Finding Inner Peace When Your World Is Falling Apart

After leaving my ex I felt empty and hopeless, I had never felt so broken, I can’t even describe the pain. I wanted to beg him, I did beg him at one point, something I had never done with any man. I had no pride left because I felt I had nothing left to lose, I had invested everything I had into the relationship. All I could see in my future was unhappiness, loneliness, poverty, and regret.

My mind was constantly rehashing every aspect of our relationship, I spent hours on the internet trying to find out what my ex was doing, hooked on trying to figure him out and expose his lies. I obsessed about “if only”, “what if”, and I envisioned how happy he was with “her” and how she was getting everything and more than I had wished for and deserved. I relived the relationship day in and day out. He was in my dreams (nightmares), and my every waking thought. I couldn’t talk about anything else, my pain ached through my whole body. I just wanted out of my body, I had panic attacks, desperate to stop the pain.

At times I felt like I was trudging through quick sand, no matter how I struggled to get out of it, I only sunk deeper. Other times it felt more like I was being battered by the ocean, I would break through the surface, gasp for air, get hit by another wave crashing down on me that pulled me under, bashed me against the rocks, until I didn’t know which way was up. I would see the light, break through the surface again, gasp another breath, only to get pulling down again.

Yesterday I had YouTube playing on the tv while I painted and as happens, I went from watching Oprah Soul Sunday to a few hours later watching Eckhart Tolle. Then I remembered how listening to him had helped me stop my mind and find inner peace. Here is a quote of his;

Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.

Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Yesterday he was asked by a member of his audience what the catalyst was to him finding Inner Peace and he said it was different for everyone. But most people reach a point of “hitting rock bottom”, hating their lives, themselves, of in his case, wanting to die because he couldn’t stand being unhappy any longer. That is where I was, I couldn’t go any lower without dying. While taking a course on being a life coach the class was asked to think of a time we felt like a failure. I answered, “I woke up and realized my suicide attempt failed.” There isn’t much lower than that. Compounding was feelings of worthlessness was my ex, who; when I told him I had failed in my attempt to kill myself told me to try again because “no man would ever want a suicidal, paranoid, bitch like me.”  It was then, that I fully realized; I was responsible for my own healing, and my worst enemy was/is the voice in my head telling me lies, lies I had been told my whole life.

I became acutely aware of what my mind was saying and started sorting out the truth from lies. The negative voices, my mother’s voice, “you can’t make money doing that, if you could, someone would be doing it already”, “what are you going to do now? You can’t survive”, “you always were too (fill in the blank)”, “that’s nice (my painting) but no one will pay money for it”. That is until I started selling my stuff in a popular antique store and her classy friends were raving about how talented I was.

I knew, if I wanted peace of mind; I had to stop ruminating over; what others thought of me, what might happen in the future, what I could have done differently in the past, how much I had lost, and all the other things I had no control over. I had to start living my life as purely and honestly as I could, every day. If I slipped one day, I could always start over tomorrow morning. All I had was this moment and I was never going to find happiness anywhere but in my own mind.

Life is a series of lessons, either we learn them or we end up stuck and angry, sad, and resentful our whole life. No matter how carefully we plan, or how hard we wish, life is going to happen and we can flow with it or fight it all the way. It is when we fight it that we lose our inner peace.

90% of what we worry about never comes to pass. When faced with a choice or dilemma and people around us demand we make a decision, is when we make poor choices. Decisions made under duress are the ones we often regret. We should never do anything that doesn’t sit well in our gut. I have learned that the best thing to do when you don’t know what to do; is nothing.

“Nothing!!!?? How can you do nothing? I need to fix the problem”

No, you don’t. If the answer doesn’t come easily to you, if you have to canvas friends and family to see what you should do,  you need to do nothing. Try it, more than half the time the problem solves itself or an answer becomes obvious. For example; my mother had a friend who wanted to rent out his basement. It didn’t have a kitchen or private entrance, it was just a bedroom, bathroom and bar fridge with a hot plate, but they would allow Stella. She really wanted me to take it.

In her mind it was the answer to my homelessness problem. (Because living with her with my dog was totally out of the question. Not that I had asked to live with her and was living in my car, sleeping in her carport sometimes, but that didn’t look good if her friends found out.)

