From my Book: From Charm to Harm and Everything else in Between with a Narcissist. Admitting faults, or taking responsibility for their harmful actions would take some degree of empathy of which Narcissists have NONE. It is virtually impossible for the Narcissist to put themselves in other people’s shoes and seeing him/herself as […]
Psalm 23:1“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”We were riding around in his pickup truck. Jimmy was giving us a tour of his ranch. As we drove along we heard one his cows just bellowing away. It turned out that one of her calves was trapped in the fence. The calf had one…
I watched a story this morning about the enduring friendship of five men. They have been friends for 50 years and will have attended all 50 Super Bowl games. Without going into detail, at times they have had to help each other through difficult times in order to make it happen.
I wonder where friends like that exist? In our world of texting and no real face to face time will friendships like continue to be developed? There is so much communication that takes places in the tone and intonation of our voice and body language which can never be translated to characters in a text.
I often wonder how I misread the women I believed to be my friends. Fully expecting their emotional support during and after my divorce, it was as though they had never truly been my real friends. Even after 20 plus years they turned their backs on me. My real friends didn’t abandon me even during my most difficult time. Unfortunately none of them live by me, so when I’ve been in need of a warm hug, handholding and just the company of a friend they sadly aren’t available.
So I bought You can’t lie to me by Janine Driver, lie detection expert for the FBI, CIA and ATF. They must have given me clues that their friendship wasn’t what I believed it to be. And clearly my ex-husband was lying all the time about what he was doing and I either ignored the signs or didn’t recognize them. I will do everything in my power never to be duped again by anyone.
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 it slowly 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 read this book years ago and then watched the movie. I needed a third foreign language film to fulfill the Experience Passport task. I decided to see if I could find this movie and lucky me, it was available on Amazon Prime.
It is an interesting love story between the youngest daughter of a traditional family and a young man. Tita is forbidden by her mother to marry Pedro because as the youngest daughter she is required to stay unmarried and care for her mother until she dies. In order to stay near Tita, Pedro marries her sister. Of course she is broken-hearted.
She puts all her emotions into her cooking and in turn the food is filled with her emotions. The diners are affected by some mystical connection to Tita’s emotions. Strange things happen. Some sad, some funny.
In today’s busy world I think we often times forget the power of food. The power that a homecooked meal shared with family and/or friends can hold. It offers a chance for conversation and connection. Real connection and not a quick text message. I even have fallen into the trap of texting rather than actually picking up a telephone. Being in the midst of a major life change, I think the lesson I can learn from Like Water for Chocolate is that it’s important never to give up on family and love.
I watched A&E’s tv show Intervention. It focuses on drug addicts that agree to do a documentary but in the end there is an intervention. Two things stood out to me while watching the show:
1st: I missed multiple opportunities to insist on intervention with my ex-husband and his addictions. Had I been honest with myself and my friends from the first time the police called, there might have been a chance to save him and save our marriage. But instead just like some of the family members on the tv show, I chose to ignore the seriousness of his addictions and how destructive they were and still are.
2nd: I saw too many silimaritirs between drug addiction and the way it destroys families and my depression. I don’t drink or use drugs but I’ve allowed my depression to become an addiction. I’ve taken steps to get help and I’m slowly getting better. But seeing first hand how heartbroken the families are watching their loved ones suffer and how much suffering it causes them made me realize I have to fight harder.
I have to fight every second of every day to forgive myself for allowing my ex-husband to mentally and emotionally abuse me. I have to fight to forgive myself for not leaving. I have to forgive myself for disappointing my daughters.
I have wonderful girls. They make me proud and happy everyday. They along with my son-in-law have stood by me. They have been strong and stood up to their father and refused to accept his behavior and his failure to admit his addictions and how he has hurt our family. They’ve also been strong and stood up to me and told me they know I can do better, be better and be happier.
All I can do is face the reality of my situation and fight my way back. I never deserved to be treated the way I was. I never deserved to be disrespected, ignored or cheated on. I deserve so much more.
I believe we are all aware that we learn lessons as we go through life. Some are obvious like; look both ways before crossing the street or foul language is not appropriate. But what about all of the lessons we learn unknowingly through our interactions with the people around us? For me lesson #1 to unlearn is:
Compliments people give you are never really genuine and can not be trusted to be true.
Growing up I don’t remember a time when I received a compliment that someone in my circle of family or friends didn’t find someway to discount what was said. If someone told me I was pretty and I shared that, I didn’t hear; I think so too or they are right or how lovely. I heard; well you could look like a monkey for all I know but I’d still love you. What does a child hear? The compliments can’t be trusted. I could give many examples but the point is I was taught to close myself off from any positive comments. I learned people don’t give genuine heartfelt comments and when I receive nice words, I should immediately disregard them.
How has this affected me? I have closed myself off from letting people love me. I’ve filtered out all the nice comments and have only let the criticism come through. No wonder I am so self criticial and struggle with believing in myself.
So for 2016, the first lesson I am going to teach myself is this;
Compliments given from people are genuine and can be trusted to be true.
A lifetime of care and support
You stand by my side forgiving me my faults
The mother of my children
My faithful wife
An understanding friend
A loving daughter-in-law
Lover of God, follower of Jesus, community volunteer
A sensual and eager lover
I will love you forever
The joke is on you, I cheated, I bought sex, I denied, I walked away and left you alone and financially destitute. I betrayed our family. I broke my daughters’ hearts. I left them behind and chose not to be their father. I stood before God and lied. Lied, lied, lied. I am Doug and I am a fallacy personified.
To be honest I couldn’t find anything I felt worthy of readdressing. My mood is dark as is my future. I no longer think clearly or have the ability to read a book or watch a simple television show without seeing and thinking of all that was taken from me and what I will never experience again. And to aggravate me and wear my patience my cat will not stop crying. He meows over and over, louder and louder. Do you think he speaking for me? Crying the tears when I’m too lost to cry for myself?
“We read to know we’re not alone.” -William Nicholson, Shadowlands
I read everyday. It’s not unusual for me to read one book in two days. I read because I am alone. I am always alone. Except for the group I meet with three times a week, I see no one and I talk to no one.
Isolation is not a good thing but it is an addictive thing. It creeps up on you unexpectedly. One day turns to two and two turns into three and before you know it a week, a month goes by.
I never intended to be in this place of loneliness. This deep, dark well of drowning sadness. Someone born without a soul stole mine. And I won’t steal someone’s soul because I no longer have one. That is cruel and evil.
Everyday gets more difficult. Everyday is longer than the last. Everyday I think it will be my last.