Please for the sake of your kids give your marriage a second chance.
Communication is key to a solid marriage
Think about it.
I'm not here to preach the Christian word all I'm saying is give it another try. If it doesn't work out then get a lawyer and go through all the hastles of divorce.
I recommend the husband seek help from HR at his workplace if they have it and explain his situation in most case's the will work with you. Hopefully they'll understand and possibly cut back on his hours for a short period until he can resolved this issue with his family.
Anyway if you don't think that there's any way counseling or outside help could resolve this then maybe you might talk to a lawyer.
A husband that goes from being kind, patient,loving, caring, funny observant and thoughtful. To being a complete "A" hole
It's worse for kids to live under that constant multi-faceted atmosphere - trust me. Plus, you're a single parent *anyway*. Whatever (minor) help he does contribute gets cancelled out by the load he puts on you in the form of STRESS. You'd find yourself far more capable and efficient without a monkey on your back.
He sounds like he started out as Dr Jekyll but then bit-by-bit turned into Mr Hyde. Does that sum it up for you?
I'm not saying *do* divorce. Just don't close your mind to it with fear-based myths.
Started out charming but now nothing like the man you fell in love with.
(Newly) Emotionally unavailable + *actually* unavailable both.
(Newly) Male chauvenistic (one rule for you, none for him, to point of gross hypocrisy).
And HOW DARE YOU go off him because of it!
"I understand he has a new job and needs to work hard and that he need time with friends to de-stress and have some guy time."
No, madam, he needs to tend to his WORK before he tends to his play. He has a wife and family and should act like it. He is not a single man who can go galavanting around whilst you do all the graft. And whether you feel fine about it (understandably, considering "everything" he says and does is on whatever level upsetting/insulting, etc.) does not make it acceptable of a supposed responsible family man.
When did you first notice this global character change? Wait - don't tell me, let me guess: once you'd had your first or (more typically) second child.
Am I close?
It's quite simple: if there's scope for change, stay. If there isn't, leave. For your sake AND the kids'. Because if he's a charmer-abuser, an emotionally dangerous man, then leaving will be a MASSIVE IMPROVEMENT to your quality of lives and welfares.
First thing to do: go google, the abusive husband. Then report back. Or try this in the first instance and tell me which points you ticked: http://liveboldandbloom.com/11/relationships/signs-of-emotional-abuse.
Personally, I suspect it's not "guy" time at all (new job, new faces, getting the gist?) and that that the reason why you suddenly can no longer manage what clearly was once manageable is because with the new job, it's cranked up, that being because he's begun DEMONIZING you (go google). If my suspicion is true - it's just part and parcel of that type.
My dear your husband needs help and you don't need to do it alone. There's all kinds of drug addiction programs out there right at your fingertips. Just touch an icon or hyperlink badaboom
You can do this
I must say that hope for the best and GoodLuck
Marriage is a game of 2. Is team play. Both must be in to win.
Having said that, I'm married, 2 kids. We've had our arguments, but we make it work for the sake of love, for ourselves and for the kids.
If you can't have a conversation with him, try to write a letter to him explaining all of your feelings and where this is going. As a man, I usually "get into my cave" when I feel attacked somehow. But after the heat has gone I try to talk about what I don't like with my wife and get to some sort of mid terrain were both of us are, at least, comfortable.
My co-workers usually go for after-office beers, pool and bowling. Nevertheless, I have two baby girls the NEED their father at home to make them feel safe and have a role model. So I spend as much time as I can with them. And, from time to time... Go out with my friends.
From my POV, you should ask for fairness. You need him. And most probably he needs you, but he's trying to fill the emptiness with work friends, de-stress escapades and that kind of silly stuff that ends up doing more damage to any relationship.
Tell him he only got one shot for sharing time with the kids. When they grow, they won't want to be around anymore, so this is his chance.
Stay focus, don't allow any of this make you feel like you're less than him. You are great! You are amazing! And he needs to realize that!
OK, let him fall back to his cave and don't push it.
Let him know he can rely on you and talk with you. That it's OK for him to be vulnerable and weak sometimes, and that a marriage is about recognizing each other weaknesses and supporting each other to overcome the difficulties!
Best of luck!
Keep us posted, please.
I think you are at a breaking point. The next events may actually define where the relationship is going.
If he wants to sort it out, then ask him to be present. Ask him to be "here and now" and discuss about the possibility of going to get some professional help together.
Living together with someone when you don't want to is a nightmare. I am a son of divorced parents and I know how it is. It's hard. As a kid is very difficult to accept the separation, but after a some time, everything falls into its rightful place and things get a lot better.
I'm not saying you have to end the relationship, what I'm saying is: Try with every cell in your body, but if it turns out to be undoable, then just part ways and stay in touch for the sake of the kids. Children need both figures in their lives.
SORRY, but everything you've described since you came on here - including, now, 'punishing' you (petty revenge) for having insisted (how dare you take control when that's solely his right (of supremacy)!) he cooperate in confronting your marital situation together, by keeping you awake WHEN YOU WERE ILL AS WELL AS OBVIOUSLY BUSHED (zero empathy, compassion, conscience) *and* making it sexually harassing into the bargain (sexual abuse/setting up using feeling r*ndy as his retro explanation for this mistreatment, I'm betting) and the pathetic, self-disproved excuse that his feeling unloved was the why behind his highly neglectful, irresponsible behaviour yadder-yadder (ridiculous blame-shifting) - fits with a Cluster B mental illness (subtle and miss-able until you're up close and personal and they feel safe) and the inevitable removal of the Nice Guy mask (because with 3 kids you're now captive, THINKS HE). If that's the case, counselling the last thing you want to do (they use the info they gain merely as ammo and the insight as yet more excuse-fodder).
You should only give an intrinsically healthy and normal relationship a second chance - anything else is inadvertent masochism - in which case, at least just eliminate personality disorder from the enquiry. You can't fix a problem you can't identify. But the very fact that you failed to acknowledge my post, let alone answer that clear question ("am I close?") speaks utter...utter volumes. Volumes I've heard more times than any toddler's re-watched the one, same episode of Thomas The Tank Engine. And it's called, not ready to face the truth because that means taking action you're neither ready for nor willing or fit enough to try (- think again, you'll surprise yourself).
Take a wander around this forum under Relationships. You'll find *most* plaintiffs on here are those who are struggling in a narcissistic/Cluster B relationship. You're not alone by far.
In my very experienced opinion, he is not covering his sadness with anger, he's covering his anger with the facade of sadness. There's the difference that makes *all* the difference. Because - ignore ALL of the blah-blahs and look purely at those nighttime, clearly irrepressible, very readable actions: unkind, hostile and vengeful or what! Despite knowing you were ill. And knackered. People who care for you usually make a concerted effort to go *easy* on you when you're ill. And lend a hand or do everything for you. Him? THE DISTINCT OPPOSITE.
I challenge anyone not to tell me that wasn't downright nasty, cruel behaviour that you'd more expect from an *enemy*. And this is supposed to be the love of your life.
And yet, APPARENTLY, you responding naturally to behaviour that unkind and inappropriate MEANS THE ONLY CRIMINAL AROUND HERE IS *YOU*, HENCE *HE* FLOUNCES OFF (TO THE COUCH) ACCORDINGLY. Talk about situation turned on its head?! Put another way: That is literally truth/reality spun 180 Degrees (another Cluster B characteristic).
"All *I* did was "whoops-a-daisy" stab you, but you DELIBERATELY spurted arterial blood onto my new shoes, you b*tch! In fact, I didn't even stab you - YOU IMAGINED IT...and then deliberately spurted blood on my new shoes, just to p*ss me off! Now I need to punish you all over again!"
Click the link.
That's all. No hard feelings. Pray continue.)
That was not meant for you stirring the pot.
I will abstain from further comment
""Playful" use of force in sex
This behavior includes restraining partners against their will during sex, acting out fantasies in which the partner is helpless, initiating sex when the partner is asleep, or demanding sex when the partner is ill or tired. The abuser may show little concern for his partner's wishes and will use sulking and anger to manipulate compliance." ( http://www.newhopeforwomen.org/abuser-tricks)
INITIATING SEX WHEN THE PARTNER IS ASLEEP, OR DEMANDING SEX WHEN THE PARTNER IS ILL OR TIRED. *BINGO*. I mean, you don't 'diagnose' based on one symptom alone. But there's much more to it all than that, isn't there. There's Dual Standards, Hypocrisy, Neglect, Unreasonable Irritability and Anger, (and now) The Silent Treatment and Isolation Attempt (3 whole hours out of your cage? - how very dare you!)...and so on.
Going by what you wrote, he hid his dark side well and for quite a long time, didn't he. And that's what worries me most. Plus he's either cheating or attempting to (or trying to create the impression he is) because he's abusive or he's become abusive because he's cheating or attempting to (or creating the impression).
We're all here when you're ready.
I was married for 24 years and we raised two beautiful, happy kids together. I know your struggle. You feel like you have 3 kids, plus a larger, more "confusing" and complicated child on top of that. I got to several breaking points in our marriage, but never had the guts to initiate a split. So, we made it "work" for years, while raising the kids. And it was just that - a lot of work.
As soon as the kids were out on their own, we shocked everyone (except our kids) and went our separate ways. My only regret now, is that we didn't split a long time ago. We're both so much happier, and the kids both agree that they would have been good with us splitting, especially over living in a home with so much tension and confusion. We thought we hid the distance between us fairly well, but kids are a lot more perceptive than we realize. I grew up in a similar situation and WISHED for my parents' divorce, every night. So, have an HONEST if difficult discussion, with your kids. Don't elude to a split, just ask how happy they are. If they prefer it when they have mom to themselves, dad to themselves, or when you're together as a family (which you can still do after a split, btw - just takes some maturity, and communication). Take their "temperature" with their current living situation. If that's not possible, try being an impartial observer, looking through their eyes. And ask yourself if you're doing them any real favors by "making it work". If you believe you and your husband can truly work through this, and get to a happier place, individually and as a couple? OF COURSE DO THAT!!!! But if, after asking yourself some very hard questions, and being honest in your answers, you don't believe that's obtainable? Then you're only dragging it out. I drug it out for about 10 years too long. Splitting was the hardest thing I've ever done, but I was WAY happier, within a month. And now I can't believe how different my life is, and how much happier we all are. I, like you, was basically a single parent too, and did everything on my own. I quickly realized how much nicer I was to be around when I wasn't stressed to capacity 24/7. The only thing worse than being alone, is feeling alone with your "partner". I have a true partner now, and I realize I simply didn't know what I didn't know. I blew my life up, at 50, and started over, and would do it all again in a heartbeat. The kids are happy with and for both of their parents now, and we enjoy spending time together with no sense of obligation or constant tension.
I don't know what you should do, but I do know you have to do whatever is best for you. If you're happier, everyone will be happier. Growth is difficult, and I won't say otherwise. But it's so worth it. You're worth it. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. It's setting the best possible example for your girls. Make the decision that's best for YOU, and your children will benefit, especially in the long run. Whether it's staying together or not, just make sure it's the healthiest decision for you, or you'll only end up right back here, and you don't want that. I know, because I lived it. Stayed together for the kids and because I believed we'd eventually be able to enjoy each other again. I was kidding myself because I was scared. I got over that fear as soon as I realized I would be happier being on my own, than feeling on my own. But it took me 24 yaers to get there, and had given the marriage every possible chance. I don't regret any of it, including walking away. And I'm so much happier now it's nearly unrecognizable. You deserve at least as much.
I hope you find some real answers, and soon. Hugs to you and your family <3
We still pals?)
RM, if mum screams whenever she sees a spider, the kids will scream whenever they see a spider; that's how it works.
It's how you deal with it (each step of it) and, NOT what you deliberately do or don't show the kids that eases them through what otherwise can be a hellish rollercoaster ride, but your ATTITUDE towards it. *Yours*. Even if Mr Prat from Pratville's breaking his own record for Prattiness. E.g., if you cry in front of them, signal straight afterwards that it was a healthy thing to do (but not over-do) and one you feel all better for, in the same way that holding in poos is bad for you. Actually SAY it - "Haah, that's better, I needed that! ". That's the key: it is *not* the end of happiness, kids, it's just a detour on a psychological path... I'm obviously upset, but it's just part of the process, the bridge to Better Ville. And convince them that it's not about them or anything they did or didn't do, merely circumstance dictating they come along for the ride, so to speak.
Point out the pros: two of all the good stuff (houses, bedrooms, bikes, birthday and Xmas pressies, etc.; you all themselves, dad all to themselves, like MB says...). And let them cry and talk out their stress and fears with you. Open Door Policy. Let them know that no questions are out-of-bounds, they can ask you anything at all (or book a talk for that evening if at the time you're too up to your eyeballs). It's NOT KNOWING that's the killer and, unfortunately, with kids, any gaps in information get left to their over-active (and far more pessimistic) imaginations to fill in. So it's talk-talk-talk-talk-TALK. Communication, as always, is key. Plus the phrase 'salvation through your kids' is true, assuming you don't over-do it and end up at the other extreme of spoiling them.
Anyway, there's no stopwatch on all this. You take your time (within reason, obviously). We're not one of those forums that throws platitudes at you before uggering off to the next thread. So stick around to get some much needed support and reality-checking for as long as you like.
" You feel like you have 3 kids, plus a larger, more "confusing" and complicated child on top of that."
"The only thing worse than being alone, is feeling alone with your "partner"."
Especially when you've got kids, you need a co-driver, not another passenger. And increasingly so (you've got the second Toddler Tantrum phase to come, aka Teen Age, oh yeah, baby! LOL).
So you in fact did click the link? What box *couldn't* you tick?
If you don't feel exponentially happier as an individual, and/or closer as a couple after talking honestly and openly... I can't imagine it will get much better than it is right now. I'm familiar with that old cycle of build-up, talking, feeling better. That's core discourse and resentment, on a (somewhat) manageable scale. When someone wants or needs something from the other, that just isn't there, they feel obligated to manufacture a facade to keep the peace. There is no way to keep resentment out, and true intimacy in given that situation. Resentment is a relationship killer on a fundamental level. And it doesn't have to be that way.
I'm in a real partnership now. He's the best friend I've ever had, by far. And bonus- the attraction is unbelievable. At 50, I'm finally learning that with the right person, there is no resentment. No manufactured facades. No sense of obligation. No feeling invisible, ignored, or worse- placated for the sake of 'peace'. There is only mutual respect, want, and appreciation. I feel wanted, valued and wholly appreciated, exactly as I am. I don't feel like I have to urge him to do his part, even emotionally. He happily volunteers to do at least his part, without me having to hint or ask outright. I feel met, in every way, without any sense of unwillingness. That's new for me, and something I wasn't sure even existed. Hence, the temptation to settle.
