Tag Archives: healing from narcissistic abuse

I Am So Ashamed – Why Am I Missing Him

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I received a comment on the blog today from a woman who was confessing she had contacted her ex and didn’t understand why she had when she knew what the outcome would be. Why did she continue to torture herself?

In an attempt to find answers she had gone to a counselor and afterwards had suffered pangs of guilt and was fighting the need to contact her ex and his family.

Many people, including the victim do not understand the emotions the victim goes through. This is all very normal.

There is nothing “wrong” with the victim, it is all part of the healing process. I thought my reply to Alice may be of use to others, so here it is;

Please do not beat yourself up over contacting him. You learned a valuable lesson and won’t do it again. Sometimes we need a reminder of how bad it was. I slipped up a few times myself, called and then beat myself up for it, “How many times does he have to kick me in the teeth before I stop torturing myself??!!!” I finally got to the point where I was able to fight the urge to call. I still got there urge once in a while even a couple of years out but I knew it would pass and I would ask myself what I expected to happen if I did call. Even IF by some chance he was pleasant, I didn’t want him back, and it would only confuse me. I knew any contact would eventually end in me getting hurt.
I was also accountable to the people here, how could I preach no contact and call him? So if being accountable to us here on the blog helps you stay no contact, by all means be accountable to us but no one can judge you for it.
As for the counselor session making you feel guilty and like reaching out to him and his family.
For one thing talking about the relationship is going to bring back old feelings, stuff you may have even pushed out of your mind and it is going to bring on what I call a “healing crisis”.
You may feel as bad as you did when you first split or even worse, just try to be patient with yourself and ride it out.
Your brain is having to process the whole relationship from start to finish in order to finally deal with it and file it away.
While in the relationship you didn’t know what you were dealing with, now with the new knowledge you have about who and what he is your mind is reviewing events through new eyes, without the rose colored glasses. Things you though were true were lies, you will have new realizations and aha moments.
The human brain can only process so much pain so more than likely your brain didn’t acknowledge some painful experiences because it was overloaded and in survival mode. As you heal and are strong enough to handle it your mind will allow these buried memories to surface so you can deal with them.
You may think it is better to just leave them buried but they will surface at some point, maybe 10 years from now at a totally inappropriate time. You could be in a new relationship and something triggers you and bam! You can’t stop crying or you are angry for no reason. Better to deal with it now.
Just know that it will pass and allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come up. Don’t tell yourself you “shouldnt” be feeling that way, just feel them and release them. Cry, punch a pillow, scream…….. whatever you need to do and then go for a walk or soak in a tub.
Write a long letter to your ex expressing what you are feeling. Hand write it because your hand will get tired before you ever finish it. Then leave it for a day and reread it. I bet you will have revisions, add to it and erase some of it. Leave it again for a day and reread it again.
Do not ever send it to him but maybe give it to your counselor to discuss.
The first time I went through a healing crisis it scared the cap out of me. I thought I would never heal and had not made any progress. I felt like a big wave at the ocean had crashed down on me and was sucking me under and I panicked, thrashing around, gasping for air. And once I stopped fighting it I was able to ride the wave, breath and it would pass, taking with it a lot of my pain and leaving behind and sandy beach with little treasures (new insights, new strength, like an awakening) like the ocean does. The ocean always leaves behind new treasures when it rolls back out to sea.
These waves of healing may come as a gentle wave sometimes and at other times knock you right off your feet but they always pass and they always take garbage when they go and leave you refreshed and with new insights.
I started to look forward to them because I would feel so much better afterwards.
I hope this helps.

Eleven Things I Wish My 30’s Self Had Known

the-storm

If you could go back in time and change things, what would you change?

Because of the ripple effect I probably wouldn’t change a thing because it would mean giving up something else. Even with my experience with my ex, as horrible as it was; I wouldn’t change anything because it taught me so much about myself that I probably would not have learned otherwise.

