Why I am here?

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

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Peace comes from breathing out the bad and breathing in the good. People can try to take our peace, our love, our happiness and so much more from us. We must hold on to our hearts and minds every day, one day at a time.

Please, join me on this journey of discovering how to handle the rough seas and enjoy the sunsets on every horizon.

WHO AM I?

I am not a therapist or licensed professional. I am a warrior of my own life and my heart. I am conquering the demons of others that attempt to take me down. I have experienced the good and the bad in life and used it to learn about taking on the battle over the next hill.

I will not give guidance or tell anyone how to live or what to do. I am just a friend and supporter in recovery who shares her stories of strength, hope and faith. I have these people in my life who have reminded me how to stand when I was lying on the floor. We all need friends and support when dealing with the demons of addiction, narcissism, personality disorders and abuse. I read any amazing quote on Pinterest, “Sometimes angels are just ordinary people that help us believe in miracles again.” I believe my friends and support are angels sent to help me when it is too dark to see a way out.

Just please, do not use this as a substitution for professional help or support groups. They are so important for your recovery to get all the help necessary to heal the wounds left by someone else.

If a loved one or you is in need of treatment for an addiction, contact SAMHSA Substance and Mental Health Services Administration for guidance on finding the right help. 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

If someone is abusing you, please get help immediately. It is never okay for anyone to physically or mentally hurt you. Contact National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit at www.thehotline.org

I love sunsets. They remind me that I have survived another hard day or I have enjoyed another great day, whichever way I can look at it in that moment of glorious color. Sunsets make us stop and look for the beauty in every day. It is there and waiting to show us gratitude, hope, strength, faith and love. Remember, tomorrow is always another day to start over and do better and feel better. God bless you on this journey of self-forgiveness and healing from the trauma that has brought you here. We can always start over from where we stand at this moment, we don’t have to wait for a sunrise.

What Should I Wear Today? Now It Is What Should I Feel Today?

Some days it is like walking into a huge closet and being confused about what to wear. Do I feel like dressing up or being comfy? Heels or sneakers? Pants or skirt? Black or bright colors? For me the clothes that I picked reflected my feelings that day. As one girl whom I hardly knew in my office once told me after I resigned from the company, “I am going to miss you so much because I looked forward to seeing what you would wear every day. Some days you looked like you just left a rave and other days you looked like Audrey Hepburn.” I was flattered and surprised at the same time. Was I really that diverse. The answer was yes. I still am. That is what I consider one of my greatest qualities…I am never ordinary or simple in anything that I do. I like to be different. I strive to stand outside of every box. This works great in most areas of life. Except it doesn’t work so well in the emotional part of life. I am so diverse in emotions. My clothes did reflect my emotions. Some days I felt like having fun and just setting out to enjoy that day. Some days I was serious about life and my path going forward. When I combined these I would look like Audrey Hepburn wearing orange Converse. Yeh, hard to imagine her wearing those? Me too. But I know if she had had the chance to wear them with a Roman Holiday dress, she would have. I always wanted to be that fun but sophisticated woman who did not get knocked off her Vespa on her journey into the exciting life ahead of her.

I am really not sure where I got off the Vespa and lost the days of raves and Audrey Hepburn. They did go away for awhile. I gave up my soul. I gave it to a monster who loves to eat souls adorned in fun, color and hope. He wasn’t a monster at first. I guess you could say a wolf in sheep’s clothing. His wardrobe was stylish but these were all merely costumes for the role he was playing that day. I never played a role. I played myself. If I was a movie a character, I think I would have been a cross between Jennifer Aniston in Along Came Polly, Jennifer Gardner in 13 Going on 30 and Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. That was me. No acts. Just me. I lost those spirited parts of myself. I lost the roses on my lapel, the vintage coats, the variety of dresses, the jewelry galore. I lost my spark that made me who I was. I became jeans and what top I thought he would like or what he bought me (which usually was never a reflection of me). I am not sure if he thought of me when shopping for many gifts. Some were great. A few times he actually saw me. Many other times it was like he never even saw me. Sizes wrong. Styles off. Not even the looks that he said he liked to see on a woman. I would try to wear them to make him happy and to think I looked pretty. I wouldn’t feel like me in them. I gave my soul to the monster. I gave my spirit to the monster. I allowed myself to become the kind of person that I felt bad for in life. I allowed myself to exist in a relationship that I said I would never allow. Why did I allow it? Why did I give up my spirit that made me special? Why would he want to take that spirit from me if he said that is what he loved about me when we met?

