When will things get back to “normal”?


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 :)

 

 

Goozz-Frabba…


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.

Peace.

Death of an Abuser


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…

Until now.

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…

Stages of healing: Mourning


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.

Just say “no”


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.

 

“Laugh, and the world laughs with you…Cry, and you cry alone.”


Here is an article that someone shared on the dreaded social medium, Facebook, that I would like you to read before continuing this entry:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/04/why-we-need-to-face-rock-bottom-alone-freya-watson/

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.

“…Cry alone…”

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!

I’m grateful


I’ve been going through old blog posts of mine, this morning, and I noticed a few things. In the beginning of this blog, I was only free (in a way) of the abuser for a couple of days or weeks. I was in such a horrible place, feeling very much alone, unbelieved, shunned, afraid, paranoid etc. Later, I was still dealing with paranoia and fear. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin, and was still in a terrible place, even two years later. I was fighting to get “Me” back, and gaining wonderful ground…though, occasionally I was put in another bad place, to deal with old wounds, old damage to my boundaries, etc. Things I needed to work on showed their ugly heads. Revelations and plateaus were my hell, again and again, creating the whirlwind effect, as I called it.

Today…it’s almost 4 years away from my hell. The first, most awful one has been done and gone for almost 4 years. Yes, I have dealt with the same patterns a couple more times, but I believe it was to strengthen my resolve, and emotional health. It was still very painful to deal with the Narcissist, first, and then the Pro-social Sociopath, later. I still had to learn to trust my gut. I still had to trust my own perceptions. I came out rather well, if I say so myself. Now, I don’t have the need to look over my shoulder, everywhere I go. I don’t see things through a cloud, in my daily events and decisions. My recollections of the Psychopath and the abuse, are still seen through a cloud. Today, I am grateful for that. Before, the fact that everything was still hazy about that time, created such a horrible anxiety for me. I remembered everything, but it was like seeing it through clouded eyes. That hasn’t changed, for me, as far as remembering the abuse. I believe, now, that it’s my psyche’s way of protecting me from those memories. It’s covering the negative emotions that go along with the memories of that time. Instead of feeling anxiety because of it, today I am grateful for it.

My thought patterns are still changed from how they were, before the psychopath in my life. I still have a hard time thinking clearly in some areas, but it’s better than it has been.

My personality has changed. The way I look at the world around me has changed. How I deal with other people, has changed. So many changes!! But are they bad? Is it a bad thing that I have changed so much? No!

Pre-Psychopath, I was WAY TOO TRUSTING! I was ok with being alone, but craved the closeness of another person. I believed in and trusted others, without them ever earning my trust. I believed that a person deserved my trust, until they proved they were not trust-worthy. That opened myself up for every manner of abuse. When a person did show they weren’t trustworthy, I didn’t trust my gut or instincts. I didn’t trust my own perceptions, and made excuse after excuse for their behavior, whether that was in a relationship, or a friendship. I allowed others to walk all over me, because I reasoned that they were having a bad day, or what-have-you.. This is where the change is a good one. I am nice and cordial to another person, who I meet for the first time…or even a few weeks or months down the road. Now, I also wait to see how they act or react in certain situations and scenarios, before I ever give them my full trust. I don’t divulge any personal information, or any other information that can be twisted and used against me or my family, until I can see what that person is really made of. There are superficial acts of kindness, and there are genuine ones. There are superficial shows of empathy and compassion, and there are genuine expressions of those things. It’s taken me this long to separate the two, and to learn to discern the difference.

I look back at the hell I was in, and see things as they are, now. Mostly my emotional and psychological make-up. Such a huge difference! Gaining ground and becoming more and more healthy. I am happier and more confident than ever before. I don’t worry about another’s perception of me, good or bad. I’m just me, doing my best in this life. I am happy with who I am, now, and no longer grieve the person I was before.

I have said this before, but it hasn’t rang so true…I will never be grateful for the abuse, but I will FOREVER BE GRATEFUL for the changes the abuse forced in me. The outcome is a better place, than before the bastard ever came into my life.

Thank you all, for walking with me, encouraging me and helping me through the most difficult times in my life!! You have all been angels. You are precious and priceless to me.

Gifts.. Freedom is one of those..


Gifts… Over at The Project Me: By Judy, She is working on a set of gifts to herself. I am so grateful for this idea! So many times, we think of goal setting, or “resolutions” and an ominous weight falls hard on our shoulders, in an instant. As if we are destined to fail, just by “resolving” to change. She’s right in saying that “Gifts” are better option. Change is still the goal, in one way or another, but she’s right in calling it a gift. To change for the better, should always be a gift to ourselves, and not a burden.

