This is a post I wrote as a guest for another blog, a few years ago. Until now, it’s sat in my “drafts”… It’s been 6 years since I’ve been free from that hell. Life continues to throw me into various “ready or not” scenarios, even to this day. Eh, it’s still life…I’ll take it…
I’m a thinker. I’m analytical. I look at all aspects of any given topic before forming my own conclusion. Some might say I think WAY TOO MUCH! But, be that as it may, it’s my own curse and its been invaluable to me. Sometimes, as in the case of my relationship with a Psychopath 2 years ago, I can think myself into being entirely stupid. The sad thing is, I’m not alone, here..
I can’t think of a relationship where, in the beginning, there weren’t over-the-top butterflies, “I-love-you’s” being thrown around, and “I can’t stop thinking about you”. These are the words we say when in a new, seemingly perfect relationship. We want to spend every waking moment with that person and sometimes, every sleeping moment. We are in a state of euphoria. Cloud 9. Everything is perfect. We have an ‘idea’ of who that person is, and some of us feel safe for the first time in our lives. We’ve never known love like “this” before. This is the early part of any relationship, good or bad… Idealization. This is mutual. Otherwise we don’t have the emotional fortitude to actually fall “in love”. It’s what happens when the attraction is mutual. The attraction is both physical and emotional. We believe in who we have met. We believe they are the sweet, caring, self-effacing individual we have always dreamed of. Our proverbial “knight in shining armor”, who has come to sweep us off our feet, out of our own personal hell, and onto that beautiful white horse waiting in the distance. There are ferries, castles, over-the-top chivalrous escapades to drool over…. We believe what we experience from that person, early on. We are caught up in the faerie tale, with hearts beating and eyes a swooning… Really, people? Isn’t that just the way it is, early on? Especially for the insecure, needy woman who has read too many childhood “happily ever after” stories. Don’t worry. I’m not pointing any fingers that aren’t already pointing at myself…
Once we believe the story line, it’s hard to think that it just might be a FALSE perception of the object of our desires. False, because we all put our best foot forward in order to impress and capture the heart of another. We fail to show our faults, or our idiosyncrasies to the new love interest. If we did, we would have a tougher time enjoying a relationship in the early days. This is every bit as true, if not more so, when dealing with someone who is abusive.
The abuse doesn’t usually show, right away. Much of the time, there will be little snippits of the partner’s abusive personality. It starts slow, normally. Of course there are still the sweet times, which keep us enthralled with the other. It’s just THAT which will keep us hanging on. The next thing you will notice in time, is less and less love being shown, and more controlling behavior, or angry outbursts. If you are lucky, you will notice the abusive tenancies early on, being able to walk away before any real abuse takes control. Many of us weren’t so lucky.
We’re stuck in faerie-tale land, where we still believe our partner is the chivalrous knight, who, when he comes to his senses, will still whisk us away to our dream-come-true. “It’ll be ok. He’s just had a bad day…(week, life, etc)” as you wipe the drainage from your freshly blackened eye, arm, open wounds… “I just need to be patient, loving, caring, bandaging his perceived emotional wounds…” If you view the abuse with a clouded, blind eye, it doesn’t make it go away or stop. No matter how much you believe in him, or your relationship.
Lets imagine a real scenario. One that many of us know all too well, already. The abuse has started, a little at a time, coupled with loving gestures and words. He’ll draw you a beautiful personal bath, with scented candles all around. “you work so hard, and I don’t show you enough how much I appreciate you”. As he walks away, while you are swooning again, yet still being careful not to bump the arm that he hurt the last time he threw you. You forget the abuse for a moment, and begin to cry alone. You remember how upset you were at the monster you saw just the previous day. This “monster” has become the Knight in shining armor, once again. “He really DOES love me! How could I have doubted him?” You swell with guilt, mixed with pain inside your heart, and in your body. You begin to trust again.
What you are witnessing here, is a blatant attempt to break your spirit. To cause you to second-guess yourself and to do whatever you can to gain his love, again. You are in pain, and he thinks it’s fun to control you in such a malicious manner. You are desensitized to what it means to be in a healthy relationship. This type of scenario becomes common-place, and you find yourself doing anything in your power to survive. “To Protect and to Serve” isn’t just the motto of our nation’s police. It’s the motto of the abused partner.
When we are finally used up, psyche’s destroyed and our hearts are seemingly non-existent, our previous knight finds another damsel and discards us for her. We, in our emotional and mental chaos, are left reeling. Our world that we fought so hard to preserve with hope, love, sweat, tears and yes, our own blood at times, has been pulled out from under us. We scramble to hang onto whatever sliver we can, in order to cling to what has become “accepted” and “protected”. We love them. We put so much heart into the relationship and felt such repetitive euphoria over this man, that it becomes almost impossible to let go. Regardless of the abuse we suffered at the same time.
