Alone and Unbreakable

This will be my last post on this subject.  What I have really learned about surviving abuse is no one cares.  Especially if you are a man.  People can not stand to look into the darkest side of human and see the pain and suffering that exists there.

Even when I was going through it I was alone and when I would reach out I was told I just making it up.  I was taken back to my abuser and told I was making up wild stories and he brutally beat me.  I learned then that I was alone and the only way to survive was to take the beatings, humiliations and worst and afterward pick myself up, say nothing, and move on.

The theme of my life has been a struggle for love and acceptance, so I would be kind and nice to people in hopes that I would find those things.  What I found was people who enjoyed berating me, belittling me, and humiliating me.  When I took offense at these things I was told it was my fault because I can not take a joke.

Hurting someone for your own amusement is not funny, or a joke…it is just plain mean.  I call the people who like to do this to me friends.

If I am not the one who reaches out to my friends then I do not hear from them.  As I am making a new life for myself I let all my friends know I still love them and I am here for them and then I waited to hear from them…for minutes….for hours…for days….for weeks…for months.    Nothing.

Then one day, when I was at work, I finally got a phone call, and I was happy.  I mattered.  When I listen to the message it was a friend accusing me of vandalizing their house and trying to poison their dog.

In that moment I felt like a little boy again hiding in the dark hoping the monster doesn’t come again…

I began life in the gutter.  Beaten, broken and thrown away.  Left there to be forgotten.  From there I picked myself off, said nothing and moved on.  I looked to the world for love and acceptance and what I got was berated, belittled, and humiliated.  I guess I never have been able to crawl out of that gutter.  I guess I have been there all along.

So I stand alone…I have taken my beaten, gotten back up, and now I am moving on…people will always see what they want to see…very often that is something bad…

I leave with a song that expresses how I feel….I can still be hurt, but I will stand my ground…take my beating…stand up…and move on…

 

 

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Happiness is within!!

It opens with a beautiful aerial shot of a plane flying toward its destination. The heroic music of Wagner playing loud and inspirationally.  Then there is a large stadium viewed from a long shot of an adoring crowd of 150,000 plus people sitting on the edge of their seats underneath flowing banners.  They are awash in the dramatic music of a huge marching band moving through the aisle ways.  Then a great hush falls over the crowd, before, on the podium high above he appears.  The crowd erupts in euphoric adulation at the site of their savior, the man who is going to take away all their problems.  The year was 1935.  The man was Adolf Hitler.  Fifty million people would die in the war to come.

It was in a large arena. Throngs of adoring people are chanting the slogan of their hero.  After eight long years of war and division at last a savior was at hand to solve all the problems.  Here is the man who is going to take away all their problems.  He stood before them with a great row of Greek columns behind him like a modern hero come down from Mount Olympus to make the impossible reality.  The year was 2008.  The man was Barack Obama.  The war and division would continue for another eight years.

In a packed hall an optimistic crowd looks hopefully upwards toward the speaker’s podium. They are experiencing the worst economic disaster in their history.  Unemployment is at an all-time high and there seems to be no end in sight.  Yet the people are awash in the happy song that plays throughout the hall that symbolizes their savior.  The man of endless optimism and ebullient charm.  He stands before them warmly smiling like he knows the way to take away all their problems.  The year is 1932.  The man is Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  The economic crisis would continue for another fourteen years.

I could go on like this forever.

Fixing the problems in our society and government are vastly complicated issues that are made even more complicated by the limitations of democracy. Trying to understand this vastly complicated issues is too much for most people to grasp so that grab onto the easy, the belief that a “great leader” can fix the problems instead.  After it is easy to believe in something simple right?  So people choose to believe that the solution is simple, and they back the person presenting themselves as the savior.  Truth is these saviors usually makes things worse.

People do the same thing with love.

You see when people have grown up in an environment where they learned dysfunctional love skills they tend to latch onto concepts of love that are available to them in the media. This is why so many people from dysfunctional homes have a fairy tale idea of what love is supposed to be like.  This causes them to look for a “great love”.

