I believe in luck and fate and I believe in karma, that the energy you put out in the world comes back to meet you. Chris Pine
Lately I’ve had a lot of clients who are getting out of failed or toxic relationships or partnerships with narcissistic abuse and domestic violence and a lot of these people want revenge. These people just want to head straight for the jugular and punish the people who have hurt them, and so today I wanted to talk to you about karma.
I know a lot of Buddhists believe in karma and I apologise if this is insulting to anyone but I do believe there are two types of karma. I believe if you do good, the world will do good unto you. And I believe if you do bad, then look out because the universe has to back for all those good people that you did wrong by. There’s this saying “Karma never forgets an address” and I used to look at that and go “Ooooh, bad, negative, nasty…” but now I look at it and it’s not like Santa always watching to see if you’re naughty or nice and I think: “Yeah, you know what? That’s true!”
So I’ve spoken a lot about my story and I wanted to talk today about why Relationship Free came about because I’m passionate about it. Relationship Free is here to fill the void for people experiencing failed and toxic relationships, narcissistic abuse and domestic violence. The good news is: just because you’ve been abused doesn’t mean you have a mental disorder and need a psychiatrist or psychologist.
So when I got out of my relationship I wasn’t angry – I just wanted peace and I wanted someone to give me the next steps on how to get guidance to get there. In the process, I went to all sorts of people: a counsellor, a psychologist and a psychiatrist. In the process, I was offered anti-depressants I couldn’t understand how something designed for a chemical imbalance was meant to help something circumstantial? My point was: the arsehole was gone – I just needed to detox. And I actually found a really powerful way to do it, and that’s when I started Relationship Free because I want to share everything I’ve learned that helped me!
Not too surprisingly – I’m also an empath – which means I can sense other people’s feelings and emotions and sometimes I can feel it as strongly as the person experiencing it. When I got out of my relationship, revenge and karma were the last things on my mind. I just wanted peace. And I actually wanted to be friends with the man who abused me! Only weeks after trying to build that friendship, he had me served with an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (AVO) for lifting his windscreen wiper blades on his car … on New Years Eve. Not only did he do it in a bid to maintain his control and keep me isolated (that’s the domestic violence side) but he also did it to affect my job – because I work for a charity … and this is the narcissistic abuse side of things.
How can I be sure? Because he told me.
Not only that, but in getting me served with that piece of paper he had “someone” – who I found out later was his manager, my old manager and the man who introduced us – support false allegations, saying he witnessed me abusing him.
When the police left my door, and I think this is interesting: the first thing I did was call my best friend and burst into tears. Not over what had happened though … I cried because: “La, how could I have scared him so much that he needed to do this to me?” Not your typical psychopath reaction for someone who would warrant the piece of paper smeared with lies. All I remember is being told “Sair, it’s time to get angry!” I got angry … but I used that energy to fuel hope for others, rather than releasing it into the universe.
At the court hearing I consented to the AVO without admissions. I didn’t have the energy, the will or the resilience at the time … I honestly just wanted peace! And it’s funny but that was a theme – and often is for people in relationships with narcissistic abuse – they’re drowning in drama and all they seek is peace.
Three days after the court hearing my abuser emailed me to wish me Happy Birthday – and it’s funny because he contacted me that way because I’d changed my number. Because I didn’t want contact and I hadn’t in a long time. And it was at that point, receiving that email, that I realised just how serious what I experienced was – and I had flashbacks of all the times he’d actually put my life under some serious threat – things that while I was in the relationship, I just overlooked – but now I was out, I could really see it. And it was then that I realised some important lessons about leaving a controlling person far behind. So I wrote a blog post.
His manager – ironically the same guy who lied about seeing me abuse him so my abuser could have that order created – wrote on my blog Facebook wall to tell me I was a liar. I remember seeing it (not knowing at the time that he was actually part of the “evidence” used against me), shaking my head and deleting it. I still wasn’t investing my energy there.
My abuser was really determined to affect my job and not only that but my career. This was his way of destroying any chance of a reference for me. And you know what? That’s ok by me, because I didn’t want his reference.
Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are. St Augustine
So, instead of fighting them, I started fighting politicians because I’m like “If I was abusing him, if he really was the “victim”, then how is it that our legal systems are trying to stop the abuse – yet he’s allowed to contact me?”
Someone explain it to me. And explain it when we have NO ties to each other. I didn’t have children to him. We were never married. And there was nothing financial tying us together.
So the only thing he could get to tie us together, and to hold onto me – and try to hold me down – was that piece of paper.
