Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Run Baby Run...

"... You better keep your head little girl,
Or you won't know where I am...
...You better run for your life if you can, little girl..."
~~ The Beatles, "Run for Your Life"

Narcs DO NOT let go easily if they aren't the ones cutting the cord.

If you are going or have attempted to go NO CONTACT, you learn this lesson quickly. 

It is literally Baby Steps. Breaking the mental and emotional hold your abuser has over you can be one of the biggest battles you may ever fight. 

In the beginning, I was lucky if I made it a matter of hours w/NC. He made it VERY difficult to maintain, but I eventually did it despite his howls of protest and weepy messages vowing he'd changed. Then came the threats and stalking. Yes, stalking. 

From "chance" meetings, NUMEROUS phone calls, voicemails, text messages AND emails to his literally standing outside my window at night, he made it clear he wasn't going to go willingly or quietly. It got fucking CREEPY the way he could seemingly materialize out of nowhere... Or would call and let me know he'd been watching me.

Yeah, ballsy.

Keep in mind, he'd already "acquired" new supply who he was grooming but, until that supply was securely in his possession, he kept one foot in my world. 

What I experienced often goes hand-in-hand with leaving an abusive relationship. I wasn't the first. And I certainly won't be the last. 

According to Colorado State University's Women and Gender Advocacy Center, a 2011 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey revealed: 

~~ Repeatedly receiving unwanted telephone calls, voicemails, or text messages was the most commonly experienced stalking tactic... 78.8 percent for women/75.9 percent for men.

~~ There is a strong correlation b/t stalking and other forms of intimate partner violence... 81 percent of women were physically assaulted; 31 percent of women were also sexually assaulted.

~~ More than 60 percent of women were stalked by a current or former intimate partner.

~~ 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men in the U.S. have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime.

It is sad to say, but you learn to adapt. You adopt a New Normal. A 'normal' of hypervigilance ushered in by the abandonment of any routines you previously embraced. 

When I was finally able to get back out in the World without being too paralyzed by panic attacks, I kept myself surrounded at all times. During the first several months, I don't think I went anywhere that I wasn't in the company of either a friend or a group of friends and acquaintances. There IS safety in numbers.

As I mentioned in my previous post, dealing with a narc is one thing. Dealing with a narc who is also an addict is a whole 'nother situation. The person who was fairly predictable previously presents new challenges when the substances they're using make them feel invincible. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, is possible.

He would SWEAR I was delusional. I was making a big deal of nothing. He simply wanted to talk.

He'd always ask why I was lying about him to others. He wasn't Abusive. I was just clumsy and confused. Swore he'd never put his hands on a woman. 

In the interim, he'd told Everyone else I was the one stalking HIM. It's a shame they didn't know about the 50+ phone calls and hundreds of text messages he would send in a matter of a few short HOURS.

Everything from, "I'm so sorry.... I know I fucked up. Please, I just want to talk," to "Answer the phone, Bitch..."

There was absolutely NOTHING he could have said that he hadn't said before. It was all bullshit and I had no issue with calling it such. I was exhausted. I was drained. I was done.

But, despite my silence, I felt like I was dying inside. 

Part of me still desperately clung to the hope that maybe... just maybe... This Time he was sincere. 


I began experiencing symptoms of what I would later learn is PTSD and anxiety disorder.

Hypervigilance gave way to heightened startle response, night terrors, nightmares, and a reel of his voice that repeatedly played in the back of my mind reminding me of all my flaws, faults, and the enormous guilt he had projected upon me.

To this day, when I'm in public I sit facing the door and MUST know where all the exits are -- just in case. Loud, unexpected noises still rock me to my core. I still experience nightmares and flashbacks, but they aren't as frequent.

Unfortunately, I've a whole slew of PTSD triggers that are ever-present, but I've learned to cope and keep myself as grounded as I can when they happen.

It is difficult to explain these issues to others. I know what I experience is misunderstood and hard for others to fathom.

"I don't understand. You're a take-no-shit type of lady," they say. "You are so strong."

Yeah, Today. 

Domestic abuse CHANGES YOU. You don't have to be physically abused to find yourself drowning. The emotional scars I carried (and still do to this day) from before he even laid hands on me were enough to make me want to crawl in a hole and die.  

You finally work up the courage to leave. You build this tremendous support system around you to help guide and protect you during what is statistically the most dangerous time for a victim, and yet you still feel alone. You feel like you have somehow betrayed your abuser by simply wanting to Survive. 

Then, stalking gets thrown in the mix.

Understand, you CANNOT control what others do. All you can control is how YOU react.

Remember, the narc and his/her FMs want to get a response from you. DON'T give it to them.  

There aren't enough words I could use to describe how important going and staying NC is. Yeah, the abuser is likely to come unhinged. Yeah, the abuser is likely to lash out in ways you didn't think were possible. But you know what? You are in a better place.

Unlike the world, you have seen the Beast unleashed. You KNOW what you are dealing with, for the most part. 

The more Unresponsive you stay, the better off you are. Keeping silent despite whatever the abuser throws at you demonstrates strength while, at the same time, allows others to see what you have known for far too long. If you give them enough room, they will do a Fine Job showing the unsuspecting world who they really are... Seriously. 

If you are being harassed and/or stalked it is essential that you DOCUMENT EVERYTHING.

Keep track of ALL incidents. Know the time, place, who was present, what took place and make a police report. Over time, those reports add up. And with maintaining NC on your part, the narc has no ammunition to fuel his/her "victimization."

I am no longer the scared little girl I once was.

I lifted the duvet and saw there was no boogeyman under my bed.

I'd met him. I'd loved him. And he had hurt me beyond words. So, yeah, this little girl ran. And ran some more 'til she realized he was not a boogeyman...

He was simply a man... With a BAD problem.

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Bitch is Back...

"Ever wonder 'bout what he's doing, 
How it's all turned to lies,
Sometimes I think that it's better,
To never ask why..."
~~ Pink, "Try"


Addiction is a Bitch. 

Dealing with an abusive partner is one thing. Dealing with an abusive partner who is an addict is a whole 'nother Monster. The boogeyman's got NOTHING on a narc addict. 

There was a CLEAR line of demarcation in my relationship. Before the drugs. After the drugs.

Prior to the drugs, yeah, he was abusive. BUT the difference was, his patterns of behavior were Predictable. After the drugs, well... it was a whirlwind of mood swings and abuse on a whole new level.

Anytime you throw drugs in the mix of an already volatile situation things become MUCH MORE complex and dangerous.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), substance abuse is a "suggested cause" of intimate partner violence. There is no substantiated correlation b/t domestic violence and substance abuse, but a "significant" number of abusers "misuse alcohol and drugs."

In an American Society of Addiction Medicine report published in October 2014:

** Substance abuse has been "found to co-occur in 40 to 60 percent of intimate partner violence [IPV] incidents across various studies."
** More than 20 percent of male perpetrators of IPV "report using alcohol and/or illicit drugs prior to the most recent and severe acts of violence."
** Evidence suggests that "substance abuse/use plays a facilitative role in IPV by precipitating or exacerbating violence."

In my situation, what added insult to injury was his CONSTANT denial that anything was amiss. It was all ME. I was too sensitive. I wasn't trusting enough. HOW DARE I question the mysterious appearance of what were clearly track marks splattered over his arms and legs. HOW DARE I question the unmarked pill bottles strewn around. The roaches in the ashtray. The loaded handgun that suddenly took up residence on the bottom shelf of the coffee table.

