names have been omitted in this post
"What are you going to order?" I asked him and glanced over at his menu he was scanning. We were sitting in a booth at a local Mexican restaurant. Bright colors of tile and paint gave a lively atmosphere and festive music played in the background. The waitress brought over small individual cups of salsa and a bowl of tortilla chips.
He set his menu aside and smiled at me "My usual... fajitas."
I smiled and dipped a chip into the salsa, "Mmmm.... healthy man." He didn’t eat bread generally or tortillas. Just the grilled chicken and guacamole.
His eyes shimmered at me with amusement and he spoke "Yep, that's right. And what are you going to get?" He asked me likely already knowing the answer.
"Hmmmmm.... tacos or enchiladas." I quipped with a laugh.
He reached over as if to tickle my side in response and I jumped back and laughed "I have a salad nearly every night for dinner so I'm going to be naughty. You can be healthy for both of us."
"Tacos are not healthy... "He informed me with a grin.
"Sure they are... they have vegetables on them.... a lil lettuce, some tomatoes.... " I teased him and popped a chip in my mouth.
He looked at me as if exasperated and laughed. "Greasy taco shells and cheese... But you could eat all the tacos you want. You're tiny cute." He smiled then spoke "So someone wrote a blog post about that night I stumped them speechless... I was saying how love should be enough and that I'd prove it." He said and raised a knowing eyebrow at me and a smile spread across his face.
I smiled with a glance at him and then feigned sudden deep interest on fishing the perfect sized chip from the top of the basket "Really? Did they? Hmmmm.... that's so odd." I nonchalantly teased him and then I felt his hand take mine from the chip bowl.
"Yes..." He replied "They did... someone...." He said slowly and thoughtfully as he traced his fingers over my hand "Someone wrote how they didn't know what to say... they didn't have a reply or witty comeback yet always do.... I wonder who that could have been?" He teased thoughtfully with a smile and studied me with interest.
"I have no idea... maybe someone you know?" I asked with wide eyes and put on uncertainty. I knew he was referring to the blog post I'd written in February of this year. I started laughing not able to contain it anymore and he did the same in response.
"I stumped the writer.... "He teased then continued, "You write so well.... you are able to write down exactly what you've been through and tell it in such a way that other people understand it and can relate to it. They read it and are like 'Oh my God that's EXACTLY what I'm going through!'.... and it helps them. You're a good writer... a really strong writer... you excel at stating what is going on, you're able to convey exactly what these narcissistical jerks are doing!" He made a shaking fist and exclaimed with a grin and I laughed with utter amusement.
Then becoming more serious and gazing at me he added, "But in person you're weak. When it comes to sharing how you feel. The important stuff.... feelings you have for others.... that's where you crumble. You hold it all in here..." He told me and with his fist thumped his chest where his heart was. "You are weak at telling people how you feel about them." He observed.
It was like I had come full circle once again. So reminiscent of distant memories and regrets with Jeremy. And this man before me recognized what I had failed at decades ago; sharing my feelings and heart. It was the truth. I now gazed at this man who sat before me and spoke with pure honesty, not about to have a repeat of the past, "I am weak when it comes to sharing my feelings in person. I always have been and now since my ex it's been like being completely back at square one. It leaves you not trusting, guarded and throwing walls up... " I trailed off. It was so difficult to articulate what I felt in person.... and often my spoken words felt inadequate... like never enough.... because I felt things, emotions so strongly it was like words fell short and were as weightless as air... not ever conveying how much I truly felt for someone. But where we were weak once we are later braver. We may still struggle with sharing our heart at times but we are braver after loss... we take more risks than we did once before however long ago.
"I know... you've been through a lot..." He admitted, 'You're so strong.... but you know I'll always be straight with you, tell you the truth. " He told me.
