This post has been written in my mind a dozen times over the last couple of weeks, and I just can’t get the tenor right.
I’ve done a lot of thinking and research and talking with people over the past six months, trying to come to terms with the way my relationships developed and died and what my role was in both the building and the tearing down of them.
I made a comment on a blog post written by a woman who is searching for meaning in her relationship with (what sounds to me to be) a Narcissist. Another commenter said that nothing is black and white and no one knows the whole story but those who are living it. She went on to say that EVERYONE is “doing the best they can” and that I am wrong to say this woman should kick the asshole to the curb, no matter how he treats her.
Really? Hitler was doing the best he could? What about Ted Bundy? Or Charles Manson? Or a father who molests his daughters?
She replied back that, yes, their actions were wrong, but they were all doing the best they could with their knowledge and life experiences. She went on to say that she feels sorry for me that I can’t sympathize and understand that we are all doing the best we can and that we are all broken.
WTF? Did Mark do the best he could when he used me to finance his drug and alcohol addictions? Was trying to choke me to death his “best?” Was Dale doing the best he could when he had sex with other women, watched porn for hours on end, lied to me, beat my son and did everything he could to destroy my self esteem? Was the Narc doing the best he could when he lied to me, gaslighted me, yelled and screamed and brow beat me and my son for hours at a time, trying to make me believe I’m crazy? Really?
Here’s what I’ve learned after three long-term failed relationships:
- There IS evil in this world. It can come in very pretty packages, all sparkly and smelling good, but it’s still evil.
- There are people who are perfectly content to live their lives hurting others. They feed on the pain they cause. They get a thrill with every lie told, every tear they cause to fall, every soul they destroy.
- There can be no forgiveness without repentance. The best I can hope for is to deny them the power to hurt me any more. I do not forgive them for their actions. They will have to settle their accounts with whatever awaits them after death.
- The only person I can change is myself. Begging, pleading, yelling, demanding, nothing will change a person who does not want to change, therefore I changed the way I reacted to the men who were abusing me: I left.
- There’s no shame in leaving an abusive partner. People who try to shame you are not worth the time to explain to them why you left.
- Some people are broken. It’s not my job to fix them. I don’t have to “understand” them, nor am I under any obligation to take their shit – I can put myself first for the sake of my mental and physical health and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I was the perfect victim when my first husband found me. I was timid, socially awkward, naive enough to believe I Knew Stuff About Life and eager to escape a home life that was abusive. I had been groomed to be compliant and to give in to the needs of men. I did not have a voice or will to go my own way. I still believed in True Love and Soul Mates and thought that I could love someone so much that they would change for me if they weren’t quite Perfect. My notions of Love were built around fantasies from movies, music and books. Coming from a dysfunctional family I had no real picture to judge against.
I believed that everyone has good in them somewhere and it was my job to find that good and bring it out. I was on a mission with Mark – I thought I could see the diamond under the coal dust and was determined to make him shine. I continued to believe his lies because I couldn’t fathom how a person could profess love and then hurt their supposed Soul Mate in such deliberate ways. I refused to believe his actions instead of his words. I couldn’t understand his addictions and violent behavior.
When I left, he was still largely a mystery to me. I never resolved my feelings for him, but I understood that the reason he chose me was because I was compliant – I let him get away with horrible things, didn’t stand up to him or speak up for myself until the final declaration as I ran out the door.
My relationship with Dale was similar in many ways. I was able to disagree and I thought that I would be heard and respected instead of just ignored like I was with Mark. I was unprepared to have my opinions laughed at and shrugged off. I was surprised to be told that I was immature and ignorant. The feelings of failure over the demise of my first marriage played right into his hands – I was determined to make this one work! I would do whatever it took to make him happy so that he could make me happy by being happy. I know, right? It made sense at the time.
When the Narc came around with his declarations of undying love and talk of Soul Mates I was so eager for a Real and Healthy Relationship that I fell for his lines, devoting myself completely to him and his notions of how life was supposed to be lived. By the time the crazy-making started I was so confused and turned around I didn’t know which way was up. Starting a blog and documenting the abuse made the situation clear and the support of the blogging community helped me find the strength and courage to leave for good.
I’m at the point right now, six months Narc-free, that I’m still angry, but I can see my part in each of my relationships was to be a doormat. I lay there, flat and compliant, while they walked all over me. I put up no fight for my rights, I allowed them to be in charge and then whined (usually to my diary or only in my head) when things didn’t go the way I thought they should or I got my feelings (or pocketbook) hurt. My compliance allowed them to continue to hurt me and feed off my emotional pain. Because I kept my mouth shut, constantly searching for the diamond under all the coal dust, afraid of what people would think if I left or spoke out, each relationship went on much longer than it should have; I have only myself to blame for that.
All I can do from this point forward is speak my mind, tell my story, hope that just one person will see them self in my words and get out of an abusive relationship before it’s too late. By telling my story, I unmask the Monster, reveal them to the light of day where they burn up like vampires at dawn.
About the Author
It’s a textbook case, and I have been a textbook victim. We read our scripts and stayed in character to the very end. I am angry. Between three men, a Psycho, a Socio and a Narc, I have lost 25 years of my life to Domestic Abuse. I refuse to be a victim any longer. I have taken over control my destiny and speak out in the hope that just one victim will see their life in my story and escape their abuser. For the moment I am writing anonymously as I sever all ties with the Narc. I will not give him the satisfaction of breaking me.