Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A Brief Reprieve in the Narcissist/Supply dance

John and I met for our conversation about how much I think he owes my company.  I have literally been postponing this for months because I have been so afraid of the battle that I've been sure will ensue.

But instead of the battle, he came in a gentle and kind way.  Said he would not fight about anything and actually just wanted to hear my side of things so that he could then go away and think it through and try to 'attack' my logic independently. And then come back to me on his thoughts.

So I took him through my thoughts.  And he listened. And asked for copies.

I have no idea if this was a ploy to get my guard down.  But I was relieved at the end of it.

Then he started asking me to come back to him.  He misses me. I miss him. "Come back. Fix me. Heal me. Put me in a cage and make sure I don't ever do that to you again".

I have spent months and months reading everything on how to survive exiting this narcissistic dance. Everything I've read says to beware this type of engagement - he will woo me back, and once I'm in his power again, he'll do even more damage than he has already done.  I don't think he even intends to do that. Right now, he is completely genuine about wanting me back.  But I know he will not be able to sustain it.  I know that if I go back it will be the end of me.  I will lose myself.  I will be exchanging short term joy of reunion with the loss of long term joy.  There are many relationships that do survive infidelity - I know - I've read about them. But this isn't just infidelity.  This is a Narcissistic dance.  It's not the same thing at all.

I must remember that I must flee now while I have the energy to do it,even thought I yearn so very much to be held by him again.  Run even though I crave his arms and gentle whispers in my neck. Escape now while my body still craves his touch.

Have I said that this is tough?  Still tough!

After the meeting he sent me this email. Ugh.  Now what??

I am writing this before we meet today ………… and I have promised myself that I will hit send, no matter what transpires in our conversation.


We fell in love with one another, and we are both horribly hurt and responding from an emotional place.

We both know that I am very bad at being able to keep our business and personal life separate, because we both experience rejection intensely, and I react emotionally. - I take full responsibility for my role in our relationship and I want to ask if we can we acknowledge that things have been hard between us in the business because we got involved in a personal relationship that has clouded our business judgement. I am aware that my destroying our personal relationship has really broken you and I am sorry that you have been so hurt – I truly do understand that that has been hideously painful for you. 

If we think about our business relationship, we have always been very volatile with one another and therefore probably should not have become involved in a personal relationship too. Having said that however, I believe that I have brought great value to your company during the past 4 1/2 years and would like to have had the space to do all that I wanted to do. That has been difficult with you, because you have struggled to let go of the reins and really give me the space to do what I was employed to do. 

As you are aware I would love to have bought the business because of my absolute belief in it’s potential – I know that I can add value to your company and would still love to continue in the company in some way. Could we speak about this impassionately? 

If that is not possible, could we try to resolve our differences professionally and with thought and understanding towards one another. I have been absolutely committed to this business since I started here, to the extent that it has impacted my own life in hugely significant ways. Your company has always had 100% of my attention and I believe that I have always acted in the best interests of the company, with the vision of taking it to financial security and the success that the business should have. If you are adamant that there is no longer any place for me, then I would like to ask that you consider a reasonable and fair termination deal – as has always been the way of your company.



Saturday, 27 September 2014

Stress makes me Sick and How Much can One Girl Take?

At 46 years old I'm statistically right in the middle of my most stressful 2 decades ever. They say that people in their 70's most often seem to be happiest - a golden decade.  But 40's and 50's -  reality bites!

I hate being a statistic.   Even more, I hate being the statistic that matches the norm.  I've always tried to be ahead of the curve: started my business at 27; one of 4% of small businesses that made it past the first 2 years; first person in my family to start a business etc....

But I am a statistic.  This is the year I landed up in hospital with my heart going ballistic and not being able to breathe with 'atypical asthma'.  Pulminologist says it's because I'm too stressed.  Hmmmm.  I paid a lot of money for that diagnosis, not to mention the 9 days in hospital.

Look, you have to know that I am the most resilient person I've met!  I have always prided myself in my ability to take life's knocks on the chin, learn the lesson, and get right back out there and face the world again.  I don't hide.  I tell the truth.  I have brave conversations, and I take calculated risks in my business life.  I'm outspoken about my opinions and courageous in the way I live my life.  You would never have heard me bemoaning my lot.  I'm strong and positive and optimistic about life.  I live with purpose and believe in the half full glass any day of the week. I am the one you would depend on in a crisis.  I have held my company safe through many crises over 18 years and led and inspired my people to hold strong.  Life does not get me down.

Maybe that's been the problem.  Maybe my ability to always land on my feet has meant that my body has taken huge internal strain while I've been out there, holding it all together, no matter what?!

Maybe It's suddenly decided that it's too much.  And than now is the time to put it all down for a while, and regroup.  because nobody should be trying to carry all of this. Not even me.

Lets' see: what are the things I'm dealing right now that could be causing stress?

