Thursday, 30 October 2014

Don't try give the Baby away

Was at therapy on Tuesday. And somehow thinking about how I am dealing with all the men that are orbiting my life at the moment.  (Besides John-the-Narc who is currently in full on take-no-prisoners attack mode - threatening to sue me instead of asking how he can possibly work out with me how he can pay me back.....)

Shrink was helping me think about how I engage with those men. She talked about various archetypes we carry inside us, and about how I need to be thinking about how the 'young man' operates inside me. It's not a gender thing, but rather an attitude thing.

What I am feeling right now is a desperate need to be held and comforted. And that's a normal thing to feel. It's the hurt little child just aching to be held. But, as she pointed out, none of the boys that are around  me at the moment will ever be able to step up and hold the child. They're just aren't that type. And I am fooling myself and them a bit because I am flirtatiously playful with them - initiating contact and being the young man - slightly sexually aggressive and going out there to fetch what I want. But the minute any of them respond to me, what actually comes to the fore is the sexy girl, who is, in fact, still very close to the needy child. In effect, if they respond to me, what I'm trying to do is to get them to hold the baby.

So it's a trick I'm playing with them and myself. Entice them with my siren song, and then hand over the baby for them to hold.

No. No. No. Can't do that. I cannot give any of these guys the baby. They don't know how to hold the baby. I need to hold the baby. Nurture her. Reassure her. Help her be OK in the world. Protect her. They could actually cause her even more harm than she has already suffered if I even let them near her.

It doesn't mean I can't play with these boys. Even shag them if I really have the inclination and things look great. But if I do, I need to be very very mindful that I keep myself in 'young man' space. Understand that I'm going there for fun, connection, recreation, playfulness. But not because I'm seeking care and holding. That will not come now. That's the way to protect my heart for now - is to stay in the mode of young man and sexy girl. But be very very clear with  myself that I'm not letting them get near the baby. And clear with myself that I will not give the baby away.

Shrink also suggests that if I do decide to get intimate with someone, that I have my own exit points planned. Early breakfast with a girlfriend, or even going back to my room or another bed. Just something where I symbolically do the leaving and I don;t let myself be the one who is left.

I like those concepts. I'm going to mull them for a while.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Allowing me to Grieve

The horrible thing about leaving a Narcissist is the dreadful consequence of Cognitive Dissonance. For many of us survivors, we leave before we are ready - either the Narcissist discards us for new, more exciting supply, and just falls out of love, or we are confronted with irrefutable evidence of their lies or cheating which makes staying impossible. Many of us stay through years of emotional or physical abuse until this happens - we don't often leave simply to save ourselves.

So I left when I could no longer deny his cheating on me. I wasn't ready to go. I loved him with all my heart. But I also am now fully aware of what a lying cheating monster he can be. And, hard to believe, that didn't stop me loving him. It actually made it even harder to go. And MUCH harder to grieve. Because everybody I love will be asking why I would mourn the loss of a monster. How can you grieve the man who cheated on you? Broke your heart? Stole money from you? Lied to you?

So every time I begin to grieve, the logical part of me admonishes myself. "Remember what he has done to you!". "He doesn't deserve the grieving bandwidth".

But I need the grieving bandwidth. I need to grieve the man I loved. I need to find the deep upwelling of unshed tears inside me and let them flow for this loss. The loss I have felt in this love being ripped away from me. Even if he existed only in moments. I found the deepest, most open love I have ever been capable of giving or receiving in my life. I opened myself completely and let him into the deepest and darkest parts of me. We connected in profoundly soulful ways. So many times, when making beautiful and achingly passionate love together I would look into his eyes and cry with joy and love. We would cling together and I would feel so held and safe and loved in his strong arms that I wished for the moment never to end. Just kissing him was a magical and beautiful experience.

I lost myself in him. And it was a blissful loss. Our music together was sweet and rich. We moved with a deep and intuitive connection. Every touch from him was sensuous and magnificent. He inspired me to find my beautiful and deeply sexual instincts and I have never felt more lovely and desired in my life. We went together to such deeply intimate primal places. Gentle. Compassionate. Wild. Soft. Hard. Joyful. Sad. He painted me. Photographed me. Enjoyed me. And I was so deeply drawn to him and mesmerized by him that I cannot even find the words to frame it. Nobody in the world would have been enough to rip my eyes and love away from him. I did feel it. Completed. By him. Intimacy. Joy. Happy abandon. Touch. Love.

We bought a house together early this year. My forever fantasy. A beautiful house on a hill with a view that I imagined sharing with him for decades. I saw us sitting on the mountainside, watching sunrises and sunsets. Making love languidly in the summer afternoons under the trees in the garden. Weekends together there spent loving, sleeping, creating, gardening. Looking out at the world below us together, and holding the world between us in our love and connection. And Sunday mornings. Beautiful Sunday mornings. Loving, sexy snoozing Sunday mornings.

My heart wants to break into a million pieces all over again when I imagine him sharing my forever fantasy with someone not me. The loving and magical space I thought I had finally found in my life, gifted to other women. Not for me. I am devastated by the cruelty of taking other women there when I was not. Sharing that space with them. Making love to them on my couch. On my bed. In my garden. Showing them our beautiful view and spaces. Making them feel that connection. Finding their goddess. Photographing them. Painting them.

Desecrating my forever place.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

It feels like Something Died

I had a regroup session with my company in-house team today.  All this craziness in our company's life - nearly going bankrupt, finding new buyers, retrenching staff, me missing for two months on sick leave, John-the-Narc leading the company in my absence and creating triangulation and mistrust everywhere - it's caused a huge amount of concern in the team that's stayed.

My team is feeling undisciplined, unruly, lackadaisical and unmotivated and it feels like time to start talking it through. I wanted today to begin the conversation about where we're all at, and also how to take us all forward: what we want our 'new' company to be.

One of the team's feedback was "It feels like something died." She's right. It's a hectic thing to feel, but she's right. The trust, care and support we used to feel is missing. The team connectedness is missing. The purpose we all carried to work with us each day is missing. The glue we took for granted is gone.

They felt abandoned by me. And even though it was not of my choosing - I own how they felt. What I didn't say to them is that I felt abandoned too.  That I was lonely and bereft in hospital. That I didn't feel supported by them while I was there.

But I am at peace with that now.  Something died for me too. I lost such precious things in this time: my trust in John. My ability to love freely, without fear. My ability to lead as I led.

But part of me is glad about that death.  I mourn it. But I also celebrate the space it is creating for me to move on and grow. Parts of me and my company needed to die. Like a fire burning the veld. The green shoots that will grow are precious and new - and I will protect and nurture them as they emerge.

The death of things should be acknowledged and honoured. And then we must move on.

Monday, 27 October 2014

On feeling Alone

I feel Alone now. I'm sad. I'm grieving so much loss. I'm sitting at work. All the staff have gone home. Today has been a bastard of a day and I've been dragging myself through it.

I got more threatening emails from John, and he's making it so very clear that he is breaking all agreements of honour between us and coming after me for even more money than he has already taken. I wish I could be all 'Fuck You' in my heart about it. And just send it all on to my lawyers to deal. But still it hurts me. I find it yet another layer of broken trust and betrayal and I just cannot understand why he would continue to to try to harm me.

