“One of the hardest things in life to learn are which bridges to cross and which to burn.” -Oprah Winfrey

It seems like this would be a pretty self-explanatory thing, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not! When we meet somebody new, we engage in a little chatter and then stand together at the crossroads. What’s next? Can I see you as my person or do we go our separate ways now and save a lot of money on awkward dinners, and time you’ll never get back, filled by lackluster conversation? And then…there he was. It was love at first sight and there was no denying it, by either of us. My tall dark and handsome biker with the whitest, sexiest smile I had ever seen. What I felt that day was unexplainable, and over the next 11 years I followed him into the fire where I would be forever choked by the smoke from the bridge he was actively burning by being with me.

2021 was not kind to so many people and I know that my pain and suffering has been nothing compared to many, but it’s up to me to share MY story and for others to share their stories. I say this to acknowledge all of the tragedy that has taken place in the world and I know in the grand scheme of things, my hurting, while still very real, is not as tragic as many others have had to face or are still facing. For these people, I pray. That being said, my world was quite shaken up over the past 18 months and I am entitled to hurt and heal just like everybody else! I’ve dealt with major surgery and am in recovery, I’ve attended way too many funerals, celebrations of life or memorials, and I’ve had my heart shattered, again, to put it mildly. Beyond this gloom and doom, I’ve also had some amazing accomplishments during this time! I bought the house I plan to retire in with room for the whole family and I took a fantastic promotion within my company. I bought my first sports car (can you say mid-life crisis?) as my 50th birthday present and threw myself one hell of a house party! I was blessed with some amazing friends and family surrounding me while I had a major surgery to rid me of the chronic pain I’ve endured for the past several years! (More to come on this in another entry.) When I put it on paper, there are more positives than negatives…and my eyes can read that, but my heart says something else, a piece of me was missing. While I am praising Jesus every single day for all of the blessings, I am hurting inside…every single day and not just a little bit.

How did I end up here, again? I was 6 months out of our most recent break-up when I got sucked back in. Truth be told, I was sad for most of that time, and struggled to do more than get out of bed and get to my desk to work. As the days went on, and he wasn’t part of my world, I was starting to have more good days than bad. I felt like I was coming back to life and as if he could smell my hope, he came back around to tear me back down. I missed him so much it hurt and here he is, again. I missed my partner, my best friend who knew all of my pains and fears. He said it best, it felt comforting to be talking again, it’s like home. (Keep in mind I came from a really fucked up home.) I really didn’t tell anybody we were talking again because I didn’t want to see the faces of disappointment followed by the million dollar question…why am I, once again, standing on the bridge I was supposed to have already burned?! I let him creep back into my heart and out the window went all of what I’d worked on for the past 6 months. I didn’t honor myself or my needs. I didn’t love or trust myself to get thru the hard times on my own. BIG mistake.

I spent 11 years with a narcissist who would gaslight me at every turn. He’d disappear for hours, lie to me about where he was and then blame me for “bitching” at him. Or, to shake it up and keep me on my toes, he would occasionally throw a love bomb my way to see if I would start the fight. He turned everything he did into tit for tat. (Granted, he had to go back 6 or 7 years to even find something that could remotely be seen as bad.) I am no angel, but I was faithful to this man and everybody knows that except him. Sadly, I don’t believe he is capable of being a real, honest, faithful MAN. So true to form he cheated, again, and this time I caught him. I have always suspected cheating but had no proof…if I got the proof, that would be it. I’m done. I’ll be ready to burn that bridge, finally. So guess what! I wasn’t ready to do burn the bridge. WHAT??? WHY??? How stupid can a woman be? I know you’re asking these questions because so did I. I wanted him to explain it away. I wanted him to tell me it isn’t true even though I had an entire conversation with her about it, as well as him. So when he told me lie I wanted to hear, I wanted him to tell me that he was sorry and would never do it again. So he told me the next lie, now what? Create my own web of lies to be with him? NO. I had to shake myself out of the bullshit. I have been trying to will someone into existence that never truly existed and begging to be lied to. Do you have any idea how hard it is to say that? To accept that as my reality? ELEVEN YEARS of my life, a decade. He didn’t truly appreciate me, and he didn’t truly love me. I was his scapegoat. I was a “fat bitch” by his words. He knows every intimate detail of my life and the abuse I endured as a little girl and he used that…he hit me everywhere he knew would leave a mark inside and a few times on the outside. What I got from him was not love. To publicly admit to all of this is so humiliating…it’s devastating. My tall, dark and handsome was not the prince I made him out to be, who I wanted him to be. He lied to me and I believed him, even when I knew better. He showed me who he was and I chose not to believe it. I buried my head in the sand, because I didn’t have proof, but now I do. I was afraid to burn the bridge because what if today is the day he’s going to change? Reality check: He will never change.