Don't settle. Ever. It's not good for you, and it's not the example you want to set for your kids. If you're not in love with your whole life, especially your marriage, then the only thing harder than leaving, is staying somewhere you're not happy.
If you think this is just a 'slump', and/or it can improve, then do what you must to bring the necessary permanent changes about. But it takes two. And he has to not only be willing, but able. Hard questions, for all concerned.
I wish you the best of luck, and send big hugs. Always here to chat.
Same dynamic was in play throughout my marriage. Instead of taking some responsibility, offering support, or helping me in any way, if he felt ignored or 'left out' he would 'punish' me with the silent treatment and his absence. Honestly? It got to where I preferred the silence and separation, because it made my life exponentially less overwhelming and chaotic. That's when I knew I didn't have a husband, but another child. A spoiled brat of a child masquerading as a man. He's mad, and you're in trouble because you were too busy adulting on behalf of your (and HIS) children to pay attention to him. Is that what you want or should expect from a spouse, partner, or co-parent? Instead of acknowledging that you were working hard as a mother, and offering any kind of support, or to do his part as a parent and help find care for his child(ren), he resents you because you weren't available to him. And he's trying to make you the bad guy in the situation. I know it sounds ridiculous when it's laid out like that, but it's an unhealthy dynamic that builds over time, and the absurdity of it all kinda sneaks up on ya.
I feel awful that you're going through this. I know you're very busy. When's the last time you had any time to yourself? If you want to see a counselor, I'd highly recommend that. You won't regret it, and if nothing else you'll get some support and learn about yourself; what you really want and need, and what you really don't. If he's unwilling to hear good advice (about growing up or anything else), counseling as a couple would, sadly, be a waste. So you go, without him. Or, spend some time with your family and friends. Or, go get a massage. Whatever helps you clear your head and remind you that you matter too. Self care is not selfish. I think of the oxygen mask part of the safety speech we hear on airplanes. Put your mask on first, even before the children's. Because you're of no use to anyone if you're not conscious. Good advice on a plane, or in life, I've found. So do whatever pumps some oxygen and energy into your mind and body. Spend some time on your own, without all the background noise. That's how I got the answers to the hardest questions when I was in the throes of indecision and confusion. If at all possible, take a little time out. Ask family and friends for any help your spouse is unwilling to give. But do something for yourself, without apology or guilt. If he pitches a fit when you bring it up? Then that's one more thing that tells you who he really is. How he reacts to you needing and wanting to take care of yourself for a minute will make some things a lot clearer for you.
Again- I'm so sorry you're in this position at all. Think of what you'd want for a dear friend that was hurting like this. And do that for yourself. My bff of 30 years put it to me like that when I was hesitant to take a breath and look after my own best interests. That advice saved me. I hope it helps you too.
<3 <3 <3
ReliableMe, listen to MamaBear - she's been where you are, SHE'S BEEN YOU. It's obvious she knows exactly what's going on in your relationship from every possible angle *and* what things to try doing about it as well as when to know you've done enough and what the next step is.
PS: You couldn't get your hope and enthusiasm back because AS YOU SAID YOURSELF, you sensed it were just that same ol' same ol' Cycle of Abuse all over again, hence - what would be the bleedin' point. AND YOU WERE RIGHT, LOOK!
It's not actually difficult 'diagnosing' and predicting if you've actually been through it yourself because this is not a personality but a psychology. It's like they all get sent a screenplay and script from the Anti Relationship Fairy and stick to it, almost to the letter, coming out with the same behaviours *and* the same types of phrases (*or even* same phrases), whereby at whatever point, someone is bound to ask, 'Here, are you married to my ex-boyfriend/husband or something because they sound IDENTICAL!?'.
The Silent Treatment. Big toddler sulking but with grown-up weapons, meaning, it ain't just your favourite vase that they prod and almost-topple or actually topple and smash, but YOUR HEART AND SOUL. What grown adult male would at this age SULK LIKE A TODDLER! Answer: a toddler or teenager (suffix with Terrible) whose body continued developing but whose emotional mind couldn't, either because it was inundated with stuff no kid at its age should have in its mental in-tray and is still hard at it or because their emotional intelligence got squished to death and simply isn't there any more. They're Victim-Bullies, aka Emotional Vampires (i.e. got bitten by one, turned into one), whereas your more intelligent and resilient victim comes out of that childhood experience able to bounce back, knowing what was what, vowing to be healthy, and sticking rigidly to that script until second nature. Your 'husband' wasn't strong enough - *hence*...
MamaBear, do you think you could manage being a long-haul Constant to RM on here?
Thank you so much for your kind words and vote of confidence. I appreciate it more than you know. Many of my friends and family (still) come to me for advice, especially regarding their relationships. I figured the divorce would curtail the requests, but it's had the opposite effect. I'm a romantic at heart, but always try to be an advocate for the person asking for help. Too often, they've stopped (or never started) advocating for themselves, and it's a position I'm quite familiar with. Took some hard work on myself, but I eventually remembered I matter too. So when I see someone else in the throes of confusion, indecision, pain and frustration, all I want is for them to regain some peace. However they may find it.
I'd love to be here, always, for RM, and anyone that needs to be heard. I got a lot of good help from the folks on this site, and appreciate any opportunity to pay that forward.
Thank you for all you do here. I know how hard admins work behind the scenes and it's appreciated by many.
You didn't expect to NEED to remember that you matter too, did you, because the whole point of your having gotten into a primary relationship was that you'd had the bloke's back WHILST HE'D HAD YOURS, meaning, YOUR EX BEEP-BEEP should have been the one remembering that you matter too! If you're having to remember you matter too then that just means/that's just a pre-programmed response to this: 'don't have' a romantic partner', ergo, that job, by the laws of self survival, automatically and vitally falls back to you. In other words, it's not your job to remember you matter, as if you were still single; it's the job of the loved-one in your life to communicate (by which I mean, actions, not just words) that fact.
"I'd love to be here, always, for RM, and anyone that needs to be heard. I got a lot of good help from the folks on this site, and appreciate any opportunity to pay that forward."
Bless you. Spoken like a genuine once-victim. And that's precisely why we constant advisors do it for no pay (although, define 'pay'...Fate tends to issue you the 'wages' a little farther down the line, I've consistently found. Others tend to call it "you LUCKY-LUCKY BICZ!").
It's nice to be appreciated but I don't do it for that. It's so that the evil or evil-acting populus doesn't become greater than the good and the do-gooding (because - you'd be surprised at the far-reaching ripples this little corner of the universe can produce...think positive Mexican Wave). Good v bad up to Angelic v Evil is a never-ending battle by design (when viewed from 'above', the individual all the way to en-masse struggling involved in any process is 'merely' fodder for human or humanitarian growth), meaning, neither side is ever going to win. UNLESS one camp gets the upper hand (think arm-wrestle). And then - depending on which side - you're talking 'I'm a celebrity, get me OFF OF HERE!' or 'AH SHEE TREEES...OF GREEEN.....RED ROSHES TOO....I SHEE THEM BLASSAM....FOR ME AN' YOU....AN' I THINK TO MAHSELF....WHADDAWONDERFUL......WO-OOOORLD.....OHHHHH, YEEEEAAAAH'. If you ask me, the battle is between those that accept that they're on a journey, a path, featuring landmarks that herald ones progress (aka demise) towards the final destination, and those that do not accept it and fear death *and* every single one its encroaching landmarks like you wouldn't believe, HENCE, do their bit to try to stop progress - from the micro (individual growth and progress, their own and everyone else's) to the macro (societies, populations, humanity as a whole). Think about how more plentiful our natural and monetary resources would be and our knowledge so far, for finding out what this existence is and is all about (e.g. space research funding down to civil protective services having adequate funding for removing personal and societal issues), if it weren't for idiot kids in grown-up suits throwing constant spanners in the works. Voila. Because unhappy spouses make for unhappy families make for unhappy, fractured societies make for unhappy villages, towns, counties, boroughs, regions, countries, (cough!) countries that have united to point of conglomerate, make for ...humankind too busy to progress ourselves as a specie at the rate at which we COULD go, because we're constantly too busy DEALING WITH AND CLEARING UP AFTER THESE KINDS' *CRAP*.
"Puddeminafield and BOMB THE BEEP-BEEPS!" (- Kenny Everette), is what I say. Life would be so much better without them and, let's face it, they're dead already, anyway, CERTAINLY aren't happy (despite blame it on you, you or you rather than take a harsh look and admit it). I wouldn't mind, only, you can't even tell them to stick to their own kind, considering the fact that two emotionally dead people trying to interact when there's nothing there to interact WITH (dead or practically dead in the Feeling department), have nothing to get their teeth into thus there's no relationship to speak of, just cold, cold, cold and ...well, DEAD. Nay, it's us live, vital, emotions-big-enough-for-two ones they need.
Anyway (afore I start soapboxing) ('start', s/he says!, LOL)...Looks like RM has nodded off for a bit or skidaddled to her cave for a while to get her head around it all. However, what with [cover your eyes] NPDs coming out of the woodwork, no doubt thanks to consciously noting or background sensing that (cough!) A N Other elephant who goes Trumpety-Trump and who is "JUST LIKE ME!" has seemingly been publicly deemed by a number of 'affiliated' countries as being perfectly A-OK (not), Narcs are on the increase (fave place to hang out and pretend to be someone they're not - Fakebook et al), MEANING, this forum, certainly in terms of anything that comes under Relationships, is going to end up being moreover specifically an Anti-Narc site. Or so I foresee. And 'the trouble with me' is that I 'foresee' well before most other people.....WHICH IS WHY I'M GETTING THE HELL OUT OF UK WHILE I STILL CAN!!
Here, however, is 'sans frontiers' so I shan't be actually going anywhere in that respect. Am just YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE how busy right now. So any help I can get in terms of specific experience of this highly complicated topic, be it theoretical or practical or, better yet, the two combined, is exceeeeeee[...wait...]eeeeeeee[nearly finished]eeeeeeeeeeeeee[one more]eedingly appreciated!
Short version, Aw shucks and backatcha!
I thought I told you?
Never mind - ahora lo sabes. )
Nope, not re-capture-able. Not unless change is sought / treatment gets dispensed. That Love-Bombing was (think Paedophile) the concerted Priming stage to get you CONVINCED he loved you. So convinced it would last a lifetime unless a really big and impactful bucket of ice-water, added in one go or collected as drip-drip-drips, slapped you full in the face to sober you up in one or a short series of hits. That's why they go VEEEEWY CAREFUWWY, UNDER THE TABWLE, HUNTING WABBITS. That way they get years' worth of mileage rather than dumped at c. Month 3 or 9 or - point of no return (difficult return) - 18.
You won't be controlled in the conventional, overt way, but I'm afraid that while you're not yet starting the divorce and letting your solicitor ensure you keep the house or get your own perfectly lovely one out of the divorce proceeds - that *is* you being controlled (think about it) and, to counter that discomfiting realisation, using practical ties as if immovable barriers. They are not. The point of a divorce is to remove them. Never mind those jumping on the bandwagon - this is PRECISELY WHY divorce was legalised! YOU IMAGINE IF DIVORCE DIDN'T EXIST! (!!!!) But, saying that, you've started the process of detaching and living separately for-good by leaving emotionally (as a run-up) so, that's *brilliant*.
AFTER ALL!... the Fat Lady sings only if he lets her. He's a big boy, he can always persuade you - via consistent, this time NEVER-ENDING actions, including behaviours, rather than just words and short-lived good behaviour - that you're wrong to start to take this measure, can he not. And obviously you're wanting a label for the source of his behaviour, which is an intelligent, deconstructivist ('via-eliminations') approach to knowing exactly where you stand now *and* into the future. But not in La-La Land. In La-La Land you need a separation first, BEFORE commencing getting him TO GET HIMSELF diagnosed (incentive: reunification). Doing it himself is what goes partway to proving he's turned over a new leaf. And that way, you by that point of Separated can deal with whatever outcome level-headed-ly, rather than mainly emotionally. IOW, you'll detach (to where optimally intelligent functioning returns) so much faster if you remove yourself bodily too.
*The relationship* then has to be done, yes. But that doesn't mean he can't be treated (if possible) and then invite you to start a new one.
He chased and caught and kept you to begin with, didn't he? What - has he forgotten how? Er. Don't think so.
Otherwise, in a year or two years, you won't be saying it's sad. You'll be saying it was for the best and the making of you.
"Clear Ashes runway, please! Pheonix Number Three Zillion And Two about to take off."
Ask my son if 'it was sad' that I divorced his other parent. He'll smirk at the question. And in 5 years, *you'll* smirk at the question, too. As you clink glasses with your real-deal hunky new Mister (and better, healthier role-model). But then, it is a path. And in this case, with a pot of Gold at the end. But you aren't even placed to see it because you're merely nearer the Starting Post, that's all. Like Orsen said, 'It was the best of times and the worst of times'. Longer-lastingly, though - the best.
But anyway, you do this secondarily as a TEST. To in that process come to KNOW what you're dealing with (or not). Win/Win.
WHAT tone? I think you seriously under-estimate yourself, RM. Frankly, at this point I'd put you in charge of a combine harvester at 2am with no headlights, despite your having downed 10 Pints and let you loose on my field! (I don't have a field - ooh-arr-no - but you get my point, LOL.) Edit: he's *dragged down* your estimation of yourself. 'Some people try to be taller by chopping off the heads of others' - Paramahansa Yogananda. ("OFF with her head!"...ringing any bells?...maybe watch it again? PS: Lewis Carroll. Lewww-issss. Aaaa-lisssss. Geddit? It's called, creative license equalling parents remaining blisfully unaware. What I *don't* know, however, is whether he then went on to succeed a happy marriage).
I think that there is someone at work that is giving him attention, someone that has a crush on him. (of course he is crushable, you should not feel jealousy or anger, it means that he is really special)
I don't think that he has acted on it though, because he is filled with frustration and anger. If he were cheating he would be filled with guilt and he would work harder to make you happier. He is confused and guys don't handle confusion well, they are usually organized, one step after another, clear cut rational thinkers. They debate and come to an answer in their mind. This situation keeps presenting a problem that he can't conclude.
