Monday, June 26, 2017

This was written by another survivor.

I am feeling weird. For the first time in my life I feel like I am making some progress in my emotional healing. I guess there are many unaddressed issues. He brought it up to me that everything is not ok on his end with me. He mentioned something about me not wearing his ring and I said I was not going to until he apologized. Then he started saying some things about me always laying down the law and him feeling like a whipped puppy and I’m holding the newspaper. That is not the case. But I do feel like I need to have the upper hand because I am afraid of him controlling me.

I am still afraid of him abusing me. I am still afraid that I will become comfortable with him and that he will start the verbal abuse again or I will just get used to it again as soon as I let down my guard.

I believe that I love him. I know that I care about him. I want to work on our marriage. I didn’t know that having a love relationship and a partner would be such an emotionally treacherous journey. I wonder if it would be like this if I were with someone else.

I want to keep confronting the things in my life that I feel are bothering me or stopping me in my growth. I kind of hold back at group therapy when he is there. I feel afraid to address the things about him because I don’t really know how to address them. I can only bring things up that I am aware of. There are probably so many things within myself that I am unaware of.

Like this issue with my daughter. She has been acting difficult and angry and I feel alone in my parenting. He doesn’t see that part it just seems like he relishes in the fact that she is angry at me maybe because he identifies with it. I wonder if I should even say anything. What is going to happen is I am going to shut down to him again and look for a way out. That’s what I always do when I feel trapped and cornered. I don’t want to keep on doing that. I want to settle down and be happy.

Why do I even entertain the thought of going to lunch with this other man? Am I still not happy in my marriage that I would look at that? I guess I don’t trust that my marriage or my relationship with him will really pan out. It never has and I don’t have anything to go off of except the fact that he is going to counseling and seems to be trying. I don’t even feel like going out to dance and drink and put myself out there. I feel like curling into a comfortable ball and just being me.

I guess I need to address the issue of me cheating with him. I don’t know why I did that. I guess if I keep asking ‘why’ I will keep on defending my position. Maybe if I just tell him he will just hate me and get away from me. I did it for the same reasons I have always done it – trade sex for a feeling of love. I always equated it with love, just to have those moments of feeling like I am the center of someone’s world and I am important to them, so important that everything stops – time, appointments, distractions, whatever. But then it ends and life goes on.

I still need God. I need Him in my soul. I feel like I am rushing to get some type of answer by going to church. Maybe I should go to church somewhere else so I can go on this journey alone.


I am afraid to admit the cheating, especially the recent episode. I am more afraid of what my daughters would think of me. They would probably hate me and for what. I have so much to lose. Do I want an open and honest relationship with him? Not really. He takes advantage of that. He uses it against me. I don’t know if I want that with anyone right now. I need to work on what is going on with me and continue in my journey.

Monday, June 19, 2017

How did I become a co-dependent?

I have asked myself this question time and time again. How did I become a codependent? I believe that the biggest contributor to me becoming a codependent was denial. I never admitted that anything was wrong. I denied my feelings that there was anything that was not right. I denied that reality was just that, reality, and I kept telling myself that things were not wrong and I was just perceiving them as wrong. I know that this sounds crazy.

I never had the opportunity to develop my self esteem. I was always looking for everyone's approval. I continued to give and give and give, thinking that eventually I would be given approval of what a great job I had done. A codependent is use to having to work for their attention.

A narcissist is just the opposite. They create a false image of theirselves, just like the codependent does, but this person desperately need the attention and affection of others. They need that supply to maintain their self esteem. When they have received their supply of attention, they become the monster.

The narcissist creates anxiety. Their moods can swing one way or another in just a moments notice. They can go into a rage without warning and take it out on those around them that love them most. People around the narcissist are use to walking on egg shells. Because the codependent has made it a habit to deny their feelings and suppress them, they do not run from the urge they have to run.

This was just one step in being a codependent. There were many more steps involved as well.

Her Eyes

I saw it in her eyes
She had no more will to live
It seems it always ends this way
when you give more than you have to give

If there was just some way
that I could reach them all
I want so much to help
How can I hear their call?

She tried to tell just how things were
She showed it through her eyes
Now her hell on earth is over
to never see brighter days.

I wrote this in January of 1986.

