Going through the gauntlet

A gauntlet, a challenge, a test…what ever you want to call it. That’s what I’ve been in for the past few months.

I was placed with a decision early on, in my last short relationship. Call it off completely, or trust. I chose to trust. When everything evolved into endless lies, I was challenged with the same decision. I chose to give it time to be sure of what I wanted to do. In the end, I correctly ended it. Does it cause pain? Yes, very much so.

In the aftermath of running from my psychopathic ex, I was forced to learn. I’m not one who likes change, in the least. I, however, was given the where-with-all and the strength to do just that. I learned from mistakes that were decades old during that time, which were what caused me to be a type of prisoner to that non-human/changling. When I left that hellacious time, I was barely “alive”, but still alive non-the-less. There was still a heart beat in my soul. If I hadn’t changed the hard things about myself (which I’m still working on, by the way), I would find myself stuck in the same patterns. I wouldn’t survive that again.

I learned where the changes needed to be, and started implementing them. I fell in love again, in the middle of all of it. Everything for us was perfect. So perfect that he tried to get me to move in right away (Red flag #1), even when he still had ex-wife #2 living in his house, (which I didn’t know about right away). I would have replaced her, and he wouldn’t have to be single at all, or have his house empty while on business trips. We were highly compatible, and together proved to be a force to be reckoned with. I don’t mean in an evil or vindictive way. I mean messing with people, playing practical jokes, etc. Everything about us was wonderful..except for a few things, like incessant lying about other woman, regardless how ridiculous or relatively innocent. The lies never stopped, and he actually ridiculed me at one point for getting upset at all. Actually mocked me.

In my question and answer session with him, I discovered a few things about him and his tenancies, which caused me to take a step back and look at the whole picture. Current events, past and any possible future, as well as my current place and any future place I would be in, in the relationship. I know it wouldn’t be healthy for either of us. I would wind up hurt even worse, and quite probably homeless.

“Here’s an obstacle… What do you do?”

Each obstacle was presented with two possible outcomes. Continue in a place that I would be, ultimately, at risk in the end.. or trust what my mind and psyche were screaming at me, to do. Though I walked the gauntlet toward the first option for a time, I finally recognized what WOULD happen if I continued. Yes, each obstacle hurt like hell. There were daggers being thrown, guilt trips (tried to say his kids wouldn’t like me anymore if I broke up with him), and an onslaught of demeaning statements or just treating me like a child. I had a decision to make each time that happened.

In the “old” days, ie: pre-psychopath; I wouldn’t stand up for myself, I would question my own observations and remain quiet, not believing that what I saw was REAL! I always convinced myself that I misunderstood something, forever telling myself that “he just wouldn’t do something like that”. This time around, each time he through out an attack of sorts, I would counter. I stood up for myself, calling him out on each instance. Then the habitual lying showed itself for what it really was. This is where I faltered a bit. I always knew when he was lying. He made it painfully obvious. I don’t like fighting, however, so when he would adamantly deny any wrongdoing or any lies while becoming visibly “put off” by my accusations, I would let it go for a while, yet I always came back to talk to him again. I sent emails and outright told him my feelings about it. He understood completely, while playing the “I didn’t get it” card. I had an expiration date in my mind. If it wasn’t fixed by that time, we would be done.

We’re done.

I waited too long to make up my mind, though. I should have called “game over” when it became obvious how adamantly he would stand to protect his lies, over our own relationship and MY OWN WELL-BEING. I didn’t. For the last month or so, my stomach has become increasingly irritable. Nauseous each time I would eat or drink. the last month, I was plagued with pain, which precipitated violent nausea each and every time. I knew where it was coming from, and why. As soon as I made up my mind, all of that pain and nausea has stopped.

I’m bruised, broken and a little bloody from taking wrong turns in this particular gauntlet. In the end, however, I came out of it for the better. I can trust myself now.

That is a HUGE victory, in and of itself!

In your circumstances…in all of the learning and rebuilding; all of the redefining of boundaries, and learning to stand up for yourselves, count on being tested on your progress! When that happens, trust what you have learned about yourselves, your past tendencies, and how to better handle situations like this when they happen. Guaranteed, you will feel pain. You will most likely have tears, and actually have to grieve the relationship you believed so strongly in. You will question whether you are being reasonable or unreasonable. You will find yourself questioning if your decision to leave, or everything you experienced, were viewed through your PTSD triggers. Folks, if you are viewing through your triggers, chances are there is a reason. If he’s (or she) triggering you, there’s a reason. It’s de’ja’vue. You’ve been “here” before and you know the road it will lead you down, all too well. Trust your gutt.

Breathe and then decide which road you want for yourself.

Old habits die hard, but they die just the same…

I haven’t been “around” very much for the last few months. I have been in the middle of various tests, with which I have been thoroughly drug through a knot hole backwards. I have passed some of the tests with flying colors (in my own mind). Others? Not so much.

