The Time I Agreed to be a Second Wife

2010 - Before my recovery from codependency

2010 – Before my recovery from codependency

 

I am going to share something with you today.

Something I’ve only shared with a few of my clients.

Something that takes a lot of guts to disclose, and in fact, with which I’ve debated doing for some time.

Something that is alarming when I reflect upon the potential repercussions I might have suffered had I stayed in my marriage to a Narcissist.

It’s embarrassing, awkward, and makes me feel a little nauseous and highly vulnerable in the sharing…

I once agreed to be my husband’s second wife. 

How did that happen?  The same way it happens with other Narcissistic abuse victims when they attempt to go No Contact and then aren’t able to manage the cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with trauma-bonding and being a codependent…and agree to “be friends” or consciously make the choice to be with that person regardless of the fact that the Narcissist has a new partner.

Those who find my page often don’t realize the extent to which I was once addicted, sick, and suffering from the absolute worst forms of cognitive dissonance, emotional regression, repetition compulsion, and learned helplessness.  By all accounts, I was a hopeless basket-case.  My friends and family had given up any hope that I would ever leave.

So had I, for that matter.

Back then, I didn’t know anything about Narcissism, nor of the numerous toxic dynamics involved that drove me to stay.  All I knew was that I was unhappy, sometimes suicidal, and that it appeared my life would never change.

My husband and I separated when our son was almost two.  I was the one that asked for it.  His response was to go back to his country.  In about a month’s time, I later discovered, he was already married to another woman.  Initially, I was glad that he was gone.  I began making positive changes in my life.  My relationship with my children improved.  I started going out and enjoying life again.

Codependency is an Addiction

That all lasted for about four months.  Then, the withdrawal kicked in and I spiraled into a path of self-destruction of the worst kind.

I started sending occasional emails, which then turned into a campaign of trying to convince my husband that we should reconcile.  (Note – you should NEVER have to convince anyone of your worth).  At first, he declined, but after persistence on my part, he finally agreed to give it a try…with conditions, of course.

  • I had to accept all responsibility for our separation and the events leading up to it and admit my “crimes” to his family
  • Since he had no plans on returning to the US, it was up to me to buy a plane ticket for myself and our son (with no financial assistance from him)
  • I had to agree to be a second wife since he’d already remarried
  • Since I was finishing classes to be an Elementary school teacher, I had to obtain special permission to do my student teaching in his country. I contacted about thirty different schools, and had to arrange the whole thing through my college’s placement department
  • I signed a post-nup basically waiving all of my rights to any type of support, insurance, property, etc.

Sick, right?  Yep, I was as sick and addicted as they come…

That wasn’t the end of it.  Once I arrived at his home, the worst was about to happen.  He began to leave me at night to go out with his other wife.  Imagine, being in a foreign country with no means of transportation, and waiting around for the person you love to come back home to you.

I bet you can imagine it.  I’d further bet that some of you have acquiesced to similar situations with the Narcissist in your life.  That’s how some become the Other Woman (or the Other Man).

But, what once seemed like the worst rock-bottom I could bear turned out to be a blessing.  It was my catalyst for waking up and taking my life back into my own hands.

And you can, too.

What Helped Me Leave

  • Realizing I deserved more than being someone’s second wife
  • Accepting that I am a precious being who deserves respect and compassion
  • Understanding I’d had the power to leave all along
  • Acknowledging that while my then-husband treated me like an encumbrance, there were lots of other people who recognized my worth
  • Discovering that I’d contributed to this because I’d failed to establish healthy boundaries
  • Vowing to stop putting his needs before my own
  • Making the choice to set a healthy example of relationships for my children – by LEAVING the person who mistreated me
  • Remembering the person I was before I met him
  • Understanding that I had issues that needed to be resolved within myself so that I’d NEVER stand for such mistreatment again
  • Letting go of his perceived opinion of me
  • Recognizing that things would NEVER change

A dysfunctional relationship is very damaging and unless codependency is acknowledged and corrected, you will likely go from one toxic relationship to another, because that’s what feels most comfortable to you on an unconscious level.  I mean, we wouldn’t consciously choose to be mistreated, right?  But feeling unloved can cause you to act irrationally, and normalizing abuse is very irrational.