There are so many people out there that are fighting the same battle today that I fought for so many years. I remember days that were so dark that all I wanted was to die because it hurt so much. Then there were the good days that followed after the painful days. Where things were wonderful and peaceful. He would give me gifts and treat me like a new bride. Then life would happen. The bills would come due with not enough to pay them. Kids would need things and we would have to choose between this or that. Eventually the pressure got more difficult to bear and the cycle would start again. Each cycle increases with intensity as the cycle phases grow closer together.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Impossible Choices

There are times that there are no win situations and living like this only gets worse as time goes on. At first he was just demanding more time. When I was taking care of our five kids, I was often overwhelmed because I didn't have any help. I asked for help with them and he would start shouting orders to the kids to do things. Often the chores he assigned were not age appropriate, like telling a two year old to take the kitchen trash outside when the bag was as big as the two year old and the dumpster is out back in the alley. It is no wonder there was a trail of trash all the way to the dumpster. I need the help of their father, not a drill sergeant shouting orders.

Eventually we became alienated from our family and friends. We didn't have people over to our house when he was home because we didn't know what might happen. We didn't visit the family either.

At first I thought that he loved me and he just wanted to spend time with me. He often threatened to leave only to unpack his bag as he lectured on how I made him so angry and that he only knew how to deal with me through his anger. I know that he didn't want to leave and as I said, I really thought he loved me. But later I discovered that it wasn't because he loved me that he was not wanting to leave, but he didn't want to leave because he didn't want to feel abandoned. He needed me there to do things for him and give him attention.

When the kids did something wrong and he got involved, he would discipline them. If I interfered because he was going overboard, he would then tell me that I had to choose between him and the kid. I couldn't have both as long as there was a kid in the house that would not obey him. What parent asks another parent to choose between them and their kids? This is a no win situation. If I choose him, although it would temporarily diffuse the situation but then he would hold that against me. What kind of mother would choose someone over their kids? He would lose respect for me.

He wanted control but when I gave him control, he lost respect. If I tried to take control, then he would find faults with the things that I did and demean the things I did.

He wanted me to choose him, and if I did, it was never enough.  If I didn't, then it was an unpardonable sin and he would berate me, calling me all sorts of names.

Relationships are full of compromises, but never should it be one sided with one partner calling all the shots and the other taking orders. When faced with impossible choices, it may be time to reassess the situation. Impossible choices will always be a no win situation.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

He can't love me the way I want to be loved

I was recently talking to a friend who divorced her husband. She and her ex-husband are very good friends which was a foreign concept to me. I had always thought that when I was married to my husband, he was better to other people than he was to his family, so it would be much better to be his friend rather than be his wife. So little did I know. I learned that as difficult as it was being his wife, it was much more difficult trying to leave him.

I didn't realize that he didn't love me until I was talking to this friend. She told me that she felt that her husband didn't feel about her the way she felt about him. He was her everything, her mate for life. Obviously to her, she was not that to him. How did she know that? How could I have known that he didn't love me?

You can see that he doesn't love you if he treats you much worse than he treats others that he is just an acquaintance. An example of this would be when my son came to me and said that his dad would not talk like that if someone else was here. How could my ten year old son see that before I did?

Another way to know that he doesn't love you is when they are not there for you when you need them the most. An example of this would be when our youngest son was hospitalized. The day of surgery, he went to work. I was a breast feeding mother and needed help holding this child since he had to fast from midnight the night before. He cried because he was hungry and my milk would fall. I needed my son's father to help. Where was he? He was at work.

What about when your birthday comes and your spouse goes shopping all day long to buy himself clothes, gadgets and then at the end of the day get you a stationary set with day planner stating that now you can get more done during the day with the planner. What person spends the birthday of their professed love of their life buying for their own pleasure and waits till the end of the day to find a gift on sale and then present them the gift in the store and say, "See honey, I was thinking of your birthday all day long. This is what I am going to get you."

I guess I should have thought something was wrong before we walked down the aisle to matrimony, but then again, I was just a dumb teenager thinking that love cures everything. Just before that fateful day was April Fool's day. The night before we were in a disagreement. It was my mother's birthday and we had spent some time with my mom and brother. He was obviously not wanting to be there and a big fight evolved from a simple misunderstood statement. We were up very late and I had finally gone home to bed. He calls before six the next morning and tells me that he wants to call off the wedding. This was hard for me to understand as I was still half asleep and not comprehending exactly what he was saying. By the time I caught on, he had told me that it was an April Fool's day joke.

If you and your person that you are married to or considering marrying have a complete difference of values, think twice before jumping into that relationship. Try to be on the same plane of understanding.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Polyamorous

Ok, I have heard the term before but I had never really thought about it. I was from a very fundamentalist church that preached monogamous relationships. I knew people of the sixties were into those types of relationships, but I didn't know of any popularity in the present day.

