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Some heavy thoughts surrounding my relationship

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Hello, I (31FTM) have been having some negative feelings surrounding my current relationship with my wife (32F). A bit of backstory, I guess. My wife is my first major, long term relationship. I had previously tried dating guys "like I was supposed to," but they never held my interest and only ever lasted a few months at most. I was never really too concerned with being in a relationship and didn't really start dating until college. I'm very content with being on my own, and it's important for me to have enough me time to be able to reflect and recalibrate. My wife is the complete opposite. She has always gone from one relationship to the next, and she does not like to have alone time. She is very talkative and emotional whereas I am level headed and reserved. Most of her previous relationships have been toxic and usually ended with her partner cheating on her. This is something that she has held onto and she has always suffered from jealously throughout our relationship even though I have never given her a reason to be. She has said that it bothers her that I don't show a lot of jealousy. We have known each other since 2015 back when I presented as female. We were roommates all throughout college, and we have almost always lived together whenever we were dating. We dated off and on for about 2 years, and took about a year and a half break when she went back to her ex-boyfriend (she dates both males and females). They had a very toxic relationship both that time and previously and it ended in a big fight. A few months after they broke it off, she got back in contact with me. I very reluctantly picked back up our friendship (I was pretty much over the drama that she caused, and I was happy just doing my own thing) and eventually a relationship. Since then we have stayed together permanently. We got engaged a few months later and stayed engaged for about 3 years before getting married. During that time, we did almost split up. She wanted kids very badly and was pushing the topic with full force. She even at one point said that she planned to foster a kid and that I needed to get on board with that. Our relationship really suffered during this time, and I poured myself into work and was barely home. I had previously said that I was open to having kids because I knew that it was something she had always wanted, but as the time came closer (and as she pushed harder) I knew it wasn't something I wanted. I finally told her this, and I was ready to accept that this would be the end of our relationship. She surprised me and said that she would rather stay with me and not have kids than have kids with someone else. About a month later she told me that she had started talking to some guy and that they ended up kissing but nothing beyond that. I was hurt and numb, and we slept in separate rooms for about a month after. Sometimes, I wish I would have just left then, but we owned a house together and shared a car. Neither of us were really in a place to be able to live separately. This was also before we were married. During this whole time, she was going through therapy and starting to work through some of her previous toxic behaviors. She promised me that she would always have a therapist, but she has not had one for the past 2 years or so. I can see some of her old habits coming back now, and it's concerning. Fast forward to the present day, we have sold our first house and bought a new one, and my dad lives with us. I transitioned to male about 2 years ago, and if anything this has strengthened our relationship. My wife says that she loves me regardless of my gender. There have been a lot of situations that have worried me lately, but I think they mostly all reduce down to my wife's lack of emotional regulation. She gets very upset over little things and the way she responds to minor issues ends up making me feel defensive, guilty, or like I am in trouble. Growing up, my mom was the same way, and it brings up a lot of trauma for me. I end up just freezing and shutting down. Then I feel weak for not being strong enough to fight for myself in those situations. Also, sometimes, I just need space to process and work through things, but she refuses to give that to me. She also has a tendency of putting me down in social situations, and I feel very judged by her. She used to be someone who I felt like I could expose my soul to, but now I feel like I need to protect it from her. Self improvement is also very important to me. I have found that if I am not making time to go to the gym or working on things to actively better myself, my mental health really takes a hit. I recently decided to start studying for a certification to change careers, and my wife got upset and said that I was not making enough time for her even though I added two breaks to make sure that I am able to have time with her that is uninterrupted for breakfast and dinner. We also spend all of our time together on the couch and relaxing in bed before we go to bed together. I would be studying for part of this time, but we are still near each other. I have also pushed all of my time to study and workout during the week so that we can have weekends free together. My career is one of the most important areas of fulfillment in my life and I have felt dissatisfied in this category for many years now. I feel like in the past, whenever I have tried to make a change or any improvements, my wife sabotages them by making me feel guilty for not spending my time with her. She is happy with my current job, because I make decent money and the work life balance is good. I just end up feeling stuck in all aspects of my life. Stuck in my relationship and stuck in my current career. I'm really not sure what I am looking for out of any of this. I guess just to get it off my chest. We aren't in a position right now where I could break things off, even though I think that might be the healthiest thing for me mentally. If I were to break it off, I'm not sure the emotional drama she would cause would make getting out worth it. Anyway, thank you for reading, and any insight would be appreciated.

