Pressure Points of Emotion

We all have them…pressure points that when pushed, we respond with certain emotions. Some people cry over Hallmark commercials when that little hand surprises a grandmother with a card for her birthday. Some people cry when they are in fear of the girl entering the dark house alone in a horror movie. Some people laugh when the girl is entering the dark house alone in the horror movie. Some people get so mad that are called to act about injustices on the news that are not in their towns. Some people get so depressed about injustices on the news. We all react differently in situations, but we all will react according to the pressure put on certain prominent emotions that surface for us based our experiences…Pressure Points of Emotion! Acupuncture but with sharp needles pushing on our brain and heart.

I realized that my pressure points are so highly sensitive lately. It definitely doesn’t take a sharp point to make them react. My most sensitive pressure point lately is anger and frustration. And when going through the highly sensitive field of divorce that is covered by various landmines, I have been pushed with his words and actions sometimes to the brink of insanity. Sometimes the burning sense of anger for the lack of empathy and understanding for what he has put me through is overwhelming. In times like this it is hard to find that space of calm and peace where you can gain the clarity and sanity required to breathe in and out until calmness returns to your inner being. I try to have a mantra, a prayer, a vision or a place to go to when this happens. Why is it so hard to grasp that at times of extreme pressure? Like I cannot see clearly from the instant fog covering all directions to safety. I am sure you know that feeling of confusion and standing alone if you have been through heartbreak of any kind. Or if you are like me, you have that one person who knows exactly where those pressure points are and pushes them so easily. I feel like he pushes them because he likes the reactions from me. He likes to see me twitch with emotions and uncomfortableness. I have read that narcissistic people get to know you well so that they know where to push you. I am feeling this way lately.

So what do you do during these times when tears come for no reason? There is no Hallmark commercial or sad movie on TV to make you cry. There is no horror movie making you scream in fear. But there is a situation happening in your own lives that triggers one or more emotions. The true insanity comes when they trigger them together…sadness and anger is the worst combination. I feel torn between crying and screaming. And then I tend to do both. Yelling while tears are flowing down my face unto my shirt. I am eventually drenched in tears of sadness and sweat of painful hot anger. Either way, I am not comfortable or healing in peace. I just want peace and comfort over these emotions. I don’t want to become consumed by these. I become someone whom I do not want to be in that moment. I don’t do well in conflict and anger. Sadly, these days in this divorce, he has me on a roller coaster of extreme emotions where I am so nauseous and just want to stop this ride and get out of the park. This ride is fueled by anger and sadness. This too shall pass right?

I need to understand my pressure points and what activates them and their reactions so that I do not react quickly or become someone that I do want to become in tense situations. This is not an easy task when flooded by emotional storms that start drowning your heart and mind. I am going to take deep breathes and think before I speak or react from now on, especially when he tries to push those points leading to anger, pain and tears. It will help me get through that turbulence and not into a new storm because of my emotions. I can create my own storms too. I have to remember this. Always remember this. I have been consumed by pain and emotions lately to the point that I cannot hear my own words sometimes and cannot see how my anger hurts my own soul. Staying in bed isn’t solving my problems. Yelling isn’t solving anything. Talking out of turn isn’t solving anything. I need to see the solutions like the lighthouse guiding me in the fog, instead of letting the fog consume me into fear, anger and sadness. We can all do this if we focus inward and pray very hard. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, The courage to change the things that I can and The wisdom to know the difference.” This should release those sharp needles pushing on the our pain and fears.

Breathe Out Anger, Breathe In Calm. Breathe Out Fear, Breathe In Peace. Breathe Out Anxiety, Breathe In Calm. Breathe Out Irritation, Breathe In Peace. Breathe Out Tears & Sadness, Breathe In Calm. Breathe Out The Heaviness, Breathe In Peace & Calm.

Is the “Devil in Disguise” Really That Far-Fetched?

I have been watching the Netflix show “Lucifer” with my son during this stay at home quarantine. We are on season 4 already but we have been watching a few shows at the same time. The show drew me in immediately. I laughed and cringed and carried a crush for Lucifer Morningstar. I mean he is very handsome, tall, confident, charming, smart, extrovert, a bad boy, an entertainer and can seem caring for some of the characters. Wow! Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Well, you get it right? He is too good to be true from that initial introduction. Yes, he is too good to be true. Ultimately, he is the devil in a human body to cover that scary face that he never wants regular people to see. He hides it. He only uses the red eyes and devil face when he needs someone to cooperate with his investigation. Sound familiar?

