I stumbled across a Huffington Post article a little late — but a great article was written last week about domestic abuse. Amanda de Cadenet focused on Rihanna (and one of the most publicized domestic abuse cases in recent years). In an interview with Oprah, Rihanna says that Chris Brown is the love of her life and that they have worked through things — they’re much better now.
Cadenet talks about co-dependency and the impact that early damaged relationships have on your future. It’s that feeling of not wanting to leave because at least you know the worst here — the unknown seems so much scarier. She talks about her experience, and I can relate. She says:
“Why would I stay in such damaging relationships? I stayed because I didn’t think I was lovable. I believed I didn’t deserve better, that no one would love me again. I truly believed I’d be alone my whole life if I let go of this great guy.”
After being single for a few months, rewiring my memories and reconnecting, I can say I no longer believe this to be the case. I have revisited places that were “ours” and done things that reminded me of him with new people. I’ve rewired and barely anything stirs in me at all anymore if I stumble across an old photo or his name. Most importantly I’m working on that cliche, loving myself first, and regaining my confidence again.
She also suggests a bunch of books (I’ve added a couple to my book list):
- All Al-Anon literature
- Facing Love Addiction – Pia Mellody
- Women, Sex, and Addiction – Charlotte Kasl
- The Language of Letting Go – Melody Beattie
- Addiction to Love – Susan Peabody
- The Verbally Abusive Relationship – Patricia Evans
Check out the full Huff Post entry here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amanda-de-cadenet/domestic-abuse-why-women-stay_b_1823365.html
I watched a TED video this weekend that resonated quite a bit: How to Spot a Liar by Pamela Meyer. She said that it takes two people to perpetuate a lie. She also said that we are facing an epidemic of deception, but that honesty is a value worth preserving.
Naturally we all have tendencies that convey a lie — fidgeting, hiding secrets, etc. — at some point or another. But we should start paying attention when there is a number of these signs present in a cluster. I guarantee anyone who is being deceived by a gaslighter can point to a number of discrepancies… things that don’t quite match up.
Check out her video here (approximately 20 minutes):
Or directly at: http://www.ted.com/talks/pamela_meyer_how_to_spot_a_liar.html
Riddles and questions, puzzles and secret stories… We’re always looking for the answer. The truth for that particular set of assumptions and variables. Well ladies, sometimes you have to just let go. Analyzing the relationship and picking apart at different variables will not give me the answers I seek. Instead I have made assumptions and understand his role and mine.
We both made mistakes — his just happened to influence my mistakes a lot. But instead of doing the “he said, she said” thing, I need to just let go and find MY own conclusion. If I look for input from him, I will re-engage and he will tether me along as a backup. I’ve opted for a clean break.
So what I know is: I assume he probably did love me somewhere down in his dark and twisted universe. Some of the moments were real. Listen to my friends (many that called out all of the things that ended up being true). Our relationship was unhealthy and I was painfully unhappy with that aspect of my life. What not to have with my next love.
Gaslighting and depleting all of my self worth has impacted me more than anything else these last couple years. It is so strange to hear what people noticed me in and how I acted as a result of this relationship. They sensed a change waaaay before they knew and could pinpoint it. I didn’t talk about it… In case, I thought, in the off-chance that we would work out. I wanted people to still kind of like him and support us. This isolated me beyond belief — I wish I had felt comfortable enough just to talk and let me objectively figure it out sooner. I ignored it and sugar-coated all of the bad things.
Lesson of today: Being in an unhappy relationship is more lonely and isolating than staying active and social alone. Build up a strong support network independent of your relationship — it will serve you well in times of broken hearts, sickness, and joy.
… I created this blog so that I could break the pattern. And to allow myself to put energy into something positive, regardless of where it goes. Hopefully it helps other women that are going through the same thing. I spent a lot of time and energy on my broken relationship and needed somewhere to put it. I needed to be emotionally engaged with my activities–merely moving forward has never been enough for me. I find it to be quite numbing.
So, I am proud that I have resisted the urge to send him answers to his text messages or emails. He say nice things — wishes me well. Holding the piece of candy to lure me back in. Oh yes, do I remember the nice moments? But writing it down, a note to myself, a story somewhere, enlisting my friends… creating that barrier is essential.
Some loves are addicting — but the highs can never be enough to get me through those low lows again. With this post, I am again reasserting my will to cut him entirely out of my life. Maybe this is justice for all the times he ignored me when I needed his help or an ear?
Please pass this term and word along. So many women have no idea what has been done to them for years by their lover.
Picking at the scab, first around the edges and then into the center, only makes the wound worse. Instead of doing this, keep the wound clean–away from infection, keep it covered until it has healed enough, and look at the scar to remember how you got it in the first place.
That paragraph, of course, is just a metaphor for the healing process of a vitriolic and tumultuous relationship. One that left me with an oozing wound. At first I wanted to shout and tell everyone from the high heavens my pain — which is why I think there are soooooo many songs about painful and lost love. Then I wanted to tell a couple of my friends the stories I had hidden from them, out of shame and fear. And now I want peace.
It took a long time to get to the end of the road. To walk away and find a new path, but I am happy that I did. My friends remarked to me that I do not complain about life as much anymore. One said he could not figure out why I was so talkative and upset all the time. He had no clue about the dozen or so text messages I was getting daily picking at me or my life. Once in a while, I would get a nice one. Those are the ones I told people about. I told a few close friends the real story for the necessary validation to help rebuild my circle of support and emotional foundation. I did not infringe on them too much, at least I hope not, they have lives and problems of their own. I know that true support is give and take.
Peace means to me — stability and reasonable boundaries. One book I read in the midst of the pain and his cheating was Not “Just Friends”: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity. The book did a great job of explaining boundaries and why for so long I felt so agitated and hurt. He did not respect my boundaries at all — or even me as a person. Peace means getting my protection and boundaries back — while remaining open to new opportunities and re-engaging old friendships. The little scar left will fade with time, along with it, my pain.
For the first couple weeks, I literally blocked out any thought of him. I had to give myself some time to breathe unhindered. I did not cry when I walked out, but I could feel that sinking and hollow feeling that happens when you grieve.
Blocking it out just delayed my response–my tears, but allowed me to focus on old hobbies and old forgotten friends that he had me push aside. My smile is starting to return and I’m relearning to laugh again. I try to make sure the pain I was in for the last 10 months does not isolate me from my friends and making sure that it does not put too much on them.
The delay response has kicked in. Now, I feel like I’m reliving certain events over and over. I am trying to identify my triggers and diffuse them–slowly. There are certain things that he claims in my mind, I’m re-doing them and making a new memory with friends that love me. All the things he said we would do–that we never did, false promises and false hope. I’m doing them one way or another on my own.
The worst is that my sleep is messed up–and I’m failing to get into a routine. I stay up so late hoping that I would pass out rather than lay in bed thinking about him. I already changed my bedding and anything in my safe place that reminded me of him. I still have a lingering fear that this big saga is not quite over yet. I pray that he never enters my life again and have enlisted the support of all around me to create a protective barrier from information reaching him or anything else. The upside of the isolation is that it was easy to remove him from my life.