Fear & Narcissism

I wrote the paragraphs below immediately after ending a phone conversation with a narcissist that I was dating. Though I could’ve expressed aspects of my emotions better, it’s raw and uncensored, capturing where I was in that moment.

The victim mentality:
He says
“I have done this for you”
“I have done that for you”
“I’ve never been anything but loving and caring and respectful towards you”

“…but you can’t appreciate that you have a good man on front of you who would do anything for you.”

What is there to do except apologize and take the blame? Because if you don’t take the blame, then he’ll go tell everyone he’s the perfect man and you threw it away because you wouldn’t let him love you.

It’s a pattern. He was never anything but the perfect man in every relationship & these women couldn’t appreciate that they had a good man in front of them. He honestly believes he hasn’t done anything wrong. He’ll say he takes the blame for his wrong doing, but over and over it’s “she’s a whore, she’s a cunt. I was a good man” It’s a no win for the woman.

If you call him on saying those things, he’ll deny and then turn it around and say “No, You misunderstood. I never said that, you just didn’t listen”. He’ll always be the victim.

But don’t you dare, I mean don’t ever be so ridiculous as to insinuate that he is trying to play the victim card. Jesus, then he’ll pull a fucking nutty and go silent. And then you apologize again and he gets his power back.

He’ll constantly blame you for attacking him while telling you he’s being calm and rational. His tone of voice becomes very pointed and direct, but he’s not being confrontational, he’s simply emphatic and you’re misinterpreting him.

It’s ALWAYS your fault in his mind ALWAYS. And he gains more power every time you give in and apologize.

There is no winning. There’s only walking away…

The last line…there’s only walking away. It’s hard because a narcissist plants seeds of doubt in your mind of your own worth. You question maybe I was wrong, maybe I didn’t hear him correctly, maybe it is me.

It isn’t you!

I foolishly let this one back in briefly after doubting myself. But quickly walked away again, this time with no looking back.

I’ve spent the better part of 6 years post divorcing a narcissist afraid to get involved again. Always fearing that I would again lose myself to another like him.

I’m a strong person. I always have been. I know that people don’t understand how it is that I think I lost myself.  I’ve tried to explain it by saying that everything he was initially attracted to in me are the very things he spent 10 years destroying in me.

I’ve learned that this is classic narcissism. They do not prey on the weak. They want the challenge of owning control over someone who would never give it over willingly.

Slowly, over time, in subtle ways, he took from me the best of me. Only I couldn’t see it. I only delved deeper into a depressed state that I did a pretty good job of hiding from the outside world.

When I finally took myself back, I was terrified. I wasn’t terrified of “making it”. I knew that I could stand on my own two feet and create a new life. I was terrified that I’d find another like him and I’d lose myself again.

That fear closed me in, built walls around my heart and caused me to push people away.

Thankfully after 5 years of being alone, I meet someone who showed me what true love can really be. What being loved for who you are should be and the kind of joy a good, honest man can bring to your heart. I lost him, but not before I learned from him.

Then this one, the one mentioned in my writing above walked into my life. Charming, complimentary, funny, attractive, full of life and love…

Until I looked deeper. It started subtly at first, the signs that he might not be whom he presented himself to be. I took me awhile to pick up on it. When it hit me, nausea overwhelmed me and I started crying uncontrollably. How could I have been fooled again?

At first I didn’t want to believe it, so I would purposely steer conversations in ways that would confirm our deny my assessment. They always confirmed.

The clincher was hanging up the phone the night written about above. I knew I needed to get out, but instead I let him talk his way back in.

All of those things I feared for 6 years were happening and I wasn’t stopping it.  I was letting it roll over me…again.

This time though, I finally cut it off with a fierce finality. The beauty of modern conveniences is the block button. Blocked everywhere. Far enough away that popping by for a visit isn’t going to happen. Ghosting at its finest and I have to say, it feels pretty damn good.

Part of the reason it feels so amazing is that I finally know. I finally know that while I may continue to be attracted to narcissists, I can also now see them for what they are and I can walk away.

Thanks to him, I no longer have to live in fear of losing myself again and that might be the greatest gift a narcissist ever gave!

You can’t be him and that’s okay

You can’t be him.

He was the sun, the moon and the stars in one breath. He was everything I needed and never knew I wanted exactly when I needed him most.

You can’t be him.

