Is Healing Within Reach?

journey to healingI have realized that after a narcissistic relationship is over and you think you’re fine, that sometimes the post traumatic stress doesn’t really surface until later. Especially when your entire way of life (friendships, work, ect) was destroyed by the narcissist. Especially when all your support systems are gone. When friends that you were able to keep  tell you to get over it already. Nobody quite understands what it’s like to have someone who you thought “loved” you turn around and try to destroy you. They don’t know what it’s like to be constantly watching over your shoulder because someone keeps stalking you long after the relationship is over. They don’t know what it’s like to have severe trust issues because you’re constantly watching for the “red flags” with new people and you’re even afraid to give anyone your phone number and massively afraid for anyone to know where you live. Because. What if they turn out to be another psycho? It’s sobering to realize that sometimes the worst times come long after the actual relationship has ended.

Hell, I’m not afraid of a broken heart, that’s the least of it. Life goes on after loss of love. But what makes survivors of narcissists/sociopaths afraid is of actual danger. Physical harm. Stalking. Encountering them or their violent friends out in public. Afraid of more narcissists, more psychopaths. Someone else who might put every ounce of their energy into trying to destroy you. That’s what I am afraid of.

You think you’re going along trying to regain your life and then you realize you’re being stalked and/or watched. As the months and months unfold, sometimes into years,  you still find accounts that have been hacked, you find photographs of you where they don’t belong, your belongings are tampered with…..to the point you have to call the police. You wonder if it will ever end. You finally see how you were set up from almost day one with the narcissist, how they actually planted the seeds (in other people’s minds) to paint you as the one who was sadistic and abusive and crazy. As the picture becomes clearer and clearer of what actually happened to you and you live daily with the repercussions of all of it……healing can seem far away…… especially when you think it’s finally over but every time you think that, something else surfaces.  It can feel like the never-ending nightmare.

It’s like a million times easier to get over a “normal” relationship that has gone bad.

It’s been several years for me. I never thought I would be at this point and still be so disabled by “what happened”. And “disabled” is not a term I use lightly or frivolously.   I am going back to therapy. I know that I have to reprogram my brain and I know that I need help doing it. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be “normal” again. I know for sure I will never be the same person I was before all of this.

Some methods that I have researched for releasing trauma include energy healing, Emotional Freedom technique and EDMR.  According to what I have read, those are the most effective techniques for releasing trauma. I would encourage you to research them for yourself. I also know I have to create a new “script” inside my head to actually form new neural pathways in my brain. Essentially, rewiring my own brain. Something tells me that I may need to write a script or a list of affirmations that are specific to what I have dealt with (and individual)  and that will counter-act the negative thoughts that I am so plagued with. I need to recite them all day long, over and over again, until the positive thoughts become second nature again. One thing is for sure, it’s going to take discipline. And I also know that discipline is hard to come by when you are filled with anxiety (and the physical issues that accompany it), fear and depression. But I’m also at a point where I know I have to reach deep inside and find that strength that I know is there and draw upon it. Nobody can do it for me. Only I can do it for myself. I have to seek out and find the good in humanity again. I have to cultivate loving relationships with new people in my life….and this can be very hard when every bit of your trust is gone.

It’s hard when that “one” person you thought loved you turned into a monster who wanted to annihilate you and with him he took the other 99% of the people who you thought cared about you. It can shatter your entire world-view. To this day, my brain still cannot process HOW this could happen. But it did.  And now I have to figure out how to get past it and go on and find a happy life again.

Even writing, such as this blog, is very therapeutic. I know it’s been 5 months since I wrote. That shows you the level of what I call my “paralyzation” (my seeming inability to do much of anything). And in the meantime, a few more people have fallen out of my life. Which definitely has felt like sticks being poked into open wounds. People who I thought cared about me. (Yeah, I misjudged again!!!)  But, you know what? It’s Ok. I have clear conscience knowing that I did my very best with everyone and I was the best friend I possibly could have been.

*****Their behavior is a reflection of who they are, not a reflection of who I am.*****  This is something we have to remember. I have come to realize that we do not need people who are users. It’s better to be alone and/or have very few friends……but REAL friends.

Hang in there, sisters. You’re not alone. This is a long road but I know it’s shaping me/us into women who are so extremely strong. And in the grand scheme of things, perhaps we are being prepared for something much greater than the mundane life that most people experience. Our experiences have shaped us to value what truly, truly matters and to count our blessings for the things that most people take for granted.