I guess I just need to accept that he's first and foremost a Narcissist. And that I have to let go any fantasy that he ever really loved me or meant me well. I'm just an ATM with benefits to him, and he'll milk me for everything he can before he moves on to his next target. And how do I swallow the bitterness that is welling up in my throat? How do I walk forward with the despair I feel in my soul?

And I sit here alone in this building where we worked side by side for so very long. And I am so very lonely. Who do I turn to to say "What a Bastard" to? Nobody here. And even if there was someone here, I wouldn't say it to them. Because for some fucking ridiculous reason I'm still protecting his reputation.

Loneliness and grief just weighing me down heavily now. Shrink says feel it.  It's an ugly feeling but feel it. I don't want to feel it. I would rather go shopping and buy stuff. Or call a mate and go out for coffee or a drink. Or go watch a movie. Anything to make this horrible place just go away. But then I guess it will be here again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. And at some time I'll have to just take it on. So now then.

Feel the grief. And sadness. And tears and tears. The loss of the man I loved so much. Who I believed in. Who I thought loved me. Who I believed loved me.

That man. Who told his other lover he was just sleeping with me to keep his job. I so wanted that to be not true. I so wanted it to be NOT about the money. It's like a deep deep knife through my heart. That he comes back to take even more money. Instead of coming to me to say he knows what he did. He knows what he took. He'll do everything he can to make it up to me. And pay back what he took.

But that's not going to happen. Not if I was just his paycheck for a few years.

I just have to sit here and feel how it feels to be not loved as I loved. Not honoured as I honoured. Not held as I held. Just bereft. I feel bereft.

Berlin pops up Online for a moment again

When I was reading the Sunday times yesterday I saw a funny photograph with a gay guy with Berlin's Ashley Madison's online 'Name'. I took a cell phone photo of it and sent it to him as a 'hello' joke.  I had hoped that he might pop in for coffee with me at my Sunday morning Tasha's moment, and thought the pic may trigger an action from him.  Instead, he responded:

Berlin: "Hahaaa :) But that guy's gay! The '*****' you know is anything but! How are you doing. Sitting at Tasha's?"

Me: "Frankly I wouldn't be able to testify to the gayness or not of  the '*****' I know, having not ever experienced him in any other way other than cyberspace, where anything is possible and fantasy and projection abounds!!"

"Tasha's was lovely. Now getting my boys ready for a Halloween party this afternoon."

"You having a happy Sunday?"

Berlin: " Jeez, can't believe a whole week zapped past again. Actually we wanted to meet last week: should aim for sometime in the next few days. Things have been a bit crazy here at work"

Me: "I'm free this afternoon after I drop my boys"

Berlin: "Nope. Taking my daughter to the movies"

Me: "I'm heading out of town on business on Thursday, so it would have to be before I go, or the week after I get back: lots to catch up on after being off for 7 weeks!"

Berlin: "What happened, health wise, after you were in hospital? What did they find and how was it fixed?"

I explained the stuff, briefly

Me: "Thanks for being there when I started crashing. It must have been quite hectic for you. I was taking major strain and you brought me some light in that very dark place.

Berlin: "No it wasn't hectic. OK maybe a little intense towards the end. I didn't have a problem with that, I don't let friends down. Only when that episode happened with the girl on AM and I thought it was you...that freaked me out a bit. Looked as if you were getting hectically possessive then so I felt I had to withdraw, But I'm glad you're better now and that things worked out in your favour in your company."

Me: "You'll have to tell me that story properly sometime. Sounds bizarre. Can't say I completely understand it yet..."

Berlin: "Will do. Have to apologise! I really thought it was you! And I still don't quite understand it myself."

Hmmmmm. So is this a genuine man, who cocked up this thing with me really badly and broke my heart inadvertently?  Or is he another narcissist that preys on women and lies to them to get what he wants? My friend Nikki was saying to me on Saturday night that we both need to be careful about seeing narcissists everywhere and responding to every man as if he is one.  I think I'm more afraid of missing the signs and then realising, when it's too late, that I'm down the rabbit hole again!

So: what are my red flags:

  • He got angry with me when we were chatting online when I challenged him about being online on Whatsapp after he had told me he was tired and gong to sleep.  He said his wife had called, sick and distraught, and that he didn't like me 'checking up on him'.
  • When he hit on my friend, Nikki's, dating profile he presented himself as single. To me, on Ashley Madison, he said he was married.
  • He did disappear on me completely when he came back from his overseas trip. Is his reason legit or a lie? And why didn't he just talk to me about it before he decided to cut me off?
  • He seduced me thoroughly online: I was hooked really quickly and felt a very deep connection with him really fast. He invited me to Berlin.  I would have gone if I could have got a Visa in time. The Narc sites I read say this is often a red flag - too close too fast.  But then I reciprocated, so what does that make me?
I really want to meet him.  I feel like I need to sit opposite him and talk to him. Do we connect? Is he for real? Is he a narcissist?

So I'll need to protect my heart and watch for the red flags.  And try my best to not overreact too. Shew. Dating post Narc Recovery isn't for sissies!!

And here are some tips from the site MindbodyGreen:  "How to spot a Narcissist"

Here Are 6 Qualities of a Narcissist
  1. He or she rarely takes responsibility for problems and instead blames them on everyone else.
  2. The narcissist expresses little emotion, particularly during conflict with you. When you do express emotion, he or she blames you for doing so. It's a subtle form of abuse.
  3. He or she drains you, but thrives on your energy. Consider how much energy you are expending on this relationship... my guess is that it's your effort keeping the relationship alive. You're most likely exhausted emotionally and physically because you do all of the planning, all of the apologizing, and all of the work to 'fix' what is wrong.
  4. This person is charming, often a flirt, and thinks very highly of himself. 
  5. This person is irresponsible with his finances, career, drinking, and/or keeping his home in order.  
  6. Jekyll & Hyde: This person is so incredibly endearing, but when you say one thing wrong, she snaps at you. You walk on eggshells wanting to do everything right. 
OK. So I'll have my radar on FULL STRENGTH. If I ever get to meet him, that is...

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Sunday Morning Sadness

I spent another relaxing morning at Tasha's today, reading the paper, drinking coffee, just being calm with myself. It's a chilly day, so no happy warm sunshine today.  But I still enjoyed just being for a while. Part of me wondered whether Berlin would show up, but heard nothing from him at all. Oh well.

As I was driving home, I cast my mind over the years that I have been doing that ritual. It actually wasn't my first choice of how to spend a Sunday morning.  I always imagined Sunday mornings as lie-in intimate days. For years I kept hoping I could entice my husband to stay with me in bed on Sundays. Read the Sunday paper. Drink coffee. Have breakfast in bed. Snooze. Wake up. Make love. Talk. Snooze again.

