I think maybe one day I will write a book about how to survive a divorce from a narcissistic, abusive alcoholic. It ain’t easy – the marriage may have just been the easy part, even though it felt like hell most days.
Now I get to put all my life lessons to the test and discover what I’m made of.
Lisa the Victim was a role that served me well for a very long time. It got me sympathy and concern and it let me have a voice, even if it was a tearful, nervous one. I think she’s ready for the dumpster now. Or maybe she can be recycled into something more positive, who knows.
Here’s what I know that’s helping me get through these days:
- I used to think I could control other people’s behavior by manipulating my own to please them. Now I know more of the things I can and cannot control, and it’s not at all the way I had imagined it as a victim. It’s rather backwards, really.
- My creativity doesn’t end with arts and crafts. For every problem, there exists at least one creative solution.
- No one can take better care of me than I can.
- I am a good mother. Not a perfect one, but a good one.
- I have choices. Always.
- Scary people are just frightened people themselves.
- Sometimes it’s okay to be selfish.
- Children are vulnerable, but smart as hell.
- Court documents are intended to provide structure, but I can still parent my way and make my own household rules.
- I can stand up to a bully without hitting back.
He’s behaving exactly as I expected. Being prepared without projecting is challenging, but predicting his next move with my knowledge of past experiences with him is my greatest asset in this fight.
My goals for the moment are to get through the next two months alive and sane (and with no property damage). I need to pick my battles, set my boundaries, while avoiding issues that I know for sure will set him off. Calm firmness is the key.
In the interest of my sanity, I set up a new email account and told him this:
- From now on, I will use this email account for our communications.
- I will check my email at least once a day. (I will not forward this account to my Blackberry.)
- I will do my best to respond within 24 hours.
- All urgent matters and emergencies should be handled via a message on my cell or a text to that number.
This avoids the problem of me being at work or out with the kids and being interrupted with an accusing, nit-picking, three-page email from him and letting it ruin my day. I can decide when I am ready to deal with him – when I’m feeling strong and focused. No more getting caught off-guard.
It provides me with an entire gmail account full of storage space to keep the email exchanges for future legal reference, if necessary.
If he abuses the “emergency” setup, then I may need to come up with an alternative to that. I’ll deal with that if the issue arises.
I included the word “legal” in the email address for a constant reminder. It seems to be the one subject that gets him to back off, even if only temporarily. If I don’t have the strength or knowledge to fight back myself, I will not hesitate to call on the law, as I have demonstrated previously.
I have so much to say… and not nearly enough time to write lately. (Plus, my wonderful Dell charger went out – AGAIN – and I had to wait for a new one to fire up the old laptop. I think I’m ready to hit the Mac trail.)