My pitch to the politicians looked like this – after sharing all my evidence that it was not as my abuser had said and in fact I wasn’t even home at the time he alleged I was lifting his windscreen wiperblades… I said this: when someone is served with an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order and it goes to court and is passed – two things should happen immediately after the court case:
- The accused goes on six weeks intensive anger management therapy (because even as the target of ongoing abuse, that would’ve been beneficial for me anyway)
- The “victim” (I prefer calling them a target because it’s more empowering to the person involved), goes into six weeks intensive therapy for self esteem and self worth to rebuild the person so they don’t freakin’ kill themselves. Do you know how often suicides happen as a result of domestic violence? Neither do I – because no one ever talks about it. But it’s more common than bullycide (which is children who kill themselves as a result of bullying).
Keep in mind – Domestic Violence is serious and it often is a matter of life and death.
And the other thing I fought for was mandatory no contact clauses for both people involved. How are you meant to break the abuse cycle if the people in the relationship are still contacting each other and all the people around them? I remember talking to the police about it, right up the line and they bitch over the frustration of seeing people get back together and then fall out over the same thing. Well?? It’s time someone does something about it. And as Mikhail Gorbachev said (before Emma Watson said it when making her HeForShe presentation): “If not me – who? If not now – when?” Our system as it stands makes no sense – it straight up sucks – and it makes me really angry … which only serves to fuel the passion.
I finished fighting to no avail – but decided it was time to move my energies on – I wrapped up my studies and I started Relationship Free. Here’s a photo of my celebration:
And you know, while my abuser and his manager seemed to get away with everything they did to me, I just kept going on my healing journey and kept trying to push myself to keep moving ahead, keep recovering, keep detoxing, keep being better than anything I was yesterday – and let me tell you: yesterday I was pretty freakin’ awesome so it was going to be hard to rebuild and outdo.
Well recently there as this big tender and his company went up against their opposition … not once, but twice. And it was interesting the way they did it because it looked like ‘Heads I win, and tales you lose’ and actually, all the truths that filtered out of the process were very interesting and it made me realise the level of narcissism in that whole environment within that one company.
So here’s where the karma came in:
They lost the tender.
And in losing it – both their jobs (the man who abused me and his manager who lied and supported the ongoing abuse) will be affected as a result. Because that’s all they did … work on that one contract that they just lost. And now their competition now monopolises the industry in Sydney. Good on them!
So karma took almost a year exactly. But it came. And I didn’t have to lift a finger, which meant my energy was better spent on the other things I focused on.
If I went out and sought revenge at a time that I still held toxins from the ongoing abuse – I would’ve acted out in a way that wasn’t authentic to me, then by the time I became my authentic self and things were aligning, karma would’ve been coming for me – and what good would have been in that?
Of course there was some irony in the fact that he would’ve found out on his birthday and Christmas is just around the corner… But that’s how karma works.
So if you’re hurting and after revenge, I urge you to channel your energies into something healthy and let karma do the work silently in the background for you. Have faith in the universe, it will protect you.
Catch you next week! xx
Click the picture for this week’s video:
It sounds like a cliche but I also learnt that you’re not going to fall for the right person until you really love yourself and feel good about how you are. Emma Watson
Today I wanted to bring you a message about dating following narcissistic abuse.
Many clients have come to me recently with this big light bulb moment and said: “I know, I’m just going to date again!”
My question would be the motives behind the thought.
When we break up with a narcissist we are left with a big gaping hole in our lives. We feel completely empty. Useless. Like no one will ever love us. Our self esteem and our self worth are so low they’re almost non-existent.
This is not the perfect place to meet someone new. However, I made this mistake. Following narcissistic abuse, I thought I’d recover similarly to how I had from other relationships – by putting myself back out there. It was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made. People may also try to fill the void with food, and may overeat, but others want to fill it with love thinking that love is all empowering and it fixes everything.
It’s a myth. Love doesn’t fix anything … and it shouldn’t have to. If you want to be in love, you shouldn’t want it to fix something – instead it should be used to enhance what you already have.
So as I say in my video below (sorry for the lighting and glare), the reason I don’t recommend dating immediately after narcissistic abuse is one of two things tends to happen.
1. You’ll find a nice guy and get bored very quickly. This is because he can’t match the toxic intensity of your previous relationship. Your self talk then starts beating you down for not liking the nice guy, making you feel you’ll never find the right one etc.
2. You’ll find the guy who matches the intensity of your relationship and start to see them. Before long you will realise that he too is toxic or even abusive, and the reason is that your subconscious has led you to find someone who matches that intensity.
I’m working on a program for Relationship Free at the moment for people who have experienced narcissistic abuse, to assist them with rebuilding self esteem, self worth and fill that horrible void that intentionally leaves targets feeling empty and as though there is a big gaping void in their life.
