Oct 19, 2017
Oct 13, 2017
When asked what I’ll look for in a future partner, an image immediately pops into my brain. Not of a person, a type, or a look. No. I picture a strong, vibrant tree. Straight lines, fleshed out, and beautiful. The roots traveling deep, reaching into the earth. I can smell the soil. Above the leaves, sunshine, and clouds. But above that, are planets and nebula. Swirling deep purples and blues. I can hear the motion. Boundless expansion. This is what I will hold out for, and there’s no time frame. A wise soul, endlessly growing in both directions. Feet firmly planted. Mind blown open. A man of both earth, and the infinite.
Sep 30, 2017
For me it happened slowly...then all at once.
In four months time:
Life as I knew it changed completely.
I underwent the most radical inward journey.
My thinking rewired.
I ended up in a place I didn't think I'd get to for years.
In four months time I deeply grasped:
People can only meet you as deeply as they've met themselves.
I am responsible for what I say, not for what you hear.
Hurt people hurt people.
I am responsible for my own happiness.
It costs nothing to be kind.
My biggest takeaway from the above, is that I AM OKAY. Not only am I okay, but I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN OKAY. I will ALWAYS BE OKAY. And NOBODY CAN EVER TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME. Let me explain. I recently delved into what MY responsibility was in various situations, and relationships from past. I've been digging through the why's. Why I've chosen the romantic partners that I have over the years of my life, the friendships, why I've experienced certain situations as hardships. What was I believing to be true about both these trials, and various connections that kept me there? What was I believing to be true that sent me away? That made me sad? That made me mad? I looked at blame. If I blamed anyone through the years for letting me down, for breaking my heart, for ruining my life, for diminishing my sense of self, for disappointing me, I started to examine. I was a part of the experience. I brought something to it. My energy. Myself. My time. Me. When I look at me, what could I take responsibility for?
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Byron Katie workshop. I was introduced to her teachings, The Work years ago by one of my best friends. I thought I grasped the concept, and I did...simply. The in-person crashed course CHANGED MY LIFE. I do not say that lightly. I will NEVER be the same. In the smallest nutshell, The Work boiled down asks 4 questions. When we're in distress, having anxiety, sadness, surrounding a disturbing thought, you ask: 1.) Is it true? 2.) Can I absolutely know that it's true? 3.) How do you react -what happens- when you believe that thought? 4.) Who would you be without that thought?
Through meditation on stressful situations, and inquiry of the thoughts we are believing to be true, we can begin to break it down and see things as they really are.
I am who you believe me to be.
No person has ever hurt another.
We are believers. It's innocent. A trick of the mind. It's impossible to change your mind from what you are believing in that moment when you're in the throes. But everything ends, and then you can begin to question. You place yourself back in that stressful situation. You may be surprised at what you find. What you're believing to be true you still may find is true for you. You may find it is not true for you. When you examine who you are without that thought about the situation, or person, you see them in your minds-eye completely differently. They may not look malicious, or cruel, or arrogant. They may in fact look scared, confused, hurt.
There is SO much more to it, and a process of turning what you have believed to be true about another back onto yourself, and an examination of your role. For example, you say of someone: "they're a coward". You say, "I'm a coward." You then find ways this is true of yourself in that situation.
Through this, I've realized many of my romantic attachments in the past were based out of my own fear. Fear time was running out. Fear there was no one better suited for me. Fear options were slim.
Fear I couldn't do better.
Lifelong issues have rushed to the surface, and I can pinpoint and articulate them for once. There are old "truths" for me to now confront:
That I need a man to be happy.
That I can't take care of myself financially without a man's help.
That if a relationship is easy, something must be wrong.
That romance is tragic.
That there must be struggle.
Romantic relationships have been a glaring want/need/priority through my life, as long as I can remember. Maybe because I never saw my parents in one. I can't imagine what it would have been like to see parents kiss, sleep in the same bed, go on a date, or say I love you. I wanted what I never had, desperately. I also feared I wouldn't have it. I feared divorce. Never, ever was I going to get a divorce. Well, I've got two (drastically different) divorces under my belt, and surprisingly, I am okay. I fully do accept my life. It's mine. It's what happened, it's all in, it's made me me.
No person has ever made me do anything! I have left when I thought I should leave. No one pushed me away. I have stayed when I thought I should stay. I could have walked out the door at any time.
I have wrongly and selfishly loved versions of men I've been with other than the version that was right in front of me. I've loved past versions, and future versions. Because of this, I've poked and prodded and wished for them to be things they are not, and I have experienced being poked and prodded and wished to be what I am not.
You can't teach a cat to bark. Some people spend a lifetime trying, and at the end of their lives the cat looks at them and says...meow.