Some heavy thoughts surrounding my relationship

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Hi ENEA9PROBS, Really-really sorry for the huge delay - respondents are thin on the ground, lately, anyway - and now Xmas and NY! "I (31FTM) have been having some negative feelings surrounding my current relationship with my wife (32F)." Interesting semantics. Am wondering if you meant, 'surrounding the quality of my relationship with my wife of late'? (I'm deliberately not reading ahead.) Or whether that was a huge Freudian leakage to express how drastically different, even unrecognisable, from the earlier years it's become? "A bit of backstory, I guess. My wife is my first major, long term relationship. I had previously tried dating guys "like I was supposed to," but they never held my interest and only ever lasted a few months at most. I was never really too concerned with being in a relationship and didn't really start dating until college." Noted. "I'm very content with being on my own, and it's important for me to have enough me time to be able to reflect and recalibrate." I can relate to that. You need to re-charge, like a mobile phone. Most people do (probably where the inventors got the whole idea), but it's about degrees. "My wife is the complete opposite." OH. *THE* complete opposite. (Symptom.) (Yours) "She has always gone from one relationship to the next," (Symptom. Hers.) "and she does not like to have alone time." (As above.) "She is very talkative and emotional whereas I am level headed and reserved." (Ditto, ditto.) "Most of her previous relationships have been toxic" AWW, for god's sake. Okay. 'Is my wife a narcissist'. Well, so far we've got Hystrionic PD traits (I mean, there's very sociable and then there's unable to tolerate own company plus constant relationship hopping.) "and usually ended with her partner cheating on her." AH! There's no excuse for cheating. Cheating is no more a solution to a stymied or gone-sour relationship than leaving the house for hours just because your gravy's gone lumpy, meanwhile, leaving the hob on so that not only does it go lumpier but it catches fire and burns the bloody house down. If the partner could dream of doing that PLUS shows no remorse, just excuses and justifications, etc., then you're dealing with someone who's trying to get permanent power over you so that you'll never dare complain or assert yourself again - "or else!".... (Forever wielding the Sword of Damocles over your head, it's known as.) She isn't a Narc, then. Or if she is - merely a Benign who kept attracting Malignant narcs. "This is something that she has held onto and she has always suffered from jealously throughout our relationship" Well, actually, that wouldn't be jealous per se, just understandably huge insecurity. Comes a point when you think, Who WOULDN'T cheat on me! "even though I have never given her a reason to be." They did. But here's a fact. Even if the person isn't toxic (permanently insecure), just reactively - insecurity is death to any relationship. If that many people cheated on her, why would she even WANT another relationship? Did SHE date blokes? Is that why she's switched genders (if she did)? "She has said that it bothers her that I don't show a lot of jealousy." AH. So she's saying YOU make her feel insecure (or more so)? Because her understanding of caring is that it necessarily involves a lot of Jealousy? Has she been trying to make you jealous to get signs - or more signs - or too many - that you care? Is she trying to level the playing-field by bringing you down to HER level of insecurity? At this point, I'd have to ask if you show her enough love and attention or whether it's because she's like PacMan on that score? That she can't be alone, would certainly suggest so. Okay. Histronics DON'T try to make you jealous. At this point, therefore, I'm wondering whether all those past episodes of betrayal are true, or indeed, whether she was the cheater (on the purely Benign Narc level - to get them to feel jealous and insecure and - wait for it - CLING TIGHTER to her. Okay, I'm going to read ahead a bit now... "We have known each other since 2015 back when I presented as female. We were roommates all throughout college, and we have almost always lived together whenever we were dating. We dated off and on for about 2 years, and took about a year and a half break when she went back to her ex-boyfriend" (she dates both males and females). THERE IT IS. Three distinct NPD behavioural symptoms. Ex usually means Ex. There's relationship hopping, meaning serial dating, and then there's this. Malignant Narcissism doing it wantonly and deliberately, being cruel to both parties as she goes). We can SEE, either that (a) she was the cheater, (b) revenge-cheater, (c) always completely under their spell. HOWEVER, NO-ONE WHO AS BEEN CHEATED-ON - *LEAST OF ALL, MULTIPLY* - WOULD TURN AROUND AND DEAL THAT AGONY AND DEVASTATION ONTO ANOTHER HUMAN, *LEAST* OF ALL, THE ONE THEY ALLEGEDLY LOVE. Not. Under. ANY. Circumstance. Yup. She sounds like a Narc, alright. Boundary-smasher, dream-crusher. DOESN'T LEARN LESSONS, EVEN FROM EXPERIENCE (or doesn't want to). "They had a very toxic relationship both that time and previously and it ended in a big fight." Just like how young teenagers behave - right? WHEN DID YOU LEARN ALL OF THIS, BY THE WAY? Before you got with her - or late after having bonded beyond point of painless return? "A few months after they broke it off, she got back in contact with me." Google, Narcissist - Hoovering. "I very reluctantly" Noted. Symptom (yours). "picked back up our friendship (I was pretty much over the drama *that she caused," Yes, *hadn't she just. "and I was happy just doing my own thing)" Noted. "and eventually a relationship. Since then we have stayed together permanently." You sure about that? She's a cheater who misappropriates the victim cloak/re-writes history. After all, she cheated on you. She hadn't ended it - her behaviour a few months later PROVED that. Nay. She has left him warm and wanting (and probably furious) on-the-side and come back to her (google) Primary Supply: you. If "you" ever piss her off TOO much - she can jump back to him with only a moment's notice. It's what Malignant Narcs do: build a secret harem...gender immaterial (to their permanently starving ego) - a fan is a fan. "We got engaged a few months later and stayed engaged for about 3 years before getting married." And because you couldn't see behind her scenes that whole time, you thought everything was normal "until" (-I'm betting)... "During that time, we did almost split up. She wanted kids very badly and was pushing the topic with full force. She even at one point said that she planned to foster a kid and that I needed to get on board with that." She was not pushing for a kid per se. She was pushing for the hook to beat all giant hooks (oh, but we can't split - think about the kids!). Okay, she's a Female Narcissistic Sociopath. They don't even LIKE kids. Kids are just their meal-ticket and insurance plan. "Our relationship really suffered during this time, and I poured myself into work and was barely home." You don't work right. Or rather, you SO DO. But from her POV, you're REALLY hard to lasso, break and train. ("Baaad Slave!", lol.) (Good.) "I had previously said that I was open to having kids because I knew that it was something she had always wanted, but as the time came closer (and as she pushed harder) I knew it wasn't something I wanted." It's called, Self-Responsible, Socially-Responsible, Morally-Responsible - genuine Grown-Up! (She's still an adolescent...whom no doubt reverts to Toddler when "upset".) "I finally told her this, and I was ready to accept that this would be the end of our relationship." ...And brave with it. :) "She surprised me and said that she would rather stay with me and not have kids than have kids with someone else." THERE YOU GO. She's just proven my accusation. 'I really want a kid, I really want a kid!...oh, alright then - no biggie'. (And she can't even accidentally get pregnant by you. She could by him, though - the ex-not-ex. Or any other bloke you don't know about - some other ex-not-ex or wanna-be-partner.) "About a month later she told me that she had started talking to some guy and that they ended up kissing but nothing beyond that." 1. Bad enough she - the allegedly perpetually cheated-on - was doing it again. 