Sounds like you guys need a mini vacation. A place where you can be the person you were when you first met, and he can be the Prince that he was. I would write a letter, nothing too long, something with some major power points of truth and then include some vacation options, even if it is just a 4 day vacation. Something that isn't a rush and a hustle, but relaxed and also special and engaging. Does he have an interest? Like has he ever wanted to go see the museums that are in NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM movies? Or does he love baseball and he wants to go to the baseball hall of fame? Or Niagara Falls? It is gorgeous at this time of year.
The reason I am suggesting something like this is because the attention, focus, and energy will not be on the relationship, but yourselves. Explain in the letter that it isn't to try to 'talk everything out' but just to hop back on track to being the best of yourselves again. You have been through A LOT, raising kids, building a career etc.
Find yourselves again, and then you will find one another.
Remember your first many dates?... you talked about light stuff, you enjoyed the silence because it was filled with the comfort of love and wonder. There was trust. There was understanding. There was Belief in one another. There was magic.
The magic isn't spelled out in conversation, the magic is in the joy you have with being with someone you think is soooo special, someone you love.
Please do read any thread in its entirity before you comment? (That you're missing crucial, subsequent OP data is reflected in your response, I'm afraid.)
And that's to everyone, please.
But as you have put it, it seems to be a cycle that continues.
There is a werewolf theory that I use quite often, the entire world is effected by it. Someone is bitten and then they fight off the werewolf within from coming out. This example is often used when talking about different people, when there is one person hurting another, but we also hurt ourselves.
I think that he KNOWS that he should be doing all of the things that he SHOULD be doing and he keeps himself ZONED OUT from being AWARE of it because he has created a path for himself. A path that is focused on his school, a path that is connected to his addiction.
We all have to feel as if we are GOOD. If we do not feel this way we do not have FREEDOM, HAPPINESS, or PEACE.
He has backed himself into a corner and he needs to be free.
What I would suggest to a friend is...
Schedule Christmas Holidays as something special.
From now until December (the day that the kids get off of school) everyone takes a time out and focuses on their NEEDS and a PROJECT that I am going to outline for you.
I love Christmas time, and it was only a few years ago that I understood the meaning behind the Christmas Tree. When you look at a forest of trees there is so much darkness, but when when we take a tree and we decorate it, honor it, and put lights on it... we can see that in that darkness is just more tree.
We are all nature, and all nature can be understood.
Everyone gets a special notebook. In that notebook you are going to space out 3 sections. Each section will have a title page as follows.
2. I AM
3. LIFE IS
The movie SCROOGE (my favorite is with Jim Carey, did you know that he plays most of the roles?!!) should have special meaning this Christmas too!!
Everyone can take time from now till December to collect all of the answers that they can for each section in their book. You can even make suggestions to one another!!
1. HISTORY - This section you want to write UNDERSTANDINGS as to why you are the way that you are. We all do and say things that we wish we didn't and this can lead us down paths we did not plan, or into spirals downwards, when is all we need is to SEE and understand ourselves. We are HUMAN, we were not programmed, we MUST PROGRAM ourselves. We must not get upset with one another or ourselves for our own humanity, but we must be TEACHERS TO OUR OWN MIND.
2. I AM - This section you want to collect all of the answers that outline who you are. All of your characteristics, skills, interests, purpose, achievements, talents, abilities, what your loved ones say about you, ... and more. This is your IDENTITY. The more that you review your identity the stronger you will be. We MUST define ourselves so that we do not become someone that we do not want to be. This is what it is to power our WILL. Be sure to inspire yourselves and include words and reflections that you can work towards being.
3. LIFE IS - This section you want to look at life and decide WHAT IS LIFE? WHAT IS LOVE? What are the rules that I need to know to protect myself? What do I have time and energy for? What do I need to heal? How do I want to behave throughout life?
I WROTE A POEM THAT I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY...
I AM A PRINCESS WITH A CASTLE IN THE SKY
THE MORE I BUILD
THE MORE I BREAK
THE WAYS OF THE WORLD
I MAKE THE WORLD AS IT SHOULD BE
NOT JUST WHAT THERE IS IS SEE OR HEAR
STRONG WITH NOTHING TO FEAR
AND IF THEY TRY TO TAKE AWAY MY CHEER
I KNOW I CAN BUILD HIGHER
AND MAKE MY CASTLE APPEAR
EVERYONE IS BUILDING WITH AND WITHOUT DIRECTION
LISTENING AND LEARNING TAKES CONNECTION
SOMETIMES IT IS NOT ALWAYS THERE
SOMETIMES OTHERS DON'T FARE WELL
THEY FEEL LOCKED IN A VAULT
OF LIVING WITHOUT PRAISE
BUT IN MY MIND I CAN SEE
WHAT LIFE IS MEANT TO BE
I CAN RIDE MY OWN RAINBOW
IN THE SKY
MY OWN WORLD TO OCCUPY.
HAVE YOU SEEN EVAN ALMIGHTY? With STEVE CARROL AND JOHN GOODMAN?!!
AS MAMA BEAR, you can make up these books for EACH member of your family and then sit down to watch this film. I would also make everyone's favorite dishes and make it a super fun and special experience. Schedule it with your husband.
I am suggesting that you and your family step out of the lines and patterns that you are in and rise above to a different perspective.
A rainbow perspective.
RED IS LOVE
ORANGE IS PROTECTION
YELLOW IS BALANCE
GREEN IS POWER
BLUE IS FLOW
PURPLE IS HEALING
If you have space on a wall somewhere in a common space design a rainbow of words. Write the words LOVE on red construction paper, PROTECTION on orange and so on. Then write words that describe and define each key word and shape them all into a rainbow. It will take you all time to collect words and decide what is important to remember.
Try to let everyone else generate answers, keep your list to yourself so that everyone feels as if they are building their own mind. There is a big difference between you telling them what to do and them telling themselves what to do right?!!
This is LIFE'S ULTIMATE PUZZLE!!!! I hope that you husband sees that too and creates his own in his notebook.
You guys might find that your kids have better vision than you!! They see life as simple and beautiful as it is!!
The rainbow will be your compass.
It will unify your family and keep everyone on a path towards a good life!!
Have fun with it.
Sorry I've been offline. Been on a big river adventure and no cell towers in sight.
I'm also sorry to hear things have not gotten better, but are actually worse. Good news though, is that you seem to be moving past it already. GOOD FOR YOU!! When a manipulator loses their power over someone, they quickly lose interest. That works to your advantage. Either he'll have to grow up and be an actual spouse and partner, or he'll quit the whole thing. What you're experiencing now is the "in-between" while he decides which course will cause him the least discomfort. Don't let him drag you back into his game, especially now that you've set a clear boundary. He needs to take control of his own emotions and his own life, and stop making his failures your "fault". While I hope that he gets his act together, for the sakes of all involved, my experience has shown it's better to hope WHILE moving on with your life. Waiting for someone to do something they have no desire to do is a giant waste of time, and energy. IF he ever decides you, the kids, and even himself are worth a little work and sacrifice, maybe you'll be around, maybe you won't, and that's a risk he's obviously willing to take. Listen to how he talks to you. Watch how he treats you. If he's better to almost everyone than he is to you, then you need not feel any quilt for keeping him on the edge of your life, and away from your focus.
Again; I stayed married 24 years, when 15 would have been plenty. I waited far too long for changes that were never going to happen, and that's my only regret. Now that we're no longer together? He's exactly the same. EXACTLY. THE. SAME. As in, our marriage was basically a nonfactor in his life. He acts no differently as a single dude than he did as a married man. Only difference is he now blames his family for his failures, as I'm no longer a ready-made scapegoat. Were the entire 24 years completely miserable? No. It was tolerable. It was not what a partnership should be. We managed to raise our kids and get them out on their own, living their own lives, with relatively little baggage. I will never regret that. But it came at a very high cost. It cost me my happiness and peace of mind, and heart. The kids openly admit they are happy we stayed together, but only because we were very rarely actually together. He chose to work away from home and we were all fine with that. If we'd have been living together, every day, the kids say they would have asked us to split years ago. Even when things are civil and there's no obvious fighting, kids pick up on the tension and the overall dissatisfaction. It's not the example I wanted to set, and one you want to avoid if possible.
Sometimes it's easy to just survive today, then tomorrow, then the day after that, and keep going like that. For years. Til the kids are grown and the mutual assets are easier to divide. Other times, it becomes impossible to stay even one more hour. Either way, you'll know if/when it gets to the point that you can no longer stay. Then, you won't be thinking about how difficult it will be to split, you'll be RELIEVED. No matter how unpleasant the uncoupling may get, it will be better than staying together.
I hope that which ever way it goes, you and your kids find some peace and can be happy, even with the background noise. Remember to take care of yourself, and do whatever makes you a happier, more balanced person. Engage with friends and pursue that hobby or passion you've been ignoring. You're worth it, and you'll be a better mother for it, too.
Good luck, and keep us posted. <3
Mamabear, even if RM doesn't return or can't reply at this point, please keep going and recounting everything you can? Not only might she still be at least just reading in snatched moment, but - dem Lurkers... I think it's vital that current and recent-past/still-recovering victims can see that a woman who (what-ah?!) has the b*lls to do go on a 'big river adventure' (White Water Rafting?) was once "a picked-on" - and withstood it for 24 long hears ("gnnn!") - thereby defying the myth that all Narc victims are weak doormats who can't take confrontation. These days, most tend to be seen as a tempting Challenge, anyway, i.e., it's BECAUSE they're stronger and more vital than others...that's what attracts them in the first place. Think about it (everyone else): if you're a parasite, do you want the weak animal to latch onto and suck the life-force out of orrrr...ONE WITH HUGE LIFE FORCE! (All say Du-uuh-uh?)
So pretty-please, just keep explaining, nutshelling and recounting?
Whitewater rafting, and kayaking. Just two of the many things I always wanted to do, but was told (repeatedly) I never could/would. At 50, I'm making my way through a whole new world, and loving it. My current (and TRUE) partner has total faith and confidence in me, and enthusiastically supports my passions. My whole life has become a better reality than I ever dreamt about.
I hope RM is finding her answers, and some peace. Blowing up my life was the hardest decision I ever made. But once I decided that it was unavoidable, and healthy, it got easier. I knew it was my only way to get a shot at happiness. So, to get the process started, I simply took one small step I couldn't take back. I voiced my most basic needs and wants in a way I never had before. I stated them as facts. I let it be known my intention was to make them happen for myself, with zero regard for how it might 'look' to anyone else. The reaction (from all of the toxic people in my life, not just my ex) was what helped make the rest of the process much easier. Once I saw, in painful detail, just how much my wellbeing was not even a thought, let alone a priority... it was much easier to feel less guilty about taking care of myself. Over time, I stopped feeling guilty altogether. I realized I was a better person, and better for the people I'm around, when I feel fulfilled. You can't pour from an empty cup. So, I fill my cup first now, and shockingly- all the people that (truly) love me, applaud me for it instead of resenting it. That's taken some getting used to.
It's sad this was all so foreign to me until this late in life. I want everyone to know how spectacular life can be, regardless of circumstances. None of us has it easy on this planet. We're all learning as we go. Mostly, the hard way. So do yourself a huge favor, and fill your life with people that are good to and for you. As you get stronger, and happier, the negative influences simply fade into the background, then into your past.
Then, you occasionally look back, and smile. You think of it as a past life. The one that got you ready for your real life. And you'll thank your former self for making it possible.
"two of the many things I always wanted to do, but was told (repeatedly) I never could/would"
By whom? Shall we take a wild guess? And on what (no doubt trumped-up, convoluted, baseless) basis?
Re RM ("Hi RM!" if you're reading).. Whether or not this precise time, she will get there. She's on that path, now, decision made. So from here on in it's just a matter of When, not If, partly relying on him and whether he steps up or even can. But the stat fact is that it takes a victim-target on average 7 attempts to [a] have all the conducive escape elements in place and [b] dare to take that huge leap of faith that a remarkably better quality of life awaits if they can just STOP thinking and "one, two, three, JUMP!". That's why I appreciate having you to 'present' to the readers and lurkers because you're glaring proof-in-motion that the pain of trauma-detachment is so worth the end outcome (transformation), no matter that there's a bit of a difficult journey involved. Relatively short-term pain for lifelong gain - no contest!
No doubt you know the theory about how the Love Bombing, etc., both during Honeymoon and intermittently thereafter causes actual biochemical changes -repeat - ACTUAL BIOCHEMICAL CHANGES in the target's brain as literally keep him or her incarcerated (mental chains, even harder to get out of than real ones) - until, that is, the NPD has kicked enough love out of them but still not enough spirit, meaning, leaving physically is then purely academic? But as I say, opportunity can play a huge part.
You'll read a lot of myths out there, including how being an empath or co-dependent *attracts* a Narc to you, but, sorry, that's utter rubbish and victim-blame speak. Nobody chooses a Narc (do what?!). Nobody accepts one, ie. fails to dump at the first emotional crime. How could that be true, anyway, when what you've been presented with that whole time, what you've super-bonded with, is AN AWARD-WINNING ACT, 'the mask'? You have no more choice than if a *physical* serial killer were to (think Silence Of the Lambs type of scenario) hobble up to you in a car-park in a leg cast to ask you to help grab something out of the back of their van for them and then - THUNK! - you're knocked-out cold and next thing you know, waking up in their little torture chamber. Where's the choice in that?! You can't reject something that's being wholly hidden from you until it's too late, and that is that is THAT!
There is no escaping the initial clutches of a Narc (sorry, must remember to specify - *type Malignant*...the benigns are emotionally just bloody disappointingly unreliable and frustrating). There is only 'escaping FROM the clutches'. Diff/all the diff where strength of mind and survivalist bent is concerned.
You don't even have to have been primed during childhood against finding their behaviour shocking enough to dump early on (another stupid myth). For example, one of my best friends had a perfectly healthy upbringing yet found herself, aged 52, married to ('incarcerated' with) a full-blown Narcopath. Oh, and another friend, a psychiatrist no less!, was married to a malignant NPD as well. So ollocks to that myth as well. Because all it is, whether on an individual or societal basis, is a self-comforting avoidance tactic that goes, 'You, the victim, sort it out'.
Nobody says that about serial maimers or killers of the physical variety, do they. So why say it about the spiritual-intellectual kind? Case closed.
Take your responsibility, govts and societies everywhere; after all, you and your lovely systems are the bloody cause. And for starters you can change the DSM label to something more broadly understandable, like Vulnerability Avoidance Disorder, so that people don't keep assuming Narcissism is in the same ball-park as the normal human quality of 'narcissistic-ness' as then must mean anyone who merely Selfies a lot must be NPD. (Rant over.)
