My Dirty Little Secret(s)

I heard there are 50 states in this here Union that have been hit with freezing temps. It's flippin cold, and I'm happy to report it's toasty warm in our new home. We are so very happy here. I wrote about it before here, and I've mentioned it in several other posts. Yet it bears repeating. There is no corner in my life that has not been redeemed, all but one area is healing and renewing. I must say it's a beautiful thing. I can almost remember back to those days where life was sweet, before the marriage became undone, before my world crashed down, and before my recent break up destroyed what I had begun to build up for myself.

My home is an unending source of comfort to me. It's been a long time since a home has provided a sanctuary, a reprieve from the goings on in the world. My bedroom has not been a place of respite for many many years, even when I was married. There was a time after my ex-husband moved out that my bedroom was warm and inviting; that didn't last too long. I slept on the couch for a while last year. Months and months actually. It wasn't until I bought myself a new mattress and had a bed frame built for me that my room became a refuge. In this recent move, the king-size mattress was taken to the dump and the old bed frame sold for $50. With that gone the last bits and pieces of my marriage went too. It felt great.

There is still a little bit of Bill in my life. Or maybe a lotta bit. I put all of his gifts into two boxes. I received many over the years. I decided not to put up the beautiful mirror he crafted for me. The bed I sleep upon was designed and built by him. I'm not sure about it yet. Part of me wants to discard it into the dump. Part of me likes it; of course I use it. For now I try not to attach memories to it.

I feel huge amounts of shame and guilt for still struggling with our relationship. I beg God for mercy; I beg Him to take away residual feelings. Yep, still working with a therapist and doing all I am supposed to be doing to move thru this.

I'm not brave enough to share with you what I've discovered about my past, about what I minimized in my teen years. I started to assemble the story in my mind one day and it didn't look too nice, and yet there is a part of me that thinks some of it was not a big deal. I realize there was one event that was a huge deal and it just got shoved under a rug. I've shared it with a few close friends, but I haven't been able to tell you guys about it. Mostly because the other person is still alive. I was not sexually abused or molested. Not raped. Nothing like that.

I have also been learning about narcissism and what that entails. I really thought a narcissist was someone who stared at himself or herself in the mirror. I am learning it's much different from the stereotype, and that I may have been involved with someone who ever so cautiously and meticulously worked to undermine my self-esteem. It sounds like paranoia, and trust me, I want to believe it wasn't so. There are so many similarities between what I experienced and what those who are recovering from narcissistic relationships experienced that it's very very difficult to deny.

But... Denial is powerful. It's easier to believe that I was loved by this man, that I lost him because he was too afraid to commit, that I did something to repel him and therefore if I just change some things about me I'll win him back. He's got to see what a great woman he lost.

But... Maybe I was easy prey. And maybe because I was so hurt by my marriage breaking up and my husband not loving me anymore I just wanted to feel loved by someone again. I tried God, and I did find Him. It was just that Bill's seductions were extremely powerful. I've always said it's more fun to be cuddled on the couch with an adoring man than to hunker down alone. “You’re not alone. God’s there!” Well, if I am to be honest, God has never made me feel as good as I have felt with Bill. I wish it were different for me. I wish I could say “All I need is Jesus. He will never leave me.” While I know that is true, it just doesn't feel the same as when Bill held me.

I loved God. I still do! I remember feeling joy in my marriage. Gratitude. “God is great!” I would say. And He was! I was extremely grateful for my life and all He had given me. I loved my husband. I loved my baby son. I loved my family, my life, and all that He had provided for me. I did not take my life for granted. I sang His praises daily. I have hundreds of gratitude lists I wrote. (I still write them too.)

All I can say is that there were two sides to Bill. And there was a part of my life with him that was so incredible; I really didn't share what he brought to the table here in RP. You guys don't know how much he was integrated into my life. Like Stevie Nicks wrote in Landslide, “I've built my life around you.” My life was fully intertwined with his. He gave so much to me... and to Oliver. He was my constant companion, my best and closest friend, my champion, my lover. He'd put me in front of the mirror and make me look at myself, telling me how beautiful I was, telling me I had no idea how beautiful I was. It was so comfortable to be with him. He took care of me in many ways. All the ways in which a partner cares for a woman from good times to bad... lovely talks, dinners, trips together, shopping, moments of laughter, fun. There was incredible passion and excitement. So many fun memories that any man would die to experience. He was there for me, holding me during all those hard times, celebrating with me when I faced challenges. I was a part of his life too. I held him several times when he cried; I stayed by his side when he went thru a horrific depression and was working with various meds to feel normal again. I spent holidays with his family. We were invited to many of his friends' homes together as a couple. Our relationship was no secret. It was this year, sometime in the spring of 2014, that I finally knew I had fallen in love with him. After 2 1/2 years of dating, my divorce was final, and I could feel him in my heart. I thought he felt it too. It seemed like it anyway.

