Author: admin

The End

The End

I’ve been had. The joke’s on me. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Hope it was worth it. Move along, there will be nothing more to see here.

Just Say No

Just Say No

There’s a critical life lesson that my parents neglected to teach me which is how to say no. It’s important to learn to say no because it’s empowering and it allows you to establish healthy boundaries. But my parents raised a family of overly-accommodating people pleasers who have a hard time refusing anyone anything.

Being a people pleaser at times has turned out to be a positive experience for me. It definitely reinforced my value at work and it also gave me a sense of acceptance from friends and family in the past. But it also drained my energy, screwed up my priorities, made me feel obligated to ensure other people’s happiness and worst of all, forced me to put my own needs last.

I was programmed to be accommodating. I was taught that it was my responsibility to make my mother happy by making an appearance at each and every command performance family event or there would be consequences. I learned it was up to me to appease my abuser’s volatile behavior or he’d lash out at me in a rage. My sense of autonomy was nonexistent and I was convinced that the rage was justified. And I fumbled through life believing I wasn’t important enough to have choices.

My abuser did me a favor when he torched my house and decimated my family relationships because I was forced to develop a new sense of self. For the first time in my life, I began to focus on my own needs and I was able to identify what I did NOT want. I encountered some unsavory predators along the way who targeted me while I was vulnerable and I discovered that it was my responsibility to love myself enough to say no when I was uncomfortable. I am still learning how to do it and I admit it’s a challenge. I fear the consequences of not being accommodating to others.

But on the other hand, I know that saying no means I am saying yes to myself. I am loving myself by setting boundaries. I am gaining confidence in my ability to steer my own ship. And I am also gaining respect for myself and from others. And certainly, if others don’t like me establishing boundaries then they never liked or respected me in the first place.

I am not responsible for anyone else’s happiness, only my own. So I will continue to just say NO.

Life is Short

Life is Short

Yesterday, I was caught off guard by a medical diagnosis. It’s the second time in my life that my day started unassumingly but ended in a startling way. I felt panicked and unprepared. I started ranting about end-of-life plans. My husband patiently listened and then coaxed me back to reality. Unless I get hit by a bus, I probably won’t die tomorrow. But this surprise diagnosis has left me regretting that so much of my life was wasted in distressing and hurtful situations.

I’m proof that life as we know it can change in a matter of seconds. It could end abruptly, as mine almost did once. On the other hand, one could suffer for a long time before the inevitable, which I suddenly find myself contemplating. The bottom line is no one gets out alive.

If we’re fortunate enough to be born healthy and loved, when we’re kids or even young adults, we feel invincible. But as we age, we experience death either through our relationships with older people in our lives, experiencing tragedies within our circle of family and friends or witnessing violence as it plays out live on our televisions. We can’t avoid the reality that death is part of life. And it seems like we race toward the finish line at an accelerated pace with each birthday.

Death is a known life event, but we don’t know when our lifetime clocks will cease to operate. And maybe that’s why we spend so much time treating other people like garbage. Perhaps if we knew what time the clock would run out we’d be more concerned about making the most out of the days we have left and we’d take better care of each other. Maybe we’d be more concerned about spreading joy than disdain.

Maybe we’d smile and hold the door for someone else. Maybe we’d buy a meal for the homeless person on the sidewalk. Maybe we’d even mend broken relationships.

Let Me Go

Let Me Go

I have to wonder why every single day at least one of you reads my blog. You were the ones who rejected me, remember? Why do you care what I have to say now? You didn’t care when I desperately needed you to, but it’s obvious you care now, at least about my writing. It confuses me. I’ve let you all go. I’m living my best life and that includes writing about my experiences. It’s my right to blog about it because it’s MY story.

What do you want? Do I scare you that much? Are you afraid of what “crazy me” might say about you? Or perhaps its simply because you need more fuel for your fire, more reason to justify your failures, more reason to blame the crime victim. You sure as hell don’t want an actual relationship where you’d have to take an introspective look at yourselves and apologize for failing me. Instead, you just stalk my website for each new blog.

So here’s a New Years resolution for you. Forget that I exist, like I’m doing with you. Let it go and move on without the weakest link in your pseudo-mutual chain of false narratives. That link was broken years ago anyway.

Happy New Year.

A Clean Slate

A Clean Slate

I’ve made a very important reconnection. It means the world to me. I want to do it right. I want to be genuine. I want it to be as perfect as I fantasize that it will be. I don’t want to come on too strong. I want everything to be like it was. I want to believe this fairy tale of kumbaya and happy tears.

But I know that it will never be the old us, it can’t be. I know that we’ll never have the same bond. So I’m afraid. I can’t cope with the thought of rejection, not again. I think and overthink with every second that ticks by. I haven’t heard from her. Am I supposed to email her? Did we agree that it would be on her terms and I would wait? I’m scared.