Got a question for you, based on feedback that shows a distinct pattern in-common with targets/victims of whatever ilk: Thinking back, did you actually fancy your Narc or were you initially just strangely fascinated as well as flattered, enough to give him the chance to surreptitiously wear you down, whereupon *then* you thought him physically attractive?
Also, did he Triangulate amongst your family and friends for the purposes of Isolation and making you wholly dependent, whereby you lost anyone close to you from your life (because they believed his poisonous gossip and lies or preferred to stay away)? Or did you lose only deadwood - those 'toxics' you mention? Still, I expect you would rather have had that CHOICE about when to lose said wood, yes?
"It's sad this was all so foreign to me until this late in life"
I know. Again, isn't it shameful that until fairly recently no-one had a clue what NPD was or that it existed so prevalently? Not only that, but they're cheaters or constantly-potential-cheaters. While you're there, thinking you have or had an exclusive relationship or marriage, 9.9 times out of 10, no you don't/didn't. Unbeknownst to you at the time, whether or not any secondary relationship were actually active, they typically had a whole harem of other potential, successfully primed partners waiting gaggingly in the wings for your (according to the Narc) "crap" or "already virtually over" relationship to finally die a death. So now think in these terms: that 1 Billion-worth (as represents the official 'seventh of the world population') is getting around a heck of a lot, destroying more than one life or lifestyle at a time or within a short space of time! There you go - *that, IN EFFECT* is the truer number! (Scary, eh?)
You *can* avoid finding yourself in a relationship with one but it does necessitate a great deal of studying up in order to be perfectly versed with all the tiniest or mere tiny flashes of Red Flags. If that's not incentive to hit the books and web articles to point of nigh-on expert, I don't know what is!
"Then, you occasionally look back, and smile. You think of it as a past life. The one that got you ready for your real life. And you'll thank your former self for making it possible."
Yup. Beautifully put, that poet - bears repeating. They're *not* useless. They're agents for change. Via self-strengthening in all the right ways. Yes, some of them *were* victims. But that child no longer exists. Now they're monsters and no denying. *Life* is useless - FOR THEM. Because Life is People, think about it. They're zombies who have been permanently denied the pleasures of life, like falling in love, meaning, they're useful for other people by way of showing them where their genuine inadequacies and weaknesses lay - and how and in what order to fix them - but useless to themselves.
So sad. Any ucker can have a kid. Don't even a license like you used to for owning a dog. Shouldn't be that way but no-one's got the round objects.
Final question (for now): Was his love starting to literally make you ill? Was your hair starting to thin...getting more than your fair share of coughs and colds, headaches, that sort of thing?
Funny you should ask that final question. I had gotten very, very sick. I have immune system issues, and stress is the absolute worst thing for me. Only two years out of the situation, and I'm healthier than I'd been in years. No hospital stays, no trips to the Mayo Clinic trying to figure out how to improve my quality of life. Turns out, all I needed to do, was take control back and cut the toxic people off cold. I don't miss anyone, and only have good to look forward to now. I still can't believe I thought things would get better. I really did believe that. There was always "something" that made change too "difficult", and I just needed to toughen up and get through it till (whatever the excuse was at the moment) was taken care of and things would be better. The continual carrot, with zero intent to ever deliver, and I cannot believe I didn't figure it out til years of the same cycles, over and over. I had to get to where I HAD to do something to save myself, and my mental and physical health, for me to finally just stand up for myself. Didn't take long after doing that, that true colors were flying all over the place. Left me shaking my head. I knew about his harems, and honestly didn't care. Which should have told me something was very wrong. But, I was convinced we were eventually going to be very happy, and his harem would just continue to pine for him. He loved dragging me to his home town where those women would trip over themselves to get his attention. Countless fights with their own husbands, but it happened every time we went back there. I take great solace in the fact I never have to interact with any of those people ever again. I don't miss a single person from that life. Even the people I thought were friends, weren't. No real surprises though, especially when I look at their behavior without the rose colored glasses.
It's funny. But once you start taking yourself, all the people NOT interested in your well being, suddenly stick out like giant red lights. At first, I was tempted to reach out to some of them, but as soon as I turned that direction, I immediately saw all the ugliness I somehow glossed over for years. They hadn't really changed, but the way I saw them had done a 180. Again, I had a hard time accepting that I had allowed myself to be treated like that for so long.
Now, I never feel one second of anxiety or guilt for cutting toxic people out of my life, and I'm much better at recognizing them before they get a foothold in my life. I'm just happier and healthier, and only wish I hadn't waited so long. Big change is very hard, but oh so worth it.
I've got to see to Lily on her thread first so I'll be back a little later this eve., just wanted you to likewise know I'm not ignoring you, either.
See you there
"Funny you should ask that final question. I had gotten very, very sick. I have immune system issues, and stress is the absolute worst thing for me. Only two years out of the situation, and I'm healthier than I'd been in years."
Thank-you, that's what I thought. A large majority of-..I'm not going to say 'victims', I'm going to say *their* victims (because targets tend to be the *strong, sassy, independent, talented..all-round 'SHINY RED, TOP-OF-THE-TREE APPLE'* types, the type they *can't* kid permanently or even for long enough to have a lasting union with, yet whom they literally can't resist tricking into one with them, anyway) end up with those same lowered-immunity issues, falling prey to chronic, sometimes long-term, even life-long conditions, like Hives (Urtacaria), Fibromyalgia, Chrohn's Disease and other digestive problems, M.E....raised blood pressure, and even actual damage to the heart, from having been living for too long in a low-grade but constant state of Fight/Freeze/Flight (i.e. in a war zone, whereby any cease-firing brings no sense of safety/security because you know it's just a lull). And let's not forget The Big C. So if all you got after all that time was lowered immunity then you're a stronger, more mentally resourceful woman than most, Gunga Din.
Luckily, most of it is reversible with time and Zero Contact (Ever Again). If you can't excise them, say, because you share a kid, then there equally are books to advise on how to do ZC(EA) emotionally.
It doesn't take long, once one has withdrawn to point of no re-return, to start to realise how truly *ridiculous* they (and their rages) are.
There's an excellent book about it, called, The Body Keeps The Score (Brain, Mind And Body, In the Healing of Trauma), if you're interested.
"No hospital stays, no trips to the Mayo Clinic trying to figure out how to improve my quality of life. Turns out, all I needed to do, was take control back and cut the toxic people off cold."
Yup. They addict you to them. But instead of feeding you Heroin, they know how to behave in ways that turn your own brain into its own distillery/drugs production warehouse, basically. So cutting the toxic idiot out, along with his Flying Monkeys (amongst whom can include even your own, lifelong friends) (yes, everyone else, they *are* that good at conning/poisoning!) is no different to going Cold Turkey.
Do you remember the severe (albeit artificial) sense of isolation and loneliness in the first post year?
"I don't miss anyone, and only have good to look forward to now."
No, that's right. Half the time, the truth is this: those so-called best friends were never anything of the sort, and you probably on some level suspected it. But, rather than get to take your naturally sweet time to deal with that, the NPD/AsPD agitates all of that to the premature surface, i.e., AS PER USUAL, denies you your own agency, including choices of If and When.
Was that true for you, that the so-called friends weren't, or were just the best of an historically bad bunch?
"I still can't believe I thought things would get better. I really did believe that."
Good. Then you're normal. Because - think of what would happen if it turned out the man you'd teamed up with had, any teething or midway problems aside, been normal and healthy, but there was you, thinking, Sod it, who needs it?!, and bailing at the first bad phase?
Right Qualities (and programming) - i.e. Yours
Wrong (wrong-wrong) recipient!
"There was always "something" that made change too "difficult", and I just needed to toughen up and get through it till (whatever the excuse was at the moment) was taken care of and things would be better. The continual carrot, with zero intent to ever deliver, and I cannot believe I didn't figure it out til years of the same cycles, over and over."
Ah. Don't be fooled. You *did* figure it out. But it's too inconceivable and somehow unrealistic, to concede via KNOWING FOR CERTAIN that you could have found yourself, two or so years in (or however long it took for them to feel safe/you'd fully committed) with a - let's face it - as-yet-un-diagnosed and -incarcerated mental patient!
And it's actually *not* the same cycle - or rather, those events that distinguish it as such aren't clear and present enough. This is where their virtuoso-ness comes in (there are conscious control-freaks and then there are this lot!). You might witness a repetition of the same VEIN of 'crimes/insults', after having previously said 'If this sort of thing happens again, we're Over', but because of their very plausible - and more to the point, UN-PROVABLE - range of excuses, they twist the classifications drawer, meaning, you mis-file it. That's *why* it takes so long to realise that many of these crimes belong in the one file.
But it's everything at once. You're knackered - from this (even in good times!) constantly high-maintenance diva/drama-king (or queen) that somehow whoops-manages to create damage and chaos everywhere... You're constantly mentally distracted. You're background-depressed and in despair - because for too long you'd settled into the belief that you'd finally found your true, spiritual soulmate, meaning, too huge a fall from there. You might also, obviously, be injured a lot. And then you've got your normal, busy, day-to-day life accoutrements and minutae to deal with...ON YOUR OWN (they're as helpful as a ricepaper teapot once they're sure 'they've got you'). And then there's the humiliation of having 'failed' again, and dread at the huge adjustment it's going to take after ending it, the fear of never finding anyone else that lights your sexual and mental candle so much, etc., etc., etc. And then the biggie: you just know you've got a bigger-than-average grief mountain facing you (hard-and-fast traumatic bonding = acute traumatic detaching). Frankly, you'd had to have been MAD to have left before you had all the over-many, shapeshifting jigsaw pieces to assemble coherently together!
You attract them because you're not mad and/or are no quitter, and you stay with them because you're not mad/a quitter. You're a sane, healthy, fully-functioning model but these sickos - because they're the dominant party - suck you into La-La Land whereby, on THAT planet, your sanity is USELESS as a defense or escape means. That's what the Narc Relationship experts and gurus mean when they say, they use your strengths against you as if they were weaknesses.
So it's akin to, after having somehow managed to escape a shark in deep water and swum to shore, saying, I cannot believe I didn't beat that shark to a bloodied pulp! YOU COULDN'T STAND UP OR MOVE FAST ENOUGH, you weren't in your normal environment where the rules and medicine worked.
This is where the saying (if they were to utter it) 'it's not you, it's me' is 100% true. In a normal relationship it wouldn't/couldn't apply, but there's no such thing in La-La Land as Co-creation. That demands an egalitarian (50-50) relationship, which these most certainly are NOTHING LIKE! (People can't understand this unless they've experienced it for themselves, it seems too fantastical and 'out there'.)
The latest research just in, is that these 'lovely' folks, the entire spectrum, are born like it, have as distinct a neurological born-with condition as your Autistics, but that HOW THEY'RE TREATED by their parents, etc., can either encourage it out or however much reverse it. Nurture Plus Nature. And that should explain for you (and everyone) how come plenty of abused children, growing up, come out of that wash relatively unscathed and quickly revert (with the aid of ZC) perfectly healthy, making diamond parents who raise little diamonds. Think of it like putting a sweater in the washing-machine. Depending on the material, machine, cycle, temperature - one will come out cleaner, the other, SHRUNK TO OBLIVION and forevermore useless.
Then there's the self-doubt from all the Gaslighting (the more of rigid truthsayer you are, the better, here).
Another, big reason: The Investment Principle. The longer you (literally) spend with them, the harder it is to leave.
So all-in-all, what you did in waking up/sobering up enough to spot the door had been left open, then successfully legged it, after such a long time of incarceration and drugging was no mean feat. Intelligence has literally nothing to do with it - they continually manipulate your EMOTIONS. Your emotional side doesn't have an iQ all its own. What we call Emotional Intelligence only effects when used with your Intellectual Faculties...which is the very thing their constant bad behaviour keeps those sides separated (think cut phone extension line, only muffled shouting through the wall still possible...or *not* possible, thanks to their deliberately constant racket).
How DID you escape? Did you have to dupe him back, secretly plan it behind his back whilst pretending all was 'normal'?
"I had to get to where I HAD to do something to save myself, and my mental and physical health, for me to finally just stand up for myself."
You're not finally standing up for yourself, you're, funnily enough, having to face doing the opposite - as hopefully illustrated by the above explanations (La-La/Opposites Land, remember?). That's why ending it/leaving feels so counter-intuitive, so against-grain. That's the feat. It takes as much guts as to commit suicide, literally step off a cliff, or kill your own child. (There you go, now you know the size and scariness of hurdle and your strength of mind.)
"Didn't take long after doing that, that true colors were flying all over the place."
Yes. But aren't they just 'the gift that keeps giving'?...even a year to two years afterwards?...the things that come to light or keep negatively effecting, lifestyle damage-wise, I mean? Ending it is still worth it, though. And that should convey to those not in the know just how SH*T being in that disgusting, traumatising, horribly unsafe-feeling dungeon and torture-chamber is!
"Left me shaking my head. I knew about his harems, and honestly didn't care."
When you say you knew - to what degree? That he was beyond grooming/keeping groomed and actually sleeping around or even living multiple lives?
Were you aware they're genderless, secretly?...will, because sex (in the context of a relationship) means nothing to them, is just another tool with which to charm/incarcerate and get what they want, meaning, will sleep with literally anyone of any gender or persuasion? Or that while they're yelling that they love you as they cl*m*x, what they actually love is the fact you were so into it that it makes them feel like a stud? Sex is a *HUGE* source of ego-pumping supply for them....And, hence, the way to get rid of them INSTANTLY - IRREVERSIBLY - is (don't kick yourself, not a lot of people know this) to tell them that in actual fact they've all along been sh*t in bed and you were faking it every time? (Might put them into such a rage you get yourself killed so it's not something to say close-up...phone is preferable.)
"Which should have told me something was very wrong."
Again - it did.
"But, I was convinced we were eventually going to be very happy,"
That and the above plus bio-chem changes, etc., etc.
"...and his harem would just continue to pine for him. He loved dragging me to his home town where those women would trip over themselves to get his attention. Countless fights with their own husbands, but it happened every time we went back there. I take great solace in the fact I never have to interact with any of those people ever again. I don't miss a single person from that life. Even the people I thought were friends, weren't. No real surprises though, especially when I look at their behavior without the rose colored glasses."
Rose-coloured glasses *secretly and sneakily Supaglued onto your face* while you were asleep (on Cloud 9 during the Love-Bombing Honeymoon) - yup.
