowboy hat and cowboy boots, but he never liked any of those things before. So it's this idealization to make it seem like, Oh, I'm your dream man. Oh yeah. I also love to travel. I also, you know, this, that, and the other, whatever it might be, insert whoever the target is, you know, of the week.

Stephanie: Yeah. You, you said something else that was interesting. You said gaslighting, which we always think of in a really negative way, and it is a negative thing, but how does that come into play at the beginning of a relationship where you're building something?

Ginny: Yeah, and maybe that did come later on in the relationship. So gaslighting is not a, it's not a good thing. That's when it makes you question reality. And so that can be used in a big grandiose way and it can also be used in little small ways along the way to make it feel like, so early on in the relationship there were things like, um, we, after being intimate, I like didn't feel right. And so I went to the doctor and it was like, well, It couldn't have come from me, like, whatever is going on with you, like, that must be a you thing, right? And I was monogamous and luckily I didn't get anything, um, but that was unusual, right? So it was those little things of like, well, you know, I, I went and got tested too and there's the, there's nothing wrong with me, but never was there any documentation shown.

Stephanie: Right. Okay.

Ginny: So it's little things like that where they can slowly and in small ways, make you question what reality is. And that's really kind of the core of what it is.

Stephanie: All right. So it started off slow, but then you fell for the charms and you fell in love and you met the kids. And then what happened with you?

Ginny: Yeah. And then they moved into my house. All three of them. Um, and and I say that, you know, part time. So they have a wonderful mother, uh. We're still very, very close and, um, so they were with her like 60 percent of the time and then with us like 40%. So our schedule at the time was we had them Thursday through Sunday and then Sunday through Sunday mornings would bring them to her and then, you know, rinse and repeat.

So, but they had a bedroom in my house. Like I made a bedroom for them in my house. That was even before they moved in just to have them feel comfortable. Like they had the whole lower level of my home and that's coming from like the single girl, right? Like that was traveling and career focused and whatever. Now I have this instant family.

Stephanie: Right. Now you've nested.

Ginny: Yeah. No. Oh, girl. Did I nest?

Stephanie: Okay. All right. And things are going along swimmingly, until when?

Ginny: Until one day a friend wanted to meet. I was traveling home from a work trip in Birmingham, Alabama, and this friend of mine wanted get together on a Tuesday night when I was traveling home. And she said, hey, what, what time do you land? And I was like 9 37 PM on a Tuesday. And she's like, can we get together for a cocktail? And I was like, I like, a cocktail or a glass of wine just as much as the next person, but not in the middle of the night on Tuesday.

Stephanie: About 7. 30 on Thursday?

Ginny: Yeah. Right. Like 10 PM. And also like for context, this was not a 10 PM Tuesday night kind of cocktail friend. Like we would get together for yoga or coffee. We had never in seven years of being friends at that point, had never gotten together for cocktails. So all day I'm going in, I was like, yes, of course I can meet you. Like, what is going on? Is everything okay? And she was like, everything will be okay. And I was like, reeling, like in my mind all day going, what could be going on with her? What is so.

Stephanie: Oh, you thought it was with her. Okay.

Ginny: Oh yeah. I was like, is it a family thing? Is Is her dad dying? Does she have cancer? Like literally I'm thinking all of these worst case scenarios. And then I'm like, okay, here's what you need to do, Ginny. You need to just show up and be a good supportive friend. Whatever's going on in her life. Like just listen, take it in. Like, don't try to be a problem solver and like have all the answers and be a fixer. Like be there for her. Support her, whatever that looks like for her. So I get there at 10 PM on a Tuesday night for cocktails and I walk in and she's got tears streaming down her face, an empty cocktail glass. I don't know if that was the first one or if there was more, and a stack of papers. And I sit down, I order a glass of wine and I reach across the table for her arm and I say, I have been so worried about you all day. What is going on? And she said, it's not about me. This is about you. It's actually about Chad. Do you want to hear it? And I was like, of course.

Stephanie: Well, of course. Yeah.

