One Night Stand……

   A much needed girls night out brought up a topic that I feel strongly about. I have been very single for six months now, and I admit there have been some times recently when loneliness has crept in. My friends know what I have been through and the level of stress I experience lately. With good intentions, they decided I needed to get laid. It was said more than once that it would do me good to have a one night stand. This is something I have never done despite the fact that I have been single most of my life. It wasn’t just a couple girls pushing, but a large diverse group of women. I know that sex is now the basis of dating. In fact sex has lost all meaning in society. It is more like a sport now. That is just not how I am wired.

  If you are lonely and go out for a one night stand, what do you get out of it? You are still alone the next morning. There is a level of guilt associated with it, especially if alcohol is involved. You can convince yourself that you used him, but you in fact were used. How special could you possibly feel when he could have chosen another drunk woman and it would have meant as much? Is thirty minutes of pleasure really worth being used and tossed aside? It is so often the answer when someone goes through hard times, especially relationship issues or break ups. What I cannot understand is what people believe it repairs.

  Maybe I am missing something. It is possible that it is an adventure I will one day regret never experiencing. Still I think I will keep my morals where they are. Sex is great, but it has nothing on companionship. I would get more out of it if I could pick a guy up from the bar and stay up talking all night fully clothed. My loneliness has nothing to do with sex, I want someone to share my thoughts with. Sexy is intelligent conversation and making plans. Instead of trying to get laid, take me hiking.

   One night stands are not the solution to whatever you are missing. Allow sex to still have meaning by waiting till it is with someone you want to have coffee with in the morning. Just my thoughts on the subject.

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Social Laziness

 

I was spending time with friends today. We were discussing dating now and how much it seems people have changed. I know there are good people out there. I am a good person and I have friends who are truly good people. Still it seems they are far and few between. Blame it on society today or social media, but the fact is that people in general have changed. Drive down the highway and watch the actions of the other drivers. Everyone is in more of a hurry than the rest. Whatever they have to do is apparently more important than everyone else around them. Many are lost in their devices and unaware of the world around them. Whatever that person they only see on their screen is posting about is more important than the real live person right beside them. It’s all about convenience and easy access to everything. This has made society socially lazy and entitled.

That brings us to dating. So much of it is done online now. People don’t take the time to get to know someone and are too lazy to put an effort into building a real relationship. There is very little commitment. You don’t have to be alone as long as you have a device and wi-fi. A few clicks and you can have a date every night of the week. Sex is expected and seems to have lost all meaning. If the person you are with isn’t willing, you can just swipe. You don’t meet people out anymore. No one talks to each other. They are so lost in their phone or in such a hurry, they just don’t even see the people near them.

I can not lie, if I am in a crowd and feeling a little nervous, I will stare at my phone. I have online dated. I spend time on social media. I have friends who only exist through my devices. I love that people are so accessible, but they are not true connections. Today I decided to make this one of my goals. I am going to leave the phone in my car and see the people around me when I am out. It is my goal to say hello to total strangers. I want to meet new people and communicate without a screen between us.

Now I am going to challenge those who read this to do the same. Put down your device the next time you are out. Pay attention to the people around you. Start a conversation with a stranger and see where it leads. Don’t rush through your day. Those who are single, try looking for someone you could truly care about rather than the convenient hook-up. Be real and spend time in the real world with real people.

Stalking Ex

In my last post I mentioned that my ex- narcissist- boyfriend, Marc, was driving past my house a lot lately. I also said I was going to just deal with it when I had to. The problem is, I can’t do anything about it. It’s a game he is playing and I don’t know the rules. There is another road that runs parallel to mine so he could use that one if he was just checking up on me. Instead he is driving right past my driveway. Is he working himself up to stop? Hoping to catch me outside? Does he think if I am forced to see him I will not be able to help myself from contacting him?

Okay, do you see the problem here? He is always there. Popping up somewhere, then stuck in my head. I don’t love him. When I fell in love, it was with the person he pretended to be. I do not miss him, want him, and all I need from him is for him to go away. I think I might hate him. Still he wins. I am still stuck thinking about him.

That is what they do. Narcissists or other manipulative emotional abusers plant a seed in your head. Even if the sprout grows into a dark withered vine full of rotten fruit, it has still rooted itself there. I have been hit by a man, yelled at, cussed and called names. It all hurt, left scars, and tore me down. His abuse was different. He never laid hands on me, called me names, and rarely raised his voice. Yet he destroyed me. It was like how a water drip eventually wears a hole through stone. It takes time and the process is nearly invisible until the damage is already done. He tore me down little by little til there was nearly nothing left. Love is just the name he gave his ownership of me.

Four months ago this weekend I claimed my freedom. I blocked him from my life in every way possible. I am healing. Everything he took from me has been restored and I am good with out him. The anger is still smoldering from the terrible things he did. Everyone says I have to forgive him to move on. I can’t do that yet. Still I have good days and I am moving on. It is fear that keeps him always present in my mind. Fear of the wounds reopening, fear of my own anger, fear of reliving the pain he caused, fear of my own reaction. He is going to eventually make it a point to run into me, if not just walk up to my door. They are known for it. A narcissist is prone to stalking and many will do it for years. He has shown in the past that he will always come back.

