Before and After

I don't care what you think of me

Who were you before you met the narcissist/sociopath and who did you become after your toxic relationship with them? I was unfortunate (or fortunate? We’ll get to this in a moment) to have had 2 or possibly 3 relationships with these kinds of toxic men.  One was many many years ago and I had pretty much recovered (or so I thought) and the more recent one was a few years ago.

So who was I when I met the first man?

When I speak of these relationships, I am speaking specifically of those with narcissist/sociopaths, not relationships that were relatively normal.

Before: ( First relationship: Long before age 40) 

1.   A Doormat.  I was the the typical people pleaser. I could not stand up for myself or my needs.

2.   Afraid and silent.  I was afraid to even disagree with him or he might hit me. I had no voice.

3.  Out of control of my own life. Wasn’t allowed to make my own decisions or think for myself about even the kinds of foods I wanted to eat.

4.  Young and foolish with a belief that people can change.

5.  Accepting every accusation and believing that I was the trash that he said I was because if only I could be a better wife, he would change.

During: (Second relationship, after age 40)  I have to preface this with saying I made a promise to myself that when I turned 40 I would be myself, stand my ground, speak up for my needs……..I still had some learning to do…..)

1.  I was still a doormat. He and his friends would go out of their way to make fun of me and then tell me I was too sensitive so I tried to “tone down” my reactions and not be “so sensitive”.

2.  Still silent. When he ridiculed who and what I was/am, I tried to join in the joke making and go along with the “fun”.

3.  Out of control of my life. Going to parties and associating with people and doing things that I would NEVER done but these were his “friends” and these were things he liked. Again, not even in control of choosing what I might like to eat. I’ve never heard anyone insist that you’re going to try a food and LIKE it (except when you’re like 5 years old.)

4.   Believing him when he told me that he could and/or had changed and it “wouldn’t happen again”.

5.  Believing I was an asshole who no one liked and that I created it by my own attitude and  him saying “Well, what did you expect??”

The good news was this. The first relationship, I did for nearly 20 years. I finally got out because I knew if I didn’t that I would die. In the second relationship, nearly 15 years after the first, I had grown up. Initially, I put up with all his bullshit because he played the game so well, as all narcissists do. I believed he was the nice guy that everyone adored……except for when, behind closed doors with me, he wasn’t.  I didn’t put up a fight at first, I tried to roll with the punches and the jokes and the ridiculing and his hateful rages. I thought, at first, that it was my “fault” for making him so mad. That was just the result of my old conditioning. (Time to let that shit go!)  But, then enough was enough. Fortunately, I had grown enough that this relationship only lasted a couple years instead of 20. But even a couple of years was way too much and was also plenty of time for him to set me up and ultimately ruin the life that I had built.

When I had had enough and started standing up for myself, my power came back like a lion. I roared. I don’t think he was accustomed to anyone roaring at him or even disagreeing in the voice of a mouse. I refused to tolerate the jokes anymore or his playing with other women or his ridiculing me and my children or raging and cursing me.  I think this was the beginning of my downfall but also the return of my power. He saw that I saw who he really is/was and he wasn’t going to allow it to be brought to the attention of anyone. So he started the smear campaign and setting me up so that when the final chips fell, I was the one who looked like an abusive lunatic. He did all of this without my knowledge at all. If I had known what to look for and the subtle signs, I would have known, but he was expert at his manipulations. I knew that something weird, something insidious was happening at the time, but I could not put my finger on it.

When I finally had had enough, I broke up with him. It wasn’t that easy or clear cut. Lots of unbelievable stuff was going on. When his friends publicly slandered my reputation and character, I asked him to help me and “stand up for me”. He didn’t. In fact, he threw fuel on their fire and made it far worse. From there, I was ostracized from the entire community. I lost 99.9% of my friends. (Even ones from childhood.) My own family thought I was crazy at first………except those who lived with me who had witnessed the fights, live and in person and over speaker phone. (HA!)

So during the process, what happened?

I refused to submit to more crap, the way I had during the first relationship. I refused to be bullied. Was it that easy? No. I had vomiting panic attacks at times. I stayed very slim because half the time I couldn’t eat because of the anxiety. I had nightmares.  But I stood up for myself after a time. I argued back. I didn’t let him get away with telling me “that’s just how I am and how my friends are” when the behavior was unacceptable. And ultimately, I got totally ostracized and lost all of my friends BECAUSE I HAD FOUND MY VOICE. (Hallelujah, the angels sang!!)  But I figure what I lost wasn’t real because those who really know you and love you don’t  believe in the antics of a CLOWN that they’ve only known for a short time. Oh, yes, it was horribly painful and lonely. And at times it still is.

This is who I have become: (and it’s glorious!!) 