Ginny: So then she, the stack of papers was an arrangement of evidence of lies, deception, betrayal about the man that was currently at home sleeping in my bed in my house. With his children in my house. And, you know, really kind of walking out of there. Some of it was shocking and some of it wasn't. Um, but basically I walk in this restaurant thinking I have a certain life, you know, this family unit that I've embraced, like, instead of stepping into my stilettos, I was stepping on Legos at home and I wasn't even mad about it. Right. Like instead of, you know, it's like this whole shift and then it's like in an instant over a cocktail, I'm walking out facing potentially a new life. And I didn't even know what that looked like. So this,

Stephanie: How long had you been together at the time?

Ginny: it was just under a year and a half. It was like over a year, not quite a year and a half.

Stephanie: Okay.


Stephanie: And what were, what was on the papers? What, what kind of stuff was she telling you?

Ginny: Somehow she connected with this girl that thought that she was in a relationship with him for the last two and a half years. There was like dates, locations of times that they had gotten together while we were together. And they were almost always when I was traveling. And so for me, even leaving there, and it was like a, you know, it's like a bunch of other stuff. It was like, even just things like, she was like, have you ever looked up his driving record? You know, and that's like a very, um, key indicator for narcissists, is they don't think that the rules apply to them.

And so they will have oftentimes like a record of, you know, different things, whatever it is. And a lot of his are like careless, reckless driving. In fact, I had gotten him TSA, um, and Global Pre Check because I traveled all the time and he had so many outstanding, um, violations in the state of Illinois, that when they, when TSA did the background check, they wouldn't give him global, they wouldn't give him TSA Pre Check.

Stephanie: Oh my

Ginny: When I say, when I say some of the things surprised me, but some of them didn't, you know, like hindsight's 20 20. Would I probably do like a quick background check on somebody who I'm getting into a relationship with now? Probably because of this experience, right?

Stephanie: Well, yeah, but that's not normal. Like we don't, I think of when I met my husband. It's like, you don't do a background check, you, you're building a relationship. You learn about each other. You, you trust the person you're meeting.

Ginny: Yeah.

Stephanie: Yeah,

Ginny: That's the goal, right?

Stephanie: right.


Oh my goodness. Okay. So you have now have this, you're the proud owner of a stack of papers. You said part of you was surprised and part of you wasn't. What part of you was not surprised?

Ginny: Um, my intuition.

Stephanie: Okay.

Ginny: My intuition that I had shoved down and ignored, um, which I will never do again. I think that's really the biggest lesson. Especially like coming into your own and coming into your 40s, like really trusting yourself and knowing that you, like, because every time my intuition told me something, it was right. It's always been right. I've chosen to ignore it. Um, but there was a moment we had just gotten back.There were several moments, but this was the big one. And this goes back, this actually ties into me being now, I loved how you said that the proud owner of a stack of papers. Proud owner of a stack of evidence. Um, so about a month before this friend gave me all this information, we had just gotten back from a very elaborate 10 day trip to Italy.

Stephanie: Okay.

Ginny: And Stephanie, who do you, do you want to take a stab at who you think footed the bill?

Stephanie: Oh, um, was it the girl with the hotshot career and the great income?

Ginny: It was me that footed the bill. So we turn around and get back. And then I had to turn around and leave for a work trip to Orlando, Florida. And while I was in Orlando, my body was telling me something's not right. I was sitting on the edge of the bed. My intuition is very physical, like I, I get sensations in my body and I'm sitting on the edge of the bed texting with him and all of a sudden at 7. 30 PM, he told me that he didn't feel well. He was going to bed and he was taking the kids to his ex wife's. Cause he just didn't feel well enough to be a dad. And I use the term dad loosely. Okay. So I'm sitting there and all of a sudden I get this sensation, this feeling of like a wave crashing over my body, like telling me something's not right. I woke up the next morning with a large lesion over my right eyebrow. I got shingles on my face.

Stephanie: Oh, God.

Ginny: I was so stressed. My body was so stressed. I had also during the duration, not for probably 15 years before and not since, I had an abnormal skin lesion removed. Um, the shingles on my face. There's something else too. There's one other thing. Oh, when we split up, all my hair fell out. I was so stressed. Like not all of it, but like half of it, like my hair just like broke off, um, at the, at the root. And I just like my hair completely thinned out just because of the stress that I endured. So I think, you know, that was like a long winded answer to your question, but like, that's what made me not, there were things that didn't make sense.

And that's what I'll tell you. Like if your intuition is telling you that something doesn't make sense, it's probably nonsense.

