Wow! another year gone by in a flash!! I didn’t make any New Year resolution last year and I won’t this year either, I just plan on getting through the year best I can, count my blessings every day and see what the world has in store for me.
I have a very strong feeling that there is going to be a lot healing for the people who come to this blog. I feel there is a revolution brewing worldwide and that domestic violence is going to receive the attention it deserves and that the abusers are going to be held accountable for their sins. I think the scales of justice are going to shift and finally the blame is going to be placed where it should have been all these many years, on the abuser and not the victim.
The Phoenix symbolizes rising from the ashes and to me that is exactly what a victim of a narcissist does. A narcissist is often compared to the devil himself, and if you get too close to him …………. you will get burned and if he has his way you will be nothing but a pile of ashes when he is done with you. But with the silence broken and more victims talking openly about their experiences the victims can support each other and rise from the ashes more beautiful and stronger than ever before.
I made great strides again last year as far as healing, I feel truly free of James, I think of him and see him as a symbol of a much bigger social problem, not as a threat to me, simply a part of my past, one of the steps that brought me here, someone who made me who I am today and someone who made me appreciate my life and the people in it more than I already did.
This year also brought something I was not expecting and I haven’t seen talked about a whole lot on other sites on narcissists; maybe because it doesn’t really have so much to do with narcissists but more with personal growth. In my case the personal growth was brought about by the trauma of being with James and him literally killing the old me, the me that I and everyone in my life viewed me to be. For the past 4 + years I have reinvented myself and I don’t think that happens to someone unless they experience some life altering event. Being in love with a narcissist qualifies as such an event.
I realized I was a shell of the person I used to be shortly after leaving James, after I attempted suicide I realized how broken I really was. It was an overwhelming prospect, rebuilding myself; where does a person start? what makes us who we are? (I will cover that in another post) As I was reinventing myself, I knew the people who knew me were having a hard time getting to know the new me, they struggled with me not being “myself” I struggled with not being “myself”. I have found that this year has been more about getting comfortable with the new me more than anything else and something unexpected happened when I got comfortable with the new me, all my relationships got better, closer, more honest and more fulfilling.
I had good friends before James, I thought I was well-liked, but now I feel more comfortable in my skin, with who I am and the choices I make.
Some of the events of last year that stand out in my mind are:
– My dad died rather suddenly, he had health problems for many years but developed pneumonia and died suddenly, we hadn’t seen each other in years but had talked on the phone and through FaceBook more recently. I loved my dad and had many good memories of him from my childhood but as an adult I found it necessary to distance myself from him for my own mental health. I went to his celebration of life and saw people I haven’t seen in years, reconnected with my step mom, saw my step sisters, and a few friends I hadn’t seen in years and we all shared memories of my dad and had a few laughs. It was good. I didn’t know how I would react and I think most people who knew me wondered but it went very well, and I think that was mainly because I was comfortable with my choices and myself.
– My brother and I have grown closer and I feel he has a deeper appreciation of me and ……….. well……. I don’t know how to describe it. Maybe it’s getting older, maybe it’s realizing our mortality; that we won’t live forever. Two days ago he text messaged me saying his house was a mess and he would I mind giving him a hand cleaning it, he was willing to pay me, but he could not get motivated to clean. I was happy to help, (he has helped me out a lot the last year). I had just made a big pot of turkey soup and was planning on taking him some anyway.
I was vacuuming and my brother said, “When did we get so old?”
I said I didn’t know, that every time I think about Kris being 31 I am shocked because I don’t think of myself as being much older than 30; having a son 30 really makes you face the reality of aging, (as does looking in a mirror) haha
He said, “Somethings don’t ever change though, I feel like I did years ago, you bringing me homemade soup, helping me clean my house, it is like no time has passed.”
He was right, but also wrong, some things have changed. Now I do it because I love him and want to do something nice for him and years ago I did it because I was a caretaker, a fixer, and I wanted him to love me so I did things so he would love me. There is a huge difference you know. I love him but I am not concerned that he loves me, I don’t feel I have to be a certain way in order for him to love me. He loved the soup by the way.
– Another thing I have managed to attain this year, I have gotten my cooking skills back. Yes!!!! I thought I would never be able to put a tasty meal together again! I used to entertain and cook for people because I thought it would make them like me, I second guessed myself every time I entertained, I would pick the whole night apart afterwards. “This wasn’t right, I shouldn’t have said that, should have done something else”….. I tortured myself with perfectionism. Now I am pleased when I cook something tasty, I will compliment my own cooking and I want to share when I do cook something tasty but I no longer do it for accolades and I no longer do it if I don’t want to.
