‘Tis The Season

xmas tree

This is my 5th Christmas away from the wospos. I am sitting here remembering that first Christmas away from him, I just wanted to give up and die, but like someone here recently said, they would give up if they could but they don’t know how. That is the problem, we have to carry on even when we don’t want to because we don’t know how to give up. We don’t feel strong enough to carry on, we don’t know how to carry on, but we don’t know how to give up so we end up doing the impossible. We may feel weak, other people who can’t relate to what we have endured may think we are weak because they see us crying, not eating, and looking so broken but the truth is we are being the strongest we will probably ever have to be. Somehow we make it through every single day, some days hanging on to one little frail strand of our sanity.

While I was taking my little “sabbatical” I was still reading the comments every day and was touched by the caring and compassion shown each other, there are some people who have really reached out lately, Ellie, who says it like it is and calls a spade a spade with compassion and caring, Fee, who has been through SO much herself shares so openly and gently in hopes of helping someone else, a new person to the blog Lonely who is right in the middle of her own nightmare and inrecovery who is also facing her own  battles still reach out to others. Ellie is one of the “old timers” as are others who sit quietly in the background reading people’s comments and reach out to offer support when they see a need, (I can’t possibly remember all their names without forgetting someone so please do not be offended if I don’t mention you by name). I am naming those who have been actively commenting recently, but throughout the time I have had this blog there have been many who have offered up their loving support. At times my eyes fill with tears that leak down my cheeks as I read a comment from someone I know only a few days or weeks ago was going through their own terrible pain and self-doubt yet they offer support to someone else. It is such a testament to the type of people who fall victim to a narcissist, even gripped with their own pain they hold out a hand of understanding and support to others. They allow themselves to be vulnerable and reveal their own skeletons in order to put a person at ease and show they are not alone, we all have things we are not proud of.

As I read, a picture came to mind.

Another victim comes in and is hanging over the edge of some huge drop off, they are dangling there, they are tired and struggling to not let go of the frayed rope of sanity they cling to. Below them is a huge black abyss, nothingness waiting to gobble them up and they are so tempted to just let go and allow themselves to fall fall fall and just get it over with but as another strand of rope breaks away a hand appears, and then another one and another and the victim hears voices saying, “Don’t let go, we are here, we will help you.” When she looks up she sees smiling faces and all these hands reaching out and just as her grip on the rope let’s go someone grabs her hand and she feels herself being pulled back to the light and safety.

I get all choked up reading someone who themselves were hanging from that cliff not long ago reaching out to others.

I remember the surprise I felt the first time someone called me strong and said I was an inspiration and my insights had helped them be strong. The LAST thing I had been feeling was strong! but it made me assess where I was and I realized I was no longer hanging by my fingernails, I had some how made it through the days and nights that were a living hell. I didn’t know how, I never thought I would make it but I had so that had to mean I was stronger than I thought.

That’s the thing about strength, we never know how strong we are until we are tested, if we knew we could make it through something it wouldn’t require strength. If you catch my drift.  It is only when we are pushed to the brink of total despair do we exercise our strength.

Let me give you an analogy;

I had never wanted to be a scrap metal hauler, it was actually the LAST thing I wanted to do but I had wanted a truck and any other avenues I had tried to make money with a truck had not been successful so I finally agreed to haul scrap out of desperation. When I first started I was embarrassed, there was such a stigma attached to scrap haulers, that they were uneducated, dishonest and thieves, so I worked after businesses closed for the day as often as I could, so I wasn’t seen by people I knew.

I had a hell of a time lifting some things and on occasion worked hours struggling to load heavy things onto my truck. I would get so frustrated, thinking I could never do it, even end up in tears at times; but my pride would not let me quit. I was determined to figure out a way to get whatever onto my truck. I became quite imaginative in my efforts. I remember one night imparticular I had a big brake drum from a semi that I had run one of my tie downs through and had managed to hoist it up to the edge of my deck but no matter how hard I tried I could not lift it over the edge and onto my deck. I ended up driving all the way home with this thing dangling off the back of my truck. If I would have been seen by the police I would have been ticketed for sure and I am sure any one driving behind me didn’t tail gate watching this 100 lb brake drum swinging from my deck. The next day I was able to stand on something and lift it onto the deck.