Of her now husband, BK says, "he can't move me. I'll keep going with or without him." Imagine this said in the most loving, and grounded way. It makes all the sense in the world, right?! Why should anyone want anything less of me? Why should I want anything less of the partner I love?
But we blame each other for not living up to our visions. How could we? How could someone live up to my vision? It's MY vision! How could I live up to their vision? It's THEIR vision! Blame. The blamers, BK says are the most important people in our lives. They are the ones who wake us up. Those who agree with us don't teach us anything. We become the people we don't like. We ARE them. We see ourselves in others, and we become self-righteous. Advice you give to others is always advice for yourself.
I (you) am the problem. If I am the problem, I can take care of it. It's JUST ME. It's user-friendly. Everything that happens is FOR me (you).
BK said, "The more work you do, the more you fall in love with a beautiful mind. The clearer you get, you'll fall in love with a beautiful mind. It's a match. Like you thought [previous relationships] were a match. It shows you the distance you have to travel." This was one of the most comforting takeaways. No relationship yet has been it. The end all, be all. I have so far to travel! I am only at the beginning. I am aware of the gap of what I've experienced, and what is yet to be. The gap is vast, the growth has begun, and the end result can be nothing other than the truth. HOW. EXCITING. IS. THAT?!
Learning and beginning to practice this new way of thinking brings this image to mind:
I undserand far deeper than ever before how much we trip ourselves up. WE do that. By what we think, and believe to be true. I have literally not been able to walk out of a door before because of what I believed?! I have been this horse?! Amazing. I have felt a new lightness, a new compassion.
Learning that I am okay has been nothing short of transformative...
I had the power all along...
The best BK bit was this. "You've just been told a bomb will go off in 30 seconds and will end the world. Despite what you are thinking and believing...are you okay? [PAUSE] Yes. Now 15 seconds. Despite what you are thinking and believing...are you okay? [PAUSE] Yes. But the minute you start focusing, thinking, and believing the scary or terrible thoughts upon hearing that news...you've already blown up your world."
Lightbulb, on. I get it.
A few more nuggets:
-There is no hell so dark you can't go in and clear it all up.
-Love is the power. (Love by our own definition)
-There is no one not worth listening to. You can always walk away. Do you walk away with anger or peace?
-If you didn't compare yourself with anything else in the world, aren't you perfect?
-It's just an experience. It doesn't mean you ever need to experience it again.
Sep 12, 2017
Sep 4, 2017
Aug 23, 2017
I am working through feelings when the flashes of hurt hit, and it feels so good to get them out here. I love the art of it, that the simplest flash sometimes spins into the best blog. I love the writings, and the musings that come. I love that they are coming, and that I feel connected to myself so deeply these days. Emotionally, and artistically.
Aug 20, 2017
Aug 15, 2017
I may never be able to have another baby again, and you took it all away from me.
Aug 12, 2017
By Athena Staik, Ph.D
Copied and pasted in it's entirety below (original link here)
I've put in bold and labeled with an * the most personally impactful parts.
Dear Codependent Partner,
What I’m about to say is not something I’d ever say or admit (to you), because to do so would end the winner-takes-all-game that is my main source of pleasure in life — one that effectively keeps you carrying my load in our relationship.
And that’s the whole point.
When I say “I love you” I mean that I love how hard you work to make me feel like your everything, that I am the focus of your life, that you want me to be happy, and that I’ll never be expected to do the same.
I love the power I have to take advantage of your kindness and intentions to be nice, and the pleasure I derive when I make myself feel huge in comparison to you, taking every opportunity to make you feel small and insignificant.
I love the feeling it gives me thinking of you as weak, vulnerable, emotionally fluffy, and I love looking down on you for your childlike innocence and gullibility, as weakness.
I love the way I feel knowing that, through the use of gaslighting, what you want to discuss or address will never happen, and I love this “power” to train you to feel “crazy” for even asking or bringing up issues that don’t interest me, effectively, ever lowering your expectations of me and what I’m capable of giving you, while I up mine of you.
I love how easy it is to keep your sole focus on alleviating my pain (never yours!), and that, regardless what you do, you’ll never make me feel good enough, loved enough, respected enough, appreciated enough, and so on. (Misery loves company.)
(It’s not about the closeness, empathy, emotional connection you want, or what I did that hurt or embarrassed you, or how little time I spend engaged with you or the children, and so on. It’s about my status and doing my job to keep you in your place, in pain, focused on feeling my pain, blocking you from feeling valued in relation to me. I’m superior and entitled to all the pleasure, admiration, and comforting between us, remember?)
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when you are with me, more specifically, regarding you as a piece of property I own, my possession. Like driving a hot car, I love the extent to which you enhance my status in the eyes of others, letting them know that I’m top dog, and so on. I love thinking others are jealous of my possessions.