Well, it is familiar. To me it is familiar. I didn’t see the not so invisible thread from this entire show before but I do now. He is the embodiment of narcissism. The greatest definition of a narcissist is “The Devil in Disguise. ” I used to always think of my husband as the living version of Jekyll and Hyde. The same person and the only thing they had in common is the “y” but add a few different letters and it is a new person. The narcissist wants us to believe that he is this amazing, caring, compassionate and honest good person. We do believe it too. We believe it so much that we defend him at every chance. We get so deep into his swamp’s quicksand pool that we can’t get out. We start to settle in to this confining, painful life full of lies and secrets with him. We are brainwashed to believe that WE are the majority of the problems. We are made to believe that we didn’t love him the way he should be loved because he believes that we should give love to the highest power even when we are receiving the lowest amounts. We didn’t treat him the way he thinks he should be treated for being the great person that he is in his mind. We questioned our doubts and angered the narcissist and this was unfair to him to be questioned about anything. We didn’t give him the attention that his wonderful, occasional actions deserved but really it s that he requires the attention to keep his ego fueled every day. I was even told that it was my fault that he cheated. No, not his own choices to break our vows and our marriage, AND my heart. Once it was because I had to take care of two very sick small children. At times, I slept holding the newborn to make sure that she was still breathing or slept on the bathroom floor with an alarm clock to run a steam shower every hour for them. Exhausted and worried, I still would gather myself together with hair done and makeup on to greet him when he came to bed at night. I made him special dinners after a long day of work. I tried to keep the house as clean as possible to no “over stress” him. (He said it would add to his anxiety and increase his need to use drugs again.) I basically walked on eggshells all day, every day to make him happy and want to stay. Still have no idea why I stayed. He wasn’t worth staying for. I had seen the mask slip and the red eyes flare and red charred skin peek through that human exterior. I had seen glimpses of the aggressively loud and abusive devil come through in glints. The blames thrown back at me made me take a pause and when I looked back up from the blow he placed on my heart and made me stop breathing for a second, the mask was fixed and the eyes were back to normal. It is so scary that we cannot register the feelings we have after it happens. We just try to breathe again with a normal in and out beat.

Businessinsider.com posted a great article, “Phrases to Know if You’re Dating a Narcissist.” The main problem is that you don’t know they are a narcissist until it is too late and you are too deep into the dark, vermin-ridden woods with them. They also discuss sociopaths in the article. I do believe that my experience was not only painted by a narcissist but decorated by his super strength level of sociopathic traits. Dr. Martha Stout wrote a book called “The Sociopath Next Door” and makes some profound points that hit me as harder as his harsh words have done. She says, “It’s like the ‘frog in the saucepan’ analogy.” You put a live frog in a warm water and it swims and enjoys the water until the heat is turned up slowly so that the frog dies slowly, never realizing it is being boiled to death. Yikes! At least the lobster screams in the hot water. How do they draw us into the pot though without us knowing. I mean we are smart, caring people. They ask all of the right questions to know where we are the weakest and what makes us and has made us hurt the most in life. They get to know our fears, our past heartbreak, our regrets, our likes and dislikes. They get to know all about us. Seems so nice to have someone so interested in us like they are. Lucifer stares at the potential bad guy and slowly asks in the nicest voice, “What is that you desire?” The answer to this is often used against them to solve the case and may put them in jail. Our hearts make us special and beautiful but they are the key to destroying us too (not to normal people they aren’t just dark souls). Narcissists and Sociopaths know this and are overly excited to get to know everything about us so that they can turn it all on us later. That is what gets us into that pot of warm soothing water in the first place…false charm and manipulated caring questions. I am glad that I found a way out of the pot before I boiled to death from the heat of this devil-like abuse.