He would fly off the deep end if I questioned ANYTHING. He made it clear he believed it was none of my business.

Sure, that would have been easy enough if I didn't have to deal with the repercussions of his highs and inevitable crashes. But the fact of the matter is, it WAS my business b/c I was on the receiving end. But he used my concern and questions as further fuel for his tirades and attacks.

Admittedly, I lived under a rock most of my adolescent and young adult years -- hell, even into my 20s. I'd never been truly exposed to drugs, or that subculture, but I'd read enough and seen enough while away at college I KNEW something wasn't right.

And then there was the hideous game of cat and mouse I'd have to play when even "attempting" to maintain a semblance of any kind of relationship due to the New Friends who came out of the wood work like goddamned cockroaches.

Sadly, what I endured is much more common than I realized.

According to a Psychology Today, more than half of individuals with NPD have a substance abuse disorder. 

Narcs and substance abuse is a dangerous, yet perfect, example of how one's inflated self-esteem and sense of power can get his/her ass in a sling QUICK. 

Unlike other addicts, the narc believes he/she has it all under control -- yeah, yeah, I know, EVERY addict thinks he/she can quit whenever he/she wants -- but this false sense of control is MORE prominent in the narc. After all, he/she controls everything and everyone else, so why not the drug, too? It is simply the way the narc's mind works. I know, I witnessed it firsthand.

Now, not only was I desperately trying to change a situation that was unchangeable, I was watching the person I loved kill himself and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. I was fighting two battles. 

Sadly, I was on the wrong side. 

I watched as he systematically shut down EVERY opportunity myself, family and his TRUE friends offered to help. He had it ALL under control. And we were all delusional, he wasn't using drugs -- he just wasn't "getting enough sleep." 

The degree of malice with which he would attack me grew tenfold. His paranoia bordered on insanity and his projecting and accusations became more outlandish than ever. 

Everything came to a screeching halt in a matter of hours one afternoon. Still bearing the bruises from not two days before, I offered one last attempt to reason with him. I never should have tried. 

The conversation -- or as narcs view it, the confrontation -- disintegrated into an argument. I waved the white flag to get him to calm down. Admitted fault for even trying to talk to him. Then he immediately demanded sex -- as a way of "making up." 

Watching Hyde turn into Jekyll before my eyes was disgusting enough -- now he was upping the ante by demanding another piece of me that I wasn't willing to give. Suffice to say things escalated yet again. 

As he throttled me, his eyes were void of any trace of the man I once knew. There was NOTHING there. It was at that moment I knew I had to get out. 

During my first visit with my advocate at the DV shelter, I had to take an assessment -- used to gauge the degree of abuse present in the relationship -- and it wasn't until that moment that I realized exactly how dangerous my situation had become. 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states "non-fatal strangulation of women" by an intimate partner "is an important risk factor for homicide of women." Numerous studies have been conducted about IPV, especially the role of manual strangulation (a.k.a. throttling). According to one study

"Strangulation occurs late in the abusive relationship; thus, women presenting with complaints consistent with strangulation probably represent women at a higher risk for morbidity or mortality." 

Now, the question becomes, would he have done it had he NOT had drugs in his system? Maybe. Maybe not. I wouldn't want to venture a guess. 

What I am certain of is, it happened. And he KNEW what he'd done. 

But, in his mind, IT DID NOT MATTER. 

I "asked for it." It was MY FAULT. If I had only stayed on the straight and narrow and not "run my mouth" and did "my job" he wouldn't have had to do it. So, long as I didn't "provoke" him again, everything would be fine.

When you are in the midst of the storm it is VERY difficult to see the fallacy in such an argument. You are so broken down that you believe it. But I am here to tell you NO ONE deserves to be abused. As I've stated before, I don't care if you burnt his supper, shrunk his favorite t-shirt by accident or even if you DID do it on purpose, that DOES NOT give someone the right to abuse another. NO EXCUSES. 

Adding substance abuse into the equation makes it a bit trickier when trying to cope and survive domestic abuse and IPV. 

ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE, can tell you when to leave. That falls to you. Only YOU know when you are ready to take the leap into the waters and start swimming to the other shore. "But what if I don't know how to swim?" you may ask. Believe me, YOU CAN SWIM. And YOU WILL.

As terrifying and difficult as it is, you MUST take that proverbial step back to view your situation as objectively as possible. Has he/she promised to change? Of course. Has he/she? No. Do you hold out hope one day he/she will? Of course. What's the probability it will happen? Zilch. 

It is essential that you educate yourself about the cycle of domestic violence, NPD, and if alcohol and/or drugs are part of the equation, it won't hurt to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of addiction, too. 

Utilize as many resources as you possibly can. And if you are in a situation where you do not feel safe possessing these materials or perusing the Internet -- due to the watchful eye of your abuser -- employ the help of family and/or friends. 

Once you are able to identify the patterns you start to take back the Power. 

In "No Mud, No Lotus" Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh writes,

"If we can recognize suffering, and if we embrace it and look deeply into its roots, then we'll be able to let go of the habits that feed it and, at the same time, find a way to happiness. Suffering has its beneficial aspects. It can be an excellent teacher."

Indeed it can. And it is. And it can be as merciless as a ruler-wielding Catholic nun. 

Now, Hanh wasn't explicitly addressing domestic abuse, but I feel the passage is VERY fitting. 

As soon as I was able to see the roots of suffering in my relationship, it empowered me to see it for what it was. I had to swallow the bitter pill that it was a cycle of violence buoyed on illusion. 

There was NOTHING stable about it what-so-EVER and it would NEVER change. Accepting that fucking HURT. But it was also Liberating. 

I said it before and I'll say it again. Addiction is a BITCH. Watching someone you love battle their demons is torture. Losing them to their addiction, as I and my family lost Brian, is devastating and beyond heartbreaking.

But when the addict is your abuser, it makes the situation more perverse. You are now going to battle on TWO fronts. Continuing to try to save him/her from his/her addiction with the hope you will make a difference in the relationship and fix his/her underlying needs/issues is Suicide. 

There comes a point where you must view yourself with compassion. It is up to you to garner the strength to know you can make it on your own and that you do not deserve to be abused. 

You lived before your abuser, and you will THRIVE after he/she is long gone. 

We must not allow our circumstances and impermanent situations to force our hand and make decisions that can be detrimental in the long-term. Understand, there must be suffering in order for there to be happiness. The trick is what you do with both. The key is to find and maintain that delicate balance. And I have all the confidence in the world that you will regain your equilibrium. 

It's kind of like getting off one of those stomach-churning roller coasters. You feel like you're gonna puke -- and you may, I know I did -- but once you are off the ride and feel the solid ground under your feet there's nothing that can compare. 

Odds are, you will look back and think, "What a helluva ride... Not gonna do THAT again."

And you will confidently place one foot in front of the other and walk away... Like a Boss.

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3

Friday, March 25, 2016

Mirror Mirror...

"Nobody can hurt me without my permission."
~~ Mahatma Gandhi

It is time to look in the mirror.

During a conversation with a dear friend today, he made me realize something.

In my posts up to this point, I've tried to lay out the groundwork for recognizing and dealing with aspects of narcissistic abuse. However, I think we should take a step back momentarily and look at the inner workings of how DV relationships come to fruition.

Yes, as a rule, there are two sides to a DV relationship. There is the abuser and the abused, or victim, if you will.

However, as important as it is to become familiar with moving parts of the relationship, it is also essential to look more closely at the dynamics of the individuals involved in the relationship.

