“Bullies” aren’t born, they’re created. Its the worst, best kept secret throughout history. #EXPOSED

Bullying has been saturating the news as of late, its weighing on me heavily. We know the problem – the solution seems simple right? Understandably, when emotions are high, its easy to hate on the bullies, “lock them up and throw away the key” has pretty much been the consensus across the board. The bigger picture is so blindingly obvious and isn’t being discussed… because for generations, it truly has been the most fiercely protected secret – Bullies aren’t born, they’re created… I know, I know.. just hear/read me out, before disagreeing….

Bullying is simply a name used to excuse the mean kid, the volatile boss… this isn’t just jealousy or having a “fight” with their best friend. True bullying behaviour is when someone purposes torments, taunts, verbally attacks and in some cases, a physical assault is made. These kids feed off of another’s pain, it empowers them, sometimes laughing or smiling as they’re doing it. In many cases, “cyber bullying” is becoming a resort, advising someone to kill themselves, they’re ugly, everyone hates them, they’d be better off dead. The victims are afraid, often in tears, crying, feel isolated and extremely alone, the bad is always easier to believe than the good and the “bully” feeds off of this vulnerability, they feel more powerful. Here’s what they don’t feel; empathy, compassion or slight possibly complete void of remorse or regret, which, by definition; Narcissistic Sociopath / Psychopath personality disorders. These personalities create victims. The sugar coating of this can’t be tolerated any longer, which is exactly whats been done to date. These are extremely abusive personality traits and if appearing at young ages – are not only silent cries for help -they should be regarded as immediate flags for a child who either hasn’t received emotional nurturing by their parents or has suffered a significant emotional trauma which studies prove, at a young age can most definitely effect the frontal lobe of the brain during development (up until the age of 21). This is where emotional response is created. During a significant trauma(s) – this can shut down certain neuro-transmitters i.e.: narcissistic sociopath, or heighten them – empath. Some have an ability to disconnect from the trauma and process it without repercussions also.

“What happens in our house, stays in our house”… a term used by generations since the beginning of time. The ones saying this – are those afraid of the truths being exposed. Domestic Violence / Psychological, Verbal Abuse has been hands down, the most guarded secret throughout generations, kept by all who live within the 4 walls. This is exactly why the solution to the “problem” has been such a struggle for schools across the “board”. Social class doesn’t discriminate when it comes to Domestic Violence. Every single true “bully” or the ones labelled as the “freaks” with no friends, gamers, blending in only to stand out… were once innocent little happy babies. Parents may think they’re being the best at secrets and cover ups… kids see and hear all, if they haven’t personally experienced abuse themselves, it imprints on them – plain and simple. The children don’t dare disobey or expose their parent(s) or close family member because these are the same people that nurture them, that love them. The partners of the abuser wouldn’t dare expose the truth as plain and simply – it woudn’t be safe and no laws protect them. They’ve spent most of the relationship with the partner they once loved so deeply – now bonded by trauma and its own addiction manifests, a breakdown of reality and mental health occurs, defending and or excusing the behaviour of their partners, they feel isolated and alone, the partner’s family in almost all cases, protect their “secrets” and have likely dismissed any and all possible attempts to inquire. These victims have children together and so.. the “secret” remains. *** REMEMBER – whats posted on social media, its the hi-lite reel, what we want others to see, the bad the ugly, the truths, aren’t posted… EVER *** . If the school intervenes – in many cases, I’m advised, they fear for the child’s safety (HELLO – doesn’t that speak volumes), after brief encounters meeting the parents or the parents simply don’t care, will dismiss to “kids being kids” … regardless, what doesn’t happen, is the child receiving therapy and or counselling because the parents are the ones who have groomed this child to become exactly who they became. The child grows up, marries and continues the cycle. “Bullies” grow up – into adults who abuse.

How do I know this is factual? Because I was able to escape Domestic Abuse, after recognizing that 5 attempts later, I had no elastic left to spring back, he turned his rage on his child (that I love like my own), I stepped in and faced the wrath for the very last time. I had no idea what a Narcissistic Sociopath even was.. I felt shame, guilt, fear, I knew he was a literal Jekyll and Hyde Monster.. but I’d never heard of any story, experience, hell – even a suspense thriller – as horrifying as my truth…. until I found a support group which literally saved my sanity. It wasn’t one person that understood and could validate every single aspect… it was 10’s of thousands. All on different paths however, we all, male and female, experienced this type of unimaginable abuse. The reality is.. had my abuser, been my children’s father (he wasn’t) … I likely would go to my grave keeping his dark secret… He’d be part of my life forever. I don’t know of a single victim speaking out, when they’re immersed between the “4 walls”. It would be a fate worse than death to be truthful, and as recent Headlines have proven, is sometimes the result.

