What I feel these days? I don’t know anymore. It is nothing like I’ve felt before but, whatever it is, it’s overlaid with so many other emotions that it’s difficult to isolate…
What I feel these days? I don’t know anymore. It is nothing like I’ve felt before but, whatever it is, it’s overlaid with so many other emotions that it’s difficult to isolate…
My screams are always silent ones that circle around my head for days until they run out of steam and die naturally.
What will it take to make you desperate? How bad is the situation before you lost control? Did you experience being so agitated and distraught you thought you will get hysterically mad and start hurting people? Are you the kind of person who becomes easily unhinged? Or do you think you got it all together, conducting your life in an organized fashion, methodically and efficiently? Perhaps you are somewhat in the middle, some days you’re frantic other days you’re okay. Though you are not asking, I can tell you in all honesty that I go through life sensibly and quietly but once in a while I feel murderous and when I’m in this state, all bets are off.
Suspicious? I’m downright paranoid! Here is a very good example how dubious I am. And here and here. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. If people can read what’s going on inside my head… What my ex once said… I’m not fit to go outside. But he meant totally different from what I’m talking about. Remember, this is the guy who once told me that I was fat short and ugly (he’s right of course) that no one aside from him would want me and I could not survive out there on my own. Then when I already left him and he was trying to convince me to come back he told me I was beautiful. Which is which? Maybe he finds short fat and ugly women beautiful. But my replacement is tall, not fat but well-built and alarmingly looks like me according to his now dead aunt. I’m getting sidetracked again. This post is not about him but about one layer (let’s call it facet, sounds much nicer) of my character or is it personality… I think I will lie in a hot bath full of those essentials crystals that supposed to do wonders for my aching joints and muscles but I have yet to experience if the claim is really true. Perhaps I have to put a whole lot, a bottle lot in the water for it to work. Anyway TGIF and see you on Monday?
That’s what I’m trying to do every minute of each day_ suppressing the need to let out all the pent-up emotions which have been building all these years. Stifling the desire to shout, to lash out, to let go of all the anger, the frustrations, the disappointments I’ve been holding on for so long, swallowing the bitter tears smothering the urge to just walk out and run, run as fast and as far away as I could and never come back. I am trying to keep myself in check because I know for a certainty that once I start I will not be able to stop. And from there, there is no way back…
For many years I was in an extremely destructive relationship with someone who has NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) and during that time I was regularly subjected to a variety of emotional, mental and physical abuse.
Every day I walked on eggshells, living in fear of saying or doing something that might trigger an aggressive response.
Many people might wonder why I, or anyone else, would remain in this kind of environment, but by the time I fully recognized that I was in extreme danger, I was already badly emotionally and mentally weakened and debilitated.
I was living in terror waiting to be attacked at any moment and yet I did not feel as though I had the strength or courage to remove myself from it.
Abuse doesn’t always happen overtly and it isn’t always easy to recognize. Often it is a covert, insidious, invisible drip that slowly poisons the victim’s mind so they don’t trust their own judgment, is unable to make life-changing decisions and feels as though they don’t have the coping skills necessary to get help or leave.
It took me a long time, and everything I had, to pull myself from the bottom of the deep dark hell I existed in and to get myself to a place of safety.
By the time I walked away, I thought that the nightmare was over. But in so many other ways, it had only just begun.
The terrors of the taunts, torture, and torment that had become my normality didn’t subside. They remained alive and relieved themselves in the form of intrusive, regular flashbacks.
Many months after I had left the relationship I discovered that I was suffering from C-PTSD, (Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.) C-PTSD is a result of persistent psychological trauma in an environment where the victim believes they are powerless and that there is no escape.
C-PTSD is slightly different than PTSD, which is brought on by experiencing one solitary, traumatic incident, or it can develop due to an accumulation of incidents. Although both C-PTSD and PTSD both developed from my experiences, I identify more with C-PTSD, as it was the effects of the prolonged exposure to repetitive and chronic trauma that I felt I couldn’t escape from that affected me the most.
For many months after leaving the relationship I struggled to sleep at night, and when I did I often woke trembling after experiencing terrifying reoccurring dreams. On many occasions when I did eventually sleep I would sleep solidly for at least 24 hours, in such deep slumber that I would struggle to wake from it and when I did I would feel fatigued, spaced out and as though I was numbly sleep-walking through the day.
I was easily startled and panicked at the slightest sudden movement or loud noise.
I was ultra-sensitive, on edge and highly alert most of the time, which I believe was my mind’s way of forming some sort of self-protection to keep me aware so that I avoided similar potentially dangerous situations.
At the mention of certain words, names or places I felt nauseous and dizzy and would become extremely distressed. A painful tight knot developed in my stomach every time something occurred to remind me of the trauma.
I still have difficulty remembering large phases of my life, and for a long time I struggled to stay focused, and my concentration abilities were very poor.
I would get upset easily, especially if I was in a tense environment. I had constant anxiety and was regularly in fight-or-flight mode.
I didn’t eat properly. I had no motivation and suicidal thoughts regularly flooded my mind.
I had lost my spark.