1.  I am nobody’s doormat and I never will be again.

2.   I have a voice and I’m not afraid to use it. At times, stuff blurts out of my mouth (no, it’s not rude or inappropriate) and I say what I feel with assertiveness. To find your own voice is the one of the most amazing things you will ever do.

3.   I have learned to argue effectively. (Which could sound more like a vice, but trust me, after 40-plus years as a doormat, it’s wonderful.)

4.   I am not afraid of anyone or what they think.

5.   I am not afraid to be myself. When you’ve lost your entire community and all your friends and your reputation and your credibility, there is not much else to lose and you simply don’t care anymore what people think. Either they like you or they don’t. Their choice. Not your business. Very liberating.

6.  Not afraid to be “alone”. I have learned to travel alone, be home alone, go for days without talking to many people, eat out alone, go to the movies alone. Sure, I would prefer a companion, but learning to be alone and be OK with it is very liberating as well.

7.   I am STRONG. I have survived. Not only have I survived but I have thrived. I have rebuilt my business and my self esteem.

8.   My spirituality has become even stronger than it ever was.

9.   I have clear boundaries that will NEVER be violated again.

10.  I don’t take crap from anyone. I have learned the lessons, learned to recognize the red flags and I have an instant rejection button for anyone who does not respect my feelings and/or boundaries. I have no tolerance for rudeness and I don’t make excuses to justify anyone’s shitty behavior.

11.  I am BRAVE. I have COURAGE.

12.  I trust my own INTUITION. If it does not feel right, then it’s probably not right!!!!!

So, in other words, this has been quite the journey  that I don’t wish on anyone. HOWEVER, I LOVE the woman I have become.  I love, love, love ME!!!  I would never go back to who I was in the past. I won’t lie or sugar coat it, I still have bad days. I still work on letting go of resentment, sometimes I still hurt,  but I also know that I never would have become who I am now (which will serve me well for the rest of my life) had I not gone through this final “learning” phase. I know I can accomplish anything and survive anything, and that, my dear friends, is priceless.

We are Strong Women. We are Brave Women. We are Powerful Women. We are Warrior Women. We are children of the Most High Divine. We are Wonder Woman. We have looked EVIL in the eye and lived to tell the tale. Instead of getting down on yourself for the “mistakes” you’ve made, allow yourself to dwell on how strong you really are and the amazing, glorious woman you have become. You will NOT be kept down. You will soar like the eagle. And magnificent days stretch out before us, all we have to do is keep moving forward.

strong women 2

With power and strength,

Olivia

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Journey-of-Olivia-Rose/1632375906981319?ref=hl

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Discounts

This is a really awesome post.

SociopathHell.Com

When you read the word ‘discounts‘ you probably are thinking….discount on a tangible item. That is not the discount I will be talking about in this article.

FullSizeRender
How did we ‘discount‘ our self to the Sociopath?? After the honeymoon phase, and their real personality came out, you started to be discounted. You wanted sex, answer could be: “why do you always want sex, why is that all you think about etc.”? So you ‘discount‘ that to ‘well maybe they are tired, not in the mood‘ or whatever ‘discount’ you gave them. You decided you wanted to eat at a particular place, nope! You were given a list of reasons/excuses why ‘we can’t go there, why do you always pick that place, I don’t like the food {yet during the honeymoon they had no problem with it}. So you ‘

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Unhappy Holidays

when you're asleep

Another day in the life of a survivor on Memorial Day. I fully realize that Memorial Day is a day to honor our war veterans and I honor that but it’s also a day that friends and family gather and celebrate. (I didn’t want to minimize what the day is really about but I think you all understand what I mean.)

So today, I woke up in full blown anxiety, as I often do. I had one client to see, a lovely lady who is always so positive no matter what. She’s in her late 80’s so I suppose she’s seen and done it all and realizes more about life than those of us who are younger do. Maybe one day I will gain her joyful perspective on life. I am working on it, I really am, but I’m not there yet.

From there, I went to help a friend at her office because I had nowhere else to go, nothing to do and nobody to hang out with. During my time in the office, I discovered a large amount of money and a check missing from my purse…… I can’t afford this……..especially since I’m not too busy anymore these days since losing a lot of client referrals and clients due to Mr. Toxic Slime (the narcissist/sociopath who was in my life). I don’t know if somehow it fell out (I lost it?) or it was stolen. Either way, it’s not a good thing.

THEN, my friend (whose office I was helping out in) told me I need to go back to school so that I can actually HELP women who have been abused. That I need to study psychology. Well, Ok, that’s a valid point since the work that I do now is physically demanding and my body has a hard time keeping up with it anymore. And maybe as a psychologist I really could make more of a difference. (I already work in the holistic health/spirituality field).   I also made the mistake of sharing with her that I have been writing a blog (this one). Her response was, “What do you hope to accomplish with that?”  I said, “Well, someday I’d like to write a book. And beyond that, the other blogs and books I have read helped me enormously to know that I was/am not alone in what I have gone though / am going through. And so now I want to share with other women.” Her reply was, “Does it really serve you to STAY in that energy by writing about it?” ………….This really surprised me, because while she is much older than I am, she also lived with significant others and family members who were sociopathic. I told her that despite the fact that it’s been a few years and I’ve tried like hell not to sink in the mud of defeat and despair……..some days I AM still in ‘that energy’.