Life is full of failures, or perceived failures. There’s too much of it going around, to be quite honest with you. It’s too easy to just resign ourselves to failure, before ever believing in ourselves. It’s too easy to become defeated when think about making even a small change in our lives. Defeat doesn’t always mean that we walk away depressed. It also means that we resign ourselves enough, that we just stand still, not giving the change or goal another thought. We don’t stretch our proverbial wings. We don’t dream anymore. It’s too hard…

Today, I found inspiration through Judy’s post. It’s my gift. I found inspiration in an old familiar house. I recognized the similarities between that old house, and my personal life. Where I have been vs. where I am right now. That gift was allowed to show itself to me, but it becomes my gift to myself, when I choose to act on it and accept it as my own. I’ve been so busy lately, that I haven’t given personal growth much thought.

I still have not arrived to that place I want to be. I’m still healing and changing. This will continue for a very long time, that’s a definite! Tonight, thanks to Judy, I choose to give myself a gift.. I have noticed that I am still distrusting and insecure. I know that tackling this, will be no small task. Not only does this become a burden for myself (still being distrusting and insecure), but it produces a negative wall between interpersonal relationships of all types. I suppose in some ways, I’ve still been looking over my shoulders. Time to stop that.

Freedom, which also means ALLOWING myself to BE free, is my gift to myself, today. Insecurity is a horrible weight, which I feel on a daily basis. Today, I begin to rid myself of that weight.

Step one. Begin to trust. Of course, I know I can’t trust everyone out there, but does that mean no one is trustworthy? Does that mean I’m not allowed to have friends, because I still fear an ulterior motive? That’s wrong, and imbalanced. It’s stripping away a life that I want and need. Insecurity is part of that distrust. Or, is it a product of distrust? I believe so. It’s insecurity that invites mistreatment. It’s distrust which keeps me in a bit of a shell, though I am finding strength in these old bones. Maybe they go hand in hand. Either way, I know there’s a link between the two, and I don’t want my new life to be ruled by such a damaging weight, anymore.

You see, if I share this with you, maybe it’s going to sink in deeper for me, in order to see it as possible…

“Breathe in…breathe out, one foot in front of the other…”

Thanks for you, Judy..

This Old House


I remember being a very young girl, when I met my Grandmother’s neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Snyder. They lived in a very, VERY tiny one bedroom home that Mr. Snyder built for his bride, so many years ago. Mrs Snyder wasn’t much taller than 4; 10″, (if that tall) and he built the kitchen “just her size”. What a lovely couple. Mr. Snyder had a little welsh pony to go with his tiny, though beautiful, wife and home, and he brought that little pony out to let little me ride him. Mr. Snyder held onto the lead rope, and I rode on the back of this little guy, feeling very big. I loved animals then and I still do. Mr and Mrs Snyder were never able to have kids of their own, so they borrowed me when ever they could. Just for the record, I miss the two of them.

The sad day came when, first, Mr. Snyder passed away, and then later, Mrs. Snyder. My parents bought their little house (or maybe it was willed to them?) and remodelled it. That little house became a rental home, adding to my parents’ income. I have very fond memories of them, their home and my own grandparent’s home, just next door.

The last renters who lived in that little house, had been there for many years, never once respecting the history of the house, the people who built it, nor ever respecting the people who actually owned it. My mom, being the sweet person she is, allowed them to walk all over her, after my Dad passed away 5 years ago. She finally had enough, and they were evicted. Mom asked me to clean it, in order to get it “renter-ready” again. Normally, that wouldn’t have been a problem. A week or two, tops, and it would look good. Nope. They were chain-smokers, drug-addicts, and horribly filthy people. They wouldn’t call, if something broke or needed to be replaced, because that would mean someone would have to actually ENTER their house, revealing every atrocity that they wished to stay hidden. Plumbing, electrical, floors, etc.

I walked into that place, and thought, “what did I get myself into?!” The day came to start to grueling process. Each day brought new revelations as to how damaged this, once lovely home, actually was. Rotting floors in the bathroom, because they plugged the bathtub’s relief drain, allowing it to overflow repeatedly, onto the floor…. Then the outlet in the kitchen that for some reason, they actually cut out, and covered with drywall patch. Plumbing…oh my goodness! The Plumbing! The floors, windows, walls, basement, were all rotting. Not to mention the nicotine-stains, absolutely inundating the entire house. You get the picture.