  1. Moving house. (temporarily into my dad's place for a couple of months while hubby gets our ACTUAL temporary house habitable.  We'll stay THERE for a year waiting for our REAL house to be built).
  2. Renovating temporary house.
  3. Building 'actual' house.
  4. Financial crisis - business bleeding cash- no longer able to fund it: facing bankruptcy and the loss of everything I've ever worked for, and my family's lifetime security.  And the houses I'm trying to build and renovate!
  5. Retrenching half of my workforce, and needing to look each of them in the eyes and tell them I no longer have work for them.
  6. Husband earning less as he depends on my business for billable work.
  7. Dealing husband and my 'split'.
  8. Navigating this new 'open marriage' plan.
  9. Dealing my husband falling in love with his current girlfriend.
  10. Dealing my lover cheating on me.
  11. Dealing breakup from my lover.
  12. Dealing the aftermath of narcissistic abuse from my lover: recovery is sore and slow.
  13. Dealing my lover threatening to sue me for wrongful dismissal from my company.
  14. Dealing the sale of my company to various buyers.
  15. Dealing all of this while battling with my health: Hashimotos and Rheumatoid Arthritis which are both chronic autoimmune diseases, one of which I take chemo for, once a week.
  16. Dealing being in hospital and booked off work for 6 weeks while all this is happening.
  17. And then just being a mom to my precious boys and trying to keep them stable through all this change.
  18. Oh yes - I didn't mention my son breaking his leg at rugby in the middle of all of this.
Any one of these things happening to someone would be enough to knock that person over for a while.  All of them happening at the same time seems impossible for almost anyone to deal.  I think that landing up in hospital unable to breathe is quite a normal response after all of this.

Would you believe that the majority of my pain and anguish is still going towards trying to deal my breakup with my lover, his cheating on me, and extricating myself from the debilitating narcissistic abuse dance I have with him?  80% Narcissistic abuse recovery. 20% the rest.  I feel exhausted even just having written this post, and for the first time created this list of all the stuff in my life that I'm trying to deal.

I think I'll stop now.  Time for a rest.  I'll reflect a bit more tomorrow, I think. 

Friday, 26 September 2014

The Addiction kicks in

I called John last night.  A moment of weakness. Driving past his house on the way to dinner with a friend. The weight and stress of the day was heavy on my shoulders and I just called him.  Shouldn't have.  Needed to hear his voice. Craved his voice.  Clearly I'm still suffering under the regime of Stockholm syndrome - where I go to my abuser for comfort because its hard to get it in any other way right now.

We were kind to each other.

But that makes it worse I think.  That puts him back in my head again, and that old addictive yearning starts up again.

It's like sugar addiction: I've realised that sugar triggers my inflammation in my joints.  I need to avoid it like the plague.  But I am addicted.  And I can go for months without taking any sugar in at all.  But once I have a little...then BAM - the craving is back there, full blown again.  Then it takes weeks of self discipline to fight the craving again.   Alcoholics have it too.  And drug addicts.  A little bit of the forbidden substance ALWAYS kicks in the craving again and the addict is back to square one.

So here I am, waiting for his next attack to land.  And at the same time I'm pining for the comfort I so miss from him.  Such a tough place to be. Fearing him and needing him all at the same time.

'No Contact' is the advised route to go. I've been trawling the internet for months looking for sites that will help me deal with this. The Lisaescott site has a wealth of resources and advice.  It all starts with NO CONTACT. That would slowly wean me from my addiction and release me from my craving.  But I cant help thinking that if I keep in touch with him in our kind space, then I can help him see the error of his ways, and lead him gently to the point where we are able to part safely and kindly.

But even as I say this, the 'adult' voice in my head is telling me that that end point will never be achieved. There will always be another goal post, another challenge.  He will always damage me when I get close.  I am never safe.  The only way to escape is to flee.

But I don't.  If I'm honest with myself, I'm still standing next to an open door, hoping I'll be invited in.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Calm before the Storm?

Image by Aaron Groen

I met with John this morning.  I first talked to him about how torn I felt between the 'Lovely John' who I remember being in love with, and "Malevolent John" and "Paranoid John" who seemed to be very destructive and have no filter or inner brakes.  They stop at nothing and go out and destroy, regardless of the consequences.

I said that he had left me no choice but to respond to his 'gauntlet' about the fact that he sees himself as still employed.  And I said I really thought he was being unfair to attack me like this when I have been so very generous and supportive of him.  And that we had parted in good faith 5 months ago - it wasn't cool of him to now punish me for giving him the benefit of the doubt.

He didn't rage.  He didn't go into charm or self pity space.  Maybe a bit of charm: he 'congratulated' me on seeking legal advice 'because I'm not going to be able to take this on by myself'.  So the veiled threat of imminent attack is very much there.  He kept reminding me how important it is that I disclose his issue to my new buyers.  Again that veiled threat that he's coming.  He mentioned a CCMA case (our local name for a sort of Labour Court tribunal), and then retracted the word saying "I'm not threatening you, but..."

I then sent him the actual letter: and then he started getting angry.  Says I don't have all the facts. Asking if I'd investigated properly. Shaking his head as if I have been very naive in taking the "you paid yourself a pile of money without my approval" angle.  Said I clearly didn't know all the facts and implicated my accountant.  Made me doubt myself for a moment.

Then I came to the office and checked.  I am still correct, thank goodness.

But now I wait.  I have no idea what's going to come at me next.  I think it's part of the abusive cycle.  The inconsistency of response:  I feel like a child who is 'waiting for your father to come home'.

I came into the office after that to finally take my place at the helm again after being away for almost 7 weeks now.  He is not allowed on site.  Will he come?

