Cognitive Dissonance 

Thanks to the darling husband, I’ve been able to expand my educational horizon.

“Cognitive dissonance is a concept in social psychology. It is the discomfort felt by a person who holds conflicting ideas, beliefs or values at the same time. In this state, people may feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. Reacting to this unpleasant state, people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance was developed to predict and explain how people reacted to this situation.”

Narcissistic abuse causes cognitive dissonance. Then they use it to keep you in a constant state of chaos. I don’t know if they all do, but mine could rationalize anything he wanted to. He could later contradict his rationale and make that sound 100% rational. At first, it was a trait I liked about him; the ability to make sense out of certain feelings, emotions, events, ect. I would say “he kept me grounded” when I’d over react or have so much emotion about something and couldn’t think rationally. But the other side of the coin was revealed and when I would think or feel a way about him or his behavior, he’d rationalize it 100%.

I guess eventually I stopped turning to myself for insight. Because he always rationalized the things I was clearly over reacting about. After five years, not trusting myself or my reactions and questioning everything around me became normal. Before we separated, he just knew I had to be listening to someone else. “Who’s filling your head with all of this?” “You need to stop listening to whoever you’re talking to and come to your senses..” <<<< so he knew I couldn’t think without his rationale. Somehow, from somewhere, I finally found my voice and I didn’t have to listen to anyone else.

I woke up one day and realized it was almost crippling. Where would I turn for rational thinking when I couldn’t think rationally? How was I supposed to feel or react to things when the “voice of reason” wasn’t there to tell me how? When it came to him, I learned. His rationales no longer made sense at all. In fact, a lot of what he said didn’t even make sense anymore.

Cognitive dissonance remains a daily part of my existence. Every single new situation. Every single person I know or meet. I think this is why so many victims escape only to find themselves victims again. We’re so busy telling ourselves that we are being hyper vigilant and we have to learn to trust people again. I have found the better I know how my psyche was taken hostage; the better I am at trusting myself and hopefully someday, other people.

 

Twenty Years From Now, Twenty Years Ago

I was at work a few days ago and having a hard time focusing, thinking, interacting, ect (I understand this to be part of PTSD) I had a co-worker who is not aware of the current events taking place in my life, she just could tell it was a bad day. She was talking and she kinda chuckled and said you have to think “will this matter in 20 years?” I told her “yes, it will very much matter”. The lives of multiple people will be forever changed because of the last 4.5 years. It’s hard to comprehend.

It dawned on me today that maybe it would have been nice to get this life lesson earlier in my life. (like maybe 20 years ago?) It didn’t take long for my thoughts to realize no, if this had happened to me 20 years ago I would not have survived. I simply would not have lived through it. I wonder how many people have died by their own hands trying to escape from someone who has them emotionally and mentally held hostage? There were times months ago where my hope floundered and I thought this would never end; he’d own me forever. I thought about taking my life just to escape from it, many times. My daughter is the ONLY reason I didn’t. My boys have a good dad and great family on his side, I never have to worry about that. My daughter has virtually no one. He’d raise her……or he wouldn’t and she’d become property of the state. I think my son saw this in me and said to me “Mom, if anything happens to you, I’m taking her and running away. Hope you’re ok with that. I won’t let him raise her.” That alone was a realization that it wasn’t just me who could see me losing hope. So I finally “broke free”…………..

The thing about sociopathic people is they show their true colors much brighter AFTER you leave them. The verbal, mental, emotional assaults were almost unbearable. Every single day. Always hearing what a hard time he’s having because of me, how he’s hungry and struggling because of me….not once did it fucking dawn on him that it was ME with six children by myself. You KNOW you had to be a real fuck up for someone to be willing to raise 6 kids alone over staying with your crazy ass!

