Monday, February 23, 2015

On the Other Side

A Ruined Life

It wasn't that long ago, that I feared I had ruined my life.

After I left my husband, I would wake up with such a profound sense of dread, that I felt like I was sinking into the ground to be swallowed whole.  Ruin.  Mistake.  No turning back.

His psychopathic, veiled and overt threats, emotional manipulations and lies, did not stop after I left.  They increased.

The carrots were fewer.  The stick was bigger.

One major improvement was that he was no longer in my personal space.  My home became my sanctuary.  He was not allowed.

He tried, of course, to get in.  He complained that I wouldn't let him come over, that my insistence to meet in a public place for custody exchanges was bad for our child(ren) and was evidence that I was mentally unstable.  He implied that I was a liar for being afraid of him.  He outright said that I was a liar, and that he was the victim.  He said anything that pleased him.

He mostly said it in emails, since I quickly learned to never ever speak to him in person or on the phone.  The fact that I had an email-only boundary became more evidence that I was mentally unwell.  He insisted that we should have meals together with our child(ren), as a family, even though we were separated.  For the sake of the child(ren).

He said worse things in court documents.  Accused me of things so far from the truth that I was terrified of what he was capable of doing or saying.  Clearly, he would do and say anything to destroy me.  And he tried.

The financial abuse was bad during the marriage.  The financial abuse continued after I left.

You know what unrelenting stress does to a living being?  The stress was unrelenting.  Years and years of stress.  Purposeful stress from a Psychopath to his target.

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

I felt that there was no light at the end of the tunnel.  No light at all.
I feared that I would remain in darkness forever.

It occurred to me that perhaps there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
Perhaps this tunnel was so long, that I would have to act on faith,
act as if there was a light out there.

So, I pretended.

That country song:  If you're going through hell, keep on movin'.

After a long while, I could see that there was a dim light at the other end of the tunnel.

After another long while, I could see I was almost there.

Another long while, and I was outside the tunnel, in the light.   But the tunnel was right there next to me, a big open gaping mouth of darkness.

Now, finally, years and years later, I'm on the other side.  And I know that there is a tunnel.  But I'm not sure where it is.  It's over there.  Or back that way.

Let me be clear.  The Tunnel is not Depression.
The Tunnel is the Hellish Escape from the Psychopath.

The Problem With Marriage

If he had just been a boyfriend, and not a husband,
I could have walked away, and would have, many many times.
If I had just been married, with no child(ren),
I could have walked away, and I would have.
If he had not made my life so incredibly difficult,
undermining me in so many ways, I could have walked away.
If my child(ren) had been older.

Mercifully, Children grow older.  Less fragile.  Less dependent.
They have voices.  They can speak up.
They can wash their own hair.
They can wipe their own bottom.
They can report if someone touches them in a private place...

Mercifully, the bonds of marriage finally do break after so much wear and tear.
Hope dies away after so much disappointment.
No matter how hopeful we once were, we finally do read the writing on the wall:
Something is very much the matter with the marriage, and
No, it will not improve
Yes, I must leave.

Mercifully, life made impossible to live with a psychopath
becomes so unbearable
that it is suddenly "easy" to leave.
Fears of being penniless are so much better than the alternative of having to live with a monster.
Fears of being murdered by him outweigh the fear of leaving him.
So, fine, yes please, I will gladly be penniless and live in a tiny apartment if it means I am free.
The confines of the gilded cage are so miserable, why not go out into the wild?

Mercifully, the psychopath grows so power hungry and out of control
that we see his madness for what it is.
Madness. Cruelty.
His threats and abuse are so obviously inexcusable.
So obviously abuse.
Once upon a time we excused his misbehavior for reasons x, y, or z.
Now we have lived through so much of it, for so long, we know enough to say "No".

Mercifully, our newfound spirit of "No" drives him over the edge,
and his mask falls off so often and so profoundly
that we realize the Monster is the Man.

Connected By Our Child(ren)

If I didn't have child(ren) with him, I would have healed up long ago.
I would have left him in the dust.  He would be forgotten, mostly.
A bad episode, a bad era, a bad memory.

Because of our child(ren), he has exercised
his opportunities to continue to punish, threaten, manipulate, bully.
Because of our child(ren), I must stay nearby for shared custody.
I can not flee to another town or state or country.  I'm planted.
This gives him endless opportunities to reinsert himself into my life.
It's been a wound that wants to fester, instead of heal.
Re-exposed again and again to the trauma.

His ongoing neglect and abuse of our child(ren),
his continued threats and unwelcome (and illegal) appearances at my house,
his continued financial abuses, his manipulations :
Repeated exposure to his psychopathic behavior slowed my recovery from the abusive relationship.
Repeated exposure to his psychopathic behavior slowed my recovery from the abusive relationship.
Repeated exposure to his psychopathic behavior slowed my recovery from the abusive relationship.  

My child(ren)'s upset about Daddy's Lies, not wanting to be with him, missing Mommy :
Tore me apart.

But we all grow up.  I grow up.  My child(ren) grow up.
Daddy's Problems stay the same, and we all get wise to it.
Daddy's Problem gets worse as time passes.
We stop circling around and around Daddy's Disorder,
and we move on with our lives.

On the Other Side

On the other side, there is peace.  There is happiness.

On the other side, my home is a safe place.  Every day, I become more settled.  I have peace.

I have more financial security than I ever did in the marriage.

On the other side, my time is my own.

It took a long time, but I made it through the tunnel.  Life is good on the other side.

written by AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

Photograph by "Swift Photography Company on flicker. 
Title "Light at the End of the Tunnel 2"
Used under the Creative Commons License


  1. "Repeated exposure to his psychopathic behavior slowed my recovery from the abusive relationship."
    This sentence jumped out at me (and not just because it was repeated three times....but because it is worthy of repeating three times).
    People who have divorced a normal person have no idea.
    Constantly triggered from exposure to his psychopathic behaviour through the children
    Through the friends he 'took over'
    Through my bosses he is trying to befriend.
    Through the community organizations I have been a part of that he is now suddenly becoming involved with.
    Through the school where he presents at every opportunity to act as superdad.
    Through just about every little connection in this small town.

    It all looks so innocent and impressive to a person who has no understanding or experience with a cluster B Personality Disordered person.

    But I know, and a few people who have lived this nightmare also's all part of his strategy to impress, garner support, before going for the jugular.

    Awareness is part of the light at the end of the tunnel. Rose Lee - please do keep blogging.

  2. Hi. I'm so sorry you are dealing with this.

    I have lived what you describe: his campaign for awesomeness. It's so disgusting and frustrating. When the heat was really on, in the early days, when we were fighting for custody (UGH, yuck! blech!) his campaign really worried me and scared me. Nowadays, I'm aware that people are actually more wise to it than I realized. Especially the teachers. Especially the older teachers who have lived through this sort of nonsense, or watched their friends live through it.

    This too shall pass. The pain of lost friendships and the swirl of his nonsense, of getting involved in your community organization. He will grow bored of it. He will move on. That is my expectation, and my hope for you.

    Thank you so much for encouraging me to write. Stay strong.


    Rose Lee