I love you, you’re perfect! Now, change!

The title of my next book

I read this on a billboard the other day. I love the sentence, it should be the title of my next book. What a great sum-up of my previous relationships with narcissists.

I created a short video to explain how things get into place without the victim being able to do anything about it. When you watch this, and if (by luck!) you have never met a narcissist, you might go crazy and think “well, this Susan girl, a bit stupid, hey!” and you are right. Seeing from the outside and without being caught up in the context, it looks and sounds crazy.

A very important fact is that, when one lives with a narcissist, or is around one of these intoxicating people, time is lacking. He keeps you on your feet all the time, every action is done in a rush. Notice in the video how Susan is just getting over the fact that he asks her (tells her) to live together, when the door rings and her parents are here. Then the craziness unfolds, the marriage, parents over for the week-end in a place where she does not live yet (or has not even decided).

This is a good example of sharing the life of a narcissist. The victim is not given the time to react to the unbelievable news that constantly come crashing down on her like a tsunami on a wooden house. She is kept tense and alert of her attitude, so that she can cover up for the other people she cares about who also get sucked into the spiral.

Once the tornado is over (and many times it has lasted a decade or two), the victim is left powerless. Not only did the acts against her leave scars on her body and mind, but also her status in the world, in our society has been impaired. She needs to recover.

I write books about this. How to set oneself up (even from under the storm) so that the recovery becomes possible, or believable. Some readers (and sadly reviewers) have complained that I do not explain enough what people with NPD are. Well, the truth is, this is not important for me anymore. I rather focus on the victims, on me and you out there, because the person with NPD in our past has had enough glory to last several lifetimes.

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Will it ever go away?

Where has time gone? I have not been here writing about me, myself and I in a very long time. Well, to my defence, it was holiday, and these times of the year are just for relaxing and enjoying family.

Yet, I am back, with a knot in my throat. I feel bad today. It is Sunday, I am on the couch with my so cute puppy beside me, my house is beautiful, all is well, I have nothing to do, still I feel bad.

I have had this nightmare again. It comes lurking in the deepest nights and confuses me. At that time, I don’t know if it is real or not, but I suffocate, I can’t believe the odds that have put me in THAT situation again. What? He is here, he demands, he orders, he imposes, and I am doomed, out of air, and definitely pushed down by some massive force.

Then, somehow, when I am about to completely run out of air, I wake up, in a sweat, panting madly, and I open my eyes in the night, unable to let the feeling of freedom sink in. Yes, I am free, no, he is not here, yes, it was all a dream, no, rather a nightmare. Oh, God, when will it ever go away?

Then the day shows up and I am short-tempered, I am acting as he did in my awful dream. I can’t control myself, everything is a problem to me. No matter how I try to surrender myself to positive vibes, I am strangled by drama, sad emotions and violent feelings. I can’t take it anymore!

Please God, make tomorrow be a better day, or rather make tonight a better night!

Taking the chance again?

Would I ever take the chance to love someone else? Would I ever entirely give myself up to a man in the name of love as I did in the past?

I must admit, I had laid the ground for it. Somehow, my need for love was too great. My first boyfriend used to drive past my home every day on his way to work. He’d stop before lunch, after lunch, after work and after dinner, in between these were the phone calls to repeat what we had just said or talk about the week-end parties. This was ok. We were seventeen. What was not ok was my attitude. As soon as I heard his car pull up, I’d be on my feet, racing to the door to greet him, ran to his arms. we kissed, we whispered “I love you” and other non-sense to each other’s ear. One day, my Dad gently pulled the alarm:

-“Maybe you should not run to him every time he comes, you could wait here until he enters the house.”

file000867052387I couldn’t care less. I had to show my love, I had to get love, I had to get as much as possible, and totally give myself in to these emotions. I can’t say that was bad. My first boyfriend was one of the two men in my life who did not abuse me, insult me, or hit me. So kuddos to him!

Could I ever trust someone again like I trusted him? Will I ever be able to listen to a man’s voice saying “I love you” without either bursting into laughter or pulling away as a survival reflex?

After all the psychopaths (in various flavours) in my life, I did say “I love you” to a man. Just to try it out and also because I had run out of things to say in intimate moments. I knew he was not bad for me, but I also knew he was not good. I wished at the time I could be just as innocent as I was at seventeen. It probably could have turned into a love story instead of ending with a two-line email.

Taking the chance again would mean letting go of my protective shield… I am not ready.

Always the same old story

Why is it so?
I browse around on the topic of narcissism. There are all kinds of forums. At the time of my “awakening”, these platforms helped me a great deal. I would never have been able to talk to any physical person if I had not done my coming out in the virtual world.

Yet, I read the same story over and over again. It goes like that:

– She tells her story. In her words, I can relate. At times, it is an exact mirrored recollection of my life with a narcissist. Somewhere, it squeezes my stomach. I can’t help it.

– People answer: some totally out of it, you know the type: “see a marriage counsellor, your love can still be saved!”… yuk! Others judge: “if you are so unhappy, why are you staying?” or “If you think he is so bad, why do you keep having kids with him?”… It would be great to see some statistics of how much these comments help the poor soul in search of a reaching hand.

– They she comes back and thanks everyone, and lines up all the reasons why she can’t leave: “don’t want to uproot the kids,” saint-anthony“she has her name on the house lease,” “she needs to save up some money” etc.. Well, you know the reasons because if you have ever been with a narcissist, you too used the exact same excuses. I know I did.

