How It Is

I can only afford people in my life who understand. It’s nothing personal against anyone – not even my lifetime abuser(s). Nothing is from here on out. There is only myself and my responsibility for myself. Into the fire we all must go and we all must go alone, one way or the other. As I flesh back together new, I’m relying heavily on the words of others who can speak my experience. Huge thanks to Greg Zaffuto for his generous provision of practical, powerful encouragement and support and for his example of allowing the devastation to break us open – together.

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We MUST process the truth that this was abuse! We believed it was love when it wasn’t and we are in a place that is called abuse and the journey to recovery must start NOW that we understand JUST HOW DISORDERED this person was to our entire life. Unless you stop blaming yourself, you will never really get out because you will be upholding an image of yourself that someone else created, but not facing the facts and the truth. THIS WAS NEVER ABOUT YOU – it was about a Narcissist and predator that unfortunately found their way into your life.

From my Book – From Charm to Harm and Everything else in Between with a Narcissist! @ https://www.amazon.com/Charm-Harm-Everything-…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

There is a complexity that is involved here and that has to do with what has happened to YOUR psyche through this abuse – and what kept you attached to the relationship because of the emotions that evolved or better yet you were manipulated into believing were real. Without understanding this and educating yourself you continue to fight YOUR emotions/feelings until the truth is apparent. The more you get to know what they’re doing (their real agenda), what they are really like, see it for yourself with your own eyes, the more you observe and journal in your mind, the greater your desire becomes to not inhabit the Narcissist’s planet any longer nor be pulled into the gravity from the Narcissist. A better way to describe it is being seduced into this abuse by the extreme manipulation the Narcissist uses to trap you into their agenda.

FIRST and FOREMOST, most of us fell in love with a Narcissist – but it was FAKE, not real, a con job and a means for them to use us as Narcissistic supply. Huge and I mean ABSOLUTELY a huge betrayal and the sign of a highly-disordered individual. They thrive on admiration so they select an audience or a particular person that fulfills their need – and that is key here – we were objectified to fulfill THEIR NEEDS. Like a great actor does, a Narcissist draws from the audience/person to create a reality that is believable and we, as the audience, become engaged with the complete story – emotions, beliefs, feelings and all – we empathize with the character in that fake script. But this scenario is different because we PERSONALLY interact with this Narcissist and we didn’t know it is a huge con job and DANGEROUS at the time because our hearts are ruling our heads. We also didn’t know that the actor is not a fully functioning human being as well as lacks ANY empathy, nor do we know they are abusive and will destroy our lives and run off with whatever they can take from us. Read this very paragraph to anybody and they will probably shake their head in disbelief and think you are crazy. BUT IT IS THE TRUTH – so imagine if you will that it is just as crazy for us (target/victim) to relate to and try to put in a realistic perspective to create our OWN closure and recover from a predator that attacked our lives BUT we believed it was LOVE.

If we honestly evaluate what has happened during the aftermath, we can identify times where we were in full-fledged denial of the obvious facts. Our partners had changed and we chose to believe that their viciousness and cruel behavior was caused by something WE had done wrong – a big NO to that – and our denial was in response to the barrage of manipulation that a shrewd Narcissist used to fulfill their agenda. It was the pull of the positive AND negative conditioning that kept us frozen in confusion and denial. That Narcissist was studying and reading us and our emotions like a book and using them against us to CONTROL us. It is also not a sign of weakness or stupidity on our part, instead it was a slow and insidious process of extreme manipulation, betrayal and brain-washing that stole our self-esteem and changed us. It is not hard to understand how it could happen because a Narcissist employs a manipulation that warps human emotion – something that we all cherish and try to emulate into our lives – and that is love. Love is many things that includes happiness, trust, personal bonding, strong emotions, empathy, attraction, growth, etc. – a very normal, unconditional and REWARDING emotion that can be real with a real person – again the Narcissist was nothing even near real. They use this “fake love” to grab our trust, take what they wanted, then destroy it all right in our faces and manipulate us back in to take more and more until there is nothing left of us!

So, we fell (were conned) IN LOVE – but an unnatural, desperate, and abusive love is nothing even near a normal love and it comes with a great price – the truth of the extreme and hideous betrayal that steals away a person’s self-esteem, belief system, and worth. We constantly tried to adjust and fix the damaged relationship AND ourselves and in doing so, our Narcissist was just taking the supply they required with their arsenal of tools. Their manipulation, betrayal, control, lies and acting out “trained” us to provide them with supply OR groomed us to become one of their objects and then they stepped up the game to get the most if not ALL they could from us until they were caught and identified as the monster they are and then they tried to destroy us to cover up the abuse so they could run off. They controlled us to gain power and we gave them power with each and every change we made, BUT we also eroded our sense of self-worth. We didn’t give them the power to abuse us, we mistakenly opened our hearts and minds with empathy to make things right and return the relationship back to what we believed was love, but the Narcissist used this as the very vehicle to drive us straight into this fake relationship as well as our own demise – AND THE NARCISSIST HAD COMPLETE COGNITIVE KNOWLEDGE OF DOING SO!