So now what? I’ve caught him red handed, I have way too much information. My hurt…my anger…my broken heart…my feelings of worthlessness…loneliness…abandonment, these feelings are mine, nobody else’s. I know that I am responsible for my own happiness! So why is it so hard to come to this conclusion and stay there? When I was growing up, I had many of the same feelings, only from much different situations. I couldn’t get away from that fast enough! So why not now? Why did I allow someone to wreak such havoc in my life instead of running away? Metaphorically of course…I know running away cures nothing! I am not sure what’s next yet…but you can believe that this won’t ever happen to me again!

I have read every self-help book out there, I have studied narcissism and multiple other character “disorders”. I see an energy healer, I meditate, I use essential oils. Shit I’m about to open a crystal farm if I thought it would help me! I’m finally accepting that this is NOT about me. This is on him. I’ve done everything I could possibly do to please him. You can’t please the narcissist and he will never be wrong even when he is caught. His ego is the size of TX and requires a lot of attention and I clearly didn’t supply enough so he found it elsewhere, as in across the street from the townhouse he’s renting with a gal I now know way too well. After my talk with her, he of course now wants to marry me and he will move asap so I can trust that he’s not seeing her. He has blocked her and never speak to her again…until the next night. Last night, he accidentally answered my facetime call with her standing there. Oops, wrong button. Red, not green. Needless to say, I am pushing this man and his toxicity out of my life, effective – already! I can sleep at night with a clear conscience because I know I never betrayed him. I loved this man with everything I had, that I know.

The bottom line is I allowed this behavior, until I didn’t. I will be writing about details and the entire situation because it helps me and I hope it will help somebody else. This isn’t to trash the other parties of the story, even though I’ve been assured he will smear my name and embarrass me, which he already has started. That’s not who I am nor is it who I want to be. I wanted him to be my life partner, be faithful to me, include me in his life and grow old with me. None of that will be happening and I have accepted it but it still hurts beyond what I can express with words.

If you are in a narcissistic relationship, or question if you are, I highly encourage you to do some research and take action before you have wasted some of the best years of your life on them. If one good thing can be that I helped somebody recognize what’s happening to them and give them the strength to get out then sharing my humiliating story with the world it is all worth it. I am raising my vibe and keeping it there! It’s time for me to GROW!! Until next time, friends…eyes open and do not let anybody gaslight or target you!!

And So It Begins…

Oh Happy Day… – Joan Baez 1971.  Today started with purpose, it is ending with greatness, which leaves me singing!  Today was more than I could have imagined.  The past several months have been about discovery, understanding, forgiving and healing.  I was left incapacitated and unable to function for much of this time.  The past several weeks, I have improved greatly; thanks to good friends, prayer and finally understanding a bit (well, a lot) more about myself!  Being kind to myself and treating myself with love and forgiveness has played a huge role.  We all deserve to be loved and treated with the utmost kindness, especially from ourselves!  This is something I have never been very good at.  I have viewed myself in a negative light for so many years, because that’s what I was taught, that it was hard to see myself in that way.

Today, I can say things are very different and I love myself as much as I love so many others; and for those of you that know me, you know that I am a bleeding heart and will give until I have nothing else to give.  I cannot take credit for this revelation.  I have prayed, I have trusted God, I have trusted professionals and friends and I have wound up in an amazing place.  Quite possibly the best place I have been in at least ten years.  I can say, that even with the losses I have had in the past year and especially couple of months, I am HAPPY.  Do you have any idea how it feels to say that?  I AM HAPPY!!  I haven’t been able to honestly say that in years.  My heart is full.  I have an amazing support system, an amazing family and the Lord in my heart which makes all of the difference in the world.  I have developed so many new friends in the past year and have been able to do so many incredible new things I always dreamed of doing. I am in love with my new life!!  A new home, a new job and a bright future.  What more could a girl with my past ask for?  What more could any woman ask for??  Nothing.  I literally want for nothing right now as I sit here with a big smile on my face, alone, typing these few short words. I believe in my abilities.  I know that I am a strong, capable woman with a great heart and work ethic.  I secured an amazing new job; I provide for myself and my daughter and that is a huge feat.  I have to say that I am proud of myself.  That is another thing that isn’t easy for me to say…but I say it with full confidence.

I normally do a much longer and much more serious topic, but tonight – I just simply wanted to say what a great, happy day I had and I thank God for every moment of the season I am entering!!  Keep the faith friends, you can turn your life into something great too, if you haven’t already!!  It’s within you, I promise!!  God bless and good night!!

