I’ve been thinking about how I have seemed to other people through the years. Because I had three main extremely difficult relationships in my life, I’ve spent many years in turmoil, confusion, despair, acting out, violent emotions, etc. My mother, my ex-husband, and my ex close female friend are those three people. They could not have been closer in relationship to me with the exception of my father, daughter and son. (My brother also figures in here, but I’ll leave him out for now.)
I know that some people think I’m overly sensitive, reactionary and excitable. Some even think I am the one who is mentally ill, thinking I am histrionic, borderline, bipolar… what-have-you. I’ve tried countless times to explain, tried to make them understand how these three people treated me and how powerless I felt with them, and how crazy making it all was… how it made me flip out in my mind and act out in all sorts of ways (FLEAS).
I haven’t seemed to get much understanding except from a very few people who have dealt with similar toxic people in their own lives. They understand because they’ve “been there.” These people range from current online friends to childhood friends I’ve recently connected with, to friends from the in-between period.
When I first read the article FLEAS on the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers website, it was a breath of fresh air. Someone understands! Someones has articulated what it’s all about! Someone has helped me understand what was happening to me all those years. Someone has made me realize that these toxic people were playing games with me and loving every minute of it – for it gave them power over me. Nothing I did to make things better seemed to work. It was all a game to them, and they weren’t going to let me win. They enjoyed the power they had over me.
It wasn’t a game to me at all, but I couldn’t walk away. Walking away is very complex and not always possible (for example, in the case of a divorce with minor children, or a friend who belongs to a larger social or other group). And of course, leaving a family member carries all kinds of consequences with the “ripple out” effect.
Eighteen months ago I got rid of the friend. Last week my mother died. The ex behaves well because he got what he wanted (to raise the children by himself without any input or “interference” from me). He still gets them at all holidays and special occasions while I sit alone, so he has no reason to complain or plot any further abuse.
I’m entering a new phase of my life and I’m hoping for the best!
I did my time with those impossible people. I learned at lot – about myself, about them, and about life and how it works. People like me need to learn to be less emotional, more rational, less tolerant of abuse and more willing to set boundaries on toxic people. Otherwise, as Rodney Dangerfield always said, we “don’t get no respect!”
Every now and then when I start feeling down about how I handled things all those years, I re-read FLEAS. I know that most people won’t ever understand or accept my experiences or my position on things – they don’t have the interest or the patience. They’ve been brainwashed by the abusers. They’ve shaken their heads at my angst. Only other victims truly understand and sympathize.
Being misunderstood is difficult. You never quite get over it, and hopefully you learn to live with it as best you can.