Who we are deep inside the depths of our souls is so valuable and so important to this world. If we were all the same then this world would be so boring and so one colored. I don’t want to live in a world like that. I never wanted to live in a world like that. Yet, I was willing to live in a world like that for what I thought was love. But I realized that true love, real love, honest love doesn’t drain the color from the world. It does just the opposite; it brightens every corner and makes the colors have flavors and smells. Only destructive love kills the life in our spirits and souls. Destructive love of a narcissist, addict, abuser, sociopath, etc. can drain every drop of color from your life. I don’t even know if you can call it destructive love. There is no love in their actions or words. There is just pain and sadness that slowly brings you to your knees surrounded by hues of grey and black. You are a pile on the floor in drab sweatpants and a t-shirt that doesn’t even resemble your past self. You don’t even recognize yourself anymore when you look in the mirror. It hurts to look at what you have become. I know because I have been there. I was so mad at myself for giving up my heart to a monster who just kept stabbing it and then getting mad at me because I was bleeding. It is insanity that puts us on the floor. It is insanity that makes us forget who we are. It is insanity that makes the color vanish. It is the insanity of loving someone who abuses us either mentally, emotionally or physically.

I realized that I was just a blob of grey. When I tried to be me again, I would find out he was cheating again. I was finally hit by glitter bomb falling from a rainbow. Well, not really but I like to imagine it that way. I was hit with the understanding that he never loved me. He loved the idea of a faithful, loving, doting wife. I just happened to be the supply that worked for him at the right time. Lucky me. Like he walked into the store and said, “Oh yes, this dress. This dress is the perfect companion for me, sexy enough but also tasteful and sophisticated for what I need.” I was like a selection from a store. Then he outgrew me very fast. But I kept trying to be the perfect fit for him.

I am once again myself. This time it is gold, snakeskin, neon or pink sneakers. It is fun jewelry that I buy for myself. It is fun, sophisticated and sexy all in one, but with creativity and color in every stitch. I look so much better that people are telling me how great I look these days. It feels fabulous to have people see me again. I am not a grey blob anymore. I am me again. I am fabulous me again. I learned so much over these past 18 years. I will never go back to that drab girl again. I am forever fun and creative and me again. I love me again! Don’t let a monster drain your color from your soul. Take back your color and your life back from this destructive false love. You are fabulous and never let anyone make you feel or think any other way.

Breathe out sadness, Breathe in happiness. Breathe out grey, Breathe in color. Breathe out smoke, Breathe in rose petals. Breathe out misery, Breathe in freedom. Breathe out abuse, Breathe in healing.

H.O.P.E

The other day while searching Pinterest for some wise words on a difficult day, I came across this amazing Pin. H.O.P.E….Hold on pain ends! Wow! So small but so profound and powerful. Just hold on because all pain ends. I love this so much. Not it’s not because I am really struggling with the difficulties of my life but because it says something about every day whether good or bad that all pain is temporary. All pain can be overcome. All this is possible with HOPE.

Some days hope seems so far away. Like a star you can vaguely see without the help of a telescope and know you never can reach. Hope is so necessary in order to believe that this too shall pass. When I think of hope, I see an anchor. You throw it overboard so you don’t go adrift and crash into the shore, rocks or another boat. You place your hope in that anchor to keep you safe. We anchor our faith in hopes that we will be kept safe during a storm. Everyone gives me anchors for gifts now. Trying to remind me never stop believing that I am being taken care of by strength of my higher power, God.

Seems easy huh? Seems so beautiful and peaceful so have hope? It is beautiful when someone has deep hope and faith. But easy? No. It’s a daily journey to keep it. For me anyways, some days it is an uphill journey. Especially in the middle of a difficult and painful divorce, I find it hard to find that anchor keeping me from drifting into the sharp rocks of disappointment and anger. My divorce is like those ones you see in the movies. You know the movies that you are like no way does that happen in real life. Well, it does. I am living proof that fiction can be moved into the non-fiction part of the library. I think the hardest part to portray on a screen is the inner feeling someone has when she realizes that she has been living with a complete stranger for 17 years. Nothing was real. Nothing. It all feels like chaos and confusion. Realizing that the man you married is not at all who he made himself out to be was the saddest, maddest and strangest part of my life so far. How do you hold on to hope when you realize there either wasn’t an anchor at the end of rope or just a small bag of sand for too many years? It is a situation I never imagined being in and I am sure you never did.

