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.


Post traumatic stress and ruminating.

I’m not any kind of any sort of psychological professional. I talk about what I’ve lived through and learned because of it. I am not a full-blown scholar with copious amounts of Masters Degrees or a PHDs. I’m just me, talking to you about myself, hoping my experiences will teach you to avoid certain aspects of life. I’m your proverbial mother hen.

It seems that the published community, whether that be of lay-persons or professionals, have just as much trouble defining Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), as they do Sociopath and Psychopath. In the case of this post, I will center on PTSD, which is the chronic form of Post traumatic stress. It’s what lasts for many months or years, without the help of a professional. I will list the article which defines the difference when find it. Yes, giving credit is due, here, but it’s the definitions I’m interested in sharing with you at this point in time.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Is the Chronic form of Post traumatic stress which does not end relatively quickly and may require more intricate help from a psychologist or psychiatrist to find relief. Anti anxiety medications may be needed.  When the effects of trauma last for many months and even years, without evident lessening of severity, it becomes a full-blown disorder. Ruminating is very present, in both acute and chronic PTSD.

Rumination as with PTSD: This is a paraphrase of what I’ve learned and read.. Rumination is very present in PTSD, though it’s not generally understood if this practice is healthy or contributory to PTSD trauma felt, which only adds to the severity of PTSD. I for one believe it can be healthy if it doesn’t become habitual. If a person habitually ruminates in the acute stage of Post-traumatic Stress, it can develop into full-blown PTSD, if not dropped asap. I will explain more in the comment section if you need some clarification.

I’m a firm believer that there are many things that are beneficial to our health and well-being if done or eaten in moderation. That includes ruminating. The key here is in MODERATION.

Rumination can be beneficial to trauma survivors as a coping mechanism. A few years ago, I didn’t know what this looked like in survivors of acute Post-traumatic Stress. Last year I talked to a young woman who had just returned from fighting in Afghanistan. Since I was currently in the same place, I realized I was watching myself in her. She was wild-eyed, talking in earnest about her experiences and what she learned while there. Her experiences were fresh and raw in her mind. She looked and sounded crazy, though I knew she wasn’t. My boss got mad at me for taking time with her, but I knew she needed to vent and have someone listen to her. I gave her a caring ear. She needed someone to listen, and chose me at that point in time. I don’t even know her name.

Ruminating takes on a couple different forms: Mentally stewing over every fact, tear, action and reaction surrounding the trauma or talking about the experience, repeating every word and sentence many times, and every time the survivor tries to speak. Generally, if you aren’t talking about the abuse or trauma, you are incessantly thinking about it. This was me when I first got out of a very real type of hell, with a psychopath. This was me, especially for the first few months after ending the relationship, though for me it lessened continuously with each passing week. I couldn’t understand what I went through. I couldn’t find a way to believe it in order to settle the experience in my heart and mind. I went through a walking nightmare, and when things came to a head, I was left very very confused, and horribly afraid.

This is where a lot of survivors get stuck. There comes a time when you can’t possibly research the abuser, mental disorders, what could have been wrong with you, etc. any more. You have reached a stale-mate in your own psyche and heart. When the learning has been learned and the talking has been talked out, many times our hearts still aren’t settled. This is normal. The difference is how you choose to respond at that point, to the stale-mate. Many survivors get stuck in the mental spin, refusing to settle the issue to the best of their ability. Sometimes they aren’t able to stop, as it has gone on for so long that their minds have developed the habit of ruminating. It in itself becomes a trauma-bond, and addicting. When this happens, you are faced with a choice. Continue on, being stuck or fight to move on. This is why moderation is the key.

We need to allow ourselves the time to process the trauma and abuse. We do need to take whatever time is necessary to be able to move on. However, when this becomes a habit, it is near impossible to let go. In this case, some survivors continuously allow the abuse to continue, being affected still. The abuser is still in control, even though he or she has been out of your life for some time. No one wants that. No one wants to stay stuck in that place. It’s very hard to live through, and sometimes just as difficult to walk away from.

