So, I married/divorced/moved away from a sociopath...
One of the things I've been doing in therapy is working on redirecting myself. I write. I'm a great, honest writer. I'm a poet. I love it. So, using that strength, we are relating it to rewrites. I started out with a beautiful work that was me. Well written, complete, for a rough draft, acknowledged by self that it needed a little tweaking. Then one day someone picked it up, without permission, said they were doing me a favor, read it, cut it apart a little at a time, rewriting it bit by bit, until it was hard to recognize as my own. And sold it, making a profit on it, for himself. And I got sued for infringement every time I spoke of it.
It took me years of therapy to get to this point.
To see that he didn't steal my book. He didn't steal anything. He only wanted me to see it that way. And I did.
The story he submits in the end contains no part of the original work of me. And after that realization, the next realization is that I never asked him to rewrite/edit/proofread etc. And what follows is naturally the realization that the original work is still in my hand/head/heart. And I see myself, what I wish to add, subtract, tidy up in it.
Redirection. Self redirection. Took years to see it, be it, do it. But then that's the nature of all this. If I spent 7-10 years in a monastery in Tibet, or in school earning my doctorate, or saving up for the farm the kids and I dream and plan, or actually publishing that book (because the rough draft analogy is actually based on a literal reality that happenned when we were first married), why would that be more worthwhile than 7-10 years of recovery from trauma, severe trauma from a sociopath? It isn't. I'd love to do those other things. But to get there and get back to the original manuscript of me I was born living, I had to heal this. Keep healing it. I didn't obsess on it for years, it kept possessing me from inside until it was dealt with, given the listening ear, loving embrace it needed. A person can't run away from it. Though boy, we all do try.
The present fears as I come up on custody court:
Am I strong enough, intelligent enough, capable enough to face this again? Its an insecurity that gets beat into a person who has lived with a sociopathic husband, then ex. Charismatic lies are fluid, unpredictable, changeble as his need is seen at that moment, and as court is (at least should be) based on proof, fact, truth, I cannot predict what he will say so it makes it difficult to prepare rebuttals, get documentation, testimony, witnesses, etc. An example from last time? My youngest came home and told me that he was called several racial slurs and pushed on the playground. He's not a very verbal kid, and he's honest almost to the point of awkward. I wrote a short email to his teacher, copying dad, to let them know, and the student he named, asked if they could just maybe make a general statement about racism or bullying, not putting anyone directly on the spot. Seemed reasonable to me. First offense, no biggie, the kids are 8, a simple reminder in general usually gets the connection across. My son started his five days with dad that evening. I heard nothing back that week and when I emailed again as a follow up, I got a long email from the principal and cc'd to the head of spec. end., all his therapists (he has speech and OT), the school psychologists, and dad, "Re: Attention: Racially charged language learned at mother's home from Adult Video Game". The other pieces of the email (the 're:' gives away that this was already being discussed without me being included) had been deleted, except one partial excerpt of date and time and three names, one my ex husbands. It went on in very shaming language to state that I let my son play Grand Theft Auto on a regular basis in my home, that it was unfortunate that I would blame a student at school to cover that up, and that the only remedy they could see for the situation was for me to make better judgements as a parent in general. They went on to name all the slurs my son had learned at home from myself, his older brother and the game. Its like a slap in the face. Not just to me, but my child who struggles with expressive speech and other issues, to speak up with truth and be accused of something that is a lie. We havent ever owned a video game system, do not have cable or even a computer, etc. My kids play Minecraft on my phone on rare occassions. It took two months to reach the right person at the makers of the video game they named and get a response. Of the three foul things they said my son said, and the original racial slur he reported, none of them appeared or were used in the game, which since then I researched a bit and even I am amazed. But by the time this email came from their legal department, the issue was 'past' and according to the school would not be addressed again. My son told me that daddy said those words were in Grand Theft Auto and that mommy has the game and to just tell the school so he wouldn't get in trouble. That's just an example. I can't predict the direction the lie will come from. So I fear his lies. His very charismatic lies.
I fear for my kids. And the damage control that's already in their lives (therapy, tutoring, all the work that goes into helping children who've seen and experienced abuse and traumas that unfortunately are aimed at me but hit them too, as the ex has no concept of these kids as anything but tools). Anyone whose read the statistics of boys who have seen this kind of behavior from a parent, let alone a father/male role model, would understand the fear and concern over this. I already see some of the markers in my boys, and though these things are addressed in therapy and with supports and my own good mom work, and progress happens, its just another way for him to commit emotion arson, while I'm helping put out the last fire set on my kids. Its a double edged sword. People say walk away, play dead til he gets bored, all kinds of advice, but it doesn't work. I did that for a year (two custody suits from him) and he just took advantage of what he saw as my weakness. And it doubled, tripled, became so horrendous that if I didn't intervene my eldest hinted at suicide. Its unnatural and unhealthy for a mother to tie her own hands where her kids are concerned and I will not try that again. Its just another way dealing with a sociopath can dehumanize.
I'm sharing the present fears, which are alleviated and disempowered somewhat just in stating them. Also by reading articles on 180rule and a few other sites that look less at 'why they do it', 'how do we stop them' but more at what they do and our own self care during it, because we can't understand it fully because we aren't living like that or motivated that way, and we can't control them anymore than we can control if a ravenous TRex just materialized outside our home (its about as expected, and well the kids and I just watched Jurassic Park over at my mom's). But self care we can work on. Its what I'm working on.
And part of that is sharing successes. Success for me is things that reiterate who I really am, to myself. My oldest is planning to go to his first youth conference with our church. My youngest mastered a math concept I've been tutoring him in for a couple weeks. I went out dancing and hiking this past weekend. My beautiful soul significant other surprised me with concert tickets for the band that is the thing that brought us together this past year. I felt fear and let it pass through and behind me many times. I said 'no thank you' to someone else's take on me. I wrote a poem. I prayed. I am being the poem and the prayer. I am.
Thanks for listening.