Category Archives: Truth?

Defining the Abuse

Here’s a little essay that’s been sitting in my Draft folder for a long time. Someone close to me is suffering at the hands of an ex and perhaps this short list will help enable some emotional distance for them –

Being able to label your abuser’s disorder is a valuable tool, but not nearly as valuable as being able to label the specific abuse that s/he dishes out. Because of my personal experience, I’ll use masculine pronouns, but remember that abusers come in all shapes, sizes and genders.

Just saying, “he’s mean to me,” is not enough – if you tell others they will want specifics (if they even believe you) or they tell you to be nicer to him, and if you’re struggling to identify within your own mind just what the hell is going on, “mean” is much too vague. Chances are, once you learn the names of the abuses you are faced with every day you will be able to better see just what is going on and make a decision as to whether or not you can live with it. It can be very helpful to write down incidents soon after they happen (if it’s safe for you to do so) because so many abusers alternate between bouts of extremely abusive behavior and bouts of “loving” or at least less abusive episodes, which keeps their victim off balance and confused as to who the “real” person is, akin to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the famous story. They may even convince you an episode never happened, causing you to question your perception and even your sanity. Rest assured, it’s all part of the abuser’s plan to keep you quiet and in their control.

The following are definitions with examples as they applied to my personal situation – your mileage may vary. Definitions from Out of the FOG, a wonderful repository of information for those who are involved in some way with people with personality disorders. They have a forum, too, if you want to get support from others in the same boat. Many thanks to JetGirl for the link.

Baiting and picking fights: Starting an argument for no reason, or making an accusation about one thing while maneuvering you into making an admission or concession about something else. With M, this usually meant he was wanting me to give permission for some sort of behavior that he knew I didn’t approve of by getting me to admit that I’ve done something similar in the past, or he wanted me to do something that I didn’t agree with and would hound me until I agreed just to get him to leave me alone. The property tax fight is a good example. Also the whole Facebook thing. And everything from where to store the dog food to when to take a shower – it was all about winning battles for him and he would stop at nothing to make me admit defeat, whatever that meant for him at the moment.

Belittling: A passive/aggressive method of establishing superiority. M did this with just about everyone and it took me a long time to figure out that his offers of “help” were nothing more than put-downs cleverly disguised – I couldn’t really get upset because he was “helping” me and I was taking his “advice” the wrong way if I protested his interference.

Bullying: Physically towards the dog, emotional towards me. Something new every day.

Catastrophizing: Inflating some incident or state of circumstances into a “worst case scenario.” Property taxes. Toilet seal. Old Dog dying. My FB friends. The list goes on and on and was designed to take attention away from whatever issue I was protesting against.

Chaos Manufacture: The practice of unnecessarily creating an environment of confusion. When the first words out of M’s mouth after two weeks away from home were, “I was hoping you would have mowed the lawn,” before any type of greeting were a clue that he was going to make the next few days hell. He would begin a conversation immediately upon my arriving home from work that was designed to put me instantly on guard or to make me angry, just to get a reaction. He then accused me of being a Drama Queen. I never knew what to expect when I picked up the phone or saw him – he would attack out of the blue over nothing to keep me off balance.

Circular Conversations: Obvious what this is – a conversation without end designed, in M’s case, to exhaust me and force me to agree with whatever his agenda was on any particular day. Of course, his stance on any disagreement can and would change whenever he felt whimsical, making it even more difficult maintain a stance on anything.

Denial: When his lies didn’t work, M would simply deny that he said or did something hurtful – when confronted with his e-mail correspondence with an old lover, he denied it. When told that I knew he was lying he Deflected, changing the subject so that it turned back on me.

Emotional Abuse: “Any pattern of behavior directed at one individual by another which promotes in them a destructive sense of Fear, Obligation or Guilt (FOG).” This one covers a wide range of behaviors and was the first “official” term I learned. Pretty much every post here details the emotional abuse I suffered, so no links on this subject 🙂 It bears repeating that the abuser uses the non-disordered person’s natural empathy against them to keep them from leaving – if you’re so concerned about how leaving will make you look to others, or you are overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, it’s that much harder to even think of how to get out of the relationship.

