Psychological Insight

There are so many things that can lead to someone getting abused.  lack of self-esteem and lack of acknowledgement of self are usually the result of something else.

I’ve become well aware of some of the things that lead me to get entwined in a relationship with someone covertly abusive.

I’ve taken a long, blinders-free look at the toxicity I grew up surrounded by, in school and despite a mostly loving family, at home as well.

I’ve acknowledged those things that caused me to have no clue about boundaries and healthy coping mechanisms.  The lacks of anyone able to teach me those things.

I’ve acknowledged that I was never a willing victim and that in some things I stood up for myself (as much as I could) and I’ve struggled but never accepted being a victim.  I can never accept that, you see.  I’m too entrenched into true equality and justice.  I’ve realized I’ve always been my own person.  I’ve sought, my whole life through, those answers needed to protect myself and others but sometimes those things, those answers, were not obvious and very difficult to find or define.

I’ve now acknowledged that I struggle with, and feel as if I’m failing myself from lacks of, speaking my own truth.  That I am one of many people who fall into the trap of “too much understanding of others”.  I understand the reasons someone turned toxic.  I understand they may not know any better (how can I judge or point fingers when no one taught me those things and I struggled to find that knowledge and only found it by luck after many years of abuse?).  I understand it to the point that those “reasons” become “excuses” and I’ve let toxic behaviors slide on account of “understanding why” they did this.  This understanding is great on some levels, but the allowance of those toxic behaviors is not.  It is a lack.  It is the un-acknowledgment that I, too, am a person.  That there are no excuses to be toxic or to allow someone else to breach your boundaries.

Often times we also feel unsure..is this a boundary being breached?  what is happening… and we allow the uncertainty of a situation to make us excuse bad behaviors and boundary-crossing.  Because behaviors are not always clearly definable, in the moment, as the breaching of a boundary.  Sometimes there is an entire well… it doesn’t seem that bad because of … reasons… and then you do not identify it as a clear issue when often times, it is.

Youth and naivete and social pressures can certainly make us doubt our inner voice of “this is wrong and should not be happening to you” and so we do not listen.

It can be as simple as you saying:  “well… I don’t know… I’m not feeling like doing this”

and a reply of: “oh come on, it’ll be fun… you’ll enjoy it..” and continuous pressure to do it anyway despite the misgivings of our inner-voice.  Sometimes even after we’ve said a clear “No!”, especially after we’ve said a clear “no!”.

What people who have not been through these situations often do not understand the “grooming” involved, or the nudging done to get us to betray what boundaries we do have.  The crafty manipulator will latch on and nudge and coax and groom and cajole their intended prey into losing all sense of their own boundaries and into accepting they be breached without understanding what is being done to them or why.

Truth is we do not learn about red flags and boundaries as we grow up, especially if we were not raised in an environment with clear boundaries.

Lack of boundaries and plenty of denial come together to breed toxicity.  Both the abuser and the victim, where the abuser grows into overgrown sense of entitlement (loss of accountability and sense of responsibility, loss of humility, loss of the idea that others have rights as well and are people too, over exaggerated sense of self, exposed to toxic love and toxic attention, toxic “caring” – which really is not caring at all) and the victim loses their belief in their own rights (loss of self, loss of a sense of having rights, loss of any boundaries they gained, loss of the sense of mattering- at all, to themselves and to anyone else- sense of being deprived of love, attention, caring).

I think that is what the signs to look for in order to prevent abuse.

Often times it’s not easy to prevent because it’s difficult to see the early signs.

This is a great big insight into early childhood development and where to look / what to look for.

When children are forgotten, they often forget themselves as well.  When children are given too large a sense of being great, they forget how great people around them also are.  There needs to be a balance and in toxicity there is no balance.

To heal toxicity in the human soul, we need to restore that balance.

I strongly think this is the key.  This is the key to solving so many issues we see in the here-and-now of today’s society.

I am writing my story, I am digging out the bits and pieces that, forgotten, lead me to where I am today.  I am putting insight into it.  I’ve no clue where it will lead but then I’d no clue where life would toss me and what insights it would give me… none of us ever know ahead of time.

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Empowerment

The single most important thing to realize when you face an abusive relationship is this:

They need you but you don’t need them,
so they make you believe you need them…when really it’s the other way around

they force feed you that illusion/ belief via charm and charisma and beat downs

They need you

but you do not need them!

But they need you
they need your loyalty
your love
your admiration
your wit
your knowledge
they need whatever of yours they can mimic and pretend it was their original idea
they need your blindness and they need you to obey them  (slavery)

And so when you don’t…when you wake up to that fact…

they go for petty revenge..or revenge altogether

but that is what they do and why

I’ve accomplished much in the last couple of weeks.  I think things are finally starting to happen for me.  Hopefully that continues on the good path things are beginning to take.  It would be nice to cut a break from all the problems of rebuilding.  I mean, if nothing else I’ll be an expert in the process… but it would be nice to have a moment to look back and enjoy just how far I’ve progressed.