2. She TOLD YOU. She wanted you to know. Not out of guilty conscience...if she had any of that, she'd not have abandoned you for ex-not-ex to begin with, ANY form of cheating to a genuine betrayee is intolerable (victims disassociate themselves from the perp by never doing what they do/did). "I was hurt and numb, and we slept in separate rooms for about a month after." You were supposed to be. Yup, she's trying to get Power Over you (which has no place in a romantic relationship and shouldn't be attractive/wanted considering we normals know that overall equality is key). Oh, she is sooo an N-Spath. Anti-social (including -relationship) - usually antisocial in habits/hygiene, too, once the mask starts to come off - and just all-round anti-human rules and -decency on any level. (FYI A plain Covert wouldn't tell you, they'd just let you sense and pick-up on it...and then keep denying it. NSpaths are clumsy (desperate and greedy, more like!) and always over-shoot/go too far. A Covert-Vulnerable, I suspect more and more lately, is a Covert becoming more severe whereby they're transitioning into an NSpath. Severity increases whenever they get away with things for too long..."feeding the monster".) "Sometimes, I wish I would have just left then, but we owned a house together and shared a car." Aww, sh*t. "Neither of us were really in a place to be able to live separately. This was also before we were married." That was before you married her?! So you were well hooked, then (google - Sociopathic Hypnotic Effect). "During this whole time, she was going through therapy" Do you have proof of that - or just her Hearsay? "and starting to work through some of her previous toxic behaviors." I'll bet she fckndidn't. "She promised" Yeah-yeah... They're good at stating promises. Blah-blah-blah. They know what you would prefer to hear so say it. Words/speech are just manipulation tools. "me that she would always have a therapist, but she has not had one for the past 2 years or so." Right. She never had one to begin with. Or was just going through the you-placating motions. "I can see some of her old habits coming back now, and it's concerning." Now you know why, and that they always will. Until you're dead. Years or decades before she is. Google (C)PTSD, and, Post-Narcissistic-traumatic Stress-Inflammatory Diseases & Conditions. (Fibromyalgia, Urtacaria, IBS, heart problems, cancer... LOADS. Thankfully reversible if you get out in-time and faster if you spoil/parent/love yourself to pieces to reverse the damage.) "Fast forward to the present day, we have sold our first house and bought a new one," Aww, sh*t. "and my dad lives with us." AWW, SH*T. "I transitioned to male about 2 years ago, and if anything this has strengthened our relationship. My wife says that she loves me regardless of my gender." That's true, but - as above - not said with the same sentiment you or I would say it in. (So that's a Spath "tell"/reveal - common stuff with an NSpath..teasing you with a signpost to the horrible Truth.) This one knows exactly what she's doing and 'why'/what for. "There have been a lot of situations that have worried me lately," Yes. It never gets better. These are long-con merchants - for-life parasites (if you're their Primary). They just behave themselves for as long as it takes to put you back to sleepy-bye-byes with a little smile on your face through your false sense of renewed security. HENCE YOU MARRIED 'it, 'despite'. "but I think they mostly all reduce down to my wife's lack of emotional regulation." Well, that's one of their fundamental mal-programs, yes. Google, Narcissist - Attachment Disorder. THEY DON'T BOND. Spaths do a bit...but only to about 6 months-worth, meaning, you never feel safe and, eventually, daren't do X "in case". But even IF they love you as much as ice-cream, that does not (cuckoo!) mean that you're the exception to the lying/gaslighting/cheating/exploiting/using/parasiting/stealing/siphoning rule (e.g., "You shouldn't have left it lying around, then, should ya"). "She gets very upset over little things and the way she responds to minor issues ends up making me feel defensive, guilty, or like I am in trouble." You ARE. You're with a Female Narcissistic Sociopath aka Sociopathic Narcissist aka Narcopath. They're people- AND life-destroyers. They need the drama and they need to keep you constantly off-balance. Google "Trauma Bonding & Intermittent Reinforcement". "Growing up, my mom was the same way, and it brings up a lot of trauma for me." It brings up the trauma that you were too young and unequipped to deal with and had to bury. Predatory-Parasitey-poos 'smelt' that on you and knew it'd mean TOLERANCE. And ENDURANCE. And a need to "this time win/resolve" (nope - non-resolveable, incurable). Re-enacting your dynamic with your mother-ish to see, WAS it you...or was it her psychology? You know now, don't you. Voila! But - time to get out of the extra-big, extra-violent washing-machine now. The fact you've just made that mother connection shows you're now 'stain-free'. You are not the mad one, the problematic one. Case Closed. Now - how to get the eff out of there! "I end up just freezing and shutting down. Then I feel weak for not being strong enough to fight for myself in those situations." Not getting engaged in the fight is good. Feeling weak and wimpy for it is just your byproduct from judging her through the lens of Normal Woman and Situation Normal (if highly problematic). You're just being sensible and refusing to get drawn in. From now - feel proud. You're too strong in your self-esteem for her to draw in and drag down. Okay? Style (Fight, Flight, Fawn, Freeze) of survival doesn't matter. As long as you do whichever, PROPERLY. Consistently. Keep it up, and drop the wholly misguided, emotional self-judgement aftermath. You'd just LIKE to smack her in the chops (wouldn't we all in that situation!) and thereby are FRUSTRATED that your high standards refuse to let you. PLUS you sense she's a predator, capable of sudden, 'uncharacteristic' violence. It's NOT uncharacteristic, actually, not at all: Her actions have been nothing sort of violent. 'Just' emotionally, not physically (so far). PLUS you're trying to stay gentlemanly as per your wiring dictates (we do not hit women). Ok? Probably other stuff as well, but, those are the biggies, and you may as well be looking at a reflection in the mirror that's on a par with Bratt Pitt or whomever but going, 'GOD, I'm ugly!'. (PS: You might want to know that I did think you were man, until you told me. So as far as I'm concerned - you are. Because if it sounds like a duck and acts like a duck - it's a duck, LOL...although, only she's the quackers one (groan).) Picture it like you're a Zen Buddhist on a mountain ledge and some idiot delinquent kid who's been expelled from every school in the land, is trying to jump up from a lower ledge and even throw stones in order to topple you so you fall down to her ledge or lose your cool and stomp down to her. But not only isn't it working (ever), but your facial expression doesn't even change. And from her POV, her lifelong-trusted, 100% reliable manipulation tactics have - wait for it - FAILED!!!!!! (Haha - bad-bad-baad slaaave.) (What nationality are you, BTW? This I really want to know.) Plus, if you don't join in - she looks EVEN WORSE by-comparison (think about it)....in which case, what you're overall doing is being your own Constant (ever-present, Normal-Healthy mental template). You stay there and feel super-strong and proud, luv. Too many lose it and get drawn in...and then the fight continues ALL NIGHT LONG. Or gets thrown at you again days later. _______________________________________ Right, I've been interrupted to I'll have to break off for 30 mins or so. Don't post back yet (except if you want to just say, I'm still here') and I'll continue (am still not peeking). ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ "Also, sometimes, I just need space to process and work through things, but she refuses to give that to me." Well - EXACTLY! She doesn't WANT intelligent-you to see what's really up and going on! Think about it. She also has a tendency of putting me down in social situations, and I feel very judged by her. She used to be someone who I felt like I could expose my soul to, but now I feel like I need to protect it from her. Self improvement is also very important to me. I have found that if I am not making time to go to the gym or working on things to actively better myself, my mental health really takes a hit. I recently decided to start studying for a certification to change careers, and my wife got upset and said that I was not making enough time for her even though I added two breaks to make sure that I am able to have time with her that is uninterrupted for breakfast and dinner. We also spend all of our time together on the couch and relaxing in bed before we go to bed together. I would be studying for part of this time, but we are still near each other. I have also pushed all of my time to study and workout during the week so that we can have weekends free together. My career is one of the most important areas of fulfillment in my life and I have felt dissatisfied in this category for many years now. I feel like in the past, whenever I have tried to make a change or any improvements, my wife sabotages them by making me feel guilty for not spending my time with her. She is happy with my current job, because I make decent money and the work life balance is good. I just end up feeling stuck in all aspects of my life. Stuck in my relationship and stuck in my current career. I'm really not sure what I am looking for out of any of this. I guess just to get it off my chest. We aren't in a position right now where I could break things off, even though I think that might be the healthiest thing for me mentally. If I were to break it off, I'm not sure the emotional drama she would cause would make getting out worth it. Anyway, thank you for reading, and any insight would be appreciated."

