Of Mice and Monsters VIIII

IMG_1196

The last thing I asked him as I carried my belongings to my car from his house was,

” So you would rather choose a life of paying for prostitutes, going to gangbangs, having NSA sex with people from craigslist, and swinging,  than being with me?

To which he answered,

” well I’m not sure I’d phrase it that way but yes .”

I’m not sure how many weeks it was after I pulled out of his driveway that I just couldn’t get him off my mind.  Good, bad, or worse you don’t spend five years with someone and then have it end just in a blink without being in a crap ton of pain.  It’s a loss.  Even if it was fake on his end, all the feelings had been real on mine.

He hadn’t called me, hadn’t emailed me, hadn’t texted me.  It was like I had never even existed. It was like all the ‘I love you’s he had told me was a lie. My mind could understand but my heart wouldn’t accept the truth.

I wanted answers as to why….closure, I desperately needed closure so I sent him an email. I asked him if he missed me and if he ever thought about me.

He did respond and said he would always love me but that I just didn’t fit into his life at this time.

I wrote back again asking if we could just be friends. If I would be able to just clean his house? Mow his lawn? I couldn’t imagine not having some small piece of him . The gaping hole in my heart that he occupied was just too deep. I didn’t feel strong enough to survive the loss.

He answered without hesitation, no.

When I wrote back insisting that I must mean something to him? He wrote back that I was becoming a nuisance and that if I ever contacted him again that he would call the police.

I was horrified.  Felt betrayed.  Five years of caring for him.  What happened to him hanging on my every word so early on? What happened to him teaching me every sexual move I knew?

At first I went numb.  Then after weeks of just lying round in my pajamas like a uniform, I did a google search for support groups for women who had been victims of abuse. I put in keywords silence, crazy, mood swings, abuse, sex addiction and found Narcissism.

Then I dig further and found online support groups through Facebook and joined. They don’t show up in your public groups list so your friends and family don’t know your in them.  There forums you can read others stories or situations anonymously or also comment and give feedback.  You can also write your own story and/ or situation and receive feedback.  I felt so much less isolated.

I also joined phone line support groups. This proved invaluable. I phoned into meetings a few times a week.  Talking with other women who experienced the same thing.  Different keypads on the phone muted and un-muted the phone and the meetings were highly structured so that one person spoke at a time.  At the end everyone got a chance to speak.

Every woman that I grew to know on those phone lines told me that he would come back for me one day. They said, “they all do.” They all used their term “Hoover.”

 Hoovering is a technique that is named after the Hoover vacuum cleaner, and is used by Narcissists (and other manipulative people) in order to “suck” their victims back into a relationship with them. Hoovering is often done after the silent treatment is given or the victim has left them.

I protested,” not this one he threatened the police on me and apparently made good on it, my local police notified me that although I wasn’t in any trouble, I was asked not to contact him again. That it wasn’t a restraining order but that it would be considered harassment if I did.

The women all insisted, “he’ll be back.”

And they were right.

_______________________________

A year and a half later,  it was Valentines Day evening.  I wasn’t doing much.  Watching TV,  when I heard a knock at the door.  I pulled the door open and there he stood.

My heart dropped.

I never ever expected to see him again.  He had a box of chocolates and a card in hand.  I had done a ton of recovery work but nothing had prepared me for this.

Well aren’t you going to invite me in?”

As if reflexively, by some unseen force  I opened the door.  It felt that way, because I felt afraid and yet I also felt hypnotized by him, unable to stop myself from opening the door.   There’s something powerful that is created in these trauma bonds they work so hard that form with you in the beginning.

Trauma bond was a term first created by Patrick Carnes used to describe “the misuse of fear, excitement, sexual feelings, and sexual physiology to entangle another person.”

A simpler and more encompassing definition is that traumatic bonding is: 

“a strong emotional attachment between an abused person and his or her abuser, formed as a result of the cycle of violence.”

I’m pretty sure that  Dracula was a supernatural Narcissist who used trauma bonds on his bitches too.

After I let him in, he initially hugged me but quickly his hands fell and tried to put the moves on me and I realized what he had come for.  All the recovery work was not lost.  I quickly led him to the door, thanked him for the chocolate, and shut and locked it after he left.  He looked quite surprised.  I even surprised myself.  I threw the chocolate out later.   My body did respond to him that night but I never said a thing and I never have.

