Melanie Tonia Evans

Recovering From A Marriage With A Narcissistic Rager [Thriver Story #27 Val]

Written by   Melanie Tonia Evans Permalink 2
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Written By   Melanie Tonia Evans

I’m very excited to bring you this Thriver Story about a woman named Val.

Many narcissistic relationships include episodes of rage. However, some narcissists are notorious for these episodes and constant mood swings.

If you have been a relationship with a narcissistic rager you will relate to:

Feeling like you can’t do anything right because the slightest perceived error will result in a barrage of rage.

Living in constant fear of what they might do – especially after breaking away from the relationship.

Feeling like it’s all your fault and being blamed for the rage episodes.

Another extremely painful thing that Val went through was bringing up two children with the narcissist.

The psychological and physical affects that children get put through when they are in constant fear of a parent is horrendous.

If you relate to any of these experiences you are going to find this show incredibly inspiring. I’d love you to listen to the show (by clicking the player below) or reading the show notes. You will learn how Val was able to do some pretty incredible things throughout her recovery like …

Release all of her fear and anxiety regarding what the narcissist may do, and as a result he became distant and no longer affects her.

Heal the trauma her children suffered and Val is now watching them grow into amazing young adults.

Gain full custody of her kids, when the default parenting arrangement in her state was 50/50 custody.

Rebuild her career and start a business after being out of the job market for 20 years.

It truly fills my heart with joy to share with you another amazing Thriver story with you!

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Could you please share you narcissistic experience Val?

I met my ex when I was a graduate student, in my early 30’s.  It was a very intense moment in life. I had just moved across country to attend graduate school.  It was also a vulnerable time. Most of my family had died recently, due to illness or injury. I had lost a career in a sport I love, due to being in a very bad accident. So I was starting over in life, and planning a new career.

We met ballroom dancing. He was tall, handsome and charismatic. He had a resonant voice, and a pair of sparkling eyes. Strong arms holding me, when we spun around the dance floor… I remember the smell of leather from his jacket, and the faded jeans he wore. He was kind, gentle and strong, all at once. He was brilliantly intelligent, and worked as an engineer.  He was ex-military, and a student of martial arts.  He was the best dancer I had met at that time.  He was soft spoken, but not a pushover. I was completely dazzled.

In hindsight, there were red flags.  But I only saw the paragon. I ignored, or was completely oblivious to, storm warnings.

All the classic stuff happened. Love bombing. He completely charmed my friends and colleagues. My remaining family practically pushed me into his arms, when they heard he wanted to get married.

Red flags I missed. Rushing the relationship into an early engagement – he wanted to marry after we had been dating only a couple months – I put the brakes on, sort of. We compromised by getting engaged. I didn’t even know that was a red flag. I just thought it meant he really cared about me, and was being decisive.

Little by little I gave up certain things I really loved. For example, I loved dancing, especially to blues in bars.  But he was uncomfortable with being in bars with me, so I stopped going. I also didn’t see how dysfunctional his family was, or how that might affect us as a couple. There were early signs of controlling behaviour, which I completely misinterpreted.

The most glaring warning I missed, was this…  I knew we did not have the kind of connection I wanted, that I had seen between my parents.  I was actually aware my ex had a concrete bunker around his spirit and soul. But I told myself everything else was good, and that a deeper connection would grow over time.  After all, I had seen my parents grow closer year by year.

So, we married the summer after I graduated.

After our son was born, things began to change for the worse. Psychological torture is insidious, and it is a cycle. I’m not going to put this all on him because I co-created that cycle. It grows little by little, as one person stays and the other sees how far they can push. You get this cognitive dissonance. How can the person be so nice some of the time, suddenly so cruel, then nice again?  You find yourself hanging on for the nice times…

My ex blamed me for everything about his life he did not like. It got worse over time. It seemed impossible for me to do anything right. He began to rage periodically, always when least expected, at any assortment of myself and the kids. Then he’d hang his head in his hands and demand pity for how hard his life was. I would literally freeze, and I’m told, dissociate when he did this. He’d typically be very happy and relaxed after one of these episodes. The kids and I would be shell shocked.

When my youngest was two there was a particularly bad episode. I told him I wanted to leave. He raged at me that if I left, I’d never see the kids again. I actually believed him. So I told myself I could fix this, I could heal it. I stayed, and as time went on, I told myself each bad episode would be the last. But the situation grew worse.  My health began to suffer. So did my kid’s. We became isolated. The kids and I became experts at pretending everything was ok in public. We even lied to each other.

My kids woke me up though. My son was in 6th grade and one day he refused to come home. He ran across the playground to huddle under a fir, whose branches touched the ground. I sat with him. He was crying hysterically. He couldn’t take the tension between his dad and I, or his dad’s rages any more. That was my first wake up call.

After a time my son calmed down, and we did go home. That night I gave my ex an ultimatum. I told him I didn’t care if it was my fault, or if I was imagining it, or if I was too sensitive. He could choose. If he chose to keep having rage attacks, I was leaving.

That sparked another round of counseling, which was a bandaid for a while. The rages stopped.  But I began to realise that my ex’s rage was all still there, it had just gone underground.  Meanwhile, I had begun a little to talk about what was happening at home. I believed this was all my fault, so I had determined to fix myself. I worked with conventional western talk therapy and spiritual healing.   Slowly and very dimly I began to hear I couldn’t take responsibility for another’s behaviour, but I didn’t believe it. I also believed I couldn’t survive without my ex.

Both my kids had allergies by this time. My son had breathing problems and had so many food allergies he had a very limited diet.  As he entered adolescence he began to fear his own rage, which was growing stronger and stronger. He spent most of his energy battling himself, and was tired and or sick almost all the time.  He was afraid to become a man because he was afraid to become his father. His friendships began to drop away, and he began to isolate himself more and more.  He is brilliantly intelligent (not just me being biased – he tested in 6th grade as reading above a 12th grade level, also advanced in math and science) yet he could barely pass regular classes in school.

My daughter, at age 12, was still sitting in her dad’s lap after dinner. This gave me a nauseous feeling in my stomach. When I would talk to her dad about it he would brush me off. He liked the attention. My daughter was ultra-focused in school, to the point of obsession. She played cello like an angel, and performed with a student orchestra. She practised martial arts with me, and then switched over to aerial dance. She was an uber-control freak over achiever, on lock-down all the time. She also had food allergies, and felt like she had no friends. By this time neither kid wanted to bring anyone from school home. At home the kids and I spent our time tip toeing around their dad, while pretending things were normal.  I used to love to entertain and have friends over, but all that stopped.