Nice way to shit on my dream. Thanks. (Be careful who you share your heart/dreams with.)

Today was one of those days. Being ostracized when you’re my age isn’t an easy thing. People think you can just go out and make new friends instantly and easily and then always be included in gatherings. Well, it hasn’t happened. In fact, I think I’ve become known as the girl with PTSD that you have to tread easy around. Great. That helps, right? In addition, by my age, most people are partnered and/or busy with their kids. Nobody has time for the third wheel. I guess this sounds like a pity party. It’s just been a rough day.

It rained heavily this morning. I sort of had a perverse kind of happiness about it because I knew there would be no gatherings or barbecues for me today….and due to the rain, there wouldn’t be any for anyone. (I’m not really that selfish, it was just a fleeting thought.)  But by late afternoon, the sun had come out and the day had turned glorious. People tell us to choose our thoughts…….but I think sometimes the thoughts just show up……..and before we can tell them to “go away”, we’ve already heard what they have to say. I remembered that Mr. Toxic Waste attended a huge (every single year) Memorial Day barbecue and picnic where he served as the very popular and highly esteemed grill master. And I knew that while I was driving home alone to an empty house, he was having the time of his life, still very much the “good guy” and center of attention (his favorite spot).

No matter how hard I try, no matter how many books I read, no matter how many blogs I read…….while I understand intellectually, I CANNOT understand in my heart how someone so abusive could remain so very very popular (only his employers and I knew who he really is) and how I could be the one who has been demonized.

This “recovery” stuff is tiresome. Perhaps people want me to be the “Pollyanna” and not write about or talk about what happened to me. Hell, I want to be a Pollyanna and just be happy. But too often it still isn’t there. Maybe I should have sucked it up and gone to a movie (alone) or out to dinner (alone) rather than coming home to an empty house. Maybe I’m wallowing in it too much. But sometimes it’s just in your face. It is what it is. What are you going to do?  My life was pretty good before I met Mr. Toxic Waste. Or at least the years between him and my ex-husband were pretty good. I had a large group of friends and acquaintances and belonged to a large community of like minded people. Now, to find like minded people where I am not considered a “target”  (I was threatened by his friends and people were openly hostile and aggressive), I have to travel to a different town. Literally.

On the upside, God wants me to know better days are ahead. I got a reply from someone I was trying to contact about my work. (Very nice!) And I saw that another blogger (( http://rapebyfraud.com/2015/05/25/all-aboard-for-the-great-sociopathic-abuse-and-recovery-blog-tour/ )) mentioned my blog in her blog!! How awesome!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!

So tomorrow is another day. It won’t be a holiday of any sort. It will be another day to start over and try again. It will be another day to work on rebuilding my life. I might even think about going back to school and starting a new career. I will most likely think about moving to a new town. (I think about this a lot.)  But for tonight, I think I will have a glass of wine and say a little prayer that better days will be here sooner rather than later. And I WILL NOT think about (ever!!) being quiet about the abuse I have endured and I will never stop writing ………..because I do it not only to raise awareness about domestic violence and narcissistic and sociopathic abuse but I do it so that all of you out there who read these words and have been there and done that  KNOW that you’re not alone in what you’re feeling. And you’re not a freak for not being able to “get over it” and “get on with your life”. One day at a time. One moment at a time. And sometimes one breath at a time.

A glass of wine, some kitty cats and a good book may just be the tonic I need.

Endless hugs,

Olivia

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Journey-of-Olivia-Rose/1632375906981319?ref=hl

Releasing the Pain

can't forgive you

After a relationship gone sour, we are told to “forgive” and move on. In a relationship with a narcissist or sociopath (far more than just a relationship “gone wrong”);  when we are dealing with abuse (physical and emotional) and often the loss of our lives as we knew them (due to the slandering of our character and reputation by the Narc/Sociopath), the loss of friends, jobs and sometimes entire communities……..when we are totally isolated and trying to rebuild our lives and not even knowing where to start…..the LAST thing we want to think about is “forgiving” the person who caused such destruction. In fact, I think most of us are hoping that the Karma bus will arrive and run them over, and the sooner the better.

In the West and in Western religions, we are taught that we need to “forgive” and even to “turn the other cheek”.  I agree that we need to forgive, but NOT to absolve the other person of wrong-doing but for our own sake. If we hold on to hate, bitterness, hurt and resentment, we open ourselves to illnesses, we stop our own progress in moving forward and we emanate a negative vibe that taints everything we do.  So what do we do? How do we handle this? I will be bluntly honest with you in saying that I have absolutely no desire what-so-ever in forgiving the person who harmed me so badly. However, I DO want to release my pain, bitterness and resentment for MY OWN  sake so that I don’t get sick and/or grow into a bitter, angry old woman.