Monday I will have been free and no contact for 2 years.  It’s nice to look at all I’ve accomplished in that time.
All I can say is that he can choke on all of the hate he spat my way.  He was wrong.  I’m better without him.  I’m worth more then he ever claimed.  He has no power over me anymore.  Even the PTSD nightmares have all fled.

It’s not nearly enough or done yet, and it’s been a long and difficult road but I’m finally getting there.

 

Navigating life

I think one of the most difficult parts of rebuilding my life has been dealing with ineptitude in bureaucracy.  It has to be the one single thing that’s helped me build myself up the most. It’s taught me to speak up for myself more.  It’s helped me gain a certain attitude about how I can handle life’s hurdles and messes.  Silver lining, right?

Sadly I was shuffled to a place where life hurdles, messes and goof ups are the norm, not the exception.  I’ve felt fear of losing everything I worked so hard to gain several times in the past year.  2017 has really been a “toughen up, you got this” kind of year.

I think I’ve learned that if you’re going to go through a time when nearly everyone is gonna fail you, most of them because they keep messing up your case (I know: over-worked and under-paid in an area where people are almost primitively unable to control their own tempers and lash out in anger at the least little problem) then you have to be there for yourself and speak your truth all the more because no one’s going to bother to admit their mistakes, take responsibility for them and fix them unless you stand up for yourself.  Hopefully in a healthy way.  It’s sad that I’ve been erroneously dumped into the lot as if I was from here, but I understand that here, it’s all they know and it’s how they’ve learned to be because of it.

What sucks is that this often gets very counter-productive, inefficient and does not resolve the problems encountered.

I was, earlier this year, dumped by my therapist for asking her to revise a document that took me out of the work program.  The funny part of that is that I’ve held it together for a year despite all the issues I faced after 16 years of mental and emotional abuse, gaslighting, word salad, scapegoating, the works.  I had anxiety and couldn’t deal with personal space invasion during that whole year but I kept it together and handled it… how? because I had to.  I didn’t have a choice because I didn’t qualify for any services that whole year (immigration status he left me struggling to obtain on my own after years of dangling it over my head and finding excuses not to get it done, including blaming me).  So I was in the work program the entire time I was in serious need of healing and could not get services.  I was essentially forced to keep it together because hurting someone else is not an option.  Bad enough I was attacked by a dumb teenager who thought he could accomplish what the ex couldn’t: be physically abusive.  I’ve literally been through hell and kept it together.  Now said therapist did a very honest, but very inaccurate, report because of who I am and “how I roll”.  I’m not like most people.  I’ve come to see that.  I did a lot of healing work mostly on my own because of the cards I was dealt and by the time I was removed from the work program (which I thought it would affect my attempts to get a proper status in a negative way), I’d healed enough that much of the diagnosis was no longer an issue… mind you I guess that did not occur to her.  I’m really sad that the response was to sabotage my next few appointments.  I do understand why now though.  It was because the people in this area, which I was unfairly lumped in, cannot control their anger issues.

I cannot count how many times someone messed up my case file.  Including what is the most recent mess up.  They fixed it but kept arguing with me… they showed me the date for a sum they claimed I was supposed to have gotten but know I never got.   Well, let’s just say that I know what their mistake was and will point it out if not fixed.  That will wait a while.

Another place has completely lost a document in relation to my health.  I went for tests last moment before the Holidays and the machine was broken (so was the spare, go figure).  They had to borrow a different machine that did the same thing.  The person who read it was gone.  I didn’t know I needed those tests done or I would have had it done earlier.  I was cleared by the one medical office but I guess they bypassed my Primary Care doctor who called me today not knowing where the test results went… and looking for them… but I guess they were sent to the specialist’s office.  They are running around amidst dealing with their usual work day trying to locate it and I am only able to assume that they bypassed the PCP office and sent to the specialist only because they are the ones who called me to clear me… so…

I am left wondering how anyone functions around here.

I am left wondering how anyone manages to keep services if they “fly off the handle” and at the same time I can’t blame them entirely.  They are dealing with constant ineptitude and at some point, it takes a toll.  However, I also feel bad for those who are making those mistakes because they are where I was a year+ ago: they are panicking, afraid.  They fear the reaction and so they go into panic mode and fear mode and they cannot think properly, they can then not fix anything.

It becomes a vicious circle where person A goofs, case gets rotated to person B so person A doesn’t get angry backlash or of getting fired and because person B should be able to not be afraid because they didn’t goof up, except they don’t know the case much and have a rush time limit to fix Person A’s goof up.  Meanwhile person C (the customer) is left in limbo and either fearing the impact of the goof up or angry and if that is not dealt with on a healthy level it can really cause trouble.