"It's funny. But once you start taking [care of?] yourself, all the people NOT interested in your well being, suddenly stick out like giant red lights."
Don't they just.
"At first, I was tempted to reach out to some of them, but as soon as I turned that direction, I immediately saw all the ugliness I somehow glossed over for years."
Again, I've got to correct your misguided self-blame self-talk: you didn't do any glossing. Supaglued tinteds. Takes enough of their drip-drip solvent for the damn things to start to loosen and slide off.
"They hadn't really changed, but the way I saw them had done a 180. Again, I had a hard time accepting that I had allowed myself to be treated like that for so long."
Ditto the above.
"Now, I never feel one second of anxiety or guilt for cutting toxic people out of my life,"
"and I'm much better at recognizing them before they get a foothold in my life."
Kudos! Me, because so many people (all of them, actually) have said, wouldn't it be great if they came with some sort of common, physical/visual characteristic as a warning-sign, I'm working on whether there are indeed any facial giveaways. And I think I've identified one (but - sorry - can't tell you yet, not finished...suffice it to say, it's one of those, what I call, Bleedin' Non-obvious Obviouses).
"I'm just happier and healthier, and only wish I hadn't waited so long. Big change is very hard, but oh so worth it."
The sad fact is, without that event, you and your life most likely *wouldn't* be so improved. So cheers to the git-on-a-stick, then!
Next set of questions (if you don't mind?) (take as long as you like):
How did you meet him?
Did you find yourself at any early point hum-ing and hah-ing over whether to keep dating him and so on?
How much did he rush intimacy then commitment? What form did that rushing take? And did he - as is common - move into your house and your life?
What in retrospect were the earliest sightings or flashes of iceberg tips, despite you couldn't have known at that point how massive the body of ice lay underneath the water's surface as opposed to just a (easily meltable) floater?
*Did* you immediately fancy him or did he manipulate that in you as well? How *long* did it take him to make you fall in-love?
How many times during which 'section' of the relationship did it cross your mind to end it?
Is he your one-step-up-from Tramp in-disguise or the opposite end, highly successful?
Did he ever use physical violence or intimidation against you or your possessions/house? And what was the nastiest, most cruel thing he said to you during an (contrived) "argument" to shut you up or distress you further? And would he jeer nastily as you if you burst into tears?
What else have you learned? Feel free to join the discussion, btw, since you've begun the learned journey.
NPD has been a relative new thing for me, and I'm still learning a lot about how it affects people. I've since learned that my ex was (and is actively choosing to remain) emotionally unavailable. That is his lead character, and the rest would fall more into an exageration of the narcissistic tendencies most of us naturally have. He's not a bad man. He's a good friend. He doesn't lash out or act in violent or hurtful ways. But he is out of reach on every level that matters. And for me, it was the unavailability that did the damage. There was a lot of "promise" and "potential". But he had zero interest in anything resembling connection or real intimacy. Knowing it was there, but unavailable, was excruciating. I just didn't realize that was what was the reality was until I got a little distance and clarity.
I only started looking into narcissism when my (then) husband's best friend became our business partner. He was (is) an awful human being, and I could never figure out why my ex felt it was his job to take care of him and prop him back up no matter how many times he screwed up royally. They've known each other since middle school. The awful bff came on our second date with us, and just never really left our relationsip alone. When my ex asked him to be our business partner (against my STRONG PROTEST), his screw ups affected me, my marriage, and even our kids to such an extent that I could not just look the other way any more. Thankfully, by this time, both kids were pretty much grown so no lasting backlash for them, thank goodness. This guy had always been bad news to anyone that allowed him in their life, and just sucked everyone dry. He had zero shame and just expected everybody else to clean up his messes. And people did, and still do. I used to be one of them. His behavior, and my ex's insistence that it was all in my head and I just needed to deal with it, was the beginning of the end of my marriage. So, in a lot of ways, I've learned to be grateful to that guy, and the road of education and change he encouraged in me.
When I started trying to make sense of things, I realized that my (then) husband was emotionally unavailable. I didn't even know that was a thing until I started educating myself. But that was (and is) his lead role. Everything else was a byproduct of that. Thing is, I was emotionally unavailable too. So it worked, as much as that situation can ever work. The problems arose when I started to make real change in that area. I was doing the work to move past some trauma and get my head and heart in order. I finally realized that if I wanted to be happy, I had to make a lot of big changes, and get myself straight before I started looking at anyone else. So I did. I learned I was codependent, and then realized I didn't' want to be. So I started leaning into my fear instead of running from it, and that made me a more confident person in general. And that, caused a lot of problems in my marriage. That's when I knew, deep down, that we had an expiration date. I knew he had no real interest in making friends with his issues, let alone ever making positive changes. I was never going to be more important to him than his fear.
Once I started growing and changing, he spent more and more time away, and I was fine with that. Then he asked for a "break". I know now, he wanted to spend a summer as "single", and get to do everything I'd been "keeping him from doing" all those years. I never kept him from anything, and honestly, he did none of the things he said he'd wanted to. Still hasn't, two years later. But I digress....
He asked me to move out, for a little while. I was stunned. Heartbroken. Even with all of the issues, I still really believed he loved me and we would eventually be happy together. Thing is, once I was out of the situation, I QUICKLY realized I had no desire to go back. I felt so much better. Lighter. Shinier. He said he needed time to focus on himself and not take anyone else into account. Truth is, he never took me into account, and it took moving out to see it. As I've said before, he acted EXACTLY THE SAME as a "single" dude as he did the whole time we were together. And for the first time, I could not make myself want him. On any level. It was..... confusing, and liberating. Simultaneously.
BTW: during this time, I also realized I'm demisexual. I'd always known I was very different. That I did not experience love, sexuality, or most things the same way most other people do. I'd never experienced primary attraction with anyone, except this man. I was terrified that without him, I'd never feel it again, for anyone. Ever. What I know now, makes that fear seem silly, but it was a big part of what kept me from ending the marriage, more than once. I somehow believed that because I'd felt something I thought was never going to happen for me, I was "meant" to be with him. Forever. And he knew all of this. And used it to his advantage, although I want to believe that part of the manipulation was on a subconscious level. I know now, he believed he could "take a summer off" from the marriage, get his "bad boy" on and out of his system, and I'd just be there, pining, and waiting. And I'd just be happy to take him back.
He was wrong. And when he realized that, he was.... stunned.
Once he saw how much better I was feeling (and looking), he knew he'd screwed up beyond repair. It never got nasty between us, and, we're actually better as friends. We still talk occasionally, but since he hasn't changed at all, it's only "small talk", as he has no desire to talk about anything with depth. Never has. Never will. Through the process of uncoupling, and some of the things I've said to him, he's come to realize and even accept that he'll never be close to anyone. He knowingly chooses to remain an island, and that makes me sad for him. he
Looking back, I realize now that I pushed and pursued everything with him. He pursued me initially, but very briefly. The SECOND he knew I was hooked, he started withholding. And I ALWAYS thought that the guy I met, the one with such a huge and open heart, would come back to me some day. I know now that guy doesn't exist. Never did. That guy was a character he played until it was "safe" to be who he really is. A closed off, terrified little boy with no plans of ever growing up.
His harems were (as far as I know) just the type that pine for him, boost his ego, and trigger jealousy. Tools at his disposal and nothing else. That's why it didn't bother me. I felt sorry for them. Still do. They all live in the past. My ex included. The small town they grew up in has some kind of hold over all of them. They act like they're still in high school, and have nothing of any current value to talk about. It's all about the "glory days". None of them have accomplished anything of value since graduation, apparently. All they do is talk about the good old days, when they were cheerleaders and jocks. I come from an even smaller town and school, and I do not get what's to be so dang nostalgic about. I'm SO happy to be forever done with high school. But this group would happily walk those halls all day, every day. Didn't get it then, and I really don't get it now. I've realized that, given his talent for lying, mostly by omission, or misdirection, that he could have had countless affairs. I never doubted him while we were together, because I didn't want to. I know that even if he did have affairs, I know it was purely physical and strictly to benefit his ego. That also just makes me sad for him, not angry. I have no idea whether he ever took things beyond appropriate interaction. Knowing what I know now though, I don't take it personally, regardless of what did or didn't happen. His monkey, his zoo. I'm just glad I'm no longer interested in being his Jane Goodall.
As for your questions I haven't yet answered:
We met at (what else?) a bar. I don't drink, and loathe bars. I'm tall, so dance floors are not my friend. The only reason I was there that night is becuase my sister and her boyfriend were in town and they wanted to go dancing. As I said, I'm tall. A little over 6'0". My ex is 6'6", and strikingly handsome (black hair, ice blue eye). We caught each others' eyes over the crowd, but were too chicken to approach each other. I had to work the next day, so I went home early. My sister stayed, and drug him to their table and they talked til the bar closed. She gave him my number. I was livid. But then I was thankful. Now I'm.. glad we have two wonderful kids.
I had never felt for anyone the way I felt for him. So I overlooked a lot of serious concerns I had, right off the bat. He liked to drink. He'd often spend a night in jail for fighting. Again- he's a big guy, and his friends use that to their advantage. I had been married once before and had almost been killed when he got hooked on dope and got a bad batch or something. I was clueless until the night he put a gun to my head. I left, did my own divorce, and moved on with my life. But I learned the hard way that you can't compete with addiction. I knew his drinking was going to be a problem for me, and any kids we may have. But I wanted to believe he'd get it together. We talked about it, and he basically said that he'd drink, whether I like it or not. I was on the fence, and trying to decide what to do. I was pregnant, and it was the only issue that was a "deal breaker". He never got violent with me, and it wasn't something we did together, so it really didn't affect me. Until he got a DUI when I was 4 months pregnant. That cost us a lot. A lot a lot. But, thankfully, he was required to go to AA and classes for two years. He actually decided to take the opportunity to take control over his drinking, and it wasn't really a problem after that. Until he wanted to spend more and more time in his home town, in bars and sitting around drinking with the guys. If we'd have had a solid relationship, that would have been just fine. But it widened some already deep cracks.
He was a decent provider, but always found a reason to stay underemployed. He would choose a situation where he was comfortable and not expected to change, even when presented with amazing opportunites. Me, and the kids, were used as excuses in those situations every time. I now know why his family began to resent me so deeply. I'm sure they believed I "held him back" or "weighed him down" all those years. If that makes them feel better to believe that, then I'm good with it. He's the baby, of nine. He's never done a single bad thing if you ask any of them. He never had to clean up his own messes and I picked up where they left off, so there's that.
He did use his size to intimidate people, and I was on the receiving end of that more than once. Not often, though. His primary weapon was his "I'm so disappointed in you" look, and following silence. *poof* I'd be invisable. He'd sit there, obviously clenching his jaw, waiting for me to apologize and "make it up to him". Yeah. I was dumb. And it worked. Until we both realized I preferred the silent treatment, and would just go on living my life around him. He didn't know what to do with me once that didn't get him the result he counted on. I used to simply say "Either we can talk about how to solve this, or we can have this fight again in 6 months". He'd just look at me, silently and with a look of total disinterest. So I'd walk away, and I eventually stopped trying to even talk. I simply realized that I mattered too. I shouldn't have to give him his way on everything and the only thing stopping him from acting like a grown up was him. So..... I stopped wasting my time and energy trying to make him happy. That's when he needed a "break".
It's funny. He wanted a break. That break made it clear I wanted a divorce. And he never saw that coming.
I felt off balance. All of the time. Like nothing I did was ever going to be enough or make me feel "okay". It was an eternal game of "catch up". I continually tried to "make" my husband appreciate me, thinking that would fix everything. I didn't realize his dissatisfaction had nothing to do with me. My dissatisfaction had nothing to do with him. We felt empty because we were unable to connect in meaningful ways, and that had to be addressed on an individual basis if we wanted our collective to have a chance. Once I started educating myself and making serious changes, and practicing courage, some things became glaringly obvious.
First of all, until I made myself whole, on my own, I'd only continue to attract other "halves". I had no problem being on my own. I did have a problem with the idea that someone I loved chose to withhold love they claimed to have for me. I kept believing that if I could just "reach" him somehow, his walls would come tumbling down. It was a recipe for breaking my own heart, repeatedly. He never intended to let me in, and the withholding was his way of keeping me running after him. All he had to do was pretend he was in any way unhappy, and I'd fall all over myself trying to make it "right". It never occurred to me that I was being manipulated, or that I mattered too.
Secondly; when someone shows you who they are, believe them. No matter how many times I ended up devastated, I kept thinking "he really WANTS to be a good husband - he just doesn't know how to let me in". Truth is, anything you want, you know how to do. Or you learn. Quickly. If he'd have had ANY interest in investing in the marriage, he would have. He only did what was necessary to keep me there, begging for his attention and approval. Because that's what his ego needed, and that was all he cared about. And I fell for it. It honestly makes me sick and embarrassed when I think about it now. He didn't really hide his true self. I just chose to believe the man I met and fell in love with was the real man, and what I had the other 22 years was a facade. I had it backwards. If I'd only paid attention and been objective, I'd have seen it a lot sooner.
Thirdly; I train others how to treat me. If I don't care about me, then why would anyone else? If I make it clear I'm not a priority in my own life, then why would anyone else treat me as anything other than an afterthought? In part, this goes back to my long-suffering career as a "good girl". Basically, everything I was taught about being a "good girl" meant that I did not count. I existed to make other peoples' lives easier, and thinking about myself was selfish. It took a lot of work to undo that. Now, I know that being a good person does not mean that I have to ghost myself.
Lastly; if I'm unhappy, that's on me. Sure, other people affect us in various ways, on various levels. Other people can hurt me and make me feel unhappy. But that's temporary. I'm talking about happiness as a lifestyle. Happiness as a way of looking at the world and the people in it. I used to expect bad things to happen, because I didn't know any differently. I used to think that looking for and preparing for all possible (and awful) outcomes was smart. Now I realize my Grandpa was right. "If you're constantly looking at the ditch, you're gonna end up in the ditch. Watch the road.". Wise man. And now I realize that I'm much more likely to find what I look for, so why not look for the good in everything and everyone? I still get hurt and disappointed occasionally, but now I know not to take it personally. I take a moment to send that person good thoughts and hope for healing whatever is hurting them and causing them to take it out on others. And I wish them well and wave goodbye. And I move on with my happy self, smiling and singing my way through my days and nights.
