Narcissism exists. You are not crazy.
That word, one which I paid little attention to before my divorce, I’m only now recognizing its significance in my life. The fear is paralyzingly real. To speak out, speak up, takes an enormous leap of faith…and a shitload of chutzpah.
After many years and counting of self-reflection, pain, the perpetual deep-seeded self-doubt, slowly emerging, a whole being.
Life happens so gradually, so innocent of time. The criticism was always apparent, only to become more frequent as years rolled on. Sarcasm was used repeatedly to emphasize his disdain for certain things he didn’t like about me. Teasing the size of my nose, the way I laughed, mimicking my voice talking on the phone, using the expression ‘clown-girl’ when I would attempt the use of new makeup. Wow. I didn’t see it. At all. I grew to accept this part of us, as if it were simply who I was, who we were. I laughed along for years, accepting this behavior as normal, as I always embraced self-deprecating humor. Yet, after a time, sarcasm broadened and it wasn’t so funny anymore. His lack of compassion, more apparent than before, caused concern. My voice, one that never quite matured enough before marriage, had risen, ready to speak, though more than not, opinions and thoughts were dismissed, discarded, discounted; his unwillingness to hear me. More comfortable reverting, acquiescence was always at the forefront within my comfortable role as wife and mom.
There is no concrete moment, a specific ‘ah-ha’ to reckon with. Within a period of time, shortly before our separation and throughout our brief reconciliation, during our mediation and post-divorce, he convinced me, he convinced our kids, he convinced others, I was the crazy one. I had sociopathic tendencies. I wasn’t mentally stable. Made to believe I was broken, damaged, unworthy. I was the one who didn’t love or care for her family; who intentionally abandoned them in order to make a new life for herself. While I knew none of this to be true, I started to believe him.
The crawl back up has been long, at times devastating; days certain I would remain in the rabbit hole. Let me just say, kids, the deeper one delves into their own psyche, the more fresh air one breaths. Depression is little excuse when it comes to hurting those we love; it is merely an added layer to a complicated situation.
The pain in our marriage manifested differently, our discord, in parallel. Most of the blame came from within who I was, no one else. It was then, a time too late, accountability became my mantra, as today I’m merely identifying so many “why’s” that came much later than I wanted, though now, a better human for going through the mistakes made. Insight is a tremendous gift only when one is able to escape the murky waters once lived in.
Almost five years since divorce, the reality of how my marriage unravelled, the kind of man I was married to, what brought my kids to estrange themselves from me, I now acknowledge. I’ve made peace within myself, minimizing my apologies for other people’s decisions while accepting my own and those consequences thereafter. Estrangement from those you love is a journey that is never-ending. I grapple, think, learn, every day. I’m still me, only more of what I was years ago, with a tad greater touch of chutzpah. More than anything, I’m the real deal. And that is nothing I need apologize for. Nor need you.
We’ll find each other soon. ❤