Emotional Manipulation Tactic #12 – Fear

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Fear can be paralyzing, especially when we are stepping into the unknown. It’s one thing to think about making changes in your life (divorce). Or even deciding to make changes (to leave). But the real kicker comes when it’s time actually to make those changes happen (to move out). And that, my friend, is where all of us run smack into fear. It can be totally paralyzng. The Narcissist FEED on that fear, making you believe that you can’t make it on your own, that you’re not worthy. Then there’s the fear of what if’s. Can I make a living? How long will the divorce process take? Is it best for the children? Can I afford the fight? You can bet your last dollar that the narcissist will threaten to take away the children, threaten to leave you with nothing and tell you that no one will ever love you again.  

He made me the victim, and my acceptance of that role allowed him to keep his control over me. He projected his issues onto me, leaving a husk of the person I used to be, to feed his ego. I didn’t see through his ruses. I didn’t call them out fearful of his repercussions. I allowed his behavior to go unchecked by not actively taking a stand against it — and for a good reason. When I did stand up to him, he punished me, abusing me both verbally and physically. I failed from the beginning to set proper boundaries.

I was also afraid of being alone, pure and simple.  Alienation was a significant factor why I stayed as long as I did. While living abroad for ten years having three small children including one with special needs, I couldn’t pack up and leave. We moved so frequently is was easy for him to alienate me from friends and family that supported me. I was also alienated financially, having given up my career to support him in all our moves. We relied solely on his income. My career was long gone. I was terrified at the thought of getting a job having been out of the workforce for so long with my skillset being significantly outdated, or so he made me believe. How would I support myself and my children?

His controlling and abusive behavior didn’t end when I finally found the courage to leave.  In fact, it got worse.  Much worse. I had no money of my own, and for the sake of the children, I was forced to stay in the marital home during the divorce process when he refused to leave.  I suffered through stalking, verbal and physical violence, hidden cameras, and  flamboyant and unpunished violations of court orders.  I lived in a House of Horrors and was imprisoned in a dungeon built by his malice

With the help of his greedy and unscrupulous lawyer, he coldly and masterfully orchestrated devastating attacks designed to make me look crazy and violent in attempts to get custody of the kids he hardly even knew.  The police were called to our home (10) times during our year of divorce.  He lied, cheated, and stole.  He staged more than (33) events and recorded them as false “evidence”.  He dragged me into a maelstrom of Machiavellian schemes designed to isolate me from everything I had known and loved.

But to his chagrin, I survived – thrived once free from his control!  Once I determined to knock those walls down, everything started to focus into a plan, albeit slowly testing my patience. I chose to jump out of that pot of boiling water and began to take control of my life. Yes, MY life – not his, not our kids, but MINE. By eliminating the ignorance of the “what ifs” and fear of the unknown, I began to eliminate the anguish allowing myself to make my own choices, move forward one battle at a time and change my life, piece by piece.

Once I accepted that fact and that I deserved better, then I could begin my road to recovery, feeding my spirit that so desperately wanted to be happy. I changed my thinking process entirely, working diligently to “Let Go” all those evil thoughts and memories that were conditioned in me, allowing me to accept MY truth and MY reality. I wasn’t crazy! I’m an amazing mother, and I did the best I could. No regrets. Move forward.

Hopefully readers, through my journey, learn a few things about the divorce process and that the only winners in this game were the attorneys. But I did win in some ways. By understanding my light bulb moment, I overcame my fear of leaving my invisible prison; I realized that I was abused by the person I loved, who truly didn’t love me back.  He wasn’t capable o loving me as a person; he only loved what I could do for him.

To this day, he continues to threaten me – to sue me over my Blog.  Once again, his perception is that the world (and my blog) are all about him.  However, according to the Judge during one of our numerous court hearings (three years later still continuing), that I have the constitutional right to tell my story, my truth.

And so I write, not to defame or disparage. I choose to share my experiences to inspire others how to break free of an abusive partner while learning to identify common manipulative tactics of the narcissistic type and how to deal with them.

It’s so crucial for women to speak their truth, which is the most powerful tool. By sharing my journey through my Year of Thorns, I hope inspires others like me to stand up to the injustice, bullies, and tyrants, who made us victims. Abuse in all forms is wrong.

If you’re in a toxic relationship, get out. It’s not healthy for you or the children. IT WILL NEVER GET BETTER!  For those out there who are depressed or scared in a toxic relationship and fearful of the unknown, know there’s hope at the end of the rainbow, even in the worst of times. Hold onto that inner spark of strength; have faith in your guardian angels; and listen to your inner spirit, who will guide you.

Slowly over time, you will began to identify their emotional manipulative tactics.  YOU will learn not to engage or accept those devaluing messages thrown your way. As long as you stay true to yourself, your beliefs and all that you hold to be true in your heart, YOU will find power in your passion. YOU will be victorious, independent and free no longer harnessed by fear or control!

In Steve Maraboli’s Unapologetically You, he writes “We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, you are here and now with the power to shape your day and your future. You only get one life.”

As you gain clarity about who you truly are, not by how others define you, you can become who you are meant to be.  As Oprah once said, “You don’t become what you want. You become what you believe.” Believe in yourself.

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