I know not everybody is willing or able to blow their life up and make a fresh start. But oh, how I wish more people could, and would. It's so easy to get complacent in our unhappiness. To just accept that's how life is. To assume that we have to put up with all the people in our lives that aren't good to us, or for us. I've survived a lot. I've died, twice. Dying taught me a lot about life, and priorities. Life is how ever I want it to be. If I'm unhappy now, it's because I'm not dealing with something that needs resolved. And I've found I'm a much better and happier person when I face my monsters, shake hands, make friends, learn what I can, and move on. Once I stopped running and started healing, it was unfathomable to go back to how I was. And a lot of people didn't care for the me that stood up, and no longer tolerated manipulation or toxic dynamics. I lost many "friends", and that's okay. Those that couldn't/wouldn't accept the "new" me? Thanks for showing me how you really feel about me. Thanks for the memories, and the lessons. I don't harbor any ill will, and I'm always open to talking and seeing where we land. But I no longer hold a place at my table for people that don't deserve or even want it. Every person in my life now, makes me better, not worse. They make me more myself, never less. And I no longer feel a need to apologize for being more selective about who I let into my life.
I hope anyone that reads this can learn something that will help them. I got a lot of help here when I needed it, and I really do hope I'm able to return that somehow.
Thank you. That was a very nice thing to say, and even nicer to hear. Huge thanks.
That's a lot of info so the easiest thing is if I just take it para by para (so excuse any repetitions).
1. His style of abuse was of the Neglectful variety, then. That, FYI, is the very worst kind. So he's a Cerebral (uh-oh - the especially clever type, so clever they very rarely have to resort to threats and violence of the orthodox variety). YES, fine at arm's length, a soul-crushing-stomping-asphyxiating nightmare when let into your inner sanctum. But FYI again, they're *all* emotionally unavailable. Some are just noisier, messier, more aggressive about it than others, think about it.
2. It's *not* 'there'. The keeping you at arm's length is so that you won't be able to have a good snoop and *realise* it's not there. It got born without and/or kicked out of them until they started to psychologically die, and in order not to die, plumped for playing a soap character, if you will. But by doing that, they completed the death process (including losing the ability to connect to A N Other). By 'now', they haven't a clue who or what they are, they only know their soap character. Hence the Narcissistic Rage (Toddler Tantrum on only-apparently Grown Man) if you basically try to knock off or see behind their mask and point to any part of that elephant. They can rage hotly or coldly. Style is but a trifling detail.
3. "The awful bff came on our second date with us, and just never really left our relationsip alone. "
Cerebral version of Triangulation. The third wheel (sorry - ONE of them, this case, the main one) doesn't have to be a romantic interest, it can be a family member or friend. The point is making you feel they're in high demand and that you have to fight to be first in the queue...fight for the very - what should be automatic - BASICS. Picture him having unusually long arms. Picture one having a more and more secure fisthold on the other person's shirt as representing being under their skin/the 'held one' being bonded. (Obviously, normally, this would be mutual.) Now picture yourselves stood opposite at HIS arm's length. He's got your shirt in his fist, you haven't got his...can't even reach it. If ever you do reach it, it soon slips out of your grasp again at his slightest move/shift. They're loved (work and bonding on your part), you're not. But they refuse to let go and with your 'over-short' arms, you yourself can't remove their grip unless opportunistic circumstance visits that's enough to distract his over-vigilant (hyper-defensiveness) attention.
Other quickest way to rid yourself of a sociopath bar the circumstantial opportunity to sneak out/sneak them out, meanwhile behaving as normal, or dissing their sexual prowess (removing Supply future, present and past), is to start behaving towards them as they do to you, including doing all the things they tried to persuade/threaten/(you case, psychologically) knock out of you. And when they complain/criticise, you just say, OMG, I'M SO SORRY, SWEETHEART, I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME LATELY!...and nothing else/do nothing else (all talk, no action). Out-Narc them. It's not hard. They're *really* not expecting it, can't even conceive of it. What - from a straight-as-a-die empath like you - never! Easiest people on the planet to (counter-) manipulate!
Yeah, it was 'all in your head' BECAUSE HE AND HIS ASSOCIATE OR FLYING MONKEY *PUT IT THERE*.
4. Emotionally Unavailable for you was temporary. It's called dazed and confused still. You weren't the protagonist. It wasn't YOU bringing Evil Forrest into the biz, was it...etcetera. Anything you were was just a reaction. Diff/all the diff. If you yourself *had* genuinely been emotionally unavailable then you wouldn't have been the one try-try-trying to sort out *his* mess-making, think about it. Don't own his issues.
Not saying Co-Dependency isn't something that exists. But enough of this broadbrush tarring. Want to know what a real-live, actual Co-Dependant looks like? S/HE'S THE ONE THAT STAYS TIL (premature) DEATH! (Game, Set & Match )
Nay, they sniff out and swoop down on someone who's still sporting however much Slime and then *create* co-dependency. Diff/all the diff. All *you* do is...Not be as instantly/quickly shocked, appalled and turned-off ("Wiv regret, yor FAR-ED!) as an individual who DIDN'T ever spend years acclimatising to and assimilating bad-bad attitude and behaviour of a family member or childhood friend(s). Shock Nerves numbed. No more complex than that, we gravitate to what we've had a head-start in getting used to. To be Co-dependent you'd have to have enough knowledge or time to know what they are and what they're ultimately up to and still prefer to stay than leave.
And that is precisely why you dumped them too, those others.
However, if taking some responsibility - for having been force-fed (force-*slipped/spiked*, I should say) Heroin until addicted - was your crucial motivator and fuel-source for making all of those tweaks and changes, who am I to criticise it. You'll keep reading, going deeper, more academic...You'll see how immaterial your own state, intentions, etc. were and drop it, no worries.
5. "I was never going to be more important to him than his fear."
Correct. Nobody and nothing would.
6. "Once I started growing and changing, he spent more and more time away, and I was fine with that. Then he asked for a "break". I know now, he wanted to spend a summer as "single", and get to do everything I'd been "keeping him from doing" all those years. I never kept him from anything, and honestly, he did none of the things he said he'd wanted to. Still hasn't, two years later. But I digress...."
He recognised the need to start priming a whole choice of replacement Supply sources and then needed full time to 'cultivate' one of them, the one who'd passed the test the best. So that'll be why he never got around to "doing" any of those "things". Too busy doing other women (and possibly men).
Question: Why did you have to be the one to move out?
7. "He asked me to move out, for a little while. I was stunned. Heartbroken. Even with all of the issues, I still really believed he loved me and we would eventually be happy together. Thing is, once I was out of the situation, I QUICKLY realized I had no desire to go back. I felt so much better. Lighter. Shinier."
NOT EMOTIONALLY, PSYCHOLOGICALLY, PHYSICALLY WEIGHTED-DOWN AND AILING!
PS: They're always more single than you realise! They cannot-cannot-CANNOT connect with another human being! At the very most (with the lower-on-the-scale), any attachment to you or anyone, even their own children, on their part is about, ooh, 6 months deep, meaning, over you in weeks or a couple of months top. They "love" you the same as they love ice-cream, i.e. love only how you make *them* feel (adored or The Big I Am/Torturer-Puppetmaster). Or don't attach whatsoever, just pretend (so that you'll continue to share your bag of sweeties with them while they and only they continue to scoff theirs...'what's yours is mine and what's mine is mine', because that's why they're with you...don't have the b*lls plus other-brand stupidity to rob a bank or murder with a weapon for your money and whatever makes you shiny... Domestic-grade, Behind Closed Doors conners; they're in it for the goods and the easy ride at your expense and/or downfall).
8. "BTW: during this time, I also realized I'm demisexual. I'd always known I was very different. That I did not experience love, sexuality, or most things the same way most other people do. I'd never experienced primary attraction with anyone, except this man. I was terrified that without him"
That's not permanent demisexuality (as today surely proves), that's NUMBED. You need an in all ways extreme operator to 'hear and feel' anything properly. That's all it is. Same as if your ears are ringing after a big concert and you return home and turn on your radio at its normal level: 'can't hear a thing - turn it up to Full!'.
9. Nothing would have been 'got out of his system'. It was the introducing of, his trying to collect and keep, secretly behind your back IN CASE YOU ended up breaking-up with him, leaving him without a Supply.
10. "He was wrong. And when he realized that, he was.... stunned."
They always are. And this is WHY you get convinced: BECAUSE THEY ARE. So that's what you hear when they talk. They've spent so many years, DAY-IN-DAY-OUT, operating as they do and seeing people (friends, relatives) fall at their feet that they're convinced they see proof of their being demi-gods and can't understand why the person in Their Lover position fails to remain duped and thinking they're Mr Wonderful. (Yes, that is actually how thick and deluded they are...they're STUPID In A Clever/Cunning Way.) They think they're so good at their soap character acting that you won't see through them even really close-up, daily. They are self-conned first and foremost and 'infect' others as they go.
To them, we're the insane ones. Get your jello round that one! LOL They're malprogrammed, literally their whole world rules tipped on their heads. And they've been lying so frequently for far too long, that they literally believe their own lies half the time. So it's extra-extra confusing where trying to discern lies are concerned. Some are true lies, some are actual fallacies - make sense? Probably not. But then we *are* discussing utterly self-deluded lunatics here, LOL, so why would it to someone with a correctly healthy base programme?
11. "He knowingly chooses to remain an island, and that makes me sad for him."
Don't be! He likes it that way - genuinely! (Has to, there's no alternative. So he does!)
12. "Looking back, I realize now that I pushed and pursued everything with him. He pursued me initially, but very briefly. The SECOND he knew I was hooked, he started withholding. And I ALWAYS thought that the guy I met, the one with such a huge and open heart, would come back to me some day. I know now that guy doesn't exist. Never did. That guy was a character he played until it was "safe" to be who he really is. A closed off, terrified little boy with no plans of ever growing up."
Uh-huh, yup. One of the things they do- or rather, things that they are as DOES, is charm you into making all the investment so that when you start to realise the bank you've been depositing your 'life savings' into isn't the real McCoy, you are (correctly) programmed *not* to write the investment off and just walk away like (possibly) everyone else says to do.
Question: Are you aware of exactly whom that heavenly, irresistible and all-angles impressive lover you were sampling enough to get hooked on was? The answer might have you falling off a chair so hold on tight, LOL. But you'll definitely like the answer (which is a clue).
Call this part one (have to break off for a while) and please don't post yet until I've returned and completed.
His monkey, his zoo - LOL, like it!
Listen, sorry to 'argue' with you over certain fault-taking conclusions of yours, especially if you thought you had it all sewn up. Me, I'm all for serious introspection, self-evaluation/criticism and responsibility-taking [understatement], but the truth in these cases is: it doesn't matter who you are/are not, how intelligent, insightful, mentally resourceful you are, how skilled and talented, *or* your so-called normal human faults/lacks, e...tcetera. You have. No. Control, Influence... Nothing. They had you at Hello (and Hello was goodbye...an inevitability, eked out).
You've heard of Robert Hare - he of The Hare Psychopathy Checklist? Even he gets fooled. Still, to this day! He admits it frustrates the uck out of him and feels no shame or embarrassment. He accepts it as par for the diagnostic course, that that is how virtuoso they can be at fooling absolutely anyone...a feat which becomes understandable when you remember that fooling people and/or intoxicating and befuddling their minds enough to keep them fooled, for them, is a matter of life-or-death (psych. and practical both) survival. Without the normal and empathetic (i.e. emotionally fully-functional aka bona fide-ly intelligent) types believing their lies and acts, they cannot survive or thrive. Because they're parasites. Whether the type that live on the fringes, somehow imperceptibly getting you stuck into a habit of paying for their day-to-day livelihoods or, at the other extreme (there tends to be no middle ground), perfectly wealthy yet somehow managing to get you paying for all of the basics, whereby they meanwhile get richer off your back, squirrelling away.
All that was 'wrong' with you - the *one* thing/one 'responsibility' - was that you're normal but special and shiny, giving and loving. BER-BOM. What makes you great/special was your 'fault'. BECAUSE IT'S PERMANENT OPPOSITES DAY.
Try checking out the True Love Scam website by Jennifer Smith. (She's been 'adopted' by the full-blown experts, so spot-on and detailedly comprehensive is she.) It's all explained in there. Or Psychopath Free website by Jackson McKenzie, author of the book by the same name.
There is, to all intents and purposes, no avoidance. You can just be having a bad day, even that can be enough to make you susceptible. There's just escape (at whatever later date).
...although, there is *one* very clear and present, giant, early Red Flag - one that belongs *only* to this type and spectrum and this type alone - and it's this: trying to rush intimacy and commitment and having no problem, quite the opposite, with the idea of his (or her) prematurely moving-in with you or (Cerebral, Covert, wealthy) you with him. But it's not exactly on the school curriculum so isn't something one tends to be pre-aware of, bar in retrospect, meaning, something you and other survivors are duty-bound to spread the word over.
PS: what does this mean? : "I'm tall, so dance floors are not my friend." Why would being tall make dancefloors a problem?
Oh, god - strikingly handsome. Great. So that's Cerebral & Covert *plus* Somatic! And with 'little boy helplessness' thrown in. You got what's known as Combo Man! (See 'How To Spot A Dangerous Man (Before You Get Involved)' by Sandra L Brown MA)
" but were too chicken to approach each other."
Chicken my bottom (him). It's a common, deliberate tactic, all part of their secret screening test.
As for his drinking ceasing to be a problem: nah. Put your foot down and they just switch to doing these things *under* the table or outside of your radar. Your type can switch at will between overt and covert including passive-aggressive. You can't get them to do! (or cease) a! THING! And they use (like they use everything else) 'being an alcoholic/binge-drinker' as a brilliant cover and excuse for basically stuffing things (you, mainly) up.
"Until we both realized I preferred the silent treatment, and would just go on living my life around him. "
(The Silent Treatment.)
You, my lovely, are what Kim Saaed would call a Narcissist's Nightmare (high five!, and feel free to feel very smug).
"It's funny. He wanted a break. That break made it clear I wanted a divorce. And he never saw that coming."
That'll be because he mistook your being a determined go-getter-doer-experimenter with your being hooked, his love-slave. I don't think you have/had commitment incapabilities, I think you're just incredibly independent- and objective-minded. I suspect you probably cottoned-on quite early but remained while and for as long as it served you to, i.e. began using him with a vengeance once you realised that was what he was from The Off in it for. Your agenda was not the normal run-of-the-mill type. He probably wouldn't be able to work out what it was if he sat mulling it over for a lifetime.
