FEARS – The Fog of Confusion

Sitting here today, I cannot about the word Coronavirus. It is everywhere. It is a word that instills fear and angst to everyone who reads it and thinks about what it means. We get these awful images and ideas in our heads about the look of this virus and how it can hurt us all. The most scary part of it all is that we don’t really know about it. There are no clear answers of what exactly to look for in symptoms, where to go if you think you have it, what will happen and what are the chances of recovery. These are all things that we need to understand to feel better about this fear looming in the air around us. Questions and confusion equal fear of what we do not know or understand. Fear can make you sick or make you believe that you are sick. Fear can be a virus on its own.

These fears about a virus, spreading and affecting us all, are not that different from fears about other situations. How many coastal people had such heightened fears of tsunamis after the largest one in history? How many hurricanes after created fears of hitting the same area twice in a month? How many young men had growing fears in the 90’s that the draft would be used again and they didn’t know how to fight in a war? History gives us fear but it also teaches us lessons to help the fear understand how to change. This is why the governments are acting swiftly to contain the virus to protect everyone. They have learned from history how to change the way things are done now. Fear can create a desire for change and a desire for security and safety. Fear sounds like a bad thing but actually it can be a positive force for change and movement towards betterment.

I have been talking about such large areas of fear. Fear can be your own virus making you sick instead of propelling you into a new, positive start. I know first hand how fear can prohibit a person from being who they really are and want to be. There are so many fears that I have gone through in life…fear of failure, fear of success (yes, you correctly read that one), fear of unknown, fear of love, fear of trusting, fear of not knowing what to do, fear of not being good enough, fear of not being pretty enough, fear of not being smart enough, fear of the past, fear of betrayal, fear of death and now fear of the Coronavirus…well, you get it. A lot of fears have run through my mind over the years. These fears don’t have to come one at a time. Some fears come as a bundle package. This is when it is harder to find the helpful, strong lighthouse in a deep fog creating so much confusion that I cannot seem to know what is up or down, right or left. It is terrifying. I start to panic. I search for the right direction only to become exhausted, confused and frustrated leading to an even more intense fear where my head and heart are both unable to work. The sweat starts beading up on my forward. My heart starts to pound so hard it is audible. My head feels like it tripled in weight for the size of my shoulders holding it up. The bones in my legs feel like hot Jello. Then I start talking to myself through the tears overflowing in my terrified eyes. It is not a pretty sight. But it is me with intense fears.

I hate this feeling. I hate fear. I feel so helpless, so weak. I have to remember it is normal. We are just humans trying to stay strong in a very messed up world. Fear is natural in that environment. But it doesn’t have to take us over and consume our days anymore. Instead of running around for the answers, sit and breathe. Think about it all and rationally sort it out. Pray and ask for the guidance and strength to find your footing and direction. Until then just sit and breathe. Patience is the sword to take down fear. I have feared that I will never get over the pain that my husband of 16 years had given me. The pain was intense some days that I couldn’t find air to breathe. I couldn’t figure out how to breathe normal again. What was normal anymore? This fear was gripping my heart and my mind and spreading to every part of my body to contaminate it with pain and sadness. Fear that I was never good enough to have true love, never pretty enough to have someone really want to be with me, never smart enough to see the many red flags and lies, never strong enough to stand up for myself, never mean enough to not get taken advantage of, never being able to trust again…it was a bundle package that all at once arrived to my doorstep. A package I never ordered nor wanted. But it was mine at that moment and instead of fear it, I had to open it and look at each part and have the patience to understand what is was and why it wasn’t mine to keep. These are things that I didn’t order; they were given to me. So I sat and breathed through each one. With a lot of patience for myself, I got through it. The fog lifted so I could get up and move on. I took those fears and learned from them so next time that they visit me, I can know better how to manage them and dispose of them. My ex gave me these fears, it is my choice to keep them and let his virus affect me forever or throw them out and take my life back for me.

Don’t let confusion and not understanding create a fear in you that hurts everything inside your body. Fear can make you sick. Fear can greatly affect your life, in a good or bad way. Take your fear and look at it. If you need to learn about what is confusing and you are not understanding, ask someone to help. Someone you trust. Pray for understanding and patience to beat out the fears. And take what the fear teaches you to make changes that can help that fear dissolve for you It will. Just have faith. Right now listen to the consistency in advice on how to stay safe and don’t let the fears overcome you.

Breathe out fear, Breathe in patience. Breathe out confusion, Breathe in understanding. Breathe out fog, Breathe in warm sunshine. Breathe out frustration, Breathe acceptance. Breathe out the negative, Breathe in the positive.

And pray for all those affected by this terrible virus causing fears in so many around the world. We all need prayers in this world today. God bless you all with safety, love and healing.