He went to therapy this afternoon.  Either he is calm and accepting and about to bow out gracefully, or he has another nasty trick up his sleeve.  I wish I could be able to relax, just for a moment, and enjoy the process of working with my company buyers to sell the company.  Instead, I'm actually stressing deep in my soul.  What explosion will come at me next?  From which quarter?

I'm reminded of that funny saying by Mark Twain:
I've been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.

Shew.  This is tough!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The End Game (part 2)

So I am trying to get it all right this time.  I am seeing this man out of my company as fast as I can, this time with the law and some tough people on my side advising me through it.

My lawyer advised me to disclose the challenge to my buyers, but also to offer to indemnify them against any suit that John may bring against my company.  I had a long chat to the MD who had a lot more insight onto my situation than I ever could have imagined. He has had his own horrible tussle with a Narcissistic business partner in the past and fully understands how destructive this kind of person can be.  He isn't thinking 'what kind of a Leader are you if you didn't see all this happening in your company?'  Instead he knows the depths to which these damaged people will stoop sometimes and is full of support for me.

Then I consulted my labour lawyer to see if John has a case.  The answer is 'No'.  Get rid of him immediately!  So I spent last night typing out my 'fuck right off' letter.  I've sent it to the labour lawyer for final rubber stamping, and then I pull the trigger tomorrow.  Here's the letter as it stands now (I know it still has some care in it -  cant bloody help myself)


I have taken legal opinion on this matter.

My response is as follows:

·         You and I agreed to part ways amicably in May: our dispute was related to the terms of that parting, not the parting itself.

·         You accepted the spirit of the parting:
o    you immediately converted your salary payments as an employee into that of a contractor: you instructed the financial team to remove you from the payroll run
o    you initiated and authorised full payments of xxxxx per month with no tax deductions
o    you told the financial staff you would be sending through invoices from the company you own, (although you haven’t to date submitted any)
o    you attended your own farewell function and staff prepared a moving farewell video

·         There is no doubt in my mind that you were fully aware and in agreement with the fact that you were no longer an employee.  To suggest otherwise is frivolous, quarrelsome and in bad faith.

In light of this frivolous correspondence, and other events and facts that have come to my notice since our agreement to part ways amicably in May, I am hereby terminating your contracting relationship with my company, effective immediately.  I no longer trust you to be part of any handover to new buyers as I believe you fully intend to contaminate that new relationship. Some of those facts and events involve the following:

·         Your aggressive and threatening behaviour towards me, despite me regularly reminding you that I am currently of fragile disposition and not able to defend myself from your bullying behaviour.

·         My discovery that you structured your salary, medical aid and car allowance package in such a way that over the 4.5 years you worked for my company you were overpaid in the region of 500k – 700k more than you and I agreed you would be paid. ( you dispute this number and are of the opinion that I owe you money).

·         My discovery that, after asking me to lend you the money to pay for a deposit on your house and costs for registering your house, which I agreed to do, you converted that loan into salary paid by getting our payroll consultant to structure your payslip to reflect you had been paid 640k in February this year!!! 
o    I brought it to you attention on numerous occasions.  You consistently declared it had been produced without your knowledge, and promised to correct ‘the error’. 
o    I sent an email asking you and the payroll consultant to correct ‘the error’: you didn’t.
o    Your most recent denial of any knowledge of this payslip was only 5 days ago – on the 18th of September– I told you that some people may construe this action as fraud: where you pay yourself a huge salary without the consent and signoff of the company main member.  You had no mandate to do this at all and you never consulted me or asked for my approval.  You told me again that you had nothing to do with it.
o    I have since investigated with the finance team and have been assured that not only was the payslip produced with your knowledge, it was produced under your express instruction, using calculations that you yourself created.  When the finance team members protested you assured them that this was a legitimate payment in terms of your contract.
o    Both the act of taking that money as a salary payment to yourself with no consent and the act of lying about your knowledge of it are fireable offences.

·         Your final aggressive threat towards me on 19 September: I told you on the 18th that you had crossed a line. Your threat, within the hearing of witnesses, was “I haven’t just crossed the line.  THIS is the STARTING LINE”.

The way forward:

·         Please hand over your Credit card and banking token immediately
·         Please prepare a full backup from your laptop of all company-related documents by Friday 26 September: please set it up with a filing system that makes it easy for me to retrieve the documents I need.

·         Your email address will be suspended with immediate effect. You will be able to liaise with IT guy to retrieve email that pertains to your personal activity. Nobody will access your email until you are happy that your personal correspondence has been removed by you. Please do not remove any company-related correspondence as I may need to access that in future.

·         As previously agreed, you are welcome to keep the laptop itself

·         You have until the 30 September to register your car in your own name.  Failure to do that will mean that the company will have to claim the car back and sell it to defray expenses.

·         You have until the 30 September to transfer your cell phone contract into your own name.

·         Please note that you are bound to maintain the confidentiality of company business: do not contact or communicate with clients, staff, associates or potential buyers.  All communication should be directed through me and I will involve relevant parties if necessary.

·         I will contact you about setting up a facilitated meeting where we try to resolve the dispute we have regarding money owed between yourself and the company. 