What I am working out in my head is how to deal with it. I was told to involve law enforcement. That really is not really possible at the moment. Technically he hasn’t done anything, and when he drives by it is in a city work truck. He works with and is friends with enough police that it would be hard to convince them he is doing anything. I have already been told by several people that he is saying that I am crazy. According to him, I am harassing and stalking him. Even told one of his girls that she had to hide her truck when she was there so I didn’t bash the windows out. Basically, i am just going to have to deal with it when he decides to show up. I am always running the scenario through my head.

I am pumping myself up. He is nothing. His hold over me is gone. I am happy now and he can not take that away. He wants a reaction, so I will not give it to him. I am better than him. I deserve better than that. He can not hurt me anymore. I do not belong to him. I am strong enough. He will not see my anger, my pain, or what he did to me. I will not care when he is standing before me. No matter how he goes about this, I will be okay.

 

Inspire

I have written about the harder things and how I am trying to change. Today I wanted to write something inspiring. I have started multiple times. Flat, that is the best description for the words that have come out. It’s raining. Thunderstorms have been rolling through here for days. I have had physical therapy or doctors appointments everyday this week. 8 weeks since back surgery and I am frustrated with the progress. Marc is driving past my house. I have caught him a couple times this week creeping by in his work truck. My daughter has been on the low end of the bi-polar spectrum all week. My workman’s comp. representative got switched and so my check has been delayed.  Tonight is the full moon. Some call that superstitious, but I have seen the shift too many times to not believe in the effect.

I needed inspiration. That was why I wanted so badly to offer it to others. So, I reassessed all the stresses. The sun is supposed to shine tomorrow. The surgery was successful and I am healing well. Marc may be driving by my house, but that is as close as he is to being a part of my life. That is a problem I will handle if and when I have to. Although things with my daughter are not always easy, they have improved greatly over the last few months. A delayed check is like a temporary savings account. The full moon will be past in the morning.

It can be hard to remember how insignificant one bad day is. It is just a day, out of the thousands we are given. I have heard people say to forget the past, don’t stress the future, and just live in the present. That is such misguided advice in my opinion. The past made you who you are. The present could at any moment be a bad day and in that case the future is what makes it better. The promise of more days to come. The idea that you can change the present and have better days down the road. Even in the worst of situations, not every day is a bad day.

My goal for tomorrow= Look for the good moments no matter how the day turns out.

Breaking out of my bubble

    We all have the instinct to self-preserve. The same as you wear a helmet to protect your head on a bike or pads for football, we build walls psychologically. To protect our more sensitive thoughts or weaker parts of ourselves we tuck them down and surround them with a protective layer. Those who have suffered may build those walls thicker and stronger than those who have not. I started building mine many years ago and have been layering them since. Still they continued to fail and allow the hurt in. So I formed what I call my bubble. It expands out and envelops all the aspects of my life. More flexible than the walls, it occasionally allows new people and new things in. When I stretch it too far and I get hurt, it rapidly shrinks to a safer size. The space within the bubble is my comfort zone. At the worst of times it recedes to only include my immediate life. My home, my town, a couple family members, and a small group of close friends are allowed in. Activities that I know and love are permitted to be performed as long as they can be done within the confines. Unfortunately I miss out on so much. I envy the people out there walking around without a bubble.

     As good as life can be inside my bubble, it has become not enough. One of my goals, as part of making changes in myself, is to expand these perimeters. Step out of my comfort zone til the bubble stretches enough to burst. The trick is to do so without crossing the healthy boundaries I have also set in place. I started with little things, like sitting down in a restaurant by myself to eat lunch. Now I am working on bigger steps. I bought two kayaks. Why two? So friends can join me if they wish, or I can load one when I need some time to myself. I spontaneously met up with a guy I had not seen in 30 yrs and ended up on a 5 mile hike. Normally I would have let being nervous stop me from going, but I am so glad I did. Had I talked myself out of it like I used to, I would have missed an awesome day. Last night I agreed to go on a road trip with a friend. Something I have never gotten to do. We are traveling 800 miles to New York state for a five day stay. I know myself enough to know that I will be a nervous wreck the next two weeks just thinking about doing something like this. At the same time I am so excited to have the new experience.

   With each new experience I gain a little more confidence for the next. Everytime I step out of my comfort zone I feel a little braver. I can’t wait to see what the rest of this summer holds. I am learning to say yes to the new and it feels great. My advice for today is, if you feel stuck in a rut or unhappy where you are, do something for the first time.

Victim or Survivor

   I have been told so often that I am not a victim, but a survivor. This is meant to empower those who have been through a traumatic event. Although I understand the idea behind it, I cannot claim to be one or the other. Both sides of that reside within me.

  First, meet Gabrielle. She is a survivor. I call her by my full name and what I introduce myself as because she is the woman I show to the world. She has experienced the harder side of life and come out the other side stronger. Gabrielle is confident and intelligent. She has a good social life and leads an active life. Her freedom is valued above all else. Fiercely independent single mother who is successful in life. She is kind, generous and loyal.

