Tuesday, December 10, 2019

When Your Father is a Narcissist

If you know me personally, you know that the last 3 years have been the worst of my life. I have grown and changed so much in that time that by now you have probably noticed I’m a different person than I was before all of this. 2 years ago, I became aware of the situation I was in, and nothing in my life has ever made so much sense. Since I was a child, I was partially aware that something wasn’t right, but I always brushed it off as my imagination and love for storytelling. But now I know the truth. For the first 13 years of my life, I was a victim of emotional abuse.

I never imagined I would write this, let alone share it with anyone. My entire life I have never been completely happy, and I never knew why. I always had a voice in my head telling me that I was a terrible human being and that I could never do anything right. This voice was born from the abuse. Every time I made a mistake, I would receive an insult masked as a joke. Every time I cried or complained saying that these “jokes” made me upset, I was told I was “too sensitive” and needed to toughen up. To my abuser, what I wanted didn’t matter. I would ask him to spend time with me, but he always said “not right now,” but he would then come to me later when I was doing something and make me feel guilty for “never wanting to do anything with him”. Whenever he was home, he was either watching tv or in the gym, either way, I was being ignored. If he was doing one of those things, he wouldn’t hear a word you say. There were names he would call me, simple jokes to anyone else, but when they are repeated over and over, they start to wear away at your pride and self-image. His favorites were “piglet” and “box-checker”. He called me piglet every time I would get food outside of meals, he would laugh as he said it and I would go along laughing while telling him to stop. As I came into my teen years, I developed a negative body image, and to this day every time I look in the mirror, I see a fat “piglet”. He called me box-checker whenever I decided I wanted to try something new, for example, a new hobby. He always made fun of how I would “lose interest” in everything I tried. I was a child, how was I supposed to know what I wanted to do, how was I supposed to know what my interests were if I didn’t try a bunch of things first? Soon box-checker became “incapable of commitment” in my mind. I have to force myself to commit to something now because I believe that I will inevitably give up.

The way my abuser thought was that I was not my own. He and I would have screaming matches about how he claimed I was his property, how I belonged to him. By now I have done my best to try and forget most of what he’s done, but a lot of it will stay with me forever. One of the things he did that bothered me the most, he referred to as “butt-bees”. He would pinch my butt almost every time he came near me, if I asked him to stop and explicitly told him that it wasn’t ok, he would maybe stop for a few days, a week at most. I got to the point where if he came within 3 feet of me, I would say “don’t touch my butt,” out of a gut reflex. At the dinner table, he would interrupt me every time I spoke, then laugh at how I got angry. He would do this multiple times until I gave up on the topic and sat in silence for the rest of dinner. When he was out of town for work, the entire house was lighter and we all felt an odd sense of freedom, but when he came back, we would forget the old feeling and go back to trying to accommodate his feelings and every whim.

Today, he is not allowed to have physical contact with me by court decree, but he still texts me almost every day. I am not permitted to block his number or else I or others involved could get in trouble. I can probably predict how you would react to these texts; they would make you feel uncomfortable after reading enough of them, you would make the same disgusted face everyone else does. I, however, have grown numb to his messages, they don’t bother me anymore because I’ve received so many. In 3 years, I will be 18, when that day comes, I will change my last name, block him on every platform he could contact me on, and I’m moving out of the state. I am not allowed to be free of him until I am recognized as a legal adult.

I will never completely recover from what I’ve been through. My mind has been so damaged from everything I experienced it will still take me years to get to a place where I can even look at him without feeling terrified and sick. There are more things he has done than those I’ve written here, and I may never share those things outside of therapy.

Although I was never physically or sexually abused, I am still traumatized by what happened to me. Due to my abuse, I unfortunately have a hard time believing that those who are close to me don’t have ulterior motives in our relationship. I always believe that they are tricking me, or using me to get something. It will take time for me to get rid of this belief, and it’s something I fight every day. Additionally, his constant teasing and insults have made me feel as if I’ll never be enough, I believe that no one, besides my mom and brother, will ever truly love me because I’m so imperfect. I’ve always believed this, there has always been a voice that appears in my head whenever I do something wrong asking me “What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you do anything right? Do you want everyone to hate you because of all your mistakes?” His words, and those of the voices, made me feel completely worthless, for a few years of my life I considered killing myself, and I thank god every day that those thoughts were never serious enough that I decided to do something.