After a year in recovery, I have rebuilt myself from the coals and ashes – ruins my partner left behind from his path of destruction – and I have filled that gaping hole with self love, commitment and loyalty. The three things I was never offered in the relationship. And I have had a very happy and successful year. I have had the most incredible transformation. I have come through the most terrible storm, stronger, more confident and ready to take on the world. And it is only now, just last week that I have been open to dating again and already I’ve been asked out in some very elaborate ways! Haha! It’s funny what happens when you finally open yourself back up to the universe and say “OK, game on!” I’m also very conscious of the men I’m attracting now and am looking for someone who enhances my life lessons and can build on what I’ve already built up. I’m not sure if I’ve consciously gone out to find that before.
On my journey the major lesson I learned is that along with happiness, self esteem and self worth also come from within. So does passion! What are you passionate about? People look to external things: family, career, hobbies etc. What if it was more eternal. What if your passion was personal development or being in nature or something similar. Something that no one could ever take away from you – no matter how deceptive, how manipulative or how narcissistic. We are spiritual beings in a physical body, it’s important to embrace that and the life we have and focus forward on how you can create the best existence possible and make it more bearable for others.
The lessons I learned: you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge (Dr Phil), if you’re passionate – go for it, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something … particularly if it’s not up to them! It’s never too late to prove someone’s wrong, to embrace your self worth and to thrive.
Click the photo to watch the video:
Searching for a healthy relationship?
In a relationship you want to improve?
Looking to overcome a relationship issue or pattern?
Need help leaving or resolving a toxic relationship?
Starting again and trying to be your best self without direction?
Find your freedom within!
Build self esteem and self worth
Develop your confidence
Enhance your wellbeing
Relationship Free is giving away five FREE Life Coaching sessions – valued at $125 per session!
It’s easy to win:
2. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and in 30 words or less tell us how you celebrate your freedom
3. Five people can win, tell your friends!
Available via Skype or phone.
Offer valid until Saturday, 20 December 2014.
Bring in your New Year with a bang!
Do your thing and don’t care if they like it. Tina Fey
I have a confession to make…
I didn’t blog this week.
I know – I kind of said last week I’d be back another time, but I can’t help myself.
So it’s now after midnight on Sunday and I’m starting to write.
I had a break through this week. In fact, I had many break throughs. I’ve come to so many realisations all at once, it’s like a series of fireworks going off in my mind.
First of all, I’ve been living in the past … if you hadn’t noticed!
Even my parents text me this week and said “We hope Happiness Weekly will be happy again soon”. So my first realisation was this: I have become so good at letting go, that I was starting to let go of things that really mattered to me. Happiness Weekly has been going for two years and although my new business Relationship Free is already better known and more popular – Happiness Weekly was my pilot blog, and it served me well. While I do have many things I could do with my time other than blog for Happiness Weekly, this remains my passion. For those who don’t know, Relationship Free is my company that encourages clients to find the freedom within to be their best self. It has a strong focus on developing a relationship with yourself to combat addiction, loneliness, toxic and abusive relationships etc. Something we are never taught is how to love ourselves – and if anything, from a young age we are taught to play it down and betray ourselves. Don’t stand out. Stick with jobs we don’t love. Be kind even when someone is nasty to us… Relationship Free is a safe haven of its own – the website is currently in design phase (exciting!!).
My next realisation was this: I’ve been depressed, frustrated, angry, bitter and extremely fearful over the past year. I’ve dragged my feet everywhere I’ve gone. I’ve found it really hard to meet new people recently and trust. But I have. And the people I am now letting into my life are different to anyone I’ve met before. They adore me. Not like narcissistic kind of adoration where they’ll just annihilate me later – but they’re genuinely beautiful souls, who inspire my dreams. Big shout out to Russ and Kev, my two American men. Russ is a coach and Kev is into the whole coaching thing, he wrote this awesome blog about the World Domination Summit. He’s an exceptionally talented writer, which pleases me greatly. I can’t wait to attend this with him next year, it’s a new thing on the bucket list and I’m SO excited.
I thought I’d never meet anyone again, and I really didn’t care, but these men not only met me where I was at, but patiently listened to my story and somehow shifted me well outside of where I’ve been. I am forever grateful to both of them and all my patient friends who have stood by me. These two helped me get my smile back. So yeah – be gone that horrible Sarah that was taking over the woman I am! There’s no way I’m going numb for ten months only to finally feel again and not to feel anything good – I have some level of control here and I’m going to choose that with my head held high.
I had another realisation: going through domestic violence, surviving quite extreme narcissistic abuse (which I still think I’m lucky to actually be alive among all his coded threats and riddles, manipulation, deceit and lies), means you can actually spot narcissists really quickly. A big reason I haven’t dated since is I’m so terrified of meeting anyone even slightly resembling my ex boyfriend – and even just the thought of that actually gets bile in my throat. But you can slay that dragon. If you recognise one, live authentically – for some reason it’s kryptonite to these people and be mindful of their lies, manipulation and deceit.
