We feel lost without him. When people ask why we want to go back or why we stay all we can come up with is, “I love him”. Yet we can recite all the things he has done to hurt us for hours. We can gather in here and read each other’s posts and go, “OMG that’s what my ex did to me!” , “That’s exactly what my ex said to me”.
We can rattle off a never-ending list of his abusive tactics, from adultery, to physical violence. These men have stripped us everything we owned and want everything we ever WILL own, they toss us away like garbage yet expect us to be there at his beck and call 24/7 and when we aren’t he bombards us with nasty text messages and phone calls and we wail, “Why can’t he just leave me alone?!”
So, what IS our problem? We know he is sick and even dangerous, we know in our mind that he is unhealthy and will never change, so why do we hang on? It should be easy to go no contact and stay that way and go merrily on our way just like he has. Right? So , What. Is. Our. Problem?
Almost every one here says, “I was so strong, I never took crap from guys before.”
OK, so what is the problem?
You need to put in the same amount of time and effort you were willing to put into making the narcissist happy; into making yourself happy. You were willing to dedicate your whole existence to making the narcissist happy, you handed over the control of your emotions, your money, and physical well-being just to make him happy. We have talked about gas lighting, and Stockholm Syndrome, trauma bonding and how we are all forgiving and giving people. So we know why we got here, but feel helpless to fix ourselves. We thought we could fix the N but we have no faith that we can fix ourselves. We come in here broken, tell our story and then sit back and say, “Fix me, make this pain go away.”
The answer and power to heal is right in your own reach and actually very straight forward but not necessarily easy. With most addictions the physical addiction only lasts a few days and then after that the addiction is all mental. Like me; quitting smoking is not the problem, I have done it many times. It’s the staying quit where the problem lies. We have all left the narcissist and were able to make it a few days, our anger sustained us, maybe we had the support of friends but then the days go by and he starts calling and we start to weaken, slowly but surely we fall back into the addiction of the narcissist because it is what we know, it is easier than hurting but we know we are going back to hurt yet we do it anyway.
You have to retrain your brain to love yourself as much as you loved him. How sad that we don’t love ourselves as much as we love someone who abuses us. We torture ourselves and we act like we have no power over the N hurting us, we have to just sit there and get hurt time after time.
It is our choice to be hurt. Sorry but it is true. We are uncomfortable hearing that and I know I used to say, “how can it be MY fault he is an asshole and phones me and calls me names, how can it be my fault he went off with another woman without a backwards glance?” You are not responsible for those things, you were not responsible for the years of abuse you suffered with him, you didn’t know what you were dealing with and he manipulated you. He IS evil, he is dangerous, and he will continue to abuse you, as long as you let him.
You were in an abusive relationship with a very evil man/woman who ruined a part your life. It is totally up to you whether he ruins the rest of your life.
JC had an ex that never got over him, of course he described her as a drunk that made his life hell. He was with her 12 or more years. At first when we started dating he told me he had always been faithful and she had been jealous and suspicious. He was trucking at the time and her suspicions drove a wedge between them and finally destroyed the relationship. As the years went by and we would talk about our pasts etc he would let little tid bits of information slip. ( I just had an epiphany!! I just remembered that years ago JC said to me that he didn’t like talking about his past because I always used it against him later. I couldn’t understand HOW I could us it against him or why he would say that. I know now that, that is what he did!!) Anyway, as I was saying; over the years he told me about how when he was trucking he had a different woman in every town and would sometimes have one ride along with him on a run and he told me about being in a bar and two women and him going back to his truck and having a 3 some. What he had forgotten was that he had already told me, he was living with the same woman through the whole time he was trucking.
This woman would call him occasionally through out the years, in fact the first time I got a little upset with him I had woken up in the middle of the night and heard him talking. It was 3 am and he was on the phone with her, I came out and sat down and he kept talking and I got dressed and was going to go home. When he saw my coat was on that he got off the phone right away and talked me into staying. I have never been jealous if a man I am with stays in contact with an ex, I am friendly with most of my ex’s too, but we don’t talk at 3 am. The occasional phone call from her to him or him to her didn’t bother me, they had been together years. I always felt she would have taken him back in a heartbeat , he told me that she had called every new girlfriend he had after her trying to ruin his life, but why would he keep calling her? He had changed his number several times throughout the years and she always had his number. When he was in Africa she called me on my land line that he must have given her the number to, drunk out of her mind and told me all the horrible things he did, I knew she was telling the truth because it had all happened to me but she was so drunk I didn’t want to talk to her and hung up. I have always regretted I didn’t validate her and say he hadn’t changed because a couple of years later he told me she had died, drank herself to death. He got that funny smirk that they get (you know the one) and I asked what? he said, “She sure hated you.” I asked why, she didn’t even know me. He told me, “Because we were so happy.” I said, “We were?” He said, “Sure.” I replied, “You could have fooled me” He said, “We were together over 10 years, it drove her crazy.” Then I knew that him rubbing my nose in his new relationship was his MO and I looked at how she had destroyed her life over someone who viewed her as a pitiful joke and I vowed to not have that happen to me. I had come across his journals from before he met me and in them he had talked about being horny and how him and Karen had always had great sex so he was going to go over to her place and get laid. You can bet he led her to believe it meant more to him than it did. He toyed with her just like he toyed with me and just like everyone of your exs toy with you.
So how do we avoid becoming emotional cripples, forever a victim? We retrain our brain. It is going to take some work on your part, you have to be very in tune to your emotions and your thoughts and you have to be diligent with your work. Sometimes we want to wallow in our pain and grief, it feels good to cry a deep soulful cry where the tears come from your toes almost, a full body cry, you know the ones. And they are cleansing and healing but we also have to heal and that is within your power.
