In a nutshell…

You know, when I re-made this blog, I wanted SO very much to go from victim to survivor and I felt I could simply make myself do that if I forced myself and tried hard enough.  I know now that was a wish…not what actually happens in reality.  (Where are you, Fairy Godmother?).

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Truthfully, I’m still struggling and I’m doing a disservice by pretending I’m not.  Oh, I’m BETTER!!  SO much better!!  I can get out of bed without spending minutes struggling to force myself out of it.  I can shop, run, eat out by myself and feel good about it.  I can get through a day without crying…not many, but some.  I can see the blessings I have and am thankful for my family, pets, home, career, etc.  But there are still hard days.

There are still days where I wonder if I want to continue in this life.  Days where I want to hide from the world.  Where I ‘nest’ and make excuses to family and friends as to why I can’t see them.  Days where I cry and I don’t know when I’ll be able to stop.  Days I struggle with my depression, and then beat myself up for not being stronger.  Days I hear people saying ‘Enough…you have to think positively’ and I do.  I really do.  But the pain of this past year is still with me, and I can’t pretend otherwise.  I just can’t.

Getting better and healing, I’ve learned, is a process.  Not an act.  Sometimes when I find myself sad and weepy, I wonder just what it is I’m crying for.

Hubby 3 and I separated right around Christmas last year, and things had started getting bad during Thanksgiving, when I chose to go be with my son, instead of staying home with hubby.  I’ve always gone to spend Thanksgiving with my son and hubby was always fine with it.  I’m not sure what triggered his animosity last year, but it was the last straw in many ways.  This past week, I found out something about my marriage which I had suspected, but wasn’t sure of.  And it’s that my hubby has been with someone else for a period of time.  I truly blamed myself for our lack of intimacy (e.g. closeness and sex) these past couple of years, and when he moved out, he insisted he was living in the detached garage of a friend that didn’t even have electricity.  I asked his address numerous times, and he would always say he was ashamed to tell me since he was living so poorly.  I wondered about this since he makes what I do…has 7 Harleys (I had a scooter)…and got a houseful of furniture that I had previously purchased.  But I believed him because I loved him…and still do.  When I received our divorce papers in the mail the other day, I saw his address and looked it up.  Then drove by.  He’s living in a house much nicer than mine, and there’s no detached garage.  His work truck was in the drive and his van by the curb.  I called him about it and finally, after a long while, he admitted he had been living with someone and had been doing so since he left.  Have you ever heard the expression ‘I felt like I’d been sucker punched?’  That’s what I felt.  I literally lost my breath and felt like throwing up.  No matter what ever happened between hubby and me, I always believed we were genuine with each other.  We revealed things to each other I’ve NEVER ever shared with anyone else, and he did the same.  To find out he’d moved in with someone, while LYING about it, hurt like bloody hell.  It makes me question our last 2 years together, and I’m so furious at him for making me feel the separation was all about me.  Yes, like I said, I still love him.  But, my respect and trust in him is gone.  And that breaks my heart.

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My mentor died on Dec. 28th.  He was a prof of Political Science and from the day I started teaching as an adjunct, he was my friend, ally, and mentor.  He took me under his wing, and not 1 day went by where he didn’t joke with me, hug me, talk to me, or make me smile and feel good.  He did the same for my son.  My son was 3 when I started teaching part-time, and I’d often bring him to school with me while I graded or picked things up.  Larry always treated my son like gold…was really like a Godfather to him.  Once, when my son was around 10, he was at school with me while Larry had a class.  Larry saw him, and let my son ‘lecture’ to his students.  My son did incredibly well, and Larry was duly impressed!  When my son was a student at the college, Larry always gave him and his friends lunch money and hung out with them at times.  I know my son loved him as much as I did.

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Here’s something I’ve never really talked about before, but I’m ready now.  Do you remember the story about the U.S.S. John McCain that was hit by a commercial liner and 10 navy men died this August?  One of those was my nephew, Logan.  My son and Logan were born only 5 months apart, and us 2 families lived only a mile apart. Further, our house was built on my hubby’s parent’s property so Logan and his siblings were often at Grandma’s and next door to us.  My son was always over to be with them.  The kids often played at our house too, and my son and Logan were always on the same ball teams, soccer teams, boy scout troops, etc.  I also did a lot with my son during the summers and Logan and his siblings were included.  Trips to the zoo…swimming almost everyday…going to playgrounds…and I loved it.  After my son’s dad and I got divorced, I never stopped being in contact with my in-laws and these wonderful kids.  Like my sister always says, “Blood is thicker than water, but love is stronger than both!”  And it’s true.  My nephews and niece weren’t ‘in-law’…they were MINE.