And finally, I really learned the importance of self care … mainly because I haven’t been doing much of that this year compared to other years. Did I not deserve it? Do you have to deserve it? And if you do, then what do you have to do to deserve it?
Maybe you don’t know what a self care plan is – I was talking to a girlfriend the other day who was saying her family didn’t accept her self care activities and self soothing choices. It wasn’t hurting anyone – have your nails done, get your hair done, take a bath, go for a walk, drink a glass of tea, walk by water, sit in the sun … whatever it is, I can’t highlight enough how important it is that you take care of yourself – regardless of anything else.
Today, I’m just very quickly going to help you put together a self care plan – and I apologise this is in writing – I wanted to make a video, but unfortunately I ran out of time. This is different to your typical Self Care Plan – but hopefully it works for you, because this is my secret medicine for getting back on track.
Happiness Weekly’s Self Care Plan
Step one: Take a blank piece of paper and a pen.
Step two: Write down five to ten things you really love to do at the moment. Ie. go to the markets, walk on the beach, go camping, get your nails done, listen to music, have a massage etc.
Step three: Go back in time to when you were a child – somewhere between 3 and 11 years old. Write down five things you really loved to do. Ie. jump rope, drink a milkshake, play sport, build a cubby house, play computer games, blow bubbles etc.
Step four: Now we’re going to set those lists aside. On another piece of paper write:
And under each heading start populating various things you can do to fulfil those things, sooth yourself and show yourself some care – or even just things you enjoy doing that are associated to these headings. Now you can move the list from step two under the best headline for that item, and step three. Next to the step three items I want you to write (IC) next to each item in brackets – this stands for inner child. What you’re doing there is nurturing your inner child by doing these activities and be particularly mindful of your inner child as you complete these activities. For example, when I take myself for my skim strawberry milkshake, I think to myself: “Here you go, you’ve been a good girl, little Sarah – I love you!” So I really acknowledge my inner child as I complete that task or any task on the list associated with my Inner Child. Ensure you always tell your inner child that you love them. “I love you, little –” and say your name. And once you say that, feel what comes up for you. It’s really important that you connect with yourself and learn to love yourself in a holistic way.
Ensure each of the headings has quite a few activities under it.
Step five: Plan your week and add in between one and three self soothing activities or activities from your Self Care plan a day. This is particularly useful for people who are looking to reconnect with themselves or busy people on the go who don’t often have time to reward themselves.
This week I am taking some time off work to attend the Festival of Change
Next month I’m graduating from my course and I have five positive certificates to go with it :) (I am also attending two more courses next month)
For New Years Eve, I’m celebrating with Kev – and yes it’s booked! I can’t wait! (I don’t usually do anything for New Years Eve)
Relationship Free opens in January, although I am receiving quite a few inquiries now and will assist where I can.
Next year (in June/July/August) I’m going to New York City, Los Angeles, California, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas … pretty much everywhere I can! Oh and Kentucky to see my survival buddy, Susie, who reached out to me when I swear my soul was charcoal and helped get me where I am today.
And between all that, I will get some sunshine, some walking by the water, play some air hockey (GAME ON!), and have a couple of skim strawberry milkshakes and maybe a rainbow paddle pop. Another thing I learned this year was to hug myself (as demonstrated in this picture). It’s the ultimate in self soothing, make time to hug yourself each day.
And so the title of my blog post today … because I found my way back.
I swear by keeping a self-care plan and action it when ever you can. This is not only the first step for understanding yourself, but it’s also the first step for loving yourself completely. This plan helps build self esteem and self worth and it can also assist with self forgiveness and self trust.
What is your favourite self care activity? List it in the comments.
Self soothing tip #1: have fun!
Self soothing tip #2: hug yourself
The time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Douglas Coupland
Everyone seems to have one day in their life where life just … stops. It could be the day your partner tells you they want a divorce. The day you find out you have cancer. The day someone really close to you dies. How we respond to the day life stops is up to us – the difficulty is sometimes we just don’t have the steps to move us out of there, so we get stuck.
I’m going to talk about the day my life stopped. Anyone who knows me right now knows how I feel about police, our systems surrounding domestic violence and most of my story – which I don’t cover up anymore and I’m certainly not protecting my abuser anymore. Anyone who knows me, would tell you I’m respectful of everyone I meet – but believe me, if you work for NSW Police Force right now – you don’t want to meet me because you get a different side to that story and here’s why:
It was 31 December 2013.
I was getting ready to go out with friends to celebrate New Years Eve.
I didn’t have a care in the world. My music was playing.
For the first time all year, I felt happy.