In Eastern traditions, namely Hinduism, they have a different concept. They don’t believe in “forgiveness” in the traditional Western sense of the word. Instead they believe in offering your hurt, anger, pain, hate, resentment to the Mother Goddess, namely the Goddess Kali. She takes your pain and ingests it (transmutes it). She helps you emerge stronger and more empowered. In Hinduism, it is believed  that everyone creates their “karma” which means they reap the consequences of their actions, so people do not have to “forgive”. Other people’s Karma is between them and their concept of “God”.  This is much the same of the Christian teaching of “You reap what you sow”. The Goddess Kali (and just the idea of a female Diety) might be hard for some to understand and accept, especially if you’ve come from a traditional background. (If the concept of the Goddess and namely Kali does not frighten you, you can learn more by googling “give your pain to Goddess Kali” and you will find more in depth articles.)

My point here is not to push or promote any religion but to say that we need to offer our pain to a Higher Power of our choice, whether it be Jesus, Buddha, the Universe, God or Goddess. We need to offer it up to them so that they can take it from us and heal our hearts. It’s not a process that I can explain in a logical, rational way……it is a spiritual process and practice. It takes faith and trust. No matter how hard I have tried in the past, I cannot seem to heal my own heart. It’s something that is super-natural, done by a force inside me and yet stronger than me in my own humanness. It’s something that works for me because I have not been able (or desiring) to “forgive” on command. It’s not like flipping a switch. But by offering your pain to the Higher Power of your choice, you set spiritual forces into motion that will end up freeing you from your pain.

I think it also helps to realize that as destructive as a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath can be  (and mine was;  his smear campaign left me ostracized from the entire community and I lost 99% of the people who had been in my life and my work was negatively impacted……in addition to the abuse he inflicted which resulted in a struggle with PTSD) we emerge on the other side still ALIVE. Some days we may feel broken and full of despair and depression but eventually we realize that we are stronger than we ever knew. Slowly we realize that our fears are dropping away and we realize that if we can survive “this” with the sociopath, then we can survive anything. Discovering this strength is the greatest gift. We also begin to realize that the worst has already happened……our character has been slandered, our reputations ruined, our lives have been burned to the ground……but…… there when there is nothing left to lose, our true selves begin to emerge. We no longer care what people think of us  because we’ve seen that we could be good people and yet people still will slander and try to destroy us. We begin to step into our own power, strength, and authenticity and suddenly we realize we are beginning to SHINE again. We become these strong, bad-ass women who aren’t afraid of anything anymore and it feels really really good. You also begin to see with real clarity who and what the sociopath really is and you realize that he doesn’t get the right to ruin your life for one more moment. In fact it would be a sacrilege to let him dominate you this way for one second longer. And when you realize all these things, you begin to seek your joy again.

I don’t say any of this lightly because it’s been a few years for me to reach this place. I still have my days (and I had many many many in the past) of being depressed and not even getting dressed but those days are becoming fewer. It fairly recently  that someone shared with me the Eastern perspective of offering my pain to the Higher Power. I had been trying for the past few years to “forgive” and it just wasn’t happening and I was still carrying a lot of resentment. On my own, I had already begun to see the “gifts” that came out of my relationship with the narcissist/sociopath. As for “turning the other cheek”……….well, I don’t know what to say about that. I have no intention of offering him the other side of my face after he’s already punched one side of it.  So we’ll just leave it at that. This isn’t a philosophical debate.

So, if you haven’t done it already, go to your Higher Power and offer them your pain (you may have to keep offering it, many times) and then trust in this spiritual process of healing. You can also leave your abuser in the hands of your Higher Power. Whether you believe in Jesus or Karma, the message is the same, what goes around, comes around. You reap what you sow. So God will take care of your abuser and their relationship (or lack or it) (or lack or remorse) is between them. Either way, you end up free of pain and resentment, free of the desire for revenge and ready to get on with your life as a strong, empowered, free woman who can SPARKLE and SHINE once again.

In strength, love and power,

Olivia

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Journey-of-Olivia-Rose/1632375906981319

The Fear and Courage of Moving Forward

courage

Healing from a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath takes a very long time. If anyone had ever suggested that I would still be having repercussions from after this long, I would have never believed them. The PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) is still very much there, even after having therapy. It’s something that I am not sure I will ever be able to “turn off”. Perhaps it serves as a useful tool now to protect me, I don’t know, but I do know I’d feel happier without the nearly constant low grade anxiety (and sometimes full blown panic attacks). It can make it very hard to things that other people find ordinary. Being around new people, attending new places can be especially difficult until you learn to trust them. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find that trusting anyone new is difficult and takes a long time…….because as most of us have seen, you can know someone for years and still have them turn against you. Or believe that someone loves you and then have them try to destroy you.