I went to see it. They seemed like a nice couple but I didn’t immediately jump on it. My mother made a deal of $500/month with me doing the yard work. I was getting $700 a month on government assistance, I had heart failure, my heart was functioning at 17%. I couldn’t afford $500 a month and couldn’t promise my health would allow for me to physically do all the yard work. Besides that, their big tv was downstairs and he said he’d be coming downstairs to watch his sports and to practice his singing because he belonged to a barbershop quartet.

I was polite when we left, thanked them very much and said I’d get back to them, but needed to think about it. My mother was pissed! It was perfect! I was being stupid and stubborn not snapping it up. What was I going to do? She had gone to the trouble to arrange this, what would they think if I didn’t take it? I gave her my reasons for being hesitant, I would have no privacy, no kitchen and most importantly, I couldn’t afford $500/month and it wasn’t worth $500 a month and I couldn’t DO the yard because of my health.

A few days later the family was invited to my mom and step dad’s for Mother’s Day supper. When I arrived my brother immediately started in on me about not taking this golden opportunity mother had found for me. That I was being selfish and crazy to not jump at it. After all beggars can’t be choosers. I tried to explain why I was hesitant but mom had obviously already made his mind up. I decided I was NOT going to succumb to pressure no matter what, I didn’t feel at peace about it. At dinner my mom sat down and said to me, in her most cheerful phoney voice,  “Did you tell your brother about your new place to live?” I said, “There was no need, you had already filled him in.” She denied it. I said, “oh for God’s sake mother! Stop with the lies! I am so sick of you talking behind people’s backs trying to manipulate things the way you want them. I am done! Stop trying to pressure me into making a decision. I told you I need time to decide and I can’t afford $500 a month.” She looked hurt, (Fuck!!)”But where will you live?” 

I walked out and drove home. I stopped at the gas station close to my mom and contemplated going back, but I knew it would be because I felt guilty, not because I was sorry.

The next day I called the friend of my mother and told him I appreciated him offering me the basement but I had to be honest; there was no way I could afford $500 a month, couldn’t do the yard work because of my health and didn’t feel comfortable about him coming downstairs to watch TV, I am a very private person.

He asked how much I could afford and I told him the government allots $350/month for rent. He said that would be ok and he said he would move the tv upstairs and not watch it downstairs. I agreed to move in and ended up living there almost 2 years. He ended up reducing the rent to $200/month and my health improved so I could do some yard work. I still didn’t like living there but it enabled me to get back on my feet.

Without going into my mother’s upbringing and the demons in her head, her need to control everyone and everything has contributed to some of the worst mistakes I have made. It has taken me most of my life to learn to trust my gut and ability to make good choices.

So many times we get so focused on what we think we must have that we totally miss out on great opportunities right under our nose. We try to make things, people, cooperate with what we want to happen, what we think will make us happy. And we have this “anything worth having is worth fighting for” mentality when we should look at it from the point of view of, “when you have to compromise your core self in order to make something happen, maybe it’s not meant to be.” And never ever make decisions when you are in panic mode.

We all need to look at the under lying reason we feel panicked. Often times it’s ego driven. As with my mother, her need to find me a place to live had very little to do with concern for me and more to do with what her friends think of her. Her need to be thought of as a caring person, her embarrassment over her daughter being homeless. She was prepared to put me in the position of not being able to pay my rent just to save face.

When we split from the narcissist he always rejects us, even if we are the ones to leave and even if we know it is for the best; the minute he rejects us our ego kicks in. The narcissist almost always find the “love of his life” immediately after the split and our ego tells us there must be something wrong with us. When he blames us for the demise of the relationship, it our ego that needs to be proven right. When people believe his lies about us, it’s our ego that needs to prove him wrong. When we should know that true friends wouldn’t believe him and we have nothing to prove. We should live true to our core self and not concern ourselves with what others think of us. “what other people think of us is none of our business”. We don’t like everyone we meet, it’s egotistical to expect everyone we meet to like us.

It’s egotistical to think we are the ultimate woman that any and all men want, able to please every man, nor should we want to please every man.

Life Goals Through Painful Times

When we leave the narcissist; because the truth is, in the end, most of us have to do the physical leaving. Even though he treats you like shit and says its over, he never actually leaves, but keeps hoovering and blaming us for the failed relationship. It is such an extremely painful time, you are losing what you believe is your soul mate, being blamed for it AND have to find the strength to physically move and often times you are losing your career, lifestyle, friends and family at the same time. For victims of a narcissist it is often the bleakest time of their life.