Being around people is difficult for me because I feel as if I’m an accessory and they all have me there out of guilt or out of their aforementioned “ulterior motives”. I have a dark road behind me, and a long road ahead. My scars will never fully heal, I doubt the voices will ever entirely go away, but I’m going to do my best to rebuild myself as best as I can. I’ve already taken a big step forward. In October of 2019 I was diagnosed with depression, and about a week or 2 later I began medication. I have been doing much better since then, but my depression doesn’t account for everything I feel.

I look forward to the day when I finally get to leave my past behind and get to know my new self. I know that many people will never understand how damaging the effects of this abuse are. There is a specific term for the kind of abuse I experienced, but since my abuser is undiagnosed, I cannot officially call it or him what they are.

Every day I take another step. Every day I trust myself a little more, but I haven’t yet been able to make as big of strides as far as my feelings and reactions towards others. For now, I’m taking it day by day, and as crazy as it sounds, my experiences have made me stronger than I could have ever imagined, and I know that I will make it out of this alive.


Monday, September 16, 2019

Abandoned, Abused, and Codependent

I’ve been abandoned, abused, and I’m codependent.

From the moment my father found out about me, he didn’t want me. Growing up I had always hoped my father would fight for me and tell me I’m wanted. I never met him until I was in 4th grade. My neighbor introduced us at the high school football game, they grew up together. I didn’t hear from him again until I was in 7th grade and he wanted me to come to his house on Christmas Eve. I didn’t see him again until high school. All that time I wondered what was wrong with me that he didn’t want or love me. My mom and I did not get along through my teen years, I was so mad at her one time that I had my grandparents call up my dad in hopes he would fight for custody for me then turn his rights over to them. They were home to me. He came out to my grandparents house and agreed to ask for visitation from my mom. For six months I spent time at his house every other weekend, except he was rarely there and I spent time with my stepsister and stepmom. On my sixteenth birthday he called and said he had a present for me. I stopped by his house, he handed me a card that had $100 in it and said Love, Dad. He then told me there in front of his house by his car that if I want to continue a relationship with him, then it’s up to me, the ball was in my court. I was crushed because again, I wasn’t wanted by him. A couple years later, while I was a senior in high school I wrote to him. I didn’t hear back so I called to make sure he got what I sent him. He never returned my call. His stepdaughter and I graduated together, but he never came to congratulate me.

Once I moved to Cincinnati and had a family of my own I thought surely, he would want to get to know his grandson and me now that I’m an adult. I emailed him in August, but didn’t get a reply until that Christmas. He said “well next time you’re up stop over.” Well my bold ass called him up right away and said “we are already up here can we stop by tomorrow?” He agreed. We stopped at their new house, they had presents for us. A couple toys for Joshua and a $50 gift card to Walmart for us. I didn’t know what to say, but just accepted it. I could tell he was nervous as was I. My husband had carried on most of the conversation, which was not surprising as he did that a lot anyways. When we left, he hugged me and told me to give him a call and we would talk.i called later that week, left a voicemail and didn’t hear back for about 5 years. When my husband and I got back together and newly remarried I had reached out to my stepsister and was asking her family history questions. She kept asking for us to stop by next time we are up and I told her I appreciated the invite, but I needed to hear it from my father. Within a week, he called and invited us over again. We stopped by, again around Christmas time with more awkward conversation. It was like deja vu except this time we brought presents. Again, they gave us a $50 gift card to Walmart and some toys for Joshua. We left, I didn’t hear from him again until 6 months later when I got a text wishing me a happy birthday. That became a regular 6 month thing, text me on my birthday and on Christmas. I don’t ever know what to say to him, so I keep it short. I haven’t spoken to him or seen him since that Christmas a few years ago, and honestly, I’m done reaching out. I got tired of wondering what was wrong with me that he didn’t want me in his life.