One day (hopefully sooner rather than later) you will realize that you are researching the same old crap, on a different day. You’ll realize that it’s an echo of the previous researching venture. You find yourself running into the same old wall. It hurts, every time. This is when you need to tell yourself, “it’s over”. You need to find the only bit of understanding there can be or is, “It just happened.” or “It just ‘is'”. Understanding this doesn’t mean that you’ll stop hurting over night, or that the effects of the abuse won’t linger, some. It just means you are ready to take another DECIDED step in the right direction.

Breathe deeply, with each step you take. If this post finds you in exactly this place, find peace in your heart, knowing you are recovering. Fight his voice in the meantime and center on EVERYTHING positive. Don’t let negative thoughts be so intrusive that you are unable to function. Don’t stop moving forward. When the right direction isn’t clear, then be determined to keep MOVING! As long as you continue to move toward healing and a healthier life, you won’t be stuck, and soon will be able to say “I am STRONG!”


Why I made it out after a little over one year

Today, while plugging along in my new duties at work, I kept thinking about a couple of things. This has been a topic of discussion, or reasonable mention, for a little while now. I wanted to address it, because I believe it’s important for others to understand, too: It’s the reasons I was able to see the Monster and his evil, slimy hide so early and as a result, was able to find the strength to leave.

The reasons were two-fold (quite possibly 3).

I learned some of the tactics he was using against me (and others) when I was very young, as a curious topic. I had an insatiable drive to learn whatever I could get my hands on, or what I thought sounded interesting. For whatever reason, I noticed several things that were pretty standard behaviors and reactions among people which are natural and universal (in normal humans who have a conscience and are strong empaths). I noticed them, saw what things, words and tones brought about certain reactions, and realized just how easy it would be to get someone to act the way you wanted them to, without the person realizing it. It was a curiosity for me, much like Astrology and personality traits. It was never something that was callous on my part, or something that I would EVER use in an evil or self-serving way. I’ve never used it against anyone. I just learned that type of manipulation was possible. It was the same with Brainwashing tactics. I learned it for no reason but to learn the facts behind it. This was one thing that allowed me to see the abuse and manipulation earlier. Both of these are part of Brainwashing, by the way.

English: A large chess game inside Enoch Pratt...
English: A large chess game inside Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, MD, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a video I saw recently, it compared the methods of this type of psychopath to a game of chess. Each piece on a chess board has a particular move. They never differ in those moves. The player can use each chess piece to manipulate their opponent into moving in a desired direction, setting them up for defeat. The pieces are people who the psychopath chooses to be pawns or blind patseys. These people are set up against the chosen prey, without realizing their role in the game, to guide the victim to act or react in a particular direction, which guides him/her to be defeated. They also use carefully placed lies, told with just the right “tone” to make it more believable. Much like the shepherd and his gentle prodding of his staff guiding sheep to slaughter. How many parallels can I come up with? It’s all gross manipulation at its worst. It’s gas-lighting, crazy making, sly talk with a slithering, forked tongue. It’s evil and dangerous, when you are dealing with a Psychopath who has no natural limits to what he/she is capable of. It’s cruel anyway, but especially in the hands of a Psychopath. This is what got my final attention.

When I met my X, he was only charming until we exchanged phone numbers, basically. He was only a gentleman for a very short time. Looking back, it seems like he was already rushing to get the “job” done with me. He wasted no time.  It was only a few weeks in, that he started dosing me with his crap. At first, it was to see how I would react. What made me tick. What would make me feel guilty and be easily swayed. It’s what made the rest of his tactics work as well as they did. He knew I didn’t trust my instincts, and that an angry tone would get me to cower or second-guess myself. He used this with great cunning and skill.

Most people aren’t placed in the same type of scenario. Their monsters (whether it be male or female psychopaths) were more patient with them and in implementation of the scheme of control and assimilation, I assume. The grooming stage was more slowly played, setting the victim feeling overwhelming euphoria just in his or her presence. It’s this stage that makes us believe everything GOOD about him or her.