Still, at this time in public, we were often complimented. We appeared to have “the perfect family”. I remember being almost giddy with relief in public, when the ex was acting like a normal guy…

By the summer of 2012 I had finally had enough. My gut was screaming at me to get out.   I had a deep instinct the abuse was about to ratchet up a level to physical violence. My gut knew the violence would be against one of the kids, unless there was some kind of radical change.

The kids again woke me up. I had not realised fully how much the kids were suffering – part of my lingering denial, I think. Each of them came to me one at a time and said they loved me but they were done. They were leaving home as soon as they possibly could. They couldn’t take living with their dad’s rages and unpredictable mood swings any more. Then a day or two later each came back to me, and said, “I’ve thought it over and I don’t want you to get divorced.” Since I hadn’t said a word about my own research, I asked each of them why they mentioned this. They each said they were afraid to be alone with their dad.

That was the moment the proverbial scales fell from my eyes.

I told my ex and said I needed radical change. He said he’d work on himself. But things got worse. Finally on the fall equinox, 2012, the end came. My ex went into acting mean towards our son, while pretending he was “playing”. I called him on it. He ended up in a full blown hysterical attack, primarily against our children.  In that moment I finally went on battle alert, instead of being frozen. I watched him, the door, the kids, the phone, ready to call emergency help.

That night I took the kids and left. I filed a police report. In the morning I called my ex in tears. That was the beginning of our separation.

At that time, I assumed we’d all get counseling, learn healthy ways to interact, and then reconcile. But I never went back to him after that.  As time passed I realised more and more he was not changing, but I was. I knew I could never go back.  But at that time there was tremendous grief and uncertainty.

 

What things were you trying Val, in order to cope and heal?

Prior to the separation I had done conventional talk therapy, and some spiritual healing.

After the separation began, I used meditation, theta healing, more talk therapy, friend’s support, and the Kahuna tradition (which was really helpful). I read a lot about emotional abuse and control. I consulted with a woman who writes and speaks about emotional manipulation and control, and how to transform away from that paradigm.  I learned a lot, and am glad I did all that.  But although at the time it helped manage my pain, but none of it got me past being a victim.

At the insistence of one of my kid’s school counselors, I went to a local women’s shelter for help. There I actually worked with a domestic abuse counselor.  She was great. That counselor listened and gave me tools to work with for protection.  While I was working with her I began to realise what had been going on at home.  I googled trauma bonding and found you, Mel.  After that I began work with a trauma therapist. I thought it would be simple to de-trigger myself and be normal.  But my work stretched into months.  A year went by, and I was better, but really still a mess.  For example, I still couldn’t read the e-mails.  I was still in victim mode a lot of the time.  I was starting to be able to come up out of the victim mode, but it took constant work and periodically I backslid into a terror and grief so strong it was utterly overwhelming.

As soon as I found your website, in late winter of 2013, I started reading all your blogs, over and over, that began to provide a lot of relief.  However, I had to keep reading and re-reading everything. I was in trauma therapy by that point, and combined the two.

About the time the divorce was final I ran out of insurance for the trauma therapist.  The kids and I felt huge relief in the outcome of the divorce contract and parenting arrangement at first. However, sadly, my relief in the divorce contract was short lived.  Before the ink was dry on the decree, my ex was demanding mediation to change the terms of the parent plan. I began to panic all over again.  I felt despair, and that I would never really be free. At that point I was completely broke. I’d spent every penny I could get my hands on, plus gone into thousands of dollars debt, to retain the lawyer.  By dragging me into mediation and more legalities, the ex could bury me so deep in debt I lost everything.

Most critical of all, my kids did not feel safe with what he now wanted as a parenting arrangement. He was relentlessly demanding time with them, despite their terror and pain from his mood swings and rages, which at that point he was not acknowledging. Fear was crippling me again, at a time when I had no choice but to function as a single parent, and to figure out how to support myself as well, after 20 years out of the professional game.

At that time trauma therapy stopped, and co-parenting was a nightmare. The ex would not let go of me. He e-mailed several times a day, and in that one day  communications might range from normal courteous, to intimidating, to outright threatening, to normal again as if nothing had happened.  I realised I was still absolutely terrified of him, and what he might do next. My PTSD symptoms came back.  Simultaneously I had to be strong for my kids. I had to pay off debt from the marriage, plus legal fees, but was unemployed. I could not do no-contact, and had to have rather more than the usual modified contact. It was a trade-off I’d thought I was prepared for, and then found out I wasn’t. Instead, the deep wounding the kids and I were still suffering was thrown into high gear.

That is when I realised I had enough trust in the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program to begin to rely on that for help.  I bought the gold package and the Transforming Family of Origin Wounds Program and started with NARP healing modules, on the very same night I took the free webinar you launched at that time. That was summer of 2014, about a year ago.

 

 

What happened then Val?

I don’t know if others have felt this way, but I have a horror of anyone messing with my mind.  So it took a lot for me to trust the mp3’s!  Mel, all the blog materials I read, and the thriver shows I listened to, helped me to trust NARP enough to try it.

Dear friends had invited the kids and I to visit them in Chicago that summer.  We hopped on the train and went. However, I had to go into mediation with the ex about the parenting situation, as soon as I returned to Colorado.

I began the NARP healing modules at dawn, down by the lake shore, each morning that I was in Chicago.  With green leaves singing, the water flowing, just being there was deeply healing and strengthening. I repeated the early modules a lot, and my inner guidance started getting stronger.  A lot stronger. I felt if I made it through module 4 before the mediation I’d be OK.

The relief was amazing. Each module, especially the first few, I felt noticeably stronger, calmer. The terrible pressure and PTSD began to ease. I began to sleep at night. The fear shrank back. I was able to really cherish being with my dear friends.  Once I started doing the modules I could spend time on the module, and then set it aside, and feel I was functioning and enjoying other aspects of life.

When I returned to Colorado and met with the mediator, I was actually able to hold my own, to speak up with my own voice. The ex began to come a bit unglued. The mediator supported the parent plan to remain as written.