This is what becomes a Trauma bond. (http://www.counsellingwestonsupermare.co.uk/featured/trauma-bonding/) Many of us have gone through exactly this. The trauma bond is what makes it so hard for us to find our confidence again, outside of the relationship. We call, relentlessly, trying to get him to see the error of his ways. “We were meant to be together!!” or “What did I do wrong? I’ll fix it! I’ll prove to you I’m good enough for you…” and so-on. We text, call or show up at his place of employment, only to be met with either silence, or outright cruelty. He doesn’t care, and is happy to tell you. We then go into unrelenting depression, blaming ourselves, our lives, our children… whatever we think the cause might be, for being thrown away. Some victims resort to suicide, to quiet the pain within. Others become stuck in the unrelenting emotional and mental tail-spins, which are a direct result of being discarded so callously.
What so many don’t understand, is, IT WAS NEVER YOUR FAULT TO BEGIN WITH!
Even if you were the one to walk away from the abusive relationship, recognizing how dangerous it was for you and/or your family, you might still find yourself missing the abuser. After a time, the bond still hooks you to the trauma. It becomes familiar to you and just life as you are used to, regardless of anything else. You have been subjected to constant anxiety and fear, with the occasional honey-moon stage, where everything seems “ok” again. You can’t walk away without being affected by it. You are used to the dramatic mood-swings and even the abuse. To try to walk into normal life again, is difficult at best. PTSD becomes a huge factor in our healing process. It takes time to become centered again.
Remember to be kind to yourself. You may find yourself clinging to memories of the good times, with only shadows remaining of the bad. Force yourself to remember what you endured. Create an exercise to center your heart, mind and psyche. He’s had such a strong hold on you, that you will have a tough time differentiating between your voice and his, for a while. Especially when you hear his taunts, demeaning statements telling you that you are “stupid” or “ugly” or “slut” or, or, or… the possibilities of what you heard for so long, are endless. Would you say those things to yourself? Absolutely NOT! You are hearing his voice still. When you learn to recognize this, then take steps to silence it, replacing those intrusive thoughts with what ever is good or uplifting. No matter what it might be.
The trauma bond will become less of an issue, over time. Believe me when I say this; it takes nothing short of fighting for your very life, to get over this type of abuse. Start to take steps, even small ones, to challenge yourself, your talents and your confidence level. When you are in a position where saying “yes” could be the life-changing wonderful happening you have always wanted, but in the past you would second-guess your ‘qualifications’ or abilities, and say “no” due to a fear of failure… Definitely say YES! The first step out of the familiar is very hard, but when you begin to try in spite of the fear, you will discover a whole new world at your feet. A whole new YOU!
Be patient with yourself, during this time. We all become impatient when wanting to move on and be “over” things. The fact remains that you absolutely can NOT rush through. Concentrate on keeping your feet moving forward, and refrain as best as you can, from becoming fixated on what lies BEHIND you.
My favorite line, which I took from a movie, is “Father, how will I find you?” the father replies, “Don’t be silly, William. you follow your feet..” In other words, keep moving. Don’t stop moving. Even during those hard days that just walking out your front door to go to work, is almost impossible.. move your feet. Even baby steps are steps moving forward. You might go back to the abuser, before being able to let go. If this happens, don’t beat yourself up. Even leaving can be a process. If one approach doesn’t work, try another until you find one that works for you. It will still be painful, but you will become stronger by the day. Keep your friends close to you. They are invaluable.
It has taken every bit of the last two and a half years, for me to get to where I am today. Will I ever be the same again? No, but honestly, why would I want to be that person again? The person who was an easy target, simply because I didn’t trust my own intuition or what I was witnessing, is the whole cause of being targeted in the first place. I had to learn hard things about myself because of the abuse I endured. It’s because of these lessons that I am stronger than I have ever been in my life. I’m 47.
It’s time to finally live.
I haven’t produced many posts, lately. I would apologize for that, to my followers but I see no need to, really. As humans we know just living life brings many MANY changes, from day to day. Some are miniscule, some are gargantuas. Regardless, change brings stress, growing pains, and new life. Today, I find myself really challenged and heartbroken.
Back in January, we had my little 3 month old grandson come to live in our home. The circumstances would break anyone’s heart, as a mother. I won’t get into the details surrounding the placement of our grandson, but know that it has torn me apart. I have a responsibility to my adult children, to fight for them, support them and correct them when needed. That responsibility becomes threatened when they do not show responsibility for their own lives, or that of their families and children. When our grandson came to live with us, my role changed drastically. Even though I was still pulling for my daughter to make the right decisions, my ultimate responsibility moved to being the provider and protector of this beautiful baby boy. He is now 9 1/2 months old, still away from his mommy. I have supported my daugher throughout this ordeal, loving her unconditionally and offering reassurance and advice. She still won’t take care of her personal life in order to bring this baby home, legally. This breaks my heart. My role has changed, now, in that I have to make some hard decisions. She has made up my mind as to which direction I need to take this situation and how I should handle my relationship with her. Unfortunately, I have had to go “no contact” with her, recently.