Plus I used to lose sleep worrying that I would never find my purpose for being here on earth and I believe it is through my experiences in the past I am able to live my purpose through this blog and other outlets, like Quora.

Things DO happen for a reason, even if we can’t see that reason at the time that it is happening, later we realize there were very clear steps to getting where we are.

That said, this is what I wish I would have known 30 years ago, it is hard earned knowledge, will any 20-30 year old listen to me? I doubt it, growing up takes time and experience, some people are slow learners, some never learn and some people are too afraid to dig deep enough for real personal growth.

should-have-listened

#1. I wish I would have known how pretty I was while I was still pretty so I could have enjoyed it. (That may sound egotistical, but I think it is a common problem with women and men; we don’t realize how great we are just the way we are, that is understandable when you look at social media, magazine covers, etc)

A few years back I was looking through old photos at a friend’s house and kept coming across pictures of my ex husband snuggled up to the same sexy redhead. I was starting to get pissed, “who was this bitch?? and where was I??” Then I remembered I used to dye my hair red and it was me!

My brother and I were talking one day when I mentioned that, I was shocked when he agreed with me and said he wished he would have known how attractive he was when he was younger. I had always thought he was so confident. He had never had a hard time getting women, he was good looking and very charming his whole life. I had been the one who could always find flaws with myself and had been shy.

What difference would it have made in my life? Instead of dating more, I would have dated a lot less because I wouldn’t have been deriving my self worth from the men in my life. I have wasted a phenomenal amount of time thinking and worrying about men. Long before I met my ex, I would be immobilized waiting for the phone to ring, spend hours upon hours discussing with friends, “what do you think he meant by that?”, “Do you think he likes me?”, “Will he call?”, “Why hasn’t he called?”, “Should I call?” and then he would call and I would go on a date and wonder if he had a good time, did I say anything stupid? Omg! hours and hours wasted on dating guys I didn’t even particularly like.

#2. Your mind lies to you. I didn’t know this until I was in my early 50’s. I spent years as an anorexic/bulimic, from about 17 until I was in my 30’s. When I looked in the mirror I saw a fat person. I always felt grossly overweight, I put myself through hell. I finally joined a gym, started working out and drop kicked my scale out the back door, but it took years, I mean years! before I could look in the mirror and not think I looked fat. I was looking through old photos the other day and I was never fat!

So, if my mind could lie to me about the way I looked it could also lie to me about the narcissist is my life, or that I needed the narcissist, couldn’t live without him, and I just had to retrain my brain to think otherwise.

#3. Other people lie to you, even the people who love you, they don’t necessarily mean to do you harm, but your brain only knows the information it is fed; if you are fed erroneous information early in life you could grow up feeling like an imposter or feeling less than. You are not what other people say you are. No one knows who you truly are at the core, even you probably don’t know. I went most of my life not living true to my core self. I did certain things because I had been told I was that way by my father, mother, teachers, boyfriends, it was not until my ex totally broke me and I had to put myself back together that I realized I wasn’t being me. I spent so much time feeling like I was a fraud and people were going to pick up on the fact that I was not perfect and hate me. My house had to be spotless, I had to be skinny, I had to be the best mom, sister, daughter, employee, cook, host, and I drove myself crazy in the attempt. (psst…..no one is perfect, it isn’t even possible!)

My father used to bitch about my mom and even said to me, “You won’t be like your mother, you will always want sex and will want to please the man in your life.” “If you aren’t good I will take your brother and leave.” My mom used to criticize other people and say, “You would never do that.” “You will always keep your house clean.” “I wonder why that guy asked you out”, she was always on some new diet and talking about being fat.

I had some pretty fucked up beliefs about myself. I went to counselling and had come along way by the time I met my ex, but a narcissist is an expert on picking up on a person’s tender spots and I was unprepared for his insidious wearing away of my self confidence. It wasn’t until I was totally broken that I discovered who I am at the core and found my true core values.