Throughout 2014 I worked through the 10 narp modules, repeating each until I felt ready to move on. I repeated 10 several times, because it gives me such joy and peace.  I also repeated some of the others a lot.  I worked the forgiveness module a lot, and also the one for letting go of any fear of what might happen next.

Even though I had done trauma work with a great local counsellor, and used my own spiritual tools, what made a huge difference was the NARP work of moving into the vision of what you want, by clearing your wounds that are blocking it.  This was so deeply healing and empowering!

I worked a miracle with all this. Default parenting arrangement in the state I live in is 50/50 shared custody.  Even in the case where one parent is a criminal or drug user, there is shared custody and visitation.  And on paper my kid’s dad looks really, really great. On a good day, he is really great.

I achieved my kids living with me full time, until they feel safe with their dad. This was their only request out of the divorce.  I believe your program gave me the tools to achieve this; without your work, even with my other knowledge, tools healing and training, I do not believe I could have achieved this.

I have been able to protect my kids, despite once being completely terrified of my ex, and completely financially dependent on him.  NARP helped me do this.

 

Tell us about the career that you got started Val

I began to function in life again. In addition to supporting the kids and myself to really heal, I started to lay the foundation to rebuild a career. During late summer and fall of 2014, I secured part time work with a contractor. This is a boon, because for women in architecture, construction is an area often hard to get experience in. I networked with professionals, and engaged in informational interviews. To be part time, as I felt the kids still needed me on deck a lot at that time, it began to appear I needed to work for myself. Knowledge and tools began to come to me to support this.

In January of 2015 I started a business with one paying client, for an architectural design project. I found studio space to share with other artists, in town where my kids go to school.  This is important, because we live up in the mountains.  Having a space to work in down in town, and other artists to share inspiration with, is really helpful.

There are so many other things of joy that I have also connected to now. I have been catching up on 20 years worth of technology.  I’ve learned to skype (thank you, Harry, you rock) and Facebook, taken a tutorial on computer building information modelling (the buzzword is bim), and begun to develop a website.  I’ve continued working on renderings, and my drawing skills have improved.  My goals are to make gorgeous renderings of buildings the old fashioned way, by hand. Then to combine the best of the old with the new, by selective computer use in building and design processes. There is a niche for this, if I can be the one to tap into it. I’m also writing again, which I love, and need to figure out how publishing works these days.  (Writing is something else that was lost during the so-called marriage, so it has been 20 years since I published anything.)

I play music, another love I had lost. I’ve gigged with my Celtic harp in coffee shops, occasional events, and with other musicians. It is a great joy. I study ancient music for it’s beauty and healing properties, combining that with vocals.  (A gig is a success if a baby stops crying, and a grown man starts crying.  🙂

Also, my hair is growing back!  (It is coming in silver, but oh, well.)  When I think how much has shifted in the past year, I am absolutely amazed…  and so thankful!

I am very much still a work in progress.  But this is the first summer in literally years, that I have not been afraid!  I have a sense that I will be fine. Can’t tell you how good that feels!  I am happy most of the time, and love life.  The nicest people are appearing in my life. I feel free!

 

I am so thrilled about all of that for you Val! So … okay let’s connect the dots. What was all of this journey about for you? What were the inner programs you have needed to heal and liberate yourself from?

So much…  This is really heavy.  I would have said before all this happened, I was least likely to ever suffer abuse in any way.  Now when I consider the history, it all makes complete sense.

My parents were really awesome. They were deeply in love with each other, and loving and supportive of us kids.  They were also wounded as most of us alive today are, from both generational stuff, and life events.  I inherited that wounding along with beauty, the arts, and love of knowledge and adventure.

One of the critical pieces of wounding occurred when I was very small. I was sent off to a church pre-school, and became one of many, many kids to be messed with by the church minister.  But when my family was torn apart by this knowledge of what had happened, and had no help in what to do next except to pretend it never happened. The church abuse had caused my dad to really freak out, and I was so young I took it as my fault that he was angry.  I internalised the following message: If I tell the truth to save myself, the people I most love and need will stop loving me, and I’ll be abandoned and die. That belief set me up to hide the abuse when it started happening.

Growing up, in school I was an excellent student and actually loved learning all the way through. This helped me secure scholarships to college in academics and arts.  However, I was drifting along, pleasing people with those good grades. School didn’t really mean much; I felt very disconnected.  I really wanted to be liked, and that was fairly easy, at least superficially.  All I had to do was wear a mask…  But inside, I always felt ‘less than’.  My parents also were overly protective, my dad in particular.  So I was quite sheltered through high school in certain ways.

I abandoned college after two years to work with horses, my first love.  At age 19, while jumping a horse with a slight bucking problem, I got thrown and trampled.  I had hoped to compete internationally, instead at age 20 I learned to walk again. When I was well enough I went back to school.  There I was led to martial arts which actually healed my body almost back to normal.

After about five years of kung fu training, I began to test my skill in alleys and along the lake front.  Kind of modern mma & cage fighting, without the cage. I don’t think I really cared much in those days whether I lived or died, although I would not have said so back then.  It was almost a death wish; certainly I was an adrenaline junky.

During this time I began to notice a weird split in relationships with men.  I was friends with really great guys, many of home I am still friends with today, decades later, and these friendships have expanded to include our families.  But the men I dated then all had, as one of my friends put it, an edge of violence about them. I was living a double life, but didn’t really understand that.

When I was 30-31 many of my family died. Some of it was beyond my control. Some of the death I blamed myself for. I thought at that time that as a martial artist I should have been able to save at least some of those who died…  I swore I’d never train again until I was at peace about that. Life went down in flames.  All I had built – wiped out in an instant. This made me determined to hold too tightly to the marriage.  I did not want to let go of the idealised picture I was living inside. I was absolutely terrified of more loss.   I thought my ex would make me whole if only… I know now that was deeply unfair to both of us.

Before I met the ex, and after the trauma of losing my family I found architecture. It combined art, science and entrepreneurship. So I pulled up the last of my remaining roots at home with beloved friends, and moved across country to study architecture.

By this time I was in my early 30’s. I figured I was done working on myself, and had everything together. I was going to have a career applauded by society, and with my spiritual knowledge there was nothing I couldn’t handle. I had seen death up close and personal, and lived to tell the tale.

Enter the ex.