Think about the hundreds if not thousands in your own personal circle… how many are currently living in a domestic violence environment….? Likely none right, because you’d be getting them out? So if current statistics prove at LEAST 1 in 10 are living with abuse (these are just the ones reported), how realistic is it that nobody we know…. is being abused? I’ll tell you from personal experience… victims become masters at covering up. If you look into their eyes, they are pleading with others, even strangers to recognize they’re in danger.

I’ve been outspoken on multiple discussion forums as of late… for every problem, there is a solution. If the schools are held accountable to their own “Zero Tolerance” Policy Statement, this will immediately hold the abusive child & their parent(s) accountable, it is ABUSE, a report has to be made to the Police, which in turn will activate CAS (Children’s Aid Society) if the child is a minor. This WILL WITHOUT QUESTION… shine much needed light on the secrets between the 4 walls and exposing countless for being the abusers that they are. The victims NEED TO BE RESCUED… current laws don’t recognize Narcissistic Sociopathic Abuse as abuse… “Call us back if he hits you”.. leaving the Victims to Face CAS and the after wrath from their Abuser making it so much worse than before. ABUSE IS ABUSE… there is no mild form.

This “SECRET” kept for generations needs to be EXPOSED for the very real crisis that it is and hopefully with more and more victims speaking out, finding their voice again, recognizing that their silence is creating a future generation of abusive partners…. our generation can be – the desperately needed change. This cycle needs to end. Its starts INSIDE the 4 walls. ALL bullies/abusers are broken, weak, insecure individuals who have been hurt… to one, they may seem powerful, to a group, they don’t stand a god damn chance. Our children deserve better, future generations.. deserve better. WE, as a society NEED TO DO BETTER.

#4 Grief & Loss, the importance of allowing the process

Part of this “un-becoming” journey to healing, was not only being accountable for my choices, understanding the “whys’ of my decisions in life, but also, facing some significant “tough experiences” for me, that I’ve either struggled with or buried away (avoided). Just as good cream always rises to the top, eventually, so will the traumas that were never faced, to allow healing.

Sadly, I’ve attended more Funerals in my life than Weddings. A few of these, were lives that were taken far too soon. We don’t come with an expiration date (or warranty), we have the blind faith that we’re immortal, especially in our youth, but ultimately, when your times up – its up.

Losing a senior (grandparents) loved one, is hard, it hurts, however whether it be terminal illness or simply their body lived a long full life and was too weak to continue, its “expected” almost, they take their last breath, you miss them, allow the void of their absence and embrace the times you were able to make special memories, which will fill in the dark space inside. I, unfortunately lost friends, close to my own age, many actually, before I turned 28… lives taken suddenly, its not simply processed or considered a reasonable expectation, there is no way to mentally prepare or process a life that was just there – and now, gone. These were each very traumatic experiences for me, as mentioned in the “#3 Coming Home” entry, we didn’t discuss the “tough stuff” in our home, these were definitely tough, I developed a coping mechanism apparently of shutting down and tuning out traumatic incidents as never developed the skills required to effectively process them – out of sight out of mind… but they don’t go away, not ever. They’re compartmentalized, packed up, sealed tight, placed up o a “shelf in the back”, never to be revisited… but, they’re always there…..

A childhood girlfriend, her younger sister was murdered by a previous sex offender that had just been released from prison, a very close girlfriend, engaged to be married and just beginning her two weeks vacation before starting a new career, died unexpectedly in her sleep, two friends brothers were killed, one by a drunk driver, one in a small plane crash, my cousin – took his own life, (along with multiple family members and friends parents passing in between these occurrences). Two sudden deaths, were simply far too traumatic to ever accept or face, I lost two male friends, each, I had such a strong bond with, to date, I’ve never faced, accepted or allowed the stages of grief, until now.

