“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” ~ Bertrand Russell

I was thinking about fear while reading a memoir about Domestic Violence today, and after really thinking about it, I realized there have been very few times in my life I’ve been truly afraid.  That makes me lucky…considering millions throughout the world live in fear of their lives everyday.

The first time I was horribly afraid was when my son was 15.  At the time, he was having intestinal issues and after ruling out things like Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Celiac Disease, our family doctor referred my son to a surgeon to see if exploratory measures might be used.  After various tests of his own, the surgeon determined that my son have his abdominal lymph nodes tested for possible lymphoma.  The night my son had to be hospitalized was hell…he wanted his dad and I to go home and get some sleep, and because he was 15, we did.  The next day, my son was released from the hospital and the surgeon told us he would have the results back in 36-48 hours.  I asked him what his thoughts were and he said he couldn’t make any call from what he had done, so I re-worded my question and asked this:  “Would you worry if this were your son?”  He said “yes”.

I brought my son home, and he knew we had to wait for the results while also understanding what was being tested for.  The first night home, when he let me tuck him in, he asked me to read some of his old favorite books to him.  I laid on his futon and did…and tried so hard not to cry.  I laid in bed that night, and even though hubby 3 loved my son very much and was worried, only his dad and I could really tolerate this together.  We talked on the phone throughout the night and we were terrified.  Is there any other word stronger??  Because even that one wouldn’t be strong enough for what I felt.  I knew I couldn’t bear to live in a world where was my son wasn’t in it.  He’s simply a part of my soul.  The results came in late the next afternoon and lymphoma was ruled out.  My baby was OK.  And no matter what, the world was as it should be.  (Later we found he had some kind of odd virus and after a few rounds of medication, he was fine).

The second time I was fearful was a few years ago when my mom was admitted to the ER because she was coughing up blood.  She called me to tell me what was happening and since she had battled cancer once and I knew she was drinking too much, I feared something related to either one of these.  I rushed to the ER and found my mom in the examining room.  I went in, while her now ex-husband/batterer waited in the hall, and I saw her back was covered with bruises.  All over.  In the shape of fists. Worse, I saw a look of sheer terror in my moms eyes.  She had obviously been horribly beaten and throwing up blood was due to internal injury.  I went out to the hall while my (sorry mom, but I know you understand) FUCKING step-father was standing out there, talking to passerby about religion.  Yes.  I’m not kidding.

I grabbed the ER doc (a total bastard) and practically screamed at him that her injuries were due to a BEATING…not falling down the stairs…and he needed to get on the  phone and call the police!  He said he questioned her repeatedly, and she vehemently denied it.  With that much resistance and no witnesses, the police wouldn’t do anything.  I was incredulous and went back in to see mom.  She fell down the stairs.  Period.  She knew I didn’t believe her and I knew she was so terrified of her batterer she wouldn’t admit to anything else.

I knew my mom was going to be leaving that hospital with a monster.  I knew the chances of my mom being there again was very great, and I also knew there was a chance she night not make it the next time.  Those were the fears me and my sister carried until the day my mom said she had had enough.

The final time I’ve truly been fearful was this summer.  Yes.  That’s how much I was hurt by the narc abuse Sarge was putting me through, the infidelity, and the ugly discards that came at his whim.  Alas, as victims of narc abuse know, it’s not ‘just’ the abuse.

I lost a couple of people in my life I hoped were friends.  True friends.  Friends I confided in and friends I love.  Very much.  But, I made some terrible decisions.  I’m still making decisions that may not be healthy or are self-sabatoging.  I know that.  But that’s when you need your friends the most…to understand your shortcomings and catch you when you fall.  However, I do know how hard this is.  Sometimes you just want to shake people and ‘make’ them see, but you can’t.  We all have to see through our own eyes.

I lost the respect of my family.  Having your mom tell you how disappointed she is in you hurts.  Even at the age of 50.  But I was disappointed in me too…and I couldn’t blame her for saying this.  Worse, was having my son say the same thing.  I know as a daughter, I did some really shitty things.   But, as a mom, I’ve tried everyday to do my best by my son.  I know I didn’t around the time of my separation with his dad, and I know I didn’t this summer either.  What I saw in my son’s eyes when he visited me this summer, and what I heard in his voice was shameful.  I saw his respect in me diminish greatly as well as so much disappointment and even contempt toward me.  I understand.  I was feeling those too.  Letting down my son was horrible and I’ll never forget how fearful I was of losing his trust and respect forever.  I still am.

