Tag Archives: strength

Believing The Lies Because The Truth Is Too Ugly – Part One

 

inconvenient truthI think every victim of a psychopath/narcissist has done it; chosen to believe the lies because to believe what they know to be true is just too ugly.  In a romantic relationship it is often much easier to believe that we somehow “misinterpreted”, “misunderstood” or caused the abusive behavior because to believe someone we love could do those horrible things is just too much for our brains to wrap around. How could we love someone capable of intentionally causing such harm to someone else? But on a bigger scale, we don’t want to acknowledge someone who evil even exists. We all want to believe there is good in everyone and if they commit an atrocious act there must be a reasonable explanation.

And even more than our belief in the good in all people, and our refusal to believe we could love someone so vile, is our reluctance to take the personal loss of giving up the love of our life. We have invested in this person, not just money, but we have sacrificed a lot in the name of love. Many of us gave up family and friends, moved to a strange town or country, had children with the person, we have invested ourselves, we have given this person more than we have ever given any person we have loved; we have revealed ourselves totally, given up our darkest secrets, laid naked and bared our souls to this person. To face the fact that he purposely set us up, that our trust was horribly misplaced and we willingly walked into a trap, that it was all a facade, is just too much to bear so we continue to lie to ourselves and refuse to see the truth even when it is slapping us in the face and the bank account is in overdraft.

We blindly continue having unprotected sex with a man we suspect of cheating because we don’t want to face his wrath, we continue to give money to a man who never pays us back because we have invested so much already we can’t walk away now, we keep thinking that our investment is going to pay off someday and that if we walk away now we lose and the next woman will reap the benefits of our efforts. We don’t want to lose almost as much as the narcissist feel he must win, and the N counts on that fundamental human trait; the more a person feels they have invested the more they  will invest.

truth is truth

At first we don’t trust ourselves, our perception, so many times a victim says, “I don’t have proof” so they wait for proof and they tell themselves if they ever have “proof” of his cheating or catch him in a bald face lie THEN they will leave. But we are given the proof time after time and we refuse to leave, why? Because we don’t want to lose, we don’t want to hurt, we feel we can’t survive without him, he loved us like no one else ever has, they love us despite our flaws, they say they love us and we are perfect for them; no one has ever loved us like that, we know we are flawed (everyone is), we know we are not always easy to love, (no one is) how can we walk away from that? So we tell ourselves that if he can love us with all our flaws, we will prove to him that we love him despite his flaws and he will appreciate us for our faithful, unconditional love; just as we do him.

Victims are usually “emotionally mature” people who are careful to communicate in such a way as to not attack a person’s character. We have taken courses or read books on effective communication skills; we know that you should never say things like “you always”, and we should focus on the action and not attack the person themselves; we are to use terms like, “I feel”. But the narcissist doesn’t play by the same rules, he has no problem attacking our character, he has no problem telling us we are “bad”, he has no problem blaming us for his actions and we are quite willing to look at our part in the problems of the relationship. WE know we aren’t perfect and like they say in all the relationship books, “you can’t change anyone else, you can only change yourself” so we do, we try to treat the N as we want to be treated, we try to emulate faithfulness, honesty and trustworthiness thinking we will get the same in return. But all we do is dig ourselves into a deeper hole and invest more of ourselves making it harder and harder to walk away. Every time we have an epiphany and think we have figured “it” out and have the answers; every time we go back into the relationship with a new attitude and think “If I do this or change that, it will all be ok” we hand over a bit more of ourselves until we feel we have too much to lose to walk away now.

And he is not appreciating our efforts, as soon as we change this or that he changes the rules and wants something else, we end up doing this dance where he is shooting at our feet and we keep dancing but he never runs out of bullets and we get weaker and tired until we stop dancing and think, let him shoot me, I can’t do the dance any more.

We walk, limp away, admit defeat and we believe we just weren’t good enough, we couldn’t dance fast enough, and we feel sorry for him because we know that he is going to have to go along ways to find some other woman who will love him like we did, who is willing to invest as much as we did, who will look past his flaws and see the real man that we know is in there.  We know that behind that ego and arrogant attitude is a man who has been severely hurt by past lovers (or his parents). When you first met him, when he was the sweet sensitive guy you first met; he opened up to you and showed his vulnerable side. You know he is just afraid of being alone, that deep down he is just a scared little boy who is afraid of being hurt again so when he comes to you and tells you he loves you and wants to try again; you go back. You are even more sure now that if you just hang in there and love him enough he will get over this insecurity and allow himself to love you. You will nurture him, love him like he has never been loved before and you will prove to him that he doesn’t have to push you away, you aren’t going to leave, ever, he can trust your love. And he does, he trusts that you love him so much that he can do anything to you and you will always be there for him, you will take any abuse he dishes out and he loathes you for it. He looks at you as a pitiful sucker who deserves to be hurt because you are so inferior to him.  It’s like that line some comedian used to say, “I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that would let someone like me join.” The narcissist doesn’t respect anyone who could love him and take his bullshit.