Sometimes, I get tired. The circle keeps on turning. There are the people who don’t understand, and those who understand too well and have no compassion left. I wish everyone would know that a word, a sentence, can do so much.
I remember going to church regularly at the most somber times of my marriage. I looked at Saint Anthony’s face. If you look long enough at something, the lines around it become wavy and the edges become blurry. Hence it gave me the feeling that Saint Anthony was moving, helping me. I was not alone.

Actually, in times of sadness and terror, all that matters is to know we are not alone.

They come in all kinds

You might think you’ve seen it all. Psychopath, sociopath, cheater, abuser, aggressive… No one can blame you for thinking you have seen it all.

Psychopath number one:

I started off with a violent guy. He insulted me, gave me horrific nicknames. It was obvious that he had a problem (not me!), I always knew that much. Still, he destroyed who I was. Not on the outside: I remained strong and happy. Inside, I was worn, torn and broken.

Psychopath number two:

I continued on with a psychopath. A guy who escapes justice just because he knows how to bend the rules and how to get the other ones caught instead of him. If it was not for this, i.e. his intelligence and the amount of time he has available to mill over his diabolical schemes, he would have been locked up a long time ago.

Psychopath number three:

heartFinally, came my deliverance. I met someone who opened my eyes onto a better world, one where love was possible and kindness and honor were a constant. He put his fingers under my chin, made me look him in the eyes and solemnly declared: “I love you!” It was like sealing his faith on my heart. I believed him and I wanted to believe despite the fact that it all seemed so weird.

How to recognise them? I do not know. So despite my better judgement, I stay away from all of them. I cannot for the life of me put any trust in someone else. No matter how hard I try, something pulls me back. No matter how much I try to convince myself that I should not end up alone, I keep the door to my heart closed.

Is there a heart there… still?

Who’s on Top?

I just read the news. Yes, I know, some days, I wonder why. But I had my coffee, a quiet house, and another hour before I really need to get ready. It is sunny outside, I am looking at the apple orchard… what else?

I read Metro on the iPad. It is simple, straight to the point, and I have to say, it gets my brain to wire in a different way. Sometimes I don’t get the title with the first read. So, it is ike deciphering a special code. There was an article about the author of Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne. It was referring to the fact that he was working for intelligence during WW1. However, I read the article and it did not really explain how so… Another piece of information that is “only” in the title.

afghanThere was also this picture, that I am borrowing. I hope they won’t mind. If they do, well, I will be happy, it means they read my blog, I’m famous! But take a look for yourself. This is today in Afghanistan.

A woman, veiled and hidden passes by… a street vendor. When I saw this picture, I seriously wondered.
My first thought was: well, if the man was wearing the veil, no one would buy from him. They would just think he was the curtain to a dog house or something.
My second thought was Oh, my! He IS in a dog house! Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against dog houses, but men in “these” countries are supposed to be on top, right?

This picture reminded me of a chat I had with my Dad. He is a lovely man, but he comes from a different time. He was never so lovely to my Mum and now that he is getting older, he is simply becoming bitter and unpleasant. I told him one day that the way he treated my Mum could be called “abuse.” He was extremely surprised, pointed at my Mum and said:
– “This one? I could not put her down, it is impossible!”
In his mind, putting down his woman is the thing to do. Women are “equal but not so equal” to men. According to him, women have it easy: they are liked, they don’t need to work, they can enjoy being home, they don’t need to change a tire on the car or check the oil etc. It goes on and on.

There is no way to explain to my father that women are not “supposed to be put down.” In his mind, having a wife is pretty much like having a dog (what is it with me and dogs this morning?), you need to show you are the leader of the pack or they’ll eat you alive. My father is still at war for some reason.

When I look at this picture, I see that he might not be the only one. And they are right: No one can put down women. See the one on the photo, she might be under the veil and fully covered, but the man is down, and she… is on top!

I am grateful for a lifetime

Seriously? Seriously!

How can I ever get over the misery of my life, the constant scraping for money? The constant worrying when a friend asks “can you pick me up?” and I wonder how I will make the rest of the week on an empty tank. Yet, I say yes, because NO ONE would understand. I live in a country where everyone (else) is wealthy. Poverty does not exist here and, believe it or not, I am poor with five times what my parents earn, combined! I should really move away from here, but, guess what! I can’t afford it.

Still, I get up every day with the fear of opening the letter box, one more bill, one more warning.

Who can live like that? On some days, I accept that this is my life. On other days, I want to push my head above the surface and shout “I can’t live like that, so I will change my life!” Change the odds, this is a fantastic goal, isn’t it?
So, I look around, I see people who are poorer than me. Yes, their bank account might be loaded, they have a big car and a large TV, but they are poor of things money can’t buy.
file000666779339I, on the other hand, have the happiness ready to re-surface in my heart at any minute of the day. I marvel at the sound of birds in the nearby tree, I marvel at the snow falling at the end of April, I thank God for every instant I spend with my boy. I am ready to feel grateful.

Other days of course, I get swamped by the mourning of my past. This tiny window that opens at times take over my ocean of happiness and drag me in a tsunami of guilt, sadness, failure. A tiny window, which, just like on an airplane,  sucks in my entire present into the past.

Oh, it is a daily fight to not let this happen at all! So, I wrote a workbook, to reflect on the actual happiness that IS my life without an abuser, without violence and fear. If you want to share something, fill in the form and I’ll send you the eBook, so that you too, can rejoice for the happiness that IS your life.