narcissism and emotional abuse

Nice Shelf

Something is ironic when it produces the opposite result of what’s intended.

A storage shelving unit is purchased to help a person who hoards everything. The need for organization and purging of broken, unused or duplicate items is imperative to cleanliness and safety.

The shelving unit is put together and numerous items are organized and placed on the shelves so the person doesn’t have to get rid of stuff or shove things in corners, drawers and under chairs. Many of the items that were decidedly to be trashed were found, put back in the boxes and bags, but instead of debating, they are put on the shelves. Hoarding is an exhausting condition to deal with and battles must be carefully picked. While cleaning up the box and wrapping that the shelving unit came in, a 20 minute discussion is had as to why the free cheap tools that came with the shelf aren’t needed and can be thrown away because this person owns a full toolbox with the same types of high quality tools. There is no shortage of these tools.

The cheap tools are then hidden so they can’t be thrown out. They will likely be discovered at a later date in a box with broken vacuum cleaner parts for vacuums that are not even in the residence anymore and empty plastic food wrappers and other things that might be needed one day, along with 10 other sets of cheap alum wrenches and stripped screws that can’t even be used because they are so damaged. And 5000 plastic shopping bags.

It’s ironic that money and effort was spent to help organize the stuff accumulated by a hoarder, and yet nothing was really purged. And only more stuff was kept. And zero thank-you’s were exchanged. Guess the hoarder was too busy hurling insults at the person trying to help and didn’t have time to say thank you.

The shelf looks nice.

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Divorce and Narcissism

Emotional Abuse

A family member said some very hurtful things to me a few months ago. We didn’t talk for about a month. Later, around Thanksgiving time this person wanted to talk, but not about our argument, they wanted to just talk and act like nothing happened. When I said I wasn’t ok with that, based on how our last conversation had gone, and tried to talk about the argument, get them to explain why they said the hurtful things, this person said I said hurtful things too. I asked about what things I said. They told me they didn’t have the energy to talk about it. And that was that, an abrupt end to them messaging me.

This is how emotional abusers operate. They throw out statements like “yeah, well you did this too and you did that” and when asked to back it up or give examples, so a chance is given to explain or apologize, they shut you down. Why? Because there are either no examples to give or they don’t want to go down the path of accountability. They don’t want to hear that they hurt you. They don’t want to hear that their behavior was cruel and unkind. In my situation it is even more of a head-scratcher because this family member tells everyone how life is too short to be angry and they are spiritual now and there are energies and what you put out is what you attract. And to be kind. To be genuine. To be happy. Just “Be.” This person doesn’t tell anyone about the shit-storm of wrongs they have committed against family and friends. They now hide behind doing charitable work and putting out books and going on tours, being a motivational speaker. Fuck as many people as you want but claim spirituality and that justifies it all. It’s different. It’s love and openness and being clairvoyant. That’s how to live your life, didn’t you know this?

Then this person sends me the quote pictured, just yesterday. Another example of emotional abuse. How can I possible respond to this quote? I’m not angry. I’m hurt. If I say anything, explain anything, they are the bigger person because they’re going into 2019 forgiving me? Life is too short to be negative? I did reply. I said I wasn’t angry with anyone and wished them a happy new year. They wished me the best year yet! Oh how awesome is this person?! How big of them. Best part for them is they don’t have to talk about the hurtful things said to me a few months ago! They get to tell the story about they reached out to me, because spiritual people forgive! So inspiring! This person gets to dismiss my feelings because that’s what their love is all about! They rock!

I’m not angry, I’m hurt. And if this person needs to do this to feel like the bigger and better person, (I am the most negative person they have ever met and I make them sick- their words) they can have this one. I’m not angry. I’m just done. It doesn’t matter if a person is your family, if they’re toxic and continue to make you feel bad about yourself, you need to find ways to minimize contact. I am doing that. And while I’m sad, deeply sad, I have accepted this. I’ll blog to get it out of my system and then I’ll move along. Life IS too short.