I lost time.  Because I was crying, sleeping, and stumbling through my days, I lost really seeing my puppy grow up.  I lost bike rides and hikes and playing with my dogs on a summer day.  I lost running and entering some local races.  I lost going out to restaurants and being able to sleep without prescription drugs.  I lost the ability to see anything clearly except the pain and depression and anxiety I was feeling.  I lost all love of myself.

And the worse thing?  The thing that scares me most?  I lost trust in the world.  I used to think the world was a happy place.  I might be going through something awful, but there was still true good in the world.  Some might call is naivete, but I knew there was a pretty house with a picket fence where happy people lived and dreamed, and life was a wonderful thing after all.

I don’t believe that anymore though.  I really don’t.  One of my favorite Stephen King books is “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon“, and my favorite quote is this:  “The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted.”  I think that’s what happened this summer.  So many bad things came together in my life at once, and I saw a smiley world turn to a dark, mean, nasty, ugly world.  A world where people hurt you for no reason.  A world where selfishness is the norm.  A world that can pull you down and keep you down if you even try to pull yourself back up again.  A world where people who don’t even know you will simply hate you, because their heart has nothing else in it.  A world where there is war, terror, famine, racism, homophobia, and people who are killing one another because each worship a different god.  It’s a world that holds so much anger, hurt, entitlement, and self-centeredness,  that it scares me now.  It’s a world I’ve lost trust and faith in.  A world I fear.

And this fear simply breaks my heart.

Prof K ❤

“And the Beat Goes On…”

Over the last few days, I’ve been receiving many anonymous comments on this blog.  I approved and replied to one of them, but haven’t on the others.  I don’t know if these comments are being authored by the same person or not, but I wanted to address this issue as a whole.

First, most of the comments are telling me how foolish and ‘idiotic’ I’m being by letting Sarge back into my life.  And, had I been reading this blog myself, I would have readily agreed.  But, two things have made me understand my actions:

  1. My knowledge of the complexity of Narcissistic Abuse and the psychological manipulation present which changes your entire ability to see things rationally.
  2. The new understanding that being inside a situation is much different than being on the outside.  Being objective and emotionally detached is always easier than being subjective and emotionally enmeshed.  How often have you been able to see issues in other people easier than recognizing similar issues in yourself?

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I think we live in a very judgmental society.  We are bombarded with the media berating others in order to sell their magazines, promote their reality shows, and sell themselves as the best commodity.  It’s almost as if by making people smaller, we can appear bigger.  Or, by pointing out the poor choices of others, we can feel better about the choices we make ourselves.

It’s a bullying world right now, and a very different one from when I grew up.  Back then, bullies were the people in your classes or your neighborhood that you could escape from by walking into your own home.  Nowadays?  Bullies are everywhere.  Literally.  They hide behind their tablets, phones, and computers and incite, preach, taunt, and inflame with the anonymity our technology now provides.  It’s constant.  And safe places?  I don’t really believe they exist anymore.

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Anonymity is a curious thing to me.  Why, if we are expressing a belief or opinion we obviously find valid, do we hide ourselves from it?  Why do we not identify ourselves and why is it that the more hateful the voice, the more layers the person wraps around themselves to protect their own selves from retribution.  If you believe in an idea and have worded it appropriately, why would you have to hide at all?  Shouldn’t we, if we are expressing ourselves, be proud of our stand?  Shouldn’t we at least take ownership of it?

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When I started this blog, I was just learning about Narcissistic Abuse.  And I’m still learning.  I was just recovering  And I’m still recovering.  I think things like this are a process.  Some people are very strong and emotionally resilient, and can extricate themselves from situations quickly and permanently.  Others are less so, and the process may take more time.  And more mistakes.