We, months later, are getting ready to put the finishing touches on this, now remodeled home, and the difference is night and day. In the beginning, I never imagined how horrible it was, compared to my memories from childhood. Yes, I am looking forward to ending the “never-ending” project.

As we’re getting ready to walk away from this home, which will be put up for sale when we’re done, the aura is bitter-sweet. It’s a house. It’s my mom’s house, now. It was “their” house, and my house. It was abused, neglected, and never loved, after the passing of that wonder couple. It breaks my heart, to think of the love that was once in those walls, only to be traded for abuse, later. I realized the connection I have with that house, then and now, when we walked away last weekend.

That house is, in more than one way, an echo of my own life.

Abuse. Neglect. Lack of caring, lack of love, and continuous invalidation. It leaves a wake of destruction inside, doesn’t it? It leaves depression, despair, hopelessness, and stains on our psyche. It feels like it’ll be like that, forever, when someone is in the middle of it. When you look at it, all seems lost. “tear it down and rebuild” would be what anyone might say, who buys the house. It’s what seems feasible, when you see whats left of you, your life, and psyche, sometimes (for some people). At the most destitute of times, suicide actually seems feasible. You are unable to see the beauty that lies just beneath the rotting timber.

The old house that we have been working on (Mr. and Mrs. Snyder’s), holds some of my most precious memories. I couldn’t imagine how I would react if someone were to tear it down. It holds a piece of my heart.

I realized that I am a vessel. A house. It’s this house, though only made of flesh and bone, that still holds my most precious feelings and memories. I am someone’s most precious memory. I, as a house, (bear with me) have been beaten, neglected and abused. I have been unloved and uncared about, by those I loved the most in my life. I can assure you, the mess that was left seemed impossible to fix, without tearing down the house, and rebuilding. I considered suicide, more than once. Yes, I had to rebuild. Yes, I had to remodel some things. But this house is still in-tact.

This project with Mr. and Mrs. Snyder’s house started with ripping out the rotten carpeting and bathroom floor. As we ripped up the carpeting in the bedroom, it revealed the original, beautiful wood floor. On that floor, was a footprint from a tiny shoe; size 3, womens, I think. She must have stepped in the stain which Mr. Snyder was using to stain the wood on the floor. I felt like I was there with her again, for a second. There was some dry-rot along the edges, so we were unable to save the original flooring. We had to remove some of the baseboards, too. Under the baseboards, were some old bobby pins, that Mrs. Snyder wore in her hair. We laid laminate flooring over the top of the wood (a lot of it was still in wonderful shape), replaced the baseboards and it is beautiful room again. Tearing the old, rotting material, recovered some memories, for me. It stirred my heart.

Now, imagine yourselves. Your “house”. You were born beautiful. Someone loved you. Someone laughed when you laughed and fed you. Beautiful. Life happens, sometimes. With life, comes painful experiences. Abuse. Neglect and all manner of evil, leaving a river of rotting destruction. The aftermath seems hopeless, as if it’s not worth the effort to fix it, or rebuild from the pile.

Take a deep breath. Take another one. Don’t stop. Take a step in the direction of the pain and destruction, lying before you. Pick up a broom and see what’s waiting for you. Keep going. When you hit something that seems impassable, breathe and think of a way to repair it, making it new again. Does it erase the damage? No, but it will make it beautiful again. New floors. New fixtures. New life. New hope. The house is still the same house, holding the same memories, but the damage is something you won’t be able to see anymore. You cant forget that it happened, of course, but you won’t have to live with it anymore.

To repair a neglected and abused house, takes a lot of time, sweat, learning and tenacity. It’s worth it. Imagine what is lying beneath the rubble? Find it. Breathe.

You will live again, revealing the beauty of YOU again, I promise.

Let your own voice be heard…by YOU!


It’s been a while. My computer seems to have gotten over whatever ‘cough’ it was suffering from, causing the dreaded blue screen. So, I’ll run with it while I have the chance.

