Right now you are on cloud nine. The unending attention, adoring romantic words, and extravagant life style are all a woman raised in our culture could ever hope for…almost too good to be true. High-end clothing, beautiful jewelry, and a gorgeous home just waiting to be filled with life and a woman’s touch…it’s almost unreal. At this point for you, it feels amazing and a huge relief – you’ve finally found him.
The way he explains away his multiple failed marriages and relationships and blames the former spouses and partners (while adding sprinkles of seemingly humble self awareness) help you digest a history that otherwise would have raised red flags. He even tells you that you should be concerned so that it opens the door to his explanations. He clearly was the victim – and he clearly tried so hard to make it all work. He tried so hard to “get through to the most recent wife” to fix things. What he won’t tell you is that the past wife had grown healthier and stronger and could no longer be manipulated; she had finally learned to set boundaries. He also won’t tell you that he thought she was healthy when she had no boundaries, and that she was unhealthy when she learned to set them. The message you receive is that he hadn’t found the perfect woman yet – and now you can dare to believe that you are the perfect woman for him.
You feel blessed. You truly are an empathic and sensitive woman who gives of herself lovingly – who gives too much of herself if not kept in check. He will share “secrets” from his past with you and will do so in a way that minimizes the reality of them. Just so you know, there may be some secrets he won’t share. The good news is those past women lost out, and you won – or so it seems.
At some point, you will start to experience something you don’t quite understand. It will be subtle at first and you will dismiss the warnings in your gut. Eventually, reality will not match words and actions will not match promises. When you speak up about this, you will ultimately feel shame and confusion and apologize. You will believe that something was wrong with you for seeing a pattern that is forbidden to be seen. You will feel pain and loss of all that “loving” goodness and nearly feel desperate to get it back.
If you have done a lot of “work” on yourself, you may step back and remember other times in your life where you have felt this way before. You may set boundaries and do a check-in with a confidant. It, however, is more likely you will believe all of the powerful and persuasive words being spoken to you and feel desperate to apologize and get the relationship right again – the relationship that YOU damaged by “protesting.” You will step back into a cycle that will repeat – over and over and will increase in intensity.
You will finally seek help for yourself and he will encourage you to do so – so that you can be the better “woman he thought you were when you met.” You, hopefully, will begin a very long road to recovery from what is called narcissistic abuse. He’s good with his words and has learned much terminology in recovery and psychology over the years. Your levels of confusion will compete with your desire for his promises of whom he said he was to be true. The pattern will repeat over and over until you fall to your knees in prayer and desperation. He will never see the truth as you do – to do so for him would be too much of a perceived threat to his ideals of his own self worth and self esteem. He is not capable of holding that truth.
My prayer for you, dear next woman, is that you find out early – and that you realize you have all that you need. I pray that you realize you don’t need a relationship or a man to validate you.
My prayer for you is that you feel God’s love so deeply that no man can shake your foundation.
My prayer for you is that you find a healthy relationship where you are treated respectfully and with love – not with extravagance and control. Be kind to yourself; you do not understand at this point what is happening. There is support and love for you – there is never shame in reaching out for it.
The last woman
Mary Mathias is another name for eclectic. She is a convergence of multiple experiences and relationships that were sought to fulfill that painful sweet spot that only God can attend to. She is a mother of 4 unique, brilliant and beautiful children (three of whom are grown and out of the house), a 3-event water-skier, a runner and a mid-life career changer to a therapist who dares to be trained and impacted at the Allender Center. She resides in Crystal Lake, IL.
This is so incredibly, stunningly powerful! Thank you for the wisdom of your words! Christine
Dear Mary, wow! This entry is brilliant. I feel like we should make pamphlets printed and keep them on hand and hand out when needed! You really nailed it and I hear this so often from really good women…. Better said, I have lived through this with many friends and yes, me too in my younger years.Thank you for your care to so many.
WOW!!!! Such amazing clarity in your words. I LOVE YOUR BLOG. A re-read for sure. And I’ll be sharing. I wish I could sit and learn more of your story and be a friend across the table. Thank you.
Thank you for your vulnerability here and your tender invitation to the next woman. Your words said out loud what I’ve often longed to say to friends who are the “next woman” and can’t see what is coming. You are brave and strong and lovely.
Thank you for your courage, strength, vulnerability and love. God is bringing beauty for your ashes. Your heart to help others beats so passionately and I am so grateful you are following Him in this way. You will be such an encouragement to many. You inspire others to enter into the pain no matter how difficult the cost.
Powerful words!!! Thanks for sharing.
So well written Mary!