I met Dan, when I was 12yrs old, he was 13, at one of my twin brothers BMX races, just by our house. He was scruffy, nervous, awkward, and we knew, the moment our eyes locked, that we were supposed to be friends. As life has it, I applied at a local golf course just down the road, during my orientation, while walking the grounds, there stood Dan, stopped right in his tracks. Turns out, the golf course belonged to his parents… we became inseparable. As we grew older, I knew he hoped our friendship would turn to more, I only saw him as a brother, the friend zone. He was a “wild child”. Private School, Sports Cars, living the “high” life, was how he was made up. Drugs and alcohol didn’t fall far behind. I was the country girl, lived simply and (likely because of my Dads issues) never got into any “trouble” never mind reckless living styles. Dan’s graduation from College was approaching, he asked me to please come with him, being a private school, it was far away so I’d have to go for the weekend. In all those years, he never had a girlfriend, said he was waiting for me. I was 18, had a boyfriend and didn’t feel comfortable going away. That Sunday, I was working in the Club House Lounge when a friend showed up and asked to talk. I KNEW, just from the look in his eyes… something happened to Dan.. I could feel it. I flew down the stairs and ran over to his Mom’s house on the property… His Step Dad met me at the door, he didn’t have to say a word. Dan was a passenger in an SUV, there were 4 others in the truck, they were all impaired, the driver lost control, crashed into the side of a mountain, Dans body was ejected from the vehicle, everyone except the Driver were killed instantly. My Mom took me to the funeral, beforehand there was the service, as I approached the casket, I noticed the lid was open? I’d never attended an open casket funeral prior. I remember kneeing beside him (oh god.. I’m typing through tears here…) I put my hand on his, it was so cold, he looked like a wax figure from a museum. I told him I was sorry I wasn’t his date, I will miss him and love him, he wasn’t there, I couldn’t feel him there at all. I was in shock. Following this, at the burial, I remember being calm, until they began to lower him into the ground. Complete terror and fear took over, I started screaming and two people had to hold me back from jumping in after him. We drove home in silence, it was never discussed again. I visited him mom a few times in the days to follow. One night, I’m sure she must have had a couple of drinks, she looked at me and said “Why didn’t you just go with him, he loved you, he always did. If you went, he never would have been in that truck”. She sobbed and all I could do was hold her – as the guilt and the “what if’s” filled up my entire soul. Not a single day has gone by following where I don’t think of him, where he’d be in life, would we eventually, when he smartened up, have ended up together… I can’t speak of him without tearing up. I did reach out to his sister via email just last week (I searched for her contact) as was hoping to connect with her Mom, told her I haven’t ever healed from losing her brother and would be so happy if she could pass on my message. She never responded.

Another loss, I’ve never accepted, was my childhood neighbour and friend Steven. He was the first friend I made when we moved to the country, he lived right next door. This tall skinny blonde cutie was 7 and I was 5. He was the older brother I never had. Steven chose a very toxic path in life, much different from mine. From 19-45, he was in and out of prison. When he ws out, he was back in my life, when he went MIA, I knew why. But he was ALWAYS there. 4 years ago, he developed an infection in his heart, I drove to the hospital, we reconnected without missing a beat, I was going back to see him the next night, he passed away peacefully before I could make it. Here’s the reason why its SO IMPORTANT to allow the 5 Stages of Grief…. I didn’t attend his funeral service or the burial. My family did. I simply shut it out of my mind. Wouldn’t accept it, face it but mostly, never said goodbye, even if it was at his final resting place. I hurt his Mom also by doing this. It is without question, the single worst decision I’ve ever made. I live with horrible regret and guilt, and I can’t ever get the chance back again to rewrite this. His Mom knows how difficult it’s weighed on me, but my avoidance of losing his, has left a large dark void in my heart that causes physical pain when I think about him. I am going to drive out to meet his Mom and go to the gravesite together before end of Fall this year to make peace with not only losing him, but to atone for not saying goodbye. I feel both Dan and Steven with me regularly. Part of me believes they need me to let them go.

Grief isn’t easy, its not supposed to be, if it didn’t hurt, their lives wouldn’t have been significant in your life. The more it hurts, the more relevant they were. Hurting means you’re feeling. The stages hurt like a SOB, but allowing them, learning to cope with the pain and working through each as they present – is the only way to be able to fold up everything special, into the memory box piece by piece, blow it a kiss and THEN, place it up on the “shelf”, to revisit should you want to view a happy prior memory. The alternative, when it decides to surface, I promise you, it will – is far more painful and damaging than any healing stage of the process. Its like losing them over and over again with every memory. Their spirit needs to rest, and so does yours.

