Nights are different. I lie in bed surrounded by darkness and just the sound of my fan. It wasn’t always this way. No, it was actually comforting to go to bed at night. It wasn’t just for the much needed sleep that I have grown to emotionally, physically and mentally need. Being alone at night takes some adjusting. Even in my single 20’s without a roommate, I felt the solitude that comes with being alone. Sometimes the solitude was and is treasured as a time to regroup. Sometimes the solitude was and is a place of swirling thoughts and emotions that take you to a dark place…the rabbit hole of pain.
I can see the hole and it beckons me with words of hope to feel better, to get answers and to heal the wounds. But it doesn’t offer any of that once you enter. I fell so hard down this rabbit hole lately. I thought answers to my never ending questions of “why?” would relieve the pain that was suffocating my heart. Just taking a few of the “whys?” off would help me breathe just a little easier no? No. What the rabbit hole offers is an even darker place filled with anger, irritation, avoidance, blaming, lying, and manipulating from the abuser. I fell into the hole trying to get my soon-to-be ex-husband to apologize with sincerity for once. I wanted to hear him express deep understanding for what I have endured at the hands of his terrible and destructive choices in our marriage and since our separation. I wanted to feel better. I wanted the pain to subside even for a day or two. I just wanted to breathe a normal pattern without beats of anxiety, fear or sadness guiding each one. I wanted to be seen and heard because I don’t think I have in the past. I wanted to matter. I wanted to be important enough to open up to and expose his truths to. I wanted the fairy tale that only the rabbit holes offer.
Addicts and narcissists love rabbit holes. They trap us in the first one with promises of love and admiration. They love bomb us into a state of bliss that we thought only existed in fairy tales and that would never happen to us. I was not undamaged when I met my husband. I had suffered rejection from men on many levels. Starting in high school, I was never chosen by anyone as worthy to date. It was like a typical teen movie. I was the pretty, popular girl’s best friend that everyone loved to be around but not date or fall for in any way. That started the wall around my heart to protect from rejection in college. I was too shy to make a move. But no one till Senior year made a move towards me and by that time I was so scared of rejection that I ran from it. He was a really nice guy too. One of the good ones. Then came the 20s. I fell for someone who showed me a safe loving place. After 5 years, I found out he was with someone else and didn’t love me anymore. I am not sure either of us knew what love was at that young age. More rejections and heartbreak from many men after that added even more bricks to the rising wall. Then bam! He entered into my life. I was very hesitant. He had the signs of the others. I was not sure of anyone anymore. He knew this about me as I was very open and honest about my heart and the pains that I had endured. (Our vulnerabilities are perfect food for a narcissist to feed on for preparation in trapping. They use vulnerabilities to seep into those broken places and fill them up with what we need and want.) I believe he knew exactly what to do with my weaknesses. He made me feel valued, worthy, beautiful, smart, sexy, funny, creative, etc. He made me feel good about myself. He made me feel good about us. He made me feel good about him. He love bombed me so hard without breaks that I had no time to think about anything but him and us. He pulled me into his rabbit hole filled with his addictions and personality issues. All I could see was him. He was stealing the bricks from my wall every day. I was losing my guard and ready to commit only after six months.
In the rabbit hole for 17 years, we started off as what I would have labeled a very good relationship. Cracks in the sides started to show as his masks started briefly and quickly changing at times. Friends started appearing who stabbed my gut with warnings. Strange incidents started appearing that stabbed my gut with more warnings. I ignored them all in the name of love. But as I have learned the very hard way, love does not exist and cannot live in an addiction or narcissistic based relationship. There was never a side of love embraced with his arms. Addicts cannot have two relationships at once. Addictions for themselves are always number one priority. I was just an option most day. I have felt that it was all a game and I was the pawn. He may have loved the “idea” of marriage and me but could not love me or the marriage. If you truly love someone then how can you cheat on that person with many many women (even strangers) for almost 13 years? Yes, I have discovered in the separation very disturbing facts that bring me to rabbit holes of pain all the time. I am learning that people with addictions and narcissistic traits love themselves and their addictions so much and it is hard for them to love someone else.
Yes, I fell down another hole promising understanding and pain relief from the unthinkable done to a woman someone professed to love very much. I am crawling out of this hole. I am covered in the dirt to remind me that it is not a place where I belong or want to go. I am crawling out thinking why do I keep doing this to myself over and over and reaching out to him over and over to find something that doesn’t and hasn’t existed…understanding and empathy. I have to turn to a place where I know I can find these things. I can find it in support of trusted friends. I can find it in therapy (love my new group on http://www.marriagerecovery.com). I can find it in my faith that God is always planning better days and an amazing future that not even I can imagine. I can find it in the peace that I have grown so much and am here sharing my story to hopefully help others know that they are not alone. So beware of that rabbit hole when you lie in bed at night all alone. You are not alone (we are all with you understanding and caring) and don’t need empty promises. Close your eyes and breathe in the beauty of being alone without toxic relationships and breathe out the pain that you are desperate to release.
Breathe out the isolation. Breathe in the force of help. Breathe out fear. Breathe in courage. Breathe out the dark. Breathe in the light. Breathe out to weakness. Breathe in the strength.