Sorry to have been quiet for the last week. A lot has been going on in “real life “, and I’ve been pondering ..

last Monday, March 12th, was my two year sobervesary. It’s a really good feeling to have achieved this, in a low key kind of way. I’m not shouting from the roof tops, but I feel very secure in my decision not to drink , and both grateful and quietly happy that I really don’t WANT to drink again. Somethings are hard without alcohol, perhaps they always will be, but these things are far outweighed by the massive advantages. Clarity of thought and loss of self hatred being the two most obvious benefits. I think I will take the boys out for a burger this weekend to celebrate. Quietly, and without necessarily telling anyone, I will raise a glass of coke to the future. Sober.

So, last weekend I went to Florence. After my travel adjustment,it all went pretty well. I arrived on Saturday morning at the hotel where we were all staying, and joined in the days planned activities. My friend, who’s birthday we were celebrating was totally surprised and touched by how many made it over to see her, and Florence is a beautiful city. I really enjoyed connecting with my oldest friends (from medical schooldays) and meeting some people I hadn’t seen for years. Saturday night we all went to a restaurant. I will draw a veil over some aspects of that evening, alcohol related. I came home early, but it taught me a couple of very valuable things. Listen to my own intuition, be very clear what my expectations and boundaries are, and be true to myself. I was sober, so no harm done …

in the last couple of weeks, since I decided to put ‘him’ behind me, I have been more successful that I expected. In my heart there is a peace that I had feared I would never reach, and I can honestly say I have not wasted much time on fruitless speculation. I know what I know, I believe the whole thing was a fabrication on his part and nothing I could have Done would have changed that. End of. Before I came to this conclusion I was searching desperately for answers, I ordered a few books from amazon about narcissistic PD, I joined a forum for others who had been in such relationships. Now I find I don’t need them, the books I AM engaging with are the ones that focus on me… on how to strengthen my self worth and boundaries.. so that I am not hoodwinked again. I think this is a much better use of my time and energy.

One of my oldest friends, who has been single for 10 years recently met someone. She is excited and giddy with the hope and optimism that goes with a new relationship. It was heartwarming to see, and when we talked about it, we were sharing a room , she reflected that although she is happy to have met someone , her own life is now so fulfilled and busy, she is not too worried if it doesn’t work out. Over the 10 years she has built herself a network of friends, family and activities that she loves. A partner is only worth it if they can add something to that package. A good starting point I think!

The days are getting longer, the end of the financial year is nigh (always a very busy time at work) but after April 1st, I will have time to draw breath and start to build more of a life for myself, within my limitations. I feel quite optimistic about this, and in a nebulous intermittent way, vaguely optimistic.


Eye opening , jaw dropping moment of clarity last night.

Woah ! 👏👏👏

Moving on, and deciding to focus on the future I bought myself this book.

It’s very thin, about 50 pages of wide spaced type, I read it in an hour. But 😮.

All those of you with good boundaries will be like “duh”, but this is stuff I have never considered. And it’s so obvious. And so important.

So, that list of characteristics I have had in my head that I would like to find in a partner? Those are not ‘I hope he will be like this’ , those are, or will become, a list of essentials, in other words non negotiable boundaries.

I have seen this in action, but not recognised it as such. For example, a long time ago my friend K and I were discussing cannabis use by our husbands. My husband was a LOT heavier user than hers, but having recently had a child she was adamant that she did not want her son growing up to normalise drug use. It was clear from the discussion that she was considering the future of her marriage if her husband was not prepared to stop his recreational use. She asked me what I thought, and I remember my answer. I said “I’m not prepared to risk my marriage over cannabis”. She was clearly surprised, and the conversation moved on.

Why did I say that? I hated it just as much as her, I could see just as clearly the potential impact on growing children,

My brother once told me that, early in in his relationship with his now wife, they were discussing children. His then girlfriend laid something out about the way in which any future children would be raised, a a non negotiable. He considered it, was ok with it, and so the path to the future had not met a dead end.

These are boundaries. Deal breakers. They are not optional behaviour patterns like preferring beef to lamb, or leaving the loo seat up. Fundamental stuff … and by setting the boundaries you save yourself a whole heap of heartache further down the line.