Another big piece, and this will make sense to all of us who have passed through something similar… I had cultivated a lot of strength from martial arts and meditation. I fearlessly rode a large motorcycle all over the continent alone; I fought in alleys unscathed; my chi was so strong I could literally roll on broken glass and not be cut.  These things sound impossible but I’ve really done them. Regarding kung fu, that’s actually only the tip of the iceberg!  Put that together with total lack of knowledge of what verbal or emotional abuse are, and I was the perfect canon fodder.  Strong enough to clean up almost any mess, co-dependent enough to stay, equipped with physical beauty (at least at first) suitable for appropriate ego-aggrandizement of the guy.

It wasn’t until I did NARP and tracked wounding back through my body to its origins that I was able to have these connections become so clear. And then when these wounds cleared, I felt emotionally different and then life started reflecting back to me the changes. This is so wonderful!

 

What else has happened since doing the inner work Val?

SO much…  put simply, I love myself.  I love my kids.  I focus on living well, with honor and joy.  I have faith.  Life opens before me like a new leaf unfolding. I like being alone.   Men are awesome, but I don’t actually need to be with one. I am utterly grateful to be in this space in my life! This may sound odd but I am very grateful my ex came into my life.  He targeted my achilles heels with laser like precision. Had it not been him, it would have been someone else. Things could have been far, far worse.  In a way, it is thanks to him that I am free now!

 

What is the ongoing status with your children and with him?

The divorce contract is unusual. The kids have no set visitation schedule with their dad.  My intent with writing that, was and still is, that they feel safe, and then that they have an open door to build healthy relationship with him, without having to go back to court. I still believe this can happen. But this has meant that in order to honor this agreement I must remain in reasonable contact with him. That has forced me to keep growing.

Our only contact now is really around the kids, or other necessary communication around lingering property that is not yet been separated.  As I did more and more healing modules, and came to fear him less and less, oddly enough he grew more distant.  Of course that strengthened my sense of peace.

Now I can say that I wish him well, from a safe distance.  That actually feels really good.  Peaceful and liberating!

Just a few days ago I called him regarding one of the kids. We had a kind, courteous conversation. Just at the close of our communication a woman wandered into earshot at his end. I don’t think I’m off the mark to say they are lovers. While I was still on the phone, he asked her if she was ready to go. She said no. He demanded, why not, with the very same anger and control in his voice that he used to direct towards me.  I had to get off the phone pretty fast before I started laughing.  As one dear friend said, ‘free at last!’  It is hard to put into words the joy, elation, freedom I feel now. I simply don’t see any way I could have achieved this without your NARP, Mel.

 

As a result of you healing Val what impact has this had on your children?

This one is huge…  really huge!  By the time my ex and I separated, both kids were struggling badly.

My son had tried to shut off his feelings. He had tremendous rage, which he hid behind a mask of calm courtesy.  People who did not know him very well thought he was easy going, because that was the mask he wore.  He had so many food allergies that his diet was rather limited. He had developed breathing problems, and the docs described him as asthmatic.  He had been in the emergency room several times for breathing problems. He feared and distrusted men, including even boys in high school his own age. He was tired all the time, and frequently sick with cold and flues and other bugs.

When my son entered 6th grade he tested as reading above a 12th grade level.  He was also advanced in math and science.  Yet he could barely pass his classes.  His grades were often so low he came very close to failing.

My daughter was an uber-control freak regarding herself.  She was the straight “A” student, who spent hours studying at night. She also played cello in an orchestra, and practised kung fu with me. She was gifted in both these pursuits. She kept her feelings locked inside, and was developing the same concrete bunker around her spirit and soul that her dad has.

The despair she felt inside was so great that she struggled with suicidal thoughts. Both kids felt they had no friends at school. They felt completely unsupported by either parent.  Their dad raged unpredictably, and I froze when he did. They have been able to articulate to me that they felt I was actually hiding behind them.

When I worked the miracle with the parent plan of the divorce contract, and the kids heard the outcome, they both literally collapsed with relief. However they were far from healed at that point, even a phone call from their father would freeze them, and we could all barely communicate with each other.

I began to recover first. As I engaged my own healing process and started feeling better, at first I couldn’t understand why they were still struggling so much. Then I started to engage and invite them into open communication. So they began to be able to start to articulate what they were feeling. I joke with my kids that I am one of the few parents around who actually likes it when my kids argue and talk back!

Incredible things started happening when I got on to the work with Module 11 in NARP, the work Mel that you promote regarding using our body to heal our children through us. I have been using the goal setting module 11 to clear every bit of resistance I can find in myself, so that I am in a place of complete faith in my kids ability to find their own healing pathway.  Amazing and wonderful things have been happening!

My son is healthy – no more breathing problem, no more food allergies.  He is hardly ever sick now – maybe once or twice a year.  He realised some of his ptsd triggers and that they were handicapping him.  He has begun working with a trauma therapist to release those triggers.  I am including a couple of e-mails below which I wrote in the moment to you about how amazingly this has been working:

— excerpt from 07.04.15

 … I listened to the father’s day show several times and used mod 11 to clear my own stuff around my son.   

 Within two days he had decided to work with a trauma counselor to get rid of ptsd triggers.   He is changing from victim mentality and angry to ‘I’ll do whatever it takes to heal and live a great life” in front of my eyes.  He gave full permission to have me work on him by proxy, and I am going to trust what comes up. 

 [Within hours after]  …I came out of the session he looked at me with hope and wonder in his eyes.  And two days later he had decided to start facing his fears, and working on himself.     

 My son has chosen a male counselor to do this trauma work with.  He did this on purpose – he wants to get rid of the unreasonable fear and distrust. Even walking in this man’s office was a huge fear for him, and he chose to do it!

He just traveled with a school group to Central America, where they explored Mayan ruins and generally had adventures.  A year ago he could never have done this!  On this trip he made friends with fellow travellers, and loved being on his own. He is starting to appreciate touch and human contact, and has been spotted hugging the occasional family member as well as some of his friends. He is growing into an awesome young man!  Also, his grades have gone steadily up, while taking advanced coursework in high school.  He made the comment this spring that it was easy to pull good grades in school this last year. He also took national exams for college, and scored in the 90+ th % nationwide, which means that colleges are now asking him to apply.  I feel that he is getting comfortable in his own skin, that he is beginning now to move into his own power as a man and a person.