So how do you survive it, move on from it, find happiness again, ever trust a man again?

First of all, allow yourself to grieve and accept that you are going to hurt for awhile, perhaps a long while. You will shorten the length of time you hurt by not picking at the scab. Like any injury, it takes longer to heal if you keep ripping the scab off. How many times in your childhood did you hear, “Stop picking at the scab! It will leave a scar.”

Every time you allow the narcissist into your life by not maintaining no contact, you are in essence ripping the scab off. If you want to stop hurting, stop doing the thing that hurts you. I remember thinking, “I will feel so much better if I can tell him what I really think.” Or thinking I had an epiphany and needed to share my new awareness with him. OR I discovered another lie he had told me and I needed to confront him. But, you know something, every single time I contacted him I ended up feeling worse. I never ever felt better.

At first, just a text or quick phone call got me through the day, satisfied my addiction. All I needed was a few words. A text saying how was your day, anything at all. But it never failed, it always ended up with him not replying to my text for days and me waiting. Or I had an epiphany about our relationship (like he is a narcissist) and wanted to share it with him. It never gave me the satisfaction I thought it would because a narcissist isn’t interested in learning, growing, or the truth. He will never admit to fault, will always blame you and will twist the facts and rewrite history to suit him and hurt you. The only way you win against a narcissist is when you refuse to engage.

Whatever you do, don’t tell him he is narcissist, it will not go the way you think/hope it will. He will NOT feel terrible, remorseful, or shame. He WILL accuse you of being a narcissist and tell all your friends that you are the narcissist and he is the victim.

Understand this, once you know what you are dealing with, the responsibility for your pain shifts from his shoulders to yours. Not past pain, that was his fault, but stopping future pain, is all your responsibility. The future is what YOU make it.

Don’t make being a victim your identity. Once you leave the relationship, you are no longer a victim of abuse, you are a survivor of abuse. Act like a survivor. Being a victim can get comfortable, it’s kinda convenient to never take responsibility for your life. People don’t like to hang around victims though, people get sick of a person always whining about how they are the victim. Truth be told, life sucks sometimes and bad things happen to good people.

Life isn’t always fair. When you are in the depths of despair and think you can’t survive, think about what other people have gone through, survived, and found happiness. No matter how bad things are in your life, there is always someone dealing with worse. For example; my cousin was married to her true soul mate, after an abusive relationship ended, she met the love of her life. At almost 40 she had her first child. And then her husband died of cancer. How is that fair?

I reminded myself of that when I started to say things like “Why me!?” Sure, she didn’t have to see him loving someone else, rubbing salt into the wound. Isn’t it self absorbed to think she would hurt less than you? She lost her real true soul mate. You lost a fake asshole who tried to destroy you, are you going to let him? Or, are you going to prove to him that he under estimated your strength.

What about the women who, trying to escape brutality, starvation, traveled through a living hell to get to the US seeking safety and asylum only to have their children ripped from their arms and taken away forever, and then were sent back to the country they were running from. How does she survive?

The Jews who survived when their lover, their whole family, were killed, and they were tortured and starved, and yet they lived, thrived, and eventually loved again.

People who survived 9/11. A mother who’s child goes missing or dies. It’s hard to not get very self absorbed about your pain. It’s rather narcissistic to think your pain is worse or that for some reason you should be exempt from being in pain. I’m not saying you don’t deserve to cry, that you aren’t suffering, or minimize what you are going through. I am only saying; you are not alone and you can and will survive this, but only if you take the time to heal and not try to find a bandaid in the form of a new relationship.

Burying your hurt by immediately starting to date again will only delay your suffering. The odds are that you will meet another narcissist because you are a prime target. A narcissist is always sweet and madly in love in the beginning, they always say exactly what you need to hear, they sweep you off your feet and you are so needy you absorb the attention like a dry sponge. And there you are, exactly where you started, only this time the pain is twice as bad.

The other option could be, you meet a really great guy and destroy the relationship with your suspicions and basically making him pay for the things your ex did.

