I am an Empath
Now I want to talk about me and my issues and my “quirks” because I believe that understanding the history of the victim of a narcissist or psychopath (evaluating ourselves) is truly the key of understanding the entire concept of how relationships become toxic and chaotic.
There is really so much emphasis put on the person with the personality disorder, so much talk going on about them and all the things that’s wrong with them, but often times addressing the issues of the empath (or the victim) are overlooked, and honestly any changes we want to make in our life, starts with our self because as long as we keep looking at the perpetrator and as long as we keep talking about what they did to us how they made us feel, no true change or healing can come, and to be straight forward with you this section will be the most difficult thing for me to write because this is exposing my inner self this is exposing my skeletons, exposing my heart, exposing my pain. And to be perfectly honest, I have spent a lifetime keeping all that inside.
So let the healing begin…
I would like to first say before I delve into the meat of my history, that I would have told you 4 years ago that blaming our parents is a cop out or an excuse. People do tend to blame their parents for everything wrong in their life. I went through a period where I blamed my dad for a lot of my issues. And I blamed my step mom, and I blamed my biological mother for abandoning me at 4 years old. Then I decided it was time to own up to my responsibilities to my life and the choices that I made. I completely changed my view, and took the blame off of my parents and then went drastically into the other direction – I put it ALL on myself. Now I am here to tell you that blaming yourself for everything is a very unhealthy thing to do. Even though it feels good to own up to your bad decisions, you can fall into a bad habit of negative self talk. And it will affect your self esteem, and you will end up feeling incompetent at everything you do. I have gone back and forth with this for years.
Now, after four failed marriages, and two failed long term relationships with men whom I did not marry (but would have if given the chance), I am at place where I can sit back and think about all of it – no emotional connections to keep my head messed up from it. I have let go of it. Currently I am still cleaning out the residue of my most recent failed relationship. And what is scary about that is I finally made the decision to end it once and for all with no intentions of ever going back, just 4 days ago. But we had 16 break-ups in four and half years. I now realize it would have been much better for me if I would have been done with him after the first break up (which was only 4 months into our relationship). However, I never would have learned what I learned if had. And I would not be writing about it now.
I have known for over three and half years (within the first year I was with my most recent Mr. Chaos), that he was a Covert Narcissist. However, he was missing 2 major traits of a full blown narc, and that is what gave me hope. Also, his plea to me that he was suffering from PTSD as an excuse for his poor behavior, lured me back to him, again and again.
Now you are probably asking: Why?
Before I answer that I want to address an important factor. If you are not an empath and if you have never been in a relationship with someone with a personality disorder then you will not understand anything about my answer as to why I went back time and time again. However, if you are an empath, or have been in a chaotic relationship with a narcissist then you will relate to my answer. The answer in the simplest form is because “I loved him.” Or more precisely, I was in love with the person I thought he was, the person who he made me believe he was in the beginning – before the mask fell off. I was holding on to that fake persona, and I was being the ultimate optimist – and an idealist.
It all started when I was 3 years old.
Well, maybe it could have been earlier than 3 years old, but I can only remember back that far. I have only a few memories of my mother, because she left when I was only four years old. I saw her about three times after that, between the ages of 5 and 16 – and yes I suffer from abandonment issues. Unfortunately, abandonment is not something that one can just get over, especially if it happens to a child at an early age. I didn’t know when I was young and and was first married at age 19 that all those issues of my mother abandoning me would surface in my marriage. In fact, even after we were married for 5 years and had two children, I was still unaware of the ramifications of that traumatic childhood experience.
The only thing I knew in that marriage was that I was married to a selfish man-child. And I was crazy about him. But I would go to great extremes to to try and get his attention. I didn’t realize that I was being needy (because I seemed so independent, and I was independent – sort of), however, I was also on the inside a very insecure person, and I feared being alone. I didn’t know why but inside me when I was alone, I had anxiety, and I literally was suffering from something that I did not understand nor did I really even acknowledge at the time that it was coming from inside me. Rather, I looked at it outwardly, I saw that my husband was ignoring me, that he was always preoccupied with his friends, his band, his music, his guitars, his car, his motorcycle, etc… And I was usually feeling like the barefoot and pregnant lonely housewife. I had no idea at the time that my abandonment issues were causing all sorts of inner chaotic emotions. I lashed out – sometimes violently at him, when he would not come home for a day or two. I would scream and yell and throw things.
I must have looked as crazy as I felt. And yes, he made sure to point out to me that I was crazy – on a daily basis. He never complimented me for cooking, cleaning, potty training, teaching the kids their ABC’s – he never saw how well I was doing as a mother and wife. But he was sure to notice any faults and also, to make him self feel better, he would tell me how useless I was, he would invent faults. He would accuse me of things I never did, things I would never think of doing in my wildest dreams. But he insisted I did them. I knew I didn’t but I found myself arguing with him about something that never happened. This is the beginning of crazy making, the chaotic toxic relationships that I have found myself in time and time again.
