Chin up, I plucked that brittle straw and FINALLY snapped it in half. It wasn’t ‘something’ that broke the final straw, it was me. I was ready to stop feeding its flexibility. Tired of being sad and alone in my marriage.
My metaphorical mind finally put the years of neglect, the rages triggered when caught in a lie or questioned, the devaluing and finally the contempt for me that roiled behind his mask into living color. A movie that linked each frame to the next and brought it to life. I made myself focus on it. Love for one takes so much out of us we want to turn away, hope it will just stop, but in doesn’t. In narcissistic relationships the distance, disgust and abuse escalates with time, it doesn’t retreat.
There was another lie about another woman and this time I stopped feeding that dead stalk of straw I’d cradled and protected. I pursued the truth, didn’t hide in denial or make excuses or believe him when he told me I was suspicious, selfish, bitter, didn’t understand his relationship with her because I was small and petty.
Over decades before, there were other lies, lots of tempers and devaluing, but I’d protected my love for him, my determination to try harder, be better, weather the storms and not be a quitter. This does not mean I was perfect, just that my determination nourished the straw, made it flexible enough to spring back and not break.
As I researched and began to see the patterns–the dynamics of manipulation in the narcissist’s arsenal, learned how many others experience the same things, instead of protecting and nourishing that straw, I let it dry out. Become brittle. Then I broke it and set myself free.
I wrote about my journey in LEAVING YOU…for me, and continue to write blogs posted onas I recovered, took my life back. Learning the relationship dynamics depersonalized it. Bit by bit I’ve let those broken pieces go, taking the regrets and injustice and at times insanity of it away with them.
This morning as I write this, I think that straw is symbolic of me. I used all the tools in the codependent’s bag to keep my love and relationship from drying out and becoming brittle. People tell me how courageous I was when I finally walked away after 47 years of marriage, but they have no idea how broken I was. I didn’t realize it at first, either. Didn’t know I would have to plow through the steps of grief, learn to trust and value myself. It hasn’t been easy, but I want you to know it was worth every single step.
I’ve made genuine friends. Gotten into Meetup groups and fun activities. I came into my apartment yesterday after a five mile walk with a group of 23 people out living life too. We visit, laugh, four of us ended up having lunch together. I’m going sailing with several next week, am in an author’s group with another. I had as much fun on the ride home from a musical a few days ago as I did at the play…and it was a wonderful performance about Gloria Estefan’s life, lyrics, and rising above near defeat.
I’m rattling to let you know it will suck for a while when you finally decide to stand up for yourself, but there is brilliance beyond. A wonderful world out there and I wish you the best in moving beyond the dysfunction. There’s an entire community of us along the recovery road. Reach out. Read. Believe you are worth it.
Let that straw break, it isn’t the end for you, it’s the beginning of a life with opportunity to leave the drama and chaos behind.
With warmest sincerity and encouragement,