Forgiveness, Uncategorized

A step towards forgiveness

I have realized as I’ve been kind of stuck lately on my healing journey that I need to figure out how to forgive TAB. Quite honestly, this is the last thing in the entire world I want to do. I think if I only had to forgive him for cheating on me over and over for years, for spending and hiding tens of thousands of dollars (probably closer to hundreds of thousands in all honesty), for hitting me, for hitting S, for the reign of terror and emotional abuse he subjected us all to, for the lies, the threats – if that was all there was to it, maybe that I could forgive.

It’s the other things I’m having a hard time forgiving. The unfairness of it all, how he broke the dream of the family and the life I wanted, the fact that my kind and amazing son talks about suicide on a regular basis because of trauma left over from this man, hearing my daughter talk about stuffing all her feelings down deep inside so she does not have to deal with them. The brutal unfairness, the fact that we are away from him and he continues to try and create uncertainty and chaos, the fact that I’m left alone to lead this family as we heal from crisis, the financial stress I’m left with.

The unfairness.

I have a hard time forgiving because it’s so unfair.

He’s got everything he ever wanted – great career, fun girlfriend, weekends away, the perfect executive life he wanted – the one that his family always got in the way of.

The fact that now I have to figure out some way to support myself and my kids when I gave up my career building years to look after the family so that he could build his. The fact that the career that I wanted was looking after my family and it will be taken away from me so that I can take some shit job to put food on our table.

I have a hard time forgiving because it’s so unfair.

Yet… it’s hurting me to not forgive. I am stuck at this place in my healing because I’m not forgiving. It’s hurting me not only emotionally but physically as well.

I have to figure out how to forgive him. I have to do that knowing that even if I forgive him for all the past hurts he will hurt me again today, tomorrow, and for as long as he is alive. And I have to figure out how to forgive him for that as well.

I have to do it so that we can continue to heal.

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Walking through fear

I have come to realize that I live in a great deal of fear. I don’t want to, and honestly it pisses me off that I do, as I believe I have had to be incredibly brave the last few years, but the fear is still there.

I am afraid I won’t be able to support the kids and myself financially. I am afraid I will spend the rest of my life alone. I am afraid I will meet someone and he will be as abusive as TAB,  I am afraid the kids and I will never recover from the abuse we lived through.

Usually I stuff all that fear down into the dark places of my soul and pretend it’s not  there. But it is and it affects my physical, emotional, and spiritual health. It affects the way I live my life, the relationships I have with people, and the ability I have to move ahead into a happier and more peaceful life.

So, the fear needs to be addressed.

I went to a transformational acupuncture appointment last week – I had been once before and it was pretty powerful stuff. We worked on acknowledging that fear, understanding why it is there, and on beginning to let it pass through. I have had reasons in my life to be afraid but I have also taken on the fears of those around me and made them my own. It’s a heavy and unnecessary burden that I drag along.

TAB thrives on making me be afraid, it’s his life force. And I have a difficult time not feeding into it because I am afraid of him. I spent years being afraid he would end our lives, I am afraid now of the devastating impact he has on my son, I am afraid he will cut us off again financially and I won’t be able to provide for my kids. I know it’s an awful lot of power to give someone, and I am learning to let that go – it’s 20 years of training I have to undo.

I have been able to open my heart connection to God again and that is where I will get my power from. It is what will let me be able to let the fear flow through me instead of becoming lodged inside my body. When I have a true and strong connection I trust that I am doing the right thing and that I have the support of the universe behind me. When I lose that connection I feel like I am left all alone trying to slay a vicious dragon all by myself.

So now when I feel that fear pass through – and it does several times a day – I breathe and realign myself with my Source. If I can keep that connection open and keep my faith strong I will be able to walk through my fear. And I have to because I have the lives of my two children who depend on me to walk them through theirs as well.

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Handing off the stress 

I spent the morning downtown meeting with my divorce lawyer. Among other things, TAB is refusing to pay to treatments that have already happened and have been agreed to in mediation. It’s ridiculous how much money has been burned in this divorce – but that is exactly what a scorched earth divorce is. The depths this man will go to to cause chaos and pain is incredible. 

What I have learned in this process is to pass off as much stress and anger as I possibly can. I have kids in crisis who are damaged and scared as a result of life with an abusive narcissist. That really needs to take up my time and focus, not worrying about the grenades he continues to launch. 

I have a great lawyer. She’s good at her job, and I click with her personally. I feel really fortunate about this. She gets who TAB is and understands the chaos and crazy he tries to create. I trust her, and I am able to hand off a lot of my worry and stress to her. It means I can take a deep breath and focus on what is important – my kids, my sanity. 

We spent a lot of time today developing a game plan to move ahead. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life fighting, but I also need to resolve some really big financial issues so that the kids and I are protected.  It’s a big price I paid giving up my career to raise the kids while he became a very successful business man. And yet, even being in this place where he has tried his hardest to leave us destitute and broken, I wouldn’t change my years at home with my kids for anything. 

I feel like he’s trying to break me. Even still, when I haven’t laid eyes on him in almost two years, he’s still trying to destroy me. It’s not just being dramatic. I spent the last years of our marriage hearing him tell me how he was going to either off me himself or drive me to a place where I lost the will to live. 

I’m stronger than he thinks I am. So are my kids. 

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Total destruction 

He spent years trying to destroy me emotionally and physically. When I finally got out, he tried to destroy me financially. Now he is trying to destroy the children. Not that they haven’t already suffered unbelievably – they too were almost destroyed emotionally, physically (the boy), and financially. 

They don’t need to continue to be destroyed. He takes the concept of a scorched earth divorce to a whole new level, and really does not care what damage is done as he burns his way through. 

I have emotional scars of the reminders of the abuse. The time I asked him why he hit me hard enough to bruise my leg (it was because I wouldn’t stop talking and he needed to shut me up). The times he forced sex on me even though I was clearly saying no. The times he told the children vicious lies about me to try and make them stop loving me (his words). The times he told our friends the same sorts of lies to make sure I knew no one cared about me (again, his words).  The nights I used to lie awake terrified that was going to be the night he made good on his threats and killed us all. The fact that he cut off the children and I completely from all finances and fought all the way through court that he should not be responsible financially. The fact that he has no relationship with the children and has no idea who they are. 

This is all a burden I carry. It pales in comparison to the fact that he had a conversation with my son a couple of weeks ago that left S so scared and destroyed he talks about wanting to take his own life. And now that TAB knows this, he is refusing to pay for the therapy that helps bring my child back into balance. He refuses to take any ownership for the fact that he caused this trauma. My beautiful child is at risk and he continues to try and destroy our safety. He won’t. We are brave and strong and love each other so deeply, that will pull us through just like it always has. 

This is the after effect of life with a narcissist. This is life after abuse. It’s unreal. But he will not destroy us. Love wins always. 

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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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