Gaslighting: I experienced A LOT of gaslighting at the hands of M. Looking back it was maybe the most powerful tool he used – oh, he didn’t want to convince me I was crazy, just that I didn’t see reality like “normal” people do and I needed his guidance in order to “make something” of my life. In the end, it did make me feel like I was losing my mind.

These were the Top Nine for me, but your milage may vary. Do check out the other 91 ways an abuser manipulates their victim at Out of the FOG.

For me, once I was able to name the Crazy I was living, I was able to gain some emotional distance and begin to move away from my abuser. Without this emotional distance and the rage that came with finally knowing I was not imagining things I would not have been able to break free.


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A Busy Week

Long time, no blog, eh?

Before I get started on today’s rant, let me say that I am sorry for those who lost loved ones due to the latest tragedy in Boston. Please don’t take my words as an insult to you – I am merely shouting out to the clueless sheeple who thrive on news of events like this.

I know it seems very self-serving to say, but I don’t watch the news. I don’t read newspapers or visit online news sources very often. I don’t know much about Current Events and because of that I don’t live my life in perpetual anxiety and sadness. Or rage.

There are tragic things happening all over the world, every minute of every day. I don’t adorn my car with ribbons or pepper my FB with memes and other crap to show “support” for whatever the cause du jour is today.

I believe that if you are going to spend all of your emotional energy lamenting the latest bombing or “terrorist” action without doing something about it, you are a hypocritical sheep wandering aimlessly through the pasture the Powers That Be have allotted to you. Guess what? Those in power have always used diversionary tactics to keep the rabble in line. Think about it.

As a society we (I speak of the USA here) have been trained to stay inside and watch the Idiot Box (IB from here on out,) eat hollow calories and exclaim loudly over the sanctioned violence (sports in case that allusion swept by you) and the latest “reality” shows streaming (at only $99.99 a month!) into our homes. As the show plays out, we Twitter, Blog and FB our opinions about what’s on the IB to all of our “friends” and eagerly await their response, portable device in hand.

When the weather is good, we are commanded to go outside, spread toxic chemicals around our yard and then mow the resulting greenery while keeping our latest gas-guzzling credit trap clean and waxed.

When not engaged in these approved activities, we are taught that if we do not look like the Hot Young Thing on the IB we need to be working on our appearance in the hope that some day we might achieve the goal of looking like an anorexic pre-pubescent girl or Justin Beiber. Or whoever is “hot” at the moment.

We are taught that if we feel inadequate in any way we can buy a pill/lotion/scrub/extension/cover-up product to bring us more in line with today’s Ideal Image. None of us is Good Enough the way we are and most of us should be ashamed to be seen in public in our natural state.

Is it any wonder that maniacs blow shit up? How can we question the effects of all of the bullshit coming into our brains from every direction? Duh!

A much more fulfilling life can be found in concentrating on what is around you – your immediate community, the one place where (unless you are a high-ranking political* or business person) you can have a lasting effect.

Take a look around, really see what’s right in front of you and find your place. Talk to your neighbors – if yours are like mine they each have an interesting story about how they ended up where they are and it’s a valuable lesson about Life that you won’t find on the IB. Discover what’s happening right in your own backyard and stop obsessing about what starlet wore what to the latest Big Deal That Doesn’t Matter.

Stop putting chemicals on your greenery. Stop competing with the mythical Jones’ for the better lawn, barbeque, car, golf score, whatever, and live the life you really believe in. Plant a garden. Plant some flowers. Take a walk.

What will happen if we get to know and like our neighbors? Maybe that depressed teen boy will find a mentor and begin to live again. Maybe that shy young girl will speak up about the “games” her uncle likes to play and get the help she so desperately needs. Maybe that “uncle” will land in jail where he belongs. Maybe the young mother, overwhelmed with two toddlers, will discover a kindly grandmother with a bit of time on her hands to help out and not end up beating her kids out of frustration and exhaustion. Maybe the dog who just had puppies will get a chance to see her offspring grow up in homes around the block rather than be drowned by an uncaring owner who doesn’t want more mouths to feed.

The possibilities are endless, really. How many tragedies could be averted if we just woke the fuck up and took a look at the world directly in front of us?