#3 HOME; We’re essentially, results of learned behaviors. As adults, choices often reflect this.

So back to the night of reflection, sitting in my favourite chair, attempting to figure out my “why’s” on life choices, not only did this allow me to go back and view myself as a child, through adult eyes, this process brought me back “home” again, to reflect on my childhood.

I’ve always looked back on these days, with a full heart, and countless fond memories. Our childhood was seemingly perfect. The beautiful home in the country, loving, present parents, we wanted for nothing. Dad, tall, dark, handsome and strong, Mom, beautiful, blonde, independent and nurturing. Our extended family were all extremely close growing up, many friends of our parents, we grew up calling Aunt and Uncle, also allowing many more “cousins” to share times together. Our home was always open to our friends, who rarely wanted to leave once they arrived. Mom, was the Mother everyone wanted as their own, Dad was “cool” and in my younger years, all my girlfriends had a crush on. They never ever fought, never spoke ill of each other to us, we were never to disrespect either of them. We were raised with good solid core values. It WAS perfect… wasn’t it?

Here’s the thing, we grow up, viewing our parents as just that, our Mom and Dad, unless its a toxic environment, most of us feel we had the “best parents in the world”. We were loved, cared for and protected, thats all children need. What we, or at least I, never did, was view my parents as “human”, unique individuals with their own issues and personal struggles. When I started looking back, I realized that they were once much younger then I am currently – when I was little, they were in their late 20’s, young adults attempting to figure out this whole parenting, just as I once had, raising my own, now two grown daughters.

Dad, had a very harsh, cold, abusive childhood. Adopted parents in their 50’s, a quiet, loving Mom, a dominant, alcoholic Father. Dad rebelled soon into his teens, became a “functioning” alcoholic himself. When Grandma passed, I was 4, right before my twin brothers were born, shortly there after Grandpa moved in with us, he and Dad were never close, and now he was sharing his home with a man who made him feel worthless his entire life, while his young family was just beginning. I, from a very young age, recognized the broken, hurt little boy inside my Dad. I was his travel buddy, his confident, always his “little girl”. I didn’t know what an alcoholic was, but I did know that the same eyes that looked at me with so much pride, could somedays turn, and the gaze staring back at me would be one of contempt. I remembered the moments where he would centre me out at functions, making fun or mocking me, laughing as he did it. These times didn’t last long, but they had a lasting effect.

Mom, grew up, knowing only dominant, alcoholic males, married to silent, picture perfect females, living lonely, loveless marriages – all the way back through her family tree. In Mom’s case, Grandpa (I only have the best memories of him, he loved us all so much and can till hear his hard belly laughs in my mind, even today) spent most of his free time at the town Legion, he and Nanna (who I also adored) bickered constantly. Mom however, grew up with a Mother who made her feel like she was never good enough, in every aspect. Almost resented her for some reason. Even as a young woman, a new home in the country, with a little girl and baby twin boys, not only was she never offered help, she didn’t come to visit her, mostly, she never expressed how proud she was of her, how special she was, what an amazing woman she grew up to be – I can’t comprehend this, as a mother myself. She withheld basic love, from a daughter who never for a single moment gave her a reason to not beam with pride. Sadly, she married into the only life she ever knew.

Its true, my parents never argued or disrespected each other. They didn’t communicate at all, they didn’t laugh, there was no affection, they weren’t friends, they just “were”. I remembered suddenly, all the events we had to leave early, the nights after work, Dad wasn’t home for dinner, Mom never said a word, just carried on with the evening routine as per usual and put us to bed with a kiss on the forehead. Dad came home, eventually, to sleep on “his” couch. They didn’t argue because they both chose to ignore each other, Mom, because she was angry and the attempts he made to justify wore out years prior. Dad, walked around on egg shells, knowing what he did was wrong, but wouldn’t want to ever face being accountable or actually having to discuss the problems at hand. If you don’t talk about it, it will just fade away….