For me, the grooming stage was intermittent with quick guided taunts and demeaning statements. It was mixed with quick bursts of anger and accusations, then when I would be upset by the shock, it wasn’t him at all that caused it. It was because of “past relationship issues” or what-not. This was within a matter of a couple of weeks. He would do nice things, and then within a few hours he would say something cruel or twist a scenario, words, or his perceptions in order to get me confused, and shaken. I was already guided into being afraid to contradict or question his actions. Instead, I silently stirred everything around in my mind, as I knew nothing he was trying to get me to believe was at ALL correct. However at the same time, I was battling in the same way, trying to convince myself that I was wrong about him. I wanted so bad to believe he was still the sweet gentleman that I met. He was horribly jealous. But not just jealous…absolutely paranoid to the point that he had to keep my entire household on edge. With each gas-lighting attempt, I would utter some nonsense statement to myself, in order to try to convince myself that the abuse didn’t just happen that way; that he didn’t just try to convince me of an obvious lie. While I had the good vs evil dialogue playing back and forth in my mind, I was gradually but incessantly becoming conditioned to act and react the way he directed. I was still aware of the anxiety, fear and confusion inside of me. I was aware where it was coming from and what caused it. You notice the pin wheel effect, here? That’s what my thought processes were, the entire time during that year. There was a battle going on, between my gut and my reasoning. I couldn’t shut off my intuition or fear. The more I ignored it, the more my body revolted against me.

When you continuously ignore those warnings that your body sends you, it begins to erupt in the form of illness, panic attacks, weight loss, and so many others. It’s better to listen when your body is trying to tell you something with intuition or fear. Me, I was affected by constant anxiety and fear. My weight dropped drastically to below 10o pounds, and never above 102. My normal weight is 120. I had a nervous breakdown right in front of him. Imagine the fun he had with THAT!

It was solely my curse of incessant introspection and extrospection that kept me thinking about what I was seeing, hearing and experiencing from the monster. I was constantly aware of my body’s reactions to what was said or done, including lies and set ups against me. I was completely aware when he would set someone up to believe a lie. I was aware when he did that to me. I was aware when he set up a scheme to be used at a later date. How he set it up, what was told to whom in order to make the job easier, and so on. I was ALWAYS aware. I just ignored, placated, second-guessed myself, and became the fargen jelly-fish for his sake. After I realized how bad he was for me, I was too afraid to walk away. I didn’t know what he would do if I did, so I stayed in that hell, trying to find the best “diplomatic” way to break up with him.

You see, There are 2 or 3 things that enabled me to see him for what he was/is, sooner. 1) The fact that I studied those very tactics so many years prior to my jaunt with the Psychopath, that after some time I recognized them. 2) Though he DID try to groom me to be more receptive to him, he was impatient and pushed the abuse too soon…I mean the more obvious abuse. 3) My curse or blessing of the art of introspection and extrospection. Self analysis.

With these, I was forced to end things as a matter of safety, finally. It was a final scheme he set me up for, that I caught him in and all at once, realized that he HAS NO LIMITS AS TO WHAT HE WAS CAPABLE OF. Just that knowledge made me realize how evil he really is, and how much danger I was in.

There was still a lot of damage done. It didn’t have to be that way, though. I was aware of the warnings my body was giving me, but didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t trust myself and instantly reasoned everything away. It didn’t silence my intuition or awareness of what he was causing to erupt in ME. I allowed for the abuse to continue. I created the perfect scenario for him to really get deep into my psyche and cause damage. Some areas are really bad. I may talk about that in a later post.

The effects he caused in just one year, are the same as those caused in a victim (now survivor) who had been a pathological relationship for many years. I say that because the symptoms I have and the battles, reaffirmation, purging and so on, are the same as other survivors who were in it longer. I am living it. I lived it. I know what is left of me. I am lucky that I was able to see him sooner and begin the healing process. He was good at his game, very thorough and conniving. His tactics and abilities are so fine-tuned, he can cut you apart while making you believe he’s giving you a massage.

I still consider myself lucky, in the grand scale, though not so much because of the damage left. The healing that I have seen so far, is also being brought about by my awareness and self-analysis. The same that was around during that year with the monster. I’m a thinker. I analyze. I come up with ideas of how-to, and attempt to put them into practice. So far, it’s worked for me for the most part. If it doesn’t, I breathe, change directions and try again.

I hope this has answered some questions you might be having.

Taking a break is the next best step…

I believe that taking a break from blogging right now, is a good idea. I won’t be deleting my blog or anything of the sort. It’s time to start living again. I won’t be dating or toying with the idea for quite some time, but I have realized that I need to LIVE now. I’ve spent countless hours writing down every step that I’ve gone through..every phase that has hit me along the way. I have written these down for any other new survivor that finds themselves in the same place I was, in the beginning.

