The A happened this year when we were geographically separated due to work obligations. I was a week away from moving to where he is permanently and starting a job in his office. He was cornered into telling me because of some paperwork (long story). Hell, I found out on my way to put the deposit down on the U-Haul to move me out there! As far as I can tell, before DDay, the plan was for me to never find out. My impression was that they agreed to end it once I got there (sort of like a "final fling" type thing before really settling down), but I think the A got more involved than either of them expected, so I can't be sure they would have stuck to that plan.
After DDay#1, at first he wanted to R... but it quickly became apparent that he couldn't take it. Long story short, after about three weeks, he announced that he didn't want to R "right now" and felt "free" without me. He admitted the A had gone underground (= DDay #2). He knew that was a deal breaker anyway. I NCed him and haven't heard from him since (going on 3 months).
What I continue to struggle with is how cruel he was in that last week. The first week he was crying, too, and he was sorry, etc. But as time went on, it's like he got a head of steam and he morphed from this guy who had been so sweet and loving for over a decade into this mean, cruel person. He said some awful things to me that are just burned into my brain. He'd tell me he wasn't sorry this happened. He would watch me sobbing on the floor and just stare at me with dead eyes. He got a little aggressive physically. He basically just raged at me. I'd never seen anything like it from him. I don't want to relive all of it, so I won't go into everything he said and did... but I honestly thought at first that he had lost his mind. He was drinking a lot on top of it (also unlike him). For the first few weeks after we NCed, I was convinced that I was going to get a call from his brother telling me he was in the hospital.
Did anyone else go through something like this? I'm dealing with the A and the betrayal as best I can (IC, etc). But how did you learn to deal with the memories of someone you loved turning into a monster all of a sudden?
Before I answer this, "But how did you learn to deal with the memories of someone you loved turning into a monster all of a sudden?", I just wanted to tell you how proud I am of the progress you have made. You are processing all the shitty feelings head on ~ no rug sweeping, no minimizing, no denial. This is so important in order to heal and rebuild your life. So give yourself a big hug and acknowledge the hard work you are doing.
I was with my stbx for almost 25 years and married for 19. It took, I hate to say this, TIME to accept and admit that he WAS this "monster" all along. I didn't see it. Scratch that. I chose not to see it. I minimized. I rationalized. I made excuses.
You are still in the early stages of grieving. It's confusing. It's maddening. It's depressing. Continue to do the hard work necessary to grieve, heal and rebuild. Continue to move forward. Hugs and support, dmari
As soon as I made it clear that I would not accept his disrespectful behavior any longer, and he realized I was serious, he turned into a monster, and I was the enemy..
Over the last 2 or 3 months, I've been looking at not why he did this, but why I allowed it, tolerated it, accepted it. Like dmari, I have come to realize the monster was there all along. In the beginning, I refused to believe it. Later, I started to accept responsibility for it (if only i had been a better wife, mother, lover...). Now I realize it had nothing at all to do with me. I am starting to realize that he hid it well, and like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, I thought my love could change him. It couldn't. The relationship has changed me, however. I see things more clearly, and am less blind to other's faults and failings. I know now that no one is perfect. There is no soulmate and there is no "happily ever after", at least not like it's portrayed in the movies. I also realize that life is good and there are wonderful caring people in the world. And I deserve to know them and have them know me. Whether I ever date again or not, who knows. If I do, this time I'll have my eyes and my mind wide open.
Through IC I am learning that I accepted a lot of crazy. The way my IC puts it, I "accommodated" him a LOT at the expense of my feelings. The pay off was the "I love yous" and feeling secure. But, as you say, once I wasn't cooperating anymore and standing up for myself, I got a side of him I'd never seen before.
The thing I hate about this process is having to look back and realize how sh*tty things actually were sometimes. I must have really gaslighted myself. I was also posting earlier in the week about how, in my gut, I knew something wasn't right with this dude from the beginning. It's so depressing to accept that the evil dude is part of who he really was and somewhere deep down I knew it. It's like all of my comfy illusions all got crushed in one huge blow up and turns out I was living in an alternate reality I made up myself built on the foundation of a whole lot of assumptions about who he was (always assuming the best) and, because of that, always thinking "he didn't mean it like that."
Ugh. Sometimes I'm so disappointed in myself.
I'm going to keep trying to use this experience as an opportunity to look seriously at my own patterns and tendencies. Change the things about myself that I don't like-- for me. Embrace the new path this has put me on.
But occasionally, I'll have a nightmare or I'll feel rundown and something evil he said will just pop into my head and I just don't know how to handle it.
I hope you're right, dmari, and time will take care of it eventually.
Can't we just round up all the world's WS, put them in a rocket and shoot them into space? That would help, too.