I know I have family and friends who disapprove of the choices I have made, and continue to make.  And although their opinions might be hurtful at times, I respect very much them being straightforward and honest with me.  I really do.  And in this blog, I’m trying my very best to be straightforward and honest too.  Sometimes it’s difficult to paint an entire picture in a paragraph or two.  I’m being open and honest to the point where it’s painful at times, but I’m determined to do it.  Not so others can necessarily learn from my mistakes, but so they know there is someone else on this ride with them who will support them when they fall.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

This is what I know:  people do the best they can…and truthful, forthright comments can be very helpful and welcome.  But sometimes we have to make our own choices…our own mistakes…our own consequences.  And it’s always nice to know there are people around to soften the hurt that might entail.  If it happens to you, I’m here.

Professor K

Pandora’s Box

My best friend and I went shopping today and he was just thrilled to look at beads for an hour with me.  As we walked around our local mall, we started talking about the upcoming holidays, and I told him how I was dreading them so much.  Last Christmas was when hubby 3 moved out, and it was a horrible time.  I have always loved Christmas, but am wondering if there will now be a dark cloud around it as well.

I was also telling my friend how much I hate summers.  I actually love the hot weather and doing outdoor things, but summers have always seemed to be the time when bad things tend to happen.  My grandpa died during the summer after a long illness and both hubby 1 and hubby 2 left me during summer months.  I thought my bad summers were over, until this past summer happened.

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As I think back to it, I can’t remember most of July and August.  I truly can’t.  I remember bits and pieces, but there are such huge gaps, those months barely register at all.  My friend told me how worried he was about me.  How he and my mom took care of me.  About how I cried uncontrollably for hours at a time, and mentioned suicide a lot.  About how I could barely dress myself, get out of the house, or eat.  Teaching my summer class was all I accomplished, and I remember little of that too.  I’ve taught this particular class so many times I’ve always said I can do it in my sleep, and apparently I did.  I do know I broke down in front of my class on a few occasions, because some of those students have recently told me.  I’m ashamed of that.  I never want to put that burden on my sweet students and I’ve always taken so much pride in my teaching and the reputation I have earned on my campus.

I do remember this though:  I took a handful of pills one evening when I was alone, but threw them up in fear a few minutes later.  What I had wanted to do was too scary for me to carry out.  And I thank God for that.  I know how my family would have suffered if I had been successful, and in hindsight, I can’t believe I even contemplated doing that to my son.

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I talk about suicide a lot in my psychology classes and never thought I would be facing these thoughts myself.  One of the first things I teach my students is that suicide is not about death.  It’s all about ending the pain you’re in.  And sometimes, death seems like the only way to make that happen.  People who are suicidal live in a tunnel.  A long, dark, scary tunnel where no light can enter, and the tunnel is filled only with misery.  There’s no way to get out of a tunnel…especially one with no doors, and the helplessness of facing another day in that dark, dark space is horrifying.  When you’re in the tunnel, you see nothing else.  Feel only the ache of your pain and depression and nothing around you matters at all.  Nothing. If hell was a place on earth, this would be it.

I absolutely hate the idea of having been in that tunnel.  I remember times I could barely breathe in it..barely talk.  I remember wanting to go to sleep and never wake up.  I remember telling my doctor that there was something very wrong with me.

But I don’t remember it all.  And I think that’s a good thing.  Our minds are wonderful contraptions and just as our bodies protect ourselves with our immune system, our minds do the same.  It understands when we need to repress experiences instead of facing them.  It instinctively knows what we can handle, and what we can’t.  As my friend was telling me about how I acted this summer, I couldn’t believe the person he was describing was me.  He was talking about this woman who was so out of it, she couldn’t be trusted to drive at times.  Why can’t I remember?  Why can’t I see all of that now?  Because, sometimes when you open a door that’s been closed, you have to face things you may not be ready to encounter yet.

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Remember Pandora’s Box that was full of all the worlds evil?  Zeus told Pandora not to open it, but being curious, she did anyway and all of the ills of the world were released.  She hastily worked to close the box back up, and after she succeeded, only hope was left inside.  My box is this summer.  I want to open it and see who I was when I was recovering from the brunt of the narcissistic abuse I suffered.  Why?  Because I need to be reminded of the harm that can come to me?  Because I need to remember how far down I was pushed so I can be more vigilant in protecting myself from further abuse?

