Dec. 22, 2012_ I’ve been writing here for years. Thank God for WordPress and all the people who have commented here. It has become my early morning and late night support group as I try to navigate life with my abusive ex-husband.
Here online, I’ve learned that I am not to blame. That my ex is the one with the problem. That I can’t fix him. That the legal system isn’t geared to manage these high conflict relationships. That life is not fair. And that denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.
But, I had been searching for the “why.” If I am not to blame for being hit, then who is? Why would my otherwise educated, employed husband have hit me?
Finally, I get it and now I get my role, too.
My ex is a narcissist and I played into that.
Narcissist Personality Disorder is the path toward abuse of others. Sometime the abuse is verbal. Sometimes physical. But always painful.
I am a people-pleaser, who gets more excited that someone likes me or sees me as a best friend, girlfriend, whatever, than I get excited that I like them. Don’t get me wrong. I love people. I love having fun, laughing, creating memories with people. Hanging out. Talking. Sharing a meal. Listening. Talking. Helping.
I sure do feel happy when I am around a group of people laughing up a storm.
I also like to help people in their emotional turmoils. I really do feel engaged and want to help. Sometimes, my need to help overruns the person sharing and I will feel stupid, like I didn’t do my best to listen. And that gets me to the downside of people-pleasing.
I’ve very hard on myself. I don’t believe that on my own merits, personality, that anyone would really like me, let alone love me. I feel like I need to provide something to someone in order to be valuable. I feel like I need to follow the rules set forth by the relationship in order to have a successful relationship.
Bingo. There we have it. I was willing to dance with a Narcissist because I was willing to take the blame he is always doling out. Every time he told me I wasn’t following his rules (that he be the center of everything and he gets to make all the decisions of the relationship and he maintain total control of the relationship), I didn’t question his rules, I just tried to do better to follow them.
I wasn’t a doormat about it. I protested strongly all the time. But, I was also working my tail off to “do better.” I believed that I could make him like me by my performance. And if I could get the performance right, then he would stop hitting me, hating me. He would care about me enough to treat me the way I wanted to be treated.
I had a great fantasy about how I wanted to be treated. I say fantasy, only because with him, my vision was completely impossible. But, with someone else, it could come true. I was constantly being judged by my ex as having too high expectations and I believed him. I spent hours and hours, years really, trying to reconcile my thoughts that my expectations of my relationship were demanding with what I believed was feasible.
I missed that it didn’t matter. I, just because I am me, can ask for any kind of treatment I want and I can decide how to react if I don’t get it.
My ex zeroed in on my utter insecurity about what I thought I deserved and often accused me of wanting too much. That was his right also. It wasn’t OK that he used that as his reason to abuse me. In fact, as I write this sentence, I’m realizing that I am doing “it” again…. justifying my feelings.
Once I started to read about and understand narcissism, I started to understand my ex-husband and our dynamic. And with understand comes the ability to change my actions.
I now practice “no-contact” as much as possible in dealing with my ex-husband and co-parent. But more importantly, I am practicing allowing myself to decide if I like someone else, if I am happy with a relationship, and divorcing fear as much as possible.
I see the light at the end of the tunnel … the tunnel of abuse, post traumatic stress, fear of loosing my kids, fear of violence, fear of abandonment. And, the light is a little to bright for my open irises that are used to the dark. But, I am moving slowly and my eyes and heart are beginning to adjust to the shining truth of life.