Tag Archives: relationships

TGIF

I believe in the kind of love that doesn’t constantly demand me to prove my worth and sit in anxiety. I crave a natural connection where my soul is able to recognize a feeling of home in another. Something free-flowing, something simple, something natural. I just want to be taken as I am without question.

maxresdefault (7)

The Invisible Domestic Violence No One Talks About

There were times when I wished he would hit me.

You know, a nice punch to my face. That way, I could have walked to my neighbors and said, “Look! Look what he did! Please help me!” But with me, as with many other women, it wasn’t that simple. It seldom ever is.

Domestic violence has existed as long as humans have walked the Earth. The majority of abusers are men. Most, if not all, were abused as children in some way, shape or form, and were lacking in affection, self-esteem, and good role models. The causes and methods of abuse are many and varied just like the people involved.

Abuse of any type is often a byproduct of years of low self-esteem, feelings of unworthiness, being abused oneself and a million other things all tied together in a vicious knot. It’s a complex and sometimes difficult situation to read.

So too are the circumstances for the victim. No one stays with someone who abuses them physically or verbally because they like to be abused. Most have come to this point because of childhood trauma, a long-term relationship with someone who is an expert at controlling and manipulating their victim, and numerous other issues with self-worth.

The reasons for abuse are almost always the same: abusers need to have power over someone else to help them feel better about their own deficiencies, low self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy.

Women who are in abusive relationships will often defend their abusers and stay in the relationship long past the time they should have left. It is often the female who blames herself and keeps trying to make things work. Sometimes it’s the subtle mind games of the controlling, manipulative partner that cause a woman to doubt herself and her feelings.

This is often difficult for those who have never been in an abusive relationship to understand, but there are many reasons for this. Some are easily understood, some not so much.

Sometimes it is low self-esteem that holds them in place. My therapist kept asking me one question at the end of every session: “Why did you stay?” I kept answering, “I didn’t want to hurt him.” Then one day, it hit me like a brick. Because of past traumas reinforced by my relationship, I didn’t feel like I deserved any better.

Sometimes it is simply fear that holds them in place. It could be fear of retaliation from the partner should they seek help, or, especially in cases involving verbal abuse and controlling behavior, they feel no one will believe them.

Many times women have taken a stand and decided to leave only to have the abuser decide to end it for all concerned. There have been many cases of this resulting in the death of the woman, and sometimes the children, family, and friends, before the abuser turns the weapon on himself—finally putting an end to the vicious cycle.

Many think that that non-physical abuse is not as harmful or dangerous. This can be a huge mistake. Unlike the women who have been physically abused, there are no outward signs of mistreatment. All the wounds and scars are deep within the psyche—branded in the soul of the abused.

Verbal abuse, and the controlling, manipulative behavior that goes along with it, are the silent killers. Instead of taking a physical life, these abusers will kill a woman’s spirit slowly and painfully. Those who are adept at manipulation do this without anyone imagining the truth of the situation. Outwardly they may appear as the “perfect couple.” Inwardly the woman is in tremendous emotional pain and turmoil. She may not trust her own judgment any longer and may think that this is just how things are meant to be.

The signs and symptoms are many and varied, but they all share the same core issues. There are some subtle warning signs to look for. They include, but are not limited to the following:

  • A woman who is overly critical of herself and always defending her partner.
  • Someone who never socializes without her spouse or partner being present.
  • An overbearing partner, or one who treats their partner like a child.
  • Partner is constantly correcting or showing possessiveness with their actions.
  • And the obvious: unexplained or suspicious bruises, burns and broken bones.

As a society, we must learn to see and recognize these signs and reach out to help in whatever way we can. It may be nothing more than just assuring them that you’re there if they need to talk and really listening if they do so. And if at all possible, let them know they have a place to stay should they need to leave in a hurry. Keep the Domestic Violence Hotline number handy in case they want to call. Sometimes this is all you can do.

We can all learn to listen better, to see more clearly when someone in our life needs help. Sometimes all these women need in order to seek help is non-judgment, kindness, and presence. Chances are they will open up if they feel safe with you.

There comes a time in all types of these relationships when the victim can’t bear it anymore. She must walk away and seek help. Simply having a friend to go to at such a time can be a lifesaver in every sense of the word.

Leaving a long-term abusive relationship is not as easy as most would think. Women tend to blame themselves and keep hoping that things will improve. If someone comes to you for help, please don’t judge. Accept the fact that things are not always as they seem, and reach out a helping hand.