Stephanie: Yeah. Right. Oh, God. All right. So, Orlando was before you met your friend, though, right?

Ginny: Yep. That was about a month before. So I came home. I confronted him. Um, I actually, uh, he likes to take a lot of those little blue pills.

Stephanie: Mm hmm.

Ginny: Because I think there's an addiction there. Um, so I, not proudly, but this is the other thing too, like a big. thing for you to like check with yourself. If you start behaving out of your normal character, that's a red flag. And so I was doing things that were outside of my normal character. Like, because I wasn't trusting him, and in hindsight for good reason, um, I would do things like count his little blue pills. And before I left for Orlando, there was two in the nightstand, and when I got home, the packet of two was empty. And he totally gaslit me. Um, there's also another psychological term that psychologists use called DARVO, which is a particular type of gaslighting that is

Stephanie: never heard that one.

Ginny: So it stands for deny, attack and reverse the victim and offender. Deny, attack, reverse victim and offender. It's very textbook. Um, and that's exactly what he did.

So it was deny. I don't know what happened to them, but I don't, I don't know where they went. I didn't take them. And then it was turned on me and said, well, if there were ever, if I had known that there were any trust issues in this relationship, I would have never uprooted my children,

Stephanie: Mm hmm.

Ginny: leveraging the children, and moved them into your house. Like, and, and again, uprooting, he had moved like five or six times in like a five year time period. So there was no uprooting. In fact, with me, they had the most stability that they had in the entire time since his divorce. So it's really that turning the tables around on you. And I did, and it worked like, and I know it's fascinating.

People are like, Oh, you might sound so naive or so stupid, but narcissists actually really like to target smart, successful people because it's a bigger takedown. Um, it elevates their life in a lot of different ways. Whatever they can do to increase the positive perception of them. So they will pick people that are successful and, you know, have a good life to ride their coattails. And then it's also kind of like a bigger, kill, if you will. That's like the only thing I'm thinking of like an African safari and like lions going after, you

Stephanie: Oh, I went for Moby Dick. I was, I was, you're the white whale, right?

Ginny: There you go.

Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.


Oh God. Okay. So that's really interesting. I, you know, I've talked to a couple of people who have had, experiences with narcissists and, and a couple of people who've been in really abusive relationships, which is just terrible.

But nobody had made that, or clarified that nuance that narcissists actually do like to target smart, successful people for their own, personal estimation, as well as to your point, the takedown.

Ginny: And I, I really like to, I really like to talk about that because I want to make sure that people realize like you weren't stupid. There's nothing wrong with you for being victimized or being a target of a narcissist. It doesn't make you dumb. They're really, they're manipulative tactics are really good. Like there's a reason why they're studied so much and so many people are talking about them now because they're powerful and it doesn't make you, it makes you probably empathetic. It probably makes you compassionate. It probably makes you a trusting, kind person. And I think it's really important to not lose that if you have been a victim of a narcissist because a lot of people can go the other route and like put a chip on their shoulder, but you can tap more into who you really are. And that's a beautiful thing.

Stephanie: Yeah. I spoke with a woman, by the name of Toby Miles, early on in the podcast, probably like in the twenties episodes or something. And she wanted to tell her story. She had been in a very abusive narcissistic relationship, but she wanted to tell her story for a very similar reason. She said, I was college educated, successful, smart, you know, I was all these things.

So how does a girl like me end up in this position, like this position that you would never think that, a girl like me, middle class, all the right quote unquote checkboxes. And so that's, that's a very interesting, addition to the story there that, that that's for 2 different reasons. That's actually a target for a narcissist.

Ginny: Yeah. And I just, I think that story is important or that message is important that you're not broken. You're not stupid. You know, there's nothing wrong with you.Um, you know, you are a situation. And the other thing I hear people oftentimes say when they are with a narcissist or sociopath or psychopath, they might say things like, well, it's not like he hits me. There's a lot of different types of emotional, psychological, mental, and financial abuse can be just as damaging.

Stephanie: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Yep. I more recently spoke to a woman by the name of Dana Diaz who was also in a relationship with a narcissist that, you know, he was the guy who'd leave a you know, a big hunting knife out on the side table next to the couch. And I was like, you know, she's like, well, you know, that keeps you in line, when there's a big,scary looking knife there on the corner.