Four weeks before I had left an abusive relationship. During that next four weeks there was torment and more abuse and push and pull like you wouldn’t believe. I was involved with a narcissist but because of the constant lies, deception and manipulation – I couldn’t see it. And I didn’t realise how dangerous that was to me … until this day. The day my life stopped. So here’s what happened…
I’m sitting there naked in front of my full length mirror getting ready.
I’ve just put some foundation on – no other make up.
My intercom buzzes.
There’s two police waiting to talk to me with some “paper work”.
And I look back at that moment and I think wow! How’s that for desperation? He stopped me going out with friends all year. He ruined every happy event to the point of exhaustion. And now this? Well I knew I couldn’t be dreaming – because it was right in line with everything else he’d done, including filing for divorce on his wife’s birthday. What I still have difficulty accepting is that the police supported his abuse! The AVO was “non-urgent” so why wouldn’t they stop for just one moment and go “It’s New Years Eve, this is non-urgent … she’s complained about him three times already, it’s an ongoing dispute … really, it can probably wait – I’m sure he’ll survive another day if she lifts his wiper blades again.”
Clearly the fact an abusive partner WOULD target New Years Eve in a bid to crush my plans and stop me going out, just didn’t come into the equation at all.
Well … to my stalker (yup, still subscribed twice there, I see, still have your fake Facebook profile … good on you, you loser!) and you were the ultimate kill-joy: I just want you to know it didn’t stop me. I still went out.
And I had fun!
In fact, in one night, I had more fun than I’d had all year.
I had more fun than I EVER had with him!
And then at midnight, I declared the year of Awesome.
So if you think the day life stopped, and the day my soul shattered into a billion pieces that I changed from the life-loving person I am, you’re wrong.
So here lies my frustration with the day my life stopped:
The “paperwork” called him a “defacto”.
But he never lived with me – and I never lived with him.
And I wouldn’t call it a relationship when I thought we were in it and he deceived me and his wife so badly for an entire year. That’s not a relationship.
So … where was the evidence?
The paperwork said I asked about his “ex wife”.
But they never divorced.
In fact, they never even separated which is what I was questioning about!
And the police then ask me on the phone if he’s back with her… what the fuck? Is this a test??
Where was the evidence at the time that he WASN’T with her?
So I complained – because the majority of their reasons for serving me were fictionalised beyond recognition. And they said:
“You left nine voicemail messages for him”.
But here’s the thing…
He didn’t have a voicemail. He had a moment of white noise and right to the beep.
Plus, I knew, after a year of being with him that he never listened to his voicemail messages – so why would I leave a message?
And so I asked: “Did you listen to the content of just ONE of those messages?”
Well then WHERE was the evidence?
In the constable’s protest and determination that his manipulated evidence was fact, he continued reading out the alleged times – this is the same man trying to manage my complaint, I suggest he keeps his day job because customer service certainly isn’t a strong point – because as I cried out: “I couldn’t have done that because I was in the basement at that time, I can’t get reception there!”
WHERE WAS THE GOD DAMN EVIDENCE?
We were getting nowhere so I asked why the police didn’t call me before serving me on his behalf.
Back pedal: “The constable thinks he did, but he can’t remember”
Even from his tone I could hear the doubt. He was LYING and he knew it!
At that point I realised I was discussing this with police defending police. I will NEVER trust police for my protection or the protection of others again. EVER!
And don’t get me started on their ridiculous times – I wasn’t even home at the times they alleged: I was out with my parents! Ha! And I have a text exchange verifying all that. But alas, pretty sure the next claim would be that I have a hidden time machine!
I laugh – but my belief that police were there to protect people was shattered.
I can’t begin to express my disappointment in knowing I’m entirely unprotected: by police and our systems.
And now I realise the ugly dangerous world as it really is. This is happening in Australia, what I thought was a safe country. And it’s the scary truth. Particularly for those in domestic violence situations. Now I empathise on a level that not many people can – because not only is it unsafe, but our systems aren’t working to protect anyone.
The constable then moved the conversation to directly accuse me of deliberately being misleading in my complaint:
He told me I lied to the ombudsman and I tried to deny all the allegations made.
I looked back at my complaint today – that is INCORRECT. It clearly states my awareness of what I did. There’s not even a slight attempt to cover it up.
I DON’T LIE! But my abuser does. Police do. People do. People lie…
And there is nothing you can do about it.
So at the end of the day: what does evidence matter?
People can happily stop your life even without evidence, without reason, without you “deserving” the pain you are set to experience. That’s how life goes.
What’s weird, in reflection on that final conversation, is that that accusation itself didn’t bother me. People make mistakes. People judge. People are just people.
It was the fact that constable made me doubt myself – just like my abuser did – that bothered me most.