I have been doing this the wrong way round. My sister in law set this dealbreaker early on in her relationship with my brother, before they were engaged, living together, or married. If it had not been acceptable to him, they would have both moved on. I see now, don’t laugh- I know it’s fucking obvious – meet someone, get to know them. Observe their ACTIONS, note , be clear if your boundaries are pushed , set out a consequence, and see it though.

No wonder I have been terrified of ever risking a relationship again. Taking a chance that someone will subconsciously understand my boundaries, and finding out that they don’t when you are living together is a sure fire way to relationship hell. I fell in love first. Failed to be clear about what was and was not acceptable to me when I had an opportunity to get out easily, failed to even realise how miserable I would be if I were forced to accept things that are contrary to what I believe.

This is pretty huge for me. But it’s SO obvious.

I know where it comes from too.

1. I never saw this behaviour as a child. My mother tried to set boundaries with my father but he ignored them and there were no consequences. Of course I thought I would too be treated like this.

2. Huge fear of being alone and unloved, “no one will be able to love me as I am, so I’d better accept whatever behaviour is dished out to me or I will be alone”


I have some work to do. On my shiny new set of boundaries. This will take some time, and learning to ‘defend’ them, may take practice, BUT for the first time in ages I feel quite excited and positive.

A line

A line is drawn today.

I had a very helpful therapy session last night. Angela reads my blog, and it was a good day to go!

She picked up on the triggers I had identified in my post yesterday and we discussed some of them. The practical ones I have sorted, but the emotional ones needed some picking apart.

She encouraged me to dig a bit more in the my triggers around this email, around the feeling that’s it’s arrival and my decision not to respond evoked.

I have come a long long way since August 19th 2016 when I finally lost my temper and changed the locks on my front door. A long way in understanding the destructive dynamic, the personality and behaviour of the narcissistic person, and a long way in recognising how my weak boundaries, poor self worth and past experiences set me up for that relationship. I have worked hard on forgiving myself and trying to treat myself with the kindness that I would show to anyone else in my position.

But now it’s time to move on.

This is obviously a symbolic decision, because I’m not so deluded as to think I can just decide not to think of him again and I will just not happen. But a decision to accept that I will not get the answers I want from him (I already saw that back in December) and that I am unlikely to aid my recovery by poking over the carcass and ruminating endlessly about the past.

So, from today I am going to make a conscious effort to put the ruminations out of my mind. To consciously replace those thoughts with others as far as I am able. To accept that this relationship was destructive, damaging and painful in so many ways. But it’s over now. I have him 5 years of my life, I will not give him the rest of it by being unable to move on. There are no ties, no reason I need to be in touch.

Today I turn my back on him, disengage and move forwards.

And now I’m going to make a fish pie.


Self care

Thank you all for you kind, supportive and helpful comments yesterday.

I’m pleased to say I managed to incorporate some of your ideas and thoughts, reached out a bit to friends and I’m a bit less anxious today.

I saw my own GP this morning and have been told to take these three days off work, that’s quite hard for me to do, but it would be stupid to ignore that advice, so I now have three days at home. Actually that’s something of a relief; not having to mange the demands of work leaves me more brain space and time to practice self care.

I have decided to spend Friday night at a hotel in Bologna airport rather than trying to drive from there to Florence in the middle of the night. I realised yesterday afternoon that the anxiety about driving on the continent, at night, to a place I don’t know, that is in a restricted part of the city so no parking, when the car hire company cannot guarantee me a sat nav, was increasing with every day, and so I will travel to Florence on Saturday morning on the train.

I have also ordered a couple of books from amazon about narcissism & recovery from relationship breakdown. Part of my anxiety stems (I think) from being terrified I will NEVER get over this, and maybe further understanding / and knowing that I am not alone will help me feel more settled. I want to believe this is just another ‘phase’ and will pass, but it’s been a long time ..

