I have felt very reflective today about all that has happened in my whole life, not just this last horrific year. I am able to see a very disturbing pattern in myself that I am ashamed of and that I seemed to have been completely blind to. I have always been attracted to narcissistic men. I seem to have somewhere along the way accepted that I could somehow save them from themselves, even at the expense of my own well-being. What a ridiculous thing to think. My suspicion is that because I was molested, which is a high form of narcissism in the predator, I had somehow become comfortable in a position of victimization.
If I had any pride left in me, it is completely gone now.
One thing that had really made all of this hard for me to deal with is the fact that I only tended to concentrate any attention on Chef’s good qualities, always ignoring, forgiving, and forgetting the things that he was saying or doing that weren’t right. Yes, I argued with him about things sometimes, but I can see now, he would use his humor to get me off of his back. But, there was never any real resolutions to some of these things.
Anyone has read a handful of posts on this blog knows, I really, really loved my husband. What I’m beginning to realize now, though, is that I was really in love with an image of him I had built up in my head, and not actually the person he truly was.
Chef has been unfaithful to me before. I would always find out much later, and it always hurt, but once he’d cry and promise never to do it again, I would forgive him, and squash the pain it had caused somewhere in a corner of my heart. I guess I believed that since God forgives us and then forgets our sins, I was obliged to do the same thing. I’ve accepted consequences of Chef’s actions upon myself our entire relationship, because I just wanted peace. And I don’t have a problem admitting the things I do wrong, so it was easy to do. Now, thinking back, I really can’t remember one time Chef has ever apologized and then actually didn’t do whatever it was he’d done again.
Out of desperation, I had to leave my home because a) my husband threatened me and because b) my landlord absolutely would not give me any time to get the rent together. It had to be paid by the 2nd, with no extensions. So, after begging Chef to please, please help me pay the rent, and being ignored and turned down, I moved some clothes, my kids, and my animals out of the house, asked a friend to stay there, pay that month’s rent and store my belongings until I had another place to live. What I found out later was that the very next day, Chef came back to our home, kicked the guy out, and paid the rent…and moved in his new girlfriend. They set up house with what was left of my appliances, my bed, and even some of the things that I had decorated with. Chef had decided he wanted his home the same, except with another woman. He had no care at all what he was doing to me, the kids, and even the animals. Only what was comfortable for him.
I doubt I even need to describe the pain and betrayal I feel about that scummy move on both Chef and my landlord’s part. I went to see for myself if this was true, and as I stood in my home that I’d picked with Chef, painted, installed lighting, and a myriad of other things to improve it, I could see clearly that Chef truly felt nothing about how this latest move made me feel. He truly believed that his needs and wants and feelings were all that mattered. Of course, he was flying high, so there was no reaching his brain, but I did see myself pretty clearly at that moment. I choose people who hurt me. He always has, but he’s also always tried to make up for it with nice words or even the occasional apology. He knew if he could make me laugh, I would let it go. But it never stopped him from doing it again, sometimes even the same day.
Yesterday, despite sleeping pills, I had been awake for almost 4 entire days, going over so much about him and me in my mind. Instead of remembering things in the best light possible, I tried to remember the things that had hurt me the most all along the way, and it was a humbling moment to realize that I had been the person I thought I was all along.
I cried to the Lord, as I tend to do hourly these days, and I finally realized, God had answered a prayer I’d asked him in October of last year. I had it written in a journal, and I asked God to save me from becoming a drug addict, as I tend to become prone to addictions. And because this drug was coming in to the house at a time that everything I loved was crashing down around me, and with a husband pressuring me to use it, thinking that it would make me feel as “amorous” as it makes him feel, I knew this was going to become A Perfect Storm.
I was a drug addict in my early twenties for about 6 months. I was already with Chef, and he introduced me to cocaine. I loved how it made me feel energetic and smart. But no drug on this earth has ever had a single effect on my sex drive. None. I hated the shame I felt back then, and I quit cold turkey, taking care of myself through the withdrawals alone, while Chef continued to use it for about another month. After I was clean, I went out, got a job, and prepared to leave him behind, taking my babies with me. It worked, and Chef also got clean, and we stayed like that for almost our whole marriage.