Some heavy thoughts surrounding my relationship

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(Couldn't log back in for a long while there! Everyone must have jumped onto the internet around 4pm and overloaded it again - did it? I don't know, I R not a techie.) To continue... "....('You stay there and feel super-strong and proud, luv. Too many lose it and get drawn in...and then the fight continues ALL NIGHT LONG. Or gets thrown at you again days later.)... If "doing a Clam-job" is what you're best at out of Fight/Fawn/Flight/Freeze - continue using that greatest strength of yours. But take that completely needless "I'm weak" attitude out of it. You're blocking her deliberate antagonism every time and her ego will shrivel again. Not only that - NSpaths (and malignants) often will start a fight so that it can end in where they feel you'll put their flouncing-out of the house down to "the" argument, WHEREAS, what they're doing is creating opportunites to drop-in on innocent, unwitting-victim or victim-to-be, John/Jane, down the road, moan to them (google Why do Narcissists Triangulate / Narcissistic Triangulation Romantic Relationship) how abusive you are (try not to explode - she ain't worth it), and get not only huge sympathy, but probably lent howevermuch money (because you've chucked her out, doncha know)....and so on and exasperatingly, infuratingly, insultingly so on. It's like this (in case the buddist analogy didn't do it): from the Out Of Order 'partner's' 'point of view': you're a vending machine in a shopping mall, and she keeps putting fraudulent coins in your slot and then spitting the dummy because you're more sophisticated than your average vending machine, meaning - the minute you detect abuse, you just shut down - go into non-rousable Sleep Mode so that any more slot-jamming, button-punching, and kicking can't continue confusing then hurting your programme (and meanwhile, your hardware is just that - too hard) but additionally, infuriatingly for her, no longer refund her fake coins for use elsewhere that she stubbornly keeps shoving in. She sees your electronic display, reading thus: "Customer Abuse - machine now locked - please call Security", which, of course, she won't, for the simple she knows she's in the wrong/out-of-order and doesn't want to be found-out as that leads to facing the consequences - and they don't do/won't do/can't do that (and also, because there are lots of other vending-machines in that there shopping mall to trick/abuse). She hasn't, on these occasions you're reporting, shut-up and switched vending-machines for one reason and one reason alone (mainly, LOL): The look on your face: I'm soo weeeaak...I feel terrible for not saying anythinnnnng....I should be saying somethiiing.... They Get You When You're Down. (Only you barely have a down. You swim harder to keep your head above the toxic water. Bravo your Genes.) ************************ So! Now you know you can - and should - nay, MUST - get rid of that incorrect self-judgemental attitude, and - voila. She'll (eventually) stop trying that intimidation tactic ("Narc Rage"). Either that or she'll go into a massive meltdown ("Narc Collapse") and have to go get someone else in a lather (which they suck-up energy from - it excites their otherwise dull and pathologically bored selves - plus makes them feel clever/powerful (yawn)). I'll leave this separate as it's a solution, and continue below... But be warned that she'll just try another tack. Maybe give you the Silent Treatment (which for normals is a desperate last resort but for malig narcs is a first - because they're mentally lazy and don't like veering from their normal (google) Narcissist's Playbook. Cont/d...

