Pain comes in many sizes, shapes and forms. Mine is typically emotional. I fortunately have a very high physical pain threshold. This has served me well as I have popped out four kids and torn on each delivery. No, I didn’t feel it at the time. Yes, I recovered. No, I don’t have a floppy vag. TMI perhaps…
Emotional pain in my world normally comes on the back of a number of events or, on occasions, it just takes one trigger of a particularly painful memory. It overwhelms me completely, to the point where I can barely function. At times I want to disappear into a dark hole where I can be alone and lie in a foetal position and weep. I don’t want anyone to see my pain, as that leaves me vulnerable and they can exploit that. There are days where I don’t want to live anymore because of the pain. Sometimes that feeling only lasts a short time and then I gain some perspective. Other times, it lasts for a few days and it is very difficult to not give in to the desire to end it all. On those days, there are a few things that stop me. The one is that my younger sister would be furious with me and I fret that she will hunt me down in the afterlife and make the ever after a living hell for me. Assuming that I haven’t already gone to hell. Assuming that one believes in hell. Assuming that this life is not already our hell. Assuming that there is an afterlife. Lots of assumptions. Hopefully I am not that ass. (Ass-u-me – makes an ass out of u + me.)
Another thing that stops me is a promise that I have made to two of my dearest friends, that if ever I am going to self-harm, I will phone first. I am not going to lie. This promise has made me curse several times this year. But they are two people whom have saved me from myself on a number of occasions and it is not a promise that I gave flippantly.
Lastly, I have four children. What do I say to them to make it okay? How do I explain it to them? Often I feel like they would be better off without me in their lives as I do feel that I cause them much pain and heartbreak, especially now with instigating the divorce from their father. I struggle with guilt a lot. Having spoken to other parents, I do know that most have the same issue, mothers in particular, but don’t be tempted to overlook the dads. They carry their share too, but typically about different things.
I am the product of a narcissistic mother and enabler father. I married a narcissist. They inflict so much damage. Especially when you don’t see it coming. In fact, especially when you don’t see it, full stop. And when you have grown up with a narcissist, you don’t see it. It is all my baseline normal to some extent. It is only when you are with functional friends and their families that you start to realise that your normal, is abnormal. You realise that the put downs and the gaslighting and the verbal and emotional abuse are not normal. It is not usual to have one person in the relationship doing their damnedest to control you in every which way, typically not in a kind and loving way. If your narcissist is being kind and loving, put on your armour. The hammer is about to fall. That proverbial carpet will be whipped out from under your feet before you can say help and you will be lying prone on the floor, prime target for attack. Attack they will. They practically never miss an opportunity.
My (soon-to-be) ex-husband lacks empathy. He can feign it, although when you know him well enough, you realise just how poor an enactment it is that he does. Over the years, he stopped bothering altogether. One of my closest friends had an aneurysm burst in her brain last year in May. She survived but lost many memories, including a lot related to those of our twenty odd years of friendship. She is a feisty woman, thank heavens, as she has come through a number of brain operations, much pain, crippling headaches and more. Her fighting spirit certainly played a large role in her will to survive.
The day that her husband phoned me to tell me that she was in the trauma unit and why, as well as to tell me that she may die either before or during or shortly after the operation, or perhaps have an unknown quantity of brain damage which could affect anything from physical ability to emotional processing to memory loss or more, was one of the worst days of my life. I was sobbing uncontrollably and went into the bedroom where my husband was lying on the bed. He looked up casually and asked me what was the matter. I relayed the news to him. He commented that she would be fine and went back to whatever he was doing on his laptop. No hugs, no kisses, no love, no concern, no care. It was the first life-altering event in a shitty 2017 that woke me up to my situation – not on that day, nor even in the days that followed. It took a number of months, but when I looked back over 5 to 6 months of personal hell, my eyes gradually opened. I had known for years that things were not right, since 2010 in fact, but had not acted on it, as I blamed myself for almost everything that was wrong. 2017 was the year where much happened that was devastating and heartbreaking. The fact that these things all happened in quick succession, forced me to reassess. If they had been spread out over a number of years, I may still have been stuck in the continuum of abuse.
The pain of becoming conscious that someone cares for you so very little and is so disinterested in your heartbreak, especially someone who claims to love you deeply and wholeheartedly, is staggering. To finally know that the dream is actually a nightmare and that you are living with rose-coloured spectacles, knocked me off of my feet. I feel bruised and unworthy and battered. You may be thinking that physically I was unharmed – he did not hit me. That would be true. I wish that he did though. Then you have something to show people. Verbal and emotional abuse doesn’t leave any signs on your body. There is nothing to photograph. There is a just a bewildered and broken soul wondering how it went so wrong and blaming themselves for the situation.