Straighten Your Crown

Crickey

I query you this riddle:  if trained professionals like counselors, psychologists, protective services, judges and magistrates, etc. cannot see through the smoke and mirrors that define a covert narcissist, how can you expect lay people to?

“Charming, isn’t he.”  She said with a smile.  I’m sure the dumbfounded look on my face spoke volumes.  “Who?  Him!?!  I don’t see him as charming in the least.  He’s a real asshole!”  I said bluntly.  My wasband had stepped out to take a call in the middle of the counseling session (narcissists, they are very important people you know).  It was becoming increasingly clear to me that this woman was pretty biased and it wasn’t in my favor.  She took a hard look at me, my eye contact never wavering.  Finally she broke the silence and said rather firmly as my wasband walked back into the room, “You realize that you have brought this all on yourself, Jessica.”  The stern tone in her voice didn’t faze me.  I’d already had enough of these sessions where I found myself teamed up against and kicked around.  I could feel my blood, that had been simmering up to that point, hit a rolling boil.  I looked at her, at my wasband, and then again at her and said calmly, “You can go fuck yourself.”  And I walked out.  As I got in my sexy dually pick up, pushed in the clutch and slammed it into gear it occurred to me precisely why my wasband was so hell bent on seeing this particular counselor … she was sweet on him!  We’d seen several others who were “fired” when they called my wasband out on his behavior, diagnosing him as being an extreme narcissist as well as exhibiting sociopathic tendencies.  This woman, however, he had successfully manipulated and set the stage so that all she was able to see was his role as the victim rather than the aggressor.  It was the last time I set foot in her office.  She contacted me once, claiming that God wouldn’t appreciate me dropping the “f” bomb on her and that I must repent and return to counseling to save my marriage.  BARF!!!

This counselor wasn’t the only one blinded and charmed by this covert narcissist.  I found myself in the same position when a PRE (parental evaluator) was appointed to our case at the demanding of my wasband.  Much like the counselor, she was played like a cheap trick.  Even the magistrate assigned to overseeing the “little” skirmishes in our case, saw him as a victim bending to his demands in court.  Narcissists are experts in self-presentation.  They are ALWAYS the victim and the truth isn’t just relative, it’s optional in their playbook!  They have no concern with committing perjury in court if it’s beneficial to their cause.  Narcissists malign their prey in everything from court documents to friends and family.

My wasband had begun spinning his web long before I left and there were times I unwittingly played into his hand.  When I finally bolted, he’d already laid the foundation for all the lies and juicy gossip he planned to build himself up from.  The easy thing for me to do, would have been and would be, to run around defending myself, telling the truth whether or not anyone wanted to hear it, force feeding it to them with a giant spoon.  I chose the high road and instead forged on ahead all the while listening to the whispers behind my back.

This framework he’d built around himself, the completely well fabricated lies that he spun in order to gain ground on me within the community worked.  To this day, six years later, anytime I sit at a football game to watch my son or a softball game to watch my daughter, go to the local bar and grill for a burger or the damned gas station, the judgmental glances and whispers follow.  If you can conjure it up, he has told it and embellished it, and retold it with greater embellishment, and spun it some more…you get the idea.  And those within the community, surrounding areas and 1,000 miles away savor the flavor of what he has simmered in his cauldron.

You would think after six years people would move on.  They don’t.  I had trash thrown at my pick up at the kids track meet a month ago.  And yes, it was intentional.  I was sitting in the pick up thawing out (it was trying to snow) between events and this person walked by, made eye contact and threw his garbage at the hood of my pick up.  I was shocked and then again, I wasn’t.  After all, I sit alone at all of the kid’s sports events be it football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, track, softball, etc.  I find my seat and the seats surrounding me remain empty, even in a packed gym.  My armor is well worn.

I suppose I share this only to say, you are not alone.  Beautiful warrior, the path isn’t easy.  You may find yourself covered in gooey, sticky, disgusting, smelly mud that’s been slung at you with a supersized catapult meant to chunk a punkin’ the size of a house.  Wipe it off, straighten your crown and soldier on like a boss.  Those who are worth your time and energy, will seek the truth from you.