In the show, Lucifer starts to feel the loving, caring feelings that it takes to make a real relationship work. I mean mutually work to benefit both people. But sadly, he is the devil and the feelings of selfishness, ego and pride still stand in the way of his growth. In the show, the characters keep reminding him that he was once an angel. We saw an angel when we first met these narcissistic, sociopathic, addicted souls too. They presented us with the angel version to lure us into the candy house only to shove us into the warm water and turn up the heat slowly over time.

I am not finished with the show, but I did leave it at a place where my heart is heavy with the imagery it paints for my own life. His wings are changing from angel to demon. I have seen that happening in my own life over the past years and even more now as we try to finish a very painful divorce that has been going on for over a year. It is like trying to talk to the “Devil in disguise” at times and everything is so confusing and hurtful. I read books about divorcing a narcissist. I wish I could say that they have helped me deal with it all. They did give me some useful pointers in dealing with him or speaking to him so as to not be lashed with his harsh words or cruel actions. If I am lashed, I am learning to not let it take me down. Like in the show, Lucifer cannot be killed except around the detective who he loves. Sound familiar again? The one you love can hurt you the most. Even kill you. I am learning to wear armor and protection when communicating or just seeing him. I don’t want to die from his illnesses. They are his burden to carry, not mine. They were never mine to carry. I tried to love him so much that he would drop the burdens and become the man I thought I had met and the man he said he wanted to be. That man who he pretended to be and said he wanted to be was just a fictional character and never existed. I gave my love for years and years to someone who threw it out like it was worthless trash. He has repeatedly shown me that he isn’t worth my love or my life. I deserve to have light not dark. To have happiness not sadness. To have laughter not tears. To have healing not regret. To have love not torture. To have goodness not evil. I deserve so much more than what a “Devil in disguise” can give me or my family. We deserve better than all that he has given us and continues to give us. YOU deserve more than all of this too. You are a beautiful, loving soul that is worth so much more than what they can offer you in life.

So if you get a chance to watch Lucifer, I recommend it. It is like a visual study of a narcissist’s brain and why we do fall for them in the beginning stages of their love bombing with lies, manipulations and masks of greatest to hide their true dark self. I still admit that Lucifer still has his attractive points but they are becoming less and less and now I just see the weak angry soul filled with all the qualities we run from in life. We have to pay attention to people and not jump into the pot of inviting water that they give us. If they are for real and have good souls worthy of our time and love, the water will be there but it will never be there to kill us like the narcissist, sociopath or addict wants to do.

Breathe Out Pain, Breathe In Strength. Breathe Out Lies, Breathe It Truths. Breathe Out Abuse, Breathe In Healing. Breathe Out Loneliness, Breathe In Peace In Being Alone. Breathe Out Fake People, Breathe In Real People. Breathe Out Being Conned, Breathe In Patience To Know Someone Well. Breathe Out Anger For Being Conned By The Narcissist, Breathe In Your Power To Love and Care (ESP For Yourself)

Feel Like I Have Been Living In “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Did you ever watch The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu? During this Quarantine, I have been binge watching it in the down times. Wow. All I can say is, “Wow!” At first, I thought this was a real far stretch as an alternate world that could only be in books and movies. No one could take over and ambush the souls of so many so quickly and so strongly. Right? Right. I had to believe that. Because a world where women were just weaker and so insignificant seems so, well, unrealistic.