Sometimes stop and breathe in the moments of taking a break! We need to learn to stop and think of changes.

Sometimes we need to learn to stop, step back from the chaos and confusion and just breathe in the peace of taking it easy. No vacation is total calm and ease of time. There is travel time and planning involved in every getaway. BUT there are definite moments for you to take it all in and just let go and let God revive your exhausted spirit and weary mind. I did that recently. Regardless of the fact that I was with family (lots of family), I relaxed and absorbed the good energy available to me that was greatly needed after this long winter of chaos, confusion, pain and grief. The sun felt warmer. The breeze felt crisper. The sounds felt more peaceful. The time felt less hectic. It was such an amazing reward for all the difficulties dealt to me at the hands of the narcissist in my life.

I used this time away to explore the options that lay in front of my feet. The same feet that are able to change the direction of my life and make it better. Only I can move those feet. Only I can change my direction. I saw that the option of moving and relocating could be hugely beneficial to myself and my children. Especially my children. They could witness their mother go from heartbreak and pain to success and renewal in a new place. They could leave behind the pain of rejection and abandonment that they have had to deal with too. It is so hard to accept what they have had to endure along this journey of being married to a narcissistic addict. I feel like I should have been stronger and better at protecting them from the feelings of rejection and abandonment and pain. I have to remind myself that we all have our own journeys in life and I cannot shelter anyone from his or her journey. God has us on His map of life and He has plans for us that are far greater than any journey we could imagine. I do see these emotional and mental obstacles that I have faced with my children as events of growth and bonding for us. I am closer to my children than I could have ever imagined. I understand my children more than most parents seem to understand. I love my children so deeply sometimes it hurts my heart with the fullness pressing on its walls. This isn’t unhealthy. This is a bond of survival created in times of trouble. Many go through this bonding with an intense event of change and growth. People who survive a crash or crisis together. People who witness war together. People who live with active addiction in their families and watch someone killing himself. They are all very different stories but the same bonds are created.

When we are standing in the middle of the this dust storm stirred up by the narcissist and/or addict in our families then it does create a bond of survival. It does create such tension and stress that eventually takes it toll on everyone around that person – The Ripple Effect. (for my next entry) The dust can consume you and your existence. When it gets this way for you or your loved ones, please take a moment or two and step away. Take a break from this life that will suffocate you with the pain, grief, exhaustion, confusion and chaos. Whether for a day or two or a week or two, it doesn’t matter. You need a break. You need a recharge. You need to see outside of the storm and be able to envision all the good things in just changing your feet slightly in a new direction. Your feet have to be in a different direction to get out of this storm. BUT before you change your feet in a new direction, you need the strength to change them. It is not as simple as it sounds. Trust me, I know from being there in that exact exhaustion and sadness and confusion. Which direction? How much do I turn my feet? Will it be the best choice? Can I do this alone? Do I want to do it alone? Why do I have to be here right now?

All good questions. All things that I have asked myself over and over again. The direction is determined by your desires for your life and the visions that you hold for your own passions and greatness. You are great. You can do it if you believe. How much you change your life is up to you and your need to change. If you are being physically abused, I would recommend you make a big change to safeguard yourself and your family. (Please, remember you are worth SO much more than the evil person hurting you is making you feel.) Yes, you can definitely do this alone. Do we ever want to do anything alone in life? No. But can we? Yes. We have survived living with a very disrespectful, unloving person for this long. We can do this on our own. I have learned I am never really on my own. I have all those people who have gone through my pain in their lives walking with me every day. I have friends that have stepped up to be with me and help me as they can. Yes, some family and friends lack the courage to walk with you and cannot handle messy things. Don’t worry about them. Don’t focus on them. Let them walk in their direction away from you. Just know there are people willing to help you along way. Many of those people will be the new friends that you meet on your road to change. These friends will most likely be the ones who truly become part of your new, positive life. You can always make changes again and again. There is no rule saying to you have to stay where you are at this moment. Life is about change. Take this moment right now as a gift to make a better life and a change for you and your family and true friends. Take time to stop and rest along the way. Take time to heal. Take time to breathe. Take time to be grateful and blessed for change from the pain. Take time to figure out your feet and your direction. Take time to love yourself back together. Just remember to take time to step our of the dust storm that this narcissist wants to keep you in and suffocating you. You deserve more than living in constant suffocation from pain and confusion.

Breathe out dust, Breathe in fresh air. Breathe out confusion, Breathe in serenity. Breathe out panic, Breathe in calm. Breathe out negative people, Breathe in positive people. Breathe out fear of change, Breathe in excitement of growth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

H.O.P.E

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

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

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

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

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

Darci Doll, What You Taught Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you like this dress?