As I read through my journal now, you can clearly see the descent of our relationship. And it happened rapidly and mercilessly. Every other page is for God to save us out of this mess Chef kept bringing home. And finally, it seems God answered me, but not in the way I had wanted. He rescued me, but Chef didn’t want the help, so I had to be removed from harm’s way. So, as I sit here, I feel very loved, even though I still feel very, very broken-hearted.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I’m a sucker for Chef. I always want to believe the best of him, but frankly, in the last year, I can’t remember him saying one thing that was true. I even knew for a fact he was lying, and I just ignored it. I just wanted to not be a nag. As the end was drawing nearer, he was becoming physically abusive, and the emotional abuse was absolutely incredible. And even after I left, he would still manipulate me with promises, sweet text messages, tears, and a million other ways that would keep me hoping that he was returning back to his old self. I even knew he was still seeing the girl he was having an affair with, and I still fell for his nonsense.
Yesterday, I decided that what needed to be done was that I needed a way to keep him from being able to manipulate me or abuse me with his words. And I thrashed about in my mind to find an answer because it seemed that I was the one who contacted him most of the time, not vice versa. I prayed, and then decided what needed to happen was I needed to make it illegal to call him or him me. There had to be consequences outside of myself for contacting him, because right now, at weak moments, I was prone to reach out to him again, probing for that contrite heart that I’d been looking for.
The last day Chef and I were living together in the same house, something happened that I’m not going to write about here. It isn’t what actually happened that horrified my kids and me so much as my response to it. I had grown so accustomed to this kind of insanity, I was just non-nonchalant about the whole thing. I’d grown comfortable in these episodes over the last year, which breeds a tolerance that could get me killed.
After praying and praying, I decided that I needed to get a protective order against Chef. It isn’t only for my safety and physical well-being, but for a method to make sure I did not keep reaching out to him whenever I felt weak. The last episode of physical abuse was witnessed by all three of my children, and so it was a very easy case to make to get that order.
One thing that really stuck out to me when I was talking to a counselor at the Victim Crisis center was that it is women like myself who end up murdered more often than any other kind of woman. We never realize just how dangerous our partner has become, and therefore, we keep thinking that though he has crossed all these other lines with us, our lives would be a line they’d never cross. Frankly, we never even see it coming.
Even now, I can see how God had to send Chef away from me. I think I would have eventually lapsed into continuous drug use just to dull this horrible pain I’ve felt for so long now. I think I would blindly have walked right into my own death, whether by his hands or his drugs. It had become a dangerous environment for me, and while I should have seen all the signals — neglect, isolation, threats, infidelity, anger, withholding, lewd— the list goes on and on, I instead had blamed drugs, or stress, and even myself for his behavior.
Remember when I said that what really bothered me about Chef’s affair was that it was a young girl who was a proclaimed Christian? God showed me that Chef has always felt like since I knew about the Lord and talked/taught about Him all the time, he was somehow a beneficiary in my salvation. As such, only a spiritual-like person would have been able to replace me in his heart enough that he would leave. And remember — God wanted him away from me. So, along came this spiritual-like girl whose personality is quiet, reserved, humble, and gentle who claimed to know Jesus. And yet with all her years of being in the church, she didn’t read her bible. She took people’s words for her teaching instead of the Lord’s words. Rebekkah had been her friend before all of this, and had once told me that it was appalling how little the girl seemed to understand her own religion. It is was the only kind of woman who could have fed that thing in Chef that wants everything sin has to offer without the payment of death without having any power to show him the truth. And the girl is woefully unable to confront him much less teach him. It was just a win/win for Chef — all the good stuff about God without all the hard work. But the payoff for this trade is not worth it in the end. And that just breaks my heart.
I no longer feel jealous of this girl and Chef. It is actually a sad sight to see anymore, and one of the things that I really like about this order is that I don’t have to witness anymore of Chef’s descent into this misery he insists on embracing.
The order was served on him today, and in two weeks, I will go to court to make it final. As Chef was leaving after being served, he shook his head at me and held up two fingers to indicate that he’d be back in our old home with his girlfriend in two weeks after the hearing. I didn’t respond. Of course, he thought this was just me being vengeful; it wouldn’t occur to him that this was about what was good for me. This was my way to force me to walk away from him, both emotionally and physically. It was my way of shaking myself out of this comfortable numbness that I get when something drastic happens to me. The actor Hugh Laurie, of House fame, mentioned in an interview once that he had been driving a car for well of 100 miles per hour, and instead of feeling fear of doing something so dangerous, he had felt nothing. He said, he knew at that moment, something was very wrong. Well, the night that Chef did what he did, I should have been terrified, and I simply hadn’t been. I had felt nothing.
Tonight, I feel like a person who has woken up in a hospital, and though you are battered, broken, bruised..you know now that you are beginning the journey towards healing.
The breaking of my dreams is over, and now I return to my Invisible King and collect new dreams for myself.
God bless every single one of you…..and be careful what you ask for, ’cause God just might answer in a way you didn’t expect.