I’ve hashed and rehashed every possible thing about my Psychopathic X. While still in the relationship I understood that he was psychologically abusive, and decided to try to understand just what I was in. What type of man is he? Why was I so buried with anxiety and confusion? I spent many hours, days and months trying to understand. When I finally understood what he is, (that was pretty close to the end) I got away. I was finally allowed to see just how dangerous he is, and was finally able to see the monster without the veil of pseudo-humanity.

I got away, and with time I came to grips with what I had been through, which included the abuse. I learned to differentiate between every type of psychological abuse the monster used against me, in order to keep me silent, shaken and very very unsure of everything around me…that included myself. I was able to be “ok” with everything, and accept that there are evil people out there that prey on women like me. I was too visible to a predator.  There are no neat little boxes to put the experience in, as it will never make total and complete sense. But, I’m ok with that, now. The box is called “disorder”, and rightfully so. The entire relationship, every day of it, can be categorized as “disordered”. The monster himself, is also “disordered”. That’s the best understanding I have and am able to give you, the new survivor.

Every step from that point on, was with the need and decision to get my life back. To get MYSELF back. I needed him COMPLETELY out of my life. If I was remaining centered on HIM, I would never move forward. I would have lost…He would win. I couldn’t allow that.

I learned to silence his voice in my head for the most part. There are still some very triggering things, that I haven’t learned how to grow past yet, but as it has been in every other step and area, that will come.

The place I am in, now, is going to be a long road. I think I will be stuck talking about the same stuff that I’ve learned up to this point. I’ve been able to find the keys to complete recovery, and the rest..the ease of which will come with more practice.

Today marks no mile stone, other than the fact that I have come “this” far. I’m not giving up in the least! I’m so elated to finally be almost completely free of his effects, I can hardly stand it! I’ve begun the process of recognizing those difficult things about me that made me such an easy target to catch, and worse…to hold onto. It’s these things that will take time to perfect.

The boundaries aspect will take as much time as the redefining of myself, to see to fruition. Though, I highly doubt if I will ever completely ‘arrive” to total completion. That would mean I’ve reached perfection. I am, and will always be, human. I will make mistakes in my life. I will probably meet another like the monster. There in lies the entire reason for reaffirming and building boundaries. It’s the reason for recognizing and changing the difficult things about myself, so when that day comes, I won’t allow myself to be food for another SPATH. I will recognize and trust my instincts without fail. But, even more than that, I am changing and respecting every new and old boundary I have, from this day forward. Not just so I won’t have a repeat of hell in my life, but so I will finally be WHOLE! Holistically whole. Healthy boundaries, healthy views of myself and others, and complete. It’s the person I had never met, that is the reason for all the changes and affirmations, now.

That person is myself!

My instincts have NEVER ONCE failed me! I will repeat that, because I have said that to friends and gotten some flack over it. MY INSTINCTS HAVE NEVER, EVER, FAILED ME. They have always been true and faithful. It’s my distrust of myself and of those instincts, that allowed the abuse to continue as long as it did. My X started showing me his true nature, early on. I was so caught up with who I thought I met, I just wouldn’t allow myself to believe anything less. It was when I was hit with TOTAL reality that I couldn’t ignore the abuse anymore, or excuse it, or find more “patience” with that “poor man”. I have gone through several abusive relationships in my life. I have never had the wherewithal to change, nor did I ever see the need to recognize the unhealthy characteristics about myself that wound up hurting me every time. I thought I was fine and it was all the asshole’s fault. It wasn’t until I was psychologically raped and almost destroyed as a result, that I was finally able to recognize that there was SOMETHING about me that I needed to learn and ultimately, change. I place no blame anywhere. The psychopath is being true to his disorder and can’t be expected to be anything else. He thinks its amusing to play the game. That’s what his disorder creates. I feel no sympathy or pity for the monster. He knew what he did in placing every pawn and scenario, calculatedly and without remorse, and  tried to destroy me a little more with each passing day. It was fun for him to do this. I was a game to him.

Never again.

