Single Mom Out Loud

The joys (and desperation) of raising a boy without a man


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To The Women Who Are Trouble

I have a girl friend from San Francisco. She is a lot like me. Free spirited, unpredictable, impulsive, caring and a lover. We talk quite a lot about how the world doesn’t like women like us.  We both know the problem: passionate, free thinking women are very difficult to manipulate and almost impossible to control. We simply don’t fit in.

This post is not only for me, but its for her and for all the passionate women who have a hard time adjusting to a world meant for quiet ladies.

So let me backtrack….

About a week ago I was at a bar when a friend of a friend, who I never met before, approached me and said that he “had heard of me” and that I am trouble. Those words have been on the back of my mind since. This was not the first time I have heard a man say I am trouble but this was the first time I actually stopped to think about it. Maybe it was because it came from a friend of someone I actually care about, and I assume he heard I am trouble from him.

I pondered upon that comment for days, over analyzing every word in every context, trying to understand what exactly did he mean by them. Were they just some friendly words complimenting me on my outgoing personality? Or was it a criticism of it, formed by information provided by my friend?

That’s when it dawned upon me that his words had nothing to do with me really and that I shouldnt take his words as a criticism but as a HUGE compliment. Especially coming from a man. His comment was simply a reflection of his standards (or/and my friend’s standards) of what a “good non trouble woman” is supposed to be.

But I am not that woman.

I will never be the soft spoken girl with flowery dresses and no opinion.

I will never be the girl with passive personality, who can wear white and not spill on it.

I will never be the girl who sits quietly in the back of the room and who is happy being the shadow of someone else.

I don’t don’t need permission when I act and I give out explanations because I want to, not because I owe them.

I will never choose a salad and a water over a steak and a scotch.

I will never be the girl who will settle for calm and quiet rather than passion and excitement.

I don’t want a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, boring Christmas cards and well groomed perfect children. I am perfectly content with my loft in the city and being the single mother of a very wild child.

I will take single motherhood over an unhappy and submissive relationship any day.

I like long trips to exquisite destinations.

I like mind blowing sex and I am not afraid to ask for it.

I like deep intellectual conversations that heat up into a war of opinions. That’s my foreplay.

I am not looking for a rich man to support me. Stocks and luxury cars are for people who get boners from money.

And I would rather eat alone, than sit with women who bore me at “Wives’ Night.”

I am a lover.

I am wanderer.

I am questioner.

I am a feminist. An LGBT supporter. A political enthusiast.

I am an outspoken, LOUD,  free thinking, free spirited and free acting woman. I mean what I say and I do what I want. ALWAYS. And I am not looking for approval or validation.

And I get it that the world has little space for such women and that most guys lack the desire for such a relationship. But I am not here to please the world and I am not looking for most guys. I am here to pave the way and leave my footprints on the sands of time (yes, I just quoted Beyonce). And I am looking for a MAN who is not afraid of the challenge and who is excited to ride my troubled train and all the fun that the ride entitles.

Because in the end, I will never be a “good woman” by societal standards. I wasn’t born to be tamed or to fit into standard molds of womanhood. I was born to act according to my own set of rules.

And if that’s trouble, then I guess I am trouble as hell.

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Understanding Narcissistic Abuse – How I Went From Victim to Survivor

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In honor of this I hope to shed light on the more insidious form of emotional abuse that, while not physically visible, causes as much damage and trauma while leaving what can be lifelong scars on the hearts and souls of its victims.

Before learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I spent years in shame and silence, taking the blame, hating myself, hiding away and gradually slipping into a numbed emotional state to survive the emotional punishments from a man who took great pleasure in inflicting them.

Narcissistic Abuse is a dark and confusing tunnel where victims might spend years not realizing what is happening, unaware that their abuser has maliciously and intentionally created a world to demoralize, and dehumanize their victims to better feed and supply their disorder. It is my hope that by giving definitions to the language surrounding NPD that those currently suffering will see their own story reflected in mine, gain the knowledge necessary to better assess their situation, and then take the first steps needed for escape and eventually healing.

Because as Maya Angelou once said: When you know better, you do better.

~

I fell hard. And fast.

Overwhelmed by his attention and adoration, I jumped in headfirst without blinking, believing him after only weeks of dating when he declared his never-ending love and that I was his soul mate, that I had brought meaning into his meaningless existence.

I was everything he had ever wanted, ever dreamed for, ever hoped for, he said, and proved it daily by drowning me in love and passion. He couldn’t keep his hands off me, we made love often, sometimes up to five or six times a day. Not an hour went by that I didn’t hear from him. He wrote me notes, he wrote me poetry, he told everyone I would be his wife, that I was the next mother of his unborn children.