Child Abuse is the World’s Greatest Silent Crime

“Only when we are no longer afraid, do we begin to live.”  – Dorothy Thompson

Throughout our lives so many types of memories are created.  Good, bad, fun, scary, some indifferent.  I have memories of laughing harder than I have ever laughed before and I have memories of nightmare moments that many would never believe actually happened.  We have all experienced those moments, right?  Just some to other extents than others.  I believe that these assist in creating who we are as adults.  We turn out to be the product of our environment combined with things inherent within us.  Some people go through little and come out a mess and some live a life of hell and come out on top.  Things affect people in different ways and drive them to different abilities.  I am thankful today, that while I am one that went through hell growing up, a lot of abuse and contrary to that, I am a pretty OK adult!  I am full of strength I sometimes forget I have, I have a good work ethic and I have intelligence that got me where I am today; all while being a loving and compassionate person, (despite what some might say).  I love my fellow man and woman, although am often afraid to show it for fear of rejection.  I am in love with you, I am especially in love with me these days.  I am in love with the less fortunate who are trying to put food in their bellies or the bellies of their hungry children, and with their children who are struggling and hungry and don’t know any different.  I am in love with love, despite abuse; and in fact I crave it and don’t function well without it.  I think that would be exact reason I have made myself a priority lately and have focused so much on getting myself right.  I have learned that I cannot depend on anybody other than myself and my God to fulfill that hole in my heart that needs the love.  I am blessed to have the support system that I have now; but years ago, I didn’t have that.

I lived most of my formative years in fear.  Something that most people cannot fathom.  Fear of what was coming next, what was lurking around the corner.  Do you know what living in fear feels like?  Let me give you insight into what my world felt like, as I dealt with the fear and pain in silence and hid it.  It’s paralyzing.  Was there a punch to the face coming from my brother?  Will there be a black eye, will my jaw open wide enough to eat after he hits me across the face?  Will there be a bat to my ribs and will I be able to stand upright?  How long until I catch my breath?  Is there a 2×4 being swung at my head?  Will I be woken up inappropriately in the night and have to fight for my innocence?

Do any of you have claustrophobia?  Do you know where it came from?  I have it so bad I have to be pulled from the MRI tube 2 or 3 times crying because it terrifies me so badly.  How about fear of heights?  That’s my biggest one.  Fears all come from somewhere, you’re not born with them, they’re learned.    From the age of 3 or 4, (I’m not sure which age, but I know that was my age when I lived in the house where it started) we lived on a farm in Missouri.  Southern Missouri is filled with mountainous cliff hillsides, beautiful lush green trees and snakes.  Lots and lots of snakes.  As a 10-11 year old boy, my brother loved the snakes, toads, lizards – basically anything he could find to scare the daylights out of a 4 year old child.  He also was a good builder.  He build tree houses all over our property, one in particular that I was mortified to go up because that is where he kept his “pets”.  His pets being all of the creepy crawly things that I mentioned before.  I would be easily coerced into going up the tree house at 3-4 years old because I believed him that he wouldn’t do anything to scare or hurt me.  We are quite gullible at that age!  As a child you see the good in everyone, you don’t think they’re out to hurt or scare you and ultimately damage you for life.  So as I climbed the rickety boards nailed into the tree to the house portion, I would immediately see that he had NOT, in fact, gotten rid of any of his creepy crawlies and they he would lock the gate so I was stuck.  Stuck in the air, with him and his disgusting mind and jars of snakes, frogs and lizards.  (I was really only scared of the snakes because they were huge and scary; frogs and lizards I played with on the ground all the time.)  Here I am trapped with him as my commander to do as he says or he puts snakes on me.  Kind of like “it rubs the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose”.  Sick analogy, right?  But that’s what I think of every time, that’s how it felt.  So without further details, I tell you this is why today, I am mortified of snakes and I don’t like heights.  Now the claustrophobia, that’s a different story.  I suppose some of that came from him trapping me in a small space, but mostly from him holding me down.  Remember he is 7 years older than me and quite big.  He would be over top of me with my arms and legs pinned with his and first I would just get mad, then I would panic and scream and cry.  Eventually, he would be satisfied with his torture and let me up.  To this day, I cannot stand to be held down.  Not that this happens a lot as an adult, but in my younger years I found some superhuman strength if I got into a scrap and was on bottom, I quickly made it out of there and back on top.  Even playing around, wrestling, I feel trapped and will almost immediately freak out and start yelling.  I already told you how I react to the MRI tube and that is something I have to do several times a year.