But husband had a different view of what Sundays are for.  They were either for just sleeping in, or they were for 'doing' stuff.  I remember Sunday after Sunday where I would wake up earlyish, and he would still be fast asleep.  The boys would come in for their snuggles and then head off to their computers and settle in for Sunday morning computer games. I would reach for my book or phone and read for hours, waiting for him to wake up. And I remember him waking eventually, and I would hope he would want to turn to me. But he never did. He would wake up, get up without even kissing me good morning, and head for the shower and off to do whatever tasks he thought were super important for the day.  I'd be left in my bed, alone, swallowing again my bitter disappointment.

If I ever raised the issue with him, he would become angry: I was clearly ungrateful about all the stuff he 'did' around the house. He would reel off lists of activities and tasks that needed doing, and make it obvious that he just didn't have time to lie about in bed with me 'doing nothing'. I couldn't really argue. Running a house and a family does require a lot of stuff to be done. And he really did pick up the lion's share of that stuff. And so I found my protest just disappearing into the air. It couldn't be heard. It couldn't be recreated. I would just have to accept the status quo and change my expectations.

So eventually I started getting up when I woke up, instead of waiting around for him. I'd shower and dress quietly, and then take myself off to Tasha's to read and be for a couple of hours. It was a way of escaping that disappointing Sunday morning rejection moment, and replacing it with something that soothed me a bit. Sometimes friends of mine would join me. Even husband would join me occasionally, if he woke up and texted me when he found me 'missing'. But mostly I would spend the time quietly, alone. And then I would come home a couple of hours later and he'd either still be asleep, not having noticed I was gone, or already busy in his workshop, not really noticing my return.

As I forced myself to live with my sadness and find new ways of being inside myself, our intimacy slowly died. It was replaced by a sad and bitter feeling of loneliness, loss and neglect that I haven't really ever been able to shake since then. Invisible Neglect.

And then, for too short a time, John-the-Narc and I would find loving time in bed on Sunday mornings. Just briefly I was able to live out the fantasy of joyful loving Sundays where the man I loved would wake up and delight in having my naked body next to him in his bed. We would make love, have coffee, read the paper, make love again, watch the sun rising and the guinea fowl running past our bedroom window, talk, snooze... Just for a while it felt safe and happy and beautiful.

And then it was over - he shared that view and time and space with other women too. And my heart was too broken to ever be able to go back there again.

And so I'm back at Tasha's. Reading the Sunday paper. Drinking coffee. Finding a way to be peaceful and gentle with myself. Hoping that one day I will be able to find a different, loving way to be on Sunday mornings.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Narc Attack

So the next part of John-the-Narc's strategy is landing.  No wonder he needed to 'break up' with me last week. He couldn't really profess his undying love to me AND try to swindle me out of millions now, could he?  Even the best sweet talker in the world would have trouble putting all of that into the same sentence.

It's almost month end. He's obviously not managed to create a new source of income yet, and must have spent all the money he took from me. So he's back to take more.  He has sent me an email maintaining that I owe him over half a million.  And that our contract proves it.  Really?  Would that be the signed contract that has been 'missing' for 5 months? No copy in our HR file? No copy in my email? Just miraculously 'missing'? Turns out it's found again. And that he has his own copy and my company's copy. So could he have his money please?

I have no idea what it is that's in that final contract.  We spent over two years arguing about it.  I experienced some of the most abusive moments in my life working on that blasted contract. I can just remember him standing over me at my desk, finger in my face, shouting at the top of his voice into my face "GIVE. ME. MY. CONTRACT."  And each of those bullying nights would have me scuttling to my desk in the morning and working on yet another iteration of the contract, every time with my heart breaking and my hands shaking. And then he would respond with more changes he wanted and so it would go on.

By the time we had it the way we wanted it, it was two years later. He had bullied his way through almost every sentence. I was a wreck. He gave me salary numbers to put in. I worked with those numbers, not for a moment suspecting that he would have given me fraudulent ones.  Even though he was bullying me and behaving like a complete bastard, I would never have believed you if you said he would have cheated the numbers.

But he did.  He had already included the escalations into the formula that were much more than we had agreed. He consolidated his plan into the contract whilst distracting me with his abusive bullying.

I feel sick in my stomach today as I'm thinking all of this through. I haven't seen the final contract from him yet. When I do, I think I will have no choice but too go and lay a charge of fraud against him.  I really don't want to do that.  But I just cannot let him try and take one more thing from me. I so wish I had had my lawyer in on that first contract negotiation.

No. Actually I feel like I wish I had never met this man in my life. He is intent of robbing me of my energy, my love, my money and my health.  And he doesn't know when to stop.

But I do. As from Monday I'm just handing him over to my lawyers. I'm done with him. He is dishonourable and immoral. And I am a good and generous person. He took complete advantage of my generosity and does not deserve another moment of my headspace.

I'm done with him.

And when I get my 100% energy back, I'm going to go after him for every fucking cent he stole from me. He likes strong women? I'm going to show him strong. Asshole!

I'll say it again.  I'm. Done. With. Him.

Friday, 24 October 2014

The Truman Show and Narcissist Obsession

It's the weirdest thing, this recovery journey.  I seem to be able to have really buoyant and happy days, only to crash a few days later and get lost in my obsessive brain again.  I'm sifting through details and facts and lies and truths my Narc told me and trying to think about how I can find the evidence I need to be sure of the truth.

But I don't want to know the whole truth.  Each new piece I find out by mistake just rewounds me.  I don't even know whether it's a healthy thing to be scratching through the ashes to find evidence of a life that is past and lies that shouldn't be relevant any more.

And then I find myself begin to yearn again. Yearning for holding. Safety. Touch. Feeling loved. Feeling known. I find myself straying into scenarios with each of the boys that are in my 'playing' circle, wondering when I'll see each of them. Wondering whether I'll make love to any of them.  It's almost like a self-soothing thing my head is doing: "Don't worry Trudy, you will be held soon. Loved soon".  Ja. After my 100 days!!

But I found a great blog on Lisaescott this morning called 'Obsessing about the Narcissist'. It made me feel a lot better. Or rather a lot more 'normal'. Seems this happens to a lot of us victims of Narcs. We experience a 'Cognitive Dissonance' in that our Narcs play us so masterfully that we actually cannot lose the picture of the perfect man. Even though we have also experienced his evilness, it's often not enough. We carry both characters around in our hearts at the same time. We grieve the 'Knight in Shining Armour' and are devastated by the 'Evil One'.  But neither piece obliterates the other. So we are soulbroken from the abuse and betrayal and deceit, but heartbroken about the loss of the love we had.  One of the women who commented on the blog actually called the two fragments of her narc by different names to help her differentiate. So we obsess. Because our heads and hearts still can't quite figure out how different our experience vs reality is.

I remember that bizarre disorienting feeling after D-Day when you start to emerge from the web of lies surrounding you and experience the world as suddenly completely different. As if even the light has changed. At the time I likened it to emerging from the movie "The Truman Show". Truman sails his little boat out to sea - too many clues have started unsettle him and he gets to the point where he thinks he should see for himself what's out there.  The reality show (narcissistic) director throws everything he can at him to protect the Big Lie, but he persists. And as he heads out to the horizon, his boat hits the wall. He suddenly sees the whole lie for what it is.  And finds an exit. And walks off the set.