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

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

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

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

A New Year?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emotional Whiplash

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

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

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

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

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

The Wall

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

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

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

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

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

Isolation, Your Own Jail Sentence

Yes, I have been missing for a bit of time. Yes, I was stuck in the rabbit hole again for a portion of the time. I was also allowing the world to take my time and abuse it. Isn’t it so crazy how we can walk through life being blatantly abused by one person for so long and not even see how we allow others to abuse us too? It doesn’t have to be physical, emotional or verbal abuse from someone. It can be as simple as wasting our time with the extra stuff that really is no concern of ours in the first place. Or even taking on the “bullshit” of the outside world and turning inwards to create frustration, anger and sadness that we do not need on top of everything else.

So why did I say isolation in the title of this article? I don’t know about you but for me I allow all of this extra abuse to pile on during the holiday season. Like I am the Santa Claus or the hero that can help everyone have a better holiday all the while I am the one needing saving from the waves trying to drown me. This holiday has started a bit rocky for me. First one physically alone but not emotionally alone. He isn’t here but was he ever really here for years? I keep asking myself that to feel better. I feel alone. All the traditions that I was trying to create seem to have expired. So I spent Thanksgiving with friends. A much quieter day than I was used to being at. But the perfect thing for me this year. My first instinct was to totally isolate myself from the holidays and start them off with a glass of wine and a list of movies no one else wanted to see with me. Definitely didn’t want to go out and make small talk and put a smile on my face and pretend to be okay. That gets so old. Pretending I am okay and that I am stronger than the storm around me. Some days I am not stronger than the storm. Some days I want to stay in bed and cover my head like a kid in a thunderstorm or hide in the closet like a dog. Isolation is so easy. No fake smiles. No small talk. No pretending. No being strong all the time. Who is going to know that I am exhausted and sad? My fish after swimming around their mini ocean? My hamster in between marathons on his wheel? They only notice if I don’t feed them.

I thought people would notice if I didn’t help them and would be as upset as my animals. It was all in my head. That bad neighborhood that you never should enter alone, yes that place in my head. Someone else just stepped in and helped out. I was relieved that I could take that off my holiday plate. I was feeling lighter already. And I realized it is okay to take time to mourn the loss of what holidays used to be. I just can’t live in that grief. Then I will isolate into my very own custom made jail cell. I found the solution to this insane conundrum of pain and confusion when you are surrounded by holiday joy. Take off the door to cell. I mean really take it off. Remove the hinges. Throw away the screws and bolts and then take the door to the dump. Keep the cell open. For the times when you need to regroup and isolate in a healthy way to regather yourself and reposition your feet. Then step out and give back in a healthy way. Not allowing people to abuse you more. Reach out to a friend in need with some kind words or inspirational quote. Listen to their hearts so they don’t lock themselves into a cell too. Give them a card with a simple note of encouragement and love. I did this all recently and it has made the difference in accepting a jail sentence or being free to live within my feelings without allowing them to consume me. I have also learned healthy boundaries after so many years of disconnecting my security system so he could abuse me whenever he chose was best for him. No is a complete sentence that needs no explanation to anyone. I have learned to say NO when needed and YES when needed. I have learned to step in someone else’s shoes and open my eyes to the pain of others. Supporting someone else through her pain has helped me understand mine more and more. Helping others, helps us if done to those who truly appreciate it and return that emotion.

So this holiday it is so easy for us, the empaths in this world, to want to be Santa Claus or a hero to too many people. It is so easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated by feelings of loneliness in this pursuit of giving back and appreciation. It is so easy to feel lonely around the holidays regardless of this. My recommendation is to not isolate and cover your head till the holidays have passed (yes, I have wanted to do just that). My smaller, quieter was just what I needed. People who loved me and understood what I was going through and never asked me about it. Just celebrated the fact that I could be there to share the day with them. And surprisingly found out that I helped one of them by being there as she still struggled with the loss of her mom on her favorite day. Isolating this time of the year can be a jail sentence to impose on yourself. You are not being punished and do not deserve to be in jail. You deserve to be comforted, supported and loved. And someone near you may be looking for and needing the same thing. If we are all in our jail cells of isolation then we cannot help each other and the holidays will pass without any new good memories to eventually erase the bad ones.

I hope that you all have a holiday season that is filled with hope, faith, extra strength and love instead of pretending, fake smiles and loneliness. If you ever need someone who can give you an encouraging word or remind you that you are not alone in this world. Please, send me a comment and I will get back to you.

Blessings to all for this tough holiday season and a much better 2020. Now together we breathe out the old and breathe in the new. Breathe out frustrations and breathe in the relief. Breathe out the pressure to be perfect and breathe in the acceptance of who we are. Breathe out the fake smiles and breathe in the beauty of our brokenness. Breathe out the loneliness and breathe in healthy regrouping.