"I know you will, " I acknowledged and added "You have no idea how important you are to me.... " I told him, squeezing his hand. "I'm so glad we met... you're so sweet, so kind... you've brought laughter back into my life... I smile at the crazy conversations we have. We have so much fun... you're one of my favorite people..." I smiled at him. His eyes sparkled at me and he leaned in to hug me and I hugged him tightly back. I was already missing him... and he was right there smiling at me... one day I would be leaving and leaving this town behind... finding a new place to live thankfully.... without all the bad memories around every corner... a clean slate and a true fresh start... all of me wanted to go and yet I wanted him to go with me. All of me thought that would be incredibly selfish to ask of him and wouldn't dare even if I felt by losing him I was losing everything good again. I don't like asking anything of anyone.
"You know... " I said cautiously "One day I'm going to move somewhere else... get out of here... " I told him.
"Where would you go?" He asked curiously.
"I'm not sure yet." I replied. The waitress interrupted our conversation with taking our orders and then I handed our menus to her thanking her.
Silence. Finally he spoke "So you'd just leave?" He asked. I could hear the hurt in his tone. I winced. I could pour out my heart but it seemed presumptuous and I didn't want to come across as begging for something that was entirely up to him. I would never again try to force something to work... my life had been a lesson in that. Enjoy what you have now... enjoy the moment... enjoy this chapter... because it might not last.... no matter how much you want it to.
"Maybe I'd go with you." He told me quietly.
I felt my heart soar yet bit my tongue. Finally I spoke "I couldn't let you do that. You have a life here." I pointed out, resorting to logical thinking despite my emotions.
He looked me in the eyes "Maybe someone else here wants a fresh start." He replied pointedly.
I sipped on my drink and we sat in comfortable silence...
"How are things going with the ex?” He asked me.
"We have an appointment with the reunification therapist on May 10th in the evening to discuss the next appointment where my son will actually be present. I'll see my son for the first time in over four years sometime this month. I'm nervous and excited all at once." I told him.
He sat there thinking and then spoke "So you have to see your ex on the 10th to discuss how the appointment with your son will go the following week?" He asked me with a chagrined expression at me and sorrow.
I nodded and he added "Just remember, take a deep breath and stay calm." He reminded me.
I adjusted my cloth napkin in my lap. "Yes, unfortunately. I'm not looking forward to it. I've been anxious and nervous about it. He causes my anxiety to get really bad. I don't like being around him."
"How are you going to know if he's messing with your vehicle or not?" He asked, already thinking ahead.
"I don't know... I was going to have my mom take me and drop me off but I didn't want to go through all that trouble. I'm just going on my own." I replied.
Silence. His eyebrows furrowed and he seemed to be disturbed by what he was hearing. "I'll be there. You don't need to be worrying about what he's doing either after you've gone in or before you walk out. You don't need to be worrying about anything like that, you've got enough you're dealing with. I'll watch and make sure he doesn't do anything." He assured me.
”Are you sure?” I asked him.
He nodded and spoke with assurance, “I'll be there. You don’t have to worry."
I felt a huge weight drop off my shoulders and relief coursed through me... Oh thank God for him. I was so thankful. He was such a blessing.
"Thank you..." I breathed. "I really appreciate you doing that. I'm not going to worry now." I told him. I never had to worry with him.... I had never had complete assurance and it was peaceful and so refreshing.
"Hey... just looking out for you, I want you safe. " He assured me, finishing off his drink.
People don't understand unless they've been through it how unsettling life becomes after leaving a narc. We constantly have to worry about their presence in our life... it’s always something they are doing; some new stressful stunt they are pulling with the children, driving by your home, or litigating unnecessarily through the court system and you being served with something new to fight. But you don’t deserve to live this way; with worry and anxiety over what they are or may be doing. You deserve to live life in peace and quiet.
Yet we never ever really get untangled from them. Some people don't even have children (thankfully) with the narc they married and often STILL have difficulty shaking them loose from their life after divorce. I know that's really hard for some people to wrap their minds around but when you're dealing with someone toxic you can take all the precautions in the world and not even have children to link you together and still have issues. If someone is hell bent on keeping contact with you they will often stop at nothing even once you've said goodbye and moved on. You can change your phone number, change your mailing address, change your routes and job... heck, you can even change your name and move to another state or country (witness protection program, please), but if someone is determined that they aren't done being with you... it's often living a second chapter of an already bad first one with them.