I freely admit that I have very dysfunctional love skills, and I can tell you exactly what comes to mind when asked what I think love is and it come directly from the movies! The first thing that comes to my mind is Snow White and the scene where Snow White and Prince Charming are singing to each other about true love.  The song is very beautiful and magical and it is such an amazing image of pure imagination of what love should be and it think my heart just flutters and I think that is the kind of love I want to be in!  This image is more than just Disney movies, it’s all over the place, and I am sure each of us can pick some movie or television show about love that makes our heart go flutter and makes us say that is what I want out of love.  But the sad reality is that it is all just a bunch of made up hogwash.

However it is the pursuit of the “great love” that makes people so vulnerable to a toxic relationship, because the toxic person always attracts their victim by pretending to be the “great love”. The victim wants to believe that their dreams have finally come true that they are completely sucked into the trap, and then the abuse begins.  The reason why narcissists are so good had keeping the victim trapped is because they are so manipulative that they can turn back on the “great love” person as they need it.  The victim wants so much to believe it is real that they get sucked back in believing that the problems of the relationship, the abuse, can be fixed, but it can’t.  It just becomes a horrible cycle of abuse in which the two people start feeding off of each other.

Any relationship that has the idea where you are going to fix the other person is toxic and doomed to be on a road of pain, pain and more pain. The “great love” will always be a nightmare.  The reason why is simple you can’t fix your own dysfunction in the middle of a toxic relationship because the toxic partner is too busy sucking their needs out of you.

No I know this might sound all a bit complicated, but it is not. The key to happiness and a healthy relationship is with in you, and no one else.  You cannot fix anyone else but you, so don’t even try.  If your toxic partner is telling you about their problems and how they need help and you can’t walk away then listen and then tell them they need to go to therapy, because if they want to be a better person they are the only ones who can fix them.  If they don’t then they don’t want to be fixed they only want to abuse you, so walk away.  Don’t do like I did and accept the promises as effort, because it isn’t.  It is just a pack of lies to keep you hooked so they can use you to get what they want.  So they can keep abusing you for their own gain.  In fact my advice is to tell them to shove off, because you are not helping them or you by hanging on.  You are just keeping the toxic abusive relationship alive which is keeping both of you for getting to a place where you can have a happy relationship and you need to accept that.

Leave the fairy tales to Hollywood and start living in the real world.  It is the only way you will have a happy ending.

My truth about narc abuse

I have spent so long and so many years wondering what is wrong with me.  Perhaps it was all the horrible trauma I suffered as a child.  Perhaps I have been so alone for so long I developed codependency which would be very bad.  Perhaps despite my determination to be a good and kind person I somehow became a dangerous psychopath and don’t know it.  So I have been doing a lot of reading about a lot of different things.

Just a couple of weeks ago I was sure it was codependency so I have been reading all I can about that, but there is a problem with that conclusion.  Everything thing I am reading about being a codependent says that the codependent has no sense of self so relies on others to have a sense of self because the have none themselves.  However, I have a very very strong sense of who I am.  I know exactly who I am, and I am very sure of it!  How can I be a codependent and know exactly who I am.   I don’t need anyone to give that to me!  In fact I feel as though I have been fighting to hold on to that by people who wish to take that away from me and I am so sure of who I am that can’t imagine someone could take it away from me.  So I guess that means I am not a codependent, but instead something else is happening to me.

The next option is that I am an empath.  Well I do feel very strong emotions and I do feel it very strongly when someone tells me about their pain and troubles  I mean I actually do feel it physically just like the describes say.  My problem has always been I feel things so deeply that it causes me to want to help people in pain which is how I get into trouble.  They also say that an empath will detect narcissistic abuse and fight against it.  The one thing I can honestly say is that all my marital problems have all been about me fighting against her treatment of me.  I freely admit that for 28 years I had no idea she was a narcissist but I fought against her treatment of me all the way!  I was in the relationship to try to have a good relationship, but at no point did I just take it.

