You Will Survive – But Will You Thrive?

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I have been going through old posts looking for stuff I want to include in the book and relating it to what many of you are going through now. James and I had split in early December of 2010 and in March 2011 I found out James was living with his new woman. I fell apart when I found out, he and I had been keeping in contact and I figured he was dating but he had always done that; when he found someone that he committed to and did the discard I was shattered.  The waves of grief would wash over me, threatening to drown me again.

I wrote this post June 8 2011,

“My gardens are doing well, as soon as the sun comes out for a few hours there are a bunch more blooms bursting open. I am amazed at how most of my plants were dug up 2 yrs ago by me (from the gardens of homes being demolished for a new road going in) rode around on the truck with scrap, sat outside until I got around to planting them, then got dug up again when I moved this winter. I forgot about them and they sat outside for over a month in snow and freezing temps before I planted them, now they are blooming so beautifully!!! Yesterday I grabbed a dead looking shrub. It was a twig sticking out of the ground and I figured if it didn’t have leaves by now it must be dead. But as its roots let go of the dirt I saw tender fresh green sprouts coming out of the root ball, it was alive! Just slow! So I gently pushed it back into the soil.

I guess people are a lot like that eh? You can rip them up by their roots, neglect them, and downright abuse them, but give them a little TLC and they flourish once again.

I’m not flourishing yet, but I think I’m like that twig, I’m not dead yet! just slow, I Just need a little more time, I’ll come back!”

If you are a gardener, you know that when you prune a bush it goes into a kind of shock at first but when it starts to grow again it comes back more beautiful than ever before. Every place you cut a branch off several will grow in it’s place. If you know what you are doing and make your cuts carefully you can shape the tree so that it truly becomes a show piece of a plant.

When they were putting in Highway #17 they had to rip out some beautiful old homes with gardens that were 30-40 years old. I love plants and it broke my heart to see these lovely plants being ripped out.  James, his son and I had just moved to Ladner and the yard was gravel and barren. Things were not going well between us, i was determined to make it work, and he was being his usual hot and cold self, I always found comfort in digging in the soil and nurturing something so I approached one of the excavator operators about digging up some of the plants and saving them. He saw no reason why not so everyday I went and dug up more plants and planted them in the yard at home. We were on a blueberry farm so fertile soil was plentiful, I dug a pond with gardens all around it. One day I noticed a tree ripped out by it’s roots, laying on it’s side covered in blossoms. it was at least 9 feet tall and had practically no root ball left, but it was blossoming.

I had a hell of a time packing it to the truck but was able to crane it onto the flat deck. When I got home I had to drag it to the pond, I kept thinking that there was no way this poor tree was going to survive this treatment. I dug a hole but it had so little for roots it kept falling over so I piled rocks around the base of it, and strapped supports to the fence to keep it upright. That summer I couldn’t believe my eyes when it produced two pears.

I don’t know what happened to the tree after I moved away, I like to think it is still standing there, providing fruit and shade to the people who moved in after us. I like to think it is standing on it’s own, strong and proud.

I draw a lot of strength from watching nature, the miracle of survival. All living things have an amazing capacity for healing, an instinct of survival, whether it is a plant, animal or person; we all have a drive to survive that often defies what we think is possible.

My first husband had a terrible motorcycle accident when my son was 5 weeks old. He spent 10 weeks clinging to life in the ICU ward of Vancouver General Hospital. Never in that 10 weeks did they give him more than 3 hours to live. I went everyday and even though he was in a drug induced comma and didn’t even know I was there; I whispered in his ear that he had to live, he had a baby at home, he had me and not to give up. Finally they came to me and said there was nothing more they could do. The antibiotics were killing off his good blood cells and they suggested taking him off life support and just keeping him comfortable. I agreed. They took him off the respirator and we waited …….. he took a breath, and another. Within a week his body managed to fight the infection raging through his body and he was out of ICU. He was skin and bones but against all odds his body rallied and he was going to live.

The head surgeon of the Intensive Care Unit took me into a private room on the day he was moved to a ward and she said that there was no medical reason for him to be alive. She credited me with “willing him to live”. She had never witnessed anything like it in her whole career and they were going to be studying his case in an attempt to figure out how he lived.

He was a different man after the accident and I was different too, both scarred and drained and we split.

I spent most of Kris’s life worrying that something would happen to him, I worried myself sick, had panic attacks when he was out of my sight because I so afraid of losing him. I went to counseling, dealt with issues pertaining to my dad and my childhood. I thought I had healed  and I guess I had healed many wounds, I gave up being anorexic, I learned how to communicate effectively and I carried on. I thought I would never love like that again and married and divorced the wrong man because I had given up on ever finding that kind of love with someone, until I met James.