I love the power I have to keep you working hard to prove your love and devotion, wondering what else you need to do to “prove” your loyalty.
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I’m with you. Due to how often I hate and look down on others in general, the mirror neurons in my brain keep me constantly experiencing feelings of self-loathing; thus, I love that I can love myself through you, and also love hating you for my “neediness” of having to rely on you or anyone for anything.
I love that you are there to blame whenever I feel this “neediness”; feeling scorn for you seems to protect me from something I hate to admit, that I feel totally dependent on you to “feed” my sense of superiority and entitlement, and to keep my illusion of power alive in my mind.
(Nothing makes me feel more fragile and vulnerable than not having control over something that would tarnish my image and superior status, such as when you question “how” I treat you, as if you still don’t understand that getting you to accept yourself as an object for my pleasure, happy regardless of how I treat you, or the children — is key proof of my superiority, to the world. You’re my possession, remember? It’s my job to teach you to hate and act calloused toward those “crazy” things that only “weak” people need, such as “closeness” and “emotional stuff;” and by the way, I know this “works” because my childhood taught me to do this to myself inside.)
It makes me light up with pleasure (more proof of my superiority) that I can easily get you flustered, make you act “crazy” over not getting what you want from me, make you repeat yourself, and say and do things that you’ll later hate yourself for (because of your “niceness”!). Everything you say, any hurts or complaints you share, you can be sure, I’ll taunt you with later, to keep you ever-spinning your wheels, ever trying to explain yourself, ever doubting yourself and confused, trying to figure out why I don’t “get” it.
(There’s nothing to get! To break the code, you’d have to look through my lens, not yours! It’s my job to show complete disinterest in your emotional needs, hurts, wants, and to train, dismiss and punish accordingly, until you learn your “lesson,” that is: To take your place as a voiceless object, a possession has no desire except to serve my pleasure and comfort, and never an opinion on how it’s treated!)
(That you can’t figure this out, after all the ways I’ve mistreated you, to me, is proof of my genetic superiority. In my playbook, those with superior genes are never kind, except to lure and snare their victims!)
I love that I can make you feel insecure at the drop of a hat, especially by giving attention to other women (perhaps also others in general, friends, family members, children, etc. … the list is endless). What power this gives me to put a display of what you don’t get from me, to taunt and make you beg for what I easily give to others, wondering why it’s so easy to give what you want to others, to express feelings or affection, to give compliments, that is, when it serves my pleasure (in this case, to watch you squirm).
***I love the power I have to get you back whenever you threaten to leave, by throwing a few crumbs your way, and watching how quickly I can talk you into trusting me when I turn on the charm, deceiving you into thinking, this time, I’ll change.
"I love you” means I need you because, due to the self-loathing I carry inside, I need someone who won’t abandon me that I can use as a punching bag, to make myself feel good by making them feel bad about themselves. (This is how I pleasure myself, and the way I numb, deny the scary feelings I carry inside that I hope to never admit, ever. I hate any signs of weakness in me, which is why I hate you, and all the “nice” weaklings I view as inferior, stupid, feeble, and so on.)
“I love you” means that I love fixing and shaping your thoughts and beliefs, being in control of your mind, so that you think of me as your miracle and savior, a source of life and sustenance you depend on, and bouncing back to, like gravity, no matter how high you try to fly away or jump.
I love that this makes me feel like a god, to keep you so focused (obsessed…) with making me feel worshiped and adored, sacrificing everything for me to prove yourself so that I don’t condemn or disapprove of you, seeking to please none other, and inherently, with sole rights to administer rewards and punishments as I please.
I love how I can use my power to keep you down, doubting and second-guessing yourself, questioning your sanity, obsessed with explaining yourself to me (and others), professing your loyalty, wondering what’s wrong with you (instead of realizing that … you cannot make someone “happy” who derives their sense of power and pleasure from feeling scorn for the weaklings who let me take advantage of them … like you!).
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I see myself through your admiring eyes, that you’re my feel-good drug, my dedicated audience, my biggest fan and admirer, and so on. Training you to look up to me, never question me, and bow down with pleasure to serve me as your never-erring, omniscient, omnipotent source of knowledge is my end-goal — my drug of choice.
(You may have noticed how touchy I am at any sign that you would question me; I hate how fragile I feel in such moments, worried that failing to train you in silent submission could tarnish my image in the world, something I care about more than anything else, even life itself!)
And I love that, no matter how hard you beg and plead for my love and admiration, to feel valued in return, it won’t happen, as long as I’m in control. Why would I let it, when I’m hooked on deriving pleasure from depriving you of anything that would make you feel worthwhile, be wind beneath your wings, risking you’d fly away from me? Besides, it gives me great pleasure to give you what you yearn for, the tenderness you need and want, and to burst your every dream and bubble, then telling myself, “I’m no fool.”