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Even the Clouds Cry

cyring clouds

This is for all of you who wonder how long it takes to recover after a relationship with a sociopath/narcissist. I suppose it varies depending on the extent of the damage. Not only was I played, manipulated, set up, pitted against other people but also ostracized from the entire community I belonged to. It’s been a couple years and nothing has changed. I will never go back again after people have shown their true colors and made me  the target.

I struggled at first with the whole “I thought he loved me” thing and “how could he do this?” . I didn’t really struggle so much with the “I miss him” thing because while I guess I did miss some of the good times I definitely did not miss the bad times. (I accidentally just typed “mad” times That would fit too.) I think I had fallen out of love with him before the relationship actually officially ended and I was relieved not to have to be around him anymore and listen to him scream and curse at me.

I have struggled horrendously with the isolation, the ostracization. I have been so lonely at times.  I have struggled with the PTSD and depression and anxiety. I have struggled with the lack of work that was the direct result of being slandered and ostracized. (I was/am in a profession where your character REALLY matters.)

I have lost the ability to handle things that “normal” people can handle. I tend to go into a post traumatic stress or panic attack over the smallest things. In trying to figure out another “career” I’ve pondered if I could even work in a fast food joint. I don’t think I could. I can no longer adjust to any kind of pressure at all. Joe Shmoe would  order and then trying to fill his order for a Big Mac in a timely fashion probably would set off a panic. Yes, it’s that bad.

I’m sharing so other women who are going through this or have been through it will know they’re not alone.

I’m afraid to stay living here. I’m afraid to move away. I’m afraid I will be alone forever. I’m afraid of trying a new relationship (Really? What the hell?) . Most days, I am paralyzed by lethargy and the only things I can do are see clients (because it’s barely keeping the roof over my head) and take care of my cats (because they can’t feed themselves or change the litter box). Other than that, doing the dishes is a daunting task. Clearing the clutter is nearly impossible. It’s gotten to a sorry state. I’m sure I should be in therapy, but frankly, I cannot afford it. Some might say I should be on an antidepressant but I know they don’t work with my body and I get sick from them. So I rely on anti anxiety medication, blood pressure meds (for when the panic hits) and alcohol. Listening to myself as I write, I know I should get into a support group or look into what the local battered woman’s shelter can offer in the way of therapy. (That’s where I went initially) I sound like a mess. But I’m talking about bad days. Some days are good. And lately, the good days are more than the really bad days.

I’ve written on the good days and I’ve written on the bad days. Today is a bad day. I recently got a tattoo in honor of my new found strength but I’m not feeling it at all today. One of the reasons being that my kitty is getting ready to pass over. I adopted her 3 1/2 months ago, knowing she was elderly, severely neglected and sick. (And people who did this to her are assholes, which is why I seem to prefer felines to people these days.) I told myself it would be OK, that I would give her a good quality of life for her last days. And I did. But now that she’s getting ready to cross over……….there is immense pain coming out of me (thankfully she is not in pain). .It has me wondering if all the pain of the past several years is coming out as well. The fear comes along with it. All the fears. The ones I mentioned already. The fears of how I will pay rent this month. The fear of more loss and abandonment. The fear that maybe I’m just losing my mind and may never be happy again. The fear of remaining paralyzed forever in this mental state.

I tell myself it will be OK. And I know eventually that it will. Happiness will find me once again. And as this sweet little soul returns to the Creator/God/Goddess/Kitty Heaven, I know she will be just fine. I know this is just a bad day. I know that better days will come. I try not to cry too much as it swells up my face and closes down my sinuses and I lose all control. Like a damn that finally breaks.

This is the damage that having been with a narcissist/sociopath does. It’s real. It takes time to heal. Our scars make the bad days even harder to handle, no matter how capable we may seem on the outside. I want to believe that one day life will be “normal” again. That simple things won’t set off bouts of panic and post traumatic stress. Losing a beloved pet is painful for everyone but for someone who has already been traumatized, has very little support systems it can be a major challenge.

