You Are Not Alone

being able to survive

I write to let other women know they are not alone. And sometimes I write on my good days and sometimes I write on my bad days. Lately, it seems like a lot of bad days. I think about whether I need to be in therapy or not. (Please, I always suggest that you consult with a therapist and/or medical doctor) My dr says I have PTSD and I need a therapist. Frankly, even with insurance, I cannot afford it right now. Thanks to the sociopath/narcissist, I lost so many clients and referrals, I cannot afford things anymore. (Thanks, dude!!!)

I know I need to secure more work but somehow I have lost the initiative totally to move my ass and do what needs to be done. And it’s been several years since the narcissist/sociopath, so when do we EVER get over it? When does our drive come back? Maybe it’s about discipline, pushing ourselves, making lists. I am not sure. Maybe it is about therapy. I am not sure anymore. I did therapy. What will they say that will help? I had a male therapist before the female one (she was an angel from God) and the male therapist responded in an email that “most men are narcissists and you are an addict and until you’re read to help yourself………..”    WHAT???? Are you kidding me? I do NOT want to discourage anyone from going to therapy, please GO. I am not a therapist. I am just a fellow survivor.  (And I am not an “addict”, this man was speaking through is own filters after being single for many, many years……….. telling me I was an addict to men. Spare me.) (Please GO to a therapist if you feel you need it. I just share my experiences which were not always good……….but PLEASE if you need help, SEEK IT.)

Right now, with the bills piling up, work is lagging and no new clients are showing up………I’m thinking of moving to another state…….. seriously. For real. Start over. But fortunately, I have grown kids who don’t really need me anymore.  So, for me, these things are an option.

So, I’m not sure what my point was when I started this blog. But if I have reminded anyone that you are NOT ALONE. If have reminded anyone that all this bizarre shit that other people don’t understand is part of what goes on during and in the aftermath of narcissist/sociopathic relationship then I’ve done my job. I went through a horrible divorce years ago and the aftermath is NOTHING in comparison to this. Nearly every day, I have to stop and remind myself, “Wow, I am really NOT an asshole.”  That gives you the scope of understanding of what they do to you.

I keep pushing forward, baby steps at a time. (Not quite as fast as I’d like!)  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Reach out to those who DO care about you. Keep trying. Make plans for the future. Make goals. Make plans to meet up with friends. Join groups that you have similar interests with. Join an exercise class. Go for walks. Get out of the house. Talk with people. Reconnect with old friends. Volunteer. You never know what awaits you around the next corner. Expect miracles and amazing opportunities and people to show up.

There really are great people in the Universe, people who have a caring compassionate heart. There are good opportunities with people who will value your worth instead of belittle it or find it threatening. Keep on keeping on. I say that even on the days that I have a hard time keeping on keeping on.

I recently mediated and a message came to me and what it said was this……..”You cannot change the past. You cannot change what other people did to you. You cannot change who other people are or what they think. You cannot change other people’s actions. So you MUST accept and MOVE ON.” …………………….. That means even if there is nothing left, no friends, very little work, nothing………you cannot change it…………you must CHOOSE to move on.

So make your lists. Set your alarm clock. Get out of bed. Get dressed. Make a routine. Keep on putting one foot in front of the other and go forward, inch by microscopic inch, go forward. Eventually we will arrive at a place that is even more than Ok, it’s true happiness.

a work in progress and with much love,

Olivia

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

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Desperation Is a STINKY Perfume

stinky smell cat

One of the  biggest lessons I’ve had to learn is this: Never make decisions based from desperation.

It’s a theme that the Universe keeps bringing back into my face and I’d like to say, I think I finally “got” it. (Let’s hope so.) When you make a decision from a place of desperation……being desperate…..thinking there is no other way or no other hope, it usually ALWAYS turns out badly. Maybe there are some exceptions, but for me, it always turned out BAD BAD BAD.

I settled when I got married. I thought marriage was better than other options in my life at the time. WRONG.

