Please tell me I am not the only one! Here I sit, almost 6 months after my divorce, still renumerating over the last two years of my life. I wanted it to turn out so much differently. I never wanted this! I keep going over and over and over it in my head, trying to pick up every piece of my life, I kneel down, see a new shattered aspect of my life, pick it up, and turn it over in my hand searching for a new clue to what happened to me. What could I have done better? What did I miss? Was it really my fault, like he tells me it is? Why doesn’t he love me enough to get himself into recovery? How did I find myself here…alone. The things I do to myself in my head are excruciating. My mind is my own best instrument of torture. I carry the instruments of torture with me, everywhere I go. This is not where I am supposed to be at this point of my life! Why me!?
I live in this space of pain everyday. Often, sleep is my only escape. Even then, I sometimes wake up, only to realize I was crying in my sleep. Tears spill out of my closed eyelids and down my cheeks before I wake up. My face bathed in tears while I am sleeping! How is that even possible?
Walking away from an addict, I am finding out, is more difficult than I thought it would be. It is hard to understand it. It’s a whole other level of crazymaking that I had not even anticipated. He spent two years driving me crazy with his crazy making, now I will finish myself off with mine. Whoever said that addiction doesnt hurt anyone but the person doing it is lying!
Silly me, I keep thinking he would or could get a handle on himself to repair his relationships to a minimum level of civility so we could at least be in the same room. Alas, that is not to be. At least not for a long time. My kids keep telling me its going to take their dad years to come back to himself, if ever. I try to wrap my brain around this. This man who had it all together for decades of marriage, is such a mess, he may never come out of it. How is that possible?
So here is the dilemma. Do I keep torturing myself with all the what ifs, could have beens, and shoulds? Or do I move on with what only I have control of? Me. Me? I divorced him to save me, after all! And here I am, still stuck in the prinson of abuse of my own making. Why do I do this to myself? What would make a perfectly sane person succumb to the insanity of another person?
It turns out that this is a thing! I have become addicted to the addict! Crazy! Right? In this article, “Your Brain on Love, Sex and the Narcissist” I learned much about my own baffling behavior over the past 6 months.
Many survivors of narcissistic abuse are confounded by the addiction they feel to the narcissist, long after the abusive relationship took a toll on their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Make no mistake: recovery from an abusive relationship can be very similar to withdrawal from drug addiction due to the biochemical bonds we may develop with our toxic ex-partners. Shahida Arabi
It is important to understand that women in relationships with addicts are battling so much more than just the behaviors of the addict. It is also the same as being held hostage and tortured emotionally. No wonder so many of us end up with PTSD! We are literally on the frontline of a battle for the health and survival of the family. Many women willingly put themselves in the line of fire for their husbands, children and families. That is what women do! It is in our natures to protect our family. But being in the battle, especially if we have been battling without the right equipment for our protection, leaves us vulnerable to being injured, and even, captured by the “enemy.”
Understanding why we are addicted permits us recognize that our addiction is not about the merits of the narcissist, but rather the nature and severity of the trauma we’ve experienced. It enables us to detach and move forward with powerful knowledge that can propel us towards greater agency and healthier relationships than the ones we’ve experienced in the past. In addition, it challenges the victim-blaming discourse in society that prevents many abuse survivors from gaining support and validation for the traumas they’ve experienced – validation that would actually help, not hinder, these survivors in leaving their abusive relationships. Shahida Arabi
I was able to escape my abuse. But the lasting effects of PTSD keep me reliving the experiences, and that isn’t healthy. What was a relief is that I am not crazy. This is a thing! A real thing!
I had a long talk with my son about this over the weekend. I just need to walk away. The only way to healing for me is NO CONTACT with my ex. I need the time and space and time to shrug off the effects of my own addiction to my ex. Like my son told me, “You do not want him the way he is now. So why waste anymore time on him? If you met him for the first time today you wouldn’t give him another thought. You might not go on a first date with him, and certainly not a second date. So why are you wasting your time on him now?” All of these are fair questions and something I have been seriously thinking on now for a few days. It is time, no past time, to get serious about going no contact if I am going to really survive the last two years.
What is NO CONTACT? How do you do it?
It’s difficult to go NO CONTACT with an addict/abuser. However, when you are in the situtation where NO CONTACT is necessary, here are affirmations to help you to stick with it.
I want to make one last point, something that will end this on a more spiritual note. My faith has been really suffering since my divorce. In many ways I feel as if the Lord has abandoned me. I feel, completely, utterly, alone, spiritually speaking, more often than not. This weekend I dedicated my study efforts on the General Conference talk “What Lack I Yet?” by Larry Lawrence. I have committed to ask the Lord each day what I am Lacking that is holding me back and keeping me from moving forward. The answers have been interesting and helpful and have served as a witness to me that I am not alone! I am seen. I am heard. And I am loved by the Lord. He is here, willing and ready to help me if I will turn to him. Here is my example:
I was praying fervently this morning about why I am having such a hard time getting my Ex out of my head. Why do I think about him ALL.THE.TIME? I can’t seem to break out of this cycle no matter how hard I try. What is wrong with me? I asked the Lord for help in getting him out of my head. I am really sick of this. It isn’t fun for me and I do not enjoy it at all. I want to be happy! Please, Lord, help me to be happy! The answer came. It came quite quickly and forcefully, but ever so kind:
Leanne, why do you spend every waking thought on David? He is not your Savior, I am! Your every thought should be on me, not him. In this way, are you not betraying me also?
Whoa! I think this is a breakthrough moment for me. The way to stop obsessing on the Ex is to put all my thoughts, hopes, dreams, and attention on the Savior. He will then be able to save me.
Stay Sweet, Be Strong!