The real problem was I was in a relationship with a narcissist and never knew it until recently.  I honestly thought I was in a relationship with a woman who was very good, but just had been through some tough times as a child and as an adult so I needed to be more understanding and help her overcome her issues, but despite all my efforts it never got any better.  The most confusing thing for me has always been why does she not want to have any affection with me, but no matter what she holds on with demonic force.  I mean no matter what I did get away from her she always held on with a determination that can not be explained.  I mean it is truly insane!  She just won’t let me go no matter what!   I actually believe she would be happy if I killed myself because that would mean she would be able to use my death to show to the rest of the world that she is the perfect wife!  And believe me she would!!!

What is wrong with me is clear now!  I am the victim of narcissistic abuse!  Long term, chronic exposure to narcissistic abuse!  I can say with 28 years of experience that it is truly is the most dangerous form of abuse and the one that will take you completely apart, even if you know what it is and think you know what you are doing interacting with the narcissist!  I know!!

So I am going to share, honestly, my experience with a narcissist, because I think it just might be helpful to somebody somewhere, because until you have gone through it and felt what it is like you can never know how hard it is.  I have people say to me over and over again how can you go back to her, but until you have felt it and felt how manipulative they are and how they reach into you souls to manipulate you you can not know what if feels like to have them fucking with you heart, mind and soul.   They say all you have to do to break free is go no contact, but they don’t say how insanely hard that is!  No contact is one step short of impossible!  These idiot self help people make it sound like oh you can do it no problem!  But it is very hard!

One of things I have learned is that even though the so called experts say the narc will not really open up to you that is completely and totally wrong!!  One of the first things a narc will do if they think they might really lose you is open up in a real and honest way!  This is complete bullshit!!  It seems real, and in a way it is, but it is only to suck you back in!  My narc has had hundreds of these conversations with me, and I have been sucked in almost every time, but in the end it always goes back to what the narc wants!  It is just a question of how long before they go back to being who that are.  They don’t change who they are they only change how they try to suck you in and opening up in a heart felt way is one of their tactics.  They don’t mean it they just want to control you!

See the problem is the self help stuff make it sound like narcs are no different then Hitler or Stalin, someone you can easily hate, but that is not reality, because the reason we get sucked in so much is because they are so real, and so easy to understand and so easy to believe, because on some level they are being real and honest, so it becomes easy to be sucked in, but it is all a lie.  The most convincing and believable lie.  A lie that has a grain of truth!  The truth is the narc is only motivated by what they want.  That is all they care about and they will do anything they can to get it.  No matter how much you believe, no matter how open they are,  not matter how much you try to make things better they will always go back to feeding on what they want at your expense!!  It is just a matter of time!

Time is the narc’s greatest weapon!  Oh once you think you called them on the bullshit they will just slowly real you back in.  It will take a long time, but one day months from now you will be right back to where you are now.  They will just slowly break you down step by step…minute by minute…day by day…until you are completely destroyed and even the well informed with not know what hit them until it is too late.

Even after all this time and after all I have learned I am saying this not because I know any better, but because even after all this time I am wondering if maybe I haven’t been wrong and she is just a hurt person who is honestly opening up to me and I am just seeing it all wrong!  After all she is trying so hard to be with me, so it must be some kind of love right even though a true narc never lets go of a victim.  They always come back, but maybe this time is different.  After all she is a real person.

Lessons to learn

I am a bit of a Thatcherite. Mrs. Thatcher is a bit of a hero of mine. Yesterday while watching television and because I am a big fan of documentaries, yes I know I am a nerd, I came across the only interview Mr. Thatcher ever gave in his whole life and in it this simple man I think has a lot to say. Not much is know about Denis Thatcher and that is the way he wanted it, but after watching this documentary about him and his marriage to the longest serving Prime Minister in the history of the U.K. I was very impressed by him.