Relephant: Via Deb Avery

Injured woman leaning sadly on wooden wall

Domesticated

He shoved her roughly onto the kitchen table, causing dishes to crash to the floor and condiments to dig into her arched back. He mounted her just as roughly, his body crushing hers until his arms found a place on either side of her head and a knee wedged itself between her thighs.

Effectively, she was trapped in by a wall of such strong masculinity. In one strong pull; he ripped her blouse open, the buttons stinging her face like rubber bullets. With a few more tugs, the bright silk garment lay crumpled and torn, discarded on the floor.

His movements were harsh and spastic as he roamed around her body. Hard hands bruising tender flesh. She struggled involuntarily under the crushing weight of his body.

Impatience causes him to grab a nearby knife to cut off any and all remaining articles of clothing. Her lacy black bra fell first, followed shortly by her cotton skirt. Her nylons proved to be a challenge. He nicked her half a dozen times before finally getting them off.

After what seemed like ages but was, in reality, a couple of minutes, she was completely exposed. By now his desire was threatening to rip his front open and she could feel the terrible pressure and heat on her thigh.

Three seconds and his garment were undone. Another three seconds and he was inside… An outcry of pain escaped her lips as he quickened the pace even further. His grin was wicked, the fear left her eyes. Her cries were that of pleasure now.

They climaxed soon after and he dismounted her abruptly. She went upstairs, her head held high to get dressed and freshen up before heading back to work.

Leaving her unemployed husband home to clean up his mess.


I found this excerpt in my old documents. I don’t remember writing it and I have no idea how it gets there. I received tons of materials from friends and acquaintances I long lost track of their origins. They are from a file labeled “strangers” I don’t know what that means. Anyway, I find that it fits the prompt quite well. Literally.

sex life

Bury

When a word (or anything for that matter) hits close to home it hurts. How can I bury the painful memories of my youth and most of my adult life? My youngest sister doesn’t want to bury the hatchet. She continues to nurse an imaginary wound, sustains it through the years, feeds it with anger and hate till it grows like cancer eating her from the inside. For the record, the offense didn’t happen at all. She made it up as an excuse to harm me in every possible way. She uses it to justify her wrong doings, damage me and drag my name through the mud, ruining everything I built and worked for. 

If there is someone who has the right to hate, it would be me. My reasons are supported by facts. The only thing I regret so far is allowing all of these to happen for so long before I see them for what they truly are: parasites. They used me. All of them. With no regards for my feelings and hard work. They cheat, lie and deceived. And I let them because I thought they are family. I thought I meant something more to them than merely a meal ticket. I was wrong. 

You know what is the worst of all? When people believe their own lies. They create a reality for themselves so they can live with what they have done. How they can look at themselves in the mirror straight in the eyes while deep down inside they know they are lying. I severed the umbilical chords few years ago. I have enough. I don’t want to know anymore. But they continue to haunt me. Physically, emotionally and psychologically. I know that my sister will carry her grievance to her grave. She will devote her life on the quest of bringing me down. She had done this all her life, she doesn’t know any better. There is sibling rivalry and there is pure evil pretending to be something else. Her jealousy and hatred consume her. I Can see that. I pity her. Living in lies all these years. Doing all the things she accuses me of doing all the while pretending to be the victim.  She said she has to let go of the things that are making her unhappy and I thought: Why not start with facing and telling the truth for once? Then maybe your burden will lessen considerably and maybe you can finally rest.

But like what my ex-husband said to me when I asked him why he didn’t come clean sooner so perhaps we could still fix what needed to be fixed he said: When you entangled yourself with your own web of lies it is difficult to find your way out. One lie leads to another, then another thinking you can cover your ass by fabricating more lies believing you will be able to get yourself out somehow but he was wrong of course. Truth will always prevail. Always. And I’m counting on it…

  voodoo-spells3 (2)

Until We Are Whole, We Will Continue To Attract Halves

“What I can do is offer myself, wholehearted and present, to walk with the people I love through the fear and mess. That’s all any of us can do. That’s what we’re here for.” ~ Shauna Niequist

Until we have become whole, we will attract those who are meant to teach us lessons about who we are.

This isn’t about just learning to love who we are, but about welcoming each and every part of ourselves without shying away from the aspects we see as contradictions.

To love is a journey that first begins with the formation of our true self.

While many of us have grasped the idea that there is no one out there who can truly be our other half, we still are learning lessons about ourselves or who we choose to be with.