With the absence of my biological father, I had a stepfather who was abusive. He came into my life when I was about 5 years old. He was cold, harsh, and a bully. I never liked him, he always made me feel uncomfortable. Once we moved into the house I grew up in, he started to molest me as I slept. I think he thought I was asleep when he did it, but I would wake up when he came into my room after working second shift and taking off my underwear. I just closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep. When he was finished, he would put my underwear back on me, cover me back up and get ready for bed. This was a regular routine of his for a few years. When I could, I would try to spend the night at my friends or grandparents house. I was too young to know a lot but I knew this wasn’t what dads were supposed to do. One day, I mustered up the courage to ask my best friend if her dad came in her room at night or came in on her when she was changing. She said no. I thought that this definitely couldn’t be right. I told my mom one night that he was touching me down there. I said it in front of my friend that lived next door. My mom was embarrassed I would say such a thing in front of my friend, but I didn’t know the proper etiquette of speaking my truth. That night when her husband came home she confronted him. He asked to speak to me privately and he threatened me and told me that I better tell my mom it was a lie and I only said it so I could see my real dad. When my mom came in, I lied and said I made it up because I wanted to see my real dad. I never spoke of this again until I was in the summer of my 6th grade year going into 7th. They were in the process of a divorce and he was harassing us, so I said “if he won’t stop harassing us then I will tell everyone what he did to me!” My mom wanted clarification so I told her. That confession started a whole slew of therapists and changes. I moved in with my grandparents because I felt safer there. Once he was on trial for sexual battery of a minor he pleaded guilty, and I felt relieved. My grandparents came by school to tell me the news. But I forgot that his nieces and nephew went to school with me. They spread rumors about me and said I was a fucking lying bitch. I couldn’t understand because he pleaded guilty, why would they defend him? Hiding my truth felt better than sharing it because I was ashamed that this happened to me, I felt like people wouldn’t want to be my friend because I was abused, like it was contagious or something.

As a teen, I kept trying to find someone who would want me. I wasn’t the pretty or popular girl, I was awkward, overweight, but at least I was funny. I wanted a boyfriend so bad, just to say I had one, but again, no one wanted me. In my immature stupid brain, I thought “if I do this with a boy, he may like me enough to ask me to be his girlfriend.” Well that didn’t happen, no matter how many times I tried. My senior year of high school, I finally got a boyfriend, he was from a different school, and I felt wanted for six months until he broke up with me for another girl.
After I graduated I moved to Cincinnati, seeking for someone to want me. I was trying to do the same thing I did in high school, which didn’t seem to work out this time either. Then my roommate pursued me even though he had a girlfriend. For some stupid reason I felt wanted and pursued and thought maybe he would break up with his girlfriend for me. Nope, she broke up with him. I assume it was because she was not of fan of our “friendship” and I don’t blame her. He became my husband, ex husband, husband again, and now soon to be ex husband again. This time for good. The only time I felt wanted by him was when I wasn’t his.

All of this fuckery has structured me in a way that I have a need to be reassured that I’m loved, wanted, funny, kind, admired, etc. it’s not just from love interests I need this from, but friends and family and hell even strangers. Even though i need this reassurance, I have a hard time accepting compliments. I think and sometimes say “are you sure you’re talking about me? I’m not that great.”
These needy codependent feelings have led me to the wrong person time and time again. I want the right person, for now I am working on becoming a recovering codependent. I don’t want my worth and happiness to depend on the admiration of others. I do good things, I love hard, I value my people, I am a good momma, and I love Jesus.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A Surprise Conversation with My Son

Recently, a thing happened. A thing I'd spent a little time worrying about over the years. My son googled me. I'd hoped he'd google me as Erika Bright; the name I use in social media, “Bright” being his dad's last name. I never changed my last name to Bright because when we got married, my own father was terminally ill, and I couldn't bring myself to let go of the name “Eisenberg.” So my name stayed, officially, Erika Eisenberg, on my clinical license to practice social work too. My son was looking up my business when he happened upon old news articles about me. He yelled, “Mom, I'm looking you up!” cheerfully, as I sat on the couch with my husband. We were in between episodes, binge watching “New Girl”. Jeff and I looked at each other, nervously..waiting. I shrugged. It was bound to happen eventually. I might have liked for him to be older but..oh well.

My almost eleven year old turned to me, in alarm, “Mom, were you raped?” He asked. 

“Umm, yep.” I said casually. “A long time ago..(1996).”
And there it was. The conversation I'd been wondering about how to handle for years. We talked about how it was a host father on an abroad program who'd been sexually harassing me and had harassed other exchange students too. We talked a little about why it was national news at the time. I had asked in a private letter to my college that my college institute a sexual harassment policy on abroad programs.  The college declined. And then I went public, suing them for a sexual harassment policy on abroad programs and yes, for money too. The college went the route of circling the wagons, character assassination, and victim blaming. Some people told me I deserved it because I was drunk when it happened. Some called me a liar. Some focused on what I was wearing. All the same old shit that any woman or child who goes public experiences.

