Welcome to the Tribe!! The sane place in the midst of insanity.
This is the hook they use
to attract supply, to get empathetic ones in their orbit so they can use them.
Seeing as how they lack empathy, it makes sense doesn't it?
They feed off that. Use your goodness against you.
It's not so much as wanting what *used to be*, as it is realizing within yourself it *never was* - that you were presented a mask...a false character.
I think on that basis, you can begin to forgive yourself too.
&PIP - to answer your question, no. I have never seen a good relationship with an N.
Stick around. Read the stories. I've been here awhile & learned a ton of wonderful healing things from these kind folks of the Tribe.
You're safe here.
Hugs to both of you.
The people here are so wonderful and supportive. They have experience with this and offer such wonderful advice.
One website that really helped me to believe and understand, begin to believe the reality of all this. That is a hard one, believing that this is real.
Sandra Brown, you can google her, not the mystery writer. I think it may be called "Safe Relationships", or possibly "the institute for relational harm reduction."
The way she writes spoke to me, she presents information that focuses more on the effects on the target of the narc, as opposed to a list of criteria for diagnoses of the personality disorder.
I found that learning, reading really helped me to forgive myself for staying with this "man" for so long and also helped me to understand why it was so hard, so painful to break free.
You will get through this, it does get better.
I am sorry that you had cause to find this thread but grateful that you did find it. These are some of the most understanding, wise and compassionate people that I have ever met.
I would now like to be known as Can!
dday October 21,2012
dday December 20, 2013
attempted R, it was all a lie
I just had such a hard time maintaining my grasp on the truth of who he really is. I really struggled with believing, accepting that the "good" in him was just pretend, a fašade and partly my illusions based on what he told me, not what he did, not his actions. In retrospect, his actions were consistently cruel and selfish, not just towards me but towards everyone in his past. He was very good to me for the first 2 years but it did not last. To be honest though, I think my expectations of what being treated well were pretty pathetic.
After 10 months of MC, IC for both dday#2 and again he was out the door in minutes.
He was never able to express remorse, compassion, empathy, my gut was screaming. It really was an awful time, I was in constant pain, high alert, nightmares, depression. I knew but just did not want to believe.
In May of 2014 he told me that he would do anything to try. I gave him 2 things to do, get in IC and be honest and post on SI everyday as an act of commitment. Barely and effort on posting and no IC.
I had some very blunt conversations with him. He has these moments of being honest. It had a lot to do with how I approached him. If I just asked about him, what he thinks without any expression of pain from me, he likes to talk about himself.
The defining moment for me was when he told me to stop asking for the actions. It hit me, he was right because if he was committed to change, to really putting in the effort, I would never have to ask him, he would ask me.
The next day I told him I was done, proceeding with finalizing divorce. I was just done. I finally believed that he really is the person that he was showing me. The words had and still have absolutely no meaning.
It still hurts, not because I miss him, I miss the dream, the illusion, the man that I created, he was never real though.
I am getting so much better. I am happier than I have been in years. I have been feeling like I have been freed from a prison. A prison that let me out on work release though
Please feel free ask anything. I would love to be able to help, to pay forward some of what I have received.
I used to blame H's "issues" on his childhood (dad physically abused his mom, cheated on her, then left the family when H was around 9. Mom showed no affection towards the kids, only emotion she ever showed was anger. he got into LOTS of trouble)
The first months of our relationship was great. He did things with me, we laughed together, it was all perfect (granted, I never had a "real" boyfriend before him, so I had nothing to compare it to). Then the little things started to happen. We were both on hot or not.com but I was dumb and signed up for the membership which allowed members to message you. He saw this and freaked. Told me to come over to his house, called me a slut and a whore my whole way over there. He constantly was breaking up with me, and usually on the weekends...probably so he could go party and not feel guilty about whatever he was doing.
I ended up getting pregnant about a year after we had been together. I had our DD when I was 20. He had became friends with a girl he met while riding his motorcycle. She had a motorcycle as well. He spent lots of time riding bikes together. I should have put my foot down then but of course I was so infatuated with him and so "in love". She ended up moving to a different state and that was the end of that. (now that I think about it, that was probably his first EA, and quite possibly a PA, and the start of him realizing he can get away with anything). Let me also add that during my pregnancy he was extremely distant. He had a daughter with another woman when he was 18 (he's 4 yrs older than me) and when I got pregnant he said "my life is over in 9 months". Of course he didn't give a shit how MY life was going to be affected. He wasn't very present the first couple of months and then he realized he couldn't live without me and decided to start supporting me. I think he was ashamed to be seen in public with me though. There was a specific instance where he took his DD to the pool and I was shocked that he didn't invite me to go along because I had the day off that day.
We ended up getting engaged when our DD was 1 1/2 yrs old. We had built a house together and I thought things were great (aside from our constant fighting and his dr Jekyll/mr hide personality). Until one day I looked at his phone and saw that he had been texting a girl. I confronted him and he felt bad about it, and said that he talks to her because "she worships the ground I walk on" (exact words, and of course he denies ever saying that). That would obviously be the 2nd EA he had. Aaaaaand another red flag that I should have kicked him to the curb and called off the wedding.
We went on our honeymoon to Maui. Got into a fight because he thought we were spending too much money. Then got into another fight because I was being a pansy. Not sure if you've ever heard of the Road to Hana...but it is a very scary one lane road. On our way back down this road all I saw to my right was a cliff dropping to the ocean. I was scared shitless. You'd think that your new husband would say "its ok babe, you're safe" but noo....instead I was told how much of a wuss I am and how he'd rather be there with his friends because they'd be having a blast driving on that road.
The years went on and I knew in my heart that something was right. I knew that our relationship wasn't what it should be but for some reason I kept having hope. I of course thought that I was the problem. I kept trying to please him....having more sex, cleaning better, not going out with friends in case he wanted to spend time with me (which he never did). I basically started to form my life around him. And of course we still fought like crazy. His anger never ceased to shock me. I just couldn't believe how someone could be so damn angry!! And everything was about him. He wanted to buy this and he wanted to buy that and if I tried to tell him we couldn't afford it, he threw a fit. I was supposedly the one who caused the fights. It was because I was constantly looking through his phone or accusing him of doing something. He could never quite understand that his constant verbal and mental abuse had dwindled my self esteem. I figured he'd want someone who was better than me, so I was constantly on the lookout to see if he had found her.
I did everything by myself. I was raising a child with an absent father who happened to live in the same house as us. I took her to all her doctor appointments, I gave her baths, I put her to bed, I took her to school, I took her to dance, I punished her, I praised her, I did this, I did that. I was even expected to watch his DD if he had something to do (like go out with his friends or go on his boat every friggin weekend).
I felt very alone. I felt like he didn't give a shit about me. The only person he cared about was himself, yet he constantly told me how selfish I was. Along came a man at work who started to make me feel like I was something. He told me how smart I was, how beautiful I was, listened to my stories and acted attentive when I was talking. This blossomed into an EA. Little did I know that this guy was a serial cheater and only had one goal and that was to get me in bed. He did NOT succeed. A few months after I ended my EA, I noticed that my H was acting weird. He would sit across the room, with one leg up on the couch and would hide that he was texting. He started watching tv in the basement and when I came downstairs he'd very quickly close the computer screen. So I decided to hack into his facebook and found that he had started an EA with a woman in another state. I called him immediately at work and he felt so guilty. Said he was sorry, said he never meant for it to turn out like this, blah blah blah. We talked that night and he ended up turning it around and putting the focus on ME. He got into my facebook account and saw that I had messaged a guy I used to work with (not my AP) and took a very innocent conversation and turned it into me cheating on him. He ended up punching a hole in the wall because he was so upset. The focus was now off of him and on me. The next day he called me crying, saying that he feels horrible but he also felt like there was something I wasn't telling him. So I confessed to my EA. Oh shit hit the fan.
I'm sure he LOVED this. Yes, he was hurt, but boy oh boy the entire spotlight was off him and on me. He took the next two years to completely cut loose. He hadn't drank since he was 17 (having his first DD made him wake up and "grow up"). So he started drinking (it had been 14 years since his last drink). He started going out every single weekend. He was staying out till 3 or 4 in the morning. He was hanging out with girls. He told me he wasn't "married man material". He had his phone locked. He even started keeping it in the garage so that I wouldn't hear if he got a text. At the end of this 2 year shitfest, I had to take our DD to Chicago for a week of dance nationals. He went on a $500 shopping spree, went out a few nights and on the last night of me being in Chicago he decided to come home at 9am. I thought that that was what made him decide to "settle down". He said he wanted to start MC. He stopped going out, he re-friended me on facebook. He was a different person. (I do have to add that he did hang out with his EA bitch a few times. He had went with his friend skiing in the city she lived in and she ended up having dinner with him and his friends..unfortunately his friends were also friends with her back in elementary school, which made it easy for him to hang out with her. She also went to a college football game with him and a few friends when she was back in our town. What a slap in the face considering he hardly ever does things with me) Aaaaannnd during those two years he constantly threw my EA in my face. I think it made him feel better about what he was doing. And honestly, I wanted to leave him SO bad during those 2 years. Even contacted a lawyer, but never met for that initial consultation. I felt like it was my punishment for what I had done. Even if I tried to bring up his latest EA, he downplayed it quick and said that it wasn't anything and remember what I had done.
The next 3 years after that I thought were amazing. We communicated more. We did things together. We fought way less (and if we did fight, I ended it quick. I think his 2 years of being shitty had made me stronger and I wasn't putting up with his bullshit anymore). I thought to myself "I'm so glad we are past that crap. There's no way we'd ever hurt each other like that again". And the crazy thing was...for once in our entire relationship I actually trusted him!! In those 3 years I went through his phone once. Just once and that was when him and I had went out, he got shitfaced, passed out on the bathroom floor and I thought I'll just check, just to be sure. I never questioned where he was at. When he went out with his friends, I didn't get that sick feeling in my stomach wondering if he's talking to girls. He actually built up my self esteem again. I felt like I was everything to him. Yes we still had our moments once in a while and he of course still made everything about him but I just felt different. But...of course I was wrong. On (Friday) July 11 of this year he was taking a nap on the couch. I was doing dishes and his phone went off a few times. I tell you, I had the weirdest hunch. Like I said, I hadn't gone through his phone or even felt the need to peek at all. But for some really odd reason I felt like I needed to see who had just texted him. The text was from a girl that I had met when him and I had first started dating. Seriously thought nothing of this chick because she was ugly. I did have some uneasiness during those shitty 2 years because he had friended her on facebook and had sent her a message that said something about hanging out. So anyways, the text from her said "hhmm...it'll have to be Saturday or Sunday because I'm leaving for vacation on Monday. Unless you want to do it somewhere else." Holy shit, my heart sank. I just couldn't wrap my head around it. I kept telling myself "he's doing a side job for her" or "she sent that to the wrong person". I told myself "there's no way he would ever do this to me again because we have been through so much hurt". He went to bed that night and I made myself stay awake until he was fast asleep. I got his phone and started scouring everything. Nothing in facebook, no emails, he had deleted her text, but there it was. A picture of his "member" that was hard and oozing with semen. A picture that he had taken just 2 days before. A picture that I never received. So I sent her a facebook message and she said that they had sex about 3 or 4 years prior. She said she never wanted to do that again because she felt so bad about it. She said they haven't seen each other since then. She said they've been talking off and on ever since. She didn't seem to think that sexting him was a big deal (ha). I woke up him and said WTF. He didn't act like he gave a shit. He immediately got mad at me and threw a "we're even now" comment (he thinks I slept with my coworker). His whole demeanor was completely what I wouldn't expect. He just acted like he didn't give a rat's ass about what he had done. I was broken. Completely broken. We didn't talk much for the next couple days. On Monday night he had a softball game and should have been home around 8:30 or 9:00. He wasn't home as of 10:30 so I texted him and said "are you keeping your girlfriend company?" He came home about 20 minutes later and started accusing me of cheating. Took my phone from me, was going through my texts. He didn't believe that I am 100% innocent. He said that the last time he got caught I lied to him and said I wasn't doing anything and then the truth came out the next day. He thinks history replays itself. So he thinks that because he was up to no good that so was I and I am just refusing to tell him anything this time. I got fed up with his shit so I decided to sleep on the couch in the basement. He followed me because he just LOVES to fight. He was being a complete ass, told me to get the fuck out of the house. Said I had 10 minutes to get my shit and leave or else he'd beat my ass. I thought yep, I'm done. So I didn't get anything together, just left. He told me I wasnt allowed to take our new car and I thought to myself fuck you. So I got in it. Psycho that he is, decided he needed to rush out of house and proceeded to punch the car window. I started driving down the street and he jumped on the hood and was punching the windshield saying he's going to beat me. I called the police, he ended up getting arrested for domestic assault. We had a no contact put in order for a few weeks.
So....after he got the no contact lifted we had a huge talk. He explained to me that had sex with her once and felt absolutely guilty from the moment they started. I didn't want details of their fling. He said that yes him and I have been amazing the past couple years but our sex life has been lacking. And I do agree with him. I never want to have sex, and when we do, there is no foreplay, basically just wham bam thank you ma'am. He said that he was just keeping her around "just in case". Um...just in case what?? That part I still don't understand. So basically she was giving him the attention that I wasn't.
The past month has been a huge rollercoaster. One minute I want to be with him and reconcile and the next minute I just want to say fuck it and be done. I look back at everything that has happened the past 14 years and know that it should have been different. I have no idea if my H is remorseful for what he did. The night we talked after the no contact was lifted, he spilled his heart out. Said that he knows he hasn't been a good H to me, said I deserve so much better, said he'd do whatever it takes to make this work. But he hasn't proven it since then. We are starting MC next week. He said that we have deeper issues that we finally need to address (um..I think HE has the issues but whatever). He is still showing signs of only thinking of himself. There have been a few times where I tell him I'm having a bad day or I'm feeling sad. He tells me that if I cant move forward then this isn't going to work. So he's basically telling me that I cant talk about the past at all. For once in my life I feel that I have done nothing wrong. All these years I have thought that I wasn't enough, that I wasn't good enough, that I needed to change. But I FINALLY realize that it is HIM. He is the problem. Yes, I can try more on the sex part but everything else is HIM. My IC said that she obviously cannot diagnose him without him being evaluated but she said everything I tell her points to NPD. It saddens me to think that if he does have NPD that there's nothing that can be done. I guess my decision will have to come through IC and MC. Maybe I already know my decision and I've known it since the day I met him? Maybe I'm just needing validation through IC and MC? Who knows. Only time will tell.
My heart aches for you.
The words from him mean absolutely nothing without action to back them up. I heard similar words but with no action.
The one time I did not back down in my pain, just let it out, crying and venting, "how could you do this to me, how could you walk out on me, not care what would happen to me???" Hysterical, yes, not physical though, just in so much pain. He beat me, he shook me like a rag doll, broke the door frame with my body, broke a door to come after me when I ran, threw me to the floor. He did not stop until I hit my head and was barely conscious. Be prepared, be careful. I don't want to frighten you but just be careful. I didn't think he would ever hit me either.
The worst part, he places the blame on me for what he did. For a while I did too. I felt complicit in him beating me because I would not back down and shut up.
Have you read the 180? It is for you. It is so important for you to regain your sense of self. I always blamed myself for his anger.
The one question that I would ask myself, over and over, to keep me strong, to help me protect myself was, "if this was my daughter telling me what was happening, what would I tell her? what would I want for her?"
It just helped me to value myself a little more.
Keep going to IC, it is crucial. Google Sandra Brown and narcissism. The label does not matter, the diagnosis does not matter, the only thing that matters is the behavior. Is it abusive? Is he willing to act, not just talk about acting but actually doing what is necessary to become a better person. Is he capable of that?
The most important of all, are you safe?
I worry about his need for attention and acknowledgement from women. Even if he tells me that he is done, I find it hard to believe that he won't seek it again. He basically puts blame on the past 3 years of the EA on me. Because of my lack of sexual desire towards him. I'm just tired of being blamed for everything. And the times that he takes responsibility for his actions I am just blown away, but then he always turns around a day or a week later and says it's all my fault.
My parents and my best friend are afraid for my safety. I tell myself that if I don't say anything that'll make him upset then I should have nothing to worry about. But that is him getting into my brain. That is him constantly putting the blame for his actions on me. He says that I have become more brave over the years. I say no, that is me being more grown up and realizing that I don't have to put up with your shit anymore.
I appreciate your help and support. It's nice to know someone else is out there that understands what I'm going through. It is a very unfortunate circumstance to have something in common with someone but it's nice not to be alone in this.
I can't stress enough how much reading helped me to believe that what I "saw" was real. I doubted and still at times doubt my perception of events, actions, words that he said and did. I do not trust my gut.
The twist of that is, it seems to be one of the symptoms, effects of living with someone with this type of personality. You lose trust in yourself!
Even now that I am away, even now that I do really know in my head, my mind who he is, what he is, my emotions sometimes don't align.
I think it is the years of conditioning still having their effect.
Writing helps me also to put things in perspective. I have tried to do a timeline from when we met to now, to gain a broader perspective of the whole thing. I have never been able to finish, it overwhelms me, the details are really so painful that to look at all of it at once is too much.
That in itself is enough for me to believe myself.
The Sandra Brown writing really did help me, they helped me to believe myself.
The real answer...way too long.
I imagine staying with a narc is possible, but ask yourself at what price? In my situation, the price kept increasing. Since I was paying with my soul, it was getting to steep. It came down to staying and loosing myself or leaving and rebuilding my soul/self esteem and sense of self.
If you ask him, he WILL tell you I was the selfish one! I was. After giving do much of myself, I was.
A good indicator of potential violence is Gavin DeBecker's mosaic website. DeBecker wrote the Gift Of Fear. Mosaic is a tool used to assess potential for escalating violence from someone. A lot of law enforcement agencies use mosaic. Take the test, it may help you see things a bit more objectively.
I never expected my xh to escalate. He wasn't the type, he was always in control. Some things he did early on, had me taking the test. Scoring OW/NW on the test was interesting.
Anyway, also call and speak with your local domestic violence shelter, they can help youcome up with a plan to stay safe. They were very helpful to me. I was deep in denial about emotional abuse. They saw through the bs I was yelling myself. Just because he didn't hit me didn't mean I wasn't abused!
I was abused my scars are deep, they are unseen. I'm willing to bet you have similar scars.
I woke up at 3:30 this morning with memories flooding my brain, memories of the abuse going so far back. It really began the first year we were together, I just made excuses for him, minimized it, denied it, just refused to believed that it really was abuse.
I sit here this morning remembering, asking myself, "why didn't I see that?", "how could I have possible forgiven that?", " how could I have lived like that???"
But I did. I see not that it was abuse, the Jekyll and Hyde messes with your mind. The good guy, the gentle guy, you want to believe that is the real person but now I see that was the act, the angry, abusive, heartless guy, that was the real guy.
I realized yesterday that Thursday will be or would have been our anniversary. I was remembering last year, walking on the beach with him. He promised me, "I will never hurt you like that again". So much for promises, not even a month later he was cheating again.
It is hard to look back, to see clearly what reality was. It is painful. I do know that I was real, I said what I felt, I did not pretend, I did love who I thought he was, I was just not thinking very clearly!
It is almost funny in a sad, twisted way. Today though I am going to choose to be grateful for the good in my life.
I do have good in my life now, good that would never have been possible if I were still with him.
One of my sons lives with me now. He never would have if x were here. He tells me now, "mom, there was always something off with him. He always had to play the big man, be so superior, so condescending. We always were afraid that he would blow. We were worried about you, hated him but didn't want to hurt you. We didn't know how bad it really was though. I always thought he was controlling but I didn't know he was abusive. He is a psychopath".
My friend that stayed away because he felt the tension, resentment from x. Now we play music together again. We talk like we used to. We have been like brother and sister since childhood and I have him back in my life.
I have friends over to dinner. We laugh and talk and I don't have to be afraid I will say the "wrong" thing or move the wrong way or look at someone the wrong way or laugh at the wrong thing or talk with my hands or not talk enough or breathe too much air!
I can have friends over and not walk that tightrope of trying to cover for his coldness but not make him feel that I am not paying enough attention to him.
That is probably the thing I am most grateful for, I can breath again.
Guess I had a little bit spinning around in there. Needed to get it out. Thanks everyone for being here and listening.
PIP, it helps to get it all out. Let it out here. This is the safest place for you to let it all out. In real life, I have found that even those that do love you, if they have not witnessed it or lived through something like this, they have a hard time understanding.
Not because they don't want to but because it is so far from their frame of reference. I hope you do have some support in real life but just be careful who you tell what.
Let it all out here though, we do understand, we unfortunately have lived it.
I still want him to change, not for me, but for my kids.
I watch from far away. But I would love for him to go back to being the father he was way back when. It will never happen. But...
I get it.
That is the core of my doubt. I still have the moments I just cannot accept that he just is this way, inability to understand the concept of empathy, compassion. He just does not get it at all. It just makes my head spin, I cannot understand not feeling compassion, empathy, that just makes no sense to me.
I do know that he is incapable but then I wonder, is it a choice? Does he choose to not feel? Does he want to remain like this?
We had a conversation about the other BS from ow#2. I told him, do you realize that you have caused harm to another besides me? A man that you barely know but you sat at his home and shared a meal, you spoke with him, shook his hand and then had sex with his SO? Do you see that he is as hurt and angry with you as I am with you AP's? Do you understand that you have caused pain to another human being?
His reply, "that divorced drunken bum?"
All I could reply was, "look in the mirror".
How can you be that cold? that unfeeling? I don't understand and I am glad. I am glad that I could not be that cold and heartless.
I don't understand and I never want to understand. I never want to be able to relate to that kind of soulless thinking.
I don't know if they can change, I suppose they would have to want to. For my x he is not strong enough, brave enough.
I have had an odd perspective, he gives me glimpses into his mind, the way he thinks and it is terrifying.
It only confirms to me that I must stay as far away as possible.
Thankfully, yes thankfully, I never could have imagined that I would be grateful for this but I had several miscarriages, I was so heartbroken, I wanted to have a child, raise a child with this man, I thought that he was someone that would share the joys and trials with me. I had never had that and longed for it. It was not meant to be and now I am so very grateful for that. I could not imagine how hard it is for those of you that share children.
I just cannot imagine the pain, the fear, the sadness.
This is all just so mind twisting. Seeing reality, really believing that there is evil, so hard to accept.