I have been sitting here, staring at a blank page for two hours. Normally, writing articles comes easily to me. The words flow onto the page and sometimes it seems like my articles write themselves.
Not tonight. Tonight my brain is skittish and moving from one thing to another so fast I don’t have time to really even be aware of the images and thoughts before they change. So, I apologize in advance if the words come out a little, or even a lot choppy. You see, I have court in the morning and there is no way I am going to be able to pretend my ex-husband does not exist in my world. My Complex-PTSD is slithering around the edges of my consciousness – still under control thank God.
My heart is pounding. I have fluctuated between eating junk food and throwing up all day long. I want to scream. I feel that dark foreboding hovering over me. And through it all I keep asking myself, God, and the universe one thing.
Why is it taking me so long to get over this?
It Has Been Five Years
I try to reason with myself. It’s been nearly five years and I certainly have no affection for him, no longing to be back together. He can sleep with whoever he wants and it doesn’t affect me anymore. I truly don’t care.
Yet my psyche believes that he poses a threat to me. It is so convinced that there is danger that I struggle to function when I know we are going to be in close proximity. No amount of telling myself to get over it, no amount of reminding myself that it’s in the past, and no amount of being logical makes any difference to my fight or flight reflex.
I want to run.
It makes no sense. Five years is a long time – certainly long enough to get over a toxic relationship. I am resilient. I have lived through many difficulties and gotten over them much more quickly. It is frustrating to keep coming up against this wall and not be able to get past it.
Every time my emotions take over because I am threatened that I may feel like a drama queen, a failure, a weak creature, and I see myself as something akin to Golem in Lord of the Rings. Years of living in heavy stress, of being manipulated, and broken have taken a toll.
People who love me tell me to just stop. They can’t understand how out of control I feel when this happens. Surely five years is more than enough time to move on?
Understanding and Accepting What Happened
It’s time to be real about what happened to us. Every cell, every fiber of my being was affected by the trauma of narcissistic abuse – and so was yours. We can pretend that it was just a “bad marriage” all we want. I have since seen many people who’ve gotten divorced and, oddly enough, not every woman walks away with Complex-PTSD.
In fact, my husband and his ex-wife can actually talk on the phone without calling each other names or making critical comments. That is normal. Things happen, you forgive, you heal, you grow, and you move one.
A relationship with a narcissist isn’t normal. You’ve been lied to so much that you don’t know what the truth is anymore. You have been taught not to trust your own perceptions, and you’ve been led to believe that you are not very important.
Healing is long and drawn out because it has to be done on such a deep level. You have to learn to trust yourself again, to see the truth and not be dissuaded from it, and to accept your value. You have to learn to be gentle with yourself.
Watching the Narc Get Away with It
One of the hardest things of all is watching the narc skip off into the sunset while you struggle to find your footing. It isn’t a lack of forgiveness, it’s a matter of knowing someone committed acts of violence against you and walked away untouched.
Narcissists are good at getting away with things. They seem to be able to create chaos and then give the world a charming smile and walk away leaving their victims dazed, wounded, and confused. There are no consequences and therefore it seems as if the world is allowing his behavior. Maybe it even condones it.
And that makes you and I feel that we are unimportant. We are not worth being championed and so, obviously the narc was right – we’re worthless.
Healing Is a Process
I wish I could end this with a simple formula that, when followed, would give instant healing and get rid of the crow’s feet around your eyes in one fell swoop. I can’t. All that I can offer to you is the knowledge that it’s common among everyone who has had a relationship with a narcissist. No one comes away unscathed and no one heals overnight.
Rather than looking at how long it is taking you to heal why not look at each small success and celebrate your progress. You aren’t a failure, you aren’t too broken to ever get better. You are healing on your own schedule and that’s OK.
Stop beating yourself up over how long it’s taking. You don’t need to step into you narcissistic ex’s shoes and keep the abuse going – become your own advocate. Join First Wives World and talk to others who are slowly healing, too.
Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, User: Dee Ashley