It’s 3 a.m. I’m under a hot shower, trying desperately to wash away the filth I feel after spilling the beans on the abuse I endured to my new psychologist. Seven pages of narcissistic abuse. And that was the “Cliff Notes” version.
The fragile equilibrium that’s allowed me to laugh, smile and keep on a-truckin’ from 30+ years of narcissistic abuse has been shattered. He saw through my well-honed act… and called me on it. Called my bluff by saying, “Your symptoms don’t match your story. You function so well. For example, your anxiety levels should be much worse.”
Of course, I’ve been at this recovery thing for, well, since going No Contact 2.5 years ago.
In a way, his comment made me feel good. I’ve always been a fighter. Forced to face my fears. Do the thing that scared me. Never, ever give in. Or as I told him, “My dad had cancer. My mom had agoraphobia. My husband has a terminal lung disease. I don’t have the luxury of wallowing. Go, go, go. Story of my life.”
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I liked having someone see straight through me. Liked being called upon to be real. Liked it a lot.
But I don’t know how to be real. I’ve been doing this act for so long, it’s on autopilot.
And I’m scared. Afraid I won’t do therapy perfectly. That I’ll let myself down. Let my husband down. Waste the money. Even let the therapist down. (Yeah, yeah, I know I’m being codependent, perfectionistic…whatever.)
The psychologist said therapy is all about me. That’s scary too. When I lived alone, it was okay to be me-centric. Oh, I felt guilty for it, but I did it anyways because, for the first time in my life, there was no one else to take care of. I could be as hedonistic as I wanted and no one knew.
Then I got married and the codependence went into overdrive. Michael hates it, but I can’t stop it!
Now, when the hedonism of me-centric therapy is offered on a golden platter, I’m terrified. It sounds so…so egotistical. So selfish. I don’t know if I can do this right.
I didn’t exactly intend to get into therapy. No, I went there for information. For confirmation, validation and documentation. But therapy…no. I couldn’t afford it. (Thank God for their sliding payment scale!)
But now I’m hooked. The psychologist said he can help me feel so much happier. I have a tremendous capacity for happiness. Believe it or not, I wake up happy every morning. Roll over, make sure my husband’s still breathing, gaze at his angelic face and feel even happier. Then I remember my parents and my upbringing. And it’s downhill from there.
Maybe he can help me with that. Help me release the past. Stop trying to “fix it” in my imagination. (Is that what they call “bargaining”?)
I realize that I made a boo-boo in my healing process. Sure, I tipped my hat to grieving. There were a couple of memorable times when those guttural sobs deep from within wracked my frame. But even then, denial and doubt flirted in the back of my mind. Surely, surely they must’ve had good reasons, acceptable reasons for everything they did. They would never have knowingly done wrong or abused me. They love me! It was all done from love and for my good because I’m such a bad girl! Surely it’s all one big misunderstanding. What’s not okay for others to do, must be okay for them to do…somehow, someway.
Perhaps this psychologist will disabuse me of my denial. If I recall right, that’s what he said he’d do by educating me on what normalcy actually is.
And just live. In the present. “In the moment.” I know it sounds cliché, but there’s a lot of truth in that cliché.
And maybe that’s why I’m in therapy. Because I’m stuck. Hit a plateau in the healing process because I still haven’t accepted the reality and extent of the abuse. Maybe, I don’t even know it. The mind control is so strong!
I’m scared of the amount of pain smooshed deep down inside. Scared that if I wiggle the pin on that rusty ol’ grenade, the explosion might be more than I can handle. I’ve peaked a few times..and the sobs felt like they were coming from way down deep in my guts. Like an Irish woman rocking and keening by an ashy fire, the sobs are gutteral, the pressure so intense the blood vessels around my eyes explode.
But it’s got to be done. I’m sick of feeling this way.
I better go invest in some kick-ass waterproof mascara. I’m gonna need it!
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