Technically speaking, there is NO KNOWN cause for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). But there are many theories out there about its origins. Depending on to which camp you belong, your opinion of NPD may differ. But at the root of all discussions are two common threads:

Genetics or psychobiology -- Essentially there is some kind of issue with one's hardwiring -- meaning, things don't match up between an individual's brain, way of thinking, and behavior. 

Upbringing/Childhood Relationships -- Somewhere along the way there were major hiccups in the individual's relationship with his/her parents/caregivers leading to excessive criticism, praise or utter dismissal of the individual by those adults. 

So essentially, we fall back to the Nature vs. Nurture argument. And that is an argument that could go on for eons with seemingly no resolution b/c everyone has their own opinions about what it is that shapes us. For the sake of argument, let's just say that either one or both of the above factors may play a role in the development of a narcissistic personality.

Now that that's out of the way, let's look at the victims of narcissistic abuse/domestic violence. There are essentially two types of personalities who gravitate (knowingly or not) to those with NPD:

Fixers: There are some individuals who experience what can only be described as a compulsion-like mentality to fix others. Oftentimes, those with a fixer mentality also exhibit elements of co-dependency. It doesn't matter if the relationship is toxic or not, the fixer is determined to make things work. As painful as it is to admit it, they take on a relationship with a person who they learn is NOT healthy for them, but they choose to become involved anyhow. There could be a plethora of reasons for doing so that stem from childhood trauma to low self-esteem (which may be rooted in said trauma). Whatever the case, the fixer often feels broken him-/herself and doesn't believe he/she is deserving of better. 

Empaths/Highly Sensitive Personality: Individuals who are highly sensitive are very attractive to narcs. For these types of personalities, they do not realize they're in a toxic relationship until it's too late. Unfamiliar with the red flags of DV, they are oftentimes bewildered at how they came to be in their present situation and are unsure of how to get out. Empaths are very in tune with the needs of others, feel emotions far more intensely than others, and are -- unfortunately -- great fodder for the narc. 

Personally, I'm an empath. After experiencing DV and NPD firsthand, I know to run like hell if I see even a hint of red -- or, hell, even dark pink, magenta, any semblance of red -- waving in front of me. And I think that is the difference b/t the two personality types. 

Fixers often don't care if there is a sea of red flags waving before them. By god, they WILL fix the person come hell or high water. There was once a part of me that leaned toward being a fixer -- until it nearly killed me. 

There comes a point in a relationship when you have to take a step back and really look at what is going on. Take off the rose-tinted glasses and see the relationship for what it truly is. 

As you get older you realize YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANYONE. If it is in their hardwiring to be a prick, they're going to be a prick. If it's in their hardwiring to be an abuser, they're going to be an abuser. Period. 

Once you come to accept that, then you need to look in the mirror. Take a good look and ask yourself some hard questions. 

"What brought me here?" "What am I doing to perpetuate this cycle?" "Why do I stay?"

And before you even say it, NO YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE ABUSED. I don't care if you DID buy him the wrong beer, burn his supper, or accidentally bleach his favorite shirt while doing laundry. NO ONE DESERVES TO BE ABUSED. PERIOD. 

Looking in the mirror while you're in the midst of the storm can be painful. I know I felt drained, defeated, hopeless, frazzled and even ashamed of my reflection.

But, as I found, an epiphany WILL COME.

This life is a Gift. You ARE a beautiful human being who is deserving of LOYALTY, LOVE AND RESPECT. And, with time, you will see it, too. And you will stand stronger, more confident and proud of who you have become. A survivor. 

Before you begin the trek to the opposite shore, you WILL reach a point where you have to start holding yourself accountable and seriously consider what you can/should do to change your situation. 

It took me a long while to get there, but I finally reached a point where I'd had enough. I was drowning. And he certainly wasn't offering a hand to save me. He was too busy tying boulders to my ankles to hasten the process. 

As I have quoted before, the Buddha said it is up to US to walk our own path... no one may do it for us. The same goes with the choices you make. 

Sure, you were duped by the narc. You fell for an ILLUSION. The important thing is NOW YOU KNOW. 

"But I love him," you say.

OK, I understand that. I DO. I said the SAME THING. Even after I had left and was struggling to lift myself from the quicksands of a VERY toxic and violent situation. 

But do you really love him/her? Or do you love the idea of him/her? Are you in love with the illusion you have of him/her? Odds are, I would venture to say, you are in love with the illusion you have of him or her. 

It is very difficult to look your abuser in the eye after they have forced you to have sex, struck you, kept you confined or threatened to do you bodily harm and say, "I love you," and FEEL IT. 

My abuser would always "lament" the "good old days" before the violence, before the abuse saying he missed the times we used to cuddle, when we would hold hands, when we would laugh. 

Well, ALL that took place in the idealization phase of the relationship, BEFORE the mask came off. Before I saw the Beast inside. I would say, "It's REALLY difficult to want to cuddle with someone who just forced you to have sex... It is REALLY difficult to want to cuddle with someone who makes you feel like shit ALL THE TIME... It is REALLY difficult to want to cuddle with someone who does nothing but tear you down." 

And for whatever reason, that didn't compute with him. 

While I was trying so desperately to change him, he was busy raising the bar. His expectations of who I should be FOR HIM and FOR US reached unattainable heights. In the end, I realized NOTHING I would do would ever be enough. He would still lie, he would still cheat. NOTHING would change. Period.

No matter how deeply or intensely you love him/her it DOES NOT and WILL NOT be enough for him/her to change who they REALLY ARE. And therein lies the conundrum. 

To further complicate the issue -- Enter, Fear. I KNOW b/c I was once there myself. I understand the fear victims have of their abuser. I understand the hesitancy to even entertain the idea of leaving. It is utterly TERRIFYING to the point it can be nearly paralyzing. I get it. 

But if the relationship has deteriorated to the point that you no longer recognize yourself in the mirror, it is detrimental to your overall health, and you ARE in danger and it's time to seek help from the outside. 

There are people willing to help. I promise. And I would almost guarantee, your friends and family who have been on the outside looking in have only been waiting for the opportunity to lend a hand. All you need to do is ask. And there are also other organizations and resources available to help you reclaim your life away from your abuser -- and to help you do so in a safe manner. 

"We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize."
~~ Thich Nhat Hanh

What I want you to please take away from this, at this point in time, is that it IS possible to avoid these types of relationships. Now, if you are a fixer -- and you know who you are -- I don't know that I can be of much help. But if you are an empath, like myself, the goal is to familiarize yourself with the red flags of DV and narc abuse. Know them inside and out. Then, should you cross paths with an individual who fits the bill of a narc, you know to run like hell in the opposite direction before they even have a chance to hook and reel you in. 

Understand, no amount of hollow apologies, false promises or honeymoon phases will EVER change a narc. The responsibility falls on your shoulders to educate yourself and take whatever steps necessary to not put yourself in the same situation again. I will say it once more YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANOTHER PERSON. PERIOD. 

So take the energy you would exert in the futile effort of trying to change a tiger's stripes and reinvest that energy into YOURSELF. Rebuild yourself from the inside out. Happiness and contentment are already inside you --- truly. You will NEVER find genuine happiness in another person and certainly not in trying to "fix" a volatile relationship. 

You are worth WAY MORE and deserve so much better. Just find your footing. Then it's a matter of placing one foot in front of the other. You WILL stumble. I did. A LOT. Hell, I STILL stumble. But with support, you WILL find your way... It takes time. It won't be easy. But it WILL be worth it. I promise.

"There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth;
Not going all the way and not starting."
~~ Gautama Buddha

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Gray Rock...

