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,