Tag Archive | abuse

Freedom

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This has been one of the most empowering and enlightening insights in my healing journey.

When I was married, I felt continuous pressure to deny and hide true feelings and true thoughts. When I was bold enough to speak my truth, I was often told I was wrong and then corrected about what I really thought and felt. I remember once near the end of the marriage asking him, “how can you possibly know better than me what thoughts or feelings are inside me?” Without missing a beat he answered confidently, “because I know you better than you know yourself”.

The arrogance! I cringe now when I think about how I slowly allowed that to be my reality….to be manipulated into believing he knew better than I did about everything, including myself!

Life is so different for me now…and so much better! I have chosen to eliminate or set boundaries with manipulative or abusive people. I choose to have those closest to me be people who love me for who I am and who value my thoughts and feelings, even if we differ in our perspectives. It is so freeing and feels so good to honor myself in that way!

I am still on my healing journey, but I am well on my way!

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I Was Married to a Covert Narcissist

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Typing this title was very hard for me to do.  I still find it hard to acknowledge this truth.  But, it is the truth.  And, acknowledging this helps my healing process.  When I read about covert narcissism, it describes my ex-husband and my marriage so well that it cannot be denied.  This article describes my experience of my 20 year marriage very well:

http://infoselfdevelopment.com/covert-narcissism-know-your-emotional-abuser/

I am on the road to healing.  I hope I can help my kids to do the same.

The Way it Is

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I find that I continue to struggle with accepting my post- divorce reality in certain ways.

It has nothing to do with missing the marriage, or the ex.  I am so far past all of that, and have enjoyed the relief and freedom of being out of a marriage that was not healthy for me in many ways.

It has to do with the on-going reality my kids face, and the effects on them that they continue to struggle with.

It was one thing for me to hear my counselor say words like “abuse” and “emotional manipulation” and “narcissism” in response to my descriptions of my marriage.  It took me time to accept and grieve those truths, because I spent many years making the best of things and trying to keep the peace, believing that to be best for my kids.

But, when my now adult children have come to these conclusions on their own, through research and counselling, it is devastating to me.

I wish for a post-divorce reality in which my kids have healthy relationships with both parents. I imagine what it would be like for them to have nice visits with both of us, receive emotional as well as financial support from both of us, have two parents to turn to for advice and help with decision making.  That would like a dream to me.  My kids deserve that.

But, that is not what their reality is.

Instead, two of my kids have made heart wrenching decisions to not have contact with their father, due to on-going damage that contact was doing to their emotional well-being. They are in counseling to heal from memories of years of emotional abuse, witnessing many incidents of explosive anger outbursts, and at times, physical abuse.  My other adult child is feeling in the middle…. maintaining contact with her father, but struggling with knowing what her brothers are working through. She has her own memories to deal with, but wants everyone to be happy.  I encourage her to attend counseling as well, but she has not chosen to do that at this time.  As my kids have shared these memories with me, it has been devastating to me.  Many of their memories occurred at times when I was not present.  And, the times when I was, I tried to buffer and minimize the effects.

But, that was not enough.  I can’t change the fact that my kids went through what they went through. It is the reality.

How do you come to a place of acceptance about something like that? I still struggle with feeling that I failed them.  I see them continue to suffer.  I see them continue to hurt.  I see them take longer to work through life decisions and managing day to day tasks.  I am alone in helping them sort life out financially and find a way to establish a future.  I feel so helpless in not being able to help them with that. There is so little I can do for them financially.  But, I am doing everything I can for them emotionally.  I am doing my best to be present, to listen, to support… but, not enable.  The balance I try to find with this is a day by day struggle, and most of the time I am not sure if I am getting it right at all.  I can only do my best.

I have to believe that they will get through this.  I have to believe that the reality we all live with is not some kind of black cloud we will never be able to get out from under.  I have to believe that.

I do see them fighting their way through.  I do see determination.  I do see them loving and supporting each other.  I do see them being good to each other.  They do express appreciation and love to me as well.

I wish for a different reality for all of us.  But, this is the reality we have, and I need to find that acceptance.  I will get there.  It is the way it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More chapters to my story

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It’s taken me years to come to terms with the harsh reality of what my marriage actually was. I was so young, trusting, and naive when I met him. I thought I had faced the worst of it, though. I felt like I had gotten past those sneaky little thoughts of denial that kept wanting to creep in and convince me that it really wasn’t so bad and he really was the good man I wanted to believe he was.

But….then my kids continue to share things with me. As adults now, they have been free to make their own choices regarding their relationship with their dad. I have watched as first one son cut off contact with his dad. As he shared memories with me of his experiences with his dad, I was devastated and horrified and supported his decision.  I felt horrible about having missed so much and choosing to not see some of the rest. I apologized profusely to him and worked through my own guilt. Then, my oldest son, through attending counselling also came to a decision to cut off contact with his dad. Although his experiences and memories were not as severe as his brother’s, they were still horrible. Again, I supported my son’s decision and worked through my guilt. My daughter is still on her own journey regarding this. 

Tonight, one of my kids told me more. I’m so glad he felt brave and strong enough to talk to me, and trusts me enough to do so. But, I am devastated all over again.  How could I have missed so much? How did I not see? I wish I could have protected them! I  wish I had known and seen! I feel that I failed my precious kids.

Yet, I also remember considering leaving….several times over the years. I knew that would mean unsupervised visitation and I  knew enough to feel scared of that for my kids. I always felt I needed to be the buffer in their world.  I dedicated over 20 years of my life to being just that.

Oh how easily I could sink into despair.  I can’t.  I can’t change the past.  I made the choices I did believing them to be best with what I knew at the time. But, the guilt….oh the guilt is so hard!

I have to keep loving myself through this part of my story too….I choose to own every part of my story,  including new chapters. My kids have been through enough. They don’t need me to fall apart.  They need me to model how to own my story and love myself through it….no matter what.

I pray for the strength to do that for them.