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Divorce and Narcissism

Boundaries

I made it through another Thanksgiving holiday and am preparing to fully enter this holiday season with all the strength and positivity I can muster.

It’s a challenge when you fight depression every day and have no place to call “safe.” Home life is stressful with my mother. Her health isn’t great. Her words are sharp and cruel and it is a daily struggle to put on my shield of deflection from her viciousness, and be able to shield my kids from it as well. One minute she says the most awful things and the next is saying how much she loves her grandkids and would do anything for them. Until they just…..live. And make their own choices. And express themselves. Then she tells us we are disgusting and if we continue to be who we are, we have to get out. We hear her on the phone with her family and she counsels them, telling the wonderful things like “you can’t threaten people and impose your will on others.” Or “don’t let differences keep you from having a relationship with your family.” I have no words. And I don’t recognize this pillar of strength and wisdom who sits before me doling out sage advice. She is my ex. In another body. She cares more about what strangers and distant family think than the people she lives with. Perpetuates the “do as I say and not as I do” movement.

But I get up every day and try to suck it up. Be strong and set a good example for my kids. I’m learning how to set boundaries and those aren’t received well by some people in my life. That adds to my depression because while I know it is necessary and healthy in the long run, the sting of the people who resist my boundaries is sharp.

My sister told me several weeks ago I am the most negative person she has ever met and that I make her sick. This was during a phone call where I asked if she was willing to have a conference call with my brother, my mother and me, because our mother wanted to discuss her estate planning. The conference call was my mother’s request. I was trying to set it up and make it happen for my mother. My brother agreed. My sister accused me of planting seeds in my mother’s head. Of wanting all my mother’s things after she dies. The more I tried to explain the more angry my sister became until we were yelling at each other and then those cruel words were said. I asked her if she was drinking because it has been my experience with her that when she drinks, she becomes irrational and mean. I am negative because I’m facing the reality that our mother is aging and should make these decisions now while she still has the mental capacity to do so because I don’t want to have to make those choices? I am negative because I vent when bad things happen to me? I am negative because I choose to stay in a house with my mom, who isn’t kind, but that’s my choice? It is my choice. But I don’t stay because I’m a freeloader. I don’t stay because I’m a glutton for mistreatment. I stay because I’m trying to help my children. And I’m here because cruel or not, my mother is getting older and her health is deteriorating and she needs help. I realize if I left, she would be alone and that she has isolated herself by behaving in ways that are unspeakable at times so people don’t want to be around her. But I am me. And I am not the most negative person ever. I have compassion and a strong desire to do what’s right. It’s easy for someone who lives far away to tell me what to do because they don’t see it or experience it firsthand. Yet when I share what’s happening, that makes me negative? No. I don’t believe that. The part where my sister said “you make me sick,” is what hurt the most. And I do worry about how negative I must sound but I vent about the negative things as a release. I need to get them out of my mouth and out of my body so I don’t cling to them and let them hurt me. Shouldn’t I be able to do that with my siblings, who know what our mother is like? Who know how bad my divorce was? Who know how hard it was for me to get a job and now have the ugly things happening at that job? I thought that was what unconditional love and support was built upon? Giving a person a safe place to vent and to be compassionate. My sister reached out a few days ago and when I expressed anxiety over speaking with her due to what happened in our last conversation, she said she didn’t have animosity towards anyone. I told her I don’t either, I’m just hurt by her words. And I told her that. Her reply was that she was hurt by words too. I asked what words hurt her. I want to know so I can reflect and apologize or further explain. Her reply to my question was that she didn’t have the energy to get into it. So very much like my mother, there is this method they follow: do and say hurtful things. Don’t speak for weeks. Then act like nothing ever happened. I don’t operate that way. We still have not discussed anything. That’s not animosity. That’s self preservation. That’s me setting boundaries. You don’t get to hurt me and then ignore me and then act like all is fine and I’m the one with the problem. Or animosity. And you’re the bigger better person because you tried to reach out to me? No. I deserve to enforce my own boundaries. And the ironic part? My sister told her daughters I hate her. Which I can assure you I don’t. But what I find remarkable is that she didn’t tell them what she said to me, what we fought about. She left out every detail that included her anger and unkind words to me yet she stressed and stretched anything I did or said that could be used as a reason to make herself the victim. I was nearly speechless when I heard this. I made no effort to reach out to my sister because I knew it would not be resolved and I was and am protecting myself. People are afraid of her. I am one of those people, but I have boundaries now.