Considering how he was raised, he was never an aggressive man with us, I think each of us received one hard spanking ever, we weren’t going to relive that again, and besides, the “death stare” from Dad was enough to bring anyone to their knees, it was rare that we would ever misbehave. Remembering however, some of the cruel and hurtful things that were said when the “angry Dad” side appeared, those words and actions coming from a man I adored, caused more damage and cut me deeper than being beaten ever could have. But his eyes always went back to kind again, and all was to be forgotten. The reality is, I never should have been his support system or confident. The only role I ever should have been responsible for as a child was being his little girl. Something I recognized we never did, was talk about our feelings. The “hard stuff” simply wasn’t discussed. Mom enforced, “what happens in this house, stays in this house”. We wouldn’t think of betraying our parents, we kept the secrets within the walls, however, we also kept our own emotions buried.

As a young girl, it was always advised that I was “too much”, talked to much, sang too much, got too excited about things, I was a daydreamer, didn’t live in the “real world”, I was in the way too much… always too much, but never told once, that I was enough. All of the qualities that made me unique and special, weren’t deemed as such. This continued on through adult life, I almost became a “Mothering” role to my father, especially after my parents marriage dissolved and our childhood home was sold right before my Wedding. I was there to support my Dad every time he needed me, until just recently. Mom, in her own way, passively treated me just as her Mother treated her, just nowhere near the extreme. For some reason, me appearing anything less than perfect in her eyes, would reflect on how she was as a role model, it would somehow be viewed as her fault for my short comings. I’m still uncertain who the Judge & Jury were… but she sure felt their presence.

Shortly after the night of “going home” to my past, I met with each of my parents, providing each the “Cole’s Notes” version, “the story of me”. Sharing only what they needed to know, not wanting either of them to hurt from these decades old revelations, it simply wouldn’t be fair. Dad, was visibly emotional, but no words were expressed. Just like a little boy, when confronted, he always retreats away to hide. He didn’t say the words “I’m sorry”, but I know he was. It was understood. Sharing my truth with my Mom, as difficult as this was, knowing how personally she would take all of it, proved therapeutic for us both. She saw things in a much different light, recognized her own accountability for her choices, and was able to release so much internal resentment and hurt that she has carried, her entire adult life. It hurt her how she had made me feel all of these years, but to be fair, I never expressed it, until then. I never placed any boundaries where my parents were concerned. The reality is, they weren’t idyllic figures of perfection, they were human beings, flawed – as we all are. They each, were the best parents they knew how to be, they love us very much – and thats enough.

As for me, that night, sitting in my favourite muskoka chair, thinking about life as the thunder rolled by and the rain pelted the ground. I faced the little girl inside, I held her close, looked her in the eyes and told her, “you were ALWAYS enough”, she was finally able to rest. The cycle ended that night, where the voices in the future are silenced, feelings aren’t shared and healthy boundaries aren’t set. I know I haven’t been a “perfect” Mom, I own this and have expressed such to my daughters. They’ve both, regretfully watched me a few times, become broken down to where I didn’t know if I’d be able to get back up again, but I always did, and each time, letting them know that my choices in life were just that, they were mine to make, as are accepting the results following. I’ve made many mistakes, but one thing I know for certain I managed to do right, neither of them, for a single second, ever had to question or doubt, that they were each, in their own unique, special, magical way, perfectly imperfect, they ARE enough and mostly, they ARE loved, exactly as they are. These are the best two choices I’ve ever made in this life, and that, for me, is enough.

I love you N&M, more. Momxoxo

WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST LEAVE; An open letter to the girl who feels “you couldn’t understand”, I do, I was there.

It wasn’t always that way, truth is, if “the greatest love story ever told” was an actual “thing”, you were without question, in the midst of the first chapter. From the first “hello”, you knew as sure as the blood that pumps your heart, he was the one you were waiting for, and didn’t realize it until that very moment when your eyes met. Could it be real, every single attribute, exceeded any and all ideas of what the “perfect man for me”, was literally sitting across from you. I was there.

The last first date was progressing, from days to weeks, the power of this “love” was unlike anything you have experienced prior, you felt completely lost in him and began taking comfort knowing the search was over, you would be growing old beside each other, holding hands on a park bench by the water, as deeply in love as you were from the moment your eyes became lost in eachother. “Soul Mate” was a term created for what you had found together. He literally swept in and there it was PLOT TWIST. I was there.

It was probably the 6-8 week mark, where red flags began to slightly wave in the breeze, not enough to startle you, just enough to catch your eye. Little things made you try to tune out the little voice inside advising these words, actions and responses, just weren’t “normal” behaviours. He began to share insight, opening up a few skeletons from his closet, dark secrets, you won’t ever share, they’re not yours. What you didn’t realise then was that he was scouting you, allowing you the same trust to confide in him, experieces from the past that hurt you, your fears, insecurities, hopes, dreams – how coud you not, you loved him. You were safe. I was there.

