"I felt corralled."
Before the relationship, I was a faithful, christian, single mother of a 9-year-old boy. We had a very busy life. I was healthy physically and emotionally. Then I married my ex. The marriage brought a lot of new ideas and customs to our lives. I am Mexican; he is American. Soon, my life was no longer about what was good for my son and me but what felt good for my ex-partner.
Because we were regular churchgoers and he acted like a good christian man, I never questioned his motives. The first year of marriage was adventurous; everything seemed to be done in good faith. Two years into the marriage he was exercising total control of our lives. I was still working and paying for my education going to nursing school. He wanted me to get my RN degree to help his finances in order to get a loan for a house (we lived in a small apartment.) Many times, I tried to change programs and quit school, because my son was not coping well with me living in another town. My ex’s response was, “If you don't care about your future, you better pick up your bags and leave.” I felt corralled for I did not want my son to struggle for this.
I tried very hard to keep our family. But my ex was abusing my son, so my son went to live with his biological father. Ending my relationship with this narcissistic sociopath man was the best thing that I ever did for me and my son.
The early stages of the relationship
Every encounter was full of false promises. Every time we met, he talked about the dream house he was going to build for me. He ask about my preferences like design, size, location, building materials, blah, blah. He said I am the most selfless person there has ever been in the world. He also said things like, “Before I buy a car for me, I would first make sure you are happy with the car you have. (It makes me mad to think about it.) He overwhelmed me on my first birthday together -- he got me a gigantic flower bouquet, a beautiful bicycle and a cake. Wow!! Nobody ever has been as splendid as this narcissistic man. I really believed he cared for me. He liked to go shopping and encouraged me to get things. When it came time to pay, he never took care of the bill. It was the same at restaurants, trips, etc. This mental piece of crap has been broke all his life. While dating, he was so clingy; he was practically living in my house. That did not go with my morals and culture. Then I learned he did not have cable TV nor had any furniture. He lived like a hobo.
How he devalued me
He blamed me for not appreciating him and for not being a passionate and loving wife. I could not do more for him when he had erectile dysfunction. He blamed me for his debts. He was still catching up with debt from his divorce and paying child support the first 6 months of our marriage. He accused me of loving my son more than him. I told him, if he ever wanted love the way I love my son that he had to get it from his mother. Eros love and Philos love are two very different things. He liked to be in charge and control of the holidays celebrations and got mad if I did not agree with his plans. The list never ends.
Steps I took to save the relationship
I asked my pastor for help. In order to work out things, the pastor asked us to meet with him regularly, but our schedules were very crazy. We also saw a counselor and the astute, sick narcissist convinced him I was the problem. The counselor’s conclusion: my son and my ex did well during the week; the problems happened on weekends when I was around. End of counseling.
How I coped
I found myself when I met Jesus Christ for this reason I like to participate in bible studies, have devotional time on my own and pray, unlike my ex, he will convince me to skip church. He did mind games about needing things, i.e, a $600.00 GPS device and talk about how deserving he was. He explained with exaggeration why he should get it. I never tried to harm myself. Before this relationship, I had spent 3-4 years in a support group to heal from the trauma of living with a drunk and violent partner. I knew there was a way out of this mess, I just had to wait for the opportunity. I prayed and cried a lot. I listened to classical music, tried exercise, yoga and meditation. At times, I would drink two glasses of wine, but this habit was becoming an alarming situation because I was getting drunk and part of me wanted to get drunk to forget and to eradicate the pain. I busied myself and found other jobs and volunteering. I gained 10 pounds since my divorce 8 months ago and I am really terrified for I can't stop eating.
My biggest challenge in the aftermath
Grieving the loss of a family, which consisted of our 3 yorkies has been very hard. My ex said he would give me a dog but retracted when I went to his place to get the dog. I also lost a place to live and my now 18-year-old son is never available. I can't plan trips anymore. It's sad. I am a nurse, work night shifts and my breaks don't coincide with most of my friends.
My best advice
I continue drawing closer to God. I practicing Yoga, exercise, dance, meditation and surrounding myself with supportive people. But my biggest help comes from God. For the unbeliever, I would say that nobody can make us complete. We already possess abilities, talents, intelligence, and beauty from the moment we were created. Each person is unique, special marvelous and interesting. Be original and be yourself.
April 8, 2015
*Names have been changed or eliminated to protect the survivor and her family.
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