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As Logan and his brother got older, they went to my college and took some of my classes!  It was a hoot and they always loved it when I would tell my students that I changed their diapers when they were babies!  If they weren’t in my classroom (even when they didn’t have class with me but just wanted to sit in), they were in my office or we were making a McDonald’s run over my lunch hour.  Those years at school with them were so awesome.  Before Logan left for what was to be a years long deployment, he came to see me.  We couldn’t stop hugging and I cried the entire time.  Before he said goodbye, the last thing Logan said to me was that he loved me so much and I was another mom to him.  Wow.  I told him he was another son as well.  Period.  When the ships collided, Logan was on the top deck.  Safe.  But, despite his superior’s order not too, my nephew ran down to the bottom deck because his friends were down there.  He saved 3 of his friends, before he was caught in a compartment and drowned.  My 24 year old nephew knowingly risked, and gave, his life for these other men.  All 3 were pallbearers at his funeral, and one of them became a father a couple of weeks after the accident.  I miss Logan like hell.  He was the cutest, funniest, orneriest, silliest kid and I loved his spunk.  A memorial was put up at Pearl Harbor honoring the fallen, and there were boots lined up with the badges of the sailors.  On Logan’s badge was my last picture taken with him.  He carried me around.  Me.  And I’ll carry him in my heart forever.

The student who is stalking me and harassing me is still out there too (please excuse the language in these texts…but I wanted you to see what I’m dealing with…it turns into gibberish and apparently, he was drunk.  I’ve also taken off any identifying information.).

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He has not been formally expelled from my college yet, despite the blatant, written threats against my life.  My yard was full of pistachios the other day which can be fatal to dogs in large quantities, and I have a feeling it was him who scattered them.  I also have seen a car, like his, parked where I walk my dog and have the sense of being watched.  This man, who started by writing me love poems, and ended by telling me I was a Jewish whore who he damned to hell…a kike…a ‘Lydia Lampshade’ is still living blocks from me, and not yet banned from campus.  I feel like a sitting duck.  It’s stressful to think I have to be on the lookout every minute.

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Security on campus walks me to and from my classes and my door is locked after my classes begin.  I feel as if my campus is now a prison and I hate it. My safe, fun, personal space is now a scary one.

Over these past months I’ve written so much about Sarge, and yes, I’m still struggling with the effects of his abuse too.  Things he has said to me resonate in my mind, and everything I’ve ever been proud of like crafting, my degrees, my position at the college he has put down, made fun of, and has forced me to hear these negative words over and over in my mind.  When this happens, I fight it.  But let’s be honest, those words are still in there.  We can push them down…but we can’t force ourselves to forget them.  And on bad days, those words take on much more emphasis.  I’m also very much coping with the infidelity.  Now that I know my hubby did the same, it magnifies its’ significance and makes me question what I’M doing wrong that these 2 men chose to cheat on me.  My sexual self-esteem is pretty low right now.

This has been the worst year of my 50 year life, and as I read back to this, I simply can’t believe everything that’s happened.  It’s almost to the point of it sounding made-up!  I wish it were.

So, I’m going to allow myself to have good days, but bad days too.  I’m not going to feel guilty for crying.  For mourning.  For being depressed.  It’s not that I’m not moving forward.  It’s because I need to grieve my losses and come to terms with all the things I have experienced this year.  Making a sun-shiney blog isn’t my big fix.  I thought it would be.  I hoped it would reflect something new in me that was healed and ready to go full steam ahead.  Life is harder than that though, isn’t it?  I have sunshine, but I still have clouds and rain too.  And, I’ve learned it’s OK.  Life isn’t all great.  And life isn’t all bad.  It’s taking each day as it comes.  Doing the best you can.  And allowing yourself to feel genuinely about what’s happening.  And that, my friends, is what I’m going to do.

I love you all.

Prof K ❤

 

 

“You’re Gonna Make it After All!”

