I don’t want to write this post. In fact, I’m sick at the thought of putting it down into words. But, when I started this blog I promised myself I would be completely honest…with myself and you. I feel an obligation to do that, because if I don’t, I won’t face the truth and I’ve a tendency to do that when things get tough. I don’t want to put on a happy face anymore…say how great things are…pretend.
Pretending comes easy to me. I’ve been doing it all my life. My sister and I had to be a certain way around our dad, and that changed as his moods changed. We were totally dependent on his moods controlling our lives. So, whatever ‘face’ we needed, we used. When you start doing this at such a young age, it’s hard to let go of. I’ve been pretending my way through my life and I’m feeling that all of the hurt, pain, crying, depression, anxiousness, and confusion is stemming from NOT pretending anymore, so that I finally have to be ‘me’ and face the demons that haunt me.
Yesterday, my dad and step-mom took me out to lunch…something that is rare. After our meal, I gave them a packet of information on narcissistic abuse and the associated syndrome, and then a print out of a handful of my posts. I asked that they read this info in order to better understand what I was going through all summer and what I’m still struggling with today. You see, when things get tough, they check out. They have no idea of the hell I was put through this summer and I wanted them to know it’s just not ‘me’, but that it’s real. I haven’t heard back from them. Nothing. And I think I know why. The last couple of times I have seen them, I haven’t pretended. I’ve cried, I’ve talked openly about what Sarge has done to me…I’ve been authentic; something they have never seen before, and obviously it’s something they can’t handle. So, I have to live with the choice of being what my dad wants and expects me to be, or being my true self. I’m choosing the latter…for every situation.
Faking happiness is a hard thing to do. In fact, it’s down right exhausting. And, I believe that faking is just another form of lying. So, I’ve been lying to myself and others for so long I’m not really sure how to stop and be the authentic me. I tried to be perfect for hubby 1 so his upper class parents would finally accept me (they never did). I put on a happy face for hubby 2 to show I was as perfect as his mom whose work standards and stamina are almost impossible to match. With hubby 3, our marriage started off pretty bad. He was abusive for the first couple of years because that was all he knew. But, I was in love and he showed me he was truly willing to change which he did. After a few incidents, he never hurt me again. However, those incidents were impossible to get out of my mind, so I walked on eggs and made sure I matched my behavior to his somewhat unpredictable moods simply because that was the status quo at first and I didn’t want to do anything that would put us back in that situation.
I even pretended with Sarge. He’s 31 and I’m 50. Yes. I know. I’m old enough to be his mother and people thought it was ‘icky’. (Of course, if the ages were reversed, there wouldn’t be such a to-do over it…hello gender differences). So, I wanted to show I was ‘young’ enough to keep up with him. I found myself trying to go back into time from when I was in my 30’s…and at times, I almost believed I had. Getting a face-lift was to further prove my ‘youth’ and my looks are a bit different now. My ‘mask’ became real.
What am I leading up to with all of this? Why did I not want to write this? Because I let Sarge into my house last night. We’ve been texting, he asked to come over and I acquiesced. I know it was wrong. I know it. I shouldn’t even have been texting him. I’d been no contact for a while and was doing better. Or at least I was trying to pretend to be doing better. But guess what? I’m obviously not. I’m not Wonder Woman. I’m not healed. I’m not always strong. I’m me and I messed up.
I was hoping he would come in, hug me, apologize authentically to me for all the pain he had caused, and then offer to help me with the financial burden I’m now in. That didn’t happen. We did talk, and he did say he was sorry a couple of times, but of course, it didn’t sound real. And I know it wasn’t. He said he loved me and had missed me…and I know he really doesn’t. After he left, I felt a sort of relief. I hadn’t seen him for such a while and he was like a stranger and I wondered what the heck had made him so attractive to me. Then I remembered. It was the love bombing and I thought if it happened again it might be genuine.
I feel horrible today. I’m ashamed I was weak, but I’m tired of beating myself up. I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to take steps backwards. I’m not going to be able to do all of this in the time and way others want me too. Because for the first time in my life, I’m trying my damnedest to be me. Not a mask of me. Not a fake version of me. Not a me who plasters a smile on her face and says “Everything is great!” Because it’s not. I want to make decisions for ME. Not do what others tell me to do, as I’ve always done. I wanted to see him and I did. Was it wrong? Yes. In terms of recovery from narc abuse, of course it was. But I’m not going to apologize to anyone but myself. My true self. Am I going to see him again? I could say I doubt it…but if I’m going to be honest, I don’t know. Is that going to piss people in my life off? Of course. Because they love me and don’t want to see me hurt. Do I feel terrible in letting down my supporters? Oh my gosh, yes. But I’m starting to feel terrible in letting down myself too, and I think that’s an authentic step in this process. I NEED to be the one ready to say NO MORE! ENOUGH! And I need to do it for ME. Me. Not everyone else. But me. Or it won’t ever work. It can take years for people to recognize their abuse and work at letting go. I’ve only had a few weeks. I’m trying my hardest, but I’m going to relapse. You know why? Because I’m not that perfect mask that’s been on my face for decades. I’m a real person who needs to be herself…learn for herself…make mistakes for herself…and get to the point where she wants to get out for HERSELF. And that process is starting now.
This is what I know: learning from your mistakes is important. Crucial, in fact. But sometimes it takes more than once for that lesson to be learned. To be fully understood. To be enough for you to see the lesson from a rational point of view and not an emotional one. And dammit…putting the head above the heart is remarkably difficult thing to do.