John, in spite of everything, it makes me incredibly sad to have to take this step.  I wish you had used this time to right some of the wrongs you inflicted on me and the company.  I was most grateful for the manner in which you held my company together over the period of my illness, and the kindness you showed me while I was in hospital.  I do not enjoy this process as you know I believe it takes me into a very negative energy space and the resultant conflict just ensures that everybody loses.  I would have preferred an amicable resolution and a parting in the same way that our business relationship began – in good faith. But I feel you have left me no choice: the aggressive and threatening manner and dishonesty you have displayed means I would be irresponsible and reckless to allow you back into my company in any way.


Trudy North

I am terribly nervous about tomorrow's confrontation.  I really don't know how he will respond.  Will he dig his heels in and refuse to leave the premises? Would I call the police if that happened? Will he go home and shoot himself? Will he call my buyers and do his best to scupper the deal we're busy negotiating between us?  Will he spill all my secrets about our personal relationship to everybody?

My shrink suggests I plan the conversation as a study in 'how a narcissist responds'.  I should try to record the conversation so I feel more distant and protected.  I'm not very good at protecting myself from him and I think he is going to deliver his wildest attack ever - either on me, or on my community.  I do not trust him to consider protecting me in any way.  Even though I deserve it.  Even though he owes me something for all the devastation he has wreaked on me, my body. My soul.  My instinct would be to protect.  His will be to rip me to pieces!

The End Game (part 1)

When John and I broke up 5 months ago it was because of his cheating.  I've caught him a few times sexting other women, and come across just too many 'lovesick' girls in and around my company to not be smelling a rat. I finally caught him with evidence on his phone of having a full blown sexual relationship with another woman, and when I contacted her, I discovered he'd been having sex with her for more than 22 years!  All the way through our relationship!! I was devastated.  I just couldn't understand how he could have deceived me so easily. How he could have entered into our relationship with such deception from the start. And I had really really loved him.  (I'll blog more about this story later).  He actually told his girlfriend that he was only sleeping with me to keep his job!

In the face of such betrayal I just couldn't carry on working alongside him any more!  And the more I thought about his 'sleeping with me to keep his job', the more I could see the truth in that.  He was doing less than half of what I had employed him to do. Earning a FAT salary (which he had engineered to overpay himself for YEARS), and I was picking up the slack for him, doing half of his job and all of mine.  I was cleaning up his messes; making excuses to everyone for his rude and arrogant behaviour, and finding and fixing his mistakes in the work he did.  I had lost some strong and valuable staff because of him - they could see right through him while I was still in 'lalaland'.

As I started seeing the man through my now broken rose coloured spectacles I realised I was carrying a lazy, lying, cheating, incompetent schmuck who was destroying me and my company more every single day he came to work.  I decided to ask him to go.  I knew he was now in a very fragile state of mind and I was afraid of how he might respond.   He's a 53 year old guy - not a lot of job prospects ahead.  He's a talented entrepreneur, so I was pretty sure he would land on his feet, but even though he had been a bastard from hell to me, I didn't want to just turf his ass out onto the street.  So I wrote him a caring farewell note. I sent it to him and his shrink just before his shrink appointment so someone could hold him through the shock of it:

Dear Shrink and John 

I am sending this at this time because it needs to be done, and I fear the impact it will have on John. I considered joining your session today (John asked me to), but my shrink has advised me against it.  So here it comes in distant black and white.  It comes with a huge amount of sadness and pain, and from a place of love. 
Shrink, please help John understand why I now need to go 'No Contact' with him. I don’t think he will ever be able to truly understand how this has all impacted me, nor what I need to do to protect and heal myself now, nor how continued contact will continue to erode me and my ability to heal.

Dear John

In light of the horrendous events of the past few days, I believe the only course of action for us is to part ways completely.  There has been an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship and trust between us and I believe it to be impossible for us to continue to lead and manage my company together.

I am very aware that this will have a significant impact on you financially, and so in order to give you the opportunity to make a new plan to support yourself, I am offering a 3 month termination notice period.  Should you be able to find something else in a shorter period of time, you are most welcome to leave my company immediately to take advantage of that opportunity, but I will not extend the period beyond 3 months.  This means that your very last possible working day would be 21 August 2014, just to be clear.

I am fully aware that this is not a normal ‘HR’ process that I am taking here – and I am terribly afraid that you will take the legal route about this as you have threatened to do in the past.  But I am trying to trust that you have reached the point where you will try to do the good and honourable thing as you know I am, in order to limit the damage that could be caused to me, you, our families and children, our reputations, and my company that any prolonged legal battle would create.  You also know that my company currently cannot afford anything but this deal that I am offering you.

Here are the practical issues we would need to manage:
·         You continue to produce what we agreed is your role as commercial director of my company until you leave
·         You continue to work offsite unless you are required at meetings at work.
·         We will interact only on business issues – my shrink has strongly advised that I cannot allow any personal contact during this time
·         We will tell the staff that you have been offered an opportunity that you can’t refuse and will be moving on with great sorrow because of all the happy times we have shared in this space.
·         Even though I know you mean me well, as I do you, I know that the narcissistic part of you will be tempted to triangulate with the staff through this time and after. So another rule is that you may not have any meetings or conversations alone with any member of staff, or associate.  I am concerned that you may inadvertently do or say things to people which would very negatively impact on my ability to heal, and my ability to lead the team. (you have often done it inadvertently, even while still part of the team).  I also understand that this is a devastating request to you as these people have been your community for 4 years, and you will feel alone and abandoned and bereft for a while.  I’m deeply sorry about that.  It’s the only way I can see to keep us all safe, long term.  Please note that although I have no right to impose this post you leaving, I must ask you to stay away from the my company community people even after you’re gone. 
·          Please protect my reputation always.  I will protect yours.
I don’t know what else to say.  Please believe this is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life.  The grief and pain I am experiencing is almost beyond my ability to hold.  I really hope that, painful as this has been,  we will both be able to use the lessons of this time to heal and grow into the best human beings we are capable of becoming. I wish you nothing but goodness in your future – I do understand how much you suffer with your demons and have huge compassion for your pain, no matter how much pain it has caused me.

