is it only money?

Well, after about four years, about 12,000 in legal fees, a few phone calls to the police, and about 750,000 dollars, its over.

What did I lose?
The house I built and all the equity, about a quarter million dollars, half of my retirement…which means i’ll never retire…about 125,000 dollars, 41% of my take home pay every month, for the next ten years, about 1/3 of a million dollars, and most of my savings…gone.

But there’s good news, the person who tormented me and my children is out of our lives now, and after five years of counseling, we’ve all learned that the tormentor has some problems, and that we are survivors of abuse…but we are survivors, thats the important part. We won’t suffer the anxiety of birthdays and christmas anymore, having our gifts scowled at, and discarded that same day. We won’t come home to a tree decorated with the images of dead and dying people…that was a real holiday treat….we won’t have to endure the scowls and frowns and little digs that were intentionally designed to hurt us each at the deepest parts of our psyche….and by someone who’s now a mental health provider! Tell me it wasn’t all on purpose…I don’t believe it….

So we lost some things, the ability to fly and be together whenever we feel the need, and our ability to weather the adversities and emergencies of life, health and the economy is pretty severely dinged, but so far we’re getting through ok…fingers crossed!

We lost some innocence too, believing that a mothers love was unquestioned, and was a kindness… our tormentor proved that you couldn’t just take that at face value, that love and trust are earned, and lost, when we are exploited, deceived, and ridiculed.

But we gained a few things too, really important things as it turns out, that we’re all in this together, that our family of three can do well together, survive and flourish, even add members! I gained a freedom of sorts, one that was costly, but maybe thats the best kind of freedom, a freedom thats earned. In my freedom I’ve learned that I have things to contribute to someone, and like my children, learned that it isn’t all our fault, and that anyone who isn’t able to accept their responsibility for causing pain and suffering, is a red-flag person, and it doesn’t matter if they cover themselves with hearts, they are a source of toxicity that can’t be in any normal persons life…set a firm boundary and enforce it with the full protection of the law…it turns out stalking across state lines is an interstate crime thats taken very seriously these days…and I’m comfortable asking the police to help me hold that boundary.

I’ve gained a deeper sense of how important my relationships are with my children, and how blissful, how freeing, a love relationship can be. For the second time in my life, i’ve given my heart to someone, and this someone has taught me that love isn’t about making the other person feel bad about themselves. I’d never known this kind of love before. Even at her darkest hour, her most stressful moments, she doesn’t have a glimmer of the mean spirit i’d endured for decades. Its truly amazing.

My ability to make a future has been significantly reduced. I have to work harder, longer, to try and earn back what’s been paid for freedom from pain, but when you think about it, its a good deal on the whole for me and my daughters.

I watched a person riding their bicycle on campus this morning as i walked in for my early lecture. The person was pedaling away, smiling. I wondered if they were happy about where they were going or where they had been, but now I think they were happy where they were. Thats a gift, a life skill many of us have to work at. But, in the final analysis, its a priceless gift.

If you’re in a relationship with someone who doesn’t have empathy, who hurts you, physically, socially, or emotionally, GET OUT! What we’ve learned from this is that you cannot “fix” them, and until they hit bottom, they won’t get better. It doesn’t matter that they are in the field of mental health, they won’t get better until they make the effort themselves, and accept responsibility. My recommendation is get far away from them and stay far away from them. BPD is widespread, toxic, and will ruin your life. So if you have to give up most of what you’ve built in life to get free, do it….and i hope you find one person who will hold your heart gently…its the best!

Take Care of each other, and take care of you!

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