Do I Have An Addiction?

Going through a divorce can be one of the most difficult times in life. The difficulties are different for each person. I have had friends struggling with the financial burdens that it places on the family. Some other friends are financially stable but not emotionally stable and still in love with the person. Then there are those that are hit by every bolt of lightning in the ferocious storm. No matter what part is pounding on your mind and heart, I know you are suffering in a way that you are having a tough time explaining to anyone who has never gone through this trial.

I am one of those super lucky winners with every lightning bolt zapping me at a constant and steady pace. Since we split and decided to divorce, I have discovered way too much about our marriage that has struck me with jolts so strong that I ended up on the floor of despair at times. I never knew that he was so proud of his large cocaine deal so he had the means to buy me an engagement ring. That one really made me detest that ring even more than I did before this information. I never knew that when he was in drug treatment during our marriage (and telling me that he was working on saving our marriage and the family) that he was really keeping his affair going as a “single man” living in the big city. He even had the nerve to use my hotel account to get an upgrade for a “meeting” one day. I never knew that he had been carrying on with two moms in my children’s school that year. I never knew that he was sneaking out of our bed and our house at 2am to buy and/or sell drugs. I never knew that he had not given up Tinder after the first time it was discovered and promised to end. BUT to top it all off with an extra helping of pain, I found out that the house we had raised our children in for the last 7 years was never mine in any way…even though WE were paying his parents slowly for it. You see it was a family home that his parents “gifted” it to him on paper but he was really making payments to them. And since it was a gift on paper, I had zero rights to it according to law. However, I could have really gotten nasty to prove it was not a gift and the massive mortgage that he took out was being paid by our money. I didn’t want to be that woman who got nasty in the divorce. Still to this day the divorce has not been in my favor and I am still waiting on the money from our marriage. I only wanted what I deserved but I didn’t want to be nasty. I need to stop being so nice and stand up for myself and my children. He has always taken what he wants while I just learn to be happy with what he offers me. I have to stop being this way. I deserve more. This is how I spent our entire marriage. Playing nice and walking on eggshells with the hopes of always making others happy and making it all work to be good and normal again.

The one thing that I didn’t see over the years was a very important reality…it was not good or normal. It was never normal and hardly good. I wanted it to be so badly that I didn’t allow myself to see the reality right there in bright lights. He always had wandering eyes from day one. He professed his great dedication to me and was upset when I was not just with him after our second date. We still were not really there after the second date. I had doubts. I had every right to have doubts with the way he acted and what I had heard about him on occasion. The ironic thing is that he was mad at me about seeing other people but after 5 or 6 dates he was still seeing his old “girl friend” from when we met. It was never equal or honest. I couldn’t understand it, but after a few months, I became addicted to him. He was so charismatic and funny. He was always out and about and up for fun. He paid attention to me. He sent flowers, called me throughout the day and made an effort to meet me for lunch. He cooked for me and made fires for us. We went out on his boat (well, actually his dad’s boat), he liked to say they shared it. He was love bombing me with everything that he knew I wanted and needed to create the addiction. He wanted me to be addicted to him. I have seen him do it to others. If heroin had a persona it would be this man. His drug makes you feel so important, warm and understood. It fills your veins with it’s embrace and tells you that you need it and want it more and more. It makes you believe that you are better with it. You are stronger with it. You are prettier with it. You will be special and loved by it. He was heroin. He wanted me to become addicted to him so that I fed his narcissistic addiction for attention and power. I fell hard and fast. We were engaged within 8 months of first date. This is crazy when I look back and remember that I hesitated with him after the first date and it took us almost another month before we had three dates. I drank the punch and injected the warmth of lies, secrets and manipulations that poured from his mouth. I saw the red flags of his real character. It was not a good one either. It was a character opposite of mine. It was a character filled with greed, dishonesty, anger and distrust. His “friends” were involved in things that I disagreed with and always did. So I constantly ask myself why did I continue down this path with him when I saw these red flags and holes in the hope that he offered me? Because his addictions and his issues with narcissism gave him the ability to hoodwink me and others into believing that what he says is the truth. Those false words are the very things that encouraged me to open my soul to him by that fireside. He asked the right questions and got the answers that he needed to make sure I was easily manipulated and drugged by him. I really do wish at times that he had just puts some mickeys in my drinks so I didn’t feel so stupid for being so stupid. I know now that I wasn’t stupid. I keep reminding myself that he made sure that he became the drug I needed to fall deeper and deeper into the dark rabbit hole of his power and control.