#4. Being sensitive is NOT a flaw!! This is a  HUGE one!! OMG!!! my whole life I was told I was too sensitive, like it was a bad thing. The world needs sensitive people to balance it out. Where would the world be without sensitive people, we would all be a bunch of Trumps! But it is not an excuse for letting yourself get caught up with an asshole either. You have to learn to know when you are being played for a fool and when you aren’t. Often times I hear a victim say, “I can’t help it, I am sensitive, it’s just the way I am.” Everyone can change or learn to control certain behaviors that are unhealthy for them.

#5. It is not my job to make sure everyone is happy, safe and not suffering. I can not and do not have to fix the world.  If someone has a problem, I don’t have to fix it. In fact, by always taking control and fixing things for everyone I was sending them the message that I didn’t think they were capable.

#6. Not everyone is going to like you. You don’t like everyone, you don’t have to, and neither does anyone else. There are going to be people who like you, love you, hate you and who are indifferent to you; none of it reflects your worth. It just means we are all different. The people who have to be “right”, which makes you “wrong” are narrow minded and limiting; try to surround yourself with people who don’t have to be right and can appreciate other’s differences. And just because you have a different value or  belief does not make you special or right and the other person wrong. I learned the hard way that judgements have a way of coming back to bite you in the ass.

#7. You don’t have to make decisions immediately and it is ok to change your mind, especially if the person you have made plans with changes the rules. If someone is pressuring you to make a decision, it is probably because they are afraid that if you think about it too long you will realize it is not a good idea and not in your best interest. The best thing to do when you don’t know what to do; is nothing. Things have a way of working out on their own.(It may not be the resolution WE wanted, but there will be a resolution, and it will be the right resolution) Often times when we rush to make a decision it’s because we know it is wrong and if we wait we won’t get what we want. A great example is when the ex narc comes back loving bombing the victim wanting them to try again, making all sorts of promises and the victim feels pressured to say yes. Pressure from the narc but pressure from themselves also; they are afraid that if they don’t say yes right away they will lose the narc. If you lose the narc because you needed time for him to prove he is a changed man, to build your trust again, and prove he is a man of his word; well that is your answer right there.

#8. I am not invincible or better able to recover from hardship than the next person; but I am far stronger than I ever knew or gave myself credit for. You don’t know how strong you are until you are on the other side. When you think you can’t survive remember, you already are. If it was easy, we wouldn’t need strength. Just like a bodybuilder doesn’t know how much weight he can lift until he lifts it and the more he lifts the more he can lift. You don’t know what you are capable of surviving until you do it and the more you go through the stronger those emotional muscles get. All you have to do is look at where you came from to know you are strong enough. If you focus on repeating over and over again, “I am not strong enough” you will feel weak, if you focus on, “I have been surviving for X amount of time, I am strong” you will feel stronger. This takes us back to #1, our brain only knows what we put in it, change the way you talk to yourself and your mind will start thinking differently. I remember the moment I went from being a victim to being a survivor; it was when I realized that I had been saying, “I can not do this one more day.” for something like 700 days, I HAD been doing it for 700 days!

#9. Listening to my gut instincts would have saved me a whole lot of heartache in life. If you wait to see if your gut instinct was right it will be too late, trust your instincts know better than you. I heard a guest on Oprah one time, a detective of some sort, say that any survivor of a rape he had interviewed told him that they ” had a feeling” to not go into the building or go down that street, or whatever put them in danger. Our gut instincts may not see logical at the time and we tend to rationalize things to ourselves  in order to stifle that inner voice.

#10. How people treat me has far less to do with who I am and a whole lot more to do with who they are. If someone treats me badly it is not a sign I have done something wrong or need to change; it probably means that this person should not be in my life and they have issues.

#11. What we plan for, what we hope for, how we see our lives being in the future, very rarely comes to be and as disappointing as it may be, we have to pick up and make the best of it, learn a lesson from it, use it to grow and be a better person, help others with our knowledge, and just carry on best we can. Lamenting, “But that’s not fair!” never solves anything and isn’t going to change anything.