I’m wondering how people even manage to function under those circumstances.  People forget that I’m from Canada, and although we do have sociopaths and misplaced entitlement at times, we have a very different way of dealing with those situations when they arise.

In addition I realized I’m an INFJ empath which makes me terribly insightful and able to accomplish what most other personality types can’t.  In addition I’m Capricorn which makes me terribly efficient.  I see just how those combinations have helped me help myself and heal with some support and how much progress I’ve made.  I also realize I know myself and other people don’t, mainly because I am a rarity.  You simply don’t see too many INFJ empath Capricorns born and raised in a high end of educational systems with an open-minded family background.  The result of that is both fascinating and, I’m sure, frightening to many.  My light shines.  It will continue to shine.  My desire to never hurt anyone intentionally (and hopefully unintentionally) remains strong.  I’ve been hurt enough to know I would not, could not, ever wish it on anyone.  I understand mistakes happen.  They can be corrected.  However, make no mistake: I am fierce.  I speak my truth now.

Learning to deal with messes is how you come out buffed and polished and knowing you can handle whatever life throws at you, because you wake up one day and realize that’s exactly what you’ve been doing all along: handling life as it comes at you out of nowhere.

 

Healing

I’ve started to dig into how I ended up marrying an abuser.  What essentially ruined my self-esteem and self-worth.   I’m digging it all up, exposing it to light and completely examining every facet of it so that I can then be absolutely sure to repair all that was “broken”.  I can finally take a long look at all I’ve been through, now that I’m middle-aged and move forward.  I have no clue if I’ll have what I write published or not.  I know much of it would upset some people but much of it would also be good insight and explain a lot.  It would also bring a great deal of knowledge to those who need it the most.

For example, did you know that toxicity thrives in the center of denial?  That denial reigns supreme in toxic households?  Denial is the process with which families of toxic abusive people allow toxicity to thrive.

Denial is why the ex, for example, was able to make me the scapegoat for his self-sabotage as far as his family is concerned.  How could I have spent money placed in *his* bank account when it wasn’t a shared account?  His mother brushed off his behavior because he is her son.  Denial.  The ex often said it too: “Deny, deny, deny” because if there is no proof, then it’s just words.  I see now just how right he was.  Speaking truth means nothing without supporting evidence.  Not just facts but hardcore proof.  But even then, with enough undeniable proof shoved in the faces of those in denial, there is still denial.  It is why the flying monkeys stick by the abuser.  It is how these people thrive in their toxicity.

It is also why we end up in those relationships.  Denial of red flags, denial via excuses-making.  Denial.  It is both the reason and the “bubble” that enables toxicity to thrive.

Those who refuse to accept denial anymore and open their eyes are then blamed, scapegoated, shunned, because ignorance is bliss, is it not?

 

Speaking up

In a few weeks I’ll be undergoing surgery and will be offline a while.

Today’s topic is misplaced entitlement and poor customer service.  Because someone needs to speak out on the issue.

This past weekend I was approached by a stranger who refused to deal with the librarians.  He was asking me if I had ID and could get him a guest pass.  I strongly told him repeatedly that this is not my job and that I could not help him, he had to deal with the librarians.

Obviously he had no ID they would accept or his name was on the banned folks list, honestly I neither know nor do I care at this point.  For all I know he would have used the pass to cause issues or get on porn websites in my name.  Not happening.

This entire area has misplaced entitlement and the response from the local public library who “offers wifi” is to make sure that a task as simple as resetting/rebooting the router so that those of us using the library’s WIFI simply cannot.

When you are trying to:

1. job hunt

2. Apply for financial aide for schooling because you’re struggling getting a job after say…16 years in an abusive marriage…

3. internet connection is the only way you have to communicate with family and some long-distance friends

well… I understand that they have issues with many people who are toxic.  It’s all I see here to be honest… A handful of folks that are so toxic and unable to control their emotions which leave everyone else to pay the price.

However running a library in a way that claims being opened and accepting of all only to act like they cannot fix the issues as often as they do is simply leaving me wondering if those leaving the positive review comments attend the same library I currently go to.  This simple issue that “cannot be resolved” in a peaceful manner for those who are nice about it makes me question if I would ever support such a public library in any way and if, perhaps, they should fire the current tech who always seems to be absent and/or on vacation…

I will be happy when I can finally shed the neighbor issues and the various other problems this area are full of.  It has served it’s purpose in my healing journey in showing me my own true worth but honestly having to deal with gits is tiresome and I could do without it for a while.

I decided to write my story

I decided to write as much as I remember of the 16 years+ in book format. 