Fall into that hole? Yes, I did; and I hit that bottom so hard I am still healing from those wounds. I went through a marriage filled with so much cheating and lies about cheating that it made a season of a soap opera look boring. Some of the lies are actually funny now. But at that time I was so wrapped up in the ropes of false love and confusing words that I couldn’t see humor or pain or anything. I just wanted to find a way to make it all better. To make us better as a couple. I kept saying, “I love you so much. Why don’t you want me?” I fought to stay where I wasn’t even wanted and with someone who didn’t love or want me. What was wrong with me? Who does this? I was so mad at myself over and over throughout the marriage and even more so in the divorce. Now I get it. I can’t be mad at myself. I was addicted to wanting him to love me. I was addicted to making it work. I was addicted to the love that I thought was there. The love that I pretended was there. I started a family with kids and didn’t want to change that or lose that. I was addicted to being a success story instead of a failure. I was addicted to him as much as he was addicted to his pleasures of women, drugs, secrets and getting away with dishonest acts. I was addicted to his return of affection as he was to love bombing and having attention from many at one time. I knew that I only wanted to have a loving family that made great memories to create warmth and lasting happiness. I knew that I wanted to share my life with someone who saw the same horizon as I did. I believed that if he was sober he would love me and could love me. It had nothing to do with sobriety from drugs or alcohol. It had everything to do with him and who he was. It had everything to do with the fact that I was so desperate to make it work and make him see me and love me like he did when he was love bombing me with false hope.

I got taken over by someone who made me believe that he was that man who loved, cared for, and wanted me. I used to beat myself up for this entire story and how could I have allowed such emotional, mental, verbal and financial abuse to be forced on me for over 16 years. I would cry to God, “What is wrong with me?” God finally helped me find the answers to my pain and heartache. I didn’t cause this. I can’t control it. I can’t cure it. I was just another woman on his path of pain and destruction for his own ego and pleasure. Just another woman, that’s it. Yes, I did get married and stayed married for far too long. I should have ended it when the first known affair took place at year 5. That would have been 11 years ago. But I didn’t because I believed in love and what marriage meant. I believed in fighting for what was important to me…my family and my husband. I did mess up and make mistakes along the way with handling the pain and confusion of lies. I understand now that I was just a human trying to navigate uncharted waters of unknown darkness and demons. I understand more what addicts go through now from this. I was addicted to someone whom I wanted to make love me (I kept dwelling on what I thought once was but not look at what is really was). I was addicted to making myself matter to someone to the point where I stopped being my true to myself.

Recovery is possible from the pain of betrayal. Recovery is possible from the pain of divorce. All these things are just a portion of life. They do not define us. I am not defined by him or his lack of love and honesty. I am defined by the fact that I was honest, faithful, loyal, loving, caring, forgiving and steadfast and he took advantage of that and used it against me for too many years. I stayed true to myself. I did get lost in him and what I believed him to be. But that is okay. I woke up and saw the light at the top of the hole. I crawled out of that hole to live in the new warmth of the truth shining on me. The truth was hard to see and hear but necessary for my recovery and growth to a happier more loving world where he is not part of my days. It does take time and healing is not linear. There are good and bad days. The strongest light is that the good days slowly start to outweigh the bad ones. I couldn’t say that two years ago. I am still sad that I allowed such unacceptable behavior by him. I am still mad that I allowed myself to be abused as I was. But I am getting strong every day. One day at time. Let go and let God. Progress not perfection. Keep it simple. This too shall pass.

Breath Out Negativity, Breathe In Positivity. Breathe Out Addiction, Breathe In Recovery. Breathe Out Feeling Bad, Breathe In Feeling You Again.

