Warrior

 

 

tattoo 4

I realized in one of my previous posts about Warrior Women, I mentioned that I might get a tattoo one day. Well, I finally did it.  Three weeks ago, I went and got it done. It’s over my heart, on the left side of my upper chest. I had to overcome all the “societal” and “parental” stigmas about getting a tattoo. (I grew up being taught that they are not “nice”.)

Well, I don’t think I am “nice” anymore. I am pleasant, well mannered and  polite but I don’t stand silently for any kind of abuse or human injustice anymore. I have become the Warrior. And you know what? It feels really really good. I recently had to chuckle inwardly a bit because I don’t think the men I was in abusive relationships with ever thought or dreamed that their little “mouse” would become a roaring “lion” but I am getting there.

The Warrior Woman knows how to stand up for herself. She also stands up for others who have no voice. The children. The elderly. Animals. The planet. And anyone on the planet who is suffering from injustices. She has found her voice and she knows how to use it. She is not ashamed of her trials because they’ve made her who she is today……..a strong, independent woman. I frequently say that I LOVE who I have become and I really do. My trials have been hell, they really have. I’ve had a LOT of “bad” days. I’ve had three relationships from hell. I made bad choices. But I have learned so much. And I have become the Warrior Woman.

And it’s all good. Nobody has to like me and it doesn’t matter anymore. While it’s great to have lots of friends, I’ve shown myself that I don’t need them. I can survive betrayal. I have come to enjoy my own company. It’s lovely liberation. I walk proud these days with my head held high. I still battle PTSD at times and last week I cried a river when my beloved cat passed away. I still freak out about financial issues. And every now and then I get triggered from all the past shit. But deep inside I know I’ve come this far, and I have survived this much and I know that I will be just fine.

I wish for all of you that you come to know just how strong you really are. That you understand that you do not need a man in your life to survive, and especially, not a man who disrespects you in any way, shape or form. I wish for all of you that you find your beautiful Warrior Goddess self.

This hangs on my bathroom mirror:

“Woman, I am calling to you

Come, Warrioress

Your Spirit cannot be broken,

Rise to your power, woman

You are Goddess Divine!! ”  (by Nirvani Teasley)

 

goddess woman

With Courage and love,

Olivia Rose

You can connect with me or send a donation via Pay Pal at Olivia.Rose2015@yahoo.com or on Facebook at :  https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Journey-of-Olivia-Rose/1632375906981319?fref=ts

Scream it From the Rooftops: I am WORTHY

you are worthy

We’re taught to be “good girls”, “do as your told”……..if you grew up in a dysfunctional home, then the message is deep……your not good enough, not worthy, not pretty, not smart……..nothing is ever enough.  Never, never enough. So you grow up striving to please everyone. You meet a man who echos back to you what you heard in your youth. You don’t ever even realize that you’re intelligent, capable or attractive. And you just continue to strive to keep everyone happy, to please everyone until some massive life event makes you wake up.

My first wake up was ending my many year marriage. I made the decision while pinned to the wall with a butcher knife over my head. I was terrified, beyond terrified, to be on my own. Even though I had run a successful business, that I hated, I was still terrified. I had never heard anyone say, “You can do it”. I struggled with an anxiety disorder and PTSD even then. And THEN, I got away from him. I realized, much to my total amazement, that I was capable. I was intelligent. I was even attractive. I never knew these things before in my life.

I escaped the marriage but deep inside my self worth hadn’t changed. The messages from my youth and also my (ex) husband stayed with me. I still believed I was not good enough. Not good enough to find a man who would treat me with respect. It’s not something we realize on the surface, it’s buried deep inside of us. If we were fully aware of and could fix it, I know we would.

So, the years passed and I had various relationships with men who cheated, lied, took my money, wouldn’t commit, and left me high and dry with two children to take care of. One guy even cleaned out the house. He took the TV, stereo, and (game) Play Station. I had paid for all of it on my credit cards. I later filed for bankruptcy, $50,000 dollars in debt and a single mom. (My kids were about 8 and 15 at the time.)  Fortunately, none of these men were verbally or physically abusive to me. Even though I  their actions were extremely abusive. (“I’m sorry, I really do love you” as they were taking all my stuff. What the fuck.)

Then I met a man who seemed to be really awesome. He was good to me. Until a family tragedy struck and his mother decided to hate me and wanted me out of her son’s life. Even though, again, I was doing pretty well, paying most of the bills and the dude couldn’t AFFORD to live on his own. He turned from a sweet, kind soul into a monster. I was excluded at all family functions, including holidays. It didn’t bother him that I was home alone on holidays as long as his mother was happy. I was told point blank that I would never be allowed to be around his family and that he would NEVER “stand up for me” to his mother. I sat at home on countless Sundays while his family attended church and then had “family and friend brunches”.  I left that relationship 50 pounds thinner, sick  and an emotional wreck. Was it abusive? Yes. Emotionally very much so.