My first born. My beautiful baby girl has to become a stranger to me, now. I wish it was different, I really do.
Recently, she began trying to lie and manipulate me into allowing the baby to be increasingly in unsupervised and unprotected areas. I need to explain a little. He was removed by the state and placed in our custody as a “relative-placement”, due to unhealthy situations which put him in danger. All contact is predetermined by the state, in a supervised environment. She has been trying to convince me that “it’s ok” to change places, because someone else said. Dr visits, change of building for counseling, Etc. Her lies became increasingly obvious, as I double checked everything she planned or suggested, with those other parties, directly. She didn’t know I have all of their phone numbers. Daughter, I’m not that stupid. Since she’s trying to manipulate me, I cannot trust her any longer. She’s becoming desperate, and that is the reason for it. As a mommy, I fully understand her heart, right now. But that doesn’t make it right. What she is suggesting would allow it to be easier to snatch the baby and run with him, placing him in grave danger. I won’t allow it. I am his protector and I will fight any entity to ensure his safety. Even if that entity is my daughter.
Does someone you know, seem to ooze confidence? Do you look at friends’ posts on Facebook and think, “Wow, I wish my life was like THAT!” or, “He’s so nice and sincere…”? Does someone around you have everyone loving them, and almost worship the ground they walk on? Someone, who has no enemies…at ALL?
These people are just like everyone else. They want others to view themselves as something other than the fucked up mess they really are. They don’t have self confidence, or they are trying to paint a pretty picture so everyone “likes” them, which is a great way of saying they really don’t have any confidence in themselves. They don’t like themselves enough to be real or stand behind what they do or say. They don’t admit wrong doing, or they are so afraid of back lash, or upsetting someone, they candy-coat everything that comes out of their mouths.
I study everything and everyone. It’s a bad habit, I know. Probably not the most productive, interrelationship-wise, way to be. I’m aware of that. However, I would rather see the real person and sometimes the only way to do that is to analyze their habits, choices of verbage, interaction with others and so-on. When you do this, you start to understand who the person is…really… It takes some time…
Everyone you meet, has some sort of mask. Either, they actively show a false persona to hide their true selves from the rest of humanity, due to some unresolved self-hatred or fear of anger, or they become a recluse for the EXACT SAME REASON. Afraid to let themselves show, because they don’t think the real person is “good enough”. Does this sound like someone you know? Trust me, you know quite a few.
Do you ever find yourselves jealous of another, because they “have it all together” and “everyone loves him/her”… Don’t worry, they aren’t all that wonderful. They just don’t want anyone to know their beliefs, opinions or what-have-you, for fear of upsetting someone. They are the ones who say to themselves, “I don’t like that” but will say to you, “would you like me to do ‘this or that’ for you?” to change your behavior into what is more palatable or closer to their own desired outcome. It’s manipulative, really, though painted in a pretty light.
We all want to be well liked. We all want to be able to hold our own heads high, in a crowd. The best way to do that, is to love yourselves enough to understand that not everyone will like you, nor will you like everyone around you.
Once upon a time, I knew someone who enjoyed being self-righteous. That person said about himself, “I do what I say and say what I mean”.. Even though he wasn’t being honest about himself, what he said does hold some truth.
If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you tell someone something that upsets them, own it and make apologies or amends where you can. If you do something that is either right or wrong, own it and admit it. The attractive person is real to themselves and to others. Anything less than that, is a lie.
Are you confident enough to stand behind what you say, or your actions? Are you big enough to admit to your mistakes, even if it hurts another? Or are you like so many others, and back-track to minimize what was said, telling the other person, “I don’t believe I said that” when you KNOW you did? (That’s also gaslighting, by the way). You might not mean to be manipulative in any way, but in being like that (yes… it’s manipulative), you are also showing your low self-image. Your lack of confidence.
Let your yes be yes, and your no mean no. Are you man or woman enough to love yourselves enough to be REAL to everyone? I don’t mean to tell you to bare all of your skeletons for the rest of the world to see, and in turn show how vulnerable you are. That just invites attack. Stop hiding yourselves, for whatever reason. Lasting relationships and friendships come from accepting others for their faults, strengths, weaknesses, and mistakes. You allow someone to really know who you are. In the end, that’s the most rewarding way to be, and breeds the best intimacy between you and those you love. Why build a relationship based on lies?