"You, with your switching sides,
And your wildfire lies and your humiliation,
You have pointed out my flaws again,
As if I don't already see them,
I walk with my head down,
Trying to block you out 'cause I'll never impress you
I just wanna feel okay again..."
~~ Taylor Swift, "Mean"


There must ALWAYS be drama, otherwise, narcs get bored VERY easily.

The abuser THRIVES on your reactions to his/her abuse. 

ANY trait you possess that the abuser is envious of he/she WILL use it against you. If you show strength, he/she will do EVERYTHING he/she can to break it. If you show determination, he/she will make you feel hopeless. If you have strong relationships with family and friends, he/she will break them. And if you show any shred of independence, he/she will take that from you, too. 

Once I was thrown into the abyss of the Devaluing stage of the relationship, I was struggling EVERY DAY to not let him see me cry. If I did, I was incessantly taunted and put down about my "fake-ass tears" and reminded about how I was "too sensitive." "thin-skinned," and "weak."

If I was REALLY unlucky that day, the Beast would come out and I'd find myself on the receiving end of one of his angry tirades that could go on for HOURS. My phone would blow up with calls -- him picking up where he'd left off, yelling and cursing at me -- and texts. And god forbid I hang up on him. Then it WAS game on.

"How dare you! Don't you fucking hang up on me again, bitch!" he'd scream. "Hang up again and I'll just keep calling until you let me say what I've to say."

Well, "letting him say what he had to say" was like putting a foul-mouthed Teddy Ruxpin on repeat for HOURS. Nothing new... Just the same story OVER and OVER and OVER. Repeated put downs, name calling, insults and threats.

If he EXPECTED an apology and I didn't deliver it in the right tone of voice using the right words AND sound "sincere," the hateful barrage of abuse would begin all over again.

He wasn't too good to go off mid-day when he KNEW I was in the midst of doing phone interviews or calling sources. And if he would call during that time and someone would beep in, he would refuse to hang up and if I hung up on him, he would immediately call back.

"I don't give a fuck who it is! Make 'em wait. You ALWAYS put other people above me," he'd scream.

And I know what you're thinking, "Why didn't you just turn off your ringer or shut the phone off?"

Yeah, I tried that... A couple of times. But it wasn't an option.

One, I couldn't do it during business hours and, secondly, doing so would only force face-to-face contact. And I CERTAINLY didn't want that -- I was already mentally exhausted and crying. Besides, during face-to-face encounters his tirades were 10x worse with the finger wagging and his LITERALLY getting in my face to spew his hateful, abusive speech.

I eventually learned to gauge his demeanor and attitude and if I felt an outburst was coming I would do my best to ward it off until I was off work.

In time, I learned these outbursts of his were a genuine Tell. 

From then on, I would ALWAYS know when my abuser was scoping for or courting new supply. He would become VERY distant while still keeping one foot in the relationship. He would get insanely jealous and have fits of anger the likes of which I'd never seen before. 

It got to the point where if I even so much as smiled in front of strangers, and god forbid another man, he would come UNHINGED. 

"Why don't you ever smile like that when you're around ME?!?" or "Oh, you can smile for him... What's up with that? Are you screwing him?"


So, I would cower down. "No, of course not! Why would you say such a thing?"

"Well, I don't know what you DO when I'm not with you."

In the beginning, it never dawned on me that these accusations he was hurling at me were merely projections of his own wrongdoing. I'm sure somewhere in his mind, he figured if he was up to no good then I was, too. Guess it made him feel better to cast me in the same dark shadow as his own.

And, to a degree, he did succeed. He dimmed my inner Light.

Narcs go to EXTREME lengths to cover their tracks to perpetuate their twisted game.

At one point, I found out he had my name changed in his contacts to "UNKNOWN" -- that way if I called or text when he was with one of his other women, he could justifiably say, "I don't know who it is," and wouldn't answer. No harm, no foul. None the wiser, eh? 'Til he tripped up and just happened to let me see it one day. When I questioned him on it he said, "Oh, I don't know how that happened. I think my phone did it." I called BULLSHIT.

"You know you really should trust me," he said. "I've given you no reason not to."


Then true to narc form he deflected, veered off topic and threw up to me the hundreds of contacts I had in my phone. Well, being a journalist you DO acquire a LOT of contacts. And, I'm sorry, but NONE of my contacts were listed as "UNKNOWN." And I'm not ashamed to answer my phone in front of anyone.

I had to do something and going NO CONTACT wasn't an option at the time b/c I was still too traumatized and scared of what he might do if I left.

Things had begun to turn physically violent. And before it was over I was sexually and physically assaulted.

So I became like a rock.

I began to distance myself and adopted what's called the Gray Rock approach for dealing with narc abuse.

Think about it, when you look at a rock bed strewn with similar colored rocks, nothing stands out... All you see is a blanket of gray and neutral tones... You want to be like those rocks... Not standing out... Nothing shiny or distinguishable to make you noticeable to your abuser. You want to blend in.

The intended Goal is to become so boring that the abuser moves on to find new supply -- permanently. Face it, if they aren't getting a reaction out of you and you're no longer fun, what's the point in staying? Or returning?

Here are some examples of utilizing the Gray Rock method:

** Keep it BORING. Talk about doing chores or something as equally uninteresting.
** DO NOT talk about anything you have coming up, like meeting with friends, a movie you want to see, a vacation, or concert, etc...
** If the abuser resorts to pushing your buttons -- as hard as it is -- DO NOT REACT.
** SHOULDER THE BLAME. Make the abuser think you genuinely believe it IS you and NOT them.
** DO NOT say anything the abuser could use as an excuse to become jealous or angry.
** Figuratively, KEEP THE BLINDS CLOSED. Do NOT discuss anything about your personal life with the abuser. The less he/she knows about you the better off you will be and the less powerful he/she will feel.

I employed this tactic for several months. My abuser took it as ammunition to then twist to make me sound like the most cold-hearted bitch to ever walk the face of the earth. According to him, I no longer gave a damn about him. To a degree he was right.

Truth is, I DID care about him. I DID love him. But the difference now was I KNEW he didn't give a damn about me. I was just a toy. Something to amuse him. Something to feed his ego. A pawn. And that was NOT healthy for me.

In time, he DID go on to find new supply. Now that doesn't mean he didn't STILL try to return every now and again to test the waters to see if I was still that "cold-hearted bitch" or if I'd forgiven him and would offer yet another shot to revive a relationship that had been D.O.A. for MONTHS.

He would attempt the tired "I'm sorry, I know I hurt you... It won't happen again, I PROMISE," routine. Suffice to say, as much as I wanted to believe him, I knew it was lies.

It takes time to finally work up the strength and courage to leave an abusive relationship. But TRUST ME it IS worth it in the end. The abuser is NOT going to change. The Toxicity of the relationship will not suddenly become Pure. There was no purity to begin with.

If going NO CONTACT is not an option for you, then be a Rock. With time, NO CONTACT may become an option, but there are situations where it is simply not possible, like if you have children with the abuser. The best you can do is to get as much control as you possibly can over yourself and your reactions to the narc's behaviors. The less reaction you offer, the better.

It is OK to still feel. BUT you CANNOT continue to hold out hope that he/she will change... By doing so, you are only hurting yourself. And you have been hurt ENOUGH! You can love someone and NOT be IN love with them... And when dealing with a narc, the more distance you put between you the BETTER. Look back at him/her from that distant shore -- where you are SAFE -- with compassion and love.

Second to YOURSELF... Narcs, abusers and their ilk are in need of compassion the most.