Do any of you know who Mary Richards is?  She was a character played by Mary Tyler Moore, on a show of the same name, and was the first never married, independent woman who lived the single life happily while focusing on her career first, and men second.  The show ran from 1970-1977 with a brilliant cast, and I absolutely loved, and still love, watching it.

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Mary’s single apartment was so funky with the shag carpet and plants all around and she reveled in making her own choices and directing her own life, without the ‘support’ or ‘addition’ of a man!

This is the first time I’ve ever truly lived alone..it’s only been a couple of months now but I’m loving it…which is a HUGE surprise to me!  After I graduated from high school, I lived with mom and step-father, until my junior year of college when I moved into an apartment on campus with 3 roommates.  I hated it!  Two of my roommates were rude and difficult to get along with, but worse, I missed my future hubby who was still in my hometown.  After junior year was completed, we got married and were together for 4 years.  Then, I was single and living alone for 5 months and I absolutely despised it!  I was 26 and very much wanting to start a family, and I felt a desperation in terms of finding someone to make that dream come true.  I was also scared to death!  Every sound was a burglar and I literally had to take my little mutt dog down the stairs with me to be brave enough to go into my basement to do laundry!  It was horrible!  But then hubby 2 and I started seeing each other, however, he lived in another state and the visits were only a couple of times a month.  I got pregnant (my sweet son was NOT an accident, but an awesome surprise!) during our Thanksgiving visit (go figure) and married hubby 2.  After we divorced 13 years later, my son and I lived together until hubby 3 and I married.  Whew!  I basically went from one home to another in quick succession and never really embraced the single life at all.

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To be honest with you, I was really scared to try it again.  Or, maybe even truly try it for the first time.  I had gotten to the point where I thought I was simply too co-dependent (yes, I hate that word too) to live on my own happily.  Because I always had one, I felt I wasn’t complete without a man.  I was dependent on men to show me my value and worth, and by having a man around the house all of the time allowed me to NOT face some of my issues since I was too busy ‘doing for’ them.  They were almost like a buffer between ‘housewifey’ me and the inner me that needed some work…badly.

The first couple of weeks after Sarge left, I cried and cried.  Buckets.  It got to where I wondered if I would ever stop.  I know I was crying for Sarge and for the abuse I had endured with him, but I believe I was also crying because I would be alone.  Completely alone (except for my fur babies and feathered friend!).  Forcing myself to get out of bed everyday was a chore…and I dreaded the hours ahead of me.  Besides school, I would plan on how to fill them up until I could get to bed and not have to face anything at all.

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Hmmmm.  Well, I have always been a voracious reader, but hadn’t had much of an opportunity to do so this past year, so I started reading again.  For hours.  Because there isn’t anyone I have to be accountable too.  I can eat when I want and what I want.  I can nap and not worry about waking up before a hubby gets home and needs dinner.  I can loom and sew to my hearts content.  I can go to bed anytime I want, and wake up on my schedule on the weekends.  If I don’t feel like vacuuming, I don’t.  There’s no hubby to keep a sparkling house for, and I’m finding that some dust and dog hair really don’t bother me much at all.  I only have to do laundry when MY clothes basket is full, and if I leave things out, I know where they will be the next day.

In fact, I’m getting a little selfish with my time!  Sometimes when friends or family want to come over, I’ll say ‘Not Today!’ because I’m enjoying my solitude so much.  That’s HUGE for me!!  To WANT to be alone!

And facing myself and my issues?  I’ve been able to do that.  I’ll think about things I believe or done or regret and work them out.  If I want to cry or yell or blog or draw or eat candy bars as I deal with things, I do it.  And I’m trying very hard to put closure on things I’ve ruminated too much over, and I’m focusing so much more of my energy on the future.  I think I’m the healthiest me I’ve been in a long time.

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Now…am I still healing from the narcissistic abuse?  Yes.  I said I was the healthiest I’ve been for a while, but no where near where I want to be.  I know I still feel the effects of his words, abuse, manipulation, and most of all, his infidelity which is so difficult to get over.  To him, it was just an aberration and ‘she’ started it.  To me, it was a crushing blow to my heart, my ego, and my self-image.  But the process has started!  I’m getting ‘better’ everyday, and going home to my dogs after school and spending my afternoons and evenings alone feel really great!  I’m learning things about myself I never really knew and instead of being co-dependent (dammit…there’s that word again!) on a man, I’m learning to be dependent on me!  That’s a great feeling!