And so, yeah, it's, it's, it's, it's bizarro world. Once you get yourself in there, it's, it's the upside down land. Yeah.

Okay. So what happens when you go home with your folder of evidence?

Ginny: So I was very careful. I was very strategic about what I would share with him. Um, I wanted to see how much I could get out of him without giving him too much. I wanted to give him enough information, but not too much. And it was, you know, deny, deny, deny. And then after about 40 minutes of talking, he was like, I know this is more important, but I need to go to bed now.

Like, okay, so that we're done here. And of course I didn't sleep a wink. Like my adrenaline was rushing so hard. I think I literally got up like every 10 minutes to go to the bathroom because my adrenaline, my, like, my body was just pumping. Like, I was like sweating. I mean, like my heart was, was pounding. My heart was racing. It was, it was. So incredibly uncomfortable. And then I had actually asked to have the kids that night because we were leaving that weekend for my nephew's wedding in Washington. And that meant that we wouldn't have seen them for two weeks. So I had arranged to have the kids cause I loved mornings with them.

That was like our special time together. Like they always said, Ginny makes fancy breakfast. It was like eggs and fruit. But like, so they always like call me like the fancy breakfast maker. So like we just, they're so sweet in the morning and like, I love, like, I just, we cherish that time together. So I was so excited when I heard him wake them up at like a crazy unreasonable hour, like 5:30 in the morning.

And like, I hear the little pitter patter of the, the feet go up the steps. And so he left the house. And after he left, I got my papers and I got my being the proud owner of the evidence, stack of evidence that I was, got them out. And I was like, you know, there's just, if I can prove one of these things, then they're probably all true. And so I literally, it was just a cosmic experience, like a cosmic universe situation. The first thing that I decided to try to, and it didn't even have a specific date or a certain location, but it was a Crown Plaza around this time in the Twin Cities. Well, there's only three of them. So I did process of elimination and then it was the date that I got the shingles I guessed.

So I called them up and I pretended to be his wife. You know, I'm not a proponent of lying, but sometimes I think that there's just certain things that we have to do. So called and they said, okay, hang on. Let me see if I can find a receipt for that stay. And sitting, this is another edge of the bed moment this time at my own house, sitting on the edge of the bed, waiting for them to come back on the line, kind of hoping that they're going to say, Nope, we couldn't find, you know, anything. And they came back and they're like, We've got that right here for you. Where would you like us to send it? And he had specifically denied. Seeing that girl on that day anywhere. And, um, it was, yeah, that was the only proof that I needed.

So like, it was, just like, proof sourcing one of the pieces of evidence kind of made me realize, yeah, it's probably all true. Um, and so I sent it to him. And I said, in case you misplaced your receipt, here it is, you've got, and I gave him like very, like, you've got to be out of my house within like 48 hours.

And then I called the kid's mom and filled her in, like, because I was like, I felt terrible, you know. That was, you know, she needed to know where her kids weren't living any longer when they weren't spending time with her. You know, I think that was the start of us forming a really close friendship as well, but yeah, so that was what happened. He was out of the house that weekend

Stephanie: And you skipped your nephew's wedding.

Ginny: And I unfortunately missed my nephew's wedding. It breaks my heart every time. And you know, you think about when you go through a traumatic situation or experience, like even if I would have gone, I would have been in no emotional state. My entire world was just, I just learned that my entire world, my entire life that I was living was false. The reality that I was living, this family that I had, this man that I was planning a life with was not who I thought he was, which meant that everything was fake. None of it was real except for the love that I felt for him and his kids. And that really messes with your psyche. My entire world had imploded.

Stephanie: Oh, what's that like?

Ginny: It's messy. It's messy. The next day I, I, after I got the evidence and I sent it to him, people are like, well, what do you do next? I got my nails done. And I say that in jest,

Stephanie: No, I can totally see it, right? Cause it's just a moment of normalcy.

Ginny: It wasn't even that conscious of a thought. It's that that was the next thing on my schedule. And so because like, I couldn't think, I couldn't do anything except for do the next thing on my schedule. And it happened to be a manicure. Now in hindsight, when my, in this traumatic state of shock and duress, probably the best thing I could have done was have somebody hold my hands for 45 minutes and give me that dopamine hit of a human, you know, human touch when you're in this state of shock and trauma and your life just imploded. And then the next thing I did after that was I went and got my tires changed. Because that was the next thing on the schedule. And I just did.