"Silence the angry man with love.
Silence the ill-natured man with kindness.
Silence the miser with generosity.
Silence the liar with truth."
~~ Gautama Buddha

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Smear Campaign...

"A man can tell a thousand lies,
I've learned my lesson well,
Hope I live to tell,
The secret I have learned, 'till then,
It will burn inside of me..." 
~~ Madonna, "Live to Tell"

Long before the discard phase of your relationship even begins, the narc has already begun laying the foundation for his/her sinister Smear Campaign.

The Goal: Character Assassination designed to make YOU look as unstable, unreliable and downright Crazy as possible. Period.

The Smear Campaign is intended to DESTROY your reputation, relationships, career, etc... Essentially, to destroy your LIFE. 

My abuser began his Smear Campaign LONG BEFORE I even realized what was going on. 

Here's how it works: The abuser weaves an intricate web of lies and stories catered to his/her goal of making him/her look like the victim of your Crazy Making. As the relationship enters the Discard phase, the stories and lies become more outlandish and intense. The abuser may even literally go through the motions of making it appear you are the dangerous one.

For instance, my abuser had family and friends convinced I was the unstable one. I was the stalker. 

He would call/text me as though all was hunky-dory. I was led to believe we were "working on things," meanwhile, he was telling others he had left me and couldn't figure out why I was still coming around. He was "scared" because I kept calling and he didn't know what I "was capable of." 

I often wondered why it was when friends or family would be around I'd always get sideways looks and questioning stares. But NO ONE would say a word. I KNEW something wasn't right. 

In the end, when I finally worked up the courage to leave, the Truth about what he'd been saying and doing came out. Then, right on cue, came the Flying Monkeys. 

In narc terms, Flying Monkeys are those individuals who believe the abuser's lies and stories -- they are Enablers. In an effort to aid the abuser, they will do his/her bidding. They bully the victim and go to great lengths to please the narc. These bullies are generally personalities who are Passive-Aggressive and seek similar approval and praise as the abuser -- only to a lesser degree. 

The FMs believe you must be taught a lesson. You must PAY for the hurt you caused the abuser. So they may spy on you. They may contact you directly. They may spread rumors about you. 

They will go to WHATEVER lengths necessary to create chaos and disorder.

The FMs' Goal: Provoke a response from YOU. 

Whatever response you offer is then twisted to fit the warped picture the narc has painted -- "See? She IS crazy!," "I told you she would say that!," "Now you know what I'VE been putting up with!" 

Blah blah blah.

My abuser had an entire harem of FMs. 

Once the Smear Campaign is in full swing, the narc keeps him-/herself surrounded by their FMs. It serves a dual purpose, he/she not only is making your life a living hell, but they've got the fan club to back it up making him/her feel all the more justified in his/her actions. The FMs stand in awe of the stories and lies and cannot believe the "injustice" you have thrust upon the abuser. ** Poor things, if they only knew the TRUE injustice. ** 

"There are TWO sides to every story," abusers and FMs say. Indeed. There are.

Smear Campaigns can be EXTREMELY damaging for the target/victim. Even if you DON'T respond (which I HIGHLY recommend), it can take a while for third parties to realize they've been duped into believing the narc. 

But, give it time, they WILL see the TRUTH. I promise. 

As soon as the FMs don't play according to the narc's rules or begin to question him/her, they too become discarded and potential targets of the abuser's wrath. 

With time, as you move forward and IGNORE the FMs' and narc's attempts to provoke a response, your growth and healing will show those who once believed the abuser's tales the REAL TRUTH. 

I know it is VERY difficult, but, please believe me when I say, Silence is your best defense against such malicious, callous attacks by your abuser. 

If you leave them be they will do a FINE JOB self-destructing on their own. Eventually, their lies will catch up with them -- EVERYTHING THAT IS HELD TOGETHER WITH LIES FALLS APART IN THE END.

When you remain silent, don't feed the negativity, and just breathe a sense of CALM washes over you. 

"When a man  knows the solitude of silence, 
and feels the joy of quietness, 
he is then free from fear and he feels the joy of the dharma." 
~~ Gautama Buddha 

This is the point where, as I've said before, only when you are safely on the opposite shore is it OK to look back with compassion. 

It has taken a long time for me to get where I am. But with each passing day and each step I take forward I leave him and his toxicity that much further behind me. And those who knew me then compared to now cannot believe how far I've come. Hell, I can't believe it sometimes.

You will be AMAZED at how much easier it is to breathe when you aren't living under the weight of narcissistic expectations and abuse. 

It takes a TREMENDOUS amount of strength to keep moving forward. I fight every day to continue putting one foot in front of the other. 

There are days when my PTSD and anxiety are almost suffocating even though the storm has long passed. 

But, as survivors, moving forward is what we do. We SURVIVE.

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3

Monday, March 21, 2016

Hoovering 101...

"Oh, he wants me,
But only part of the time.
He wants me,
If he can keep me in line..."
~~ Til Tuesday, "Voices Carry"

Ever feel like the narc is doing his damnedest to suck you back into the relationship? Yeah, there's a term for that. It's called Hoovering. And, yes, its namesake is taken from the vacuum cleaner.

You have been idealized, devalued and discarded -- or you have made the brave choice to leave. Then, you are suddenly Lovebombed and overwhelmed with attention from the narc. It is a way for him/her to test the waters and see if you are still potential supply.

He/she knows how to push your buttons, and even better they know how to suck you back in. They know what you want to hear. They know what won you over in the past and, odds are, it will work again... and again... and again.

My abuser ALWAYS prefaced his returns with the infamous Promise to Change routine. Sometimes the "change" would last for months, but towards the end I was lucky if the change lasted a matter of HOURS or even MINUTES.

Narcs, and other socio-/psychopathic personalities, are masters at manipulating situations and people to achieve their goal/agenda.

Keep in mind, Hoovering can quickly turn from "lovey-dovey" to downright threatening. In this digital age, most Hoovering is done via text messaging and social media -- narcs find it a viable means of communication b/c it is done from a "distance" and as soon as the supply is "hooked" the narc reels him/her in. 

That being said, here are a few techniques commonly employed by narcs to Hoover their victims:

** Hey Stranger: The narc uses this guise to reach out to you as if everything is hunky dory -- nothing happened. He/she may say, "How's it going?", "I've been thinking about you."

** Concern: He/she may play on your need for them to be "concerned" about you. Messages may include, "You mean the world to me, I just want to make sure you're doing alright," "I hope you aren't still mad at me, I'm sorry," "I'm worried about you."

** Guilt/Pity: Playing on your longing for things to be 'normal' again, the narc may say things like, "I know how I messed up, please give us another chance," "I won't make the same mistake(s) again, I've learned my lesson," "Please take me back, I've changed. I promise you."

** Affection/Sexual Undertones: Knowing there was really no genuine affection to start with, he/she may play on that by saying, "I miss waking up with you," "I wish we could snuggle like we used to," "You know we are soul mates, please come back. I'd be so affectionate, you will see I've changed," "No one else makes me feel like you do, I miss that. Please come back."

** Flip-Flop: The narc may reverse his/her Hoovering by saying, "Hey... Did you just text me?," "I think I missed a call from you, what'd you need?" And you know damn well you never text or called him/her. They may go so far as to suggest they just saw you out somewhere by saying something along the lines of, "Were you just at ____?" or "Did you just come by the house?"