My daughter is also doing much better. She has created a circle of friends, and is actually more relaxed about school. I may be the only parent in history to want their kid to take it easy!  In her case, it is a very good thing though!  She ditched kung fu with mom, in favour of aerial dance. She won a spot on the student company and loves it. The school emphasises team work and teaches the girls who take class there that strong is beautiful. My daughter has excellent mentorship there!  I couldn’t quite afford the training she needs to stay with the company, so she works part time at the school. How wonderful is this – she is choosing to do what she loves, and willing to work for it!

She has set limits for herself and at this time does not see her dad. Her own version of no contact. She had to do this to pull herself back from the extreme despair she had been feeling. She has a counselor who backs her on this. So she has found that when she spoke her truth, some groups outside the family listened and have her back. This is a powerful, healing life lesson!

I am holding space for the kids to know forgiveness of self and other. To honor and love self, with divine connection. There is so much to be thankful for!  I can’t fully describe the relief and gratitude I feel that their lives have shifted this way.

 

Is there anything Val that you would like to share as your final message?

I promise you I was shattered … but now I am free.  I am happy now. The hell of loneliness and terror I used to live is over.  I am free of it. I can talk with the ex when needed, no big deal. I have faith. I feel faith in myself, in the world, in the goodness of my fellow humans.

Believe it or not, I am grateful to my ex, and feel compassion for him. The wounding I carried was so deeply buried, I am not sure anything less would have shaken it loose.  My ex went for my wounds with laser like precision, whether he was conscious of that or not.  I was only half alive back then, which is a pity, given the beauty of this world.  Thanks to his behaviour that pushed me to grow, thanks to my kids, I feel more alive, more myself, than I ever have before. I love being alive, I love being here. I’m incredibly grateful for this.

If I can get to this place, I know you can too … I would also strongly suggest as well as getting NARP get involved with the Private NARP Forum that comes with Gold membership. There are so many caring, wise, compassionate folk there. What an inspiring, helpful community. I am so grateful the Forum exists. Night or day, if you have a question or need help with something, there will be someone there. You can share what you have learned to help someone else with their healing.  And you are certain to get really amazing and helpful guidance and support.

This Forum is awesome!  It is a place where people really heal and claim their freedom and love of life.  It is the complete opposite from those situations where people complain, vent, and never get better –  or keep running into the same trouble over and over again.

On the Forum there are so many of us who have been there, and are helping each other now to get to such a fantastically better place in our lives.  It is an amazing support system.

And finally ..

Dig deep and listen to your emotions, they are always guiding us. Trust that inner voice calling you to something greater. Use Mel’s program. Really use it. It is safe and it works.

Divine love heals, it is our birthright.  You will find your way home to divine love of self, and other, if you choose it – don’t ever give up. Your kids will be safe.  Love is stronger than fear, stronger than death. Love is life, and trust. You are not alone. Your kids are not alone.  You can do this. You can live free, in beauty. You deserve this, and your kids deserve this beauty.

 

I Hope You Enjoyed Val’s Thriver Show

So often I come across people who have been abused in marriages who feel helpless trying to protect their kids; individuals who have no idea how they are going to rebuild from legal losses, or their inability to work as a result of trauma or skills that have been dormant for decades, and all the powerlessness the ensues.

That is why this show is so special, it grants hope.

Please know that I am hosting my next Live Tele-Class, the 3 Keys To Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse next week. If you still haven’t tried out my healing system Quanta Freedom Healing or the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program, I’d love you to join me.

It’s totally free and it is a great way to experience my healing process personally. I get so many emails from people, saying how much relief they got out of just being a part of the Webinar.

Click here to reserve your space for the Live Tele-Class.

If you have any questions or comments you would like to ask Val or myself please leave them in the comments section below.

 

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Melanie Tonia Evans is an international narcissistic abuse recovery expert. She is an author, radio host, and founder of Quanta Freedom Healing and The Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program. Melanie's healing and teaching methods have liberated thousands of people from the effects of narcissistic abuse world-wide.

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26 Thoughts on Recovering From A Marriage With A Narcissistic Rager [Thriver Story #27 Val]
  • alardieri@outlook.com'
    Annmarie L.
    August 1, 2015

    Hi Val. My question concerns the steps you took to gain full custody of your kids. Im in the very beginning stages of divorce process and have currently been working through a 50/50 custody agreement as a result of legal counsel. What were the things you did that helped you gain 100% custody even though the courts clearly support 50/50 even if father is a criminal?? Thank you for any advice you can give.

    Sincerely,
    Annmarie L.

    • valerieAwedel@gmail.com'
      valerie
      August 2, 2015

      Hi Annmarie –

      Blessings on your journey! First, despite the personal wounding I was carrying at that time, I became a mama bear and was absolutely certain my kids would never be forced to live with a person they were afraid of! That belief absolutely superceded everything else. I refused to take any other course of action. I basicaly ignored the counselors and legal eagles who quoted the book to me. Stubborn…

      That led me to interview a lot of attorneys, and I found one who was a warrior. He actually gets emotional abuse. He also has a potent rep as a litigator. For a time there he was, as he put it, my “fire wall”. He helped me analyze what we needed to do and come up with a plan. He also had me prepare for court by writing a chronology of the bad behavior, and lining up letters from counselors. (I never needed to use these, but having them gave a lot of confidence and the confidence was hugely helpful.) He also advised me to take the kids and leave that first summer; I did not know I could do that until he said so. That got the kids out of the firing zone, and it built precedent that their grades and health were improving while living with me. Over the months of separation and then during the divorce they saw their dad in counseling or public venues, but lived with me full time. So the precedent was set with what they felt comfortable with. On paper the parenting is joint, but certain things were written in. I have sole ability to place the kids in individual therapy, and the way the agreement is written the parent they are staying with is tasked with day to day decision making as well.

      I am very sincere that healing is possible and I want the kids to have a healthy relationship with their dad. That belief also made possible what we are doing. I don’t actually know why his behavior became what it did; he may or may not be a narc, it frankly it doesn’t matter. He may be able to heal and change for the kids, where he couldn’t or wouldn’t for me. Again, that hope and goal is sincere, and the judge saw that.