Have a wonderful week
Do you ever wonder when, or even IF life will get back to normal? I spent a few years wondering that same thing. Then I realized, “normal” is such a relative term. Emotional chaos and psychological upheaval, are both very real, when you get out of an abusive relationship. Just because he or she is out of your life, doesn’t mean it’s “over” completely. You’ll go through good days, when you are surprised how little you thought of the relationship. Other days you’ll fee like its only been hours since your world fell out from under you. The only advise I have for you on those days is, BREATHE! Take a deep breath…then another… get up and walk or call a friend. Get busy doing something. Be determined not to just breathe, but to live!!
Normal… Here’s my version of normal: Both of my kids are struggling and barely off the streets. I found a wonderful man over a year ago, who I married this past summer. His kids are only slightly more stable than my own kids. Both of our previous lives have been compiled into one major fucked up scenario. We, as well as our children, take turns with our fucked-up-ness and are no where near what the status quot would view as “normal”. All of our children feel safe with the two of us, and know they can turn to us when they need us. Financially, we’re like babies, trying to get things under control, though I can now say, “It’s a wonderful life.”
After my exodus, I day dreamed about what life would be like when I was my normal self, again. The thing is, I was forever changed because of what I lived through. I would never see that part of myself again. The part that I was comfortable with and who I thought I loved, I would never get back. It was that part of me, that I grieved for a very long time. It was also those parts I lost, that were also the reason(s) I was such an easy target. I don’t mourn those parts of me, anymore. I needed to change.
Normal for me, used to be emotional chaos even before the monster came into my life. I was always panicking when I thought someone was angry with me. I back-tracked over my words, relentlessly, to avoid any negativity from any person. I over-explained myself to the point that I looked like a child. A vulnerable child. I had no self-confidence, though I believed I had plenty. I trusted everyone, and put my own heart on the line, without a second thought. Normal… I was FAR from normal. But, that life was normal for me, regardless of how horrible it was. It was normal because it was what I was used to.
“Normal” has changed, so very much! Once upon a time, my counselor asked me what my personal morals were. I tried to answer her questions, but I was repeating my parent’s morals…I was repeating what society had taught me, throughout my life. She kept saying, “That’s THEIR morals, but what are YOUR’S?”. It took me this long to finally be able to answer the question. I feel like I’ve finally arrived! Ha! The thing is, once I was able to answer that question, I also realized that my personal morals would be what would also create my “normal” life. What I’m used to and am happy with, now.
Morals are not only what is acceptable in society. They are also what your own code of ethics, are. Normal to me, as well as what are my personal morals, is… Never lie to myself. Always be real and true to myself. (This sounds so self-centered). If I’m going to say or do it, I might as well stand behind it. That means; if it comes out of my mouth verbally or in action, I have to have the confidence to stand behind it. Don’t cower or backtrack. No excuses or lies, especially to myself. This line of thinking and living, demands self-confidence, in order to follow through. If I have planned to accomplish something during my day off, but chose to procrastinate instead, I cannot make excuses. Making an excuse to someone else for my inaction, means I am lying to myself as well. If I procrastinated, I am honest about it, come-what-may, even if that means someone becomes angry at me, for it. I own it and most definitely earned it. That’s just an example. Society’s morals are in the mix, too. I still cling to and claim them.
The result of all of that is, I don’t live in fear of the unknown, anymore. I walk with it, now. I’m not afraid of anger so much, anymore. I’m still learning and growing, but I’m very satisfied with who I am as a person, now. I am finally living my “normal”, in all it’s failings and frailties. I can breathe deep, knowing that, though the life I’m in isn’t real stable, the life I AM, is…
What a wonderful awakening 🙂
I laugh every time I think of this…
I was at work one day, when a girl I worked with and I were talking. I don’t remember the conversation at all. I do remember, however, that I was a little worked up about something. She has a very dry personality, with an equally dry sense of humor, yet she is very funny! All at once, she motioned with both arms and hands, as if to suggest the motion of breathing, while uttering the magical mantra, “Goozz-frabba…”. My attention was instantly drawn away from whatever I was frantic about, to this girl. Straight faced, uttering “Goozz-Frabba”, I forgot whatever it was that was bothering me and instantly giggled.
You know, everything we see and hear has meaning. Everything has a definition or distinct purpose, even those things that seem to be utter nonsense. Everything, including that silly phrase, has meaning. That. Silly. Phrase… What happened when she said that to me, complete with the hand/arm motions, is that I instantly calmed down and found a giggle coming out.
Looking back, I am grateful for that girl and that small moment in time. What it meant to me was a silly way to break a spiral-out-of-control (ish) thought pattern, and put things back into perspective. After-all, what I was worked up about didn’t really matter that much. Perspective. It’s what causes a lot of unnecessary negativity, sometimes. Perspective is quite simply, how YOU see something. It’s your point-of-view. 2 people can be on opposite sides of the same lake. One can see beach, the other nothing but rocks, sea-weed, and trees. If neither one knows the other is there, viewing things quite differently, of course the only view that they believe exists, is the one they are seeing personally. If you get those same two people together to talk about that same lake, they might argue about who’s view was accurate. The reality, though, is that both are right. They just witnessed the proverbial lake in different ways.
