When in a relationship with an NSP, anything you do or say CAN and WILL be used against you.
Actually, it is worse than that.
What you don't do, and what you don't say, will also be used against you. The way you look, the way you dress, the expressions on your face, your history, etc. etc. etc.
In fact, it is so bad, that the NSP will actually fabricate histories, words, expressions, etc. to use against you.
In my case, the NSP made up a huge lie about my past, based on absolutely not one single shred of truth or evidence. He has repeated this lie so many times and to so many people that HIS LIE ABOUT ME sort of lives in my mind like a memory.
Creepy. Scary. Typical.
This is why having ZERO contact with an NSP is so essential.
Okay, that is painful....
Living with an NSP is deadening.
Ouch. Here's how:
The NSP (Narcissist, Sociopath, Psychopath) uses everything and anything against the target, so, the target learns to not express. I became smaller and smaller, less and less of myself.
The NSP I married was (and is) so subtle in his control and criticism that it did not send off the kind of warning bells that would have alerted me to danger. (He also didn't start doing this diminishing of me until I was fully invested in the relationship -- married and with children.) When he criticized my clothing, it was subtle. And seemed to be well-meaning. When he criticized my business, it was subtle and also, seemed to be well-meaning. But over time, this wears a person down. I became filled with self doubt, and didn't trust myself to choose. And over time, the emotional/verbal abuses became less and less subtle, and obviously not well-meaning.
One of his last verbally violent episodes (and also he put me in danger since he was driving wildly at high speeds) was a result of him being offended at my tone of voice and attitude. My tone of voice was playful, flirty and fun. My attitude was smart, challenging, intellectually stimulating. How DARE I be a human being who was happy and charming!!!! We were at dinner together. Just the NSP and me. He had a massive Rage-a-thon because....? Oh yeah, because he's a psychopath. Because he must knock his target off center. Because because because because. I was having fun. With him.
Being an expressive and emotionally alive person was an aspect of myself that I really loved. It was the Essence of me. Being open hearted, responsive, alive. That was me. And I want her back. I am trying to get her back.
I used to cry. I don't cry so much any more. Life got too scary and too hard and too much. Too much disappointment and fear. I had to hold it together. Sure, I cried plenty during my marriage. But I didn't cry as much as was warranted. I held in a lot, just as I held in my true thoughts and feelings. Because if I let that stuff out..... What is the point of letting it out? Living with an abuser? No. Don't let it out with him!!!!
I cried during my divorce. Sure. It would spill over. The fear would take over and I'd be shaking for days. I'd try to hold it together for my kids, and I succeeded in doing so. But then they would go away - shared custody - and I would let myself feel again. It was scary because the pain was so deep. But it had to come out sometime.
Over time, I learned to hold it all in. I don't think that is healthy. I don't think that is good. It is certainly not good FOR ME. It is not how I personally want to live. I want to FEEL. I want to feel joy and I want to feel pain. I want to live in a world where I can safely express myself. If I am relationships with people who use my emotions and words against me, to harm me and control me, I want NO relationship.
This all sounds good. But how to get it back? Well, that is what I am working on. I am finding ways to cry again. I feel like if I can tap those tears, and tell them "it's okay to come out", my body will remember.
Here is one way I am tapping the tears:
Instead of watching a movie and holding back tears, I am watching movies and allowing myself to boo-hoo-ing as hard as I can. I watched "Inside Out" recently. I cried almost the entire time. It was a perfect film for tapping those emotions.
More to come.
AKA Rose Lee Mitchell