The time stealers

I’ve wanted to write more about how I ended up in the house out in the boonies, and there is more to that story.  What happened prior to my being left in that house has played a significant part in some PTSD issues.

But what I’m thinking about this morning is how quickly the summer went by.  Planting flowers. (hurray!)  Getting a garden in again. (healthy and more learning curve)  Visits from grown kids, grandkids, and two of my sisters.  (had been too long)  Back to swimming  (heavenly)

And lots of familiar and predictable stress, arguments, loneliness, frustration, and emotional fatigue.  That stuff is never ending.

With a passive aggressive husband, you have to take the extra energy for what should be simple and straightforward in life.   At least, I imagine that it is for other people. 

Like… asking a question.  I ask him a question, he answers, and I have to wonder if he’s being truthful, or if he left out some information selectively.  Most of the time, he might be truthful, but he tells enough small, stupid, medium, and big lies over the years that I always have to wonder.  Somewhere deep inside, I pause and I wonder. 

It’s the having to look and watch and be aware of the subtle, almost imperceptible signals that keeps you tired.  You know how you feel after driving a good stretch on a busy freeway or driving for hours on a trip?  You could easily think that since you’re just sitting in a car that you shouldn’t be that tired, but it’s the speed, the other drivers, watching for signs, and other small things you barely think about consciously that factor in.  By the time you get out of the car, you stretch, and if you were in enough traffic or put on enough miles, you can feel tired.

It’s kind of like that.  Someone looking from the outside doesn’t see or understand how wearing and tiring it can be to be married to a passive aggressive man.  But it is.  You get little breaks now and then, but all it takes is for him to walk through the room with a certain kind of sigh, looking around to see him standing and watching you (he might have an innocuous look but you’ll know instantly that he’s resenting what you’re doing with your time and feeling sorry for himself), or have a shared life situation that you need to decently communicate and cooperate about (kids, pets, chores, finances etc.). 

Poof.  You’re tired.  You deal with it.  You try to pick up and go on with the day.  Just when you think you have it figured out, and everything inside of you wants to not be with him, he can walk in the room again and seem entirely different.  As though the evil twin was there before.  This time he’s smiling, cheerful, funny, and helpful. 

The cat jumps on his lap and purrs.  He lets you know that he changed the oil in the car.  He tells you a joke he heard from a client and makes you laugh.  He asks if you want to watch a show together later that evening (Be careful on that one!  You know it will probably develop a complication and fall through). 

It’s such a relief when you’re tired. 

You go back to tutoring your daughter, while part of your thoughts figure out what to make for dinner, and wondering where to find a better doctor for one of your sons.  Dishes done, still need to mop the floor, don’t forget to switch the laundry.  Tick, tick, tick, tock, the day is going by.

Then it’s bed time, and you’re finishing a reminder list to pick up a science notebook, bananas, and milk.  You find yourself practicing all the tricks to be calm, to breathe slowly, letting your thoughts and heart lift in quiet prayer.  You try not to think about another day come and gone.

I just emptied out three more bins that were stored in the outbuilding.  About 98% of it will go to the thrift stores today.  You start another day, and keep looking for ways to change yourself now.  More bins to go.  More walks (maybe even a swim or two if weather allows), and praying that strength and health will build.


This entry was posted in loneliness, passive aggressive, PTSD, time. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The time stealers

  1. Exodus says:

    Oh PJ’s. Just reading your words just now is so painfully affirming. I just finished writing in my journal about the same things you have just written ( very bad morning). Would you like to write my book? I wish I had your gift for expressing your thoughts so well.

    Yes to the never ending drama, chaos and stress. Life isn’t at all straight-forward and it’s always full of those half truths aka LIES. The truth, once discovered, becomes ammunition used against us. How dare we question them, how dare we respond to the truth so negatively. If we were not so distrusting, they wouldn’t resort to such bad character. We should have been satisfied with their diluted version and kept our thoughts to ourselves and kept everyone happy. Shut up, shut down and turn off but keep smiling.

