I need to get this out there. I can't bottle it in anymore.
I feel like an asshole. I really do.
My life has been destroyed. Financially, mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually. My children's lives have been forever affected. They have their own struggles/issues now, which will likely impact their adulthoods as a direct result of this. My family is traumatized. There is steaming wreckage all around me.
I'm not sure that I fully forgive myself--or how I ever can. I'm not looking for pity or reassurance. I'm just being real.
I re-read my blog entries. On what planet was I living that these things were happening and I didn't run?
I've read about abuse. I've read about sociopaths. I've talked with therapists. I've talked with fellow survivors. I understand how I got pulled in and tricked by a very cunning and "talented" abusive sociopath.
But what was going on with me internally at that time that made me so lethally vulnerable to a predator like him? How incredibly low must my self-worth and self-esteem have been? How did I allow a man to so easily and swiftly gain control over my life?!
I want to say that I wasn't a stupid or weak person but...maybe I was. Because it was incredibly naïve of me to believe that no one would ever intentionally bring harm to me. But I think on some level I actually thought I was exempt from that somehow. Because I'm a good person who wouldn't want to intentionally and systematically destroy someone else's life, that also couldn't happen to me.
Besides, I know a "bad guy" when I meet him. Right? Bad guys are very obvious. They wear their assholeishness on their sleeves and I don't put up with bullshit anyway...
I guess what it comes down to is this: I was vulnerable because I had succeeded in everything else in my life except romantic relationships. I had an established editorial career at that point, good mommy, lots of friends, close with my family. But I had two failed marriages. I'd married and divorced my college sweetheart in my 20s, married and divorced my older son's father in my early- to mid-30s. I never took a breath to say maybe I needed to be on my own for awhile and not define myself by a man/relationship/marriage. Those divorces were tough, for different reasons. But I wasn't taking time to figure out why they didn't work, or to fully heal from them.
I was focused on the fact that I'd failed--and on not failing again.
And not failing again meant finding the perfect guy and having a successful relationship.
So maybe--secretly--I went on Match to find a husband. Maybe--secretly--I didn't like being alone.
Maybe, actually definitely, those reasons combined made me vulnerable to him. It's like wearing blinders. I saw what I wanted to see. Deep down, very deep, I do believe I recognized all those early behaviors as odd. But it wasn't enough to make me run. No. Because the package was so perfect. He was exactly what I was looking for.
What could go wrong?
Yes. I feel like an asshole.
Love and Support for Kate Ranta and Family