I’m living proof that the sickness of codependency and Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome can be overcome.  If my story sounds similar to yours, it’s time for you to seek a professional counselor and a coach who has survived this type of abuse.  Recovery requires correcting codependent thoughts and behaviors, healing wounds from childhood, and rewriting your narrative script.

Of course, in order for any of the above to be helpful, you’ll first need to go No Contact.

Related Articles:

Grief Management after the Narcissist

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Trust And Toxic Relationships

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~ by Maria Hill

Sometimes the greatest trust we experience is with animals. Unfortunately trust between humans can be hard to come by.

Trust And Toxic Relationships

Trust is the basis of any effective and life affirming relationship. So how does trust happen and why is it that so many people including highly sensitive people find that no matter what efforts they make they are not able to get to a positive trusting place with many of their important relationships?

And while we are at it, let’s ask what happens to trust in toxic relationships including narcissistic ones.

Are There Different Kinds Of Trust?

I believe that there are different ways that people experience trust; however, trust at its most fundamental level is a feeling of safety. The feelings of safety can come from any number of sources which is one of the reasons that it can be difficult to create between two people.

So what are the different ways trust is created?

  • similar expectations
  • the same values
  • compatible personal habits
  • comfortably similar style
  • in background
  • a match in goals and dreams

This is a trust based on sameness, on being alike and it can help for building a foundation in a relationship.

Compatibility makes a big difference in establishing trust but does not help us with the dynamic nature of life which requires listening, paying attention, the ability to compromise and problem solve in mutually positive ways. That is a different and equally necessary component of trust.

Each of these compatibility or relating challenges provide rich opportunities for trust issues and abuse.

Where Does The Toxicity Arise?

Toxicity in relationships usually arises from some form of mishandled difference or incompatibility or some form of exploitation.

Although there is obviously nothing inherently wrong with people being different, differences can be a problem if they are used to make inappropriate demands of others. So it is not appropriate to transfer our habits, expectations and lifestyle automatically to another and demand that others conform to our preferences. For example, a person who does not celebrate holidays should not demand that people who like to celebrate them forgo their celebrations or people who dislike one kind of food insist that their friends and family eat like them. These are obviously simplistic examples. Of course context is not being considered here and context does matter.

So how we handle differences and the dynamics of the ups and downs of life can result in toxicity in our relationships.

Domination And Toxic Relationships

The need to dominate someone else is a surefire way to create a toxic relationship and deserves a special mention since it accounts for a lot of the perceived toxicity in relationships. The need to dominate is an important pattern in narcissists because narcissists only feel safe when they have the upper hand. Narcissists, however, are not the only people with a high need to dominate. People who

  • have rigid ideologies
  • are very competitive
  • have fixed ideas about rules and roles to live by

also have a high need to dominate others to perpetuate their worldviews or social position. They can be very toxic for those who do not share their point of view.

I have had a lot of experience with people who are like this. My family has rigid ideological and social views with a dose of narcissism for good measure. They tend to think negatively of people who do not meet their expectations and are very critical and judgmental. Being a highly sensitive person, their thinking and attitudes did not sit well with me and cause me a lot of heartache. Unfortunately, my experience is not uncommon and like many of us I tried to change those toxic expectations to something healthier and was usually disappointed. There is a reason for my disappointment which took me many years to come to terms with: people who have these rigid ideas and attitudes have a basic inner negativity that often is not open to change.

Is It Hopeless?

Is it hopeless? I think it helps to come to terms with the fact that there are people with whom one cannot have a positive relationship, people who will not see you as an equal human being. Fortunately not everyone is like that.

I know one person who describes people as coming in 3 flavors:

  1. the haters or hopelessly negative
  2. the indifferent
  3. your kindred spirits or tribe.

I think it is a simple but effective reminder that we cannot get along with everyone but there are still plenty of people out there who will make great companions. 33% of the human race is a large number.

What Does A Healthy Relationship Look And Feel Like?

One way to see what is a toxic relationship is to ask what is a healthy one?

In a healthy relationship, both people are peers and have a say. They respect each other and negotiate how they handle their differences. One person does not set or dominate the agenda. The relationship is actually co-created by the two people. There is a feeling of relief and acceptance that you do not get in a toxic relationship. Cocreating a relationship does not happen in toxic relationships and certainly not in relationships with a narcissist.