I told my son that there are articles that suggest that I received millions in a settlement. Nope. Not ten million. Not 3 Million. Not 1 Million. Far less. But enough that I could invest a little, and move to a woodsy, mountainous area after graduating from college, and work, surrounded by woods and sunshine, and hike with my two dogs and my boyfriend (now husband). Nature therapy. The woods and the mountains were vast, peaceful, healing.

And as part of the settlement,  the college DID institute that sexual harassment policy on abroad programs so that when a student comes to them with concerns about a host family member, the program facilitators have a clear plan of action to follow. Other colleges across the US took notice and created policies too. My lawsuit was one of the first of it's kind and it set a precedent. And even though that was a very painful,  traumatic time in my life, it has deepened me as a person. I wouldn't wish that pathway on anyone. But here I am. I am a therapist, a trauma and EMDR specialist, and a social worker doing what I can to advocate, empower, educate, and make positive change. And I'm a parent, trying to raise a boy who understands consent, and respects women.

My son asked if I know other people who've been sexually assaulted.

"I do", I said. "It happens to lots of people but most people don't talk about it. They keep it secret. When I was 21 yrs old, 'Me Too' wasn't a thing. More people are talking about this stuff openly now. But only if they want to. It's hard. There's still a lot of shaming and victim blaming that happens."

My son asked, "Did you blame yourself?"

I said, "Sometimes, I did. I grew up believing bad things that happened were my fault. That thinking started at a very young age for me.  It took some time as a grown up, to learn how to be assertive, how to set boundaries. It took time, and therapy to undo some really crappy early life conditioning. It took time, therapy, healthy relationships. Learning to grow into who I am now. I'm OK with that. I love my life. I feel good.  I'm strong, I'm capable, I'm a kick-ass friend, mom, spouse, and therapist."

My son smiled big, and said, “Mom, I'm really proud of you.”

And that was that.

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Easy Way Out

Staying in my marriage is the easy way out.

If I had a dollar for how many times I’ve heard “divorce is the easy way out”. Divorce is hard, getting to the point where you want a divorce is hard. Staying is easier. Logistically, financially, and for the kids it’s easier. Putting on a mask of happiness is easier than showing my true pain, shame, guilt, and chaos of emotions. 

Divorce is the easy way out because you’re not facing your issues and just leaving. But am I really, though? 

If I stay, I have to fake my smile of happiness to my children. I have to pretend I like my husband. I have to act like everything is fine. I have to keep putting up with his bullshit excuses, comments, abuse, feelings of never being enough, distrust, stress, tension and fuck so much more. 

If I stay, then I have to lay in our bed and be insulted because I’m not thin enough for this position, I’m not doing what he wants, I’m not swallowing, I’m not freaky enough to bring another woman into the bedroom. Then once he’s finished he tells me “there you go” as if he did me the favor. “No asshole, my orgasm didn’t come from you anyways, I did it myself and you weren’t even in my fantasy.” Of course I don’t say it to him because that wouldn’t be the right wife thing to say. But man do I feel it in my soul. 

I was once intimate with him, where I told him my story, I shared my thoughts and feelings with him. Instead of embracing my truth and honoring me, he degraded me and used it against me. 
I didn’t even realize how I’ve longed to be intimate with someone. Not in just a sexual way but in the way where I can reveal all of me, piece by piece and he loves me anyways. A way where he honors my pain and truth and respects my body. He doesn’t just look at me as a resource for his supply, but as a partner, a best friend, and an intimate lover. Things I’ve not had yet.

Do you know how hard it will be to find someone else who will accept all of me? It will take time and may be brutal. Staying is harder, because it’s not the real me inside.
I want my kids to see my biggest smile when I see the love of my life. A true genuine smile. Not a forced smile, not where I have to grin and bare its i want them to see true love. I would rather leave now then let them feel that I only stayed with their father for them and i was miserable the whole time. 

Staying is easier because one house stays one house. I don’t have to purchase new furniture, a new place, or new things. I can save more money if I stayed. It’s cheaper to keep her as the saying goes. 
Figuring this out on my own, processing the loss of a marriage, dealing with my truth, this shit is hard. This shit is heavy and can be unbearable but damn it will be worth it. 