After about a year I was able to single-handedly hoist 16 brake drums in a row onto my truck while the mechanic stood watching me, saying he needed a woman like me. (In your dreams buddy, hump your own steel) The day before my first heart attack I had such a load on my truck and was lifting such weight that I had attracted an audience and got a standing ovation when I put the last piece on the truck.

I felt so discouraged that night struggling to get that brake drum on the truck but the next day I managed to get it on and as time went on and as I struggled with other things I started to enjoy the challenge. The embarrassment and shame I had felt about being a scrap hauler was replaced by pride and confidence.  I am still proud of what I was able to accomplish and I am still remembered as the Lady Witha Truck and the first and only woman on the west coast to successfully, honestly and legally and without the help of a man haul scrap for a living.

And so it has been with finding my strength since leaving the wospos, I started off as most victims do, feeling ashamed, embarrassed and very weak. It has only been with time that I have come to realize I am strong and I can do it and over time the shame and embarrassment has been replaced with pride and confidence. I no longer care what assumptions people make about me when they find out I was a victim of abuse because I have proven I am not weak, stupid or in some way lacking. I have gone from being a victim to being a proud survivor and I hope now I can be an example to other victims and a voice for those who come behind me and not found their voice yet.

Five years ago no one could have convinced me that I would ever feel strong again, it was the worst Christmas of my life. JC was introduced to a woman through friends (because unbeknownst to me he had been complaining bitterly about my mistreatment of him for months beforehand), I was hurt, broke, without family or friends. I had been homeless and a girlfriend had arranged for me to move into the trailer next door to her. The guy worked out-of-town and was only home 6 weeks out of the year. I didn’t know him, had only talked to him on the phone and I was hesitant but I didn’t have any options and I could live there for free. I moved in sight unseen and was horrified when I saw the place. It looked like a crack shack if I had ever seen one, filthy, cobwebs draped from the ceiling and brushed my hair as I walked in. He was a heavy smoker and the walls were stained brown, it was dark and dank and God I wanted to run away, but I couldn’t go running back to the wospos so I stayed. I slept with my coat on and put a blanket down for Kato so he didn’t get bugs from the couch on him and I cried. I don’t know what I would have done without my little buddy, he laid his head on my lap, I just remember thinking I can’t do this, I can’t do this!!

It was 3 weeks before Christmas. I wore two pairs of rubber gloves when I cleaned the bathroom and threw the rags away, it took me 8 hours. I went through a couple dozen green garbage bags loading up the garbage, I opened the curtains, washed walls, vacuumed, and washed dishes that had stuff growing on them, I threw away some pots that I just could not stomach trying to clean. One week before Christmas I was finished and the owner was expected home in a few days. I had nowhere to go for Christmas and was not looking forward to spending it with a total stranger, but I was proud of my cleaning job and despite the depression that had overcome me when I saw Christmas trees on sale for $10 I bought one on an impulse. I put it up, it was dry and left needles everywhere but once I got the lights and decorations on it, it looked pretty good. I strung lights outside and decorate the porch with evergreen boughs. I wanted to show my appreciation for him letting me stay there but I had no money and hoped my efforts would convey my gratitude. He was so impressed when he got home, he said he didn’t think he was at the right place.

He wasn’t there more than an hour when he told me he had something to tell me; he had a “little’ crack problem and when he had time off he liked to have a couple of beers and do a “little” crack.  My stomach flipped, I had suspected but had thought my friend would never set it up for me to move in with a crackhead, I thought she must not know.  Long story short, his “little” problem with crack was a huge problem and he spent most of his days home locked in his bedroom. I slept on the couch because he brought a woman home and I didn’t want to be in the bedroom next door to his. They spent all night answering the door, she told me it was her daughter bringing her something. The next time there was someone at the door I answered and an asian man almost jumped off the porch, he looked at the house number to make sure he had the right place and I said, “Wait right here, I’ll go get them.” I couldn’t help myself, I knocked on the bedroom door and told her that her daughter was at the door.