Every single one of us is on a different path, with a different philosophy about love. Yet we all have similar lessons to learn.

To be whole means that we’ve discovered the truth about who we are. Not who we have been told we are, or who we have been conditioned to be—but our truest self—apart from anyone else’s expectations.

This means that we have to make the conscious choice to follow our intuition—our hearts will lead us in an authentic direction. This can be one of the most difficult aspects of life because we are taught to consider others in our choices.

But in reality, we are not living our life for anyone else.

Until we can feel comfortable with who we are, then we will continue to attract individuals who teach us lessons about ourselves.

Personally, part of my journey toward love has involved learning that sometimes what I thought I wanted was the very thing I didn’t need. I was raised as the “good girl.” I never wanted to disappoint my loved ones and I upheld the conservative norms that were expected of me. But during this period of my life, I never stopped to actually consider whether my actions truly aligned with who I was. It was easier to continue blindly doing what I thought I should, instead of stopping to whether it what I really wanted.

So at the time, I didn’t attract a whole person, but another half who was meant to cause chaos and upheaval in my life forcing me to awaken to who I wanted to be.

It wasn’t easy and it also wasn’t the end of my journey or lessons on self-love.

To be able to identify as whole we first have to discover exactly what we are made of, and what our purpose is here on Earth. For many of us, we can only experience these lessons with someone who reflects back our insecurities and our past wounds.

One time I chose a man who was emotionally unavailable because I hadn’t yet become comfortable with my own truth or ask for exactly what I needed.

Honestly, I still hadn’t accepted the truth of what I wanted, so I didn’t expect anyone else to either.

I desperately tried to blend in and fulfill his needs, swallowing down my own truth, and start on the path of traditional love, fulfilling the typical pinnacle moments that many identify as lasting love, such as marriage and children.

Yet, no matter how much I tried to utter the words he needed to hear, I just never could.

I was just a half, trying to find completion by fulfilling the needs of another. I was trying on his capes that I was never meant to wear. Instead, I finally made the choice to take them off and become the woman who I really was all along.

Truthfully, I had been scared of her for a long time.

She was different, her thoughts didn’t align with what everyone else was doing and it seemed that what she wanted things that didn’t exist. This woman didn’t just dance to the beat of her own drum; she flat out created her own music. The most frustrating aspect of her was that even to me, she never made sense.

She was wiser than her years and experiences. She didn’t fit into one box comfortably and seemed to enjoy so many things that it was impossible to decide which her favorite was.

But one evening, I sat her down and looked her in the eyes, realizing that in order to become whole, I needed to accept her.

I needed to love her exactly for who she was, and instead of trying to fit her into someone else’s life, I needed to let her create her own life.

This isn’t an act that was done overnight, or without tears or heartbreak but once we let ourselves balloon out in our entirely whole, beautiful selves, we will finally be in the position to welcome another whole individual into our lives.

We won’t try fitting into their molds or cutting their sharp corners in an attempt to make them fit into ours. We simply will finally be in a place to accept another exactly for who they are, because we have learned to accept ourselves for who we truly are.

Until we have made the choice to love who we really are—contradictions and all—we will continue to attract those who only love a fraction of ourselves.

~via Kate Rose

19430141_1377552665631406_872787964971300782_n

Why We Cheat

Let’s get into a place where we can talk about cheating in relationships.

Let’s not talk about all the cheating that other people are doing, or all the times that we’ve been cheated on.

Let’s talk about something we are less alright with: talking about our own cheating.

Because if we really sit down and are honest with ourselves, we know that everyone cheats.

We are cheaters.

We can lie to ourselves and say, no that wasn’t really cheating because of this reason over here…

(Cue sarcastic brain-voice) Yeah, okay, us—before we start squaring our thoughts and behavior away into labels that aren’t as scary, let’s be honest with ourselves about what cheating is. 

Cheating is anytime we would not want our partner seeing what we’re doing.

If we would change our behavior when they enter the room, then we’re managing the image they have of us, and we are managing it to keep them from knowing things.

This means that the cheating line is not drawn with sex, because we can cheat without having sex, and we can have sex without cheating. The line is not indicated by any external marker–not with blow jobs or drunk-make outs or outright flirtations. The cheating line is drawn at intention.

The cheating line is drawn when we’re hiding, and it’s not that we are hiding from our partners, it’s that we are hiding from ourselves. When cheating is manifest into a lie, that lie is not to the person we are ‘cheating on,’ that lie is the lie that tells us that it’s okay to be in a relationship where we are cheating.