I have been able to be ok with everything, or as much as I am humanly able. I have made peace with the abuse, in as much as I am able to right now. I have made MORE peace than was there a year ago. I will NEVER make peace with the Monster. No contact means absolutely NO CONTACT…EVER! Just because I am more at peace with the abuse, doesn’t mean the predator has had a life changing epiphany, too. He never will. Ever.

So, as each day continues from here, I will continue to reaffirm my validity as a human being. I will AFFIRM the fact that my feelings are worthy of their own grand-stand (in a way). It’s ok for me to request that others respect me, as much as I respect them. It’s ok to walk away from a situation or person who refuses to respect my boundaries. When my age-old intuition starts playing the harp with my nerve endings, it is ok for me to listen and trust it. I have always, deep down, had my own interests at heart. It’s ok for me to validate my OWN life, my OWN NEEDS, and so-on.

From here, I will continue breathing, taking each day…each step…as it comes. Sometimes there isn’t a “right” way or direction to go in our healing process. There are no rules, as we each heal differently. Understand that the sooner you are able to focus on YOURSELF, the better off you will be. Keep in mind that when there is no “right” way, the ONLY right way is to MOVE YOUR FEET! Life and situations will meet you, that will facilitate your own healing, as long as you aren’t allowing yourself to stay TRAPPED in a wounded state of mind.

The you that you will meet along the way, will astound you. You will amaze you, as I have been amazed through every day of my journey.

I will continue to read your posts and comment. I will continue to be there for other survivors, so feel free to talk to me. I’m still here.

Thank you for every one of you!

Most steps are unsure, but it’s necessary to take those steps anyway!

In the beginning of the end of my toxic relationship with my X-monster, I can’t say things were pleasant, easy or anything of the sort. There was nothing easy at all. The easy thing, however, would have been to allow myself to be defeated by the emotional/psychological rape and minefield I had been subjected to. I couldn’t stand the idea that, with every painful echo of his voice left in my thoughts and memories, he would be allowed to win this battle. He set out to create a moldable glob. One that he could manipulate into being. One that he could pressure into silence for the duration of whatever life I would have left. I couldn’t stand the thought that in getting into the relationship, I willingly went to war. The war was over my own psychological health and being. I couldn’t stand the idea, after fighting so hard to get away in the end, that he could ultimately win.

I wouldn’t and could most definitely NEVER allow him to win. For the sake of all that is or ever was, good.

I’ve mentioned before, how, after initially getting away from the monster, I was hit with daily anxiety attacks for about 2 weeks after. I want to stop and make known that in the middle of several of these episodes, I DID try to call in to work and try to get the day off. Things were so excruciating for me in the beginning that it was VERY difficult to just leave my own home. I was scared, pure and simple. Even though I didn’t initiate this step myself, it became the first step toward later and greater healing. My boss said simply, “No, we really need you to come in.” This was his common response each time I tried to cry “uncle” in those days that were pure hell for me. I was forced to leave my home and go to work. I didn’t want to go. I got angry at his supposed callousness toward my plight. I was angry at him, but I still went to work. I didn’t want others to suffer for my absence. I couldn’t afford the time off financially, either. I sheepishly opened my door, walked to the carport, checked for any sign of my X lurking around, then RAN to my car! I have recently called my boss to thank him for that. He didn’t know it, but he was instrumental in the beginning stages of my recovery, and may have well saved my life. He didn’t know how to respond, but  said, “thank you..”. He must have thought I was off my rocker. I don’t care. I appreciated that in his refusal to give me the day off, he actually DID help me in the biggest way.

1) in the beginning of healing from a toxic relationship, it is MOST IMPERATTIVE for you to MOVE! I don’t mean to move from your home, but refuse to allow yourself to be a prisoner to the hell that is from mental and emotional purging. That’s what I attributed the anxiety attacks to. I was in an ever-increasing state of severe anxiety, at the hands of my psychopathic X. When I was finally free, that overload had to go SOMEWHERE. It was natural for it to come out in some way. It had to. Pick up your normal, daily routine IMMEDIATELY, regardless how you feel. Move your feet, especially when it seems impossible. It’ll give you strength for the rest of your healing recovery.