Building a new life can also seem next to impossible. I don’t say these things to discourage you, but to show you that you are not alone in what you are feeling. People will tell you to go out and “make new friends” after you’ve lost all the existing ones. It takes courage and persistence. Depending on what stage of life you’re in, it can be difficult since many people are busy with being partnered and raising children. Also, dating is a huge obstacle to overcome as you learn to trust again and also deal with the triggers. Someone that I could trust told me yesterday that I probably have Complex PTSD, which is a PTSD that has originated from multiple sources of trauma. I have to read more about it, but it sounds likely. Especially if you’ve had multiple relationships with disordered individuals and the trauma in each relationship was slightly (or majorly) different. And when you add to this the “normal” stresses of every day living, it can be overwhelming.

Just last night, someone was texting me long into the night, someone I’ve never met with but felt comfortable enough to share my phone number with. I repeatedly told him I needed to sleep, but he kept texting. I could have turned off the phone but then children or family members wouldn’t have been able to reach me. This morning I blocked the number, since, if you can’t respect that I need sleep and you need to stop texting me, then you’re not going to respect much else. I don’t know if the blocking stops texts or just calls. Then the PTSD kicks in and I start to worry about what kind of “retaliation” he might have because I’ve blocked him. But, I rationalize, he has no idea where I live. So today I feel tired and irritable on a day when I have so much work to do. This is the thought process that you acquire after a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath. It gets easier just to be alone and stay alone (or so it seems). Going out on any kind of a limb, even giving your phone number out, can totally freak you out, especially when you find that there are so many people out there who are just plain inconsiderate and rude (they don’t even have to be a narcissist or sociopath!).

It is such a process and I know we have to keep moving forward. We have to keep focusing on the people and pets and things that bring us joy. We have to be willing to try to trust again and breathe through the angst. We have to be willing to let people get close to us. Little by little maybe we can be able to share bits of our soul again. I know that just feeling like I’ve said “too much” is enough to trigger huge anxiety. I have found lots of prayer to be helpful. Working with your Higher Power (by whatever name you call it) can be immensely calming. Your Higher Power always has your back and if you ask your angels to be with you, they will be, protecting you and helping you to move forward. Call upon your faith, whatever that may mean to you.

I have a big project coming up that is stretching me to the limits of my comfort zone. It’s something an ordinary person wouldn’t have an issue with. I know that the potential is there to open new doors for my career as well as forming new friendships. I have to “feel the fear and do it anyway”. I have to trust. I have to trust my own intuition that this is a good thing for me and I have to trust the other people involved. I have to dive in. To let this opportunity pass me by because of fear would not be a good thing. And, yet, it is so very hard.

While obviously, right now, I don’t have any great words of wisdom about moving forward. And the jerks still show up, like the one last night, who refused to stop texting me when I asked him to. But I write so that others may know they’re not alone in what they’re feeling and experiencing. People do not understand what it’s like to be in (or in the aftermath) of a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath. They don’t want to hear about it anymore and want us to get over it already and move on. What they don’t get is that we desperately want the same thing, but it just isn’t that easy for us. I have found that just the simple every day things become overwhelming to me, living in the manner that I used to live just isn’t possible right now. Everything and everyone becomes a possible threat. It really sucks. The anxiety and PTSD can be super intense.

So, one day at a time. Sometimes one breath at a time. Just one foot in front of the other at a time. Inch by inch, ever so slowly, moving forward. Reach deep inside and find the courage to try some new things that stretch your boundaries. Little by little you’ll find you’re making progress. It’s very hard but I understand. And you’re never alone with this. Never, ever alone. There are countless other survivors of narcissists and sociopaths out there. Feel the fear, breathe and do it anyway. Trust your Higher Power that really amazing good things are on the way.

With endless love and courage,

Olivia

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Journey-of-Olivia-Rose/1632375906981319?ref=hl

Narcissist’s NEVER leave fingerprints on their victims, just a ghostly image of their abuse!

Really good article. It takes a very long time to recover from narcissistic abuse.

After Narcissistic Abuse

“Am I crazy?” “What is WRONG with me?” “I feel empty and worthless!” “I can’t move on and I am stuck in this nothingness and lost the ability to rejoin life!” These are the burning questions, thoughts and comments from many targets, victims and SURVIVORS of this abuse AND basically trauma responses and trauma triggers. This is important because too many targets/victims are not achieving complete recovery and living in total despair.