I looked it up to find the definition and found that it means someone who is in a physical and intimate relationship with more than one person. During this time that my spouse was trying to talk me into this, he stated that people sleep with people outside of their marriage all the time and we call it cheating. Being polyamorous just means that you are not considered cheaters anymore, but you are being in committed relationships. He told me that he loved me and that he wanted to share that love with others. He went on to let me know that this new friend of his has so enlightened him to this way of life and he was so excited to find someone just like him.

I talked to my doctor when I went in for a check up. I had become very angry, which was not my normal mental state. I tended to be a quiet person that was more laid back and rolled with the punches. I thought maybe I was going through menopause or at least starting to experience it. He asked me a question. "Did he deserve it?" which threw me off. "Did he deserve it. I am not here to discuss my husband. I am here to fix me." was my reply. I knew I can't fix others; but if I need fixing, I can fix me.

He continued to prod with other questions until I started to burst out with tears, "See I told you that I have become very emotional. Now I am crying in front of you." I told this man that had been my doctor for 30 years about what was going on at home. I had never told anyone. That was the rule. What happens inside, stays inside.

He told me that there was a very small percentage of the population that is reported to live this lifestyle now and that I did not have to accept it. He suggested that unless I was a willing partner, then it was time for me to leave.

I found a counsellor during this time who was actually polyamorous. I didn't seek to find a counsellor who practiced this lifestyle, it just happened to work out this way. I think that I was referred to her because of my situation and that I was trying to figure things out. I still had not left the man that was insisting on this lifestyle.

The counsellor told me that she believed that this had to be something that everyone wanted to be able to be a successful relationship. She felt that if I could not accept this, then I should not be forced into it. She went on to say that people that are truly in this type of relationship would probably say the same thing. Polyamorous should not be forced on anyone.

I began to question myself. I am married to a man that would let me sleep with anyone that I wanted to without fear of being left or called a cheater, then why was I so unhappy?

I knew that I wanted a committed relationship and I thought that I had this commitment because we had five kids together. I wanted to love one man and to be loved by one man. A certain woman in this polyamorous life told me that she got into it because her wife was cheating on her and she wanted to stay committed to the marriage and knew that her wife would not stop cheating. She said she had to make a choice, stay with her wife and love her through all of her faults. She told me that she had to realize that she would never meet all the needs of her wife and she had to deal with that. I have now come to the point that I feel sorry for this woman that was pressured into this lifestyle. She has no respect for herself to demand what she really wants.

Don't blame yourself

When I first split from my spouse, it was nothing that I would have expected. I remember thinking many times that when I left, it would be hard, but nothing I had been through had prepared me for what actually happened.

I had not expected the attack that I got when I left with the kids. Through most of our 36 year relationship, I had often thought that if I ever left him that I would not have any financial help from him, but I did not expect the attack that I ended up getting. He tried to control what I did with money and the car. I didn't answer the phone fast enough so he threatened to take the car. I told a close friend who helped me to leave and he attacked her. How could she put her nose where it doesn't belong. He knew that I had been with him and knew him better than anyone else. I held many secrets that he did not want out and for this reason, and this reason alone, he tried to control me. He could control me when we were living together, but when I was no longer under his thumb, he had to find something to control me.

I asked him when we split up to tell me what I had done wrong.

I read a comment in a conversation he had with his girlfriend on Facebook:

GF: Did you hear from Juli anymore?
Husband: Constantly. It's like we're married or something. She wanted to know if I still loved her.

I remember this day. He was venting to her about how bad I was. I took this hard because I believe I tried very hard to keep our relationship together. I had always prayed that there would be a day when he would come to me and tell me how much he appreciated everything I had done for him. That day never came. I spent our marriage trying to keep him happy, and he never appreciated it and only wanted more. When he told me that he wanted to have a physical relationship with this married woman, he told me that I had given him everything he wanted and now why couldn't I give him this. Just because they were sleeping together, that didn't mean that he wanted a divorce.

The comment that he made about 'it's like we're married or something.' really bothered me too. We were still married and no one had filed for divorce at this point. I just couldn't understand and blamed myself for all of this.

I probably owe this woman a thank you though. If she had not been a sounding board for him, we may have stayed together.  I read her comments to him and I know that she feels that I was wrong and that is ok.

"You know I never wanted it to be like this."

"I didn't want any of this for you but the more in love with you I've fallen, the harder it was to walk away and the harder it has become to just sit back and watch you suffer in this toxic relationship."

I blamed myself too for a very long time. Sometimes I still do. I relive the different things we have done and the things I have said. I keep thinking that I could have made things better, but I seriously doubt that anything I could have done would have changed a thing. I may not have been perfect, but I was not to blame as the one who was toxic. Keep that in mind when you think of your own life and remember: Don't blame yourself.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Dreams

I am beginning to believe that when you have a spouse that dies when you have been in a very controlling environment, that the dynamics of your feelings will change. Let me explain . . .