If you do have children with a narc it's even worse because in the courts eyes, (and often the world's) they think because you had children with this toxic person they must not be that bad. It's really insulting because one, if they are toxic they probably didn't have a t-shirt on that stated that. Abuse ALWAYS starts with praise, listening, support and what appears to be love. That's how you get sucked in. And then there are cases where one night stands occur and you also have no idea who this person is you end up getting pregnant by. I'm not condoning one night stands, just making a point. The family courts like to tell you that you picked out this person, loved this person enough to make a baby with them, blah blah, blah. They fail to understand that when you married you DIDN'T know they were evil. You didn't know you were saying "I do" and procreating with a monster. Hello(!)... you wouldn't have done it! The courts are abusive in the way they treat you and further traumatize you after you've already beat yourself up for a bad choice when you were only making one based on the good façade you were presented with by the narc. You already feel like an idiot (even though you shouldn't) and yet the court, therapists and ad litems, etc, love to make you feel even worse by the ignorant statements they make.
Abusers are often not seen by others as they really are. The problem is the court doesn’t see all their crazymaking as abuse. In fact, generally speaking the courts don’t see abuse at all. They may see drug use as an issue in some cases and may let that factor into custody rulings. But that’s not always the case. But abuse? You could have been married to a man who beat you every day and night and they’d sit there and say “that’s between you two... that has no bearing on the kids... just because he beat you doesn't mean he'd beat the kids.” The court would say "Oh, you're being paranoid... he or she isn't really going to do anything." But that is blind, foolish ignorance talking.
So many people (mostly women) get protective orders from the court and yet turn up dead because at the end of the day a piece of paper isn't going to stop a psycho. People cheat like it's nothing and naively never think it might get them killed either out of revenge by a betrayed spouse or the newest fling of a marital partner or being replaced by their spouse. Clara Harris killed her cheating husband with her car and was just recently released from prison after fifteen years. Do I believe she suffered from a temporary unhealthy state of mind? Yes. But regardless of whether we believe she purposely did it of sound mind or a fleeting moment of passion, at the end of the day the point is we generally underestimate what people are truly capable of... especially when they feel threatened and even more especially sociopaths. People underestimate those who are personality disordered and stupidly think they aren't capable of harming someone's property, children or ex spouse.... which is downright dangerous.
Narcs don't like being outed for their abuse, for their lies, their alienation, their crimes and their cheating... so when you do that, when you become a voice to what they are trying to hide and keep hidden they become enraged and want it quiet.. they want you silenced. They don't want you telling about what they've done. That is why my ex has been relentless in trying to get my writing shut down. He doesn't want what he's done being shared. But when what someone is doing is directly affecting your life and your children's you have a right to say "this is wrong", "this needs to stop", and give support and a voice to others who are unfortunately experiencing very similar. If someone is so relentless in you not sharing the truth then maybe they need to change their behavior... don't look to the one writing to change theirs.
With a narc it's important to realize reality as it is... that this person wants something from you... either a relationship that you've tried to cut off, your children who they are trying to take through aggressive litigation in the family courts as punishment and/or your silence. A narc believes they have the right to instigate a smear campaign against you which is nothing more than a mouthful of untrue garbage based lies about you.. how you're a deadbeat because you haven't paid them your portion of the out of pocket medical expenses yet failing to admit you can't afford to especially after having your child support taken away. How you're a bad mother or father because you aren't taking your child for the full amount of time you've been awarded by the court yet failing to admit that's because after they litigated for you to have your child less time via the family court for no reason and the support was lowered so you cannot afford to. How you can't seem to "get past the divorce and acclimate to change and are so angry all the time" yet not admitting that's because they continue to cause you problems and have ruined your connection with your children and the time you had. Narcs take a portion of the truth and twist it to suit themselves. Or they lie outright or omit... which is still a lie. But while you stand there on a mountaintop crying out for help, screaming, waving a flag for everyone to see in desperation... the courts, attorneys, supporters of the narc claim you must be lying... you must be making all this up because it's so outrageous, so out there and so crazy. They all use the kids as their tactic to get your silence. They tell you how sharing the truth of what's happened will be detrimental to the children, how your blog, your Instagram, your book, etc is so harmful to them and how you're selfish and wrong and you will face consequences for continuing to write by receiving less time with them or a permanently damaged parent child bond. Yet the narcs damage will not be viewed as willful and purposeful but instead innocent and naive. It's just not right for the family court to treat parents (who have continually been beat down in the process) any way they wish and leave you with little to zero dignity and self respect... good parents should not have to keep taking the abuse that the courts and all those related to it dish out all in the name of co-parenting.
