Out of the Ashes I have Risen

As an adult, I've chosen to allow myself to be an emotional punching bag for three men in my life after the first man in my life left me desperate for outside approval.

The first man in my life did his very best based on the very poor example set by his parents set for him. I truly believe that he has always wanted me to soar but his methods to teach me how to fly fell quite short.

As I think back, I'm not sure if given the chance I would go back and change the path I'd walk. There have been some really low emotional points but these 3 men have been amazing teachers and out of the pain has come the joy of 3 beautiful children.

Oddly enough, none of these men can't really be labeled "the villain" of my story. I don't have a mountain of blame to heap on their shoulders. I've been a separate but equal participant in the dysfunction of each of these 3 relationships.

Out of desperation to fill the approval void in my heart carried over from childhood, I developed a habit of trying to manipulate these men into loving me by becoming everything they expected me to be. If only I could be good enough to please them then I was certain I could earn their love.

I am an empath and I love Narcissistic men. The intensity of the attraction is visceral and is comparable to any addictive substance. It is powerful, alluring, and feels inescapable. Although the three men have been very different, they all have one thing in common. They thrive on control, punishment, and humiliation to help them mask what they are truly feeling allowing them to have a false sense of power and security.

The first one we will call Mr. "Virgin no more". My girlfriends were attending a weekend Christian College Camp Event and they asked me to go. There was a group of boys from a church in LA who caught my eye, he was not one of them. He was persistent in pursuing me, he spoiled me, he was complimentary and extremely charming. As we both professed to be Christians and held the belief that sex was reserved for marriage. Despite what he said, when we were together, he pushed and pushed and pushed for sex. In time, I gave in, things went too far. I was devastated that something I had waited 21 years to save was gone in a second. I fell into a depression, I attempted suicide. Feeling guilty, he proposed. He was condescending and mean with a short fuse and I married him anyway feeling like damaged goods and sure no one else would want me.

The second one we will call "Wish in one hand, shit in the other". Whenever I'd share a wish, hope or dream he'd say "Kristy, you can wish in one hand and shit in the other and you can tell me which hand will fill up first". Although he is six years older, I'd know him since he was four. He was my father's choice for me. Since I had failed at my first choice, I was open to suggestions in making my next. Again, he was persistent in pursuing me, he spoiled me, he was complimentary and extremely charming. I was so desperate to recover from my last failure with a successful one, I also felt at 28 it was time to have children, I jumped at the chance to marry again.

For his bachelor party, he claimed to have wanted a day of ocean fishing followed by a night of cigars. The day of the party I found out about the stripper. I was upset and called him. He said that his friend had scheduled the stripper and that he didn't really want to have her at the party. However, since I had dared to be upset with him, he was going to set a president for our marriage. He told me he would not be manipulated by my emotions. He allowed the stripper to come to teach me a lesson. I was expected to keep my negative emotions in check or else there would be consequences. I married him less than 2 weeks later. Four years and 2 children later he told me he wasn't happy with me and wanted a divorce.

The third we will call "The Puppetmaster". He thrives on having the power to emotionally crush me with one soul cutting insult while at the same time being the one to make me feel like the queen of his universe with one grand gesture. He learned this push/pull tactic from his mother. I've seen it from her many times, in the same breath she will verbally compliment him then attack and tear him down.

Once again, He was persistent in pursuing me, he spoiled me, he was complimentary and extremely charming. By this time I was extremely desperate to prove my previous 2 ex-husbands wrong. I wanted so badly to feel that I was lovable, valuable and cherished. I thought I could change the stonewalling, the criticism, the temper tantrums, the cruelty, the lack of respect if I was just good enough. I was certain I could prove my worth and convince him to love me.

All of his negative behavior was palatable because he kissed me like I was the last woman on earth, he bought me extravagant gifts, our time together was spent traveling, having exciting adventures, he wined and dined and spoiled me as I'd never been spoiled before. I was addicted to the lifestyle he offered and to the picture I thought people saw when they looked at me.

He proposed during my last pregnancy. On the day of our wedding, he told me he couldn't sign the marriage license. We went anyway, said our vows and pretended he didn't essentially leave me at the altar.

I re-entered therapy shortly after. This was five years ago. Session by session, week by week, month by month, year by year, my strength grew. The stronger I am, the crueler his behavior is. I have FINALLY realized, although very personal, his attempts to stonewall, isolate, attack, belittle and crush and control have absolutely nothing to do to me. He is deeply hurt by his past and he knows that he can lash out and I will give him the affirmation and love he craves. He expects me to be his emotional punching bag yet ready to receive him when he needs his safety blanket.

On February 15, 2019, I woke up and realized that an intact home for my children isn't as important as giving them a mother who is free to be her best.

I have risen out of the ashes, I am free to be me. I no longer have to hold my breath and hide in the shadows. I have loved my life these last 7 years with him but I've realized a guided cage is still a cage and I am meant to be free to be me.