***I love that I can control your attempts to get “through” to me, by controlling your mind, in particular, by shifting the focus of any “discussion” onto what is wrong with you, your failure to appreciate and make me feel loved, good enough, etc. — and of course, reminding you of all I’ve done for you, and how ungrateful you are.
I love how skillfully I manipulate others’ opinions of you as well, getting them to side with me as the “good” guy, and side against you as the “bad” guy, portraying you as incapable of making me happy or manly — or as needy, never satisfied, always complaining, selfish and controlling, and the like.***
I love how easy it is for me to say “No!” to what may give you credit, or increase your sense of value and significance in relation to me, with endless excuses; and that instead, I return your focus to my unfulfilled needs and wants, my discomforts or pain.
I love feeling that I own your thoughts, your ambitions, and ensuring the only wants and needs you focus on are ones that serve my pleasure and comfort.
***I love being a drug of choice you “have to” have, regardless of how I mistreat you, despite all the signs that your addiction to me is draining the energy from your life, and that you are at risk of losing more and more of what you most value and hold dear, to include those you love and love and support you in return.
I love that I can isolate you from others who may nourish you, and break the spell of thinking they ever loved you; I love making you mistrust them, so that you conclude no one else really wants to put up with you, but me.
I love that I can make you feel I’m doing you a favor by being with you and throwing a few crumbs your way. Like a vacuum, the emptiness inside me is in constant need of sucking the life and breath and vitality you, and your determination to be kind, brings to my life, which I crave like a drug that can never satisfy, that I fight to hoard, and hate the thought of sharing.
While I hate you and my addiction to your caring attention, my neediness keeps me craving to see myself through your caring eyes, ever ready to admire, adore, forgive, make excuses for me, and fall for my lies and traps. (I could never appreciate or value you for this, how could I? I hate myself for needing these caring, yet unmanly gestures, which disgust me.)
***I love that you keep telling me how much I hurt you, not knowing that, to me, this is like a free marketing report. It lets me know how effective my tactics have been to keep you in pain, focused on alleviating my pain — so that I am ever the winner in this competition — ensuring that you never weaken (control) me with your love- and emotional-closeness stuff.
In short, when I say “I love you,” I love the power I have to remain a mystery that you’ll never solve because of what you do not know (and refuse to believe), that: the only one who can win this zero-sum-winner-takes-all game is the one who knows “the rules.” My sense of power rests on ensuring you never succeed at persuading me to join you in creating a mutually-kind relationship because, in my worldview, being vulnerable, emotionally expressive, kind, caring, empathetic, innocent are signs of weakness, proof of inferiority.
Thanks, but no thanks, I’m resolved to stay on my winner-takes-all ground, ever in competition for the prize, seeing you as my fiercest competitor, gloating in my narcissistic ability to be heartless, callous, cold, calculating … and proud, to ensure my neediness for a sense of superiority isn’t hampered.
PS: I really, really need help — but you CANNOT do this work for me (not without making things worse for both of us!). Remember, we’re co-addicted to each other, so we’d never go to an addict to get help, right?
Only a therapist, with experience in this, stands a chance, and even then, only if I choose to really, really, really let him/her! (That’s because I’d have to face my greatest fear that, not only am I not superior to those I regard as inferior, and thus not entitled to make and break rules as I please, but I’d also have to own — that my own actions, thoughts and beliefs about myself and others — are THE main cause of the suffering in my life … and changing them, THE solution. I could not would not ever want to do this for the sole reason that, from my worldview, only the feeble-minded and weak do such things! Death is better, than losing.)
Aug 10, 2017
Aug 5, 2017
And wouldn't you know it, it was by the same person.
I feel myself coming back into being. I feel more like me than I have in a long, long time.
And it's time to let it go.
Give up the ghost.
I release you.
I release me.
Aug 2, 2017
Beyond the Basics Health Academy with guest Randi Fine
** Narcissistic Personality Disorder **
NPD is a mental illness. These people are not psychotic. They look, walk, talk, and act like us. That's how they rope people in and destroy their lives.
When you're dealing with a person with this disorder, you're not dealing with the true person, you're dealing with the false self that they've created. The false self is showing a different mask to the world that is not truly representative of who they are inside. Inside they are self-loading and envious and they hate life, they hate everything about themselves. And so everybody who has what they wish they had is enviable in their minds...
...that's what throws people. They think that the person has extraordinarily high self esteem, and really does have self love which they seem to have, but they really don't.
(The narcissist) their entire life is about admiration, attention, adoration from others and they have an empty well that is never satiated or filled. So they need it constantly.
Q: What kid of things do you see with individuals that have been in relationships of any kind with somebody with NPD?