Some heavy thoughts surrounding my relationship

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PS: Google Grey Rock or Emotional Grey Rock. That's instinctively what you're doing as well as executing instinctually. (Clever-Clogs, haha.)

Some heavy thoughts surrounding my relationship

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(...cont/d) "Also, sometimes, I just need space to process and work through things, but she refuses to give that to me." Well - EXACTLY! She doesn't WANT intelligent-you to see what's really up and going on! Think about it. "She also has a tendency of putting me down in social situations, and I feel very judged by her." You're supposed to. It makes you focus on her opinion and (automatically involuntarily) forget to ask others as you seek to regain her approval (because obviously a lover's opinion *normally* should mean most to you and should benefit you; her type are the opposite: listen to everyone BUT her.) Don't bother feeling judged. Anyone normal and decent there will be too busy judging HER for her bad and downright inappropriate behaviour to her lover (you) as well as in front of them - how RUUUUDE. But they are. PLUS, if you let her get away with it, she'll do it all the more. Because her objective is to make outings with you guys - or just you if she always has to come too - too uncomfortable and aggro-ey, whereby they cease accepting or instigating invitations to get together. ***GOOGLE, "NARCISSIST - FORMS OF ISOLATING THE VICTIM / VICTIM ISOLATION TACTICS". "She used to be someone who I felt like I could expose my soul to, but now I feel like I need to protect it from her." Spoken like a true victim of a Malignant Narcissistic Sociopath. "Self improvement is also very important to me. I have found that if I am not making time to go to the gym or working on things to actively better myself, my mental health really takes a hit." Yup. Affects everyone (normal) like that, just to varying degrees. But I get yours is big. How's about... she starts up and you use that as your cue to say: "I'm not discussing anything with you while you're in this needlessly OTT state. I'm going to the gym and when I get back, hopefully you'll be prepared to have a normal, grown-up, calm, , sit-down dignified CONVERSATION about your (latest) complaints. If not, you'll have a long time to wait. The power...(pause deliberate) is all yours on that score. Let's see what you do with it, shall we? (Flat-sounding) Byeeeee (soft front-door click)." You could stop after 'complaints'. Or after 'to wait'. Or not. S'up to you entirely. As long as you mean it. Repeat: AS LONG AS YOU MEAN IT. Row Time becomes Gym Time, and you've renovated and heightened your boundary regarding how one is or is not allowed to talk to you - End Of. (*Owned*) You couldn't do that to your mother when you were little, but you damn well can now. :) Hopefully when you get back, she'll be at John's/Jane's house and you'll get to have a lovely bubble-bath as well. ...which is fair enough, since you'll have started an affair with Gym (groan). However, these are just short-term solutions so that you don't take out a Contract on her or something (joke). She'll find other ways to get round you and create drama. But if being spoken to in that angry and contemptuous tone is your Achilles Heel, and not getting to the gym any more, your anathema, then, that is definitely where you should start. Be prepared, however, for her not to WANT you to go to the gym (healthy body - healthy mind) and suddenly switch to sickly-sweet. Tell her you don't want sickly saccharine sprinkles, either - see ya later (insanely-egotistical 'Gater). That sound like a clever plan, Stan? "I recently decided to start studying for a certification to change careers, and my wife got upset and said that I was not making enough time for her even though I added two breaks to make sure that I am able to have time with her that is uninterrupted for breakfast and dinner. We also spend all of our time together on the couch and relaxing in bed before we go to bed together. I would be studying for part of this time, but we are still near each other. I have also pushed all of my time to study and workout during the week so that we can have weekends free together." I expect this will be easier to understandd now, but - she DOESN'T WANT you to self-improve because she doesn't want her emotional (and fiscal?) Slave (and Toxin-Puke toilet) to constructively-dismiss himself. Any enhancement and other women with whom she can't compete, will start noticing you............. = rejected and abandoned NSpath (ker-boom goes her head and already over-fragile but power-crazed ego). "My career is one of the most important areas of fulfillment in my life" Yup. "and I have felt dissatisfied in this category for many years now. I feel like in the past, whenever I have tried to make a change or any improvements, my wife sabotages them by making me feel guilty for not spending my time with her." You feel like, because she does do. (Crap Engrish, but you'll get it.) They all hold you back, deliberately. "She is happy with my current job, because I make decent money and the work life balance is good." Nnnot that reason. The one I just said. Including - new work environment, new potential (, actual) lovers. Plus, she doesn't care about YOUR feelings because you don't matter. Only she-she-she does. And whomever's her handy tool, doing as she commands, at any given point in time. She's an emotional and (probably) fiscal blood-sucker, she doesn't want her supplies put at even the tiniest risk. She doesn't want anything to change. Because SHE LIKES HOW EVERYTHING IS (set up in her favour alone...attention-attention-attention - look at ME-ME-ME, not you). QUESTION: when did this putting you down in front of friends begin? What have your friends said, if anything? "I just end up feeling stuck in all aspects of my life. Stuck in my relationship and stuck in my current career." Your relationship is the only root cause of your problems. "I'm really not sure what I am looking for out of any of this. I guess just to get it off my chest. We aren't in a position right now where I could break things off, even though I think that might be the healthiest thing for me mentally. If I were to break it off, I'm not sure the emotional drama she would cause would make getting out worth it. Anyway, thank you for reading, and any insight would be appreciated." 1. For someone in the know to tell you it's not just okay but sensible and self-preservationist to end it. 2. Not rigt now, no. But if you get your brain used to the idea, that'll incrementally and exponentially take a lot of the sting out of her words/behaviours until you're Melania Trump ("Ah donn't care"). 3. Okay then. "Grey Rock" combined with "Out-Narc the Narc" - Operation "Get myself chucked". Poison the well. 4. Of course it's the healthiest. But you can do it gradually. Just knowing it's what you're doing will be tantamount to you donning earplugs (and a suit of armour). 5. Do it and don't tell her. When she finds out, say, you're no Wife so - I'm single - so I'll do what I like with my single but cohabiting life, thanks. If you, my mere housemate and co-investor, don't like it - you are perfect liberty to LEAVE. 6. Or kick her in the crutch and say, That's from Soulmate, someone who's no gentleman. Well - not to Ferrel and Rabid animals, anyway. PS: Just start to think about it. But for now - because you're thinking about it and "Won't Ferrel" (haha) got keener predator senses than you