Letters from the Past

I was cleaning out my computer to make room for new files. It is like life when you have delete things from the past to make room for better things in the present. And I came upon this untitled file. It was a letter that I wrote to my then husband after finding yet another woman being kept in the dark even though I helped him once again get into rehab and recovery. This was before all of the insanity of his disease and narcissism really started to pound me into a dark and very deep rabbit hole of pain and regret. So many of the sentiments have changed from this letter. I no longer see him with love. Not even the smallest amount of love still exists. When I see him now, I see the two headed monster that is one way to others and one way to me. I see him as the greatest disappointment of a person in my life. Our divorce has been the worst experience of my 48 years on this earth. His narcissistic desires to control me with money are still raging after we signed but I am away from him and can better control the level that his abuse impacts me now. I wanted to publish this letter so that others can see that the effects of emotional and verbal abuse from a narcissist or addict can really make your head and spin with a myriad of thoughts and feelings. Don’t beat yourself up about it. We have all gone through this in these situations. Not all the same but very similar with what it does to us, our families and our friends. You are not alone in this struggle. Divorce is hard. Divorce from a narcissist or addict is even harder. We become puppets in their games until we have the strength to cut the strings. The one focus that has and always will remain my main goal is the healing and positive progress of me and my children. We deserve it. We are worth it. God will take care of my ex and His justice for his actions will deliver the consequences of continually and intentionally hurting people who truly loved him.

Dear XXXXX,

I always carried this inner happiness and joy and love with me. I loved the idea that each day was an opportunity to learn something new and grow into a better version of who God wants me to be. I loved that God gave me joys and love in unexpected places and in new people all the time and that He always held my hand.  All I ever wanted in life was to have people to share this with.  I really wanted a partner to share this with and learn from and exchange happiness and love with every day.  I love the idea that we all go through painful times to help others with similar pains. I want to help others like that. And especially help my partner with the pains that I could help with and hold hands for the ones I can’t. I still have this happiness and joy in me but forgot I had it for a little while or actually thought it didn’t matter at times that I had it in me to share.  

I can’t say this to you face to face because I can’t see you without any tears while I have them filling my eyes and making it hard to get to the words.  That has made me feel even more alone and less important every time.  And you don’t have to worry about time or getting anywhere when we talk and leave me feeling abandoned again and again, because you can read this on your time and as long as it takes. 

I have done deep soul searching and going over things in my mind to the point of craziness.  I just wanted to be sure that I am making the best decision for myself and this family. I believe I am.

I can no longer hold on to a dream that keeps me up at night, keeps me crying and keeps disappointing me with new fears.  The dream of us is something that has brought me more pain than comfort over the past few years. I cannot compete with what I don’t know anymore.  I cannot compete to be loved or chosen or to be the one.  I cannot compete for time. I am exhausted and worn to the bare bones of my whole being by all this. 

I know I will never feel safe enough to trust you enough to rebuild our relationship again. There will always be ways for your past to find you whether on LinkedIn, Pinterest or office email or private email. And I constantly ask myself that all these “someones” were enough to risk losing me at different points, so why not now? There will always be places, apps and  internet arenas for you to meet new others and for you to become interested in other women again. There will always be those sleazy someones out there around town, in meetings, on bus or trains or others you can travel to who are ready to flirt or want to “cheat” with you. I can’t trust you to choose me and that hurts me too much.  I don’t believe that I will ever be enough for you or the only one you want.  And I believe that your friends in recovery will often push me out because you feel more comfortable with them.   I don’t want to hear it’s not comfortable to be with me. That the wife who has been by your side for 16 years is pushed away for someone you have known weeks or months.  That deeply hurts me. I know recovery is a bond but I deserve and am worth the time to be with my husband and try to be there with him on a difficult journey that I stayed with him on for a long time to help him even in the darkest of days. I deserve to be shown how important that I am to his recovery too if that is how he feels about me.  My husband should be comfortable with me and want to talk to me and want to get close to me again.  This is what I wanted to see you do for so long now. But to my sadness I had to accept that is only true if you deeply felt that you need to be with me and desire to save our marriage and us along with yourself.  I learned at my retreat that you can save yourself and your marriage together if that’s what you truly wanted.  