We don’t need to beat ourselves up about this. There’s nothing wrong with us.

We cheat on our partners for all kinds of reasons—it has nothing to do with them. We cheat because we’re pissed off, we cheat because we’re insecure, we cheat because we’re lonely. This is driven by the subconscious part of ourselves that is trying to figure out how to have good relationships.

We have probably cheated on every single partner that we have been with. Maybe we haven’t had sex with people outside our relationships (or maybe we have), but we’ve had those gut-clenchy moments of I can’t tell my partner about this.

Those are the moments we need to pay attention to. If we’re already having sex with other people and not talking about it, there are mountains of other things we have not been talking about with our partners. For months. Or years. Or millennia.

We need to pay attention to the moments where we have this thought: I can’t be myself around the person I’m in a relationship with. 

Here is the logic of that: we are born as ourselves, we aren’t anybody else (we know this because we have skin that keeps us separate from others). This is the only constant–that from birth until death, we will always be ourselves, living inside of ourselves. Therefore, whether we realize it or not, we want our lives to feel easy for us to be ourselves.

We aren’t cheating because this is our idea of a good time. We are cheating because we are experiencing disconnection with ourselves and we don’t know a different way to feel good, so we only allow ourselves to feel good in short bursts.

We don’t like cheating.

We want to find the path of lowest resistance so that as we go through life, it feels effortless to be ourselves.

If our relationships are making it difficult for us to be ourselves, then what the fuck are we doing there? 

Why are we in a relationship where we have to stay bottled in?

And here’s how cheating reinforces itself: we know when we feel bottled in (even if we aren’t saying anything about it), and all we want is to let ourselves out. Cheating is a way of letting ourselves out.

(So once we start cheating with a partner, do we ever really stop?  I think the answer to this could be yes or no, but we should really sit down and have an honest conversation with ourselves about the matter.)

It’s easy to look at cheating as a big bird-flip to whomever we are cheating on.

But—if we’re cheating, then we’re in a relationship where we’re fucking cheating, and cheating feels like shit.

Cheating feels like shit even if we come home from banging our mistress (or mister) to crawl into bed with our wife (or hubby), and high-five ourselves in the mirror during clean-up. The high-five is just a cover-up, a justification to go to sleep tonight like this and wake up tomorrow and let this be reality for one more day.

So we know that this is a no-win situation for anyone. We don’t want to be cheating. We really don’t.

Because we know–somewhere inside of us—that when we start even just thinking about cheating, that’s when the cheating starts, and we haven’t quite mastered the ability to control our thoughts yet, so it’s not as if we are asking for this.

We would definitely rather have a relationship with someone where those thoughts never pop up. That would be splendid.

But sometimes the thoughts do pop up and we don’t know how to control that–because we’re not enlightened all the time—because we don’t know the secrets of the universe—because we aren’t perfect–because, because.

We’re just becoming ourselves. That’s all we’re doing.

We want to figure out how to make our lives feel good when we’re not cheating.

Even when we’re cheating, our whole goal of everything is to figure out how to not cheat and still feel good.

Because we know that cheating has to end. It’s highly unsustainable, and there’s only a short period of time that the cheating can take place before rapid shifts happen (either we talk about it and it becomes dramatic, or we cut someone out of our lives, but something dramatic happens—it’s too much pressure in such a small space). So even if cheating feels good, we know that it won’t feel good, soon. Very soon the shift is coming.

It’s like remembering we saw a slippery when wet sign a few seconds ago and then seeing someone in high heels running through the hallway trying to answer the phone—we know the jaw-to-floor collision is going to happen, and we feel powerless to make it stop.

There’s nothing wrong with it. Any of it. It’s just that when we’re cheating, it doesn’t feel good.

There is one agreement we must make with ourselves to cut the internal tie between us and cheating. We must agree with ourselves when we say: cheating doesn’t feel good, I no longer want to be cheating.

That is the agreement. We must make that agreement with ourselves, otherwise the cheating continues to happen.

That is the only resolution. It’s not changing our partner (although we may find that we want to cheat on some partners more than others. That’s okay.), or changing our friends, or not going to bars.

It’s that one simple internal agreement.

When we make that agreement, cheating begins to stop in our relationships. It stops making sense. Maybe we cycle through a few weird relationships while we’re going through this conversation with ourselves, but eventually, the cheating stops.