I think I already know how horrible it was, and I’m building myself up day by day and feeling so much stronger and confident.  But, as I admitted in my previous post, Sarge is back in my life and I’m not remembering the bad as much as I’m remembering the good.  I’m seeing him differently.  He’s been sharing more with me.  About his childhood.  About the abuse he endured during that time.  He’s shown me a vulnerability I’ve never seen before and has listened to me more than he ever has.  And I like it.  Actually, I love it.  We are more on the same ‘page’ than we have ever been.  Bliss.

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No.  It’s not bliss.  It’s still complicated and I’m still struggling SO much with things he did to me.  Especially the infidelity.  I believe it was him doing this to me numerous times during 2 different weeks that finally brought me down.  I handled, the best I could, the manipulation, verbal assaults, etc. but for some reason, the infidelity was the kicker.  I think it’s because I felt so ‘less than’.  So foolish.  So used.  So nothing.  It was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back.

But, I’m not broken anymore.  And although I have forgiven Sarge the infidelity (regardless of the fact he’s never asked for it), I haven’t forgotten.  I never will.  Ever.  I can’t.  I can’t go back to that tunnel.  And I am going to do my damn best not too.  I will never be as vulnerable.  I won’t allow it.  I can’t.  I deserve more than living in darkness…I deserve the light.  And although I’m not ready to open the entire box of what happened this summer, maybe I don’t need too.  Not yet.  Because just seeing a peek of it is enough of a lesson for now.

Professor K

P.S.  Please call for help if you, or anyone you love have signs of being suicidal.

Love you all. ❤

 

 

 

 

 

“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

“One Wrong Move and it All Came Crashing Down”.

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.
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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.

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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.

Inspiration for myself xox

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.

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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.

Professor K

 

 

“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

Being a psychology and sociology professor, I understand the importance of both nature and nurture.  Nature is our biological inheritance and how our genes are affecting our behavior.  Nurture is environmental and says we are more influenced in our behavior by things that happen to us in our environment.  When this concept was first introduced in in the mid 1800’s, there was a debate as to which one of these is the basis for our behavior and was coined nature VS. nurture.  Now of course, we know that both our genes and our environment affect us with the only question being which is more influential in our lives. I believe (and this is just my personal theory) nurture is much more influential than nature.  I believe we’re born with a temperament but that we are ‘socialized’ into our personalities which in, of course, our behaviors reside.  I believe experiences are extremely significant and can leave lasting outcomes.

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So, why am I lecturing you today?  My friend and I were talking at school this morning, and we were talking about the hold Sarge has on me and how I’m struggling with being able to go no contact again.  As we were pondering this, she said this to me:  “Professor K, when are you going to stop using the REASONS for your co-dependency with Sarge as EXCUSES for your behavior?”  Wow.  This really intrigued me and I have been thinking about it all day.

First, I know that my being an empath is probably biological…like my eye color.  It’s just the way I’ve always been…as if it were bred into me.  But, when I start looking at why I can’t let go of Sarge…why I cling to men who are toxic…why I can’t accept what is in front of me, I have to go back to my past, and when I do, I see a pattern evolving:

  • Boyfriend #1 – dumped me
  • Prom Date #1 – dumped me (the day after the prom…hmmmmmm)
  • Psychologist – sexually abused me then simply acted like I didn’t exist when I began to question his behavior
  • Hubby #1 – dumped me
  • Hubby #2 – dumped me
  • Hubby #3 – dumped me

Hmmmmm…see the pattern?  I have NEVER ended a relationship on my terms and all of these dumpings, I believe, have made me want SSSOOOO bad to have a truly successful relationship.  The commitment.  Lasting love.  Security knowing that I don’t have to ‘be’ a certain way to be accepted by my partner.  I want to be needed back.  Wanted back.  And when things get tough, I want to be able to come together, not pull apart.

