I am a horrible person.
I have been married for over 5 years. My husband is a good, kind man. But he doesn't meet my needs in the ways I need. He is not super affectionate; he doesn't tell me I'm pretty, he doesn't flirt with me. He rarely comes to me for sex (though he's not going elsewhere, either). He's an extreme introvert, and a poor communicator. I've talked to him numerous times about what I need from him in those ways. He says he will try--and doesn't. I still love him more than life.
For my job, I had to take an extended trip--three weeks with another co-worker. This co-worker told me on this trip that for the entire time I have been at my job, he has had an interest in me. That has grown into something a lot more. He is a good man--single, nice, funny, affectionate. He tells me I'm beautiful, I'm important. He flirts with me. He makes me feel alive. I didn't have more than friendship feelings for him before, but that has exploded into something much more.
I kissed him at some point on the trip. I'm not sure why--I just got it into my head I wanted to. This wasn't his intention--I know it wasn't. We swore that was it--it was the elephant in the room, now it was over, we knew what it was like, and it was done.
But it wasn't done.
We didn't have sex, but we did practically everything else on this trip. It felt natural, and the chemistry was unlike anything I have ever experienced--not even with my husband. Since we've returned, nothing has happened, but we flirt. We talk about our next work trip. We text constantly. We hide it from everyone at work.
Now I'm in trouble. I love them both. My husband is comfortable and kind, respectable and smart. He cares for me. My co-worker is exciting, he communicates how he is feeling, he flirts, and tells me every chance he can how important I am to him. He struggles because he wants me in his arms, and hates that I can't be there. He knows he wants more than I can give him, but he would never ask me for it.
I want them both. I love them both. I can't imagine life without either. But one I have to hide, and the other I have to lie to. And you can't have both.
How did I get into this mess? I am going to destroy three hearts with my own already split in two.
I am broken.
Last Thursday, I woke up pregnant. I went to bed with an empty womb.
This is my third miscarriage. I have one daughter, who is amazing.
This pregnancy was an accident. It was a happy surprise. For 10 weeks, I was going to be a new mommy again. On Thursday, I learned the baby died the week before. The doctor gave me a choice of letting it happen naturally or having it taken care of that day. Because the natural miscarriages can be unpredictable, we chose a D & C (dilation and curattage).
Since the surgery, I have felt such unbelievable sadness. I am really trying to be happy and pull myself together for my daughter and my husband. But the bruise on my hand from the IV sticks out on my pale skin.
It has been six days and the sadness presses on. I wish that I had a fast forward button on my life. Fast-forward to the post-op appointment to see if he can tell me what went wrong. Fast-forward to a time when I have moved on and am happy again.
You are going to make mistakes, a lot of them.
Like seriously, A LOT.
Mistakes are okay to make as long as you learn from them.
You will make the mistake of letting people tell you who you are, not learning the first time, and believing the hate.
All of that means nothing to you now, you are probably laughing and saying to yourself "I would never do that!"
When you end up in multiple mentally abusive relationships, get out of there at the first sign! Believe me, you try so, so hard and it doesn't work.
That doesn't make you a failure though, it was their fault for not putting in equal effort and treating you right.
You aren't fat, stop starving yourself.
You shouldn't cut, put the knife down.
You don't have to struggle alone, tell someone.
You aren't a bother, speak up.
You don't expect to much, keep your own standards.
I love you, Younger Self. When you grow up, make sure to remember to love yourself as well.
I'd always believed that my mother loved me and all her interference in my life was to make me better, stronger. Blindly, I trusted that she meant for me to be happy. But I also knew that ... something was wrong. I never could do right by her and I just knew that something was wrong with me. She was inside my head, under my skin, causing me to drown. I lost my strength and discovered that I feared her.
These revelations took over a year - it was a whole process for me.
My life had fallen apart and I went to a specialized therapy clinic for help. There, I learned I was codependent. My therapist actually told me "you have a bad mother, you need to protect yourself from her."
I was shocked.
I talked to my mother as I came out of the clinic and decided to break contact with her. Afterward, I felt so guilty and sunk into a very deep depression. I think I put all my energy into avoiding contact with her. I was stuck in bed, only leaving to go to therapy.
I couldn't understand my mother's attitude toward me. How could she be so crazy insensitive to what I was going through? I was obsessed with the question "why?" After seven months of therapy, I discovered that it was helpless to believe there was a way to save our relationship. I remember my therapist saying "no, I don’t think so. Any relationship with her, you'll only get hurt."