Eventually children grow up and will hopefully see how the narc used them as weapons. Maybe that's delusional thinking but anyone knows who has endured this battle know that the days of people pleasing are over. Abuse survivors and thrivers know the days of covering up ugly truth to protect others is behind them. The days of living an inauthentic life are dead. Hopefully our children will one day see that their estranged target parent loved them... they just weren't going to kiss the narcs rear to prove it and get the courts applause. They weren't going to be a continual punching bag or dartboard for them to attack and zip their lip while playing the game. They weren't going to pretty up the narc's muddy mess they've made so they can be viewed in a positive light by others. Life is too short to live that way and the price too high; if we cant even look ourselves in the mirror each night it's cost us our dignity and self respect. And if our children need any refreshers the truth will be there still screaming from the mountaintop for them to see... to read in glaring black and white... not a personal perception but the solid absolute truth.
names have been omitted in this post
As I type this in my darkened bedroom, in the midst of dark sheets, a white duvet, pillows and a blue monkey beside me that my daughter left behind during her last visit... I think of how insane my life and so many other's lives have become... because of one person.... one single person that decided JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN to create chaos, division and loss for absolutely no reason other than selfishness and utter sport. This is the mind of a sociopath: I will treat you how I wish and punish you because I can. I will then twist everything to be your fault. I will lie ruthlessly to achieve what I want and I will laugh in your face at what a pathetic mess you have become.
My ex is a liar. A complete and utter liar. He has so many enemies he has no idea... or he doesn't care. There are people who hate him because he's screwed them over time and time again. People who have been kind to him and helped him. Year by year the list continues to grow and I get contacted by people who want to give him a piece of his own medicine. People that have nothing but pure contempt for him... people who want nothing to do with him. People who feel he owes them "I want him hung by the highest tree!" Men and women who look him in the eyes and are polite but know what he's really like.
I've received emails, texts and phone calls... ranting and screaming about what a sorry person he is... and how they want something done about him. They come to me like indignant grade school kids going to a teacher to tattle or a bunch of disgruntled customers who want to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and want their grievances fixed. They come to me expecting me to do something for them I guess... for answers on how to handle their mess. I can't help them but I can listen. I can have ***some*** empathy for their injustices, slights, losses and upset but it fades after some time as my eyes glaze over because those same people had to know he was screwing me when they were in denial he was screwing them.... and guess what? I don't like that game... so while they sit there and boo hoo and harangue about how "they want that you know what to pay"... I feel sorrow for them yet grimace.
I grimace that it's so ironic how people will sit by idly while watching someone screw someone over... always thinking they themselves are the exception. It's funny till it happens to you, right? Generally speaking that's the human condition... that they are the exception in any and all negative circumstances of life... whether it's being screwed over by a shady business partner who was thought to be a friend, a child being killed by a drunk driver or an innocent elderly parent getting hooked on prescription drugs after surgery... people foolishly succumb and believe that horrible stuff happens to "those other people". People likewise vehemently deny someone is a narc yet then are so shocked when they find themselves as the one with their pants down and bent over... they stand there bewildered as life laughs and says "Do I have your attention now???" and shakes it's head at how naïve they were to think for a second that it couldn't happen to them. This is exception talking. This is because they think that the one laughing at my misfortune, the evil one is actually their friend. I click my tongue. The problem with people is that when they have someone heartless standing before them that they've already witnessed doing unethical things they naively hold onto doubting that same person could move on to more destructive behaviors like x, y, z. But that's the thing about doubt... you can say "I doubt he'd do that " or "I doubt she would do that" is that it signifies hope that they wouldn't commit more criminal like behaviors. But they will. Stop doubting. Stop hoping. You've been shown who they are. Believe it.