Wow. Not where I was going when I started this post, but there you have it. The other stuff should go on Travels with Towanda anyway…

* I personally don’t believe anyone can reach high political office with their Original Principals intact. Because of the very nature of politics, in order to reach a rank of any importance one must sell their soul over and over to various “causes” in order to acquire enough money to campaign effectively and move up the food chain. I don’t believe a word out their mouths. I don’t trust any person of means to have MY best interests at heart – I am such a small fish that no one would notice me disappearing into the mouth of a larger fish. I am under no delusions that I matter to any political party.


As I Write, You Disappear

Last week, Kimberly Harding posted some words of wisdom about the healing powers of writing and other art and this poem that sums up exactly why I write this blog. She has graciously allowed me to quote her here:

As I Write…

As I write, you disappear.

Your silly whims and,
less than silly anger,
dissipate and
with my marks upon page.

What power have you?
You can not construct;
you only destruct.

While I, I in my
infinite wisdom,
take pen to paper

and absolve you
of everything –

including your hold upon me.

I do feel that he’s disappearing from my life, one word at a time. His hold over me has dissolved and I can breathe again. He continues to be civil, not calling me, not stopping by my work. He has sent a few e-mails asking questions about computer stuff, but that’s it. He tries to draw me in to what is happening in his life, but those notes go unanswered.

I choose what to respond to and I choose to treat him like an annoying co-worker, communicating only when necessary and only about those things that demonstrate my superior intelligence and experience. Petty, sure, but he never realized how much he relied upon me to keep his day-to-day life running smoothly and now that he’s noticing, well, I want him to squirm a little 🙂


Posted by on February 9, 2013 in Emotional Abuse, I totally Rock!, Poetry, Truth?


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Was it only yesterday?

Today was my first full day of freedom and it totally rocked! I am exhausted in a good way and looking forward to getting up and doing it all again tomorrow.

Awana came over and we took her van full of stuff to storage and had breakfast at a local cafe we both love. I finally found the downside that I’ve been looking for – I am having trouble eating. Don’t hate me, but when I’m stressed, I stop eating, existing on caffeine and very little else. This will pass, but for the time being  it leaves me feeling stretched very thin. Don’t get me wrong, what I ate of my first meal as a Free Woman was delicious, I just couldn’t eat much.

While Awana went off to sleep before work I headed in to town to do some shopping. Somehow in the last couple of days I became a cheapskate 🙂 I found it very hard to part with my money, justifying every purchase in my mind before laying the cash down. There are things that I simply have to have (cleaning supplies, food, dog chew toys); things that I want to have but left behind and if I get them later, well, there’s no room for duplicates here in Towanda so I better wait; and then there are those things that I just WANT because I haven’t had them or have always wanted to have them. My mind couldn’t just shut down and let me get the shopping over with, but I plowed through and spent more than I wanted to (the second-hand shops were closed today) but less than was budgeted (go, me!) and now it’s done.

I bought the most adorable mini shop vac that you’ve ever seen! Hopefully it works well. Also bought a couple of knives that I couldn’t resist on the 50% off lowest price table. Who could resist polka dots? And a bargain at 10.39 for the pair!

I also got my hair cut off. More about that tomorrow, with pictures 🙂

I took the dog to the dog park where she was able to romp a bit. Surprisingly, she spent much more time sniffing than running – we were alone, as planned, so as to avoid any confrontations with other dogs. Awana is scheduled to go walking with us tomorrow morning after she gets off work – more doggie adventures to follow!

Awana called tonight before she left for work. The first question she asked shocked me speachless, “are you still happy about your decision?”

She had no way of knowing that I’d had a fan-fucking-tastic day, so I had to laugh and ease her mind. Honestly, it feels like a year has gone by since yesterday.

No tears, no regrets and when I folded out the couch last night I discovered that the mattress was still factory-wrapped – either new or never used! Probably never used as it doesn’t have that toxic off-gassing smell. Score! It was pretty damned comfortable and I slept like the dead for about six hours. My eyes popped open at 0630 and I was up for the day – that never happens!

And now I am knackered, as the English say, and will lay in my new bed in my new house and watch “Last of the Mohicans” until my eyes start to close.