Don’t tell me that divorcing my husband will be the easy way out. My pain and anger are real and it didn’t just happen overnight. It’s not a decision I came to lightly. I want to be happy and I want to be the best version of myself for me and my kids. 

The struggle to be genuine is real, it’s so hard sometimes. Faking, that’s easy.


Monday, August 19, 2019

The Hell in Which I Lived

When I was 18 I met a man while I working and he instantly swept me off my feet. We went on our first date and we were infatuated with each other immediately. He was a marine stationed at the local base, so he wasn't originally from my area. After two weeks he "joked" about how if he gets married he gets a lot of extra money and I would be entitled to $400 of it. At 18, I thought this was a great idea. I could get an extra $400 a month, I could still do whatever I wanted, and in a year we would divorce. No big deal, right? WRONG. This began my nightmare that I lived for 5 long years.

To me, we weren't really married. To him, I was his property. The first several months involved a lot of fighting. A lot of threats, a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of days filled with tears. It should have been enough to make a "normal" person realize he wasn't a good person and I needed to run, fast. But, without him, I would have to move in with my grandparents, whom at the time I really didn't want to live with, and I wouldn't be able to afford the nice new car I had bought myself. So I stayed and ignored everything. I eventually had a night so bad that I cut myself. He called an ambulance and immediately the police handed me a leaflet on domestic violence. As I was in the ambulance about to go to the hospital I could hear the police officer yelling at him because he wouldn't give me my phone. He said it was his because he pays for it. Eventually he handed over my phone to the officer who handed it to me. Another big red flag that I completely ignored. Nothing came of that night; I was discharged from the hospital in the middle of the night and we went home.

Shortly after, I got pregnant with our first child. I was in the process of switching birth control when it happened, otherwise I wasn't ready to be a parent. I was even more trapped now. How was I supposed to take care of a child by myself? So, we began telling everyone and accepting our fate. Then one night, we got into a really big fight. I had texted my father that I was scared and he called the police. He was then arrested and we were ordered to be apart. He had to live at the barracks until further notice. For some strange reason, I continued to fight for him. I wrote letters to his chain of command asking for forgiveness. Begging, for him to be able to come home. I immediately ignored everything that had happened. I wanted my "husband" back.

Tragedy struck, and his father and brother were killed in a car accident. They let him come home and the next day we were headed to his hometown to be with his family. Tensions were high, and we got into a fight when we were 15 minutes from his parents house. He ended up getting out of the vehicle to walk, and I got a hotel. I stayed at a hotel for 3 days and then he and his mom came and got me. We dropped it. I felt very uncomfortable there. I had only met some of his family once, and felt I didn't have a right to be there because I didn't know his father or brother. His father and I were actually not on speaking terms when he passed. I eventually shut down and asked my grandparents to come get me because they would be somewhat in the area visiting another family member. When I confronted him about wanting to leave because I felt high levels of anxiety it didn't go well. We got into a big fight and I quickly wouldn't get out of the bed and stopped eating and drinking because I felt trapped. I locked myself in the bathroom (in the basement away from everyone) because I just needed to escape. I started to have a panic attack when everyone began yelling at me and I called an ambulance. I spent the night in the hospital and a family member of his eventually took me to a hotel where my grandparents came and got me.

When I returned home I found out I had been fired from my job for accompanying him home. The depression really hit. I was emotional from being pregnant, I was alone, I didn't have a working vehicle, and I felt that I was psychotic.

He eventually came back a couple weeks later and we had made up, yet again. This time, he was allowed to live with me again, after a lot of arguing with his command. I eventually got another job and we both went about our lives. When our lease was coming to an end we, well, I had asked my grandparents if we could live with them until he got out of the service (about 4 months) so we could "save" money. They agreed. Our son was born and a month later when he was discharged from the service, we moved back to his hometown. In his deceased father’s house no less.

