Out of the fire and into the slow-cooker

A snake dressed like a fluffy rabbit is still a snake. We eventually got away from our life of poverty. My mother remarried. He was successful and had a lot of money. So, in that sense and only that sense, there were a few years that I ‘wanted for nothing.’ I had never had a time before then that I didn’t worry when I’d eat next. I had never had freshly bought clothes on my back, and a roof over my head that didn’t threaten to crumble at any minute. But the walls around my heart had built up, and I was damned if I was going to let anyone in. It might have been different if my step-father had been a good man. I might have let go of my resentment and my anger. I might have learned how to let others love me, and how to love myself. I’ll never know. The unfortunate truth of survivors of abuse, is that they get right back in the cycle. They convince themselves that because this one isn’t as crazy as the last one, that they aren’t abusive. He didn’t hit her, or threaten to kill all of us,  and he put a roof over our head and food in our bellies. Therefor, he was a good man and we should be grateful. He showed his true colors not long after my mother and him got married.

He promised he would love us kids like his own, and that he would never treat us badly. He lied. We hadn’t lived long in our new house, when he got in a fist fight with my brother. It had started as some kind of argument upstairs, over what I can’t for the life of me remember anymore. My mother was in my room talking to me about it. We heard a thud and someone yell “get off of me.” We came in to see my step-dad and brother staring at each other, both fists clenched and sweating. My brother said my step-father pushed him and so he punched him, and then my step-father was strangling him, and so he punched him again. My step-father, while holding his glasses in his hand with a black eye already forming, said my brother shoved him and punched at him, and he was only defending himself. My brother was well known for angry outbursts. If you remember from my previous blog, it would not be the first time he viciously attacked someone without reason. My step-father, the one with the smile on his face and the pleasant attitude, the paragon of virtue in the community, seemed like the last person on Earth to ever hit someone unprovoked.

I would only find out later how much of a snake he really was. I have since learned the word “narcissist.” I had never really applied it to him before, only thinking about how he originally presented himself and how he acted as I write this blog, do I realize what he was. Back then I believed him. I believed every lying word out of his mouth. For once, my brother was innocent, and I didn’t believe him. My brother got put in juvenile hall for the night, until my step-father ‘graciously’ dropped the charges. Then held it over my brothers head for the rest of his time living there. I didn’t know then that it was because he could have one over on my brother. That every time he reminded him of it, instead of reprimanding his bad behavior like I thought, he was actually telling him that he could do whatever he wanted and get away with it. The violence  affected me in that my nightmares returned, and my PTSD first reared it’s ugly head.

I began to have nightmares that I my brother and mom were being beaten to death in front of me by my father. That had never happened, obviously, but he had wrapped his hands around my mothers throat and tried to strangle her. He had sat on top of my brother as he lay on the floor trying to protect his face and turning purple from being unable to breathe with a grown man on his lungs, while my father slapped the *expletive* out of him. I began to have nightmares that my father touched me. And I don’t mean hit me. Don’t ask me if that really happened. I have no idea and the idea has haunted me for a long time. I only remember getting dragged into a bathroom by my hair and the door locking behind me. Everything goes black after that. He could have beat the crap out of me, and the rest of the nightmare was just my worst fears, or he could have done my worst fears and I blocked them out. I will never know the truth of what really happened. I tried for years to get those memories, desperate to know the truth. All it did was make the PTSD worse and make it that much harder to be around people, especially men.

I had dated young, I was seven when I had my first boyfriend, and nine with the second. It wasn’t the cutesy they call themselves boyfriend/girlfriend while simply sharing sly looks at each other. I’m talking full on make out sessions whenever we would get away from people. We would kiss for hours, we were together both times for a year, and I was fuly convinced at the time I was in love. I would have stayed with my only happiness in the hell around me, but they both moved. I had been an early developer. I had boobs and taller than my mother by the time I was ten. As a teenager, even though I was an ass, I was well sought after for these reasons. I was a bit on the chubby side, but I had huge boobs that would cause me years of back pain. As a teenager, I serial dated. I didn’t go steady with anyone, unless you count one person I will talk about in another blog. (That was not a relationship in the typical sense, it will make more sense later.) I had boyfriend after boyfriend, afraid they would get close. What I’m saying here is, looking back there seems to be a clear pattern that it was my PTSD keeping me from relationships, and not a lack of wanting them. Here’s the thing, even as you push people away, deep down inside you scream for someone to notice you, the real you. Not the face you hide behind but the person underneath. My life had taught me to be aggressive, assertive, and take no crap, lest I be a target again.