You and I have been abused by someone. Why else would you be reading my blog, and why would I be writing it? You have your accurate view of the abuser in your past, where his/her family and friends have never seen that side of him. Their view is the nice guy. The selfless one, who they believe wouldn’t hurt anyone. Both views are accurate, depending on personal perception. Neither one is wrong.
I have found myself in a bit of a whirlwind regarding the death of an abuser. Part of what has bothered me, is that he died without the truth ever being known. There is no vindication for me. No epiphanies would come out into public knowledge. My view of the man is based on my own perspective. The same man is viewed very differently by his friends and family. The pain is a very real thing for them, regardless of my own selfish desire to have those painful truths realized by those who idolize him. The fact is, it will probably never happen. The fact is, it really doesn’t matter.
Two sets of perspectives. One is no more right than the other, based on personal experiences. Both are truth.
Goozz-Frabba…. Breathe, relax, let it be.
I am one who has wished for someone to die…That they just stopped existing… I dreamed about what life would be like, if that person wasn’t on this planet any longer. I was horrible enough of a person, to actually waste my time on such a dark wish. The thing is, I thought I would be ecstatic. I’m not.
My mom called me last night, while I was enjoying some time with other family for Christmas, to tell me the Pro-Social sociopath was dead. I sounded cold-hearted when she told me. I feel bad for his family and friends, who love him. I feel bad for his son, and dog. He died on Christmas Eve. I sounded uncaring. Cold. Inhuman. The fact is, I was in shock. I still am. I don’t know how to feel…
I got my wish. How do I feel about that?
My human self is at odds with my angry bitter self. I was able to say to someone, “I don’t hate him…”, after we split up. But deep-down, I really did. I tried to bury that darkness, by renaming it. “He’s not right for me.” and “Someone loves him. It’s just not me.” There were other things I said, trying to rid myself of that hatred. The fact is, I may not have outwardly wished for his death. I might not have said it, or even accepted it, but each time I had to see him, I secretly wished he just didn’t exist. I didn’t want to see him anymore. Ever. Even though I thought life would be better without him on the planet, I find myself strangely, slightly mournful. I don’t even know if that’s the right word. Am I feeling guilty? Maybe.
I wasn’t the one who was cruel, in every way imaginable. I wasn’t the person who was mean. I wasn’t the abuser. I did the right thing, when I made him leave. I did the right thing, when I ended contact between us. I was entitled to be angry and to hate him. I earned that right. Right??
I’m going to try to put this into real-life perspective.
When he finally left, I was relieved. I was happy and ecstatic to have my home and life back. I was only slightly scathed by the ordeal. There was some damage, as you cannot go through abuse of any kind, without it changing you to some degree. He wasn’t my first abuser. He was an echo of the first monster, from four years ago. Been there, done that, burned the t-shirt.
When he left, he was dead to me already. Except for those times that life insisted that I would have to see him again. And again. And again. How did I handle having to see him as part of my job? At first, it was difficult. I didn’t want to be there. He remained cruel to me. Heartless. I left his shop with as business-like of an attitude as I could muster. Under my breath I said to him, “Fuck off, asshole”, as I walked out the door. The days went by, and I started being a little more at ease with the situation. Never trusting him, but always walking away with my head held high.
My job has changed. New company. New life. I haven’t had to worry about seeing him again, for over a month. I still thought about him from time to time, but as a distant memory of an old nightmare. That is where he has stayed…
I once asked a figurative question, when I was freshly away from the monster who started all of this… four years ago… “What if he did die? Would my nightmare be over?” The monster of my past is alive and well, though not in my life. He’s affected me and created the canvas of a new me, which is still being painted.
The pro-social sociopath of my not-so-distant past, who solidified those changes and allowed them to take a more solid form, is gone. I don’t hate him. I don’t pity him. I’m glad he’s gone, but I’m more glad that he doesn’t have to live a lie any longer.
For his sake…
Rest in peace…
Once upon a time, early in my healing process, one person asked if I would put the stages of healing into a list. Honestly, though I would like to be able to do that, myself, I find that each stage is so complex, I can’t put it into neatly formed parallels. I just know that they exist, are necessary to become whole, and that some resonate louder than others, and in different ways for everyone. I was, however, able to find a great article which does a fabulous job, putting such a process into written form… Phases of Trauma Recovery … The author does a good job, here. Please read this. Part of healing comes from knowing others have experienced the same things as you. AKA: Validation.