After a few weeks, he went to work as a traveling ironworker. He was gone for several weeks at a time. I was a new mom in a town with absolutely no one and went into a spiraling depression. At the time I didn't have any idea what was happening and I didn't have anyone to reach out to for help; so it got worse and worse. Our fighting continued constantly and it got to the point I dreaded him coming home. He eventually turned to drugs, telling me I was the problem, and of course everything got worse. We already never had any money because he blew it all nonstop and it just got worse. I stopped paying bills entirely. It got to the point my grandfather was sending me money for groceries. I was living on ramen and spent everything else I was given on healthy food for my son. His mother was our landlord otherwise we probably would've been on the street. Our fights started getting so bad that when he was home things would be destroyed. In one instance he even took every TV in our house with him on the road because I didn't deserve them. I was expected to stare at the wall every day. When he was on the road he would ignore me for days at a time, while I would be left home crying and just wanting any sort of attention. It was a miserable life. But I couldn't get a job, so my only option was to go to a homeless shelter but I was too scared. Time went on and he eventually got fired from work. During his time at home we got into a fight because he thought I was cheating on him (facebook message) and he locked me out of the house and told me if I came inside he would kill me. I called the police and asked for some assistance just to get some clothes for my son and myself and I was going to sleep in my truck. The police ended up arresting him because I told them I didn't feel safe. The crazy part is I was just at the grocery store and I had a receipt to prove my whereabouts when the supposed cheating was taking place. So that was his second stint in jail in less than 2 years for domestic violence. Just like the first time, I fought for him. They wouldn't drop the charge this time, but they dropped it to disorderly contact and he was on probation and had to pay a fine. It was my fault that he had to pay the fine so of course that caused fights for weeks.

Fast forward, his mother eventually sold the house and we were forced to move within a matter of weeks. We found an apartment and moved. I also forgot to mention that I had gotten pregnant again. I was a few weeks shy of giving birth to our second child. I didn't have insurance before I got pregnant so I had no way to get birth control.

I give birth and soon after he goes back to working on the road. I was alone again, this time with 2 children. He was eventually fired because he quickly began abusing heroin (Which he admitted to me but I was still too scared to leave) and his boss (his mom) didn't want anything to do with it.

He eventually got a local job but ended up getting fired from there too because he was constantly late. Money was always tight, fights always happened, it was a nightmare. I was eventually encouraged to get a job, and I knew this was finally my chance.
While he was home our fights consistently escalated. It was to the point I was sleeping in the living room or on the floor in the kids’ room because he had screwed the bedroom door shut. I truly felt if I crossed him he would kill me. Multiple people knew that if I turned up dead, he was the reason. Our fights eventually got physical and I got to my breaking point. I eventually started recording, EVERYTHING. One day, we had gotten in a fight and when he tried to come break my phone I screamed but managed to catch him threatening me and charging at me. When the police showed up they saw the video (the kids were present as well) and saw all the damaged stuff the promptly arrested him. I had been working for a month or so at this point and was in the process of finding my own place. This was thankfully the perfect opportunity. When he got out of jail there was a restraining order in place but YET AGAIN, I ignored it. I let him come by the apartment that we shared. I had not secured my own place yet, but quickly knew I had to act fast. A friend of mine let me stay at her place for a while. Her husband asked me to leave a few weeks later. Thankfully, within a couple weeks I was able to get my own place and escape!

I moved out, but still let him see our children. Eventually I got sick of the kids coming home smelling like smoke, and I had the money to file for divorce and told him he wasn't allowed around anymore. It has been 2 years since he has seen our children. I have full custody, my divorce was granted and I haven't actually spoken to him in a while.

This is only a glimpse of the life I lived, a lot of details have been left out. I gave him $2,000 to put towards my child support so he didn't go to jail, he lived with me off and on, he was on my phone plan, etc. Even after being separated I still took care of him. There were many nights I contemplated killing myself and our kids because I couldn't stand being around him. Not to mention, I felt that if he killed me my kids would be in danger. Thankfully, I never acted on those thoughts. But nonetheless, it was brutal.

I wasn't perfect during those times. I cheated on him, I yelled back, sometimes I even instigated fights because I was so desperate for attention (even if it wasn't good attention at that). If you speak to him, he will tell you everything was my fault and I'm lying and so forth. For a long time I believed him. For a very very long time I believed I deserved everything that happened. It's been over 3 years since I left and I still struggle sometimes. I struggle in my new relationship, I struggle being a parent, I struggle attempting to be normal. I even found notebooks a little over a month ago that I used to write my feelings in. They go into intense detail of our fights and my depression. It's taken years, but I finally know that I am worth more than what he says I am. He used to say no one would ever want me with 2 kids. That I would never amount to anything. I used to believe him indefinitely. Now, I can EASILY stand up for myself because I know he can't hurt me. I know my kids are safe. I know I am safe. I know that I am worthy of a good life. I know who I am and I now know that he doesn't define me. It took me a while to leave. He was arrested 4 times during our marriage and each time I helped him get out. I regret more than anything not letting him get what he deserved.