I keep thinking of this quote that reminds us pain ends as long we believe it will end. That belief in better days is what hope is all about. I stopped believing in better days because I was so beaten down for too many years. Now I can say that I see that anchor at the end of my rope. My rope is strong. My anchor is strong. I am strong. I always hear move forward to get away from the pain and grow towards a better future. Maybe the anchor is better. Throw that anchor over the side of the boat. Don’t worry about navigating anywhere or doing anything at that moment. No big decisions need to be made. Just focus on healing yourself. Taking care of yourself. Enjoying the sounds of the water lapping on the side of the boat, the birds flying overhead, the sun warming your skin, the horizon showing you the earth is still moving and the breeze cooling just enough for that perfect comfort. Smile at it all. Relax and breathe in deeply the fresh air around you. Throw overboard all the things causing your heart to hurt with confusion, anger and sadness and watch the currents take them slowly away from your boat. With every wave, that pain get further away. With every wave, that pain gets less. With every wave, you allow hope and faith to keep hold of you. You will survive. You will be stronger. You will be better for it all. Your faith will be deeper. Your hope will be more consistent. So remember with H.O.P.E., you just have to hold on until the pain ends. And it will end. And you will be better than ever. I have been getting better in the process. I have faith in God. I have faith in myself. I have faith in you.

Breathe out fear, Breathe in faith. Breathe out pain, Breathe in hope. Breathe out confusion, Breathe in new outlook. Breathe out old air, Breathe in fresh air … Fill your lungs with the new!

Darci Doll, What You Taught Me

My parent’s king size bed was overrun with dolls, barbie clothes, stuffed animals, and miniature furniture. I created an entire house for my many dolls and their pets with pillows and dollhouse furniture. Two duffel bags filled with clothes and dolls entertained my imagination for hours. I had a very vivid imagination. Still do. One of my coping skills that gets me through very dark times. I imagine a better world and go back there when my heart and mind cannot take the pain around me. When I couldn’t reach my daughter, I used to tell her that she is the star of her own broadway show and she is often on encore. I understood her. I was and sometimes still am like her. We both had the same form of coping skills for difficult and scary times. I wasn’t escaping a difficult time back then, but I would play with my dolls for hours and hours. I would immerse myself in their stories. I even would fall asleep on one of the pillow beds for a quick nap to rejuvenate my creative mind. I can picture it like it was yesterday. Sometimes I wish it was yesterday and I could know what I know now and relive my life. But then I wouldn’t be sitting here today with my two beautiful kids or would I? No one will ever know. Now I am off subject. My creative mind wandering to another show. Sorry.

Back to my dolls. I had so many and all different kinds. Most were Barbies. The blonde, blue-eyed beauties that made us think we would all have legs that didn’t touch at the thigh or perfect 23 inch waists. And that Ken would always follow us around and want to be with us. Funny though, Barbie wasn’t my favorite doll. Darci was my favorite one. I got her one Christmas. She was different. She was a whole head taller than Barbie. She wasn’t as anatomically incorrect as Barbie was in those days. She looked like a woman who got up every morning and ran three miles then drove the kids to school before going to work. I never realized it, until one night recently when I was reflecting on these fun moments, but Darci was always the head of my doll household. Just Darci. No Ken. Not even long, dark haired shave Ken. And he was a catch for sure. No one could resist his silky long dark hair instead of a blonde plastic, feathered helmet. After years of the shave marker on his face, he eventually had stubble. I mean, come on, Malibu Ken was just a pretty boy. Darci was strong enough to not be tempted by him. She ran the house and everyone in it. She solved everyone’s problems. She believed in consequences and communication. She was my superhero. I knew then the power of a woman and what she could do on her own. I knew you didn’t need a man to make it in this world. I knew Darci could handle it. She must have had like 15 kids, not sure because I had so many Barbies then. Darci taught me that I could do it too.

After the duffels of dolls were long packed away, I still believed in what Darci stood for in my mind. I went to Europe by myself to study. I went to college far away from home by myself and graduated with honors and a semester early. I moved to New York City by myself. I never even knew my roommates until the day I moved in. I slept in a non-heated basement on a mattress under a spiral staircase. The floor shook from the nearby subway station and I could see my breath some winter mornings. I loved it. I was succeeding on my own. I even helped to support a boyfriend who got lost in grief after his father died. I was Darci. I was handling life. I was doing a pretty good job until I got this idea in my head that I should have someone who loved me. I had not had anyone love me yet and I was 30. Shouldn’t I have this? I lost my edge. I lost my focus. I lost myself in the man who promised me just that. I took Darci and put her in the duffel bag and pulled out one of the dolls that I didn’t like so much. One of the high maintenance looking ones who always played the dumb sister. Yep, that was me now. The doll that I didn’t like. Why did I give up on Darci?

