Tag Archives: strength

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!

 

 

Merry Christmas Tree Wallpaper

I want to wish everyone a Christmas Day of peace and serenity, filled with friends and family,

lots of food, booze, laughs, and a light heart.

Wherever you may be in this big world I want to thank you for all your support throughout the last year and

the 4 Christmases that came before this one.

I sit here, alone, with carols playing on the radio

Stella is crunching her Christmas bone from Santa

I have peace in my heart

and tears of gratitude in my eyes.

I wish that each one of you

knows you are loved

and just how special you are.

I pray that you are all given the strength to get through the day

and know somewhere deep in your soul that better days are ahead. 

‘Tis The Season

xmas tree

This is my 5th Christmas away from the wospos. I am sitting here remembering that first Christmas away from him, I just wanted to give up and die, but like someone here recently said, they would give up if they could but they don’t know how. That is the problem, we have to carry on even when we don’t want to because we don’t know how to give up. We don’t feel strong enough to carry on, we don’t know how to carry on, but we don’t know how to give up so we end up doing the impossible. We may feel weak, other people who can’t relate to what we have endured may think we are weak because they see us crying, not eating, and looking so broken but the truth is we are being the strongest we will probably ever have to be. Somehow we make it through every single day, some days hanging on to one little frail strand of our sanity.

While I was taking my little “sabbatical” I was still reading the comments every day and was touched by the caring and compassion shown each other, there are some people who have really reached out lately, Ellie, who says it like it is and calls a spade a spade with compassion and caring, Fee, who has been through SO much herself shares so openly and gently in hopes of helping someone else, a new person to the blog Lonely who is right in the middle of her own nightmare and inrecovery who is also facing her own  battles still reach out to others. Ellie is one of the “old timers” as are others who sit quietly in the background reading people’s comments and reach out to offer support when they see a need, (I can’t possibly remember all their names without forgetting someone so please do not be offended if I don’t mention you by name). I am naming those who have been actively commenting recently, but throughout the time I have had this blog there have been many who have offered up their loving support. At times my eyes fill with tears that leak down my cheeks as I read a comment from someone I know only a few days or weeks ago was going through their own terrible pain and self-doubt yet they offer support to someone else. It is such a testament to the type of people who fall victim to a narcissist, even gripped with their own pain they hold out a hand of understanding and support to others. They allow themselves to be vulnerable and reveal their own skeletons in order to put a person at ease and show they are not alone, we all have things we are not proud of.

As I read, a picture came to mind.

Another victim comes in and is hanging over the edge of some huge drop off, they are dangling there, they are tired and struggling to not let go of the frayed rope of sanity they cling to. Below them is a huge black abyss, nothingness waiting to gobble them up and they are so tempted to just let go and allow themselves to fall fall fall and just get it over with but as another strand of rope breaks away a hand appears, and then another one and another and the victim hears voices saying, “Don’t let go, we are here, we will help you.” When she looks up she sees smiling faces and all these hands reaching out and just as her grip on the rope let’s go someone grabs her hand and she feels herself being pulled back to the light and safety.

I get all choked up reading someone who themselves were hanging from that cliff not long ago reaching out to others.

I remember the surprise I felt the first time someone called me strong and said I was an inspiration and my insights had helped them be strong. The LAST thing I had been feeling was strong! but it made me assess where I was and I realized I was no longer hanging by my fingernails, I had some how made it through the days and nights that were a living hell. I didn’t know how, I never thought I would make it but I had so that had to mean I was stronger than I thought.

That’s the thing about strength, we never know how strong we are until we are tested, if we knew we could make it through something it wouldn’t require strength. If you catch my drift.  It is only when we are pushed to the brink of total despair do we exercise our strength.

Let me give you an analogy;

I had never wanted to be a scrap metal hauler, it was actually the LAST thing I wanted to do but I had wanted a truck and any other avenues I had tried to make money with a truck had not been successful so I finally agreed to haul scrap out of desperation. When I first started I was embarrassed, there was such a stigma attached to scrap haulers, that they were uneducated, dishonest and thieves, so I worked after businesses closed for the day as often as I could, so I wasn’t seen by people I knew.

I had a hell of a time lifting some things and on occasion worked hours struggling to load heavy things onto my truck. I would get so frustrated, thinking I could never do it, even end up in tears at times; but my pride would not let me quit. I was determined to figure out a way to get whatever onto my truck. I became quite imaginative in my efforts. I remember one night imparticular I had a big brake drum from a semi that I had run one of my tie downs through and had managed to hoist it up to the edge of my deck but no matter how hard I tried I could not lift it over the edge and onto my deck. I ended up driving all the way home with this thing dangling off the back of my truck. If I would have been seen by the police I would have been ticketed for sure and I am sure any one driving behind me didn’t tail gate watching this 100 lb brake drum swinging from my deck. The next day I was able to stand on something and lift it onto the deck.

After about a year I was able to single-handedly hoist 16 brake drums in a row onto my truck while the mechanic stood watching me, saying he needed a woman like me. (In your dreams buddy, hump your own steel) The day before my first heart attack I had such a load on my truck and was lifting such weight that I had attracted an audience and got a standing ovation when I put the last piece on the truck.