Denis Thatcher was a businessman who was in the paint business. He was twelve years older then Margret, and he started that it was a chance meeting that brought them together. He was invited to a dinner in which she was invited as well. He asked her if she needed a ride and they found they had the same views so talking to each other was very easy, and while Mrs. Thatcher didn’t say it was a passionate courtship she did she it was easy because they could talk easily together. From the beginning she was very politically and he didn’t care about politics at all and admits he didn’t know the first thing about it. When asked why did he let her run for office he just said, “Well it was want she wanted to do, and I wasn’t going to stand in her way.”

When she stood for leader of the conservative party, which put her on the road to the premiership, she told her, “You go for it and I am behind you 100%!” He later said, “I had no idea what it mean.” He hated being in the public eye himself and did everything he could to hide from the press while supporting his wife. He said the guiding principals he used were, better to remind silent and have people think you are a fool, then to open you mouth and remove all doubt, and the only whale that gets killed is the one the spouts off. If you were to see any of the press asking him questions he always uses the shortest answers he can.

You see if never tried to do to much. He was just true to himself and supported his wife even when he didn’t understand what was happening. For someone like me this is inspirational, because I am always trying to do too much to help those I love. His greatest lesson was during their darkest moment as a couple. See Mrs. Thatcher was forced out as Prime Minister not by the opposition but my the members of her own party. They turned on her the first moment that they thought she wasn’t useful to them anymore and the Thatcher’s were deeply hurt by the betrayal.

After she had lost and was forced out Denis was asked what did he say to her to make it all better, and he just said, “well want could I say?” He didn’t say anything. Mrs. Thatcher said when asked did Denis do enough to make things better, “Yes, he was there.” That was all she needed. She didn’t need him to make everything all better in some magically way, she just needed him there to support her. There was nothing he could say. They just had to get through the tough times, and they did. Denis knew just want to do. Just be there.

What is true?

I have a degree in human behavior. Yet my degree is scoffed at, dismissed, and openly mocked because after all it is only a history degree. As a historian I am expected to be a psychologist, sociologist, economist, political scientist, anthropologist, and that is just the easy part. When people think of history they think of high school history which isn’t history at all it is just learning about how the country works. Or they think of popular history which only concerns itself with telling entertaining stories about past events, or lives like that George Washington was actually very good at lying, or that Ben Franklin was a womanizer, or that Alexander Hamilton created the entire United States economy before he completely self destructed. All very interesting but not what historians really try to do. History is the science that believes that to truly understand human behavior you have to look at the past.

Before I got my degree I had to take a class on the essence of history, which basically focused on one question…what is the truth? While that might sound easy, because after all we all on some level think we are good at telling what the truth is, but honestly that is what we as human beings are terrible at! I mean we are truly horrible at knowing what the truth is because we are not wired to know what the truth is! We are wired to survive, procreate, socialize, but not in any way to have the skills to understand what truth is.

You see once you begin asking the question what is the truth and why is it so hard for us to understand the truth then you begin to open up very important aspects of human behavior that become critical to understanding why we do what we do, and why it can be so hard for us to understand what to do in difficult situations. Unfortunately because we as humans are so poor at seeing and understanding the truth we tend to instead accept as truth what we want to see as truth. This very often is not truth at all but just a reflection of our own beliefs and desires.

No I know I am making it all sound very easy to understand, but it is really very complicated. Think of it if the truth you belief to be true probably isn’t true at all, but just a reflection of your own desires and what you want to believe to be true, then what really is the truth. This is a concept the vast majority of people reject our right!

I think this is an important concept when trying to understand human behavior and why people choose to do what they do. It can also help understand why it can be so hard for people, like myself, to break free of abusive relationships. If all you have ever known is dysfunction that is where that person is comfortable. It is always easier to accept what you know verse going in a new direction where you have no idea of. People always tend to choice the comfortable and familiar over the unknown. That is why people will to the same thing over and over again and hope for different results. It isn’t because they are bad people it is just the truth they know.

A historians job when telling someones story is to try to untangle all the complexities and get to the truth of that person, because each person has their own truth. To know someone you have to know their story and see it truthful. Even if that person is themselves, and being honest with ourselves…that is the hardest truth of all to see.