I was determined to make it work with James, everything I had been through, all the pain and suffering had been leading up to James and he felt the same. It was meant to be. I loved loving him and I was not giving up on him, on us. A love like that could overcome anything and I knew without a doubt that he loved me just as much as I loved him and if my love could save my first husband then sure as hell I could save James. I had proven to myself and everyone who knew me how strong and capable I was. I loved James fearlessly, with every fiber of my being and believe me, when he discarded me the pain and sense of loss was unbearable. I was totally and utterly destroyed. I would tell myself; you are a survivor, but there was not one part of me that believed it. I had never tried to kill myself before but I could not find one reason good enough to make me want to live, not even my son.

I have struggled for almost 5 years to get back on my feet and dammit I get tired some days and I still don’t know how I will put food on the table next week, I still can’t pay my rent, but every day I am thankful to be alive. Every time someone comes in here and thanks me for being here and starting this blog, I know I am making a difference by being here, in the world. I am not just taking up space. I have turned the most painful experience of my life into something positive and I have done more inner growth than I ever would have without the experience. I would not turn back time and change things if I could because I cherish every minute of my life, even the bad times because they all make me what I am and brought me here. I am so blessed to have my son, my family, I cry almost daily, not out of despair but out of sheer gratitude. I am so grateful that I have been given the time with my son to make up for all the time I didn’t make him a priority because I was so consumed with my own pain.

I am not saying to bury your pain and not deal with it. I AM saying you WERE a victim, whether you choose to stay a victim or not is totally your choice. There are things you can do to help the healing process along and there are things you can do to stay a victim. You WILL survive, you choose how you will live the rest of your life. It IS a choice, you do have control of your thoughts, your actions and your life. It takes time to put the pieces together, it seems overwhelming but do it one step at a time. You will find people are a lot more understanding when they see you are trying to heal and not wallowing in self pity. I am NOT  saying you can’t grieve, and I had many pity parties throughout the last 5 years, I even planned them, bought wine to drink while I had them.

I fought with the phone, sitting there with his number on my display and my finger over the “send” button and went to bed instead and in the morning I never regretted that I didn’t call. Next time you want to call your ex ask yourself what is it you want to achieve from the call. What do you hope to gain? is it going to make you feel better? what could he say that would make the pain go away? That he is sorry? that it is all his fault? then you would want to go back to him because you would think he had changed. But you know he won’t change. Is there something you need to tell him that you haven’t already said a hundred times? a new way to describe the pain you are in? Do you think he is going to care? and if he did care, what could he do to make it better? I know you want him to understand and feel bad that he caused you so much pain, you think that if you could tell him it would some how take the pain from you and put it on him, he could pack some of it. But he does know, he did it because he wanted to hurt you, he doesn’t care. You know as well as I do that he will blame you, reject you and hurt you again. So why do it? Because being in pain means he is still in your life. You now equate the pain with love. His silence signifies he doesn’t care but if he gets angry, hurls insults, he still cares. You have to want to stop hurting. It is scary because you have hurt for so long you are afraid you don’t know how to be happy and the happy doesn’t come immediately. But it will come. I promise.

So when I say, be patient with yourselves, please listen!! Of course you don’t like being in pain and you want to be healed so you can move on with your life. So many times I hear victims saying the exact same things I did. “But I loved him/her more than I have ever loved anyone.” “I thought we were soul mates”, “He/she was so cruel.” I used to think “no one understood how bad I was hurting, how could they? Not many people have an opportunity to love as intensely as I did. Maybe their experiences were painful but I can barely even function, no one understands, it was different with James and I.”

We can’t imagine anyone else hurting that bad, we are shocked that a person CAN hurt that badly, it’s scary. I thought at times that surely it would kill me. I had lost all faith in there being a God or any fairness in the world at all, like I have said many many times, everyday for almost 2 years I woke up and said, “I can not do this one more day” and every night I hoped I died in my sleep, and I woke up every morning and I did it again. I not only had a broken heart, my business was destroyed, I was living in a trailer with no heat or running water for a year where the dog’s water dish froze in the inside the trailer in winter. I could see my breath it was so cold and I was alone, all alone. And he was trying to destroy the only thing I had left, my good reputation and any means of me supporting myself. I am not trying to say I hurt any worse than anyone else because I have heard horrendous stories here of what victims have gone through and we all have our own personal definition of hell and we all heal at our own speed,  We also choose what we do with the experience.

I have seen victims come in here years after being abused by a narcissist, full of anger, still clinging to their hatred and pain like a life line. They can only see what they lost, they take no responsibility for their part in it, forever a victim of the evil narcissist, forever bitter and lonely. Or there are other victims who bury their pain, immediately go out to find someone who can heal their pain, and they end up meeting narcissist after narcissist and every time they are broken even more because they never dealt with the original hurt and don’t understand that no one else can give you worth and as long as you believe they can, you are setting yourself up to be hurt over and over.