I wanted to center on “Phase 2”, Remembrance and Mourning…
As you go through each phase in your healing process, one thing you won’t notice is any type of “TA-DA!!”, cymbal crash, horn, or anything to alert you to the passing of one phase and the introduction of another. You’ll just recognize it’s existence. I never knew each phase had it’s own name, until I found the article. It’s nice to know that I’m somewhat normal :). As I was going through the ruminating phase (Safety and Stabilization [stage 1]), I was becoming grounded and yet, still recognizing how disjointed I really was. How uncomfortable I felt in my own skin. Still afraid of shadows, or the possibility of them. I also realized toward the end when I started feeling safe again, that I was also in mourning. The fear definitely overshadowed the mourning which was there, but mournful was still an underlying current.
As time went on and my turmoil lessened, my thoughts slowed, allowing for more peace and less panic. It also allowed me to reflect in a safer way. In the first phase, I was out of control. I was reeling, grasping for the “me” that I lost during such an abhorrent waste of time and heart. “I WANT MEEE BACK!!!”. It started early, as if I had just witnessed my actual death. I’m trying to put my own experience into words, here. Imagine a time when you lost someone very close to you, very suddenly. It’s a painful memory, I know, but necessary to recognize how you felt for sometime afterward. For me, It was as though I was separate from myself, in the early days. When I left the monster, I felt like I had just witnessed my own death. It felt that way. My conscious self was separate from the part of me that died, and I was fighting to recapture that lost part of myself. Of course, this is purely emotional figuratives that I am expressing, but I hope you understand. I was thrown into instant mourning. Traumatic mourning.
As I was able to regain a sense of safety and security, as well as a sense of self (If you’ve been through this feeling, you’ll understand), I began to notice my mourning. I called it a name, recognized exactly WHAT I was mourning, and was able to find peace. You see, I didn’t mourn my x-monster or his influence in my life. I didn’t mourn the lost relationship, or the fact that it failed at all. What I was mourning, was, #1) time that I would never regain. And, #2) I was mourning myself. In every sense of the word, I was shattered. I was broken, not even a shell of my former self. There was nothing left of who I was, or who I used to be. Just shards. The only thing I had were the memories of who I was. I could see how the shards were supposed to fit together, but lacked the knowledge of just how to go about it. I had to come to recognize, understand and resolve myself to the facts… I was still there…sort-of. The damage was so vast, however, that I couldn’t possibly be the same person, ever again. At first, I fought this. I cried. I got angry. I tried to force myself to become who I used to be, again. Of course, it didn’t work. I would never be the same. It’s just like it was when my Dad died, 6 years ago. I eventually resigned myself to knowing and understanding that I would never see him again. The pain lessens, but you will always remember. I blamed the monster, for all of this.
I remembered something that my friend said. In short, she said, “Rebuild”. It’s all I could do, once I resigned myself to the situation. I started living life, one step at a time, recognizing my actions and reactions, mentally putting each into a type of category. I would act a certain way, then later decide whether it was “good or bad”, “healthy or unhealthy”, and kept what I wanted, and discarded the rest. I began reteaching myself how to walk, so-to-speak. I carried with me, old habits or old ways of looking at people around me. I recognized each one, and categorized each as well. Once again, I retrained myself so I could become who I am supposed to be. I still remember some parts of who I used to be. I still miss those things, sometimes… Not “good” or “bad”, but personality traits I used to have. I’m still not done rebuilding. I am a work in progress.
Here’s what has brought peace to me: Though I have lost so much of who I was, I have gained so much more! I miss who I was, but love who I am becoming! Even though so many things have changed, I am no longer the person who I was… you remember her…the jelly-fish, who would cower to any perceived negativity. The soft-spoken, apologetic one. The girl who would never step into the unknown, out of fear of failure. The girl who would willingly be the martyr for someone else’s benefit.. I really was a miserable sort, before the monster ever came along. To that part of me who I “lost”… GOOD RIDDANCE!
In order to heal, you must deal with each phase as it comes. However, in order to go into each subsequent phase, you must process and work through the previous. Each phase has it’s own level of difficulty, and conquest. Each phase also has it’s own life expectancy. However easy or difficult your experiences are, is purely and uniquely determined by your own need. Everyone processes and heals differently. It’s a unique process and absolutely your own.
This is about learning how to “be”. It’s a lesson that some already know, but I’m guessing there are so many others just like me, who struggle with this very thing.
Part of being targeted, or “targetable” is; lacking self-confidence. The very fact that those of us who lack self-confidence make it very visible to everyone around us, is exactly what causes predators to “take notice”. It makes us appear as a fun game for predators. It’s fun for them to torment, shock, hurt and abuse us. Part of the reason we are so obvious to them, is that we are completely unable to just say, “yes” or “no”.
