Even the Clouds Cry

cyring clouds

This is for all of you who wonder how long it takes to recover after a relationship with a sociopath/narcissist. I suppose it varies depending on the extent of the damage. Not only was I played, manipulated, set up, pitted against other people but also ostracized from the entire community I belonged to. It’s been a couple years and nothing has changed. I will never go back again after people have shown their true colors and made me  the target.

I struggled at first with the whole “I thought he loved me” thing and “how could he do this?” . I didn’t really struggle so much with the “I miss him” thing because while I guess I did miss some of the good times I definitely did not miss the bad times. (I accidentally just typed “mad” times That would fit too.) I think I had fallen out of love with him before the relationship actually officially ended and I was relieved not to have to be around him anymore and listen to him scream and curse at me.

I have struggled horrendously with the isolation, the ostracization. I have been so lonely at times.  I have struggled with the PTSD and depression and anxiety. I have struggled with the lack of work that was the direct result of being slandered and ostracized. (I was/am in a profession where your character REALLY matters.)

I have lost the ability to handle things that “normal” people can handle. I tend to go into a post traumatic stress or panic attack over the smallest things. In trying to figure out another “career” I’ve pondered if I could even work in a fast food joint. I don’t think I could. I can no longer adjust to any kind of pressure at all. Joe Shmoe would  order and then trying to fill his order for a Big Mac in a timely fashion probably would set off a panic. Yes, it’s that bad.

I’m sharing so other women who are going through this or have been through it will know they’re not alone.

I’m afraid to stay living here. I’m afraid to move away. I’m afraid I will be alone forever. I’m afraid of trying a new relationship (Really? What the hell?) . Most days, I am paralyzed by lethargy and the only things I can do are see clients (because it’s barely keeping the roof over my head) and take care of my cats (because they can’t feed themselves or change the litter box). Other than that, doing the dishes is a daunting task. Clearing the clutter is nearly impossible. It’s gotten to a sorry state. I’m sure I should be in therapy, but frankly, I cannot afford it. Some might say I should be on an antidepressant but I know they don’t work with my body and I get sick from them. So I rely on anti anxiety medication, blood pressure meds (for when the panic hits) and alcohol. Listening to myself as I write, I know I should get into a support group or look into what the local battered woman’s shelter can offer in the way of therapy. (That’s where I went initially) I sound like a mess. But I’m talking about bad days. Some days are good. And lately, the good days are more than the really bad days.

I’ve written on the good days and I’ve written on the bad days. Today is a bad day. I recently got a tattoo in honor of my new found strength but I’m not feeling it at all today. One of the reasons being that my kitty is getting ready to pass over. I adopted her 3 1/2 months ago, knowing she was elderly, severely neglected and sick. (And people who did this to her are assholes, which is why I seem to prefer felines to people these days.) I told myself it would be OK, that I would give her a good quality of life for her last days. And I did. But now that she’s getting ready to cross over……….there is immense pain coming out of me (thankfully she is not in pain). .It has me wondering if all the pain of the past several years is coming out as well. The fear comes along with it. All the fears. The ones I mentioned already. The fears of how I will pay rent this month. The fear of more loss and abandonment. The fear that maybe I’m just losing my mind and may never be happy again. The fear of remaining paralyzed forever in this mental state.

I tell myself it will be OK. And I know eventually that it will. Happiness will find me once again. And as this sweet little soul returns to the Creator/God/Goddess/Kitty Heaven, I know she will be just fine. I know this is just a bad day. I know that better days will come. I try not to cry too much as it swells up my face and closes down my sinuses and I lose all control. Like a damn that finally breaks.

This is the damage that having been with a narcissist/sociopath does. It’s real. It takes time to heal. Our scars make the bad days even harder to handle, no matter how capable we may seem on the outside. I want to believe that one day life will be “normal” again. That simple things won’t set off bouts of panic and post traumatic stress. Losing a beloved pet is painful for everyone but for someone who has already been traumatized, has very little support systems it can be a major challenge.

Sometimes I ask myself if it really does all have to do with being in a sociopathic relationship. (Because they’ve so conditioned us to think that WE are the ones at fault and WE are the ones who are crazy.)  And the answer is a resounding YES. I did not emerge the same person I was when I went in. Granted, in many ways, I am stronger but on the other hand there is an array of things about me that weren’t there before I met Mr. Douche Bag. I was in a very long term marriage that was abusive and I emerged with a little post traumatic stress but not nearly the level I have now after being with a narcissist sociopath. I would never, ever minimize domestic violence, it is horrendous but there is a difference between abuse and abuse PLUS having your entire way of life destroyed. It’s a double whammy for sure.

So, sometimes it’s one day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time. And sometimes one second at a time. Stay in the moment. As a friend said to me, sometimes all you can do is hang on and tell yourself you’ll worry about it tomorrow. And remember that sometimes even the clouds cry but eventually the sun comes out again.

Blessings great and small,

Olivia Rose

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