      This process unfolded over almost two years. Separation began in fall 2012; we did family therapy for bout 6 months before I began to realize we would not reconcile. I am the one who actually filed for divorce in summer 2013. The divorce was final in late winter 2014. So this took months to unfold, during which time counselors got involved; the kids lived with me full time; I did a lot of healing and so did the kids. (Mod 11 got us past a certain terrible stuck moment this summer, but the healing the kids did prior was amazing and I modeled that for them even before getting to mod. 11).

      This is huge also: stay out of the court system at all costs! I was advised by utterly experienced and reliable folk that the same metal illness that destroys marriages afflicts judges, lawyers and counselors (have seen some of that first hand). I was able with my attorney’s coaching and support to secure a parent plan with my ex, and the judge was impressed by that. My ex was willing to sign off because he felt my sincerity about the kids and healing; he also felt my preparation; whatever else is going on with him, on a good day he really wants what is best for the kids also. I was able to call that part of him to the surface enough to serve the kids. Believe it is not easy – some of the hardest work I’ve ever done in life! But I think worth it. I still hold space for healing also. For all of us!

  • teamhonda1515@gmail.com'
    drew rispin
    August 1, 2015

    Thanx val for sharing your story its nice to hear that there is hope no mattr how much we think there isnt when dealing with this type of person my story is simalar in a lot of ways exept i have three perfect kids 4/7/10 years old that are my world and i am theres she has kept them from me for 170 days thru lies to police which i prooved locked me in jail one night just realised she has stolen 300k over 7 years redrawn 90 k out my morgage and wants me to sighn 700000 house id nearly paid of to her and is trying to make me pay her legal team now ive realised that fighting a brick wall is to hard for a normal person so im not figjting for the money its only money but how can i function at all knowing exactly what shes doing to my babies every min and not one person has doubted her or beleived me cause she fakes her emitions to perfection and has painted me as her sick evil self to police authoriities and everyone she kniws and i cant do anytjing at all how can i function with knowing exatly how n why all this is happning i just need my kids and they need me any advise me n my 3 babies would be so gratefull for xx and thank u again for sharing your jeorney xx

    • valerieAwedel@gmail.com'
      valerie
      August 2, 2015

      Dear, dear Drew,

      Breath. Slowly. Again. Breath… Take this one moment, just one tiny moment, and think of what your spiritual source is. Just for this one breath, just with me, for a moment. Touch that divine love. Just for this moment. It need only take one tiny second. Feel this love. This is who you are. This is your birth right. Let this spark of divine love live inside you. Please, for all of us, when ever you think of it, touch this again, breath it in. Keep doing this, day by day, week by week, month by month… MY heart to yours, you can come through this with your kids safe, you safe, all of you feeling joy and love.

      Stay with me! We sound like the crazy one when we have been torched by a not-partner with mental illness. So, say this calmly to yourself. I might sound like the crazy one. OK. Breath again. Slow and deep. It’s ok.

      First, you have to take yourself in hand. It is no good for your kids for you to collapse.

      Second, go online and look for local attorneys who are good litigators. Make a list. Interview them. Hire one who is good at supporting men. (Ironically, my attorney usually helps men in your situation. I was his minority client.) Second, find a trauma therapist who also understands emotional abuse. Work with that person locally, let them see where you are right now. They can guard your back in court by speaking or presenting documentation on your behalf. Plus, when men engage counseling and truama work, it is hugely impressive! You will knock all our socks off in a great way! Third, give Mel’s NARP a chance. Her work is real. She offers a free webinar so you can test it for yourself. Combine her healing system with bad-ass, boots-on-the-ground local attorney and counselor. Forget the money, you can probably make more, what matters is love and healing now.

      The more you heal and become one with divine love, the stronger you become. When you release and heal the pain and despair you feel, which I can pretty much promise you your ex is feeding off of, all of you will be MUCH better off.

      If you lay strategy, and heal yourself, your family will be safe also. Maybe consider reading Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, or the Go Rin No Sho, aka The Book of Five Rings, by Musashi. You must become a warrior, with honor and hope. You will. You can. You kids need you to.

      Please let me know what happens next.

      blessings to you –

      Val

  • valerieAwedel@gmail.com'
    valerie
    August 2, 2015

    To the awesome men out there,

    You may have a hard road. I know two men who have gone through something like this, and I understand society has reverse sexism sometimes. One of the guys I know in this boat has not engaged healing and believes his soul has become darkened and tarnished (not sure about the state of his soul, but his behavior certainly has, he’s become bitter and angry…). The other, while also still a work in progress, is a joy to know and is doing good work in life. Choose.

  • Katieshopsalways@aol.com'
    Katie
    August 2, 2015

    This story really touched my heart. I have a lot of work to do…mainly dealing with fear, anxiety and lack of life goals as well as past memories that just creep into my head unexpectedly. Money is tight and I am saving to purchase the program. When I do, do I listen to the material on the computer or DVD player or CD player? How many hours a week do most folks listen to the material?
    I just want to smile, have joy in my life along with goals…I want to be happy again and enjoy life!

    • valerieAwedel@gmail.com'
      valerie
      August 2, 2015

      Good for you, Katie!

      You will feel happiness and enjoy life! I have heard in other stories that each person develops their own type of rhythm. You can do the modules every day, I’ve even heard some people play them while they sleep! Or you can go at your own pace. You will know what feels right. Talk to Mel about payments also, there might be some arrangement to help out. Not sure, you’ll have to ask.

      Blessings to you –

      Val

  • IrishEyes37002@gmail.com'
    Allyson
    August 2, 2015

    I am newly remarried to a 51 year old man who never showed any signs of being a Narc Rager until after we were married. We have only been married almost 3 months & his wild mood swings, rages over minor things or nothing at all are something, for now, I am forced to deal with. Most of the time, I am gray rock which he rarely notices. He also is one who demands I apologize for whatever I say but he goes days before he will even consider apologizing & if he does, its an “I’m sorry” but nothing else. I am in phase 1 after just making the discovery that he is also bi polar & refuses to take meds with it after he turned 18. He is from Arizona & hopefully after I have gotten away fully, he will go back there but I doubt it. Reading all of this along with my having time away with family, friends & great co workers who support me fully as needed, is a great blessing. I also lean hard in my faith.

    • valerieAwedel@gmail.com'
      valerie
      August 2, 2015

      Dear Allyson,

      Listen to your gut. Make sure you are safe first and last and all the way through. It sounds like you are on NARP already if you mention grey rock. That’s great! I totally agree about leaning hard on spirituality. It helps.