Sometimes I ask myself if it really does all have to do with being in a sociopathic relationship. (Because they’ve so conditioned us to think that WE are the ones at fault and WE are the ones who are crazy.)  And the answer is a resounding YES. I did not emerge the same person I was when I went in. Granted, in many ways, I am stronger but on the other hand there is an array of things about me that weren’t there before I met Mr. Douche Bag. I was in a very long term marriage that was abusive and I emerged with a little post traumatic stress but not nearly the level I have now after being with a narcissist sociopath. I would never, ever minimize domestic violence, it is horrendous but there is a difference between abuse and abuse PLUS having your entire way of life destroyed. It’s a double whammy for sure.

So, sometimes it’s one day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time. And sometimes one second at a time. Stay in the moment. As a friend said to me, sometimes all you can do is hang on and tell yourself you’ll worry about it tomorrow. And remember that sometimes even the clouds cry but eventually the sun comes out again.

Blessings great and small,

Olivia Rose

The “F*ck Offs” You Never Said

my only regret

I haven’t written anything recently. I need to get back to it because I know that the writing and sharing as well as reading what others share is very therapeutic. Sometimes it is discouraging because nothing seems to change and I wonder how long it really does take to recover from being in a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath. I’ve come to realize that while all domestic violence is horrible, there is something even more sinister and disabling about the narcissist/sociopath. One might wonder how they differ. All I can say is in previous abusive relationships, I escaped with my life and my friends/acquaintances still with me. When I used the “Get Out of Hell” card with the narcissist/sociopath, I was left with nothing. No friends. No reputation. No standing in the community. He impacted every part of my life that he possibly could, in every negative way that he possibly could. The reason why? So people wouldn’t think he was abusive. It took me a really long time to understand (because “normal” minds don’t think this way) that it was a HUGE set up. He made me out to be insane, abusive, crazy and  violent to protect himself.When in actuality, he was the abuser. I remember once he told me that he never hit his (one) ex girlfriend even when she “appeared in a public place that I told her not to come to”. Funny boy. Big balls you have telling people where they may or may not appear in public places and WOW upon WOW………you didn’t “hit” her for it.(How very fucking chivalrous of you? NOT.)    Funny how things work out, though;  his friends may still believe in him, his employer, however, did NOT. (Karma is a bitch but only if you are.)  He is still playing the victim several years later. Some things will never change. If it aint’ me, then it’s the job, then it’s the homeowners association………poor boy, somebody is ALWAYS “attacking” him.

When I think about the friends I lost, I realize that I lost about 98% of them directly because of his lies and the other 2% because I changed. I don’t view people and the world the same way. I have no place in my heart or mind for people who lack compassion at all. I think I recently lost two more friends who had been there for years. I just find I have no tolerance for bullshit. One slammed someone for their success. I asked, “Why can’t we just be happy when people succeed instead of being jealous and back biting?” Hmmm. Maybe that wasn’t the response they were looking for. With another, she criticized my love for animals, in a very nasty way. I couldn’t quite figure out how my personal preferences or how I choose to live had any impact at all on her and instead of blowing it off, I replied “My pets are more loyal than people”. Quite honest but again, not the response she was looking for. So I didn’t hear from her again…..a friendship that had spanned 30 plus years.

People who have watched you be a door mat for many years aren’t quite prepared when you STOP acting like one and you acquire a voice and an opinion that doesn’t coddle theirs.

I’ve written before about asking myself if I really am just an asshole because I can’t seem to move forward or keep friends anymore. And someone said the most amazing thing to me. They said, “You’re not an asshole. But what if you are? So what? Say what you feel. Live your life the way you need to and if people don’t like it, so what?” And I thought, “Yeah….really……so what.”  I also recently found something that really jumped out at me. It was a quote and it said something to the effect of “The ‘fuck yous’ you didn’t say are the ones you most regret.”  Absofuckinglutely. So I guess the “friends” that I’m stopping in their tracks when they try to bash me or someone close to me are actually the “fuck yous” that I AM saying now. And you know what? It’s ok. It’s good. And I DO regret the ones I didn’t say in the past.