But after watching episode after episode after episode, it became more real than fiction. It became a visual impersonation of what it is like to live with severe narcissism. It felt painful and searing in my heart that the torture and imprisonment that these women were under was all too real. It was what I felt. Like I was being subjected to stay in a house where I had an evil commander using me to have his kids and make him look powerful and important but I was just someone he used to get that done. I could’ve been any other girl in a red dress with the right parts. It didn’t matter. I was being used for the person that I was. For what I had to give him. I was chosen because I could properly fill his need. I could play the role of a good wife and mother. I could fulfill his need for love, affection and attention as a solid wife and partner when he didn’t have “another woman” to fill his ego-driven needs. I was a faithful woman to make him feel that special attention that only a faithful wife can. I spent years helping friends and women in the Ala-non and affair recovery programs feel better and heal and sometimes get out of the bonds keeping them attached. But I stayed and endured. I stayed and tolerated. I stayed and got more and more hurt by his behaviors. I never wanted to be a victim or weak. So I was strong for everyone else, except myself. I carried on like I was fine, okay and even normal. But I wasn’t. I was growing more and more empty with each passing year. I just wanted to make my children feel like this was a solid, happy family. Like we were normal. These women in the show, they pretend these babies are their babies. They pretend to give birth to them. She pretends even if the child is completely different race, that it is her child. I pretended we were a happy, normal family for so many years. I started to believe my own lies in my head. Finding needles in the laundry isn’t normal. Being in the car as family and a text shows up on the screen reading, “Sweetie, I want sex.”; isn’t normal. Having another woman and her kids sleep in our house with our kids while I am visiting with family isn’t normal. Having a child come to me crying with a needle in his hand and knowing what it is, isn’t normal. Having daddy constantly disappearing or leaving early, isn’t normal. Having daddy falling asleep on the couch just after getting up everyday, isn’t normal. Having daddy disappear at Disney to go to a close-by bathroom, isn’t normal. Having daddy forget Mother’s Day one year, isn’t normal. Having daddy choose his friends over his family and say that out loud, isn’t normal. Yet I made these things okay, fine or tolerable by me so it seemed normal to them. I made excuses for him. I made excuses to myself for his behaviors. So that I felt less pain. So I didn’t crumble under the truth. They knew as they got older and saw friend’s families in action…that what we had isn’t normal. What had I done? Why had I lied to myself? Why had I let them live this lie too?

I was not different then these women in the show. I was sweeping all of his male egos under the rug and pretending it was okay. Pretending that I was okay. Pretending that it was all okay. I realized watching this show that I am a piece of each of these female roles in this new harsh society called Gilead.

I was part submissive Wife of the Commander. I had the family and pretended it was all normal. I knew my husband went astray. (Never knew to the extent that I do know now). I knew that it was a double standard and I could not do that or else I would be beaten up by him with a very mean and harsh divorce or worse. He would break me in some way for not being faithful to him; he was the greatest thing that could have happened to me and an amazing husband in his eyes and mind. I was to know and accept the other women happened and move on with him and forgive and forget. No questions asked. At least I didn’t have to sit and watch him and women like in Gilead. But I did have to read many different texts and emails to and from many different women that were as visual as being in the room. And as hard to forget ever reading.

I was part Handmaid. I was asked to lay with him in hopes of making babies for our image. Don’t get me wrong I wanted children so badly. I wanted the family. I was devastated when I lost one at 39 during the first month. But it was God’s hand in that because he was using drugs and cheating at the time and it only got much worse after that. I was asked to also be submissive to him and not asked questions or doubt him in any way. I was criticized if I thought differently about him and his actions that were inflicting extreme pain on me. I walked on eggshells to not upset or stir the pot and bring anger to my days. It was exhausting and depressing at the same time. I felt so trapped in emotions of fear, sadness, confusion and frustration.

I was part Martha. I cooked and cleaned and stayed home to take care of the “chores”. I was actually subtly criticized at times if the house wasn’t clean enough or I didn’t feel like making dinner. I had to ask if I could buy things because I felt guilty spending his hard earned money because I just stayed at home with the kids. I didn’t just come up with that feeling. It was slowly implanted with sarcasm and little comments over time. To remind me how lucky I was to have a husband like him. The money was never what I wanted. I wanted love and security in my partner’s faithfulness to me and us.

I was part a Jezebel. I acted like his sleazy girlfriend too. This part is one thing of marriage that I enjoyed. That feeling of being safe and sexual with one person. No fears of what just having sex meant. Safety in fidelity. But I was just another Jezebel in his show. I was maybe Monday and Saturday nights. The other nights were filled with other Jezebels working that shift. There was no physical safety there. I had to endure three std tests. So frightening and humiliating for a married woman.

It is crazy how one show can bring so many emotions to the surface. How one show can make an understanding of a complex, not normal situation. How one show can have such a profound affect on the healing process of Narcissistic Abuse. This really is a closer look at Narcissism and the extreme effects it has on those around the person inflicted with this heinous illness. I was extremely affected by the heinous illness of Narcissism. I am extremely affected by the heinous illness of Narcissism. Some of these women got out and escaped to Canada, the free safe land. They carried the pain and scars suffered under Gilead. I escaped from the tyrannical forces of Narcissism but I will always carry the scars and pains of living under its harsh hands and words. I will adjust my sails for calmer waters but I will always have those inner scars to remind me to never go back. To remind me that that is a place I do not belong. To remind me that normal is love. Normal is a family that doesn’t have to pretend. Normal is a family that feels safe. Normal is a family that supports each other. Normal is trust. Normal is honesty. Normal is acceptance and understanding. Normal is being a family completely together. Normal is now. Normal is wanting to escape to safety in “Canada”. Normal is starting over and healing in my own way and time.