People generally speaking want so badly to belong, to feel wanted, to be included and to be needed they will deny someone could do evil to them and subsequently think I (or you) must deserve such horrible behavior... after all, for someone to act like my ex has... I must be a witch, right? I must be all the horrific things he's said about me. I must have really deserved to have been cheated on. I must have really deserved to have been dragged through a year long divorce and being financially screwed over. I must have deserved to have then been further financially screwed over by my greedy dad when I bought my grandparents home from him just to have a roof over my head. I must have deserved to have my children essentially stolen from me because my ex did just that through alienation and the Tarrant County Family Court System. People look at him and what a criminal he is and cannot imagine someone like him married someone truly good and kind. People figure you too must have some sort of criminal element about you or at minimum a mean heart to have said "I do" to such a monster... they stupidly believe evil joins with evil.... but only rarely. Usually manipulative evil preys on good... and the good suffer while the evil thrives.
Manipulators excel at twisting reality to be what they want. They change records at companies, hide assets, gloss over numbers, state businesses are worth much less than reality, don’t pay taxes, lie about stock value, about income and more. They mold things to be what they want when needed that second(!) .... often when it comes to profits, losses, payroll and taxes. They lie about their income to get out of paying settlements they owe their soon to be ex spouse and child support.
One example of manipulation is if a business is a non profit and saying because of that we cannot afford to give our employees raises; keeping them in poverty... which is insane because as anyone knows all businesses have to make enough to cover their employees pay... or else they should call it a day, pack it up and go home. But yet when said employee remarks that they haven't gotten a raise in so and so amount of time or it’s been inadequate it will likely be skirted with some excuse that is not even relatable or justified.
Alternatively some people are exceptionally cunning at making reality be what they need it to be to suit themselves and secure their own job security... and the sad thing is that the people who need to be questioning them, doing some research and peeling back the layers... bringing in a financial analyst to uncover why the numbers are not what they should be ... aren't. People just listen to what they're told each month(!), each year and with robotic nods say "okay" and take whatever empty words they are spoon fed. What they need to be doing is getting in there and finding out what the heck is going on, find a mole that will squeal, then start cleaning house regarding the ineffective people they have and let the dirty heads roll. But that would require someone putting in some effort and most people are complacent... while others lower down the totem pole are who continue paying the price.
I half walked half limped into the house... my poor toes bright red and angry from being in nude heels for hours on end. In my hand I held a Styrofoam cup with ice water and on my arm hung my oversized black bag. Dressed in black skinny pants, a gray blouse and a black jacket I shut the door behind me and heard my mom call out. "Yeah? Are you finally home? Were you going to stay all night?"
I made my way slowly into the den and setting my bag down on a barstool chair I kicked off those cursed heels. Making my way to the couch I sighed and plopped down on the couch beside my mother. The dim light of a lamp bathed the room and all was quiet... my daughter was at her dad's.
"Almost... "I remarked tiredly.
"What the heck? It's one in the morning!" She exclaimed.
"I'm not doing that again. It's unnecessary." I retorted. "Not on this pay." I added. "Thirteen dollars an hour and I need new feet." I took a sip of my water.
"You can get a receptionist job anywhere in this town for fifteen dollars an hour. Starting at fifteen dollars an hour. I'm telling you you're getting screwed. I know because I've been looking. And other places that hire for your same position as a coordinator are starting at fifteen. You need to start looking. Stop hoping for better, for more because I don't see it happening." She told me. "For your position you're severely underpaid."
I sighed and rubbed my eyes. I didn't mind working hard and doing what I needed to... to get to where I needed to be... putting in the time and effort... sacrificing.... but eventually... one day you expect to be compensated adequately. And when it never happens you feel initial irritation grow to resentment that begins to get so thick you could cut it with a knife. So you smile with gritted teeth and keep hoping it's going to get better... but likely you're one of those naïve folks I wrote about earlier... when you've been shown it won't based on previous results but fail to admit reality as it is before you.
"Yeah..." I replied wearily and took another sip of ice water.
"Have you heard from any of your 'friends' lately?" She asked with a knowing inflection in her tone.
