Bye, Felicia

In any reading you may do on ending a relationship with a narcissist, you will see No Contact recommended at every turn.  Let me explain it a bit.  No Contact means the obvious no calling or texting, driving by their home or finding out about them through secondary sources.  It’s also following these essential rules:

  1. Deleting and blocking them from your social media.
  2. Deleting and blocking any friends you have in common.
  3. Deleting and blocking them on your phone or even better…
  4. Getting a new phone number.
  5. Getting rid of old texts.
  6. Getting rid of gifts, mementos or any reminders of your relationship.
  7. Telling friends and family you do not want to hear updates about the narcissist.
  8. Writing down the hurtful things your narcissist did and keep that list handy when you are feeling vulnerable and feel the need to contact him.
  9. Remembering that you are not the disordered one in this equation.
  10. And, most importantly, no peeking or checking up on the narcissist.  Ever.

Some of these suggestions are unrealistic when you are co-parenting or your lives have been so enmeshed that blocking friends is not possible.  Totally get that.  But for many of us, doing all of the above is very possible.  Not only is it possible, it is the only way to survive regaining your life post narcissistic abuse.

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Nothing good comes from checking in to see how your abuser is doing.   If on the rare chance your abuser is single, you might idealize him, feel tenderness and lose your resolve.  If they are with someone, you will come undone.  And believe me when I tell you that they are with someone or trying to be with someone or the classic with someone and also trying to line up their next source of supply should their current someone not work out.

As a quick side note, it won’t work out.  Please logically take that fact in and also let it sink deep down to your very core.  He is not treating his new someone (or the one he is texting in the bathroom while his current someone is waiting patiently for him) better than he treated you.  It’s not possible.  The mask may stay on longer but he is the same disordered, sick man he was with you.

My point to trusting me on No Contact is this: Contact = Pain & Reliving Trauma.   I have not peeked in eight months.  Why?  I do not want to look at his narcissistic face ONE MORE TIME. Ever.  I live so happily forgetting what he looks like and having his features just erase from my mind.

My No Contact record of eight months and counting is something I am very proud of and makes me feel strong.  Seeing him smiling on a future-faking trip?  Or with his children that I loved with my whole heart?  Not at all helpful to me as I recover from the trauma of being with someone disordered in this way.

I would have thrived post-narcissistic abuse in the Pride and Prejudice era.  With letter writing and brooding whilst looking out my window onto the lovely English countryside. The idea that when something was done, it was done.  And that you had space and time to grieve and heal.  Living in a time where you can check up on the narcissist via Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat anytime and anywhere is tempting but counterproductive to the healing process.

The bottom line to No Contact is caring enough about yourself to heal fully from the trauma created intentionally by the narcissist.  You deserve that.  Quite honestly, he’d love knowing you were looking for him.  I urge you to not give him that hit of narcissistic supply. Okay, true, he won’t know that you aren’t peeking.  But YOU know that you aren’t. That’s what is important.

Yes, Virginia, there are monsters in this world.  Sadly, they look an awful lot like that charming man who sold you a beautiful dream and left you with a nightmare. That girl you once were? She will feel strong again.  And she will absolutely love again.  I don’t always know much, but I promise you that.

Off the Grid

I have not been writing as often lately.  The knowledge that James has found my little spot in the world to be open and free has affected my ability to turn my thoughts into keystrokes.  This is unacceptable to me.   James has zero right to know what is happening inside of my mind or whathomestreading‘s happening in my life.

With the above said, I’m not going anywhere and this isn’t over.  I owe it to my daughter to speak the truth of what happened to me.  I did not deserve this.  All of our daughters deserve to live in a world where there is culpability for men who, with their covert and overt violence, prey on women.  So I press on, as uncomfortable as this is, because it is the right thing to do.

What happened to me is so very wrong.  But I refuse to sweep it under the rug because that is just as wrong.  And here’s the thing.  What happened to me?  It happens every single day to women who’ve done absolutely nothing to deserve what they endure.  And while there will never be closure with James and men like him, there can be culpability.

Kintsugi

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing a broken piece of pottery with lacquer that is mixed with powdered gold.  I love thinking about this and the idea that something broken can be made whole again with a delicate golden glue.  An imperfect kind of beautiful is a perfectly lovely sort of thing.