The cycle we are trapped in.

I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, so as I am embracing the desire to break free of narcissistic abuse and find happiness I am now reading everything I can to understand what has been happing to me and why it is so hard to break free. I have discovered that I have a condition that is called codependency, which makes me especially vulnerable to narcissistic abuse.  As I am reading all about that condition I have come across the writings of popular writer on the subject and he advances and idea that seems to have a great deal of merit to it.

The idea is basically that the reason it is so hard for someone who is codependent to break free of narcissistic abuse is because they don’t want to. In other words without even realizing it we are choosing to be abused.  Now you might be saying that this idea is crazy.   There is no way anyone would choose to be abused, and that this writer has no idea what he is talking about, but I would say hold on a minute and think about it for a second.

Let’s ask a couple of questions first. Why is the narc so dangerous?  Because they pretend to be what we want to suck us in and because we are just good and loving people we fall for it, so that when the abusive behavior starts we are completely addicted to them and once addicted that addiction drives our behavior.  Why then do we become so addicted to someone who is hurting us so badly and can’t leave them?  The answer is a hard one to accept, because the answer is we don’t want to leave.  After all there are lots of people who start in relationships that are wonderful at first but then turn crappy so the people just leave with no problem.  A bit of crying and some angry yelling and maybe eating a gallon of ice cream and the normal person is over it.  Why can’t we?  Because we don’t want to leave.

I have been asked by my best friend, Professor K, for fifteen years give or take, why do I say in an abusive relationship, and I have given her loads of different answers, but basically the answer was I don’t know. Now the Professor K is struggle with her own narcissistic abuse I am asking her why do you stay, and she just looks and me confused and says, I don’t know.  It is basically just this general I can’t leave answer that doesn’t really make much sense to those on the outside, but if you have ever been in that situation you know it is something you definitely feel.  For some reason that doesn’t make sense, even though you are horrible unhappy and in pain, you just can’t walk away.  You just can’t leave it alone and you don’t know why.   The answer my friends is that we are asking the wrong question.  We are asking why are not letting go and getting the hell out of there, but that is wrong.  The question we should be asking is, what is it about me that makes me think that this is a relationship I want to be in?  Because if you didn’t want to be in that relationship you wouldn’t, so you are clearly choosing to be in an abusive relationship even though you know it is abusive.

I am going to ask it again so it can really sink in. The question we should be asking is, what is it about me that makes me think that this is a relationship I want to be in?

 

If we cut through all the psycho-babble and dispense with the long words we would just have to look up anyway the answer to that question is because we don’t know any better. Now it is time for the explaining.

 

It all goes back to our childhood and what our home family environment was like growing up. If you had a healthy, normal family life growing up you learned healthy relationship skills, but if your family life was dysfunctional you learned those dysfunctional relationship skills.  Those learned relationship skills become your basis for your relationships as an adult.  If they were dysfunctional then you are wired to think dysfunctional and unhealthy relationships are not only acceptable, but normal.  It is what you know, it’s were you are comfortable, so you crave a magically, passionate relationship with lots of fire, so when the narc gives that to you in the beginning you fall for it, because that is what you think is normal.  When it goes all wrong and the abuse sets in you accept it, because to you it is normal.  You then become a willing participate in the abuse cycle, which makes you become addicted to the relationship even though you know it is bad.  You hold on to the abuse and the abuser because you don’t know any better, and you allow it to happen, and in some cases even openly pursue and crave it.  It is easy to see if this is the case for you by just looking at your relationship history.  If it is filled with dysfunctional relationships then this is you and what you have been doing in your adult life.  I know it is true for me, because in my adult life I have only had dysfunctional relationships, and after 28 years of pain with my narc I find myself saying, maybe she is that bad.