      Love and joy to you –

      Val

  • sylvia7@talktalk.net'
    Sylvia
    August 2, 2015

    Hi Val,
    Thanks for sharing your amazing story. I wish you and your children continued happiness and success. One of the things you talked about that interested me, was your sons allergies. I have read about SO MANY victims of abuse developing allergies! My backround story is a parental combo of Narc-Mother and Chronically Emotionally Unavailable Father. This set me up as a perfect match for many more abusive relationships and friendships in the following years.
    When in my early 30s, I became allergic to almost every cosmetic and toiletry that I was using. A few years later, I became intolerant to one food group after another. Wheat, dairy, sulphites, legumes, nightshade vegetables etc. What I am wondering is, are allergies and intolerances messages from our body? Is it telling us that we are tolerating and withstanding so much stress in certain areas of our life, that our tolerance levels in other areas have become depleted or non-existent, and that our health is now under threat? Just before I developed the food intolerances, I had gone through a particularly stressful break-up with a Narc, who then waged a smear campaign against me. I really don’t believe this is co-incidence. I also suffered stomach ulcers and IBS. Like you, I also lost a lot of my hair and my eyebrows became very sparse. My hair has never returned to its former glory, but its improved a lot, which Im grateful for, and I supplement it with hair extensions. Im fascinated by the mind/body connection, and how stress and abuse affects us physically. Im currently doing Narp…….its wonderful, I will never be able to thank Mel enough. Lots of Love, Sylvia xxx

    • valerieAwedel@gmail.com'
      Valerie
      August 4, 2015

      Dear Sylvia,
      I love the questions that you are asking. So very glad you are finding success with NARP, also. Yeah, in my case I’ll take silver hair over none 🙂

      The mind body-connection has been a deep exploration with me also. We could probably compare notes endlessly! When you get to mod 11, if you still have the sensitivities, then perhaps you could explore working with those and any clearing any beliefs that might be fueling the illnesses.

      It occurred to me recently that I might want to do that around horses. I lost my mad cap edge, and felt fear about the potential risks of riding, even after practicing kung fu. That might be something one could clear… hmmm…

      Blessings on your journey, and thank you for bringing love and light into the world!

      Val

  • fabulousdahling@gmail.com'
    Meg
    August 3, 2015

    Val! Look into Kinder publishing on Amazon!

    • valerieAwedel@gmail.com'
      Valerie
      August 4, 2015

      Hi Meg,

      Wow! Thanks!

      Peace and joy –

      Val

  • valerieAwedel@gmail.com'
    Valerie
    August 4, 2015

    Hi everyone – sorry to be slow responding. If you are in the southern hemisphere we are a day and a half apart! It is Monday today in the States, and internet was a bit spotty over the weekend here.

  • ozomon2015@gmail.com'
    Jack Robins
    August 6, 2015

    Val and Mel – THANK YOU so much for sharing this great story. There are so many parallels in my life to what Val went through and it is very encouraging and truly a manifestation of good things happening as my belief in them happening fortifies every day.
    Val, I too am a Colorado resident (and would love to have the name of your attorney) but as a father I have been told by many attorneys and counselors that I have two things going against me: 1 – Colorado being a “no fault” state, it is nearly impossible to hope for sole custody. 2 – as a male, the assumption of many judges will be that the kids are inherently better off with their mother.
    I was wondering if you can share with me the name of your attorney. I have sensed that it would be really helpful to have an attorney/mediator who is familiar with narc and borderline PD.

    I too had to finally take my kids away under the protection of a local domestic abuse shelter after an especially violent and crazy episode where she threatened me, attacked me, then threatened to off herself (again) – which I recorded thanks to smartphones! I hadn’t left before that time (although I was tempted) as both my kids and I feared for their emotional (and at times physical) safety being alone with her. I took the kids back to the house the next day as she had calmed down a bit after a visit from local police ( I called), but I stayed away. For a while I spent nights in my car parked close enough to be able to sprint and be in the house within 15 seconds of a call from my kids. Later I got an apartment about a mile away thinking that with me out of the house – maybe her anger/episodes would be triggered less often. I also knew this was a risk in the long term as it could be viewed by a judge that I left the kids in an unsafe place. I made it a habit to go to the house every evening after work and just stay in the basement to help the kids with homework and hang out – while my wife stayed upstairs.
    Val, I too am a Colorado resident but I have been told by many attorneys and counselors that I have two things going against me: 1 – Colorado being a “no fault” state, it is nearly impossible to hope for sole custody. 2 – as a male, the assumption of many judges will be that the kids are inherently better off with their mother.
    Again, I was wondering if you can share with me the name of your attorney. I have sensed that it would be really helpful to have an attorney/mediator who is familiar with narc and borderline PD – especially their jekyl and hyde skills. I also suspect that if I use my voice – as you did when in mediation sessions – she will come unglued and show her true colors. can you tell me more about how that went?
    I would love to shoot for the arrangement you have in that the kids can go with their mom whenever they feel safe. I would not ever want to do anything other than help them have a healthy and safe relationship with her.
    The good news is that as I work the NARP modules ( I just finished module 4) I am at so much peace and as I explain my thinking/behavior changes to them – they are getting stronger too. I am no longer in that place where I feel responsible for healing/soothing my wife’s wounds. And I don’t let fear of her rages control my thoughts and actions. I walk away now, leave or hang up. It is sooooo nice!
    I worry tho about my 2 daughters (age 14 & 16) have a fear of becoming like their mother and I fear my son could fear women. Any particular therapist specialist I should look to for them. I am considering one who specializes in EMDR therapy for PTSD.
    Thanks again – your story and Mels work to get these stories out there is powerful medicine!

    • valrieAwedel@gmail.com'
      Valerie
      August 7, 2015

      Dear Jack,

      Divine love, light and protection to you and your family! You are so right, all of us seem to be finding that as we heal ourselves, our kids get better too! Bravo for your courage!

      Attorney: Evan Freirich, Boulder, CO

      Did you know that apparently in the state of Colorado, a parent yelling, screaming, throwing and smashing things in front of their child is considered child abuse? So you may have the authority, even the responsibility, to remove your kids from that situation. I was told that if I were to move the kids closer to their schools so their lives were a bit easier, that no judge would fault that. Then you might consider finding a great family therapist and setting up your kids, you and your wife, meeting in family therapy once a week so the kids see her regularly in a safe way. I can tell you more specifics of how my situation evolved to support the kids, some of them may be helpful to you also if we both live in CO.