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave” 

 

Freedom Has A Price

 

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I walked into a stark, stagnant office in the basement of the courthouse.  The heaviness in the air was crushing.  No one smiled, no one was friendly, it was all frowns, glares and judgement in that place.  I was seated in a small room with my attorney.  My wasband was seated in another room with his team of attorneys.  The mediator was a beautiful brunette woman who introduced herself and laid out the rules of engagement.  She stated that if at any point she felt both parties were at an impasse, she would dismiss us to keep costs down.  Almost 9 grueling hours later, the woman sat down at our table looking utterly defeated, unable to meet my eyes as she said, “They just left.  Stormed out actually.  Didn’t even pay their portion.”  Finally making eye contact with me she said with a lump in her throat, “I was just duped.  I am in complete shock.  He had no intentions of agreeing to anything.  This was a game to him and I was just played.”  As tears welled up in her eyes, she began apologizing to me over and over and over again.  She shared that she had been mediating for over 25 years and had never had this happen.  Her confidence was visibly shook as she kept saying, more to herself than my attorney and I, “I cannot believe I didn’t see what he was doing.  Each time I thought we were getting somewhere, he would pull back and we’d get further away from where we were headed.  I should have known … I should have seen what was happening …”   I sat there fighting my own tears back, doing the math in my head and trying to figure out how I was going to pay for my half of this.  Not only did I have to cut a check for over $1,000.00 in order to leave that awful place, I was going to be billed for my attorney’s time preparing for the session, driving to and from the courthouse and the time spent in that tiny room that felt like a jail cell.  I smiled as compassionately as I could muster as I stood to leave and said to our beat down mediator, “This was my marriage.  His way or no way.”

When mediation was demanded on the part of my wasband and subsequently ordered by the court, I knew we’d get nowhere.  It didn’t matter if I went in with the mindset that I would do my best to compromise and reach some sort of an agreement.  I knew in my gut that my wasband had no intentions of agreeing to anything less that what he was demanding.  This was just another hoop to jump through, another means for him to try to bury me financially all under the guise of wanting to cooperate and come to an agreement.  Cha ching …

People (who’d never been divorced mind you) would tell me it takes two to fight.  One individual went so far as to tell me to save myself and walk away from my kids!  What no one understood, what no one could see, was that one individual was driving the battle.  Narcissists by nature are game players.  Those things that make mediation and settlements viable alternatives to going to court for “normal” people aren’t possible when divorcing a narcissist.  Narcissists are in it to win it, no matter the cost!  Legal fees mount quickly and become an avalanche overnight as the narcissist refuses to follow court orders, giving misleading information in their filings and appeals to the court that then must be challenged, only giving partial information required in discoveries that also then must be challenged.  They will delay anything and everything when they see fit and there are no repercussions!  There is no punishment for these noncompliance behaviors.  The one punished ultimately is the one following the damn rules being financially bludgeoned to death!

On the 15th of each month we have a recurring billing payment to my first attorney.  I opened the invoice this morning and the light at the end of that tunnel is BRIGHT!  Our balance is $667.55!  Though we still owe my second attorney several thousand after the last court battle in 2016, I am feeling much freer knowing we’re almost paid in full to the attorney that got me through final orders.  I had no idea that divorcing a covert narcissist would cost well over $100,000.00!  When people say divorce is expensive I would wholeheartedly agree, it is.  My attorney that carried me through final orders left the practice as soon as my orders were official … yeah, he was that burned out after my case.

I have a hard time wrapping my mind around what my divorce cost.  I walked away with the clothes on my back.  I wasn’t fighting over a house, retirement accounts or “stuff”.  I said from the get go that I just wanted the hell out and I wanted the kids safe.  As I contemplate the fact that on June 15, 2018 my invoice to The Law Offices of Rodger Daley will be paid in full, I am relieved.  Though the other invoice looms heavy, it feels a bit lighter as the focus will now be on paying that in full too.  Freedom isn’t free …

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave”     

Go Big DON’T Go Home

www.dreams.metroeve.com-lap-dance-dreams-meaning

My husband is a superhero.  He keeps his cape tucked in and leads a fairly inconspicuous life however, I know the truth.  I’ve seen the tail of his cape peaking out from under his Carhartt work shirts and Cinch bluejeans.  I don’t think he reads what I write so …  Lol!  He does superhero things that others take for granted, mistaking them for “normal.”  One of his superhero moves was marrying me!  LOL!  Seriously, I wake up some mornings and think, “Thank you Jesus, he’s still here!  Oh, Lord, please love on this precious man.  Give him all the superpowers he may need to get through the day with me!”  I can see him grinning and shaking his head saying, “Oh, whatever!” as I type this.  This man, he scooped me up as I lay bleeding out from the trauma of an abusive marriage, hellish divorce and he held me tight.  I don’t think he looks at me the same way I look at me.  I look in the mirror and see a beaten, ravaged, scarred soul that’s fighting hard to heal.  He sees beyond all the scattered broken pieces, all the baggage, all the bruising and scars, he sees ME.    God bless him (not in that pathetic “Bless your little heart” southern way, but truly, God, bless him)!