Let me use myself as an example. My mother was a 5’8” red-headed Irish tornado.  I often start by describing her as a force of nature.  I have seen her reduce the toughest of teamsters to tears with just a few words and a withering stare.  Yet she went from abusive relationship to abusive relationship her whole life.  The man who so horribly abused me was only about 5’3” if I am being generous, and yet my mother allowed him to horribly abuse both her children and her as well.  She could have broken him like a twig if she wanted to, but yet she didn’t.  Why?  Because she had no idea what a healthy relationship was so she did what she thought you had to do to make a relationship work.  She allowed herself and her children to be abused, because she didn’t know any better.

My sister was like and erupting volcano with blonde hair who didn’t take shit off nobody, and her marriage was horrible!! She allowed herself to be abused by her husband.  Why?  She didn’t know any better otherwise why else would she take that crap when she wouldn’t take it from anybody else.

Then there is me. My abuser is a 5’ black woman who is tiny!  Yet I put up with the abuse for years and years.  Why?  Because I honestly thought I was in a real relationship and this is what you have to do to make a happy home.  I thought it was normal and we just had a few issues to work out.  No it was narcissistic abuse and I was a willing participate!  I crave a normal, loving relationship, but I know I have to learn how to fix my own ideas of what a healthy relationship is in my mind and my heart in order to have it otherwise the pattern of abuse will just continue because I will just keep making the same bad choices because I don’t know anything else.

We are all much stronger then we think. We have self-image issues so in order to try and get the love we crave we willing give our power away to our abusers in the hope that we will get love in return.  When that doesn’t happen we keep trying because we had a brief glimpse of what we think is what we want so we keep chasing it, and we accept the abuse.

 

 

 

Who am I…

Yesterday I felt a sense of victory.  After all trips in and out of the hospitably, after all the emotional and psychological breakdowns I know knew what was wrong with me.  It has a name and that name is codependency and it made sense.  After all the years of abuse and emotional isolation I am filled with a deep desire to fill the emptiness that be thrust upon me.  Because I knew I had a new person to fix, myself.

Today I woke up feeling a deep sense of sadness, because I had hurt were still hurt, the people I had disappointed were still disappointed, and I was still alone with the label  codependent alcoholic.  I wanted to reach out to my best friend, but I can’t.  Reach out to my daughter, but I can’t.  I am questioning everything about myself now.  Wondering, “am I really a good person, or have I become the very thing I swore I would never be, just another abuser?”

The question I have most for myself is who am I?  I thought I was a kind, compassionate, caring man who is filled with love, and kindness, and tenderness, but I see not that was all a lie just to get people to love me…to give me what I need?   Isn’t that what an abuser is?  Someone who just uses people to get what they want?  Isn’t that who I am now?

I am questioning every thought, every feeling, every word.  Why do I think these things?  Why do I feel these things?  Is it real love I feel for people, or only the need to be filled and hoping they will do it?

I want to be a good man.  I want to give love and joy to those I love.  But I want to know love too.

 

I don’t know what to do, so I am going to go to work tonight, and keep to myself.  Saturday is the big day.  That is when I am supposed to go beer free.  So far it is harder then I thought, but I still have determination that I can do it.  Even that I am questioning.  Am I doing it because I want to, or am I just doing it because I am seeking the approval of others and get back what I lost through my stupidity.  Guess we will find out on Saturday?

Codependent like me

There is a word that comes up a lot when trying to learn about abuse and that word is codependent. In fact when studying about relationships in general it comes up a lot.  In general all we know about it is that it is a bad and unhealthy thing and that people who are codependent in their behavior are very ill and need help.  But what is it and why does it matter?  First let’s look at a list that I got from the for dummies website.

