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marriage - Singapore Mental Health Film Festival

You can regain your life

I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) while I was undergoing divorce with my narcissistic, addicted husband, suffering from depression. 

 

We were married for 2 years, but it was the most hellish period of my life. He was the master of manipulation, knowing what buttons to press, making me seem like the crazy one. His addiction mattered more to him than his own wife. The constant lying, cheating, betrayal, gaslighting, projection took a toll on my mental health. I always felt inadequate as he often made me like it was my fault for everything. Despite that, I didn’t realise what I was doing to myself. I was compromising my sanity at the expense of this “love” with this abusive man. I was in a continual state of cognitive dissonance, with the sweet and mean treatments from him. Little did I know that I was all part of his sick, twisted, selfish game. Little did I know that the flip-flopping between sweet and mean treatments are actually the hallmark of abuse. 

 

I went through the whole abusive life cycle – from the love bombing (making me feel like the most loved woman in the world), to the devaluation, and the eventual discard. It was so so painful. So surreal that the man that I once called my husband is now this cold-hearted monster, treating me like I mean nothing to him.

 

He turned into this monster, one I could barely recognise anymore. What I’ve learnt is that even though he is going through a mental issue, everyone has a choice for change. No amount of my love could help him if he didn’t want the change to happen. 

 

That was when I realised I had to fight for myself, and take accountability for my well being. That was when I stopped making excuses for his bad behavior. 

 

The divorce is a painful but necessary path. Man’s rejection is God’s protection.

 

I am still dealing with this trauma bond, trying to break free from codependency issues, and manage my anxiety attacks. It is going to be a long process and a lot of hard work, but I am committed to loving and taking care of myself. 

 

PTSD is something not to be taken lightly. With proper education and professional guidance from therapists, you can regain your power and control back.

 

You can regain your life, and create that dream life of yours.

I’m going to seek help

I was so desperate. I thought I found a confidant. We once said we would tell each other if there was anything bothering us. I was going through parental, marriage and health issues. I thought I was going to leave my kids behind. I broke down in my doctor’s room. I thought my family was breaking. I couldn’t talk to my parents. I didn’t want to worry them. I felt my world was collapsing. I stood by my window looking down, thinking if I will ever do it. I broke down and I confided my deepest hurts and secrets to someone whom I thought I could trust. It takes so much guts to pour it all out to someone. What a terrible move it was. The responses I received – “I’m superb because I’ve a big heart!”, “You’re like that because you focused on your kids”, “Others have it worse than you”, “I’ll go a long way with people who believe in themselves”. Ouch! It hurts so bad to hear those words. Made me feel even lower, pathetic, worthless. What happened to the trust and respect? It was suddenly all gone. I avoided that person. How does one continue to stand next to someone who feels it’s alright to say those words? I couldn’t do it. So I treated her like a stranger. Those around us who don’t know exactly what happened probably assume she’s the victim. I get curt remarks from others too. I don’t go near those people anymore. I’ve no energy nor wish to defend myself in front of them. I’m on my own trying to heal. It’s a daily struggle but I will do it. I must. I want to watch my children grow up to be empathetic, respectful and trustworthy people. I will continue to be the Mum they love, the Mum I’ve always wanted to be. I get chest pains, nausea, insomnia whenever I hear those hurtful words in my head. It’s even harder to overcome those words from someone I trusted. At times, I still break down crying. I’m mentally so exhausted but I smile as much as I can. I’m going to take the next step to help myself. I’m going to seek help. “We’re not trained counsellors”. That’s what another person told me, defending the one with hurtful comments. My take – “If you can’t show empathy, don’t say a word. Your words can destroy a person.” For those who are caregivers to the elderly and the young, I hope you’re able to share your struggles with people who are empathetic. For what it’s worth, my heart is always with you.