[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 5:20 PM, July 21st (Sunday)]
the eyes are called "shark eyes"
It was actually his cousin that said to me "he's a narcissist". I didn't believe it at first. I thought I knew what that was and the Ex I knew was NOTHING like that! Then I started reading about it...OMG, it took ONE article and my jaw dropped and I was temporarily hooked on reading everything I could get my hands on about the subject. All of the "quirks" I thought my Ex had was written as though the author knew him personally. When an example of what a narc would say in certain situations was given it was often word-for-word something my EX had said since his "friend" entered his life. He is a covert narc and only got the courage to act out what was really inside him all along from his new "friendship."
I know now that it was the "devaluation" process that happens when a narc thinks he has found a new and better supply.
Knowledge fueled my need to press on and detach from the monster. It helped me out of the fog that I had been in for years. Like NG mentioned I was a participant in the deception. He wore the mask well but there were many cracks and holes that I saw over the years but I held on to the "good guy" that he presented when I played my part and responded the way he wanted me to. I gave him everything I could but it was never (and now I know could never be) enough.
Accepting that the monster seen is the monster that was always there is hard. Sooooo ridiculously hard! I feel more traumatized by the things he did and said during the affair than the actual affair itself. He smelled blood and went for the jugular when I admitted to him how bad I felt at the time and how much his actions were destroying me. And yup, he did so with the "dead eyes" you spoke of. It's spooky as hell. He gave me those eyes every time I talked about anything I was unhappy about over the years. I thought it was another one of his "quirks" that I learned to deal with. He wore those eyes every time I opened my mouth the last couple of months before I kicked him out.
I think accepting the unbelievable takes time. I wish I knew how much because I'm still struggling with the sudden transformation. I basically have to accept that the last 10 years wasn't what I thought and was spent with someone who was a ticking time bomb despite how secure I felt.
(((PhantomLimb))) There is so much to process and deal with and I'm so sorry you're struggling through it all. These bastards should all be committed so they can't hurt anyone else.
[This message edited by Housefulloflove at 7:03 PM, July 21st (Sunday)]
My eyes are open now after 24 years. I didn't see what he was, I didn't want to see.
Be thankful to yourself for finding out about all this now, while you still have your youth.
Take good care of yourself.
From the way he pursued me, to his "quirks", to the way he was an "expert" on everything, to his obsessive working out, to his obsession with his appearance... it was him. Even in the breakup everything was "I" focused ("I'm sad today") and he never once asked me how I was. I could go on. But what he did to me at the end seems to have been some kind of narc rage. It wasn't enough to cheat on me, break up with me, force me to quit my job, kick me out of the house. He had to throw in the insults, say anything he could think of until I cried, if I appealed to his compassion, our past, his love for me, I got the "shark eyes." I imagined myself like an animal he just kept beating into a corner. Frankly, it's why I 180ed/NCed so quick.
The only thing that got a rise out of him was if I was just as cruel back. I did it a couple of times and he would turtle right back into his shell. But I decided I didn't want to stoop to his level and that's the other reason I NCed.
After I had NCed him, he moved on to texting and FB. Texted my friends that I was a bad person and things between us "hadn't been great for awhile." They didn't answer. Began posting memes and status updates like a maniac. Hit on some of my girlfriends (even the gay ones!) online. Talked about visiting home and going back to the places where he "kissed and broke up with girls" when he was a kid. He knew I just got a new car and started posting all kinds of things about how awful cars are for the environment (he rides a bike to work). Bragged about how great the area of the country that he's living in is. Every morning he posted a status update about how his life was so, so, so fabulous right now. It finally began to taper off after a few weeks, but it's the other reason I unfriended him ASAP. At first it helped to watch some of that activity to see how far gone he was. On the other hand, talk about dehumanizing me.
Again, with IC, I'm looking back and seeing there were cracks. If he said something cruel to you, he would tell you he didn't mean it that way and it was your problem for misinterpreting him. I think I could count the number of "I'm sorry"s on one hand in 10 years. He NEVER finished his work voluntarily. If he had something due (like a report) he would just spend the week going to the gym for hours everyday and then, at the very very last min, he would go in the "cave" and pump out whatever was due without putting in major effort. He was all show. His resume was always ridiculous. If he attended one meeting once in his life on a topic, he was suddenly an expert at it and it made it onto his list of accomplishments/abilities. If someone at work was given an assignment he wanted, he became obsessed and would villainize that person until they would go to his boss and complain that they just couldn't work with him anymore.