One aspect of the aftermath of the relationship that affected me most was the daily gaslighting that I endured. This left me finding it difficult to believe anything people would tell me, and I analyzed, questioned and dissected everything.
Forming new relationships, whether friendships or romantic, was almost impossible as I struggled to trust people’s intentions and felt scared of possible underlying, hidden motives and agendas for their words or actions.
I dissociated from most of what I had been through and pretended, even to myself, that the abuse wasn’t as serious as it was. Partly because I felt ashamed that I had not left sooner and also because I wanted to defend and protect the person I was involved with, as I still cared for him. Therefore, I rarely mentioned the relationship to anyone and froze and shut down through stress (sometimes resulting in a meltdown) if anyone tried to talk to me about it.
It got to the stage where I withdrew completely as leaving the house became overwhelming and a major ordeal because I wouldn’t/couldn’t open up and connect and I felt terrified of everything and everyone.
One thing that became apparent and harrowing was that although I had gained enough strength to walk away and I felt empowered by the decision knowing that it was the right choice for my emotional, mental and physical health, I was suppressing all my emotions and feelings and I was far from okay on the inside.
There were many rollercoaster emotions trapped inside me and trying to ignore and contain them was doing more harm than good. In many ways, the ending of the relationship had signaled closure to one phase of my life and had opened up a new chapter that was going to take a little time to get used to.
It appeared that while I was in the relationship I had become so used to enduring a wide variety of narcissistic behaviors that they had almost become normal and acceptable. Stepping away from all that I had known felt like I had walked from one planet and onto another and I hadn’t got a clue how to navigate it on my own or how to relate to anyone on it.
I soon realized that unless I started to focus on healing myself, I would remain a victim of my previous circumstances as the build-up of emotional injuries, wounds, and scars needed urgent attention. Otherwise, they would seep out and silently destroy sections of my life without me being aware that the past was still controlling me.
It was up to me to rebuild my strength and confidence, otherwise, I would end up alienating myself and causing further damage.
I had a lot of inner healing work and restructuring to do and trying to convince myself that just because I had left the relationship everything would be okay, was not going to be enough.
The first and most significant step I took was admitting and fully accepting that the carnage I had experienced was real and had a huge impact on my emotional and mental wellbeing.
I had been surviving by a fragile thread in a domestic war zone and for far too long I had been intimidated, manipulated, lied to and threatened, amongst many other toxic and dysfunctional behaviors. The whole relationship had been an illusion and resulted in me having serious trust issues as well as losing the will to live. I not only struggled to trust other people, but I also realized I had no faith at all in my own intuition, perception or judgment.
Finally, I gave myself permission to take as long as I needed to heal, even if it meant I would spend the rest of my life slowly putting the pieces of my life back together. I came to terms with the fact that there is no timescale for healing and there was no hurry.
I allowed myself to grieve the relationship and the loss of the person I had separated from. This was extremely difficult to do as I had so many mixed emotions due to the scale of the abuse. For a long time, I denied my grief, as it was complex to come to terms with how I could miss someone who had been responsible for vicious behavior towards me.
One of the hardest parts to dealing with this grief was feeling as though I could not talk openly to anyone, as I believed no one would understand how I could remain in such an abusive relationship and still miss many aspects of that person and the life I had with them.
The reason getting over this type of relationship can be so difficult is that many narcissists display both “Jekyll and Hyde” type characteristics, one minute appearing extremely loving and affectionate and the next crippling, cruel and cunning.
It is not easy to explain that I deeply loved and badly missed one side of the person I was involved with, and disliked, feared and never wanted to hear his name mentioned at the same time. Even thinking about this can make one feel a little crazy as it does not feel natural to love and hate the same person.
One essential step toward healing from narcissistic abuse, I believe, is finding someone to really confide in and who doesn’t judge or question anything that is said. Being free to talk openly and comfortably without having to over-explain is vital to start putting the accumulation of experiences into some sort of context. If there isn’t a friend on hand, it is worth taking time to seek out a good counselor with an understanding of C-PTSD deriving from abusive relationships.
The most important thing that helped me to heal was focusing more on healing and rebuilding myself. Although I took time out to research and gain knowledge and understanding of the type of abuse I had been subjected to, I spent far more of my time indulging myself in whatever felt good for my soul.
Slowly and surely I rebuilt myself, formed new friendships, learned to trust people and forgave all of the past. There are still days that it haunts me, but there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel and although it can be difficult to believe that when you start walking through it, as soon as you take the first steps of acceptance the path ahead begins to become clear.
Healing comes by taking one small step at a time, with gentle, loving care and without hurry.
~ Elephant Journal via Alex Myles
Sadly it happened to me. It took me twenty years to wake up and gather all the courage I could muster to walk out and leave for good. Though not every instance of the story above is similar to mine -some of them are better a lot is worse- the experience is similar though different in context. I still suffering from the consequences of my bitter past. I still lock the door and sleep with a big knife under my pillow. I still have nightmares and trust issues and still blame myself for everything. I have no hope anymore that it will get better in time. I am too old and learned to live with the traumas. But who knows… maybe miracles do exist. I’d like to experience a day without me being in a fight or flight mode. I wonder how it is to feel safe. Normal and safe. – Bebong
Lately, I seem to be swimming in a thick syrup, like honey or even better, sludge. Every movement is laboured, forced. Nothing is spontaneous or enjoyable. I lost my mojo.