I don’t know if I’ll try to have it published or not.  I hope writing it would at least bring awareness to a major issue that laws don’t have a current way to deal with, even here in North America.

I think it’s important that the public be aware that I consider what happened to me a form of human trafficking… I mean he never forced me into the sex trade with others but he did bring me here with lies and deceit in order to force me to be his own personal slave.  He intended from day one to dangle my illegal status over my head and no one saw it coming… not even the “helpful” border guards that bought into his lies too.  That’s how a charming individual like him got me here.  He talked a helpful soul into “speeding up the process” and then never filed any of the papers they gave him.
…and… no one checked on a follow through… because that’s where their job ended…

It’s clear to me now that he had absolutely no intent on ever doing my paperwork and that he enjoyed every single moment of [mental /emotional] torture he could inflict on me over the entirety of the marriage.  He enjoyed smearing me to his family / friends and forcing me to have little contact with my own family and friends back in Canada.

And that the border crossing guards need to absolutely be taught to test for and recognize sociopaths and narcissism.  They are the ones that manipulate, cajole, twist truth and push to get their way.  They use loopholes to get away with bad behaviors.  They laugh in the face of laws and play mind games with their intended targets. I guarantee that had the helpful soul at the border not fallen to his charming romantic stories, he would have thrown a hissy fit worthy of an overgrown child and I would not have landed here with no status.

*** I do not, however put any blame on the border guard(s) involved.  I mean, I was tricked too.  You can’t stop something from happening if you’ve got no clue about it.

Thus I think it’s imperative that they be trained to deal with these situations (by recognizing sociopaths and narcissists)  to prevent them in the future… well it may be more difficult now considering that the border is somewhat more difficult to cross now then it used to be when I was brought over, but if it can help prevent any future person (anywhere in the world) from getting into the mess I found myself in for 16 years, be it here in the States or up North in Canada, or…anywhere really, then I will write my story.

***Because things need to change. ***
People need to open their eyes to what’s going on.

There needs to be follow-ups and accountability
…for those who essentially marry foreigners in order to “obtain their own personal slaves”, to force them to cook, clean, have sex and comply to their ever-changing demands while confusing the heck out of them with gas lighting, blame shifting and word salads (among other tactics), who rip their target’s already shaky self-esteem and confidence until they are so shattered and confused they no longer know who they are.  Leaving them feeling unsure of themselves, doubting themselves and feeling crazy.
Those who brought them here claiming love but spend the entirety of the marriage torturing them emotionally, mentally, threatening them, holding children and paperwork /legal status over their heads, 
Destroying / stealing belongings brought over (often family heirlooms), often using the very legal system to “keep them in line” and keep them fearful and isolated.

and ohhhh how easy it is for them to do exactly that, use the very laws and very authority of government and police to entrap their target once the marriage is in place.  And so very few manage to find a way out, especially if the abuse is not physical.  Tough to prove, because they are very, very good at using loopholes and laws, at twisting things around using just enough truth to catch folks into those lies.

anyway… I am not the only one who was/ is in this situation.  I’ve met others… they have similar stories by abusive partners or former partners both here (United States) and in Canada.  I’m sure other countries have folks who share similar stories.  In some countries there is even less hope for those in charge to listen to their plight.

Their stories are not mine to share, but I wish to impress on those in charge or those in contact with them that things need to change.  No system is perfect but education and speaking our truth is important.  Awareness brings change, either protection on a personal level (hmmm, I don’t want to be caught in a mess like this so I have to find out my options) or on a legal level (we will work to protect our citizens from getting stuck abroad / we will help foreigners caught up in these abusive situations) and it begins where failure is maximum: training those who are at the forefront of those situations to both recognize and not dismiss a potential situation that could become abusive.

If the guards had known the potential, would they still have given him the out he needed?  Would they have fallen for his charismatic tricks and lies as I did?

There needs to be tougher penalties for those who commit these crimes, maybe given time limits for paperwork to be completed for those who bring foreigners into marriages.  Stiffer penalties and maybe even forensic psychological testing for both the citizen and foreign partner to evaluate if either is a sociopath or narcissist in order to help prevent abuse.  Training for DV advocates and counselors to maybe understand that simply holding legal status over someone’s head is a serious issue that should not be ignored even if there are no bruises, black eyes, broken bones.  Maybe a different help system put in place.  And definitely something within immigration itself to prevent recurring offenders.  That if the person brings a foreigner into a marriage and dangle paperwork/ legal status over their heads they can no longer bring a foreigner into such a marriage in the future by being blocked from doing so by immigration itself.

Bottom line, there needs to be serious change.

I am forever grateful to those who helped me get to where I am on my journey and to those who continue or add their help now and in the future. To those who will join their voices to mine in order to help the system change.  I will forever hope to open the eyes of the world on this issue and hope my story will prevent any more of this type of situation.