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When Sarge and I met, the love bombing was intense.  He was everything I had wanted and needed in my life.  We had so much fun doing things together, talking, laughing, cuddling, etc. and I was put on a pedestal which made me believe I was his dream as well.  He made me feel as if there were no other woman in the world for him.  Just me.  With all my foibles and all my faults.  He was perfect for me and accepted me for who I was.  It was an awesome feeling!  And I genuinely believed the relationship was going to be my happily ever after.

Of course, you know what happened next.  The criticisms.  The contemptuousness.  The manipulation.  The triangulation.  The infidelity.  The emotional abuse.  The physical abuse.  It was all there.  Yet I welcomed him back after every discard and never lost my emotional connection to him.  I’m struggling with that right now.  Every text I read from him, (and YES…I AM going to block him…I promise), brings that emotional connection back.  Just like that.

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So the question is WHY?  Why is that connection so powerful for me…for all of us who have been in such relationships?  For me, I see my past ‘patterns’ and to be brutally honest, being ‘dumped’ that many times by men I truly loved, makes me feel as if they just threw me away.  And what do you throw away?  Trash.  OK.  There it is.  I feel like trash.  Like I’m not ‘good enough’ to be in a relationship.  That I can just be tossed aside while these men move on in their lives.

Is that why I stay?  Because I simply can’t stand the thought of being thrown away again?  Are my past experiences of being discarded (nurture) paired up with my natural tendency to be an empath?  Who can blame me for hanging on?  Who can blame me for being co-dependent on this man?  Look at what I’ve been through…of course I’ll have hope for ANY relationship I might be in to be successful.  Because, in all my 50 years, I haven’t had that.  Period.

What’s that you’re saying?  That Sarge is toxic?  I know!  BUT…and there’s always a ‘but’…it was PERFECT in the beginning.  EXACTLY what I wanted!  I ache for that man who made me feel so accepted and loved and cherished and listened too.  He’s in there.  Somewhere.

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But he’s not.  He’s a narcissist.  He will never love me as a woman, but only as an object fulfilling his supply needs.  The love bombing was fake, but he did it so damn well.  So well in fact, that I can’t let go of the dream of getting it back in a sincere way.

But narcissists don’t change, do they?  I HAVE to accept this.  After I whined to my friend at school (and bless her heart for listening), we began to e-mail.  And this is what she reminded me of (word for word):

  • He’s already put you $21,000 in debt.
  • He falsified a title and basically STOLE another motorcycle from you.
  • He gave you HPV, DAMMIT!!!!!
  • He CHOKED you and didn’t stop until his son walked in!

“Come on, Profess K! GET MAD!!!!!  Say ENOUGH!!!!!”

And I know I need too.  I have to come to peace with my past ‘dumpings’ and not let those dictate my behavior in future relationships.  I have to STOP using the excuse of my past experiences and look at this situation rationally and for what it is.  I have to STOP saying:  “Well…I feel bad about myself because these guys dumped me so I can’t help but cling to Sarge.”  Bullshit.  I CAN help it.  I can use the past and learn from it…not hide behind it.  So what those men dumped me.  It was their loss.  It doesn’t make me trash.  It makes me 1 of millions who have been dumped in their lives.  It’s gonna happen.  I married my first hubby way too young…we were doomed from the start.  Hubby 2 and I just got too complacent in our marriage and by the time we sought help, it was simply too late.  Hubby 3 walked out, but he’s still in my life.  We talk everyday and I’ll always love him dearly.  High school relationships?  OMG!  I can’t believe those ended!!  And that psychologist.  He was a predator…another sociopath and his abuse was HIS problem…I was the victim.  I was innocent.  Him ‘dumping’ me was the best thing that ever could have happened.  The abuse needed to end.

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Wow!  I’m reading back through this and can’t believe what just came out.  I AM NOT TRASH.  I DON’T NEED A MAN TO MAKE ME HAPPY.  I DON’T DESERVE WHAT SARGE DID, AND I WOULD BE A FOOL TO EVEN THINK ABOUT IT AGAIN.  NO MORE EXCUSES.  I’m going to be in charge of my future…not sinking in the past.  And you know what?  Not always feeling as if I’m drowning is going to feel good.  Damn good.