Several people, IRL and online have urged me to seek support from AA or similar, something I have strongly resisted thus far. Reflecting on my aversion, and the reasons behind it, I realised that’s it’s a) being recognised and b) I do not feel comfortable being vulnerable around men. The fear of recognition is not because I am ashamed, after all I have been sober for nearly 2 years, it’s because if I were known as my professional role, I would not be open, and I would find it impossible not to present my professional front. This would negate the whole point of trying to connect with others. So, I have found a women only meeting in a nearby town. I’m thinking about it. It might be good …

lastly, considering why this has happened right now, I can only think it’s because I received an email from him earlier this week. This is not the only cause, i was very stressed out before that, but I think it might have been the last straw. The communication itself was innocuous, simply a belated reply to a sympathy note I have send him about 4 weeks ago. But it definitely stirred something and more significantly, the decision NOT to reply has been a trigger I think.

There is nothing to be gained by replying. He is absolutely unhealthy for me, and our relationship was destructive and toxic. I am sure there was a reason why he replied so late, and just as sure there is a reason that he chose to do so now. But I need to not engage, not reply, just withdraw. It’s not logical, but that decision feels huge emotionally, and I expect that has been the straw that broke the proverbial camels back.

I will see my therapist later, take some time, read a bit, and I hope that I will soon be feeling more stable.

Thanks all

I don’t know what to do.

I seem to have hit another emotional crisis. I do not know why, but I feel dreadful. I’m anxious, I’ve lost my appetite (a sure sign of emotional destabilisation) I’m struggling to function. I can’t sleep, I’m ruminating and my concentration is shot to pieces.

I feel on the edge of a panic attack several times a day. So far, it has not materialised. But work is piling up because I can’t attend to it, the house is a mess, my friends are neglected and I’m really really anxious.

I have no idea why. And worse no idea what to do. I cannot cope, but I have to.

Pretty crap

Sorry folks, I’ve been trying not to write this post, trying not to feel how I do for a whole week now. It’s not working.

I remind myself of all the positives; son1 is doing good, we have a great holiday coming up, I’m going to Italy in 4 days, in the Summer my older brother is planning to visit from Australia, yesterday an old friend contacted me from the USA to let me know she is visiting the UK in the Summer .. soon I will be TWO YEARS sober …

but ,… but …

I’m just so low.

In fact I’m a horrible combination of agitated, restless, sad, frustrated, angry, defeated. I hate this.

I cannot stop thinking about that man. Missing him? No, I don’t want to go back there… and he has nothing to offer me. But I think about him incessantly, round and round my head go these repetitive, pointless thoughts. He is the last thing I think about at night, the first thought in the morning.

Im so fed up with it. My head KNOWs , my heart also knows … but my brain … my brain regurgitates endless emotion, endless memories, endless want if’s. Anger, sadness, longing, loss, sadness, loneliness, fear chase tirelessly round my head … no answers, and no resolution seems possible.

Alongside that I HATE myself for this. I berate myself for feeling this way, beat myself up for still being stuck in the past when I know there is nothing for me there. Is it that I miss the misery ? Is it that I got so used to being churned up and battling against despair that the absence of that extreme emotion ?

and I hate that too.

I want this OVER. I want to move on. Leave the past, the sorrow , the hurt, the pain … just leave it behind and move forward. And there should be no reason why I can’t do this … logically . But it’s not happening… I have been separated from this man for more than18 months … why why why can’t I just put him in the past and STOP rehashing stuff ?

He hurt me. He used me. He lied to me, he stole from me. He hurt and damaged my children. He abused me so much, emotionally and verbally, financially and by trying to physically intimidate me (and succeeding) .. how can I be so unbelievably DUMB as to still allow him space in my head ?

What the fuck is wrong with me? And more importantly how can I move forward?

i just don’t know. And I’m SO tired of it ….




Yesterday I spoke to the former wife of my ex Partner.

I’ve been struggling with the feeling that I am remembering things falsely, that I am, in some way, placing blame on him where none exists. Underneath that is disbelief that anyone could actually do the things I believe he did, so therefore maybe I am going mad.

Good friends have listened to me going over this stuff and supported me with their memories and experiences. They have helped me, and offered me support. My therapist has confirmed that people like this, narcissists, do exist… but still, still I have struggled.

Until now.

Speaking to her, she who lived with him and knew exactly what I was talking about. Knew intuitively what had happened, why I had been sucked in, how I had questioned myself. She had experienced EVERYTHING that I did, (and worse) . Through talking with her I now know that the worst is true. That he is truly a liar, a narcissist and a deeply damaged and damaging human being. I know that it’s not me, that I didn’t cause it. It started long before we met, and it will never change.