"Thirdly; I train others how to treat me. If I don't care about me, then why would anyone else? If I make it clear I'm not a priority in my own life, then why would anyone else treat me as anything other than an afterthought? In part, this goes back to my long-suffering career as a "good girl". Basically, everything I was taught about being a "good girl" meant that I did not count. I existed to make other peoples' lives easier, and thinking about myself was selfish. It took a lot of work to undo that. Now, I know that being a good person does not mean that I have to ghost myself."
There's your agenda. It's a biggie. (And you haven't 'undone' it, you've simply taken control of, harnessed and re-orientated it in order to make it work with and for you (and yours).) He was moreover your self- and past-event-analytical tool and gym equipment, I reckon. You entered a relationship with your past problematic person's 'twin', going back into the lion's den now that you'd self-cultivated the previously-lacking confidence, along with being older and wiser, no longer intimidate-able, *tolerating* the daily crap so that you would away with the prize of having witnessed the exact same results and outcome, despite first having remedied or kept out of the equation any errors or inadequacies that could possibly have any detrimental affect (to this scientific experiment of yours), thereby gaining definitive, inarguable confirmation over the problem never having been you or anything about you. Consciously, you're not QUITE there yet regarding zero blame-taking (that'll be the last, lingering remnants of your hyper-consciousness habit of old), hence my having to counter or challenge your self-blaming tendencies. But you're only inches away, is the good news. And you've obviously explored La-La Land very, very thoroughly indeed (you don't do things in halves, do you!).
So *don't* feel sick and embarrassed, that's just the conclusion of the surface part of you that isn't (yet) aware of how clever, tough and uber-tenacious you are deeper-down (especially when not kept down). I suspect you're incapable of taking erroneous and onerous feedback enough to-heart as do others, being how you sensed you could weather that whole storm (and constant crumbs) for the sake of gaining vital data about yourself and your potential (keeping your eyes fixed firmly on the bigger prize) that you, in terms of self-certainty, lacked...because it was too important not to. In other words, having been given the wrong feedback from people, you decided to garner it from a situation. *Properly/fully*. To the Nth. To finally get to know yourself, inside and out.
What I'm saying is, from what I can gather (which is always a gobsmacking lot) you didn't 'suffer', apart from in the momentary details (if that makes sense). You kept the most vital part of yourself sequestered...untouchable...slime-proofed, as you - and in order to - tolerated and bided your time (diff/all the diff). You're still an awful lot more clever and creative than you think you are, missus. And, btw, that up there is a best-selling book in synopsis format, waiting to be fleshed-out. Your clarity, coherency, eloquence and thought-organisation is astounding, no bull. Ever thought of it?
Missus, you're amazing (for your sins). And one hard basst'd. And I DO! NOT! KNOW! where you get your energy, faith and single-minded determination from! So it's a good job, really, that you were 'sat on' for so long as a child or by now you'd probably be running some vast continent! LOL-but-I'm-serious.
Thank-you so much for that incredibly easy-to-read encapsulation (and thank god you found your way here).
Any questions (aside from the one about whose love partnering you sampled)?
Happy Crimbo to you, too!
PS: Afraid I shan't be able to do the 'Lonely at Xmas' thread this year, but if you're going to be around at all and want to start one - feel free?
The answer is a little complicated. He was actually, for once (I thought), being mindful of my best interests. Probably because it happened to also be the easiest for him, but either way, it was the right call. We were living with my brother at the time, and because of his resemblance to our father (and the PTSD centered around that man), my brother was basically a walking trigger for me. At least during that time, while I was doing some intense work trying to overcome my past. The longer I stayed there, the sicker I got, and I was already begging to get out of that place. I just (wrongly) assumed my husband also wanted to move into our own place, together. Turns out, moving out on my own was by far the best thing for me. I'm starting to understand a few things that always puzzled me. Chief among them, his confusing reaction when I thanked him for asking for the separation. I was genuine in my gratitude, and sincerely thanked him for asking me to move out. Because at the time, I believed he was trying to put me first. But when I thanked him, he looked like I'd punched him in the gut. I was confused, and a little hurt. Now, I understand why he reacted that way, and it just makes me that much sadder for him.
"Question: Are you aware of exactly whom that heavenly, irresistible and all-angles impressive lover you were sampling enough to get hooked on was? The answer might have you falling off a chair so hold on tight, LOL. But you'll definitely like the answer (which is a clue)."
Ya know... I've been asking myself that very question for YEARS. Long before we split. Knowing what I know now, I think I've found an answer. Partial, maybe, but at least some kind of idea. He was exactly who I needed and wanted him to be. Right up until it was clear I was all in. I used to think that guy was the real him, and he was hiding him away til he was strong enough to let him back out. Now, I know that guy never existed, except in my own fairy tales. Again- it just makes me sad for him.
"PS: what does this mean? : "I'm tall, so dance floors are not my friend." Why would being tall make dancefloors a problem?"
When you live in an ultra-conservative area, where the "men are men", with misogyny and machismo leading the way, it's not acceptable to be shorter than the woman you're with. Guys would come up to me (while I was seated), all smiles, asking to dance. Then, as I stood up, I could watch the hope and confidence drain right out of them. They'd instantly panic, and start looking for any excuse to bolt. It was funny to me, but the guys were extremely weird about it. I was engaged to a guy that was 5'9", and was excited to be his wife. He kept changing his mind, and eventually called off the wedding altogether. Why? Because he loved me, but not the 6'1" package I came in. I don't get it, but apparently, it's a deal breaker for those with big egos and little confidence.
I'm learning a lot about the dynamics of my marriage, and every relationship I've had in my life. I was raised by narcissistic, neglectful and abusive parents. It was my normal. It never seemed odd to me; it's just how life was. We were also raised mormon (my ex's family, too). The "good girl" dogma was forced on me early and nonstop. So much of my dysfunction stemmed from how I was brought up, that it makes me extremely angry someimtes. I sometimes feel like I've spent the last 30 years of my life, trying to overcome the first 20 years of my life. And I'm still working to reach a real peace treaty with everyone that forced me to be who they needed, instead of encouraging me to just be myself. I've cut all ties with my biological father, and I've never regretted that for even a second. I do not miss him, or the chaos and drama he continually tried to inject into my life. My mother and I have finally gotten to where we can visit civilly, but I know I'll never really trust her. In many ways, I'm an orphan, and have been most of my life. I've pieced together my own family, and all the people in my life now are genuinely good to and for me. I know I'm very lucky. I've met the love of my life, at a time when I was truly ready to have a grown-up relationship, and I'm so happy and full of hope now, that it makes me sad to look back at how my life was before. I still have a lot of work to do, and I'm continually working to be a better me. And if I'm lucky (and/or smart), I'll be working to be a better human right up til my last breath. One thing I'm sure of over all others? I'll never settle again. I'll never settle for a bad relationship simply for the sake of not being alone. I've realized I love being alone. And I'll never need to choose bad company over my own ever again. That, has made all the difference for me. I only wish I'd started that work earlier in my life.
OMG - not one but TWO Narcs! You *definitely* don't do things in halves.
Here's the difference, which I'll explain even better. You did not *enter* that relationship with the subconscious intention of "ding-ding, round two" with a lookielikie (psychologically) times 2, but where, simply, one was hot and one cold. Realising you were incarcerated with them, you made it work for you in order to speed up a process that had already been underway (you de-sliming from your dad...plus no doubt all who sailed in him). Diff/all the diff and I hope that's even easier to comprehend. You 'made hay' in your torture chamber hence now are reaping that harvest.
I imagine your brother and your husband are triggers for everyone, frankly. See it like this:
Two kids. Even same parents. One is lucky enough to be independent minded (range - normal to however much the Narc's natural-born nightmare aka the Aspergic type perfectly high-functioning/self retrained). One kid thinks, 'f**kit, I'll roll over for a quiet life' and starts operating and spouting according to the problematic parent's world-view diktats so as to not be a target for their crud. The other rebels majorly ('no effing way, Jose, I'm not complying with The Mad Hatter/Queen Of Hearts!'). The former inexorably *becomes* the habit of daily operating that they've had to, for survival, embrace (fake it + time and repetition = make it aka 'become' it; over-prolonged time = literally become it).
But here's the crux: the former has become trained to survive by being a button-pusher, succeeding/getting their way via this method; the other has become trained in and desensitized to having had their buttons constantly pushed, including, having to explain and justify each time WHY they'd rather not play ball, thank-you (i.e. take the stand and argue themselves out of being bullied/used/exploited/tricked, like a top-flight barrister). The latter leaves the nest with over-sensitive buttons and might then on in avoid all button-pushers. But you can't avoid them if what they are is for too long - to point of utter convincement of their purported healthiness and normalness - KEPT from you, all senses and processors. So you've become hooked on the relationship wherein you're now switched to desperately trying to continue to behave as a normal healthy with (cough!) another normal healthy in a (pff!) normal healthy relationship - including being no quitter/abandoner (i.e. HEALTHILY LOYAL!) - the minute began having evidence pelted at you in jigsaw piece fashion over time: drip...drip...drip... (once you have enough to make a clear enough picture - you leave/they discard to beat you to it to save face/ego).
Past buttons start to get pushed. Now you realise you can't just forevermore avoid button pushers to solve being button-pushed, you have to remove the grease (slime) from within those over-loose buttons and particularly with this merchant...because you're meanwhile trauma-addicted to him (or her), i.e. chained involuntarily and uncontrollably, meaning, it's going to take TIME to get the better of your own healthy urges to fix (like any normal person - again, IT'S CALLED LOYALTY and the human race would have died without it!), and take your opportunity for escape. (It's no good the cage door being left open if you're not ready in your head even despite your heart). But you weren't subconsciously driven to be LOOKING for a button-pusher to have a (catalyst) relationship with. Unlike your codependent. Diff/all the diff.
Even a stiffer buttoned individual or even one lacking any of those buttons to begin with can be tricked into a place of being hooked. *Fact*. Because all humans feature buttons as standard, no matter what they are.
That's what I mean by (artificially) created codependency. The Cluster B is an expert button-pusher, the target too used to tolerating having buttons pushed and/or at the same time having to explain BLOODY EVERYTHING (defense via intellectualism), including why you 'don't want to' or find something unacceptable and/or inappropriate, to the Nth... when, ideally, any answer to any coercion/power-stripping attempt should be: Because I've explained already and am not prepared to discuss it further, the answer is No and that's the end of it.
New, more punchy response mantra: "...Orrrrr - How's about No?" (and repeat like a broken record, ideally only 3 times in a row before exiting the scene or planet, as a measure or, when those have failed, for-good). Alternatively, you may borrow my No song (to the tune of No Limits):
No-no THERE'S A LI-MIT!
(Accompanying dance and Raspberry flourish optional)
The holder of the still-looser-than-avg/more-responsive-than-average-button(s), not realising how UN-rare, actually, these 'human products of duff DNA and/or duff default treatment/training' are, is intent on appealing to the person's rational, reasonable side, little realising that NO MENTALLY-EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY THUS VIABLE PARTNER (in anything - love, biz, whatever) WITH CORRESPONDINGLY HEALTHY POWERS OR RATIONALE NEEDS TO BE HELPED TO SEE BASIC SENSE TO BEGIN WITH! Certainly not as a default habit. There ISN'T any 'Mr/Ms Reasonable' in there! If you (anyone) find yourself repeatedly having to explain to a grown person, how to 'tie their own shoelaces' - DUMP!...or learn first-hand the longer way round to dump. Dumping is inevitable, a case of When, not If. So, not realising the person's actually mad-in-micro, visible only when close-up - or put another, better way, has rotten Intimacy-type layers under their more surface onion skins - the button-holder's surreptitiously and insidiously forced back into a dynamic of old, of 'Me Barrister, You Criminal' (you did wrong and hurt my feelings because) or 'Me Barrister & Defendant Both' (my mere reaction to what you did was not wrong because)....reason being, it's that or dump...which means Cold Turkey To the Power of 10 (or so everyone thinks; usually it's less attachment and more the torture of not understanding *why and in what ways* the relationship went from almost perfect to belly-up). So OF COURSE you're going to try the 'easier' remedy, the path of least resistance, as your starter dish. Because that's simply how a healthy'un is programmed to act. (Right Qualities, WRONG RECIPIENT!)
So you make like a barrister (and crimescene cleaner) for as long as it takes to meanwhile be detaching, bit-by-bit, with the aid of Time plus their kick-kick-kicking the love out of you. You're now basically just 'barristering' while awaiting your bus out of there... Experimenting, managing/damage-limiting, studying, learning... Making the best, getting something useful, out of the fact you're still incarcerated in the torture chamber.
Due to the fact you *are* fixable (can self-criticise, learn and change), you do stiffen up those buttons. Voila!..."you were a crap romantic partner but I've made use of you anyway, just not in ways originally imagined or ever conceived of". You've turned the benefactory tables, even if it costs you a 'portion' more childhood aggro than you're perfectly well versed in dealing with or operating in spite of, ANYWAY (boo-hoo).
Alternatively, see it like this: They're a coffee machine. But here's how they operate: You insert your Legal Tender coin... out (eventually) comes sugar, cream, coffee, hot water ...and then the cup. Yes, you'll put more money in, trying again, thinking it's a temporary, one-off glitch or fixable,...and try this/that button (with good intent). Maybe even give it a tempered whack (still with good intent). But if the machine keeps behaving like that regardless of WHAT you try - how DAFT is it as the customer to now start wringing your hands and asking all passers-by or your own reflection in the mirror - WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?! SOMETHING MUST BE WRONG WITH ME! I MUST HAVE DONE *SOMETHING* WRONG?!
I promise you it really is that simple.
The victim finally throws in the towel and leaves or allows/ensures the deliberate, discard-as-a-tactic (they in actual fact see it that you're their possession FOR LIFE!) is permanent when s/he realises the Cluster B has begun to affect their OWN order of vending behavioural chain, which is a result taking shape of the CB having been trying to make you operate as dysfunctionally as themselves (so that they can't be self-deemed Out Of Order, just 'normal'...like everyone else/like you...Zero contrast to pick out/highlight their faults). It comes down to realising your very sanity is at risk through this repetition of dysfunction in your midst and finding that fact your irreversible line in the sand. But there's no 'boo-hoo, certain things must have been my own fault' about it. You help someone out of their trauma using *that* kind of gumph and you've failed to de-slime, meaning, the chances are too high that the individual will fall prey to that cluster again.
