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From Our Fears

Once upon a time, I had a narcissism blog I never published. Mostly because it had a lame name and most of the posts were responses I had written on a message board where I was once a member. When the service was shutting down, I wanted to keep some of the things I had written, so I put them in the draft heap. There they sat.

See, to me blogging isn’t just a medium to get ‘my story’ out. While there’s a certain catharsis to that, it’s more the conversation and feedback I get from you guys, the readers, that I treasure most. There’s nothing more validating and healing than that. It’s where we learn that we’re not alone and the tricks our Narcissists used to make us believe they were so special and unique fall apart. We all have stories to tell, and countless nights I’d stay up way too late reading, commenting, and nodding my head in agreement.

There’s so much I don’t have to explain to you. You already get it.

Years ago, all I knew was that my parents weren’t normal.  My mother was a totalitarian dictator who thought that somehow my life belonged to her.  When she tried to ‘punish’ me for not adhering to her life plan, my husband stepped in and told her off. He gave me a choice…either it was my family or my marriage. In retrospect I don’t blame him.  My mother is an absolute tyrant, enabled by my narcissistic father who fears her. But honestly, at the time I was scared to death. I understood that in going cutting all contact with my parents, it would also be with the rest of my family as well.

My mother would make sure of that.  My husband did what was necessary.

What I couldn’t do myself.

What saved my sanity was a little tiny blurb on the sidebar of a crafting blog. It was a link to information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).  I hit it out of curiosity, and spent the whole night, and many nights thereafter, learning and researching.  I finally had a term I could plug into a search engine that explained my mother’s behavior.

After 30 years, I learned it wasn’t my fault.

In our ‘real life’ exchanges, narcissism is like a dirty little secret. To explain it, most people can’t comprehend how a parent can be so predatory. They can comprehend it only on a ‘it-happens-to-other-people-they-don’t-know’ level, but not as it happening to someone in front of them. And certainly not to the kids that lived on the nicest house on the street, or the ones who went to church every Sunday. No, it’s much easier to believe the mother who complains about her ungrateful children who keep her grandchildren from her. It’s so believable after all, because they live in such a nice house and go to church every Sunday. The hypocrisy of it all leaves us silenced.

I don’t know the person who wrote the blog I happened across, but I am forever grateful to her. It was a small voice in a barren land of silence. It led to exchanges with others seeking the same healing we seek. A virtual hug of sorts, where we lean and learn from each other. We don’t share to play the victim card, we share to heal. We feel compelled to write for our own healing, to comprehend our past and somehow move forward from it. We lend our listening ears through our eyes and offer our experience to help others.

Compassion and courage.

It’s the people that have brought us to this place out of the FOG (fear, obligation and guilt), not the countless psychology articles we’ve read. We’re used to feeling alone and afraid. Together, we’re a beacon of sanity. It’s what our narcissists feared the most: people in our lives that can positively influence us. They sought to destroy any of our relationships, but didn’t count on the rallying cry of a rag-tag unit of strangers on the internet. Blogging is powerful because it’s real.

Real people writing truth the only way they know how: in their life’s experiences.

It’s a far cry from the overly produced stage we grew up in.

How Can You Turn Off Your Heart?

How does your heart turn off completely? My mind is mush, and everything else about me is confused.

We were set for a trip to his hometown. He changed his mind, because the kid he wanted to bring with us (me, our two kids, and him), couldn’t make it. He decided that we shouldn’t go, not me.

Well, the day of the event, he came to me while I was making dinner. He glared at me, and cornered me against the kitchen sink. He asked, “Why do you do this to me?” I was, of course, confused. I didn’t understand what he was talking about.

He said again, “Why do you do this to me? Are you afraid that I might be happy? You stopped us from going to my home. You stopped her from coming with us. You cancelled our trip without asking me first.”

I didn’t do any of this. He knew I didn’t do any of this, yet I was being blamed for what didn’t go his way.

Then he spit in my face. I was completely sickened by this. Spitting in someone’s face, is something I wouldn’t ever dream of doing to anyone, not even my own worst enemy. I was unaware that a broken heart can break further.

He is mean in his words and actions. He talks about World War III starting, so that he can torture and kill people that anger him. When he reads in the news about a wife being murdered, he will smile at me and say, “I wonder what she did to him to make him murder her.”