Here are some common traits:

  • Low self-esteem (Me)
    • Not liking or accepting yourself (sometimes me)
    • Feeling you’re inadequate in some way (me)
    • Thinking you’re not quite enough (me)
    • Worrying you are or could be a failure (me)
    • Concerned with what other people think about you (depends of the person but me)
  • Perfectionism (me)
  • Pleasing others and giving up yourself (me)
  • Poor boundaries
    • Boundaries that are too weak and there’s not enough separateness between you and your partner
    • Boundaries that are too rigid and keep you from being close
    • Boundaries that flip back and forth between too close and too rigid
  • Reactivity (me)
  • Dysfunctional Communication
    • Difficulty expressing thoughts and feelings (me)
    • Difficulty setting boundaries — saying “No” or stopping abuse (me)
    • Abusive language (sometimes but me)
    • Lack of assertiveness about your needs (me)
  • Dependency
    • Afraid of being alone or out of a relationship (me)
    • Feeling trapped in a bad relationship and unable to leave (me)
    • Relying too much on others opinions (depends of the person but me)

Intimacy problems

    • Avoidance of closeness
    • Losing yourself
    • Trying to control or manipulate others (I hate to admit it but me)
    • Feeling trapped in a dysfunctional relationship (me)
  • Denial
    • Denial of codependency (I am not sure)
    • Denial about a painful reality in your relationship
    • Denial of your feelings (me)
    • Denial of your needs (me)
  • Caretaking (ME ME ME ME!!!!)
  • Control
    • Controlling your own feelings (me)
    • Managing and controlling people in your life; telling them what to do
    • Manipulating others to feel or behave like you want (people pleasing is a manipulation) (me)
  • Obsessions
  • Addiction to a substance or process (me)
  • Painful emotions
    • Shame (me)
    • Anxiety (me)
    • Fear (me)
    • Guilt (me)
    • Hopelessness (me)
    • Despair (me)
    • Depression (me)

So clearly I am codependent, which is confusing because I thought that if you truly love someone you are supposed to be nice to them. Well you are, but in a healthy way. I read on another website, which I can’t find now, that the codependent likes to swoop in and fix everything instead of providing empathic support. That was important for me to read, because that is definitely what I do. It is like an impulse reaction. Somebody tells a sob sorry, or how they are hurting, and I immediately want to fix it and make it all better, and that is codependent behavior. In a another place I saw that often people who are the victims of abuse become codependent because focusing on someone else’s problem is a way of avoid their own.

That second point is very important. I was abused sexually and physically as a child and my best friend has said that I must be very strong to have gone through all of that and still manage to do as well as I am today, but the truth be told surviving abuse isn’t really all that hard. It is what happens after that that is hard. You see while I was being abused I just sort of went numb and did what I had to do to get through it, but with the painful, emotional, traumatic after math I just learned how to avoid it so I didn’t have to face the pain.   Some call this repressed memories, but I just call it common sense. How else can a person get through all of that but to avoid it? It is like all that pain is behind a door I don’t open. I know what is behind the door, but I don’t open it because I know what is there.

As I was beginning to blog about my experiences with abuse I thought it would be a good idea to describe what I went through by remembering some of it and recounting it here, but as I opened the door to the past just a tiny bit to pear inside I felt just a glimmer of that pain again and I quickly slammed that door shut!! You may be say, but Rich you went through it once surely you can talk about it? NO! Trying to remember it so I can talk about it is just like going through it all over again and I am sorry! Once was enough!!

Being able to avoid painful conflict is a very useful skill when going through something horribly painful and traumatic, but in a real relationship it is not good because it causes you to avoid any sort of conflict even when it is warranted such as standing up for yourself when you are being hurt by someone’s words or actions. Even something mundane like where do you want to go to eat for your birthday a codependent person will let slide to avoid conflict. So you have a combination in a person of someone who wants to fix and nurture people while taking their crap and you get a formula for someone who is wired to be abused. This makes the codependent person very vulnerable to getting into toxic relationships. All the while the codependent person is looking for approval and love from others.

This make the codependent person the perfect victim for a narcissist. A narcissist wants to be loved and admired while not giving anything back except just enough to keep the person addicted, but a codependent person almost starts out by being addicted because I crave love and attention so much. The narcissist almost automatically appears to be the perfect partner to the codependent because often they attract by appearing to need help and to be fixed while also appearing to be full of love and compassion. How can a codependent resist? It is the perfect situation for them so they dive right in, and when things go sour they just keep trying! Why? Because they are the perfect food for a narcissist! A codependent person is like an all you can eat buffet! The narcissist doesn’t have to do anything but feast and the codependent does all the work!