How's that for cognitive dissonance?! I felt like that was such a strong metaphor for my life. I had been working with this man for 5 years.  And loving him for a lot of that time.  I had the whole world created for me in pictures by him.  And when I finally chose to walk off the set, it was disorientating and bewildering beyond belief! I imagine Truman, even after discovering the horrific abuse acted upon him by making his entire life an illusion, would have yearned and pined for the 'Show'. Ached for a place where he felt happy and loved, even though it was all a big lie.

So I'm going to try to forgive myself for this obsessing. I'm still healing. Still moving forward slowly. The blog on Lisaescott says it's an important step to 'Get it Out'. Talk about it. Write about it. Create about it. Process it until it finds a place to rest, and I am able to walk forward less encumbered by the pain and the weight of it.

So this is what I'm doing here. Writing. Thinking. Confessing. Questioning.  It's a good process for me. I'll keep on doing it.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

My Girlfriends

It's a rich and beautiful word for me. Girlfriend.  I have just a few really precious ones.  I see them in circles: the really inner inner circle; the inner circle; the circle; and then the others. There is that old saying
Friends come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime..
The girls I'm thinking about are the lifetime ones in the inner inner circle..NONE of them are Narcissists! And I think they're here for a lifetime.

The quote I chose for this blog is a statement of my 'friend' philosophy that is more than a decade old.  I'm a loner. And I work hard. And the weekends come up on me long before I think they should, and I never plan for them in advance. So I end up being mom's taxi for my sons, watching telly or reading a book on my couch, and heading to my favorite Sunday morning coffee shop.  Loner stuff. Nice!

Two out of three of my closest girlfriends left my town years ago and moved 2 hours' flight away.  So I only see them when I head over to their side when I have business trips, which I always extend slightly so we can have girltime.  And then one of them will usually come over to my place down there, escaping their families for a bit, and we'll holiday together on my deck: drinking wine; laughing; crying; telling our stories and marveling at life together.  Over the past 1-2 decades we have seen each other through marriages, divorces, lovers, children, jobs, businesses, health name it.  It's such a rich and beautiful soultime for me - I just have loved doing it!  And we have never bothered with keeping in contact in between those times. There has just been no need: I have done without that contact, and they have other friends who fill their daily support needs. Nobody sulks or gets needy. Matches made in heaven.

My third best friend is relatively new. We found each other as our lives were changing - she, now a single mom, was in the middle of a sad divorce from a cheating Narcissist, and me... well you know about me.

I realised in hospital that I have cocked up the 'best friend' thing.  Maybe it's because of my fierce independence and resilience that I have managed to claw my way through 46 years without needing them. And you can be sure that if anyone in my tribe needs anything, I'll have thought about it, bought it, had it delivered with bells on by now. But suddenly I was the needy one. Suddenly I felt stripped of every coping mechanism I ever had, and I started falling and falling.  And I had no words to tell my best friends what I needed.

Thank goodness I had the courage to ask my one bestie, Lee, whose children are old enough to cope without her for a week to fly up and look after me. This was BEFORE I landed in hospital.  And she did. She came. She came even though I had no cool stuff planned. She arrived fully prepared to just lie next to me on my bed and feed me tea and gluten-free rusks if that was what I needed. It was Lee

Just Don't Fall in Love with me

I have a gentle smile on my face this morning.  It won't quite leave me, even when I'm thinking about something else.  I had lunch with one of my favourite boys yesterday.  At last. It was just lovely.

Mark came into my life just a little bit before the shit hit the fan with John. We met via our work network and will probably work together some time in the future. He pursued me lightly when I was with John. John got very jealous very fast, and I needed to ask him to take a step back to protect me from John's rage.  A while after John and I split up, Mark and I started getting a bit more intense with each other. I was still reeling with grief and shock after the whole thing crashed, and Mark was very mindful of the fact that I was vulnerable. He played with me, but also kept his distance as best he could.  He wasn't in any space to start a relationship with me and didn't want me getting hooked on him - he wouldn't have wanted to break my heart. Good man.

I did realise I was at risk of falling for him.  Just like Berlin, I would be hanging on, waiting for his messages, and crushed when I didn't hear from him for days on end.  He was really worrying about me falling for him but didn't want to bail on me either.  I was getting sad and cross and doing the whole projection dance with him.  He just held me kindly at arm's length and let me flail until I got tired. He got me more at that time than I got myself.  He had my back. I'm grateful.

When I realised how much I was reeking of desperation, I started up some online and Tinder chats, and also upped the flirtation levels of some other boys I've known over time. That gave Mark the distance he needed me to have from him, and it helped me see more and more how much I had been projecting onto Mark what actually had been mine. I stopped being pissed at him for being so unavailable to me, and instead enjoyed him, and any of the other boys who popped in and out of my inbox, instead.

Then we slept together. Just once.  It wasn't a mind-blowing moment by any means. For either of us. But I do smile every time I remember it.  I was sad, for a bit, that we hadn't been able to find the deep sensual and emotional connection I know sex can be. But then I remembered that even John and I didn't start out very strong sexually.  It took us a little while to find one another and then our connection and passion blew the scales!  Mark was closed. Afraid, I think, that opening physically to me too much would tip me over the edge. And also wrestling with his own issues about his sad marriage and who he wants to be in that.  He told me very soon after that he was now very clear to himself that he's not cut out for adultery. He was heading back into his marriage to make it work. We were done.  I felt sad and unfinished somehow -I wanted us to find some level of connected bliss that we would both be able to revisit every now and then.  I wanted to help him find a way to open his heart for a while, and find some joy with me.  But I completely respected his decision to make it work at home. No ways I was going to fuck with that!

Because I suffer from regular bladder infections (UTIs), I have a cardinal rule: pee after sex. I forgot that night.  And so, a few days after, the predictable thing for me began.  My UTI. A weird one. Which at first I thought could be a STD from either Mark or John. Ugh. So I had to have excruciatingly humiliating conversations with them both. That freaked Mark out completely, predictably. John just behaved like a complete asshole about it. Then promised to get tested. Then never did. I got tested. I was clear. So false alarm. Ugh again.

The UTIs persisted. I got sicker. Then my period was late. Later. Even later.  I don't think I ever had the courage to tell Mark that part - I suspected he'd run for the hills forever.  I couldn't be pregnant, I kept telling myself. I'm practically infertile anyway. And now already 46! Eventually my period arrived 16 days late! Seems the crazy periods were synching with the craziness that was becoming my life! Nothing was normal anymore. Mark headed off on holiday with his family, and I fell into Berlin, and then that deep hole - hospital!

So now, a few months later, we finally got together for lunch yesterday. I was so happy to see him. Hahaaaaa - I decided to freak him out a little by wearing my shortest denim shirt and made sure he got a cute panty flash as he arrived. It worked! We were playful and flirty together immediately and that kind of cleared the air of all the discomfort and 'Ugh' stuff we'd had to deal from before.  We talked. We connected. We laughed.  It was just lovely!