The truth is, a truly healthy person doesn’t want to fix you, they don’t want to pack your baggage and it’s selfish of you to expect they should. You owe it to the next person to come into the relationship as a whole healed healthy person, able to be your best self.

Social media can be a great place to find support through blogs, videos, Facebook groups, but it can also be a very dangerous place to be. It’s easy to sit for hours with other victims of N abuse and share stories of abuse, feeding off of others pain. I have gone to some support sites where the same women are there year after year, never really healing, never moving on, because they can’t, they keep reliving their pain. They become as attached to their pain as they were to the narcissist. They don’t want to give up their pain because the pain keeps them attached to the narcissist. Constantly analyzing why he did this or that, what he is doing now. It feeds our pain, feeds our fears, and feeds negativity, and we feel special. It can be very easy to get into a “all men are assholes” mindset. You meet a new guy and he does or says something that confuses you and you go into a support site for the opinion of the others, other victims, because you don’t trust your own gut instincts and aren’t healed.

There is no guarantee that learning everything you can about narcissists is going to protect you from getting involved with another one.

It is extremely important to learn what you are dealing with and that you are not alone but at some point you need to grow and heal. I fully expect women to stop coming to my site eventually because they have moved on and don’t want to rehash their pain any more. It’s great to show support to other victims as long as it doesn’t hold you back from finding true happiness and living your life. There will always be occasions when you will be able to support other victims. Go out and live your life, opportunities to be the light for other victims of abuse will present themselves when you least expect it, a dinner party, a chance to educate a group of people who have misconceptions about why women stay in abuse.

Another negative associated with too much social media is, people make their lives seem so perfect. They Photoshop their photos, they rave about their boyfriend, their material possessions, everyone is competing with the Kardashians. That is not real life. Everyone is not living a perfect happy life except you.

Social media is a great time waster, been there done that! Sucked into the internet vortex for hours and hours. Instead of devouring everything you can about narcissists, try focusing on self improvement. Improve your communication skills, learn how to do something new or perfect a talent you have. For me it was painting, self awareness and self improvement. Feeding my good traits, being my best self, not feeding the negativity. I took a personality test on 16 Personalities.com that I found most helpful in understanding why I am the way I am and that I am not too anything, I am a personality type and that’s ok.

I have always viewed life experiences as an opportunity to learn something, grow and then share, in hopes it helps others. I never expected to be homeless in my life, when I found myself homeless I looked at it as an opportunity to learn something. What I discovered was, I had many false judgements about who becomes homeless and why. I had a paradigm shift and I became a better person, not so judgemental. God gives us lessons in life, sometimes they are painful lessons. I’ve heard God makes a person experience the same lesson over and over again until they learn the lesson. I can be a slow learner, so now try to learn the lesson the first time.

For me, the thought that I had wasted 10 years of my life loving a lie was not acceptable. I had to learn something and IF I could help even one other woman avoid the pain I was experiencing, if I saved one life; then it wasn’t all for nothing. I could live with it. No time in a person’s life should be a waste, we should always learn something. What lesson are you meant to learn?

I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to leave the world a little bit better because they were here. Find your unique gift to the world.

A few other truths you need to know;

#1 – you never know how strong you are until you do what you didn’t think you could. If it was easy, it wouldn’t require strength.

#2 – There is a reason people say they had a “good cry”. It is not weakness to cry, crying is good for you, allow yourself time to cry. I alloted half an hour every morning to cry, then I put on my makeup and got on with my day. At the end of the day I had another pity party. Tears quite literally wash the toxicity from the body and the narcissist leaves behind a lot of toxicity.

3. Relax, stop beating yourself up about not healing fast enough. Those well meaning friends that say, “The best way to get over a man is to get under a new man”, are wrong. The friends who say, “It’s been a month, you should be over him by now”, are not real friends. There is no right way to grieve, no magic time limit, to fully heal could take years, if you do it right.

4. That said, you need to put the work into healing. Obsessing is not healing. “But I can’t stop thinking about him. He is all I think about, dream about, he fills every minute of every day. I can’t stop my mind.”