Changing Relationship Dynamics

Some relationships in your life will fall in a gray area of sometimes good and other times not so good. They may be worth some attention to see if you can make them better. Work relationships and family relationships can be helped by some creativity.

Here are a number of creative things you can do to change relationship dynamics:

  • enlarge the concerns/agenda to include your concerns and issues
  • change perceptions about pitfalls and risks to change the choices that get made
  • create a compromise strategy: one day is is my way, another day your way and on a different day we try something new
  • attach change to goals and important mutual concerns. By trying “x” we help us to succeed at “y”.
  • move the relationship in a cocreating direction.

Some people cannot handle negotiating and so at best you can work with them on a limited basis, and some simply cannot be in your life.

Assessing Possibilities

Before you get involved with someone, look for these characteristics to assess whether or not you have a potentially non-toxic relationship:

  • flexibility
  • creativity
  • listening skills
  • open, non rejecting language
  • keeps promises and does not promise more than can be done
  • realistic rather than inappropriate expectations

You deserve the care and regard of others. When you are willing to do your part you also deserve people in your life who meet you part way to the best of their ability. Not only is it important to your emotional and mental health to have constructive companions but also for your physical health as well. Stressful relationships are very physically damaging.

Awareness about potential sources of toxicity and a mindful way of appraising individuals can help you find people to be in relationship with who will bring out the best in life for you. Your goodwill and creativity can make the relationship joyful. You deserve no less!

Author Bio:
Maria Hill is the webmaster for HSP Health and creator of the HSP class: There’s Nothing Wrong With You! A Special Class For Highly Sensitive People . She is a long time meditator, reiki master, student of alternative health and Ayurveda. Maria is an abstract painter whose portfolio can be found at Infinite Shape and also very interested in animal and human rights and the environment.  Connect with her on the HSP Health Facebook page, Twitter, Google+ on the HSP Health Google+ page, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.

about.me/hillmaria

Find great information about highly sensitive people at HSP Health, Google +, FB or Twitter.

The Silent Treatment Plays on Your Fear of Abandonment

 

Woman Holding Onto Man's Leg

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Fear of abandonment.  It can destroy your life if left unchecked; especially so if you are in a relationship with a suspected Narcissist.

Narcissists use this fear to keep you in a perpetual cycle of anxiety, causing you to crave their return when they give you the Silent Treatment, knowing they can do whatever they please and you will take them back with little opposition.  You might verbalize your dislike of their choice and explain how hurtful it is, but take away words and the fact is that they insert themselves back into your life with barely a hitch.

What many victims of narcissistic abuse confuse for love is really a manifestation of their fear of abandonment, which has been magnified by frequent silent treatments, as well as the devalue and discard phases carried out by their abusive partner(s).  As a result, they remain in a constant state of fight-or-flight, with no seeming choice but to suffer through panic attacks, loss of appetite or binge-eating, rapid heartbeat, sleep disturbances, mood swings, and horrible, undying fear and obsessive thinking.

Persistent sadness and insecurity are the result of emotional conditioning. They are rooted in earlier losses, abandonments, and disappointments. You might be stuck in abandonment grief from past events you no longer even remember.

If you suffer from cripplingly low self-esteem and feel like you’re always on the verge of being abandoned, you were likely wounded during early episodes of perceived rejection from parents or other loved ones.  Perhaps your parents, or later a lover, dismissed you.  Since then it seems you are always involved with the emotionally unavailable, encountering losses and disappointment, which results in you questioning your worth.  When the Narcissist gives you the silent treatment, you doubt the reality of the situation, taking the blame for this inflicted punishment, vowing to do what it takes to hang onto your fickle partner.

Every time the narcissist gives you the Silent Treatment, you are diminished in small increments.  Over time, your sense of self is eroded and your fear of abandonment kicks into high gear.  In spite of your accomplishments, friendships, and compliments by other people, you cling to the narcissist’s approval, which always seems out of reach.

Finally, the narcissist leeches onto a new source of supply (new girlfriend or boyfriend), and discards you.  This can be sudden with little or no warning, or slow and insidious, keeping you strung along as they woo the new love interest.  You are left shattered, your sense of security and hopes for the future ripped from your grasp.  You may feel you will always be lonely and will never find love again.

Sadly, many victims of narcissistic abuse remain stuck in this stage.  Many experience the added loss of other important relationships as they withdraw or are rejected by friends and family due to their constant neediness.

What you may not realize is these are all normal symptoms after having been “rejected and abandoned” by the narcissist.  Every single person who has ever been the target of emotional abuse will endure these feelings that seem to take on a life of their own.  In fact, this fear is innate in everyone and stems from survival mechanisms in the amygdala.  Ever notice the baby who gets frantic when their mother leaves the room?  Fear of abandonment is our primary fear, and is why you experience a state of frenzy when the narcissist implements the Silent Treatment.  The reason it feels so horrid is that our brain cannot make the distinction between loss of a primary relationship and a threat to our physical survival.

And just like the baby who cries when their mother leaves the room, our Inner Child reacts in a similar manner when being rejected and abandoned by the narcissist.  Our survival instincts do not recognize the fact that we are now adults who are capable of ensuring our own survival.

The good news?  These are automatic responses that can be managed if we make the conscious effort to do so.  This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Breaking the pattern of attaching to the emotionally unavailable
  • Understanding the dynamics of emotional regression (Suggested Reading: Growing Yourself Back Up)
  • Realizing that most of the anguish experienced during this phase is mostly self-inflicted, meaning that your thoughts surrounding low self-worth are not grounded in reality, but due to your abusive partner’s conditioning
  • Understanding the importance of Inner Child healing and codependence recovery
  • Discovering if you are Highly Sensitive and how this may affect you inside of a toxic relationship
  • Understanding trauma repetition (or repetition compulsion) and how it keeps you hooked on the Narcissist

Let this be the last time you are abandoned by the narcissist.  If your partner uses the Silent Treatment to keep you in a perpetual state of fear and anxiety, it’s time to own up to it and make the promise to yourself to detach and move on.  Then, use your fear of abandonment as an opportunity to develop self-love and emotional self-reliance.

Does healing from Narcissistic abuse seem like a lot of work?  It is.  And it doesn’t happen quickly. Curiously, those who have experienced abandonment by the Narcissist spend hours researching the disorder, buying numerous books on the subject and dedicating all of their free time to understanding their abusive partner.  Chances are you know all you need to know about Narcissism.  Why not turn that focus onto you and your healing?

How Can I Be Sure He’s a Narcissist?

 

Girl in Thought

So you’ve read every online article you can find on Narcissism/Sociopathy/Anti-social Disorder.  You’ve printed them out and made your own Binder Bible, complete with chapters and subtitles.  You know so much about the disorder, you could probably pass the Field Test for Psychology.

All the quizzes, checklists, and worksheets you’ve completed indicate he’s a Narcissist.  Your therapist says he’s a Narcissist.  Your instinct tells you he’s a Narcissist.  Yet, you are not fully convinced.   Maybe, in spite of his horrible childhood and sadistic mistreatment by all seventeen of his Exes, you can love him enough to help him.  Maybe, just maybe, he will soon realize the error of his ways, see how much he loves you, and vow to spend the rest of his life making up for the pain he’s caused you.

Add to that the fact that he has cheated on you numerous times, is gone for long stretches with no explanation, calls you names and refuses to acknowledge how much of a jerk he is.  Or worse, he’s found a new girlfriend, yet keeps you on the side for the occasional romp in the sack.

Is he a Narcissist?  Probably.  Can he change?  Almost certainly not.  At this point, should it really matter if he’s a Narcissist?  No.  What really matters is that, in spite of the incriminating, mounting evidence, you don’t want to let go.  Despite all he’s done to desecrate the relationship you have with him, you still hold out hope.

It doesn’t matter if he’s a Narcissist or not.  What matters is that it’s likely that you are highly codependent.

Why Does it Matter if I’m Codependent?

Most people with codependent traits can get by in life somewhat well and are often very successful.  However, if not treated, it gets worse over time.  It causes perpetual feelings of sadness that never quite go away, with most sufferers living in quiet desperation without ever really knowing why.

Curiously, many codependents aren’t aware of having these traits, often believing themselves to be strong-willed, independent, ambitious, and unwilling to take anyone’s crap.  On the surface, it may not look like codependency, but if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship (such as the one described above), and feel a confusing compulsion to remain in said relationship, it’s likely you are codependent.

According to Robert Burney, author of The Dance of the Wounded Souls:

Codependence is a deadly and fatal disease because of emotional dishonesty and suppression. It breaks our hearts, scrambles our minds, and eventually kills our physical body vehicles because of the Spiritual dis-ease, because of our wounded souls.

The key to healing our wounded souls is to get clear and honest in our emotional process. Until we can get clear and honest with our human emotional responses – until we change the twisted, distorted, negative perspectives and reactions to our human emotions that are a result of having been born into, and grown up in, a dysfunctional, emotionally repressive, Spiritually hostile environment – we cannot get clearly in touch with the level of emotional energy that is Truth. We cannot get clearly in touch with and reconnected to our Spiritual Self.”

It Doesn’t Matter Whether or Not He’s a Narcissist

What matters is that you are not being treated the way you deserve.  What matters is that your love and patience will never be appreciated…but exploited repeatedly.  He will never regret what he’s done, nor will he ever make good on it.  In fact, he will continue to blame you for all of his indiscretions and rage attacks, making you feel even worse about yourself, and turning your codependency into a sickness that will eventually ruin you (and your children, if any are involved).

Stop holding out hope.  Stop researching his disorder in hopes of finding some loophole that points to his possible recovery.  Stop forgiving the unforgivable.  Go No Contact.  If you share children, start planning your escape and visit a divorce attorney.  And whatever you do, don’t agree to remain “friends”.  That’s Narc-speak for keeping you in his queue of bedroom buddies.

Your new life is waiting for you.  All it takes is the decision to honor your right to happiness.

**I use the pronoun “he” for ease of reading.  However, female Narcissists can be every bit as sadistic as the male ones, and look prettier doing it.  

INNER CHILD THERAPY: TAKE YOURSELF IN YOUR ARMS!

by Dr. Nicholas Jenner

The powerful experience that is inner child therapy often opens doors that have been closed for many years. This process brings understanding of what was, bringing clarity to what is and can be. Being in contact with our inner child who has been abused is especially hard due mainly to the coping mechanisms and survival tactics that were put in place. However, working through this can be an exhilarating experience.

When we think about child abuse, our thoughts often stop at sexual abuse of minors. However, the term child abuse, often replaced by child maltreatment, has a broad spectrum of definition. The WHO defines it as follows :

“Child maltreatment, sometimes referred to as child abuse and neglect, includes all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, development or dignity. Within this broad definition, five subtypes can be distinguished – physical abuse; sexual abuse; neglect and negligent treatment; emotional abuse; and exploitation”.

Reliable statistics on global child abuse are difficult to come by but most reports highlight an increase in the last 25 years, especially in developed countries. Anyone who has been through and survived child abuse will identify with the emotional scars that are etched on the personality of the resulting adult, causing pain and turmoil and making relationships and intimacy difficult.

One of the unfortunate consequences of child abuse is alienation from the „child within”. That is the normal development of a child, emotionally and physically. This alienated child is subdued by constantly being told that it is unlovable and unworthy. Many survivors of child abuse tell of a feeling of disbelief that anyone could possibly love them and mistrusted their own feelings, unable to come to terms with them. Linda Sanford in her inspiring book “Strong at Broken Places”  gives us a relevant example in the story of George who was abused constantly by his drunken mother for what were essentially normal childhood activities.

George also provides evidence that the “child within” can be replaced by the „parent within”. This term describes a situation where the child, despite chronic physical, sexual and emotional abuse takes on a parenting role for the parent, nursing and looking after them in the way it should be done in reverse. These parents generally show a hatred for the inner child of their offspring and consolidated by their behavior, try to subdue it for their own purposes. This is the point where the “child within” with all the characteristics of normal development is replaced by the responsible “parent within”.  The author describes this change as “putting on a winter coat” to protect themselves from abuse, this coat no longer fitting in adulthood. This is often the case with parents who were alcoholics or addicted to drugs and other substances.  .

