Forgiveness, Uncategorized

Survivor – compassion and forgiveness

I finally watched the Survivor episode where Zeke was outed as being transgender. I’ve been working really hard the last 10 days or so on learning how to forgive. I’ve been trying to forgive my ex for things since I first met him 20 years ago – but in the last couple of weeks it has really come to my attention that if I am to move ahead in my own healing journey I need to learn how to really and truly forgive him. I don’t like it, it is the last thing I want to do – but I also want to heal and find peace and I know I have to do this.

Anyway…

I was watching the tribal council when Jeff Varner outed Zeke as being transgender. I’ve actually now watched it twice as I wanted S to watch it with me to see how incredibly some of the people responded to the situation.

I had been so impressed with Tai and Zeke. Tai giving Varner comfort as he broke down and realized what he had done, and Zeke not saying a harsh word but instead forgiving, saying that it was likely for a better good, hugging him and letting go.

I realized that often in situations that need forgiveness, compassion, and love instead of responding like these two men and offering it with their whole hearts, I respond more like Sarah who instantly turned the entire situation into an “all about me” moment. The first time I watched I didn’t notice as much, but the second time around it really became obvious the two different reactions to the pain (whether on purpose or by accident) that Varner caused.

Sarah told Varner he was malicious and cruel and then went on a rant about how much this game had changed her that despite how sheltered she had grown up she didn’t see Zeke any differently. Tai and Zeke just turned to Varner, said what he had done was not cool, but offered him so much compassion and forgiveness. It was impressive to watch these men act with so much dignity.

It’s impressed upon me once again how important it is to respond with compassion and forgiveness to Tab when what I really want to do is scream from the rooftops about what an evil dick he is.

So I will continue to pray and meditate and really watch what comes out of my mouth, but more importantly what sits in my heart.

I don’t have many examples of how to forgive someone who has hurt me deeply, and I am hugely appreciative of the fact that I was able to watch these men behave with such grace and love.

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The cost of the visit

Even though TAB and I are in the throes of a painful and brutal divorce, even though the kids have no contact with him, I have worked very hard with their grandmother (his mom) to keep a close and loving relationship between her and the children. Honestly, I feel that she and I also have a pretty decent relationship. Given the things that we are finally saying about how her son treated his family it must be pretty gut wrenching for her to deal with.

S went into her place last week over his teacher’s convention and spent a few days with her. In that time TAB called constantly (according to S), and S actually spoke with him one time. They generally don’t have contact at all – by the choice of the children – but TAB knows how to get his attention and was offering to buy him a Patriots jersey.

Right after the phone conversation S started having anxiety attacks. He was texting me and telling me how he was feeling, he closed himself off in his room there and meditated, he did all the things he has been taught to do in order to cope with the panic and anxiety. TAB however, kept calling. S didn’t talk to him again, but just the presence TAB was making was enough to make S feel insecure and afraid. S is afraid TAB will come up here and take him and hurt him. Based on our past experiences, the fear and rage that was in our home when we lived together, I totally understand why S feels this way.

Two days after S came home he sat me down and told me that all of the anxiety and fear that he felt after feeling TAB’s presence so often during his visit had brought back his thoughts of suicide and harming himself. Fuck.

This is the cost of the visit to his grandma’s. A place where he should feel safe and secure – it has left him feeling like his life is in danger. Not just feeling – it has put his life in danger.

The morning after our conversation I was hit with a letter from TAB’s lawyer stating that he was questioning the cost of the therapy treatments I have been getting for S. Even though we have gone to court and I have permission to get treatment, I still am paying lawyers fees to argue about this with the person who is causing the damage to S in the first place. The only thing he has to do is help financially with his children and he can’t even do that.

I wish it was easier for the kids to remain in a no contact situation with him and still maintain a relationship with their grandmother. The after effects of abuse are horrendous and ripple out in so many unexpected ways. Here we are – it’s been two years since we have lived with him, we live two thousand miles away – and my children are terrified that he’s going to show up and hurt us all. I carry those fears as well, I understand exactly why they feel the way they do.

And I wish it was different. I wish our family story was a different one. This is not how I had imagined it at all as we were building our lives. But, this is where we are now. All I can do is keep focused on keeping the kids safe from him and from themselves. S is this incredibly strong and loving ray of light and the fact that he is dealing with this at all breaks my heart.

The cost of that visit was incredible.

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He does not want us to heal

It has now been almost two years since my children and I have lived with our narcissist, and for almost a year and a half before we left he was only home the occasional weekend. We now live two thousand miles away from him, my daughter and I have not seen him in almost two years, and my son for less than an hour one time since then. His physical presence is no longer felt in our lives, but the fear, the trauma, the dis-ease, that stays with us.

We all work hard on our healing. It has been my life’s focus since before we left. And yet for the last year my son – the wonderful sparkling ray of light that he is – has dealt with suicidal thoughts, my daughter cries because her father has no idea who she is, and I work at building myself back from the broken mess that he left me. We try and go no contact, my daughter does not speak to him at all and my son only every few months for a few minutes. I have to talk with him sometimes as we deal with the divorce or issues with the children. We have shared custody even though he has no relationship at all with the kids. That means I constantly have to talk to him to get permission to do even basic things for the kids. Of course, that all comes down to money and his unwillingness to part with any of it.

Last weekend my son spent a few days at his grandma’s (dad’s mom), and the dad (whom we will call TAB – short for The Angry Blob) called several times S (for son) ended up talking to him briefly one time and then either didn’t pick up the phone or left the room when his grandma answered for the multiple times TAB called after that. It puts him in a state of fear and anxiety having TAB call, TAB knows this and continues to make calls over and over whenever S is visiting at his grandma’s. S lives in terror that TAB will come here and harm us all – and based on how our lives were before we left that is a very real fear. The threats of harming us all were made many times.

So now my boy is home from what should have been an enjoyable few days with his grandma full of suicidal thoughts, anger towards his father, and fear of being hurt. We have been living in a safe environment for two years and still there is all this fear and trauma left in our lives.

We have an excellent tribe of people who support us, a great healing system, people who help out S and I when he is in this state. But who would have ever thought this would be my life? Or the lives my children would live? Thank God we are learning coping skills, we meditate (which is a life saver… literally), we spend time with family, we see therapists, we are building a new life.

He is determined to not let us heal. Fortunately for us, I am a very stubborn and strong willed  person and I am confident that we will heal – in fact we are healing and have a lot over the past little while. But is it ever a long process!

What I have found is that people don’t talk a lot about what family life is like with a narcissist, or what life is like after – when you are recovering from narcissistic abuse. I am going to talk about it. I think it’s important that we share these things so that other people who are also in trauma know they are not alone – so we know we are not alone.

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