Happy Almost 10th Anniversary!!

I will NEVER forget the date - August 15th, 2008 - because that was the day I married a narcissistic sociopath. What does it say or mean that I wore ALL BLACK to the courthouse that day? What does it say that the LAST thing I was that day was HAPPY?!? When I eventually picked out my wedding ring that had to be hand made in France & took a month to create, I chose it not because it was my "dream" ring, but because I'd thought "well, if (more like WHEN) this doesn't work out it would make a great right-hand ring." How messed up is that?!?!

The truth is every thought, every feeling, every bone in my body was SCREAMING at me from within to not getting married. Don't buy that house with him! RUN the other way and don't look back. But, for some stupid reason I didn't listen to any of that. For some insane reason, I blatantly ignored ALL of the red flags to marry someone and make the worst mistake of my life.

You see I had moved to Maryland from Chicago for a job and left ALL my family & friends. The following spring my Dad was diagnosed with stage 2 lymphoma. Just a few short months later my Dad was gone. My world was crushed and my heart broken.  My life was changed forever. Lonely and vulnerable made me easy prey.

But let's be honest, I was a broken little girl most of my life. My dysfunctional family left a devastating legacy of insecurities, self-hate and inadequacies. I cannot emphasize the importance of having BOTH parents in your life, knowing WHO you are and WHERE you come from, and being TAUGHT to love yourself & that you are ENOUGH. 

While I will never wish what I went through on anyone, I will be the first to acknowledge that my 8 years of hell could have been so much worse! My NarcX could have been beating my ass. But all of my abuse was verbal, emotional, mental and psychological. There were plenty times I wish he would just go ahead and hit me because his behaviors were so intense & extreme. 

WHY the hell did I stay for 8 years, you ask? Excellent question that I often ask myself! This was not my first marriage. So, the guilt of one failed marriage haunted me. I didn't want to be the reason why a second one failed. I also thought I could "handle" whatever he dished out. I mean "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" - RIGHT?!?! Boy was I wrong about that! No seriously, I thought whatever the hell was going on HAD to get better. But, it never did and in fact, only got worse!

I've already written about "my story" so I won't rehash that. What I wanted to share with anyone reading this is how SOME GOOD can come out of the pits of hell. You can survive and emerge as a new, stronger...DIFFERENT individual. One thing I learned besides #selflove is the importance of setting healthy boundaries. It's OK to say "NO" to someone. LISTEN to your "gut instinct" or that "little voice" in your head. Had I done that I would have saved myself 8 years of sheer and utter hell! If it doesn't "feel" right, it's NOT right. Trust that intuition!

I struggle everyday with the aftermath to my physical health, but you know what? I am humbled, grateful, thankful and blessed to be alive! How many women get killed by their abuser?? TOO MANY! I'll take what I have to deal with over the alternative ANY DAY. My healing process may take years...decades or maybe even forever. No one gets to tell me to just "let it go" and FORGIVENESS starts and ends with ME. It was hard to forgive myself for marrying a monster and staying for so long. We allow people to treat us they way they do. And how they treat us is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves...our self-worth and degree of self-love. I had neither! But, I promise you that has ALL changed!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that one picture "tells a story" - so take a look at these pics.

The 1st is one of me before I ever moved to Maryland.

The 2nd is one in the "pit of hell" during the worst of the abuse (don't be fooled by the smile).

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When I look at this picture of me, it makes me so sad. I don't even recognize her - skin, bones and a giant fake smile hiding the HELL she was going through behind closed doors. Yoga and those dance/gym classes were her only "outlet" and saved her life!

The 3rd collage of pictures are of me over the past 3 years AFTER I left the NarcX.

What "story" do you see?

What does each picture say to you? 

While I will NEVER forget the hell I’ve been through, I am #BLESSED and forever #GRATEFUL for the journey. And, I look forward to the FUTURE and to my new sense of PURPOSE and PASSION.