So now on our part (the normal person in this relationship) who believed there was reality, honesty, integrity, love, individuality, etc., AND a real relationship – we only tried to follow the natural flow or path of a relationship. THAT is what is difficult to reconcile and that is also called ‘cognitive dissonance’ or accepting a new reality that our beliefs about something (like this manufactured love) is so directly in opposition to the real truth that we are NOW presented with – in other words it takes a GREAT deal of reconciliation to get to the closure that we were abused. We didn’t know that we had inadvertently set the stage for Narcissistic attacks and rage when we only tried to express our basic needs in our relationship with them – and that is a BIG NO with a Narcissist because it is always and only about THEM and their MANY needs. A thief steals from you when you least expect it and they NEVER leave you a personal gift in return for what they stole – not a give and take situation – ALL TAKE like a Narcissist! Like a spoiled child, a Narcissist will act out in rage against the individual who is keeping them from getting what they want – constant supply, admiration, adulation and total control over their target. The hardest aspect to acknowledging this is accepting that we were JUST the next object for this Narcissist to use and this was SITUATIONAL abuse.

During what I call my “processing phase” I thought about all the arguments that seemed to come from nowhere and escalated to an “out of control” status for absolutely no reason – that is what describes the conditioning or grooming process. There were never any questions asked BUT there were always accusations from my Narcissist CONCERNING me. I was everything evil, everything mentally ill, I was perverse, having affairs, lying, cheating, stealing and anything else that the Narcissist could think up. It was the creative and DESTRUCTIVE mind of a highly disordered person acting out of their deep seeded pathology. These were diversions and projections of what the Narcissist was actually doing and they were shoved down my throat in an effort for this Narcissist to release from the shame and blame they should HAVE OWNED themselves for their hideous acts, lies and betrayal. Next it was to attempt to slowly but surely make me feel unworthy like I was all of these things wrong and bad so that I would keep changing to meet this Narcissists needs and be vulnerable. This defines the relationship with a Narcissist – totally and hysterically dysfunctional with an edge that serves the Narcissist’s agenda always. I reflected on some of the Narcissists arguments or statements that were uncharacteristically insecure and childlike to me at the time. It was such a surprise coming from an adult but I justified it and wrote it off as this Narcissist’s “immaturity.” I wanted this Narcissist to be the person I believed the Narcissist to be when my heart assigned itself to loving this Narcissist and I was resolved about my beliefs. If you love them, you will accept them for WHO they are and work with them, time will work to heal all of this and the bigger picture was what was important. Too bad I didn’t realize the PSYCHOPATHY behind all of this. REMEMBER there was a great deal of “love bombing” so the Narcissist could gain our trust to get us to believe they were GOOD at first. I wasn’t overlooking the obvious because I wasn’t seeing the WHOLE picture or the lies, cheating, betrayal, brain-washing and everything else that is kept so hidden from all of us – this is why it is classified as abuse or better yet psychological terrorism/abuse.

That is, perhaps, the most difficult and devastating outcome of a Narcissistic relationship, mustering up the strength as well as adopting the position to accept that your partner was just pathologically abusive and cruel AND now you must abandon them and the relationship COMPLETELY. It is a difficult and unnatural process to have to dump your past completely, as well as your emotions, dreams, plans, the family structure (they abandon/abuse their own biological children as well), all of the years you spent together and the memories that are also fake. IT IS AN ABHORATION of human life as well as human dignity to use/harm/destroy another individual in the manner a malignant Narcissist does. After you get there you are then left with the arduous task of finding and repurposing yourself again.

So here we are with the truth. We have to stand up again and brush ourselves off and start walking forward again and realize our own culpability in the exchange with this malignant Narcissist. We believed it was love when it wasn’t and we are in a place that is called abuse and the journey to recovery must start and NOW that we understand JUST HOW DISORDERED this partner was to our entire life. Now we MUST go “no contact” because we have educated ourselves with the truth and we have to stop anymore attempts on their part to abuse us anymore.

