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.

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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