Breathe Out Suppression, Breathe In Freedoms. Breathe Out Pretending, Breathe In Honesty. Breathe Out Staying in Pain, Breathe In Leaving for Peace. Breathe Out Fear, Breathe In Safety. Breathe Out Isn’t Normal, Breathe In Normal.

God speed on this journey to freedoms from pain, sadness and not being enough. You are worth it all and deserve it all.

Why is it so hard to heal?

I have spent a year trying to heal after leaving him, finally. I mean really heal. I finally blocked his number. I only emailed about money and kids during our separation and divorce process. I tried to only email. Somethings, when in this awful process, are not email worthy. Sometimes you need a quick response or to actually talk about it. Or you want him to know you do exist and are not the ghost like he treats you as. But this just is so painful for me. Such a trigger to hear the anger and irritation in his voice. The same sound that has plagued me for years with criticism, lies, harsh words, denials and manipulations. The same voice that used to tell me he promised us a future. The same voice that promised to love me and never hurt me like I was before. The same voice that denied way too many times to count that he wasn’t cheating or ever had sex with someone. The same voice that swore on his own kids’ and his father’s lives at times when he was lying (as I found out much later). The same voice that used his twisted mind to yell at me when I was crying, not just tears but sobbing, about the pain I felt from another sign of a women or drugs that I had found. The same voice that talked in circles and changed his stories four or five times to make me the crazy one for even thinking that he was cheating or using drugs again or doubting him in any way. Then the same voice that would tell me how much he loved me and wanted to change and make our marriage better the very next day. Only to find out that he was just worried that he would get caught because he was cheating with one or more women. Because he was using drugs. Because I was right and on to his lies and secrets. He hated to be exposed for his lies.

I was constantly punished for realizing the lies and secrets that he was holding. I was always the bad guy because he was not keeping his promises and vows to me and our marriage. I never cheated. I never lived another life behind his back. I was his wife and only his wife. I was a mother and loved every minute of it. I was thankful and appreciative for his hard work. I tried to show him that with cards, flowers, gifts, meals, texts, etc. But nothing was good enough. I never felt good enough. I was compared to other women. “You should dress like that.” Or, “Your hair would great that color.” I would dress like that, wasn’t good enough. I would change my hair color, not good enough. I was starting to break down into a pile of nothingness because he was making me believe that that is exactly what I was…nothing. He made me believe this when he spoke with his painful voice filled with criticisms, anger, lies, manipulations and false promises. He had me trapped in his web of deceit and I had no idea how entangled I was. Now I realize, but the damage has been done. He had spun me so tight that I couldn’t move. He never fully killed me. Just drained me enough to ensure that I would not go too far. He needed me in a way. He needed to look like a successful family man. Strippers, young sleazy girls and other addicts looking for fun don’t make you look successful at all. I was just a prisoner for his facade.

I know you are thinking, “Why didn’t she leave sooner?” Great question. I wish that I had an answer for that one. I really wish I had an answer for that one. But I was so exhausted and so beaten up that I couldn’t move. I didn’t think I could do it on my own. He had me believing that I needed him. He had me so confused and hurt. I just wanted him to love me like I loved him. And I couldn’t understand why he didn’t love me. I mean I was a great wife to him. I loved him and treated him well. I was not denying him any pleasure at all. I tried date nights all dressed up as sexy as I could get or just sitting in front of a fire watching a movie with a great dinner. I even gave up drinking wine or alcohol in front of him unless he told me he wanted me to have a glass…I did this for 10 years for him. He was supposedly clean and sober and I wanted to support that. He wasn’t clean and sober for 90% of our relationship, so I have found out now. Painful living a lie for so long and you thought it was the truth.