The cheating stops because we start talking to our partners about what we’re feeling and what we’re going through.

We start paying more attention to how our relationship feels to us so that if we are going to cheat on someone, we catch a thought of cheating early, before chaos ensues to several lives, and we bring this to conversation with our partner, which maybe brings us closer.

We start creating bonds that are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually engaging, so that our relationships feel full and stable.

We love cheating because it helps us grow.

And what a beautiful thing: that we are given things to outgrow; obstacles to overcome. And we get to be ourselves the whole way through.

Man, life is good.

~Brentan Schellenbach

Unfaithful Husband

Commit

My father used to say: Once you commit yourself to something, you have to give it all, heart and soul or otherwise don’t do it at all. I abide to that rule since day one and still live by it. A source of ongoing conflict between me and D. He has an irritating ways of doing everything halfheartedly, especially those that don’t interest him and I can tell you nothing interests him much. Aside of course for the things that directly and personally concern him like technology and chocolates. No, I am not complaining. Just trying to make an example I can vouch for. Like yesterday, I asked him to kindly deadhead a rose bush- just one rose bush- by the fence in the front garden (gardening doesn’t interest him) because it has climbed higher than I can reach. This morning looking out I saw that the dead flowers are still hanging on the canes. When I asked him about it he said he removed the spent blooms that was hanging outside the fence and will do the rest in the near future. There was only one flower outside the fence, the rest are inside, and since he was busy with it anyway why not cut all the dead effing flowers?  

But that is D. He is fond of procrastinating, waltzing around, and only doing things you assigned him to do if he likes to do it. He is lost without manual and in most tasks you even have to hold his hand and guide him through it and if you are impatient like me, you will end up doing everything by yourself. I can’t take his words at face value because what he says and what he does are completely different things. I’m talking about simple things like locking the doors, windows, setting the alarm, putting the car inside switch off the cooker and so on. Little things that can have irreversible damage if something goes wrong and believe me it did already in the past. There were other big negligence caused disasters that costed us money which can be avoided if he only commit himself of not doing the same mistakes over and over again. “Next Time” is his favorite excuse. Always next time. But although if I’m lucky he will indeed not do the same exact mistake again, he will do it other way- same MO different concept. Mind blowing. 

He drives me crazy (and probably I do the same to him with my goal-oriented perfectionist ways of doing things) but we are married to each other. We made a commitment a long time ago to stay together for better or for worse. He is a sweet guy. You can’t argue with him because he doesn’t say a thing and just stands there. Fights cannot escalate when it’s only you doing the talking. His most endearing qualities are the ones that can also make me want to sign a divorce paper blindfolded, like being passive and childish, accommodating, nonchalant and diffident. Sometimes I really want to give up but I am stubborn. Once I commit myself into anything I see to it that I did already everything possible for the cause to work out before throwing in the towel. So when I close the door there will be no regrets and no self-reproach later on. That’s why probably it took me twenty years to walk out from my first marriage even though it was a living hell. My tenacity for holding on while others would have already jump off ship could also be my downfall.

I’ll take a shower now before I get carried away again. This evening I will be attending the premier of my favorite movie of all times: Transformers. See yah later…

happy-couple-horizontal-close-2-sepia-old1

Loop

Let’s put our cards on the table: some women are stuck with men who don’t deserve them, yet we often fail to take the necessary steps to leave them.

Talking from personal experience, what used to comfort me was realizing there are many out there whose situations were just like mine, friends and strangers alike.

Let’s take Frida Kahlo for instance. She willingly stuck with Diego Rivera, yet everybody knew that he didn’t deserve her. Their story used to be my inspiration, back when I was stuck with a man I wanted to leave, but never felt I could. I tried to speculate: why did she stay with him, and how did it feel to stay while feeling miserable?

The reasons for staying are many, and each woman can only acknowledge her own. Still, I think we usually stay with men who don’t deserve us for four main reasons—and we won’t admit these to anyone but ourselves:

1. Fear—It can be fear of leaving and not finding another man we can profoundly love, or fear of leaving when there’s a chance he will change.

2. Attachment—Not only attachment to him, but attachment to the history together.

3. Hope—Believing that the man we love doesn’t deserve us can be devastating, so we keep hoping that things will get better.

4. Giving Up—Being with the wrong man depletes a woman of her energy.

Rather than taking the below crucial steps to fix my situation, I simply accepted my reality.