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I have added new helpers to my regime in knocking out PTSD.  The one I have been working with most right now focuses on trauma with an emphasis on domestic violence.  Her name is Anne and she treats trauma with a therapy called EMDR.  It’s untraditional to say the least and involves a long set of lights that my eyes follow from left to right.  It took a leap of faith to give it a try, especially with someone I didn’t know.   If you are at all interested in learning about it, do a quick google search.  I would do a pretty awful job of explaining it.

Anne and I recently talked about forgiveness.  I actually brought it up as I am a firm believer in forgiveness but did not know how I could ever forgive James.  She thought about this for a minute and said, “Jenny, I know you will forgive him because I believe that is part of who you are.  You do not, however, have the luxury of feeling tender toward him. Ever.  Any time you find your mind thinking back on the first three weeks of kindness, remind yourself of the 63 others when he freely abused you.”

I took that in and asked, “But why did he have to do this to me? ”  Her response reminded me of the absolute opposite of kintsugi.   “Somebody broke him.  Lots of somebodys, actually.  And they broke him, probably over and over, and he could not be fixed.  He cannot be fixed.  Most abusive men will tell you that after you?  They will get better.  That YOU were the one who brought this behavior out in them.  That for the next woman? He’ll be different, just you wait and see.  She will get the loving, gentle “three week version” every single day of the year.  It’s one of the most predictable things that an abuser says when a high value relationship to them ends.  It’s also 100% wrong.   James is broken.  And like so many abusive men before him, they find a way to get into your psyche.  It’s where they live long after they are gone so that they can continue to haunt you.  But it is a lie.  He is a lie.  His broken pieces can never be put back together.”

After she said that I started to cry.  He did tell me that he would be fixed for the next woman to cross his path.  And I do feel tender to anything he suffered that caused him to be broken.  I do wish that he had never been hurt by anyone.  But as Anne leaned close to me to hand me a box of Kleenex she said, “Jenny, you were broken, too.  Not just by James, but when you were a little girl.  And it was over and over and by different people.  You had a choice on how you were going to live your life and you were able to choose kindness and repairing what was broken.  James’ ability to choose is limited.  And he operates by leaving a path of destruction.  Let the tenderness go.  You have to. Because if you hold onto it, you will not heal from what he has done to you.”

As I sit here now and write while I should be working, I struggle with that.  It is not how I am wired, I suppose?  But Anne is not telling me to live with anger.  She is not telling me I can’t forgive James.  She is telling me to see the abuse for what it was.  Deliberate, cruel, humiliating and causing complex trauma.  She is also telling me to see me for who I am. Someone who has faced very hard things before James and was able to heal.  And someone who specificially because of James is very broken but will get through this and made whole again.  I like that idea and I trust in it.  Although I will most certainly not look like a pretty piece of Japanese pottery.  I think modge podge is more apt.  But I will happily take that version.

November

Well, hello there, November.  Getting to this spot has been my goal since last October.   I had a plan in my head that by this time, I would have extracted myself from James’ abuse and slowly started to heal.  Both goals (although an emphasis on slowly must be noted) have been realized.  It hasn’t always been pretty, but I’m here.  And surrounded by so much love from people who have been brave enough to love me during the darkest time I have ever experienced.  I will happily do whatever I can to give back everything that’s been given to me.

darkest

I added a picture of a verse from Romans 5:8 as a way of explaining what love has always meant to me. A more complete reading is, “I loved you at darkest, at your most hopeless, at your rock bottom.  I loved you at your worst.”  I thought of this verse so often (for the record, I don’t know many verses and will be the very first to admit that I tend to run a bit agnositc) when I was with James.  That I loved him despite his confusing cruelty and his unpredictable behavior that could span from kindness to abuse in the matter of minutes.  And while, yes, I did very much love him admid his darkness, what he offered me was not love.  It was never love.

Love is never cruel or unpredictable or abusive.  You win no favor by loving someone like James through his darkness.  That darkness is pathological and intended to inflict harm upon you.  That darkness will destroy the very core of who you are.  It is not to be loved through because, quite simply and truthfully, it is not love.