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

Moving Forward in the Aftermath of Ruin

you are amazing

It’s time to get on with it. Time to walk through the fear, the pounding heart, the “what ifs”. For the past several years, I went into hiding. My work has suffered greatly. because of the sociopathic relationship I was in and his band of enablers (flying monkeys), I was attacked, slandered, ridiculed. (To the point I called police about the threats.)  At one point, I tried “coming back out” only to find that his people were still massively hostile towards me and took the first chance they had to slander me and talk their crap about the work I do. It’s been a LOT of anger to work through. I spent years building a career based on character and reputation. After this man came along, it was gone. I lost many clients who were associated with him. I lost an entire community of people…….people who used to come to me for my services and send me referrals….it’s all GONE.

Today I sit here and I’m at a crisis point. I’m out of money. I’m in a bit of a panic. I realize there is a lot of anger inside me because of him and all the opportunities he ruined for me. (He ruined A LOT. And what makes it worse is how he casually admits to me, “Yeah, I know you were ostracized”…….he ADMITS it and doesn’t care.)  I find I can’t even talk about this outside the circles that understand the whole narcissism/sociopath thing because talking to people who’ve been in “normal” relationships (even ones gone bad) cannot comprehend the damage that has taken place. If there were a legal recourse I could take against him, I would, but I know it’s not possible because of how underhanded he did everything and how well he got his flying monkeys to play into it.

I feel FURIOUS today. FURIOUS. Sometimes I wonder if the anger ever does go away.

But I have decided to put it all back out there again. I just ordered new business cards. I updated my work pages and other social media pages. And I DARE someone to make a negative comment about me. Because the day comes (and it finally has, maybe fueled by the fact that I no longer have enough work or money) when you stop hiding. You decide you have to SHINE again. You have to stop hiding your light and who you are because you are fearful of attack. I know it’s not easy, I have PTSD. But I can’t be kept in a prison of fear from this sick individual and all his friends and the community they associate with. I had removed every reference to my work, my contact information, everything because of FEAR of him. I have to get back to the days where I did what I had to do despite the fear. When I got divorced many many years ago, I did it knowing that he might try to kill me or him. It was serious. But I did it. Lost 40 pounds in the process, but I did it. And I don’t think this more recent sociopath would try to physically harm me (but I guess you never know) but he certainly has done tremendous damage discrediting me to the point it’s nearly ruined me financially.

I KNOW who I am. I am a good person. I am compassionate. I care about other people. I know that when it comes to my work, I am EXCELLENT at what I do. And it’s time to “feel the fear and do it anyway” as Susan Jeffers would say. I want to stand on the top of a mountain and scream “FUCK YOU” to Mr. Toxic Waste and all his flying fucking monkeys. But I won’t, I will just get on with my life and get back to work  and make myself into a success again. They say living well is the best revenge.

replacing lies

Ladies, if you are in a situation where you may be physically harmed, please take the proper precautions. I want you to stay safe. But for those of you who have been made to feel like you’re some kind of trash just because you got involved with someone with a black soul………please know……….their darkness was not a reflection of who you are. You were fooled, duped into thinking they were Mr Wonderful and when you found out they weren’t , they set out to destroy you in whatever way they could to protect their wonderful reputation.

I want you to remember you are NOT trash. You are not an asshole. (This seems to be my motto, maybe because I was made to feel that way so many times.) You are a wonderful, amazing woman with much to offer to the world. Please don’t let a sick socio-fuck (pardon my language today) keep you hiding under a barrel. Please let your light start to shine again. The people who love you, will stand by you, the ignorant ones will fall away. PLEASE don’t let them steal your dreams or put out your light. My light has been out for more than a couple years……..it’s TIME To turn it back on again. (As I reflect, I think what a shame that he put me out of commission for so long, but I guess it’s all a process and judging that process serves no good purpose. We do what we can do in the moment.)  Call on your Higher Powers (however you conceive them to be) to help you. Use affirmations. Listen to positive videos. Read empowering books. Don’t let yourself get sucked into the muddy pit of the black soul of the sociopath.

You are amazing. You are wonderful. You are capable. You are compassionate. You are strong. You are powerful. You are beautiful. You are loving. You are kind. You are uniquely you.

I am strong. I am strong. I am strong. You are strong. You are strong. You are strong.

We will succeed.

The Bruno Mars song seems appropriate right about now. Let the words sink in. And believe them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUkgKFfIBJ0   “You are amazing just the way you are!”

In strength and love,

Olivia

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

Female Warriors

warrior angel

I love the examples of women who show us how fearless and brave we can be. I found this article today. I hope you are inspired by it. One of these days, I am going to get a tattoo that says “WARRIOR” because I’m not just a ‘survivor’, I am a WARRIOR WOMAN. And every time we do something that we are fearful about, we get a little stronger and a little more brave and our courage grows……………..

http://mentalfloss.com/article/59287/9-female-warriors-who-made-their-mark-history

With courage,

Olivia

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

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

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 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