Early into my marriage, I took a job that I hated…….the people were awful…….it’s been 25 years and I still think of them with regret. What was I thinking? “Where else can I get a job for this measly amount of money with people who treat me like shit?” I am SURE there were many other options.

Then I stayed with the husband for nearly 20 years. He was abusive. Was it desperation that kept me with him? Did I think I couldn’t survive on my own? Was it guilt?

Finally I broke free from marriage and I started a new career.  (Yay me!! But many lessons were still to follow!!)

After my divorce, I continued the pattern of making choices from desperation but it was getting better…..at least I wasn’t choosing or staying at jobs that I hated. I was learning to have faith. Little did I know, this faith was going to take almost another 20 years to come to full fruition.

My problem was I kept choosing men who were not good for me. Because I was desperate. I was lonely. There was the one who drank and cheated and left me in huge debt. There was the one who had a personal ad the whole time he was dating me and he was “screening” and dating other women, looking for “the one”. There was the guy who wanted a lifestyle of kink and domination (a way I refused to live) who also was involved with other women while seeing me. I even made a long distance move for a man who wouldn’t commit to me, never told me he loved me, and after 5 months, ended the relationship (after I’d given up everything I owned to move). At this point, one might ask, “Didn’t she learn yet??”

No, unfortunately I hadn’t. I kept making bad decisions. The next prince I chose really did seem at first like a super nice guy and people thought I “had done good”. But what they didn’t know was that he didn’t own a car and spent LOTS of money each month on his happy herb supply that went up in smoke.  We were happy for awhile till his mama decided to hate me and that was the end of that……because I didn’t know he was a mama’s boy and had no mind of his own………and I didn’t take too well to being excluded from all family activities and holidays and being blatantly told I was not welcome. The next guy was sweet but I raced into it again, being lonely, wanting a companion. At first he was handsome and fun and silly but soon it became apparent that he didn’t have respect for me…..he was rude in front of family and friends. What do you say to your parents when your boyfriend walks across their living room passing gas with each step he takes………? Yeah. Tell me again why I needed to stay with these two? (Areyoufuckingkiddingme?)  Afraid to be alone? Afraid no one else would want me?

The last one was the icing on my cake. People said he was super duper nice. Mr. Wonderful. Give you the shirt off his back kind of guy. We were introduced by mutual friends. How could it go wrong? Well, right away, it did. And it went from a little wrong to totally destroying my life by the time we were done. He was a narcissist with sociopathic tendencies that put me back into therapy. I saw red flags almost from day one. But he had an excuse for everything, namely that this is “how people act” and “where have you been” and “we’re just having fun, it doesn’t mean anything.” My cue to walk out the door (and it’s funny, we can all define that ONE moment) was when we were in a bar with all HIS friends and he was all cuddled up with another woman, so cuddled up, in fact, that other (strangers) men were hitting on me and asking to buy me drinks. I appeared to be in the bar alone. Now THAT was my cue to call a cab and go home. And never look back or come back.

BUT. Instead I had a conversation with myself that I had over this man many times. I said, “What if this is as good as it gets?”  “What if there is no one else out there that I can be compatible with?” He said he wanted to marry me. I believed him. But his actions weren’t loving and I knew that. Yet, I stayed for nearly 2 years. I kept saying, “I can do this, I can do this” like the Little Engine That Could. (A children’s fable.) And yet, I was becoming desperately unhappy, I was almost sick, I had constant anxiety and panic attacks. His rages and name calling made me fear for my physical safety, not to mention my emotional and mental health. Finally, after being emotionally dragged through the mud, having my career damaged and my reputation ruined and being ostracized from the community, I ended the relationship with Mr. Toxic Waste. Why did I stay so long? Did I think I would never find anyone better than him? (ohmygod!!)