I have been beating myself up for months now. Mad that I didn’t stay in Darci mode. Mad that I let this guy con me into believing his false promises of love and forever. I believed him so fast. Too fast. What happened to me? I thought that I was lost and needed something. I thought that something was a man. Why do we do this as women? Is it because when we were kids the Barbies came with Kens. I don’t remember Astronaut Barbie or Chef Barbie. I am glad that the girls of today have better examples of being strong, independent women. I created Darci into that inspiration. I don’t remember Darci and her two friends having any guy dolls to go with them. It was just the three girls. It never ceases to “stupefy” me that these dark-hearted men can take even the strongest women and turn them into a heap of pain. I have to stop beating myself up for my stupidity and naivety for believing a pathological lying, narcissistic addict that he wanted to take care of me and that he loved me. It is not my fault for wanting to see the best in someone. It is not my fault for having a big heart and loving big. It is not my fault for wanting to be loved. It is not my fault that he cannot be faithful. He is the Ken doll taking any glamorous Barbie you buy for him that day. I am the Darci doll wanting to be strong and capable to do it on my own.

The duffel bag was given to my daughter. She didn’t see the amazing qualities in Darci that I did. But Ken did lose his head forever and she had all girls left. So things went back to a balanced world in the duffel bag and in my mind’s world. I will be forever grateful for my creative mind that protects me when the toxic people try to destroy me. I will always reflect upon Darci running that king-sized household all by herself and succeeding. Thank you, Darci. I won’t forget you anymore and let some Ken kidnap me with lies and false love.

Breathe out emptiness, breathe in creativity. Breathe out worldly needs, breathe in personal growth. Breathe out stigmas, breathe in leading the way. Breathe out unrealistic expectations, breathe in self acceptance.

Do you like this dress?

A store full of the latest beautiful clothes, shoes as far as the eye can see, soft leather purses, sparkly jewels and makeup in every color offers so much to the fashion lover. I was and always will be a fashion lover. Fashion makes me happy. Fashion makes me creative. Fashion helped me express myself and my inner character that day. When I was in my 20s, I had a girl in my office tell me she looked forward to seeing what I would wear to work. She laughed and said that some days I looked like I was going to rave and the next I looked like Audrey Hepburn. I took it as a compliment. I was comfortable enough to be me every day. I wore Converse with skirts, big flowers on my lapel, high heels with cuffed jeans and sleek black dresses. It was me.

So when asked over the past 10 or 12 years, “Do you like this dress?” I did’t answer from my truth anymore. My first thought was, “Would he like it?” I was constantly trying to impress him. Constantly trying to make him fall in love with me. Constantly trying to get him to SEE me. Like he saw me when we first met. I wanted to see those eyes look at me again. I desperately, so desperately wanted this. It is so crazy to me that someone who walked the streets of Manhattan with a giant fuchsia silk flower on her lapel with coordinating Converse would ever dress to make someone else happy. Now I am back to dressing like me, for me. It feels so amazing. So free. I know now that I wasn’t my true self for so many years. I was a puppet with so many strings. One string was even attached to my love of fashion and would control my perception of myself. He had every string in his sick hands and he knew it. He loved manipulating me with his strings of lies, rejection, betrayal, mean words and false love. Shutterfly sends those “remember six years ago” files and I look at me at old photos and get so sad. I changed my hair to what he wanted. So often I did it myself because I felt guilty that I didn’t work to pay for it. I let go of my fashion because I didn’t want to spend too much money and upset him. Someone knew I wasn’t myself two years ago when I walked in my kid’s school in oversized, poor fitting sweatpants. I had hit the bottom of my pain and just didn’t care anymore. I had given up on me. It was all about him in every way. I cannot blame him completely though. I let him get into my head and change the way I thought. I let his comments affect me. I let his rejections and betrayals make me try harder and love bigger. I let his anger make me feel guilty and ask forgiveness. I let him stay longer than he should have stayed. I let him steal my truth. Sure he was the sick monster knowingly doing it all to me, but I could have said stop at any time.