Stephanie: Nothing was going to stop Ginny from her errands.

Ginny: But it, like, that's kind of all you can do in that moment. And I just continued to do the next thing until I could get my head straight and figure out, okay, what is my path forward?

Stephanie: Yeah.

Ginny: And that takes time. They say, I think I've seen research recently saying like, if for every year that you spend with a narcissist or a psychopath or a sociopath, it takes double that to recover.

Stephanie: My goodness.

Ginny: Yeah. Luckily, I don't think it took me that long, but.

Stephanie: Yeah. So, how did you then begin to reclaim your life? What, what did those next steps, beyond just putting one foot in front of the other and doing the things on your schedule, what, what did it look like to come down from that?

Ginny: I, you know, I put a lot of focus back into my work. The first thing I did really was kind of reclaiming my space was important for me. You know, getting him out was really important. I actually kept the kid's bedroom for some time and they continued to keep like a somewhat regular schedule with me, which was kind of fascinating.

I still see them often, but not as much as like we, we used to. But it was like you said, kind of getting back to some sense of normalcy. So I, I you know, kind of re put myself back into work, but I really started working on myself. You know, and that's why I put together my coaching model, GinPath, which is in my second book, I'm My Favorite, because it really is about self discovery and self love.

I started to get to know myself, really for the first time in my life, on a different level, being more authentically me. And I had to learn and ask myself hard questions like, how did this happen? How did I let this happen? How did I welcome this into my life? And had to take accountability and ownership for the part that I played in, in allowing it, not seeing it, understanding the different people and patterns and behaviors that were around me and in my life. Which also is a direct result of your own behaviors and patterns, and your coping mechanisms, perhaps.

Stephanie: Mm.

Ginny: About a year after the split, I went on a meditation retreat. which I had never meditated for a single second before in my life. And it was really life changing and a huge practice that I've incorporated into my life.

I started being very intentional. Meditation has really helped me get to know myself better. Sit with myself. It's helped me do some inner child work, which then helped me understand on a bigger level, why I did allow this into my life. Understanding that it was familiar to me, the patterns and behaviors were familiar and sometimes familiarity can create a sense of comfort, which isn't always good.

Stephanie: So why were they familiar to you?

Ginny: So um, I grew up in a narcissistic family. And I had to really then begin to make some big changes in my life and I'm very open about it. I try to do it in the most respectful way possible because it's my mom. And I actually have my own podcast episode on Drinking with Gin that I tell the story. And I share some of the experiences and the details that I had. Like when my first book came out, I had already gone no contact with her a few months prior. I never told her anything about the book. I was very careful about what I would share and what I wouldn't. And the message I got from her after said, Ginny, I read your book. There's some misinformation in there that we definitely need to discuss. And so I sent it to my sister and I said, well, that's a really funny way to spell congratulations on your huge accomplishment.

Stephanie: Right.

Ginny: And so we had, you know, we had kind of a good chuckle in there. And by the way, my mom is mentioned on like, like mentioned, maybe on like two pages. So, it's, it's not about her,

Stephanie: Right.

Ginny: But they have a funny way of making it about them.

Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. So these, some of these patterns that you experienced in this relationship with Chad, can you relay some of them back to like when you were a kid? Like what, what kinds of things were you experiencing as a kid that were similar?

Ginny: Yeah, um, so the false portrayal of who you really are, or who they really are, right? So it's them portraying this certain level of success, meanwhile they're absolutely broke as a joke. the need to drive a brand name car, you know, like a luxury brand car, but not really being able to afford it. Um, the need to elevate themselves. Um, the pathological lying, that's a really big one. And you don't, like, I think when you're just, And I Don't know how that translates, but these are familiar, like, these are some of the similarities since you asked the question. But those are some of the big ones, like the, the, false portrayal of who you really are. And then the pathological lying, I would say, are the the two big ones right now that are coming to top of mind.

Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. What did that lying look like as a kid that what, what stories would your mom tell that you knew were not true? I guess. really?

Ginny: So it's, it's really interesting. She'll, she lies about her age, which is very bizarre, because we all have a birth certificate and a driver's license and a social security number.

