“Why would you go to that party without me? Why would you want to? I wouldn’t want to go without you?”
“You know you don’t have a lot of vacation days and we need those for when we can see each other. Why would you take one for your daughter’s birthday with your friend, when you could have arranged it on a Sunday?”
“I just want to be with you. You’re my soulmate. My true love TNF.”
“You give time to everyone else but me. My healing isn’t as important as everyone else’s healing. Even people you don’t know.”
Subtle, right?! At first, I thought he was just wanting to spend every minute with me because he “loved” me. But in actuality, it was part of the isolation game.
It took months of therapy to realize this was what was happening, and seems to be a pattern in narcissistic abuse. Isolate the “loved one” from friends and family—either through subtle comments, mandates, or guilt trips. Lots of guilt trips.
For example, one of my dearest friends was having a birthday party at a bar downtown. I asked if he would go with me and he said he would. But of course, things changed and he had to go out of town. I am and have always been very independent. It didn’t even cross my mind that I wouldn’t go because he wasn’t going with me. I dressed up in the spirit of the party and headed off to celebrate her birthday, but not before receiving some subtle guilt tripping. And the perfectly-timed admission he didn’t like to dress up and do that type of thing—a difference he wanted to point out. As you can imagine, I wasn't present at all at the party and that's the way he liked it. (That's a whole OTHER topic I'll cover in a future post. Birthdays, holidays, big events, accolades—all become nightmares.)
“Did you talk to any guys there?” Um….yes, and I met the husbands of some of my girlfriends I hadn’t met. “I wouldn’t have wanted to go if you weren’t with me,” he said.
Wait, what?!? Note to self: Don’t go to parties without him even if he's saying, "Have fun, honey!"
Cut to a two-hour lunch I chose to spend with an old friend from high school to talk about spirituality and mediumship when I was home a few years ago. I was back in Ohio for two weeks and we were working our tails off building furniture. At first, he was very supportive of me heading out to spend 120 minutes with an old friend, but then it turned.
After the lunch, privately, he made it known he was disappointed I wasn’t focused on the work we were there to do. He was shaming me for choosing to take two hours out of the day to help a friend. He said I was always moving from one thing to another and unlike him, his soul focus was Mod Life, for “us and our future.” And when a TV production company came calling asking if I would consider hosting a TV show, I was excited.....but he wasn’t. My parents were excited, too, but he made it known that he thought I would be spreading myself too thin, even though the exposure from the TV might have helped the Mod brand. Regrettably, I turned them down. I was still believing he knew best while I was sinking further and further into quicksand called "guilt trip."
Isolating comments can be hard to identify, especially if you are a person who internalizes and always looks inward for answers. Maybe I should be more considerate of his feelings? Maybe I needed to just focus completely on him and the work we were doing in Ohio?!? Maybe I am spreading myself too thin by not concentrating ONLY on Mod Life?
I “maybe’d” myself to death thinking there must be some truth to what he was saying all the while feeling that kick in the gut feeling every time I let him take a little bit more of my power.
The real truth is that he was actively working to isolate me from friends and family—and from my own inner knowing— in order to control. It comes after the “love bombing” stage, where you’re put on a pedestal, so it can seem like they’re sharing their observations out of love. It’s not love. It’s control.
If you’ve read other blog posts of mine, you know I was unknowingly healing from past trauma with this NEW trauma. The key for me getting out of the relationship and on the path to true healing has everything to do with my belief in myself. I am lucky that my parents encouraged me to always be confident and stand tall—to believe that I am worthy and trust myself.
What does this mean when you’re on the receiving end of manipulative abuse tactics? It meant that I wouldn’t roll over. I would argue (after questioning myself) my points and reiterate that I am an independent woman who has no problem standing on her own. Going to parties on her own. Fighting for what she knows is right.
Another instance that comes to mind as I write this happened when he was back in Philly during a time period where we were not on solid ground. It’s 2am in the morning EST time and we spoke over the phone before I went to bed in Arizona. What started as a calm conversation spiraled into rage over the phone. I can’t even remember why he was angry but I literally held the phone away from my ear, tears streaming down my face. At one point during the phone call, his ex (who was one floor above him with their sleeping children) sent a text to him and he read it to me. “She cares. She just sent a text to me worried about what time I need to leave in order to catch my 5am flight.” He pitched it to me like, “see, even my ex cares about me in ways you don’t” but what stood out to me was the tactic she used to get his attention. After all, it was 2am in the morning. He was in the garage smoking and yelling at me with a booming voice that months earlier brought the cops to our apartment. There’s NO WAY he wasn’t waking the kids (and clearly, his ex) one floor up. Instead of telling him to please quiet down and stop yelling, she acted worried he might miss his flight and wanted to know when he was planning on getting an Uber. What I heard is a woman who has learned to employ coping mechanisms and tactics of her own when dealing with his anger.