We know that leaving isn’t as effortless as some may think it is. Talk is easy, but when it comes to taking action, it can be the most complicated process, ever. We will have guilty thoughts accompanied with emotional loss. And the worst is being stuck with a man who manipulates us into staying every time we try to leave.

One thing I won’t say is this: “Leave, he doesn’t deserve you.”

I’ve personally heard that quite a lot, and frankly it never helped me with anything. As a result, I unconsciously stayed with my partner when I saw the whole world was against him.

Today, I will tackle the steps that helped me leave. Attachment to my partner and to my suffering blinded me then, but with great introspection and courage, I was finally ready to take the blindfold off my eyes.

1. Use the statement “talk to the hand, because the ears aren’t listening.”

Keep this in mind when people tell us why we should leave. Gently ask them to keep their opinions to themselves, or simply turn a deaf ear to them—maybe fantasize about an exquisite Martini on the beach while they’re talking. This can be difficult to do, especially since the people talking will mostly be our family and close friends, but it is crucial to develop our own opinions on the matter.

As long as we listen to what other people are saying, it will be impossible to prioritize our thoughts. Our actions will be based on other’s perceptions and not ours.

2. Be a recluse.

Once we’ve succeeded in doing step one, now it’s time to form our own line of thinking. In order to do this, we should stay away from everyone, including our man. Take a vacation for a week, if you must. We will get nowhere attempting to find our own thoughts with our man next to us. In other words, we shouldn’t be influenced by him.

Space is critical to know what we should do. Perhaps after spending some time alone, we’ll figure out a new way of dealing with him, other than leaving. Whatever the decision, it cannot be shaped unless we take space.

3. Introspection followed by making a decision.

Now it’s time to make a decision. But for us to take this step, we should pay a visit to the past. Sit quietly and go back to the beginning of your relationship. Note the good times, as well as the bad ones. With this introspection, we can come out with a decisive conclusion: If the bad times outweighed the good ones, it is a clear sign that deep inside us lies a whole lot of pain and it’s probably time to leave.

However, when going back to the past, our mind might draw the good times and hardly recall any bad ones. If this is the case, maybe it’s better to reconsider our decision.

4. Find stability within you.

Once we’ve decided to leave, we should find that place inside ourselves where we can lock our emotional stability, which is pivotal to sticking with your decision. Our man might try everything possible make us stay. If we aren’t emotionally stable, we will fall for the trap—just as I did, many times.

Remember: your emotional stability is your weapon, without it you can’t go to war with your man. He will fight you with all the beautiful words in the world and all the unforgettable history you both had. Fight back with your stability and you shall win.

5. Don’t push yourself.

Now that we know we want to leave, it is better not to draw a time frame—we can take all the time we need to do it. Maybe we will be ready in a week, and maybe in a year. Some of us might stay longer, to get over the relationship while staying with him. This way, once we’re not together anymore, we won’t suffer as much.

Take for instance people suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction. To refrain from their habits, some might slowly cut back before they are ready to completely stop.

6. Plan your future.

One thing we don’t want to happen after leaving, is to regret what happened. In order to prevent this, we should plan our future ahead of time. Maybe plan a trip, register for activities, programs, even meditation classes. Never leave yourself without any plans, at least at the beginning of your journey alone.

When a relationship ends, we should use our time wisely. To prevent feeling lonely or bored—and particularly regretful—we should keep ourselves busy so we don’t drown in negative thoughts.~

When using this guide women should keep in mind that they’re the only ones responsible for their own happiness. There is no such thing as “accepting reality”—we are the creators of our reality.

Love shouldn’t make us miserable or doubtful. If it does, then it’s not love. It’s only a false image of love that is controlled by ego, attachment and neediness. Never be weakened by fear. Fear is a liar. Follow your intuition, be strong, and remember: everything looks hard from a distance.

~Relephant Read: Via Elyane Youssef

0607_odd_jobs_vinyl_630x420

Once Upon A Time

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 began.

The terrors of the taunts, torture and torment that had become my normality didn’t subside. They remained alive and relived 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 from 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 solid 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 to 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 “Jeckyll 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…

Author: Alex Myles

Injured woman leaning sadly on wooden wall

Puncture

If you ask me this is what happens to most relationships_ a puncture here and there brought by little disagreements, irritations, minuscule fissures of disappointments, tiny holes of dissatisfaction, awakenings, disillusions and before you know, the once voluminous affair full of dreams, passion and false hopes is nothing but a depleted space that keeps growing between you two till it become unbridgeable, irreparable and there is nothing left but to accept the fact that the once had been will never be the same again.