It was like being abused all over again.
I look at the evidence I gathered and it’s so clear to me.
The abuse I didn’t see before is SO clear. The control. The harassment. The threats. THE WHOLE ENTIRE CYCLE IS RIGHT THERE! And it is a cycle.
The being served with an AVO, the intimidation displayed in the court house, the “act normal” for my birthday – just three days later, the smear campaign when I didn’t respond, the attempt to bring me down publicly via my blog. It’s all there in the evidence collected and it’s certainly evident!
It was there all along. Blind Freddy and his blind fucking cousin could see it!
I can’t look over the evidence anymore because I just get angry (clearly). Mostly at myself for being so naive. And beating myself up … that gets me nowhere, because I am the only one who gets it. I was there!
And if they can’t see it – just on the evidence before them, then why are they working on domestic violence cases?
And if they do see it, because it’s so obvious, and they really are just covering it up … then why are they working with victims of domestic violence?
All you see in the media is RESPONSE. People dying from domestic violence.
I haven’t heard one “Thankfully they had an AVO against that person and so they left them alone and they lived happily ever after?” Why not? Because that’s not how it works. Abuse is soul-destroying.
How much counselling has my abuser got – who claims I abused him. I bet none. He got nothing for his mental health and wellbeing. I put my life on it. He’s just a super-victim, right? And that’s how I can clearly see narcissism. Counselling for both people involved should be a mandatory condition of an AVO – sorry taxpayers but it’s true! Because I can promise you – it would’ve stopped him. He hates counselling as narcissists do because it doesn’t bode well for their perfect image.
One thing the constable admitted was it didn’t sound right. Things I was saying were things a victim would say. Of course that in the end was inferred that I’d just done my research to intentionally sound like that, because I want to help people in my situation. I couldn’t possibly have been the victim, despite the evidence in front of them. No words. No words on how this was managed at all.
I hate police now. I’ve never been like this before. I very rarely tar people with the same brush because they resemble something that hurt me. I’ve never said “I hate men” after a break up. But I hate police. Yup, all of them. There: I said it.
Being served with an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order for lifting windscreen wiper blades, is kind of the new form of getting your hands chopped off for stealing a loaf of bread. I can’t imagine this happening to anyone else: how did I get so lucky? :)
And my self talk got dragged down to this:
“No one gets it. No one understands. No one can help me.”
But you know what? That’s how it is when life stops!
THAT doesn’t just happen to me. When life stops – no matter how it stops – that’s what self talk does.
NO ONE does get it!
NO ONE does understand!
Only you because you were there – the whole time.
So my story isolated me just like my abuser planned, targeted and wanted. I can’t believe someone could be so cruel and evil. Let alone someone I loved. Someone I chose to love.
It still shocks me every morning I wake up and my first thoughts are still: “Wow, I’m here, that really happened!” And that overwhelming feeling of betrayal. That’ll fade in time. I can sit with that.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my new place – but the move wasn’t under ideal circumstances.
And no, I wasn’t asked to move, but the day life stopped: I made the decision I should’ve made a long time ago, without waiting for my friends or family’s permission this time. But if I moved a month before, I wouldn’t be in the Safe Haven where I am now… everything happens for a reason.
So lots of people have come to me recently and asked how I got back up.
What was my “secret” – what could they do?
That’s the weird thing. You definitely know the day life stops.
You experience this soul-shattering crunch.
And it’s impossible to prepare for.
But it’s so difficult to know what to do next.
It’s the broken plate, no matter what you do, it’ll never be the same.
Life will never be the same.
So here’s what I did…
The day my life stopped – I stopped.
I stopped dating.
After 14 years of toxic and abusive relationships – I hopped off the dating treadmill with no interest or inclination for getting back on.
I stopped going out.
I go to work, I come home. Repeat.
Once the door closes at either end, that’s where I stay. I won’t even go to the grocery store.
I stopped communicating with people.
I closed Facebook. I stopped blogging. Kept conversations short. I think people find it hard to know what to say to me too. I’m not the same person. I’m broken now. You can see it. I can recognise a shattered soul anywhere now.
I stopped blogging like I’m invincible and I started sharing the reality of what I live.
Surprisingly my blogs have become more popular, maybe because they’re real now? That’s great and welcome to every one of my new supporters, I’m so happy to have you here … but it’s also not the world I want to live in … it’s not the reality I once knew. I kind of liked my cocoon. But it’s alright, I’m strong, and I’m happy to share my lessons.
I stopped feeling safe.
Now I watch my back – everywhere I go. For him. For his wife. For his kids. For the police (like a fugitive). For whoever he sends to watch me.
I stopped eating – overnight.
I dropped from size 10 to size 6. I don’t have much of an appetite still to this day. I never regained my weight.
