Dec. 9, 2012_ In 1994, I married a man despite that he often lied to me, broke many promises, was irresponsible, unkempt, seemingly helpless, awkward in social situations, selfish and self-centered, unliked by my family, a loner, had a horrible relationship with his mother, lacked basic general knowledge of the daily responsibilities of life, such as how to care for things, and despite that we were already in “couples counseling.”
As I write this, I am shaking my head at my stupidity. Unbelievable that I could have jumped so willing off a cliff to my emotional near-death.
As soon as I hit the bottom of the abyss of my marriage, I began a very slow climb back to the top. I fell back many times and with a sense of hopelessness often, but, I did climb out, back to the top and past my abusive partner in crime.
In 2005, I divorced the man I married, my abuser, my Narcissistic and co-parent and began my new life. In 2010, I began my true recovery process from the Post Traumatic Stress of my connection to this man. It has been a rough. I’ve cried a lot of tears and spent a lot of time devoted to thinking about him, someone I hated.
In 2012, about November actually, I began the process of closure and hopefully, back to my emotional health and my self.
Wow, 18 years. That took a long time for me to “get it…”
…That I am not to blame for his treatment of me but I am responsible for choosing to accept it. And that unless I made the decision and took action to not accept it, I was going to stay in a horrible place in my heart. Nothing would make me truly happy if I didn’t make some serious changes in my thinking.
I needed to:
1.) Recognize that how I am treated by anyone is not my doing most of the time. Oh sure, if I cut someone off on the road, they will likely give me the finger. But, by in large, how I am treated is more about how that person feels, fears, believes.
2.) Since I am not responsible how I’m treated, then I need to stop trying to control how I’m treated. I need to stop trying to play by the rules so that I can say “I’m doing everything right, why aren’t you treating me better?”
3.) I need to accept who I am and like who I am. I do not need to change, or hide myself, or strive to be “good” anymore.
4.) I need to have faith that when I am myself, that some one will like me, even love me, just the way that I am.
5.) I need to be grateful and joyful that God has given me traits and gifts that are uniquely me and that is something special.
6.) I need to stop hoping that the love of someone else will give me validation.
7.) I need to stop being scared that no one could ever love me for who I really am.
It took a long time and a lot of emotional work, but I believe that I am getting there. I no longer have a sense of tread, a bit in my stomach when I think about me and love.
When I was in college, I fell in love with a boy who approached me. He was gorgeous and kind and he treated me wonderfully. But, I kept everything about myself hidden because I was afraid that if I showed him who I was, he surely wouldn’t love me. He might even run.
Instead, he was confused and because of that confusion, he did run away.
I will always feel badly for his confusion.
I entered every relationship since then feeling scared to be myself when I was with someone I hoped would love me. It was exhausting and likely the reason I steered clear of dating.
My privacy also creeped into my “safe” relationships with women. Even my good, good friends knew that I was holding of myself back. I compensated by being the friend that could be counted on, who could help solve problems, who would listen. I was capable to no end.
But, I wasn’t authentic.
I was playing the role that I thought would relieve me of fear of abandonment. If I could be perfect, then my loved-one wouldn’t leave. When I look back at my relationship, even in middle school, I see that I was afraid of being hurt, rejected.
I had been rejected by my family in ways that I have described before, so I didn’t trust love. I knew that someone I loved could at will pull the rug out from under me, so I treaded lightly. I was skittish when faced with exposing my true thoughts.
It is no wonder that I don’t enjoy alcohol, because I don’t trust myself when I’ve lost control of my actions. I may accidentally offend someone and drive them away.
If I didn’t stay on top of my actions, then certainly I risked a high probability of being left and that was a pain I wanted to avoid.
So, when my ex-husband came around, interested in me. His obvious flaws were comforting to me. I could help him solve problems, be there for him, support him, be the girl that didn’t give him any shit. I prided myself of being non-judgmental and low-maintenance. When he treated me well, I believed it was because of how I acted toward him. When he treated me badly, I knew it was because I had failed to stay the perfect girlfriend and had to find a way to change.
Our therapists didn’t help matters either, because she used to speak to us about communication and compromise. Great if we are healthy people, but for two very unhealthy people, Narcissist and co-dependent that we were, that advice only fueled out dance.
I think it should be a prerequisite that before anyone goes through couples therapy that they first go through individual therapy and be diagnosed for any issues that might be harming the relationship. Because there is no point in couples therapy with unhealthy people.
Today, I know that I should have listened to my heart about my ex-husband. I should have spent time on my own stuff before I went into any relationship. But, I can’t turn back the clock and the good news is that in those 18 years, my sons were born and they are incredible and well worth my struggle. God wanted those boys born.
But, finding health is the purpose for all these blogs and I think I might finally be on the road. I want to thank all the people in my life and online who have listened to me and been patient with me. I am grateful.