Posted by on January 21, 2013 in Digging Out, I totally Rock!, Today, Truth?


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The Christmas Card

A card from my Mom came in the mail –


Inside she wrote –

“May 2013 bring you good health, happiness and love. Think of you often and send good wishes that you are OK and happy. Love you my big girl daughter.”

I vented to her a few months ago by phone about my relationship and I think I blindsided her a bit. We don’t talk often because M has virtually cut me off from my family. There is never time to go visit because his shit is so much more important than my family – he always has an excuse for why we shouldn’t visit. I am not allowed to go anywhere out of town* without him and he won’t stay overnight in a strange house.

Needless to say, Mom and I are not close like she is with my Sis. I plan to fix that in the New Year!

Christmas with my family was always a joy – good food, visiting with relatives that I only saw once or twice a year, catching up, board games, you know, all the fun stuff that families do.

M and I do not do any decorating for the Holidays. I made a remark about a Christmas tree the other day and he got all uptight because I have “never mentioned” having or wanting a Christmas tree. He thought I was against them or something, I don’t know. It was another of those things that exists only in his twisted mind. I said that we had one some years ago, but he denies all memory of it, saying he was never there to decorate or enjoy it, blah, blah, blah. Well, that was a very bad year and I lost all heart for it after that. Who can blame me when he makes every gift-giving occasion so miserable?

I am not down this year, knowing that it will all be over soon and I will be living the life that I always envisioned for myself. I will have fun! I will live life on my own terms at long last! I will cut my hair and post a picture for all of you to see! I will wear lipstick to make Awana laugh at how quickly it ends up on my teeth 🙂 I will be free!

* He has never actually said that I couldn’t go out of town to visit my family, but he has made many, many arguments against me going anywhere overnight without him. It’s a covert, underhanded method he uses to make me feel like a cheating, deceiving, morally reprehensible person for even thinking about going to see my Mom without him, even when he refuses to entertain the thought of going along.


Posted by on December 25, 2012 in Today, Truth?


Hound Dog

Ain’t it the truth?

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Posted by on October 28, 2012 in Music, Truth?



That was…Interesting

I stuck to my guns yesterday – no b-day greeting, no gift, no acknowledgement in any way that it was M’s Special Day.

I left for work and he went to the next town over to help a friend move a boat. While there he invited said friend and others over to his boat for a little celebratory b-day drink. He called me at 7:35 to let me know he was on his way home. He was slurring his words and I asked if he was okay to drive.* He said of course, “I can remember what it’s like to drive sober, so I just have to do what I know how to do,” which I’ve heard before. I’ll probably go to hell for thinking it, but my very first thought was, “if he wraps that truck around a bridge abutment my problems will be over…”** Just don’t let him take out anyone else…***

Of course he brought up my “forgetting” his Special Day. I asked him if he remembered my last b-day, which of course he did not. The next two hours traveled along our usual track – I am a selfish, self-centered bitch who obviously “did something” to cause his harsh words on my last b-day, but since I couldn’t remember exactly what I had done, I had no right to be angry 6 months later. I am a vengeful bitch for “seeking revenge” and hurting him this way. I got what I deserved. He is the injured party, blah, blah, blah. If I would be nicer to him, he would be nicer to me, I have to give before I get anything, and on and on. He has only ever acted in my best interests, unselfishly, totally giving in to me, letting me take the lead, blah, blah.

I finally said that I understand perfectly that my behavior has landed us here****. Big nods of his head as if I’m saying what he believes to be true. I said that I had made mistakes and that I truly regret them now.

I said that I think he likes the idea of me, but has no interest or liking for the person that I actually am, and that is not Love. He insists that I accept him just as he is, but I don’t get the same consideration or respect. I said that he wouldn’t speak to another woman the way he speaks to me – he would never talk to a female friend or co-worker the way he speaks to me, and that I find that significant and telling.

And then I said this – “The only solution here is for me to move out so that you can sell this house and go live your Dream.”

Whoa! He did such a quick about-face that his head almost snapped off! It was something to see.