A: Complete destruction of individuality, self-esteem, great depression, hopelessness, despair, every kind of negative thing you could imagine. They come out of these relationships not at all the same person they are as when they went in. The manipulative tactics that are used on the victims are so insidious that the victim doesn't realize what's being used on them. They use tactics called gas lighting and projection, brainwashing, and psychological warfare. They completely turn their victims mind around so the person no longer knows who they are, they do not trust their instincts, nor do they trust their ability to live independently.
Gaslighting. When a victim is gaslighted they're told what they see they didn't see, what they hear they didn't hear, what they were told they were not told. They'll be told the narcissist never said what they said. What they've experienced never happened.
Projection. They will tell the other person exactly what they know to be true of themselves. They'll say you are a user, you are a manipulator, you only want things for you, you don't care about anyone else. And they constantly project this onto the other person, which makes the other person crazy, because the victim generally is a very kind, over-understanding, super-understating individual who would give anything to have this narcissist be nice to them. So when this stuff is projected onto them it makes them feel crazy, because it is so not true. And then they begin to wonder after while, well, maybe I do want too much. When the only things that they're actually asking for are having their basic, very basic needs met, which the narcissist refuses to do.
In the romantic relationship, in the beginning, the narcissist does what's called love-bombing. And they are the absolute most perfect partner. They are everything that the other person has looked for in a human being to partner with. It's also called the honey moon phase. They get to know this person inside and out, the phish for all their weak areas, and all the things they want in life, and then they morph into this perfect partner. The victim has no idea what is happening to them because they are on such a love high. They can't even believe that they found this person. The minute the union is secured; they move in, they get married, as soon as the narcissist knows that they've got that person, at that very second, it all changes. So the victim keeps trying to get back that person. "I know he/she is in there, I saw it. We had that love, we had that perfect love. I'm gonna do whatever it takes to get it back." And so the more they try to get it back, the more abused they are and it keeps spiraling downward. And they still can't understand that the person they thought they were in love with was a total fake. That person never existed.
Q: Is it possible for a person with NPD to change?
No, unfortunately not. The narcissist never changes. The narcissist has no ability to be introspective. The narcissist doesn't care about anyone. The narcissist doesn't love anyone. It's all about gaining what's called narcissistic supply. They are this empty person inside who does not have any ability to be happy. They don't have any ability to love or empathize. They need so much and they need it constantly and as soon as you finish giving them what they need, they're empty again. What they do with their victims is they capture them, and they keep them hostage through emotional abuse, so that they have these victims to continue to feed off of. Once that person is no longer supplying them, that person means absolutely nothing. So you could have had a 35, 50 year old marriage with this person. The minute you stop feeding them, it's as if you never existed. It's very tragic. And it's very hard for those who have been victimized this way to comprehend that the love they thought they had never, ever existed.
Q: Is the plan to get out of the relationship?
Even though they feel like they've got to get out of there, they're terrified of leaving. They're terrified of being on their own. They still believe they're tremendously in love, and they still believe there's a chance that this could work. Because of what's been done to their brains, they don't have the ability to think this clearly. They may get away, but in their heart they're still addicted to this narcissist.
With the littlest thing the victim is back. In their heart, they just want that person to love them. Any inkling of something that resembles attention or love and they're right back.
When people who have been victimized this way figure out what's wrong, it's imparitive that they get help with it.
It's not commonly known in our society that emotional abuse can be worse than physical abuse. With this kind of abuse, the problem is that it's intangible. With physical abuse, you can see what happened to you and your brain has a chance to recognize it and accept it. With emotional abuse theres no way for the brain to wrap itself around this kind of thing because a non-personality disordered person doesn't think the way a narcissist thinks, but they think narcissist does think like they do, and they continually try to apply logic to an illogical situation and it makes them feel crazy. They can't figure it out.
***What NPD does to children***
It absolutely destroys children. They don't have children to love children, and to see them grow and become individuals, they have children to grow their own supply. That's all it is. They don't have the capacity to love children.
The parent use things like narcissistic rage, which if you see someone in a rage like this it's among the most terrifying faces you will ever see. They use these tactics so children are afraid to go up against their parents.
Jul 31, 2017
This morning was different.
Out for a walk, I could hear it. I could feel the pulse. I was so away of the universe breathing. It was alive, I was a part of it, and I was in sync like I hadn't been in five years.
I am focusing on breathing today. I am aware. I am alive. I am breathing deeply and purposefully.
What if this is exactly where I am supposed to be? What if, after a false start, this is the beginning...of everything?
Eternal retour, eternal retour, eternal retour.
Inhale. Exhale. Begin.
