ROCK BOTTOM is what it usually takes to bring someone to the realization that they have nowhere else to go, but to seek help. Becoming vulnerable enough to recognize that this has become a much more powerful “monster” than you can manage alone. But what was “rock bottom”? In many cases, its when the elastic band of enabling and tolerance from others in your life has finally snapped. Whether it be family, friends, workplace or in some cases – Court ordered mandate… the time has come. A local meeting is found and the beginning of the accountability journey follows shortly after.
Now don’t get me wrong, I applaud AA and its worldwide chapters, they’re the saving grace for countless. I’m the daughter of a 26+yr recovering alcoholic and have attended many meetings supporting my Dad on his annual anniversaries. Alcoholism has controlled males on both my Mother and Fathers side for generations. Unfortunately, only my Father decided to seek help. His sobriety saved his life and his relationship with myself and my siblings.
My last partner (Narcissist) was also an alcoholic – during one of our many endings where I couldn’t take anymore… he reached out and advised he was attending AA and recognized he had a “disease”. He requested, yet again, we work together to be the “greatest love story we were always supposed to be”. He must have changed right?!? (I now know without question that it was his employer that gave him a choice to seek help or be fired). I went back to him again, being his biggest support and was so proud he decided to do the work with his self care.
I could write chapters on “him” and the abusive, damaged monster that he was with or without alcohol… that isn’t what this blog post is about. This is about the damage done to those effected by alcoholism.
Now I’m aware of Al-Anon – the support to those effected by addiction…. this has more to do with AA itself. When someone makes the choice to attend meetings, chooses every minute not to give in to the addiction, this is about them. Its life altering and essential…. what I have an issue with after a lifetime of being exposed to alcoholic males, is not the support provided…. but calling it an “illness”, a “disease”, an “allergy”. This is a watered down version of what it is – which is a prior trauma, that was left untreated and became an unhealthy coping mechanism to mask pain.
Becoming sober takes incredible strength, I respect this and my father is living proof that having a strong support system with a group of peers who can relate is monumental to recovery, but it doesn’t deal with the mental health aspect of the root of the problem.
I chatted with my Dad on Fathers Day this year a little bit about this. His childhood traumas have never been faced, he buried them deep – but they’re always there…. we spoke a little about my last relationship – who used his alcoholism as a free pass for the incredible abuse my daughters and I experienced, what his ex-wife and his own children I KNOW suffered unimaginable hell because of… but as he often joked at his meetings that I went to as often as I could “I didn’t need alcohol to be an asshole, it just made me a bigger asshole”… and the room laughed, validating him. AA likely saved his career, but it certainly never made him accountable for his behaviour.
I shared with my Dad, “Its amazing support Dad, I’m so grateful it was there for you and for others, but despite the 12 steps, alcoholics in many cases can’t remember the trauma they caused others. The emotional, psychological and in some cases, physical scars their victims are left to carry. Family, friends & the workplace support revering addicts, we praise them, listen to them, but the reality is Dad… you can’t be sorry for the times you can’t remember, and you haven’t ever healed from the source of why you were drawn to alcohol as your “therapy’ of choice. We were victims, we suffered… and then are expected to forgive and support addicts on their path to recovery… but what about ours? Don’t you wonder why I’ve always been drawn to extremely dominant men, the last one being the absolute most toxic, damaged of them all? Its all I’ve ever known, to be the the “fixer”? Dad stared into the distance, his eyes welling up, fighting back tears – and his response meant everything… “Baby, you’re absolutely right, I’ve never ever thought of it this way. God dammit, you’re right. I’m so sorry”. (he also reminded me that if I want my ex “handled”, he can make it happen ” I know people”… which made us both laugh).
My point is this, ACCOUNTABILITY. Recognizing you’re an addict, seeking help and remaining sober is wonderful, and does take strength. Facing the reasons why you ever became one – is courage, and this will bring the much needed systemic change.
This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned this last year. Just because someone is in your life, be it family a partner or a friend – when someone shows you how they’re willing to treat you , believe them. We teach others how to treat us by what we’re willing to accept. In many instances, we simply dismiss negative behaviours and defend with “it’s just the way they are”. By doing this, we teach ourselves that we don’t matter. We’re making the choice to compromise our self worth every time we just “let it go”.
We tend to overlook certain behaviours with the mentality “they’ve always been this way”. That’s true, because they’ve been excused and enabled. It doesn’t matter who someone is to you or how old they are, if their words and actions hurt you, it’s not ok. just because something or someone has always been a certain way, doesn’t make it the “right” way. If it’s unhealthy for you – express it and make the boundary known. If you want change, be the change and don’t compromise your mental well-being to appease another. Not doing this, you’re telling yourself that you don’t matter, you’re compromising your integrity.
This wasn’t easy for me. It hurt badly, the feeling of being disposable to someone you love. Then I realized, the only ones who will ever leave you for setting healthy boundaries, were the ones who benefitted by you not having any. They weren’t ever truly in your life, it simply benefitted them having you in theirs. Just because someone’s always been in your life, doesn’t mean it was a healthy relationship for you. The right ones stay, the ones who don’t – were never really there. You likely just clung onto the idea that they were supposed to be.
Make the choice to stop sacrificing your emotional needs to appease another. If you feel you have to, that’s when you need to be accountable to “why” and stop permitting it. Learn to love yourself enough to excuse yourself from a table that no longer serves you. Choose whatever and whomever fuels your soul, not consistently depletes it.
The world will adjust, the right ones will remain and the ones who left – were like weeds in the garden, choking out growth to become the best most authentic, healthy version of yourself. Choose you. 💜
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.
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