…but you shouldn’t want to be him. You can’t be him and that’s a good thing. I don’t know that you can understand why, but let me try to explain.

I’m a strong personality. I’m direct. I’m grounded. I’m unapologetically honest. I think too much and work too hard. I’ve kept myself together through a lot of bullshit and I’ve done it mostly with a shrug of my shoulders and an “oh well, life goes on”. I take care of myself emotionally. I never look to anyone to help me or solve my problems. I work it out in my head. I spend so much time in my head that I tend to forget I have a heart.

I’m drawn to strong men because I see myself in them. The problem is that strong men like to take care of women and nobody takes care of me, at least that’s what my head says. I listen to my head because I don’t trust my heart. I don’t trust my emotions, so I’m drawn to men that are no good for me. It doesn’t mean that they are bad men, just not good for me.

Then he came along. He walked into my life when I was in turmoil emotionally. He walked in calmly, not trying to help, not trying to fix anything…he just walked in, sat down and stole my heart. I can’t explain it. I’ve tried to look at it logically, but logic doesn’t work when you finally allow your heart to lead.

When I was with him the peace that I felt was like nothing I’ve ever known. We could sit in silence for hours, wrapped up in each other, fading in and out of sleep. We never needed words. There were lots of talks, of course. But we never needed words to know how much love surrounded the two of us.

And the passion, the passion was so intense. When he walked into the room, the oxygen was sucked out of it. I can’t describe that feeling….it was peace and fire all rolled into one intense moment. I wanted to touch him, kiss him, make love to him, but I was just as content sitting beside him in silence. In the moments when we were most intimate, there was always a need to try to get closer, like our souls were clawing and pulling and struggling to become one. The peace was riddled with passion and it was a connection like I’ve never felt in my life.

But we were never going to be more than what we were at that moment. There was no future. It would end. For reasons that are obvious, but also because of the connection between our souls. That kind of a connection wasn’t going to last.

A true soul mate touches you in ways that no on else can. But that kind of relationship can’t last forever. He was my soul mate. He entered my life when I needed him to in order to show me that I can let my heart be my guide. But in lasting love, your heart can’t lead alone. There has to be balance. With him there was no balance, it was a connection of the heart. Yet he was what I needed in order to find balance. In order to see that opening my heart is good, but I need to think with my head too.

So no, you can’t be him. But honestly, I don’t know why you’d want to be.

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Some Gave All…

I don’t like working holiday weekends. Really, who does? However, because I had to work today, I was up early. A friend messaged me on Facebook when she noticed my activity.

When I asked what she was doing today, she told me. Her story was more than I expected and a pleasant surprise on a day I was not looking forward to because of work.

However, because of work, I learned her brother’s story…and now I’m looking at Memorial Day a little bit differently.

You see my friend’s brother was a Marine, career Marine. She told me he was a recon Marine, meaning he was sent in to do the dirty work that no one wants to talk about in the middle of the night and sneak out undetected.

She gave no details, but I can’t fathom the emptiness with which a human being tasked with that responsibility must live.

Live with it her brother did, until his early thirties when he began showing signs of mental illness.

Due to the nature of his job, the Marines wouldn’t allow him to take medication for his diagnosis. The eventuality of that refusal to medicate led him to succumb to his demons and take his own life.

I thought about his story and I realized that I’ve always associated Memorial Day with those who died in war. It’s narrow minded I suppose because soldiers lives are taken in many different ways. Some don’t make it home. Others are sent home without their sanity and because of that they eventually lose their lives.

Memorial Day isn’t simply about those who died in battle. It’s also about those who died because they battled. Those who left a part of themselves behind when they came home. Those who died on the inside long before they physically left this earth.

The truth of freedom is that there are things we don’t need to know….things we don’t want to know with regards to how our freedom is maintained. But there are people who perform these atrocities so that we can sleep peacefully at night, free to wake up the next morning and live our lives any way that we choose.

Memorial day is about honoring those who ultimately lost their battle with life because they chose to put on a uniform in order to protect the rest of us. It doesn’t matter whether they lost their battle at the hands of the enemy or by their own.

I’m certain that I don’t understand what it is that makes a person take the risk involved in putting his own life on the line for the greater good. I’m pretty sure I could defend my family if the need arose, but I don’t have what it takes to defend freedom.