I’m learning to dream again.  I know that may sound strange though I ponder, how strange is it really?  We all have crazy big dreams as kids.  As we grow up and mature, reality beats the hell out of them and we trade them for matte finished, practical dreams instead.  I can remember arguing with myself fairly regularly, explaining (to myself) that my life was what it was and I needed to be content and happy.  I can remember many a night, crying myself to sleep as I sternly lectured my heart against so much as daydreaming!  I’d state to myself, “You have a roof over your head, food in the refrigerator and two healthy kids, damn it!  Be happy with what you’ve got!  Stop acting like a spoiled brat!”  I was regularly reminded that my job was keeping house and raising kids, catering to a covert narcissist who’s only concern was for himself.  Many, many dreams were laid to rest over the years, though they’ve refused to rest, it’s more like they toss, turn and kick me periodically from the hole I thought I’d buried them in!

I have an assignment that was given to me right out of the gate as a freshman last year.  It asks that I write my vision for my future.  It’s to be written as if it’s happening in the present moment anywhere from 3-6 years in the future complete with an actual date.   It’s a working, living, breathing document, amoeba like in it’s flow.  We’re asked to go BIG!  There is no room for practicality, cost concerns or even worry over how to make it happen.  The focus is to be on what you see when you close your eyes and allow yourself to dream the biggest possibilities ever!  SHRIEK!!!  If you are anything like me, that seems like a foreign concept, slightly scary … okay, fine, REALLY scary!  My ‘Dream Big’ muscle was atrophied like an injured limb that gets no use and I wasn’t even sure it had any life left in it.

The vision I began writing and have edited and read through countless times for well over a year is ready for a major overhaul.  When I wrote the framework for it and began fleshing it out, I was happy with it, content.  I think as I began putting it on paper, typing it out and working on it every day, what I was really doing was beginning to exercise that atrophied ‘Dream Big’ muscle.  In beginning to work this muscle I’ve had to ask myself a question that’s been hard if not almost impossible to answer, “What do I want?”  I mean really, really, really, want!!!  I didn’t know when I started.  I typed things out that were safe, attainable, a notch above practical.  It was a good start.  I’m ready to scare the hell out of myself and up the ante!  I’m ready to thoroughly edit my vision further strengthening and stretching my ‘Dream Big’ muscle.  I have a better idea of what I think I want.  I am figuring out what makes me smile, what causes my heart to flutter and my soul to begin to hum a happy tune.

A few months ago I mouthed off, joking with my husband, saying, “Be careful cowboy!  I’m dreaming big!”  I laugh now as I consider that my ‘Dream Big’ muscle has gained size and strength since then!  Maybe I should warn him to take a deep seat because I’m getting ready to throw back the gate and let ‘er buck!  I quietly pray, “God, please, bless his beautiful soul!  Give him the superpowers he needs to saddle up and get on board with the vision, she’s a doozy!”

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave”

The Inner Governor

Cricket Pagosa

I am a client for a fellow student as she practices her phone coaching.  This morning I felt my personal strategy lock firmly into place as we discussed my “homework” from last week.  A strategy is what your brain designs in order to protect you from feeling pain, strong emotion, trauma, whatever your brain determines isn’t good for you.  As an emotion comes up, your brain steps in, stuffs it back down as it tells you, “There, there, sweetie, you don’t want to experience that.  Let’s shove that back into the corner and bury it!”  Implosion begins to form where the emotion or trauma is fighting to be released and dealt with as the brain shoves it back down almost like trying to depress a syringe top as you plug the hole on the other end with your finger.  I’m sure my student coach could hear my strategy stepping up to bat taking a Babe Ruth worthy swing at her gentle questions and inquiries.  They say that crying is not a sign of weakness rather a sign of strength and that not crying is the actual weakness.  Well …..

My mom would tell you I’ve always cried silent tears.  I’ve not been one to wail, yell out, scream cry or blubber and slobber all over myself.  My tears fall quietly.  I stood in the shower that morning feeling beyond overwhelmed.  The pressure within my marriage was crippling me.  I was being accused of multiple affairs, I was aware at that point that I was being tailed every waking minute of the day (as in watched and followed), my phone was copy catted (meaning every call, text, email, etc. went to my wasband), and I was working damn hard to keep myself together.  I was reaching my limit and I knew it.  So there I stood in the shower as the tears began to fall.  As one fell, ten more  lined up behind it ready to leap into the warm water washing over my face.  I began to sob uncontrollably.  I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t come up for air … I crumbled on the shower floor as the water tried to soothe my exhausted soul.  I remember crawling out of the shower trying to dry off and get dressed as the emotion consumed me.  My brain was yelling, “May Day! May DAY! MAY DAY!  Get it together girl!!!”  While the emotion washed over me in hurricane force waves, drowning out the distress signal.