    All our extra resources- energy, money, time, emotions- get wasted on negativity and nothing grows except resentment, fear, distrust, loneliness and hopelessness.

    I can’t wait for the day or the moment when I can feel genuinely tired from physical exertion, lie down, snore through a deep resting sleep and wake up feeling like a new person in a new day. At the moment ( actually since I’ve been married to Norman) I feel exhausted from doing nothing. I feel like a yo-yo that has the string wrapped too tightly around it and knotted so I can’t put any of my potential energy to good use. Instead, I’m only exhausted from trying to release my string.

    Norman accused me of being the one who destroyed our marriage by deciding to leave. According to Norman, just like that, for no reason at all, I just got up one day and started packing and decided to leave him. I didn’t warn him. I’m just a heartless woman who just wanted his money and to be a fat mindless cow sitting at the computer all day eating bonbons with no friends or family. What is wrong with me? Why couldn’t I just be a happy fat cow with Norman throwing me a few pieces of cud into my stall every so often?

    I didn’t even have the energy to stimulate his memory of the last 18 years and what the catalyst was that caused me to start packing that day. Norman is very good at writing his own scripted version of HIS poor life with me. So be it- it’s the coward’s way.

    Earlier today I called the therapy group that Norman is going to because I’m searching for my previous therapist, Carol, who was doing her residency there. They just called me back to let me know they can’t find her. While I was talking to the receptionist, I let her know that I don’t think Norman’s therapist is aware of what kind of man she’s dealing with and that his abuse has escalated to a very intolerable level and that I’m feeling extremely vulnerable around him. I also made it clear that I wasn’t trying to interfere with his privacy but that they can examine my records with my therapist and they will know that I’ve been dealing with abuse for many years and that was reason I went to see her years ago. The receptionist was very concerned and she promised me that she’s going to relay the info to the clinical director. As crazy as this may sound, I feel pangs of regret in even telling them the truth because I fear it will come back to harm me in some way. Maybe it’s just normal for an abused woman to fear telling the truth about her perpetrator. Is this what I’m feeling? I even feel nervous and am trembling.

    Oh PJ’s I wish so much that I could just drive to your house, pick you up and set up a home somewhere safe and happy with lots of windows to let the sunshine in.


  2. WritesinPJ's says:

    Exodus, you’re a gifted writer, and I’d definitely buy a book that you wrote. Maybe one day we’ll co-author something, or be signing each other’s books!

    I know you must be getting stronger because your sense of humor is! You’ve made me smile and laugh inside with some of your comments recently.

    Please don’t bother warning his therapist. Keep all your energy towards what you need. If you felt a sense of fear, honor it. Really, unless you need to tell your therapist that you need help/safety etc., just let him wallow in his new sense of being Norman-the-Misunderstood in therapy. If he feels good about himself, even if albeit falsely, that should only temporarily make it easier for you.


    • Exodus says:

      PJ’s, ” Norman-the-misunderstood”…….hahahahhaha Great title for our book!!!

      We should get busy on that book because I need to get paid very soon!! My stepsister is a writer/author but she never seemed interested in writing anything non-fiction. If only I had money PJ’s, I could be outta here yesterday. The moving company is company on the 4th to give me my final estimate. Uggh

      I contacted the therapy group because I need to talk to my counselor. She was wonderful and gifted in helping people who live with PA , narcissists and BPD people. She was right on the money when she told me back in 2010 that I needed to get out asap because more than likely, his abuse would escalate at some point.