All my love

When I read this now, 5 months later I am so angry at how he has taken advantage of me over these 5 months.  I tried so hard to look after him and he has not honoured that in any way.  Instead he has used this time to manipulate, torture, abuse, harangue, lie, and try to steal my company from me. He does not deserve the generosity of spirit I give to those I love.  He just desecrates it.  I don't believe he is capable of even understanding that people are capable of this level of care and love.

And I just let him trample all over me. And traumatise me even worse than he has ever done before.  And its been bad  before.

His latest move is to say he does not consider himself on notice at all (after 5 months), and that I should inform my new buyers that they will have to carry his cost as a full blown employee or pay a lot of money to him for a retrenchment package.  I now completely regret not having fired him outright 5 months ago. I should have just followed the cold HR process and be done with him!  My generosity is costing me big. Why I ever thought he was capable of doing the right thing I  just don't know.

I have to get rid of him immediately.  I will not be able to come back to work and lead my company, and facilitate the buyout, whilst at the same time trying to limit the damage he causes and watch my back every step of the way.  I'll be back in hospital within a week. Probably with a full blown heart attack this time.  I absolutely refuse.  I'm so done!!

Fuck you! Narcissistic Pig Bastard!

18 September 2014

PG alert (you might have noticed)

Another dip into the Pink Book to just remember the very healthy rage and anger that I'm finally allowing myself to express after 5 years of CRAZY MAKING stuff from that man!  He has just wound me up in knots (see previous post) and I've run off to the nearest coffee shop to calm down and write up my pink book before I forget this rage!

Fucking John Fucking Smith.  Playing games with me.  Saying he has 'issues' with the reasons for his termination.  (aside: I asked him to leave our company 5 months ago when he cheated on me. I cited a breakdown of trust between us. Since then I have uncovered a MAJOR fraud that he instituted before we 'parted amicably'.  I gave him 3 month's notice and extended that to 5 when I landed up in hospital. He was the only person who could run my company in my absence). He's saying that if I'm bringing my lawyer to facilitate our 'who owes who what money' conversation, then he will bring representation too.  He threatens that I have a 'duty' to inform my new buyers of the possible 'cash flow implications' should it become evident that my company owes HIM money.  He will expect MY COMPANY and the NEW BUYERS to pay him out for any legal action  he takes against me for 'wrongful dismissal'.  After I gave him 3 months to find a new job.  After it cost me my health to just tolerate him in the business on a daily basis!!!

Narcissistic fucking fucking fucking bastard!!! After everything he has taken from me and my company, he STILL wants to screw me out of MORE!!!

How did I ever ever love this man?? How did I EVER trust him?  What is wrong with me that I didn't see him coming?  That I could normalize his disgusting behavior for so long?  That I thought, even for a moment, that I was safe with him!!

Fuck him!  Fuck him!  And to think I actually considered letting him off his debt!!  That I actually felt responsible for keeping him financially safe!!  That I gave a SHIT about his future! Trudy: he's a fat fucking SNAKE.  DO NOT TRUST HIM EVER AGAIN!!!

I should have fired him for fucking incompetence and laid a charge of FRAUD against him! PIG DOG FUCKHEAD!

You want to derail my new buyer deal so you can STEAL my COMPANY from me!!  You are a snake fucking fucking bastard! I have ZERO respect left for you. I can't REMEMBER why I ever LOVED you. I NEVER want to EVER see you again. You NEVER deserved me! And you were a USELESS FUCKING MD whose INCOMPETENCE and CONFLICTUAL LYING BASTARD approach DESTROYED my COMPANY. FUCKING FUCKING ASSHOLE!! I cannot WAIT until you walk out of my company for the LAST TIME. I don't want you POLLUTING and POISONING me or my workspace EVER FUCKING AGAIN!!!  THIEF! You STOLE MONEY FROM ME!!

You have LEECHED off me for 5 YEARS!!  I paid for EVERYTHING. Zanzibar!  Bush breaks! You even manipulated me into paying for the weekend away we had when I CAUGHT you CHEATING on me!!  ASSHOLE. BASTARD. FUCKTARD. Parasite. There is NOTHING you contributed to. Lying fucking BASTARD.

Piece of SHIT fuckhead DOG BASTARD.  You are going to live a sad and lonely life because you SHIT on the good things that happen to you!

Just get the FUCK out of my life and let me finally recover.


Hmmm - I don't think I've ever written a piece like this.  Sorry if it offends you.  But I really really need to say this stuff and get him out of my system forever.

Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. Flee!!!