What was I thinking through all of this?

THEN, I met the icing on the cake of life. (And that’s absolute sarcasm.) He was/is a narcissist/sociopath. Again, it started great, as all relationships do. But soon, very soon, I started to notice big things that were highly inappropriate. I let them go. Why? Well, because that program was still running in my head that said I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t smart enough. I couldn’t tell “normal” from “inappropriate”. Maybe I was just too stupid to know how “real people” act in the “real world”. Within 18 months, I was left with nothing that I started with. In the many years since my divorce, I lost everything that I had built over those years, thanks to this man. I lost all my friends, my professional standing/reputation in the community and  my spiritual standing within the community. I was ostracized.  Why? (And it took me several years and some therapy to understand this.) Because he was a sociopath/narcissist and when I started to tell folks that he was abusive, he went  on an all out campaign to discredit me and make me look insane and abusive (to protect his OWN reputation). And he succeeded.

I was/am  financially ruined. My career was/is extremely damaged to the point that I’m not sure it can bounce back in this same city. I have very bad PTSD. I cannot afford any more therapy and I do not do well on the medicines that they normally prescribe for it. When you combine all these factors, it makes a dismal picture. I’m not sure what is next, thanks to this monster who came into my life and made it his job to ruin it. Literally.

This morning I was reflecting on my past. Because I’m trying to figure out what to do for my future. I’m not sure how the bills are even going to get paid this month. It starts with the ex husband. He never paid child support in the amount that the judge ordered because I was too “people pleasing” and I let it slide. He never paid any child support at all during my eldest’s last year in high school and none at all during my youngest’s high school years and now his college years. Yet, I see that he and his new wife live in a high end house, they send their child to private school and they take frequent vacations to other countries. Why? Because I didn’t have enough self worth to stand up for myself and my children. I look at the man who took all my stuff and left me $50,000 in debt. I am sure that there was some kind of criminal charge I could have filed against him too. He had no right to remove items from my home that I had paid for. But, again, I didn’t pursue it. . I look at the emotionally abusive man that came after all that and I realize I should have walked away as soon as he chose to exile me from his life. Instead I stayed and “tried to make it work” and almost became very ill myself from the stress. And THEN of course, came the narcissist/sociopath. I realize that this man was so smart and so clever that there was nothing I could have done except for ONE THING and that would have been to walk away INSTANTLY as soon as I saw my boundaries were being violated. He may have still went on a campaign to destroy me, I guess we will never know. But I’m quite sure that a lot of the damage would have been avoided if I had left him during month one or two rather than month 18.

Finally, I know who I am. I know what I deserve. I know that I am worthy of the best. I know that I deserve respect. I know that I am beautiful. I know that I deserve to be treated with kindness. I know that I deserve people who are honest and have integrity. I finally know now what I do not want. I know what I will not stand for. I know what the red flags are and I’m healthy enough to see them and RUN away when they present themselves. I no longer care if I do not “please” other people by continuing to be their doormat.Frankly, I don’t care who “likes” me or not.  This lesson was learned with much expense and sacrifice. I sit here, several years after the fact of the last Prince Harming and I STILL have not been able to rebuild my life. It’s been a very very high price to have to pay.

Many women who are in abusive relationships have the same issues that I did. They do not feel “good enough” or worthy. They grew up without affirmation that they were enough in every way: smart enough, strong enough, capable enough, pretty enough, good enough. Then when they met men who echoed the same things, they were used to it. They thought, that’s just the way it is. I must be “nice”. I mustn’t  rock the boat. I have to settle for anything I can get, since I’m not good enough to attract someone better.  I must keep all people happy. At the expense of my own soul and life with damage that extended even to the quality of life that my children lived. (They are adults now, but we’re still struggling with college expenses. With no help from “daddy”.)

No. No more. I am still alive to be able to tell you this: YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE ENOUGH IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY. PLEASE DO NOT LET A MAN OR ANYONE ELSE TELL YOU OTHERWISE. YOU DO NOT OWE THE WORLD SACRIFICES. YOU DESERVE TO BE TREATED WITH RESPECT. YOU (AND YOUR CHILDREN) DESERVE TO HAVE WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY YOURS. RUN, don’t walk, AWAY FROM ANYONE WHO DOES NOT TREAT YOU WITH THE DIGNITY AND RESPECT THAT IS RIGHTFULLY YOURS.