I realize that even though things seem as though it has been easy for me to move forward, I can assure you, nothing has been easy or simple. The only thing has been at all easy is, DECIDING NOT TO BE STUCK. All I knew is, I didn’t want to hang onto anything left from that POS. That included lingering lack of confidence, fear, being unsure and scared of my surroundings, etc. I recognized the areas that were important to me, were a favorite choice of attack for him. I refused to let him win. I wanted things back. I wanted ME back…everything that made me, me, that he tried to destroy. I set out to reaffirm who I am, and the areas that meant so much to me as an individual. Keep in mind that this part of the process has taken pretty much the entire past year to get to this point. Everything I would do, was out of necessity for survival and to contradict every area my X tried to infiltrate. If he tried to shock me out of confidence in any particular area (such as singing for instance), I was determined to take it back, in whatever means I could. If he said, “You suck at “—” “, I would purposefully fight against it by acting in direct opposition to that conditioning. That’s pretty much the avenue that’s been taken through out this process. I would see his face and hear his voice in every “I can’t” statement that would hit me, or the, “I’m scared” statements, and decide to do the exact opposite. I was still afraid, but I couldn’t let him win…EVER. I took back as much confidence as I could. There are areas that I haven’t found out how to conquer yet, but as my life over this past year and 1/2 has proved to me… each victory truly HAS showed with each first uncertain step.

There has never been any “self-help” books for me, or “How to” articles. All I had to go on has been the support of other bloggers that I’ve met in this blogosphere, which I don’t mean to negate in the LEAST! Without your support and strength, I wouldn’t be doing near this well. I also had the putrid taste in my mouth left from that puke’s psycho-babble, and I wanted nothing to do with it. I recognized that the entire relationship, including every tiny bit of ammo he tried to use against me from the beginning, was nothing but falsities and absolute LIES. I wanted no part of anything left after I got away from him.

After my thinking shifted from him and the relationship, to me and what about me needed to change so I don’t have any sort of repeat ever again in my life, I started doing some serious soul-searching. I had a few talks with my Mom during this, which helped me to gain a better understanding as to WHO I am, and how I came to have some of the issues I’ve had throughout my life. Each one of these things that have transpired, has worked together to bring me to this place, now.

There isn’t one thing that I’ve tried with confidence, other than the fact that I needed to do “something”. In regards to boundaries, it was sort of by accident that I formed a game plan. I haven’t “arrived” there, of course, in that I am nowhere near completely and 100% confident and comfortable in every situation. Not in the least, really, though this is getting better. With more practice, I know this will continue to grow and thrive. I recognized the fact that the boundaries I had that WERE solid, were shaky in the aftermath of the pathological, toxic relationship. I had to reaffirm those boundaries, first. But everything had been shaken. EVERYTHING! I only recognized the need…not the “how’s”. Step one… learn to recognize and accept when your intuition is trying to get your attention. Learn to act accordingly. Let “no” be the #1 word you say in such an instance. It may be easier to walk away from the situation or person entirely, until you are stronger in that area. I just “started” doing this. It was the direction that seemed the most obvious. It was easy to recognize that it was HIGH time that I believed my own intuition. It’s easy to say that, I believe, after getting out of a relationship with a Narc or Psychopath. Intuition is important, necessary and 100% unequivocally, absolutely CORRECT…absolutely EVERY time! This fact has finally been beaten into my otherwise once senseless head! Ok, I finally get it and accept it. It’s easy to accept when so many areas are still raw and painful.

Start allowing yourself to “see” the difficult facts about yourself, which caught his attention in the first place, and then enabled the abuse to continue. You are NOT a bad person, nor is any of the abuse YOUR FAULT!!! Please believe that. However, that said, there are personality characteristics that are attractive to the psychopath, sociopath and/or narcissist. High levels of empathy and caring, exist in the target. If a person has ever been abused as a child, this is something that is most often visible to the predator. It means that the intended target might have some self-esteem issues (just an example) and are an easy meal. The target doesn’t need to tell the psychopath about her abusive past. He already knows by watching and taking mental note. Again, this is NOT your fault! YOU ARE NOT BAD!! However, it is in the weakened areas within us, that enabled the abuse to start, but most of all to CONTINUE! It’s why we didn’t get out sooner. It’s why he was able to manipulate and redirect our thinking for a time. It’s why we isolated ourselves from friends and family. it’s why we willingly lived in fear. Why would we do that??