** Health Issues: This is a rare one my abuser played a couple of times. He/she may text saying there's been an accident or someone is ill -- even him/her. "OMG, I think I need to go to the hospital and I can't get ahold of anyone, will you please come?," "I think I'm sick, can you please take me to the hospital?," "___ just had a stroke. I need you. Please."

** Interests: The abuser knows you VERY WELL. They've taken note of all your interests and may reach out to invite you to something they know you would like, such as "Hey, (so-and-so) is playing this weekend and I got tickets, you want to go?," "There's a play opening tomorrow night, wanna go?," "I know you start your garden around this time. I noticed (such and such store) has their spring plants out, wanna go pick some up?"

** Holidays: Despite not being in contact you may receive a message that says, "Happy birthday!," "Merry Christmas!," or "Happy New Year!."

And when the above tactics don't pan out to his/her liking, his/her tone will shift and become more aggressive and/or threatening.

** Accusatory: Even though you may not have reached out to others, the narc may say, "I talked to (so-and-so), why are you talking to him/her?," "What are you doing talking to my kids?," "Why did you call my dad?" "You never told me you cheated on me, but I just found out," "I can't believe you lied to me about ____." 

** Threatening: When the accusatory messages don't get a rise out of you he/she may take a more confrontational projecting tone, such as "I've moved on, leave me alone," "Why are you stalking me?," "I don't understand why you keep texting and calling me?" And you KNOW for a fact you've done no such thing, but for a minute the narc has you doubting yourself -- which is exactly what he/she wants. He/she is Projecting their actions onto you. Be aware and take note -- they're offering a Tell! 

When these tactics don't work to get your attention, don't be surprised if your abuser uses the same methods to reach out to others. Remember, Triangulation is the narc's Go-To method of pitting people against one another and to spark action. He/she may employ others to "check" on you and report back. 

The narc may also get too arrogant and use such methods to inadvertently tell on him-/herself. For instance, a message may be sent to a mutual friend saying, "I just saw her, she doesn't act like she misses me," "Who was that guy/girl I saw her/him with?," "Whose car is that in his/her driveway, she said she was alone." 

The best thing others can do is shut the narc down the moment contact is made. But those who are unaware of the situation may offer information the narc uses to fuel his/her obsession and Hoover that much harder. Only you know the narc and his/her patterns of behavior. If you feel comfortable doing so, you may want to give potential "sources" a heads-up about your situation so they're aware and don't fall prey to the narc's fishing expedition. 

I can't tell you how long it took me to finally work up the courage to go No Contact. In the beginning, when things would go bad it would take all I had not to call or text to apologize just so I could feel that things were OK again. And when I would get an unexpected message from him offering "concern" or playing on my emotions to feel bad for him I would immediately jump back into the fire. I still believed somewhere deep down he DID love me and was genuinely sorry for how things were. He just needed time to see the error of his ways. I fell for the "I miss you," "I've changed, I promise," "I know I messed up, please forgive me. It won't happen again," time and time and time again. 

That being said, when the mask would drop just enough that I'd see he really HAD NOT changed and would call him on it that's when things would go to hell. Then I'd get text messages, social media messages and calls CONSTANTLY. All accusing me of things I would never do and had NOT done. When those didn't work, uglier, threatening messages would come through.  

Believe me when I say, narcs will employ WHATEVER MEANS NECESSARY to keep their hooks in you. They will Hoover you til you take them back, can't take it anymore and fold OR you finally garner the strength to go NO CONTACT.

"Conquer anger with non-anger.
Conquer badness with goodness.
Conquer meanness with generosity.
Conquer dishonesty with truth."
~~ Gautama Buddha    

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Liar, Liar...

I've never been a huge fan of Henry Rollins. HOWEVER...

Lyrically, Rollins NAILS IT with his portrayal of the Malignant Narcissist in his "Liar" video (1994).


His POWERFUL, SPOT ON portrayal of the sadistic narcissist offers a disturbing glimpse of what it's like to deal with a narc; even down to the "apology" that you KNOW is coming in the end.

And the chorus... Well, when the mask comes off...

"Clouds in my coffee..."

"You had me several years ago when I was still quite naive,
Well you said that we made such a pretty pair, 
And that you would never leave,
But you gave away the things you loved and one of them was me,
I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee..."
~~ Carly Simon, "You're So Vain"


Unless you have met or been involved with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder it is VERY difficult to understand how quickly one can take a tumble down the Rabbit Hole.

Classified by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (offered by the American Psychological Association) as a member of the Cluster B disorders, which includes dramatic, erratic and emotional disorders, NPD affects nearly 7 percent of the U.S. population, according to the nonprofit organization, Personality Disorder Awareness Network (PDAN). 

According to the DSM-V, those with NPD exhibit the following traits:
** Exaggerated sense of self-importance, entitlement, and a preoccupation with power and accomplishment. They require constant admiration and praise -- even when it is unwarranted.
** Arrogance, haughtiness, are envious of others, and are unable/unwilling to recognize the needs of others. And they have no qualms with taking advantage of others to get their way.

When you first met your abuser, odds are they seemed too good to be true. But, before long, your gut told you something wasn't right. Now, if you're anything like me, you ignored that initial twinge thinking you were just paranoid. Well, you're not.

By the time you acknowledge that twinge as justified, you are probably already experiencing signs of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome.

Here are a few signs of NAS:
** You feel like you aren't good enough. Nothing you say or do passes the test and just when you think you have a handle on it, the abuser raises the bar another notch.

** You are consumed by the relationship. It is difficult to work. All the relationships with family and friends you once had have dwindled to nearly nothing. Eventually you are living with the anxiety of constant Fight or Flight and you feel you must walk on eggshells around your abuser. Any little thing sets them off, and you will avoid those situations AT ALL COSTS.

** You feel completely alone. You've realized the person you fell for doesn't really exist. You live day to day on autopilot catering to the abuser's every whim to keep the peace. Adding insult to injury, your abuser makes you feel like he/she is simply tolerating you. Gestures of affection, attention or genuine interest are nonexistent. 

** The constant gaslighting, triangulation, manipulation and coercion have eroded you to the point you feel unworthy of anything. You are no longer good enough and the only thing that will momentarily take away that pain is some kind of positive attention -- no matter how small -- from the abuser. 

** The cyclical hurt/comfort that you experience from the abuser becomes EXHAUSTING. This is b/c the abuser preys on your emotions. Once you are beat down to the point of being unable to pick yourself up off the floor (either metaphorically or literally), then the abuser comes around offering affection and pseudo-positive attention. But at this point in the Game, you take what you can get and that little dose of sympathy offers you a euphoric high -- but it doesn't last.

** Values and convictions you once had are long gone. You have gone above and beyond what you ever thought you were capable just to appease your abuser. For example, you may find you are suddenly lying and bending the truth just to protect him/her. "Those bruises? Oh, yeah, well, I tripped over the coffee table" OR "I tripped on the stairs." Anything to deflect blame from your abuser b/c, after all, he didn't mean to hurt you. 

I experienced EVERY SINGLE ONE of these. 

I remember sitting in a restaurant one time and he was verbally laying into me about something I hadn't done to his liking. If memory serves, I wasn't showing enough "effort" to help repair the relationship after his most recent oopsie --- getting caught with another woman AGAIN.

I'll NEVER forget that glare he had as he leaned over the table to berate me in what he thought was a hushed, angered tone of voice. Little did he realize the people across the way heard EVERYTHING. I couldn't take it anymore and the dam broke. The tears started flooding down my cheeks and I got up leaving him at the table. I walked out and stood just inside the front door.

A kind woman, who had been sitting across the way, came up and said, "Honey, are you OK. Do you need help?" 