Body Betrayal

When people survive repeated sexual assault or abuse, their body often betrays them by responding to their abuser by getting aroused and/or with an orgasm.  Researchers David Finkelhor and Kersti Yllo found that some women in their study reported that they had experienced pleasure during the rapes, particularly in cases of repeated rape. They write that this appears to be an “adaptive response” that makes repeated rape more survivable (1985 photo pg  125).

Asking him to leave, rather than falling for the trap of thinking that because my body was responding that it meant somehow we were “meant to be.” This was a huge moment of success for me.  I had ushered out the monster and ushered in, the infancy of self-care.

Donning the mask

IMG_1125

I struggle for authenticity.   There is a yearning for wholeness, for acceptance of self, for cohesion within myself.  Despite this, shame has always driven me to compartmentalize areas of my life; to stay fractured, splintered.

Only 3 friends know about this blog.  Still fewer know my dad signed his parental rights away when I was one and a half.  Few people who know me are aware that I swear like a sailor despite me having a good command of lexicon at my disposal.   My eating disorder is only known by my immediate family and 2 close friends.   I can count on one hand who knows this abbreviated story I recount here,  the abuse I suffered at the hands of my ex.  No one knows I am a survivor of incest as a child, but my shrink, my dying mother, and my fiancé.

It is still hard to say that out loud,” Isurvivedincest,” even in a therapy session behind closed doors where no one can hear.

But how to synthesize these areas of my life?  Would people be accepting of the “real me” after years of putting on a veneer and hiding the ugly things that I am ashamed which happened to me?

Me trading authenticity for acceptance began in early childhood.  Often doing what other kids wanted to do even if I didn’t want to, afraid I might lose them and/or their friendship.  I became a people pleaser at a very young age. In a desperate attempt for love and affection which were denied all around me.  Instead of getting love, I received the abuse, exploitation, and humiliation.

As a victim of incest, the first lessons I learned was that my home was not a safe place, and that my body was not my own, and that I didn’t get to have a  “no”.

As early as kindergarten I recall feeling shame, it manifested in feeling ‘less then’ the other kids.   Anxious and unsettled and wanting to sit near the teacher hoping she might like me or show me some approval.

As I grew older and the sexual abuse intensified and more violence in my home occurred, an irrational belief sprouted that the ugliness inside me may be transparent. I began creating a false persona to hide my shame.  Hide my tears.  Hide my emotions. Hide my authentic self.   I had observed first-hand that the girls who were quiet and sullen or melancholy got made fun of, got devoured like shark meat ny the mean kids.  So I immediately suppressed my feelings under a fake happy,  sunny,  disposition.   I realized that with my persona operating, that  I could “pass” for normal.   I could have friends, connection, some sort of meaning in an otherwise desolate life.

Because my older siblings were all poly-substance users, I too began smoking marijuana at age 12.  Took my first drink of vodka by 13 years old and never looked back.   By high school I could drink most guys under the table and had alcohol poisoning once.  I was not deterred by this.  At this point I believed that I couldn’t let the “real me” come through, the fake me had been operating for so long.  I’d lose everything, I feared. Friends were the only positive thing I had in my life at that time and I was petrified to lose them.  Even if their friendship was built upon knowing me, a girl who was hiding the pathetic, sad, depressed, nothing-to-offer loser who hated herself underneath this joke-telling, witty, charismatic confident false girl they came to love.

Using booze and pot helped me turn down the volume of the authentic me deep inside me, screaming for relief and accelerate the fake persona that I was creating externally, that was happy and confident.  As I was fast approaching my high school years substance use was just I needed to survive all the sharks who would eat me up.

I don’t remember much of high school due to all the alcohol and marijuana use.  My parents divorced and our house was sold.  I found myself looking for a place to stay as neither parent was financially capable of absorbing me after I graduated.