That’s exactly what I did. I deliberately hardened myself and made myself unapproachable. It’s funny in a way, because now most people would describe me as a very kind, compassionate person. I suppose that was true even then. It hurt me more than I can ever describe to push people away. I hated myself more and more for it. It didn’t help my idea of myself as a monster. It didn’t help me to like myself any better. I had friends, usually former boyfriends. I had girls that were friends too, but they were usually the back-stabbing kind. It didn’t bother me then, because I believed myself impenetrable. The only person that could hurt me anymore was me. I was so very wrong. Eventually, after my brother moved out, I found out just how wrong I was. I was sixteen at that time. Of course, all my girl-friends had been with their boyfriends. I was the last one that hadn’t slept with a boy. I was beginning to think that maybe I should be more approachable. That maybe I wouldn’t be so lonely if I softened up. Of course, that’s when my step-father started abusing me. I don’t know if it was coincidence, or because my brother moved out or because I seemed weaker because of my letting my guard down. All I know is that is when the insults started. At first, I didn’t know what was going on. I had never been around an emotional manipulator before. My father was easy to understand. He’d rage and scream and listen to the voices in his head. I didn’t understand that there was a more subtle kind of evil. An evil that smiles to you one minute, and then tells you you’re an idiot in the next.

There’s one thing I appreciate about my father. At least he was honest with his hatred. My step-father would let things sit in his mind. He would pout when he didn’t get his way. He would control the situation back to his spotlight. And then he would insult you when nobody is around to hear it. Eventually, as abusers always do, it got physical. He started pushing me into walls. He started disabling my car I had saved up for so I couldn’t escape him. He started looking at me with lust in his eyes. I would have thought I was crazy at this point, if it weren’t for the fact that I had started making girl-friends. They all told me he looked at them like that and it creeped them out. I had thought I was imagining it. After the third one told me so, I started dressing as much like a boy as I could. I stopped wearing bras. I wore loose clothing. I made sure to ‘forget’ to shower and comb my hair so I would look as unappealing as possible. I wore my hair up in a severe bun. Somehow, nobody noticed these changes. People would remark that I looked like a boy, or that I should wear makeup and do my hair. They commented that I stank and should take a shower. But somehow this sent up no red flags to anyone. At least, as far as I know. I still don’t wear make-up or bras to this day. I do shower and comb my hair, but I make myself decent and try not to make myself too appealing.

When I was 18, he kicked me out of the house. I thought the nightmare was over, but there was worse to come. I wont lie, some of that was my own fault. People tell me now it wasn’t, but I still think I should have opened up to people more. Maybe if I had told someone the truth about all of my life, someone would have done something. Even when my friends would tell me that he creeped them out, I would only say I disliked him. I never spoke up about what was going on. I treated other people like dirt to keep them away. It has been remarked that I was not a good person as a teen. I have to agree with this. It confirmed my worst fears. I had decided I was going to make myself stronger and better, but I just made things worse. It would be six months before I got my first wake-up call. Unfortunately, it was only with tragedy. It was the second time I died.

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Slipping through the cracks-Elementary Prison

When I was young I was not popular.  I remember incidents of my face being violently slammed into a chair and Nails being dug into my skin so hard I still bare scars. That was just my brother. He would gang up on me with all the neighborhood kids, ranging from 2-7 years older then me and kicking me while I lay crying on the ground. I was the youngest and scrawniest, therefor an easy target. Imagine seeing a seven-year-old getting beaten up by a pack of nine to fourteen-year-olds and yelling at the mother of the seven-year-old for yelling at the kids beating them up. This actually happened.