I don’t want to keep feeling my heart break when you don’t wear your ring (mine was off because of the broken promises behind it and only you could make it feel comfortable again but I feel yours is off because of resentments to me and because you gave up on me)  I don’t want to be hurt from hearing a crazy, not normal excuse for being late or where you are going or who you were with or who is on the phone. I don’t want to feel like I am not worth the truth.  I don’t want to feel that I am not very important to my husband. Sadly, I have felt this too often.  And that hurts me.  I don’t need the drama of someone “chasing my plane “ but I did most definitely need an obvious effort by now. 

I know you have said you want to be 1000% sure you won’t hurt me again.  I see it since you don’t know that clearly at this point or haven’t in sobriety during past two times after treatments then the answer is most likely that you will never be sure if you can completely choose me.  That’s not the marriage I want or deserve.  I want an equal marriage. Equally broken and damaged but equally in love and in efforts to help heal each other faithfully and compassionately forever.  

I don’t see us having a marriage like this after everything. I have fallen so hard over the years with you and I am so broken and bruised. You are trying to recover again.  I have been here trying to hold you up and support you so long even when I gave all I had to you at my own expense.  I desperately needed that support and love from you too, but I understand you haven’t been able to do that for me for a very long time because of your own struggles.  

Your recovery is first for you and I would never jeopardize that for your life depends on it.  And I desperately want our children to have their father.  I want you to thrive and survive too.  I know I deserve my dreams too.  I want to let go of these painful dreams so I can heal and so I can find new dreams that don’t hurt me. I want to stop putting hope in a basket with no bottom. The only way I can heal is to completely let go of the dream of us and me being the only one to you like I vowed.  I need you to let go of me too without keeping me tied to you for various reasons.

This was the toughest decision and why I couldn’t say it to you.  I want the best for both of us. This marriage stopped being the best for a while.  I tried to make it better because I deeply love you.  I tried to make you want me to be what I once was to you. But I can’t try anymore sorry.  I have to give up to save myself from any more heartbreak and pain that I fear will come or already is happening again. I can’t know about any more women in your life and even after we are separated it will hurt me so badly because really we are still married and the doors of hope would still be open. I just wanted you to prove it if you wanted it while we were apart.  I don’t want to be heartbroken anymore by other women. 

Sadly a divorce is the only answer to fixing our broken marriage and giving us each the places to heal. If you care for and love me at all, please, let me go with love, compassion and respect for what I have gone through to bring me to this decision.  We are going to be co-parents to two absolutely amazing kids that deserve everything we can give them now.  They deserve to have a happily separated family. 

I love you and you will always have a place in my heart. I will always pray for your serenity and happiness. I will always pray for your sobriety and path towards better tomorrows.  I wish this wasn’t the answer but it is the only answer for me to heal and get better.  And I do believe an answer for you too.  With me in your life, I would have to ask you to give up so much that I know you don’t want to give up and most likely can’t give up like other women and your secrets. And I know this because you have never wanted to or couldn’t give these things up for me in past even after many times asking.  It’s your choice to what you want and don’t want in your life.  I have had to accept that some things are just too hard to change or give up.  

I have never wanted this and have fought with every ounce of myself to make it not happen.  I can look at myself and know I tried every way possible to save us but I couldn’t do it anymore no matter how much love that I have in my heart for you. Some things just are not meant to stay the same.  Some people’s roles are to change in our lives. I have prayed for many years for strength, guidance, knowledge and courage to help us and you and myself. I believe God is going to lead us both to peace and serenity now.  I will always love you and pray for you and hope for your long term sobriety and peace.  I will always support you in recovery and cheer for your accomplishments. You showed me how much I can love and how strong I truly am. For this, I am Forever grateful.  God gave us each other for a great reason and it is not something I wish didn’t happen because from us came two of the most amazing humans to grace this earth. I would do it again for them and for the lessons and strengths that I have gained over these years.  Thank you for that. Thank you for our beautiful children who have shown me that being a mother is the greatest joy I never knew I could have and more about love than I ever understood.  They are the partners for sharing happiness, joy, love and amazing God moments that teach me every day.  They, too, have made me a better woman.  