 

None of us know where our lives will take us, even if we are in total control of our life, we can’t control the lives of other people and there are going to be times someone makes a decision that affects your life, peace of mind and happiness. The best laid plans can go south in a heartbeat and if you want to be happy, you had better learn to go with the flow. Thirty years ago I certainly didn’t envision my life being what it is at almost 60. I didn’t have any grand plans for my life but I didn’t think it was even possible for me to be homeless, or that a man would ever hit me and I would stick around, or that I would end up with no money and a ruined credit rating, or heart failure.

I also never imagined my writing helping thousands of people or being published on a website that is in the top 10 sites in the world, or being interviewed on talk radio. I never knew I had talent painting and that someday I would live off of money I made from selling my painted creations. There were times I didn’t think my son would live past 20 and I was brought to my knees with grief and worry over him and now he is a man I am so proud of my heart fills to overflowing. It is so nice to see your child grow into someone you not only love, but someone you really really like.

I have no regrets because I can’t, life doesn’t come with any guarantees, don’t we all want a fairytale life with no pain, troubles, trauma or broken hearts. Very few people, if anyone, gets that. There are so many people who have suffered far more than I have. People who have lost a child to a drunk driver or some psycho. They just found a woman who was held captive since August in a shipping container, she watched her husband get shot dead by her kidnapper. Why did that happen to her? who knows, there are evil psychopaths in the world who commit horrible crimes against humanity. Life sucks sometimes, I don’t understand why a baby has to die, or why a good kind person gets abused and taken advantage of.  All I do know it; there is evil in the world, and you protect yourself best you can and then just live life the best you can.

 

Sleeping Single In A Double Bed

Sleeping single in a double bed

When I went to bed last night I went with Stella. When I woke up about 3 am I had four big dogs in bed with me, all who weigh somewhere between 65 and 85 lbs. I had one behind my knees, one with their head on my shoulder, another one against my stomach and one at my feet. I didn’t dare move because that could cause a chain reaction I don’t want to experience at 3 am. Best to leave sleeping dogs lay.

I have not been around much lately because I have been trying to get myself centered again, figure out where I am going and what path I am supposed to be on. You see, often in life just when you think you are on the right path, life throws you a curve ball and throws you off course. Sometimes we are so focused on what we think should be happening in our lives we totally miss the fact that maybe we are on the wrong path.

If you are anything like me you hate to give up, on anything, a relationship, a job, a friendship, you follow through, you carry through on promises, you are loyal and …… well…….. rather stubborn. Then the ego gets involved, we don’t want to fail, we don’t want to admit we weren’t able to make it work. We get confused about some basic truths and we need to sit back, take a deep breath and get out of our own way. We do not always see things clearly, we do not always know what is best for us and we do not know when to let something go and that walking away is not failing……. sometimes walking away is the only way to succeed, the only smart thing to do.

When you are a strong, independent woman it is really hard to sit back and let things unfold the way they need to and not try to make them unfold as we think they should. We waste a lot of energy fighting the natural progression of things.

I would not have been with James 10 years if I would have let things just run their course, if I hadn’t been trying to fix things all the time and just let him prove himself to be who he was I would have been out of there years prior!!

I would have saved myself a whole lot of grief if I would not have defined myself as “The Lady Witha Truck”, I clung to that truck and business like it was me, my identity, my worth.

So many women attached their identity and worth to

  • The man in their life
  • The house they live in
  • The job the do
  • The money they have
  • I was reading a comment on Chumplady’s site the other day and the victim of infidelity was obsessed the new woman was using her stove.

Now I know what she is really upset about is not the stove but that is what she has chosen to focus on. We don’t realize we are doing it until we look back years later with a clear head. But I believe we can do it at the time it is happening if we force ourselves to, DO NOTHING!