…that’s how I feel when someone gives me compliments and praises my abilities and achievements. I feel like a fraud, a pseudo, I don’t have so much belief in myself. I find that my capabilities are nothing to praise about. They are ordinary, common, anyone would be able to do them if they really want. I am not special, I am not unique. Most of the time I feel like a fake. What do you know, I can rhyme! Even that is not noteworthy. Even children can do that. The easiest form of poetry I find. And haiku, they are easy to fabricate also. I’m sure you know the drill. What I’m talking about anyway. My life is the opposite of who and what I am. I’m masquerading through the days convincing myself that this is what I want even though my brain is shouting: “No, it’s not!” It’s for the best then I reason and on paper, and at first glance, it really is only it doesn’t feel that way and I find myself sinking deeper and deeper each day. Fading, till I am barely recognizable even to myself. Am I unhappy? What is that? First I have to know what happiness is before I can separate the two from each other. All I know is something doesn’t feel right. Like an itch that you cannot locate but it is definitely there somewhere and it’s driving you crazy. And there is this emptiness, a void that keeps getting bigger and bigger as the days, weeks, years pass by. My whole life is a fraud, not real, a fake, a pseudo of what I imagine or would like it to be. And I don’t know what to do to change that.
I feel like myself is changing. I don’t laugh the same anymore, I don’t smile the same, or talk the same. I’m just so tired of everything, mentally and physically.
I feel like a fish out of water, a bird in the sea
But in the mirror is a girl who looks just like me
She goes through each day like she did before
Suddenly she just isn’t content anymore.
Each day is so fake, words are so hollow
She takes all this in, but it’s hard to swallow
Who is she, this girl that I see?
We look so alike, but how can this be?
I’m a horse in the city, a dog in a cage
A little girl in a body that’s three times my age
That’s not me in the mirror, no not at all
This girl hangs her head low, I held mine up tall.
How did I get so out of place
I want to look in the mirror and see my real face.
I want to hold my head high, I want to see;
There’s a girl looking back, but… she isn’t me.
(from a stranger I don’t recall the name)
I haven’t written anything for public reading in over a year.
I would be lying if I suggested that this jolting silence was for a good reason. It wasn’t.
The truth is that it’s been a hard year.
I’ve been everywhere within but nowhere without; I’ve changed my mind about things—big things—to the point of misunderstanding myself and my intentions; I’ve doubted everything I’ve ever known, and then what I thought I would learn instead, leaving myself doubled over with questions that I hoped would wring out the dark in me.
They didn’t. And believe me, they tried.
I often found myself wondering if I was a mistake—if my existence was entirely faulted from the start, designed for destruction and disappointment.
I wrote poems to myself drenched in blood red f*ck you’s and I wondered what I ever did to deserve such a cold sentiment.
Maybe it had something to do with the way I couldn’t find my purpose in this world or the way I lacked any sense of direction; maybe it was the embarrassment of failing over and over again, since it didn’t even feel like I tried; maybe I deserved the hatred I stitched into my flesh simply because I felt I had nothing to offer, nothing to give and nothing to show.
Maybe it was a little bit of everything that got the best of me. And maybe it all comes down to the fact that I am (and always have been) uncomfortably huge—in passion, in curiosity, in expression and in heart—and so I feared what I could become regardless of what I did or didn’t do.
Maybe that fear told me to run away, encouraging the vicious habit of becoming small enough to disappear.
But just when I thought I was doing a good job (of becoming nothing, that is), I found my edge and jumped. Every time, without fail, I jumped into the darkness before me, hit the jagged bottom of my own hell and exploded into a mess of everything I had ever wanted to be.
As it turns out, taking that same violent fall enough times taught me a thing or two.
Maybe I haven’t found exactly what makes me happy, but I’ve learned what happens when I try to pursue that which I wish made me happy, but doesn’t. And maybe I haven’t figured out exactly who I am, but I’ve learned exactly who I’m not—and who I should stop trying to be.
And that’s precisely why this year(ish) of silence is coming to a close. It served its purpose and in a twisted and painful way, it did what it needed to do. But maybe asking it to stay any longer would undo the strides (okay, ridiculously tiny steps) I’ve made upon hitting that coldly dark bottom.
So here I am. It’s been a hard year.
But once again, I lived. And now, as I find myself begging for (and fortunately finding) gentle hands to guide me in emerging from this thing, I can’t help but think that there must be others out there who know that longing all too well—that desperate plea for someone to reach for them, to see them.
And maybe this will be their sign. Maybe this will be the first hand they grasp. Maybe this will let them know that they are seen, and that the climb is a tough one, but that they are ready to take it—one ridiculously tiny step at a time.
-Relephant: via Sara Rodriguez
I’m just dying to say, ‘Hey, do you ever feel like jumping off a bridge?’ or ‘Do you feel an emptiness inside your chest at night that is going to swallow you?’ But you can’t say that at a cocktail party.
– Paul Gilmartin
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