Apart from all of that, I live and I love again. It is an amazing life because now, I accept that there are people in this world who represent darkness and evil. It is not my place to fix them, make them better or to even tolerate them. Life is good without narcissists/psychopaths. I know myself better, I am myself, I love and enjoy and find the world a wonderful place to live in. I have good and great relationships. I know that I finally faced the truth and worked through it. I was not a deer frozen in the headlights and stayed in that position dazed forever. I was an adult with many resources and I learned to use them. I accepted that abnormal people had entered into my life. I accepted that they left damage in their wake and I needed to get them out of my life. Unless you do that, unless you stop blaming yourself, you will never really get out. You will be upholding an image of yourself that someone else created, but not facing the facts and the truth. THIS WAS NEVER ABOUT YOU – it was about a Narcissist and predator that unfortunately found their way into your life. Educate yourself and go “no contact” AND educate others once you understand the reality of this abuse and the damage it does to many undeserving and beautiful people. No/minimal contact! Greg

 

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Words

When I read your FB text last night, I instantly related.

You are so consumed with your own pain that it makes me feel like I’m not your [relationship descriptor redacted].

Get on some meds you psycho bitch!!

No I am not [wonderful] but I think I am kind, and you were kind to me so I hope you will find peace and happiness in the future.

No time and in no way is it appropriate to be rude, unkind, cutting, demeaning, speaking out of rage and anger, and belittling others. I have seen you do each of these things with a measure of generosity. I have watched you shred those who even mildly suggest that you’re out of line.

Hi JD, I just wanted to say “Me Too”. My emotions are too raw to say anything beyond that, but ME TOO sister.

You need to get off Facebook and find some real friends.

I have a whole bunch of emotions there for you my friend. Anger, sadness, frustration to name a few. I haven’t been publicly posting on your timeline but have been following to some degree. You can – no, will – rise above this and find your own sense of self and all that entails.

This is a much more reasonable place to be. Not that being unreasonable is bad – I’m not saying that. But this post has much less estrogen-filled drama and is much easier to process (for me).

You think you are telling the truth but in fact you’re just regurgitating this woke woman diatribe that is out there in ultra feminist blogs.

I don’t have rich parents who come to my rescue every time things get a little bit hard.

I’m glad you’ve contacted scabies. I accept that as what you’ve got coming for what you’ve done to me.

You take care of you. We’ll keep praying, as always, for only good things for you – whatever those may be.

The truth? You mean your exaggerated story and outright lies that make you look like an abused victim.

I miss the person you suppressed not the person you are now.

You are a unicorn: pretty, but fierce as fuck. Damn. I mean, DAMN.

You’ve always been a bitter person.

You are beautiful inside and out.

omg! it’s impossible to reason with you.

Proud of you.

I can’t stand the woman you’ve become.

I was thinking about you and wanted to send you some love. There’s not really much I can say about the myriad things you’re going through, but I can at least let you know that much!

I’ve really, really been wanting to message you for a little while because I’ve felt so compelled to share with you a little bit more of my story. Extremely random, especially because it’s not something I’ve shared with very many, but I figure if anyone is going to understand, it’s going to be you.

Fine. I see how I rate with you now.

I don’t know what all is going on, but I admire your being upfront with how hard life is right now for you. When I felt my world was falling apart (my husband had left me and our two little ones to live the “carefree” life of a meth addict)…I kept it all to myself. I tried to make it look like everything was fine on the home front. I didn’t cry in front of my kids. The one friend I finally confided in told me what a disservice I was doing by acting like everything was normal…when clearly it was not. It was a sad time. Crying would be appropriate. Asking for help, support, love…would be appropriate. Live and learn. And pass on those lessons.

i commented, Jennifer, because from what i see, you need help. not only, but how you’re going about things mortifies me. i have no earthly idea how you can think this helps you, your kids, your extended family.

I can only say that I am proud of the decisions you have made. Teaching your children what courage and resolve look like in the face of adversity is an incredible gift.

That was really harsh the way you just talked to dad.

Hi Jennifer, sorry to hear all of the pain in your life these days. Very sorry…I can’t imagine what you are going through and I’m glad to hear you have a community around you. That is great! Thanks for sharing about your family.

You disgust me and I will hate you until the day I die.

I love you. You’re the best mommy in the universe.

 

Good Day

It is a good day to let the feelings flow as they will, unadulterated, without shame or restraint, with no fuck or fear given to how YOU would feel about them…

Knowing all too well how you would Dismiss – Distract – Deflect – Connive – Contort – Convince me (hell, everyone we know) that I AM not real…

…and upon realizing you’ve lost that power, slink away to wallow in the cowardice and shame that I will never again bear for you or shrink myself to accommodate.

Yourself alone remains to delude that I AM the one who abandons and betrays.

It is a good day to do the tedious work of gathering scraps of grace the only place I find them in this chasm of separation I did not choose.

Today. It is a very good day to be 2000 miles away.

Winter is Coming

Winter is coming. Those damn Starks have been telling us so forever, but we grew tired of hearing it and dismissed them as crying wolf (insert GOT fan groan).