It has taken me almost a year to forgive myself for letting him throw away my oversized flowers and Converse sneakers to match. A very long year filled with so much pain and guilt towards myself and my kids. What kind of example was I? I shouldn’t feel guilty for loving someone that much. For loving someone so much that you think you can see beyond the dark shell to a person filled with honest light and love. I love big always. I don’t know how to love small. It is who I am. I wear giant flowers on my lapel, diamond pins in my hair, memories on my wrist, Converse in many colors, stilettos and jeans, Roman Holiday dresses, fun t-shirts, baseball caps, makeup but never oversized, poor fitting sweatpants in public. I let myself down in so many ways over the past 17 plus years since I met him. I wanted to be loved back so badly. I know now that I was looking to the wrong person to give what I deserve. I was asking someone who can only love himself to love me. His love comes with strings, many strings. I never wanted to be a puppet. I pitied women like that when I was young. I became that woman and I don’t want pity now. I want to be a lesson. A guide so others don’t follow me. A voice to teach about emotional abuse and the long term pain it causes. An inspiration for others to get out or never even enter with a narcissistic person. So now I ask, “Do I like this dress?” instead of “Do you like this dress?” Be true to yourself. You are one of a kind. You are beautifully imperfect inside and out. You are what you choose to be not what someone else says you are. The sick monster will never make me feel like a piece of shit again (sorry but only word to really make my point). I am a hero in my own life….I am a (She)ro in Converse and stilettos depending on the day.

Breathe out judgements, breathe in confidence. Breathe out fear, breathe in pride. Breathe out attachment, breathe in letting go. Breathe out oversized, poor fitting sweatpants, breathe in feeling amazing and loving yourself.

A New Year?

Well, we are approaching the end of 2019 and everyone says that next year will be different. Will the click of the clock from 2019 to 2020 really make a big difference? So many seem to think so. So many people stand there to watch that sparkly, magic ball drop from the sky and start a new year. Kisses and hugs are passed to strangers like they are at a family reunion. There is so much happiness and hope floating like the confetti in the air. It is magical and inspiring to even the heaviest of hearts. I wish that feeling could last longer than till the next morning when the sun rises and exposes that it is the same place you were in the day before. Nothing really has changed or gotten better overnight. Same life, different day. But it is a new year. New calendars. New numbers. New ages. New us?

It is a new us if we want it to be a new us. The numbers of the year don’t make it different for us. We make it different for us. We have to choose to make it different for us. That change doesn’t happen overnight by a big. blinged-out ball dropping from the top of Times Square. That change happens when we take our feet and turn them just the slightest bit and walk in a different direction towards a new destination. Nothing changes if we just write 2020 on our checks now. The checks still are worth the same amount. But the hand signing that check leads to the heart of the person wanting to write a different chapter. This year I am going to write a different chapter and make sure that I don’t keep walking in the same direction towards pain and sadness. Every year before I would watch the ball drop and say a prayer that my husband would finally get better and change back into the man who once seemed to want me and us. I finally realized I was hoping and praying for the impossible in someone else. I couldn’t make someone love me or want me just because I loved and wanted him. They always say if someone truly loves you, they will never take a chance to lose you. That ball never clicked a new number to make my life better or different than the day before. That ball just made me more sad that the kiss at midnight wasn’t filled with sincerity and love, just emptiness and requirement from him.

Now I see the ball as this wonderful giant bling saying, “Hey beautiful, it’s your time to start over and make YOUR life as fabulous as you are.” I see that ball as what I am and will be…a shining light of hope, love and inspiration to others. That is why I started writing this blog. To inspire others to never give up and know that they are never alone in this difficult journey of pain towards renewal. The new year doesn’t have a wand to erase the bad of 2019 but it can be a time to say loud and clear to yourself, “I am starting now to love myself and change my life towards MY happiness.” So when you see that ball drop, kiss and hug with honesty, love and hope and know that you can change your life with the faith that God and all of us are with you.

This year don’t allow anyone to steal your happiness. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel bad for who you are on the inside or outside. Don’t allow anyone to make you lose faith and hope in the good. Don’t allow anyone’s addictions or anger hurt you. Don’t allow anyone to dull your smile or run your mascara. Don’t allow anyone to question your worth. Don’t allow anyone to keep you from your destiny. Don’t allow anyone to keep you in their darkness.

This year smile when you don’t think you can find it. This year love yourself and the right people even when your heart is broken. This year show the world that you know your worth is extremely valuable. This year show the world that you have faith and hope even in the darkness. This year show the world that you can cry and still be okay. This year show those toxic people that you don’t need them and you are strong enough on your own. This year go after your passions and dream big. This year is the year of YOU. This year take care of you while still being a caring person to those who genuinely appreciate you.

Goodbye 2019, you have given me so much pain that has taught me great lessons about life and myself. Thank you for it all. Hello 2020! I am excited to see this year and this number change. BUT I am more excited to see myself change and grow towards the person who I know am and want to be in this life. I never make resolutions. I make changes to better my life and those I love around me.

Breathe out the old, breathe in the new. Breathe out the pain, breathe in the healing. Breathe out the doubt, breathe in the faith. Breathe out the bad past, breathe in the hopeful future. Breathe out loneliness, breathe in self-confidence. Breathe out 2019, breathe in 2020.