Old habits die hard…but they DO die!

What happens when you believe in someone, fully trust them, actually fall in love with that person, only to find yourself in another one of “those” situations? When you are forced to make a decision to walk away? When that person has loved you in ways no other has before?

There is heart ache, heart-break and an endless myriad of internal dialogue that besieges you.

please email me if you would like to read the next post, and I will give you the password.

Any comments to this particular post, can still be submitted below. If you would like to contact me privately, you are more than welcome.

Cognitive Processing Therapy

This video sparked a few thoughts. First, be sure you watch the video before reading the rest of this post so you know what I’m talking about.

The video talks about PTSD, in the “understanding” phase of dealing with recent or past trauma. When survivors finally get out of an abusive relationship, many are left spiraling out of control, psychologically. We try to make sense of what had occurred, and as the video suggests, survivors can become “stuck” when they are unable to find a way to come to understand the event or events. Judge and juror exist in our minds during the “understanding” phase. It is difficult to be “ok” with something that will never make sense. It’ll never completely make sense. The idea is to find a way to be ok with “it” anyway.

Don’t get me wrong…abuse in any way, from any spectrum or angle, will absolutely NEVER be OK! But, for your sake, and your own well-being, you have GOT to find the ability to put the process on the shelf. In order to put it away, you have to be able to form a sort of understanding that will at least “sit”, if not sit well in our minds. The best phrase I found for myself, in order to get out of that ruminating phase, was, “It just is”. You can’t change it. You can’t possibly make sense of the mind of a disordered (or evil) individual. They say and do things that no NORMAL human being (I don’t place the psychopath in the realm of “human” at all) would ever consider. The fact that he or she pulled that psycho babble and psychologically raped YOU, will never sit well. Understanding the “whys” means that you are trying to place the entire event in the total realm of being human. The psychopath doesn’t follow societal rules, or even natural, humane ones. They create their own rules based on themselves and what they want at any given time. Period. You will not be able to make sense of it, completely. You don’t think like the psychopath or narc. You are entirely human. They are not. You were chosen. Why?

We can understand what draws the disordered to choose someone in a factual understanding, but to place that understanding in a personal light, takes a lot of mulling over scenarios in our heads. It hurts. It causes us to spin like a top, beating ourselves up along the way.

My own curse, is having the ability to be introspective and retrospective. I learned that “skill” early on in my life. It borders on analysis paralysis. The process of the therapy this video is talking about, resembles the process I have, naturally, always done. Perhaps my ability to do that was brought on by childhood abuse. The therapy helps those who DON’T have this ability, or enable someone who does, to find closure. It is very possible for the naturally analytical person to stay stuck, and cognitive processing therapy would be very helpful.

Judge and juror are at war in the mind of a survivor. The ability to view the event from the outside, allows one to understand cause and effect. It’s helpful, but when we still try to place the entire event under the guise of ‘human’, it cannot make sense.

In order to move on, we have to find a way out of the “understanding” phase. This is a process. To try to make sense of the events and your own role, is necessary and VERY NATURAL! It’s important to resume your life and revalidate your own role in your life. It’s important to have someone you trust, that you can talk to.

The beginning phases after ANY traumatic event, are hell. You’ll never hear me say otherwise. The trick is to move your feet, refuse to become stagnant. To “be” and to “do” won’t guarantee that you won’t continue to question and ruminate but it DOES guarantee to give you a break, and allows you to cultivate friendships. It allows you to validate yourself. You are important. You are wonderful, caring and sincere.

You will make it!

Don’t stop, don’t give up!!

This is hard to keep close to our hearts, especially when in the “thick” of things. When everything around us seems to trigger old wounds, or when we just can’t seem to get past a particular point in recovery. In rebuilding ourselves, our negative conditioning or reaffirming what we know to be true, this is a wonderful reminder. If I can’t get it through your hearts and heads, maybe this adorable little **brilliant** baby can??

The need to protect yourself, after escaping the psychopath or psychological abuser..

I have been stuck in the “need to protect” myself for the past number of months. Quite possibly for the past 7 months. It started with the knowledge and drive to never go through what I did while with my X-monster, ever again. It’s a no-brainer to protect yourself after going through hell. A real hell.

There are particular phases a person goes through as a natural part of the healing process. If you aren’t already a naturally introspective person, you most likely will become one as a result of being utterly destroyed from the psyche, out. It’s brought out by the need for self preservation. I might be wrong in saying that, but I believe it to be the case more often than not. Even more than becoming introspective, I believe a person might become more retrospective (or extrospective) as well. Combined, these 2 states of mind become a useful and seemingly much needed tool to fully understand anything or any reasons in association with those events, which could have caused or precipitated any abuse you’ve lived through. We learn in order to keep from repeating any painful event. If you are already an analytically paralyzed individual, you will become more so. At least, I did, and am now. My question, which is one for you to consider for your own journeys as well, is, “When is it time to let go?”