A couple of months in now, the lavish dates, limos, flowers, wine, jewelry and other gifts were still regular, it began to feel extreme. He wasn’t wealthy, how was he affording all of these grand gestures, and why were they necessary? It was “too” much, you expressed all you want to do is stay “in”, make dinner, cuddle and watch a movie, go for a walk… “I’m your King and you’re my queen” (this phrase eventually made you feel physically sick to your stomach in the years to follow). You began to realize, these weren’t selfless gestures, they were “things” that would be used against you shortly following. He wanted friends and family to know what he did for you, wanted posts on social media… you will soon learn that nothing was ever done out of simple genine kindess or love, only ever if it would allow him pubic validation. Without question, you would be paying these “gifts” back 10 fold. Nothing was without a meticulous plan. I was there.

Time has passed, many incredible memories, however the “love” you were lost in, slowly was exactly that, you felt lost. You were beginning to feel and were accused now, everything of what the opposite of love was, insecure, questioning reality, self worth and value, too sensitive, sanity, selfish, nervous, afraid. The trusted insight you allowed him early on, was now being thrown back at you in horrible, hurtful ways that you couldn’t fathom. They were cruel and with intent to cripple and injure. Always to be validated later with reasoning that it was your behaviour that resulted how it had, or “I’m sorry you took it that way”, “thats not how it happened”, but always with, “lets move passed this, I love you, you’re the one I’m going to grow old with”. A verbal beat down, and a hand to pick you back up, and you took it every single time. Countless nights horrible nights laying beside him, staring at he wall, tears soaking your pillow, the whole time hoping to god he didn’t wake up due to your sniffling as he’d be angry you disrupted his sleep. The feeling of being trapped and horrible loneliness. I know, I was there.

You began to question why he rarely if ever sees his family, the photos on social media and in frames, emulate “perfect and loving”. Yet; you met them only once in the entire relationsip. He met your family and children, but there was never any expressions of wanting to see them, spend time with them, zero sincere interest in anyone in your life. You slowly almost like quicksand, without realizing it, became focussed only on his life and interests, isolation and control was circling around you so passively, you had no idea it was lurking in the background. I was there.

By this point, you’re all in. Became isolated from family and friends, putting the needs and opinions of your own children to the back burner, attempting to hush them as not to upset or make him angry. Having any sense of reality was gone. Something happened to him when upset or angry. You couldn’t make sense of it, never mind begin to know how to express into words. You didn’t know what would or could trigger this, but without warning, the kind, warm, loving eyes that were JUST gazing at you, suddenly “switched” into the eyes of a stranger, dark, lifeless, frightening, his face changed literally in front of you, brows furrowed, mouth scowled, he somehow appeared taller, menacing, his shoulders hung forward, even his voice changed and the words coming out of it, well, as he mentioned multiple times, “I don’t feel slighted or fight back mildly, I fight back to wound, gut and kill”. There’s no way to describe this “Jekyll and Hyde” change. Impossible, unless you’ve experienced it. You’ve never heard of anything like this, even the most suspenseful thriller, had nothing on how this reality would appear on camera. How could you possibly share this “truth”, you would without question sound dramatic or crazy. So you kept the secret of his dark passenger. I was there.

Those “gifts” from early on, he exceeded what he was able to afford, in the efforts to keep you satisfied, because you’re so materialistic and demanding… so slowly, he wants to go shopping, for large purchases for your future together, because “we’re going to grow old together, holding hands on our favourite bench by the water”, passively whispered in the various stores, “I have no room on my cards right now, do you mind getting this, its for “us”.

The little idiosyncrasies you fell in love with and found adorable in the beginning, were now terrifying. Meticulous hygiene, outfits, housekeeping and placement of all of his multiple items, OCD, like “Sleeping with the Enemy” – clothing hung up precisely, labels facing the exact direction and evenly spaced in cupboards, hand towels, must only lay in a specific direction and centred from edge of sink to counter. Hearing your name called from a different room, became crippling as you knew you likely didn’t place someting back “correctly”. You realize you were no longer viewed as an individual with thoughts, feelings, interests, goals – you were an object, taken off the shelf and used to play a very specific role. To allow him a label of having “his” girlfriend, someone who must always present perfectly so others would view him as admirable. “I love the way people look at us”, this became common, especially when walking hand and hand together in public and he managed to catch a glimpse in a nearby mirror. He had a plan for how events will play out and god help you or anything else that created deviation off the vision in his mind on how things had to be. I was there.