Emotional Whiplash

I have been driving in traffic for years. I am not talking standard, just busy street traffic at rush hour. I am talking about that kind of traffic that moves along at a steady pace then BAM! it stops. You inch along and at times even contemplate taking a service road or an alternate route. That traffic that becomes so infuriating and you just can’t even hear the radio pounding from your dashboard. All you can hear and feel is your heart beating and your blood temperature rising. When you are just about to take the next exit, you see the flashing lights and get past the congestion to start going at a steady pace again. Wait! Don’t get too comfortable and convinced that you will get there on time. Stop. Go. Stop. Go.

Relationships with someone who suffers from addictions and/or narcissism are just like this picture of traffic. Sometimes everything is moving along at a good, steady pace towards your destination. Other times you are just trying to find a way to breathe from all the congestion and chaos. I label my experience for the past many many years as “Emotional Whiplash”. Just like physical whiplash that leaves you in pain and unable to turn your head to see the world around you, emotional whiplash leaves you in pain and unable to focus on anything but the person in front of you. He keeps you going with false hopes and lies to continue with him on his steady pace towards his own darkness. Then he makes you stop in the middle of life, crippled with despair and the inability to find an alternate way other than his way. Sometimes you become that accident or broken down car sitting on the side causing everyone else to stop or slow down. This sick person is like that passenger who keeps saying, “Get in that lane, it’s moving faster. No, go back to this lane.” Yeh, you know that passenger. Then if you change to his lane and it slows down, he blames you for changing lanes. It is always a reminder how wrong you are and how he is better in so many ways. When you finally arrive at the destination on that day, he is all loving and supportive of you in a distorted false loving way. But it is the best love you can get from him, so you feel calmer and pleased that he sees you like that. The whiplash comes when it all just happens again the next time you are stuck in the traffic of his addiction and narcissism. The extremely painful whiplash from feeling good and bad in the relationship you so desperately wanted to be “stuck” in every day. Love. Anger. Love. Anger.

Living in a marriage like this for way too long has given me chronic pain from the emotional whiplash of the “false” love and rejection cycle. First, he couldn’t get enough of me and pursued me with such passion. It felt great. No, it felt amazing to think someone was really like me and wanted me like I wanted him. He was easy to fall in love with then. He made himself easy to fall in love with then. He was a professional at love bombing women as I have learned throughout our marriage from the many others to whom he was doing the same things. Love bombing brings you in so fast that you don’t have time to breathe or think except about them. This happened to me and we married so fast after just meeting. It seemed like a romantic movie in the making. There was no second or third level of the process. We went from dating, quick marriage and newlyweds to just a middle of fog and confusion. He played games of rejection and love for 14 years. Chronic whiplash of love and rejection; love and lies. I thought it was normal for a relationship to have ups and downs. Take the good and the bad in a marriage, right? For good times and bad? For sickness and in health? Well, yeah all that was constant. Sickness…5 rehabs in 10 years. Health…well, never sure, maybe about 1-2 years of sobriety after counting a few weeks here and a few months there. This added to the terrible whiplash. I would think he was clean and sober. Looked for the same signs of relapse every time he would get clean. I would find familiar “items” and only get yelled at for finding them or for looking for them. So I was whipped between loving to save him and letting go to let him die. Nothing was right by him. Nothing. I would approach with love and fear and get the devil yelling at me and punching walls and doors right by me. The next day I would get this man saying he was sorry and wanted to be better and make our marriage better. Only to get verbally beat up hours or days later. I was the crazy one much of the time to think that he wanted to change and make our marriage better. He only would change the habit or drug to throw me off and to get even higher than before. Or placate me to stop looking or trying to help him survive. I was trying to get him to take a better route and get off this highway of disaster. Then to make it worse, he would add new addictions like women and material stuff. His addictions progressed into a terrifying place as he could no longer drive anywhere near the speed limit. I was suffering more and more from the back and forth of love and anger – love and rejection – love and lies. And the cheating added to the drug addiction made the whiplash more frequent and more painful every time he would reject me and give false love to keep me from leaving. Wow, the cheating was worse than the drug use. It was like being on the interstate across this large country and EVERY city had a major accident that delayed you. I didn’t know about some of these women until we separated and things started to surface. The “signs” of other women were like billboards on your way to South of the Border on I95. I realized that he started cheating about two years after my first child (well, that I know of). I do believe that he was always a cheater when I look back at those times that just didn’t add up even when we were first living together. I put up with so many painful moments of seeing things, reading things and hearing things that I shouldn’t have. No wife should. No one who truly loves someone should. Then I turned to him in pain and got verbally beaten up for the truth of his actions. I was always at fault. My fault for stumbling upon the information. My fault for not believing his insane stories that constantly changed. It was my fault for having a sick baby. It was my fault for everything all of the time. It was even my fault that he lied about drugs. Why? Because I didn’t approve so he had to hide it from me. Yes, it was all my fault. I started to believe some of it and that I was starting to go a bit crazy and imagining some what was true. I wasn’t. Whiplash of love and anger – love and rejection – love and lies. He was doing exactly what I saw, read and heard. He even told a girl on the phone that he loved her. Of course, he lied in a grand way and made a big deal about me not correctly hearing him and definitely not being on the phone with her (phone records don’t lie). This was the first major accident that I came across on this long journey. The emotional whiplash from the many women throughout our marriage is beyond any pain that an actual case of chronic whiplash would cause me. I even started to work on healing from it all when we separated. But there was no healing as long as he was still on the road with me (no longer in my car but on the same road) and running around with women, bad behaviors and lies. There are far too many women stories going back to the beginning to start talking about now. That will be another article where you may need a glass or two of wine in order to get through it all. Yes, I have had jaws drop at my “accidents” that I have had to get past on this road of his addictions and narcissism. This emotional whiplash has been the greatest pain to me. False loving gestures (thinking and hoping that they were authentic) followed by the ultimate rejections…lying and betrayals in every way possible. Even verbal rejection of me as a person was mixed in there at times. I started to believe his words too. Crazy how sick we become and how normal sitting in traffic and seeing bad accidents becomes to us. Even crazier how normal it becomes to be the broken down car on the side of the road causing the traffic. It even became normal to be in the major accident that everyone stopped to look at in the middle of the road and get back into the demolished car and keep driving to his destination. I am getting car sick just thinking about all of this chaos of constant stopping and going. I stopped looking at the reason for these stops and starts and just kept finding a way to get passed them without turning off his road. I was in so much pain and so sick from it all and never stopped to look at myself anymore. I had started to believe the things he was putting into my mind. I just allowed myself to keep getting hurt and walk around in pain. I was so traumatized by the constant back and forth of love and anger – love and rejection – love and lies.