I did cook a turkey and he did come out and eat. I was absolutely and utterly broken. My truck was broken down, I was living with a crackhead stranger, and my family had turned their back on me. It is a blur of misery and every single day I swore I could not survive another day.

I know this Christmas there are a lot of broken souls out there. I know there are people who are thinking they cannot possibly make it through the holidays,  that you will never again enjoy Christmas or have anything to be joyful for again in your life. There is little I can do to ease your pain, I wish I had a magic formula that I could share that would make it all ok for everyone, but I don’t. It is something you are going to have to endure anyway you can, if you have children you will have to put a smile on your face and fake it as best you can and find time for a private little cry when you can. If you do have family or friends, force yourself to go out even for a little while, you will feel better to get out of the house. Surround yourself with loving caring friends if you can. Christmas can be a tough time for some families and if you don’t feel comfortable being with your family don’t force yourself to partake in the sickness, do what feels good for you.

And know, just like every other day of the year, this one also only has 24 hours and it will pass. Try to look forward, not back, there is a new year waiting for you and you don’t know what it holds. That can be scary but it can also be exciting, it is a chance to start your new life, you are in control, you make the decisions from this day forward.

And always remember that you are not alone, we may be thousands of miles apart or only a few blocks, we have never physically hugged or held each other’s hand but we all have a bond and are there for each other. We have a shared knowledge and strength that not everyone else has, we have slept with the devil and survived. If you can survive that you can do one Christmas.



17 thoughts on “‘Tis The Season

  1. Dane

    Thanks for the story Carrie. It means a lot to me. I don’t have anyone to talk to because my family warned me about my partner but I kept on giving too many second chances so out of shame and judgement and I told you so’s… I’am no longer in touch with my friends and family and they live 2000 mile away…There are does I just want to die but I want to live…but I can’t seem to get it together…I don’t know. Don’t matter.
    Anyway once again thanks for listening and thanks for helping so many people. I truly admire that in a person who helps others just because. Have a Merry Christmas.


    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Dane, I pray your new year brings much healing. That first Christmas I was totally alone was the last Christmas I was alone. With time I have mended the fences with my family. It took work on both our parts but we made it. I needed to know they understood and it took a lot of effort on my part to explain how hurt I was that they disowned me and how damaging dangerous it had been. My mother explained why she did it and I understand she was misinformed and she now understands more of what I was going through. When you are ready perhaps you can reach out and try to reconnect. it will never be the relationship it once was but it could be better, more open and honest than it ever was.
      All you have to do is get through each day, and while you are at it it is a natural tendency to do some soul searching and that is never a bad thing. Get to know yourself and appreciate the good things about yourself and find your truth, become the person you want to be not the person others want you to be. Find your core.
      We are all raised to be what others want of us. What our parents said we should be, our teachers, friends, lovers, bosses. We play the roles assigned to us without question usually, this is who we are supposed to be.
      But there is an unhappiness, we sense something is wrong because we aren’t really happy and content deep inside so we get involved in a toxic relationship. Not intentionally but because he accepts and loves us for who we are and for the first time in our lives we feel loved for our real self. `of course it feels wonderful and we don’t want to lose it and that is when the abuse starts. The narcissist has given us something no one else ever has and we are terrified of losing that total unconditional love and acceptance. We sacrifice everything for it.
      When he discards the victim and blames them for everything they are shattered and have two choices, they rush out and find someone else to make them feel good about themselves and in the process probably get involved with another narcissist.
      Or do an honest self assessment of our traits, and core beliefs etc and keep what is true to us and what was never ours to pack. people put their stuff on other people, not with the intention of hurting that person but because of stuff that was put on them or their own insecurities and we keep doing it to each other and rejecting people when they don’t fit the mold we want them to fit and we are disappointed when they are not the person we want them to be instead of appreciating who they really are. When a person is doing things because it is expected of them and not because of a true core desire to do them they become bitter, unhappy, insecure, jealous, clingy, build brick walls, they become a bunch of stuff that is very unattractive.
      If that person gets stripped down to the lowest denominator and has to rebuild themselves they are given a rare gift. They can remake themselves into their true self, without the influence of family. When you find your true self, you can’t help but love who you are because anything you don’t like you change, simple. Once you like who you are and are confident with who you are what other people think of you won’t matter as much and it is so much easier to be honest with yourself and others. You stop being needy because you don’t need anyone to tell you what you are and if you are good enough.
      I would like to suggest you take the time around Christmas to do an honest self assessment and go into the new year an honest version of yourself and you will experience an abundance of blessings. Make 2015 the year you shine!!