This is a theory that is an offset of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and that is Post Traumatic Narcissism Syndrome (PTNS) which I am defining in real terms. PTNS is a condition in which the affected person’s memory, emotional, and physical systems have been traumatized just like with PTSD but while STILL being in the relationship with their Narcissist. PTNS is more apt to be described as an ‘ongoing’ or day to day trauma experience from the abuse…

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The Flying Monkeys aka Friends

flying monkeys

There are so many things that ONLY make sense in retrospect and perhaps ONLY after going to therapy and reading many many books. Realizations and understanding have still been very slow to emerge, so I’m about to share. “Flying Monkeys” has been a term that I’ve encountered (and I really like) that refer to the supporters, fan club, friends, enablers (whatever you wish to call them) of the narcissist/sociopath. The term, of course, refers to the flying monkeys who belonged to the witch in the Wizard of Oz movie. They did her bidding, followed her orders and never questioned her authority (until after she melted, if I remember correctly, then they cheered!).

One thing in my relationship (well, one of many things) that I never could understand until now was the way the Narc’s friends treated me. I am not a loud, boisterous personality and I tend to be very calm and mild mannered. I have never had a problem in my life with people being rude to me (except for that occasional other driver in traffic). Yet, it was one of the first things I noticed with the Narc’s friends. They were all rude and argumentative and extremely inconsiderate of my viewpoints and/or feelings (which I never force on anyone). When I would say anything to him about it, I inevitably got the same answers; either it was my fault (I did or said something to piss them off), or “that’s the way he/she is, and I already warned you about them”, or he would tell me they weren’t rude or that he simply didn’t notice. Now, I have had a few relationships and in most of them I found that the men were somewhat protective and did not let their friends be rude to me……I’m not even sure it was ever an issue, except for with one mama’s boy, whose mama got to be rude to me (but that’s another story). I could not understand how a group of people could be so rude and hostile. I pondered it a lot. I figured at the time that perhaps they just came from a different way of life than I did and this was how they behaved. When I would tell my friends, they would be appalled and tell me that they didn’t know ANYONE who acted this way. What confounded it even more was the Narc’s refusal to confront any of these people about their behavior towards me in any way. shape or form. Even on his social media page, I would notice that his friends would make comments that in very snide ways, demeaned me or belittled what I had to say. There were a few times he would delete my comments, even. So I stopped commenting on his page. More and more, I felt myself being pushed out of the “group”. More and more I felt like an outsider. It was very gradual and very insidious. It messed with my head. He made me think that there was something wrong with me; that I didn’t know how to behave with people. I KNEW this wasn’t true. I have a career that deals one on one with many people and I am very good at it. But, you see, that’s the special gift of the narcissist and sociopath, they can mess with your head so badly until you’re in a tail spin and you have no idea which way is up. You actually end up asking yourself if you really are the asshole that they say you are. I assure you, you are NOT.

Toward the end of the relationship, it got so bad that his friends could insult me straight to my face while he stood BESIDE me and then he would happily turn to them (after our exchange was over) and say something friendly and happy to them as if he had not heard a word. When I would confront him he would tell me that he did not “hear”  them…..that he did not “pay attention” while other people were speaking to me. As I write this, I am thinking to myself, “Ohmygawd, how could I have not seen what was going on?!” But when you’re in the midst of it, you don’t. And narcissists/sociopaths are so good at the role they play. They will tell you all kinds of lies such as “I’m not good at confrontation, I avoid it at all costs.” Or “I am afraid of fights.”  And yet you’ll see them scream bloody murder complete with all out cursing at a stranger in a parking lot who gets in their way or they get fired from their job for anger management issues, or attack their own family members.  However, when it comes to their flying monkeys, their enablers, they will do anything to preserve the image and to stay in good standing with them. What it comes down to is their MASSIVE insecurity and they will do nothing that might anger those who cannot see through them or cause them to lose these supporters and their fan club.

It goes further and this is what took me a bit longer to understand. His “friends” treatment of me was a reflection of HIS treatment of me. (And that really sounds like one of those “WELL, DUH!!” statements.)  When we first started seeing each other we’d meet up with mutual friends and his friends at a local pub. He would often ignore me and cuddle with other women, one in particular, in a corner where they congregated. I would sit alone and ponder this behavior (which doesn’t say much for my own self esteem, but we live and learn). It was obvious that I was NOT included in their “group” and I was so isolated from them that other men (strangers!) would come up to me and offer to buy me a drink. They would get an incredulous look on their faces when I would point out to them my “boyfriend” in the corner with the other woman.  When I would confront him about it, he would tell me that it was” just how this group is, they are cuddly and friendly and it means nothing”. It caused me to ask myself whether I had insecurity issues. I didn’t think I did, so it made me shut my mouth lest they think I was jealous or insecure. (Head games and more head games!! Ohhhh the head games!!)