  • do not respond
  • do not check FB
  • do not text demanding answers
  • do not beg
  • do not try to figure out why – why does not matter once you know he is a narcissist. I know I did it, I snooped, I tried to make things “add up” but they never do and even when you do figure out that he was cheating like you always suspected; it is fleeting gratification. So you proved you were right all along and should have left years ago, congratulations.

When your heart is breaking being “right” is a small consolation.

What will help you to heal and get back on track with your life is to stop placing your happiness on the actions of someone else and figuring out what will make you feel happy and fulfilled. And don’t you dare say, “All I wanted was for him to be honest and faithful. I just wanted the man I met back” Because that is not an option. That is what YOU wanted, what you fought for for so long and how did that work out for you? THAT is not an option so strike it off your list.

If the next thing on your list is, “Find a man who will love me and appreciate me for who I am.” strike that off your list also because no man is going to “give” you happiness and self worth; not long term.

You need to start listening to your little inner voice, not the one that is screaming you are not worthy; the tiny voice that speaks the truth, the one that tells you that you deserve to be happy, loved and you are enough.

When you live true to yourself you can not help but be happy, when what people think of you doesn’t determine your value you can’t help but feel you are enough.

Some people might think, how can she talk about self worth and inner peace when her life is in a shambles? That is the amazing thing, my life is in a shambles financially and I still have inner peace, I have disagreements with people and I still have inner peace, I sleep alone and my bed is full of love and peace (until the dogs wake up).

I forgot and slid into my old ways for a few months just before Christmas and I needed to step back and reevaluate my goals, adjust my attitude and reassess my expectations and how I need to proceed.

There was a time I had the time to dedicate to this blog to answer everyone who came here, give long in depth replies with links to other posts and sites and it was very rewarding and helped a lot of people. It is not realistic for me to keep dedicating that much time when I need to support myself. Yes, I do get donations and some people are extremely generous, every single donation I get brings tears to my eyes because whether it is $5 or hundreds of dollars, it shows me people care and I am making a difference in people’s lives.

Not only do I need to make money, I am stagnating repeating myself over and over again. I have never been happy in a job that doesn’t challenge me to learn and grow. Repetition is poison for my attitude and self esteem.

The pressure to make money made  me back slide into some unhealthy choices; one of which was to go to Hinton to paint. My mom was the first to say she thought it was a mistake because of my heart; I knew it deep down but my ego wouldn’t allow me to admit I can’t do what I used to plus I was afraid of what other people would think of me if I turned down work when I need money so badly. Well when I got to Hinton it became obviously really quickly that it was a mistake. I took myself aside and had a stiff talking to myself, was risking a heart attack worth $10/hr, (plus I was expected to buy my own food)? Was a friendship? was there anything more important than my health? If I had another stroke and ended up partially paralyzed would anyone praise me for over working myself and would it make me feel ok about being paralyzed? I had to admit I was jeopardizing my whole future for false pride and worrying what other people would think. So I told my friend I could not do the job and I took the bus home that morning at 4 am. I apologized, I felt bad about leaving her stuck but I had made a mistake and it was better to admit my mistake than try to make something work that was not in my best interest. We ALL make mistakes or bad choices, you CAN change your mind!

In my life I have said I am sorry many times just to keep the peace but you know what? keeping the peace does not give you inner peace. In fact it can create a ton of inner conflict and self doubt. Keeping the peace is not always the right thing to do, living true to yourself is the right thing to do.

I am working at the golf course and really enjoying it right now, it is what I do well and it is a bit of a learning curve.

I plan on being here on a more consistent basis and hope to get into some sort of rhythm soon.

I just wanted to say that it doesn’t matter where you are in life, one year after leaving the N, 5 years, 25 years or if you were raised by an N; you always have to stop, reflect and double check you are pursuing the right things and giving value to the right things; things that are in YOUR best interest. If you aren’t, then reset your course.