Most people separate. Some brave it through and stay together even though the relationship is over waiting for it to die a natural death. They stay for the children, for financial reasons, for image, for family, for any excuse they can think of in order not to join the statistics. The lucky ones have friendship to fall back on and content themselves with platonic alliance, living like brother and sister side by side bound by mutual respect and care for each other fuel by the memories of how it was once upon a time. Those like I said are the lucky ones.

For most of us the once paradise becomes a prison, living with fellow inmates whom like themselves are bored to death but terrified to venture out there and explore the unknown even though the door is never been locked. If you are living too long in one condition, options are terrifying prospects. The uncertainty of freedom is paralyzing so, better to stay indoors where everything is safe and familiar. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. And so they say.

Mind you I can’t blame them. Relationship like love is a verb. It needs constant tending in order to flourish. If you don’t stoke the fire it will die down sooner or later. They say passion lasts only two years, maximum. No one can sustain a passionate relationship for too long. It is time and energy consuming and hazardous to physical and mental health not to mention emotional and psychological well-being (or is it the same thing?) Anyway, real life is far from romance novels. There are bills to pay, children to feed and send to schools. And between work, social, family life and mortgages screaming for constant attention, the first to suffer and disappear is the time for romance. Funny how people forget the most important thing in the midst of chaos. Most don’t realize that without a healthy dynamics between couples, the rest will eventually die as well.

What to do to keep the balance?

I would say find out what works for you and keep doing it. Maybe for you setting a date  for romance once a week will do. For others who love spontaneity (like me) whenever it itches scratch it. Forget about everything for a moment. The dirty dishes and laundry will not run away if you spend a 15-30 minutes (or how long it takes to satisfy the cravings) private moments with your other half. You would be surprise what a couple of unplanned little us-time could do to boost your relationship and add colors to your days.

Other things that might work are giving compliments, saying thank you telling each other your appreciations for what the other does for you and your family, smiles, unexpected little kisses on the cheeks, spontaneous hugs, little notes left in lunch boxes, post-it messages on the fridge. Tease and play with each other, sweet and naughty text messages, anything that shows that despite of your busy schedules you don’t forget your sweetheart exists.

Those are the tapes that sealed those little punctures when you quarrel or have disagreements. When you see a hole or created one, see to it that you repair them before it is too late. Unless you want the whole thing to collapse and be depleted.

P.S.

Did not edit this piece. Any mistake you see, please be lenient.

Businessman-and-businesswoman     

I’m The Type Of Person Who Is In Awe Of Pain

Everything I have created in my life, be it drawings or poems, was driven by suffering. Through you, however, was I able to create something driven by love and happiness.

I wrote you nothing but beautiful words.

The tables have turned today. For the first time, I reach out to you with melancholic words—yet I’m not sure if you deserve any more words from me.

I’m not the type of person who blames other people. When it comes to you, I’m only blaming myself.

I lulled myself into thinking you loved me. Doing so gave me a sense of security. I kept coming to you like a dog would come to a treat. But the truth is, you never asked me to come; and maybe this is why I blame myself.

I blame myself because it was crystal clear that we were not going anywhere and yet, I kept myself living in a shell of delusion. I translated your passiveness to humility, your silence to empathy and your reluctance to hope.

I drew a thoroughly different image of you than who you truly are. And yet, the universe was intelligent enough to spin the wheel of events and unveil the reality of your flimsy emotions toward me.

You never understood love, for if you did, you would’ve understood that nothing can keep you away from the person you truly want. No mistakes, no uncertainty and no doubt can keep your soul away from hers. No temptation and no desires can have you kissing lips other than hers.

A man who truly loves is a man who aims to fix, to understand what went wrong and own his part of the problem.

A man who loves is a man who forgives, who helps his partner remove the cloud that’s shadowing the truth.

A man who loves is a man who overcomes his fears and strongest insecurities.

But here I am today, learning more about the type of man you truly are. I am waking from the dream I’ve been in for far too long. You’re not the one who woke me up though—time and situation did.

And it seems you have woken up as well, considering you have disappeared. You were like a storm that knocked me over then vanished into nothingness.

I don’t hate you—I have loved you deeply, to the extent of not allowing any traces of hate to occur in the future.

But I suddenly feel indifference. I feel what I should’ve felt long ago.