My kids are going to be traveling to see their father right after Christmas and staying until after the New Year. It will be my first holiday being all alone since my separation and divorce. I’m sad but am trying to see some positives here. I can focus on just me and heal my mind. The thoughts of betrayal creep in. I know they are not really betraying me. He is their father and they want him in their lives. But I struggle with hearing how sad they are that he moved so far away and that they are finally at a good place with him. I want to scream sometimes. How can they forget that he was he person who put us all here? The person who chose to move away was him. And it’s easy to be at a good place with a parent when that parent doesn’t have to parent you. Doesn’t have to deal with the daily stresses and teenage behaviors. Doesn’t have to do the shopping and cooking and cleaning and running kids all around? Yeah. They’re at a good place. Well yay them! So being alone for the New Year night not be so bad. I can work on getting to a good place, with myself.

Work is still not a “safe” place for me either. The owner is a tool. A fake. And a giant child who doesn’t like being told when he has done something wrong. Instead of an apology, he turns every situation around and places the blame that belongs to him onto someone else. He has actually said that there is zero trust between him and I. He isn’t wrong. But then he said it is UP TO ME to make any and all efforts to attempt to rebuild the trust between us. And that I am never to share anything personal with him ever again because in doing so, I opened the door for him to make an inappropriate comment about my breasts to him. He one, doesn’t have to worry about me sharing anything with him ever again and two, I hope he holds his breath waiting for ME to work on rebuilding trust between the two of us. Regardless, I keep to myself and work like a champ. I get my work done plus the work of others. I help and I am dedicated to making the place a success. I’m still looking for another job elsewhere but the pickins are slim. I’ll keep at my search because I need to find a safe place. Just one place where I can be myself.

This pattern I see, of others not wanting to accept the blame for their actions that cause hurt or where they were wrong? Of ignoring the situation for long periods of time and then suddenly reappearing as if nothing happened? Of worrying about how they appear in the public eye but not even closely matching that view in private? I wonder what role I have in this pattern? My first step in understanding this is recognizing these are the people I see. I see them. I recognize the behaviors. And I am setting boundaries. Like it or not, they can not and I will not let them in any more. I don’t care if they are family or long-time friends, work associates or bosses. You may not come in. I think that is my role. I never set boundaries before. Anywhere in my life. A long time married male friend says something sexually inappropriate to me? I try to laugh it off so I don’t embarrass them. A co-worker says the same? My reaction is the same. Family or friends hurt me? I never say much. So they keep doing it. Kids share info about their father that I don’t want to hear and that hurts me? I let them talk because I want to support them. But who supports me? This is why I HAVE to set boundaries.

This blog post is a bit all over the place, so for anyone reading it, sorry about that. I just needed to get this out of my head and down where I can see it. That always helps me feel better.

So happy holidays. I am going to do my best to be bright and merry. It’s going to be exhausting and draining but I don’t want to let this depression get the best of me and I’m hoping my newly set boundaries will help with that.