Now I am discovering that it's possible that none of what he said was true, that it was all a ploy, that his feelings were not real. Just like that, poof! Every good thing I experienced was eradicated when I started learning about narcissism.

I'm not sharing this so that you guys comment today, “Oh Andrea, of course he felt those things too.” And I'm not asking you to vilify him either.

I just need to get this out. I need to put "pen to paper" and get this out:

I loved him.
I (think I) still love him.
I'd probably talk to him if he wanted to talk things over with me.
I would probably not date him again.
I cannot throw anything he gave me away yet.
I cannot delete the texts, emails or pictures yet.
I cry over him still.
I still hurt a lot.
I miss him like crazy.
I'm scared to go thru the holidays without him.
I think about him a lot. Like a lot a lot.
I'm not sure if he really loved me.
I'm not sure if he really ever loved my son.
I freak out sometimes because I'm scared I will run into him.
I freak out a LOT about that.
I feel anxious and cannot eat or sleep sometimes.
I think this is all too much for me sometimes.
I hope some day for resolution (not a reunion, but resolution).
I pray for that actually.
I pray daily that he be removed from my thoughts.
I try to believe that God has a plan for me.
I try to have faith that I will get thru this.
I try to have faith that God will bring someone into my life that will give me what Bill gave me and then some...

And here's the biggest secret of all:

I don't feel the same way I used to feel about parenting. I don't have the glee and joy and happiness about Oliver that I used to have prior to July 2014. It's coming back, but very very slowly, and I wonder if it will ever come back the way it was.

There's another part to that and I'm not willing to share publicly just yet.

I love the comments you guys leave me. I do. I really really do. But I don't need you to tell me that I should let God do those things for me. For I just bared my soul to you guys. Re-read what I wrote. I am doing my darnedest to let God do that for me. I am working overtime in that department. I am working with my therapist. I'm uncovering stuff. I'm learning. I'm praying. I'm confessing. I'm open. I'm honest. I put myself out there. I am turning myself inside and out. And... I'm nurturing myself. Nurturing my son. Doing my daily things. Seeing friends. Laughing. Doing the footwork.

There is still this ache in my heart. I wish Bill would read this and have some compassion. He doesn't read my blog. And even if he did, I don't know that he would have compassion for me. I have tried to reason with him. To no avail.

I have not contacted him in a while. It's been since August I think. I wont. I can't. I can't because I cannot take anymore pain and rejection, which is most likely what I would get if I did contact him.

Raising Peanut is my online journal, a record of my journey through parenthood, divorce, recovering from divorce, dating and break up. I hope there is yet another chapter to write about. A chapter on surviving, thriving and joyful living. I pray that is in my future. I keep faith that it will happen for me, with or without a man. (Fingers crossed for a happy relationship in my future though...)

Just know that I still struggle with this and that I am not over him yet. Wishing I was wont make it happen.

One more thing... a very important thing.

Because of the event that took place when I was a teenager, and because I may have dated a narcissist I tend to minimize or conveniently forget all the hurtful things Bill did. Read narcissistic abuse, or  narcissistic relationship stages, or silent treatment and abuse, or cognitive dissonance, or gaslighting, or here's what Bill did too.  I realize that I am not seeing things clearly and am working and praying daily to see the picture realistically. If you look at any of those links you will think I am crazy for missing him. I know he was (is) an asshole! Tell it to my heart. Tell it to the part of me that still misses him. Tell it to the teenager. If I could stop missing him I would. Just trust me on that.

If you look closer at some of those tactics, you may begin to understand why this has been so difficult for me. If you knew how wonderful he could be to me and how intertwined our lives were, you may also understand.

No matter what the case, I am moving on, slowly. It's still hard. On the outside and in reality, I'm functioning fine. On the inside I struggle. I'm being patient with myself and hoping that eventually I will be past this.