Mark hinted playfully that he would be up for breaking my '100 days of Solitude' sex fast. NO idea whether that's real or play. Suddenly it doesn't matter.  He drove me to my car. I leaned over to kiss him lightly goodbye and squeezed his hand.  Yup. The old connection was there. It was playful, light and nice. No pressure. Just affirming connectedness.

Last thing he said was "Just don't fall in love with me".

I won't Mark.

I'm learning how to protect my heart. You have been my teacher. I might teach you how to open yours' a bit.

But I'm so glad we're back.  I missed him.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


Well.  My John-the-Narcissist conversation yesterday had a whole roller coaster of emotional stuff as promised.  He started by telling me that the blog he sent me was NOT as a result of our conversation last week.  In fact it was written before last week's conversation. The 'stuff he'd learned' in our conversation was, in fact, a lot more profound than that.

What he realised in our conversation last week was that our relationship really is over. That he saw that my commitment to ending it and not reconcile was unwavering.  But mostly, that he realised that his expectation that I would just 'take him back' because he asked me to was narcissistic in itself.  That expecting me to simply 'try again' was unrealistic.

So he said he's been living with the understanding for the past week that we're well and truly over. And that we shouldn't see each other again. Because it's too hard for us both to do this.

He changed the way he does his beard.  He now has a goatee. It looks menacing.  It helped - seeing him looking different felt like I was no longer dealing with the man I loved, but rather another John.  One I could walk away from.

I felt sad.

Fighting him off as I have done over the past few months has always left the option open for us to be together one day if he 'improves'.  This kind of closed that down. There is no longer a plan 'B'.  Which is good. But I'm sad.

Of course a narcissist always has a twist in his tail: John then went over his interpretation of money owed.  I believe he owes me 1.5 million.  He says I owe HIM!  And he has been to revenue services and a lawyer and that I have fired him illegally.  But he cant remember his lawyers' name, and called the lawyer her and him in the conversation. Whatever.  Then he said he 'no longer remembers' asking me to do him a favour and put his Medical Aid cover through the company as part of his cost to company salary.  He says that was agreed by us. It wasn't.   I did him a favour and he think's it's cool to let me pay over half a million for this favour that he asked me.

I left. I told him that his convenient 'forgetting' was dishonourable.  If he really has the balls to go through with that, I know I will never forgive him.  And never speak to him again. I believe in the honour of my word. And a handshake.  And if he thinks it's OK to 'conveniently forget' something like that, then I never want to do business with him again.

But then. Fuck. I go to a meeting and find an opportunity that I know he would absolutely love, and be able to make a shitload of money from.  And even though it's something that I could probably also make money out of, I decided to hand him that opportunity.  Met him last night and passed it on.

He was grateful.  He said he knows I didn't have to do that.  So did I.  Is there something wrong with me that I would want to help him find his next wave even ON the day when he threatens to screw me in business?

Why are things never black or white for me?  Shades of grey everywhere I look!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Best weekend since Chemo started!

I felt vital.  I could feel my old energy coming back.  I cleaned out old cabinets and sent off some old furniture in my dad's house to make way for the building that will come soon.  I bought tiles and grouting and tile sealer.  I had a glorious morning with myself at Tasha's, reading the paper and drinking coffee.

Since I started taking Chemo for my RA, I've had some miserable weekends. I would take it on a Friday afternoon and soon would start to feel stoned, unable to drive, unable to think, and have slurred speech and need to sleep.  Which I would do. A lot.  I'd sleep through Friday night, and then spend Saturday ( typically chemo hangover day) in bed. I watched almost every series known to DSTV during that time, sometimes getting through 2 or 3 seasons a weekend. It was lonely.

Then I ran out of series to watch, and also had no real ability to focus on reading books (which I usually do, addictively), and so I started my blog research projects.  Blogs on Narcissists.  Blogs on Autoimmune Disease. Blogs on recovering from breakups. Blogs on Online Affairs.  Anything that was short and sharp and could be read in 10 minutes, I was on it.  Ask me anything.

The achiever in me was quietly concerned - so much wasted time in bed every weekend.  My children were starting to see me only as their bedridden mom, and that was the only time they were really at home, and that's when they could see me.  My husband just went on with his life: how I spent my weekends really stopped bothering him years ago.

My shrink thought it was a good discipline for me: being forced to my bed for a day a week creates a ritual of being calm and with oneself. The reading and reflection and introspection I ended up doing through that time was SO hard and SO good.  And of course, I didn't have Narc John there to hold my hand and care for me through those weekends, so it was all solo.  And thoughtful. And sad.

And suddenly, over the past 3 weekends, I have felt lighter.  And this weekend, I just had energy.  My brain feels back.  I feel creative and inspired again about planning my house building project. Something has shifted in me or my body chemistry that makes this Chemo suddenly tolerable.

And it's healing my body too.  I can feel that.  My hip joint is moving.  From being about to buy myself a walking stick to help me walk 6 months ago, I am now able to walk, climb, get in and out of my car, and am almost at the point where I can, once again, sit on the floor cross legged without pain.  Maybe I'll even be able to have wild sex again, without positioning my leg very carefully each time to protect my hip!!  And I can't remember when last my hands and feet swelled up in pain!

Yay!  I'm coming back people.  The Narc is moving out of my life and I am moving back in.  Wow.  I missed me!

Time to start thinking about how my weekends will work from now on.  I'll be ready for them!

Can I really put it behind me now?

I have a meeting scheduled with Narc John later today. It's about winding up the money issues.  I have shown him in spreadsheets how I see his debt to my company, and he will respond with how he thinks I owe him.  Or something.

I'm nervous about meeting him today.  That blog of his has created such a complicated unsettledness inside me. On the one hand, it feels like it is the final straw for me - he has showed his hand, and it says that I never really existed as a person to him.  If, after all this time, he still is able to create that picture of me, then I may easily just have been a cardboard cutout or blow up doll.  An accessory that he carried around onto which he could project all manner of things.  But not real. Not me.

I think that after everything that has happened between us, The bad stuff, not the good,  that this one is just making it over for me.  Not with a bang or an explosion.  But with a sigh. Like "I can't anymore." Rather than an explosive "Fuck Him".

But on the other hand, I cannot bear to be misunderstood so much. And I know that just about anything I say now will tick a little box in his 'Covert Narcissist Expert' head, and will confirm for him how crazy I am and how he can now comfortably amble away, without responsibility for the wreckage that has become my life.  So I also want to be able to show how he's wrong. But ugh.  Do I really have the energy for that?

I know he has seen my crazy.  He has driven me in the past to such levels of derangement that I have: thrown a boardroom chair at him; punched his body until my hands and arms are bruised; hit myself in frustration; shouted and sworn and said the most horrific things to him; wept like a crazy woman on the floor, curled up in the foetal position; driven my car at suicidal speeds in a crazy rage; lain mute on my couch for hours, bewildered by his attack, and abandoned.  I have only seen that level of crazy in myself once before and that was more than 20 years ago, in the last weeks of my first marriage to my Borderline Personality Disordered ex husband.  It's not me. Or if it is me, then I have to be driven pretty far to find that part of me!