I have not seen my husband more than once in two years and that time was in the courtroom. We did not speak to one another and I am unaware if he even looked my way more than a glance. I was not paying any attention to him. I brought one of those adult coloring books and pens and sat there for the hours that we were there, coloring.

When I left the courtroom I didn't feel any different even though everything appeared to be done. Now all we had to do was sign on the dotted line. I worked with my attorney and got all the stipulations in order then we sent it to his attorney for him to sign. I got a message from him that he had a mess to clean up but he would get back to me.

Later I found he spent a little time in jail and lost his job. I had wondered if he had hit bottom and was ready to get it all together. After all, once you hit bottom, like the prodigal son, you decide that it is much better at father's table where it is warm and the food is comforting.

It was not much later that I discovered he had died at home alone. He was not going to sign the divorce papers. He was never going to apologize for anything he did. He was never going to make things right. I would never hear from him that he appreciated anything that I had done. Those dreams are gone and I will never get them back. But that is going to have to be ok.

My feelings are so complicated. He is gone and will not hurt me or our kids again, but he will never make things right either. I miss the dreams I thought we were going accomplish. I miss the good man that we occasionally saw. I don't miss the ups and downs. I don't miss having to defend myself or kids. I don't miss the drama.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Addiction affects us all

I called again to see if I can get the death certificate. There are so many people that want that death certificate. I talked with the coroner that did the autopsy. I asked him how long this man had been drinking. Just a guesstimate. He told me that from the looks of the abuse his body suffered, the man had to have been drinking for many years. Wow.

Addiction affects us all. Even though the kids and I were not drinking, his alcoholism affected all of us. We covered for him. We made excuses for him. We did not want to look bad, so we helped him look good. I had no intentions of ever coming out with the information that my husband was an alcoholic. But it seems that there are enough people that know so I guess it is no secrete anymore.

The man was definitely a narcissist. During our three decades together, he proved that over and over again. As I am going through my journal entries through the years, I read it again and again. It is no wonder when he started drinking, we just kept with the same routine. Only now, the situation was much more intense.

For me, I became so involved in the dance that I lost myself in him. I had no knowledge of who I was outside of my relationship with this man. For the kids, being raised by a narcissist is bad enough with the constant not knowing what to do next and walking on egg shells. The emotional neglect was there. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all bad. Sometimes he was an amazing man who was funny, interesting and very loving. No wonder the woman that came into our life and pulled this man away was attracted to him. I remember him showing me her text messages about how much she loved him. Really at first this infuriated me. He may have been a jerk, but he was my jerk, and I did not want to share the man. I know she told me that she didn't want to take him from me, just share the man, but I was going to have no part of it.

Addiction does not only affect the person that is experiencing the addiction. It affects everyone. Just like the drunk driver who hits an innocent person, it will affect others.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Family time is so important



I had a conversation with an old friend recently. It was just a brief chat through Google Hangouts, but something that was said spoke volumes to me. He stated that it was time to go. Which is really not what stood out to me, but it was the statement that followed: It's family time, that rang in my head for hours after. Family time?

Obviously, he made family time a priority. This puzzled me and it should not have. This should have been the norm but in my dysfunctional life, this had never been a norm. A dad had never been a part of family time. Not when I was a child, nor when I was an adult. As a child, family time consisted of my mom and brother. It was no wonder when I grew up, I didn't notice the absence of a dad in our family time.

I am not saying we never had family time. I am just saying that it was not frequent and it was not a priority for the dad in my life nor that of my children's life. It was in that simple statement that I learned so much. Family time is so important. It doesn't have to be a big vacation or anything elaborate. It just needs to be the time you gather together to regroup as a unit. For the kids and I, it was the time sitting around the table during meals (without a book or phone in your hand). It can be at the end of the day when your child comes home after hanging out with friends and they sit on the foot of the bed and tell you about their evening. Family time can be in the car on the way to school, home or game. Family time is the little bits of time you grab in life to connect. 

Family time gets you through the loss of your loved ones, health problems, and the other things that life throws at you. It is the times that you hold dear when you are alone. Cherish your family time. It is so important, especially in the later days.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Was this where it was going to end up anyway?



