… and hopefully the upward turn in 2016.
I did say that 2016 would open with a myriad of changes, and this is the start of them. This is a very hard post to write. Bear with me. You will be seeing a lot of changes coming up from here on out as I deal with major life changes.
You may want to stop reading here, if you are not prepared for reading about difficult personal subjects. Please consider this your only warning.
Normally, I set myself a list of “goals” for each new year, instead of resolutions. I think about what I want to achieve with each new year and hope to accomplish them.
In 2013, I did Ok. I maybe met 30% of my goals.
In 2014, I did better. I got more focused. I met maybe 60% of my goals. I realized I could accomplish a lot when I put my mind to it.
In 2015 – I did not make any “goals”. I said I would “wing it”. But that does not mean I did not have any goals for 2015. I did. I had big ones. Truth be told, they were so big and so intimidating that I truly did not know how I could ever accomplish them, so I did not bother to list them on my blog like I do every year.
Some of my big goals for 2015 were to buy a truck, buy a horse trailer that I could haul with my truck, and get myself set up for independence when it came to getting to horse shows and events. Related to that, I also had a goal of actually hitting horse shows and events. I also had a goal of getting a Nikon D7100 and improving my photography.
2015 did not pan out exactly the way I envisioned. Plans I laid took sharp right angles; nothing went the way I thought it would. However, I am happy (thrilled, actually) to say that I accomplished every single one of those goals, even though I did not know how I would do it, and thought I had lost focus. In fact, most of those goals seemed like the “achievable” goals for 2015, and although all of them were difficult (and expensive), I battled with the reality that I probably could not *really* achieve the one. BIG. GOAL. for 2015 —
It was the most daunting goal of all. The hardest goal to accomplish. The one that took the most self-reflection, the one that shattered me inside. It was the one goal that took every piece of my sanity, my heart, my soul, and my free will. This is the goal that took all my love, hope, joy, happiness, and took all my strength. This was the goal that took all of those things and crumpled them up, chewed them up, and spit them back out – but this finally had to happen– to allow me to pick up and uncrinkle the pieces and figure out my next step.
I am about to post a reality of my life that I have not posted (at least in detail) before.
I am a survivor. I survived abuse as a child. As a teenager, I survived abusive and dangerous “relationships”. That was when horses came into my life- my first mare, Lady, literally saving me from falling into darkness.
In my later years, I survived cancer at the age of 32.
In between all of that, I survived something else, too.
I survived a narcissistic abusive marriage.
I got out.
My largest, most daunting goal for 2015 – the one I thought I would never accomplish, so I avoided accomplishing it all together – happened. It did not happen the way I had imagined, or planned (or just flat out hoped).
I hoped I could do it sooner (like 12 years ago). I hoped I could just do it at all. I had accomplished so many other great goals and realized I was so happy with my entire life, except the massive hurt and void and angst and stress and fear I felt when I headed home at the end of every day – to a husband who did not work for the last 3 years of our marriage; to a filthy house with too many animals for me to manage alone; to someone who felt entitled, superior, Godly; to the stress I felt knowing how I had to act and behave to avoid being yelled at for one thing only to be insulted and demeaned for something else; to the knowledge I would never know love and never be loved the way I wanted to.
On November 9, 2015, I hit a breaking point. Something that I had tried to be strong enough to do for years, something that consumed me, something that I could not spend the rest of my life ignoring, had finally taken control. I had hit the lowest of lows. I was so consumed by hurt and disappointment and loneliness and fear and frustration and stress and anxiety that I truly and simply could not take it anymore. I realized I had two options to remove myself from the marriage I was in. Either I needed to pack up and move out, or I was going to kill myself.
I had managed through nearly 13 full years of abuse and trauma and endured my marriage because I thought I “had to”. I thought I could never escape. I thought I wouldn’t have the strength, the support, the means. I thought I could never get away.
I convinced myself that I deserved it, or more to the point, that I didn’t deserve to be truly happy or treated well.
The “give and take” life we led was me doing all the giving and him doing all the taking. Oh, he’d give a little, and then take double back. I thought if I just kept giving – more, harder, bigger – then he would see that and try just a little bit for himself, or at least I could “make up” for what was lacking in my marriage by working extra hard to supply it for both of us. I was manipulated and broken down to the point of becoming a slave – an abused and belittled slave.
