I had a strange realization this morning, as I was getting ready for work – I realized I have not had a panic attack in three weeks.
Given that, before his moving van pulled out, they were a daily occurrence…I feel this is cause to celebrate. I know my nerves certainly are.
If you’ve never had a panic attack – let me describe the cornucopia of fun they are: Your heart rate starts to soar…and it feels like an electrode has been inserted into your spine, and this blazing heat replaces your backbone. Your mind becomes a tornado of thoughts spinning so fast you can’t grab ahold to even one of them to figure out what to do next. Your hands shake. You can’t really seem to form a sentence.
You feel like you’re going to die – because your mind has gone haywire, and your body feels like it’s going to implode.
And I was having those daily. YAY!
You don’t realize how nervous you become accustomed to being in your own home. A NARC’s favorite tool is to keep you off balance…so that you are so busy trying to stay ‘normal’, you don’t bother questioning lies or inconsistencies. They focus on keeping YOU off center, because, as the person ‘closest’ to them, you are likely the one who can validate truth. What better way to make you the world’s most unreliable witness than to keep you in a constant state of apprehension for the normal things life throws at you. Also…the more unstable you appear to others, when he has to start smearing you after the relationship ends, his version seems more plausible, because you were always a nervous wreck.
Losing my keys – OMG…I am going to make him late. He will be mad at me. He will remind me I’m scatter brained. He will leave me. I will be alone. I can’t function on my own! WHERE ARE MY KEYS…then, I couldn’t find them, because I’d been in a panic. Fixing Dinner – OMG…I don’t remember if I’m supposed to sauce the chicken before or after I bake it….dinner will be ruined, we will have to go out to eat…which means food is wasted and money is spent replacing the dinner I ruined… He will remind me I’m scatter brained. He will leave me. I will be alone. I can’t function on my own! I am not ready to go to bed, but he’s tired. I have to go lay in bed until I fall asleep. OMG…I am tossing and turning…he will not get enough sleep…he has a long day tomorrow…(I have a full time job as well, and actually made more than he did.)…if he is tired, he will lose focus…his boss will yell at him… He will remind me I’m scatter brained. He will leave me. I will be alone. I can’t function on my own!
The NARC, during the end of a Love Bombing cycle, will start to implant these little nuggets into your daily life to make you fear their disapproval at the most insignificant things. You learn to be on alert, because life had better run smoothly, or you will be chided, demeaned, ridiculed and insulted in very subtle ways at first…so you become ‘accustomed’ to them as just part of your daily discourse with one another. Eventually, when they realize that they’ve implanted the fear they will abandon you for being human…then, they amp up the dissatisfaction and the blaming you for everything that goes wrong…every decision made (Whether you made it or not. He literally told me, several times, ‘Well why did you let me do that? If you knew, why not say anything?’ Uh…maybe because arguing with you is 1.) An exercise in futility, and 2.) We both know it will end up being my fault in the end…or at least damned sure not your fault, so lets just cut to the chase, shall we?)
So you put up with those first very subtle digs that grow deeper and more cutting as the time goes on…because you become convinced it IS your fault…and if you are just ‘good enough’, Love Bombing will happen again…YOUR behavior will turn them back into who you fell in love with…and all is right with the world. You learn to beware the small things, because they will only get larger in your incompetent, clumsy hands. And that thought Is terrifying, because it means that, once again, you’ve failed at living up to your partner’s expectations, and you will be emotionally punished.
You become so attuned to what is wrong with your actions…you know instinctively that a mistake you make will cause the Love Bombing clock to be ‘reset’…and thus, you panic, knowing you have displeased ‘The Great One’ again with your incorrectly sauced chicken or, God Forbid, toilet paper hung the wrong way. (I am not even kidding.)
So it was quite surprising that I realized that I hadn’t had those horrible physical feelings that merged into Mental Tornadoes that left me incapacitated as I tried to figure out how to fix my horrible wrongs to maybe bring the Love Bombing back…or at least fix it to the point he wouldn’t notice how wrong I had done something.
It’s strange – for a woman who is in the midst of turmoil, who has to move on her own, and who barely has two dimes to her name for the foreseeable future – the calm of not having the Human Emotional Hurricane around, ready to sweep me into the sea and spit me back out makes me feel strangely at peace in a world with the early stages of massive overhaul.
And the peace it brings is, frankly, intoxicating.