At this exact moment I am having a hard time with reality. I am too close to the situation to be able to distinguish between what is real and what is a part of the mind game. Typing it up in a blog gives me the third person perspective I need. Also, I am an avid multitasker; I have to be with four kids! If being transparent in my struggle can help even one other person then the pain is worth it. That said, my goal with typing this blog post is two fold. One, the self care needed to untangle my mind from the emotional manipulation and two, be an encouragement to anyone that stumbles across my story that needs to hear my words.
What does it mean to love a narcissist? For me it means sacrificing my emotional stability and strength to fill another person’s emotional void.
I have used this metaphor so many times in my previous blogs and in my everyday life that I feel I have become redundant; but it can not be expressed enough. Before each flight the flight attendants give a safety briefing. They stress that in case of an emergency you MUST put your oxygen mask on first before you help someone else with theirs. I believe it was my grandmother that first shared that example with me and truer words have never been spoken. I tried putting on my mask but the oxygen was being sucked out by another person faster than I could breath it in.
To people that have never been lost in a narcissist’s fog it is a very hard concept to not only explain, but to understand. It is like having a leech attached to you but this leech is not sucking on blood, it is sucking on your soul, emotional reserves, and anything else they can get out of you in order to fill their void. I was my husband’s host. My oldest son was also a host for my husbands void but in a different way. He was jealous of my teenage sons outgoing personality and his social competence. By tearing my son down he lifted himself up; my ex husband had been bullied as a child and got pleasure of finally being able to be the bully. My son was a host feeding my ex husbands need for power over others.
As if being sucked dry emotionally was not enough an emotional manipulation tactic was used for several reasons that I will talk about later. This tactic is called gaslighting.
* the dictionary defines gaslighting as a means “To cause (a person) to doubt his or her own sanity through the use of psychological manipulation”
This is my battle as of right now. I can not tell what is real and what is manipulation and as a result I feel like I have gone off the deep end, which I have actually just trying to distinguish between the two! I’m still so lost in the mud on the subject of gaslighting that it is hard for me to even come up with examples; but I guess that is the point of it, how they keep control to continue feeding off their power source.
I can only speculate at this point on the reasons he used this tactic. I feel like in the beginning of our relationship he targeted me because of my strength. Just from my research narcissists are constantly bouncing from person to person looking for people to feed their needs. When they see something they feel they need in another person they set their eyes on them looking to “feed” because they do not have the ability to form their own identity, so they take from others. This is where I like to use the term, “emotional vampire”. Every time I confronted him on his actions here came the gaslighting to keep me in my place so that he could continue to feed. Once I was used up, he left and asked for a divorce.
I was raised by a borderline mother and she has nothing on my soon to be ex husband’s head games. I still don’t understand the target I have on my head that says “easy prey, have at it!” I am so very ashamed to even tell people that I have yet again found myself in an abusive relationship. My perception on what others must think is how pathetic I am, or that I’m lying, “she is always crying abuse” or “does she not ever learn?”. But honestly, I am probably projecting my own thoughts of myself on to other people. My therapist validated my feelings when I asked her the questions, “is this really abuse or am I just crazy and depressed?” she responded with it is abuse, it’s not all in your head; and for the first time since getting married I believed it because my ex had me believing just that, that it was all in my head.
Here is just one example of what I am trying to explain in this blog post. My daughter was throwing up all day today. I had no choice but to call my husband to come get the van to pick up our son from school (we only have one set of car seats between both vehicles). His boss was supposed to be here to supervise contact because of the charges against my husband for the abuse of my son. Unfortunately, his boss was running late and my son needed to be picked up on time. He was angry at me because I was taking my power back by refusing marriage counseling (because what is the point honestly?). To try and put me in my place he told me he got orders to england (watch carefully for the irony. My oldest sons dream since he was younger has been to go to england) and that he was supposed to report for duty in april which just so happens to be my oldest sons birthday and our anniversary. This may or may not be true, if it’s true then God is testing my limits but even if that is the case the timing of when my ex gave me the information makes me want to believe it is just one more tactic to keep me beat down.
I had told him over the weekend I was taking my power back and did not want to reconcile the marriage. He was angry at me for this when he came to pick up my son and this is why I feel he shared that information with me then. True or not, it fucked with my head and made me question God and myself; which was the point I guess.
I wish he had beat the shit out of me instead. There is something so malevolent about a person that skips bodily harm and goes straight for a person’s soul. I am a codependent; I subconsciously seek out people that need rescuing. I hope to change that one day; to start taking care of myself before I try to help others. I can’t feed someone else when my tank is already empty.
I have no clue how to end this blog post because it is an ongoing battle. So, I want to end it with something beautiful. Despite the hell of the past month I am seeing strength in myself that I have not seen in six years. I am being reintroduced to the woman I was before I met my husband. Slowly but surely, I am untangling myself from the mind games and manipulation tactics I lost myself in. I am learning how to laugh again, to joke, and to enjoy the company of others. It’s only been a month but I have reached out to friends no longer afraid of people messing with my head. The most beautiful thing I am taking from this situation with my husband is that not everyone is a narcissist. Not every person on the planet can be compared to a knife that wants to cut me. Some people are genuine and I do not have to be afraid. There is no power in fear and I am taking my power back.
* “gaslight”. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 23 Aug. 2017. <Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/browse/gaslight>.