Jul 27, 2017
I've been anxiously awaiting the announcement of Lucky Blue & Stormi Bree's baby. When it popped up this morning, I did not expect to have the reaction I've had. Full body sobs. In waves, I am rocked hard. I swear I can feel my heart breaking in my chest. I can FEEL it. Overcome with a grief, a love, and a special kind of nostalgia that only a mother can know. Like death, you can never understand birth until you have experienced it. There is a beautiful and devastating permanence in both. In the midst of my breakup, I grieve. I grieve the potential of what could have been. I grieve the incredible experience of the birth of my son. I look at this photo, at this moment, and I know that moment. I am sad that moment for me was so fleeting. This moment is precipice. A new life lies ahead. I am sad for those who will soon find out how hard it could be, and who will be crushed by it. I am envious of those who will stay together, and be strengthened by it, and those who will get it again. I have so many wishes. I wish he would have had patience. I wish he would have seen me through. I wish he would have comforted me when I needed it, and been a source of emotional strength. I wish I could have explored with him deeply and openly conversations of how I experienced pregnancy, childbirth, post partum anxiety, parenting styles, my mother's instinct, second babies, timelines, hormones. Hormones, who only let me begin my return to myself after a year. I envy you with men who don't claim to understand, but those who give you time. Who give you room. Who let you breathe. Who let you talk about, until it is all out, who make you feel loved, not scolded, or hurried. I see this photo, and I remember the feeling of having it all. I was full, I was complete. It is a stark contrast to how I feel these days. A new sense of freedom, yes. But also a strange loneliness. Our son now 16 months. And I still feel that it is so very much at the beginning. And that this is all such a shame. We only got 6 months in our new house together, 2 of which he spent moved out anyway. How was this an honest attempt for us? What is wrong with admitting fault? Working hard? Therapy? Communication? I am still trying to process and reconcile so much of the last couple of years. I will forever be haunted that the last time my former love and I were under the same roof, I was called names, scared, trapped, and I will never forget the way his face would change as he yelled. "I wish I had never met you" he said. "I am mad at him", he said of the baby. I will be haunted forever that he didn't want to try. To work through his demons, our marriage, and fight for our commitment. I will forever be haunted by baby Rosemary, who was supposed to come next, and never will. My body feels hollow now. I don't understand why this happened, as I am in the throes of it. I don't understand how I started with so much love, and ended with so much fear. I am left wondering if I was just something on a checklist as he rushed his way through, a hurried imitation of a life he thought he was supposed to have. I am open, wounded, and sad. I'd waited so long. To find the one person I ever wanted any of this with. For the point in my life where taking a break from work in order to be with at home with a baby was welcome. Loss. So much loss. It's enough to drive a weaker soul mad. I can't stop looking at this photo. There is a bittersweet universe that opened up in me upon seeing it. Of all I had, have, and will never have.
To those who have been here, how do you get through?
Jul 25, 2017
I can do things alone. I am able to do things alone. I am doing things alone. Why does it sounds lonely? The word alone seems small, and sad. But I do not feel those things as I write it.
I am alone. I feel this nostalgic freedom reserved for New York City. I breathed differently living there. For better, or for worse, and I certainly breathed differently visiting. Visiting. I used to go at lease once a year. Now it's been four years. The plane would touch down and I could inhale. I was released.
I can do what I want to do, when I want to do it. At times, and within reason as I am a mom to a toddler.
A coffee shop with my laptop and my latte feels like decadence. I came in unsteady, but I sit down, earthed.
I am reminded of a book my boy has, "My One Book". Little one lives in the house of one, he makes one bed, he drinks one drink, he hops one hop. You get the idea. One. One one one.
After nearly twenty years of long term relationships, one bleeding into the next, the oneness is...strange. There is no one by my side. No one will be there when I get home. My boy, my dog, of course. But I have no person.
Filling time these days is strange. I long to do everything. I bounce back and forth between needing company, and needed to be one.
It's okay, it's just taking a minute to crawl back into an old skin. A skin I've only tried on here and there, like in New York City.
Jul 22, 2017
It is a fragile, convoluted thing, to learn what love is. Three years married. Four together. One month to live a crash course in what love is.
It is not love to be yelled at. It is not love for your spouse to yell to your face that you are a bitch. It is not love for your spouse to yell at you to fuck off, or fuck you. It is not love to be grabbed roughly. It is not love to be run out on. It is not love to be given the silent treatment. It is not love to be without communication. It is not love to never be comforted, to be ignored when you cry, and to called a "little bitch lamb" because you are crying. It is not love to be told your access to your bank account will be stopped. It is not love to be threatened with divorce, and a fight for your child. Time and time again. It is not love for things to be thrown, and broken around you. It is not love to be "taught lessons"..."didn't these last two days teach you anything?" Or, "if you're going to behave like a child, I'm going to treat you like one." It is not love to beg for therapy, to finally get to go together, to last only four sessions, for one of you to get kicked out, and to never make another attempt at repairing. It is not love to be told you must have another baby or you will be left. It is not love to beg not to be left. It is not love to beg for anything.
