Beware of feeling like you have finally “arrived”. Beware of feeling as though you have finally tackled every known obstacle and have grown enough to be able to tackle any unknown one. Beware of becoming haughty or arrogant in any fashion.
The life of recovery from emotional and psychological abuse is far from quick, easy or even the least bit predictable. I began to believe that as long as I had my “bitch face” on, I was nigh untouchable. The truth is, I was and am very penetrable. When you feel as though your boundaries, walls and barriers are so thick that you will always be safe; beware. Even the tallest and thickest of walls are penetrable by something or someone. Any fortress is conquerable. Even those that we build for ourselves.
I find myself falling back into some of the same old patterns. I can see and perceive some if not all manipulation tactics, but my heart got in the way early on. It’s hard to trust what you see. Being in the position of a recovering survivor, places you in a bit of a precarious position.
When you are a new-ish survivor, you have your “narc-dar” on. That is; being on high alert to any antisocial personalities out there. Any potential narcissists or Psychopaths. What I found myself doing was second-guessing my original perceptions about others, based on what I know as Narcissistic and abusive traits. The internal dialogue went something like this, “Not EVERYONE is like ‘that’. Am I making judgments based on my past?” and, “This is unfair of me to label others like this…” So, I walked right back into the trap of second guessing my base intuition about “bad” people. At the very least, others who are not healthy for ME to associate with. Namely my most recent man-friend.
This has been compounded by the fact that this man was able to penetrate my impenetrable shield. My personally built, enhanced fortress. I fell in love with a sales pitch. Nothing more.
I’m about 2 years out from the ending of my relationship with a Machiavellian. A Psychopath. Earlier this year, I was still uneasy in social settings and still battling triggers. I thought I was a walking, impenetrable fortress, who was completely closed off to ANY male’s advances (romantic hopefuls or just chance conversation), outside of “arm’s-length” encounters. I thought I was stuck that way for the rest of my life. I was ok with that. I was safe in my little psychological and emotional fox-hole. I had my defense mechanisms firmly in place. Or so I thought.
That was only when my heart wasn’t involved. It was hidden.
Just because I “felt” safe, doesn’t mean that I no longer had the need to be loved and accepted. To have someone else in my corner, keeping me safe. The person I found, immediately found my inner-most desires, and played them like a harp. I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. Only THEN did the little subtleties start showing. The jabs and the ever-so-slight attempts at being controlling. We can’t forget the throngs of lies. The first red-flag showed itself, early on, “Stand up straight”. I nipped THAT one quickly. “I’m 46 years old. I think I’ve LONG since been past the point of having someone tell me to stand up straight.” That sort of thing continued, off and on. I saw some things come up that appeared as a set up, to be used at a future date. I caught onto that one, too, immediately. The subtle gas-lighting attempts. Treating me like a child, telling me to “go wash your hands” when I was already at the door, hand on the knob, to WASH MY HANDS before eating. It’s what I do, and have always done. He had to get the command in, prior to me actually doing it even though I was OBVIOUSLY there. Karaoke, the KJ would come to me and ask which song I wanted to do next. My man-friend would interrupt me, by telling the KJ what song to put up. Or I would tell my man-friend which song I wanted to sing and he would reply, “No”.
I have been aware all along, of the red-flags. I have tried to break it off with my man-friend, but now he’s “promising” to earn my trust again. There have been tears shed by him, and absolute begging. His words are full of love and promises, “You are the only one for me”, accompanied by emotional distance and controlling behavior. “If you love me like you said you did, you’d give me another chance.” To that, I responded, “If you loved me like you said you did, we wouldn’t BE HERE!”…
I have been fighting my internal battles over this. I know what I know and I’ve learned some very valuable lessons. Beware when your heart gets in the way. You want to protect the other’s feelings. You want to be fair and understanding, even to your own detriment. It’s an old hat that I’m wearing, with a dusting of established new boundaries. I’m laying out the boundaries and enforcing them, yet I’ve failed to walk away and stand my ground in doing so.
Be aware of when you feel content in your fox-hole. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing who know the right way to act, to earn your trust. You will be tested by the cosmos when you believe you have “arrived” in your new armor.