– Which leads me to a big change – I no longer do anything I don’t want to do. Whenever I am asked to do something I think before I give my answer. I do not say Yes unless I truly want to do it and if I say yes I try to not cancel. I used to say yes to social events, or volunteer for something because I felt I couldn’t say no but I have learned to say no without feeling guilty. And that feels wonderful!! I used to say yes and then dread doing it and try to get out of it, use any excuse I could to get out of the commitment and I would feel guilty. When you don’t do anything you don’t want to you never have to let people down, lie to get out of it, and you don’t get resentful because you are doing things you don’t want to do.
– Another thing that has actually been happening since about a year after I left James but came to fruition in 2014 is my mother is finally understanding the issue of domestic abuse and narcissists. I am very proud of her, she is 75, not OLD but certainly many people at that age don’t want to put in the effort to change the way they think. I had always been really close with my mom and for her to not understand put a wedge between us and I guess she felt it also because she has begun to take a real interest in narcissists, their traits, how they gain control and why the victim finds it so hard to leave. Since taking an interest she can actually identify them now and has even shared information with her friends. That is what we need, people taking an interest and spreading their knowledge. This year when I asked for personal references from people who read my blog I gave them to her to read and I gave her a few pages of the comments from followers of my blog who have been helped. She called me after reading them and said she had never been more proud of me. I don’t recall my mom ever saying those words. I am sure there were times she was proud of me but I can’t remember saying it those words. I was surprised by how much it meant to me.
– My son and I have always been close, when he was younger we talked a lot about everything. I always tried to remain approachable and nonjudgmental so he would feel comfortable talking to me. I have always wanted him to know that no matter what he did I loved him and I was there for him but there was a period of time where we didn’t talk that much. He lived a distance away, we talked on the phone but nothing beats face to face, nothing can replace a hug. He moved closer this year and we have had the opportunity to spend quality time just the two of us, talking and I feel closer to him than ever before and I feel he likes the new me and understands and appreciates who I have become.
– I have reconnected with old friends and really enjoyed myself, they have changed also, 15 years have gone by since I spent time with most if them. Being in contact with friends, going out and being social helps to make me feel more normal and more myself also. My son is so happy every time he hears I have been out with friends because I isolated for so long.
– After James I had a very hard time thinking positively and there was so much negativity in my life it was hard to not be negative. I have done a lot of reading up on the power of positive thinking and I truly believe there is something to it. I am still having to work on it but I have made progress in that area also.
– I used to need everything to be scheduled and organized, with James you could count on nothing and I did adapt to the uncertainty but it meant you never had anything to look forward to either. I am learning that I can plan and look forward to something happening but on occasion there will be a need for flexibility. For example; I had planned to cook a turkey on Boxing Day for my son, I had made quite a big deal about it actually but once he got here and I heard how stressed he was, all that he had on his plate I knew that getting to my place for turkey dinner on Boxing Day was going to put a real strain on him. Without much thought to it I offered to help him with what he had to do and asked him if he would rather have help and forget the turkey. We ended up having a wonderful day Boxing Day that I will cherish forever and I cooked the turkey the next day for my neighbor and she is still thanking me. It worked out perfectly. I am learning how to “go with the flow” without feeling I am being taken advantage of or compromising what is truly important to me.
I have learned to be authentically me, I still have a lot to work on but so far it is working for me and apparently everyone who knows me. Imagine that!
I am challenged right now because the funding committee has postponed giving their approval for me to go to school so Jan 5th I will not be starting school. I was counting on it, I have no money for rent today because I was counting on my funding coming through but I am trying to accept that there is nothing I can do about it and I am trying to trust that things will work out as they should. Before Christmas my PayPal didn’t work, of all the bizarre times for it to screw up, my brother, who usually has me clean his house so I can make some extra money didn’t need his house cleaned because he was off work and couldn’t justify paying me to clean. It was like the money tap was shut off but I had gifts for almost everyone and I painted gifts for those people I didn’t have gifts for and I got through Christmas. In fact it was the best Christmas I have had in over a decade. I try to hold onto the belief that everything happens for a reason and things will work out the way they should.
It is not easy sometimes, I can get myself really worked up with worry but I am working on it and that is my plan for the coming year; to continue to try to be authentically me and go with the flow knowing things are unfolding as they should.
What are your plans for 2015?