So if he looks close enough, and filters out all the life events that happened to me that brought out that in me at the time, he could find things to make some of his Covert Narc theory stick.  It makes me nervous until I read the internet again about the kind of crazy that Narcs can create in their partners, and then I slowly calm down again.  It's not me. It really is what he does to me.  People have been driven to this level of crazy before me.  Have a look at all the resources available: the pic I used as my header for this article is from a site called and there are many many more. Tigress Love, the Breakup Guru.  But it's all there for us to access and process and find the approach that works best for us.  And reassure ourselves that we are not alone - this path has been walked by many before us.

His abuse of me over the past few years has taken a lot from me.  Weakened my body. Narrowed my emotional bandwidth. Cracked my soul. Made me soft in the head for a while.  But it is also my catalyst.  I still believe I needed to get to this point before I was systemically ready to make the changes I need in my life.  So I do need to be grateful for that lesson.  I have lived through hell.  But I don't' think I will ever need to walk a road like that again.  The lessons learned have been forged in deep pain and despair.  I will not waste that.

So today's meeting? Hmmmm. I will need to be gentle with myself and try to be just honest and clear with him.  I must protect my heart as much as I can, and try to avoid the conversation going to that emotional place.  It's not real: it's a roller coaster - piles of idyllic heights and terrifying drops, but lands up in the same place it started.  Time to stop that.  I've had enough.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Never Too Old to have your Heart Broken

I was watching a lovely movie on DSTV last night.  Was it called 'Under Tuscan Skies'?  Something like that.  A 30 something American woman has her heart broken by a cheating spouse and divorces him.  On a spontaneous trip to Italy to heal her heart, she suddenly decides to buy an old Tuscany Villa and start her new life there.  The  journey is all about Italy teaching her how to love herself again and find a new way to feel whole.  She repairs the old villa and brings it to life again as she, herself finds living again.

There is the loveliest vignette in the movie:
One of those sumptuous Italian dinners is being enjoyed by her and a whole family of Italians.  90-year-old Granma is beside herself with grief.  Anything anyone says triggers her weeping loudly at the dinner table.  The whole family rolls their eyes: "told you we shouldn't have brought her.  She'll ruin the whole dinner!".  Her late 40's son admonishes her in Italian.

And she responds "But my heart is broken".

He whispers an aside to  our American protagonist "Online dating.  He's in Ecuador. She eventually had to disclose her age'

"No Email" she weeps.

Gaah!  Wouldn't it be delightful if we could outgrow this stuff.  Waiting for the phone to ring at 16 just changes to waiting for the WhatsApp to be read at 45.  And replied to.

And when he doesn't?  Heartbreak city.

My lesson?  This is part of life.  Never mind the technology.  Allowing yourself to be vulnerable by putting yourself out there can be very rewarding or very painful.  I guess just moving through the pain and moving on is part of the road.

On a lighter note, my own Online Dating life suddenly took an interesting twist.  I messaged Berlin yesterday, just lightly saying I was in his neighborhoood to visit an art exhibition by one of my artist mates.  Predictably, he responded way after I had been and gone back to my side of town with a creative 'Huh?  When?".

My return was "Done and dusted. Now back home on couch watching chick flicks on TV." No answer.

Then suddenly this morning:

Berlin: "Hey you.  How  are you doing today?  On your way to Tasha's?" (my favourite Sunday morning coffee spot.

Me: "Yup.  I'm here already. Chilling. Reading the Sunday paper.  Drinking delicious coffee.  Such a gorgeous day, don't you think?"

Me: "What's your morning doing?  Come over.  I'll buy you a cup of coffee :). No pressure coffee".  I thought that would freak him out completely - he has made no effort to ever meet me so I was really just messing with him.  Anyway...

Berlin: "HaHa, I had the same idea (he did???WTF??!!!) but I promised my daughter 4-5 days ago to take her to the Lion and Rhino Park and she hasn't forgotten. So that's where I'm heading..."

Me: (after a long recovery moment) " HaHaaaa... I thought you'd be too chicken.  But the Lion Park is a valid alternative"

Berlin: "Hey you! Don't be cheeky.  No, we have to have that coffee or wine or whatever....Maybe next week sometime?"

Me: (after an even longer recovery moment where I try to scrape my jaw off  the table) "Sounds Lovely.  Let me know.  Have a beautiful day with your daughter".

Berlin: "Yep :) You too"

So now what.  Hmmm.  I think I'll wait for the invitation.  I have no intention of getting between a man and his wife if she is trying to reconcile  with him.  I'll suss out the territory and see where that's all at.  I am SO curious to see who's behind that online presence and if I would vaguely be attracted to him in real life.

Hmm.....  what to wear????

Saturday, 18 October 2014

When will I have had enough?

I'm getting irritated with myself.  I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent over the past year researching Narcissists and how they treat their 'Victims'. I know for sure that letting him back into my life in any way will simply line myself up for more harm and more abuse.  I know he is designed to reel me in and then lie and cheat and bully as soon as he is sure of my loyalty, compliance and ongoing Narcissistic supply.

I know that the only way to really protect myself is to go NO CONTACT with him.  I know that every time I choose to interact with him I run the risk of being enticed back in to our abusive dance.  I know that this is very dangerous for me.

I can't even defend my actions.  I am weak.  I miss him. Or the idea of him.  I miss the part of us that I thought we had.  I'm at risk of losing my readers now, I know, because I'm sure you're getting as irritated with me as I am.  We all love a good slam-dunk story: take on your abuser, tell him his fortune, show him the door, and slam it on his way out. Done. Dusted.  He can sob on the outside step for as long as he likes, but I. Am. Done.


Until tomorrow when I start aching and missing him again.  When my heart and body yearn for connection with him even while my logical mind is admonishing me and telling me 'NO CONTACT'.

So even though I know all the right steps, I STILL keep on staying in the dance and getting knee-ed in the stomach every few weeks.

So of course I've spent 24 hours in agony about yesterday's blog that he sent me.  I wish that I had mastered the skill of being able to just let this stuff roll off me and not pay it mind, but I really can't operate like that yet. Instead I couldn't sleep for most of the night going over the words in my head.  At least it gave me the opportunity to sob and weep and grieve some more.  I haven't been doing enough of that.

I feel so undermined and unheard.  And those are such inadequate words for what I feel.

I remember just last week sitting on the balcony of a coffee shop with John (bad mistake, I know), where he seemed to be listening to me so intently, as if he was really really hearing me.  It felt like 10 steps forward: that my voice was finally having some real airtime. At the end of the conversation he said that he had learned so many things just listening to me, and that he was going to write about it and then send it to me.  My heart felt so much lighter.  I had hope.  I let my guard down completely and waited.  He sent nothing.  Of course. For a week at least.  At some stage he sent me a WhatsApp to say he had received an email from Debbie (his cheating partner), still part of his 'Honesty Campaign'.  But when I asked what it was about, he left that question unanswered too. Just left me to wonder.  And fill in the gaps myself.

Then I finally get yesterday's blog emailed to me in retaliation for our email argument.