I didn’t have time to think, to reflect, to question. There was nothing I could do but free fall into his love and ride it like a roller coaster with my eyes squeezed shut—it was scary as hell, but I didn’t want to get off.

But that was then, before I knew anything about…

Love Bombing

A manipulation tactic involving lavish demonstrations and constant bombardments of attention and affection in an attempt to gain control by moving the relationship forward quickly.

Everything he did was perfect. Everything he said was perfect. It was as if he had some secret insight into my soul and what I wanted in a relationship, as if I had handed him a list of the top 20 qualities I longed for in a man and within the year had checked off every last one. He said it was because we knew one another in a previous life and we were destined by the Universe to find one another. He had searched for me for so long and then I appeared just at the right time.

But that was then, before I knew anything about…

Grooming

A calculated and predatory act of maneuvering a person into a more dependent and isolated position by claiming a “special connection” where they are more vulnerable to accepting future abusive behavior.

I gave him everything, without question, without reservation: my kindness, my loyalty, my love, my money…

But that was then, before I knew I was an…

Empath

A highly sensitive and empathetic person who feels and often takes on the emotions of others often at the expense of their own emotional well-being.

I was full of forgiveness and understanding. I had to be. Otherwise, I would have been forced to listen to those quieter voices in my head suggesting something wasn’t right, things didn’t add up. I would have had to open my eyes and see the small cracks in the shiny mirror of love that had started to form.

But it was easy to ignore my inner voices when he seemed so full of remorse anytime another side of him was exposed—or rather a side that I had found out about. All his bad behavior was in the past, he promised. He hated the man he used to be, and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. He was just misunderstood, he said. Deep down he really was a good person who was just trying to be “allowed” to be a dad. A victim of religion and crazy women. And he wouldn’t hurt anyone on purpose. Especially me.

But that was then, before I knew I had entered the world of a…

Pathological Liar

A person who habitually and compulsively lies in order to suit their own needs.

Over the years, even if I did stumble upon something new about him that made me question the relationship, Like the names of women that would pop up on his phone everywhere, he swooped in so fast and drowned me in so much love that I couldn’t help but become dizzy in his grasp, even question my own intentions to assume such terrible things about him. How could I think he would do that (whatever “that” happened to be each time)? Then I would feel guilty for even asking him about it. I loved him, after all, and I was his soul mate, as he claimed. I honestly think that he has convinced himself of his lies so that he doesn’t have to face his failures and shortcomings as a man and as a father. 

But that was then, before I knew anything about…

Normalizing

A tactic used to desensitize a person to inappropriate or abusive behaviors; manipulating a person to agree or accept something that is in conflict with the law, social norms, or their own basic code of behavior.

I had never met anyone more charismatic or charming. The first few months I was the sole receiver of his attention, which made it easier to let that inquisitive side of me, the one interested in the truth, fall away. So by the time he began sharing his charm with others, saving less and less for me unless I had something he needed (such as approval or sex), I had already subconsciously resigned myself to being a part of the audience in his one-man show.

Going out with him in social situations became a spectacle. I was in awe of how he transfixed a room, captured every ounce of energy there was to be had. Everyone liked him, or so I thought. All of his charm was now being directed to any other woman in his immediate presence, no matter their age, no matter if they were married or single. Nothing mattered to him outside of making them laugh or smile through his own efforts.

But that was then, before I knew anything about…

Supply

A narcissist’s insatiable need to gain the attention and adoration of others for the purpose of building them up and confirming their false sense of superiority and entitlement.

I soon became exhausted, focusing solely on getting through each day. I blamed everything on myself.

But that was then, before I knew anything about…

Ambient Abuse

The stealthy, subtle, underground currents of maltreatment that sometimes go unnoticed even by the victims themselves until it is too late; the fostering and enhancement of an atmosphere of intimidation, fear, and instability; often viewed as the most dangerous type of abuse.

During the years of back and forth there were days I wouldn’t leave my house, the dark pockets under my eyes from all the crying and shouting and begging, making it appear as though he had hit me. But he never hit me. He punched me with his cruel words instead. I learned to remain stoic during this ritual and listened patiently while he reminded me how crazy and horrible I was and how lucky I was to have a man who loved me so much, who put up with me. Since I had no faith in my own emotional state, I had no choice but to believe him. I told myself I was lucky to have him, especially considering how crazy I had begun to feel, losing all logic, questioning myself at every turn, staring into the mirror day after day and not recognizing the woman who stared back.

But that was then, before I found myself in the office of a psychologist who was an expert on…

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A personality disorder in which the individual has a distorted self-image, unstable lifestyle, is overly preoccupied with vanity, prestige, power and personal adequacy, lacks empathy, and has an exaggerated sense of superiority. NPD is closely associated with egocentrism—a personality characteristic in which people see themselves and their interests and opinions as the only ones that really matter.

