Residual Effects

It’s been years since I escaped.

And it’s been years since I’ve cared about the people he cheated with on me. In fact, I thank God I’m free of them.

But a simple comment I had made in regards to another comment posted on this blog, bringing up the time I had inadvertently come across incontrovertible proof that he was seeing someone he swore he wasn’t (and then duly ignoring that proof and allowing him to berate me for finding it) triggered emotional memories that I did not anticipate.

Because I don’t care about him anymore. And the last thing I’d want is him back in my life. BUT there are strong psychological impressions that are made in extreme emotional duress that leave their marks on you “forever”. I don’t know if that’s absolutely true, because I haven’t lived forever, but I have lived more than a few years since…like over ten years, and yet, I feel, tonight, an emotional pain inside me and something close to that crazed feeling of obsessive attention, a morbid curiosity to learn as much about my competition as I can.

And I HATE it, because it’s all so stupid, and yet, here I sit, aware of these emotions inside of me and wondering about people, wanting to know about those who are worth less than toilet paper stuck to my shoe.

And even though I am years away in time and miles away in distance and levels ahead in growth, on this night, like some kind of falling off the wagon addictive response, I find myself dealing with a change of chemistry in my brain and in my body that makes me feel emotions I now recognize as unhealthy. I feel a little bit crazy tonight.

And so, I take the time to still my mind, to calm my thoughts, to rein that feeling of obsessive compulsion to know where my “enemies” are to protect myself, to not be blindsided by the next sucker punch of a threat that no longer exists for a prize that no longer shines, but has been revealed for the pile of dust it is and always was.

This is a sickness. Narcissistic personality disorder, and just plain low character, meanness, manipulation and deceit even without the disorder is an illness.

And if you’re not careful, you can become infected. And like some viruses that go into hibernation or hide within cells or joints slumbering until something in their environment causes them to resurface again, the wounds inflicted by NPD’s and their co-horts can reappear, taking you by surprise, even knocking you off your feet.

Don’t stay down.

It’s okay. Even if you have to deal with this unwelcomed reminder from time to time, don’t despair. And don’t stay down.

Seek refuge in your inner strength, and take this opportunity to grow even more. For a moment I was confused, disoriented, dismayed. But then I remembered, at one time this experience was normal.

Now, it’s an aberration. That’s good news!

I recognize it is not where I want to be. It’s that awareness that I celebrate tonight. It’s the contrast that I embrace, that shows me how far I’ve come, that makes me appreciate the glorious difference in my own life between where I was before and where I am now.

I hear not only its pain, but it’s message to me that it’s ready to heal.

And I will not deny it.

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About PhoenixRising

Singer/songwriter, human rights activist and author of the book series and podcast, "Where There's Smoke: Covert Abuse". Demian Yumei's creative focus is on reclaiming your dream and healing the wounds that prevent that. Her artist activist site: keepingthedream.com
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7 Responses to Residual Effects

  1. SeekingGrace says:

    This happend to me this holiday. The wounds I thought were healed opened back up and the grace I had found went out the window. It happens with I try to have communication with NXH. Everything I learned about balance and grace and “let it roll off your back” gets replaced by, I guess, the anger I never expressed in my 17 year marriage. Now that I’ve discovered my anger trigger, I need to learn to use it for constructive learning in myself. Yet, I lashed out…sort of. I raised my voice (wrong wrong on my part) over the fact I didn’t get my children the day after Christmas. This is what we did last year. All sorts of excuses were made (which were all my fault) about the miscommunication of what day we were going to switch. So, lesson learned. I didn’t call XH directly because he told me to call the girls. So, that’s what I did. I called them Christmas day. Wished them all Merry Christmas. I’ll see you tomorrow. yada yada.

    At 12:30 pm I get a call “momma…I thought yesterday was Sunday and that you were going to pick us up on Monday like usual (we switch on Mondays…week at moms…week at dads) and Daddy and Polly (the new girlfriend …which YEA…I am happy for…I thought) are going to Fredericksburg and we want to go.” My response was ok…I want them to feel like they don’t have to choose and if dad is doing something they want to do…I’m ok with it…usually. My feelings were hurt.

    Beyond what I knew at that moment. My youngest daughter decided to come to my house and her older sisters stayed with Dad to go to on the jaunt. So, things are ok. I get a day of one-on-one with my youngest. We go to the museum with my dear boyfriend and have a great day. Fast forward a days. I call to try and make plans for the 20th. The anger and hurt welled up as I heard his voice. I raised my voice at XH on the phone, unexpectedly, over the events that led up to my not getting the girls the day after Christmas. He, again, made excuses and said well…you didn’t call me…that he couldn’t remember what we did last year (he had the girls two Christmas’ in a row because of an error in the decree). I said I was suppose to have them…his response “says who” and that’s when I lost it. I told him that’s what we did last year…that’s what I told you was going to happen when you picked them up and that’s what the decree says. Ugh. I felt like such a heel. I lost my cool that I have prided myself in.

