So much has happened in the last couple of years – I’m still waiting for my thoughts to catch up, and to make sense of it all. Or not. Either is fine. What I do know is I’ve changed. So completely and at a fundamental level. Yet, I am more me than I have ever been.
I decided it was time to leave this blog behind, along with some of the things that happened in the past, and start (almost) anew – so I’ve today created a new blog: Polkadots and Imperfections – a nod to the old, and looking forward to the new. I look forward to seeing you there.
I met the most wonderful person today. The beauty within him was humbling.
We agreed that it was fate that brought us together – the threads in our tapestries were destined to cross, there’s simply no other explanation for it. He had forgotten his hat, so took a different route whilst cycling. I had walked into a field with the intention of crossing it, but something – I know not what – drew me to a different path.
We began talking because of Roxie – she’s often the reason I engage with people whilst walking. In this instance, she was afraid of his bike and took some cajoling and encouragement in order to pass. It was enough time for Bijan and I to begin a conversation.
Bijan is Persian, and quite possibly one of the most enigmatic, open, kind, and patient men I’ve ever met. He tells me that he’s 72, yet he could easily pass for late 50s. He does not stop smiling, and he has a knowing twinkle in his eye, as though he’s seen a thousand lifetimes. He has the confidence of a man who truly knows himself, and is at peace with himself and the universe. His eyes shone with the energy of a thousand suns.
He told me he fully intends to become a centenarian, and receive a telegram from the Queen – one of his goals is to become the oldest person in Northampton – such is the courage of his conviction, I couldn’t help but be convinced myself that he will have no trouble achieving this.
He told me that he has traveled to Tibet, to meditate with and learn from the monks, and was invited to stay – and it is where he one day intends to return.
He told me that he lost his son, Noor, at the tender age of 22. Noor is Persian for light – his son was named, in part, after the Koh-i-Noor diamond. There wasn’t a trace of sadness from Bijan when he told me this. He carries a picture of Noor in a locket attached to his belt – it’s clear that he loves his son very much, but is in complete acceptance regarding his absence from our mortal coil.
He told me he has a daughter – a doctor – but they no longer speak. This seemed not to bother him, for as far as he is concerned, all is as it should be, and he is, again, in complete acceptance of the situation, knowing that he can do nothing to control her actions – nor should he.
He told me that his father was an Army general, that his mother didn’t want him and repeatedly tried to induce a termination, so when he was born, he was given to his grandmother to be raised – his grandmother – a kind woman, he said, was Victorian in her values.
We discussed the teachings of Rumi. We spoke of our connection to all thingsWe spoke of the Orwellian control exerted over the populace by the news, politics, societal expectations, and that he felt that very few people these days seem to think for themselves. He has a mobile phone which he knows not how to use, beyond answering incoming calls. He hasn’t watched television for 36 years, he knows what the internet is, but has never used it.
He told me that in an infinite universe, I am the only me who will ever exist, and he said it with such wonder, with such an open heart, that I couldn’t help but be moved, and humbled, by this wonderful person and his kind demeanor.
We spoke briefly about me, and with absolute conviction, he told me that I’m strong, and resilient, because of the things that have happened to me in life so far, and that by meeting everything with love, kindness and patience, I can overcome anything with grace.
In that relatively brief meeting, I felt changed, more alive, more determined to experience life the way Bijan does – with grace, humour and happiness. We resolved to meet each other again so that we might have the opportunity to speak further. This man has led the most fascinating life, and I cannot wait to hear more of it. He truly seemed to me to be manna from heaven.
Happy last day of my 30s!! I am so looking forward to turning 40 – everything this year feels so shiny and new, especially compared to the shit show of the last few years. I, finally, like the velveteen rabbit, feel like I’m becoming the person I was always meant to be. I’ve never been happier – and I’m not just saying that for the benefit of a trite Facebook post – I’m a completely different person now to the person I was a year ago, two years ago – never have I felt this level of contentment.