At times, I can feel my life hanging in the balance, but at other times, he is loving like he used to be. My poor tired mind and broken heart are so confused.  How can you turn off your heart so that you can make the choices that will be better for the whole family?

“Special Day”

Today was my two month anniversary. Now, you might be pretty happy for me, but let me explain how it went.

First he was gone all morning to watch his brother, ok no big deal, it is a family thing. Next, just normal talking and flirting pretty fun and I was happy to talk.

Then he got upset and started saying negative things, I honestly thought he was going to kill himself and he was swearing at me a lot. I got so upset with myself that I said “I deserve to die.” This just made it worse and he offered no support or care.

It’s like I can’t be upset. I can’t be hurt or need a minute to heal. He makes excuses as to why he is upset, or treating me poorly, or just not trying to make today special. After about 3 hours of that we talked it through and I calmed him down.

Happy fucking two months to me.

I Find Myself…

I was fifteen, and I thought I had met the love of my life.

Of course, when you’re fifteen, everything is the end-all, be-all of your life. You think that the day you fail your history exam is the worst day of your life; that your first job will kick-start your career as a successful businessperson; and the boy sitting at the outdoor table by the bus ramp with a cute smile and big arms is your future husband. At fifteen years old, I was sure I would love no one else but him for as long as I lived.

Because I was not raised a Christian, abstinence to me was always more of a personal preference than a spiritual promise. At fifteen I was not ready to have sex. I’d had only two boyfriends before, and only one of them ever got close enough to kiss me.

And then it all changed.

He was 6’3″, Hispanic, and had no plans for the rest of his life. He had a beautiful smile, was the ultimate smooth talker, and he loved to hold my hand. In short, I was doomed to fall for this guy. I met him at lunch one day; he offered me his seat. I guess that was the first time I ever liked a guy at first sight. Four days later he asked me out. Within two months of dating, I knew I loved him.

He was not a virgin, while I was as virgin as it got. I told myself I was okay with that, but honestly, it kind of bothered me. It made me feel like I had some sort of unknown standard to live up to. Within three months of dating, sex naturally came up as a topic of discussion. It made sense, of course; I was a girl, he was a boy, and we were in high school.

Still, I was really not ready to have sex.

We had been dating about six months when he started to complain about not having sex. I made it very clear to him I wasn’t ready. He’d tell me he understood, and that would end the conversation for the day. By the second or third time we’d argued about it, he told me he was tired of doing it for himself.  He wanted his girlfriend, the woman he loved to make love to him.

It made me feel guilty.

When we had been dating about seven months, he sent me a text message saying that I was the best thing in his life and if I left him, he’d probably kill himself. I was in class when I got the text and had to ask to be excused so I could figure out what was going on.

That was the last time he mentioned it, but it stayed on my mind always.

By nine months, I would catch his hand traveling a little too far for my comfort and I’d stop him. One night, after the homecoming dance, he asked me to take off my dress, but swore he wasn’t trying to sleep with me.

Later, his family moved and he had to change schools. I promised him we’d find a way to see each other. I’d visit him at his new home every weekend. We would lay on the couch and he would hold me all day. Our relationship was more innocent than it had ever been.

For a while, we were just content to spend time together. For our first anniversary, he took me to a nice dinner and asked me to prom. We had a relationship based on honesty, and I told him he was the one I wanted to marry.

After that, he began to bring up sex in conversation again.

We would argue about it, and then not talk for days. But no matter how I fought or said no, I could feel my defenses slipping. He knew what to say to make me feel like maybe I was wrong:

“But you love me, and I love you, and I want to show you that.”

“It wouldn’t be a terrible thing, it would be you and me becoming one.”

“It’s meant for two people who love each other. You do love me right?”

We would argue and then he would stop speaking to me. He would start to say something about sex and then stop, making me feel like he felt he couldn’t talk to me about it. I thought I was losing him.

Finally, I compromised: we would do it on prom night. Not long after saying that, his hands began to wander again. When I’d stop him, we’d fight and he’d pull away from me.

I fought with myself on a daily basis, telling myself that if I didn’t do it, he’d leave me. I thought I couldn’t live without him. And so one day, I didn’t say no. He convinced me that I’d enjoy it, so I gave him my virginity.