This is another step that started with being unsure of which direction and step to take. I recognized my previous inability to believe my own intuition…as if I actually knew better… yeah right! My past can attest to how wrong my thinking has been throughout my life, until now. What makes it so hard to stand up for ourselves? Fear of negative emotion? Do we believe that our existence is actually for the guys in the world? Are we REALLY meant to be and remain as, tools?

Each one of us has a different story to tell, as to why we would allow for such atrocities in our lives. There are many reasons. Repeated invalidation while growing up. Previous physical, mental, emotional or even sexual abuse by others..maybe by family member, preacher, childcare provider…what was your Achilles heel? I believe I can safely say, NONE OF US…NOT ONE…HAS EVER WANTED TO ENDURE ANY ABUSE FROM ANYONE! None of us wanted the abuse. We didn’t go into the relationship, thinking, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he manipulated me into relaxing my boundaries enough that he could keep me silent around others?” Of course we didn’t. However, in our actions and refusal to stand up for ourselves, the Psychopath actually treats us as if we “asked” for him to be abusive. In our inaction, we invalidated our need to be treated as wonderful loving people, and instead we validated HIS need to CONTROL AND ABUSE US! How do we break this?

Quietly, at first, if it’s necessary to teach ourselves. The important things is in the action. it’s in recognizing our own need for boundaries, holding fast to them..and expecting others to respect them as well. If someone is being disrespectful of our boundaries, it’ll spark some “red-flag” moments. Learn to recognize these times, and DON’T HESITATE to react. It doesn’t mean to be mean to someone. It does mean, however, that you express in some way, your displeasure. You re-emphasize that particular boundary and demand that it be honored. If that person refuses, then walk away from them. They aren’t worth your time. You don’t have to appologize or leave an explaination for your departure. It’s in your departure that they will understand. They already know they were being an ass. You don’t have to tell them. Each time, you will become stronger and more self-assured.

This is the place I’m in now, but with some wonderful twists showing along the way.

Succeeding in the recovery/healing process is, quite litterally, a step away. With each action there is an equal and opposite REACTION. If you start moving forward (whatever direction that might be for you), recovery will meet you in the middle. Every step, every motion, every necessary progression. Recovery and healing will come…and keep coming…even if you don’t know “how” to accomplish “something”. All you need to do is do “something” that is moving progressively forward. You will find your way through.

This is a long process, but as long as we NEVER stop, or call defeat, we will make it.

I’m stronger than I was yesterday. I’m most definitely stronger than I was a year ago! I’m glad for guiding hands…where ever they are. I see the evidence…

Why do YOU smoke?? Is it in the need to feel Validated?

Lol! I used to get asked that question by non-smokers, quite regularly. “It stinks, it’s expensive, it’ll KILL you…” The list goes on. Of course, the forever condition of my lungs made it even MORE asinine for me to smoke. My lungs are shit. Pure and simple. I’ll be lucky to live to 60. My doctors didn’t think I would make it to 40, yet her I am and then some. A PFT (Pulmonary function test) and x-rays showed my lungs to be 25% blocked by scar tissue, by the time I was 12. I’m 46. I’ve been smoking for over 20 years (after first quitting when I was 17.). When I was 22 (ish) my doctor did a PFT test and announced that my lungs have an age equivalence of 50. I’m 46. Kinda screwed, doncha think? Most of the damage was caused by my severe asthma, and the cats that I lived with. I don’t respond to allergies like most people, who pop a benadryl and call it good. Nope, my body reacts by my lungs shutting down completely. A bad allergy usually means a trip (or stay) in the hospital. I rarely have allergic hives or sinus-allergies. Nope…just my lungs. Here’s (as long as we are all being honest) the dumbest part, yet, for me to be smoking…I’M ALLERGIC TO TOBACCO! (all of the allergies showed in scratch tests)

Ok, I mentioned all of this to give you a picture of everything I have going against me if I choose to smoke. Stupid, right?

My girls and I, a few years ago
My girls and I, a few years ago

I also have 2 beautiful daughters whom I love and worry about, incessantly.

My Granddaughter when she was 2 1/2.
My Granddaughter when she was 2 1/2.

My granddaughter is the sun to my darkest days. I am all she has, here, as a place that she can go when things are hard for her and/or her mom. Where would she be without me?