Some heavy thoughts surrounding my relationship

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So what does your Dad have to say about her?

Some heavy thoughts surrounding my relationship

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Sorry, I didn't finish the sentance: "PS: Just start to think about it. But for now - because you're thinking about it and "Won't Ferrel" (haha) got keener predator senses than you" - do not think about it around her or she'll pick up on the attitude and start on you again (to put that confidence back in its locked box). Also - ref above 'only if you mean it': if you don't mean it but need to say it before you mean it - act your socks off. Moreover, however, you MUST follow-though. So even if you were say it while in tears - still go to the Gym. (Get it?) Consequences. Shove their damn noses in their own sh*t, make them eat their words. Here's another one: if you keep shoving me violently away like this, sooner or later I'm going to believe it's because it's what you genuinely want - permanently - yet lack the balls, ergo want to provoke ME into make that hard decision for you. I call this: iz THAT WOT YOU WANT? - CUZ THAT'S WHADLLAPPEN!. This is out-Narcing as well, as, obviously, YOU are now the one using HER 'strengths' against HER. It's you, taking her twisting and manipulation and giving it a re-orientation so as to use it for your own benefit. It'll confuse the uck out of her as well (because it's nowhere in the lifelong script!). Again, these are just to buy yourself thinking time and self-care room (to limber-up, "in case" or for "when"). Can't hurt - CAN help (will).

Some heavy thoughts surrounding my relationship

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Hello SOULMATE, Thank you for your very detailed reply. It was well worth the wait. I have been busy googling a lot of the words/phrases that you mentioned, and I think you're spot on with just about all of them. Looks like I definitely have some research to do. (One of my favorite things :)) I already started reading the Narc's Playbook on Kindle between reading your reply and me typing this message. I guess I had it in the back of my mind that it could be the case but hadn't fully come to terms with it. The fact that she gets very triggered anytime someone calls her manipulative should have been a big give away. Both the Buddha and slot machine analogies were great, and I can see both scenarios. I think I really needed the validation the the freeze response. I'll stop feeling weak and second guessing myself on it and see it for what it is. After reading about grey rock and your input, I can see how it's both beneficial to me in the moment and to halt the continuation of the situation in general. To answer your questions that were not answered later on in my post: "AH. So she's saying YOU make her feel insecure (or more so)? Because her understanding of caring is that it necessarily involves a lot of Jealousy? Has she been trying to make you jealous to get signs - or more signs - or too many - that you care? Is she trying to level the playing-field by bringing you down to HER level of insecurity? At this point, I'd have to ask if you show her enough love and attention or whether it's because she's like PacMan on that score? That she can't be alone, would certainly suggest so. Okay. Histronics DON'T try to make you jealous. At this point, therefore, I'm wondering whether all those past episodes of betrayal are true, or indeed, whether she was the cheater (on the purely Benign Narc level - to get them to feel jealous and insecure and - wait for it - CLING TIGHTER to her." I do think the jealousy component of our relationship has changed over time and it's no longer something that she expects from me. But yes, it used to make her insecure if I wasn't jealous, and she would blatantly flirt with guys and girls in front of me to try and make me jealous. Her understanding of caring definitely used to involve a lot of jealousy. It certainly was not for lack of me showing her affection back then. In fact, she would push me away and then flirt in front of me. ""They had a very toxic relationship both that time and previously and it ended in a big fight." Just like how young teenagers behave - right? WHEN DID YOU LEARN ALL OF THIS, BY THE WAY? Before you got with her - or late after having bonded beyond point of painless return?" I learned it the first time around a few months in (after she had hit me with a hefty dose of love bombing) and then after they broke up the second time (when she told me that she had thought about me the whole time she was back with him. He had(has) BPD as well, which added to the toxicity. I guess she missed being with an easier-going _?_ (me). ""During this whole time, she was going through therapy" Do you have proof of that - or just her Hearsay?" I did have proof of her going to therapy, and for a while there, things were really seeming to get better. I have been encouraging her to get another therapist, but I think maybe I should take my own advice there. "(What nationality are you, BTW? This I really want to know.)" I'm from the US. "QUESTION: when did this putting you down in front of friends begin? What have your friends said, if anything?" It's hard to say when it really began... Maybe the whole time? To be honest, I don't have too many close friends and most of our acquaintances are her friends. Although, one of our mutual friends (who was my friend first) does often say that she doesn't want to get "the look" that my wife gives me. When I start forming friendships of my own, she either makes me feel guilty, gets jealous, or takes over the friendship and turns them more into her friend than mine. (I already know what you're going to say about that one, haha) "So what does your Dad have to say about her?" It was a big adjustment for him at first. He was not at all used to her overly emotional communication style. She wasn't used to him not being afraid to push her buttons. I think they have both adjusted now, and they have a decent relationship. Let me know if there is anything else you would like to know. I'll be re-reading your first replies a few times. There's a lot to digest! Thanks once again for all of your input; it really made a big impact.