I wanted so much to say, "Yes, please make him stop." 

But no words would come. I simply shook my head no and kept my eyes cast to the floor. 

Here he came. And my entire body immediately tensed up. 

As he was at the register paying he started in again with a louder voice this time. 

"What the hell are you doing? You're making me look like such a douchebag. Quit those fake-ass tears, will ya?" 

I glanced up long enough to see the woman's family had come out and was standing around her and ALL eyes were on my abuser. No one said a word. But they all silently filed out behind us to make sure I was (relatively) OK. 

He turned and looked behind us. 

"See? You've got those fucking people watching us!" 

Once we got to the parking lot it all started again. I got to hear how "fucking weak" I was. What a "piece of shit" I was. How I was "too sensitive," "only thinking of myself," and I "needed to show more effort to make this work."

That was just one of the many HUNDREDS of verbal attacks I endured. But, as mentioned above, I felt as though I had deserved it. Even though, deep down, a tiny voice kept telling me I had done nothing wrong. But I HAD to have done SOMETHING to trigger him. Now, if only I could figure out what that something was and fix it, this wouldn't happen again. 

But it did. Again and again and again. 

Now, being fair, there ARE two sides to every story. I am simply offering mine. If you ask the narc, it would be a totally different tale twisted in his favor to make it look like I drove him to attack. How my selfishness and unwillingness to change (for him) was my fault. But, NO ONE deserves such verbal abuse and humiliation (especially in public). Period. 

Not ONCE did he ever make a genuine effort to change his ways. Sure, there were times when he would come around being apologetic offering token gifts and seemingly heartfelt affection -- but that was simply b/c he had no new supply to fall back upon. Soon as he would give me the Silent Treatment (and shortly after discard) I knew there was another waiting in the wings.

But the discard was never "complete," he would keep communication open just enough to "keep tabs" on me to know I was there to fall back on. 

You have to understand (and unless you have experienced it, it's nearly impossible) how CONVINCING  a narc can be. Desperate times call for desperate measures and by god, if he knew he was up shit creek with no means of escape he was Prince Freakin' Charming and I fell for it EVERY goddamned time. 

And then his addictions took over. 

When substance abuse enters the picture the entire dynamic of the relationship takes on a more volatile tone. Now, not only are you dealing with the personality disorder and the abuse, but also the unpredictability of the effects the substance, or substances, has on the abuser's personality and behavior. But that, my friends, is another topic for another time.

I hope that my offering a brief intro to NAS and sharing an excerpt from my own story is enough to help someone out there who may be reading this who is in the midst of the storm or knows someone who is. You are NOT alone. 

It has taken me a VERY long time to learn and understand that you MUST love yourself before you can love another. If you let go of, or have never possessed that love, you're offering up a doorway for others to take advantage of you. And there are those out there who WILL NOT HESITATE to do so. 

"You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire Universe, deserve your love and affection."
~~ Gautama Buddha

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Down the Rabbit Hole...

"I knew who I was this morning, but I've changed  a few times since then." 
~~ Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Somewhere along the way, I fell down the rabbit hole. 

Chasing an illusion I discovered an absurd world where nothing was as it seemed and all its elements had been methodically positioned by a patient hand. 

For those up top, it can be difficult to fathom what happens as you tumble down into an abyss shrouded in domestic abuse; especially since they tend to lose sight of you before long. But, then, you lose sight of you, too.

Contrary to how things may seem to the outsider, there IS a Method to the Madness. And it is VERY disturbing to put it mildly.

Narcissists are very patient. They take great care in honing the skills it takes to snag, keep and (eventually) discard supply when it no longer serves his/her needs. 

So, how exactly does a narc "break" their victim? Here's a few of the sadistic, systematic ways:

Fantasy vs Reality: Narcissists are MASTERS at presenting a false self to the unsuspecting Supply. All the traits you have sought in a partner, or potential spouse, I guarantee you will find in the narc. Deep down they are void of any semblance of health and normalcy. Emotion? No, they don't feel it like you and I. Conscience? Nonexistent. Entitlement? Abundant. Remorse? Zilch. They are a mirror. They mimic. Especially when they see traits in you that trigger Envy in them. They present this false self to pull you in. Once you are secured, the cycle of abuse begins very subtly. 

Idealize, Devalue, and Discard: The Narc's Cyclical Relationship Trifecta
Idealize: Narc's like to swoon their supply in a whirlwind of affection, attention and compliments. They come on strong -- it's referred to as "Lovebombing.". Before you know it, you've been swooped up and placed on a beautiful pedestal designed just for you -- or so it seems. You can do NOTHING wrong in the eyes of your adoring partner. They brag on you to family, friends and strangers to the Nth Degree. He/she seems the Perfect partner. All is beautiful and right with the World.

Devalue: As quickly as you were crowned the Perfect One, the devaluing phase isn't nearly as swift, but it's close behind. Little by little the pedestal on which you've become so comfortable is chipped away with criticism, put-downs and silent treatment. Just when you think you've naturally met and exceeded your partner's standards, those standards change and they keep changing. You will NEVER measure up. Over time, as you are put and kept in your "place" through the narc's covert and overt abusive tactics, your sense of self and confidence are destabilized leaving you more and more void of YOU. 

Discard: Just like a child with a new toy, once the newness wears off the toy is cast aside in favor of something newer and shinier -- this is the discard phase of the relationship. It is during this time that the narc starts scouting for new supply -- if he/she hasn't already. You are no longer fun. You have caught on to things that don't seem right and have exerted what strength you've left by asking questions you shouldn't, which only incur more abuse. Despite the narc's sense of entitlement to find new Supply, he/she will undoubtedly exhibit excessive jealousy and anger towards you. Please DO NOT mistake this for caring by any stretch of the imagination. The constant calls, text messages, Facebook stalking and surprise "visits"/chance "meetings" are intended to simply "keep track" of you -- an element commonly employed by narcs to ensure the paths of current and future Supply do not cross. Once the narc secures additional Supply -- You're Gone. Discarded. Forgotten. That is, until things do not work out with the new Supply -- in which case, the narc returns to Lovebomb you once again to convince you he/she made a mistake and you really are Soul Mates. And then the cycle begins AGAIN.

Gaslighting: Yeah, I've mentioned this one before but I cannot stress how important this element is to the narc's methodical, insidious breaking, reconditioning and ensured control of the new Supply. Most humans can only tolerate a certain amount of bullshit before they break. Narcs are Masters at taking that breaking point and twisting it to make the abused seem Nuts, Crazy, Unstable, etc... Framing the victim as unstable adds fodder to the stories and lies they've already started telling about you -- but more about this in a few. The Goal is to make you doubt yourself. Anything the narc can do to twist things to make you come undone, I Guarantee he/she WILL. 

Triangulation: Again, another element I have talked about previously. Just know that the narc's methodical triangulation extends beyond to include people you may not even be aware of or know. My abuser was such a master he had EVERYONE fooled. And I mean EVERYONE. From family to complete strangers... How he kept all the different stories and lies straight is beyond me. I can only imagine how exhausting it must be to have to keep up so many plot lines. 

Smear Campaign: This is where it gets REALLY sadistic. Odds are, your abuser has been painting you as something you're not to others for quite some time. By the time you figure out what is going on he/she has already laid a firm foundation on which to present your "Crazy Ass" to the world.  