You learned to ask “are you SURE about this, don’t say yes, only to punish me later for acting on it”… regardless, he’d decide later it was a betrayal so efforts to ensure anything at this point was moot. One night, in complete fear for your safety, you did call the police. They arrived 3 hours later, while you waited on the front porch, they questioned him. You were advised to “call them back if he hits you” and that you and your child need to sleep somewhere else that night (2am) as he was too intoxicated to leave the premises. CAS was called, came a week later. How safe did you feel going back “home” the following day? He calmly blamed you for his behaviour and scoffed at how unstable you are as there were no charges. It was all your fault. I know sweet girl. I was there.

Double standards… I could easily fill pages, however, only a french manicure, heels, dresses, constant linngerie, every minute to be focussed on him and his “requirments”, regardless of your own children and home to maintain, playing music only if he wanted it played, never knowing which partner you were going to face when you saw him, his greetings and eyes always showed you before a single words was first spoken. Would he walk to the door, checking his watch to see if you were even a minute late, would he look at you through the door and smile as he was pleased or turn and walk away, so you knew he didn’t appreciate the outfit you chose to wear that day. If he wasn’t pleased it was expressed that you don’t feel he’s deserving of the effort to “impress” him. You helped him with his errands or chores because you loved to just be with him, the person you knew was inside, the man you loved so deeply, anything to do with your own “life”, was of zero interest, a burden, a bother and he made certain you knew it. You never asked for help or assistance because you knew it will be held over your head, pinned for a later date. I get it, I was there.

It became too toxic and damaging, laughing and mimicking you as you cried from his words, you were never good enough, a constant disappointment, reminding you all the reasons why you have problems keeping a relationship, how many women would love to be in your shoes, how weak and pathetic your sensitivity is, reminding you of how he would be able to dispose of a body where nobody would ever be able to locate it, and how, never a direct threat, but a gentle reminder, demanded expectations that you knew nobody could ever live up to – the were inside his mind. Life became anxiety ridden, the only ground below your feet felt not just like eggshells, but eggshells on top of thin ice with a slight crack, somedays you wished it would just break so you could fall in be done with these feelings. He would break you down literally to the ground, until the switch went off, his eyes changed back and he offered his hand to pick you up, tell you how much he hates to see you in pain and to allow him to hold you… never ever a hint of regret, empathy or an “I’m sorry”. You left multiple times. Always with, for lack of a better word, “evil” parting words and actions. It became predictable, the first text would appear, then the email, then the call, always without fail, saying everything he knows you want to hear, what you should hear from someone who loves you, pleading just to meet for a walk, a coffee, a dinner… and every single time, you caved – the second your eyes met again, you were brought right back to that very first moment looking into the eyes of your “soulmate”.. These in-between times, you knew would result the same, but maybe, he would change, this time it will be different… they always had a 3 month shelf life, then it was right back or worse then it was before. I was there.

You reached a point of basic exhaustion the last time you chose to leave. His temper was flaring at someone else, while you sat there, you attempted to calmly intervene – KAPOW, it was redirected towards you. You knew this had to finally end. And it did. You were completely shattered, experiencing not only all the normal stages of grief from losing a relationship, part of your soul now felt broken beyond repair. You spent weeks reflecting, being accountable for why you ever chose that treatment not one time but multi times. You were advised of a support group for this kind of abuse, never imagining anyone else could possibly believe your truth, your pain & trauma. It was then you learned the terms : narcissistic-sociopath, gas lighting, flying monkeys, trauma bond – OMG, not just one person could relate, thousands did. His personality wasn’t unexplainable, every member of the support group dated the exact same “person”. Every single story, bled into another. It empowered but also hurt imagining anyone ever living what you experienced. Now you’re the girl who advises with conviction to others just beginning their journey to healing “6 months from now, you will wish you left today”. And you’re right.

I was there, standing right beside you, every single step along that nightmare. I was you, you forgot about me for a long while but I’m so grateful to see you again, the stronger, wiser more confident version that I ALWAYS knew was there. Maybe it took the elevator crashing down below ground level to bring you back to me again. I really missed you. xx