But everyday was a struggle, everyday is still a struggle. Fighting to keep my job, fighting to cry enough, but not too much, to keep myself somewhat together in front of the kids. I tolerate nothing. I have zero reserve for anymore stress. I am no fun, I rarely laugh, I live this nightmare every day, all day. All while still being jerked around on a string by this egotistical maniac who wants to change so badly one day and then “washes his hands of me” the next. For months now. Up and down. I’m drained overly dry. It wasn’t long ago, not long at all, I got my “ducks in a row”. Except for my baby girl. There are only two people I’d want to raise her; but you can’t exactly say “hey, take my daughter if I turn up dead.” One I’ve casually said it to and the other saw her born (and now you know). Yes, I’ve been on that edge closer than ever. Yes, I made a plan that wasn’t going to fail. 20 years ago, I’d be gone by now. However, as much as I struggle and fight, I’ve lived long enough now to know that it might be 5 years or 15 years from now, but one day I’ll laugh, have fun and be happy again. One day my heart and my brain will be free. (It also helped a lot knowing he’d make sure he was the torn up and pitiful widow before his first anniversary. Knowing he’d milk it for himself forever and I refuse to give that to him!)

So here I am. Taking advantage of the “good days” and realizing I can’t stop the “bad days” so I allow myself that time. I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to make sense of the last 4 years. At least by then it won’t be all consuming anymore.

 

Open Letter to the Rest of the World

It seems as though I have people in my life that think I write this for them. Well, I don’t. I’ve been told stop writing everything and “move on”. Stop talking about it so much, it really just needs to be put in the past so you can “move on”. Yeah, what an asshole, you need to drop him and “move on”.

I have a crazy idea, how about shut up and let me grieve and hurt and “move on” at my own pace and just support me while I do. I didn’t realize I was on a time limit. I didn’t know that after 4 1/2 years, that a few months would be all I needed to just “move on”. And still……..nobody understands. Does anyone seem to get that he can smell my loneliness and desperation for interaction……and makes it that much harder for me to “move on”.? It only serves to further isolate ourselves. Do you want to know who I talk to MOST, my husband and his EX-wife!! <<<< how fucked up is this shit?!? The ex that he was telling all of our business to, the ex he tried to go back to more than once, including the month we started fertility treatments. The ex that he swore he only discussed their son most of the time, the ex that didn’t bother to tell me any of this. He created the perfect triangulation and she was a willing, although unknowing perfect flying monkey. And THIS is who I talk to most because I have her son. And him because well, he’s my husband, and I don’t have a plethora of people on speed dial. I’m kinda pissed off that everyone has the nerve to tell me to “move on”. Is this when I am given the proper time allotment? I need to know. This is my first split from a sociopathic, manipulative, lying, asshole. I’ll know the rules better next time.

I still go through spells where I can leave and then spells where I can’t leave these walls. He mocks me, tells me I don’t have anxiety or PTSD; cause I was just as abusive. It “went both ways”. And here I am again……..almost the same nightmare, but at least it’s not all the time, right? And here I go, questioning if I’m the crazy one. I call him out on lies and he makes the million dollar “you’re a nutcase” speech to convince me that what I’m seeing is wrong.

It’s cool. When one of the “experts” finds some spare time, they can fill me in on the rules. And then I guess I’ll easily glide right into “moving on”.

They Are Great Victims

There’s another side of the coin I haven’t even touched on. If they can manipulate the ones closest to them, imagine what they can do when it comes to your friends, your family, your co-workers, and anyone else they see fit. That begins to play into your “compliance”. When you watch them in action working against you it is known as the “smear campaign”. They play the victim and they play it well. I’ve heard him talking to other people about me, I’ve watched him lie to the police about me. Hell, I’d probably think I was crazy too (oh wait, that DID happen). As you pull away, you’ll see them getting friendlier with your support system. That’s hard to watch, and I remember days I’d cry or be in constant fear over which friend I’d “lose” today. I’m over that. Either you believe me or you don’t, I don’t even care anymore.

It’s not just your friends and family you have to worry about. I was in a meeting with my therapist and domestic violence counselor, both I’d been seeing for a few months. He had left, wouldn’t tell me where he was, claimed to have all this money and I still had his son here with me. The therapist said at this point someone should be getting CPS involved because he “abandoned” his son. But they both agreed the odds were pretty good that he could possibly manipulate the social workers and it could actually end up being me on the chopping block. Let me interject that i don’t do anything to endanger my kids, but he would put my mental stability in question. (I had a lawyer tell me later that calling CPS was not warranted) I also remember telling another person at Family Services I’d answer to whatever authority figures I had to at a later time, but for now the last thing this child needed was more social workers in his life.