5. Yes you can. You control what you think about. Your mind only knows what you put in it and the irony is, the more you think about something the deeper the pathway to that thought is embedded in your mind and the more your mind goes there. For however long you were with the narcissist, he made sure you were thinking about him 24/7 and now you have to retrain your brain to think of something else. That requires work on your part. When you catch yourself obsessing about him you have to consciously change your thoughts. Think of it this way; when you start a new job or learn a new skill like driving; at first you have to force yourself to learn new things, you make notes, you feel like you will never learn the job. But after not too long it just comes naturally, you drive without thinking about it, you do your job without checking your notes. I used to answer the phone for Fraser Valley Foods, it took a long time for the greeting to flow off my tongue but after awhile, I would answer my personal phone, “Fraser Valley Foods, Carrie speaking”. When you catch yourself obsessing about how she is getting all the things you wanted, his best; change the scene to her crying because he didn’t come home all night, picture her filled with self doubt because he has twisted the facts.

6. Of course they appear happy, she is just like you, she is believing his lies, he is being everything she ever wanted, they are in the honeymoon stage. He wants you to think it was all your fault, he wants all his friends to think it was all you and she is feeling smug because she has the wonderful man you lost. History repeats itself. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. A toxic person does not change.

Besides, to dwell on what might be going on in their relationship does YOU no good. It’s over. Wishing is not going to make it better. If onlys, only torture you. IF you truly feel you could have done something different and changed the outcome, figure it out and vow to never do it again. Analyze the relationship honestly, how could you have changed to make him treat you better. Not get angry he cheated? Not get angry he destroyed your personal property? Not have any expectations of him to be honest, committed, or contribute financially? What exactly could you have done to make him stay? And if you would have done those things, would you have been happy?

You know you wouldn’t have been happy because you weren’t happy in the relationship. I always say I stayed 9 and 1/2 years too long in a 10 year relationship. I was unhappy for over 9 years and spent that 9 years thinking “I just want him to go back to being the man I met”, “If I can just explain it in a way he understands, he will stop hurting me”, “If I love him well enough, sacrifice enough, he will love me back”. In the process I gave up my moral standards, compromised my core beliefs and allowed him to cross all my boundaries. There is no way a person can be happy if they aren’t living true to themselves.

7. There is only one way to have inner peace in life. Only one way to find true lasting love and that is to live true to your core values and morals. Make living your best life, your life goal and you will find happiness and miraculously having a man in your life won’t be such a necessity. When you love yourself completely, little flaws and all, you don’t have to ask for others opinion on what you should do. When you are truly connected to your core values you stop trying to be what the man wants and start looking for a man who compliments you and you become a better version of you.

8. We all meet narcissists every day, they are every where, there is no avoiding them. You can go through life afraid, suspicious, paranoid, as a victim or martyr. Or you can go through life knowing your core self is exactly who you need to be and that as long as you live true to you, no one can ever make you feel less than again.

9. If you meet another narcissist, don’t automatically go to “What’s wrong with me? Why do I attract narcissists?” To a narcissist everyone is a potential victim, meeting a narcissist does not automatically make you a victim. The key is, to walk away. Be thankful you were able to peg him for what he is and you dodged a bullet, you didn’t stick around waiting for him to change. THAT is what made you a victim.

10. Finally, who and how they love you does NOT give or take away your value. When you value yourself by how someone else treats you, you are giving that person the power to control your every emotion. No healthy person wants that power. There is something very annoying about a person who is always taking the relationship’s temperature because they are dependent on the relationship to set their self esteem or mood for the day. No one wants to be with a needy person.

We all have days when we feel needy but a love partner should not consistently make you feel needy or insecure.

How To Know He Is Toxic

I hear it from women all the time and I’ve written about this before; “I don’t know if he’s a narcissist, he doesn’t have all the traits, but he does xxxxxx, and it really hurts me. But he says I am over-reacting, too sensitive, in other words (wrong).”

This video covers just that, instead of trying to figure out who is right or wrong, decide if his actions align with your core self.

That is why I always advise women to take the time to get in touch with their core self, accept who they are at the core and love that person. We all have a core self that determines how we react to things. Throughout our life people have tried to tell us who we should be, or who we shouldn’t be. Alot of people never live true to their core self and spend their whole life trying to be someone they aren’t. It’s very hard to be a confident person when you always feel like you aren’t quite living up to the expectations of others, are a fraud trying to be something you aren’t.

Life becomes so peaceful, easy, and fulfilling and you become a confident, happy, and positive woman when you live an authentic life.