I’m not strutting or showing off or what-have-you.. in spite of everything, I could ALWAYS  sing. I would get comments like, “Where the hell did that come from? Your big toe?” I have always been a powerful singer, in relation to my size. 5’2″. My parents used to be able to pass me off as a little kid to get the discount at an area fair. What most didn’t know is how bad my lungs have ALWAYS been. I learned (I had to) to work and push myself while growing up, to move and “go” even when I was having problems breathing. My dad wouldn’t let me be still, especially in those times. I had to go to school, even if walking was excruciating. I had to get my outside work done, even if I could barely talk. If anyone knew the status of my lungs’ health, they would have asked me, “How are you able to sing?” I think the fact that I HAD to learn new ways of breathing to get my work done, and to be able to go to school, also helped me to be able to sing. I can’t describe how, I just learned the skill and put it into practice. It was a matter of survival at first, and then it turned into something I could pull out of my hat when I needed to or wanted to. It also helped me to keep singing.

With all avenues against me, I still smoked. I smoked for years. On good days, 1/2 a pack. On really stressful days, two packs. Silently but progressively killing myself…and…I have been invalidating both my daughters, My grand daughter, as well as my Mother by ignoring their concerns. My mom has C.O.P.D. The doctors recently told her that she COULD have another 2 years left to live. Mom has to have surgery to remove a mass on her ovary. They are worried that she won’t be able to handle the anesthesia, and could die in surgery. That’s next month. She has a 50/50 chance to live just through the surgery. She wants to live. I want her to live, too. I don’t want her living the rest of her life, knowing that I, her only daughter, is slowly killing herself. My mom cried when I told her. I didn’t want to make her cry, but it’s wonderful knowing that in quitting, I made her very happy!

I want to live, too. I tried EVERY known quit method, not including hypnosis. I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) drop the nasty little coffin-nails.

So…now the story on the OTHER side of the picture.

I recently found out WHY QUITTING SMOKING WAS SO DIFFICULT FOR ME! It was a result of all of the epiphanies and trying to learn about myself. I found the key for me, after I stopped smoking for a day and a half.

My X-monster, in all of his attempts to destroy me, gave me the wherewithal to want and NEED to take a closer look at myself, from the inside. It was necessary to insure that I don’t have a repeat of the life I lived for over a year.

This progression started with just one small sentence that another blogger wrote, “My feelings are valid.”. From the moment that I read that for the first time, it felt like I had been hit with a brick! “My feelings are valid”. I realized that throughout all of my life, no-one had taken the time to validate ME, to validate my worth and worst of all, I WAS TAUGHT TO NEVER ALLOW MYSELF TO BE VALIDATED BY OTHERS, later on. I lived my entire life as if my own existence was INVALID!

I began mulling that statement around in my mind. I began repeating it, in order to understand. The rest happened almost naturally. I realized that VALIDATION IS THE KEY to get over my own hell with a pathological liar, with a purely EVIL person, with a PSYCHOPATH. My feelings ARE valid.

I have been struggling with finding new boundaries and reaffirming old ones. The key to success there is in recognizing that in order to do so, you must understand completely and without a doubt…EXERCISING THOSE BOUNDARIES isn’t just because you need to for survival. It’s because you are WORTH IT!

Now, here we are. I haven’t smoked since last Tuesday. I realized while doing my habitual analytical thinking, introspection/extrospection thing, that I was and am DONE WITH SMOKING, ENTIRELY. The real reason I smoked. The real reason that NOTHING I tried, worked… is that those nasty, smelly, life-changing, life-altering, life-destroying coffin nails were my only way to FEEL AND BE VALIDATED!

I am VALID. I am FREE to be who I want to be, free to demand that others respect my boundaries. I am WORTHY OF A WONDERFUL LIFE, JUST BECAUSE… I AM…

Let me restate that: YOU are VALID…YOU are FREE to be who you want to be…free to demand that others respect YOUR boundaries. YOU ARE WORTH OF A WONDERFUL LIFE, JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE.

I am valid without the cigarettes. I don’t have to smoke anymore. I still have the withdrawls, and I am NOT playing games with them. I am taking necessary steps to insure that I NEVER pick them up again. I won’t anyway.

I don’t have to!