Some heavy thoughts surrounding my relationship

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Ahhhh, thank-you, that's very sweet of you to say. :) (Oh, boy, this woman does not deserve you. She saw you down, didn't she - and siezed her once-in-a-lifetime chance to get with someone who'd normally not bite). "I have been busy googling a lot of the words/phrases that you mentioned, and I think you're spot on with just about all of them. Looks like I definitely have some research to do. (One of my favorite things :))" Haha! You're going to be an expert by the time you're done - or should I say, caught up with the rest of us because, not only is research is still in its infancy, but new or re-interpreted aspects are emerging all the time (although - and this makes me laugh because it's how NPD Abuse appears - in a drip-drip fashion). "I guess I had it in the back of my mind that it could be the case but hadn't fully come to terms with it. The fact that she gets very triggered anytime someone calls her manipulative should have been a big give away." Uh-huh. Whereas a normal person would (under normal circs) respond with something a lot calmer, like, "Well, hang on - what do you mean - manipulating where, for what? Give me an example" or "Heyyy... why are you saying that, and why are you so het up - what's going on?" or "Nnnot talking to you in that mood - no way! (glides off)....Have your people contact my people to tell me when you're back to normal" - i.e., Why, Miss Jones, but...you're UGLY without your mask - put it on, quick, for the love of God woman! Which brings me nicely to: FROM NOW ON - IT'S NOT: "Mew-mew, why are you being so meeeaaan to meeeee?". It's this: UGH! UGHFF! YUCK = Disgusted, repulsed, unimpressed, turned-off. And this: YAWN (saying the word flatly). But...so many other choices of reaction/response, rather than insta-defence via aggression/high-octane-ness (or Victim-stealing) offense. And even IF a Normal reacted defensively off-the-bat, it'd only take about 20 mins or less (or an hour if a mid-late teenager) to come back to you with a sheepish, apologetic, calmer attitude, willingness to discuss, all of that. Yes, it's a headfck and no messing. So it takes a while for your mind to accept it. However, meanwhile, that time is what's keeping you in the lion's cage, getting steadily more shredded. Because even IF you outfox her by countermanipulation to cash-IN on her manipulation and antagonising attempt each time - as I say, there are still all the other niggly drip-drip problems elsewhere, or a new one emerges BECAUSE you plugged the other 'puke' hole. You can't win - unless you submit (pff!) OR dominate and manage them. Obviously you do it like a true, kind-but-firm *adult* - a parent to their stunted kid - as opposed to their 'toddler in despot suit' ('who couldn't run a bath'!). But that OR the submissive little husband, is a pretty full-time job, meaning, you have control over the relationship BUT STILL ZERO TIME OR ENERGY FOR YOURSELF (so your teeth will still crack/crumble and other fun stuff, while your hairstyle goes to the wall....and leave you with (listen up) rapidly declining joie de vivre or plain satisfaction with other areas of your life SUCH AS YOUR JOB. Do nothing about changing jobs. Deal with her first. You might find you not only fall back in love with your place of work but - with your recent, still ongoing, mental growth-spurt - you-with-your-Mojo-back might get spotted for promotion or opportunities. It happens. But managing the (er) relationship will buy you some time. I would, if I were you, go see a lawyer (ones that offer a free consultation meeting - 1hr usually) so that you know where you stand and that it'll all be nowhere near as bad as you feared (plus bear in mind, Family/Divorce Court judges don't like abusive family-destroying/eroding types like Narcs, and no contract stands in Law if made DURING A RELATIONSHIP THAT WAS MANIPULATIVE, DISTRESSINGLY FRAUGHT, COERCIVE... They're Pro-family and only human - of course it influences them.) This visit would be SO LIBERATING for you....your confidence would shoot up and you'd take her to task NO problem....no fear of failure or consequences of such - basically no fear of the unknown any more is why. INNIT. :) So think seriously about getting rid of your present Achilles (your financial and parental-care dependency). OR dividing the house a la Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger until such time as you can extricate financies by starting the divorce? Darn it -just noticed the time and I've got to be up early-ish tomorrow. Going to have to finish the rest tomorrow evening or Tuesday. So sorry again for the slowness...too many posts, too little time at the mo. If you feel like answering any poster yourself, then please do. That sentance about exposing your soul/protecting your soul was so emotionally eloquent, it was pure poetry. :) In fact, I'd go as far as to say it works to sum up a narcissistically-abusive, Roman-Tick ReLayShunShip/FauxLayShunShip (haha, quite pleased with that!). Less Soul-Mate and more Soul-Bait, eh (...cos they ain't got one of their own, it got murdered long before they met you.) Back soon!

