As my three-year anniversary of being free from seven years of mental, verbal and physical abuse approaches, so many things have happened all at once. My freedom date is February 22, 2020. I am posting early to help with my anxiety of an "anniversary." It may help ease my anxiety or it may not. The nightmares have been back the past few weeks, so if I post now maybe they will stop.
I will start this with how this anniversary was affecting me and how I feel I have changed in these three years. I have done a good job controlling my overthinking, anxiety and beginning my journey of self-love. With that said, I am not perfect, I will lose control of my overthinking and anxiety some days still. I have learned that when I cannot control them, it has almost always been my intuition being correct. If people's words do not match their actions, I have recently learned to believe in the actions and not let amazing words blind me. Anyone can write or say amazing things especially with the help of google or recycling old things you said to someone else. Real genuine people are the only ones that can match their actions to those words. Yes, I love hearing or reading how beautiful or amazing someone thinks I am, but if their actions are aggressive, controlling or disrespectful the words are just bullshit! These past three years, I have found the new and always improving Dina. My wants and needs change as I grow. It feels like yesterday when I felt I lost everything losing my abuser. I actually did lose everything! Just a list of some of the things I lost: close to 200lbs of abusive narcissism, bullshit overly lovey dovey texts or posts that were only written to make him look good to others and gaslight me, paying someone else's bills because he smoked his money away day after day, ignorant people who were in my life who condone abuse, daily abuse in some form or another, the sound of that annoying voice, smell of that dirty skunk looking nappy beard, being a witness to another deadbeat dad, a house, a vehicle and most of all I lost myself. So yes, I lost everything......everything that was not good in my life. Everything that would eventually kill me! The only thing I got to keep were the best kids a mom could ask for, an overly supportive family and some god damn amazing friends! I had to find myself again and I am definitely not the same woman I was three years ago. I am not perfect, but I am me for me and no one else! I would love to say my past does not haunt me three years later, but I do still have PTSD nightmares or moments that could be triggered by even a smell or song. I should hate those moments, but I don't. They are reminders of what I survived and what I will never tolerate again. I still battle with overthinking when someone isn't matching their actions with their words or tries to gaslight me. My anxiety can take over in stressful situations, but sorry to disappoint I have not had an outburst or break down yet! I feel blessed I am in such a good spot mentally and physically to handle things that get thrown my way. Now, if I hear anything about my abuser, it does not affect me. Shocks me how unphased I am by him. Just a year ago, it would still make me have a panic attack or vomit hearing anything about him. I guess giving myself closure with him really did give me better closure than he could have ever given me! He in current time is a stranger I do not know. I do not feel one way or another for him if someone tries to tell me something and that feels amazing! Only memories of that monster are what haunt me still. Too many DV survivors have major setbacks or suffer with severe depression off and on their whole life after. I still could, so I keep seeing my therapist and make sure I do not go down that road if we can prevent it. I do feel I am stronger than I believed myself to be, and the past month has shown just how strong I have become.
First, I almost lost my dad. On my birthday, he had surgery to remove kidney stones and came home. Two days later he became so ill, we called 911 and had him rushed by ambulance. It was one of the scariest moments for me. My mom, Eli, Haley and I sat at the ER when they did tests to confirm he was in septic shock. For the next 2 weeks, I literally spent every minute at the hospital other than to go home and sleep, shower and go back. Thankfully my co-workers gave me the opportunity to be there with my dad every moment I could. The sepsis caused by E. Coli infection from surgery consumed his body and started shutting down his kidney, liver and lungs. He was born with one kidney, so being in kidney failure was even worse! There were two days we didn't think he was going to make it. When my dad talks about what he remembers, it is those 2 days as well. He had moments he thought he was going to die too. He did make a turn for the better after the help of our cousin in CA telling us what to ask for, Haley insisting on certain tests, my mom acting like a crazy Lebanese woman to some of the doctors and my many questions to the doctors making them relook at things. They finally listened and did a CT and got a Pulmonologist involved. Pulmonologist changed antibiotic and started heavy steroids and it was like a miracle! That day he was awake and improved a little each day. He is home now and has a long road to recovery as his lungs are still damaged but should make a full recovery over the next three to five months. Seriously one of the worst things our family has gone through in a long time! My dad has way too much to do still in life! Dad....I love you so much and I know you keep blaming yourself for things that happened while we were all focused on you and feel you were a huge burden to us. None of it is your fault and it was never a burden to be there by your side making sure you never gave up I would not have done anything differently! Big thanks to my kids being there every day for 8 hours some days, even the one who fainted from the anxiety of Grumpy being so sick. You're welcome for catching you! Huge thanks to the family and friends that messaged daily, brought food, came to visit, and even flew here to be with us or cut a trip short to drive back!
