How many of us have a list, or know someone who does, of the ideal qualities we are looking for in THE ONE? I think these lists can sometimes cause us to miss out on someone quite wonderful because we get so attached to a check list. But that’s another topic. I have a different kind of list. It could be called the list of EXACTLY what I DO NOT want in a life partner! This list has helped me to heal and come to terms with the reality of the Bad Man.
While going through my things this morning, I found a piece of binder paper with a list I had written about the Bad Man in the early stages of my healing. It was written sometime within the first year after I had left him. The list represents a free flowing string of words and phrases that describe the Bad Man.
Before I found LoveFraud, I was aware that my thoughts of the Bad Man seemed to swing back and forth between never wanting to hear from him again to hoping somehow he would learn, apologize and we would live happily ever after. I didn’t totally understand why this was so and it was perplexing, given my descriptive list.
Bad Man was not the clever sociopath that many of the readers here talk about. Don’t get me wrong. He was very smart and charismatic. But I didn’t get blind sided or robbed behind my back like many readers. He was fairly abusive and inappropriate in the first few weeks though he used all of the customary word games and mind tricks. Still, I find it a little embarrassing to admit that I put up with way too much right from the get-go. Looking back, in what context would name calling ever be okay?
Bad Man wasn’t all flowers and charming words. I got flowers. I got love notes. But for the most part, the list below describes him best. I wrote this list for myself to use as a means of staying in touch with reality when I felt my heart softening again for him. When I had those moments, I went to my list to remind myself of the destructive, abusive, nightmare that he truly was. Now, I find it amusing how well I was describing a narcissist or a borderline without the understanding I have now of personality disorders.
A second paper I found contained the transcription of his last four text messages to me before I called my cell phone carrier and asked the operator to cut the line. I will never forget the tears of relief as I watched the lights go out on my cell phone. At the top of the page of verbal venom, I wrote, “Words to remember you by.” These messages were hateful, vicious, twisted, and untrue. Every six months or so, I run across these two papers. They don’t really hurt me now. Each time I read them, I see more clearly the pathology driving the Bad Man. For some reason, I save these pages. I haven’t included the text messages in this article because they are very personal attacks on me and no one would benefit from reading them. I certainly didn’t. Still, I save them because reading those hateful messages makes it totally clear that I made the right choice in leaving him and eventually going No Contact.
To Stay on Track, Be Honest with Yourself
I have a gentle suggestion for anyone that is still struggling with that feeling of wanting the pathological abuser/exploiter back. Create your own list using words that describe what happened to you like this:
Bad Man/Woman = constant liar, cheater, infantile, fraudulent, etc.
Use the words that ring most true for you. Then tuck away your list in a place where you can access it whenever you feel yourself getting off track. Or, if you are really struggling, post it on the bathroom mirror or keep it in your purse for instant reality checks! Read it over and over, as often as you need. Use the list to replace those moments of longing.
My list helped me many times in the early days. Whenever I run across the list, I read it through. It reminds me to be thankful for my life for what it is, and what it isn’t, today.
Here is my list.
Introducing… the Bad Man
Does not see himself
Advises and “counsels” me on “anger issues” but does not control his own anger
Inflated Super Ego
Omits the truth
Gee, I wonder why I don’t miss him. NOT!
The Truth, a Lesson, and Peace
Imagine if the Bad Man’s personal dating profile was the list above. He doesn’t sound very appealing does he? This, of course, is not how he describes himself. That is why it is important to write down the truth. I wrote my list in one of those raw, painful moments, standing on the edge of “the Fog” as we say. My list is me, speaking to… me. It is the rope I clung to whenever I started to dangle over that black hole again.
The list is the TRUTH.
In the days when I still missed him, it was all about the fantasy of the Bad Man, the great seducer. Today, I am learning to pay more attention to what I see and not so much to what people say. This is fundamental to restoring faith in myself because I let myself down. I need to trust myself to assess a situation and trust what I see (ie.: intimidation, blame shifting, hypocrisy, etc.). I need to stand up for me when life calls for it. No one should be able to talk me out of my instincts to protect myself and my spirit. That was far too easy in the past. This was one of the lessons I needed to learn.
If you chose to do an exercises like my list, it may bring up a lot of pain but ultimately, it is meant to bring you clarity and eventually peace. When I look at this list today, I feel peaceful knowing that I left this man in the dust. There was no other choice.