By talking to me, she says I helped her too. She has been divorced from him for 20 years, but she said that talking to me was the first time she felt that someone truly understood. And of course I did, and do.

It’s hard to explain why this means so much to me. I still need to think much of it through, but the validation from another woman, the triangulation, the understanding that he lied to her, stole things, was violent and aggressive, intimidated and frightened her, and gaslighted her too … I don’t have to doubt myself any longer.

Maybe I’m weak to need that validation, maybe it’s a symptom of my own low self esteem that I needed another woman to say ” yes, he did that to me too”. …. right now I don’t care. All I care about is that finally I feel I can be comfortable with my knowledge…. and form that point I can truly start to heal.

Calculated destruction

Do people actually DO this ?

Are there people out there in the world who work out how to get what they want by manipulating people and situations? And then actually DO it?

Do some people actually deliberately (rather than by accident, or inadvertently) set out to discredit someone they dislike?

I’m really struggling with this in relation to my ex partner. I know I cant get answers from him (and actually I’m no longer tempted even to ask)

Thinking about things in our relationship that I couldn’t find acceptable , they seem to fall into three categories…

  • casual disrespect (or not so casual) e.g. staying out all night and not texting me to let me know; walking off from me on Waterloo station and getting on a train without me, small things that just showed he didn’t have any respect for me at all and didn’t care about how I felt.
  • Intransigent position against all logic – e.g. refusing to get any kind of income thereby forcing me into debt. I used to spend ages wondering how I could MAKE him understand why this was not ok, but this was quite the wrong tack – he understood very well indeed, he just wasn’t prepared to do anything about it. he didn’t care about me enough, about what might happen to me, or the consequences to me, to do one single thing that was not what he wanted to do
  • and then this. Maybe. Deliberately causing rifts (or trying to) between me and my sons by MAKING THINGS UP? between me and friends , between me and my birth family… lying, falsifying things that were said or done to lead me to believe that son1 had done things he had not.

Do people actually behave like that ? Causing untold damage to others. By deliberately lying to me (if he did) he caused huge problems between me and my son, between son 1 and his brothers and enormous anguish to me.

I know he lied to me about some things, I know there are several occasions in which he manipulated facts and swore that black was white even though I knew it had not happened as he said. I know he stole from me (and I’m not talking about the thousands I gave him voluntarily) I’m talking about taking my bank card and spending my money on something I has specifically said I was not prepared to buy. I know he stole from others (a life preserver mysteriously found its way into his bag on return from holiday – no accident) I know he ‘borrowed’ money from lots of people he had no intention of repaying (and no means to do so) I know his girlfriend prior to me chased him very hard for £14,000 she ‘lent’ him… never got repaid.

BUT, to deliberately make up stories about something son1 had done. To lie, actively maliciously lie with the aim only to damage him and break our parent child bond.  Really? Do people DO that? Honestly is that person I loved and lived with for more than 5 years really not only capable of such evil, but actually did this?

I feel physically sick and ill when I think about this, when the possibility comes into my head. I thought about this at the time, because my gut instinct was that son 1 had NOT done these things, but I allowed my ‘rational’ adult head to believe that no-one, surely, would make such a thing up. Now I really, really wonder. What does that say about him? what kind of a person does that ? And if there ARE people out there like this, who think nothing of deliberately lying, fabricating and deceiving … if HE is one of them…

Its that picture again, that I talked of before, coming into clearer focus. the fog is lifting and what parts I can see , they look distorted. My reality , my memories of the past are shifting, and it no longer feels like something happy and nice, but a sick, twisted, frankly evil relationship with a man devoid of compassion, decency or integrity. A man who spotted my vulnerability and intrinsic honesty and exploited me in every way he could.

no wonder i feel ill.

I don’t KNOW this of course. I have no proof. and I wont get proof. Probably I don’t NEED proof, I have all I need … and I have to find a way to live with it


Pause ..

The last few days have been quite difficult.

Examining my motivations for contacting me ex partner, and the subsequent reflections on how deliberate our Interactions with others actually are, has opened something of a Pandora’s box for me.

