Self Reflection

The Warning Signs

As some of you may know from my Court Battle Royale posts I have been engaged in a custody battle with my ex for nearly 2 years. He has made my life a living hell. Slowly he is draining my resources and turning everyone against me. Worst of all my own family has sided with him. Most of the conversations I have with my lawyer I feel like I’m going crazy.

As I lay here in bed tonight I wonder where did everything go wrong? In truth nothing went wrong. The signs were there from the beginning. I was too young and naive to see them. My ex and I started dating in high-school.

The first major warning sign aside from the comments about my weight was an incident in biology class. As a teenager I overslept… a lot. Sometimes I dressed and was out the door in less than 5 minutes. On one of these days I forgot deodorant. Most days it wasn’t a problem but on this particular day it was super hot and my grunge phase worked against me causing a funk.

Nice boyfriends would have pulled their gals aside and pointed out the problem. Not my winner of an ex. He decided to wait until I was front and center with all eyes on me to tell me how much I stunk, in almost those words. Being young and deeply hurt I smacked his arm.

I don’t remember exactly what ensued afterward but I do know for our entire marriage I had to hear about how I “laid hands on him” or “abused him”. Somehow slamming me against a wall with his forearm across my throat two weeks before the wedding never counted as the same in his book.

He never laid a hand on me again but he didn’t need to. The verbal abuse never ended and everytime he got angry I was waiting for him to lose control. I could see the desire just below the surface. Something deep down inside me feared it but wouldn’t back down. I think it was the last piece of resistance I had that pushed him to the brink of his self control.

I ask myself all the time. Why did I put up with that crap? Why didn’t I call off the wedding? Why did I believe his apologies and promises? Why didn’t I leave? How could I convince myself I was happy?

Part of it was embarrassment, part of it was a deep seated belief in marriage. I made a commitment before God and I was determined to make it work. Most of it though was a master manipulator at work. He knew exactly how to reel me in. How to make me feel loved and special just long enough to stay and forget what he did until he did it again.

He’s trying the same BS with my girls now. Promises, gifts, just enough attention to keep them wanting more. It all leads to the lies and manipulation to get exactly what he wants. I’m just grateful they are starting to see through it.

My ex is a narcissist by the generally accepted psychological diagnosis. While he has not been officially diagnosed he meets all the criteria. Living with one and being married to one causes its own unique trauma. If anything in my blog posts sounds like someone you know please find a counselor or therapist to help you. More importantly get away from that toxic person whoever they may be.

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