Friday, May 31, 2013


Being homeless was something I never thought I would experience. I suppose it’s something I can mark off my bucket list, not that it’s ever something one wants to do. It was in that few weeks I discovered how gracious people can be. I never felt alone, not for one minute. I knew someone was watching over my kids and me. I could feel his presence.

No, I’m not talking about God. However, I’m also not dismissing the possibility of a godly presence.

One the first day of seventh grade, I met a boy. He had a round head to match his round belly, and he made me laugh. We were instant friends, and sometimes a little more than friends. We spent the rest of our school years together, plus another five short, precious years. My dear friend died of a heroin overdose in 1999.

My time in school was not very pleasant. I have always been chunky, so the mean girls did what mean girls do. Even after school was out, it seems I was always the butt of a joke with people I considered friends. Rob was never mean to me, though. In fact, he was one of the few people we always watched out for me and have my back. If it weren’t for him, I would have had a very boring early 20s.

The week before we uprooted the family to move to Washington, I had a dream. The dream was full of energy. The kind of dream that feels real. In the dream, Rob gave me a gun. According to Carl Jung, best known for his work with Sigmund Freud, dreaming about a gun is a sign of protection. From that moment on, I felt him with me. I don’t know how I knew it was him, I just knew. It felt like a hug. He even showed up to my going away party. His family was inadvertently book in the party room right next to ours. For me, that was as good as his actual presence, almost. He didn't leave my side until I was back in Ohio.

I have often wondered if, had he been alive when I met my ex-husband, would we still be friends? According to my ex, men and women can’t be friends, so to appease his jealousy and mistrust, I pushed away all of my male friends. In fact, I pushed away all of my friends just because he didn’t like any of them. Oh, how desperate that sounds now.

There weren’t just signs from Rob along the way. There were signs everywhere.

On the way to the shelter, I stopped at a McDonald’s. The kids ate and played in the Playland while I took advantage of free Wi-Fi. I had a lot of passwords to change. Before we left I needed to make a few phone calls. In Washington, it’s illegal to talk on your cell phone and drive. I found that out the hard way. We sat in the parking lot while I made my calls. I burst into tears and just sat there and cried. This was the first moment I had allowed myself a minute to digest what I was doing.

As I pulled out, a man drove up next to me and waved at me to roll down the window. When I did, he said to me, “Whatever happened, you did the right thing.” I was shell shocked.
“I saw you crying and noticed the car full of stuff and out of state tags. Whatever happened, you did the right thing. I felt your energy from my car so I ran home to get this for you, hoping you would still be here.” He was quite rough and covered in tattoos, and this was one of the oddest encounters I’ve ever had, but I didn’t feel threatened at all. He handed me a good luck token. He also gave me his phone number and said that he and his girlfriend would be around to talk to if I needed an ear. It was obvious I didn’t know anyone in the city. He hugged me and said it again, “Whatever happened, you did the right thing.” I never saw him again.

Without knowing it, he gave me the courage to continue on the path I had chosen. I took a deep breath and headed to the shelter. I kept the token in my pocket for a few days. Now, I carry it in my purse always. It’s amazing how someone can make such a mark in only a few minutes. I will never forget his face.

Dancing in the Rain

It’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, life after the death of my marriage has been more ups than downs. People came out of the woodwork to help me. All of these wonderful people remind me every day, there is good left in the world. I have far more friends than I thought I did. Even people who I shoved aside for my whirlwind romance have forgiven me and offered their hand when I needed it most.

I have pages of notes about things from my past, and I intend to tell my full story, but I want my blog to be more than that, too. There is life after the storm. I’m not a victim any more. I’m a survivor. Victim-hood is in my past.

In less than a year, with a little help from my friends and family, I went from rock bottom to feeling pretty good about where I am in life. I still have bad days, of course, but who doesn’t?

I don’t have a fully equipped kitchen yet, but let me just tell you, it truly is amazing how fast “things” are acquired. The best part… I already knew what “things” I wanted the most and what I would use the most.

I would walk away from it all again in a heartbeat to protect my nest.