On top of this, when I was about seven my biological father went nuts. I’m told there were warnings signs and he had episodes before this, but this is the first time he went stark-raving bonkers. Lest you think I am exaggerating as a literary tool, he believed he was Jesus Christ, Elvis Presley, and John Lennon depending on the day. It might sound humorous, if it weren’t for the fact that he also heard voices in his head telling him to murder us. You read that right. He would put headphones on and tell us the angels were speaking to him and telling him we were all either Satan worshipers or spawns of Satan himself. He was sent to a mental institution for a year. He was declared legally insane. It is not an exaggeration that he was crazy. The best piece of parenting advice he gave me during that time was, “You will be a prostitute living on the street with 3 children by the time you are sixteen.” Notice I hadn’t even hit a decade old yet when I was told this. I hadn’t even hit puberty yet, much less thought about having sex, let alone for money.  It was less than fun. Poking my eyeballs out with a rusty spoon would be more enjoyable.

School was a blast too. Being a person that loved literature and studying (Hermione Granger would be my Patronus and I would belong to Ravenclaw) one would hope this would be the place I liked best. Maybe, if my brother didn’t go to this school as well, it might have been. Also, those neighborhood kids that beat me up at home? They did not go to private school. Most of them went to my school, or the middle school up the road. By the time I was in the second grade I was already getting beaten up by everything from fourth to sixth graders.  Imagine a teacher seeing one of these occasions, and having the kid getting beaten up sent to the principle’s office too… for fighting… and getting suspended. This actually happened. For years. By the way, when you are a single person getting beat up by people at minimum two-years older than you, your ‘fighting” will consist of holding your head as you lay in the fetal position on the ground hoping they don’t kill you. And then getting suspended for it. Due to ‘no tolerance’ fighting rules. Over two decades from the start of these incidents that happened, and I still don’t understand the logic behind this. I never, not even once, punched another human being. To this day, I have never punched anyone. Yet, I was suspended for fighting for FOUR years. I’m so sorry that I survived the brutal assault Mr. Principal, I shall never do it again. Sorry, even all these years later, it still makes me angry. Why didn’t this stop when the kids went on to middle school? If you know kids at all, do you really think that they are going to see this kid that was picked on for years and never had a chance to hit back (read:weak and a target) and aren’t ALL going to turn on this kid too? If so, I really want to live in this world of fluffy bunnies and flying unicorns. That would be totally awesome.

Anyway, so I would be at school and get beat on. Then, they would send me home on suspension with Mr. Fantastic and Mr. It’s-fun-to-beat-on-women-because-they-are-weak. You may wonder where my mother was. Where were the social workers? Why did nobody get us out of there? I wish I could give you a real answer. My mother worked two jobs and put herself through school. She was often away on business trips that she HAD to take. We were really poor and barely surviving. Right, in getting mad all over again about the stupid teachers, I didn’t mention we were as poor as church mice and about as well liked. no one cares about the boy or girl that walks in with third generation worn down clothes. People pretend they do, but they really don’t. People slip through the cracks all the time, and I’m sorry to tell you that the highest percentage are children that are impoverished. People also think that this extreme poverty only exists in poor neighborhoods and to African-American families. I hate to tell you this, but *expletive* happens to everyone. Bad things happen to people that live anywhere, of any race, sexual orientation, worship of alien overlords, whatever. The last one might not be an actual  thing. Sure, we had it better than starving children in Ethiopia, but we sure as *expletive* had it worse than the middle class. And hearing about starving children in Ethiopia doesn’t help you at all when you wonder where your next meal will come from. No one really cares about the poor, especially if you are in a ‘rich’ country. Where were the social workers? I have no bloody idea, I was too busy living in a nightmare world that continues to haunt me well into adulthood.

I still suffer from PTSD. And yes, you can develop this without being a soldier. When someone tries to come anywhere near my face, I still bring my arms up and turn my face away and start to shake. I still have flashes of fists flying at me when someone raises their voice at me. I still hear the voice of my father telling me I’m a devil child when I sit for too long by myself. I still have times I tell myself I’m worthless and will accomplish nothing because nobody could really love me. If your own father and brother can’t, what person will? Even being happily married and having gone through therapy, this is still a thing that happens. It doesn’t help that this kind of past might as well paint “VICTIM” in neon lights on your forehead, for all the things yet to come.