Just a quick update on the challenge I mentioned, back in February…I wound up having a meeting with the HR manager and District manager, regarding what was going on (at their request). I was threatened a couple of times by the HR manager, who said “You know, we don’t have to give you full time hours…” Threatening to take away my hours, because I was making a stand and encouraging other employees to do the same. The problem facing all employees, was management was forcing us, for years, to “work off” our overtime. I did some research and discovered that it was/is illegal for the company to do so, turning our “overtime” hours into “comp-time”, without the benefit of receiving the extra pay normally associated with working overtime. I was originally happy to take a longer lunch, get off early, etc. because I believed our company wasn’t seeing the normal sales that it was used to seeing, also believing it was only temporary. I was happy to help out then. Long story short, after the meeting, a note was posted on the employee board, stating that we could occasionally be expected to work a few minutes past our normal shift, but anything over 10 minutes needed to be approved by management. Also, “if there isn’t anything to do, then please clock out early.” That’s it. Nothing is being said about taking a longer lunch to make up for the overtime our monthly mandatory meetings would create, and nothing is being required of us, to work off ANY overtime incurred during the normal work related instances. I see this as a great victory. The employees won! Yippee!!

The cool thing about this particular scenario, is that 5 years ago I wouldn’t have ever considered stepping on any toes, or even asking questions that might seem offensive to a company I work for. In this case, it was needed and SOMEONE needed to say something. It all began with asking questions. I had questions being brought to me by other employees, and I decided to get to the bottom of the legalities surrounding this particular scenario. The rest just happened…

Yes, I have somewhere I’m going with all of this.

The journey of healing is all about changing, rebuilding, growing and becoming stronger in our own skin. It’s about rebuilding our emotional selves as well as our psychological selves. It’s nothing short of living with growing pangs, which are extremely painful in every definition of the word, even when you begin the journey with a predefined direction and goal. Usually the direction isn’t exactly clear, other than knowing its “there”. Though you live with it for a time, you will still see growth and strength in your life. It’ll still hurt, but don’t let that stop you.

One of the first lessons I learned, early on, was how to recognize my own internal voice, as opposed to the monster’s voice. In doing so, i recognized my not-so-healthy views of myself and was able to begin to change that. It also allowed me to recognize abusive tendencies in others, and gave me the strength to be able to stand up for myself. Setting and implementing personal boundaries, was the most important part of the lesson.

If someone would have said, “3 years from now, you’ll be stronger than you have ever been. You’ll have confidence, strength and peace of mind..” I would have called B.S. I would have asked what they were smoking, and never considered believing them. All I saw in the beginning of my journey, was a timid, scared shell. I was someone who wouldn’t stand up for herself, for fear of offending another. I was someone who’s wants, wishes and feelings were never important. I didn’t see their importance, because that would mean I was full of myself, arrogant and awful toward others. If I asked for something I needed, which I believed created some small hardship (minuscule) for another, I would be buried by horrendous guilt. It all started with my own voice.

I learned that every boundary that I would stand firm in, or allow to become shaky, began with my own voice. What I said to myself, or accepted FOR myself, became reality. I used to hear others speak of something like this, and always thought it was hogwash. “speak wealth into existence”, etc. The fact is, though there are imbalances in this type of belief, there are also truths in it.

Your voice is that which alerts you to problems or successes. It’s the beginning of every new step you will ever take, or every healing from pain, in your life. It’s the beginning of strength or failure. Smiles or depression. You see, it’s your OWN choice…your voice. You choose what gets in, and out. You choose what to believe or shake off. You choose where your life will go, and what you will accept FOR your life. It begins with your own voice.

There are so many who are in the beginning of this same journey. They are belittling themselves, calling themselves such horrible things. They are agreeing with their abuser, who took such huge steps to insure his/her success by psychologically raping their victim, calling it “love”. The first step is the most crucial to finding your own wellness. Learning what are his lies (or anyone else’s, throughout your life), and replace those lies with your own needs, wants, beliefs, and truths. If you wake up one morning and think, “I look hideous!” please recognize, that’s a LIE! If you are wanting that promotion at work, and your instant thought is, “I’m not good enough..I’ll never be hired for that”. Recognize that as a lie too. Instead, tell yourself you deserve better. You deserve to talk to yourself more positively. Then, step out and do what you need to do, to try for that job, promotion, or happier self. To start seeing the end of the tunnel of depression and self-loathing, begins with hearing your OWN voice. Not that voice from hurtful people, toward you. Speak out in defense of YOU. If you don’t like something, say so. If someone offends you, say so. If the day is beautiful, say so. If it’s wrong or right, say so.

No more fear. No more lies to yourselves. Make a pact with your emotional and psychological selves, to never speak or think another cruel word to yourself again. The next step is to move your feet and accept that better life, which was already yours for the taking. Does that mean you will become rich? Perhaps, but probably not. Happier? Most definitely!