My FB memories from a year ago remind me of how angry I was when I returned to VA from NL last July. The way I was treated was excruciating and devastating. I was married to that man for 21 years. He convinced me that he loved me, that he understood me and that he was taking care of me. If I had known what love felt like before I met him, I would have recognized his sales pitch and I wouldn't have fallen for it. I was sold a lemon and I was crushed when it rotted. I was so hurt when I came to understand what I had accepted as love for my entire life. Love does not feel like that. Love is kind. Love is understanding, love is patient and tender. Love does not shut you up and call you crazy. Love does not try to convince you that it is the only one who understands you, or that it understands you better than you do. Love does not tell you it knows what's best for you more than you know what's best for yourself. Love does not mess with your mind. Love does not tell you that you don't know what you know. Love honors your feelings, it doesn't put you in a mental hospital for feeling unhappy. An insecure ego that fears it's own lies and beliefs about itself being exposed will lock someone away (or worse) if it feels threatened you're going to expose it.
I was married to a master salesman, one who actually believes his own lies. I believed them, too for a long time. Until my body became broken and my physical condition began to reflect my emotional condition. The contrast could no longer be ignored, and as much as he was trying to convince me that I was crazy and my knowing wasn't true, I could finally see through the lies. He believes his own lies. You cannot reason with a person like that. Then, once I was on the other side of his sales pitch, his cruelty came out. His cold, angry, ruthlessness became undeniable. That was probably the most painful. To have it right there in my face, after he had denied it and tried to convince me to stay. After trying to make me believe I was crazy and wrong and that I didn't know what I was doing, as soon as we were on the other side of being in bed together, he became my worst enemy. The flip over to his true nature was devastating. To see it with my own eyes and to be treated the way he treated me was devastating. To have him lock me out and watch my dog die and his fake cry, while still maintaining somehow that HE is the victim, was devastating. I don't even know how to feel about it. I was right the whole time. The whole time I was picking up on something but I didn't know what it was. And as soon as he was exposed, his manipulation became obvious, yet he is still trying to sell me on him being the hero, the victim, the one being wronged… just makes me sick to my stomach. The world fell down.
Here I am still getting back up. It feels like a dream. My whole life feels like a nightmare. Every day I wake up and it takes me a few minutes to realize where I am, that I am not living a nightmare anymore. We have seen on the news that people suffer from kidnapping, captivity, human trafficking, all kinds of horrendous experiences. What we don't realize is that your next door neighbor could be a victim of something similar, your yoga instructor could be living with narcissistic abuse. Your child's teacher, your librarian, your favorite barista at Starbucks could go home every night to a mate who tells him or her that what he sees isn't what he sees. They could be being told not to believe what they see with their eyes, to not believe what they feel. You have no idea who is living a nightmare right before your eyes. Everything they do may seem normal, they might work, they might drive, they might have a family and friends. But you don't know what goes on behind closed doors. You don't know unless you tap into your own feelings. If you are in denial about your own feelings, you wouldn't even recognize abuse if you saw it. Until we stop saying we are fine when we are not, we are going to continue to experience this world in chaos. Just don't ask why the world is in the condition it is if we don't even know what kind of condition WE OURSELVES are in because we are so focused on the reality we are trying to uphold that we avoid how we feel inside.
My struggle isn't over. He is still fighting me and I am still afraid to go after what I am entitled to. Under the law I should get half of what we invested in together during our marriage. I will never get the $1M back that I got when my mom died. I will never get back anything I've invested in my children and my husband. While he worked on his career, I supported him and raised his kids. I didn't get an education to have my own career. I depended on him to take care of me because he said he could. He insisted. So I cleaned his house, slept in his bed and made an appearance of a good life with him. He expects me to just walk away with nothing. Nothing but the clothes in a suitcase and a disability check. I am creating a new life for myself. I am struggling to make something of my life. If it wasn't for Eric, I don't know where I would be. My own father refused to help me. So did my grandmother, my aunt, my friends. No one can really help me but me, and I can't do it without support. I deserve my share of that marriage. I deserve half according to the law. For him to try and hide what's going on, to be underemployed so that I don't ask for alimony, meanwhile there's no food in the house, the kids are hungry and the bills aren't getting paid, just shows how deeply manipulative he is. Worst of all, now he has our children supporting him. They are in Narcissistic Basic Training. All of this is so painful I can't even think about it.
So when FB memories come up and I am reminded of what and who I am dealing with, I get angry all over again. My resolve is renewed. I am stronger now than I was last year. I have had the demon exorcised, I have cleared my mind and body. I am preparing for battle. I am marching on. People are beginning to come to me for guidance. Eventually I will earn and save enough to retain a lawyer. I don't know how long it will take me to get through this ordeal. I am doing this all on my own. But I have to do this. I can't give up. I don't have another choice. This is my life and I want to be alive to enjoy it. There are people watching me. Some want to see me fail and some want to see how it is done. There are other men and women out there who want to leave, who want to get out of misery but don't know how. I can't give up. I can't roll over and take it in the butt. That's what I did during my entire marriage. I have to defend my integrity, my intuition, my mind and my life.
I've started this war by posting it all online. I've been putting on a big show since the beginning. It is all there on record, all written on my blog, on my FB, it's all there for the world to see. My tears, my anger, my vulnerability. So painful that many of my "friends" couldn't bear to watch. They blocked me, abandoned me, sided with my enemy. That's fine, that's their journey. I have my tribe behind me, supporting me with their energy, sometimes a little money, and all of that is priceless to me. It would be too easy if someone swooped in and rescued me. If that happened, I wouldn't learn what I need to learn from this experience. I need to see just how strong I am. I need to see just how much I can survive. This is the life I have chosen. I've lived with my choices and now I'm making more informed ones.