But I was always protected. I was in the inner circle. He helped me with stuff because when I looked good, it made him look good. And I used to joke that I made him "look human" because I would help soften his emails and explain why he couldn't say certain things to people. I helped de-geek him and pick out nice suits. I gave him a loving extended family that he could go to when his family was full of weirdos. He even took on my whole animal rescue thing and would brag about it as if it was his own. I thought we were sharing a mutual interest... but, come to think of it, he never spent a penny of his own money on it, unless I was paying him back. To this day, our rescue dog and our family photos are still up on his FB profile, making him look like the compassionate, loving family man.
This turned into more of a rant than I intended... but it is so hard to live with going from hero to zero in someone's life so fast. To be dehumanized like that. And then, if you do accept that they are "sick", it's hard to even get seriously, truly angry... because you know it will do about as much good as getting angry at a chair. A chair at least sometimes cushions your ass and, in that respect, has more compassion than someone with NPD.
Friends will call me and ask if I've heard from him. Of course I haven't. That would mean he's human. He had a fiancÚ before I met him that he decided to leave and he LITERALLY never talked to her again. He ran into her 10 years later at a college reunion, they exchanged niceties, and she emailed him about a week later one of those sort of "glad our lives worked out, nice to see you, how about some polite closure" emails. He just didn't answer it. Made fun of it to me. I encouraged him to respond. Give her some closure. Even if you don't mean it, have some compassion... you really crushed her all of those years ago. He couldn't be bothered and never did it.
I have the feeling I'm now in the same category. At one point he called me during the breakup and I answered by saying "I'm shocked" Him: "Why?" Me: "Because I know you're going to do to me what you did to X". He took a reeeeeaaaallllly long pause and then said quietly "I'm not doing that."
Almost 3 mos and counting on the last time I heard anything from him. Wanna bet?
[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 8:54 PM, July 21st (Sunday)]
Read my profile. I haven't edited the early parts because I want to remember just how messed up my head was. I said: "We had an amazing relationship" - no, we didn't. *I* had an amazing relationship in my head. That is how I accepted so much less than anyone deserves for so long.
Be mindful of making excuses for him. It wasn't the circumstances that caused this, nor a good/bad marriage - it is him. It would have happened whether or not you were apart, whether or not your M was good.
He didn't step on a mine. He is the mine.
This part was enormously painful for me. With every action of this 'new him' it felt like my beloved husband was being torn apart by a pack of rabid hyenas right in front of my eyes. That is how strong my self-deception was. It had to get this bad before I would let myself 'see' it.
I held onto who I thought he was for much longer than he pretended to be that guy.
The dead eyes still make me shiver even just seeing them in my minds eye. I even used to call him monster. You read posts here all the time about aliens and pod people. There is a major disconnect between what you saw and what he really is.
That is what you are feeling now IMO. The infidelity is the earthquake and the betrayals beyond infidelity are the tsunami that razes it to the ground.
He is showing you who he is. You will believe him. Give it time.
The shit that fucker has pulled in S/D I would never even have contemplated pulling even though HE betrayed me. I still would not consider pulling that shit now.
I raged at him back when I thought I still wanted my M. He raged at me when I stopped wanting it.
I know right where you are - so many of us have been there or are in there with you now.
You will see this cruelty as a gift one day. I have said several times that his complete lack of remorse was the kindest thing he had done to me in 5 years and it is true. Doesn't mean it doesn't still hurt like a motherfucker.
The cruelty will help you detach. You will heal from this. It won't always feel like this.
[This message edited by StrongButBroken at 9:39 AM, July 22nd (Monday)]
With every action of this 'new him' it felt like my beloved husband was being torn apart by a pack of rabid hyenas right in front of my eyes.
Amen to this.
You're right about his detaching being merciful in some ways. I think it would make me feel so much more confused and worse if he had actually tried to save it.
1. ex is mostly concerned about appearances. We had the perfect house, cars, great vacations...then I would find out the bank account was overdrawn.
2. When he said something hurtful/mean/dismissive and I said something back he would say..."I'm JUST kidding! Jeesh. Can't you take a joke?"
3. If I complained about his lack of attention to me he would say, "I treat you like gold. I never hit you!"
4. At work, he told me how much everyone loved him. But he was fired from one job, and all the others required him to get counseling/therapy to be a better manager and learn to work WITH people, not just steamroll them.
5. He had no friends.
The entire time we were married, he was hiding he was gay, multiple LTA's, hidden bank accounts.
It still hasn't quite sunk in some days. Like..."who the hell was that I was married to??" He wanted the appearance of a perfect life, but underneath was something very...dark.
It took me awhile to reconcile the two "parts" and just realize who I thought I was married to didn't really exist. I never really knew who he was.
My IC says he is either NPD or Borderline Personality Disorder. I just know to avoid him and keep everything to kids/finances. He would prefer we were best friends (that way it would look like what he did was fine...)