I was not that smart. I was constantly defending myself and standing up for what I felt was right. You can imagine how this played out. Eventually, I would get so worn down from the relentless texts, emails, and in-person and phone fights, that I would just want it all to go away. I would take the blame and hope that we could just move on to happier times. I found myself in the same position with the same tone as his ex, when I would hear her say quietly over the phone to him, “Ok…uh huh…ok.” If she fought back, she’d be punished in some way, maybe with more isolating threats such as not being allowed to see nearby family members, or threats regarding custody of the children.
Can you relate to this post? If so, did you realize it was happening when you were in it? Did you lose family and friends permanently? Please share your experiences with me (anonymously, if you’d like), if you feel comfortable.
The more I speak with survivors, the more I realize the subtle mind control techniques used by many read like a script in a bad movie that never should have been made.
Let’s rip up this script and start over. There’s no room for isolation in it.
(Well, maybe if there's a monkey with a disease that will wipe out the planet. But that movie has already been made.)
Since 2012, I've lived in five different homes in Flagstaff. And we're about to do it again! This time, more than any other, we are excited for the little things. A bedroom. A door to that bedroom. A back yard. A garage!
Let me catch you up on the adventures in moving over the last three years. When Scott and I split up in 2014, it took a while for me to move out. Because the "build up Mod Life (my ex's line) to help build up Mod Mom" plan wasn't working, I ended up getting a job at the local university to make ends meet. It allowed me to finally move into a place of my own. I picked an apartment that was in a good location and was well put together, but most importantly, it didn't require thousands of dollars deposit. Just a few hundred bucks and I was in my own two-story, one bedroom apartment. The kids split time between Scott's place—he also moved but into a home with three bedrooms so the kids had their own rooms there—and mine, but not in a formal way. It made sense that I was the one who would sacrifice because I was the one who left, and the one who was expecting to live with her new love.
The plan was put into place and my ex moved from Philadelphia to Flagstaff, living with me in the one-bedroom when he wasn't traveling home or for work, trying to build up Mod Life. I foot the bill for us to live in the apartment with my new job. It was all working fairly well, except for the abuse. One day, someone called the cops because they heard him yelling at me, and they heard me crying. Having never endured such a thing, it was terrifying and mortifying all at the same time. Anyhow, my lease was coming up in March of 2017, and he and I were on again, off again. Scott called one day to tell me the house he was living in was being sold in roughly 20 days. Out of the blue, a buyer made an offer. He knew it was coming, but not that quickly. He was frantically checking out other homes and condos and pulling together the amount of money needed for the deposits, but the logical answer came quickly for both of us. We're both adults and we handled our separation lovingly, despite all that was involved, so he ended up renting a two bedroom in the apartment complex where I was living. He upgraded my apartment to a two bedroom and Grace came to live with me, and Noah lived with him. It was ideal because we didn't have to drive all over town towing kids back and forth, and they could easily come and go from either apartment. There were no plans to reunite at the time; but as coparents who got along, this seemed like an ideal situation given everything Scott was facing.
Now, here's some backstory for you that will give you more context as to the nature of the abuse I allowed. I didn't realize when I initially signed the lease at the apartment complex that smoking wasn't allowed on the decks or patios. I just assumed it was which was a grave mistake on my part. My ex has smoked two packs of Marlboro Red a day since he was a young teen. I almost didn't sign the lease when I found out but I was already packed up ready to move in. When I shared this news with him before he moved out to Flagstaff, he was livid. He was so angry I would do this to him—that he would have to walk downstairs, and outside, to smoke. Now, I didn't grow up in a smoker's world, nor was it ever in my mind that it would be OK to smoke in the apartment. I'd had a few smokes over the years in the spirit of rebellion but it was never inside a home. You see where this is going, don't you?