This is what I know:  you can’t let your past dictate your future.  There comes a time where you have to take responsibility for YOUR actions and force yourself to forge a new path.  If not, those people that hurt you are going to continue doing so forever.  And no one deserves that.

Professor K

 

 

 

And Confusion Sets In.

In my post yesterday, I talked about how Sarge was going to be taking classes at my college and how upset I was that he will be so close to me…in my safe place!  He’s been texting me regularly since yesterday morning, and told me last night he is also joining the YMCA which is a block from my house.  So now, he’s going to be in my neighborhood regularly too.

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As we are texting, I am yelling at myself and saying, “What are you doing?!  What the hell happened to NO contact?!”  And, I thought I could handle it.  Because I told you how strong I was getting.  How much healthier I am.  And guess what?  I feel the negative thoughts starting to invade my mind again and confusion is setting in.  I feel like I’ve been sober for a couple of months, and someone is offering my drug of choice.  My rehab isn’t over, and that drug, for some reason, is looking mighty good.  I know it’s bad for me.  I know it hurts me.  I know it’s wrong to reach for it.  But just one more hit would feel so good.

Why do I think MY situation is different from everyone else’s?  That I can handle things? That I can be strong and keep boundaries in place when I interact with him?  I’ve been thinking about that all night (I barely slept), and my feelings are all over the place.

I’m feeling that maybe Sarge really is different.  Maybe his PTSD from deployments and child abuse issues are the problem.  Not narcissism.  And I feel such a shame that I let Sarge into my life…and if I can ‘prove’ we can be friendly and have contact, would that shame lessen?  I also know I’m a sucker for false hope…I always think there’s a possibility for so many things to get better. Letting go of hope is so damn hard.  Further, I’m the type of person who tries to love unconditionally.  I know I love my son in that way…there is absolutely nothing he could say or do that would change the love I have for him.  I try to do that in relationships as well.  So, I tend to forgive way too easily, and give in to things to please partners and show them that my unconditional love is real.  And, I’ve been betrayed before, by a psychologist who sexually abused me for years.  Sometimes I feel I have a ‘victim’ mentality and draw toxic men to myself.  It’s almost like a pattern or loop I’m in, albeit a dangerous one.   Sarge is giving me mixed messages…he’s acting as if nothing happened, while also saying he knows what a bastard he’s been.  YES, I know this is a very manipulative tactic he’s using, but being an empath, I wonder if for once, he’s sincere.

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Finally, there’s the denial.  I know it’s true that narcissists can’t love.  I know it.  But, I can’t accept it.  I can’t get to the place in my muddled thinking that Sarge never loved me.  That is was only one sided.  I believe if I actually say those words and admit there were no feelings on his side, I’ll break down.  All of the abuse, manipulation, triangulation, push and pull…would have been for naught.  I can’t face the fact I was just an object.  Just used.  One more time.  By another person who created a situation in which he had power over me.

That psychologist that abused me?  I thought he loved me. I knew what he was doing was wrong and I absolutely HATED what he forced me to do, but in my teen mind, I believed that him ‘wanting’ me was love.  And now I’m in that situation again.  Having to face the fact that I was nothing.  And you know what?  After being treated like nothing a few times, you begin to believe it’s true.

I feel like I don’t really matter much anymore.  That I’m just living my life by getting through my days.  Yesterday, I wanted to be Wonder Woman, and today, I’m feeling like I did weeks ago.  Just because of some texts.  It’s incomprehensible how narcissists ‘glue’ themselves to you, and then just play with you for their pleasure.

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OK.  I’m going to admit something that I believe is true.  I’ve done some bad things in my life.  I’ve hurt people.  I’ve lied.  I’ve stolen.  And I am convinced that Sarge might have been placed in my life as a punishment for my sins.  I know that sounds crazy, but unfortunately, with everything going on, my mind does feel off.  So, maybe because of the hurt I’ve inflicted on others, I deserve this hurt as atonement.  After all, we reap what we sow.

This is what I know:  narcissists know how to hoover…they know how to pull you back in, and I realize that NO contact is what I need.  I know that.  I really do.  But, I just can’t do it again quite yet.  And, I don’t know why the hell I can’t.

Professor K