Although it’s been a rough transition for us all, the difference I see in my son is the most dramatic. The boy I knew before was quiet, reserved and bit depressed. I would be too if someone called me a dumb ass every day, especially if that person was someone who I looked up to with great admiration. Although he has rebelled a lot, I see a new side to him. Quiet is not a word I would use to describe my son anymore. He’s passionate, outgoing, and pure teenager!

My daughter, fortunately, was only three when we left. She only remembers small pieces of her father. I believe even those memories will fade in time, especially since he’s chosen not to be a part of her life in any way. It took around seven months for her nightmares to stop. She still has an occasional bad dream, but waking up nightly screaming and sobbing is not normal. Both kids had nightmares, and it was on the list of ways children are affected when living with domestic violence, but her nightmares were on another level.

I have learned so much about myself, my kids and the world during the past year. I know who my true friends are, and I know for certain blood is not thicker than water. That being said, I don’t think I could have done any of this without my mother, my brother and my sister-in-law.

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about Learning to Dance in the Rain.”

The Hallway

They say, when one door closes, another door opens. Who are “they” anyway, and why did they forget to mention the hallway!? In the hallway, it’s dark and bleak. Most of the doors you try are locked, or the room is just as dark. Maybe you’re thinking, “What the hell is this crazy woman talking about?”

When it comes to grief, everyone handles it differently. Some bury it as deep as they can, never to confront its ugly face, but it’s something you can’t escape. For me, because I wear my heart pin directly to my sleeve, everyone around me gets to go through it with me. For that, I am so sorry. And, to the ones who have stayed by my side even when I was cold and callus, I love you more than ever. I wouldn’t be where I am without you.

The five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance; not necessarily in that order, and no guarantee of any kind of time frame. There are no rules. However, when you are dealing with the separation from an alternate reality, there are more steps, and they are a bit different. Most people don’t understand unless they have lived it. Even those that have lived it don’t always understand, especially if they are still living behind blinders.

When I started therapy about a year ago, my therapist told me it could take two years to fully recover. I already gave this man almost 11 years of my life, and now he gets two more? I’m the one who left him. I’ve been told to just let go and move on. People have said, I have to stop letting this bother me and learn to live my life. Well, I’m working on it, but it isn’t quite that easy. Not only did I start from rock bottom, but I also have two beautiful kids to take care of and keep it together for while I try to pick up the pieces of my own shattered reality.

If you know someone who’s been through a similar situation, please remember to be patient. Stepping into this hallway is a roller coaster ride with lots of ups and downs.

What makes grieving so hard when recovering from a psychopathic relationship? I think the basic steps of grieving are self-explanatory. Thanks to psychopathfree for a deeper understanding of grief for people like me.

Total Devastation
This phase started before I left. I started understanding what I was dealing with. I realized all the berating was not something I deserved, but somehow I still loved this man. Why? I couldn’t force myself to eat. I was wasting away. I couldn’t even cry anymore. My body and mind were numb. Every day I was filled with dread, waiting to hear his footsteps on the hard wood floor of our bedroom. I walked on eggshells, and so did my son. Still, I am devastated by this nightmare, only now I understand it.

One of the basic steps, but so much different under this circumstance. I fought for our marriage in the worst of times. My love was true. But, it was different when it was up to him. I really thought he would fight for me; for us. He didn’t. Instead, he continued to berate me and threaten me via email and text. He was dating someone within weeks of my departure. I got emails about how wonderful his life was. Stories of him making new friends and riding his bike through the mountains. The life we were supposed to have together, but he would never do it.

Education & Self Doubt
I have read and learned so much about psychopathic and narcissistic behavior. Some days I believe it really happened, other days my mind is screaming at me about how wrong I am. This didn’t really happen to me, did it? He loved me, didn’t he? How could he spend 11 years with me, have a child with me, and then just turn his back and behave like none of it ever happened?? Sadly, he is a text book case, and my children and I fell victim.

Understanding the Psychopath
I still don’t fully understand, but I am learning more every day. His wall of lies lay crumbled at my feet, and I’ve decided it’s in the best interest to stop digging. What I do understand is, I didn’t deserve any of this and I can go to my grave knowing I tried.

