Traumatized again

It’s been a while…living or dealing with a narcissist can be draining. I’ve been very busy lately, but more than that I’ve been trying to cope with the periodic and unpredictable outbursts from my Ex, and I had gone through a doozy of an assault just a while ago. It’s taken me this long to even be able to write about him again.

We had had a pleasant conversation in the morning about pick up time, and how I was going to tutor her for the afternoon. I came walking out of the center seven…count that, that’s seven minutes late, and asked if he’d go in while she finished up a task, so I could leave for work (which I was going to be a little late for).

He flew into a rage – his face, his voice, that look, that used to make my breath grow shallow and fast – and started ranting about how I said 4:00 and he expected to be here and leave at 4:00, and now he has to go in, and I’m always late, always late.

And he’s saying all this stuff as he’s angrily getting out of the car with his rage face on, and I’m stunned and disorientated and I don’t know what to say and I don’t know what to do and like a fool, I start to reason with him, as if he’s a sane person who’s just misunderstanding something or having a bad day, and once he realizes what a mistake he’s making, he’ll suddenly change his tone because facts actually matter to him.

Which of course, is pure fantasy, and the kind of stuff that keeps you glued to a narcissist for years and decades – that assumption that they’re normal and just don’t understand and if they only did then they’d change, because the truth really matters to them.

But it doesn’t. So of course, he just hurled one unreasonable accusation after another at me, and none of it made sense, because none of it had to. Because it had nothing to do with me being seven minutes late. Because it’s so much easier to hurl false accusations against someone or take one innocuous incident and blow it up into a major outrage, than to admit you feel entitled to lounge around all day with your child rather than meet your responsibilities as a home schooling parent, and feel put upon that your ex would be so selfish as to sacrifice her hours off in the day to drive way out of her way to tutor your child in your stead.

That would make you look like a jerk, which you are, and you can’t have that. So…let’s throw all the rage you feel at this affront to your entitlement at the target over her egregious offense and make her offender.

I know, I know…I know I have to deal with these things with him, but what really, really took me aback and sent me back a few notches in my healing is that it was so sudden, so out of the blue. Sometimes I can see it coming, and even though I know he can change on a dime, it hadn’t happened in a while, and the viciousness and intensity of his hostility was so great and such a contrast to his earlier friendly demeanor, just a few hours earlier, that this whole sudden appearance and experience with Mr. Hyde over something I couldn’t have even imagined would have been a trigger, just floored me.

I screamed in the car on the way to work and tried to call someone, almost anyone to vent to.

I was mad at him, but I was mostly mad at me. I had lost my center. I wasted precious time arguing with him. I set myself up trying to reason with him, which just gave him opportunity to take more cheap shots.

I should know better. I do know better, but I was caught off guard. It’s hard to be vigilant 100% of the time, and there can be a calm long enough to seduce you into thinking that maybe things are getting better. Didn’t we just have a long, long talk where we discussed our daughter’s schooling just the previous month? Wasn’t he so attentive and willing to work together? Didn’t he say we should have more talks like this? This was the first week we were going to implement a routine he had agreed upon. Why would I suspect he’d resent it with such a ferocity at this juncture?

I was shaken. My head was reeling and I really felt like I was fighting for my life, emotionally. I thought I was losing it. At one point, I couldn’t help it and I came out and said he was really fucked up.

We just went round in circles, when I finally cut off the conversation, by telling him I wasn’t tutoring her anymore, that I was going to let the school district do it and he could drive twice the distance to meet her academic needs.

He backed off immediately.

I drove to work furious. Furious I had lost my cool, my center and actually took the bait and started arguing with him. And anxious over sending him into the center with my daughter like that, afraid of what he would be like with her.

But the next day, I asked her how he was the next time I had her, she said he was fine. Just fine. All nice and pleasant and sweet.

WELL, I GUESS SO! Since he dumped all over me and released some obviously pent up pressure.

BUT, he was late in coming to pick her up – seven minutes exactly. Came driving up to the center’s entrance with a big smile on his face. And he’s been late every single time to pick her up or drop her off since. So congratulations, he dumped on me and he’s got even.

I don’t know what bothered me the most. The verbal assault or the big shit eating grin as he pulled up late the next day. Both felt like assaults.

He was obviously feeling fine with himself. I spent the next several days dealing with the fallout, the depression that was reawakened, the anger, the sense of vulnerability and inability to protect myself. The despair of wondering if I would ever be free from this. I lost energy. I felt fatigued and disconnected with my reality.

I was short on patience and that affected the quality of my time with my daughter. It actually robbed me of the full weekend (which would have been the first one I would have shared with her without having to school her) where we were supposed to just enjoy each other…maybe that’s why he did it.

All I know is that weekend, a cloud of depression hung over my head and anger seemed to creep into everything and it wasn’t until the weekend was almost over that I began to gather pieces of myself together again. It’s then that I realized that the symptoms I was experiencing were all symptomatic of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

And I thought, that makes sense. Because for over a decade I had gone through the great emotional abuse that few people who have not been involved with a narcissist, or other equally heinous abuser, can truly understand.

This was another step forward in my awareness of realizing just how deeply damaged, just how deeply wounded I was from my relationship with the narcissist. It was both somber and liberating, another turn in the road to my healing. I don’t appreciate the shove down this road, but since I’m here, I might as well gather whatever fruits it has to offer me.

That’s something I do deserve.

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