I hope we can do this as friends because I will always consider you a friend for life.  I wish this wasn’t the answer but I don’t see any other way to help me heal and not get hurt anymore.  

This quote really said it all for me. 

Breathe Out Past, Breathe In New Future. Breathe Out Sadness, Breathe In A Genuine Smile. Breathe Out What Was, Breathe In What Is. Breathe Out Old Dreams, Breathe In New Dreams. Breathe Out Damage, Breathe In Recovery.

What is Love?

Last night was a good night and a tough night. I had success in finding a movie that I had not seen and my daughter wanted to watch. This is not as easy as one would think with so many options at our fingertips these days. We surfed through Hulu, Netflix and Prime to finally find a winner…”Letters to Juliet”. I knew she would agree when I said it was based on Romeo and Juliet. She likes the twists and turns in an on screen romance. She watches tv shows more than once, even the ones with 16 seasons. She gets emotionally involved in the characters and stories. I understand her. I have done this with so many movies and tv shows. I have loved watching movies and tv since I was young. This world of characters called me into acting and production for part of my life. No, I am not an actress now. I would have been great but never got that chance to show the world what I had in me. I learned so much from that screen filled with stories of love, pain and strength. I have been brought to tears from someone I have never met and anger for someone who really didn’t do anything. I have also been brought to a place of deep questions for my own life. Last night was one of those nights. This movie made me reflect on, “What is love?” I mean real, deep love for another person unrelated to you.

The main character, Sophie, with a distracted fiancé on one side and realist pessimist on the other, contemplates what love is to her. Interesting combination of two men in a movie to make a girl think about her heart. Is love having someone who shares your level of passion for work, even to the point of making it a priority over you? Is love balancing the pessimist and the optimist (the opposites attract theory) into a solid middle ground where a foundation of love is created? What is love? What does it look like? What does it feel like? How do you know it when it arrives? Hollywood is always trying to answer this and make us feel what love is. But after years and years and years of watching that screen, I know that they answer it but I don’t know for myself.

As I fell asleep last night, a sad realization covered me like the heaviest of weighted blankets. This one was not soothing like it should be when an understanding enlightens the darkness. I have no idea what love like this really does feel or look like. I know what it is to fall in love the moment you see your baby for the first time. The moment they grab your hand and look up like they are safe and happy. The moment they come to you with a heavy heart and embrace you for comfort and you would do anything for them. You would take every ounce of pain so that they never have to feel it again. I love my children so much that I would never hesitate to sacrifice my life for them. I know this love as a parent. What about love like falling in love with a partner, a soulmate, a significant other, a spouse? The heavy realization was that I have never really been in love like this. I have never felt this kind of love. I have never seen this kind of life in a man towards me. What does that safety and warmth look like and what would it do make sure you knew it was there?

My relationships when I was young were not love they were what I think of as “young love”. I was too young to really understand what it all meant and was and could be. I wanted to believe in love and destiny and all that was in the movies. Then I was in a place that I wasn’t supposed to be in and met a guy who was not what I was looking for in my new 30s. It was destiny that I was there. It was destiny that we met. Right? I wanted to believe this despite all of the red flags popping up from the start. I wanted to believe in love, truly destined love. But I never stopped to really think or dive into my head and heart, I just let the Hollywood-like story play out. Looking back now I wasn’t in love, really in love. In the movie, Sophie talked about realizing that she wasn’t in love with her fiancé because she wasn’t upset when they were apart; she didn’t miss him like she should. When the pessimist started to warm up when he saw the long lost love reunion of his grandmother in action, Sophie felt his warmth reach her soul. She understood his transformation because she was transforming too. They were coming to the understanding of love together. That is where love starts…that understanding of personal transformation together. She missed not seeing him, hearing him or being near him. She knew she had to end her engagement and tell the other guy of her love.