Some heavy thoughts surrounding my relationship

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(White Rabbit-style apologies yet again...) "I do think the jealousy component of our relationship has changed over time and it's no longer something that she expects from me. But yes, it used to make her insecure if I wasn't jealous, and she would blatantly flirt with guys and girls in front of me to try and make me jealous. Her understanding of caring definitely used to involve a lot of jealousy. It certainly was not for lack of me showing her affection back then. In fact, she would push me away and then flirt in front of me. " Yes. Whenever you block one bad behaviour, it gets replaced by another. In the end, you feel like an octopus, with all eight tentacles trying to block these holes in the Narc dam, and not having a spare tentacle to see to anything in your own life. Have you ever suggested couples counselling? Either she'll react defensively-aggressively because they don't want to go near anyone with x-ray specs OR, if they're a veteran or virtuoso and accordingly gobsmackingly arrogant with it, will agree and...you'll get to sit there and watch them charm and brainwash the therapist (if they're not well-versed in NPD), and think (ah-haah, now I remember, that's how they did it on me). It's highly unlikely the exercise would improve the relationship for you, but - as you're an experimenting type, you might find that highly educational and future-protective (the LAST thing you want is for another 'shark' to smell your, even one single atom of blood in the water before you're even fully-recovered; hence you have to stay single and stick with people you know you can trust until you heal into no longer being scared to trust again and just finding Narcs ludicrous and pitiable). There's a meme that basically goes: Nobody falls in-love faster than a Narc who needs a place to stay. Does that apply here? "I learned it the first time around a few months in (after she had hit me with a hefty dose of love bombing)" There we go. She indeed failed to tell you until you were hooked. (Tick!) (not a positive tick, obvs) "and then after they broke up the second time" 'THEY' broke up. Naughty They. New phrases to memorise: ********** "I asked the liar if s/he was lying and s/he said, No" ********** ********** "I asked the liar if s/he was telling the truth and s/he said, Yes." ********** "(when she told me that she had thought about me the whole time she was back with him." What a crock. Mouth says one thing, even while the feet are proving or have just proven the tsunami-sized opposite. If she'd HAD that amount of bond/feeling for you to begin with, she'd have been incapable of discarding and abandoning you for no good reason in the first place, THINK about it (you probably already have). Taking Huge Risks With The Relationship (tick!) Gaslighting - denying the meaning of her screaming actions (tick!) Pathological lying (obvs) (tick!) Using the Pity Ploy (I suffered toooo boo-hoo) (tick!) Serial Cheating (tick!) Triangulation (tick!)... I could go on but, suffice it to say: She is a Tick (haha) and has been, all the way through your fauxlationship. In whichever relational role they play in (with) your life, they all come out with the same old, same old Old Chestnuts, like that one. Yawn City. (This lot are SO going down. Virtually everyone, now, is aware of the early, middle and late Red Flags. What are they going to do if they can no longer pull the wool/con their victims? ) (THANK GOD you didn't agree to adopt a kiddie. Can you imagine?!) "He had(has) BPD as well, which added to the toxicity. I guess she missed being with an easier-going _?_ (me). " Yeah, I expect a lot of people who were fine and dandy enough at the start, ended up like that, thanks to her - or someone else had done the major beatings and all she had to do was prod-prod-prod. But anyway - this response assumes the liar is telling the truth. Probably, he was just bloody devastated. Probably, he doesn't even know about you (but now suspects). He's your co-victim, by the way. FYI, BPDs are NPD-victims/endurers, like yourself, but whom had a tendency to internalise the abuse and therefore didn't get out in-time, got beaten-up and gaslighted too much...stubborn but not independent-minded/no handy, anti-Narc, psychopathic traits with it...the intrinsically squishiest and sweetest of all Empaths types. They have a fear of abandonment, thanks to the constant, real and (in the context of an exposed heart) terrifying abandonment episodes...on-off-on-off, sweet-mean-sweet-mean... Have you googled Narcissistic Victim - Cognitive Dissonance yet? What makes it so hard is that they DO have days when they're like the 'love and light' person you were led to take them for. It's like 'chasing the dragon' (Heroin): the first hit works, all subsequent ones leave you increasingly dissatisfied and chasing that first high. She'll have got you addicted to her but being led to call it love. And what would YOU know when love like in the films could be a case of art imitating life, rather than life imitating art? Nah. Love is a (eventually) super-bestie, Rock-type mate but whom you're sexually attracted to and bonk. Ber-bom. You've got better, more important things to be getting on with than playing victim-Co-Star to a nutjob actor who may as well be an android and is trying to whip the empathetic humanity out of you by perpetually doing to their lover what was done to them. (Vampires and Zombies (Wolves are mad/bad 'everyday' psychopaths).) Time to sing Adele's "We Could Have Had It All" (although, no, you couldn't...but it FEELS like 'so near and yet so far', and that aspect is the longest-lasting, uber-frustration of it). "I did have proof of her going to therapy, and for a while there, things were really seeming to get better. I have been encouraging her to get another therapist, but I think maybe I should take my own advice there." What proof? Define 'for a while'? Seemed, how? I don't believe her so I need the details, please. I reckon she'll have been doing what they do: really, visiting John/Jane down the road each time. He's probably in her Contacts as Therapist...wouldn't surprise me. "I'm from the US." Be more specific: What about your maternal and paternal great-Grands or further-back ancestors? "It's hard to say when it really began... Maybe the whole time? To be honest, **I don't have too many close friends and most of our acquaintances are her friends." (Yes, it is hard (drip-drip-drip). But that's a salient answer in itself. ;)) **Do you mean, since you met her or that this had been your pre-existing state? "Although, one of our mutual friends (who was my friend first) does often say that she doesn't want to get "the look" that my wife gives me. " FYI, she is your true friend, not wife's. She's being diplomatic in her hinting but she's actually yelling at you that this is SO WRONG and negatively characteristic, AND, more to the point, inappropriately MALEVOLENT of a so-called wife. Stick with her. Get closer to her again. Start meeting her separately - secretly if you have to for the time being. Or phone her. Open with this: 'What you so concicely and eloquently said last time has been going round and round in my mind and even led to my consulting those in-the-know on an online forum. And you're right!...(etc). So you obviously know stuff. Plus I miss you anyway. Can we meet, just the two of us? "When I start forming friendships of my own, she either makes me feel guilty, gets jealous, or takes over the friendship and turns them more into her friend than mine. (I already know what you're going to say about that one, haha)" Yup. Tick! Tick! Tick! (or Tick! and Tick!). The case is already closed on the identifications score; this is all just yet more confirmation and vindication for you. (Answer this lot first and then we'll get onto your dad.) You're very welcome (and thank-you for your lovely manners)! :)

Some heavy thoughts surrounding my relationship

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PS: Once you've finished grieving (not long - you've done most of it already, secretly) - You are going to LOVE being single and solo this time round. (After her and her constant aggro/battering/badgering/pecking - impossible NOT to!)

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