With the recent passing away of my husband, I have found myself filled with conflicting emotions that I didn't know existed. A couple of years ago, the kids and I had to walk away from him. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done to that point. I implemented no contact rule at the beginning because as our life proved, we would separate and come back together only to do the same routine again later on. This time was a little bit different as he had another supply source. She gave him the attention that he craved and the thoughts of this hurt as much as not having him. I was in turmoil. As the days passed, slowly I became stronger and found that my now peaceful life was much nicer than the ups and downs of the other life. In some ways, I felt that I missed the highs and the lows of our dysfunctional relationship.

Now that he is really gone, there will never be that possibility that he will come back to me. I will never hear the words from him that he appreciated all that I did to help build him up and take care of him. He will never tell our children that they were most important to him. There is no doubt that he loved us all. But I found many years ago that he could never love me in the way that I needed or even in the way that I loved him. I still remember our wedding as though it was yesterday. I remember the feelings I had and the belief that I was marrying my partner for the rest of my life. This was truly the man that I was going to spend my life with and one day we will sit out on the front porch and rock our grandchildren on our laps and talk about the good ole days.

With him REALLY gone, I have no more dreams that one day he will come to his senses and we will have a normal life together. Normal? I had no idea really what normal was. How could I know when all I have experienced my entire life was dysfunction. I am working through my own thoughts and pains to find my own balance and strength. I didn't expect this ending to our life together, but perhaps as I go through the many journals that I have held so close to me through the years, I will find an answer. I think that I know that it never was me. That nothing I could have done would change the outcome. Sometimes we have to accept the inevitable, the truth that we don't want to hear. I tried to rewrite his story, but with every stroke of my pen, the outcome came back to where it is today. Was this always where it was going to end?

Friday, May 5, 2017

You asked for it, you got it


I spent years in denial that anything was wrong. I denied myself the feelings that were so deep in my heart. I questioned even my memories. I did not trust anyone. I did not realize that, in truth, I was as dysfunctional as my partner. I wanted love and thought that by taking care of someone that I would receive love.

I remember one day when I was questioning the love of my narcissist partner. Truly he must love me. We were together for so many years and had several children together. We had our ups and downs, but everyone does. I loved him so very much and thought that there must be something wrong with me otherwise he would show that he love me. I started to believe that maybe that is just how men are, that all men 'loved' the way this man 'loved' me. Maybe I was wanting something more than was even humanly possible. All the while I was questioning his love and thinking something was wrong wit me, my self esteem kept plummeting. I got to the point that I was so afraid of making a wrong decision and having to pay for it later. The thing is, it didn't matter what the decision was. I could be punished for making the same choice one time and ignored later. There was no consistency. It all depended on his emotions at the time.

Tiptoeing as though I was walking on eggshells was a way of life. I was always anxious and waiting for the other shoe to drop. A dear friend confronted me and said, 'You are in a toxic relationship. Get out!'

Again, I was in denial. We just had a little argument. Nothing much.  Besides I probably did something wrong to provoke it. I may have said something wrong or forgot to do something. Who knows?

I didn't realize it. I couldn't see it.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Long time, no see



It has been so long since I opened this blog to write. I have spent the past few months trying to heal. I have been taking the steps to be an independent person that is not bound by low self-esteem. I didn't start out a co-dependent person, or did I?

At a very early age, I learned to read the room that I was in. What I mean by this is that I learned to be able to determine if things were going to be relatively safe around me and I was always looking for an exit plan. I continued that mindset in my marriage because I never knew when things were going to blow up. I would evaluate responses to questions and base my answers on the outcome that I believed it would bring. It didn't matter what I wanted or needed, or so I thought. My believe was that there was something wrong with me so I tried to not feel anything. Eventually I became very efficient without letting what I wanted or needed become an issue. I told myself things like, "When I get myself fixed, then I will be able to work towards the things that I want and need."

I always told myself that I was the one that needed fixing. I finally realized why I always felt that way. I knew that there was no way that I would be able to fix someone else, and as long as I shouldered the blame of being the one that needed fixing, I could work towards a life without all the drama. I can fix me. I can't fix him.

There have been times in the past few months since my entry that I have just sat there in the quiet to let myself feel. I know this sounds a bit weird. Why on earth would someone want to feel the pain that I was feeling? Well, I began to study the pain. What triggered it? Why did I feel a certain way? I know that by giving myself permission to feel, that I would somehow get in touch with my feelings again. I had hidden my feelings for years and did not allow myself that luxury. Now was the time to let the tears flow, let the anger rage, let my mind swirl, and just let go. I got this advice from others that had been through similar situations. I thought it was crazy advice, but I am so glad that I did it because now I allow myself to feel and I can deal with situations as they come up that make me 'feel bad'.

I have more to say and it feels good to be back. To be writing again. Thank you for reading.