During the same time frame, I had some very wealthy clients who I saw frequently. The husband was extremely rude to me, ungrateful and refused to pay the full price for the service I provide. His rational was that even though he was a mega multi millionaire, he should have a discount for the frequency in which I saw him and his wife. I dealt with this for six years (almost to the day). Until one day, as per his usual self, he had a tantrum because I was 2 minutes late. (This was not the first time it happened.) And we had a dispute about what time our appointment was. I had had enough. I told him I must have dreamed up the time he told me to be there. He became furious and literally threw me out of his home. I never went back. Why did I put up with it for six years? Because I thought I couldn’t find other clients? Because I thought I had to put up with is abuse to earn money?

I guess things come to a head because during this same time period, I ended my relationship with a childhood friend as well. She choose to side with the abusive ex. She told me that I was a bitch and inferred that I deserved what happened to me. In retrospect, I realized she had always had a mean streak and insulted me whenever she thought she could get away with it. I was patient and kind to her because she had a pretty big weight problem and I knew she had some issues with her self esteem. So I allowed the insults……….because………why? If I didn’t, I might not have a friend to hang around with?

The theme was always the same. I thought I wasn’t good enough to find better jobs or a man who would treat me right. Or friends who were respectful and supportive.  My decisions were based on desperation. I was desperate for money. Or desperate for a companion. Or desperate not to be alone. DESPERATION. And being desperate stems from a huge lack of self esteem. Of thinking that you do not deserve better!!!! Of thinking that you have to put up with SHIT.

Desperation makes a very stinky perfume. I heard that line in a movie but I can’t remember what movie it was. But it stuck in my head. I think desperation emanates off of us and it attracts characters who can sense it and who will take advantage of us. Desperation smells like shit and literally attracts shit into your life. Like dog poop attracts flies.

It’s vital to find your self esteem. You are the Queen. The Goddess. The Warrior. You deserve the best. You deserve your own love and respect and when you love and respect yourself, you will not accept less from anyone else. Make your choices from a place of what is BEST for you, what makes you HAPPY and what builds you up instead of diminishes you. When you start to do this, you have to have faith that the Universe/God will take care of you. You will have what you need. And you will find happiness.

Here’s to healthy choices,

Olivia

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

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

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

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

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

Connecting with Each Other

strong women

Please join me on my Facebook pages. My goal is to empower, uplift, encourage, educate and support other women who have found themselves in or recovering from relationships that are abusive and/or with narcissists and sociopaths. (Even though abuse is almost synonymous with narcissist and sociopath.) We are strong and stronger still when we unite!!

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

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

Blessings on your journey,

Olivia

Catharsis

I have quite a bit of Post Traumatic Stress from an abusive marriage many years ago and a more recent abusive relationship with a Narcissist. I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. I wasn’t sure if writing would stir up the PTSD but I really have felt compelled to write and share my story. Although I am a long way from being healed, part of the journey has been reading blogs and Facebook pages and books that tell other women’s stories…..and just knowing I am not alone has been huge. I have found (so far) to my surprise that writing seems to lift the fog and depression and actually makes me feel better. Perhaps it is like a catharsis, especially when I’ve become very sensitive to saying anything to most people because I actually get a “get over it already” in response. (Maybe I should re-evaluate why these people are in my life, because I would never dream of telling anyone to “get over it” no matter how absurd I thought their issue was.)

One of the more troublesome aspects of recovery has been the feeling of absolute overwhelment when it has come to getting anything done. Thankfully, I have still been able to work and do my job well but everything else has been difficult…..from making phone calls to cleaning the house. I don’t have people over because the house is in such total disarray. I seem to just want to sit and stare at Facebook or sit and stare outside or take a nap. I’ve become aware that I at least need to start exercising. (So that my muscles don’t atrophy?)  And I do know that exercise is a really good remedy for depression (scientifically proven) as is the Vitamin D.  I’ve also read that making a routine is very good. With the type of work that I do, I don’t always have a set routine so things like sleeping too much becomes too easy. Like I mentioned in an earlier blog, I did just start antidepressants and while I am not big on “pills”, I felt that, for me, it was time.

I am on Facebook if anyone would like to connect with me. We need all the support we can get.

Peace and love,

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