That is why I hurt so much now. Acceptance is so tough when you don’t even understand what you are accepting. There is no clear definition of truth and lies anymore. There is no validation from him because he doesn’t believe the truth. He is still living in the lies and denials of the past as the truth and said he would not go there to help us or me ever. I don’t even know what was real between us. So I have just had to embrace it all as the reality I never understood and that I was not part of it in the way I had thought. I have had to accept so many more women and drugs and people and issues and pain than I ever thought possible. This has not been easy in any way over this past year of learning the truths that lurked in the shadows for 18 years. When you loved someone and believed in them so much and they turn out to not be that person…What do you do with that? Where do you start?

So in trying to heal this year, I burned all my wedding photos of us together. I burned all the photos of us together at any time. I had to burn the past that I was not the truth so that I could move on from the false reality of love and promises to the honest reality of betrayal and pain that was our marriage. It has made it easier to move past the past, but at times it just hurts so much that I wasn’t loved in return. I know people, who deal with addiction, narcissism, sociopathic tendencies and other personality issues, cannot really ever love anyone but themselves. Knowing this makes it better but not always easier. It is a process that can take years to recover from the severe emotional abuse and triggers of trauma. I am willing to work all the way through that. I just wish on days like this that it would move faster towards peace and serenity and not feeling so abused and taken advantage of by the person you gave your heart to. But sadly some people still cannot care about your pain because they would have to accept their part in it to care. I seems he cannot accept his part as he dumps his past off the cliff and just walks away towards a new life. I know that I am a good person and don’t deserve this pain given to me by him. I deserve better. I deserved better. I will get better for myself and someone will treat me better when I do heal. I am not the bad person that he has made me out to be nor was I the problem in our marriage. I tried my best to reach him and save us and our family. I couldn’t do that alone and that is well, that is okay. One day at a time I will get better and stronger and the past will be burned like the photos on that summer evening. And my occasional pain will just be a reminder of what I deserve and what I will no longer accept in my life.

I know I usually do the Breathe Out, Breathe In….Today just BREATHE IN and OUT and feel better

Quarantined In Our Thoughts and Feelings

This whole idea of being quarantined during this health crisis really makes me think. I have been thinking about so much. There is too much time to think. There is too much time and not enough routine distractions. Trying to find good things to do instead of sorting through the clutter in my head. These are difficult days for someone trying to heal from new loss, past trauma or profound changes on the horizon. Empty time creates racing minds and troubled hearts. As I am going on week three inside my home with limited outings, I have been battling with painful feelings and memories as I sit in a house that once housed a family of four. A house that held dreams and hopes of the three still living here. A house that promised a future of togetherness and love for us as family of four. We had to face these changes and accept that we can keep these hopes and dreams for a future as a family of three and hopefully in a new home. A home that will keep these hopes and dreams safe for us. I thought all of these intense feelings were because I was feeling so alone without physical contact to friends and family. It isn’t. This awful pain was triggered by the walls that witnessed the emotional abuse and they started to talk to me about the honest loneliness of this family over the years. The loneliness of living with a drug addict. The loneliness of living with a narcissistic personality. The loneliness of living with a sociopathic personality. The loneliness of living with an ego bigger than the Stalin statue. The loneliness of living with constant emotional and mental abuse. Being stuck in my house with nowhere to go and nothing really to do, I feel like I am back in this horrible marriage that I was stuck in and had nowhere to go. I feel the sadness of the loss of the dreams and hopes all three of us had for this home and this family. The feelings are overwhelming lately.