He still affects me to this day though and will continue to for years. He is $14,000 behind in child support and I know I will never get a dime from him. Which is fine, I can take care of my kids without him. The car he drove (which I co-signed on over a year after we split) he stopped making payments on and I had to wait for him to get arrested for drug possession before I was able to get it back and get it repossessed, is hurting my credit. I'm working on it getting off my credit report so I can buy a house. But, at the end of the day, I'm okay. I'm better now. He is facing a lot of jail time for nonpayment of child support, for skipping child support court and for skipping court for his possession charges. One day I hope karma catches up with him, but in the meantime I am bettering my life one day at a time and excited for what the future holds. I never moved back home, I live in a bordering state now and my family is still 500 miles away but I have established a life that I am proud to live.


Thursday, August 8, 2019

Grief and Growth

Something very dark, very sinister about the way they enter our lives. They rewrite our brain chemistry, alter our memories before, during and after our time with them. They enter our very genetic base code to the point of implosion, destruction, and chaos. Even after they’re gone, our relationships change some better, some worse, some we question. There is a need to isolate to avoid more pain. At the same time, there is a need to feel loved and socially connect. One thing is for certain, our relationship with a narcissist has changed us. It has made us look deeply at ourselves, our friends, the people around us, and the world, and raise an eyebrow to everything. 

People will notice we have changed. It’s obvious. This isn’t love gone wrong, a break up of romance, this something far more tragic and psychologically damaging. We can’t fix it, stop it or cure it. It just evolves. We met and interacted with a very dark, disordered person. We can find short-term relief, apply bandages to the wounds seen and unseen. We can take classes, read books, do therapy. but we still face that monster alone inside when it decides to visit, in person or our memories. This is a very real thing, the thoughts, feelings and the pain is very real. We grieve the loss while finding our light. 


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

I Don't Normally Cry

After almost 17 years, I realized that not only have I endured emotional, mental, and financial abuse but I also endured sexual abuse from my husband throughout our relationship. Almost 17 fucking years. I listened to a podcast today about narcissistic abuse and the counselor that leads the podcast discussed ways a narcissist sexually abuses their victims. With the exception of a few, everything she said pertained to my relationship. I didn’t know what to say, or who I wanted to say something to. I wanted to run away and hide. I sat at my desk at work and tears began to flow. I didn’t weep, it was like the kink that was in my tear ducts was released like when a garden hose has a kink and you straighten it out. I couldn’t stop the tears, they didn’t last long, but it was the first time in a long time that I cried.

When I got home, I immediately changed into my most unflattering pajama pants and a shirt that doesn’t match. I’m hoping he doesn’t try to compliment me on my appearance or feels anything attractive towards me when he gets home. Dinner was made and in the oven. I was sitting on the couch and he walked in the door. I ignored him and once he picked up on it he began small talk. I couldn’t stand to listen to his voice, hear his fabricated stories, and honestly looking at him made me cringe. I told him I needed to go lay down because I was on my period and having cramps. Which wasn’t an entire lie. I laid in my bed and just wanted to hide, he kept coming in to put away laundry. So I fell asleep to get away. 

Once I woke up, he came into the room again, my daughter runs in excited that I was awake. I get up to go eat dinner and he looks at me and says “have you lost weight?” Are you fucking kidding me?! No asshole I haven’t lost any weight and I’m actually really bloated right now because I’m on my period. But all I really said was no and walked out of the room. He’s a boundary crossing narcissistic psychopath and I’ve reached my breaking point. I am broken inside, and empty. 

Here’s the crazy part...I was molested as a child by my stepfather and that didn’t break me like this did. My husband,  the father of my child, the one I thought had changed, he finally broke me. I don’t know if that’s been his agenda all along or if he really thinks about how to make my life a living hell. I no longer consider him my husband. I don’t love him. This is not what love is, and for anyone who tells me “he may change, just pray about it.” Fuck you.

I rarely cry, maybe it’s because all the shit I’ve been through has damaged my ability to cry when I’m overwhelmed with joy or my feelings have been hurt. But today... today I cried.