Why do you continue to take it, well because you know that if you don’t he will find someone who will, he will walk away and the relationship will be over. So you don’t “just take it” you get angry, you tell him how you feel, you refuse to accept his behavior, you tell him you expect fidelity, you are not afraid to speak your mind, to stand up for what you believe is right, you aren’t a door mat. But wait, you are still there and didn’t he just wipe his feet on you again?

I went back for many reasons, many times it was because I truly believed that he would be so sorry one day when he realized what he had lost, when he couldn’t find another woman who understood him and accepted him like I did. I felt he needed me, no one else could look past the shitty things he did, how he sabotaged himself and see the sweet, childlike innocent man I saw and knew was buried inside. I knew he was socially challenged, he just didn’t understand that things he did were wrong, he had good intentions, he was lacking confidence and did the things he did because of his own insecurities, it wasn’t personal. I KNEW he loved me, he was just afraid to relax and enjoy it because he was afraid of getting hurt.

Even when I had proof of other women, even after he was engaged to another woman I still believed he would never find another woman who would sacrifice like I did, who would love him as unconditionally as I did. My own ego, my own confidence in my ability to love with my whole being was my undoing. I didn’t want to lose, I didn’t want to admit defeat.

But as much as that trait was my undoing in the relationship and made me stay much longer than I should have it is also the thing that gave me the strength to come back from the ashes and heal.
Accepting the truth was critical to being able to finally walk away and stop lying to myself. I don’t think I fully accepted the truth until long after it was over and he had moved on. It was not until he twisted everything that ever happened in the relationship around to make me look like the nutcase and himself the victim that the light bulb really went on. When it became clear that he was out to destroy me by slandering me and trying to get me fired and evicted that I realized all those times I had suspected him of sabotaging my truck and other things he tried to make seem like I was just paranoid, I had been right. When I heard the lies he was telling everyone who would listen and making himself look like the poor hard done by guy who had only ever loved me and nothing he did was ever good enough, when he said to me that he was afraid of what I would do to HIM, I knew everything he had ever told me about the women in his past, how he had been taken advantage of; was all lies. He had orchestrated the whole thing, he had known from day one what he was doing, there was no “misunderstanding”, he was not naive and insecure; he was an evil, conniving, and dangerous person who knew all along what he was doing and he had laid out his defense for actions long before he did them. I realized that all the times he called me paranoid and suspicious and I doubted myself and I had been right all along and should have listened to my gut. It was when I accepted that I had lied to myself almost as much as he had lied to me and that I could have saved myself a lot of heartache if I would have trusted myself more than I trusted him that I fully accepted the truth. When he told me that it was my own fault he hurt me because I kept taking him back I had to look at myself; I had to admit he was right, and if he was right then I was not just a victim of his abuse I was also a victim of my self doubt and the lies I told myself.

I remember thinking to myself, praying, that he would tell me a good enough lie that I could lie to myself. And then I heard this song. I love the way you lie

This is the lyrics version of the song because if a person doesn’t really listen to the lyrics they might mistake this to be a love song, a song about two people so in love they are afraid of losing the other person, that in some sick way it is love that drives them to abuse. It is a lie victims tell themselves all the time, the same lie I told myself about why he sabotaged my truck, “He loves me so much he doesn’t want to lose me, if he keeps my truck from working I won’t leave him.” I convinced myself that in some sick way it was a sign that he didn’t want to lose me and I comforted myself with that. (It is amazing what we can convince ourselves of when we are desperate). It had nothing to do with love, in fact it was the exact opposite of love, it was a need possess, destroy and discard when he was finished with me. It was control, ownership, it was sucking the life out of someone, but it was not love. Don’t ever mistake abuse for love. At about 3:15 into the song his dialogue songs so familiar to my hears, one minute blaming her, the next taking the blame himself, one minute promising to change and all the while knowing in his head he is lying and it will happen again and again. He says, “Don’t you see the sincerity in my eyes?”

The combination of 6 things helped me heal.

1. Admitting I did have some power over being abused, that I did know the truth but ignored it, (was hard to swallow) showed me that I do have the ability to protect myself against a psychopath/narcissist.