I wish that I could teach this lesson to every young girl and young woman before they get to the place where they will allow a man to do it to them. I wish I could be the nurturing mother to these girls who never will hear these messages in their homes. I wish I knew at age 13 what I know now. But here’s the good news, the one ray of light, I will never, ever again repeat the same mistakes in choosing romantic partners and I hope you won’t either, no matter how much you think you “love” them. “Love” does not diminish or dismiss or disrespect you in any way at all.

Please share widely, especially if you know someone who may need to hear this message.

I love you~

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

If you find that my work is helpful and you would like to make a donation, you can send one via Pay Pal to: Olivia.Rose2015@yahoo.com.  Thank you. You can also contact me at this email or connect with me on Facebook.

The “F*ck Offs” You Never Said

my only regret

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love,

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

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 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

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

You’re Definitely Not an A**hole

surrounded by assholes

Since your time with the Narcissist do you ever find yourself wondering if you really are just an asshole? I lost all my “friends” (I use the word “friends” loosely and in quotation marks) so maybe I AM just an asshole.  During the time with the N, I also very slowly learned boundaries and how to stand up for myself. (Which has actually been a very very good thing.) But more than a year later, I still have those occasional moments where I say to myself, “Maybe you just ARE an asshole!” But I realize that being with someone so cruel and abusive (and the gas lighting and mind games) that the N played were designed to rob me of all my self esteem so that thinking I’m an asshole would be his objective.

I went on a date with a man who I really believe was married ….. (there were a few signs)…..and dating still scares the holy crap out of me, so I drank too much on the dates. (I wasn’t falling down stumbling drunk or even “drunk” at all, just comfortably tipsy.) And today I was talking about it with my adult son and I said, “He really was a nice guy….but I think he was married…..and I was terrified of dating…..and so I drank too much and I don’t think he liked that I drank so much.” And my son said, “Would you just listen to yourself??? You find a way to justify the bad behavior of anyone!!” He continued, “I could punch you in the face right now and tomorrow you’d say it was your fault because you talked too much.”

Wow. Just wow. Now, my son would NEVER hit or harm me, he was making a point and a very valid one at that. He is a young adult with a very old soul.He made me really stop and think again.  He’s right,  I can find a way to justify almost anyone’s crappy behavior and make it into my fault (The guy was married, I called him out on it, he didn’t like that and he broke off the dating, but it was my fault for drinking too much…….. HUH????)  I have to remember that  because I have boundaries and a sense of what is right or wrong in the way people treat me (dating a married man is definitely NOT Ok) does NOT make me an asshole.  The narcissist wanted me to think that I was an asshole……wanted me to think so, when, in fact, it was him talking about me behind my back about how horrible I was (abusing and stalking  him and all is what he told people, which was totally fabricated) and THAT was why people didn’t like me anymore, NOT because I  was just an asshole who  didn’t treat people right and agree with them when I should have.

I had another friend recently. (I don’t think I do anymore.) I knew him for many many many many years and felt safe with him. We would occasionally “hook up”. So when I asked if he had plans for some of the holidays, I got ignored.  When I asked if he would like to attend an event with me, I got ignored. So I got tired of him ignoring the questions and I said, “An answer would be nice, at your convenience of course, and if the answer is NO, then that’s fine, just say No.”  Well, because I just asked for the respect of receiving an answer to a question…..I never heard from him again since then. (Which was what prompted the whole “maybe I am just an asshole” debate inside my head.)

And here’s my point. The Narcissist/Abuser/Sociopath wanted you to think you were a worthless, no good, piece of crap so that you would depend totally on him for everything. So that you would surrender and do whatever he wanted you to do. So that you would go along with his boundary crossing ways all allow him and his friends to walk on you and abuse you. The less self esteem you have, the more control they have over you.

You’re not an asshole. You’re not worthless. You’re not a piece of shit or full of shit (as I was so often told and called). You are worthy. You are beautiful. You are intelligent. You are deserving of respect and love and courtesy just like anybody else. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. You are allowed to have your boundaries and people are NOT allowed to cross them

We have to get rid of all these old tapes that keep playing inside our heads telling us that we are less than and not worthy and that  we have to just settle for what anyone wants from us. Not true, not true, not true. We are worthy. When I discovered boundaries, I was called a “bitch” to my face from someone who had been in my life since I was a child. Well, if bitch means you’re not a doormat, then please, yes, I AM a bitch. And realize that people do this to you because they LIKED the you that was the doormat. You’re not anyone’s  doormat anymore.

Peace and love,

Olivia Rose