Thankfully there are people that do know what it takes. There are people that choose to sacrifice their lives for us. No matter how the battle ultimately took their lives, they died for our freedom.

Thank you, my friend, for sharing your story. Thank you for allowing your loss to give me a greater sense of what this day means.

Most of all, thank you to everyone who serves in the military. And today especially, thank you to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

The flood of memories

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This song is one of my alarms on my phone. It’s also my kid’s ringtone. My youngest loves this song, but don’t tell anyone because he’s a super cool, football playin’ third grader and I wouldn’t want to ruin his street cred.

I work late on Wednesdays, but I set an alarm just in case I don’t wake up on my own. This week I was up before my alarm and in the shower. I had awakened early,  but fallen back to sleep and had an incredibly vivid dream about someone very special to me. While I was in the shower trying to shake off the rattling effects of that dream, my alarm went off.

Immediately I had a vivid memory of my youngest, sitting in the recliner watching Ellen with me.

My youngest was my buddy. I had him at home for two years while the other two went off to school. It was time I didn’t get with his older brothers because there was always a younger one around. It was between 3-5, so I got those years when he was discovering and communicating and could truly be my buddy. He would help me make decisions at the grocery store, watch shows and have conversations about them with me, help me around the house…it was amazing time together.

And now….I barely see him and he rarely wants to talk to me. “We used to be best buddies, but now we’re not” and unfortunately I know why.

I left him.

So when my alarm went off, playing this song that my buddy loves, I was hit with a memory and I started sobbing so uncontrollably that I couldn’t stand up.

That reaction is nothing new. I often get hit with memories or just moments that send me into hysterics. Tonight I talked to my oldest. He’s been sick all week. I still cry for my own Mom when I’m sick…but I wasn’t there for him….I dissolved into crying hysterics.

I miss my kids. I miss them every.single.day. There isn’t an answer. Sometimes I feel like getting into my car and just driving back to them, but that immediately starts a panic attack. I’ve started over twice in NH. The thought of doing it again causes my heart rate to increase.

I’m a better me where I am now. This is my home. The things that I need in my life are here. Except for my kids, my kids aren’t here and I need them in order to breathe.

I can’t make that choice. I can’t choose here or there. I’m supposed to believe that if I’m patient and have faith things will work out. I’m low on patience and I’m not sure I still believe.

So I get up everyday and I go to work. I navigate my life here and I even manage to laugh at times. But I have nothing to look forward to in my life, nothing. There’s no way for me to describe how that feels…empty, numb, lonely, sad…all of that at the same time.

It’s as if there’s a weight pressing down on me. It’s not always heavy, but it’s always there. And I’m beginning to feel like it always will be.

I used to have the strength to fight, but I’m old and tired. I don’t talk about it a lot because it’s uncomfortable and there’s nothing anyone can say or do.

So I cry in the shower, in bed, on the floor of my living room,in my car… I miss my kids in private and I let all of the pain overwhelm me. But then I put on my smile and I live my life. Because I learned a long time ago that the world likes you a whole lot better when you don’t show it your ugly.

I can’t explain what my heart chooses ❤

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The heart wants what the heart wants, yet somehow we’re supposed to force relationships with the “right” people and stay away from the “wrong” ones.

Whatever that means!

It’s taken me most of my adult life to stop apologizing for something that I do not control. I have no control over the connection I feel to some people and not to others, yet for some odd reason I’m supposed to feel guilty or feel like a bad person when I can’t just force my heart to love.

I have a hard time with relationships. My problem is that I have this great big loving heart and I find it more painful to hurt others than to experience rejection myself. Many people would disagree, saying that I have no heart. Those are the people with whom I do not click…

I am a firm believer in “the click”. I don’t believe in love at first site. However I do believe in “clicking at first site”. You know those people that you meet and instantly there is a connection, a kindred spirit so to speak.

Those people that make you feel like the air is being sucked out of the room, heart catching in your throat, knees getting a little shaky, that “oh my gosh I hope he can’t sense my nerves” feeling that signifies you could be more than just friends. The ones you want to get to know better. The ones that might finally fill the void.

I trust my gut implicitly because it has yet to fail me. Anyone with whom I’ve had initial reservations has always proven in the end that I should’ve just stayed away. I think I’m strong because I trust my instincts. When a relationship ends, I can always look back and see where I ignored the tail tingling telling me it was best to walk away. And yes, I absolutely ignore it at times, but my tingly tail has never been wrong.