This is what I know…being alone is scary.  Particularly when you are recovering from a toxic relationship which has you feeling as if you aren’t worthy or capable of anything.  But you are.  You are strong.  You are competent.  You are a precious, priceless, worthwhile soul and you can do anything.  It just takes one step.  Then another.  And then another.  And you know what?  I’ll be here for your journey as you are for mine.

Professor K

An “Aha” Moment!!

You know, I’m a bit of a hypocrite.  In my classes, I teach this:  to love anyone, you have to love yourself first, and that’s something I preach but have never really done.  Until now.

At times, I feel selfish in this blog…focusing on myself and the healing process of narc abuse.  But, then again, that’s the point of it.  To be open, share my story, and connect with others who are going through the same thing.  I want people to understand how defeating this type of abuse is, and how horrible it is to the victim’s sense of self.  I want people to understand this type of abuse exists and how common it really is.  I want people to take the journey with me, and heal their own spirits too.

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And I know I’ve been struggling with this for a while.  Not feeling good about myself, and as I’ve thought about it, I’m wondering if I ever really have.  I am a giver.  But am I giving to others for the sake of doing that…or for the sake of making me feel better about myself?  And, if it’s the latter, why do I need to do that?  Just like I don’t expect people to overly give to me and it wouldn’t make a difference in terms of my love for them, why do I think I have to do it?  I’m thinking I don’t…I want people to accept me and love me for who I am…not for what I can do for them.  Plus, I’m also realizing there’s one person I haven’t been giving to, and that’s myself.

Not things.  I got plenty of stuff (e.g. junk!) around my house.  But positive messages, compliments, giving myself a break, letting myself make mistakes without overly punishing myself for them…I’m really bad about that.  I forgive people very easily.  As you’ve seen with Sarge, too easily for what’s been done at times.  But myself?  I find it very hard to forgive my own sins.  And believe me, my list of sins is huge!  I’m a ruminator, and I tend to re-live a sin over and over again, until it becomes such a force in my life, it’s ruining the present.  That needs to stop.  In fact, I need to take a new direction in life.

Forward.  I need to look forward.  I am still a bit anxious and depressed (but I have fibromyalgia and those are always going to be with me…great…), yet beating myself up over these issues is useless.  First, it’s not going to help the depression and anxiety, instead it will most likely exacerbate it. And second, they aren’t my fault!  For me, these emotions tend to ride a roller coaster.  After the issues with Sarge, a change in my meds, and the loss of 2 important people in my life, it’s no wonder I’m on the down side of the coaster.  But I’m going up again.  I’m forcing that car up the next hill.  I’m ready for it…and I deserve it.  We all do.

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So,  what was my “Aha” moment?  This morning, I got up, let out the dogs, and was walking around the house turning on lights.  As I was doing that, I thought, “Wow…this is MY house.  My sanctuary.  My haven.  And I love it!”  It felt good, and right, to get up by myself and my fur babies and go through my routine.  I felt whole.  Not like I was missing a piece, and I realized that living alone is pretty damn awesome!  I can eat when I want…watch what I want…go to bed when I want…run when I want…and the list goes on.  I was always scared to live alone.  Not because of the boogey man or such fears, but because I didn’t know if I’d be able to find comfort and a home within myself.  And today I see that I have.  It’s a great feeling!  To wake up and feel content…with just myself.

Then, I looked in the bathroom mirror (and immediately said ICK…it was before my shower) and really looked at myself.  I thought how hard I’ve been on me.  How punitive I’ve been.  How I need to celebrate who I am with all of my many faults included.  And then it was like an epiphany…I realized I loved myself.  Me.  For the first time in my life, I loved myself.  Not because of what people say.  Not because of a relationship.  Not because I did something good.  But just because I’m me.  And you know what?  It feels wonderful!

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This is what I know:  we are all deserving people who have suffered in our lives and we all deserve the same breaks we tend to give others.  We need to forgive ourselves, be patient, be understanding and know that no matter what, we deserve our own love unconditionally.  Easy to say.  Hard to do.  But for all of us, it’s a goal we need to achieve. ❤

Professor K