So I am codependent and it causes me to be crazy and even not a nice person at times all because I so desperately want to be loved. Does that mean I am broken forever and have no hope? Actually no. It means as I work to become a better person I just need to learn that it is okay to love the way I love, because that is the way I am! However, I need to learn that in a normal relationship you don’t have to beg and grovel for attention because if you do it is the other person who has the problem not me! After all I know I am pretty great guy, and when I find the woman I am supposed to love, well, she is going to be one very lucky lady, because she will be with me.

Day One!

With the certainty that only comes from complete ignorance I declared yesterday that I am no longer a drinker. No more would the devils brew touch my lips and I was going to make everything I completely messed up by drinking all better by proving to all those I horribly disappointed and hurt that I am going to fix everything and prove it by stopping drinking. After all it is only a little beer. How hard can it be?

It turns out very hard!! The first step is more then just saying I have a problem and want to quit you have to understand how bad that problem is. So I starting doing a lot of research and I found a quiz to help me determine how bad is it. I scored a 26 out of 40 on how much of an addict I am and that is not good. It means that I really do have a problem. Oh no I am not a full on alcoholic but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem. It seems there are different levels of alcohol addiction and as I did the research I found out that my is emotional. So this commitment to giving up drinking might be a little harder then I thought, but I still remained confident that I could do it with out any problem.

Having learned that it might not be as easy as I thought I began to have a little doubt. I have never done anything for myself and just because it is good for me. For me it has always been for everyone else. What was best for them, because I am good a giving myself to others and putting them first, but this quitting drinking thing might, despite my motivations, be more about me then those I love and care about. That caused my confidence to shrink even more. If I am honest I don’t really care about me, but I do care very much about those I love and they care about me very much, so I had to find a way to do this for them and stay motivated. So I had to tell them my goal to stop drinking, which they want very much, and I do to, but by announcing it I was forcing myself to try my best.

However to truly commit to this quitting thing there was one person I was going to have to talk to…my daughter. I will be completely honest I hesitated to tell her at first and here is why. For months my daughter has been after me about my drinking. She could clearly understand that it was a problem, but I was refusing to admit it. Yes I drank a bit too much, but everything is okay I said and I can quit anytime I want because I don’t have a problem and then the arguing would ensue from there. But to admit to her that is was a problem that I have to work to solve would make my commitment to quitting real. Once I told her there would be no going back and that I was totally committed to quitting. I am ashamed to admit I hesitated but I did tell her.

I texted her that she was right I have a problem and I am resolved to solve it. A pause. Then she texted what is that? I thought she didn’t know what I was talking about so I said drinking. She texted I know that how are you going to solve it? There is was the truth I was afraid of. It is not enough that I said I am going to quit drinking it is how am I going to make it happen.

So I did more research and this is the treatment plan I have found and am following. First step admit you have a problem. Check I can do that. Second step get the beer out of your system. That is where I am afraid to admit the truth. I followed the plan so there is no cold turkey. It is to reduce my intake over the next week until I reach point zero. That day where I have no reason to drink other then that is when I normally drink. So what that means is that tonight, day one, I just have to limit my intake, because the treatment plan says on day one I can drink a bit, so I am happy because I can put off things till tomorrow.

I am going to be honest I believe in this plan but on this day following it makes me feel a complete and total failure. Like i failed everyone and am a complete failure all over again. But all the advice says this is going to be really hard to do, and I am completely committed to doing it even if on day one everyone is disappointed in me. The only way to be successful is to have a plan and to follow that plan and trust in it. That is what I am doing so day one. I learned many important lessons and the most important has been I have been an asshole in how I have been treating the people I have been trying to take care of. I thought I was trying being their for them when in reality I was only making things worse because no matter my good intentions I knew nothing! Which makes me a totally failure as a friend and as a father!!

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