I felt so discouraged that night struggling to get that brake drum on the truck but the next day I managed to get it on and as time went on and as I struggled with other things I started to enjoy the challenge. The embarrassment and shame I had felt about being a scrap hauler was replaced by pride and confidence.  I am still proud of what I was able to accomplish and I am still remembered as the Lady Witha Truck and the first and only woman on the west coast to successfully, honestly and legally and without the help of a man haul scrap for a living.

And so it has been with finding my strength since leaving the wospos, I started off as most victims do, feeling ashamed, embarrassed and very weak. It has only been with time that I have come to realize I am strong and I can do it and over time the shame and embarrassment has been replaced with pride and confidence. I no longer care what assumptions people make about me when they find out I was a victim of abuse because I have proven I am not weak, stupid or in some way lacking. I have gone from being a victim to being a proud survivor and I hope now I can be an example to other victims and a voice for those who come behind me and not found their voice yet.

Five years ago no one could have convinced me that I would ever feel strong again, it was the worst Christmas of my life. JC was introduced to a woman through friends (because unbeknownst to me he had been complaining bitterly about my mistreatment of him for months beforehand), I was hurt, broke, without family or friends. I had been homeless and a girlfriend had arranged for me to move into the trailer next door to her. The guy worked out-of-town and was only home 6 weeks out of the year. I didn’t know him, had only talked to him on the phone and I was hesitant but I didn’t have any options and I could live there for free. I moved in sight unseen and was horrified when I saw the place. It looked like a crack shack if I had ever seen one, filthy, cobwebs draped from the ceiling and brushed my hair as I walked in. He was a heavy smoker and the walls were stained brown, it was dark and dank and God I wanted to run away, but I couldn’t go running back to the wospos so I stayed. I slept with my coat on and put a blanket down for Kato so he didn’t get bugs from the couch on him and I cried. I don’t know what I would have done without my little buddy, he laid his head on my lap, I just remember thinking I can’t do this, I can’t do this!!

It was 3 weeks before Christmas. I wore two pairs of rubber gloves when I cleaned the bathroom and threw the rags away, it took me 8 hours. I went through a couple dozen green garbage bags loading up the garbage, I opened the curtains, washed walls, vacuumed, and washed dishes that had stuff growing on them, I threw away some pots that I just could not stomach trying to clean. One week before Christmas I was finished and the owner was expected home in a few days. I had nowhere to go for Christmas and was not looking forward to spending it with a total stranger, but I was proud of my cleaning job and despite the depression that had overcome me when I saw Christmas trees on sale for $10 I bought one on an impulse. I put it up, it was dry and left needles everywhere but once I got the lights and decorations on it, it looked pretty good. I strung lights outside and decorate the porch with evergreen boughs. I wanted to show my appreciation for him letting me stay there but I had no money and hoped my efforts would convey my gratitude. He was so impressed when he got home, he said he didn’t think he was at the right place.

He wasn’t there more than an hour when he told me he had something to tell me; he had a “little’ crack problem and when he had time off he liked to have a couple of beers and do a “little” crack.  My stomach flipped, I had suspected but had thought my friend would never set it up for me to move in with a crackhead, I thought she must not know.  Long story short, his “little” problem with crack was a huge problem and he spent most of his days home locked in his bedroom. I slept on the couch because he brought a woman home and I didn’t want to be in the bedroom next door to his. They spent all night answering the door, she told me it was her daughter bringing her something. The next time there was someone at the door I answered and an asian man almost jumped off the porch, he looked at the house number to make sure he had the right place and I said, “Wait right here, I’ll go get them.” I couldn’t help myself, I knocked on the bedroom door and told her that her daughter was at the door.

I did cook a turkey and he did come out and eat. I was absolutely and utterly broken. My truck was broken down, I was living with a crackhead stranger, and my family had turned their back on me. It is a blur of misery and every single day I swore I could not survive another day.

I know this Christmas there are a lot of broken souls out there. I know there are people who are thinking they cannot possibly make it through the holidays,  that you will never again enjoy Christmas or have anything to be joyful for again in your life. There is little I can do to ease your pain, I wish I had a magic formula that I could share that would make it all ok for everyone, but I don’t. It is something you are going to have to endure anyway you can, if you have children you will have to put a smile on your face and fake it as best you can and find time for a private little cry when you can. If you do have family or friends, force yourself to go out even for a little while, you will feel better to get out of the house. Surround yourself with loving caring friends if you can. Christmas can be a tough time for some families and if you don’t feel comfortable being with your family don’t force yourself to partake in the sickness, do what feels good for you.

And know, just like every other day of the year, this one also only has 24 hours and it will pass. Try to look forward, not back, there is a new year waiting for you and you don’t know what it holds. That can be scary but it can also be exciting, it is a chance to start your new life, you are in control, you make the decisions from this day forward.

And always remember that you are not alone, we may be thousands of miles apart or only a few blocks, we have never physically hugged or held each other’s hand but we all have a bond and are there for each other. We have a shared knowledge and strength that not everyone else has, we have slept with the devil and survived. If you can survive that you can do one Christmas.

narcissism33

 

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.