It’s been like a broken bone … I’d say a broken arm but it’s more significant … more like a broken back – without medication to numb the pain.
It’s taken a long time to adjust to the break.
To overcome the trauma. To sleep without nightmares.
To just get on with life.
It’s been hard.
I don’t think I’ve lived a single day since when I haven’t gone over it again and again.
My life stopped completely for six solid months.
I even pushed my family away who offer unconditional love and support.
I’m probably the luckiest person in the world to have my family. They’re not perfect, but they’re perfect when it comes to offering that.
They’ve got no fucking idea how hard this has been for me and how hard it still is. No idea. No one does.
And reconnecting has been really hard. Not just with them and other people, but also with myself.
I don’t trust anyone like I used to. I don’t love like I used to. I’m not attached to anything anymore.
Take everything you want.
Do whatever you want to me.
I’ve numbed out to that now.
Like naturally numbed out.
I went from caring about every little thing, little miss life perfectionist straight to: I DON’T CARE!
It’s like since the day life stopped, a glass force field came down and surrounded me.
I know it’s meant to protect me but it also isolates me. Depends how you look at it, I guess.
The day life stops isn’t necessarily bad though!
And you’re not alone.
As I said, there’s lots of situations that make lots of people’s lives stop.
You’ll find your own way to celebrate it and when you do, you start to thrive.
That day your soul shatters, you start to see what you haven’t seen before, and you can make decisions.
And you’ll take a stand like never before, because somewhere deep in side you have something that triggers and screams: “THIS IS MY LIFE!” No matter how introverted you are.
Since the day life stopped I’ve:
- Cut the addiction to my abusive partner completely (and no one really gets the addiction to the abuser until you’re in it and have experienced it … that was the WORST THING I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED IN MY LIFE. Even beyond the trauma. Because he is a disgusting man in every aspect and logically I knew it but I was so trapped under this spell. I can’t even begin to explain. And my self worth and self esteem were non-existent – that’s why I want to work with people in domestic violence now: because I GET IT! I get that isolation, I get that addiction, I get that pain… I GET IT! And I’m going to use it!)
- Learned to love myself completely
- Forgiven myself and learned to trust myself again (that was the hardest part!)
- Started spending time on my own – because I actually enjoy my own company
- Started studying despite resistance to the field
- Come up with new life goals and a completely new direction
- Made decisions I would’ve been too scared to make
- Started a business – Relationship Free: facebook.com/relationshipfreepage
- I wrote to the magistrate who reluctantly handed down my six month AVO
- Lived for me and only me.
So if your life has stopped right now.
If you’re in that pit of despair where life just dumped you off and forgot about you.
My suggestion to you is: STOP!
- Stop judging yourself
- Stop doubting yourself
- Stop everything you need to
- Forgiving yourself
- Trusting yourself
- Being honest with yourself
Many of you may remember Rihanna got THUGLIFE tattooed on her knuckles at some point.
I never understood that. What a stupid thing to do, right?
And I judged. Just like people judged me when I put it on my Facebook. Testing, testing…
But you see: now I get it.
Now I understand what she means and why she did it – and I have a new respect for Rihanna because she exposed narcissistic abuse in the celebrity limelight in a way that’s never been done before.
The day life stopped: THUGLIFE began.
It means: The Hate You Gave Lives Inside For Ever. Anyone, even the most peaceful of people would understand after surviving this level of abuse.
So go do it!
Get a stupid tattoo that everyone judges you by – you only live once!
If the day life stopped impacts you to make you want to do something impulsive (so long as you’re not hurting anyone or yourself), trust it! Do it! Because it was that urge that lead me to study and respect the life I lost for a year to the man who subjected me to a torture known as narcissistic abuse until I was driven to breaking point.
And finally I want to finish with this. Three things to focus on from the day life stops:
- Reconnecting with yourself
- Figure out what you love, what you’re passionate about, what your purpose really is and do it
- Set new goals and go about achieving them.
On that note – I’m a couple of months off some big changes coming to fruition. I apologise if I miss a blog during this time, but I will be back! I want to thank everyone for following Happiness Weekly and particularly to my supporters (new and old) because it has been a tremendously difficult journey and I couldn’t have got this far without all of you.
Love, respect and acceptance,
There are two questions a man must ask himself: The first is ‘Where am I going?’ and the second is ‘Who will go with me? Sam Keen
Think about it. If your television stopped functioning, or three or four months in to purchasing it, it started playing up – would you take it to a repairer? How about your fridge – would you get it looked at? Your oven? Your car?? So what is different about your relationship?! Don’t laugh – but is the reason that you won’t invest in your relationship because it’s not covered by warranty?