According to Sanford’s research, this process appeared to be consciously initiated by the children with the thought in mind that if I look after my abusive parent, they will come to need me and love me and the abuse will stop. Unfortunately, this was not the case and in most of the stories cited, the abuse continued or got worse.  Sandford says that such children often gain respect as adults for worthy and successful careers without themselves really knowing why or accepting that it could be anything to do with their own abilities. The child within can, however never be really totally subdued and can resurface at any time, often in adulthood in specific behavior and by complicating relationships. When a child becomes the “parent”, he or she sacrifices part of themselves to please the abusive parent. It is often the positive characteristics of the child that the abusive parents resent the most, such as intelligence and special skills. Seeing the child, reminds them of their own inadequacies. These positive characteristics are often used to get on in life, find a good job and be successful but the emotional side of the ‘child within” remains underdeveloped.

Sanford quotes Tom Robbins in her book when she says “it’s never too late to have a happy childhood”. Many of the survivors have realized that  they must be reunited with their “child within” if they are to rectify the past. Some find it hard to “parent” the child within with the same effectiveness that they “parented “their parents. While some used this “lack of a child within” to justify irrational behavior, others have gone on to become “good enough” parents to themselves by opening themselves up to others who then cater for the needs of the adult and the “child within” replacing some of the things lost in childhood. Sanford says that a healing process must take place, similar to recovery from grief. On one level, this would mean coming to terms with what happened followed by a deeper, more meaningful realization of how awful the trauma was, a process of mourning. Through this, the body can be “reawakened” and the “child within” reunited with the parent within. Survivors who had been through this process talked of a “life change“, bringing new spontaneity and excitement into their life.  As Sanford says at the end of her book, we often look for hope and intimacy outside ourselves without ever “taking ourselves in our own arms”.

Dr. JennerDr. Nicholas Jenner is a counseling psychologist in private practice working with individuals, couples, groups and companies. Apart from seeing clients face-to-face, Dr Jenner also runs a thriving online therapy business bringing help to those who are housebound or located in rural locations where therapy is difficult to find.  To book an appointment with Dr. Jenner, click here.

Why is No Contact So Hard?

Talk to the Hand

Everyone who has been involved with a Narcissist experiences this contradiction of logic.  Severing the relationship with a disordered personality should be a no-brainer, right?  Yet it seems no matter how much our cognitive brain understands the benefit of leaving such a person, we participate in a metaphorical self-flagellation, allowing the abuser back into our lives over and over again, creating even deeper wounds to our psyche due to the sadistic nature of being intimately involved with an emotional abuser.

It doesn’t help that the Narcissist repeatedly shows up via phone, email, or in person… dressed as Mr. or Ms. Nice Guy, future faking and giving you the impression that they have long-term plans for the relationship, all while squeezing out a crocodile tear.  Then, if we attempt to stay strong, we are criticized and condemned, accused of being selfish, and subjected to guilt trips that would make a Viking warrior surrender. This is the blue-print of the relationship between a Narcissist and a Codependent.

(If you’ve implemented NC in its true form, you wouldn’t have to deal with the Narcissists occasional trick-or-treat excursions).

Codependents spend their days trying to get from morning to evening with as little drama as possible.  They minimize the abuse, hang onto magical thinking, and come to depend on the Narcissist for their confidence and self-esteem.  They are unable to end the relationship because they want to hear the Narcissist say, “I didn’t really mean those things I said.  I know I told you that you are unattractive, worthless, trashy, and that no one could possibly love you.  But, none of those things are true.  You’re smart, attractive, and successful.  Anyone would be lucky to have you.”

Codependents crave closure and without it, they stay stuck in the moment, ruminating on their abuser’s accusations; letting the Narcissist return repeatedly, hoping to get their approval.  Any decent human being would feel some element of remorse and apologize, right?  Maybe even admit they said those things in a moment of anger and didn’t mean them?  The Narcissist will not only re-emphasize that they meant it, but that those things still hold true, widening the void that is the Codependent’s lack of self-love and self-esteem.

This is one’s Inner Child resurfacing, desperately seeking love and acceptance.  Codependents are caught in a cycle of re-creating their childhood patterns in an effort to resolve the memory of not feeling loved; aching for their abuser to wrap their arms around them and tell them they are precious.  Searching for gentle, nurturing words to make the pain go away (the pain the abuser caused)… so that they can go back into the world feeling safe and confident.  They try to reclaim the innocent, trusting person they were before they met the Narcissist.

