I’ve been really struggling these past few days. I think I need to fire my divorce attorney. He doesn’t respond to my phone calls or e-mail messages when I need to reach him. When he finally calls me back, a couple of days might have gone by. I have no idea what he’s doing. I don’t know what we’re supposed to do. He’s not preparing me for mediation or letting me know what comes next. This is not the way I expected him to represent me.
Regardless of what I end up doing or not with my current attorney, this got me thinking. During the worst part of the devaluation phase, I bottled everything up. Apart from my mother, I didn’t have many people to talk to. Part of it, as I had said before, it was the self-isolation out of embarrassment and the feelings of inadequacy. I was so ashamed of not being able to hold it together.
Unfortunately, the bottling things up would end up affecting my physical health, too. I started to suffer from insomnia. Without giving any details, I would just say I was having problems sleeping. Some friends recommended natural remedies and melatonin. The latter keeps me awake, actually.
My best friend says my brain works overtime. During those sleepless nights, it worked more than overtime. It worked double time and double speed. I would stay awake, contemplating, analyzing, trying to find a way to solve my problems.
I always considered myself a problem solver. How come I couldn’t solve the problems in my life? What I didn’t know back then was that: 1) It wasn’t me; 2) You cannot solve the unsolvable and what cannot be changed.
The other thing I didn’t know was that I should have reached out and try to share what was going on, even if it was nothing else but the feelings of inadequacy. Talking can help. Keeping inside does not. Between all of this and then a baby, I started to be so sleep-deprived that I almost had a few car accidents. I once almost fell asleep while driving. Another time, I almost passed out.
After thinking and considering it for a long time, I finally went to see a doctor. They ran tests and gave me a thorough check-up. The good news was that nothing was wrong at all. Blood cell counts were good. Cholesterol levels were excellent. My sugar was a little low, but nothing to be concerned about. No signs of any problems at all, apart from the creeping weight as a result of always running after my responsibilities with little to no help from my husband and no time to workout at all. I was still not an emotional eater back then. (I became an emotional eater around the time I got served divorce papers and then I went full-blown.) The bad news, which was no new news at all to me, I was exhausted and stressed out. The doctor listened to me about the problems at home. But a doctor of medicine is not a psychologist or a therapist. There’s not much they can do in that respect apart from maybe recommending a specialist.
I had already tried therapy before. I saw a counselor for almost 2 years. I started because I didn’t know what to do about my anxiety attacks and I wanted someone to provide me with tools, especially communication tools, to deal with my husband. I eventually stopped seeing that counselor (and didn’t look for another) because by then I had realized that the cause of my anxiety attacks was the feeling that I was losing control of everything and, in fact, I did have some choices; I just needed to exercise those choices, even if the only choice I had was saying ‘no.’ The other reason why I stopped seeing that counselor was because, by then, I knew I was dealing with someone who was not willing to change or try cooperating with me. I didn’t know my husband was a narcissist at that point, but I was on the road to discovery.
To close this entry, I just want to share a couple of advises with you:
- Do not hire an attorney who knows nothing about NPD (or emotional abuse) and who is not willing to learn and help you or even try to understand what you’re dealing with;
- Do not hire a counselor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist who is not trained in dealing with NPD or emotional abuse victims.
Do your research. Ask them if they know anything about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Ask if they had clients who suffered this type of abuse. Ask them, especially the therapist, if he or she has read any books on the subject or knows which ones to recommend. That will help you to find out if the professional might know anything on the subject and how to help you in your road to recovery.
And lastly, read the words in the image below. Do not do what I did. Do not bottle up. Share. Find someone safe with whom to share. What you don’t talk about will kill you with a very slow death. It will not die until dealt with. Talking about it helps. Journaling helps. If you’re not ready to share with someone, at least try to write about it. Keep your journal in a safe place. Write letters to your abuser. Do not send them to him or her and do not share them with him or her. These letters are for you and your eyes only. Putting things on paper helps getting them out of your system. But you will still need to talk about it eventually or you will not be able to confront what happened to you and heal from it. You won’t be able to process it. And until you do that, you won’t be able to recover and find yourself again.
Be very mindful and picky when choosing with whom to share your experiences. Because if the other person cannot accept you and validate you with no judgments, you will hurt even more. There are good intended people out there who love us and want the best for us. Unfortunately, they are not capable of providing the support we need. They may say things like “Forget him / her! Move on!” While this is good-intended advise, it will probably victimize you all over again. Get it out of your system, but with safe people.
And please, please, please: If you’re being physically abuse in any way, get out! Call for help. Call the Domestic Hotline. Go to a shelter. Do not stay one more minute in there. Shelters provide with legal advise, too. If you have children, they will help you plan accordingly to your own situation. Look after yourself. Today. Now. Don’t wait. You’re stronger than you think. You already put up with him or her this long. A weak person is not capable of putting up with these narc
holes for that long. Only a strong person is capable of such thing. So don’t think you’re weak because you’re not. You’re strong. You’re beautiful. You’re everything that your narc hole will never be.