To my wonderful family and friends who have been on this journey alongside me, through thick and thin and when I’ve been a massive pain in the arse – thank you, and I love you. Without your support, and your grounding presence, I don’t know where I’d be right now. From the people who checked in on me from time to time, to those who sent me random little gifts to cheer me up, to those who took time out to just listen, take me out for a coffee, or send me a silly joke, or meme, or just say hi, you’re the most amazing people, and I love you more than I can say.
Looking forward to beginning new adventures every day, and to building the life of my dreams (which includes a lot more art!)
I’ve been hesitant to publish this post, and have been sitting on it for a while now. But we are coming to the end of the year, and I want to start 2018 with a fresh perspective, and to do that, I need to complete writing this chapter of my life so that I can draw a line under it and leave it firmly in the past, in a final exorcism. Narcissistic abuse is pervasive and insidious, and those who can, should speak up about it.
Writing the blog this year has been so important, not only to me, but to others. It’s made a lot of people uncomfortable, but it’s also helped a lot of people see what situation they’re in with abusive partners, including women who have been targeted by James in the last 12 months.
Another reason I’ve been hesitant to post this is due to the content. There are links to audio files below (via Soundcloud). I’ve been sitting on these recordings because any one of them could, I guess, be taken out of context, but any one of the media files I’ve uploaded could also be taken out of context in isolation, and I think it’s important for there to be real examples out there of what an abuser sounds like when they are trying to twist the mind of their victim in an attempt to gaslight and change the narrative to suit their own need to be the victim. I broke up with James one year ago today, so it seems fitting that today should be the day I post this.
TRIGGER WARNING – RECORDINGS BELOW MAY BE DISTRESSING TO SOME.
You can hear clearly how James attempts to keep changing the narrative here. I have to keep repeating my side over and over. It gets very confusing.
This recording does what it says on the tin – James states that I’m not mentally 100% as a way of attempting to diminish my grip on reality. It’s a common tactic amongst his kind.
Having to explain to the ‘John McClaine of Abuse” what gaslighting actually is whilst I point out that he’s doing it to me at that very moment in time.
Yet more talk of my apparent mental instability.
More gaslighting? You do surprise me…..
Having to explain to an apparently intelligent, insightful man how standing over a prone woman looking threatening is, well, threatening….
My very last face to face conversation with James. I was done with it at this point, and done with him. At the point that I was speaking to him, I thought we’d have to co-exist in the same house whilst I waited for him to leave. I wanted to speak to him to ensure that it wouldn’t be a problem. He found a way to quickly turn the conversation round to the relationship as he thought he could try to talk me round. I’m aware that I come across as being cold during some of this conversation – there are a couple of reasons for that – firstly – I felt nothing at this point, I was emotionally numb from 14 months of manipulation. Secondly, it’s recommended that anyone speaking to a narcissist uses a technique called ‘grey rock’ – which essentially means give them nothing. No emotional feedback – good or bad – whatsoever, as the minute you respond with any sort of emotion they will try to force themselves past your defences. You can hear towards the end, he realises that he’s getting nothing from me, so he attempts to play to my empathy (they always resort to the same tried and tested methods, like clockwork).
James tried to argue at one point that I wasn’t really hurt, it was just a small mark on my arm. However, this is classic fingertip bruising caused by gripping someone’s arms, and is something the police look for in cases of domestic abuse.
Bruise inflicted by James Barnett
Bruise inflicted by James Barnett
I feel that I now have nothing left to say about this ‘man’. I’ve told my story. I hope this blog can help others escape the kind of insidious evil that he enacts and embodies. Beware, there are people like him everywhere, some worse than him, and even more adept at hiding behind a false persona of “being the hero”. These emotionally void people can be found in all walks of life, at all levels.
It must be nice to live in a different version of reality to everyone else. And I don’t just mean a little bit different, I mean the version of reality where you look around you and say “how can I change the narrative to massage my wounded ego today? How can I twist the truth to make me look less like a giant turd”
Hint – just stop being a giant turd, then you won’t have to convince people you aren’t.
I know, seems simple huh? Unless you’re someone who’s convinced that every thought you have is the absolute truth. That you are your own highest authority. That everything that happens to you is some sort of personal abomination that the universe has deliberately visited upon you because you’re the most victimised person in existence.