You may be portrayed as Unstable, a Stalker, a Cheat, a Liar, a Thief, Crazy, Nuts, Bipolar, etc... The narc holds NOTHING back when painting a false you to his/her captivated audience. "Awww, you poor thing..." they say to him/her. If they only knew. It takes time for the narc's web to untangle... It may not happen when you exit Stage Left, but I promise you it WILL happen Eventually. There DOES come a time that all those who swallowed the stories and lies must Realize what they were fed WAS a bunch of Shit.

"Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill." 
~~ Gautama Buddha    

Near the end I was grabbing at tufts of grass, loose rocks, whatever I thought I could reach as I continued to tumble down to the bottom of the rabbit hole. 

When I finally hit bottom, I landed HARD. 

But it all finally started to make sense. There was a reason for all of it. That didn't make it any less painful to deal with or a less bitter pill to swallow -- but I could finally see there was a Method to the Madness. And I was no longer the trusting, open-hearted woman who initially took the tumble. 

I was confused. I was hurt. I was heartbroken. I was shattered.

And he, well, he never stopped smiling. 

But that's OK. I learned a valuable lesson. One that I will never forget. And despite all the pure Hell I went through, I learned to Forgive. Without forgiveness, I couldn't have made it this far. May he one day conquer his Demons. 

"Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned."
~~ Gautama Buddha   

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3

Friday, March 18, 2016

Bitter Pill...

Everyone says they want the Truth. Period.

But in many cases, sadly, as Jack Nicholson so impassionately yelled during the courtroom scene in the 1992 flick A Few Good Men, "You can't handle the truth!"

I know I couldn't handle the Truth... At first.

How IS one supposed to come to terms with the bitter Truth that they're the victim of DV? After all, you genuinely believe your Love will conquer All. You are blind. You have been so isolated that the violence, whether it's verbal, emotional or physical, becomes the norm. It is expected. But, as odd as it sounds, when you're in the midst of the storm, you don't see it as violence.

"He only lashes out when I do something to piss him off," you might tell yourself. "If I can just get it right, he won't hurt me."

Well, guess what, it doesn't matter WHAT you say or do, your abuser will find SOME reason to continue to inflict cowardice acts of violence against you. And THAT is the Truth.

It makes the abuser feel in control. It gives him/her the power to continue playing his/her Game. For you, it's your life. But to him/her, it's a Game.

It wasn't until I was safely on the opposite shore that everything began to make sense. After months of gaslighting, triangulation and manipulation, I was lucky to trust my own gut about anything. And I mean ANYTHING.

My sense of self had been methodically eroded to the point that I wasn't even sure about who I was anymore. I was a shell.

Seeing your situation for what it is can be a VERY bitter pill to swallow.

My abuser was a MASTER manipulator. Looking back, it is truly frightening how someone can lie so easily and have so many different masks that one wears depending on the situation and conversation.

The foundation of a narcissist's means for maintaining the advantage in this warped Game is communication. As long as the abuser can control the information coming in and out of the relationship -- and, YES, that includes controlling YOU -- how you speak, to whom, and about what -- then the independent circles remain in tact and none is the wiser.

Hell hath no fury like a narc who finds out you have spoken to someone about your relationship.

"What happens b/t us is no one's business but OURS," mine would always say. "It's a private matter."

Private my ass.

Soon as I rose from the Toxic waters of our 'relationship,' I stood on the shore gazing back and couldn't believe how many individuals he had confined in little bubbles dangling from his marionette strings.

Let's look at the ways by which a narcissist, a.k.a narc, controls communication both within and without the relationship, shall we? Then you can make up your own mind. Take the pill. Or don't.

First and foremost, UNDERSTAND THIS: Attempting to have a conversation with a narc can quickly resemble an endurance challenge. For the abuser, conversations aren't about listening or communicating, they're about WINNING and furthering their Agenda. When you attempt to confront your abuser about his/her lies, behaviors or anything else that seems wonky, odds are it will get flipped on you. In the end, you are left doubting yourself, doubting your own ability to distinguish fantasy from reality and wondering why you even attempted to get any semblance of understanding or answers from your abuser. You're left exhausted and no better off than you were before you said a word.

So, here are some common tactics used by the narc when "conversing":

Upended Projection: Before you even leave the starting line behind, your abuser will already have projected your doubts, concerns, etc... back onto you in order to make him- or herself look like the victim. Never for a minute believe you are dealing with a rational person who has a conscience or ability to feel emotions as you do. I promise you, you are coming from an alien place. The narc goes by a totally different set of rules than you. And that WILL NOT change.

Shifting Blame: It doesn't matter what you are trying to discuss, you will quickly find yourself on the backside of things shouldering the entirety of blame. The conversation quickly disintegrates as the narc goes on the offensive and verbally pummels you pointing out every fault, insecurity, and weakness you possess to make you feel responsible, hence, putting you on the defensive. Remember, NOTHING is the narc's fault. In his/her mind, he/she IS the ultimate victim.

Veering Off Topic: You may have approached the conversation talking about one thing, but before you know it, the narc has veered way off topic. Instead of concentrating on what YOU would like to discuss, the narc will take the conversation in another direction, shift the blame, and project leaving you on the defensive. It doesn't matter if you have hard evidence to support your concerns, the narc will veer off topic to regain control of the situation.

Loud and Proud: Odds are the narc may also adopt an indignant attitude that you even had the gall to speak to him/her about your concerns -- especially if you challenge him/her. The abuser will demonstrate an absurd amount of anger over this 'injustice,' raise his/her voice and become increasingly animated. If you continue to push, the situation is likely to become violent. To avoid further animosity, you wave the white flag. The abuser wins and is further empowered.

Interruptions Abound: Narcs are notorious interrupters -- especially when they are fighting to retain control of a conversation -- or, as they view it, confrontation. If you think the narc is even remotely interested in what you have to say, think again. The only time they are silent is when they're plotting. Narcs constantly interrupt in order to deflect and veer the conversation in a direction that favors THEM. It doesn't matter the situation or environment, there is ONE RULE: It is the Abuser's way or no way. No exceptions.

Silence: Commonly referred to as the Silent Treatment, this is a last-ditch effort by the narc to teach you a Lesson. A genuinely cruel form of mental abuse, the intended goal is to make you feel unwanted, unloved and unimportant. And it works. The last thing you want is for the person you love to cast you aside and refuse to speak to you. You're left wondering what you did wrong when, in fact, you have done NOTHING. And the real bitch of it is, 99.999999% of the time, the narc EXPECTS you to apologize for what YOU have done and, by god, you had better offer the apology exactly as he/she expects or you are right back at Square One.

I cannot say definitively, nor would I want to, that my abuser used each and every one of these tactics on others -- I can only speak to what I endured. But I CAN say that he had a story for Everyone and the role I played varied depending on who he talked to. For example:

If it was potential supply, I was a stalker.
If it was his mother, I was crazy.
If it was his ex-wife, I was socially awkward and shy.
If it was a "mutual" friend, I was the only one he ever truly Loved.

For me to even begin to fathom the web of deceit he had patiently woven was a HUGE pill for me to swallow. There isn't a chaser in the world that can take that aftertaste out of your mouth. It lingers and influences ALL aspects of your life... As far as I've come, I still taste hints of it.

Yeah, I sat there with my little glass of water in one hand and pill in the other for quite some time. 

Eventually, I realized I hadn't the luxury of a choice b/c the situation was going to kill me one way or another.

I've always been an advocate for Truth no matter the circumstance. It is better to know the truth than prolong a lie that makes for unbearable heartache. The trick is garnering the strength to swallow that bitter pill. Then, finding the strength to move forward.

"No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the Path." 
~~ Gautama Buddha

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3