So the intent listening I was experiencing last week was actually him ticking boxes for this new 'diagnosis' that he has co-created with his shrink.  I shouldn't care what the fuck they think about me based on his twisted descriptions of me to his shrink, but what freaks me out the most is how undermined I feel.  He has clearly taken every abuse he has visited on me, and every painful response I have had where I have tried to explain how damaging his abuse is and the impact on me, and minimised it to the point where he doesn't really have to really take responsibility for his actions.  "Trudy exaggerates" so actually what I've done to her is not so bad.  In fact, she is a Narcissist herself and so has her own arsenal of attack weapons, so now we're even-stevens.

Like I said yesterday - it's like my parents minimising my pain from my broken ankle as a sprain.  And not acknowledging their mistake even when they found out it had been broken. Instead they blamed me for my 'Complaining'.  In their eyes, I created their neglect because I always made such a fuss.  My fault.  The really sad thing is that I believed them.  I'm trying hard not to believe John and his shrink.  I can't wait to get to my own therapy on Tuesday - I really need my own shrink to help me think through the whole thing.  I want to ask her to call John's shrink and tell him the truth. Somehow I feel like I need her to protect me from them. I don't know whether shrinks would ever do that to each other?  But I need something.

So letting my guard down over coffee last week was, once again, clearly a dangerous thing to do.  John has showed me, again, how he has no insight into me at all.  I'm a cardboard cutout of an 'ex-girlfriend'.  The depth that is me is so invisible to him.  And that breaks my heart.  Again.

How many more 'Agains' will I tolerate before I finally walk away for ever?

I so need to be seen.

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Narcissist delivers his next projection blow

I'm reeling.  After a flurry of angry email exchanges about how pissed at each other we are about work stuff, John sends me this, his latest blog.  Fuck.  He's SO up his own ass.  I am now a narcissist too, it seems. And I must have imagined my 9 days in hospital and 7 weeks off work - I did it all to make him feel bad. Really??!!

My Narcissism is palpable !! ……… every day, at least 10 times a day, I catch myself responding internally to triggers from out there somewhere. – Something somebody said, or even just how they said it. – Maybe a gesture or simply my interpretation of their body language.
They all send signals which my fucked up wiring analyses as threatening, aggressive or maybe just plain frightening. – My logic switches off, and bam ….. there I am – wounded !!
All reasoning, judgement and rationality takes a back seat, and “Narc boy” (picture him in a shiny jump-suit wearing his underpants on the outside), swoops in to take control !!
What an arsehole ! ……..not only does he look stupid, but he acts like an idiot too. – He struts around in a sulk, shield at the ready, laser gun firing bright sparkly invectives, breaking shit and generally creating misery and grief for everyone and to everything around him.
Then he’s gone !!
Doesn’t hang around for the aftermath – His job is done, I am back on top …….. Neat trick !!
Only two problems tho’
One: If I catch myself 10 times a day, and don’t let Narc Boy out …….There are probably twice as many times every day, where I don’t catch myself. – That’s a shit load of broken stuff and a whole bunch of shattered people that I have infected !!
Two: I’m actually not back on top ……. I just think I am – But that’s for a later blog !
So I talked about this with my shrink the other day, (good guy, by the way – I would highly recommend him to anyone who genuinely wants to fight back against Narc Boy and his cohorts), and the conversation drifted towards my other enemies and demons.
Turns out that one of Narc Boys arch adversaries is “Covert Girl” (could be “Covert Man” – but not in my case). – There are lots of them, and they each carry a little bag of tricks that can be very dangerous.
Ive always seen my narcissism as arrogance, (that’s narcissistic in itself) but apparently I have failed to see the subtle deception of narcissism when it takes the role of a being a victim. Thankfully most people, including other narcs, are easily fooled by this form of narcissism, so I dont feel too bad (obviously !!)
The deception is that the covert narcissist hides behind misfortune and victimization in order to shame you into feeling and believing that they suffer more than you do. - They will say stuff like you dont care enough for them, or they will make you feel that you have not done enough to help them etc.
Like me, a covert narcissist wants attention, control, and power over others, but they position themselves as a poor and helpless victim. And I have now unpacked that they do this whilst all the while soaking up the attention and control they therefore gain over you.
That seriously sucks, because (here’s a real zinger) ………….. I am in love with one of them !!
My shrink made me realise that in the eyes of a covert narcissist, their situation is always right and totally justified - and because covert narcissists are incredibly adept at the game of manipulation, they will always find a way to turn the tables on you.
And like a flash ………. ok, actually after floods of tears, it suddenly seeped through that I have frequently been milked for my mistakes (and as a narcissist, there are admittedly plenty), but that I have been made to feel more responsible and carry more guilt.
So do the maths ….. more wounding brings more Narc Boy !!
Seemingly, covert narcissists often shift gears from visible grandiosity, to acting that they are better than you because they suffer more than you, ………… and I have actually seen my covert girl take the limelight and credit for achievements and self-praise, then also get similar recognition from milking an injury or a seeming misfortune that has occurred to her.
What I hate the most tho’ is that apparently covert narcissists seek souls that will believe their version of calamity whether it is real, exaggerated, or fictitious …… and what they do is claim that their calamity is different, because it’s worse for them.
So now I am screwed, because covert narcissism is just as selfish and manipulating as any other form of narcissism, but the moment a CN sees that you dont fully cooperate and act with concern for them, they eliminate you from their list of loving folks, even if only temporarily …………… and that’s hard as hell for me because, don’t forget, I adore this woman !!
Covert Narcissists convincingly play the part of the “martyr” as an ultimate way of controlling others,  especially their spouses (that would be me !!), and they typically say such things as “how can someone raise their voice to a person who is hurting so much” -  Also, CNs take much longer to heal or sometimes never heal, but go further downhill in their health.
The bummer is that covert narcissists also move back and forth in this role depending on how well it is working for them. - In effect they can be screaming ugly epithets at you one moment and then convincingly asking you to show them that they have been emotionally hurt by you, the next …………….. and apparently this is particularly the case when they are under a lot of pressure.
Whether it is real or not (and lets just be frank here, it probably is, if you are a narcissist like me), they are nevertheless “playing up” the victimized good girl who has been emotionally harmed by you.
So I’ve been told not to be surprised at the lengths the covert narcissist will go to, to convince others that I am more of the villain than I actually am. - They will tell family members, close friends or their shrink how badly you have treated them, and about your monstrous cruelties, your insensitivity and lack of empathy as well as your emotional coldness. - That’s how powerful their method acting can be.
So now what do I do ?? ………….. I’m in love with a CN !! ……….. I adore this good woman, great lover and ultimate martyr.
There’s only one thing I can do
I have to hold on to the truth behind my own disposition and to not deny my shortcomings or the debilitating effect my narcissism can bring into being - but to not be swayed. – I know I am entitled to lead my own life and be free of my covert narcissistic lover.
But the truth is, I just don’t want to.

Aaaah. Sweet.  He loves me even though I'm a Narcissist.  I should be so grateful.

This is so typical of a Narcissist: they pathologise their partners and undermine the core of them in the process. The ultimate projection. I just couldn't let it lie there: I sent this reply and copied both his shrink and mine.  If they are going to concoct diagnoses for me, maybe they should at least speak to the psychologist who has been treating me for over a year, don't you think?