If this sounds like you, watch the video below to see if you have any of the signs of being codependent.

Codependency Test:  Are You a Codependent?

Keep in mind that many people are codependents and don’t realize it.Some believe their childhood was okay because their parents provided food and shelter and didn’t use physical abuse.  But those are not the only indicators of a painful childhood.  Perhaps your father is a Doctor or CEO who provided all the trimmings, but was always absent in your life, or maybe nothing you did was ever good enough.  Perhaps you had a teacher who made you feel inferior, below-average in intelligence, and perhaps ridiculed you in front of your classmates.  Maybe your primary caregiver was in the military and you had to stay with a family member who had their own children and you always came last when attention was being rationed out.  Any of these events can result in childhood wounds that may cause an individual to develop codependent traits.

The reason No Contact is so hard is because it’s essentially the first attempt at recovering from codependency.  It involves establishing boundaries, accepting there will be backlash from the Narcissist (guilt trips, shaming and blaming, character attacks, etc.), physical and emotional cravings, and accepting that other relationships may possibly be lost.  It’s not only the severing of a toxic relationship, but the start of a new lifestyle.

Did you discover you were a codependent and have a success story to share?  Please do so in the comment box below!

Looming Over Me: Control Games

~by Verity~

You stand, cup of coffee in hand, towering over me, refusing to sit down, too close, your face set in the familiar jaw-jutting meanness.

I try to keep calm – although you are bigger and stronger than I, and I DO feel frozen with fear – because I don’t want this to flare into nastiness.

But when I suggest you might sit down, you glare at me and say, ‘I don’t WANT to…’

Of course you don’t: You have very quickly established your physical superiority over me, and would not wish to forego that big advantage.

But stand up to you, or back down, nothing I do makes any difference.

You say what you say, spite oozing through the thin hole you will allow others to see in your perfect reflection.

It is, you claim, ABOUT MONEY – but I know, for it is obvious, that the usual seething anger is at work here, and that I am being punished, controlled, for something else.

You quiz me on recent purchases, and then, when I do not answer you speedily enough, copy them out on a sheet of paper and present it to me, expecting, I suspect, an apology.

It deteriorates from there, with you suggesting a formal split up of our finances – and making poisonous little cracks about all manner of things.

Shaken to the core, and so scared I can barely breathe, I skip rehearsal and drive, drive, drive, beneath a beautiful half-moon, near to places which soothe, feeling a safety in the inky blackness of narrow country lanes which is absent from home.

I come to rest in a lay-by. Hemmed in between giant resting lorries and couples courting in Cortinas, mediaeval music on the radio, I bend my head forward over the steering wheel and give way to tears.

I do not know what to do. Then or now.

The friend who makes contact stems the blood of wounded panic, and gives me the respite plaster of laughter and care.

I flag the conversation up today – because, for all the controlling games, you have brought up a subject of mutual concern, and it is, after all, only decent, to honour that uneasy thread, to try to give some kind of an answer. We DO spend too much money. That is a fair comment. But the malice and emotional blackmail behind your approach is NOT fair.

You play games from the start: Wanting, initially, to talk to me from the next room (shout, more like, since you have hearing problems), you then come in, sullenly, and stand once more, leaning over me.

When I express my concern about this, you grab a chair higher than mine, with angry bad grace, and position it so that you are far too close for comfort – and are, once again, in the dominant position.

I am so afraid I can hardly breathe; so afraid, in fact, that I become light-headed. I feel tiny and threatened. I want to cry more than you will ever know, more than I can risk telling you.

I cry now because it is so sad that even my tears are used against me. That they become a pawn in the sick chess game of our marriage.

I cry because you know exactly how to frighten me – and have no compunction about using those specialised ‘skills‘ in order to subdue me.

When I tell you that I feel intimidated, you say, ‘So you say,’ and then, ‘As usual…’ – and refuse to back off.

You, as ever, misinterpret my fear for defiance and ask, nastily, ‘What’s with the Death Stare?’

You behave like an angry ten-year old. As always. Once I had compassion for that stuck, hurt little boy, bereft of a parent at age ten – but you will not seek any kind of help, nor will you admit that your behaviour has a serious effect upon others.