I finally had to turn off and take an alternate route when he went to rehab again and I found a dating site with an alias and fake life with no kids or relationship. The worst stop and the worst whiplash came when he had only been home a month and he texted my friend the wrong text at my birthday party, yes my party. He meant to text his new girl, a mother in my daughter’s class, that he loved kissing her. This was the same day he professed to me that he loved me and wanted to make this next year great for us. He even got mad at me for not believing his revolving lies around this text. The story changed about four times and somehow I was the bad person for even thinking he was lying and being hurt by the words I read. He acted out by going to a hotel the next weekend, lying about it and then making me feel bad for questioning the hotel receipt that I found. Then he would make me think he wanted to make it better and do the right thing by doing a few of the marriage recovery steps. Only he was still carrying on with her and lied again about staying over in a hotel after a “business” meeting that was close enough to come home. I had such severe emotional whiplash that I couldn’t tolerate the pain or breathe normal. The pain of being whipped between love and anger – love and rejection – love and lies was and is beyond words and I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew there was only one route to take off this dangerous road…DIVORCE. I was so beaten up by the emotional whiplash from his hurtful rejections and crazy love cycles to keep me confused and lost. He was in control. I looked in the mirror and realized that I wasn’t driving at all during these years. I was the passenger suggesting alternate routes. Sometimes telling him he was wrong to stay on this road. I am sure it annoyed him to hear that he was on the wrong road that offered him selfish rewards for his own pleasure. I saw that the alternate routes promised a better way for both of us. I was reading WAZE how to go around the troubled spots and make it safely home. He didn’t want any GPS telling him how to drive. I was the passenger of someone who was very sick, sober or not. I am lucky to be alive. I am now in the driver’s seat of my own life. He is not in the car with me anymore. He is on a road of his own choosing, not mine. I can breathe at times. But sadly his sickness is still there and affecting me. Now his “women” are adding to the pain and whiplash with their chaos and his behaviors with them. One of his new girls (yes I said one because I hear from others in town that she is not the only one) has proceeded to send me a picture of them, texted me using his phone about how he is cheating on her and even a picture he sent her from our bed when he was professing to love me and rants about him and other women taking the same nudie photos he did with her. Whiplash of moving on and anger – moving on and rejection – moving on and lies. I just want to stop this whiplash that he seems to love giving me with lies about these women, our divorce and what he is doing in a very small town that affects me and his children. Small town and lots of mutual friends creates no secrets. But sick as he is, he continued to lie to me through all of this torture from his disgusting behaviors being put on me by the talkings of so many and the sightings of myself. There will always be stand stills, slow downs and accidents to get past but I can hear the music and stay calm because I am not the passenger in a car driven by someone who doesn’t care about sharing the journey with me or if I am even safe and loved. And my whiplash from all of the emotional and verbal abuse and harsh destructive actions will take a lot of therapy in order to heal. BUT I know now that I AM worth the time and effort to heal. I am worthy of genuine love, honesty and serenity regardless of the traffic on the road. There is grief over losing someone but sometimes passengers are not meant to take the whole journey with us. They may just be there to teach us an important lesson for the roads ahead. I have learned a lot about myself and understanding the caution signs others give us as to who they really are and how they can affect our journey in good or bad ways. Pay attention to the signs, whether positive or negative, on the side of the road. Don’t let the false love and rejection cycles of these very sick people trap you in a dangerous journey that only leads to darkness and pain. You will live in constant back and forth of love and anger – love and rejection – love and lies. You can drive your own car on this journey. I am still in so much pain from years of emotional whiplash but I am learning how to recoup and grow stronger every day. I am learning how to not allow him to continue whipping me around with his selfish behaviors, constant lies and anger. He most likely will never change but I don’t have to stay on his road of chaos and destruction anymore. Just remember sometimes it is important to pull over the car and rest so you don’t get into another bad accident. Take care of yourself now.