So in order to make everything ‘work’ and reconcile it in your head, you have to completely re-write the narrative to fit. In short, you have to lie about everything to make yourself feel better. You wake up every morning experiencing a great deal of emotional pain. Instead of realising that you’re the architect of your own misery, instead of realising that the deep-seated insecurity and fear you feel and constant, aching need for validation is the product of your own misguided thoughts, you lash out, you maim, you injure, because to you, there’s a beauty to be seen in the misery of others – a brief moment where you feel replete. But it doesn’t last because the experience you’re creating is outside of you, so you have to keep on hurting people, over and over and over, escalating as you get older because of diminishing supply, as you can no longer rely on good looks to get by in life – you’ve started outwardly to resemble the ugly thoughts within. The indignation is etched on your face, the anger, the rage that burns within you which can only be quenched, momentarily, with the lamentations of your current sacrificial lamb. If only you realised that you’ve done this to yourself. That with a single thought, it could all change.
But you don’t realise that you’ve done it to yourself and you’re still a massive turd. Which brings me to my main point: You’re a liar.
You lie about everything.
You lied about your childhood, you lie about your family or lack thereof – your brother’s version of events is quite markedly different from yours. I suppose you’d say he’s lying though…
You lie about your relationships – all of them. To suit your narrative, because…
You lie about being a victim of domestic abuse. And you lie about the people you’ve abused, painting them to be the abusers. Because you like pretending to be a victim. You like the attention and the sympathy. The thought that your audience is dwindling as they see through your flimsy facade must be painful for you to deal with. The level of dedication to the deflection you deploy is really quite impressive. So far you haven’t produced a shred of evidence to prove that you’ve actually ever been abused, apart from a letter from Surrey Police that doesn’t actually go as far as to say you are a victim of abuse. How many abusers have you had now? 4? 5? But no-one else is speaking out about these women. Yet, how many women have now spoken out against you? It seems you’re doing your best to get everyone to ignore the elephant in the room.
That elephant, in case you hadn’t guessed, is you.
To address your latest manipulation of the narrative, I present to you a screenshot from your esteemed ‘business’ page:
I like how you included a caveat there, just to cover yourself: “which often happens a short time after your relationship has ended”. Yes, that’s a good way to explain any gaping holes in your ‘logic’ so that you can be inclusive of all your ex-victims. But the reality is that I have a decade-long timeline of your abuse of multiple women, which involves you moving all over the country in an effort to cover your tracks, from up north, to London, Surrey, and a few places in between. And you don’t waste any time between victims either – which is utterly typical of a serial predatory abuser. You moved from up north to London with no break in between partners. At the end of last year, you were already scrabbling to line up women on OK Cupid just two days after I found the strength to leave you, so unexpected was my departure, and so desperate were you to ensure a supply from someone, anyone. These screenshots were taken on the 30th of December – you ‘innocently’ claimed that the profile magically reactivated itself, even though at the beginning of our relationship you said you’d deleted your profile. Yeah, ok then oh Dark Knight of Abuse.
You weren’t single for long – you can’t stand to be because when you’re alone, you’re deeply lonely, lacking as you do the capacity to self-soothe, and the vacuous nature of your personality begins to emerge. You acquired a new victim by February. After she saw sense, you found another by April. And now you’re recently single again, and no doubt desperately trawling dating sites in an effort to fill the void.
Now I’m sure you’ll try and suggest that I’m the exception to the rule, however since our demise, I remain single. (Oh don’t you worry Bungle, that wasn’t an invitation, I’d rather dive into a pool of piranhas after having smeared myself in blood than even look at your miserable mealy mug again). I am happy to be single. Because I don’t require any sort of external ‘supply’ to feel like my life has any meaning or purpose. Of course, I’m sure you’d say it was because no one will have me, but I’m not the one who smells like a walking talking case of untreated syphilis and claims that the use of a full stop at the end of a text message can be used as a form of covert abuse. Yes, he actually said that.
NEWSFLASH: SHORT WOMEN USE PUNCTUATION!
I’ll just leave you with a couple of the other more ridiculous things he’s come out with recently:
Has an English degree. This obviously means he is clever.
Instant block if someone asks him what his qualifications are. Mmmm, suspicious!