Second, as you can imagine with my dad almost dying, sitting in a hospital all my awake hours and barely eating my anxiety was super high! The relationship I was in at that time was supposed to be what helped me get thru my worst moment. Instead, my anxiety was too much for him that he drove 90 min to break up with me at the hospital on the day my dad ended up taking the turn for the worse. I was shocked and thought in those first few hours I was heartbroken. I went home that night and didn't even cry. I was so disgusted with how I fell for another male claiming to be a man and wasted months on him. I've been asked several times, what kind of human or man breaks up with someone while their dad is possibly dying? Well, after rereading our messages from the whole relationship because things were brought to my attention shortly after the breakup, receiving anonymous messages from several people from 6 different cities in IA through this blog site's inbox telling me what kind of man he really is, I realize I allowed another possible narcissist to gaslight me and love bomb me once again. I knew people from his area and in his life read my blogs because as soon as I was publicly known as his girlfriend, my blog had lots of traffic from IA. To know that some people not ever meeting me respected my story and wanted to help give me closure after him making it clear he was single again and him saying I was the one with several red flags to people gave me a little peace of mind. I take ownership on two arguments during our relationship due to my overthinking and anxiety, so I was not perfect. He sadly used both of those situations when breaking up with me but forgot the many arguments due to him being selfish, having the I can do it, but you can't mentality or not being fully honest. He then tried to play therapist saying I will never break my anxiety cycle. Side note, my therapist said I am not in any cycle, and she has been aware of every argument and read messages as they happened during our relationship for my progress to see if I am letting my past affect my present and/or how to better communicate things. I only write about him today because it was another lesson on how much I still am learning and growing. How was I so blind again? I am angry at myself for that! I know that if someone starts to blame you for how YOU feel, run far away and fast! I didn't and I chose to accept that behavior. How did I fall for it again!? Was it the door dashing coffee and food to my work few times a week, to my hotel in Dallas during softball several days, to my home when I had a bad day, or because we argued the night before? Could it have been the many old school greeting cards with sweet words written in them he mailed to me, a picture of us he drew or the affection he gave at the beginning knowing that is my biggest need and want in a man? I ignored his tantrums if we ever discussed something he did or said that gave me PTSD. Or, when he got angry if I called him out on something he did not want me to do, but he did it. I ignored one of my kids expressing concern how he handled a situation in front of a bunch of people. I ignored his short temper he had with the dog 2 times I witnessed or his kids once when we were videochatting. I ignored the most annoying voice and rudest gesture putting his hand up and saying, "A Gah Gah Gahhhh!" when he wanted me to stop talking. I ignored those flags waving around in high winds because after 20 minutes he calmed down and acted like he understood he was being unfair or why I was hurt and apologized. He would do super sweet things and I did not see it was all for his own gain. I will commend him; he was the best gas lighter and love bomber I have been blinded by because he had a bunch of us fooled. Some of his last words to me were, "Do not play victim and write about me in a blog because I gave you the respect to come break up with you face to face." My favorite was, " I am not a narcissist because I apologize." I am not a therapist, but I do know narcissists do apologize. They are masters of the apology. My abuser is a medically diagnosed narcissist and he apologized all the time. Did he mean it? No, because an apology is only sincere if the behavior changes. I do not ever write claiming to be a victim. I chose to stay in an abusive relationship for seven years and chose to be in relationships after red flags appeared. I chose to allow any disrespect, ignore any red flags, accept empty apologies, and settled for unfairness. I am at fault for MY actions, not my abuser's, not IA boy's or anyone else's. I write MY truth, what I go thru and feel. Do I make mistakes, yes! Will couples have arguments, yes! Do I believe my past affects current relationships, yes! I am up front from day 1 and if I have thoughts or hurt by something, I am up front with how I feel and why. If it was misunderstood and it was a PTSD moment, I am first to apologize. I have gotten so much better and only had 2 moments in this recent relationship. If my thoughts or feelings are warranted due to your lies or doing things you don't want me to do, should you blame my past, NO! If that offends anyone, this is not a requirement to read. I take away from this as a lesson that my gut is still usually right, do not ignore a red flag if it waves itself more than once or even just once depending on the flag and how windy it is. I also am confused on how I keep getting the same type. My stubborn, smart mouth, blunt, call you out on your BS, overly honest about my past and what affects me still today should scare any narcissist away from day one. It has to be my munchkin height! Allows them to feel like Sasquatch or a big boy around me. I joked a lie detector test will be required on any first dates from here on out. My friends think that may scare off even a good guy. LOL One friend said I will kiss a lot of frogs before finding my prince. Well, I think I have kissed enough. Now, where is he at!? In all seriousness, as I grow and keep settling into the new me, I am aware there is so many gas lighters out there. If he seems too over the top, perfect and/or sweet I am running!!!! Okay, maybe not running, no one enjoys running! Plus, I would trip and fall on my face running with my clumsy self. I am not ready to jump into anything yet, but I have not totally given up on love. I am learning to love myself more and more, so allowing only complete respect, full honesty and only doing or saying things you are ok with me doing or saying will be tolerated.
Third, I need to acknowledge how truly lucky I am! The people in my life right now amaze me each step I take. Dallas was tough as most you know. I am still dealing with not having someone in my life anymore that was my person, my best friend, my softball husband. I am more heartbroken over that than my last relationship ending. With that said, I luckily have more than one person, best friend or wifey/husband. I am blessed with a handful of them! They still love me after I do goofy shit, say ditzy things, overshare personal things, dance around like a wild monkey, cry to them for no reason or valid reasons, talk a million miles a minute venting and then realizing I am just hangry, over thinking or have actual good reason to vent, hug me when I need to feel safe or cuddled, cuddle me all night even if they are not cuddlers, don't judge me on the amount of chewy sprees I eat or coffee I drink, or deal with hot mess Dina. They have done more than they will ever know for me. When they participate in crazy shenanigans with me, makes me love and appreciate them even more. I hope you all know I will do the same for you in a heartbeat! I will be there on your worst days and best days! I love you more than I love chewy sprees!!!! I even wear buffalo plaid for some of you! On top of those super close to me, I have a large extended family due to an amazing softball league. We may not message or hang out other than softball events, but you are important in my life and this journey of mine. The love and support not just from MN teams, has my heart so full and I try to give back as much as I can to that community! Is my life perfect, or where I saw myself at this point in life, no. My life is perfectly imperfect with lots of love and support while I keep working at where I want to be. That is good enough for me! Happy three years to me and however many minutes, days, months, years to those othr survivors out there!