I had never told either of my parents  about the incest.   As I entered my freshman year of college, my eating disorder was so severe that I had starved myself down to an emaciated state.  I couldn’t think or read very well as my mental functioning had declined from being malnourished.  For many months I was harming myself, also called self-mulilation.   I used self-injury to push back any feelings of intense emotion with which I couldn’t cope.   Then things changed and my feelings simply left.  My depression intensified and I just felt numb all the time.  Empty, cold, void of any emotion had become the new norm.  I had persistent and intrusive thoughts of suicide.   This dragged on for 6 months or more.  I figured I may as well be physically dead too.  Seemed logical to me.  Finally one night I decided to end my life.

First, I asked God to forgive me, and then I went ahead with it.   I guess God had other plans.  After getting discharged from the regular hospital,  I was sectioned involuntarily into a psychiatric hospital.   This was the first time in a long time any of what happened to me as a child would surface again in my consciousness.

I find it interesting that had I not attempted suicide at 19, I may have well have kept that mask on.   My authentic self may never have had the chance to be re-born.  My then therapist told me, “sometimes we have to have a complete and total breakdown, so we can put ourselves back together in a more healthy way.”

It has taken many years in therapy and I am still only able to let down my guard and become vulnerable to a few.  Happiness? Real long-standing  happiness? Still elusive I’m afraid.  I do find moments of real joy though.  I’m told I can learn to expand those and they can grow.  Self-love is the one thing I have yet to be able to achieve.  I have been working on learning to set boundaries and learning what it looks like to truly care about myself.  Imagine, having to be taught that.  Most of my life has been spent caring for others and I do that really well.   Historically, I give and give until I am emotionally drained or financially bankrupt.   The goal for me  is to learn to put myself first and not feel guilty for doing so.

Though I have always had the ability to love others and deeply empathize, I find it strange that both myself and my pathological narcissist both employed “masks” to hide our authentic selves.  Perhaps we have something in common after all.

 

That “aha” moment

There is a significant correlation between our kind and the use of pornographic material. Once upon a time, one might imagine that the size of a person’s porn stash might have been a rough and ready indicator of their reliance on porn and their potential for being one of our kind. Nowadays the…

via The Porn Supremacy — Knowing the Narcissist

HG Tudor has done a superb job at explaining the “why” of so many reasons my ex did what he did.   So a big Thank you to HG.   Makes me realize that perhaps all these therapists over the years haven’t been lying; I always was “good enough.”  Strange that I end up feeling validated by one of their kind, this, I need to explore with the shrink….

Of Mice and Monsters VIII

The relationship had degraded so much and yet I did not know to extricate from it. Fear was a large factor keeping me in it, but also as hard as it is to understand for those who have never been involved with a pathological, I still had a faint hope that he would somehow return to the man I had initially met. The nice, sweet, charming, caring person who was attentive to me and hung on my every word. However, that man whom I fell in love with had fallen away. He was replaced with an empty, selfish, highly sadistic man who ignored my boundaries, was prone to give me silent treatments on a whim for reasons I was told to “figure out.” Every once in awhile that old nice version of him would return leading me to believe it was me that was the problem.  This “intermittent reinforcement” I would later find out, was done deliberately to keep me hooked in the relationship.  At times he even said to me that if I could just stop the (insert bad perceived behavior by him) or begin (insert a desired behavior which he had yet to see from me) than perhaps things could be the way they once were between us. Deep down though, I had a gut feeling he never had any intention of making good with the follow through.

Giving false hope is the devil’s work.

At some point I believe I had chalked up 12 bacterial vaginosis infections in the course of 5 years with him. Prior to knowing him I had never even had one my entire life. My gynecologist said they were sexually indicated but they could be acquired by other means such as swimming in ponds, douching, using tampons and not changing them often enough. Yet none of those applied to me. She made it clear it was not something one could get from a toilet seat. How did I get these infections? I couldn’t help thinking he must be having an affair.  My heart was sad thinking why wasn’t I ever good enough?

There were the middle of the night wake-ups where I’d find him gone out of bed. Only to find him using his phone in the bathroom sitting on the toilet seat checking his voicemail because he couldn’t sleep or so he said.  When questioned about it he would always deflect the question and blame me with an accusatory tone,” how dare you try and control what I do when I am having trouble sleeping!!!” Or that he was booking a doctors appointment. WTF? Are you kidding me.  You are booking a well visit with your primary care physician at 3:30 am?

There were lies.