As I said in previous blog, though, it does get better. I have more happy days then sad days now. I have more days that I love myself than hate myself. I no longer stare longingly at a knife and wish ‘for the sweet bliss of death.’ Because death would mean they would win. (And suicide is never the answer.) Letting myself hate myself means they all win. Believing I am bad because some *expletive* said I was means they win. I am nothing if not a survivor. I get up everyday and try to make my life better. I try to make myself a better person. I have been struck down so many times, at times I felt like I was a mirror with so many broken pieces I could never be fixed. But I scotch-taped that mirror up and keep going. If you read my previous blogs, you know more things were to come. Illness, homelessness, near death, more abuse… all these things were still in my future when I left that situation.  But I survived. I will continue to survive. I will continue to work on loving myself, and working on myself to be a better person. They will not win. In the end, I will be victorious.

Narcs among us-It’s a trap!

They are out to destroy you. They hate you and will try to ruin your life. They are incapable of love or empathy and will try their best to make you look the monster. It sounds like the rantings of a paranoid person, right? Not if you have been the victim of a narcissist. I have not posted in a few weeks to this new blog, and that sounds like a bad thing. However, I have also recently been targeted yet again by one of the narcs I have had in my life. I was unaware of what a narc, as they are called, was. That is, until describing what was happening to one of my friends. She told me that I was dealing with a narc and to get out.

I will not detail exactly the happenings as that might give away my identity and that of the narc. For my own protection I can’t do so even in a forum like this. It would not be the first time something like this blog has gotten back to my Narc. However I wanted to pass on some information so other people can see the red flags and get out before you are too far in.  The information I have gotten from my support group (joined one these last two weeks) have been very enlightening to the red flags. If you are constantly excusing bad behavior, you might be dealing with a narc. If someone twists everything you say and do to the point of you having to question your own memory and/or sanity, you are dealing with a narc. If they perpetually play the victim and accuse you of being the aggressor when you defend yourself, you  are dealing with a narc. If you feel emotionally drained after a conversation, you might be dealing with a narc. If they threatened you with emotional manipulation (I’ll take your kid away from you if you do this, I’ll lie to the cops, I’ll tell everyone it was your fault, You did this to me, You made me do it, etc…) you are dealing with a narc. If when you first met they talked about how great you are and now talk to you like you are the lowest common denominator of lifeforms, you might be dealing with a narc.

Don’t feed them. Don’t defend yourself. Do not defend yourself to anyone concerning anything the narc said you did or said. I know this part is very hard, but don’t do it. If people believe bad things about you just on someone’s say-so despite knowing you, nothing you will say will change this. They believe the narcs game and have already convinced their flying monkeys and enablers that you are the bad one. Flying monkeys comes from the movie wizard of oz. These are the narcs play things that will spy for them, stalk you, believe every lie and spread them, might even start manipulating you too. They are also part of the narcs game and will eventually end up a survivor of attacks from the Narc sooner or later too.  You can’t help these people. They don’t know yet they are being targeted. They believe the persona the narc has presented. Narcs can’t stand being told no. They can’t stand people standing up to them. They can never be wrong about anything. They can do no wrong and will never take real responsibility for doing anything. If you try to defend yourself, according to them it is because you take things too personally. Why? They lack empathy, they do not understand that what they say and do hurts people, as they have no real feelings. Or, should I say, they understand only to the point of the rush it gives them.

They can be male or female. They can be friends, relatives, lovers, spouses. They can be your next door neighbor. There is no set boundary. After finding out what Narcs are, I realized that not only had I recently been a target, but I had previously experienced it as well. Why is it so common for more than one attack to survivors of narcs and those abused by other kinds of sociopaths? It is typically people that are highly intelligent and emphatic. Do not think that because you are targeted you are stupid. That is the narc talking. If you were dim-witted, boring, and didn’t care, what would be the fun in ruining you? They put you up on a pedestal so they can get the ultimate high when they bring you down. The more intelligent, creative, and empathetic you are, the more you are a target.