2. Knowing that dealing with crazy, trying to make sense of crazy, trying to assign normal emotions to crazy; will drive you crazy and make you do things you would never do ordinarily.

3. Knowing that I am strong enough to withstand the abuse and keep standing and keep trying is nothing to be ashamed of.

4. Knowing that he was the flawed one and the one lacking, not me.

5. Realizing even if I didn’t want to, I was going to survive.

6. Once I had realized and accepted 1-5 I realized it was up to me from that point on to decide how I was going to recover and whether I would go on to live a happy life somehow, someway, someday.

A Journey Back In Time And A Glimpse To The Future

I recently was asked by the Canadian Center for Victims of Violence to write my story of domestic abuse for their monthly newsletter. She explained that the newsletter is read by law enforcement, politicians and other people responsible for change.

I was of course honored to be asked but also felt the pressure of responsibility that I was being given an opportunity to make a difference in the way victims of abuse are viewed. I wanted to show that victims of abuse are not weak, co-dependent and some how responsible for their abuse and that abusers can be someone you would never suspect. I wanted to convey how my cries for help were ignored and how important it is to believe and support victims. The woman who asked me to write the article said it could be 2000 words and if it went longer they would break it up into two parts, one would be published in Sept and the other in Oct. As you all know I can tend to get wordy but thought I could manage to tell my story in 4000 words. 

It took me a couple of weeks of stops and starts, whole days spent trying to find the words only at the end of the day trashing the whole thing and starting over again the next day

I would find myself typing away and having to stop, watch a video or I would have to lay down and take a nap, I started dreaming about James, not night mares just dreams with him in them. I started to feel depressed. I didn’t know where this was coming from, I have been writing about my relationship with James for 3 years without a problem. I was unable to stay on task, I spent days literally typing a paragraph and then napping for an hour, whole days wasted thinking and not accomplishing anything. I started to worry I would never get the article written, nothing flowed. 

I eventually went to the doctor and got anti depressants, something I have avoided for 3 years, but I had to get a handle on this lack of motivation, I have my application for funding to re educate to complete and it requires a lot of time and I hadn’t even started on it. I had two open houses to prepare for, one each of the last two Sundays. I was feeling overwhelmed and I was concerned enough to consider giving up the blog and abandoning my plans for going back to school. 

Then it hit me why I can write here and I couldn’t write one 4000 word article for a publication and it was the same reason I had struggled when I wrote the article for the magazine. When I write for the blog I take an incident and write about an aspect of the relationship, or I am responding to a comment made by someone coming into the blog, someone asks a specific question and I relate my experiences as a way of answering their query. I realized that I have never had to tell my story from start to finish, I have remembered the whole relationship and written about every aspect of the relationship and even had epiphanies while writing here but I have never looked at the relationship in it’s entirety.

When I got to 14,000 words and still was not done telling my story I realized I was in big trouble, no problem I only had to cut it down by 10,000 words!! and I hadn’t even touched on whole segments of my life with James. I wanted to explain the whole relationship in a way that people would really “get it” but you know what? there are no words that can adequately describe what the victim goes through and I need to stop feeling I have to justify why I stayed as long as I did.

On Monday I started to cut it down and by Tuesday I had it down to 9,300 (or something close) words. I stayed up until 3 am Tuesday to get it finished but I got it done. I had relived the whole relationship from the first time I met him, I relived the excited anticipation of our first date, the feelings of love growing and I remembered thinking how lucky I felt, I remembered how strange it felt to sleep with him at first and how after not too long I couldn’t sleep without him and how I thought I could get through anything as long as I could lay my head on his chest at the end of the day. I remembered how for 10 years I got butterflies in my stomach every time I heard his vehicle or saw him pull in the driveway. I remembered how hearing his voice always made me smile even at the worst times. God I loved that man, I thought I knew him inside and out, I thought I knew his passions and what made him happy, I thought he was always going to be in my life and the bad shit I saw was not the real him; I thought I knew the “real” James and the connection was too strong for either one of us to deny. I relived it and let it go.

When I wrote out all the times he screwed around, all the times he demanded I pay him money, the times he threatened me and hit me or destroyed my stuff, the times I woke up and found him sleeping with his face on the keyboard of his laptop because he had been watching porn and fell asleep and another little piece of my soul broke away. And when I thought about all the lies, the horrible soul crushing lies and how he tormented me with blame, shame and gas-lighting, I could finally connect the two men who were one. 