I’m so afraid to be “hurt” again. You and I both know that the term, hurt, doesn’t even touch what was done or what was left of you. The pain involved, or an explanation for anyone suffering from PTSD as a result, goes over and above that simplistic term. Be that as it may, I don’t want to walk through that path ever again.

In my drive to keep from being hurt, I have formed my own proverbial witch hunt. My eyes and ears are so WIDE open, I have been forgetting the one thing that is needed… BEING HUMAN, AND ALLOWING OTHERS TO BE, AS WELL… I’m so overtly aware of any slight or red-flags, that I don’t miss a thing. But am I, at times, crying “MONSTER” when I should really be looking for the human in the “monster” suit?

Self-centered. Yep, that’s me. It’s born out of self-preservation. It’s a control issue, through and through. In order to feel “safe”, I absolutely need to be in control of every area of my life. I will never be blind-sided again, or at least I hope to never be again.

I keep being drawn to one issue..the lack of balance in my newly formed protective “bitch” armor.

Lets look at medieval armor. Chainmail, is a full-body heavy metal chain-link covering. Very VERY heavy for the wearer. I can imagine the weight of which, (generally bronze or iron), combined with the heat of the day, became excruciating to wear. It saved many lives during that period, but could you imagine what it caused in the mean time? Heat exhaustion maybe? How about collapse due to prolonged exposure to the horrendous weight? Dear-hearts, that is what we are carrying. In the desire to protect ourselves from the weapons that could hurt us, we become prisoners to our own cause. Cross-bows created the need for even MORE armor. Chest plates, worn either over the chain mail or under it, added to the weight. Another problem I can see, is the inability to breathe or cool down. Our armor, which we have painstakingly created for our own protection, has become our own hell. It’s become my own hell.

In the attempt to painstakingly protect the fragile part of my own emotional and psychological well-being, I am keeping the “daggers” out, but I’m not letting anything else IN! No joy is allowed, because it might cause me to be vulnerable to attack. No forgiveness, for the same reason. I might misconstrue something someone says or does as “innocent”, so I’d be better to call it “narcissistic” behavior or a full-on attack, first. I hold onto my interpretations as if they are a life-line. For me, they really are a life-line.

I have all the makings to become the loner-woman down the block, who is bitter against the world.

People are stupid, by nature. Not everyone thinks or feels the same way that we do. We expect others to have the same views, actions and reactions that we do. In thinking that way, we are setting other potentially, well-meaning individuals, up for a fall. We destroy before anything wonderful can be created. People make mistakes. People sometimes don’t understand their chosen actions could be hurtful. That’s human. Forgiveness and understanding is also human.

When is it time to “let go”? Allow for some trust and belief in a fellow, fallible human being? The fact that we are walking, talking, empathetic creatures, causes us to be potential targets. Donning heavy-weighted armor for protection, doesn’t keep us from being targeted. Yes, it will keep the “bad-guys” at bay (it won’t keep them away, entirely), but we exhaust ourselves in the mean-time, just by wearing it. We can’t breathe. We can’t “live”. We can’t enjoy another’s company due to the stress WE HAVE CREATED in ourselves!

Stay guarded and aware of your (and my) surroundings. But, learn to be discerning as well. 20% of the populace are said to be psychopathic/sociopathic. The remaining 80% are a mixture of varying degrees of the disordered. Still, the majority of what is left, are wonderful, caring people who want to get to know you. It’s time to let some in, but with caution. Trust and respect are earned. Give others the chance to earn your trust.

This is my lesson, too.

Breathe in, breathe out…one step in front of the other. Bumps will come. Yes, we’ll be hurt again. It’s part of the human condition. The difference is, we don’t have to be destroyed. We don’t have to allow for anything less than wonderful to take residency in our psyche’s and hearts. We do, however, deserve to LOVE and be loved. Whether that be with a romantic hopeful, or a new friend. The choice is ours. Allow for that choice.


Rebuilding and my perceptions thus far…

The process of building boundaries, rebuilding ourselves and attempting to nullify old conditioning, is nothing short of exhausting and painful. It’s the growth process. Growing pains.

The only real thing I have to look back on, to verify who I once was, is through memories. That includes good and bad. It includes every poor decision I have ever made, to stay silent instead of speaking out. To panic inside, while maintaining a cool persona so to not make waves. Every time I smiled or cried. Every time something simply beautiful, would capture my heart. These are echos of what was…once… The memories I have of those things, as well as of myself, are the only building blocks I have left. Echos. Memories. Shadows. What is left of the life that once was? Good and bad? That is the rubble beneath my feet. I’m speaking figuratively, of course. That includes my core.