  2. stacyd1996

    I wish I would have found your blog last year. It was my first holiday season away from my family. My children are grown but they had been convinced by their father that every thing was my fault and I had been lying about everything he did even though they were there and say it all first hand. They refused to see me, speak to me, or let me see or speak to my grand children. I didn’t think I would survive but I did survive. This year they are coming to have Christmas dinner with me. It will be a week early so they can spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with their “other” family but I am just happy they will be here. Both of my sons have only been to my house once since I left and that has only been in the past couple of weeks. Things are still difficult, I do not see them or my grand children like I use to or as often as I would like but as each day passes things get a little easier. Time may not heal all wounds but it does make it easier for fences to mend.


    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Stacy it does take time but look how far you have come in one year! Once good things start to happen it is like a snow ball rolling down hill picking up speed and more snow as it goes. it seems once good things start happening positive brings more positive and thing we thought totally bleak and impossible a year ago magically shift to a positive in ways we never could have imagined.
      I predict that your children will see the light and regret their decision to cut you out of their life. A narcissist can not maintain the facade forever, their true colours always show through and when they do you will be there as you always have been, never changing, always their loving mom.
      2015 is going to be a year of great healing and I pray you get a double helping!


  3. lonely

    When i read a post like this i am so humbled, materialistically i came out OK, we never lived together. However it is the similarities of the abuse that make me equally damaged. The unconditional love and support shown here is what has given me the strength to stay NO CONTACT, it too has given me a glimmer of hope that i too will one day heal, when your family and friends simply can’t know what happened it is comforting to know you ladies, who knows one day i may get to the other side of the world and meet you Carrie – quite sure all i would do is cry and hug you and let you know how much i appreciate the time, effort and support you put into this blog. Without it, possibly i’d be back in the hornets nest.


    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Lonely, you have experienced abuse that no one should ever experience ever no amount of money could ever make up for that! Yes you are blessed in many ways, we all are and we need to find our blessings and be thankful in order to receive more blessings.
      I pray that 2015 is filled with positive, which always builds on itself and you experience a year of healing physically, emotionally and mentally. let 2015 be your year to cherish and nurture yourself. The rest will take care of itself.
      It fills my heart with gratitude to know I have been helpful in some way, thanks for letting me know.
      Big hugs


  4. marrohop

    What an inspiration You Are to us all Carrie.
    Your love and kindness to all who are suffering abuse, either physical or mental, amazes me. You brought to light just how damaged these monsters are, when I had no idea what he was. God Bless you Carrie – have a wonderful Xmas and a peaceful New Year.
    My love to other woman on this site – may you be strong, and brave in your healing.
    With good Karma


    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Marrohop, YOU are one of the “old timers” sitting in the background sharing words of wisdom when you see a need, you are a blessing.
      Much peace and love to you in 2015. We are all strong women/people, some of us are just further in our healing process.
      Big hugs and love to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Oh Peter, thank you so much and I shall raise a glass to my friend across the big puddle. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and very very Happy New Year. I can’t believe how far I have come from those beginning days and you have come along for almost the whole ride. Thank you!


