One thing I have kept repeating over and over and over to myself, and likely will for a while…How did I get here?
I remember, long ago, when I was divorced from my first husband…how hard the identity shift was — I was no longer a wife, stepmother, daughter in law…I was just…me. And I had no earthly idea who that was.
I had married the wrong man for me. Mainly, because where I grew up — women got married. My ex husband and I were incompatible from the start…and after three years of trying to be a wife to a man who was just not a good fit for me as a husband…I cried ‘Uncle’.
As I understand it, as far as divorces go…technically, it was pretty easy. Three months from filing to finalized…little problems with divvying up stuff, sure…but no kids, not much in the way of assets. All things considered, I got out relatively unscathed.
However…I do recall having 6 months where I had no clue who ‘I’ was. I felt ‘lost’. I didn’t understand what about life ‘fit’ me as an individual. I remember having a year after the divorce where life was FUN. Did what I wanted, bought what I wanted, worked late without feeling guilty. It was a great period in my life.
I guess time weathered the feeling of self-discovery and the pride at creating a life that was ‘mine’. Because, slowly…over the past 5 and a half years…I had lost myself again.
Maybe it was my innate stubbornness — many friends who were there for the first go-around with Kyle did not take his reentry into my life so kindly — they weren’t so quick to forget the nights consoling me after his discarding me. They weren’t about to let their memories fade the lies he’d told me. I was not going to admit this was a big mistake, and I wanted desperately for it to work.
Maybe it was my fear that, inherently, my imperfect figure or advancing age were magnifying that I am a flawed woman wracked with insecurities. Hey…at least someone wants me now.
Or Maybe, it was just I am drawn to his charm — which, despite being an unrepentant, lying, narcissistic asshole, he has in spades. He is a very dynamic person who often bragged, literally, about his talent for manipulation.
I know that, over the past few years, life with a NARC, as I have tried to keep my promises chipped away at my already fragile self-esteem slowly. I felt like a bucket that kept pouring out, but was never refilled. Eventually, it ran dry. The string of small lies, big lies, ‘teasing’, insults, and outright cruelty wrapped in hugs has turned me into someone who looks older and more tired than she should be at 49. I want to look at life with excitement and wonder…not dread that my world is going to be shattered because my one ‘lifeline’. I truly don’t see the fragile qualities that now seem ‘me’ as anything remotely familiar of who I understood myself to be. I have lived scared of his disapproval for so many years, I honestly can’t pinpoint when it started within this relationship.
I don’t know, and may never fully understand. But I know that I am in about the same place I was when I divorced my husband 16 years ago. And I refuse to repeat this lesson again.
I am going to give myself the love that I couldn’t ever have received from one incapable of loving. I plan on taking myself on dates, doing things I enjoy doing. I plan on discovering what life as me feels like again.