Neil Gaiman:
Flee while there's still air in your lungs and blood in your veins and warmth in your heart.  Flee while you still have your mind and your soul.
(S)He will take your life and all you are and all you care'st for, and will leave you with nothing but mist and fog. (S)he'll take your joy. And one day you'll awake and your heart and soul will have gone. A husk you'll be, a wisp you'll be, and a thing no more than a dream on waking, or a memory of something forgotten.
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.
I am astounded at how sick this man has made me.  Almost 5 years of business relationship and some of that time in a lover relationship.  I have heard that stress can make you sick, but I must say I've never actually understood the destructive effect it can have on your body.  And Mind. And Soul.

I suddenly saw a moment between us the other day where John manipulated me.  And I realised that this was his 'formula'.  He asked me to come in to work (while still on sick leave) so he could unpack my company cash flow projection for me before I sent it on to our potential new buyers.   He said it had changed substantially since the last one I had seen 'seeing as I had spent so much time away from work'.

He opens with a 'dramatic announcement': "This has changed significantly since the last one we sent to your 'buyers' 3 weeks ago!"  My heart begins to beat fast.  My adrenaline kicks in: a huge change in our projections will scare my buyers and possibly derail the company sale.  And plunge me into liquidation and possible sequestration.  It's a BIG deal.

Outwardly I keep my cool.  I ask "how has it changed?"

His response, "Well our costs have grown by 6 million!"

"How is that possible?" I exclaim. "How could our costs have grown 6 million in 3 weeks??!!"

"No need to get demanding on me." he growls back. "Just let me take you through the projection and you'll see."

We work through the projections.  I don't see any material changes at all.  I ask him to pull up the projections from 3 weeks ago.  Insignificant difference. There is absolutely no sign of this 6 million increase in costs. When I challenge him on it he responds that its not actually the cash projection problem, it's a sales forecast problem.  In the past 3 weeks our sales team has taken 6 million off their pipeline.  Again I panic inside. Same problem: we lose that much off our sales pipeline in 3 weeks and our buyers will head for the hills!  My heart starts beating like crazy again and my throat begins to close up with the stress. I'm finding it hard to breathe.

Again I ask him to pull up the previous sales pipeline.  Again I find no material difference.  In fact our pipeline GREW by 400 000 in the past 3 weeks.

No emergency. No problem actually.  But my body has been put through two tortuous life shocks and adrenaline rushes which I've been told by my specialists to specifically avoid.  I am still very much at risk of anxiety-related heart issues and asthma triggers.  He knows this.  And yet he plays this game anyway.  While I'm still on sick leave.  Recovering from a stress-related near-death experience brought on by HIM!  Was his game just to suck my time and attention?  Was the meeting engineered specifically to weaken me?  Or maybe he was hoping I would buy the lie so I would struggle to negotiate with my buyers?  He is still telling me he is bringing another bid to the table.  Is this his way of keeping me firmly in his control?

By the time that particular conversation was finished I was a raving gabbling fury- driven crazy woman!  I got so angry with him that I threw my purse at him: it broke his glasses!!  I have no idea what finally incensed me to make me lose it like that - the fog that is described to aptly by Neil Gaiman above has settled itself over that part and I cannot remember much at all.  I remember walking out with him yelling some parting shots behind me.  I went straight to my car and headed out of there. Took myself to a coffee shop and wrote another pink book entry that I've captured for you here.

Flee, Trudy!  Find the way to end it now. Strong. Clear. Effective.

But I quake in my soul every time I think about having the money conversation with him.  I fear him.  I am right to fear him. I need to find a way to protect myself in that conversation.

And I need to do it this week.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Dipping into the Pink book

This is my first extract from my pink book.  From the first page of my book.  I'm not telling my story chronologically at all - I hope that my readers will be able to piece it all together as I go.

16 September 2014: 93 days

My last few days of sick leave. I've been away from work for almost 6 weeks now.  I'm afraid of going back. John (ex lover, still business colleague) is in a full on paranoid narcissistic rage and I know that he is going to try and take me down as soon as I show up at work.  I want to find a strong, gracious, and generous way to see him out of the business.  But he derails so much of what I try to do - I have no idea whether I'll pull it off or not.

One thing I know for sure: he and I need to stop working together. Forever. This is actually killing me, this interaction. I need days to recover from each time we are together - he literally takes me down every time.

And I still feel so torn between my natural emotional response which is the 'save John' voice: the fact that he has worked VERY hard (for the first time in almost 5 years) to keep my company afloat while I've been in hospital and on sick leave counts hugely in his favour.  He has taken on a huge amount of stress to do it.  But of course,  on the downside, even during this time he has been incredibly bullying and cruel to me.

My company has been battling financially.  Only a buyout will save us from financial ruin.  John has been connecting with investor friends of his to try to buy the company from me himself.  And all the time he's been working on that, he's been using it as a huge manipulation tool to pull me back in under his power. I have on my cellphone, a video of one of the devastating conversations we had where he skewers me and turns me mercilessly over the flames until I break down in sobs, weeping, begging him to stop breaking me.  And in the video he looks on at me sobbing with a completely cold, dispassionate stare - not feeling one ounce of empathy, not realising that I'm about to fold - emotionally, spiritually, physically.  I was in hospital 5 days after that video.