  5. Susan

    Carrie, as always you are an inspiration to all and have helped me more than I can say. Jan 5 It will be my 1 year anniversary of Freedom from the N. I have spent this year reflecting, crying, thinking, analyzing and you are right I am so much stronger now. ABout a month ago I met a man, who just lit me up. We are just friends with some benefits. I had confided in him about my N and said, and explained to him what a logical person I was and why would a man who loves money spend over $35.000 on me to take me on vacations all over the world for a year and half and have a new girlfriend at the same time. I gave him some background on my N such an alcoholic, gambler etc. I said, I just needed to make sense out of this.
    He immediately. Said, you are trying to make logical out of someone who has addictions which leads to disconnects in the brain, therefore there will never be logic. The way, he explained it resonated with me and clicked, where I don’t care anymore about trying to figure out illogical. He also introduced me to the laws of attraction, so I have been putting positive spins on everything and thinking positively. This truly works and helps.
    This is the first Christmas holiday in 5 years I will be alone. I am going back to Florida for my winter break, and looking forward to it, because last year I was there with him, but yet alone. Now I can do what I want and totally enjoy it.
    Not sure what my path is but I am happier than I have ever been since he is out of my life. I found my smile, laughter and personality, I have emerged.
    All of your posts, the wonderful ladies advice on this site have gotten me through some thought times, but it is all good.
    I want to wish you Carrie and everyone on this site a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all you wonderful ladies out there you deserve only the best and never settle again.
    Happy Holidays!


    1. ellie2013


      I am sicker than a dog ( one of those winter AL colds ) and I am basically just reading and sneezing on my poor old laptop but I could not help but comment on this. I was raised in a family that frequently put the price tag of their gifts to someone on display. The price of the gift did NOT equate with what they felt about the giftee but rather what others would think about the gifter. What he spent on you is no indication how he felt about YOU but rather an image he was portraying. The more he spent the better he thought of himself. The big man. I guess I could have grown up to think the same way money= love but I figured it out pretty quick as a teen. IF I had a problem I was handed a credit card to go shopping, not because any one cared but because they did not want to be bothered w. me and my issues.

      I hope you have a peaceful Holiday and a wonderfully quiet New Year!



      1. Susan

        Ellie, I hope you feel better soon. thank you for your insight and you are correct, that is the disconnect, because they are mentally sick.. Pretty much ironic, he puts money before anything else, yet go figure. I know he never loved me, or her or anybody else, his love was himself and money.
        I truly don’t care or try and figure it out anymore. Time heals, don’t miss him, think about him and just living my life.
        When I listen to Kelly Clarkson’s song Stronger, it truly empowers me, the line I might be alone, but I am not lonley. It is better to be alone, that be with someone and be lonley which was 5 years of my life. Staying positive for the future and where it goes it will be an adventure of fun for me, because that is the direction I am going.
        I hope you recover quickly and have a happy healthy holiday.
        Take care.


  6. ellie2013

    Well, Ladies ( and men too). It’s Christmas Eve!! I know, I know. Not the happiest time for some. The N’s in our lives make sure of that. But, you know, there is something they can not take away. And that is the fact that in a tiny manger in Bethlehem, with a single mom ( not unlike some of us ) and into adject poverty ( again not unlike some of us ) a savior was born 🙂 HE really IS the reason for the season. Not the trees, not the gifts, not all the glitter. Baby Jesus was born to give us all hope. And whether we can feel it or not we will always have that. So if you can’t feel happy today or tomorrow about anything else feel glad that you never really are alone and remember the real reason for the season!

    Carrie, Fee, Claire, Susan, Kathy, Cindy, Marrahop, Ellen, Morgan and countless others that I can not remember the names of right now…….. Have the most Peaceful Christmas possible. Look forward to a Happy and healthy New Year 🙂 Be well, be safe and know we all here care 🙂

    Merry , merry Christmas!

    Huge Hugs!




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