They must especially destroy the empath, because they do not understand the capacity of caring for others and self-sacrifice. These people are weak because they care about something besides themselves, according to them. The only time they really feel emotion, is by taking you down. They experience life by proxy. They might even want to BE you. I have heard stories in my group of stealing friends, marrying family members, using children as pawns, joining groups you are in, joining jobs just to get close to you… They will whine and cry and tell you how mean people are and how much they are hurt by it. Their abusive terrible parents and abusive exs and all these friends that have hurt them oh so much.This is all a lie. Notice the common denominator is them? Yes, empathetic people get targeted frequently. But according to the narc, it is literally EVERYONE against them. And they will accuse you of that every time you try to defend yourself. Everything a narc says is like a mirrored reflection. They are fully aware of what they are doing, but pass the blame onto something else. They will never take responsibility. They will give only fake apologies and then refute them with actions over and over and over again. The narc plays the perpetual victim and is never at fault for anything. They may say otherwise at times, but this is all part of the manipulation game.

If you find yourself identifying with this post, get out of that relationship now. Run fast and never look back. Do not contact them in any way if you can help it. These people cannot and will not change, because despite what they may say, they do not think anything is wrong with them. Run for the hills and seek out whatever therapy you can gain. Join a support group. Write a blog like this. Go and tell your spouse or loved one or best friend or housekeeper or priest or whoever will listen and is not a flying monkey to the Narc about how you feel. Keep talking, do not keep silent. Read as much as you can about the subject. Go in your car and play really loud music and cry your eyes out and shout into the car all the things you want to say. Whatever you do, do not stay there in that relationship. It’s a death trap in the worst possible way. It’s a death trap for your heart, mind, body, and soul, killing you by degrees. You are worthy of love and kindness and respect. You are worth more than anything they can give you. Repeat this to yourself until you start to believe it. I don’t yet, but I’m working on it. Baby steps.

Born to death- it gets better.

I was born dead. It would be 18 years before I would die again. That time from an inherited illness I never knew I had.  In the middle I died a little more each day. After my second death, I lost my way for awhile and then came back to life. I came back to the land of truly living. And then I trusted the wrong person, and he almost killed me. For the first time in a long time, I wanted to live. Only when someone tried to take that away did I see how much I really didn’t want it in the first place.This is my story. It sounds crazy, but this is also a true story. I am sharing this for other victims of abuse. For other survivors of betrayal whether outside or inside yourself. I share this for all the kids that were picked on. The ones that were the losers and the freaks. I share this for all the people that think they aren’t worth it… for all those people that think that in the moment it can’t get better, and that you can never get out. I am a survivor. I am not weak. I never was, no matter how much I believed it to be so. And neither are you. It gets better.

I was born dead. I had the cord around my neck three times. I was blue. While the doctors rushed to save my life, they rushed to save my mothers too. She nearly bleed to death that day. Sometimes in my darkest hours I wished I had never started breathing. Some days I felt that the fates had aligned to screw me over and I was better off never having breathed. Some days I still feel that way, but they get fewer and last a little less time.  For a few years everything was fine. I am told that I was a quiet baby, that I never fussed. Then I learned to walk and talk and was a little hellion. I still run my mouth off much more than I should. That much never changed.

I don’t remember much of those days when I still had my innocence and belief in happily-ever-afters. I get brief flashes sometimes when I think about it, of moments teaching myself to read in my room. I briefly remember chasing my cousins around my grandmothers house. I almost remember my father taking me out to the fish house, all bundled up and catching the largest fish I still to this day have ever caught. I strangely don’t remember falling through fish holes. I’m told this happened every year. Even when my dad would put rope around me to try to keep me close, I still somehow managed to go in the water. I don’t know if these are true memories or just what my active imagination has played out for me from all the stories I’ve heard. Those stories should have been a comfort to me. Instead, they just made it that much harder for the things to come. They reinforced the idea in my head that I was meant to die and that someone was saving me just to torture me. Logically, I know the absurdity of those ideas now. But for so many years, they where the only truth I knew. Sometimes, even to this day, it is hard for me to let go of it.