It is crazy to me that certain events can trigger such deep pain to fester up and infect our souls and minds again and again. This is how I know for sure that this was not a typical marriage. This was not a divorce because we fell out of love or married too young and grew apart. This was a divorce because I didn’t want to wither up and die from the abuse that was dissolving my soul. For years I felt myself weakening inside. I had the symptoms. Many of the symptoms on the lists for abuse. I just didn’t have the bruises and scars on the outside like I associated with abuse. I started with a few internal symptoms and thought it will get better. He will get better. I will get better. The symptoms got worse and more in number. I got worse and more in pain. By the end I was so numb to it all that I didn’t even see the truth flashing at me like a cop car at midnight trying to pull me over. I was so quarantined within this marriage that I just stayed put and made myself believe that it was all good. I started to believe that all the lies and manipulations and secrets were not that bad even though I would lose 10 pounds in a month or cry myself to sleep nights in a row. I made myself believe that he really loved me beneath it all and he would see me as the wonderful wife I was. I lied to myself that this was all going to be okay when he got sober. I believed it was his addiction that abused me not him. That feeling alone in a marriage was okay for a wife of an active addict. Not just okay but normal. That being quarantined by his disease and his abuse was normal. I thought if I stayed put for a certain amount of time that it would all be better and I would feel loved and not alone. It wasn’t his addiction that made him abuse me; it was him. He got sober and nothing changed. He always cheated and lied no matter what. I was being held inside the walls of a terrible, painful marriage and needed to find a way out to survive and heal from the toxic virus trying to kill me.

Nothing is normal about being quarantined. Humans are made to be with other humans. We are not a solitary species. We need love and appreciation to feel good and thrive. How can you get that if you are alone and have no contact with other people? You can’t get that and something inside just hurts. Something inside fears this emptiness. Something inside cries over the vacancy sign to which no one responds. I can’t believe I survived in quarantine for the past 12 or more years. It may have been longer but I was unaware because I was lying to myself for so long about who he really was. Maybe I was alone, stuck in an empty relationship for more years than that. I think I know that answer, but I don’t want the truth. That is a truth to finally accept would hurt too much. I know that truth and it is that he never loved me and I was alone from the start. I just can’t fully accept that yet. Not just yet. I am working on it, especially now that I have so much time in this isolated feeling running through my entire being. It is the most painful thing to accept…that you were never loved, just duped into believing someone’s lies about how they felt.

So I have had too much undistracted time lately to think about the past and being at peace to completely set the pain free like a newly pardoned prisoner. I hate too much time. I like the distractions of a busy life. Distractions are the best tools for not having to think about anything. I need to find distractions now. I pray for them to come my way. I am trying to create them with working from home. I am trying to create them for my kids too and no not just school work. They are feeling the pain too as I can tell. A mother knows her babies so well. They had hopes and dreams of this house and this family that are held in the walls keeping them locked in at this time. I understand their pain. I live their pain. We were all disappointed in how life turned out for our family. We are all grieving the loss of a family we wanted so badly together. I held my son as he cried about it all to me just the other night. Tears that hurt my heart to the core. Tears that I felt guilty about because I want to protect them from pain. But this pain is one I have to remind myself that I did not cause, cannot cure and cannot control for them. I can just love them and support them through the healing. I can sit with them and hold them while they have to be quarantined with their own thoughts and feelings. I can distract them with good things that are reminders to have hope in the promises of a better tomorrow and my love. We will all get through this time, some better than others. We all have things to overcome and heal from. I pray that you all make it through this time of being alone and heal and grow stronger from it.

Breathe Out Toxins, Breathe In Healing. Breathe Out Pain, Breathe In Comfort. Breathe Out Loneliness, Breathe In Wholeness. Breathe Out Abuse, Breathe In Love. Breathe Out Guilt, Breathe In Patience. Breathe Out The Past, Breathe In Your New Future.

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.

Grief, What a Beautiful Mess!

A little kid sits at a tiny table in a tiny chair and makes big swooping motions with crayons of every color. You can’t tell where one line begins and another one ends. It is a beautiful work of art meant to be nothing other than a wonderful mix of colors and lines from the fun inside the child. It is more than that though. So much more. It is grief in full color. You can’t find the beginning and the end of it all most days. You can’t untangle the colors to make sense of the lines. You can’t focus on one color because too many colors absorb into each other. The child sees beauty and I see what is inside me put onto a canvas.

Grief is so hard to define or label. Grief is not the same lines and colors and designs for everyone. We would all draw a different picture and use different colors. There is nothing wrong with that. We are each a unique work of art. Painted with all her/his own experiences and pains, each of us can’t follow a basic formula for healing. Your healing is as unique as your work of art continually being painted on your soul.

Some of us are grieving the loss of a person no longer here on earth. Some of us are grieving the loss of someone still living but drastically changed. Some of us are grieving the loss of a dream that we had seen for our lives. Some of us are grieving the change we have had to go through without choosing it. Some of us are grieving for the loss our way and who we thought we were. Whatever you are grieving, know that grief doesn’t have to make you a loss too. Getting through grief is not impossible. It is hard but not impossible.

