PROMPT: What is a Treasure That Has Been Lost?
I’ve already written about the loss of my Mom, so I had to think a bit about what I wanted to write. Honestly the treasure I nearly lost was, well, ME.
You see, I survived over 23 years of sexual and domestic abuse from my former husband.We were married 26 by the time the divorce was final (he dragged the divorce out for nearly a year and a half).
I did not know it when I met him and started dating him that he was a narcissist. In the beginning, everything was idyllic. He showered me with love and attention. He was thoughtful and humorous and romantic! I thought I had hit the jackpot…instead, I had opened Pandora’s Box instead of the treasure chest I thought I’d found…
So, for those who don’t know, narcissists start of as great people, mirroring what they think you want in a partner. This is to get you hooked, as if on an addictive drug. After a time, the mask comes off and you see exactly the phantom you’re dealing with…like “he who should not be named,” in Harry Potter. They can also use ANY tools in their arsenal, including outright lying, coercive control, gaslighting, threats, empty promises, physical violence or the threat of it…the list is endless really, but none of their tools are anything good…they’re more like implements or torture, as tools indicate that something might be “fixed” with it. Imagine, if you will, a person hired by the mafia, with sharp implements and weapons. Sorry, just trying to paint a picture.
So, the addition to the narc continues with them pushing you away. When you start to move on, they yo-yo you back, proclaiming their undying love, that they’ll change, that they cannot live without us — more lies to make us confused and to trauma bond us to them.
While you’re on the inside of the relationship, they can use any one of the following, or and combination of the following abuses: physical, sexual, mental, verbal, spiritual, technological, financial, and coercive control. Sabotage is rampant, regardless of status. In fact, many victims develop PTSD or complex-PTSD, as veterans do when in high combat situations.
If you are the victim of this vicious cycle, you start to lose your identity, slowly over time. They isolate you…they keep you from concentrating on yourself…they keep you from doing anything you enjoy…they brow beat you until you do EVERYTHING to avoid a blowup or doing something to directly or indirectly influence their mood and actions. You become a cardboard cut-out of a person and you do what you have to in order to survive…like a husk of a human…
The final incident between my Abuser and I nearly took my life. After he was taken to jail, the emergency protective order filed, and court, I felt as though I didn’t know whom I was without him. I had forgotten over 23+ years. To be honest, I didn’t know who I was WITH him. As my confidence grew, the color of my personality started to come back…with my sense of humor…as with my zaniness and my spontaneity…and with my creativity…I was slowly becoming me again!
Thankfully, I have taken the last five years to rediscover myself: my likes, my dislikes, my dreams, my fears, etc. And you know what? I’m pretty darned awesome! I am learning to love myself all over again, my flaws included! I am also having to unlearn somethings, but I am progressing and I have to be gentle with myself.
And to think, I was nearly lost forever like the lost treasure of Atlantis! I’m far too precious!