The crazy of breaking up with James again and again and again (and several more agains) began in December of last year. It was not the most wonderful time of the year. I was at nearly my worst then. My cognitive dissonance was off the charts. (Cognitive dissonance is a narcissist’s best amigo.) I felt like I was under constant surveillance because, well, I totally was. My heart was completely broken by realizing I had fallen in love with a very sick man whom I feared. In other words, I was a lava-hot mess.
I finally gave up and decided I deserved a better life on December 14th (don’t be proud of me, it lasted all of 6 hours) after a disastrous trip we took to his alma mater. While being sweet as pie to his friends, he was filled with contempt toward me. For the record, I had done nothing to ignite this wrath. Not one thing.
After that trip, I had a scheduled visit with a physician, Dr. Gardner, who I’ve seen since forever. He looked at me and said, “Jenny, there are men out there who will never pretend to be people they are not. There are men out there who will love you because of the lovely person you are. I want you to know that this can end today. From what you’ve described, this sounds like narcissistic personality disorder mixed with paranoid personality disorder or perhaps borderline, and likely other things thrown in the mix. This isn’t going to get better. You have to be brave enough to let today be the last day you are abused by this man.”
He went on to tell a story about his daughter getting into a bit of a bind while on the road during a snowstorm earlier that week. “Leighton slid off the road during the snow we had. She texted me and I grabbed my keys, drove to where she was and stayed with her until the tow truck came. You deserve that, Jenny. You deserve a man who will want to take care of you, not because you are incapable of taking care of yourself, but because they love you and want you to be safe. James is doing exactly the opposite. Do you think he would come to help you if you slid off the road?” He didn’t need me to answer.
I guess it’s no surprise that I still struggle with the abusive, dark, humiliating and degrading ways James treated me, especially the parts where it’s as if I was not even human to him. It’s these remembrances of what happened “a year ago today” that are so hard and get me wishing the past away. I think of all of time I could have spent with the people who actually cared about me and loved me.
Soon enough those “year ago todays” will be gone and replaced with all of the joyful and loving ways I’ve lived my life since April 1, 2016. In the meantime, I have to be honest with the twists and turns that learning to breathe again takes. It is really difficult. I’m not full or spite or venom or rage. I’m not jaded. And in the quiet of the long nights when I can’t fall asleep, I hold onto the hope that my story ends well.