He moved to Flagstaff and immediately starts pushing the boundaries. He would start having a cigarette with the door open, or in the bathroom with the exhaust fan on. I pleaded but eventually felt I had no way to win. (He made a point to not smoke inside around my kids.) Hell, I even joined in with "lady cigarettes" out of stress. After all, I was now living in a smoker's place, breathing Marlboro Red. I'm not proud that I started smoking—and haven't smoked at all since—but I chalk it up to being part of surviving life back then. I quit cold turkey after severing ties. In addition to smoking, I was so stressed I literally pulling my hair out. The whole time he lived here, I felt scared because I knew it was illegal in the apartment complex but I felt powerless to change the situation. I'd been bullied by the best of them and as much as I tried to stand up for myself and fight him on it, I didn't stand a chance.
The point of sharing that is because upon moving into the two-bedroom with Grace, I was hit with a $1200 charge because the carpets in my old one-bedroom had to be changed due to smoke. If I didn't pay it within 10 days, Grace and I were out on the street. I was a mess. With tears in my eyes, I told Scott what had happened and he hugged me and said, "It's gonna be OK, I've got the money and I'll take care of it." And he did. When I shared the news of the bill with my ex, I was told it was my fault. And he didn't have the money, nor would he help me.
While my ex never lived with me in the two-bedroom and he had already moved back to Philly, I finally told him to never talk to me again in early June after a woman wrote to me sharing she had been with him in May, while he was still telling me I was the love of his life. Counseling, friends, and family helped me regain my strength for good. This time, I was not falling back into the cycle of abuse. Scott was my biggest supporter but he was never pushy. We knew if we had a future, it had to be because it was what we both wanted and we'd been through a lot. We let nature take its course and got to know each other again. In September, we made it official—we were reuniting. September was also the time I went to see a judge about granting a restraining order because my ex was threatening me and harrassing me at work and privately, through email. He granted it after reviewing the evidence. I took the restraining order to the apartment complex manager and, through tears, told her what had happened over the past year. She was very comforting, having gone thorugh similar with an ex-husband. She told me that the day three cops came to my door was not the only day someone in the complex spoke up about the abuse I was enduring. Apparently, multiple complaints had been made about the noise level when he would get angry. I was mortified. This couldn't be my life, but it was. She immediately told me that because I had obtained a restraining order, I was able to vacate my apartment without penalty. Scott sat by me holding my hand, and the office manager was so happy to know he and I had made it back to one another. While I was free to move, Scott wasn't so our decision was made for us.
Now, here comes the fun part! Grace and I moved into the two-bedroom with Scott and Noah. Scott and I thought long and hard about how we'd arrange things and ultimately decided it was best to give the kids the bedrooms, and we'd hunker down in the living room. We knew we'd be moving at the end of March so it just seemed like the right thing to do.
Scott and I joked that it's felt like we've been living in a loft in Manhattan. Our "bedroom" is next to the kitchen, "living room," and "dining room." The only problem with this set up is that when we come home from work, it's hard not to flop on the bed and fall asleep at 7pm. Ok, so that's not the only problem with this set up long term. :)
We're all looking forward to moving in a few days to a house in an area we love. And get this—it has a bedroom with a door! Four of them, to be exact. And a yard!
I look back at the last seven months and smile. We did it! On so many levels, we did it! We've made beautiful memories here, rediscovering ourselves, healing, and rebuilding our life in new and better ways. The walls of THIS apartment have only heard the sound of love and laughter, and felt excitement for this next chapter. We finally feel we are home.
(Here's an inside look at how we set up our mini-home over the last 7 months. Onward to a home with a bedroom door! :) ^^^)
I was just chatting with my friend, Kari, who is also a narcissistic abuse survivor. We were saying how frustrating it is that most people think abuse survivors have low self-esteem; therefore, they believe they deserve the abuse, which is why they stay. Sure, in some cases, the survivor becomes conditioned to believe they are indeed the problem, but most of the women I know who have lived through this type of relationship, or are enduring one today, are strong, intelligent, caring, empathic, confident, put-together women. The same goes for the men I know who have been on the receiving end of narcissistic abuse.
So, if it’s not low self-esteem, why do people stay in relationships that are abusive?