All of a sudden it’s his aggressive behavior (that he just can’t control, sob, sob) that has damaged our relationship. He knows that he’s over the top sometimes (but isn’t that in my “best interest?” – which conversation were we having again?) and needs me to be understanding. I’ve been so patient and loving to him, so tolerant, so willing to love him in spite of his faults and now I just want to chuck it all out the window?

And the next second he was back to pointing out my faults and demanding that I “take responsibility” for my part in the breakdown of our relationship. And then back to begging for mercy. Then pissed off and making up the futon couch in the back room while yelling at me that he’s “being kicked out of my own home for the THIRD time” since we’ve been together.

It was back and forth until almost 2:00 AM. Fun times!

This morning he crawled into the bedroom and said that he finally had some clarity about “our situation.” Seems that when I say something that he doesn’t agree with, he gets angry and aggressive and has to “go to war” over the subject and his views – he just can’t help it. (Ya think?) But now he recognizes the pattern and wants to try to change. He is ashamed of how he treats me and how he talks to me. I am his All, his Life, and if I left him he would be devastated.

He can’t afford to keep the house if I leave and take my job with me. The house won’t sell in the current market, at least not this Winter, so he needs me to keep things afloat. He is willing to live on his boat if I feel we are Over and I can rent the house from him, or buy it on contract if I wish. He would be very unhappy if he knew I took “something substandard because that’s all [I] could afford.” He would, of course, still need access to the house until he could “clean up [his] mess.”

Seems that I have his attention. Now what?

* I had no intention of going to pick him up – I was going to suggest he sleep on the boat – that’s his Dream, after all, right?

** By the time, “shit! I could just call him in as a drunk driver and that would be something he wouldn’t soon forget!” ran through my mind he was almost home. That won’t happen again.

*** I have a real problem with people who drive while impaired. I don’t drive after even one drink and I don’t ride with anyone who has been drinking. I think it’s an evil thing to do and there is no way I will ever change my mind about it. Aggressive, drunk men are also a trigger for me, so even before he arrived home I was very nervous and apprehensive.

**** If I hadn’t been such a doormat in the first place I would have dumped him four months into our relationship and had a torrid affair with a guy at work who made it very clear that people who have expectations about how others should feel are not good for relationships. He was hot, too. Really hot. But I said no. Idiot!


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Yesterday there was an Event. One that I look forward to every year. Last year we went camping. I told M that this year I was going to attend my Event, and there was no way I wanted to go camping. Fine. I told him that some friends were going to be there and I would like to meet up with them and visit for awhile. I took a day off work. I talked about the Event for a month. At no time did he express any interest whatsoever except to whine that I was going to be gone all day.

The thing is, I did not invite him, and that hurt his feelings.

If I want to include M in any of my activities I have to issue a formal invitation. I have to say, “would you like to do X with me?” If he wants to join me, he will say so, and if he doesn’t, he will say so and I am not allowed to have hurt feelings no matter what he decides. If the formal invitation is not issued he will not respond until it’s time to go and whatever his response is it will be a blow-up of some kind, sure to kill my enthusiasm for whatever activity I had planned.

He will not invite me to join him for ANYTHING. Ever. He will mention a date (or have me look up a date if it happens to be coordinated online) and that is pretty much it. If I show any enthusiasm and am not rebuffed, I can go along, but I always feel like I’m inviting myself where I’m not wanted. He says that I have a Standing Invitation to join him whenever I like. He says that he invites me to do things with him “all the time,” but that is a lie. I have to make plans, take time off work, pack, cook, whatever, but he will not invite me. If I act like he’s going on his own, he acts hurt because I don’t want to join him.

So. I did not invite him because I really wanted to go alone and when he went with me two years ago it was a huge trial. You see, he had to combine the trip with buying a boat trailer – saving gas and all that, which is fine, but we had to go get the trailer first. We drove for 3 hours, picked up the trailer (with the obligatory male bullshit that attends all such missions) and then drive back towards home for half an hour to the Event location. By that time it was late afternoon and quite hot. Of course we had the dogs in the van (which had very poor dog ventilation) so we couldn’t stay long. And it was hot. And he was hungry but the lines at concessions were too long for him to stand and wait*, but he couldn’t walk around looking at stuff with me because that makes his foot swell – he will just go way over there and sit under that shady tree and wait for me. Sounds fine, right? Not at all. What he was really saying was that he was done and wanted to go home. For every minute that I “abandoned” him he would torture me for an hour. It is a common occurrence.