      I am really glad to talk with you. Your letter moves me deeply.

      Since you are here in Colorado, I suggest we actually talk. There is a lot that I discovered, people and so forth, who might also be resources to you. So, if it feels right to you, I’ll be available. In the meantime, my attorney for the divorce is Evan Freirich, in Boulder. I can’t speak highly enough of him. He helped me when I was falling apart, and helped my kids be safe even though he never met them.

      If you want to talk by phone or even in person let me know.

      Peace –

      Valerie

    • valerieAwedel@gmail.com'
      Valerie
      August 7, 2015

      Jack,

      Just re-read your message. I really hope you understand that at ages 14 and 16 your daughters have a huge say in their own life. A parent cannot compel a child of that age. A judge cannot either; they can try, but the kid is really beyond the type of control a parent may have over a younger child.

      Evan could really help, I think. Let me know if you want to talk, I will gladly offer all my research. Have counselors, and ideas for your daughters. Don’t know how old your son is, but his voice should be heard also.

      Your situation has many opportunities, many more perhaps than the attorneys you’ve talked to will realize. After re-reading your question, it would be better to speak by phone or even in person. Let me know if you want to do so.

      The fear my kids felt and to some extent still feel for their dad is not what anyone one the outside of the family who hadn’t been through this would be likely to understand. The term Evan used for my kids was “emotional endangerment.” His other term was “enmeshment.” It is an excellent description of what happens when a child is not allowed to have healthy boundaries. My kids have been working on finding their own voices, and building boundaries for themselves. That is as helpful as ptsd work – they seem to go together.

      Peace –

      Val

      • ozomon2015@gmail.com'
        Jack Robins
        August 8, 2015

        Val, again many thanks. This is SOOO encouraging. Yes by all means I’d love to talk more. We should take it offline tho. I’m a member of NARP and I believe we can go private within there or you can email me at ozomon2015@gmail.com.
        Take care. Talk soon.
        JR

  • toverduin@bigpond.com'
    Tatiana
    August 9, 2015

    Thank you so much Val for sharing your inspirational story. I am fascinated by your references to Ancient music & the martial arts discipline – particularly in regards to the empowering energy work. May I ask what particular discipline this was? You mentioned a Chinese man and him wanting to share his particular style – does that gave a specific name or is this Kung fu?
    I really enjoyed hearing about your journey to recovery and living now as a thriver – I’m so grateful to hear the stories through Mel’s blog and to be able to listen to the radio broadcasts 😊

    • valerieAwedel@gmail.com'
      Valerie
      August 9, 2015

      Dear Tatiana,

      Hope you are well on a gorgeous summer day! Thank you for your questions. I am a geek about the music and kung fu, so to try to be brief:

      The Kung Fu I study was brought to this country by Alan Lee. He opened a school in mid-town Manhattan back in the 1960’s, called Northern Shaolin Kung Fu Wu Su. Eventually the name was changed to Chinese Kung Fu Wu Su. One of his first students from the very beginning of his school taught me. I’ve been to NYC to train at the main temple a few times now but life has taken me to other regions of the States to live, so while the main temple feels like home, and I love some of the people there, I can count on one hand the times I’ve been there. They have a web site, you can read about it if you like. Now I train on the land where I live in the mountains, and occasionally take on students.

      Ancient music: After the time of death I gave in to my ancestors guidance to follow the spiritual path of my ancestors, as it needs to manifest here and now. (Altho it had been calling to me, I was afraid of doing this for many years. But death changes one.) The music… is part of this in a way I feel very deeply and am not quite able to explain. Certain modes, for example the dorian and a couple of others in particular, link back 5,000+ years… The harp is essentially a tuning fork to the heavens, and when I sing with it the entire instrument resonates, and I along with it. One avenue to reach this is ancient music which we still retain in our culture. Celtic music is one way to access this, and I find great joy in experiencing it and playing with other musicians as well. There is a healing aspect that is very powerful to me, and of course the beauty of the music speaks for itself!

      Does this help answer your question?

      Love and joy to you –

      Valerie

      • toverduin@bigpond.com'
        Tatiana
        August 9, 2015

        Hi Val – thanks for your answers -yes – it helps. I did a little research already on both of these topics & found them very interesting. I enjoyed falling to sleep last night to Celtic harp – very lovely soothing music to meditate and pray to. Thanks for sharing ☺️

        • valerieAwedel@gmail.com'
          Valerie
          August 14, 2015

          Dear Tatiana,

          So glad you are enjoying Celtic music. It is way better when you are the one playing it… 🙂 Maybe give it a try?

          Val

  • tplovie@gmail.com'
    Tiffany
    August 23, 2015

    Hi Valerie,

    I just want to send you great support and hugs from across the United States. You are an incredibly strong woman!

    Thank you for sharing your story!

    • valerieAwedel@gmail.com'
      Valerie
      September 9, 2015

      Aww, thanks, Tiffany. Blessings to you –

      Val

  • cindy@topofthelinetutors.com'
    Cindy
    August 24, 2015

    Dear Val,
    May I please speak with you asap! I listened to your show and read the transcript here, and your story is so similar to mine it gave me chills at the synchronicity and timing!! I’m from Boulder, we had our first round of legals in Boulder. I’m now in CA and have a hearing coming up on Tuesday, need to leave tomorrow to get there, and I’d love to have a quick chat today if that’s possible? After seeing your story here, self-represented I did an ex parte to get my son, and I WON!!! I got a Temporary Emergency Court Order for full custody till the hearing on Tuesday and I fully intend to KEEP full custody similar to your arrangement. I’d love more specifics so that what I ask for, they’ll feel compelled to say yes. As long as I say “I want full custody” they keep saying no. Maybe your way will work in CA as well. It worked at the ex parte 🙂 You can email me at cindy@topofthelinetutors.com Thank you so much for considering!!!!

    • valerieAwedel@gmail.com'
      Valerie
      September 9, 2015

      Dear Cindy,

      I am sorry to only have seen your e-mail now. The thread was so quiet, I decided to check it only every week or two. Will e-mail under separate cover.

      Peace and blesssings to you –

      Val

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