But winter is coming, and it’s coming for me, so I might as well go out with all the drama and flare of a butchered Jon Snow…bleeding out, lying motionless, fading to black.

In my physical world, it is autumn, which in central California means this morning was the first time my kids and I broke out a light sweater to walk to school with a predicted high temp of 79…may the gods, old and new, sustain us.

Autumn, however muted in this part of the country, still retains an element of anticipation and haunting beauty as a prelude to death; a transitional season leading us out of one extreme and into another. There’s a whisper in the (ever so slightly chilled) air saying, “Winter is coming.

Surely I hail from the House of Stark as I’ve known winter was coming for me for a long time. It is now right on my doorstep and there is nothing left but to welcome it in.

THE BEGINNING OF THE END

For once I can’t blame my swollen red eyes on seasonal allergies. I’ve been sobbing intermittently and quite uncontrollably for 3 days. I finally crashed hard last night, dropping at 8:30 and sleeping like a dead person until 6 a.m. I woke up feeling refreshed for a nice change. I had a pleasant morning together with the Banshees, and as we stepped outside to begin our walk to school I thought, “It’s going to be alright. Your life is so good. You’ve got this.”

Then Joseph, our little Random Man, blurted out for no good reason, “I can’t wait for church. How many days until Sunday?” The instant lump in my throat kept me from answering. Liberty did the math for him and said, “Yeah, I love church.”

With that, an icy blast of arctic air just about knocked my spirit on its ass. Winter is coming.

“Guys, would you be really sad if I told you that we were going to have to stop doing church?”

“YES!” they both wailed in unison. JoJo saw a roly poly and immediately lost interest, but Libby honed in, “Why do we have to stop going to church?”

“Well honey, not enough people want to come and we don’t have any more money left.”

Without skipping a beat, “We can just go to another church. How about that big one we’ve gone to before? There’s lots of people there.”

I would have preferred being punched hard in the face at that moment rather than answer her.

BLEEDING OUT

My babies have absolutely no concept of the conflict and hardship we’ve endured, as it should be. Our own church had very little idea as it just wasn’t appropriate for us to burden them that way. That’s why I turned to writing. It was my one and only release to keep me from drowning in the bitterness and resentment.

But what to tell my daughter who was asking me why we couldn’t just go back to what she calls “fun church”? Her only real memory of that place was using the facilities for training groups a few Sunday nights a couple years ago. It was big and had stuff and she got to play (as opposed to small and has stuff and she gets to play at Four Creeks).

How do you tell your child that the pastor who took her and each of her siblings as infants into his arms to pray over and dedicate them to God had disparaged and disowned her parents? How do you tell her that the congregation who had promised that day to nurture and support her and us as a family had done the same?

All I could think to say was, “Oh no sweetie, I would never go back there. They didn’t like us. They didn’t want us.”

My mind raced ahead trying to think of how I would answer what I thought would be the inevitable next question – why?

Instead, after mulling this new information over for a few seconds, she said, “Well, at least there wasn’t a war.”

My freakishly wise and wonderful 8-year-old made an important observation. There was conflict, but there was no war. We had been purposeful in that from the beginning. We’d initially gone silently like lambs to slaughter. When I eventually did start talking it was in an attempt to salvage relationships and my own sanity. I was spectacularly unsuccessful on both counts.

We’d declined a war out of love for both churches by sacrificing ourselves as the only casualties, and I’ve been severely walking wounded ever since

“You’re so right Libby. There was no war, but I was very hurt and I still hurt very much.”

“What?! Someone hit you?!”

“No, honey. My feelings were hurt.”

“Oh. Well then let’s go find another church that’s fun and doesn’t hurt.”

And I lost it. Done. Stick a fork in me (or a half dozen daggers). Finito. Roll credits.

WINTER HAS COME

With the exception of my college prodigal years (I was wiser than I knew then), for the first time in my life I’m going to be without a church, and I’m not going to try to find one – not as long as we live in this town, anyway. I just can’t fathom any church, as Libby said, that is “fun and doesn’t hurt.” Four Creeks was the type of church that I would have given my right arm to be a part of…and I ended up losing much more than that. I understand why so few would even touch or acknowledge it/us, and it’s OK. It really is. This is a good death and I go into it willingly and without a fight. This part of my life needs to completely die. I’ve been in this process for such a long time, and I’m so very tired and ready for the release.

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives.

Winter has come for me. I have no idea what the duration of this season will be, and it really doesn’t matter. It will be what it will be. Spring will come when it comes. New life will come as it is God-breathed. My only task for right now is to die for a little while.

From the beginning, it was always leading up to this –

Father, forgive us because we just don’t understand what we’re doing.

Into your hands I commit my spirit.

It is finished.