I rushed through the Event, bought some things that I really needed and headed back to him as fast as I could, hoping to avoid what I knew would come next – The Ride Home. If you’ve spent any time at all with one of these assholes you know exactly what I’m talking about. ‘Nuff said. It was awful.

To cut this ramble off before I start screaming, he made such a huge deal about hating everything about that day that I assumed he would not want to repeat the experience and would not be hurt. After all, he hadn’t shown any enthusiasm up to this point, so he must not want to go, right?

Sigh. Friday night he started a fight with me over my “not inviting” him to the Event. I was so angry after reading that his “old lover (who [he] still care[s] for)” is still in touch that it finally just came out. He was drilling me about not inviting him and then being mad that his feelings were hurt and I just couldn’t take it. I said, “You’re right – my anger is not about what you’re complaining about right now. My anger is over your lies and hypocrisy – you’re in contact with an old lover, you’re keeping it secret and I do believe I have the right to be angered by that.”

Deer in the headlights. I did not have my recorder, alas. His excuses, tears, denials, deflecting gaslighting, yelling and lying went on for hours. Until 3:00 AM in fact. I was wrung out, but I got to say what I had to say. When he asked if I wanted to leave, I told him no, because I don’t want to be living in my car. When he asked if I wanted him to leave, I said no, because I don’t want to start a war that I can’t win.

I drove, alone, 2.5 hours each way on three hours of sleep just to say that I did and to defy him. I told him that I had a great time and will work up a long, detailed blog post to prove it.

He offered to sell me the house again today. Just how is that supposed to work, I wonder?

There’s more, but I have to go for now…

* Again, I am not discounting his disabilities AT ALL, but I do think he uses them to his advantage whenever it suits him.


How to Survive a Narcissist

I have come to the conclusion that there are three ways to have a relationship with a narcissist. I wonder if you concur?

1. Be his doormat. Drink his kool-aid and do everything for him. Totally subjugating yourself to his every whim. Oh, sure, you’ll lose your soul, maybe even your will to live, but you will be able to bask in his glory for as long as he finds you useful, and that’s better than being alone, right? He will tell you that you are nothing without him, he is your only source of happiness and you better take his abuse and Improve Your Ways if you want to continue to benefit from his superior…well…everything. You are nothing. You will never be right. You will never be “better” in any way. You will never be Good Enough. You will never even be Enough. Don’t fight, don’t try to maintain any identity of your own because it’s a hopeless battle that the Narc is determined to win no matter the cost. Breaking you is his only joy in life. But at least you can make someone happy, right?

2. Stand up to him. Mirror his aggressive behavior right back at him – yell when he yells, cry when he cries and learn to switch moods every second. Become just like him – it will make him crazy. Of course, in the process you will be falling into the Narc’s second most valuable trap – becoming a Mini-Narc. Then the blame can be smeared around equally during those inevitable disagreements that crop up every time the Narc is feeling lonely or sad. Since the Narc hates himself, he will be gratified to make you hate yourself equally and you can continue the cycle of abuse forever.

3. Leave. As fast as you can. Don’t look back. The Narc does not deserve your sympathy. You owe him NOTHING for the years of hell he has put you through. Are you leaving him in a financial bind? Bummer for him. Maybe he should have thought about the consequences of all those times he was telling you that you are a selfish bitch for wanting to do something like, oh, read a book for an hour rather than mow the lawn on a blustery Autumn day. Or that time you wanted to have toast and tea for supper because it was late and you weren’t really hungry but he forced you to cook a “proper” meal while telling you that you were behaving like a petulant child.

I’ve already tried #1 (for years) and #2 (for a couple of soul-wrenching weeks) and now it’s time to give #3 a go.


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How the Narcissist Sees “Normal People”

Is Sam Vaknin talking about M? YES!! This is M right down to his toenails. This is the crap he gives me when he’s feeling sorry for himself. Nothing else matters when he is in this mood – he’s a “wounded animal, striking out any way it can to defend itself.”

Lots of interesting and educational stuff to watch on his YouTube Channel.


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