Stephanie: I did try to, so after my dad passed away, I felt really bad for her because none of her children speak to her, just to put it like this isn't a, this isn't like just a Ginny issue. This is a, none of her children speak to her, including my brother who passed away, did not speak to her for many, many years before he did pass away. So there's a common denominator.


Ginny: um, When my dad passed away, I felt bad because I was like, she has no one. And so I did make an attempt after many years of not having a relationship with her out of self preservation and trying everything that I possibly could to, you know, maintain some semblance of a relationship.

But for me, relationships have to be built around trust and boundaries. That's another thing. No boundaries are, that's a big issue for narcissists. They do not respect boundaries. But I did try and try and try and try and so, long story short, she ended up lying about having COVID. It's just like, I mean, anything, it's like, it could, and a lot of times you question, right?

Like you're, even the look on your face, you're like, I can see you're like, why, why would you lie about that? I don't understand the motivation. I think a lot of it's for attention or to, you know, for Chad, I think it was a lot of, I think everything is a lie for him. And it's just like to keep up this false sense of reality for him, the reality that he lives in, which is not real.

Stephanie: Yeah. It's so interesting. I had a friend in college who I think was a bit of a pathological liar and he would, and he was the kind of guy who would be dating like three or four women at a time. So like there was a piece of it that like, all right, I understand why you're lying. Right. Like you're trying to like do the little shuffle here, but then he'd lie about stupid stuff. Like, Oh, I had a chicken sandwich for lunch. And I'm like, I had lunch with you and I watched you eat a hamburger. Like, but what's the point of lying about it? It just, I never could quite understand, the need or the reason. I mean, you know, and it's funny, right? Cause you're telling the story about, about your mom. And I'm thinking like, oh, there are plenty of ladies who lie about their age and ha ha ha,

Ginny: Oh no, but she lies in the opposite way. She says she's older than she really is. Sorry, I forgot that detail.

Stephanie: My goodness. Oh,

Ginny: Yeah, it's really, it's really neat.

Stephanie: People are People are weird, man. It's, it's amazing we

Ginny: know

Stephanie: God,

Ginny: Oh, I was just saying, it's hard, like you're saying, it's so difficult to understand. It is difficult to understand when you are a normal healthy thinking person to try to put yourself in such a disordered way of thinking. Um, and that's really what it is. It's very disordered. Um, And like, I was having this conversation with my massage therapist a couple weeks ago. She's like, well, of course your mom loves you. And I'm like, no, she doesn't. And, and I know that's hard for you as a mom to grasp. Because of course you're a mom and you think normal, healthy, of course you love your kids no matter what. So it's hard for you to put yourself into such a disordered way of thinking or feeling, that doesn't align with reality.

Stephanie: Right. Right. Okay, so you have, this history, background, from a child with a narcissistic personality. You have this relationship with a narcissist. And when you come out of that, you start, you go to your meditation retreat and you start to try to understand yourself. And tell me what kinds of things you learned about yourself that helped you break patterns. Tell me how you,You are confident now that you are inured from that.

Ginny: Deep thoughts with Stephanie.

Stephanie: I know.

Ginny: yeah, I mean, it was really life changing. And so interesting because you're like, oh my gosh, so that's what it took. And sometimes for everybody, you know, it takes something different for that wake up call or that aha moment. And this was my aha moment where everything kind of came to a head.

And so the first thing I really started doing was gathering information about the people around me. I wanted to learn everything I could about this narcissism, gaslighting, triangulation. That's another tactic that they use where they'll bring in a third party. Well, everyone agrees with me. Like everyone agrees with me. Your thinking is wrong. Like everybody I've asked, you know, so the triangulation. you know, like we've talked about Darvo and the manipulation. And even things like schadenfreude, which is a German term for people finding joy in the misfortune of others. But really learning all of these things so that then I could better understand my own behaviors and coping mechanisms.

And sometimes that's a hard thing for people to do to really turn that lens inward, but I'm very passionate about that. And so I started to understand, like, I wasn't authentically living life as me. I also have a, I believe, a narcissistic sibling, so, and that goes into, like, the whole golden child and all, like, it's very common for one of the children to take on the narcissistic behaviors and the other child to be the bearer, or be the, take the brunt of everything. I, which I learned in this whole process. So, for me, it was like, always this control of, well, this is what you should do. Like, I had, I was enrolled in a beauty pageant, without my consent.

