I spend a lot of time wondering if I’m a narcissist. Living wit John eroded my mind in a lot of ways and I find I blame myself for everything and anything. I picked up a lot of his traits for dealing with things and I perpetually wonder if I’m the one pulling the trigger. If I’m the one always at fault and the abuser in every situation.
It’s easy to fall into that trap. To view yourself as the one always out of control and in the wrong. I wonder if I project my faults and shortcomings onto others. If you have the same problem popping up over and over again, John said, you are the common denominator. But what if that lesson was also false? What is there is truth in every lesson he gave me buried deep, deep down beneath his fake smiles and persona?
I spend a lot of time worrying about this- worrying that I’m the devil in a red dress and hell bent on taking everyone down with me. That I’m as self-destructive as John always said, that I push for the collapse and rarely pause to think of anyone else. That I lay the bear trap and lay in wait to catch someone in my metal claws. That I am the wolf at my own door, struggling to blow it all up just to feel one single moment of power. That I seek this power- some form of control for a person who always feels powerless.
I worry I’m toxic. That I kill everything in my path and choke all the life out of my relationships. That I’m the one to blame for everything that has ever gone wrong. I doubt my memories of fights and events, my own shame heightened and magnified a thousand times until everyone across the whole galaxy can see it and knows to stay away.
The thing about emotional abuse is that it stays with you. It’s not a mark to bare on your surface but built into every cell in your body. It colors ever single fucking aspect of your life whether you want it to or not. It informs every element of how you think, act, and feel, no matter how hard you fight it.
And goddamn do you try hard to fight it, with every single fiber of your being, with every breath and every step. With every glance and every word you never let pass your lips. Some days it’s a losing battle and the monsters in your head get you. Some days you’re only fighting a straw opponent, hacking and cutting into the air and thinking you’re making this grand progress. Two steps forward, five steps back, a running leap into the void and there you go- free, even just for one blissful second, nothing but air all around you. That free fall becomes a life line, a place of safety where there is no chance of control and you know the only way to survive is to just let go and go as limp as a rag doll. That’s how they teach you to fall, it’s the reason drunks tend to survive car crashes. You can’t brace yourself for the impact, you just have to give in to it with everything you’ve got and believe you’re going to make it through.
I wonder how many people I’ve damaged in my crash, how many lives I’ve changed and ruined on my path. I’m capable of setting fire to everything so I learned how to put them out, to minimize the effects and collect the coals when I’m done.
Maybe I’m better than I give myself credit for. Maybe I’m worse. Maybe everything I’ve been through or thought or said or done has led me to this moment in time, this ledge I’m sitting on trying to make a decision, knowing I can’t change a goddamn thing in the past but I can absolutely change how I am in the present. I’m my greatest champion and my own worst critic. The beginning and the end with nothing to do but release. I have to believe that I’ve got this, that I can survive the abuse and my own mind, that I can reach down deep inside myself to face my demons and tell my own story.
I can rewrite my story. It starts today.