He said to me OFTEN, that everyone else might think I’m this nice and wonderful person, but he lives with me and he knows better. He knows the “real” me and he knows who I really am and everyone would be shocked to learn I’m not the sweet person they think I am. He said that to me a lot. I can’t stress that enough. He told me once (about two inches from my face) he would ruin me, he would take me down, he would make sure everyone knew the “real” me and he would take away this “good girl” image everyone has of me. “Making me your enemy was probably one of the worst things you could have done, you do know that right?!?!” All I could do was say yes, I believed every word he said.

He would get mad at me and threaten to tell (the boys dad) whatever it was he had “on me” at the time. Once he said “he might be interested to know all the pills you take.” I said WHAT?!?? I was on ambien because I worked night shift and that was the only way I could sleep and I think I had a few left over Xanax from an older prescription (when one of my kids was hospitalized). So I guess “pills” could be said and over-exaggerated a bit. However, I knew my ex would know better, he was with me long enough to know me. (But then again, he could convince anyone of almost anything) I could talk about all the damn “pills” I am on now just to deal with this fool!! He DID get mad at me once and told my ex something that had life altering, forever damaging results. He would never acknowledge the impact of what he had done. NEVER. He justified himself for four more years and placed all the blame with me. I don’t want to think about that anymore.

So when you read that they can ruin someone, they really CAN and are perfectly willing to if it means making them look better, if it means they can play victim another day. He posted almost hourly on Facebook for awhile about emotional abuse, being an abuse victim, freeing himself, ect, ect. I read an article that said how to tell who the true victim is and who the true abuser is and THAT was one of the examples listed. The abuser will go overboard and be more than willing to talk about it, the victim is usually not nearly as open. I only told my father because it was 5am and I knew he’d be up, my husband had been in and out of the room getting more drunk and aggressive each time he came in. So I sat here in the dark and sent my dad a text that basically said I was scared, I was alone and I was sure the next time he came into the room he was going to hit me. I just needed someone to be awake with me, even if only through text.

He uses his victim card to get money from people, to get rides to wherever, to get places to stay. He plays the victim. Wonderful husband tossed out of his home into the street and tricked into giving up his kids by his horrible, cheating wife. I can’t roll my eyes far enough anymore. He’s crazy.

“His World” I Just Live In It

I get to spend another weekend with this man. He’s a controlling jerk. He can go WEEKS without even asking about his kids, and now he’s wanting to stay with them every weekend because that’s what he should be doing. He is full of shit. I love how this works;

You haven’t even bothered to ask about your kids in days or weeks. Reply- I figure they are being taken care of, I trust you and know you’d tell me if anything was wrong.

But if something IS wrong; why the hell didn’t you tell me that xyz happened with this kid or that kid?? -Ohhh I thought you trusted me so much.

And boundaries! Holy cow do they have absolutely zero clue what that even means. I’ve said to him so many times, he’s smothering and I need him to back the fuck up! He’s that kid that hugs the puppy too tight. I’m the puppy. Even still.

It creeps me out. Sociopathic people do not see others as individual people. They see their spouses, children, ect as extensions of themselves that they own and control. (this comes from everything I’ve read) Makes sense; he uses often “my wife”, “my kids” and thinks we are his to do as he pleases. (which is easy when your ability to manipulate makes them do it readily)  For example, when I’m pissed as hell at him and he comes and hugs me. I don’t want to be near you, but you choose NOW to come hug me……if I flinch…..he looks at me like I’M crazy and says “you’re my wife, I should be allowed to hug you whenever” He’s gone to touch me, hug me, he’ll even kiss me on the cheek and even though it is clear you’ve invaded my space, he does it anyway. Because “I’m his wife”. Last weekend I was getting ready for work at 5:30am and happened to look over at the door and he’s just standing there. Scared the shit out of me! I’m not used to someone being up that early, and why the fuck are you creeping at the doorway while I’m getting dressed?!? He smiles and says “I just wanted to say good morning”. (in that voice) I ask why the hell are you even in here…..”I can’t come and say good morning to my wife?” <<<< Are you able to see a little better how this works?