It is not love to beg.
It is not love for any of this to happen in front of your baby.
It is not love for your baby to bear witness to these things.
There is so much shame, denial and confusion, surrounding emotional, verbal, and mental abuse. Even the strongest women are not immune. It sneaks up. You explain it away, because you can’t possibly have gotten yourself into this situation. You're too smart for that. You are not one of those women. You actually try to start telling yourself that maybe being called names doesn't really matter because, "it's just words". Plus, you are a deep-feeling, loving, and hopeful person, and you have enough love and commitment for the both of you. So that should do, right? When the going gets hard, you don’t run, you fix! You try everything and anything because we declared our commitment for all our family and friends to see, proudly. We have a child together. Leaving is not an option.
But I've learned there is no such thing as having enough love for the both of you. Or having enough faith for you both. Yes, you still have faith. But now you also have fear.
Fear is a slippery slope.
Fear also sneaks up.
You don’t dare to call for help, because you’ll work this out, and nobody will have a tainted view of your relationship. You don't want to call the police, because what if you hurt his career? And what if he takes the baby, like he said he would? You'd better sit tight. You don't dare to tell anyone, you make excuses. You pretend. But it starts to eat you alive. Your appetite grinds to a halt. You begin to have regular anxiety attacks. You are underweight. You are walking on eggshells. You've assumed a new role, of the baby’s protector. Your stomach drops and your heart sinks on a regular basis. You being to have PTSD. You turn down social activities. You say no to your friends. You beat him back home every night. You want to keep him pleased. You are sick. This. Has. Made. You. Sick. But you love him. You love him. You love him.
Letting this behavior happen is not love.
This is not love.
It is not love to excuse.
It is not love to enable.
It is not love to sweep problems under the rug with no communication.
It is not love to put up with this behavior.
It is loving to set boundaries.
It is loving to have strength, to know your son cannot and will not see this again.
It is loving to break your own heart, because you never wished for a fractured home.
It is loving to take time away, to reflect, and remember you are a worthy person.
That’s the scariest part of all. By the end, you are so upside down that your worth is nearly gone. Your WORTH. Hear me loud and clear when I tell you that YOU WILL QUESTION IF YOU ARE A PERSON WORTHY TO BE A LIVING, BREATHING THING ON THE EARTH. Many factors add up to this, including cries for help that were understood, but never responded to from those you truly thought would help. Instead, it was glossed over, and you and your son were left...feeling unloved, sure...but also unsafe. THIS IS NOT LOVE. Not love comes from a cycle of not love, and not love before that. Not love cannot be sustained when matched with real love.
And it's that simple. And it's that hard.
And yet time works wonders.
And in the beginning you're certain you'll never get through, because the man of your dreams is gone. It's gone. It is all gone. And then weeks go by. And then you near a month, then more, and you see things so much clearer now that your source of anxiety is gone. And you're right, it is gone. It is all gone. But what's gone is the darkness. The turmoil, and the sadness, the storm brought with it.
But your love is intact. And you find that you are actually intact. And you no longer pine for someone who tried so hard to leave you, for so long. And when you really take a look back...you see that someone has been trying to leave you for the last year, yes, but also since they met you.
If I stay silent, I do no favors. I enable. I patch over. I pretend. I allow no women to come forward, to say, "me too!" I have heard so many times that it appears my life is perfect. That it looked like I was living the dream. Reality is that my heart, soul, and trust were shattered. That I will pine for who knows how long for the life I thought I had. The family I thought I was building and could save, could fix. The idea that you don't throw in the towel on marriage when it's this level of love, when there is a baby. The idea that raising our baby under the same roof was the only option.
My reality is that I am broken.
As broken as the shadow of the person I thought I knew. The one who told me he never wanted me to be afraid of him. The one who told me that he hated his profession and took it out on me.The one who I both still love, and fear. The one I must turn over our son to at times now - without me. The one who belongs to a family that has now been made clear in court after the protective order, is lost to me. I thought many of those relationships could stay intact. I had a completely different vision of him being helped, and our relationships sustained. I thought family is family is family and family helps. I have been so naive. I now have no choice but to hand over my baby. This will also mean handing over my baby to family that I feel I no longer know, or will be allowed to know. I will hand over my baby to one family member whom I loved, but who always made me nervous because of the effect of their pain pills. I'd witnessed them nod off on more than one occasion...including once when my newborn son was in their arms. That is an image you don't forget. I was told I love my baby too much. But I don't for one second believe that is even a thing. Thank god I love my son and will fight to keep him healthy and safe. Thank god he has me, and I have him. My little boy all but saved my life.