What I didn’t know and didn’t figure out until much much later was that he was setting me up all along. I will never know for sure exactly (or maybe one day I will)  but I know he said things to people that colored their opinion of me. Narcissists and sociopaths are famous for this. They will drop tidbits about you very slowly, like slow poison, until other people form a whole new opinion of you. Those who refuse to take the bait become HATED by the narc because they see through his ruse.  When I finally ended the relationship with him people came out of nowhere with all kinds of adjectives to describe me………from brutally abusive to jealous and insecure.  The things he said to them while we were together is what gave them “permission” to treat me the way they did and then to respond to me the way they did after the break-up.

During the relationship,  I was harassed on social media (privately and publicly until I blocked the people), insulted to my face by people, and then sent email threats after the break-up (by his friends). A few even brought up medical issues that were private and my past relationships that they knew NOTHING about. (Which I had told him about and obviously he had shared.) One person had the gall to tell me that I suffered from “battered woman’s syndrome” when I spoke of the escalating verbal and emotional abuse that was going on with him. I didn’t see it at the time, but the N/S was using my past experience in a violent relationship to convince people that I was damaged and that what he was doing was OK and I was just over reacting to it .He convinced people that I had mental health issues, that I had hormonal issues, (he joined a support group for men with menopausal women), that I was jealous and insecure and that people needed to walk on eggshells around me……..to the final blow…….that I was being abusive to him! He told people that I was doing to him, EXACTLY what he was actually doing to me…..right down to telling everyone that he was being stalked by me after the relationship ended. (The reality of that was that when he was “stalking” me, calling me and telling me he knew where I was and he was on his way…….and I was in a public place…….the loud phone conversation prompted strangers to approach me and ask if I needed the police to be called.) This treatment went on from the beginning of the relationship all the way to the very bitter end (and beyond). It’s interesting to observe the people in his life who were “nice” to me. His family and his neighbors, literally, that was IT, the two groups of people who actually knew him on a more intimate basis. (Families usually KNOW who you are, especially when you display a violent temper…….and neighbors either see or hear that temper as well, so there are no games to be played with them.)

Granted, the people were stupid, no matter how I try to look at it. Either they were too blind to see the truth or they were too insecure to stray away from the herd mentality and express their own opinions about me. And some of these people, I had literally known for a lifetime, some for 20 years, some for a few years………and then there were “his” friends.  I pondered for several years how something of this magnitude could have happened. How could people be so rude?  How could people you’ve known for years turn on you like that? I could not understand for a very long time.(But my life is so much better off without them!)  The realization came through in talking to the very few (like two) of my friends who disliked him and re-reading emails he had sent me when he was angry(there were a LOT of them). I actually discovered the same phrases  (verbatim) about how he felt towards me that other people used towards me. That was when the light bulb went off inside my head and I knew he had told other people the same thing, using the same words, about me. And beyond this, people knew things about me that they couldn’t possibly have known unless he had shared with them……like the things about my past.

It still mystifies me that other people could be so gullible. But I guess I was gullible myself and I also fell for his mind games for a time. Until I didn’t. And once you see that a monster lives behind the mask of Prince Charming, you become the target to be annihilated. And if you can’t be annihilated, then your character and reputation are the next best things they can destroy. They will do anything to make themselves look like the victim and make you look like the monster.

So, here’s the moral of the story. You’re not insane or hormonally out of control, or jealous or reacting from past experiences. You are reacting the way any normal, sane woman would act in the same situations. You expect your “man” to be there for you, to be supportive and to not tolerate his “friends” disrespecting you in the least. I will never forget asking a friend how he would react if someone treated me this way and I was with him and his response was, “I’d punch them in the mouth”……and that from a person who doesn’t have a violent bone in his body. So, if in your gut, it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If it doesn’t make sense, there’s something wrong. If you have to question whether you ARE insane, you’re not. If you have to ask yourself if you’re really the asshole he says you are, then you’re not. If it doesn’t feel OK, then it’s not. Don’t allow it to continue for an extended period of time or tolerate repeat episodes of the same behavior. Find the nearest door and walk out. All of these things are HUGE RED FLAGS that say RUN RUN RUN and DO NOT LOOK BACK!!!

Find your worth, express your worth, know your worth, embrace your worth.

You are a priceless treasure,

Olivia

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Journey-of-Olivia-Rose/1632375906981319?ref=hl

For The Crappy Days

stronger than you think

It’s been several years for me since I split with the narcissist/sociopath and my life still isn’t even remotely close to being the same. It can take years to rebuild what they,  so quickly and easily and without conscience, destroy. Some days still suck. It’s hard going it alone with very few friends. I’m not going to sugar coat it and lie to anyone. It’s not easy. But there are a lot of us and we are not alone in this. I am finally speaking out, sometimes with a lot of fear…..I worry that “he” will find out and that there will be repercussions. But it would be worse still to live my life as a mouse hiding under a rock. I can’t do that. If I can educate and empower other women, then my life will be complete. If I can do that, then it will make all my own suffering mean something. If women could see the signs right away and GET OUT before the damage is done……..that’s my goal to educate and empower. Imagine if we could start when women are young teenagers………..what a difference we could make.

