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

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Going Up After Rock Bottom

rock bottom JK Rowling

Even though it’s been several years, I am STILL rebuilding my life. Most people don’t realize that a relationship with a narcissist or a sociopath isn’t like a other relationships when you break up. They try to destroy you and your life because you’ve discovered who they truly are and they’re in danger of being “exposed”. They will try every way imaginable to discredit you  and literally destroy what you’ve created and who you’ve become. It takes a very long time to bounce back from this and to create a new life…….which is something that many of us are forced to do. We lose jobs, friends, entire communities. But the good thing about this is that it exposes what was real and true and good in your life because that will abide. And as for the rest of it……the trash has taken itself out.

Even when the rebuilding process is well under way and new opportunities are starting to show up,  (I’m not even talking about romantic pursuits or anything like that) there are still days that loom endlessly before you. You can’t seem to find a friend. And you feel very alone. These kinds of days are still hard. Most people don’t understand, they don’t try to understand and maybe they just can’t……..but some compassion and sympathy (even if they can’t conjure up empathy) would be nice, but we don’t always find it.

My field of work has been in holistic healing for many years, ironically. And now I feel a new passion to help and empower women. All women. But especially women who have been through abusive relationships and relationships with narcissists and sociopaths. This has given me an ignited sense of purpose and passion.

I want to share some very simple things that have helped me get through the bad days and still does on those occasional bad days that still flare up. I’m a work in progress, maybe I always will be, but that’s Ok. As long as we’re going forward.

1.  Reach out to talk to someone. It might be calling someone on the phone, meeting a friend for tea, or even chatting with someone online. It will help you to feel much less isolated and sometimes it can lift your mood entirely.

2.  Examine your self talk (your thoughts). Change what you need to change. Now, I know this can be very hard sometimes, but just stopping the thought that says, “I’m so depressed” and turning it into one that says “I am strong” can do wonders if you keep repeating it over time.

3. Find your passion. This has been a hard one for me. For many years, my life was all about raising my kids and working. When they are grown, then what? But I’m finding that helping other women THRILLS me and it makes this experience I had make so much more sense. Your passion may be political, environmental, helping animals, doing an art, it could be anything……….. there are so many things to choose from that may light up your soul. Start with one and work forward from there.

4. Volunteer. This can be a continuation of #3……….. or you may find that helping others takes your mind off yourself and you may meet some AWESOME people with huge hearts in the process. New friends! Good people!!  (Since many of us are starting over after a relationship with a narc or sociopath).

5. Music and dance. I spent nearly the first year and a half after the end of “the” relationship listening to music and dancing (at public venues). Movement of any kind helps move energy through your body, it helps release the pent up emotions that become lodged (literally and figuratively) inside you. And music is always healing, especially the actual vibrations of “live” music….the instruments and the voices.

6. Exercise. Whatever form you choose. It not only keeps your body fit and healthy, but studies have shown that exercise is the MOST powerful antidepressant. I have found that a  30 minute walk turns into a 60 minute walk and when I’m done, I feel soooooo much better.

7.  Journaling or writing a blog. Journaling is a very very powerful way to release emotions. Blogging may not be the answer for you, depending on how “safe” you are. Some people recovering from a sociopathic or narcissistic relationship need to stay under cover until they are sure that their abuser will not come after them to physically harm them or cause more havoc in their life.

8. Nature. Connecting with nature is a very healing balm. If you live in a place where you can hike (safely ~ always think SAFETY), then that’s awesome. Some of us live in places where it’s harder to connect with nature, but there are always the city parks where you can sit and watch the birds and the trees and the water…….. I remember getting away from where I live a few times in the past few years and into the wilderness and it was truly a blessing to my soul. I found I felt free, I was able to sleep, eat, relax like I was unable to do when I was at “home”.

9. Take a trip if you can. (Continuation of #8) Just getting away into a new environment can have such uplifting effects on your spirit. Some of us even move away eventually but that’s a bigger decision and not one you want to make immediately following a traumatic event….and some of us have obligations that keep us from being able to move, but even a trip of an hour or two away from home can be great.

10. Nurture yourself. Maybe this should be listed as #1. Take care of you. Surround yourself with only people who are kind and supportive. Only frequent environments where you feel safe and comfortable. If you are financially able to do good things for yourself, then do them, and do them without guilt (whatever things make you happy). If you are not financially able to do stuff, do small things that make you feel good. It may be as simple as taking time to meditate or rest when you need to. It may be buying yourself a nice cup of coffee/whatever or a glass of wine. Take time to savor YOU.

11. (This was only going to be ten things but I thought of one more.) Meditate or pray. However you communicate with your Higher Power and however you “listen”, please do it. Meditation and prayer is calming and relaxing to your body and mind. And I know for a fact that our prayers are heard and answered. So talk to your Higher Power and your angels and spiritual guides and then listen, in peace, for the answers.

In the aftermath of an abusive relationship there are many things that we may feel……many emotions are toxic and fueled by others who don’t have a CLUE about what we’ve been through. Continue forward. Take each day one breath at a time. Know that it may take time but you can rebuild your life, and you can rebuild it into something grand and beautiful, filled with love. If our relationship with the toxic person taught us one thing, it is this: We have learned how to recognize what is love and what is not love. And from here on out, we will only build our lives on the solid foundation of love………starting with love for your magnificent, beautiful, amazing self. Life can and will be beautiful and magical again. I promise. I promise to you and I promise to me.