   Then there is a moment and something changes. Let me introduce Gabby, my childhood nickname, she is a victim. She is shy and awkward. Fear rules her world. In the mirror she still sees an inadequate little girl. Gabby’s insecurities tend to overwhelm her good sense. She is desperate to be loved, but feels unworthy when there is a chance. Like Gabrielle, she is kind, generous, and loyal, but she has no limits. She is kind and generous until she has nothing left and she is loyal to those who care nothing about her.

   These are not separate personalities, but two side of the same person. The survivor takes the lead in most aspects of life and is most always in control. The victim is a reaction to the environment. When I was with Marc, it was the survivor who stood up and walked away time and again. The victim went back over and over. His unkind words, angry voice, silent treatment and ability to make me feel invisible put the victim side in the driver’s seat most of the time. In the end, it was the survivor who won and got herself out. I understand that by saying survivor rather than victim, it is a reminder that you are no longer there in that situation. The problem I see is that you cannot have one without the other. By denying the victim you discredit the truth of what you have been through. The victim is a reminder of what the survivor is capable of.

    My victim, the little girl who still resides within me, still has so much to share about her story. She has been a prisoner for so long. I am for the first time in my life getting to know and understand her. At the beginning of this journey it was my goal to remove her. Now I understand that she is a huge part of who I am. Instead, I am working to free her of the cell I locked her in. I am embracing her as an essential part of the whole. The more she shares the less power she holds over my life and the decisions I make. Instead of choosing one part or the other, I can say with pride that I am the surviving victim.

Digging up the past

    Living with my narcissist abuser brought up memories from my past. These memories played in my head as dreams while I was asleep or would pop up randomly in the middle of the day. It took awhile to figure out why this was happening. It was a form of PTSD and he was like a giant trigger. I realized then that I needed to deal with these events and the abuse I had suffered if I was ever going to heal fully. I didn’t know where to start and quite frankly was afraid of taking that path so I started to see a counselor. I am still in the process of working through this, but the beginning was to tell the story that I had never shared. This journey has opened so many doors along the way. Some revealed darkness hiding behind them and others opened up to allow new light in.

   My first abuser was my mother. As my father once told me, she just did not like me from the day I was born. I was the target for whatever she was feeling at the time. She could tear you down with one sentence, although it rarely ended there. Some days she was content to insult me or throw jabs and jokes my way. Then others it would be screaming and threats that could go on for hours. If that did not satisfy her it would become physical. In a rage she would grab whatever was closest to her and use it to “spank” me. I was drug around a lot by my arm or hair while she was screaming at me for whatever she deemed I had done wrong. The rule I broke the most often was never cry. If she could not come up something I had done, then she would say something mean and wait for the tears. Tears were punishable by any means she deemed necessary. According to her I was fat, unattractive, stupid, a slob, a clumsy ox, and a burden she did not wish to carry. My earliest memories of the abuse are around age 5 and it did not end until I was finally freed from her right before my 16th birthday.

    Very few people knew about my past and those who did, did not know stories or details. What most people knew of my childhood were the unique and good parts. My parents were both extremely skilled artists so there was a lot of creativity in our home. We were taught to know and appreciate nature. Most of our vacation time was spent doing historical reenactments, where we lived as Indians  or occasionally pilgrims for days at a time. I grew up on a 13 acre farm where we raised everything from goats and chickens to rescued wild animals, like raccoons, opossums, and skunks. All of these things shaped who I am today and I wear them proudly, but so did the abuse and neglect.

    I have recently begun to share the darker stories and the truth of my childhood. For years I had stuffed it down inside. I had tried to share when I was young, but I was always treated as if I was making it up or exaggerating. I stopped trying and put it all away. Partly I was hiding it from myself due to the pain it would stir up. I thought if people knew they would look at me different. They would see me as damaged or weak. People would think I was looking for attention. So I kept it there til I finally saw what it was doing to me. Now with each story I tell I feel a little lighter. When I allow myself to go back there, I can see the damaged parts of myself and where they started. I know myself better because I have opened that door.

    As for the reactions of others, it is mixed. It is almost always shock and pity to start, but I had underestimated many of the people in my life. There have been a few comments about how my story could be a lifetime movie. Most importantly they just listened and didn’t judge me or look down on me. Instead I found long term friendships growing stronger than they had ever been. I found support where I didn’t know I had it and I began to feel better about sharing more of my truth.

     There are two reactions I have seen the most. The first is pity. “I am so sorry you went through this.” Then the opposite, “You are so strong to survive that.” Never at the same time from the same person. I don’t think it should be either or. It should be both. To the pity, my response is “I am not sorry, it made me who I am”. In truth, I am sorry that the child version of myself had to go through that. No child should have to suffer. As for my reaction to the strength comment, I was not strong. I had no choice but to live that way. It was all I knew, so to me this was normal. The strength comes now as I tell my story. I lived with these secrets my entire life. Sharing these moments has allowed me to begin forgiving myself and let go of the shame I have carried for years.