He used to do that shit all the time. The bathroom door could be locked and he’d force it open anyway. And then act like a real dumbass “why are you locking the door, I should be able to come in when I want, you’re my wife”. Just like (well not quite) that day I took the kids into the woods to see the sunset and he FOLLOWED us because he wanted to see what I was “really doing”.

LOOKING AT THE SUNSET IDIOT!

But who got bitched at because the baby was left in the house alone? Me. Because if i wasn’t being “sneaky and weird” he wouldn’t have had to walk out there anyway. I’ll never forget him grabbing my arm and jerking me back……he said he was just “lovingly touching my arm to try and calm me down”. IT WAS WEIRD! That was one of the creepier things I picked up on; how quickly their mood switches based on the level of crazy they want you to feel. They simply do not see the emotion of other people. But will quickly tell you how their feelings are being ignored.

He still doesn’t hear the words I say, because that’s not his plan. I’ve said many times “I wouldn’t live with you ever again for anything in the world!!” But he still calls this “his home, “his house”, “his bed”, “his family”.

I think I’m just super pissed I have to spend another few days with him. Another week my divorce is prolonged. He knows what he’s doing. It already gives me a headache, especially if his current texts are a reflection of what it will be like.

Remember the voice? And how it is the last warning before your non-compliance pisses him off? I think we just got there. THAT’S when he scares me. That’s when the lectures of his enormous efforts go on for hours. That’s when he wakes me up at night to cry to me about what the hell ever. That’s when he starts giving me ultimatums and deadlines. This weekend is going to be a nightmare. I just have to try and remember it’s temporary.

I hate the circular conversations of how I’m going “to give him some real answers”. Hey Einstein $3000 to a lawyer WAS your real answer!! But he can’t seem to get served. It’s been 3 months. He doesn’t want “to resort to lawyers. We can work it all out on our own.” Haha! No, you can manipulate and guilt me much easier without a lawyer.

He also thinks that because HE wants to be here and HALF of the kids want him here, then he should be here. That I’m being selfish, and he thought I was all about making my kids happy. And I’m putting my own feelings above everyone else’s. We’re STILL talking about this? He makes me want to gouge my eyeballs out! If I didn’t need to get a paycheck, I’d say “fuck it” and take Saturday off. I can find someone on Sunday. But then I have Nate wanting to know why his dad can’t come over and his dad texting him telling him that I won’t let him see them. 😠

I CAN’T WIN!

Leaving…..

“Escaping from the relationship

There are four ways that you escape from a relationship with a sociopath

  1. They die
  2. They get sent to jail
  3. They find a new source of supply
  4. You escape and hope that they will not hunt you down
A sociopath will not leave his latest victim, unless this is forced (through death, being imprisoned, or if you run and hide) until they have a new supply. They never leave a victim alone until they have a new supply.
People question, ‘why did you stay if it was that bad?’ or ‘why don’t you leave?’ they don’t understand, you cannot leave a sociopath, they leave you. Either they leave you, or they haunt you. Or rarely, it ends naturally, when you will no longer give, and they can no longer take, and neither of you care anymore. Too much has happened for it ever to work (this was my final ending) although we did countless endings prior to this.”
***taken from Dating A Sociopath
This is where the understanding part gets lost on most people. You do not leave them. I left. On my own terms, it felt good. To have escaped, even though it wasn’t easy. He discovered all his faults, how marvelous I really was, went to a rehab/psych facility, was willing to stay however long it took, loved us more than anything ever in the whole wide world……a week later…..ONE WEEK later he left that facility, told me I was a vile, manipulative, mean, selfish bitch, he “washed his hands of me” and if I didn’t stop contacting him he would get a restraining order. He said it took going to that place and being put on too many medicines to finally see how horrible I was. He was also 100% convinced I made them keep him longer than he wanted (apparently he tried checking out 2 days after he got there). They would talk him into 2 more days (maybe cause they saw he was crazy too perhaps?) I actually had some faith in him, he was convincing, believable, remorseful, you name it. I had very little faith, but a little none the less. He crushed me, that hurt, it was painful, I cried, I was shocked……he made sure the tables were turned CORRECTLY so that he was the one that left me. Only he didn’t “leave”. He killed the person I was even then, and a week later wanted to “redeem himself”. This is all a game of tactic.

