Note from Tina: Through this battle, I have connected with some amazing men and women. Some I have connected with on a deep level — and their battle becomes my battle. Today’s guest blogger is someone whose battle became my battle. This woman is like a sister to me- we met pre-battle and I have cheered her on every step of the way. Her little one is finally safe and because of that, my heart is happy.
Another Voice of One Mom’s Battle:
Have you ever felt truly desperate? Not the habitual yearning for that first cup of coffee in the morning type of desperate. Or the too stressed out, must have a glass of wine (now!) type either.
I mean the soul crushing, bring you to your knees desperation when your life as you know it is crashing down around you. That which confirms you are merely an actor in the pathetic, sadistic existence that is your life. That desperation. Are you feeling me now?
I have felt this way twice in my life. Many times I was at the end of my rope, no place to turn, with no honest means of digging myself out of a particular situation. But twice, I have been on my knees, ready to throw in the towel. To give up. Accept my fate, as long as it was better than the hell penetrating my heart and every ounce of my being.
I was married to a sociopath. The scary type. The type of husband that leaves knots in your stomach morning, noon, and night. The one that makes your heart pound, your hands sweat, and leaves you shaking uncontrollably since you have no control over anything, least of all what he will do next. Everything you have ever known about yourself is now a huge ball of insecurity. You know the type. I’m certain you do.
The first time I ever felt truly desperate was the moment I realized my days were numbered. The instant I knew that if I did not escape that wretched excuse for a marriage, my life and my child’s life would be over.
Maybe not right away. I had slowly been dying for years. Every day was more brutal than the one prior. But eventually, I was going to die in this marriage.
I knew either he was going to kill me, or I was going to kill him. It had gotten that bad. After years of his threats, abuse, and addictions, he threatened to kill me. It was 4th of July weekend 2009. I remember it vividly.
In front of my child, in an extremely drunken rage, he manically screamed at me to, “shut the fuck up, or I will shut you up forever.” I believed him. I knew he was capable of it.
Guess what I did? I begged for help like my life, and my child’s life, depended on it more than anything in my world ever had before.
That night after he had passed out stoned and drunk, and my child was asleep, I shut myself in my bathroom and crumbled into a heap on the bathroom floor.
I prayed like I never had before. I told God that I was empty. Hollow. Broken. And scared. Desperate! I had no idea how I had gotten so deep with a person who controlled every aspect of my existence. I had no idea how to fight for my life.
I asked God for help. I prayed with agonizing certainty that I would not survive if He didn’t show Himself to me and make it absolutely clear what He wanted me to do. I would either end up dead, or I would end up in prison and leave my child motherless if I killed the SOB in a desperate attempt to protect myself and my child.
My mind began circling around me in a dark, swirling haze of fear, hate, and surrender. I was sobbing, yet had no tears. I was numb. I was dying. Inside and out, I was a shell of the person I had once been.
As soon as it began, it was over. I was calm. Scared to death, but calm. A booming voice in my head was telling me, “I am helping you.”
The voice told me that no matter what the monster sleeping in the next room told me from that moment forward, I was not to believe it. If he told me again I was a worthless piece of shit, I was not to believe a word of it.
The voice filled my soul with love and hope. The love I felt in church as a child, that I knew came from a power greater than anything I could ever fathom. The unconditional love of my Maker.
He never left me. I turned away from Him during those dark years, but He never left my side. I knew it to be true. There was no mistaking it. I knew in that instant, my child and I were going to be alright.
Fast forward ten months later. A lot happened in those ten months. I lost my father to heart disease. I left (finally!) the nightmare of the abusive marriage.
I saved my child and myself. I secured a little rental house for the two of us, the dog, and the cat. I successfully filed and received a domestic violence restraining order with the guidance of a women’s’ shelter. I filed for divorce, pro se.
I lived off my part time job without child or spousal support. I got groceries from the food bank at a local church. Had some utility bills paid by the graciousness of a local Catholic charity, just before our water and power were shut off. I borrowed some money from my brother and sister-in-law to make my car payment, which had fallen behind.
Soon after came the second feeling of utter desperation. I had gotten out. But I had no idea what to do. I had no money. Zilch. Just enough to pay the rent on our little house and put gas in my car.
How was I supposed to raise a child on my own, with a part-time income? To put food on the table while fighting a high-conflict custody battle with a sociopathic, abusive addict? To stand, victoriously on my own two feet, when I didn’t even know where our next meal was coming from?
Again, I was on my knees. After I put my daughter to sleep that night, I crumbled on my bedroom floor. When desperate, when you feel like you have no clue how to go on, you crumble. Your legs fail. Your knees give out, and you’re on the damn floor.
Once again, I begged God to show me what in the world I was supposed to do to support myself and my child.
I made a promise to God that night, one that He reminds me of daily when the small voice in my head reminds me where I came from. Where I’ve been. And where I’m going, come hell or high water.
I promised God that if He helped me—provided the answers I desperately needed—I would devote the rest of my lift to serving Him. Some way, somehow, I would dedicate my existence to living the life He intended for me. I pledged, in that desperate heap on my bedroom floor, if He saved my life (again!), that I would be faithful to Him until my dying day.
I dragged myself off the floor and fell asleep crying. I woke up with a clear head, and a clear heart. I could breathe. I felt—wait for it—almost happy. I felt free. I surrendered the fight and gave it to God. He was in charge now. Not me. He would see us through to the end. I didn’t know how. I just knew it was true. I had to pay attention to His signs, really listen, and trust when it was time for me to act.
Fast forward a few months later. My company was advertising a position that was senior to that which I held at the time. I read the job description and knew I was qualified, albeit a long shot. It was located 250 miles away from where my child and I lived—from my hometown.
I applied; what did I have to lose? After a series of interviews, I was selected over 60 other applicants, and offered a promotion.
I was awarded 100% sole legal and physical custody of my child and granted a move-away order in family court. I was going to support my little family on a salary three times what I was making.
We moved. We struggled. We fought. We won.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Desperation brings us to our knees. This life we live is a blessing. It may feel like a living hell at times. In those moments, we have the ability to completely give up ourselves and surrender. Ask for help, receive it, and listen.
I am blessed because I listened to the voice. I gave up control when it was obvious I had no control over anything. What a huge relief, to be able to give the heavy burden to someone else!
I let God guide my actions, my thoughts, and every move I made. It saved my life, and the life of my child. I am forever indebted to God’s grace and mercy.
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Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s book, “Divorcing a Narcissist- One Mom’s Battle” is available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.