I’ll explain a little…
This is another one of “those” posts, which requires you to place yourself back into a memory, in order to answer the question. Not to worry, It won’t be too painful (I hope). Can you remember any time in recent memory, or distant, that someone asked you if you want to do something? In my past, sometimes I would say “yes”, even though I wanted to say “no”. Those times I actually said, “No, thank you”, I immediately followed with an exuberant explanation, telling them all of the reasons why my “no” was reasonable. It took me a long time to realize that all I was doing was making my low self-esteem and lack of confidence very, VERY obvious. I realized that I caused some people to lose respect for me, just in that small explanation. I appeared weak and unsure of myself. I caused some people to view me as if I was still a child.
Remember, I glean a lot of understanding by being aware of my own emotions, or reactions to certain situations. I also understand that some of my reactions, mirror others’ reactions. It’s just being human. I realized when someone over-explained themselves to me, how I naturally, internally felt. I realized one day, that I viewed them as if they were a young child, at that point. It wasn’t intentional, at all. It was just a natural occurrence that I became aware of. I think it causes(d) others to feel the same way, when I would “over-explain” myself to others.
That being said… My friend of so many years, asked me, “Why do you have to explain?”. It took quite a while, but she eventually got to me. I asked myself the same question. “Why DO I have to explain myself?”
Over explaining the why’s behind your decisions, chosen actions, etc. stems from many possible triggers. Most of those are completely fear-based. My personal reason stemmed from a long-time fear of anger or of upsetting someone. If I didn’t do what he/she asked, or answered in just “the right way”, that person might become angry or think less of me. In order to avoid the negativity, I would explain myself until I felt they understood, and everything would be “ok”. Now, I realize that in explaining myself, that person probably did think less of me. Not of me as an individual, but probably lost some confidence “in” me. It’s hard to explain… moving on…
Something else to consider about over-explaining ourselves to others: When we over explain, we also divulge information that isn’t privy to EVERYONE’S ears!! In order to help someone understand our why’s and why-not’s, we try to show them how empathetic we are, and hope that they will be empathetic as well. We share information that makes us appear weaker, to soften their potential anger, or discontent with us. You might have other triggers which drive you to over-explain… Try to place yourself in the shoes of the listener. How would it make you feel if you were that person, listening? Uncomfortable? Full of pity? Disgust? Less respect for the one doing the explaining? No shame, here… Read on..
Giving someone an explanation for your chosen direction or what-have-you, is sometimes necessary…but you don’t have to explain yourself! If someone misunderstands your decision, you might have to reassure them, or explain your choices in order to salvage or further cultivate a friendship. If your boss tells you, “Explain yourself!” Trust me…it’s in your best interest to give an explanation 🙂
With every realization I’ve had in the last few years, learning to put them into practice does take some brave steps into the “unknown”. When I realized just what I was doing when I chose to explain myself, at all times, it was a rude awakening. It’s not healthy to explain ourselves to everyone, for every reason. It further hampers our self-confidence, and keeps us stuck in place. Step one: Just say “no” or “no thank you, would a different day work for you?”… or even “Yes”.
Have you ever experienced a time when someone wanted clarification? “I heard a rumor, is ‘this’ true?” Again, don’t explain but don’t lie either. If it’s true, just say “yes”. Most often, a short answer is good enough, and the other person doesn’t want or need any more information. They are satisfied with the outcome, as you should be, too.
If someone asks me, now, “Would you like to get some coffee later?” I let my yes be yes, and no mean no. If I like the person and the problem with getting together for coffee is time, I offer an alternate date or time. If it’s due to dealing with personal problems, I still offer no explanation but suggest a different time or day. My personal issues are no-one’s business, unless I choose to make it their business.. No apologies needed… 🙂 If it’s someone I would rather not get chummy with, I just say, “No, thank you anyway.” No further explanation is needed. I have become more confident in myself, as it pertains to interactions with other people. Sometimes I fall back into old habits, because it’s hard to change life-long habits, without slipping once in a while. When you realize it, you’ll correct it and become stronger by the day.
I’ll post this as it stands. If you need clarification, I’ll be happy to help!
Each day brings growth and healing. Healthier choices and lives to follow.
Here is an article that someone shared on the dreaded social medium, Facebook, that I would like you to read before continuing this entry:
We have all been there, whether it was because of abuse, mistreatment or even due to an emotional immaturity, which keeps us from being able to handle our own emotions. None of us are exempt from hitting that horrendously dark place within ourselves. I believe most everyone, at one time or another, has thought of suicide at least once in their lives. Most don’t go through with the plans that have been kept so safely in our thoughts, but, unfortunately, some do attempt it and others succeed, to the utter anguish and pain of the family and friends who love(d) them so very much. I, personally, have been in that same dark place, more often than I care to admit. I had the same plans of how to implement my own demise and even kept the tools with me, for a while, ever-ready for that “perfect” time. Thank God I never went through with it.