"I did... they all want something done about him... " I said referring to my ex and people who knew him, "But what can I do? I can’t fix it for them. It’s another example of all his evil doing. Yet no one was outraged when he screwed me over in the divorce. No one was upset when I had no one coming forward to help show his awful character in court. No one was angry when I lost my kids and saw all the destruction he's caused. Now they want to moan and groan about how they feel and how they've been treated poorly or screwed over or still are. Don't cry to the one you at one time thought deserved it and now don't. Figure it out on your own." I said blithely.
Sometimes we get cheated in life... either by those we loved or others. Sometimes we get cheated on emotionally and sexually... and sometimes we get cheated on financially. I think the worst is when people commit all three. They feel zero remorse for what they've done... narcs cheat people without blinking an eye. Yet God will take every single second of our lives and use it for good, even if it’s really, really bad at the time... something good has come from your losses and battle. We may feel we need a magnifying glass to see what it is at times but despite everything you’ve gained something... what is it? Likely lessons that needed to be learned; not to blindly trust folks but to guard your heart and take getting to know them slower. Likely confidence to believe in yourself and to stop looking to others in relationships to make us feel worthy. If people act like they are half in it or have one foot out the door... you can say what I say “Hey... don’t be here unless you want to be. You aren’t sure? I’ll show you the door.” We don’t have to walk in uncertainty anymore with how relationships will develop and turn out because we know our worth. Likely what we’ve learned is boundaries. If someone is forward and sits to eat with you when you want space you have the right to not engage or excuse yourself.... no more being what others need. No more putting others comfort over the space or self care you need in that moment. Likely we’ve learned to become a little stringent where needed because we used to over give to self detriment. No more allowing others to set the tone for your day. Likely another lesson is that when we lose a liar and a cheater we’ve lost nothing. People who treat you as disposable and someone to betray add nothing of value to your life... we’ve likely learned the hard way to not view them as a loss. Likely we’ve realized that we have the abilities and confidence to live life on our own free from the narc... we were likely dependent for so long... on someone not healthy for us that caused us pain and heartbreak... but through withdrawal and recovery we learn to stand on our own two feet again... maybe a bit battered and weary, yes, but free(!) and anyone who knows the freedom felt after a narc knows that is worth gold.
Likely you’ve been stripped of everything... your marital home, your possessions, your savings, your children. The silver lining is after you’ve been stripped of everything you get down to what you have left... or namely who. You have God. Some will scoff at you like He’s worth anything... after all, they laugh; He hasn’t waved a magic wand to fix your situation and they call you a fool. They fail to realize this world is broken and not always good and God warned us of tribulations. But anyone who has fought this battle knows we come to the end of ourselves and our egos. We cannot fix this on our own as our humanly inadequate capabilities will fail every time.
Becoming reliant on Him leads to Him bringing victory to our lives. The Israelites viewed the lack of water at Rephidim as a disaster and an indicator that God had merely left them to die in the desert. They then followed with questioning whether God was with them or not. In reality, God was with them, they just didn’t realize it yet... as He was testing their response to adversity... their grumbling was like that of a whiny preschool class who wants their Capri Sun Juice ten minutes ago. By testing the Israelites God was showing the condition of their hearts and wayward human ways. In contrast it showed Him being in control; His ability to dispense grace and blessings because of who He is not due to their works or them demanding He prove himself.
In the desert he gave you manna to eat, food that your ancestors had never eaten. He sent hardships on you to test you, so that in the end he could bless you with good things.
No matter how bleak it may seem and how badly the narc has stolen from you God will make a way and provide for you... impatience is hasty and not of faith... but faith is waiting and believing.
names have been omitted or changed in this post
It was a Sunday night.... my daughter was with us for the weekend however brief the time seemed. Our time together never seemed long enough... usually it felt like I blinked and she was back on her dads turf and I went back to my usual routine. I've been robbed of being a fulltime mother... no one tells you when you divorce that narcs steal time away from you with your children. She likewise has been robbed of time with me. And both my son and I have been robbed of a relationship entirely.