Duff wiring via bad design and/or tampering is in no way/shape/form the coffee-vending-machine customer's fault (- think about it, how COULD it be?!). Having any fault or blame with what resulted with anyone or anything relies on equality of status and freedom within the relationship - 50/50. Again, not even STAYING is a fault because it's that prized sign of strength called LOYALTY! It just ends up misplaced, but unknowingly. The quality is no way a bad one. It's the receiver that's up the duff. No different to offering a starving man a piece of bread, only to see him chew before spitting it in your face ("WTF?!").
This is the ONE relationship type whereby you, the target-victim, can hand-on-heart say, NONE OF WHAT HAPPENED FOR ALL THOSE YEARS WAS MY FAULT WHATSOEVER - FACT! Small comfort at the time, but there you go... If while they're at stiffening/removing those precise buttons, the target meanwhile self-betters then, excellente, why not?..."while you're down there, luv?". It'll stand you in excellent stead if you make the most of what is just an opportunity to self-tweak.
(I know you know this; this is for those that don't.)
Ideally, broken machines like that should never leave the factory. You should expect to have only one or two at the most encounters with a lemon version of anything in your lifetime. But sadly - and this is what the fauxlationship 'disturbingly' but, ultimately, liberating-ly teaches you - that's not the case in this life. Evil in human format - aka the consequence(s) of how they think and operate, with them the harbinger - absolutely exists.... in which case, now you know you CAN'T spend your life avoiding the. So you HAVE to firm up your buttons or spend an awful lot of time and energy side-stepping and dodging and ducking, and being on the constant look-out, non-forthcoming with even your standard portion of freely given trust, making even *normal* people have to work too hard.
I remember an ex saying to me, once, many moons ago, as I strutted naked around the room right after s*x, while he - silently..revealingly, watched - 'Do you LIKE your body, 'Soulmate'?'...with a givewaway intonation. There's only way that conversation can go and only one reason for issuing that question to begin with, isn't there. So I chirpily said, "Yeh - LOADS! " and quickly changed the subject. With a normal, that would be enough, a nip in the bud that says 'don't try that nonsense with me, pal, because it won't work'. But this was no normal....so 'it' then tried myriad different avenues of rotten approach. My answers became, simply, 'Seriously? Good grief'. Block, block, block. But you shouldn't *have* to spend days, months, years blocking attempts to chip your confidence, annoy, irk, rile, get a rise, stick it to.... Even if you're slimeproof, you just don't need the workload atop of the normal intray. So I dumped. Well, actually, I right-hooked and split his lip first (I'm not perfick, heh-heh..and trust me, it was a very long time coming and very little compared to what he deserved). I became more attractive to him for that. Or so he *said*. He tried to hoover me back in, as per, saying of the act, 'I really respect you for that' (answer: uck off, pugly).
They teach you that, oh, ye gods, it *wasn't*...JUST...your original family or posse. That these loons are bloody everywhere (living '3 lives' at least - i.e. secret relationships or about-to-be relationships or can-be-again relationships on the side - thus getting around and spreading doom like there's 3 of them per loon...again, do the maths). So now you're free. Slime-proof. Your buttons are stiffer or inaccessible or no longer there to begin with because you've learned to take meaning from any attempt per se in the first place to push one of them. And your willingness to 'stay and see if' is GONE FOREVER. You know what's coming, you don't need to suck it and see. There is now no avenue of approach by types like them. You are now Cluster B-proof. It's a Doctorate, Jim, just not as we know it. Little wonder, therefore, that it takes roughly 2 decades to acquire that genuine 'bad person shield' qualification, eh! Worth every penny of grind.
The others, the 'uh-oh, I see one - I'm out of here!' spend their LIVES going 'uh-oh, I see one - I'm out of here!' and hoping s/he moves on to another "sucker". No thanks (agree?). I'd rather go wherever I want however I want, even take a walk through a graveyard or lunatic asylum if the mood takes me. No No Man's Land anywhere.
In other words: Titanium is understandably highly expensive, thus takes years to earn and save up for as you go about your daily grind.
So for you, that was TWO courses taken simultaneously for your Doctorate, MB. Talk about crash-course and shortening the course time! Now you're a De Luxe Lemonade maker who can make that product from ANY old lemons, no matter even if they're predominantly rotten. Any problems you experience for the remainder of your life will not (within reason) be courtesy of any other human hand out to 'get' you or trip you up.
Yo tambien. If I do ever argue it's purely because it's fun at the time, knowing as I do how to send them in circles and self-combusting on the spot (while I've secretly got my clipboard and pen out).
Once you become Slime Proof, it's the CBs that give *you* a wide berth (they can bloody well smell it, those primal animals, so same goes for lack of).
So here's the nutshell: with another normal, healthy individual, as a human being you are not a perfect human. With - or rather, up against a CB - you bloody are. BERBOM. But if you have a heart, you're fair game as a target. And that is the ONLY qualifying criteria there is. The rest is just flourish and side-bonus.
"But when I thanked him, he looked like I'd punched him in the gut. I was confused, and a little hurt. Now, I understand why he reacted that way, and it just makes me that much sadder for him."
Futile, being sad for him. That's another little virus residue we need to wipe away. Sad for the once little boy vending machine with the normal potential to be a normal, healthy, productive, happy adult vending machine - sure! But he got killed off decades ago. What got left in his place doesn't give a sh*t whether anyone's sorry for him or not, save for how that sympathy can be used as a manipulation tool against you (ref turning human strengths against you). We're talking cunning animal, no humanity left, just a very good imitation of one because otherwise they can't con and leech from you (while pretending to be your friend and lover). It has no humanity. Be sad for the world, that there are still actual, bona fide parasites crawling all over it and its well-meaning, hard-striving occupants. Work on all the *little* vending machines in-the-making so that there won't/can't be any more broken machines come the end of that factory conveyorbelt.
And here's how: "Why do *you* suppose snails have a shell on their backs? Have a guess!" Train them in how to think first and foremost for themselves....ber....BOM!
""Question: Are you aware of exactly whom that heavenly, irresistible and all-angles impressive lover you were sampling enough to get hooked on was? The answer might have you falling off a chair so hold on tight, LOL. But you'll definitely like the answer (which is a clue)."
Ya know... I've been asking myself that very question for YEARS. Long before we split. Knowing what I know now, I think I've found an answer. Partial, maybe, but at least some kind of idea. He was exactly who I needed and wanted him to be. Right up until it was clear I was all in. I used to think that guy was the real him, and he was hiding him away til he was strong enough to let him back out. Now, I know that guy never existed, except in my own fairy tales. Again- it just makes me sad for him."
Nope. It's even better and more ground-shaking than that. Buckle up, kiddo...
They're deliberate mirrors/mimics, remember? They can't show you Them in the time needed to 'irreversibly' hook you or you'd run puking and screaming, so they copy *you*. They mirror you to make you think they're not only normal and decent too, but the answer to your romantic prayers. You go, I LOVE X Y and Z and they go, ME TOO! Or they'll have noted your feelings on adultery and, during a pertinent telly drama, pipe up, 'Bloody cheaters, I hate them!'. And so on and so forth, the mirroring doesn't stop there.
That incredible, life-affirming, -inspiring, happy-making, nigh-on perfect, fairytale lover, was
You - by being mimicked and reflected back in totalis but in another's body (theirs) - within every arena and room - got to sample what it feels like to be your own lover....what it feels like for someone else when they're with you and you love them and/or are in-love with them. That 'fairytale' lover was you. And no-one else. LEAST of all him.
You still on your chair or what? LOL
Assuming your new, real deal genuinely does have so much in common with you (which I'm sure he does) - aren't you just fabulous!?
LOL...."MamaBear? Meet MamaBear. She'll be your lover for today."
(If your self-esteem just went up three notches, which it pigging should have - I want commission. LOL)
""PS: what does this mean? : "I'm tall, so dance floors are not my friend." Why would being tall make dancefloors a problem?"
When you live in an ultra-conservative area, where the "men are men", with misogyny and machismo leading the way, it's not acceptable to be shorter than the woman you're with. Guys would come up to me (while I was seated), all smiles, asking to dance. Then, as I stood up, I could watch the hope and confidence drain right out of them. They'd instantly panic, and start looking for any excuse to bolt. It was funny to me, but the guys were extremely weird about it. I was engaged to a guy that was 5'9", and was excited to be his wife. He kept changing his mind, and eventually called off the wedding altogether. Why? Because he loved me, but not the 6'1" package I came in. I don't get it, but apparently, it's a deal breaker for those with big egos and little confidence."
Then it's not the dance floors that aren't your friend, is it. Sorry, you're now going to have to go to your mental Filing Room, search the Filing Cabinets, take that folder out, remove that sheet, Tippex over that statement, re-type it, and then re-file it - possibly making extra copies for related files - in the correct place called, Some people are idiotic sheep and some of those are pathologically (i.e. inhumanly) envious and resentful and incapable of standing tall unless they chop off the heads of others to just APPEAR tallest (filename shortened to 'D-Heads'). But yes, you're not a woman meant for the wimps of this world, thus your genes created a bodily clue (oh no, what a handicap, that means you won't attract a Wimp!!! ). I realise you understand it correctly *enough*. But with self-talk costing lives (or at least, confidence for starters) - to take it to the full 100% takes labelling thus filing it ***100%**** correctly. "I'm tall, so effing sheep or idiots whom I wouldn't wish to know anyway, are not my friends or fans". So is Naomi Campbell et al tall (oh no!, etc..).
(2p, please, thank-you )
Always say it right because unbeknownst to you or any human, there's another two of you inside you, listening and believing every word you say. Fact.
Tip (for others): THE most attractive, alluring person is he or she who ACCEPTS to point of TAKES PRIDE AND CONFIDENCE IN the fact that they are wholly Them-shaped - as well, the *only* known Them-shape in the world - and makes the bloody best of that re. their every facet. They're just the best Me they can be.
If you have corkscrew hair, it's the shiniest, bounciest corkscrew it can be.
If you're short, you're the cutest shortie you can be.
If you're patient, you're the most patient you can be...
You're an apple that's "this" shaped but no-one cares or notices the shape because all they see, what stands out and crowds the frame, is the rosiness and shininess of that entity as reveals it's one of the tastiest within that shape category.
I'll say it again: it is a HUGE compliment if you're targeted by a Cluster B. So I hope your new fella was a CB victim/target too?
You were never dysfunctional. You were just forced to be in one of your operational modes entitled 'Dealing With Dysfunction' and grew not to mind it as much as someone who'd never had to employ that setting, especially when convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that they, the dysfunct, were a Normal experiencing a glitch rather than a Glitch-on-Legs experiencing or pretending to experience a Normality.
You haven't been trying to overcome the first 20 years of your life, your operational mode button just got semi-stuck for a while from over-use so you've been busily un-sticking it. Like I say - a super-Doctorate doesn't come massive-effort-free. They did you a FAVOUR. You've got gobsmacking skillsets that other people from orthodox childhoods don't have in their life skills toolbelts and won't have for years yet to come so are still busily drip-drip collecting. If ever THEY get kidnapped to the jungle - they're goners!
Do you know how many abused partners/whatever don't even REALISE that what they're suffering is Abuse? Go goog. You cannot try to deal with into decide to escape, from something you don't even realise is the case.
Re dumping the duds, even if you share blood: that - that ongoing, increasing relief and liberation - is the proof of the pudding in terms of your unequivocal sign that you finally, absolutely did the right, albeit initially super-humanly difficult thing (going against programming) to do.
If you happen to be the type that can tolerate having mere Acquaintances out of needing the seeming comfort and safety of numbers, then what you do is dump purely psychologically and stick to small doses of them featuring topics like the weather, and never hand them anything that's precious to you, etc. Like you're doing with your (noun only) mother. My own opinion is - why bother, life's too short. Quality over Quantity *any* day! And YES, doing the sensible thing of finally ostracising all or any of your pack can seem like trying to shake sticky money bills from your shoe. Until you realise it's just Monopoly money ...and covered in poo, bacteria and viruses to-boot, possibly lethal. No crying or regretting necessary, quite the opposite.
I wish-wish-wish I could talk about my own history, only, being a permanent resident, I passed my tidbits quotient over a year ago, which, if I now go over, could see any identity thieves with the final jigsaw puzzle piece they need. I'm not prepared to go there. So suffice it to say - snap and then some; I'm with you. But I've always naturally been the CB's nightmare, frustrating them at every turn, because I'm hard-wired to refuse to be anything BUT my natural self and Reality 1, no matter where, when, who with, and have always been very self-contained, a contented loner, as a default. I don't seek out company unless I'm 100% in the mood for it. I'd be surprised if there even *were* someone on this planet more independent-minded and stubborn than me or happier in their own company, frankly. (Boredom? Loneliness? What's that?) I'm 'an orphan' who prefers to Pick Your Own, too. My one healthy family member died 20 years ago. You're just LUCKY if you were born into a family you can afford to keep in your life your whole life through; if not then you're lucky to be capable of ousting them. The truth is, however, that genetically-speaking, we're *all* family. All originally from the same pack. (Hi, Cuz!)
But you may as well look back and feel sad that you once pooed into a nappy and sucked your thumb. And FYI - no, you don't (have a lot of work to do) or I wouldn't be bothering. You're in the right soil, in the right plantpot, finally, so now you can let the soil, sun, rain do the rest - and RELAX. You've done it, gained 'diplomatic immunity'! The only difference between you and your average is that, where they get to your level gradually and less 'violently' throughout their entire lives, it's like you Spring-cleaned your house top-to-bottom, 100%, in record time, which means the rest of your life is, within reason, R&R featuring a bit of surface dusting from time to time....much like a hard-working top exec who then gets to retire early. Your only remaining 'obstacle' as far as I can tell, is that self-talk biz as constantly contains allusions to your being even a soupcon responsible (just because you were sane and they were not). But I've hopefully dealt with that.
The second-biggest, now past hurdle *was* the fallacy that being totally on your own is something horrid and to be feared. *smirk* - hardly! Particularly as it's impossible to make being solitary last in the long-term anyway, that being because being true to yourself attracts people *to you* like nobody's biz, even if you yourself don't lift a finger. The saying, There are plenty more fish in the sea, and, Another bus will be along in a minute, doesn't solely pertain to the love-life. But my fave saying about it is good ol' Dr Seuss: Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
And now, as an antidote to all this 'heaviness' - have a giggle on me!
Now that's what you *call* whipping away the non-reality veil!
Ask me any questions, compare any notes, or just keep adding to your recollections. I'm sure an awful lot of people are finding this 'GOOOOOOD SH*T, maan!'. Forewarned is forearmed and all that. And that now, MB, is our duty. Life said so.
Discussion closed - why not create your own thread?