    But, the lesson learned is I now have an anger trigger that had been virtually non-existant since childhood. I apologized to my middle daughter since she sort of got caught in the middle. I apologized for letting my hurt and anger get the better of me and that I allowed myself to raise my voice and lash out. That it was wrong and I did apologize to XH. I will never get an apology from him for the miscommunication. The divorce was my choice. I was the one who had an emotional affair. Since it is the narcissist that typically has the “affair” sometimes, very often, I wonder if it’s me that is the narcissist. My therapist assures me…no.

    I called and left XH a message on the 21st. I apologized again. I told him I wanted to start the new year off on a better foot. I want to try and be friends for the sake of the girls. I don’t want to fight and argue.

    I’m glad to have found this forum. Glad that there is an outlet to communicate and read what others are going through. Sharing the pain and confusion.

    I thought things would get better for XH once he started seeing someone…but it has started getting worse. It’s as if he’s trying to re-create the family unit and marginalize me. It hurts so much to say that because I would never try to do that to him, ever, as much anger as I have and as much fear I have of his NPD damaging the girls he’s their father. I have been dating my BF now for almost a year. I have introduced the girls once. My middle daughter and I had dinner with him once and my youngest just went to the museum with us together. He also visited briefly on Thanksgiving. My XH’s girlfriend has gone on multiple long day trips, spends the night at his house with the girls there. I’m truly glas they like her, I like her…but if she decides to leave they will be devastated once again.

    I’m really in turmoil. My apologies for the long post.

    Any suggested reading is welcome!!!

  2. SeekingGrace says:

    p.s., I have not had my call returned as of today.

    p.p.s., How do I communicate with him when he tells me to communicate directly with the girls about their schedule? How do I explain he and I are the adults and direct the conversation? Yes, ultimately, they get to choose but it should be discussed with the adults first. I’m simply at a loss as what I should do. Part of my wants to go to a therapy session with the lady who did our couples counseling. Do I just need to let go?

  3. PhoenixRising says:

    Hi SeekingGrace, and welcome! I just want to say that while I think it’s great to let the girls have a voice, they should not be in the middle of schedule making. Get their opinion, but you should talk directly with him about their schedule, and not them. If you have a problem with it, he doesn’t get to get off and let the girls deal with your disappointment or disagreement. Or place you in the position of having to swallow your feelings because you don’t want to show them how you feel and he’s not around for you to express your thoughts and feelings.

    You can’t protect your girls from what they may feel if he breaks up with his girlfriend, and frankly, I see no reason why the girls shouldn’t get to know your boyfriend more if he’s been with you as long as you said, but I don’t know your situation.

    Whenever dealing with a narcissist or in any challenging situation, I do believe getting a respected different perspective, which many people find in a counselor, is very beneficial.

    But you have a therapist. Are you asking about a counseling session with your ex? Are you clear on your intention? Not knowing you personally or your situation, I have to say my first reaction is negative. But you are the better judge.

    Just be careful.

  4. Survivor says:

    I know about the anger trigger. I have them sometimes. Beyond Codependency says when you are feeling crazy then it is our codependency traits coming into play. I wonder sometimes if it is the PTSD which is a remenant of the abusive marriage with the NPD. I have read the above listed book a great deal. It helps balance me but this trigger is something I have to manage often over things with the NPD and how I feel my role of being a parent has been compromised. I had that trigger over the break when I realized my son had a D and I was the only one who hadn’t known. The school dealt with their father (he works for them) and I felt my parental rights were ignored once more. I was boiling. I calmed down (thanks to Mr. Survivor) and sent a message to the teacher with my concerns. The NPD ex didn’t appreciate my intervention and then tried to take control stating my concerns really weren’t concerns. You know the deal.It’s hard not to react when that was the pattern for so many years.The ex and I communicate kid issues via email (he can control more that way) when he chooses. The benefit is that it does take the kids out of the middle. I just do the best I can.

  5. PhoenixRising says:

    Okay, that cracks me up…”The NPD ex didn’t appreciate my intervention…”

    Of course, you becoming involved as your son’s mother is intervening…butting in…

    Amazing.

    Doing the best you can is sometimes all you can do. It’s SO frustrating. My own triggers keep popping up. Happens most when I’m tired. Pressure, stress can make me more emotionally vulnerable, so that I’m not reacting to what’s happening as much as what it awakens in me.

    Yes…I think PTSD is probably appropriate…

  6. Survivor says:

    I think I had a miracle today. The teacher who I emailed about my son’s D wanted me to have a phone conference with her. When I explained the pressure my son had to be everything for his father, the best student, the best athlete, and the best musician, she believed me. She said she sees how he becomes stressed and will be out of it sometimes for a week at a time. The teacher also saw how he was afraid to disappoint anyone. She will start sending me work samples and has my info highlighted on her desk. She apologized for not including me and said it was her fault for not doing so.She promised to communicate with me. Maybe I will have parental rights for the rest of the school year. Maybe someone actually sees the wolf in sheep’s clothing. This is a first and I hope not the last.

  7. PhoenixRising says:

    Yay!!!! Congratulations! That’s fantastic 🙂

    So glad you didn’t let your ex intimidate you into staying on the sidelines. Now your son has both you and his teacher to watch out for him, to give him different messages than the one his father always gives him.

    Other perspectives can make ALL the difference…can be THE difference in the life of a child.

    So congrats, Survivor. This is great news!

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