I haven’t kept much of my own life, a secret. I have shared some of the darkest times of my life, hoping to find someone who could understand, if only to know I wasn’t alone. I found some who were sweet enough just to placate me, for a time. You might be able to relate to this, as well.
I know it’s not a pleasant place to revisit, even in your own memories, but if you think back to that time, can you remember where the greatest help of all, came from? Your experience might be different than my own, and I understand that while I write this… What was it that, ultimately, helped you to find strength? Some might claim that God was their strength and healer, and I am not intending to discount that, one bit.. Claim and acceptance are two different things, here. We can recite whatever prayers or positive affirmations we know, till we’re blue in the face, exhausted in the attempt, while still being buried in that dark place, feeling as though we are drowning. It is only when we dig our heels in deeply, and push through the mental/emotional torment, that we can find strength. We canNOT be slaves to it! Though, so many just give up while hoping that some miracle will find them and magically relieve them of their torment. What happens to them? There is no real peace, no relief, even though they put on a “happy face”.
It’s hard to admit to anyone, that we are struggling. It’s harder to let it show to strangers, let alone those who we are close to.
“…Cry and you cry alone.” There comes a time when that’s all you want to do. It’s all you can do. What that is, is your soul begging you to explore the vast expanse and complexity of YOURSELF. It’s your heart’s cries, crying out to you, begging to be acknowledged. We tend to want to find someone, who will make you feel safe and whole again, if only by letting you cry out to them. I’ve done it, as most others have. I remember those times. I exhausted my ability to “talk it out”, only to still be drowning in my own life, when either of us ( my friend, or myself) were done with the conversation. I was still left with myself, at the mercy of myself, with only myself as the teacher and confidant.
We don’t want to face our own emotions, by ourselves. Heck, we don’t want to face them at ALL, when they are so raw and bare…but we must face them in order to be free. Thoughts of suicide, suicide itself, emotional/mental breakdowns, and so forth, are all brought about by initially being afraid of our own dark place. Afraid to face it, head on. It’s when we ignore our own heart and psyche’s cries to us, that it hits overload.
Silence, when you are in that same dark place, can either make or break us. It’s when our worst thoughts and memories take over. It’s also when we are most able to hear our own hearts (our own mental/emotional cries), and have the ability to recognize that same voice, calling out to us. Interpreting the cries of our own hearts, is where the challenge lies.
I learned to hear my heart’s cries as if it was child in agony (sort of), like my own child. I sat in the silence that I hated so much, and tried to listen…just listen. Your heart will tell you what it needs, if you would be still enough. It expresses through depression, swells of negative thoughts, etc. That dark place is a result of being used, abused, and doing so much for others, but treating yourself as an afterthought. It’s brought out by placing your OWN needs, last, being willing to invalidate yourself while meeting someone else’s needs.
I’m not saying that I’ve perfected this art, but only that I can recognize my heart’s voice when it cries deep within me, now. I still go through those times, occasionally, but I recognize that the last thing I need to do is be buried by my own fear, and give up without hearing, first. It’s still a very tangible version of hell.
I mentioned ‘Claim and acceptance’ earlier… If you are a believer in God, his mercy, his peace, etc.. you already have an avenue to take toward healing. God can only bring healing, if you accept it and ALLOW IT! How many are so afraid of facing their own emotions or dark times, that they run from accepting the healing? I know that might not make sense.. In order to allow yourselves to be healed, you need to accept the pain, or the cause of the pain, first. In order to accept healing, you must first be willing to remove the fear of your own emotions. Fear also keeps us enslaved to the same emotions which are tormenting us. It keeps us slaves to negative thinking patterns, because we are afraid to face them enough to let them go. Remember Jesus and the lame man, in the bible? Whether you believe in such things, or not, this is still a lesson that is very viable… Jesus healed the lame man, and told him, “Now, take up your bed and walk”. Do you suppose that same man felt any different? I think he might have, but he was used to being lame, unable to walk. How hard do you think it was for him to trust enough to stand up? Was he afraid of falling? Did he think Jesus was ‘full of it’? Maybe. What might have happened if he chose to stay bound to his bed, because of fear? It was his choice to accept that healing and face his own pain, or choose to stay on his bed. He walked.
Face your dark place, and don’t run from it or ever give up. Let yourselves cry. let yourselves be angry, but don’t let yourselves be imprisoned by it. Acknowledge your heart’s cries, and validate yourselves. Learn to be introspective, in order to understand what you need for yourself, to become whole.
Peace and wholeness are your gift. It doesn’t mean you won’t feel pain, or anguish. It does mean, however, that you CAN accept those gifts. They are already yours…but first you must face your pain and fear enough to stand up and walk. Each day can be spent in defeat, or as a day conquered. Hear your heart, acknowledge what it’s trying to tell you. Fight to try and understand what you need, and then do it! It’s a long road. It’s a hard and painful road, but well worth it!