In the video I call him evil.  Or what he's doing to me as evil.  He doesn't stop. He can't. He just carries on. Skewering me with words and psychological abuse. And zero compassion. Unable to protect me from the monster inside him.

M Scott Peck writes:

There is another reaction that the evil frequently engender in us. Confusion. Describing an encounter with an evil person, one woman wrote, it was "as if I'd suddenly lost my ability to think". Once again, this reaction is quite appropriate.  Lies confuse. The evil are "the people of the lie" deceiving others as they also build layer upon layer of self deception.

I hear myself sobbing in the video. Each time I listen to it, I find myself weeping for that poor woman, me, who is beaten emotionally so badly that her body protests. Revolts. Resorts to emergency illness that can no longer be ignored. Heart. Chest, Cant breathe. 6 weeks!  6 weeks of being unable to work.  That's how much he is harming me.

I do know there seems to be some spiritual process at play here too: that I have needed to see rock bottom with my own eyes before I'm prepared to change.  But I mustn't get ahead of myself.  First - look reality in the face: see the damage, Trudy. See what his abuse is wreaking on you.  Burn the image into your eyelids. Never let anyone abuse you like this again.

100 Days of Solitude

It's an exercise that Shrink has set me.

I am by nature quite a recluse.  The nature of my work (I'm a CEO of a company that teaches people how to manage relationships - and yes - more irony - I get it) means that I spend all day giving energy to people. I'm actually quite an introvert.  I get my energy from solitude.

Hubby and I bought a beautiful diningroom suite about 10 years ago.  I imagined many laughing evenings entertaining our friends with wine and food.  In reality, we've had possibly 2 dinner parties in all that time.  We're just not the kind of people who socialise a lot on weekends.  We like doing our own thing.

It's not like I don't have friends.  Actually, for a lot of the time I have run my 18 year-old business, I have either employed my friends, or become friends with the people who work with me.  So we're in each others' space a lot at work - no need to do more of that on weekends!

I kinda grew out of the 'employing my friends' a few years ago. I should then have started changing my behaviour with them - connecting more often; taking them out for coffee and catchup sessions. I'm most content when I'm having a long glass of wine with a dear friend, one on one, unpacking the truths and lies of the world.  Its so rich for me.

BUT I've also trained my closest friends not to expect to spend time with me often.  We have prided ourselves in having deeply rich and loyal friendships that survive children and busy lives - we are delighted at our ability to take up where we left off 6 months ago without skipping a beat.  None of us feel neglected or abandoned after months of no contact. We know we love each other.  We're walking a path that will take a lifetime to unpack. We're cool with that.

Until I fell into this hole. I needed rescue. Emergency care. Daily connection to keep me from going crazy. People looking in on me to distract me from my fear that I was going to die.  None of my friends realised how bad I was. They didn't really know what to do for me.  I got some "how are you?" and "chin up" messages from them.  But not what I needed. Actually I had no idea what I needed.  If they'd asked, I would have had no idea what to tell them.  "Not this"?

So maybe solitude isn't as good for me as I thought.  I need to find new ways of engaging my friends.  I have 100 days in which to do it.  Last day is 18 December.  By then I need to have figured out why I behave like this, and how to be different.  How to get the support structure I need.

Hubby isn't an option: I kind of burned that bridge when we agreed to see other people.  He has another person.  I don't. I have an ex lover Narcissist who is trying to get back into my life by using my weakened physical and emotional state to manipulate me.   I get daily attacks of love bombing or abusive behaviour. One day he's proposing to me, the next he's telling me another pile of stupid lies. It's relentless and exhausting.  And of course, there are days where I don't hear from him at all.  Those are the days he's off shagging his next conquest.  Which he denies of course.  And because I've broken up with him, and because I know I've escaped him, I really shouldn't care.  But it bothers me anyway.  Especially the lying.

So I tried online dating a bit.  Just to distract me from my loneliness and yearning to be back with ex.  Ouch. That hurt me.  Played with a few boys. Met up with a few. Slept with one, once. Got dumped twice. Once, kindly, by the one I slept with.  Once, just cut off dead by one I really got very attached to online much too fast.  Pushed me further down the hole.

So the 100 days of solitude also means no more boys.  I need time to separate and heal without becoming obsessed with any of them.  Just to give my heart time to speak.  For my head to hear who I am when I am just me.

Shedding My Narcissists

I am the daughter of a Narcissist. The sister of a Narcissist.  Many of my business partners have been Narcissists. Many of my friends. First Husband. Ex Lover. Many of my clients.  I seem to be like a beacon for them.  Or I'm drawn in their direction.  Most probably a bit of both.

My second husband is NOT a Narcissist. He's actually a lovely man.  We had about 15 years of pretty good going in our marriage. Produced two lovely sons. Raised my firstborn together, even though he's not the biological dad.  We were a really good unit.  Successful in many ways.  Built a business together. Acquired a property portfolio. Raised 3 very solid and talented boys. Contributed to our community.  And then our marriage wasn't good any more. So so many reasons for that.  I'm sure I'll explore those in the course of the blog.

Very long story short: we agreed to part ways.  But only in our intimate and sexual lives. But we (or mostly I) believed that we are such a strong and successful family unit and team.  We're economic partners, good parent partners, good family partners.  Separating ourselves geographically from each other would wreak so much more damage on our family and it's community.  Couldn't we, I reasoned, find a way to co habit and see other people?  Keep the good of our marriage together, and just find alternatives to the parts of us that were broken?