Alone

That’s what I feel like, I’m just alone. And over something that should be easy…..I can’t find anyone to watch my kids so I can go to work. That’s why he was here all last weekend. I have a good job; and I’m about to lose it. Because of his bullshit. Now that I’m getting desperate he’s of course all kinds of helpful and ready anytime he needs to come keep them. All I keep hearing is “they won’t really fire you”. Ummm.!!! Yes! They will! And Christmas Day. I had to call out on a major holiday. Most people who ever worked know that’s a huge no-no. And I had to do it, first time ever. My daughter has paternal family 30 minutes away. And nobody could BE BOTHERED WITH HER ON CHRISTMAS DAY?!??

He knows I’m getting desperate and he already has a wedge in the door. He’s just waiting for me to cave and “admit” I can’t make it without him. All because nobody can or will watch two kids on a weekend. And that’s the problem I guess, everyone wants their weekends free.

Should it come to that point. Where I no longer have a choice. Everyone will look down on ME. Well it must not have been so bad if you let him move back in. Or you must enjoy it since you let him back. Or if he was that bad with you and the kids then why would you even consider having him come back. Truth be told, it won’t come to that. I’ll secure my kids homes and exit this life before I will ever go back to living as a mental hostage. (more than I already am)

I actually have a career. With benefits and decent pay (I supported 8 people, so you figure it out) I earned a college degree to get here. And my only problem is I CANT FIND A BABYSITTER?!? I feel like this is a joke. All of the “I’ll help you out anytime”…….most haven’t helped me out at all. I’m not one to beg and I’m not one to easily ask for help, but I’ve already passed that point.

I read somewhere earlier; I want to live, not just survive. And that’s where I am, just surviving.

The Voice

There’s a certain tone he gets sometimes. It’s calm and rational. It’s a mix of concern and sad. It’s a higher pitch than normal. It’s sweet and caring. It’s attentive and always asking what’s wrong or can I get you anything. It’s a different voice than the one that he has almost everyday. From the outside looking in, it can appear genuine and caring. From the inside; that voice means danger. It means get the hell away and fast. It’s almost like that last warning sign he gives me. I’ll do what he wants and as I don’t, the voice changes gradually and becomes less caring and more demanding. It becomes less genuine and more controlling. It invokes fight or flight feelings. That’s the voice he has now. It makes you feel crazy, because you hate it and you know it means hell. But how is that possible when he’s just being so kind and loving? It’s yet another way in which you can questions your sanity. I’m tired of feeling crazy. And I’m tired of having to keep being reassured that I’m not.

Save Me

I gave the devil my hand and now he’s dragging me back to hell.

Only now I know what hell looks like and I don’t want to go.

Panic Attack #2

How many will I have to have before I can no longer number them? I don’t want to find out. So #2, it was through text, he made a comment about spanking me. Yes, it was in a sexual connotation. No, I really didn’t give a shit. Until I realized he was dead serious. And I said you actually want to hurt me. His reply basically in a nutshell; I was a mean bitch and deserved it, and spanking my ass to the point where I “wouldn’t forget it for a few days” was turning him on. 😳 I even clarified AGAIN “you actually WANT to hurt me?” Yep. << that was his reply.

Next thing I knew I was curled up on the kitchen floor barely able to catch my breath thrown back to a scene that happened one morning months ago. I described what we were wearing and how I felt. All I wanted to do was get out of the room. But he would stand in front of me and tell me “I’m not stopping you from walking out”. And he’d just keep on and on about how I had to talk to him….when I would get nervous I’d get mocked. “There’s no camera here. You can stop pretending like you’re gonna win an Emmy”. All I wanted to do was get out. Why I was triggered back to THAT memory I have no idea. There were so many of those moments. Wanting to run, but not being able to move. It took about 45 minutes and Valium to make it stop.

Does this just get worse with time? Just one little thing and a whole cascade of events happen in my head and it won’t stop. From the outside it sounds crazy.

I asked him once (within the last month) why has he never hit me……..his reply? Because I don’t like jail.