I asked my attorney. “Do NOT lose faith. You are stronger than that. I believe in you, your mom does and a lot of other people who provide you great support.” I go back to the e-mail message. I keep on reading her words in probably a desperate effort to find the strength to not give up. I can’t help but cry a little while reading them. And she’s right. I am stronger than this. I do have support from my closest friends and I don’t know where I would be without my mom. But I can’t help feeling this way when I feel I’m swimming against the current.
I ask my friend who also got divorced from an abusive husband with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD): “Did he tell lies about you, make up things, twist events, facts, and the truth, to the point that you looked as the one lying and with mental issues?” My friend says yes, before, during, and still now 7-8 years after divorce. She then proceeds to tell me a story about him leaving a loaded gun and a target on her favourite chair for her to find out when returning from work. This was amidst the divorce proceedings. She then shares that after finding the gun, she would put things on the floor outside the door to the bedroom she was sleeping in during that time when they were still sharing the house while waiting to be divorced. She would put those things so she could hear him coming. She recently had an alarm installed because he has threatened her in numerous occasions, as well as her boyfriend. (She started to date him about a year ago.)
She also relates how she keeps a binder with all his threatening text and e-mail messages. She tried to press charges, a restraining order. She tried to have the judge take a look at it after he falsely accused her of kidnapping their son. Nobody would take a look at her binder.
“What is it going to take for someone, anyone, to believe us?,” I ask. “Does someone need to end up dying or at the hospital at the hands of these narcs for anyone to start believing us?,” I ask her. “I don’t know,” she says, adding that let’s hope it doesn’t come down to that.
Our friends may believe us. But they may not understand us… unless they also lived through it.
Judges don’t believe us.
Policemen don’t believe us.
Psychologists, therapists, counselors don’t believe us. In fact, they may even diagnose us with a personality disorder.
I encountered even priests who didn’t believe me. I’m glad that I finally and very recently found one priest and one nun who do believe me. I couldn’t help myself and I started to cry when they told me that they believed me and they were even very compassionate towards me. They also had very wise and comforting words for me. It partially restored my faith in the Church.
Sometimes, our friends don’t believe us, nor does our family.
But the worst is when those who are supposed to protect and serve are the ones making the abuser the victim and turning the victim into something he or she is not.
This is the situation I’m finding myself in today, these days. I’ve done everything I’ve been told to. I’ve cooperated with everybody the legal system has put in front of me, only to be slapped in the face again.
How do you fight the pack of lies without sounding defensive?
How do you tell your truth, when the narc has put up a show deserving of an Oscar?
How do you prove a type of abuse that is insidious, covert, undetected by the naked eye?
The bruises are actually there, only that they make you look bad. The bruises are in the form of nervousness, anxiety, depression, a sense of unreality that may give others the impression that you’re out of it. They may even say that you’re bipolar; that you have a flare for melodrama; that you are controlling, obsessed, too rigid, that you can’t forget and forgive. That you’re always acting like trying to think and control too much what comes out of your mouth. That you have trust issues.
If you look at victims of rape or other types of physical abuse, especially abuse that took over some extended period of time, you can see the similarities between those cases and NPD victims. But we don’t have the forensic evidence to prove what happened to us.
A good psychologist who might have a keener eye, might have been trained in these types of pathologies and abuse, or who might have been there him or herself might be able to see through it. But those are very rare to find.
My own therapist failed to see what I was really going through and has said things that have only made my case look worse, making my husband look as the perfectly sound and concerned husband that I know he’s not.
So how can I fight this? How do I prove myself, my side, my point? How do I make sure that none of this ends up making me lose my daughter?
“How do I trust in God when things keep getting worse at every turn?”
I ask this question to another friend. She says that maybe this is the one, big faith test He’s putting me through. And to really trust in Him and have faith in Him. She says that she does understand since her own faith had been tested in hard ways. However, she doesn’t elaborate and I don’t ask.
I feel those words deep inside of me.
Trust me and trust in me.
I feel them again.
I’m here and you’re not alone.
It’s like a little voice inside of me. I don’t know where it comes from. It just pops up mixed up with all the feelings of despair.
Don’t give up.
“I won’t,” I reply. But who am I talking to? I then think that the last thing I need is a diagnosis of disassociate personality disorder (split personality in common tongue.)
I know I’m not hearing voices. I’m not crazy. But this sort of voice or feeling feels genuine. It comes from the deeper areas of my soul.
You’re going to be fine.
I want to believe it. I’m not sure I can. I try to look back to the difficult times in my life. I have lived through dictatorship, a country in war, hyperinflation, unbelievable unemployment rates, a not-so-easy immigration process. I got out well. Better than expected. I try to find the strength in that knowledge. But the stakes are higher now. I have flesh from my flesh to lose. Money, jobs, property, goods, all those may have value. But they cannot be compared to a child you carried inside of you, who is a part of you, to whom you gave life since the moment of conception, whom you loved even when he or she still didn’t look like a baby and you could not feel him or her, yet.
Trust me. Believe in me. I have not forgotten you.
I keep on thinking about my Heavenly Mother Mary. I was once facing a very difficult time, not as the current one, but difficult back then. I turned to Her and the peace I felt was indescribable. Things started to improve after that. I want to do the same again. I sometimes go to bed thinking that I would like to see Her and hear Her telling me comforting words and that things are going to be fine and that I won’t lose my daughter. But then I shake my head thinking that I would probably freak out if She were to appear to me and that I am undeserving of such blessing. I’m not St. Catherine Laboure, Juan Diego, or any of the shepherds in Fatima. I’m no saint.
The other day I was looking at my daughter trying to fall asleep in bed. I then remembered that children have a special relationship with God, Mary, and the angels. I sometimes think that my daughter might have that connection. She’s done a few things uncharacteristic of children her age, even less so with Autism. All of a sudden, she looked at me in the eyes. She had this peaceful look. She looked at me as saying “We’ll be fine, mom.” I felt compelled to ask her to ask God to look out for me and for us. Maybe He will listen to her. I don’t know.
Trust in me.
I want to. I’m not sure I can.
I’m here, with you.
Please, help me. Don’t let them take her away. Don’t let him, my husband continue to abuse me. I know my truth. I know what he did to me, and so do You. Right? I’m not making it up. You know that. So what do I do? How do I make people believe me?
Have you considered that perhaps it is not your job to tell them, to make them believe you?
No, I have not. But every time I say nothing, he does something. I don’t criticize him, but he criticizes me. I don’t lie about him, but he does about me. I don’t make accusations, but he does. What am I supposed to do about all of that?
Okay. I’m going to trust You, even if this is just my going crazy and hearing voices inside of me.
You’re not crazy.
No, I’m not. And this little voice is not in my head. It’s coming from my heart .
Yes, it is.
Go to sleep.
Okay. I will. Good night.
Good night. I’ll take care of it.
I want to believe that.