And these feelings are welcome. They’re so much better than my feelings were over the past five years. There is a ray of hope behind the neuroses. If I trust the process I will find what I need. I’m afraid, but I’m prepared to take the journey because hope is better than despair.

Gaslighting and Flying Monkeys 101

Gaslighting and Flying Monkeys 101

It’s the night before the historic impeachment vote and Donald Trump has taken manipulation to a whole new level by sending a six-page rant-filled letter to Speaker Pelosi. The letter serves as documentation of belittling, bullying, accusing, blaming, shaming, demanding, ordering, threatening, criticizing, raging, and name-calling directed at Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Party. It’s obvious Trump is unhinged. It’s obvious he is a threat to national security. And, to me, it’s obvious that this is behavior typical of a narcissistic abuser.

I cannot possibly describe how sickening it feels because I’ve been on the receiving end of letters just like this. I was belittled, bullied, threatened and raged-at by my abuser for years. And, like Speaker Pelosi, I have written documentation of the same unhinged behavior. It’s incredibly triggering to witness what Trump is doing not only to Pelosi but to all of America. And what I find infuriating is that he is enabled by his flying monkeys within the GOP to abuse his power and thus abuse every single one of us.

Flying monkeys are the narcissist’s enablers. They could be family, friends, religious leaders, counselors or, in Trump’s case, political cohorts. Flying monkeys may not realize what they are doing. In fact, they may actually believe in their righteousness and in the “cause” of the malignant narcissist. They’ll reject you, they’ll shame you and they’ll tell you that you’re crazy. In doing the abuser’s bidding, the gaslighting of the victim is compounded and revictimization happens.

America is a family in crisis. A malignant narcissist is abusing his power, attempting to cover it up and playing the victim card. The irony is that this time my abuser’s flying monkeys are also on the receiving end of the narcissistic abuse.

A Sign of Hope

A Sign of Hope

There is nothing I have ever felt worse than despair. It is a feeling so hopeless that your heart literally aches inside your chest. You can feel your ribcage cracking under the weight of it and you think you’re going to choke to death on your own tongue as the pain crawls up your throat.

When I moved to Pennsylvania a few weeks after the fire, I was drunk on a mental cocktail of total despair and utter shock. When I wasn’t in a dissociative state, I was trying to crawl out of my own skin to escape the pain that tortured me. At that time, this was the lowest that I had ever felt.

One day, I was shopping at an antique shop when I spotted a carved wooden sign that said “HOPE”. I stared at it blankly and thought about how much I craved to feel hope inside me. It was only a few dollars, but I didn’t buy it because I wasn’t alone that day and I was embarrassed about showing weakness as if somehow buying that tiny piece of wood would expose my hopelessness to the world. I went home and I dwelled on the HOPE sign. I had to have it. I wanted it as a reminder that I shouldn’t give up. So I went back a few days later and I bought it. I brought it home and stuck it on a shelf where I could view it every day.

Since then, I have moved six times. I have experienced despair far worse than what I was feeling when I bought that sign and I have come close to completely giving up on life. I have carried the little wooden sign to every new home and through every new experience. I have used it to remind myself that I should always be hopeful, not just in spite of the hardships but also to celebrate good fortune.

A few years ago, I got my first tattoo. It’s a permanent reminder to never give in to adversity. I can’t wash it off and I have no regrets because to me HOPE is a strength. I begin and end every day with hope on my left arm and I can feel my heart soaring inside.

The Contract

The Contract

They sent my abuser a “Basic Terms of Residence” contract a few weeks after he tried to kill me. He was recovering from severe burns after he’d caught himself on fire burning my house to the ground. He’d destroyed our home and, like me, was left without a permanent residence. So they offered up their house while he continued to recover, provided he accepted their terms.

This was a serious and traumatic event, yet they treated it like a business deal. They were on a mission and my well-being was definitely not part of their agenda.

They’d already sent not one, but two letters to my family stating I was equally to blame for the crimes my abuser had been charged with, which were arson, animal cruelty (because he’d killed my dog) and my own attempted murder. They hadn’t spoken to me once since the fire, but they’d determined that I should go down for these felonies that I did not commit.

The contract stated that I should accept responsibility for my contribution to my dysfunctional relationship with my abuser. It also stated I must completely disengage from Twitter and fully engage in psychological evaluation and counseling. And finally, it stated that my abuser and I may not communicate with one another without supervision.

The document had three signature lines, one for my abuser and one for his sister and brother-in-law, who had concocted the ridiculous contract. Strangely, although I had specific responsibilities according to their brilliant pact, I was never asked to sign it, nor was I provided with a copy.

What they failed to realize was that my abuser was incapable of going “no contact” where I was concerned. He simply signed the silly document and then continued to stalk, harass and threaten me. He even told me he’d signed a contract but that he had no intention of complying with the “no contact” terms. And when I asked to see what he’d signed, he sent me a copy.