That night, I cried myself to sleep. I wasn’t ready, and it sucked. He said he felt closer to me, and I said the same. But I never told him how I really felt. He started to ask more often, even demanding it once. I’d give some lame excuse, he’d see right through it, and I’d sleep with him. This happened for another six months.

Just before our second anniversary, he had gone a short while without asking for sex. I found out he had been sleeping with his ex-girlfriend. She confronted me at school one day, revealing it to me publicly.

I was mortified.

I left him eight months ago. I recognize that even though I loved him, I was not ready to lose my virginity at such a young age. For a long time, I blamed myself for it, saying I’m the one who should have said no, I should have stayed strong. But then again, I was afraid he would leave me.

Now I know I am not at fault. I learned that what he did is called sexual coercion. I was nothing more than another conquest. I have trouble getting close to men, and not trusting many people. I am clinically depressed and in college, still in love with a guy I wrongfully had sex with. I am seeking help. In sharing my story, I have found myself again.

Hell Hath No Birthday Quite Like This One

Today is my birthday.  I have reached the ripe (but not spoiled) age of 47.  I am proud to be 47 today.  I am in a good place in my life.  I have two wonderful (yet challenging) children.  I think that it’s the challenging aspects of parenthood keep me young.  I have a husband that adores me, and the feeling is mutual.  I have great friends and family…and I don’t look 47.  I think that’s the best part of all.

I don’t know what the family is planning for my birthday; I just hope there is cake.  I love cake.  And wine.  And steak.

But the birthdays haven’t always been so joyful.  I am not too bothered by aging, so that part of my birthdays have always been fairly easy to handle.  I turned 40 and it was great.  I turned 30 and it was great.  Twenty-five was kind of tough.  I think the thought of being a quarter of a century old was kind of mind-blowing.  Which is kind of funny considering I will be half a century in three years.

One particular birthday was especially bad.  I refer to it as the “birthday from hell.”

I turned 26 that year and my ex, Tom and I were living in Minneapolis.  Since my birthday is twelve days before Christmas, the two have usually been mixed together, although my mother always wrapped my birthday presents in birthday paper, not Christmas. Tom’s nearly hated Christmas…all because he worked in retail and the Christmas frenzy started before Halloween.

The Birthday From Hell started the night before my birthday.  Tom had stayed in town late to shop for my birthday present and I was in bed before he got home.  The next morning when I woke up, I was filled with birthday anticipation and light.  The day headed downhill from there.  Tom didn’t talk to me all morning while we got dressed for work.  Not a word.  I kept wondering when a “Happy Birthday” would come out of his mouth.  He almost acted like he was angry with me.

The whole time I got dressed and during the drive to his bus stop, I kept wondering why he was so angry.  Tom and I never fought.  We had Silences.  So when he didn’t talk to me all morning, it became clear we were in a Silence.  When he jumped out of the car door at his stop, he grabbed his briefcase and said, “Have a nice day” in a sarcastic tone.  The second the car door slammed, I started to cry.  What had I done wrong?  Had he forgotten my birthday? The drive to work was spent pouring through the events of the night before:  What had I done?

I was so upset when I arrived at work that I sat in my cubicle and silently cried.  I was just drying my tears when my friends jumped over the cubicle wall with birthday well-wishes. That sent me into another crying jag.  How could these women whom I’d only know a short while remember my birthday while my husband did not?  I sat at my desk for an hour with an ache in my chest.

Finally, I decided to take action.  I picked up the phone and called the florist.  I ordered a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to his office with a card that said, “I don’t know what I did, but I’m sorry.”  I know, I know.  It was a lame-ass thing to do, but I wasn’t the person I am now.  I often walked on eggshells with Tom and always tried to keep peace no matter what cost.  The rest of the day was a blur. Not what one expects on their birthday.  The day should have been filled with happiness, not tears and self-doubt.

I went home with a heavy heart unsure what to expect.  When Tom came home, I tried to disappear; hiding how hurt I felt.  He was a different person than the one I had dropped off in the morning.  He was filled with contrition for his earlier behavior.  When I asked what I had done to trigger his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality switch, he said, “nothing.”

Nothing? Then what the hell happened? He told me he couldn’t find exactly the right gift to give me for my birthday.  He was pissed he couldn’t find what he was looking for.  Apparently, he decided to take his feelings out on me.  I think when he received my offering of flowers, he was ashamed.  He should have been.