I have been going through grief from losing someone still alive who has drastically changed and the loss of the dream that I had for my family. A double winner in grief. Lucky me huh? Some days I don’t understand the pain at all. I can’t find the beginning or the end of the emotions. I can only find the mess of colors absorbing into each other through the lines criss crossing all over the page. It feels like I as overwhelmed and exhausted from sorting through it all that I can’t breath. I don’t know what I am thinking or why I have so many thoughts that I can’t think at all. Just numbness falls over me and I am outside of my body. As someone going through a very similar journey said to me that it feels like when you are in a plane…floating and cannot feel solid ground underneath you. I am watching my skin sit there and cry. The tears burn my face and fill my throat with confusion and pain. How did I get here or better yet why am I here? II don’t want to be here. I didn’t ask to be here. So how did I get here?

Some days are great. I can see that hypothetical light of hope at the end of the tunnel of pain and confusion. Then other days, I can only see the faintest hint of a light and can only feel the weight of the darkness on every molecule moving on my skin. So this is grief. The ever changing face of emotions and thoughts. These fluctuations of being okay and not okay are exhausting and make me feel like I am standing in the same place and not progressing just when I think that I am. This grief process is so hard. It is hard to comprehend. It is hard to accept. It is hard to process. I hear through struggles you find your strength. I hear through the broken cracks you see the light. I keep repeating mantras everyday. The Serenity Prayer. That which does not kill me only makes me stronger. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God’s will never passes us by. I am not alone. I can do this. Faith is the belief that God has control over what we cannot and He loves us so much and will never abandon us. The first three steps, I can’t, He can, so I will let Him. Some days I say them and read them but they don’t penetrate my heart and mind like I had hoped that they would. I am so hard on myself at times.

Every color swirling together in that work of art is every emotion swirling in us. I hate the color that dominates my grief lately and it is the color of anger. I don’t like anger. Never have in any way from childhood until today. No one yelled around me as kid. I never learned that skill of dealing with it. My grief is consumed with anger lately. And my body aches from this pain of carrying it. I pray to give it to God but take it back. Grief doesn’t make sense without anger to me right now. How can I be settled or at peace with losing someone I deeply loved to addictions and changes? How can I be settled with the fact that my family who became my world is no longer and is split now? It is like my best friend, my husband has died but they never found his body in the crash so I have no gravesite to visit or closure. My family, whom I never had planned for but filled me with the greatest joys of all time, was dismantled into words and numbers on paper. I never imagined me as a wife. Being a wife, filled me with such happiness and strength that I had never known. Then adding mother to my new role in life, I was overflowing with peace and love. I had everything that I could ever have dreamed of in this lifetime. Now I understand the sadness that takes over when someone you loved dies. The pain of that hole inside that has no bottom. It feels forever unfillable. The winds of the storm around you are whipping through this hole like a window left open in a hurricane. Your roof feels like it lifting off and may fly away at any time. It is overwhelming, sad, frustrating and very scary. I just keep watching the radar to see when the storm will be over so the winds stop causing so much damage.

I have listened to so many who have looked at this painting and had to sort through its colors and lines. They all say the same thing. The storm will subside. The winds will greatly lessen. The pain will heal. But also that the hole will always be there. The loss of someone who mattered to us will always be there as we adjust to the changes of his absence. The loss of our dreams will be there as it changes our path towards a new direction. Feeling all these colors and lines and finding the beauty in each one, I know that it means that I cared and it mattered to me. I am proud that I cared and it mattered. Grief is not pretty and organized. Like the picture drawn by the child, grief is what we see and how we let it not steal our hearts from those who are still here and need us. I am still a mother. I love being a mother beyond any words (I could write for days on this). I am no longer a wife. And that is a grief that I am still working through one day at a time. I will keep adding lines and colors. Some day it will actually work together to create an amazing picture of strength, hope and love in my new book in my series of life.

Breathe out the old. Breathe in the new. Breathe out the sadness. Breathe in the faith. Breathe out the tears. Breathe in the smiles.

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.