Breathing, Slowly Forward.

Breathing. It’s one of those things you just take for granted. An automatic body function. Never thinking about it. Until, breathing becomes something you need to remind yourself. Until, the anxiety becomes so overwhelming it feels like breathing is almost too much work. Until, you feel so broken that breathing takes effort and causes pain. Until, some days you wish the breathing would just stop. Not really stop to end it all, but stop to give you a break from the world spinning out of control around you.

It’s been a month. A month of hell, hurt, heart ache. Deeper self reflection than I’ve ever done before. Therapy. Awful words. Awful actions. Fear. Worry of the unknown. I’ve stayed busy so the month has flown by. Yet, in the same thought it’s barely moved, it’s crept by. Somedays are fast. Somedays feel as if they will never end.

Evening creeps in and so do my thoughts. My greatest skill, overthinking. As the sky turns dark so does my head. I feel so often I sold my soul to the devil. I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize who I see. What happened to that happy girl 15 years ago? The laughing, life of the party girl. The girl with dreams and desires. The girl who smiled easily, trusted quickly, loved freely, laughed endlessly. Life’s always been hard. I’ve always made the most of it. But at what moment did I give up me?

At what moment did that strong, independent, happy, 23 year old girl become the shell of a 37 year old body looking back at me? Of course, I know it wasn’t instant. I know I just didn’t wake up one day without a soul, without feelings, numb, living in this shell. I know rationally it was the slow, manipulative tactics of abuse over all those years. I know he took piece by piece until he felt he won. Until, I was right where he wanted me. Until he succeeded in having full control. I realize it was such a mindfuck I probably didn’t even know it was happening.

Yet, part of me had to. I ignored those red flags. I gave him what should have been some of the best years of my life. I accepted walking on eggshells. I slowly accepted the old me was gone. Lost. To never be seen again.

I try not to think about it. Yet, I know I need to process it. I know those memories mean something. However, they’re like awful flashbacks to a life I never wish I allowed. I remember the first time I visibly flinched away from him when he went to touch me.  The first time he noticed anyways. We were in the car, driving down the interstate. I remember his words – You just flinched. You’re scared of me.  I just looked at him. Blankly. This would have been 3 years in. He then apologized. He was so sorry. He didn’t realize his actions affected me so much. He’d never do “it” again. I just let it go. I said it was fine. It wasn’t fine. It was never fine. But in that moment I said it was. I gave him the permission he needed for the abuse to continue. I ignored it.

Random things trigger these memories. The grocery store is awful. Driving down the road. Just a comment about something small. A loud noise  someone fighting. Little things. Anything.

That girl never deserved this. She deserved more. Someone to love her and protect her. Not someone to hurt her and abuse her.

Finding myself is hard. I look in the mirror and tell myself I’ve got to be in there. Somewhere. She’s there. Someday she’ll be ready to return. As he stole me piece by piece, I have to rebuild myself, piece by piece. It’ll be a slow, painful process. But I’ll get there and I’ll come out ahead. I will. For sure. Someday I’ll remember pure happiness and joy. Someday I’ll be the girl I once was, just tougher, smarter, stronger.

Of course, he had to play his typical mind games all week. Yesterday, after calling me a slut all morning for no apparent purpose he moved on to telling me he had a date. Saw his credit card filled with dating sites. Over $100 in charges in one day. I finally understood – He was projecting his guilt onto me. If he’s out searching, I must be too. I wished him the best date ever and I hoped she was amazing.

I’m returning to no contact. I don’t deserve that in my life. Not even a little bit. He isn’t here. Why should I still accept the emotional abuse? The names? The beating down? Why? It’s like he can see me rising. He can see he’s lost control. He’s grasping to regain it. Grasping to keep me beaten down and sad. He can’t win. He won’t win.

I’ve read his texts today and moved on. Only two so far. Only two. The second was all about how he learned stuff about me and is done. He’s going to live a fabulous life. Good luck to me. Okay. Sure. Go away. I didn’t respond. What did he learn? That’s what I was supposed to ask. Supposed to care. I don’t care. I know myself. I know my integrity. I know I did nothing wrong during our entire marriage, except not love or respect myself. So it doesn’t matter. He just wants a reaction and I’m not participating. Know away. Good luck to you.

These are the things I’ve dealt with all month and worse. It’s okay tho. He’s not here. I’m alone. It’s going to be okay.

I’m slowly going to gather myself off the ground, glue the pieces together and shine. I’m going to be the best me. I’m going to be happy. He’s lost everything. I’ve gained myself back. I’ve gained control back. It’s his loss. Not mine. There is no fabulous life as an abusive narcissist. His ending will always be the same. My ending will never be the same ever again.

And that. That’s what matters. When the anxiety gets to be too much. When I wish I could sleep and not wake up. I simply remind myself, it’s going to be okay. It can never be worse. I’m just beginning the journey to live the life I deserve. The life I always deserved.

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