names have been omitted and changed in this post
this post contains language
My mother and I worked in the kitchen each preparing our dinner… as we spoke my daughter was out of earshot from us in another part of the house taking an early shower. Word had been relayed by her when she had returned for our week together that my grandmother had passed away earlier in the week. I hadn't known; I hadn't been told… but had promptly found her obituary and read it. Texting a photo of it to my sister who immediately responded when she saw what was printed had led to an all afternoon text-a-thon followed by people who had slowly begun reaching out in astonishment at the obituary they had read… reaching out asking how I was doing and their aghast at my noticeably missing name.
"He left me out??!" I exclaimed to my mother as I opened deep kitchen drawers searching for my favorite mixing bowl I needed to make waffle batter. "He included everyone but me… does he REALLY think that makes me look bad? I think not! His actions show exactly who he is… specifically his character!" I told her.
She diced up vegetables on the cutting board nearby for her salad… "Yes, it does. Even I didn't think he'd stoop that low. I knew he'd want to… but wasn't betting on him doing it. Oh, he is really something…" She trailed of. "And he's got your ex right there as a pall bearer. How fitting!" She replied.
"He should adopt him as his own!" I snapped. "He never liked him when we were going to get married! He didn't even come to our wedding! Told everyone in our family not to go! And now… because I won't KISS HIS ASS and won't be who he wants me to be, do what he wants me to do… because I speak the truth he's made my ex his friend… WHO DOES THAT?!" I exclaimed then sneered, "Ohhhh… how it all changes when it suddenly suits them… they can bend and twist it to however they want… however it serves them best and the pay off is highest! The loyalties change LIKE THE WIND!! LIKE THE WIND! He doesn't put my name yet he put my sisters names in there. He has spoken to Danielle what… MAYBE three to four times since July 2003 when she said she was marrying a black guy… in which he shut her out of the family. And yet suddenly she's needed, her name is needed, actually ironically it's HER HUSBAND'S NAME is needed and printed. And the thing is she KNOWS it! She said it herself. She knows she's been the black sheep and was appalled I wasn't included."
My mother shook her head completely disgusted by the latest turn of events. "I hate this town… I want to move." She remarked.
"Well, it's all in print right there for everyone in town to see!"I replied. "There are people who know the truth, saw the obit and are appalled." I told her "Shame on him! He will have to answer for it someday. I'm not going to shrink… I guess he thinks I'm going to feel embarrassed by what he did? I have nothing to be embarrassed about. I feel embarrassed FOR HIM. As far as punishment goes… my life moves on. I'm just going to hold my head up and keep going. There are those who believe whatever lies they've been fed and that's their deal. I know what we lived. And it was hell!" I snapped.
"Yes, it was… everyday." My mother affirmed.
Life with a narcissist is essentially a game of "Let's Make A Deal"…. they are always looking out for themselves and how you benefit them. There is no such thing as real love, care and friendship. There is no such thing as true concern for your well being, health, your dreams, your interests, etc. If you are bought anything you are indebted. If you are taken to their vacation home you are being groomed for something. If you are charmed with flowers and dinner sex is expected. If you are wed you will begin the long and tiring multitude of tasks ahead in which many deals and concessions will be made and yet you are to blame for any and everything that goes wrong despite continuing to try. If you are a wife you are owned like property and "his" but not in the sense of endearment and being cherished but instead in the sense that you owe him everything you've ever had; you will give up everything including your passions, money, identity, dreams, goals, health, and vagina. If you're a man you may be used by your wife merely to have a child… feeling like a part of you died when she conceived your seed… you are no longer needed… she now has all she was after, a mini her and soon you realize it when you're discarded. If you're the daughter of a narcissist it will be a constant stream of manipulation of how you can make him or her look better… your talents, your beauty and education will be wielded in some way as an image shaping refining shining tool by them so they may look better to the outside world. As a son you may be expected to be the attorney, the rancher, the new patriarch of the family, following in many lauded previous footsteps and any sway, uncertainty or even brash and blatant resistance by you will receive a huge outcry of angry ugly backlash.