      The problem is that N’s therapy is not making it easier. His therapy is making things much much worse. He’s turning into a very angry psychotic man and I don’t know what he might do to me, our business, our finances. I’m so sick of living in fear!!!!! I really was happy and comfortable with Norman getting his own brand of therapy and was well aware that most therapists would not get the truth from him. The problem is that his therapist is teaching a PA/Borderline Narcissist to be more assertive which is manifesting as some very ugly and aggressive and psychotic type of behaviors. It’s truly unimaginable what I’m seeing. He’s in manic psychosis- talks to himself and if I respond, G-d help me. He is more evil now and it truly resembles a scene from the exorcist where the minister is reading Bible verses and the devil is getting angry. He comes home from therapy as an angry arrogant bully. Norman’s personality vacillates from one extreme to the other in a matter of seconds. One minute he’s the angry devil and the next he’s sitting apologizing and telling me that WE need to learn forgiveness. I said, ” Norman, if 18 years with you wasn’t indicative of my ability to forgive you, then I don’t know how else to show you. I’ve been waiting and hoping every day that you would one day show up ( as you promised) as my partner, my best friend and my husband. Sorry Norman but I’m no longer in the mood for your repeated pleas and empty promises and more of those accidental assaults against me.”.


  3. Exodus says:

    PJ’s, meant to add the following to my original post. When Norman was assaulting me this morning with psychotic rage, I opened my email and here’s what popped up:

    “So you are not happy with the way things are in your world, your community, your house, your own self.
    Who says things were designed to make you happy? G d Himself is dissatisfied with all of it. He made such a world and put you here within it to do your part in fixing it.
    Be strong and take on a load, and rejoice that soon will be a world which you had a hand in building.”
    Yechidut, 2 Elul, 5720 (English).

    I immediately felt safe and at peace. I tuned out Norman and wrote a note to G-d, “Thank you G-d! I appreciate your love and your attention to my needs this morning”


  4. paescapee says:

    Yes, just simply yes. I wrote on my blog about how relieved I was to catch him out in a lie- I was such a relief to have something concrete. So exhausting, what we call ‘watching your back’ all of the time. Now that I’m alone, I’m sleeping properly and soundly for the first time in 30 years. I sympathise with your exhaustion ;(


    • Exodus says:

      paescapee, It really does make a difference when we can rest in peace and know that we don’t have to wake up to their ‘man-made’ catastrophes. I’ve been considering staying in a hotel for a few days just so I can get some sleep. I’m living on adrenaline and coffee at the moment which is NOT good.
      I didn’t know you had a blog. I’ll check it out. Thanks for sharing.


  5. Jane D. says:

    PJs – yes, it’s completely exhausting. I need to ask my husband if plans to contribute to his IRA this year. (He has no 401k at work.) I’m dreading it. . . trying to figure out what would be a good time/mood to watch for and also what would be good language/tone to use – to get an actual answer and not a tantrum. This is taking a huge amount of energy for what would be a 10 minute conversation on a normal day for a normal couple.

    Patricia Evans details a conversation between a wife and her verbally abusive husband about what the plans are for the weekend. It goes on for about three pages in one of her books. I have had that (exhausting) conversation so many times that I no longer try to make plans with my husband unless it’s unavoidable. I ask him what he is doing, usually get a surly response, and then get on with my own weekend.


    • Exodus says:

      Same here Jane ( re: plans)..plans are another example of what PA’s perceive as commitments and hence, control.

      Anytime I open my mouth about to discuss anything, Norman’s negative brain gets triggered and he responds with a bad attitude before he even knows what I’m about to say. I’ve tried everything from being a sweet bubbly airhead to serving him some sweet treat and nothing works anymore. Negativity in itself is exhausting but when we can’t even have a civil discussion about practical and important personal matters, its not just exhausting, it leads to chronic stress that damages our health.

      Jane, does your husband have any term life insurance? I was advised to get a policy with an accidental death rider and suicide rider on it.


      • Jane D. says:

        Exodus – we both have term insurance, and for the same amount, and from the same company. I made us do that when our daughter was born (she is a teen now). Husband was less difficult then, for a lot of reasons, I think.


        • Exodus says:

          Thank goodness you have that insurance. Isn’t it just so typical that it’s us who would have to make certain that our children and spouses are taken care of? Norman has never taken the initiative to ‘ worry’ about me. When he tells his therapist how much he cares about me, I want to vomit. Care? Really? WHEN? WHere? How?

          Well, I do think that these men get worse as they hit midlife. Whether they mellow or not, I dunno. I think that it’s typical for women with character disorders to mellow with age.


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