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Divorce and Narcissism

Safe Places & Bad Memories

There are so many details surrounding the time period leading up to and then during and after the discovery of my ex-husband’s final affair that I try to not think about. I try hard and I’ve actually made it to a point where I can get through days without thinking about it. That’s progress! I’m not thrilled with where I am in my life right now, the many changes and stresses that being a single mom has caused. My kids are wonderful, so it’s not that. It’s the financial burden and the changing everything we have known, for them for their whole lives and for me, for the past 20+ years. Change can be good, but for me it’s not, not while I’m undergoing the changes. I can’t see or feel what’s good about it. The good becomes apparent to me well after the fact. I am better off ending a marriage that was filled with deceit. I am better off being alone and lonely versus trapped in a marriage where I wasn’t alone, but I was lonely. I am better off being financially strapped rather than depending on a husband who abused me financially. (When I moved out, before I had secured a job, I was shopping for groceries with my kids and learned he shut down my credit card and transferred all our money, except for 80 cents, into a new private account, forcing me to need and be on government assistance. And forever burning into my mind and the minds of my kids, that memory of standing at the checkout with my kids and having to leave a cart full of food behind, embarrassed and humiliated). I am better off being insecure and anxious all the time, but learning to find my way out of that and building boundaries and seeing my self worth, rather than staying with a husband who berated, belittled and emotionally abused me in subtle ways that were not apparent at first. Narcissists do this. They break you down, slowly and steadily. You don’t realize what is happening at first because you were a good person before you met them, you maybe just had a few insecurities. Narcissists are skilled at honing in, like a laser beam, on those insecurities, and they lock onto the bullseye and use those insecurities to their advantage. By the time you see what they are doing, what they have done, the damage feels irreparable. What you’re left with, quite often, is the shell of the person you used to be. More insecure, more anxious, and afraid. You don’t feel seen or heard. You feel invisible and quite frankly, if you’re like me, you long for the days where you can fly under the radar because being invisible means being left alone. Why do I want to be left alone? Because while not every person who is rude or unkind or dishonest is a narcissist, the world is filled with people who see your insecurities and latch on to them. Who use you. Who are dishonest to you, to their spouses, to their bosses, even to their friends. And your distrust grows and grows and grows and the whole time it’s growing you have an internal dialog where you blame yourself and think you’re just paranoid. These narcissists stripped away your confidence and ability to make even the smallest decisions.

So I write all of this and then look back at the reason I started this blog entry. The memories that surround the abuse, the affair and the aftermath of my divorce from a narcissist…..

I have children with him. And every time they see him or talk to him, the memories come flooding back. This happens because they are damaged by what he did too. I can’t ask them to not share with me their interactions with their father. I can’t because they need a safe place. I’m that safe place. I sit here and I hear what they’re saying, because their father doesn’t listen. His lover doesn’t listen. I can’t afford to turn it off and feign listening. So I truly listen. They deserve that And in doing so, all those memories come flooding back to me. It’s hard, often, to not get upset or frustrated with my kids when they share how mad they are at this other woman but not their father. He was 1/2 the reason this final affair happened. I understand he is their father and they want him in their lives but it takes a toll on me. Pushing those memories away so I am not turned into a cold heartless monster, that much effort is exhausting. One of my kids told me she argued with the other woman over where I am in my life and that this other woman is to blame. I didn’t feel good about that. I didn’t because my kid doesn’t seem to have that same anger towards her father. I say I don’t want my kids to be angry with their father but maybe I really do? Maybe I want to feel like someone has my back? Like I have the same safe place I provide for so many people? But I say maybe because I don’t trust my emotions and thoughts most of the time. And saying I want them mad at their father seems cold and harsh. I don’t want to be cold and harsh. I just want to feel safe and be seen and heard. And I want to be mad and have someone tell me it’s ok to be mad and understand why I am mad, like I tell my kids. But I fear that I will hear, as I have countless times before, that I control my own happiness and I need to move on. I am trying and as I said way above, I have many days in a row where I feel good because I can look back and say I didn’t think about these as memories, until….bam! The kids bring it all back to me after visiting with their father. I’m out of that marriage, but I still feel trapped.

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Divorce and Narcissism

It’s Far From Being Done

Even though my divorce was finalized April 6, 2017, his influence and nasty behaviors still influence me and my kids. 

As suspected, his “hypothetical” move to Florida is becoming more of a “possibility,” as he tells the kids. They are crushed. I clean up the mess. He is mad that they are upset. I clean up the mess. 

