All my relationships were with abusive men
This is the 13th in a series of “My journey through anxiety, panic disorder, depression and psychosis.“ Read parts I, II, III, IV, V , VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI and XII for the backstory. It might make more sense. You’ll also read about me and my abusive relationships over a period of many years.
I started writing about my journey six months ago and I only ever intended to write it in four posts. However, it’s become clear that my journey was longer and more painful than I remembered. That’s made it difficult to get the words down on paper at times. I’ve taken many breaks and written lots of other posts in between. I’ve had time to reflect and bounce back a bit stronger each time.
Part XII saw the end of my emotionally abusive two year marriage with Ian, a narcissistic and insecure bully who constantly put me down. His biggest dig was always about me flirting with everyone. This included my teenage son’s best friend, my step dad and my best female friend. He finally left our home and the shared workplace he followed me to, he met someone else and left me alone.
Divorce is known to be the second most stressful life event, and I thought I’d got off lightly, having just anxiety. However, this was followed by a bout of severe depression, which drained my energy, leaving me feeling fatigued and empty.
Still, I threw myself into my newish job at the Day Hospital (DH) and enjoyed spending quality time with patients. I also spent my days off with those close to me and slowly, my mood improved.
I’d started to use the gym at the DH and a few of the girls were talking about running the Race for life 5K for cancer, so I joined them. Within a few short months, the Race was upon us; we had the kit, our back labels and sponsorship forms to be signed on completion.
On Race day, off we went; two staff and two patients and a small following of family and friends to cheer us on.
Huh! The three others raced ahead, leaving me cursing in pain and breathlessness at only 1K. Okay, I was the eldest at forty seven but I wasn’t going to be outdone.
Down to the last 500 meters, I saw my mum smiling and waving so I mustered every last ounce of energy I possessed. Guess who managed to catch up and run past them into the last 200 meters? And with the crowds all cheering me on, I did it — in 34 minutes, my best (and last) time ever.
That was such a happy day and my happiness levels were increasing each week. Me and Callum would hit the local bars one evening a week after work, where we laughed and chatted and occasionally bumped into colleagues. Most people in the bars thought we were a couple and as a rule, we were left alone, with no crude attempts at being chatted up.
One evening, this guy was going to the bar when he tripped and stumbled, stopping just short of our drinks. Nonetheless, the drinks spilled ever-so-slightly. Callum raced to the gents to dry his jeans and this guy offered to replace me and my boyfriend’s drink. “Oh, we’re not a couple,” I laughed happily, cos Callum was twelve years younger than me.
I didn’t turn him down when he asked for my number. Now dating, I discovered Mark was laugh out loud funny, often making me giggle at the simplest things. He was a listener, kind and caring, always asking about me, my family, my life and past relationships. I felt happy and relaxed in our relationship and I was falling in love.
A year in and Christmas arrived. Mark knew I’d be spending Christmas Day with my sons, my family and friends. It was still too early to introduce him to the boys but I said I’d pop into his on Boxing Day. I was looking forward to seeing him and I got to his around 3ish.
He let me in but was cool towards me and he got into a strop because he’d been on his own all day. “The family had you all day Christmas, it would have been nice if you wanted to spend today with me,” he whined
We hadn’t agreed on a specific time and I hadn’t realised there’d be a problem, ffs, but I apologised anyway. “I’m here now, so let’s enjoy what’s left of the day,” I mumbled, holding back the tears that were threatening.
“Stupid is as stupid does.” – Forrest Gump
Drama over, we tucked into Christmas goodies, including the champagne I’d taken as a gift, and settled down to watch dvds. Oops, between films, he dropped the popcorn bowl, which bounced sending popcorn up and out, landing everywhere.
“Hey Forrest,” I giggled, grabbing handfuls of popcorns and throwing it at him. He turned to me and huffed “Why did you get me a ‘Forrest Gump’ dvd? Do you think I’m stupid?”
Ignoring his ‘stupid’ comment, “Mmmm, it’s newly released and I just thought you’d like a film to watch on your new dvd player (that I’d got him).”
“You could have got me a different movie,” he muttered, “Anyway, I’m going to bed now so you best leave.”
“Just f*cking leave!” He yelled and pulled at the hem of my jeans, dragging me off the sofa and onto the floor.
“Stop it, what are you doing? I can’t drive home now, we’ve been drinking. Please.”
Still he tugged at my jeans and they eventually came off in his hands, leaving me sitting on the floor in my knickers. “Get up and f*cking leave.” So I did and I left the sack of unopened presents he’d bought for me.
I cried at work next day, hurt and humiliated, and alone again. Callum was like “Huh, I’d be round there putting poo through his letter box! The dumb b*stard.” I didn’t hear from Mark and I didn’t contact him.
Had I no shame?
New Year’s eve I got a text “Fancy a party tonight? I miss you and I’m really sorry.” Everyone else appeared to be going out somewhere nice that evening, why shouldn’t I? So, high heels and party dress on, off I went to meet Mark. He told me how great I looked, how nice it was to see me and how sorry he was. He wouldn’t act out like that again. And he didn’t.
Well, not until about another year later………
I’ve since learned that there’s such a thing as narcissistic rage, which is an outburst of intense anger or silence. Someone experiencing narcissistic rage may feel that someone else or an event in their life is threatening or may injure their self-esteem or self-worth.
What distinguishes narcissistic rage from normal anger is that it is usually unreasonable, disproportional, and cuttingly aggressive (or intensely passive-aggressive), all because the narcissists’ wants and wishes are not being catered to, Psychology today, 2018.
I believe this is what happened with Mark because his rage was always completely disproporionate to any slights from me i.e. I was late = his wishes (unbeknown to me) and needs weren’t met.
Over to you
Hang on in there please, I’ll finish this post in a day or two. I might even eventually finish writing about my own personal journey and I’d like you to stay with me til the end. You might just see a different me. However, in the meantime, I’d love to hear your comments and I’m open to answering any questions. Or you might want to guess what happens next with Mark 😉