Many people sit in unhealthy and toxic relationships not moving in the hope it will fix itself, or because some days it’s better than others, so they’re happy to wait for those better days. Thankfully I did a survey recently of potential Relationship Free clients and 50% of respondents said they would attempt to fix their relationship if it became unhealthy. But at what point? How bad does it have to be, before you seek help? How much denial do you need to process, before you step forward?
Every day, I have people reading my most popular blog post of all time: All about toxic relationships and how to let go and they have come to me for help with their toxic relationship. “Sarah, what would you do?” or “What did you do?” Upon further reflection many have picked up the buzz word “narcissistic abuse” and decided their relationship isn’t toxic but their partner is narcissistic. There’s a big gap there. Toxic is overtly dysfunctional, putting down, emotionally and mentally painful and exhausting. It makes you act out in ways you don’t normally. Narcissistic abuse is manipulative, deceptive, under-handed abuse that it almost invisible, but extremely dangerous and painful. It also generally involves a personality disorder: Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
But blame is a fantastic thing, isn’t it?
If we can blame all our relationship woes on the behaviour of our partners then we never have to take action or responsibility. We can just go fourth in our unhealthy relationship, blaming the problems and causes on our partner, rather than stepping out and finding the courage to enter into a new life with the possibility of a healthy relationship.
I am in the process of developing a workshop called “Is your relationship abusive?” which helps people to identify what kind of relationship they are in, and can then make the decision if they want to fix their relationship or not. If you know you’re being abused right now, step out of yourself and ask … do you deserve to be abused? Is there more for you than what you have now? Just because you don’t know better, does this mean that you can’t have better or don’t deserve better than what you have? Rebuild yourself and make a step and keep rebuilding until you’re feeling human again. As many of you know, this year I have been healing from an abusive relationship and the journey to recovery is long and it is challenging. If I stayed longer, it would have been further detrimental, but there comes a point that you have to be your own hero – because as I showed in my story, no one else can or will save you. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to make that call if you’re going to stay or go. And no, it’s not an easy call to make, particularly where there is abuse because there will be threats if you go. Let me tell you from someone who got to the other side … not without consequence, but I got there, let me tell you that making that call, stepping out of that abusive relationship was the best thing I’ve ever done. It was the best move I’ve ever made. And it gave me a story which I take fourth today. It broadened my goals. It gave me a message worth sharing … and here I am today.
Recently the NSW government released this checklist for an abusive relationship. Is this a checklist that should be for public consumption? I don’t think so and I feel really strongly about it. In fact, the systems we have infuriate me – it’s not about protecting people at all. Just because you check all these boxes, is that as extremely bad as it could be? What if just one or two of these was really bad, and they didn’t check any of the other boxes – would that then mean it’s not that bad, perhaps the person is overreacting and therefore they should remain in an abusive relationship? In my case, where I was set up, I think this is just a checklist for more abusers and there will be more victims like me as a result of this. I just helped one woman boldly step through what I went through, just because I boldly shared my story … how many more will come to me for support through this as a result of this checklist going online? There is not psychological input to any of this. Abusers don’t necessarily go to anger management classes, and victims don’t necessarily go to counselling. So what is the point of this checklist online and the AVO process? Because right now, it’s going from bad to worse.
And it’s not just the government at fault, but there are often questionnaires released in domestic violence groups. This makes my blood boil. What’s that? So victims can compare notes on “how bad” this piece of paper says your abuse was? Are you more a survivor and thriver if you lived through every checked box? What if you did check every box but it happens you’re a hypochondriac and it actually wasn’t as bad as you say? From my experience, people who come to do domestic violence questionnaires are doing it to confirm “how bad” their abuse is … even once they know they are being abused, even once they know “how bad” it is, they still need to make their choice, will they stay or will they go? So why bother finding out how bad? Why not discover if you are in an abusive relationship, skip the “how bad” step and make your decision. Do you really want to be in an abusive relationship? Do you deserve to be there? What our systems and our groups and a lot of people overlook is that there is a lot of addiction in abuse. I’ve spoken about this before but there’s cycles and there’s trauma bonding, and the longer you stay, the worse it gets.
If you think I’m saying these diagnostic tests are unhelpful for people in domestic violence situations, you are absolutely correct. The temptation for a victim and even a past victim, to decide “how bad” their abuse was based on these tests, is not going to help them. Many people in the domestic violence group I was associated with continued to hinge whether their abuse was bad or not, based on if police take action. If police take action – therefore, the abuse must be really bad. And it’s funny how many people believe this. I think the shattered evidence of a person in trauma speaks louder than a narcissist’s carefully manipulated evidence and lies.
Whether your relationship is toxic or abusive, it’s up to you whether you want to stay and fix it or leave something that is dysfunctional. No one can make that decision for you. So what’s it going to be … will you stay or will you go?