But you are NOT ten; you are over sixty, and big and frightening. You are a fully grown man, not a little boy – and your need to emotionally blackmail and terrify, bully and intimidate me is, at times, out of control. Perhaps because you fear – rightly – that I could slip out of your control after all these decades.

You project it all on to me, the way you always have, slipping nasty little hints into the conversation, accusing me of wanting everything my own way; accusing me of living life in a constant state of ‘Fuck you!‘ directed at you and the children. You tacitly accuse me of neglecting them, of being completely selfish.

And, when I point out that you do your own things too – and that I think this is about more than just money – you get sarcastic and childish and walk out, terminating the conversation.

As usual.

And I, despite knowing that I AM safe to seek sanctuary with friends, am too afraid to leave my room – because, if I do, you will use it against me, throw the accusatory rocks at me once more, involve the youngsters one way or another.

As usual.

Or you will bank your rage, try to cover it all over with specious charm – and then go for the jugular at a later date.

He is the Lie…From Hello to Goodbye

He is the lie, from hello to good-bye.

I love you to I hate you. You’re beautiful to you’re ugly.

It was all a lie.

And I have no room in my life today for lies.

When friends or my family ask, but what about this, or what about that, I tell them. It was all a lie. There was no truth in him.

If I spend my time trying to figure out fact from fiction, all I am doing is trying to prove — I wasn’t so stupid. See, this was true. That’s why I fell in love with him.

Truth is. I fell in love with him because I believed his lie.

When I discovered the truth, I was so enmeshed in his lie, I couldn’t find the truth in me. And so I sank.

He did a lot of horrible, terrorizing things to ensure I stayed hooked into his lies.

In accepting the truth, that what he did was based on lies, I am able to accept that the hooks are also lies — and in that truth comes the power to let them go.

Every so often he’ll sneak up into the back pockets of my mind and settle in for a little visit.

That’s when I have to turn up for me and say, go away. There is nothing in you I believe in. Everything in me I do.

And when the tears and fears and sorrow become too great, I simply breathe, look up into the sky and see once again the limitless possibilities of my life today.

~  M.L. Gallagher – Author of The Dandelion Spirit

Retribution Through Desecration of Your Spirit is not Your Destiny

 

holy-spirit-dove

I’ve read countless testimonies of narcissistic abuse victims indicating their belief that their situation is retribution for past sins.  This false belief can occur during any and all stages of abuse.  It happens because their abuser tells them so, because of the abuser’s subtle suggestions, and/or because the victim’s low self-esteem creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Many victims stay in their abusive environment believing they are somehow gaining salvation through “deserved” punishment.

Your abuse and suffering is not God’s will – but due to someone else’s sin.  God does not want this and He suffers with you. He has wept with you and for you. In the case of marriage, some individuals take verses of the Bible out of context (i.e., (John 13:34, Ephesians 5:21), believing that they have to submit themselves blindly to their spouse in order to receive God’s grace and love, even in cases of abuse.  This is simply not God’s will, and if the abuse continues without signs of stopping, God will understand your wish for a divorce.

Religion aside, many victims autonomously believe they deserve their punishment, aware of mistakes they committed in the past, and stay in an abusive relationship as a form of self-retribution.

If you’re reading this now, and you are keeping yourself in an abusive relationship because you believe you deserve it, you are mistaken.  I don’t know what your past consists of or why you might believe you deserve to be abused, but if this resonates with you, you need to forgive yourself.  You may feel unloved by people in your life, but that doesn’t mean you, as a person, are unlovable.  People act the way they do because of how they feel about themselves, not because of who you are.  You need to start loving yourself the way you deserve to be loved. We may make mistakes, but that doesn’t make us bad people.  There are only bad choices…ones that can usually be rectified.

Every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around.  Stop regretting your past and do something to change in this moment.  This priceless moment in which you are living and breathing.  Retribution can be achieved through love…beginning with accepting and loving yourself.

every-passing-minute

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Practice Mindfulness – “Waves Hitting Canoe” Sound Therapy Meditation

 

The power to heal – Benefits of Sound Therapy

Just as experiencing stress can have harmful effects on the body, relieving stress can produce beneficial ones. Research has shown a strong link between the relaxation response—which is activated when the mind enters a meditative state—and actual physiological changes associated with sound physical and emotional health. The deeper the state of meditation, the more profound the healing.