Once you are born in a family in which a narcissist rules you are born into a silent secret society comparable to a cult that expects certain behaviors from you… and if you FAIL to meet those standards or expectations… their mold, what have you… you are no longer playing "Let's Make A Deal"… more suitably termed "Let's Make A Deal With The Devil"… but instead are choosing to be flung from their need, flung from their fickle affections, flung from their lair and cast out into the world with condemnation and cruel punishment.
Taking a stand and walking away… using your voice to state:
"This is not okay… I'm not adhering to what you want… I don't agree with your behavior… your reality is not reality and certainly not mine… I've had enough of your shit and I'm done… You are not going to continue to treat me this way… " is a brave act and one that should be acknowledged as so… yet in that be prepared for the onslaught of missiles and bombs by the narcissist who will use every tactic possible to come after you and engage flying monkeys; i.e. enablers to help… whispers, stares and eye brow raising in the community… people who don't know what to believe… those who do believe you yet don't feel they can show it out of fear… people who cling hard and steadfast to whatever they've been fed like a spoonful of poison… it happens. It happens everyday in towns all across this country and world… because narcissism is not something that happens in just a few small select families, towns or areas of the world. Narcissism, specifically a toxic personality disordered individual can and does destroy many families and his or her reign of wrath will continue to take place until death and sometimes even beyond their grave as they can leave behind those to continue their filthy work and create manipulative havoc where wills, trusts and money are concerned…. creating even more division even after long gone. There are always consequences when you won't play the game, when you will no longer adhere to whatever the narc wants or expects, when you use your voice, when you no longer cower and submit to their silent yet heavy handed understood pressures… when you will not engage in "Let's Make A Deal".
So what can you do? Keep doing what you're doing. Creating a beautiful new life. Choose kind friends and invest in those relationships. Do good to others, share your experiences… you never know who may need to hear them. Implement self care and take care of yourself because you matter. Nurture your relationship with your children and spend that quality time with them. Appreciate who you have remaining and cherish the time you have with them. Acknowledge in prayer how grateful you are that God is with you… He's seeing you through the difficult times and knows all the details of your situation… ask Him for strength to continue on. Be graceful in how you carry yourself… know that you don't have to be perfect and you won't be… but know that to rise above is always better than to stoop to a low level… keep journaling… keep praying… keep clinging to the fact you have been through tough times but always rose again from the pit… keep your head high and remain steadfast that no one…. NO ONE will thwart your peace and happiness. That is not for anyone to take. That is your's and your's alone. Each day you must be able to look yourself in the mirror… you must be able to lay your head down upon your pillow at night and rest knowing that you are not your circumstances… you are not the ugly things said about you… with a narcissist you perhaps waffled and tried for years… maybe decades… you questioned yourself, you questioned the reality of their behavior, you made allowances, you made all too many excuses… but today you stand tall… you stand tall knowing everything you've been through has made you a better person… it wasn't pleasant, it understandably wasn't wanted… you may have been targeted and a victim but at some point you are no longer… a victim mentality keeps us trapped in the sense we have no escape… VICTORIOUS IS WHAT YOU ARE… strong, unruffled and determined…
You are seen, heard and understood by many… and know that your story is many other's stories…. and in that find peace, find hope, find exhilarating newfound freedom in that you have the ability to live life free of chains… everything you've been through has transformed you into the beautiful person you are… chiseled, brave and inspiring. Keep on keeping on… you have a life to go live… celebrate that and go live it.
names have been omitted in this post
With dating we meet all types of people and although this can be a very good thing as it helps us better pin point what were looking for in a partner… with that there can be some eye-brow raising and disconcerting revelations about said person were either chatting with and trying to determine whether we want to pursue a first date or in actually going out with them. In that it's interesting to see where things progress when you begin asking the really tough questions…asking the important questions relatively early on begins to weed out anyone who not going to be a match… let's not waste each other's time only to realize there's an elephant in the room and no way to work around it. So when you each share how and why you divorced which is important to ask… those answers or even the other person's reaction to yours may give you pause.