Please share and feel free to connect with me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Journey-of-Olivia-Rose/1632375906981319  and https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008896532578

With endless enchantment,

Olivia

Thank You

thank you note

I have wanted to start writing this blog for so long and it feels so good to finally start.

Thank you to all of you who have been blogging for years because reading what you have written has helped me so very very much. Your encouragement has meant the world to me while being surrounded by people who can never understand what it’s been like to be involved with a narcissist.

Peace and love,

Olivia

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

One Small Step

it's going to be OK

It’s been a really difficult few years…..since about 2009. And “really difficult” is probably a huge understatement. I read somewhere that pain and discomfort means you are experiencing growth…..moving beyond the current place that you’re at into a new and unknown territory. Being involved with an abusive relationship with a narcissist left my life in shambles, I lost everything that it took many many years to build. When I hear myself tell the story, I can hardly believe it myself. I still wonder how it happened and how it went so far. It sounds like a tale out of a psychotic movie. How can one person turn every friend you have against you? Well, after reading about 15 books and countless blogs and talking with many other people, I have a pretty good idea how it happens but my brain still won’t process it and accept that it’s possible. I’m not sure my brain will ever understand…..I don’t possess the brain of a sociopath in order to think like they do.

I spent a very long time trying to become amicable with the narcissist.  (I will refer to him as “N” from here on.) And I found that amicable is just not possible with this kind of person. They have no empathy for your pain. They will say the right words one moment (and you think you’ve found that person you fell in love with) but then in the next second attack you with venomous force. It takes a very long time to realize that “amicable”  is never going to happen and you have to finally let go of that hope. There will be no friendship.

Like a death, I believe you go through stages. The first is anger. “How could you do this to me??” You seek and seek for explanations.(And your seeking could go on forever until YOU choose to stop.)  You seek compassion. You seek understanding. Nobody (except for those who have gone through it themselves) seem to understand. People will even tell you “Get over it already. Move on.” But the N plays such a mind game with you that it is incredibly hard to just “move on” like you would after an ordinary break up. We try so hard to understand something that a normal person (who does possess empathy and compassion) will NEVER understand. This phase can take a very long time to get through. You may find you develop physical ailments related to carrying so much anger. There is no easy solution. Talking to a qualified counselor is an option if you can find one who understands the victim of a Narcissist. (Not many do.) You can join support groups. I have found countless women who have experienced the same thing I did. That alone is a huge comfort. There are also many books you can read and blogs that will help you to understand.

After the anger phase, I believe the grief phase begins. For me, it is not a grief of “lost love”. I finally see him for who he is. I understand that the man I fell in love with was an illusion. He knew how to play the role of Prince Charming to the world but behind closed doors, he was a demon to be feared. And, yes, I feared him with every ounce of my being.  I don’t miss the screaming, cursing and name calling with his spittle hitting my face as he cursed me. What I grieve is the loss of my way of life. I lost most of the people I considered friends. Of course, in retrospect, you realize that these people were never your friends to begin with if they could believe such crazy lies about you that he told. I miss the social groups that I belonged to for many years that I now find myself ostracized from. I miss being able to pick up the phone and connect with people. I have 3 people left in my life locally that I can connect with. I learned how to do everything alone. (Which is hard but worth being able to do.) I think, for me, the holidays brought out the grief. There were no parties, no gatherings, no friends. The holidays emphasized my loneliness. Yes, I have made new friends but it is not the same. New friends already have their own social circles and families and it takes a very long time to be accepted and fit in. It’s not the same as having life long (or many year friendships). But we also know that in every ending is a new beginning. I did go to some gatherings. People were kind. But for nearly every one I attended, I cried all the way home.

Sometimes we need help getting past the pain. We have to seek out therapy and in some cases we have to seek out medication. While I believe medication is a last resort (for me anyway), today I started a prescription of an antidepressant. I have high hopes that taking it will help me to crawl out of this black hole that I seem to be stuck in. Depression is a horrible feeling. (And of course if you feel suicidal, call 911 immediately.) It’s a huge thing for me to start an antidepressant and to admit it. And even more than that…..I am praying that it works. I suffer from not only depression but Post Traumatic Stress  stemming from a culmination of 3 abusive relationships, anxiety and panic attacks. I am ready to feel better and have my life back.

I realize that in addition to the medication that I have to do other things to take care of myself. I need to fill my mind with the most positive and inspirational stuff I can find. I have to do things that give me joy. I have to eat properly. I have to get enough rest. I have to exercise. Today I started the medication. Tomorrow, I turn over a new leaf and seek out those things that bring me joy. I will eat better and exercise too. Just getting out and sitting in the sun can help you feel uplifted.

And more than anything else, we must know and remember that it will be OK…….if not today, then one day soon. It will all be OK. And while our memories remain (we would never want to “forget” and repeat this experience again), we can find love, joy and peace once again. So take one small step (or big step……going on medication was definitely a big step for me!!) towards your goal. You are never alone.

Love and peace,

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