All of a sudden a load of ‘incidents’ that I have not really thought about for a while are crowding in to my consciousness, and with the new knowledge that my therapy has opened up for me, they are assuming quite sinister implications.

I’m not describing this as a ‘set back’ because that’s not really what it is. I know that to fully heal, to protect myself against making any further destructive relationship I need to recognise what happened, need to appreciate the significance of incidents and behaviour. I need to learn to trust and value my own judgements, and to do that I need to see and understand where I have not done so in the past.

I’ve had a relatively quiet few weeks on the emotional turmoil front, the enormous boost that seeing son1 in Nepal gave me, has carried me forwards and filled me with optimism for the future. Planning for our family holiday to Africa a natural mood booster.

However, there is no denying that the past few days have been emotionally difficult and I came close to a panic attack yesterday – the first time in several months.

I do believe it’s better for me to pull these things out into the open, expose them to the light of day, and muse a little about their meaning. My ultimate aim is to rebury them, divested of their emotional significance, somewhere deep in my subconscious. Accessible if I need to refer to them, but otherwise not reaching the surface of My conscious thoughts…

so, having said that …

a couple of things that happened, that deeply upset / disturbed me… that I now believe were either accidental nor unconscious, but instead intended to undermine me, to make me less confident, designed to confuse and wrong foot me. There art truths which I was persuaded to believe were lies, completely reasonable actions from me that I was taught were deeply unacceptable and disrespectful to him ….

Quite early on, one Friday, we were planning to go out in the evening. In the afternoon I had invited a friend, the woman who used to be a nanny for my children, over for tea. For a at catch up and for her to see the children. She cane over for a couple of hours, we had some tea and cake, and then a glass of wine. He was at home, and went upstairs quite early on in the afternoon. I didn’t think much of it. Later in the afternoon, say 5 pm we had a glass of wine, and my friend left about 6. Writing this is giving me palpitations and making me feel anxious. When she had left, I went upstairs to see exP and to get ready to go out. We had a babysitter booked at 7.30pm. He went mad, a huge tirade about how disrespectful I had been how I shouldn’t have people. In ten house, how I disgusted him, how he want repeated to spend any time with me because I was spending time with others (or something) he refused to go out that evening and didn’t speak to me for 3 days. I was utterly bemused. And I never invited her over again, and rarely anyone else .. I felt like I had missed something awful that I had done, the strength of his reaction, I must have deserved it ?

wrong. Him not me. Wrong WRONG WRONG . My having a guest in the afternoon had NO impact on our evening plans, it’s not unreasonable to have a friend over for tea, and his reaction was just one of the things he did to try and isolate me from my friends, it was MY house FFS … but vulnerable, un self confident and in love, his outburst scared me, made me resolve never to do such a thing again, and redouble my efforts not to upset him. Classic abusive behaviour.

Early on in our relationship he visited my, stayed overnight and left his bicycle in the house. The next day he said something was broken and that one of the children , son1, had fiddled with it and broken it. He got very angry when I tried to probe further about what was broken, so I was never clear. All the children denied fiddling with it, and actually, I believed them. This because an enormous issue, I offered (and did) pay for the ‘repair’ but from the on he became obsessive about protecting his ‘things’, refusing to allow the children in to the living room because his books were in there, refusing to allow son 1 to travel in his car, hiding things form everyone so that no one could use or have something he thought of as ‘his’ even if it was not. And yet, he took my car out one day, made a huge scrape down the entire side of the car, both doors and the bonnet panel, and didn’t even tell he he had done so,

I don’t believe (now) anyone touched his bike. I think it was a deliberate lie, to divide me from my kids, to get his bike repaired paid for by me, and to test how far I would back him. He talked a LOT about having respect for possessions and people, but it was ALL one way. Everyone else had to respect him. But he treated others and their possessions with casual contempt.

Writing this makes me feel shaky, tearful and frightened, I feel sick and have palpitations. The physical reaction to the memory is very strong, considering it’s several years ago. I think I’ve only been able to look at this stuff recently, as it’s only recently I’ve been strong enough.

What I’m seeing clearly, without obfuscation, is a systematic narcissistic abusive person, deliberately gaslighting , deliberately sewing doubts and discord in my family. No wonder I feel ill.

