Last week, Lovefraud posted a letter from “Cybil,” I did not choose this guy. Here’s more of her experience.
I’ll call this, “Things people say, part II.” This is the other one that bugs me: “You’re paranoid.” I always have a good 24 hours of self-doubt before I realize they’re the ones that are nuts, not me. I know a lot more about what crazy stuff is out there in the world than your average, never-tangled-with-a-sociopath human does.
I just went to a seminar of a national expert on how domestic violence leads to murder, especially for women. Over and over he said, “Trust your instinct.” He told the audience to take women seriously when they have these stories (like those on this blog) and that if she is a co-worker you should elevate these stories to security for everyone’s safety because it could easily become a workplace shooting.
But continually I have had people in my life say I am paranoid since my ex came into my life. HE used to tell me I was paranoid. Crazy. Hysterical. Depressed. I wasn’t. I was living in a psychological and physical war zone. People who survive sociopaths have survived wars. The people on the blog are war-buddies.
The funny part is watching how the people who told me I was paranoid act when their blinders fall off. Like my parents, every few weeks another blinder falls off. When the death threats came in, they were in shock and they never said, “You told us so,” but they started taking things a bit more seriously and realized that when they told me I was paranoid that he was going to kill me (Well, yes, he hit you, he lied to you, he had an arrest record, but he’d never kill you. He’d get in trouble. He’s not that stupid …), they were wrong. The sad part is watching them go back into denial as the “living with death threats” thing starts to become routine.
A strange event happened the other day. I called the police. My parents say: You know that was just a random thing that happened. You’re paranoid.
I am going to start telling people in my life, you are not allowed to tell me I’m paranoid or that I chose this guy. Not only is it horribly deflating, it goes to the heart of what I am healing from and getting stronger by. When people tell me “You chose him,” they are telling me I have to take more responsibility, but taking more than my share of responsibility for what happened is what kept me in the bad relationship longer than I should have been. Because I started to believe it was my fault, because he told me it was my fault. If I could just fix me, then maybe he wouldn’t have to get so crazy and mean. It took me several years of dangerous experimenting with every “me” I could be, to realize it wasn’t ME. Yeah, I don’t have a problem taking responsibility and I don’t need help taking more.
When people tell me “You’re paranoid,” they are really questioning my instinct and telling me not to listen to it. I am a year and a half out from living with an abuser and a gaslighter; I am largely over the hyper-alert period. I know what I feel. Doubting that was also what kept me in the bad place: Maybe he is telling the truth, maybe he did do that for my own good, maybe I am being too judgmental, maybe I should give him another chance. Not doubting my instinct to walk out that last time was what let me walk out!!!!
I’m not going back there. Not even in a mental sense.