The memories are there, in conjunction with the abuse we have suffered, to teach us what was, what is, and what needs to be. The memories tell us (along with introspection) what created each subsequent event, or allowed for it. What allowed the abuse to be in our lives to begin with. It’s those things that are at the root of all the abuse we have endured. I’m not lumping in childhood abuse, of course. That is something that the adults in our lives allowed to take place, by their own actions or inaction. I’m talking about those areas that we allowed in our lives, regardless of any fear-based inaction on our own parts.

A few months ago, I started talking about the rebuilding process. I went in, as I’m quite known for, all balls and no plan. I just went with the one thing that seemed to be the most prominent…never allowing for any abuse, ever again. The most obvious direction is learning how to speak up, when I’m mistreated or threatened in any way. That’s a no-brainer. I learned the beginning of any abuse is accentuated by the silence of the victim, whether that be of his/her own accord, or at the hands of the abuser. In order for that abuser to gain an upper hand, the intended victim needs to be unsure of him/herself, and subsequently stay silent. It’s the silence that perpetuates any abuse.

I haven’t been silent since escaping my last situation. In fact, I have been hyper aware and entirely vigilant in protecting myself. That includes any supposed threat or slight. My anger quotient is high on the Richter scale. My tendency to become irritable also ranks up “there”. In and of itself, this isn’t a bad thing. When it is lacking for-thought or any sort of balance? Lets just say, it’s not such a wonderful experience for anyone involved. Least of all, myself. I am forced to step back a little, and observe what hind-sight is trying to teach me. I have to revisit the process in order to find a better direction. No, I haven’t killed or hurt anyone. I’ve looked like an absolute ass, though.

The direction I’ve been on, though the end result is the desired one, isn’t the best.

I wonder if it wouldn’t be prudent to write out a plan, including those things or areas that are acceptable from others, and what reaction or action is needed in response?

The positive here, though, is the fact that even amongst the rubble under my proverbial feet, I still have something to start from. I’m not starting from completely “nothing”. The rubble is something to learn FROM. It’s also something that I can build from. I can choose which pieces to keep and build from, and which ones to burn to dust.

Baby steps… Step one…make a plan. Decide what is most pressing and most important. Put the pieces together and see how they fit. The first attempt isn’t always the best one. I’ll keep on keeping on. I want to see the end of this!

Side note: I’m still seeing the salesman. I may have been hasty. Eyes wide open, not ignoring anything. He has cats, that I have always been life-threateningly allergic to. Told my mom about that, and mentioned having problems breathing around them, still. Her reply? “Oh, don’t let him get rid of his cats! That wouldn’t be fair to them!” I had to make a choice there. I wanted to bring to her attention that I am more important than the cats and it’s unfair to ME that my health is worth less than a cat’s well-being. I didn’t. I chose to let it go. My mom’s health is more important than the point I wanted to make. 

Just an update to this journey.

Today, I’m left feeling distrusting of everything and everyone around me. I’m ashamed to say I’ve become a snappy little bitch.

The one thing that was a constant when I got out of a relationship with a horrible human being (purely chromosomal, I assure you), was the drive, knowledge and determination that, I would never go through “that” again. I won’t. EVER. That has given me the ability to speak up for myself when someone offends me or treats me badly. I have never been that way, other than by being absolutely fed-up, which sometimes took years to reach. It’s as if my emotions are on my sleeve, now. I cry easily, now. I feel offense easily, now. The problem is that, there is no balance. I’m not happy. I’m overtly aware of my surroundings and everyone in it. Trust? I trust no-one.

Instead of trusting people until they proved they couldn’t be trusted, now I don’t trust anyone UNLESS they prove they can be trusted. Those people have to jump through burning hoops, before I can trust them…and even then, I question their intentions in jumping through that hoop. I expect to be hurt, now.

I remember the day I was finally free. I was so detached from myself, going to work, shopping, or just “being”. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, like I couldn’t see the old me, anymore. I had to forceably remind myself of who I was/am. I had to force myself to act like I remembered myself being. Nothing was easy, except that drive and determination.

After all this time, I’m still not myself. I’m someone completely foreign to me. When I hear what others have said about me, at work, it still disturbs me. When I started this job, I was fun-loving, poking at others in an impromptu verbal-jousting session. I had fun with other people. I enjoyed my job. I felt a little out-of-place (wasn’t unusual), but enjoyed my job. Now, people describe me as “she’s so quiet” and “kept to herself”. Just hearing that, is a painful reminder that I’m not myself.

I don’t know if I will ever be completely myself, again. I have changed. In some ways, I have changed for the better. In other ways, definitely have changed for the worse. I will never be the same, that’s for sure.

I wonder if I should just find a balance to the new “me” and be at peace with that? I don’t like myself, as I am.

I’m sorry for the “down-trodden” feel of this post. I hope you are all doing well.