I still struggle to believe this. I find it so hard to believe anyone would actually DO this, I contacted his ex wife earlier this week (by email) to ask for help, I feel like this just CANT be true,and yet…. she is probably the only other person who would be able to confirm or refute my thoughts … she hasn’t replied (which is disappointing, but perhaps nor unexpected) ….

Sigh …


I find examining the motivation behind why I feel or act as I do very interesting. Its also pretty useful in helping me understand some of the feelings that I have, when I can’t regard them as logical.

Since I have been sober, I’ve done a LOT less things on impulse; still some things (like the very beautiful sculpture I bought on instinct on last year’s holiday) but much less. I generally pause, get less carried away by emotions and employ a cooler more rational and analytical thought process. In general I think this is a good thing, but occasionally I still do things impulsively – I guess the habits of a lifetime are hard to modify.

Since Christmas I have sent two emails to my ex Partner.

The first, sent on an impulse, was the photograph of me paragliding, far above the Himalayas. The second, which I sent last Friday was a considered gesture – I heard via my mother who does voluntary work at the local hospital that his mother has a possible serious diagnosis. Being an only child, whose father is dead and estranged from his son and somewhat from his daughter, he and his mother are close. I know that any such diagnosis would be devastating and frightening for him. I considered whether I should acknowledge this, and in the end sent a short mail expressing sympathy.

He has replied to neither.

This bugs me a bit (as no doubt it was intended to) and yesterday I discussed this with Angela my therapist. She, from an outsiders view point, asked me why I had sent these emails, and pointed out that they send very conflicting messages, that although the first contained no words, and the second only the briefest of sentences, there was a wealth of hidden meaning in both posts, that would have been obvious to the recipient.

The first was a “fuck you” message. In that one image, of me flying high, in Nepal with son1 (whom he loathed) excited, experiencing new things (that my regular income can buy) it was a real ” look how great I’m doing, despite the fact you thought I couldn’t manage without you, look how fantastic my life is now” It was a message of defiance, confidence and condescension. I can honestly say I didn’t think all of that when I sent it, but now I reflect on it I can see what was behind the sending – and I’m sure that’s what he picked up too …

The second message was one of sympathy. I thought long and hard before I wrote it, but eventually decided it was too pointed NOT to acknowledge the information my mother had passed on to me. Angela suggested that this is the exact opposite of what I sent in the first email. Sympathy, empathy, compassion, caring. All the kindness that I genuinely felt, but of course it sends an entirely different message about how I am feeling to the one I posted 3 weeks before.

After discussing this, I concluded that it very much mirrors exactly how I DO feel about him. Confused (still). Alternately free, independent, following my own path, building my relationships with my children, being the best mother I can be, excited about the opportunities that await me, and on the other hand vulnerable, kind, anxious not to see him hurt, thoughtful. Angry, and then sad; Optimistic and then vulnerable and lonely.

The fact that he hasn’t replied probably just reflects that he doesn’t know how to read me, that he’s fed up with my conflicting messages verbal, written and in person,  or he may have moved on to the next mug, or he may be angry or …. well , It doesn’t really matter does it. I meant it when I wrote a few days ago that I can accept its in the past and that nothing, no words or actions can repair this broken relationship. But Angela pointed out to me that it’s ok to be ambivalent sometimes, its ok to falter, it merely reflects the depth of emotions and the strength of my feelings. They don’t go away or resolve overnight and that this is a process, a path that I’m following. I’m a great deal further on than I was 6 months ago, but the emotional attachment takes time to wither and die.

The take home point for me about all this is that we convey a huge amount of meaning and emotion in the small, non verbal things we do or don’t do. That the majority of small things; ‘forgetting’ to send a text, not responding to a comment or reacting to situations in a way that is out of proportion, convey a huge multitude of meanings. These things are not  unplanned, they are deliberate manipulations to wrong foot someone, they are designed and engineered to gaslight and confuse.  I’m getting a glimpse of a deeply unpalatable and thoroughly disturbing outsiders view of that relationship, Its still shrouded in fog at the moment, still obscured by my naivety .. but the fog is lifting a little momentarily and small acts are now assuming a much greater significance.

I think that view, when its clearer, will be a much more accurate picture of the reality than the fairy tale and guilt I’ve been carrying around with me.