“Boo-fucking-hoo! It’s so fucking hard to be you!” I remember him so clearly screaming in my face.
And one of the very few times I dared argue with him, I weakly responded, “It is, actually.”
One reason why it was so hard to be me was the fact that the 6’2”, 230lb mass of violent rage was screaming in my face and ripping a door off the hinges yet again. He did that so often in the 5 years I endured this that I became the only non-contractor in town who can hang an interior door with razor-sharp precision.
I also became someone adept at cleaning melting ice cream dumped into my dresser drawers, a sweeper of my shattered appliances from the kitchen floor, a great organizer of the camping gear I had to keep in the trunk of my car in case of emergency shelter, a hyper-light-footed walker among eggshells, a professional ignorer of blatant evidence and gut-feeling-denier of obvious cheating, the bottomless swallower of unfathomable humiliation.
I still don’t get why I was the one who had to put the doors back up. Considering the rest, though, it was hardly the biggest concern.
I don’t know what in particular spurred that comment during that bout of narcissistic rage but it usually didn’t matter. It would happen no matter how hard I tried. Looking back, the sudden randomness was only his whim; and often a way to get me out of the house so he could groom the newest girly supply of the month.
It only just finally now got through my thick skull that a lot of his instability (from my point of view, that is) came from his upkeep of his many single profiles on numerous dating sites he just “hadn’t taken down yet”, threats that I don’t come home for a convenient number of days, his “none of your fucking business” responses to my questions of who he was texting at 6 a.m., the vicious, cruel degrading rants about everything I did (wrong or not), his “solo” trips he outright denied me going with him to baseball games and drives to Idyllwild, to his repeated trips to the bathroom carrying his phone but never once flushing the toilet were clear-to-everyone-else signs that I was a chump.
I say that with the utmost love and respect for myself.
I was a chump; a sap. I’d been had. Whatever weird Svengali-like control this asshat had over me (not “whatever”—there was no doubt at all. It was lies, intermittent reinforcement, gaslighting, and threats) kept me there, unable to catch my breath long enough to get the hell out of there. I was duped into thinking I was in love. Once hooked, I was only something to work out on.
Not just that but the constant, barely-contained disappointment in my talents and gifts; things he was so proud of in the beginning. The under-his-breath “pfft–typical” comments and sneers when I couldn’t explain why there wasn’t peace in the Middle East. The small, leaking spiritual cuts I was inflicted with over and over again kept me crippled and dependent.
That kind of degradation eats away at a person’s confidence and destroys their soul. Living that way; made to feel like a disappointment, isolated, afraid, confused, and alone by someone you loved so much makes life not worth living. You can’t believe they can find more ways to hurt you until they do. Until, finally, they get so disgusted with the shell of a human being they made you, they discard you because of it.
Yes, discard you. Like trash. And they won’t tell you why. They’ll tell you everyone else agrees with them about how worthless you are, but they won’t tell you why now. Just that the market umbrella you bought, after they asked you to, was too “ghetto” and how they wouldn’t allow your “nigger-shit” in their house. When you tell them you can’t stand them saying those things, you’ll find yourself sobbing full-wracking sobs and feeling like a truck ran over you as you pack up your shit while he ignores you, whistling on his merry way to his date with the real estate chick near his office he’d been grooming for months.
It’s unreal what these people, these narcissists, do to a person. It’s cruelty beyond what you imagine people could inflict. You can’t prepare for something you don’t know exists.
As almost as bad as the abusive, malignant narcissist are the fence-sitters. Some could argue that the “flying monkeys” the narc sends out to the world to lure you back in or torture you from afar are worse but they are almost as easy to spot as their abusive intentions. The fence-sitters are the ones that reinforce the erroneous belief that it is all your fault, or that you’re making a mountain out of a molehill, because they suddenly retract, don’t react, don’t want to get involved, or suddenly don’t want to muddy their hands. They’re the ones who tell you that, “well, there is two sides to every story,” and “everyone deserves to be happy,” and “maybe you’re just having trouble letting go,” when it is outrage you need and comfort you crave from having to endure the monstrosity committed by someone who you thought loved you.
After reaching out to my abuser’s fence-sitter, the one who counseled me through the outrageous yet unceremonious way I was discarded like trash, the one who reported back to me all of my abusers actions at work, kept me up-to-date so I could leave the house safely, the one who has herself been keeping records of his felonious acts, responded with such a dismissive, bland disregard later on that made me shudder in confusion and doubt. Makes me wonder how deep the deception runs. I didn’t know.
I sure as hell know now. It’s taken me a good year to connect the dots, to heal out of the damage he caused, to even gain the strength to get the help I need. But I have. And like everyone I talked to who has had anything to do with him, that’s how it goes. Unfortunate for us. But it does get better with time.
Time enough to get my voice back.
One of the best tricks in a narcissist’s arsenal is to deny their targets’ strongest qualities by diminishing them into obedience. One of my strengths has always been my voice. Outspoken and unafraid, I will tell it like I see it. I’m always me. I’m loud and I’m usually right. I’ll proudly admit when I’m wrong but be prepared to prove that I am first. But my voice was one of the first things to get quashed. Can’t have an “uppity bitch,” as he liked to tell me, in the harem demanding rights. It had to go.
It’s also one of the last things I seem to have gotten back.
It is coming back, though. In shaky squeaks and timid ‘ahems’…for me anyway…but it’s coming back. Good thing, too. I’m funny as hell.
And as I “me, me, me, me” into the quiet air, it comes back still.
And this time, it’s going to be clearer, stronger, and louder than ever.
Call me Veronica, because there’s a new sheriff in town.
I write awkward tales. Mostly funny. Usually true. Often truthfully funny.