I have no idea how to rebuild my life. I'd been setting myself up to be primarily a stay-at-home-mom. I have had no regular income since I was pregnant. Only freelance work. I have no idea how to pay my lawyers. I have no idea how to pay to recover and start over from any of this. It is total devastation in every aspect. Emotionally, mentally, physically, financially. You name it. So no, my life is not perfect. I am certainly not living my dream.
But what I have learned I am, is an eternal optimist. I am an amazing mother who loves her son more than anything, and will fight to protect him when, and where I need to. I also know that people are good. That men are good. That men are out there who come from communication, or want to learn communication. Who want to dig deep. Who would look at themselves, and choose to sort out their share of the issues. Who speak kindly to and of the women in his life. Who strive to discover who they truly are, and what they want. Who won't tell me that I won't be able to go get a job and provide like he does. Who won't yell at me for buying a cup of coffee. Who won't tell me he wouldn't have to yell if I didn't make him mad. Who won't want to "put me on an allowance." Who dig in to the experience of parenthood. I didn't have what I now know I needed in a partner while navigating my way into motherhood. Lost to the haze of new motherhood, I wasn't able to deeply express and work through my first 6 months of post partum anxiety. I wasn't able to express my contentment with becoming a mother, and my deep connection to our son, or talk about the kind of baby he was, and the parenting styles my mother's instincts told me fit him best. I didn't have those big exciting moments to talk about for years to come when I found out I was pregnant, or when we saw the first ultra-sound. Instead, I had someone who told me time and time again, "I'm a cold person." That his family, "bottles everything up. It's what we do." He was so determined. So committed to the cold. To the bottling.
I've been in long term relationships for the past 20 years. Never in my life did I experience a relationship where I needed to ask for help. Never in my life did I experience a relationship where someone told me I was the cause of everything. Certainly not in the 8 year relationship I was in prior. That was a good man, so good he was willing to come to my defense even now. So I am not without hope. I am confident about the fact that there are good men.
I feel a pang of sadness when I see a baby out and about with both a mom, and a dad. I keep having moments of panic because my wedding ring isn't on. For a split second I'm worried I've lost it. I'm not used to having it off. Ahead of me lies a hard road, and no, I'm not sure how I'm going to start down it, or pay for it. And yes, it still feels like all is being taken. A spouse, my baby, quite possibly any chance at future pregnancies, quite possibly the roof over our heads. I have no idea what we'll do. I am learning how crushed the stay-at-home-mom often becomes in this scenario. Where are the resources?! Life is dealing me cards I have never, ever, wanted. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. I don't know how anyone can take the required divorce classes and still want to go through this, rather than committing harder, and fixing it. Those classes are devastating.
I'm aware that this all sounds very heavy, so let me leave you with some lightness.
Recently, my bouts of sadness have started to lessen. I have ever so gently begun to feel lighter, and to feel a freedom that had gone missing. I still feel a spark inside. A spark I didn't even realize had started to go out. It is there, it is back, and it is glowing. Urging me on. I have to believe that there is better ahead. There is different, there is new. I have worked too hard, for too long to lose every scrap of myself for this. I know I was certainly not put on this earth to be this sad. And also, "Charlie's Mom" is amazing, you guys. She is tough, and strong, and soft, and sensitive, and in tune, and confident, and fun. No way would she let someone else take her worth. Someone with so much potential, but so deeply wounded. Someone so young. I've lived way too much life to see myself demolished at the hands of another. Parents and friends had begun to comment on why I was always asking permission to do things, wondering where my independence had gone.
I have a lot to figure out, about why I let this happen. Where along the way I got it into my head that romance was tragic. How I could let my attraction blind me so deeply. I am researching and reading like crazy, and will link a couple of articles at the end to help you all better understand.
If you're reading this and you've been through something similar, I hope my words and transparency help you. Help you be less alone. Help you to feel less shame. Help to remind you to stay hopeful.
And if f you ever feel that you need to ask for help - ask. And don't let anyone minimize your fear. They are not living, breathing, experiencing it firsthand. They have no right to tell you your experience is not valid. This is exactly why people feel there is no way out. If someone tells you they are scared, please listen. Respond. I beg you. And if you find yourself in the camp of the other party, help that person with some tough love, rather than a blind eye. Please, I beg you. To stay silent, to stay inactive does them no favors. The cycle will never have an end.
I am in progress. I am both happy, and sad. I am worried, but hopeful. I am full of love for my incredible family and circle of friends. My supportive community. My tribe who reached right out and helped me stay afloat. My therapist. I am learning. Every day I am digging deep and figuring it out.
What I do know now, is love is not cruel.
If it's cruel, it's not love.
It is not love.
This one really helped me understand the why and how of my participation:
22 stages of relationship between an empath and a narcissist
Understanding emotional abuse
Understanding emotional and physiological abuse