And my life would never be the same.

I was a victim of emotional abuse. But my story doesn’t end there. In fact, that is where it begins.

Through empowerment, education, and enlightenment I have not only survived but thrived in my new life of freedom and peace. I was a victim, but I am no longer a victim. This, however, was only due to the journey I committed myself to take in understanding what exactly I experienced in my relationship with a Narcissist, which included understanding the language surrounding it. With this knowledge, I was then able to forgive myself, recognize I was not the one with the problem, and take responsibility for my own growth and emotional development upon escaping the situation.

Above all, however, my healing has come only because I granted myself the love and the time needed to heal. Unlike all those years ago, now when I look in the mirror I immediately recognize the woman looking back. And she is awake, and she is brave, and she is loving and strong and compassionate.

The one thing she is not, though, is crazy. And as I finally learned, she never was.

If you believe you might be a victim of Narcissistic Abuse, my hope is that through your own education and enlightenment you will then gain the tools and find the support necessary to help you escape your suffering and find the peace that you so deserve.

Because when you know better, you will do better. I promise.


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Will You Marry Me?

My ex got married over the weekend.

The news opened a gate of bottled feelings, but none of which actually included missing him or wishing it was me he had said I do to.

The feelings were more complex. A variety of questions and unresolved thoughts on what makes a person make the decision to marry another and what constitutes the institution of marriage itself.  

Do soul mates really exist or is the idea of “the one” just setting us all up for failure? In a world of 7 billion people can there really be only one person for each of us?

Of course that when you think objectively on the subject of marriage and soul mates, the whole idea sounds quite childish. The idea of “just knowing” is just nothing more than our brain telling ourselves that we are ready to make the commitment. 

It’s all about us and very little about the person we are with. 

One may argue that it’s not about personal timing but about love and that love is irrational and therefore we can’t quantify the exact amount it takes for a man to pop the question. 

But I beg to differ. 

Even love can be analyzed and understood, as it’s only a feeling produced by our brains. Love is a reflection of ourselves. If we are happy with our lives we will radiate that happiness to the world and will attract back nothing but feelings of joy and love. 

A man (or woman) can meet an amazing partner. Someone loving and funny and smart. Someone they can see themselves with for the rest of their lives. And they might love that person genuinely. But if they are not in a place in their lives to make the lifetime commitment of marriage, the qualities of their partner becomes irrelevant and even invisible.  

On the other hand, if a person spends their entire life focusing on their career or just partying and find themselves alone at 40 and with the uncontrollable desire for long term company and family, he/she might marry the next person they happen to date. Not that the partner they chose is any less greater than the one they were deeply in love with a decade ago, but this new partner just happen to come by at a time when getting married is a an actual desire and goal, therefore making the decision a lot easier to make. The “I am too young” variable is no longer an issue, changing the entire equation of decisions, pros  and cons. 

I do however have to admit that my theory depends upon another  important variable: love. Although in it, is not the deciding factor, it’s just a correlating one. Without it, timing does not matter as most of us agree that no person in their right mind would marry another without loving them, EVEN IF timing is right. 

So the marriage equation is about love depending on timing. One can not survive without the other. Timing however, being the defining fixed variable and love the replaceable one. 

But what happens with all the love we experience before the one who will be the last? 

Love always expands itself, multiples itself, spreads itself contagiously; passing itself from person to person, continually growing in the world, even as we may seem to lose it.

What we may pursue as loss is nothing more than an expansion of ourselves. The person we leave behind (or leaves us behind) will go on to share with the next person a piece of us. As we break up we tend to take with us the best of our last partner, and to become the person we thought they wanted us to be, as a proving point. 

My ex for example, benefited from my culture and cooking, which he took from me, it turned out, as a parting gift. He now cooks to his new woman the Brazilian recipes transferred to me from my grandma and taught to him while we were together. I, on the other hand, took from him the idea that I could never succeed and turned that into the fuel I needed to thrive.

Those “gifts” are nothing more than the love we once shared expanding itself through the world.   
 
Not to say that we can’t feel sad if we lose love. We can. Out of all of these thoughts that crossed my mind over my ex’s marriage, the one thing that stuck the most was that it is okay to make bad choices.

It’s okay to lose at love. It’s okay to not get to “success” by the initial timeline in one’s head. It’s okay to redefine what life and love means, what success means and to create a new path.

Because in the end, unmade decisions are decisions in itself and it can propel us towards a better and unexpected outcome, or person.

If We hadn’t veered off the course We had traced for ourselves we wouldn’t meet certain people and we wouldn’t learn essential, life lessons.

We wouldn’t be us. 

And what kind of marriage would work if one of the partners don’t  know who they are and how much they want it?