I’m not an angry person. I’ve exploded more than once over the last year, and it’s come out on the people I love the most. Now, each day, I wake up, take a deep breath and smile because even if things don’t go the way I think they should, it could always be worse.

My old friend, we have spent many days and nights together. It sneaks up on me when I think I’m just fine. Keeping busy and staying positive help me ward it away.

I’m still in the healing phase, although I take a few steps back on occasion. I know I deserve better. I still don’t quite understand how I allowed this to happen to me, but more and more the puzzle is coming together. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, even if it’s taking a while to get there.”

Every day I learn more about myself. I think this blog will help me in this area. An open journal of sorts. Just knowing I have the strength to share my story with the world is helping. I am an amazing person, and I have the potential to do everything I’ve ever dreamed. Thank you for coming on this journey with me.

Please visit psychopathfree for some great information.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Reality Vs. Illusion

I think there was a part of me that always knew; from the very first lie. It was so stupid! Why would anyone lie about something so trivial? Age is only a number, after all. He said he was 26, but he was not. By three years, he wasn’t, and I found out in front of his entire family during a holiday celebration. That was the moment I felt a rush of blood starting in my toes and racing all the way to the top of my head.

He took me to the basement of his aunt’s house, and proceeded to break up with me.


I’m three weeks into a relationship with this man who has completely swept me off my feet, and he’s breaking up with me because he was caught in a lie; a stupid one to boot. The part I did not realize then, he was manipulating me. I didn’t want to break up, and the thought hadn’t crossed my mind, but he immediately went there, and in my mind I had done something wrong. I went on begging him not to do something so rash (yes, beg). After he so generously took me back, we continued to have a lovely holiday party with people I would never see again.

One month later, we moved in together. Eleven months later, we were married. Unfortunately, this was only the first lie to be uncovered. I was so trusting, naive, young, and lonely. That was the day my trust started chipping away.

Over the last year…
I have been uncovering more and more about the man I thought I knew so well. At this point, I know more about him than anyone else, aside from possibly his therapist, but I doubt that. His sister, who knew very little about him, told me his mother always said he was a pathological liar. Possibly the only truth she ever told Mary (not really her name) about her brother. However, talking to her was very insightful.

My four year old daughter, who looks exactly like her father, has always been a little story teller, too. What kid isn’t? I used to fear this trait would carry on with her, but not anymore. I understand why he lied so much. Shame. He didn’t want me to know the real him, so he told me a story of who he wanted to be, with bits of the truth mixed in to make it easier to remember.

Pathological lying is only a symptom of a far greater problem. If someone can’t be true to you about their past, never believe they will be true to you about their future. The lies will only continue to build. That’s one wall I never want to break down again. Brick by brick, lie by ugly lie.

About me...

The beginning is always the hardest. So, a little about me, and how I ended up where I am. I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, one of the quickest dying cities in the country. There are people trying to bring it back to life, but from my perspective, it is not working. No matter how hard I try to escape, there is always something bringing me back. The last time, it was more of a push than a pull.

I was married, for 10 years, to a very troubled man. Despite my love for him, in the end, I did what I felt was best for my children. For them, seeing a man with rage anger on a daily basis was doing more harm than either my husband or I realized. A month and a half after moving to Washington, and finding the home of my dreams, a friend sent me an article detailing the effects domestic violence has on children. As I mentally check marked the items already affecting my children while hiding in the bathroom, it did not matter how much I wanted to stay and make it work. My instinct as a mother took over, and without much thought, the next day I waited for him to leave for work and then loaded my kids and what little would fit into my beat-up Trailblazer, and headed to the Spokane woman’s shelter.

It has been a little more than a year since I left, and while the pain has become more of a deep ache, my journey is far from over. I finally have the strength to share my journey. In my life I have been touched by many kinds of struggles – from severe depression, anxiety, and grief to simply finding my way spiritually. There is no rhyme or reason to what I post or when I post it, but I hope to touch at least one person with my experiences.