Breathe out impatience and breathe in patience. Breathe out being lost and breathe in finding yourself. Breathe out toxic people and breathe in genuine love. Breathe out chaos and breathe in calm. Breathe out getting there on time and breathe in getting there when you are ready. Breathe out rejection and breathe in self-acceptance.

The Wall

Today I am standing face to face with a wall. I usually see a wall made of these breakable clay bricks and mud mortar, but not today. It is a wall created by the strongest metals and natural stone. It is so tall that the top is barely recognizable. It is hot to the touch from the fire raging on the other side. It is reflective so I can see my exhaustion and age shining back at me. It is such an enormous obstacle placed at my feet. It feels like it could grow arms and push me back at any moment.

I have never felt this intense strength of the wall before today. The wall has been constructed over many years by the narcissist addict. Each brick represented the desire to shut me out of his life. A couple thousand bricks firmly placed by cheating and affairs. Many more thousands by lies upon lies upon lies about anything and everything. He even lied about what he had for lunch and where he got the food. (Like I really cared about that.) The reddest bricks were placed by his severe addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling and women. These bricks have the scariest markings reminding me of their pain. This wall is not a clean build. It has mortar dripping where addiction just threw the brick up and didn’t really care how it looked just that it prevented me from getting closer. This wall has grown familiar. This wall I could handle and grew to like. It protected me from me seeing him and being hurt more and more.

This new wall of today, well, is not familiar. It is a sign of a man who wants to banish me forever and never have to deal with me again. Even with children involved, he no longer sees me as their mother or his once wife. I am just an intruder in his new life that is all about him and his needs. It is very sad to me. It is very sad that someone I once loved so much and saw a future with has had this blueprint his mind for such a long time. That this was most likely part of his plan all along. I was just the asset he needed for that part of his life. I was the supply filling a need. Now I am a problem to his new life as a wealthy bachelor full of women and his own time. I represent sharing his “stuff”. How could I have not seen it? How could I have let this wall turn into this? It is so easy to beat my head against this wall and scream in frustration for the past growing into this unbelievably difficult present. He wants to be single so badly…yet will not follow through with a divorce? It is easier to torture me and also harm is older, aware children than to do the right thing by turning off the fire of rage and stepping away from the wall and letting us go towards our future so he can go towards his future. I can see in my reflection that he is not the same as I am. He never was the same loving and kind-hearted person that I was and believed him to match. I was love bombed by a narcissist and then slowly abandoned on the road side full of thorns.

I just stand at this wall today and hope that someone will come and stand with me to figure out a way to move away from it. I am so exhausted and I can just stand here today. I look at the reflection with sadness and ask her what does she want to do with all this and where is her strength. I pray and ask God to lift me up and help me walk away from this wall and never to return. He can live in the fire of his own choices and addictions. I just need to turn around because I think there is no way around this wall other than turn my back on it and never look at it again.

I know so many have faced walls constructed from so many difficulties and from so many different materials. I sit with you today and embrace you and your journey so you never face that wall alone. Breathe out aggravation and breathe in serenity. Breathe out negative weakness and breathe in strength building weakness. Breathe out wrongly placed acceptance and breathe in self-acceptance. Breathe out hate and breathe in love.