When you derive your self worth from someone else it is always a tenuous state of mind, every time the other person shows any unhappiness over something you did, even the slightest innocent comment can send you spiraling in depression and feelings of low self esteem. You can never truly be yourself because you are so busy trying to figure out how to win the approval of the other person. You don’t feel attractive unless they say you look nice, you second guess everything about yourself and need constant reinforcement. Happiness is always precarious and the pressure on the person in your life is suffocating because they end up being afraid to say anything in case they offend you. Perhaps they even leave you because they can’t handle you always taking the temperature of the relationship and they feel they can’t be themselves and just have a bad day without dealing with your insecurities.

I have always tried to find the lesson in anything that happens in life, otherwise what was it all for? Personally, I could not live with the thought that a 10 year relationship was a waste of time, that all this pain was for nothing, and I couldn’t go the rest of my life hating someone and trusting no one.  Like many of you I could find tons of reason why I could not go no contact and every time I did have contact I came on here and cried “Why does he have to keep hurting me??” and then someone asked me, “Why do you keep letting him?” I admit I was hurt, I was indignant, how dare they say I let him hurt me! I didn’t want him to cheat on me, use me, abuse me, I was an innocent victim!

At some point we have to take responsibility for our own pain and our own healing. There are victims  like James one ex who spent the next 25 years, until she drank herself to death; obsessing about what he was doing, keeping tabs on him, staying in touch, and I am sure crying why me, when she got off the phone. I swore I was never going to give him the satisfaction of being able to destroy me but he had done a pretty good job of it. I had a lot to overcome and I am still dealing with the aftermath of being with him and his sick vindictiveness, but I have found my self worth and inner peace and he can never destroy that. Once a person knows their value and believes in themselves no one can take that away and that is something he will never have and I know it eats away at him that he was not able to break me and I didn’t have to find someone else to heal me or fix my life, I did it all on my own.

He came to me after he got with his new woman and said he was a success and he wanted to help me be successful also. The arrogance!! I said, “You are not a success James. You were successful in snagging a widow with money. You did not earn that money, her husband was successful and her husband made sure she would never have to worry or work a day in her life, he must be rolling over in his grave watching you spend it. That is not success James, not in my books.” He was shocked.”

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4 thoughts on “You Will Survive – But Will You Thrive?

  1. Interesting post. I parted with my ex psycho 2 months after you did with James. For sure, I had a lot of anger in me for a long time. I can’t count the times, I’d find myself muttering under my breath “Why can’t he be dead Lord?”. After a bit, I’d shake it off, and say never mind. It’ doesn’t matter.

    So now, 5 years later, I’m involved in my own sweet little romance. We’re meeting for dinner tonight and at his suggestion, to discuss our feelings for each other, and where we want to go. Funny thing, is we haven’t even kissed, and only spent one night together (without sex!), basically just hanging out. We’ve agreed there are feelings there and we enjoy the other’s company.

    As for ex psycho boy, I think of him less and less. At age 70, I’ve seen signs that his health is gradually failing, and I don’t think his relationship with his OW is all that great. But we know how those relationships, such as they are go. Basically they don’t! LOL. I’ve blocked him on social media, and we haven’t been in contact in years. It’s basically my instincts I’m going by.

    I can’t really say that I care that much. He’s mostly just a faded memory now. I do believe he’s not all that far from having to wear diapers, and have his OW wipe his butt for him! LOL. Even if that’s not the case, I can’t really say I envy her that much. He’s still the same boring, shallow being he always was. I see that now! He’s her problem now. If she wants to stay with him, being abused and used, well, that’s none of my affair.

    Good to see that we’ve both moved on, and leading our own lives. I assume his flying monkey minions are still looking out for him! As another blogger said, the psychopath’s flying monkeys don’t seem to have much in the way of intelligence or a life of their own. They don’t want to hear the truth about their idol. They can have him! Her and them! …As for me….I just don’t care anymore! Cheers!

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  2. Your last paragraph, describes my ex to a T! We call him a “freeloader” ! We could have been with the same lardass! I have been no contact for over 2 years. There were times in the beginning that were hard but I kept telling myself he was too toxic! I look at it as if it’s my revenge and it’s helped me. Like you and many others, this has effected my health. At the time we both started the journey of trying to heal, there wasn’t enough information or support for victims of this type of abuse. Now I finally started rediscovering the old me. I have barely survived. Hopefully 2016 will be our year to thrive! Hugs to you my soul sister for being here for me!

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