My daughter waltzed into the kitchen with it's blonde cabinets, pops of stainless steel and black countertops with a head of wet beach-like waves from her shower. All of us wearing pajamas and lounge clothes, she, my mother and I were all preparing our individual dinners. The day before on Saturday we had gone out... enjoying a treat of pizza at Uno's so tonight it was "make it yourself night". I stood before the French door freezer peering into it half hoping something exciting would jump out. But every time I opened the door again it was the same assortment of frozen foods staring back at me. "Hmmmm... "I trailed off aloud and turned to my daughter "What are you having, sweetpea?" I asked her.
"Oatmeal." She replied cheerfully. I glanced over as she emptied a packet of instant maple and brown sugar oatmeal into a ceramic bowl and began slowly stirring water into it until it was ready to pop into the microwave for thirty seconds. I reopened the freezer and stared in it again.
My daughter spoke to my mother "Maw Maw... what are you having?' She asked her.
My mother was opening a container of yogurt "I had a big lunch so I'm not that hungry... I'm having yogurt with some raspberries mixed in it."
The microwave did it's thing; rotating and cooking the oatmeal. Soon the entire kitchen was bathed in the delightful scent of maple, brown sugar and cinnamon. I spoke "Oh my gosh that smells good."
The microwave dinged that it was ready and my daughter spoke "You know... Georgina and Daddy have been fighting again lately." She told us. I grimaced to myself as I began looking through the freezer... hmmmm, frozen okra, frozen black beans and corn with onions and peppers, frozen fish sticks, frozen raspberries, frozen broccoli. And a lone frozen meal of Lean Cuisine cheese ravioli. Yum. That would be what I'd eat.
My mother spoke as she carefully folded fresh raspberries into her plain greek yogurt "What are they fighting about?"
"Daddy had a meeting with some people that flew into town... some salespeople. And Georgina," She paused referring to her dad's new wife "showed up at the office telling him she wanted to go out to lunch. But he was ordering in Jason's Deli since he had that meeting. He offered to order her something but she didn't want that. She didn't understand why he couldn't just leave on a two hour lunch with her when he had people in town. So she left and drove off mad."
"How's he liking the new office space he's in?" I asked her. He had recently moved his office space from his larger spot he'd had to a smaller space in a building on the west side of town. And even odder he was now in the same building I used to work in back in my twenties for a law firm.... in fact he was in the exact same specific office space that Jeremy had worked in across the hall... where we had met over twenty years ago. I had good memories in that building though... my ex's office being there certainly wasn't going to mar those for me. The irony didn't bypass me though. No one can tell me life isn't weird... because it just continues to get weirder.
"He likes it. " She replied.
I popped an omeprazole for my acid reflux and followed it with a drink of ice water.
I said nothing and pulled the frozen dinner from the freezer and set it on the counter. I loved ravioli. I proceeded to fix a small side salad to go with my meal. My mother took her yogurt into the den and my daughter followed with her bowl of oatmeal. A show called Kid's Baking Championship was airing on the flat screen and there were kids hard at work making cupcakes in a competition. My daughter spoke "I like this better than cable." She told us, gesturing toward the tv. I had recently had the cable removed and instead opted for Netflix and Hulu.
Dealing with the cable company was about the equivalent of pulling teeth or an argumentative ex spouse. "I'm glad you like it better. I do too, " I told her "I'm glad to be rid of Charter. It was a pill trying to get the cable removed." I told her. "I called and the rep thought that was the time to discuss all my other options. She wasn't taking no for an answer so I finally told her 'Lady, I didn't call you up to have a discussion about it. I called you to remove the cable. If you can't do that get me someone who can.'"
I was about to change the subject and ask her about something related to school when she spoke "You know... Daddy and I went on a walk the other day..." She said and took a seat on the couch, curling up on one end of it. "And he said something interesting."
I cringed as I tore rinsed lettuce into smaller pieces, placing them on a plate. "Really?"
"Yeah, he wanted to know if I thought you would want to move... that he really wants to move to Florida. He and Georgina want to buy a second home there. She is always talking to him about it. I think he wants to ask you to move out there because he wants to but he won't ask you because of how bad he's acted toward you and figures you'll say no. I just told him I don't know. He also told me that he knows what he's done isn't right but that deep down somewhere in his heart my brother still loves mommy." She told us.