Found razor blades in my daughter’s room today. Her sixteenth birthday. I was setting up a surprise for when she comes home from school and I found them. Several. So the fear that she is cutting is there. I need to deal with this mess. Scary. 

My oldest who still lives with this douchebag father? She is so depressed that she is ending her senior of year of high school by missing more and more classes and just not caring what happens. Her future plans for staying there and taking online college courses has changed because if he moves, she has no where to live. Another mess he is making. I clean up the mess. 

He tells my kids he deserves to be happy. His lover’s kids are younger and she can’t move here. So, dickhead? Explain again how that is NOT you choosing her and her kids over your own? He had the nerve to tell my oldest when she said he needs to start being a parent that I need to do the same because I am the one who ran out and abondoned the family. 

I do want him gone. I want him to disappear. Because even when he is here, he is absent. Absent emotionally. If he leaves, at least the kids and I can begin to build some sort of normal routine without him. While it tears at my heart that they want him to be a good father yet see he is incapable, the fact that they see it now might help save them a lifetime of begging for attention and love from someone who simply cannot give it. He is damaged and broken. My mother is this way. And I wish I had learned about her what they are learning about their father. If I had known sooner, it would have saved me much heartache. I never want my kids to choose a spouse like their father. He told me when I was leaving that I hurt him deeply by exclaiming I never wanted our daughters to marry a man even remotely close to what he was like. He stated he was a good man. He is deluded. And I stand by my wishes. 

I clean up the messes. 

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Divorce and Narcissism

We Got This

Just to be clear, I am over him. There truly is no part of me that longs to go back. Wants him back. I have no warm fuzzy feelings for him. I even think that much of the earlier memories I once thought were happy, have a different perspective. He was good. Very good. From the very beginning, he was smart and handsome and conniving and manipulative. And I saw none of it. I was so in love, with being in love and I wanted to be a mom and get married and all the things most young women dream of. But looking back on those moments, I see now how I was fooled. I see how I was gently manipulated into believing I was wrong or crazy or too sensitive. Every mean joke. Every lie he told. I believed him. And I’ve said it before, you can’t unsee certain things. You can’t unring a bell. I see who he really is and I want no part of a man who can only put himself first. A man who can spew the words “I love you” so easily, but mean no part of them. I am not angry with myself. Or even him. These days I pray for his soul, especially for the sake of my children.  And I say prayers of thanks that I was smart enough, even though it took many years, but I did it. I saw it. And a therapist told me it’s rare for a woman to see it while IN IT. I was in it and I saw. So yay me!! 

These days, I use what I saw,. Not to judge others or to compare in negative ways. I use what I went through to make me stronger. To let it define me, not that I am a victim, but that I am a survivor. 

Do I still have horrible days? Dark days? Sad days? Absolutely. But I’m human and I did suffer a tremendous amount of emotional, financial and even sexual abuse towards the end. But the bad days are getting fewer and when I’m in the midst of one, I’m learning new ways to cope. And those ways allow me to remain healthier and to come out of the downward spiral faster, and certainly before I hit the bottom. I am even able to help people around me. Ask me if I thought this would be possible a year or two ago and I would have probably gotten drunk and screamed. I’ve come so far. I am proud of myself. 

So for anyone reading this, if you might be where I was a few years ago , you will see the light. It will get better. I hated hearing those words but they are truth. Hold on. You got this. I got this. 

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Divorce and Narcissism

When The Thoughts Creep In…

Backslide? There is nothing worse than trying so hard. So very very hard, to move on and to heal, and then have people in your life who pull you backward. So far backward, you nearly feel worse off than you were at the very beginning of your leap towards getting well. It’s like going in for a follow up doctor’s appointment and thinking you are well but being told you have stage four cancer. 

And you can’t remove some of these people from your life because they are family. You are forced to live with one  because of finances. You are raising the others. And the one you aren’t related to might have issues bigger than you can handle. 

This is how people become dead inside. I see it clearly now. Emotionless. Wandering. Faking it just to keep the attention off of them.  

Whatever. 

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