He had wanted to know why I had divorced. I shared with him that my ex had become emotionally… verbally abusive and I was considering divorce (that was a time period that I was considering it yet still questioned if the marriage was salvageable; there was much inner turmoil, confusion and my trying to figure out what was happening) and that once I had discovered his infidelity the decision became very easy for me. I immediately filed. He asked me if my ex had not cheated would I have fulfilled my marital vows? This gave me pause. I replied that yes, eventually I would have filed; it wasn't healthy. And now, fast forward three years later I'm not going to put up with abuse of any kind; once we look back and realize how much we put up with and now what we expect for ourselves we know what our deal breakers are. We become set in what we will tolerate and won't. His theory was that many people claim emotional abuse but that was not biblical grounds for divorcing… that if someone was to go through a bad season and be abusive then surely it was better to be patient and love them through it than to divorce them. I couldn't quite determine whether he was merely trying to have an open dialogue or was trying to see how much I personally would be willing to put up with. Regardless, I was now uncomfortable and decided that this guy wasn't someone I would go on a date with and simply let him know… I couldn't help but feel extremely upset. It followed me the rest of the day. And not just upset for myself. But for anyone who has been in an abusive relationship. I felt fiercely protective and defensive for them. Were just supposed to suffer because someone up and decides to be an emotional beater for lack of a better description? What was the answer? To be patient and put up with it? I believe we can hope and pray for our spouse and that they change, that they are open to God transforming them… and in that there is a big difference between someone who just has a case of the grumpies from a bad day at work, etc and someone whose behavior is to purposefully hurt, control, deceive and punish their spouse and children. As couples we can brainstorm, we can seek out our Pastor, try counseling, we can separate if we were having a tough time seeing eye to eye on issues and try to gain some distance in order to be objective while in counseling… but those are things that healthy couples may do. Man or woman; an emotional abuser is someone who is creating havoc and despair on purpose. And an emotional abuser often later becomes a physical abuser… it's usually just a matter of time.
A man's job is to love his wife. A wife's is to respect him. It seems like a pretty obvious domino effect that if the husband is loving his wife she will respect him. Intimacy then naturally follows and flows freely. You can't respect someone who is treating you poorly. And yet he won't be perfect, he's going to miss the mark… there will be days he is exhausted, he is stressed, etc and will have regrets… in that he takes responsibility for his behavior and she delivers grace… and vice versa… but emotional abuse? He stated he counsels men in the church on emotional abuse… I hope he's giving them examples of what constitutes emotional abuse so they can see their behaviors and begin the process of getting help for them… not expecting their wives to merely stay and suffer. The same goes for women who emotionally abuse. And yet in that if you have to point out to a dog that his or her poop stinks… well… God help them.
20 Examples of Emotional Abuse:
1. Yelling, cussing at your spouse.
2. Calling your spouse names and making ugly comments about their physical appearance, their goals, their abilities, dreams, job, parenting, family, etc.
3. Intimidating them through either slamming doors, yelling, throwing things (they point out they've never laid a hand on you - like they get brownie points or a gold star or this) or bashing their fist into the walls, etc.
4. Threatening to hurt you, your pets, children or family.
5. Breaking or throwing out something that belongs to you. Taking back gifts they've given you and telling you "you don't deserve these."
6. Isolating you from your friends and family.
7. Tracking your whereabouts with a gps tracking system or following you.
8. Threatening to leave you, abandon you and the children or take the children from you.
9. Lying to you about anything.
10. Not allowing your name on the car, the house, etc and using duress to make you sign anything against your will.
11. Telling you you're too sensitive.
12. Telling you that you're not worth the effort, you're too much trouble, you are always in the way.
13. Criticizing how you do things; load the dishwasher, pay the bills, clean the house, etc.
14. Treating you like a servant instead of an equal partner.
15. Pressuring you to have sex when you don't want to.
16. Making excuses for their poor behavior when it's pointed out and blaming you or others for it.
17. Not sharing important information that affects you; making a big purchase, not paying the taxes, quitting their job, etc.
18. Using projection; claiming you are trying to control them, that you are making them anxious, that you are cheating when in reality they are who is doing those things to you. Telling you you're not a nurturing parent, that you're not affectionate when in reality you are a nurturing parent and you shockingly just don't want to be affectionate to someone who does the other things on this list (!)
19. Gas-lights you; they twist reality and say you didn't say something that you did say or claiming that you said something when you didn't.
20. You find yourself in a weird cycle or dance where things are good for awhile and then they revert back to bad and then good again… and yet over time the good is happening less and less… eventually it's all bad and you question why it happened and what you can do to fix it… you can't fix it. You can't fix someone who is bent on destroying you and knows nothing about love.