Then there was my mom…what awful names will she call me today?  What would I do wrong today?  How would I displease or disappoint her?  What awful things would I be accused of when I was still very much innocent?  Will she grab me by the back of the head and slap me back and forth until her hand is tired?  How high will my anxiety be today?  Will my stomach hurt from the stress?  Will I need a pill to control my “nervous stomach” as they called it then.  Will I survive another day in this house?  How quickly can I get out and how late can I stay?  These were the thoughts that went through my head on a daily basis.  Utter fear brought all of these feelings to me every single day that I had to live in that house.  Put yourself in that mindset for just a moment.  Can you imagine that these are the people that you depend on, every single day of your life, yet you’re mortified of them?  Will they protect you or hurt you that day?  AND THEY CHOSE TO ADOPT ME!!!  WHY??  I’m not saying my life would have been any better anywhere else, but that question will always be there.  My life was hell and did it really have to be?  As a mother myself, I know I have not been perfect; in fact far from it.  I can guarantee you one thing though, if you ask my daughter if I love her she’ll say yes.  If you ask her if I would die protecting her, she’ll say yes.  I’ve had plenty of fails as a parent, but ultimately my child knows I would and DO, do anything in the world for her.  So please be clear, I am making no claims to being a perfect mom, but my daughter does not live in fear of me nor does she question my faith and love in her; and that is all I ever wanted from my mom.  Faith and love.  And protection.  I never got any of it before she died.  I will live with that nightmare for the rest of my life.

Then there was Dad…he was the closest thing to a hero I ever had in the house.  My dad was the best, although looking back now I don’t understand why or how he let everything happen.  He wasn’t a large stature man.  He was only 5’9″, retired from the military on disability with a very bad back and just not physically able to do a lot in the realm of protection for me.  He couldn’t fight off my brother by any means and hadn’t been able to for many years.  My brother is 6’3″ and weighed about 300 lbs.  Dad was no match for him and he couldn’t physically protect me.  He couldn’t protect himself or Mom either, as my brother often turned on them as well.  I will never understand why he didn’t get me out of there though.  Call the cops, do something!!  I know my dad loved me more than anything and I believe that to be the reason Mom hated me, jealousy.  She never worked.  He didn’t work.  So my entire life they were both home and Mom didn’t drive.  It was a very old fashioned home.  Mom and Dad cooked dinner together every night.  They went to the store together.  They hung laundry on the clothes line together.  They differed on my treatment.  Dad was never ok with it, but didn’t stop it.  So on one hand he was my hero but on the other hand he was the enabler.  I feel guilt when I say this, because I loved him so much, but it made him as guilty as the abusers by not putting a stop to it.  Silence is as bad as performing the act yourself.  Remember that people.  If you see abuse – DO SOMETHING!!!!  If you aren’t sure, find out.  Call somebody to have it checked out.  Could you live your life knowing that YOU allowed ME to go through what I’ve just described to you?  I couldn’t.  If I could stop all abuse I would, but I’ll take it one at a time as I can for now.

This brother is now in prison for the rest of his life, where he belongs, but the nightmares will never stop.  In fact, the first thing for me to do today was write because I woke up screaming at 6:30am over a nightmare of him and Mom.  The nightmare took place in our old house where I lived in high school.  He was in his 20’s by then and I had learned to stand up to him.  He would come and go when he pleased, not really living there, but showing up to stay whenever he wanted and the hell would ensue.  Most of my dreams, or nightmares, are a real depiction of what took place.  We are both home, I try to be calm, but the fear wells up and it’s as if he is an animal that can smell it.  The fear triggers his reaction and the hunt and fight are on.  In this particular dream last night (remember how crazy dreams can be), the fight began and several pieces I don’t remember of me trying to get away and scream but nothing came out; he ended up holding me down as described before, shoving paper into my mouth so I couldn’t breathe.  All the while, Mom was in the next room not hearing my cries.  This was a much more intense dream than usual and I didn’t know where I was but I knew it was a dream I needed to wake up from.  I didn’t know how old I was for instance or that I was in my bedroom or where the door was, because I was looking for it as I tried to wake myself from the screaming cries with tears rolling down my face.  When I finally woke, I couldn’t stop crying.  It’s a horrible realization that these things happen and not just to me, but to thousands of children and much worse than what I went through.  It absolutely breaks my heart.  It takes me back to a time I don’t like to remember, but I am thankful somehow that I have these memories because it gives me empathy and understanding for those that have also endured this type of life.  It also gives me the satisfaction of knowing I survived it, I have strength most don’t have because of it and unfortunately I have insecurities and fears most don’t have as well.  So in everything there is good and bad.  I ignored for so long…I focused on the bad…now I learn from it and focus on the good.

Thanks for coming back, more to come!  Love.