 You and *your shrink* are wrong about this.  I have explained to you, many times, what my own psychological wounding is.  I understand it, and am working with it deeply. And if you are to get any healing at all, you should stop lying to yourself and him about it.  *Your shrink* is welcome to call my psychologist, *shrink name* about this to verify it for himself, and maybe get a better insight into the very REAL abuse I have suffered at your hands. She has been treating me for a year, and if this was my diagnosis, both she, and I, would know it by now.  One of the key Narcissistic traits is pathologising his partner.  You are doing that to me now and even that’s abusive because you are skewing the truth and leaving me feeling unheard and minimised.

But if it makes you feel better, go ahead and believe it.  I have tried to have understanding and compassion for your pain and healing journey in the face of devastating and REAL abuse.  But this is actually just making it clearer and clearer to me that you really don’t get what you have done.  Or who I am.

I’ll live with that.

Good luck with your life

Actually, I'll find it really hard to live with it.  I guess I just want him to acknowledge what he's actually done, and find a way to heal himself, and me.  But I guess I will have to accept that it's not to be.

It's so like my parents, when I broke my ankle when I was 7 years old, telling me it was just a sprain.  They let me walk on that broken ankle for weeks, and never took me to the doc to have it checked.  When I broke it again, the second time, the Xray revealed the first break.  Even then, they didn't really acknowledge the pain that I suffered as a result of their neglect.  They just said "Trudy always makes such a fuss about things, we didn't take her complaining seriously."

Wow, the patterns play out so painfully.  It makes me cry.

He just responded:

I was told that this is exactly how you would respond.
“ ………at first, she will only dislike what you say – But the more correct you start sounding, the more she will dislike you”.

Yeah.  You got that part right.  But for very different reasons.

Whatever John.  You are, like you so often say, making it easier to leave you.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Illness inspires the spirit to change

I have two autoimmune diseases. Rheumatoid Arthritis and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  Autoimmune diseases often come in packs, so it's quite common to have more than one.  Autoimmune basically means that the body attacks itself in various ways.  Each type creates it's own delightful symptoms to manage, most of them have chronic fatigue as a symptom.  I've been trying really hard since I was diagnosed three years ago to manage the diseases with a strong lifestyle support process.  Well, actually food management.  I eliminated Gluten from my diet exclusively and also try to avoid sugar and dairy and all processed foods.

Adjusting one's diet to that extent constitutes a huge change in one's life.  After 40 years of habitual reaching for the bread as a snack, or popping into the gas station for a little something, it takes a lot to reorientate oneself to a new way.  I've thought that I was doing really well.  Actually I WAS doing really well.  I dropped about 17kg and got back so much energy I was starting to feel almost normal again.  I started a rehabilitation programme at the local Bio Kineticist which got my joints moving again and helped me to start building up the fitness and muscle strength to help me manage my RA.

So I was thinner (back to 23 year-old weight) and fitter and stronger.  I had more energy and my brain was firing more neurons than normal.  I had taken my Thyroid factor down to pre-diagnosis levels just by diet management and so take absolutely no medication to manage my thyroid - it is effectively in remission.  And hopefully it won't retrigger itself as long as I don't expose my body to any gluten.

The RA is a tougher little bastard to manage, though.  It's not actually typical 'arthritis' as people understand it.  It's actually a disease that can attack many organs in the body and cause chaos.  Most typically it affects the synovial fluid in the joints in hands and feet, and then hips and shoulders and knees.  It causes inflammation in those joints which reduces mobility and causes nasty pain.  After a while, the chronic inflammation starts causing cracks in the bones and arthritis sets in, causing permanent damage to the bones and joints.  Once it has progressed far enough, sufferers will experience crippling pain and severe distortion of their limbs.  Hip and knee replacements and foot and hand reconstruction can help but it can really be a horrible and debilitating disease.

So you can imagine that I was not pleased to find that I have this particular disease!  I knew from my copious internet research last year that, once I visited my Rheumatologist for the first time, she would probably propose a very aggressive treatment plan.  If you are lucky enough to be diagnosed early enough in your disease, and you receive aggressive medical treatment, you may be one of the lucky ones that is able to stop progression in its tracks.  I had my hand up for that even though I have always been that girl who avoids any chemical medication like the plague.

My doctor prescribed the full monty!  Daily doses of strong anti inflammatories and a weekly dose of Chemotherapy (a drug called 'Methotrexate).  Chemo for something other than Cancer seems like a weird thing, but it has been known for years to have a disease altering effect on many RA sufferers, although nobody really knows why.  If I was lucky, it would help me stop this thing.  So I went for it.  I had no idea whether the Chemo was going to make me feel horrible or not touch sides, and I was naturally terrified of it all.  The weekend before I started taking it, I went away for my last 'chemo-free' blast with my lover: a romantic getaway was planned, and then he was going to be that guy who holds my hand through my chemo Fridays and loves me better.  If we're talking here about spiritual transformation, then I suppose it would be the Universe's little joke that this would be the weekend I discovered that he was cheating on me and had the most horrific and abusive fight with him.  There would be no chemo hand-holding. I was destined to walk this very frightening and painful road completely alone.

So the quote at the beginning of this story, which was sent to me on FaceBook today by a fellow sufferer, suddenly begins to make sense.  Just as I consciously embark on this tough medical road to heal myself, the really tough soul messages begin to land in waves.  My lover cheats and breaks my heart, which is still bleeding 6 months later.  My business begins to fail just as the chemo fog sets in and starts to impair my business thinking and logical judgement.  My husband starts falling in love with his girlfriend.  My son breaks his leg. My Lover-MD pisses off some of my senior staff and they leave. I discover he has being overpaying himself for years. My family has to move out of the house we sold and camp at my dad's place because the house we were moving to had delays in the renovation project.  I'm faced with bankruptcy as my company continues to dive. We're trying everything to find an emergency rescuer.

And then I start a medical slide downhill.  The chemo suppresses my immune system, which obviously opens me up to infection.  My bladder infections (also RA related) start coming thick and fast until they become kidney infection and then I'm suddenly in hospital, unable to breathe and with a heart that's out of control.

Universe?  Knock much?

I am systematically stripped of every chance I have of responding proactively to the emergency which has become my life.  I am taken completely out of the driving seat and lose all control.  Rock bottom. Ground Zero.  I am reduced to that part where I am just naked. With nothing and nobody to stand with me. I am alone.  Afraid and incapable.

It is from this moment that I begin to realise that real change and growth is needed in me.  My illness had finally got me to the moment where it was inspiring my spirit to embrace the change that I so desperately need.

And then a new path begins to gently unfold in front of me.  Wonderful buyers arrive to buy my company, just 2 weeks before the bank would have closed me down.  I begin a slow and soulful walk along a road to recovery.  I'm prescribed anxiety medicine to create some gentleness around me.  I have so much to learn. So much to change.  And writing through it all is my way of making sure I get it all. That I learn the lessons and retain them. They are being forged in pain and despair.  I don't want to waste them.