Personally, I initially stayed because I believed the façade. In the beginning, I thought he was who he presented himself to be when we met so each abusive episode was hard to understand. I kept the faith that it would get better. And it did, in spurts. I’d never experienced anything like that in my life so it was hard to internalize that this wasn’t just his insecurity rearing its ugly head at times, it was a pattern that was never going to stop. As time went on, I did feel that I’d make my bed. I put all my eggs--personally, financially, and professionally—in one basket. I came to realize that it was not OK (or normal) to live this way but I needed to feel that no matter the damage done on all fronts, it was OK for me to leave.
With that said, never once did I feel I deserved to be yelled at, put down, made to feel inferior, controlled, or manipulated. I knew who I was and I was proud of who I was, even while enduring the abuse I did. Was I conditioned and brainwashed to give him multiple chances after the abuse incidents were over? Yes. Did I believe I deserved to live in a constant state of fear because of the abuse? No. After all, I’d left a marriage and naively, blindly trusted he steer the direction of the company I worked so hard to build. It was my fault for diving in head first without heeding the intuitive warnings I was receiving, but I never once thought I deserved to be treated the way I was being treated.
In the article, Why Women Stay in Abusive Relationships, the author explains, “Our society reinforces a women's shame and fear of leaving an abusive relationship by suggesting she is culpable for the abuse or by judging her inability to extricate herself. An important part of ending domestic abuse is through education and awareness for everyone, not just the victims.”
I believe this to be true. Before I was personally on the receiving of emotional and verbal abuse, I was silently judgmental of my friend who was struggling to leave an abusive marriage. She kept giving him more chances. I didn’t understand all of the elements at work, and thought like many did/do, just stand up and walk out. She eventually did leave but had I understood the chemical addiction, the complications of leaving a narcissist when you have children, the financial risk, and the inevitable script flipping and escalated harassment afterwards, I would have had the full picture, and wouldn’t have been so quick to judge, even if it was only in my head.
Helping my friend leave her abusive marriage took so much planning on everyone’s part. I was able to help her by putting her on retainer with my company to help with administrative duties—giving her a lump sum upfront that allowed her to pay a deposit and first and last month’s rent on an apartment in her name. We helped her move as well as furnish her apartment. Just identifying a place to live within the same school district that wasn't too expensive was a feat in itself, let alone moving out with three children.
Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be looking to her for strength and advice when it turned out, years later, I had gotten myself into a very similar situation.
My hope is that by penning this post, individuals with zero experience in this department will step back and look at their loved ones who are dealing with this type of abuse with more compassion and understanding.
With one in four women experiencing domestic abuse in her lifetime, we all need a better understanding of the nature of domestic violence, the affect on survivors, the obstacles faced when trying to leave, and what we can do to help, not hurt.
It’s up to us as a whole to eradicate this silent epidemic, and it starts with true understanding.
When I started speaking out about the truth of the verbally and emotionally abusive relationship I was in from 2014-2017, this happened:
Think about this for a moment. People ask why women don't speak up about harassment and abuse? THIS IS WHY.
And it's the reason this silent epidemic still exists. He kept all of those women before me quiet with threats and harassment, to the point they are still scared to speak out. And I don't blame them. I'm just grateful they reached out to me and spoke up about the abuse they endured at his hand.
On this day—International Women's Day—I have hope. Hope that by speaking out, we are helping to create a better tomorrow for generations to come. Generations that will look back on the #metoo and #timesup movements as the turning point in history where light began to push out the silent darkness.
Thank you, warrior women, for speaking out, supporting your fellow sisters (privately or publicly), and saying ENOUGH to abuse on all levels.
You are my heroes.
Scott and I were down in Phoenix this past Sunday and it triggered a memory. Out of nowhere, I remembered the first thing I ever channeled years ago—2009, to be exact.
My girlfriend from LA and I loved to take a day or two and go to Palm Springs every now and then. This trip was no exception—we wanted a little R&R in the desert. We ended up booking a room at a hotel/spa outside of the mod, retro desert town known for being a playground for Hollywood elite. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the resort, but it sits on sacred land and is very sprawling. We ended up being put in a separate house that sat alone on a hill—it was considered the best accommodation on the property. Our ticket to the golden palace was sheer luck. Our standard hotel room had suffered some pretty bad water damage and the smell was horrendous. We asked if we could change rooms and they went above and beyond.