I cried so much. It was such a big loss. I finally understood how much she'd taken from me. How she enslaved me, took away everything I got, people that I loved. My mother had bullied me all of my life. The pain was indescribable; I was destroyed. Crying every day, having nightmares all night.
None of this made sense. I felt that she'd only rest once I'd killed myself. How could she be so awful to me? I did everything for her; gave her more than I had to give. Was it really just jealousy? Why? Why had she been so cruel to me? My therapist explained that she's a narcissistic mother; she has narcissistic personality disorder. I was her extension. It was quite confusing so I turned to the internet for answers. I didn't know what having a narcissistic mother meant.
There I found it. I understood the way I'd felt my whole life. I understood her attitude toward me.
I learned the tactics of psychological manipulation: invalidation, gaslighting, parentification, triangulation, narcissistic rage. Convincing me to do the opposite of what my gut said. Denying my needs.
I was deadly shocked for I don't know, months? I haven't really recovered. My symptoms increased, I developed panic disorder, my self-esteem melted, felt so insecure talking to people or making changes in my life.
For five months, I stopped dealing with it - it was just too much. I'm still unable to deal with anything or anyone. I feel lost, I'm afraid that I'm too damaged to be able to be happy. I'm paralyzed. I have no idea who I am.
I'm 40 and I lost my childhood, my innocence, my adult life. I am sick, depressed, lonely, and terrified.
I discovered The Band Back Together Project, for which I am very grateful. Thanks to reading your stories, I now know that I did the right thing in stopping contact to my mother. That was really killing me.
I can understand all the pain I'm feeling. How badly I'm grieving this loss. To top it off, I discovered that my father also has narcissistic personality disorder.
I've been badly abused all of my life. No wonder I'm unable to do what I want and need, how absolutely everybody in my life has abused me, why I can't stand up for myself.
Knowing that I am not alone and understanding my symptoms gives me hope. I understand that I need treatment and support. I'll return to therapy which I hope can help me to learn to feel angry, to defend myself, to stop feeling guilty all the time. To allow me to have things, a family, someone that treats me well. I hope I'll never have abusers in my life again.
I wish I could see what life is like. Until now, I've never had a life of my own to lead; I was just a stupid toy, trying to please everyone for love and attention. I want to learn to respect myself and set clear emotional boundaries with other people.
The hardest part is to see how damaged I am. That's really scary.
Thank you, Band Back Together for giving me the opportunity to speak out. I don’t need to be ashamed; I was abused, I am a victim. Thank you for showing me that.
Can you, The Band, share your stories about being an adult child of narcissistic parents?
I really want to believe this emotional trauma will end and I will, at long last, be free.
This has been a long time coming.
Months - if not years - of untreated depression, followed by years of depression treated with therapy. Then an all-too-brief period of remission before a slip back into depression that happened both slowly and all at once, so I didn't even realize it at first.
It was different this time. I looked okay on the outside to all but those closest to me. I wasn't having a breakdown every day or pulling the car over on the drive to my friends' house to cry or to throw up. I was going to work.
But this time, I was tired of trying.
I put all that effort into getting better through sheer will, and it didn't stick. I was frustrated. And though I absolutely didn't want to kill myself, I needed everything to stop. I needed to be done.
I didn't let on how relieved I was when my therapist suggested we re-visit the idea of medication.
It took a few weeks, of course. The transition wasn't that bad. An acute breakdown caused by stress at work, which was unpleasant but okay because I'd dealt with that intense depression attack before. Then a slide back into the all-pervading guilt. But then one day I woke up feeling happy.
A fluke, I thought.
Then it happened again.
I'm on day four now, and I feel like I can function. I don't feel stressed, I don't feel guilty about absolutely everything.
Some things didn't change. My coworker still drives me insane. My friends can be boring. My dog needs too much attention. But these things don't drive me to the brink of giving up. They feel like standard downs of life, to balance out the standard ups I've been re-experiencing.
I love the ups.
I almost feel like I don't deserve this, but I know that undeserving feeling will go away as the medication continues to work. It feels strange to be able to sit here on a long weekend, doing nothing, enjoying the cloudy, wet weather. It feels strange to enjoy doing nothing, for that matter. It feels almost too good for me to see a cute guy at church and decide to go talk to him. Do normal people enjoy life this much? I'd forgotten.
It's a simple enjoyment, but it feels right.
I don't want to go back to the way it was before.
What, The Band, has made you happy recently?
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