As for you, we both know now that you were already indifferent about all of this. There is no need to keep speculating whether you love me or not. You see, love is simple and easy to spot. Love is a moment that transforms into forever. When you fall in love, there are no doubts, no speculations, no over-thinking.

You just know that this is the person you want to wake up next to every morning for the rest of your life.

And so, love defeats all. To love is to tightly hold a rose with all its thorns and allow them to deeply sink in your flesh. But if you’re not in love, you’ll behold that rose and think twice before scratching yourself with the tiniest thorn.

And sadly, you only stared at my rose, but never held it the way I thought you would.

Passive man, I set you free now. I set you free from my love, myself and my being.

Although I thought I wasn’t expecting much of you, the ugly truth is, I was. And thus, I too set myself free from the expectations and delusions that I willingly delved into.

You’re the one who taught me what love is and at the same time taught me what love isn’t.

And now, I can only thank you for the lessons and the memories.

~Relephant

ritual burning 2e

Finding The One Later In Life

The Mystery

Having met you later in life,
there are no memories of
young romantic love,
high school roller skating parties,
college weekdays longing for your touch.

No memories of experiencing together
life’s first tastes of freedom
or the innocence of believing that
we had all the time in the world.

I never knew your young body nor you mine;
those days when I looked radiant in the morning.

When life finally brought us together
We stood before each other
In the stark reality of all we had become.
Too mature to hide
Yet secretly wondering
If the other would stay
And if love was worth the trouble
After all this time.

Piece by piece
We removed the layers of life
Shedding off what no longer served us
Until we discovered a place deep inside,
Beyond judgment, expectation,
Or what anyone else thought

Where we found only pure light.

Smiling, we instinctively knew
We had everything we needed
For the rest of the journey.

Now
With you by my side
I can see the light in your eyes
Reminding me
Of who we really are.

Forgiveness has never been so easy
And love so real.

Having met you later in life,
The knowledge that our time here is limited
Grows stronger with each passing moment.

Instead of running,
I pause and breathe.
Hold your gaze.
Feel your energy.
And open my heart to the mystery of life.

Author: Christy Sperrazza

iStock_000005318605Large2e

Why Do People Cheat?

Is cheating bad? No, but I think most people would argue that it’s just plain wrong. But if we get stuck in cheating being “wrong,” we lose the opportunity to understand what drives it.

So, why in God’s name do people cheat? What is their problem? Are they just mean, cruel narcissists?

Nope.

Are they just bad people?

Wrong again.

Cheating is a normal human behavior when a person doesn’t know to do relationships (which is most people).

Cheating is what we, human beings, do when we purchase a fantasy about relationship and then expect it to feel good all the time. When the relationship gets hard, the doorway to “cheat” opens because we are suckers for avoiding pain and seeking pleasure.

Contrary to popular belief, cheating is not for losers, and cheating isn’t done by sociopaths that are out to get us.

Cheating is done by normal people who don’t know how to articulate and express their frustrations with their current relationship and are too scared to be honest about it.

Cheating is a great release for people who are not able to sit in the hot fire of their experience when the relationship gets uncomfortable.

In other words, people who cheat seek relief from pain. Understandable, pretty much everyone is carrying around a certain amount of pain.

Little do cheaters know, that like wack-a-mole, they are exchanging one set of problems for another set.

In other words, you can run from your relationship problems, but you can’t hide.

But what the person who gets cheated on? What’s going on with them?

Victims of cheating are, nine times out of ten, in my experience, people who feel bad about themselves. In other words, cheating happens most often to people who don’t value or respect themselves.

So, what to do to get cheated on? Don’t respect or value yourself.

These same people, instead of being open to this perspective, will deny this truth and claim, “I love myself completely, I don’t know what you are talking about! He/she is just a mean jerk for cheating on me.”

Not so fast folks.

If we point the finger at them, it keeps us in the victim seat. Is that where we want to stay stuck?

If we truly respect who we are, we wouldn’t be paired with a person who cheats on us. We’d have a different set of relationship challenges.

By getting cheated on, we are being asked to value ourselves.

So, if you are a cheater, instead of cheating on someone, face your relationship problems and the part of you that is addicted to the dopamine rush of instant gratification. Or, give yourself permission to be polyamorous for a while and stop pretending that you can do monogamy.

And, for the folks who got cheated on—instead of complaining about being cheated on, see and own your part—that you value yourself only to the degree that they value you. Next, see how you being cheated on is your opportunity to value yourself way more than you do.

~ Elephant Journal

Unfaithful Husband