Stephanie: Oh!

Ginny: Because, because that's what I should do. Right? Like I should live life based on my physical appearance or, you know, whatever that might look like. Or I was told what kind of car I should drive, what kind of job I should have, what house I should buy.

Um. Yeah. And it was just like all of this, living life with all of this external noise, seeking this external validation. Well, what do they think? Do they think this is a good idea and not really tapping into like, what does Ginny want? Like I had abandoned myself and I had, I kind of explain it as when I circling back to that comment earlier, I made about like not being emotional.

Stephanie: Mmhmm.

Ginny: People always thought like Ginny is so tough. Ginny's really strong. And I think there's actually a difference between those two words. And so I will say I didn't used to be strong. I used to be tough. And it's because I carried around like this false sense of exterior armor, like this protective armor.

And And it was because of all of this external noise around me. So I, I would say that's one of the biggest lessons I learned is like being able to sit with yourself, tap into who you are, what you want, what brings you joy, what makes you happy and gives you peace and enlightenment, those high vibration emotions and shut out the noise.

Who gives, can I swear?

Stephanie: You can.

Ginny: Who gives a shit what anybody else thinks. You know, like, and that takes a lot of work for some people. It took a lot of work for me to get there and to have the confidence and I define confidence as how much you really like yourself. That's to me what confidence is. And I think that's like, I call that the real rich. When you can be confident in yourself to like, and love yourself enough to not give a shit what anybody else thinks. To remove that external validation.

So that was a big piece, like the gathering piece. And then becoming really intentional. I had, I did some housecleaning because as I learned about you know, narcissism and sociopaths and psychopaths, that's what I, because that's what I had been around and was familiar, that's what I attracted as some of the closest people in my life.

And I'm not talking about like just in love or family, like this can be friends. This can be colleagues. And so I had to do some housekeeping and what that did was made space and room for all of the warm, authentic, relationships in my life that have been longstanding to flourish even more. And then to welcome in more real relationships that are meaningful.

Stephanie: Yeah. Oh, wow. Yeah. And this is part of the transition, from that first adulthood to second adulthood is really stopping, no longer relying on the, those external authorities and really coming to know and trust your own self, your own judgment, your own decisions, your, your own needs and wants. And so it's your, your story is just such a great, illustration of that.

So. Tell me this. I know we are wrapping up here, but tell me how, how long it's been since this and, and how things are going now.

Ginny: It has been just over five years,

Stephanie: Okay.

Ginny: Just over five years. Um, and things are going great. I actually transitioned careers. After I published my first book, I really transitioned into speaking. So I had been speaking professionally for over 15 years. But knowing that I had this message and story to have the ability to help other people on their own journeys and their own paths forward, helping to better face challenging and difficult times and overcome obstacles that come our way.

I knew I had this really powerful message of post traumatic growth. So I took to speaking, and that's my main career now. So I do motivational inspirational speaking. And then I wrote my second book called I'm My Favorite, A Guided Journal for Your Path Forward. And that really complements my speaking and is great on its own as well, just as, um, you know, this gives you a full year of content exercises, journal prompts, worksheets, beautiful artwork, inspirational quotes. I also have my own podcast Drinking With Gin, where I bring on people to share their inspirational stories. Or I bring on experts to really tackle like the tough topics. And I'm a coach, so I'm a life coach at the certified life coach at the master level.

And it's just, it's been really great to kind of use my, I know it's kind of cliche. I don't like to usually say this, but like, I know people will say like you turn your pain into your purpose, but I really have stepped into my purpose and I have the ability now to use my story and what I went through to hopefully help other people through their own difficult situations or maybe better yet prevent it to begin with.

Stephanie: Yeah, yeah. No, I think that's great. And you do. You, you use the experiences that you've been through, the things that shape you into who you are, to bring those forth into the world. I'm so glad that you are out on the other side, that you've identified some patterns and are able now to, to, to separate yourself from all of that and, and create a, a life that suits you much better than, than the old one did. That's, that's, I love happy endings to stories. Ginny, thank you so much for being here with me today. I appreciate you being so generous with your story and, we'll put the links to your books and things down in the show notes so listeners can find them.

I just want to say thank you.




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