We read stories everyday of women that have been abused by a man. And sadly these women tend to repeat bad choices and go from one bad relationship to another. For anyone with a solid self-esteem and self-worth, it is incredulous that any woman would stay in such a damaging relationship. Here is something that so many people fail to understand; the abuser rarely walks in and begins the abuse immediately. There is physical abuse and emotional abuse. They go hand in hand but emotional abuse can happen without physical abuse. That is my story.
Why didn’t I share? I was embarrassed and ashamed. Slowly over time my sense of independence was destroyed. Over time the belief I was lovable was destroyed. Day by day comments, looks, turning things around so I would begin to question myself believing somehow I caused him to cheat and having my concerns being dismissed and ignored regularly created a complete sense of instability. If my ex-husband was home I was always tied up in knots because I was worried I wasn’t making him happy. When he was out-of-town I was tied up in knots because I worried about what he was doing. Should I have left years ago? Of course, but he didn’t reveal his true-self all at once. He did itslowly over time. Think of a bucket being filled by one drop of water at a time. It takes a long time before the bucket overflows. So don’t judge your friend who finds herself in my position. Listen to her. Don’t rebuke her for not leaving sooner. Hug her. Offer support anyway you can. Don’t exclude her because she is no longer a couple. And certainly do NOT remain friends with her abusive ex-husband.
If I could give advice to any woman who is living with a narcissist, it would be to read as much as you can about narcissism and how narcissists manipulate their victims. I would encourage her to find someone to share any secrets i.e. his cheating, his addictions, his crimes. Had I come forward the first time I found out what he was doing, I might have received support from my friends. However the shame he created in me, kept me silent. Silence is a killer. It kills your spirit. So speak up. Leaving is scary. I am facing homelessness at 56 because I was a stay-at-home mom and with no full-time work experience since 1984, I can’t get any business to take a chance on me.
Why do I write about this again? I write about this again because I can’t just dump the over-flowing bucket of abuse. It leaves as slowly as it came. Now I have a small hole in the bottom of the bucket and daily a little more of it drains out. It is just going to take time, a lot of time. Sadly I don’t have time when it comes to a job. While my ex enjoys a life in the lap of luxury, ignores his children and pretends he never destroyed lives, I work to survive and they learn to accept life as fatherless children.
I’ve been a talker my entire life. So much so it’s become a reoccurring joke with my family and friends. I always thought I chattered away because I was nervous and wanted to fill the empty space. Recently another possibility was presented to me. Do I talk too much so I don’t have to recognize what I am feeling? Do I use words to cover up my emotions?
I think there is a real chance this is true. When I was married, knowing in my gut my husband wasn’t faithful and I struggled with insecurity, I talked. If was busy talking I didn’t have to admit I was feeling insecure and why. If I admitted my husband wasn’t faithful then I would have to do something about it.
When I am in a social setting and feel like a square peg in a round hole, I chatter. I don’t have to admit I’m feeling scared or worried about being accepted. The words delay having to deal with my emotions.
Just as some people withdraw into themselves to ignore their emotions, I talk over mine. It’s time I’m quiet and listen to the sounds of my heart.
As I have said in my earlier posts, I’ve become a recluse. I have begun to worry if I am developing agoraphobia (the fear of public places). It’s so easy to stay in my apartment and the more I do it, the easier it becomes. I have made the first step towards to shutting the door or should I say opening the door to prevent that from happening.
I have signed up for three weeks of sewing classes at Stitch Labs in Austin. I have been sewing for more than 40 years, but didn’t want to take a class that would be so frustrating I would end up feeling like a failure. So I selected a beginner II class. We will make a pillow with piping and a zipper the first week. The following two weeks we will make a book style bag. I hope to brush up my skills and then possibly take a more advance class.
One of my most cherished memories are the dresses I made for my daughters and all the Halloweens I made costumes for them and then later on for my neighbors’ children. The photos bring back such happy memories. With this class, I hope to take the first step towards making happy memories again.
Our assignment in writing 101 was to look back at our posts and stats. Clearly the letter I wrote to myself was the most popular. As I reread the post I am slapped in the face with an ugly fact, as good as the advice is, I don’t take it. I need it. I definitely need to take my own advice but I am fighting an internal war.
Little battles are raging and I can’t seem to find the energy and focus I need to not only win a few battles but to ultimately win the war. I have to completely rethink who I am and what my life meant and what it will mean. It’s like I have spent 30 years looking into a warped mirror so the reflection I saw wasn’t the real me. It was the warped image controlled by my ex-husband that I saw. I saw only what the narcissist wanted me to see.
Now it’s imprinted on my brain. All those warped messages are carved deeply into the recesses of my mind. Can the damage be undone? I am not sure. Websites about narcissistic abuse have helped but finding a counselor that understand the seriousness of the damage done by a narcissist isn’t easy. I only have health insurance through the end of the year so if I don’t find someone soon that can help me see my reflection as it truly is, I have no idea what I will do.
So fellow bloggers, keep me in your prayers. I haven’t found a job and I am weary of the search. I am weary period.
I blew on the window and saw old Jack Frost. Taking my finger, I drew a heart but as quickly as it was drawn, it was gone. Is that what love was like? Was it there one minute and gone the next? Did it come in on the wind and leave with the rain? This is a question I couldn’t answer. And no matter how many time my breath gave me canvas to draw on the window pane, t never gave me the answer I was seeking. The love I was seeking was never there.
She sits at the table and stares out the window. It’s a cold day, the wind is blowing and frost forms on the glass panes. Even from across the room, I can feel her longing. She doesn’t move. I am not even sure she blinks. I do see her reach for the glass. She never draws anything but a heart. And the heart, the love never lasts. It always fades away before she has a chance to capture it.
The house looks so warm. The snow is slowly growing deeper. The flakes are large and heavy, sticking to my hat, coat and gloves as I make my way towards my car. I see her everyday looking out the window. She never smiles. I wave to her but she never waves back. Even from here, I can sense something is right. Sometimes there is a heart on the window, but before I can tell if she has written something else, it has faded.
Why doesn’t she look my way? Why doesn’t she feel my love? I reach out to her. Doesn’t she see that? Maybe My love doesn’t come in the manner which she expects. I am not a knight in shining armor. I won’t marry her. I won’t forcibly move her from the chair and the window, but I will wait. I will wait patiently. She used to know me. We used to spend time together, quietly talking and listening. But she turned her eyes away and lost sight of what matters. Now she sits and draws hearts on the frosted window pane, when all the love she will ever need is here with Me, her Lord.
I spend to much time dreaming and not enough time doing. I make lists. I make plans. I read and research something I want to do. I read for pleasure. I think about all the what ifs in life and make more lists of what would be different if I was different.
I stay inside. I’m hiding from the world right now. I shouldn’t be. I’m in a new city with new things to see and do, so I make a list again. And promise myself that tomorrow will be different. That the part of me that loves exploring life and learning new things isn’t dead. It’s just recuperating from an almost fatal wound.
I spend too much time dreaming and not enough time doing when I am not writing. I need to really live my life to have something worthy of which to write.