This was the third time my abuser’s family had blame-shifted in writing and the third time they had neglected to inform me of their activities. They placed culpability on the crime victim in order to lighten the burden of accountability on the criminal. My abuser’s family threw me under the bus (or in this case, the fire truck) and then bamboozled my own family into repeatedly driving it right over me.

The Phone Call

The Phone Call

My phone announced her call. I stood there for a second staring down at it. I saw her name and her photo smiling up at me from the coffee table and I didn’t know what to do. My first thought was that she accidentally butt-dialed me and I contemplated letting it go to voicemail just in case. I was afraid. But I had dreamed about this moment for over four years, so I mustered the courage to answer.

I grabbed my phone and said a hesitant “Hello?”. I heard her voice saying “Hi” on the other end. I was shocked and managed a quick “Hi” in response. It felt so awkward and strange, not like it used to be. She asked how I was. I replied, “Okay, how are you?” I turned toward my husband who sat on the couch smiling at me and I mouthed “Oh my god.” My body began to tremble as I heard her say, “I don’t want to feel this way anymore.” She told me she didn’t want to look back, just forward, and she wanted to try and reestablish a relationship.

Waves of adrenaline rippled through my body and the trembling intensified. Was this reality? I wasn’t convinced that I heard her correctly. I asked her to hold on for a second as I choked back tears and took a few deep breaths. Then I told her I would like very much to move forward with her. I didn’t want to rehash our painful history ever again. It was over and I was in a better place. Perhaps she was too. I told her I felt hesitant, I wanted her to know that I was afraid. The thought of being rejected again terrified me.

My husband handed me a glass of wine and when I thanked him, she told me that she wanted him to know she was sorry about the things she had said to him. I repeated her words and he smiled and said he understood and had no hard feelings. We chatted for a few minutes about our lives and she promised to send me a couple of photos. Then we said goodbye and the call was over. I hadn’t expected the physiologic reaction that had overtaken my body and I started crying. My husband held me as I sobbed.

Later, she sent some photos and a message saying she wanted to communicate through email for now and I agreed to her terms. But she had called me. I understand how difficult that must have been for her. She took a chance and reached out to me without animosity and I am very grateful. It’s been only a couple days since she called and I am still in shock. I never thought I would hear her voice again and I still can’t believe that I did. I love her so much. I love her brother. I am cautiously optimistic about a future that includes them again.

The Closet

The Closet

I’m the type of person that throws things out or, when possible, donates things I no longer have a use for. I’m the very antithesis of a hoarder. In fact, I hate clutter so much that I probably throw things away with too much vigor. I was raised by parents who were both excessively neat and organized and therefore, I blame them for my lifetime obsession with order.

Having young kids made it challenging to maintain a sense of order in my house, but it didn’t take long to establish a system that worked for me as far as toys, laundry and crumbs were concerned. My abuser’s hoarding skills, on the other hand, were a challenge that I was never able to conquer. If I tried to clear out his old high-school era clothes, he’d rage at me to leave his “shit” alone. If I tidied up around him, he’d scream, maybe throw things and ridicule me about my habits. Nevertheless, I did what I could to keep my home tidy which usually meant doing my housework when he wasn’t around.

One Saturday morning, while my abuser was at work, I opened a large bedroom closet in the old house we were renting. I was sick of searching through this black hole of chaos to find a skirt or a pair of shoes for work. It was such a waste of my valuable time to have to dig through the neverending pile of clutter to reach what I needed on a busy weekday morning.

And so I decided to spend the day organizing that closet. I didn’t dare toss out a ripped t-shirt or concert ticket stub for fear that my abuser would find out and punish me. But I sorted, folded, stored and hung the heap of clothes, shoes, longjohns, boxes of photos, weights, and miscellaneous junk that had been expanding and gathering dust. I spent hours organizing that mess, and it was satisfying to peer inside my closet, discover the floor again and feel the stress melt away.

When my abuser came home from work, I was still in the upstairs bedroom applying the finishing touches to my closet organizing masterpiece. I was excited to show him what I’d accomplished and to declare that I hadn’t thrown out a single precious item. As he entered the bedroom, I smiled and said, “Look what I did today!”

In an instant, he was on me. He grabbed me hard, yanked me away from the closet and pushed me onto the bed. Then he turned and started ripping all of the clothes I had hung from their hangers. He threw everything back onto the floor of the closet as he railed at me, “This is MY fucking stuff! I knew where all of my stuff was and YOU RUINED IT! I told you not to touch my fucking things!!” I jumped up and yelled at him to stop. Again, he shoved me towards the bed and turned back to the closet. He tore every item off each and every shelf and hanger, including all my belongings.

I could hear my kids crying in the other room, so I left my abuser as he continued to wreak havoc in my bedroom. I brought my kids to the kitchen, gave them a snack and went into the bathroom to cry. This time, I was lucky. This time, he didn’t break down the door to get to me and I was able to scream in silence.

Love is not supposed to hurt.