Narcissistic abuse is abuse at its finest. You don’t need to have black and blue marks to “prove” you’ve been abused. Emotional abuse and the subsequent mental breakdown that you endure afterwards are abuse enough.
To escape the narcissist is the single hardest thing any victim can do. Because the narcissist – the vile creature that he is – will “woo” you in all the right ways. He will say the right words when it’s convenient for him, with as much “real meaning” behind them as reciting a recorded message, and he will insult and demean and belittle you until you feel worthless.
He will convince you he’s (going to try to – or has-) changed. He will tell you he loves you in all the ways you expect to be loved, and you just need to “give him a chance” to prove it. He will play on your pity, your sympathy, he will warp your senses and twist your emotions until you are so mixed up you really will believe you’re the bad one; that you have done him wrong.
He will convince you that you aren’t being fair to him if you don’t “wait” for him to get his act together. He will actually believe he has done no wrong . Even worse – he will act as though he actually cares that he hurt you. There is a major difference between saying words and putting actions to them. He will fulfill that fantasy exactly as much as he needs to do so in order to convince you that he really has repented and will change for the best, so he can suck you back in and abuse you all over again.
He will force you to lay down all the bricks, carry him across 9 out of 10 of them, then convince you that you failed him because you didn’t carry him over the 10th one.
He will have you thinking that, too – that you are the failure. He will ruin you mentally and emotionally on every level because you are a good and kind and willing person. He will take everything from you and convince you that you aren’t good enough because you didn’t give more.
This is not love. This is not a partnership. This is not your duty to endure. It took me about a month into my relationship so many years ago to realize I was not happy, after I met this man, but I convinced myself I was overthinking it, and it would “be fine”.
It took me 12 years to finally get away because I made the mistake of saying “I do.” It took me over a decade to realize whatever I thought I would have with him, whatever I thought I was “waiting for” and whatever I thought I was being a “good wife” for – was never going to happen.
It took me over a decade of my life, sucked away and drained to the point where I was willing to lose everything, including my life, before I could see how damaged I was at the core from the abuse I endured.
What I went through has left deep, permanent, marks on my heart and soul. I am a changed person at the core. I am shut off. I am guarded. I want absolutely no “real” contact with a man again, which saddens me deeply at the same time. I am ruined emotionally. I am destroyed at a fundamental level that I can probably never recoup from.
I love my life, don’t get me wrong. I love my horses. I love carriage driving. I love my photography, and I love my science fiction costuming – a huge part of myself that I lost over that decade-plus of hell I went through. I love getting up for nature photos at the crack of dawn, taking a road trip, and wallowing in the beauty of the world around us and the creatures that inhabit it.
I question if I have any pieces of my heart, trust, and love left to put into another man, but whether or not I am able to “see” someone again, I know how changed I have become because of the pain and misery and suffering I have endured that I know I will never be so naïve again. I will protect myself for my own sake going forward, because no else will.
I have HUGE GOALS for 2016 – they are lofty, but I hope to accomplish most of them. Hey, I accomplished the “unaccomplishable” in 2015, and I have my whole life ahead of me moving forward.
So, as I ring out a very stressful rollercoaster of 2015, I ring in 2016 and the challenges that will come with it as I progress towards finalizing divorce and moving on with my life as I envisioned it to be.
- Photograph Bald Eagles
- Build new costumes – a Castithan/Stahma Tarr from Defiance costume, an entirely new (and hopefully improved!) Predator costume, also a couple other costumes, including Princess Nuala from Hellboy 2, and the dark dancer from Legend.
- Resume attending Science Fiction Conventions, and most of all attend my precious Dragon*Con again.
- Compete with Luke or Jesse in the Hickory Knoll CDE and/or another CDE in the Midwest.
- Attend the National Drive in Kentucky
- Take a photo journey to the Florida Everglades
- Finalize divorce
- Go skydiving (in Florida!)
Yea, Ok – I’m not made of money, so some of them are a bit far fetched, but here’s to hoping !!!!! Maybe half in 2016 and half in 2017!
Keep an eye for future posts as I discover myself again while I try to manage to recover from the mental trauma I have endured at the expense of a self-superior man who took it all away from me.