For the next eight years that he was alive, I never knew if there would be a repeat performance.  I began to dread my birthday, although he never did anything like that to me again.  I often reminded him of his behavior in jest, but behind my humor was hurt and anger.

It has taken me years to get over my 26th birthday.  I told Colby the story after we started dating.  He keeps assuring me it will never happen again because he’s not Tom.  He is right, he is not Tom, and once more the joy, happiness, and anticipation for my birthday has been restored.

And I remain quite tickled that I still don’t look my age.

I’m Running Away

I’m planning on leaving my husband.

I’m running away.

Last night, after an especially bad fight, I was talking to one of my best friends. I told him what the fight was about (husband got upset at me because I was on my phone while he was asleep) and I told him that it’s my fault, because I’m such a bad wife.

My friend got mad at me. I mean, really angry, and I couldn’t understand why. He told me to search the term BWS. He said that he thinks that I have battered woman syndrome. But you see, it’s rare that my husband actually hits me. Generally he just throws verbal punches.

Since the day we met, something about this man has made me bend over backwards for him. I let go of long time friends (because he didn’t like them), I turned my back on family (because he said that he was my family now), I missed my little brother’s funeral (he thought it would be a bad idea for me to go back home by myself and wouldn’t take me).

He screamed at me and told me I was worthless, and I cried and begged him to give me another chance, because I CAN BE BETTER.

Let me give you some background information on me. Up until I met my husband my friends called me CK, or Cowboy Killer. I had a bad reputation for taking a man and turning him inside out.

Not because I was mean, because I wouldn’t be. But because they all usually told me they loved me within a week or two and then I’d have to let them go. CK rule # 1 is don’t get attached to me. Rule # 2 is I don’t take shit so back the eff off. So when my friends saw the little things that he started off doing to me, they were baffled.

To say the least, I’ve let this man run my life. Deep down there is a little voice in my cold empty heart that says that he is wrong and bad.

But everything else inside of me screams that this is my fault. After he hits me, he says things like “I didn’t hit you that hard, you must bruise easily” or “I didn’t push you that hard, you threw yourself” or “Baby I’m sorry, but you just shouldn’t push me like that”.

A few months ago he put me in the hospital because I said “I hate you” after I found out that he was cheating on me, again.

But the making up… I live for the making up. He is so sweet, and he tells me that I’m beautiful and he loves me and that he’ll change. He asks me to just stick it out, because he knows that he can be better. But a week later it’s back and worse than ever.

When he broke my nose last month another good friend offered to pay for me and my children to move back up north (my homeland) and live with him. He offered me a job in his company and a safe place for my kids and I to live, complete with 2 puppies and a fenced in back yard. I told him at the time that I would think about it.

Last night I did a lot of thinking. And a lot of web searching. Did you know that my husband matches almost every single sign of being a sociopath?

Manipulation? Check. This is the same man that says I force him to treat me this way because of the things I do, like buy myself a coffee with my money.

Lack of remorse? Yeah, we already went over that one.

Poor behavioral controls resulting in acts of rage? Mmhmm.

Promiscuity? LOLZ. This is the same man who has NO IDEA how many women he’s slept with. Since we started dating I know of at least 8.

Parasitic lifestyle? If you’ve read any of my other entries here on BB2G you would know that for the last two years I’ve supported him financially.

Apparently the sociopath’s main goal in life is to create a willing victim. That’s been me for two years. And I think I’m done. I sent an email to my friend, asking if I could still come up. I won’t tell my husband.

But I’m scared. I’m scared of taking my kids up to PA and worrying about whether I can support them. I’m scared that I won’t be strong enough to say no when my husband begs me to come home. I’m scared that all of this is in my head, and maybe I am the crazy one. I’m scared that he’ll find us.

But it’s what I have to do, right?

Because I can’t continue to live this way, right?

*On a side note, thank you all, for being the people that you are. Sometimes I just read over the comments that you leave and I cry and wish that I had people like you actually in my life. Thank you for trying to help me see the bright side, and for telling me that it will get better. A million times over, thank you…

Prankster, there’s no such thing as “abuse light” or “a little abuse.” Your husband is abusive. That’s not a question. The question is, “do you want to take it?”

You know that the answer is no. You don’t deserve it. Nobody deserves to be treated like that. Nobody.

You are loved. We will be here for you no matter what.

Whatever you do, please be safe. PLEASE.