Initially, I  thought that narcissism and sociopathy were/are rare disorders. They’re not. Statistics have shown that one in every 25 people is a sociopath. So that kinda means they’re everywhere. And there are so many of us who have been their victims. But I don’t prefer to think of myself , or any of you, as victims……..we are survivors, we are victors and we are the warriors. We will go on and we will make the world a better place because we are HERE and we survived. We are HERE, dammit, and we survived!!  On the days that suck, when the loneliness becomes intense, remember you are not alone. You will make it through. I have to believe that a  Divine plan is in action, no matter what your religion. There is a purpose and a reason that you’re going through this. You will be amazed at how strong you will become. You will be amazed at how little you need other people and once you realize these things, there is great freedom in that. Don’t mourn for people who abandoned you because they believed what the N/S told them. If they believed you are that scum, let them go. Don’t try to explain yourself or hold on to them…..show them the DOOR!  Each of us has our karma that awaits us. Because whether you believe in Karma or not, I do believe that you get what you give, and when you kick someone when they’re down, eventually it will return to you, full boomerang effect. Everyone gets what is theirs, eventually, even when appearances don’t show it yet.

So remember how far you’ve come. Remember how strong you are, even on the bad days. Remember how self reliant you’ve become and how freeing that is…….even though the process has been hard as hell. You will make it,  things will get better. The crappy days will become fewer and fewer.

I found this awesome blog last night. It’s well worth reading. She explains so precisely what happens in our relationships with narcissists and sociopaths.      https://afternarcissisticabuse.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/your-voice-why-and-how-its-silenced-by-the-abusive-narcissist/

****I do second what she says about choosing when and where to find your voice. DO NOT put yourself in danger to tell your story. The day will come when you safely can but if you’re not in that place yet, please do not put yourself in danger.

Please feel free to reach out to me on my FB page in a private message if you need to. There is strength and support and encouragement in numbers.

With shared strength,

Olivia

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Journey-of-Olivia-Rose/1632375906981319

The Phone Call

I can see clearly now

So you called me  and I wondered to myself why I bothered to answer the phone after years away from you. Little did I know you called to give me a gift. Actually you asked me to dinner, which I found odd. But in the course of the conversation you told me I was a liar and told me to “believe what you want”. I’m not a liar and yes, I do believe what I want, obviously. So thank you for your astute observations. When I ask you not to call me a liar, you tell me that you’re entitled to your opinion and your “feelings”. I ask you again not to call me a liar. You continue to do it anyway. I ask why you’d want to have dinner with someone you believe is a liar and who has no respect for your “feelings” and you tell me it’s  because you still love me and you always will.

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit. Hot damn. Bless your sweet heart for showing me what “real love” is. (That’s sarcasm)

Somehow the conversation diverges without me hanging up on you (a miracle in itself)  and I ask how your dear uncle is since I know his health has been poor. You tell me that he’s doing OK but that you won’t be sad when he dies but your dad will be. Wow. Your sensitivity blows me away. This is the man who, back in the day, you told stories about how great he was when you were a kid and took care of you when your parents had to work. Your uncle told me stories about how much he loved you like you were his own child….and how much he did to make your life happy since your childhood had some rough spots. Now I understand your insensitivity when people in my life passed away. The only death you fear or will mourn will be your own.

Although I wasn’t technically looking into your eyes, metaphorically I did that day. And after years of trying to understand just exactly who and what you are, I finally saw it. I (metaphorically) looked into your eyes and I saw a dark hole. There was nothing there. I saw no light. I saw no love. I saw no compassion. I saw nothing. I saw a frightening emptiness. In that moment, I realized that you never loved me and you never would because you simply did not have the capacity to feel.I’m not sure you’ve ever loved anyone except for your own self perceived greatness.  It must be a sad way to live but I don’t feel sad for you, I feel free. I feel free to finally understand that you don’t feel remorse over destroying someone’s life. You don’t feel remorse for name calling  (too many name calling episodes to count). You don’t find it abnormal to call me  several years later and STILL call me a liar and then ask me to dinner. And you can’t even “pretend” to feel sad over the impending death of a “loved” family member.

Seriously, who does shit like this?

So thank you, for this unexpected gift…….and although I cursed myself at first for answering the telephone when it was you, (maybe I thought you had changed), you showed me that you hadn’t changed a bit. And you let me gaze into your eyes and as I listened to you with total detachment, I actually HEARD you, for the first time. I didn’t hear what I “wanted” to hear. I didn’t “hear” what I have always wanted desperately to believe. I heard what you said. I heard what you are. And I saw the blackness in your eyes. The emptiness. The incapacity to feel. The endless dark hole.

And finally I understood. And with this understanding comes blessed relief, and finally, closure.

With clear sight,

Olivia

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Journey-of-Olivia-Rose/1632375906981319