I have a different take on fate. I believe in fate, in the sense that it puts people into our paths. However, I don’t believe that fate has anything to do with choosing to allow people into our lives. We’re only fated to choose those whom we would allow in our hearts anyway. In a hundred lifetimes, there are those that I would find and I would choose anyway. Kindred spirits, soul mates will always find each other.

Moreover I believe with an enormous amount of conviction that we are only at peace in our souls when we are connected with the right person.

…and we don’t choose who it is that brings that peace. Our hearts choose.

Until our hearts find that person we will be lonely, not necessarily alone, just lonely. I may be alone in this, but I’d rather be lonely waiting for the right heart, than feeling worse about my loneliness because I know I’m with the wrong one.

I’m not alone in my life. I could absolutely be in a relationship right now. I get offers frequently from absolutely wonderful men. I hesitate even to become friends because it often gets to that uncomfortable place where I need to say that the heart wants what the heart wants and I can’t explain why my heart doesn’t chose him. I don’t want to cause anyone to hurt even if it’s just for a moment, but trust me…

If my hands aren’t shaking, my breathing isn’t more shallow and my laugh isn’t sounding a little more nervous, there’s no click for me…

And, honestly, I don’t know why.

When You’re Not The Girl People Fall In Love With

Thought Catalog

Erin KellyErin Kelly

Love is all-pervasive. I have an entire playlist on my phone of songs that don’t revolve around love as the central motif, and sadly, it’s woefully small. I’ve been told again and again that true love is, and should be, a priority in my life. I’ve been conditioned to accept and believe that I’m supposed to have love, but I’m not good enough for it yet. Which is why, I have to constantly change, constantly alter myself, all in hopes of having someone say those magical words to me.

I’ve never had a man confess his undying love for me. Never had the romantic gesture performed for me, that left me swooning. As a young teenaged female with a healthy emotional and physical drive, this puzzled me for the longest time. I fall in love. I’ve fallen in love. And I’ve done it with everything I have in…

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Independent me

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I’m always asked why I moved to New Hampshire. When I respond “for a job” I usually get a silent pause followed by “that’s cool” or something similar. Apparently women don’t move 1100 miles from home for a job. I guess had I moved “for a man”, my answer would be more appropriate or at least more widely accepted.

I’m not that kind of woman. I never have been. I’m independent. I always have been, always will be…or so I thought.

It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I’ve been unhappy for over a year. Not all day, every day unhappy because I’ve certainly had my moments of joy. But in general the past 29 months have been tough. I’ve struggled to determine the source of my despair. There are some obvious factors that contribute, but my life has never been a cakewalk and I’ve never before been in the valley of despair for such an extended period of time.

Then it hit me, and I mean pretty literally smacked me upside the head as I was texting my roommate (a.k.a. my Mom) that I wasn’t coming home on a Saturday night (yes, I’m 41 and I still check in)….

I’m no longer independent. I lost the very thing that has made me, me. I’ve come to rely on others and not myself and it scares the hell out of me.

I came home to fix myself when I lost my license. I’ve learned things about myself here,  good and bad.  But this place didn’t make me stronger, it’s sapped my strength. It’s made me reliant on others. NH made me strong. Through everything that happened, I wasn’t scared, worried a little at times, but not scared that I wouldn’t make it. I was determined. Determined to handle whatever life threw my way.

Now I’m scared, terrified in fact of standing on my own two feet. My unfortunate incident may have stripped me of my independence by taking away my license, but being home has only furthered my need for other people to the point that I’m scared to death to move on without them.

There are moments when I feel brave enough to stand up to my challenges, but then I can list 435 reasons why is easier to keep on the path I’m on. So many reasons that I could stay where I’m at, but none of them are more powerful than the one reason why I need to pick myself up, dust myself off and step out on my own.

That reason is love, love for myself and my kids. It’s scary as hell to step into a situation that you don’t have complete control over, but it’s the only way anything will ever change.

Independence feels good and it looks good on me. (Except for the bags you’ll see under my eyes as I work 60-70 hours a week to make ends meet.) I’ve been down too long and now that I finally know why, it’s time to take a chance again, just like I did 16 years ago when I left home for a job. Baby steps this time, but independent me is the only me I like and it’s time to find her again.

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