That is what I have not experienced in my life. That feeling that your life is missing a piece without that person. I was hit by many rough and heavy bricks laying in bed last night alone. Here they are. I saw that I didn’t miss him when we were apart. Even when we were constantly together and I had to work in France for three weeks, I strongly debated with myself about permanently returning to France. It is all I had ever wanted to do. My opportunity was so close now. Upon returning to the States, it should have been like a movie and that great definitive moment upon seeing him that I knew to choose him. Not so. He didn’t even pick me up at the airport after all this time and saying how much he missed me. He sent a car service. How unromantic and unfulfilling, so why did I not see that he was not truly in love with me then? You truly love and miss someone and decide you can’t lose them, you don’t send a car service. Maybe that is what I needed a grand gesture to make me trust love, to trust his love. This guy in the movie crawled up a wall of vines to be closer to her when he professed his unspoken love for Sophie. That is a grand gesture. I had been empty of anyone showing that in any way and still was. Maybe I needed to see love in order to let mine free. This is how it went in marriage for us. No grand gestures of love instead grand gestures of betrayal. So when we were apart, I didn’t miss him in love but worried in pain of more betrayals. Love couldn’t grow in that setting. Love needs love to grow. Someone needs to be missed in order to miss. Understanding each other leads to the transformation of love. I tried to understand him with every ounce of my mind and heart. I really did. But it is hard to understand a chameleon. It is hard to feel safe and have love grow in an inconsistent world.

It is more than just missing someone though. It is a feeling deep into your toes. You see on people’s faces who are deeply in love. It is like that person makes them feel so blessed, secure and seen that they glow. How do they get this right in movies so often? I have never felt this either. I never felt so calm because of love creating a secure place. I often felt like my husband looked right through me and I didn’t really exist. His hand and his embrace stopped giving me that sense of safety and warmth that it did occasionally in the beginning of our story. I never felt that lava seep down from a kiss into my toes like I had finally arrived at home instead of just a night of passion. Even on my wedding day, that excitement and warmth of walking down the aisle towards a man that felt like the place where you belonged to be, was not there. I wanted to feel that. I hoped to feel that. I did have that feeling of loving him and wanting to spend my life with him. I promised and committed my life and growing in love on that day. I kept that promise and worked on growing in love and never was disloyal to him. But now I am not sure why I felt that way. I had not had that moment of truly knowing for sure that love was our understanding. I had not had that warmth of security flow through my veins into my heart and make me feel that transformation for us. I didn’t hold his hand and never want to let it go. I forgave him over and over and tried harder than I think most would have tried. I wanted to make it work because I didn’t want to fail for my children’s sake. I wanted them to see loving parents as I had seen. But I am very rare in that aspect even then. I decided it was worse for me to stay and teach my children that love is how much pain you can tolerate. Now I cannot even remember him or us as part of my life because he never put himself in it or made love grow. How can you love someone who isn’t really there?

I do want to feel that deep love for someone and from someone. To feel that security in the simplicity of holding hands and being embraced. To feel the lava of a kiss solidify deep into your toes and stay beyond the initial passion. To feel that desire to see the face or hear the voice when you are apart. I think my marriage was doomed from the start because my desire to deeply love was never given the opportunity to grow. Acid doesn’t make a plant grow. And lies, secrets, manipulations and false professions do not make love grow. I wish I had felt that deep love grow after we first met. Maybe someday someone will climb a wall of vines to make sure I understand that we share a transformation of understanding our love and I will feel that warmth, security and genuine passion throughout my entire body and mind. Not every story ends with true love’s kiss. That is okay. My story is continuing with self-love, strength and an acceptance and understanding of being on my own and working towards my goals again. I allowed someone to steal my understanding of what love is to me, but I will never do that again. I am worth more than that. Love is worth more than that. Here’s to finding love like the movies. Keep watching and learning and asking the deep questions of life so you can grow into the person that you are meant to be…happy and loving yourself.

Breathe Out Questions, Breathe In Understanding. Breathe Out Failures, Breathe In Moving On. Breathe Out Staying in Pain, Breathe In Letting Go Towards Self-Love. Breathe Out False Love of Others, Breathe In Deep Love of Self. Breathe Out Being Alone, Breathe In Being Whole.

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)

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.