That he was snow blowing for hours during the winter and couldn’t answer the phone , yet when I arrived I touched the snowblower and the entire machine was totally cold.  He never knew I did this.

Lies about going to his regular AA meeting but when I’d ask what the topic was, who chaired the meeting, or who the speaker was, he said he couldn’t remember. Anyone who is in recovery knows this is total BS unless you are drunk going to the meeting.   He was 26 years sober.

There were so many lies, so many inconsistencies, so many scary things that I had been fervently praying. Begging God to please remove him from my life. To please keep me safe and release me from this man. Day and night I prayed. Because for reasons unknown to me at the time, I could not seem to muster leaving him of my own free will.  Each time that I tried my heart would be overcome with a  sorrow so deep and painful, that I would do anything to avoid that level and degree of pain; including not leaving him.

Then my prayers were answered.

I was on his computer and had noticed a photo that hadn’t been there the week prior.  It was a photo of a naked woman lying on a table, with him wearing a green shirt on with his hand outstretched touching her genitals.

I asked him about it.  He claimed it was from years ago.   I knew it was a lie.   So I said, “All photos have time-stamps, right click on the image and show me it was years ago.”

He replied, “You don’t control me I’m not going to do that.”

I said,” this has nothing to do with control, if you can prove that this was done years ago just go ahead and right click on it and prove me that I’m wrong.”

He said, “get out.”

“Excuse me?”

Get your all your things together and get out , we are done, it’s over Lexi.

I told him, “I’ll be happy to get out if you want to be done , but just the same I want you to show me that the photo was from years ago, prove that I am wrong.”

“Just get out.”

My lip began to quiver and tears began to fall down my face as I begged him,”Please tell me the truth about that photo, I’ve been good this you for 5 years,  I loved you and I don’t deserve lies, please just tell me the truth.”!”

You want the truth?” He said.

Yes,” I whimpered.

“That photo was from when I went to a gang-bang the first year I was with you…….I am a sex addict.  I have gone on Craigslist hookups, done a fair share of swinging,  paid for prostitutes, and have a steady pool of friends with benefits that I have sex with, some that go back for many years,”  he said cooly.

I was shocked, replulsed, and terrified all at the same time.   They sat when you die your life flashes before you at rapid speed.   Well it was like that.  I kept thinking of all the sexual partners he had been with.  How many had there been?  Had I been infected with HIV and didn’t even know it?  My heart skipped a beat and my blood ran cold.

Before I could say anything he said,” you need to leave now Lexi, are you happy you got your truth?”

I carried my things to my car.   The cross on his kitchen wall for reasons unknown, slid upside down on the wall and inverted.  It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

As I walked out the door I felt mostly  numb as the tears had already dried on my face.  My thoughts still raced a mile a minute, though mostly consumed with one persistent thought, ‘how could I have been deceived by a man without a conscience.’

Blogging is like confession, without the Hail Marys and Our Fathers

nun_ruler

 

It’s so true isn’t it?

I come here and unload all the shit that churns around in the recesses of my mind and my soul.   All the benefits that comes with the process of confession, none of the fear of being chastised and told to repent.

So there’s something inherently therapeutic about the whole thing.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch Pope Benedict resigns….

Blogging: The New Prostitution

Sexy-Blogger_3887-l

There once was a girl from Nantucket

Who wrote her thoughts on a blog and said fuck it.

She let it all rip

and said with a quip,

“If words were a cock I would suck it.”

-Lexiconlover-

We’re all selling something aren’t we….

Some people whine.

Some bitch and rant.

Some write poetry.

Some bloggers stick to philanthropy, trying to “help” others out with their self-actualized knowledge they’ve gained on their way up Maslow’s pinnacle.

Some folks are so heady that they don’t want you to really understand what the fuck they are spinning.

Still others post some one line, inane banter with a shock value photo attached to grab your attention.

Other’s  write of trying to get by day-to-day in a seemingly endless quagmire of bullshit and recovery from a lifelong battle of living in their own personal hell.

Then there are the angels among us.  Those wonderful people I call liquid Prozac.  They are so authentic and just raw, unfiltered, unpretentious folks who lay it out and you can’t help but laugh.

*****

To all my fellow bloggers out there bloglandia,  I raise my glass.