Hubby agreed. With reservations.  I took a lover first. My business colleague. A narcissist.  Hubby hated him. He has nearly succeeded in killing me. He is the ex-lover now. Then my husband took a lover.  A lovely woman. Dear friend of mine.  She's great for him I think.  I'm struggling with it a bit.  Lots more on this later too.

I started therapy about 18 months ago.  My ex lover and I were working together. Had been for almost 4 years. He was systematically destroying me and damaging my health in the process.  I was too used to dealing with dysfunctional people to realize how much danger I was in.  My therapist feared for me.  I stayed with him anyway.  That turned out to be a really bad call on my part.

But I have been really really good at systematically eliminating the other Narcissists from my life.  Closing business relationships. Moving on from dysfunctional friendships. Letting dysfunctional family relationships lapse. I guess I was really practicing for the big one. Removing ex-lover.  Lets Call him John.  I don't really want to 'out' myself or my family and friends, so I'll make up names to protect both the innocent and the guilty for now.

Shedding my Narcissists has been the hardest journey of my life.  It's taken me a long time to see what horrendous damage my relationships have inflicted on me in my life.  The nature of Narcs is to suck the energy out of people like me - we're good 'Narcissistic Supply', which means we're really good at helping the Narcs feel good about themselves.  Most of us have been trained from birth to get it right.  Our primary relationships are abusive and dysfunctional, and that makes it all feel normal.  We're a bit bored when we meet normal people.  But let someone come near us full of damage and cracks....BAM - we're interested and we light up like a Christmas House! Moths to a flame!

At 46 I am now suffering from two autoimmune diseases.  Hashimotos and Rheumatoid arthritis.  I really believe that both of these have become my reality because of the severe stress and trauma I have suffered in my life as a result of the Narcissists I have kept on choosing to hang out with.  And now, my most extreme relationship ever, the one with ex-lover, John, seems to be the most hectic.  I have been off work for 6 weeks, two of which were spent in hospital,  trying to recover from his emotional and psychological bullying and abuse of me.

I will tell many stories about these relationships over the course of this blog.  I really want to write my way to a stronger, healthier and more hopeful place.  I believe I am a strong and good woman in the world, and I want to give myself the space to find my next life phase.  It has to be different.  I have to be different. I have to run my life and my relationships so differently that I impact everything with the change.

Popperist theory postulates that "Everything you have ever learned is enough to have brought you to this moment.  But it's not enough to take you forward".  My doc has warned me that if I don't find a new approach to life and work, I am not going to live a very long one.  This event that landed me in hospital was very close to a heart attack.  Change now. Or die.

I guess change is the way!

Why Pink?

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I've always bought black moleskine books to write my thinking in.  Business thinking mostly. I'm very nervous about writing personal journal thinking into black books because I'm terrified that I'll get hit by a bus, and my children will find my books.  And read my innermost thoughts.  And that may forever skew their picture of me.  And my husband, for that matter.

I've heard men say that the role of a best mate is, on hearing of his accidental death, to head over to his home and office, and search for and destroy all his porn.  Wives and children shouldn't be exposed to that when they're grieving.  Girls haven't really got that kind of pact. We should.  Maybe journalling would be freer for us if we did.

I have actually braved my hit-by-bus fear a couple of times and started writing journals.  In black moleskine books.  I wrote disclaimers on the front pages:  "My sons: this is a private journal.  please don't read it. Even if I'm dead when you find it.  It's my innermost thoughts and I don't want you to be exposed to those.  Please respect my privacy in this regard.  I love you, Mom!"  I wonder if any of them will be able to resist the temptation?

Anyway - I lost those journals. Not forever, but for now. I landed up in hospital (more about that later) in the middle of my family moving house (more about that too).  While I was there, my domestic worker packed up my bedroom.  The journals have landed in a box somewhere. I have no idea which box.  I'm incredibly nervous about who may be the person to unpack them eventually when we finally get to unpack.  But there's absolutely nothing I can do about that now.

And now that I'm out of hospital and slowly peeling myself off rock bottom, my shrink suggested I should get back into journalling.  "Or maybe write a blog", she said.  "That way you may help other people wrestling with the same stuff you are.". I was to afraid to open my laptop then - it was too much like being at work, and I really couldn't face that then.

So it came to be that I wandered into a stationery shop with the vague purpose of seeing if they had any nice books for me to write in.  And maybe a nice pen.  Somehow, this new phase in my story needed to have an auspicious place to record it. I knew that it wasn't going to be another black one - too much risk of it landing on the pile of business books and never being seen again.

And suddenly, there it was.  The Pink one.

So you need to know that I'm just not a girly girl - I never do the Pink thing. I'm the mother of 3 sons, a hard- nosed business chick, and veteran of many hard knocks.  Pink. Isn't. Me. Black. Red.  Shades of stone and white if I'm doing house decor. No Pink.  I have nothing in Pink.

So I bought it.

The irony isn't lost on me. I am a woman in the process of severe change and not a little trauma. Everything is different. Its' ok.

And I started writing.

And when I had written enough to bring me back from the edge and give me enough courage to open my laptop again, I did that.  And started this blog.  Join me.