I want to know how to “discount your cheater’s perception of you” because after 26 years of marriage and 26 years of emotional abuse, I don’t think this is possible.
I finally filed for divorce in January. His resulting narcissistic rage was so scarily violent, the judge granted me a permanent Protective Order without hearing any testimony. We signed the mediated settlement agreement three weeks ago. I have sole managing conservatorship of our 16-year old son, the house, my job, my parents’ support and my health.
But I can’t evict him from my head. When I look in the mirror, I see old, fat and ugly. I don’t dare touch the settings for the air conditioning or automatic sprinkler system, because I will screw them up. I took my dad to the bank with me because I’m too stupid to understand money. I drove down to Austin with my heart pounding double-time the whole way because I have no more sense of direction then a chicken. I wouldn’t let my daughter buy my a birthday present because there’s no sense in wasting good money.
It’s like I was diagnosed with cancer and the x-rays showed a tumor on my heart. I go into the hospital and the surgeon removes the malignant growth, so I’m cured, right? No, the doctor says. When I opened you up, I found the cancer in every part of your body; it runs through your blood into your brain, your stomach, your eyes, your spine, your hands.
I cannot wish this perception away any more than I could wish away real cancer. Doing yoga or taking long walks with the dog has not made me heal. Pep talks, margaritas, a new haircut — nada. There is no separation between his value of me and my own self-regard. Please, please, give me something that will help.
It’s been 6 months since you filed for divorce and THREE WEEKS since you signed a settlement. It’s perfectly normal to feel like shit about now, and that’s not including a protection from abuse order.
Before I go any further in my This Is Not a Pep Talk advice, I’d urge you to see a physician and rule out clinical depression. A lot of people go on anti-depressants when they’re going through this crap. There’s no shame in that. Sometimes you need medical help to climb out of the dark place. Seek that help, okay?
Assigning yourself low worth is a habit that you’re going to have to be mindful to break. Healthy isn’t going to feel normal at first. You have to habituate yourself to it. So, when your daughter wants to buy you a present, and you beg off? STOP. Be present with your thoughts and realize you’re having One Of Those Moments, and let her do the thing that unnerves you — buy you a gift. DEAL with it. Every time you sit with that discomfort, you rewire your brain to be the kind of person who accepts gifts. It takes time to build new habits. Be patient and keep at it.
Same with walking the dog (Time Heals here swears by it), same with whatever other healthy new habit you’re forming. (I can’t speak to yoga. Maybe that’s not your bag. Try kick boxing?)
As to accepting your cheater’s view of your worth? That’s a CHOICE. You’re picking that poison. I’m sorry, it’s not cancer, it’s a fucking choice. If he’s dishing out garbage, it doesn’t mean you have to accept it.
There is an Eve who did not accept it. She filed for divorce. She sat in front of a judge and got a PFA order. So, there is a badass there. A person who does knows her self worth, so FEED that woman and starve the other one.
Why on earth would you let your abusive ex define the rest of your existence? You’re free of him. Why would you let that asshole be the last person you love? Why would you hand him that power?
Accept yourself. Whenever I see these kinds of posts, or run them, kind people always say, oh you’re not old, fat, and ugly, you’re beautiful! Here’s some radical advice, Eve. You might actually be old and fat (I don’t believe in ugly, except in actions). SO WHAT? Old is a privilege and fat you can change. Old fat people rule the world. (Have you seen those G4 summits?) Old and fat says absolutely nothing about your self worth.
Never, ever give other people the power to define you. That’s on you. I’m sorry you spent 26 years with a bastard. If you can evict him from your life, you can damn sure evict him from your head.
There is no separation between his value of me and my own self-regard.
Bullshit. There’s no bogeyman unless you believe in him.