That night, after lots of laughs, drinks, and daytime massages, we went to sleep in our separate rooms, thanks to the swanky upgrade we received. The next morning, I woke to the sound of what I thought was my friend’s TV in her room. My room filled with what sounded like Native Americans chanting, horses running, and gunshots blazing past me. I was so confused. The noise—which was getting louder and louder—was definitely not coming from a TV in another room. Later, she told me she slept through it all and did not have her TV on. The "scene" seemed to be coming from the window in my bedroom. With this revelation, I started to get pretty freaked out. I truly expected to go to the window, pull back the curtain, and see the full-on western movie I’d been hearing. I forced myself to walk the three or four steps to the window and nervously looked out. The soundtrack didn't match the view.
I remember staring out over miles and miles of desert land with not a soul in sight, yet I was still hearing the chanting, horses, gunshots, and now screaming. I thought I’d really lost my mind. I stood there frozen at the window while I suddenly noticed the commotion was fading. I could still hear everything but it was much softer now. My eyes fixated on the desert scene while the noise faded to quiet tinged with the barely audible sound of cars on the highway at the bottom of the hill.
At that moment, it was as if I’d been snapped out of my paralyzed state. I lept back into bed and pulled the covers up to my neck, protecting myself from the unknown. I grabbed my phone from the side table and sent Scott a text, telling him what had happened. He was blown away.
This was the beginning for me. The beginning of strange noises, voices, chills, spirit I don’t know staring back at me, law enforcement, grieving parents, and scenes I could never imaging running on a loop in my head.
From 2014 to 2017—having endured a lot of emotional and verbal abuse—my intuition was the first thing to wane. (Wane in the sense that I wasn't channeling like I used to, and when I did, I was put down for it, after the initial love bomb stage where he revered what I do and who I am.) In fact, when I finally got out of the relationship, a few of the kids in spirit I had come to know said, “We’ve been waiting for you.”
Turns out, being in that position made it near impossible to channel the way I did before 2014. I was still “me,” but I was not able to fully embody who I am for a number of reasons, and he (and the abuse) served as a block—a dark wall that kept me from the other side. Looking back, it makes total sense. Why would his kind of darkness want me to have anyting to do with working in the light?!!? Just the opposite, in fact. The kicker was when I found out (and confirmed from sources close to him) about the underage girl (15) he was with while in his late 40s—ironically the same type of evil I was helping to close the book on by working on cold cases that involved predatory men and young girls. See why I lost my ability to channel the way I am now?
So much has changed, recently, in regards to my intuitive gifts. I just said to Scott the other night, it’s now on a level I’ve never experienced and I'm really grateful. Lately, I have been channeling so much more than ever before. It’s such a nice place to be, again, trusting my intuition and helping others who need to hear those messages.
This past weekend, I was at a large event and out of nowhere, I started channeling messages from my friend's loved one. The way it all happened was emotional and beautiful, but that’s not my story to tell.
This is my story to tell. Just two days earlier, I had been thinking about one of my guardian angels in sprit by the name of Jason, whom I hadn’t heard from in a while. He was the first to alert me to the abusive relationship I had chosen to dive into in 2014 saying, "this relationship is not what it seems, Kiers." I will be writing more about Jason and his mom very soon, but I can definitively say they helped save me from a life of abuse and downward spirals.
Anyhow, back to the event. I wasn’t paying attention to my phone because I was enthralled in watching the festivities of the event. I noticed the glow of my iPhone, which was strange because I normally have to enter my code to unlock it. I glanced down at the phone expecting to see the home page and I saw this:
“K, everything you are going through was laid out for you long before you were born. You will be a conduit for others….but not until you are healed or on your way….Jason”
This is a message Jason shared with me through his Mom about nine months ago. I saved it in NOTES on my phone. I was stunned to see it staring back at me. It was 22 notes down from the top. I would have had to scroll to get to it, and I hadn't even remembered I saved it there. Nor had I physically touched my phone.
Jason made that happen as a way to tell me, just minutes after channeling multiple spirit in a room full of 600 people, that I am indeed healing and ready. Well played, J—thank you!! I was finally making the connection between the uptick in messages I've been receiving lately and where I am in the process of healing from abuse.
Wouldn’t you know it, it’s been nine months since I put a stop to the abuse in my life. And nine years since that trip to Palm Springs.
Apparently, I’m ready now and I couldn’t be happier about it.
And the next time this Virgo (born 9/9) goes to Vegas, I’m putting money on nines.