After a couple of years of this type of treatment, I would actually feel guilty for things I never did. I would apologize for something that I did not do. I would tell other people I did these things that he said I did – but I knew I didn’t do them. and yet, I would end up falling into his invented schemes – and believe the lie. We both believed the lies. I believed I was a terrible person, and I believed that he was a saint for putting up with me. The sickness was well established… I became his doormat. And he was sure to wipe his dirty feet on me when ever he pleased.
I covered for him, all the time. And continued to do so for 15 years after our divorce! And on occasion, I can still find myself falling in to that if I do not stop myself. The truth is, he had as many issues and childhood traumas as I had. But he ran to drugs – particularly methamphetamine’s. And I ran to God. This was a toxic combination, in one sense because he saw me as being “above him” because he had an addiction problem. And I saw him as someone I needed to save – I had developed a saviors complex, but of course I was oblivious to it. I believed in my sick little head, that if I could just be good enough, and if I could just pray enough, he would get better and we would live happily ever after.
Things went from bad to worse very quickly
As our marriage was spiraling out of control, I continued to only view what was happening in an outward way. In other words, I continued to point my finger at him. I was not doing it because I was trying to be mean, I honestly thought that his behavior in our marriage was making me miserable. The drug use continued. The parties every weekend all night long at my house (usually in the garage where the band was set up, and I was barely allowed to pop my head in and say hi. He wanted me to go to my room, keep the kids asleep (which was nearly impossible with the loud hard rock music that they were either playing from the stereo or practicing playing with the band. The tuning of electric guitars made me feel ill. I would become so agitated that I would just climb under my sheets and put a pillow over my head and cry. Keep in mind I was very young. I married him at 19 years old after having a 4 year relationship all through high-school.
I had just decided that I did not want to have any more children. I decided I wanted to try to maintain some sort of freedom. Well at least the freedom you can have as a mother of one child as compared to the freedom a mother can have with two children. For those who have not had more than one child, let me just say that having two children is far more work – it is not double the work it is three times the work. I know that doesn’t make sense but it is true, and I instinctively knew this. I knew that Mr. Chaos #1 (my first husband and the one I am talking about in this section) would be happy with my “one child for the rest of our life idea.” Because, he didn’t want to have the first child to begin with. He wanted me to have an abortion. I was raised to believe that abortion was wrong. And if I had my own mind on the topic I would have said “HELL NO” when he told me to get an abortion. But, being the “people pleaser” especially “Mr. Chaos pleaser” I would go against my own convictions to make him happy. Luckily when I went to the doctors, he told me I was four months pregnant, and thankfully, they did not do abortions after 3 months gestation. God saved my son – and me. I am so thankful for this. Because my son has been the light of my life.
However, my issues and my husbands issues began to multiply when our son was only 4 months old. I was really into being a mom, and I read every book on being a new mother, I read all the books on having a healthy baby, I was delighted to be a mother. I felt like I had found myself. I had a true purpose in life. But the problems in my marriage began to increase. I went on a trip for 7 days to see my Grandparents in San Francisco when our son was 4 months old. When I returned home, I had the pleasure (not!) of learning from Mr. Chaos #1, (my then husband), that he had a threesome with our friends who lived in Los Angeles.
My world was crushed. I felt like our marriage had lost all innocence. And the foundation of trust had been shattered. We were so young, I was 19 he was 20, and we had this beautiful baby boy that I adored. But now my world was spinning out of control. What is so shocking about this event, was I should have been angry and I should have yelled at him and I should have packed up and moved out. Or I should have demanded that we get marriage counseling. But I didn’t do any of that. Instead, being the complete empath, and the people pleaser, I hid my feelings and I would not let him see my hurt expression on my face. I took a deep breath and I said “How was that?” I was really hoping he would tell me he was sorry and that he made a mistake, but that is not what he said, instead he said it was fun and thought I should join them next time.
Well, that never happened because the next day when he went to work I called the couple and I told them I was no longer their friend and to stay away from my husband. I never told him that I did that, but he may have found out from them and never brought it up to me. But that never came up again.
I can assert myself when I need to, with most people. But I have a problem with asserting myself with certain personality types, particularly people with a personality disorder, such as a narcissist or a sociopath. But back in those days I had never heard of narcissism. And sociopaths were lumped in with psychopaths and were associated with serial killers, and the insane. Now days, we know that there are different forms and different degrees of personality disorders. Some people have been misdiagnosed as having Bi-Polar – when in fact they do not have Bi_polar they have PTSD, or they are extreme Empaths or they have a low grade form of depression that they still function with.
So in this post I covered how the foundation of a chaotic relationship is laid, and in my next post (coming soon) I will discuss the cracks of the foundation that get poisoned and contaminated and then leave a residue of growing moldy lifestyles that become deadly or toxic.