Discomfort

Kumashiro’s theory of discomfort suggests that as students [of life, at school, and as humans in general] we are unable to see true growth in our lives without struggle – without wading through discomfort.

It makes sense. When I heard this theory in college, I initially rolled my eyes. Why would I need to suffer to grow? A plant doesn’t suffer in the ground before it thrives. It has to be nurtured and can’t be exposed to too many harsh elements.

But then I remembered that people aren’t plants. And that, yes, while some circumstances may  cause us to wither away – our roots go much deeper and we are much more capable of coming back from trauma than a stupid cucumber plant. Or whatever plant you were imagining.

No one learns how to do anything perfectly the first time. We learn constantly from failure, and failure is uncomfortable. Failure doesn’t have to be a swear word or something to be ashamed of. We should encourage the people we love to venture into the unknown, to take the leap, to not cower. We should want those around us to have opportunities for growth, even if those opportunities come in obscurely wrapped packages.

But most importantly, we should be there for each other, seeing each other through to the other side of our learning experiences, whatever they may be.

When Narcissists Strike

So here’s where I’ve been stuck. I got divorced like 3.5 years ago and at first it was as amicable as a divorce can be without staying friends and then something happened, and I’m not sure what, but it wasn’t something I did or said. One day we were able to get along with our lives, and the next day I got a scathing email from him out of nowhere about how he never loved me, how I was a manipulator, and how he never wanted to talk to me again (which wasn’t a problem, since we hadn’t spoken in like a year at that point anyway). So, very much out of left field.

Some months later, I wrote a blog post about my experiences in an emotionally abusive relationship with a narcissist. It’s hard. When your whole life revolves around someone whose whole life also revolves around their self, it’s hard. When you find yourself living in a world of double standards, it’s hard. When you find yourself at an impasse with that person about decisions pertaining to your body and your health, it’s hard. When you find yourself cutting pieces away to avoid conflict and be agreeable, it’s hard. Not having access to your bank account? Not only hard but also kind of scary. It’s all hard. It was always hard, and I shared that in an extremely candid way.

And I was and am allowed to do that. It was my experience and I am allowed to share those things.

Anyway, flash forward like 2.5 years where I’m completely happy in life, in my relationship, with my career. He internet stalked me and delved through 2 years of blog history on a blog he didn’t know existed (because I started it after we stopped talking, like…way after). He finds that post – the only post about him – and freaks out. When I ignored the freak out session and protected myself by moving the blog to this URL, he sent a mass email to my family with some truths but mostly warped versions of truths or flat out fabrications which was sad because it just proved he was exactly the person I had hoped he’d avoid becoming. You know the saying: when narcissists can no longer control you they try and control other people’s perception of you.

That, of course, didn’t work because my friends and family know me and we have always been a pretty chatty and transparent family.

But in thinking about these things, I realized this was all a big fit in an effort to get me to somehow lash out or contact him and ask his forgiveness for I don’t know what. No one in my family (as far as I know) ever replied, and I certainly didn’t. There wasn’t a point. He was lashing out about something I shared years ago and had moved beyond. There has never been any reason for me to need to talk to him ever again. About anything.

Why he was cyber stalking me, I’m not sure. The assumption is he is so unhappy in his own life he needed to see how mine was going. Too bad it’s pretty fucking amazing.

Do I have moments of insecurity? Absolutely. Do I have bad days? Of course. But I can’t remember the last time I felt out right bad about my body, my health – or the last time I cried because of something my partner said or did.

So here’s the thing. I haven’t been able to write and blog and share properly since then (not like anyone actually reads this though, we all know that) and that’s because in some ways I feel obligated to respond to his behavior.

But I’m not going to. This is the only blog you’ll ever see about it. Why? Because I moved on the day we filed the divorce papers. Because I was over it way before the first time he told me never to talk to him again (lol) and was beyond “healed” or whatever word you want to use when he started another tirade of emotional abuse aimed not only at me but my whole family.

Healthy people who have grown up and moved on don’t do things like that. Good people don’t tell secrets of and lies about people they once cared about, no matter how hurt they feel.

So there. That’s that. I’m glad that’s not my life anymore, and if it’s yours, please do whatever you can to get out of it. It gets better. So much better.