Then I did something I haven’t done for a long time, I went and looked at his picture. i stared at it, I tried to remember what his voice sounded like, how his lips felt, what he smelled like, how his hands felt, I remembered I always loved his hands, hard working big hands that made me feel so safe and in the end threatened my safety. I looked long and hard at the pictures and for the life of me I don’t know what I saw in him, why I thought he was so sexy and good looking. And I looked at a picture of him and Marisa and I really stared at it trying to, I don’t know, see something I missed? What I saw was a woman in love in the early pictures of them and a woman in pain in the last pictures. I know she thought as I did that she had met her soul mate and was so blessed to have found this wonderful man and I am sure she is thinking they will be together forever and no woman has ever loved him like she does and she knows him better than anyone ever has. That destiny brought them together and for better or worse they will always be together. I realized that the man I was looking at was not the James I knew, not the James I met and not the James I left. This James is Marisa’s James, mine is dead. 

After I emailed my article off with a note saying “I know this is 5 x’s longer than it should be and I give you my full permission to edit it all you want, I just can not work on it any longer.” Then at 3:01 am I went in to check my blog activity before I went to bed and there right at the top at 2:57:34 was Powell River and my heart stopped. Just the thought that he was in my blog at that exact time caused a reaction, what was the reaction about? I only knew I wanted to get out of there right now and clicked the screen closed and went to bed. 

The next night I was tired because I was up so late the night before and fell asleep on the couch. I was awakened by Stella barking and realized someone was knocking at the door. I checked the clock, 11:15 pm, my heart was pounding almost out of my chest and I went to the door and asked who it was and they said, “It’s me”. I stepped back from the door and yelled “Who?” and they said “Wayne”. I felt myself exhale and realized I had been holding my breath; and I realized why I had to get out of the blog tracking app and why it was so hard to write about the relationship in it’s entirety. I am truly afraid of him, and the fear comes from not knowing who I was in love with for 10 years, and because I have every reason to be afraid.

I realized, truly saw how dysfunctional the relationship was, and how I tried to make it normal and deal with it normally and how futile it all was. By writing it out in it’s entirety I saw how crazy life had become, the tiny thread of hope I clung to for so long. It didn’t make me sad or angry or fill me with regret; it made me think, “My God you really are strong, how did you survive it? how did you go on day after day?” and I realized how far I have come. And once again I am back in peace with my life and I never took even one of the anti–depressants. 

As things tend to go in life I went into my Facebook for the first time since the end of July when I started writing the article and there was a message from James’s son’s mother. MY heart stopped and I checked it right away, fearing something had happened to James’s son . But they were at a family reunion in a town in BC. i guess they don’t really know BC and didn’t realize they were at least a 12 hour drive from me because she said that James’s son would really like to see me. I felt so bad because the message was over 2 weeks old. I messaged back that I had just gotten the message and she messaged back that they were home now. I told her it would have been too far for me to drive anyway but for sure to give her son a hug for me and if they ever get a little further west to for sure give me a call. 

It was kinda the icing on the cake and was another reason I was glad I was in James’s life, I hate to think what would have happened if I hadn’t been with him when his son came out to live with him. Things happen for a reason, I believe that more than ever,

On another up note, my cabin did not sell and it is the last weekend of the summer so it is unlikely it will sell now until next spring, one day, one month, one year at a time and it just keeps getting better. 

Oh and I got my article back from the woman at Victim’s of Violence with some editing and what she had done made sense and made it easier for me to edit it and we got it done. Her comments:

“I have read over your story in detail now- WOW! Your last copy looked great! “

It ended up being just over 8,000 words and will be printed in its entirety in the Sept newsletter. 

I am very happy with the end results. Thank God for editors!

I Didn’t Know My Own Strength – Whitney Houston

None of us know our own strength until we are tested. If it was easy it wouldn’t be called strength. You never know how strong you are until you think you aren’t strong enough but everyday somehow you make it through; and you look back and wonder how you ever survived it. But you did, you are stronger than you know, stronger than “he” gave you credit for, and you are strong enough.

Picking Up the Pieces

What’s it like to find yourself trapped in darkness so thick you can’t breathe from the choking, so dense you can hardly move, yet somehow you managed to break free of the shackles that have you bound, immobilized, and ensnared?

What’s is like to find yourself emotionally naked, gashed open, and so vulnerable you felt like your heart had been ripped out of your chest, yet you somehow managed to reclaim the core of who you are and rebuild yourself and patch the hole left inside?

What’s it like being chained in the abyss, darkness enveloping you except for the sole dust-laden beam of light cascading through, falling upon your head, as the lions, ravenous and desperate in hunger, lurk around you, encircle you, and prepare to pounce, yet somehow you are stolen away to safety at the right time in your hour of need?

What’s it like be cast…

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