I’ve lived my last few years in hiding. So afraid that “they” might find what I have to say. I lived in fear after being told to shut up and stop writing. Well, here goes. To anyone who might be reading this and sharing it, and recognizing who I am:  a big FUCK YOU. Yeah you heard me, FUCK YOU.  You’re an imbecile for blindly following the masses (the assses). Oh, wait. Maybe you’re not an imbecile but maybe you just don’t have one tiny ounce of self esteem to do what you know in your heart is the RIGHT thing and you have to do what keeps you popular because God forbid that YOU might have to start YOUR life all over again with no friends, no career and no reputation. Right? And furthermore, you’re despicable for protecting a man and continuing to stand by him when you KNOW that he is an abusive human being. He was abusive to me. Very much so and you knew it. You saw it. So much so that I still have massive post traumatic stress. So much so that when he got fired, his boss cleared the entire office because the staff was “afraid” of him. Really? Yes, really. He actually told me the story as if I might have sympathy for him.  But I know what happened between you and him. It’s always the “victim” story that he feeds you,  and like someone who absolutely lacks the capacity to think for themselves, you eat it up. Poor, poor misunderstood, attacked, hurt boy. Until you question something that he wants you to stay quiet about and then you’ll get attacked. (So, yeah, you better not piss him off or rock the boat.)  So. As of right now, I don’t feel sorry for you but I feel disdain that you can’t think for yourself. But whatever, it’s your life. It’s kind of pathetic. No, not “kind of”, it IS pathetic.

Damn, you know, until I started writing this piece I was feeling like a loser. Depressed. (Yes, depressed, no doubt.) An asshole, perhaps. (Not) With no life. (No, there’s a LOT of life in front of me.) And you know what? I realize I am none of those things (except maybe depressed). And I realize that I am not a pathetic sheep who blindly has chosen to follow a group, a man, or anything that insults my soul. And in that, there is great strength. I was willing to speak MY TRUTH, to live MY TRUTH, to WALK my TRUTH……and with it was great cost…….ostracization, great harm to my career, great harm to my own self esteem (which really should be at an all time HIGH) and a lot of loneliness. But you know what? The people who are in my world NOW are real. They don’t fall for the bullshit of needing to be accepted and popular. Damn, reminds me of high school. I had friends but I didn’t do all the stuff that I didn’t feel called to do just to be “popular”.  I realize now that there aren’t that many like me. Like us. Those who have walked through the fire and emerged, albeit, different, but we survived. And not only did we survive but we continue to do so and we know that better days lie ahead of us. And we’ve become TRUE champions for justice and for the underdog. We see the world with new eyes. Eyes that are not so quick to judge. Eyes that see real pain. Eyes that see compassion. And with it has comes a total intolerance for bullshit, hypocrisy, ignorance, hate and the “need” to adapt to convention. Whether it be the convention of the world or the convention of your particular clique. Part of me wants to say, “Grow the fuck up” but another part of me says, “Who cares. Keep playing small and pleasing those in your immediate circle. Stay popular.” You think you have real friends, but you don’t. You have a clique  that you belong to. I outgrew that shit in high school.

So, here we are again, ladies. Those of you who have been a “true” victim to a narcissist/sociopath, hold your head high. Know that you’ve walked through the fires of which some don’t survive. (God rest their souls in peace.) But you’re still here, you’re still kicking. So get out there, start to live again. Be yourself in all your glorious wonder. All your glorious FUCKING wonder. You are stardust and shine.  Know that the ones who will love you for who you are WILL SHOW UP. They will. I promise. I am still waiting……….but I know I need to put myself out there a little more. I know I don’t suck. I know I am not an asshole. …….I am one who has discovered boundaries. ………..Know that you are a WARRIOR. You’ve passed the initiation of the ultimate of abuse. Life will eventually go on. It will never be the same…….but this is a GOOD thing, but life will go on. You have learned the greatest lesson ever. NOT all human beings care, they are not all good. Evil, does indeed, exist. Never again will you let someone abuse and use you and then throw you under the bus when you reveal the truth about them. When you meet a person like this again, TRUST ME, you won’t get much farther than past “Hello”.

Sisters, keep fighting the good fight. I know it’s not easy. It’s not easy for me yet and it’s been several years. But keep on shining. Don’t let the assholes dull your shine. Keep on keeping on. Know that you are loved beyond measure by the Creator and by me. It will be OK. Eventually it will be OK. Hold on to this thought. And Happy Anniversary, Asshole. A few years ago around this time, I got played my “Get Out of Hell” card. It definitely wasn’t “Get Out of Hell Free”………I have paid the price. A very high price. But I still have my integrity. AND,  I don’t have your sorry middle aged, unemployed ass (Karma’s a bitch) and your crew of flying monkeys  to drag around with me anymore.

Can I get an “Amen. Hallelujah”, anyone?

Much love,

Olivia Rose             https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008896532578