My eyes were bouncing side to side, my hands, arms, feet and legs were going numb (what I later learned is called, “posturing”, when your body begins conserving oxygen for your vital organs taking it from your limbs).  I was having to work hard to make words, my speech beginning to slur.  I tried to call my wasband thinking I was having a seizure or a stroke, whatever it was it wasn’t good.  He didn’t answer.  I called a friend and as I tried to make the words make sense, he simply said, “I’m calling my people.  An ambulance will be there in about 15 minutes.”  I hung up and called our neighbor seven miles to our west.  I tried to explain what was happening and asked her if she could come get the kids, I didn’t want them to see me getting loaded into an ambulance.  I hugged and kissed them and tried to force a smile though my face muscles were so tight at that point I couldn’t.  The ambulance arrived as the kids disappeared over the hill headed for a play date with our neighbors young boy.  Our EMT took one look at me and I knew by the look on her face I was in trouble.  I heard the driver radio for AMR to meet us in the next town (AMR has paramedics).  They loaded me on a stretcher and started an I.V. thinking I was dehydrated.  Unbeknownst to me, when our EMT called my wasband (he answered the phone for most anyone but me, go figure), he told them that I was likely hung over.  I had spent a day up at Cheyenne Frontier Days and he was sure I had been drunk.  And before you even have to ask, no he wasn’t there with me and no, I hadn’t been drinking.  I was one of the only sober ones in the group.

As AMR unloaded me at the hospital there stood my wasband shaking his head at me.  I felt like a kid who was likely to be grounded for life after doing something stupid.  I wished he wasn’t there a million times in my mind as they parked me in a room and the nurse came in.  The O2 mask was placed over my face and they hooked me up to an EKG machine as my wasband said, “She’s hung over.  I’m pretty sure she’s an alcoholic.  We may need to look into some rehab options.”  Tests were run and the doctor and nurses continued to ask questions trying to get to the root of what had happened.  I told them I had started crying and couldn’t stop.  They prodded deeper trying to get to the root of why I had been crying so uncontrollably though I wouldn’t give up any more information than that.  How could I tell them about all that was going on within my marriage with him sitting right there staring a hole through me.  And even if I did share, they weren’t likely to believe me.  As I’ve said before, the things that went on make the Lifetime channel look like Disney, filed under, “Can’t Make This Shit Up”!

The diagnosis?  It was a panic attack of the worst kind.  I had hyperventilated myself into anaphylactic shock.  The result was an inverted “t” wave in my heartbeat meaning I’d stressed my heart to such an extent that the “t” wave part of my heartbeat flipped itself upside down.  I had also scarred my lungs to such a degree that they were unsure if they’d ever heal and recover fully.  Go team!!!  The nurse’s parting words to my wasband were that there wasn’t a drop of alcohol in my system.  She told him he ought to rethink using that diagnosis.

It was after this that my inner governor took a higher position in office.  Much like the governor in my pick up regulating my speed so I don’t red line my sexy, dirty dually, my inner governor began playing a much more rigid role in keeping my emotions in check.  She is what my brain implemented in order to keep me out of the back of an ambulance.  My inner governor has done a bang up job keeping me safe and protected.  Almost too good …

The thing about strategies is that there comes a place and time when they are no longer needed to the degree they once were.  A time when healing can only take place if, in my case, my inner governor let’s loose of the reins for a bit.  I want so badly to turn loose of all I carry with me, all the hurt, anger, trauma … all of it!  I feel deep disappointment in myself when, before one little thing eeeks out, my brain shoves it all back down.  At times, I feel like my own lost cause.  My inner governor has such a tight grip on those reins and feels so unwilling to loosen even a bit and can you blame her?  I’m beginning to realize I’ve faced death multiple times without ever recognizing it for what it was …

I’m not much of a quitter, hell I stayed with a covert narcissist for over 17 years!  Now that’s staying power!!!  Lol!  I won’t give up on myself and I’ll keep negotiating with my inner governor until I’m able, she’s able, to safely release all that dammed up emotion.  Until then…

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave”