From my Book – From Charm to Harm and Everything else in Between with a Narcissist! @ Amazon.com Trauma can be caused by a wide variety of events, but there are common denominators. There is frequently a violation of the person’s familiar ideas (belief system) about the real world and of […]
We read stories everyday of women that have been abused by a man. And sadly these women tend to repeat bad choices and go from one bad relationship to another. For anyone with a solid self-esteem and self-worth, it is incredulous that any woman would stay in such a damaging relationship. Here is something that so many people fail to understand; the abuser rarely walks in and begins the abuse immediately. There is physical abuse and emotional abuse. They go hand in hand but emotional abuse can happen without physical abuse. That is my story.
Why didn’t I share? I was embarrassed and ashamed. Slowly over time my sense of independence was destroyed. Over time the belief I was lovable was destroyed. Day by day comments, looks, turning things around so I would begin to question myself believing somehow I caused him to cheat and having my concerns being dismissed and ignored regularly created a complete sense of instability. If my ex-husband was home I was always tied up in knots because I was worried I wasn’t making him happy. When he was out-of-town I was tied up in knots because I worried about what he was doing. Should I have left years ago? Of course, but he didn’t reveal his true-self all at once. He did it slowly over time. Think of a bucket being filled by one drop of water at a time. It takes a long time before the bucket overflows. So don’t judge your friend who finds herself in my position. Listen to her. Don’t rebuke her for not leaving sooner. Hug her. Offer support anyway you can. Don’t exclude her because she is no longer a couple. And certainly do NOT remain friends with her abusive ex-husband.
If I could give advice to any woman who is living with a narcissist, it would be to read as much as you can about narcissism and how narcissists manipulate their victims. I would encourage her to find someone to share any secrets i.e. his cheating, his addictions, his crimes. Had I come forward the first time I found out what he was doing, I might have received support from my friends. However the shame he created in me, kept me silent. Silence is a killer. It kills your spirit. So speak up. Leaving is scary. I am facing homelessness at 56 because I was a stay-at-home mom and with no full-time work experience since 1984, I can’t get any business to take a chance on me.
Why do I write about this again? I write about this again because I can’t just dump the over-flowing bucket of abuse. It leaves as slowly as it came. Now I have a small hole in the bottom of the bucket and daily a little more of it drains out. It is just going to take time, a lot of time. Sadly I don’t have time when it comes to a job. While my ex enjoys a life in the lap of luxury, ignores his children and pretends he never destroyed lives, I work to survive and they learn to accept life as fatherless children.
In 2012 I decided to get healthy. I chose good healthy food. I hired a trainer and I exercised faithfully. The result? A smoking hot 52 year old woman. I felt good about myself. For the first time in my life, I liked the way I looked even though I was 20 pounds heavier than I had been when I was younger. I was desperately trying to save my marriage, but could no longer hold together a marriage with a man who was an alcoholic, porn addicted, sex addicted, selfish narcissist. So when he said he wanted a divorce that he had always had one foot out the door (so I hadn’t been crazy after all) I said fine.
However I fell into a deep depression, literally going off the crazy cliff. I have spent the last three years eating for comfort. I stopped exercising. I became a recluse. And the result is not pretty. My depression has not improved. My health has deteriorated and my weight has increased. And it’s the eternal battle of the bulge. Putting it on is so much easier and more fun than trying to take it off.
My family health history tells me I am headed down the wrong path if I don’t change my ways. I have started by finding a program for my mental health. Once it begins to improve, then I will tackle the task of my physical health. Anyone with a serious weight problem understands that food is just the drug of choice. The overeating, the lack of physical exercise are symptoms of something churning internally. My goal is finish out 2015 healthier both in mind and body.
I lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for 30 years. My life was built there. It is where we bought our first home, had our second child, made friends and enjoyed the fruits of our labor. I stayed home and took care of our daughters, our life and my husband when he was home. I was so proud and grateful for all his hard work. But time and time again, a terrible secret would be revealed about my now ex-husband. I convinced myself over and over that all men used porn. He told me all the pilots went to strip clubs and I needed to understand. I learned he had cheated on me with flight attendants but he convinced me that it was my fault. Then the phone call came from the police detective. Turns out all those trips to the hardware store, were actually trips to spy on girls at an apartment swimming pool and masturbate at the same time. He was a peeping tom! Of course you say, she definitely left now. Sad to say, I didn’t. He convinced me he would get help and he also said it was my fault. If I hadn’t married him when he was so young, (24) he wouldn’t feel like he had missed out on all the available sex.
Time and time again, I’d find porn and it escalated. I found rape porn. I threatened to leave but here is a piece of advice, do not make a threat if you don’t intend to follow through with it. Again he agreed to go to counseling but it didn’t last long. His drinking increased, more strip clubs and our relationship slowly deteriorated. After one full year of counseling with a pastor/counselor, he confessed to using prostitutes at erotic massage parlors. Now hold onto your hat for this one ladies and gentlemen; it wasn’t real sex because he only paid for hand jobs. Did I leave? No. By now I was fully buried and not able to make a sound decision. He had eroded away any sense of value I had. We spent $7,000 going to The Meadows Clinic in Wickenburg, AZ. He never did any of the things they told him to do to get better.We ended up living separate lives but in the same house for two years. I know I should have left him countless times, but I loved him and hoped to work it out.
Now for those of you who have never lived with a narcissist, you will never be able to understand. But imagine standing on a sandy beach and slowly over time the sand begins to sink. It happens so slowly, you don’t even realize it is happening. You are busy enjoying the sunset. You are busy watching the waves. You are busy thinking about the life you have. And then one day you realize that you’ve been buried alive underneath the sand that has slowly been eroding away. That is life with a narcissist. If you go to Living with a Narcissist or Life with a Narcissistic Psychopath you can find more information. It will help explain why I didn’t leave. Why I waited for him to leave me.
After the divorce I spiraled out of control. I had written my life story and the chapters I saw in my future included my ex-husband, our daughters and their future families, travel, our friends and a secure life. When he left, he didn’t look back. It was as though our daughters and I never existed. At the age of 54, he walked away from 30 years of marriage and a life we had built. And I am not exaggerating. He lied to me and took $3000 of the $9000 cash I got in the divorce settlement. Our daughter had to try to explain to him that he had lied about needing the money. He never got it. Our daughters and son-in-law met with him and told him they would be there and stand by his side as he got help. But he never, even to this day has admitted he has any problems. Classic narcissistic behavior, he has no empathy for others, nor can he ever see or accept that he might have a problem. Sadly our daughters have fully cut him out of their lives.
I did lose it for a while. I spiraled downward as he went right into a new relationship with a much younger woman. I stalked him. I harassed him. It is not something I am proud of but after you have lived with someone whose goal is to slowly drive you crazy, it can’t be surprising to end up crazy. I got myself together and left the country for 3 months. When I came back, I was still sad but no longer a crazy lady.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because if you are unhappy and feel bad about yourself, if you feel like you walk on eggshells in your relationship then start reading the articles on those links. Don’t let a someone steal years of your life from you and then discard you like a piece of trash without batting an eye. You don’t want to end up where I am. I am almost 56, unemployed, living in a new city with no friends and worry things won’t change. That is why I am blogging. I am hoping it helps me begin to rewrite this new chapter of my life in a positive and good way.