"Oh really?" My mother exclaimed "Well... did you ask him what exactly he's done? What he's referring to?" She knew the list was so long who knew where to even begin.
My daughter shook her head... "No... I didn't bother. Because he lies. I figure he will just make up something. Or he will change the subject and ignore me. He knows what he did." She replied.
I bit my tongue. I could say a lot yet I refrained.
When we go through this journey... namely a divorce and then recovery from narcissistic abuse and often more likely than not parental alienation or domestic abuse by proxy... whatever you want to call it or term it... we become worn down. Sometimes it's becoming worn down due to a lack of self care and sometimes it's due to a fading faith that God will do anything to help repair the situation... oftentimes it's a combination of both. We allow the lies of the devil to get to us... at first perhaps tiny doubts begin to creep in and before we know it maybe out of pure exhaustion from years of weary battle we succumb to finally throwing in the towel and giving up on God.
We don't feel strong anymore.... maybe we don't feel as strong as we did at the beginning of this journey. And maybe that's understandable. We're human after all. We aren't super hero's in capes and seemingly emotionally invincible against the attacks against us. But we do have God. We have Him and most of all His word. As humans we often tend to go by how we feel. We may become dangerously close to worshipping our feelings like an idol. But feelings are very fleeting... how we feel today may be quite different than how we feel tomorrow or even in the next hour. Comparable to the rollercoaster hormones of a teenager or menopausal woman we may fluctuate in how we believe our journey is going... one day we may feel with confidence that our situation is going to resolve soon and then when our ex rears his or her ugly head our feeling of confidence may also go sailing out the window.... then leaving us feeling shattered and dismayed.
Faith is taking God at His word despite whatever fluctuating feelings may come and go. Faith is rooted in what God has told us. Unlike what a narc has said... which is lie after continual lie we know God isn't a liar... He will be there throughout the process. Our circumstances may change and who we married may change by the masks he or she wears but one thing always remains the same... God's word. God's word is that "The word of the Lord abides forever." 1 Peter1:25
So when we face a mountain of problems that just seems to stack upon layer upon layer ahead of us... everything from the narc alienating us from our children to the narc taking our possessions, taking our home and attempting to ruin us financially... when we have lost all faith in men or women that they can be faithful and so we throw up sky high walls in the name of self protection ... we can still choose to walk by faith and believe God's word. Feelings aren't wrong... we are human and part of our being is being made to feel.... which at times may feel like both a curse and a blessing. But when we let our feelings of anger and disgust for the narc to override our faith in God's word... nothing good comes of it... and He sees our response to life's adversities... whether we are trusting ourselves and our own ways or trusting Him. Are we trying to control the situation and the outcome or are we trusting in God's higher plan? Usually it's the first one. What we can do in response is pray. We can run to Him and share our burdens we are dealing with.... upon crying out for help we can then deposit our troubles into His hands and leave them be... letting Him take them on and leaving our fixer mentality at the door.
It's all really hard to do... you know why? Because many times we want to call God up like the cable company, ask for what we need in the midst of our despair and then when the desired outcome doesn't appear there's no higher up or supervisor to be transferred to to complain. Yes, were angry. Yes, were frustrated. Yes, we might even cuss and cry. I've been really angry at God for not "fixing" my situation. I've given Him more talkings to than a teacher gives a child in detention. Has it done any good? Nope. He loves us and disciplines us (and maybe sighs and shakes his head) simultaneously. I feel like I've taken a respite from God lately... maybe I put Him in timeout. Some non believers out there would say that it was justified. But you can't be angry at someone who doesn't exist I suppose. And despite my feeling of frustration from my circumstance I can still thank Him for so many blessings. God is good. He cares for us each and everyday. He walks with us and wipes our tears and holds our hand... He is with us to the very end. I encourage you today to go to Him in the midst of your circumstance, in the midst of your feelings and tell Him how you feel. Be authentically honest and forthright... accept and admit your circumstances and feelings yet proclaim that they don't override His word and you trust in Him... and then do something radical... thank Him for being with you on this journey... trusting His word outshines any darkness the narc tries to throw your way.