We all made the N our whole life, we had no one else to focus on and we certainly only focused on ourselves in terms of how we affected the N’s life. Everything we did we would think about how the N would react to it, every where we went we would either worry about him stopping us from going or we would worry about how he was going to wreck it or make us pay later. What we cooked, what we wore, who we talked to, if we were happy or sad; it was all directed by the N. Now we don’t have that, we are making our own decisions, from being totally controlled in all areas of our life to totally alone. Of course we feel anxious, its like we are floating in a huge ocean and we can’t see the shore. We know we can swim, but it just seems so far away and unattainable that we panic and forget we know how to swim and drown. I have heard it so many times, “I would have done anything for him” well now put that effort into you and learning what triggers you, concentrate on YOU not him.
If you find your mind wandering to him and his new woman and how he seems so happy. Change the movie playing in your head, you can do it! Instead of visualizing them so happy, picture her crying and wondering where he is, or picture him screaming into her face how ungrateful she is and how she makes his life hell. Remind yourself that he was a sweetheart when you first met him too and then remember how he switched over night and you were so confused, so is she, and if she isn’t she will be.
When that little voice starts telling you that you should have tried harder, read material, come in here and talk to people, ask for support.
What do you do when he texts messages you or calls with nasty phone calls; well that shouldn’t be happening because you have taken control of your life and your happiness so you have changed your number, blocked his emails and calls and blocked him on facebook. As long as you are allowing him to contact you, you are giving him permission to hurt you and he will. You KNOW he is not going to change, you KNOW he will hurt you but you still allow it to happen. He will stop hurting you when you decide to take control of your life back and not allow it. If you haven’t blocked him you are hoping he is going to change, or perhaps you are hooked on the conflict, like him; any attention is good attention. The only way to stop the abuse is to end all contact and there is no excuse good enough to not end contact except children and then it has to be minimal and if the children are old enough they can deal with their father on their own.
You have to change your focus off of him and on to something else. Many times with addictions the addict will switch addictions, give up a drug and become a sex addict. So getting involved with a new man is not how you get over your ex N, you will only repeat history just like the N, you are in no shape to be in another relationship. You need to work on yourself until you get to the point of knowing you don’t need a man to fix you.
There is a tendency to read every book, every web site and any information you can get your hands on trying to make sense of the narcissist, replaying the relationship and reaffirming to yourself that yes in deed he was sick and a narcissist. But you are still focusing on the N and not yourself. You are still making yourself the victim, you are reaffirming to your self you are a victim. If anything read book about you!! how to set boundaries and stick to them, How to be a strong woman in today’s world, communicating courses, join a church, do charity work (its great for the soul and takes the focus off your troubles) if you have been out of the work force for a while sign up for school. Many victims of Ns can’t work full time because of PTSD or just their circumstances at the time. Work on removing those circumstances, if you have PTSD get help from a professional, focus on things that will help you get strong again. Work on your friendships and family relationships. Do some thing you have always wanted to do but were too afraid, even if it is some thing as simple as going for dinner alone. For me I started to attend social events alone, I never would have done it in the past but I have forced myself lately because I know how easily I can stay home alone every night and we all need friendships beyond the ones we have here.
You feel broken, you think your life is ruined, he took all your money and left you destitute, you have lost your family and worst of all you have lost faith in yourself and your abilities. You have choices:
You can allow him to keep whittling away at your self esteem and you can keep crying you are a victim and people will get sick of hearing it and he will get exactly what he always wanted; to know he broke you for life, no man will ever want you. A healthy man does not want a victim for a lover, a healthy man does not want to “fix” the woman in his life, a healthy man does not want to pay the price for the abuse another man put you through. Don’t you want to be whole again?
I don’t know about you but I have always wanted to be a better person, I have always wanted to grow and change my whole life. Life is our teacher and what we do with the lesson is up to us; we can learn and grow with each lesson or we can give up and drop out. But I thought we were all strong women who were in control of our lives and that woman would learn and grow from this.
I am a much better person for the experiences I had with my ex, I was stripped down to nothing and I had to rebuild myself. Some of my traits I left behind me in the dust, parts of me that caused me grief in the past, my obsession with the house being clean, my need to control, I learned I can only control myself, not the people around me or some of the things that happen to me; I can only control how I react and if I don’t feel comfortable reacting I don’t. I give myself permission to think about things, weigh the options and take my time making decisions, many of the mistakes I have made in my life were because of decisions a made without thinking them through. I am more patient and less tolerant of disrespect, more giving to strangers and more willing to be open with people. I don’t do shame any more, and took some thing bad and started viewing my experiences as valuable in helping others. Not every one is going to start a blog in support of victims of abuse, but every one has a purpose in life, explore and find out what yours is. There is nothing to hold you back any more, when you are stripped down to nothing you have nothing to lose.
Focus on YOU and what makes you happy. When you find yourself being critical of yourself, stop it!! you can control the thoughts you think and the feelings you feel.
I know when I was with JC and after we split I was addicted to the game of Clue that we had been playing. That was what his ex did also, always playing detective, figuring what he is up to now, who is he seeing, if he’s working, is he still in the porn sites etc etc. It is addictive trying to solve the puzzle we call the narcissist. But that is his sickness drawing you in, you can walk away. But no addiction is easy to break, I am still working on my addiction to Ice Cap’s from Tim Horton’s.
Good luck, on your journey of self exploration and self appreciation.