He says this time will be different

I guess he’s feeling sure of himself enough to threaten me now.  He must seriously have some aggrieved image of himself.  I guess my not tolerating his abusive behaviors, and his lack of respect and love, is just too much for him to bear.

The last handful of days, instead of having the planning meeting in the morning, we’ve had it towards the end of the afternoon.  Theoretically, this means we could both go about our business the following morning (peacefully).  I pitched it as being advantageous to him (which it should be), but with the girls starting classes (virtual academy), I wanted my mornings to be peaceful (without being sabotaged).  I don’t want to be stressed out and scattered when I’m tutoring.

It’s worked reasonably well so far.  This afternoon we were having the meeting, and the conversation was decent. We sat out on the patio and enjoyed the late afternoon end of summer day.  I looked at him, at this person I’ve shared my life, my bed, children, and all my adult years with.  All the familiar things you learn over time.  The way the hair on his arms turns golden in the summer sun.  The tendency for varicose veins that he got from his mother.  The silly way his hair gets messy when he wears a cap.  The way he holds a pen, and how his hands have aged in three and a half decades.  His funny curled toes by the big toe.   At the end of it, I said, “I’m sad and I’m lonely.  I still feel attracted to you, and still have a desire for for us to be close and for healing in our relationship, but feeling those things makes it hurt more for me.”

His response was to shuffle a paper and talk about a job related detail.  My response to that was to feel even more sad.  I said, “I was just emotionally bleeding in front of you.”

Inside of my words was the heartache of wasted potential.  Wondering how did I get here?  How did I come to spend my life with him, and I asked in my heart… why?  Why can’t there be love?

He glared at me.  That’s the moment when you really wish you’d just been quiet. That’s when I tell myself to stop being stupid, to just let go, let go, let go.  In the back of my mind was a sudden questioning thought that wondered what it would be like to use the words attracted and desire to a man that would be happy to hear them. 

I can’t even remember all the things he said.  Round up the usual suspects, and that would fill in the blanks.  There was the ‘you chose a bad time to talk to me’ spiel (with raised angry voice).   I replied, “You always say it’s a bad time.  Whether I talk to you in the morning, at lunch, afternoon, evening, or bedtime, you say it’s a bad time.  When would you consider a good time?” 

Yeah… that made him even more angry.  He went on rapid fire, and at one point I said, “You’re bullying me,” which made him speak faster and more loudly, and I repeated, “You’re bullying me,” and he got louder and faster, and I said quietly, “You’re bullying me.”  Now he switched to saying that he wasn’t bullying me, that he had a right to his feelings/opinions, that I never let him talk. 

It seems that it’s especially angered him at the times when he’s revving up and I’ve said, “Stop!  Stop!  Stop now!”  Those times that I refused to listen, refused to tolerate it, and refused to waste my time.  There are two particular times I’m more likely to cut him off.  If it’s kid related, or work/money related.  I’ll put up a fast boundary to protect a kid he’s resenting irrationally, or if he’s being irresponsible with money or work.  He’s harboring some serious resentment, but I know it’s not likely to change on my part.  There are certain times when I just can’t listen to it anymore.

I also freely confess that I’ll interrupt at times.  I care, and I don’t care.  At times I don’t care because this is the man who interrupts as naturally as breathing, but in his mind that’s quite different from when I interrupt him.  If I interrupt him, his eyes get big, he grabs at my offense like a bloody bone to shake around, clenched between his teeth as proof of my intolerable treatment of him.  I’ve told him in the past quite frankly that I’d care more if he wasn’t such a hypocrite about it.  He’ll sometimes agree with a charming, boyish chagrin, but only until the next time it actually happens.  Then he’s back to the bug-eyed indignant outrage again.

So this afternoon when he was angry, I reminded him that I’m on a last chance timeline while our youngest is in school, if he really felt that way, then it would be better if he’d move into an apartment this fall sometime.  I told him that I didn’t think I’d do well with my physical health if I tried to endure the entire school year with the status quo.

Then he said, “I wonder if you just have a need to choose a time when I’m under a lot of… and… maybe you have a need to create drama and instability.” 

That might have upset me more (in the kind of way where I’d wonder and search and meditate and self-examine to see if it was true) if I hadn’t already said that to him in a past conversation where I was questioning why he’d do something to purposefully upset me or start an argument when it otherwise seemed like there was every reason for us to be happy.  Steal my identity, my emotions, and my words, and skew them back to me. 

Are you still reading?  Buckle your belt for this part of the ride.  The apartment idea must have made him pause at some point.  He said something like, “I’m sorry.  I can see where I behaved in a way that was upsetting.”  I answered by saying it hurts more when he gets angry because I expressed that I was sad and lonely.

Oops!  That started him going off again!  On and on until at some point, he said, “I’m sorry… I wasn’t behaving well or reacting well to your trying to talk to me..” 

I said, “I was trying to tell you that I’m sad, and you just got angry.”

And yep, there he went again!  Blah, (angry glares) blah, mad, mad, and finally winds down a little and says, “I need to learn to count before I speak.  I shouldn’t have responded like that when you were trying to talk to me.  That wasn’t good.”

I stared at him.  I said, “Do you realize this is the third time you’ve started to say you were sorry?  I’m not sure what it means or why you’re saying it, but the first two times, I gave you the benefit of the doubt, and tried to explain why I was hurt.”

He yelled, “I never said that!  I never said I was sorry!  I didn’t use that word, I know how you feel about that word!”  And he’s off to the races again!  Blah, blah, (yelling) blah!  For the FOURTH time, he starts into (what must be fake) apology mode.  I’m flabberghasted at how quickly it’s cycled each time.  By now, I’m letting my thoughts wander to joining a gym, wondering if it was too late or too cold to try to swim, and why he couldn’t seem to see just how awful he sounded.

At some point, he says, “You say we can afford this now.  I don’t know how you can say that when we could still lose the land, and the car is breaking down and needs to be replaced, blah blah blah…”

I quietly wonder how much my life is worth.

I replied that we would find a way, and I thought we could.  Then he said, “You know there’s one thing you haven’t even talked about or even mentioned, and that’s counseling, and that would cost money too.”

Huh?

I asked, him, “Are you saying that you want to go to counseling, or that you think we should go to counseling, and if so, why?”

He said, “Well, I can tell you one thing!  It won’t be the same again like every other time when you had to talk and had to justify yourself and I wouldn’t say much.  This time will be different!  This time I’ll have a lot to say, and talk about my feelings, and how I feel about everything!”

Had he already forgotten this conversation?

At first, I felt so angry.  I tried to stop him from talking (because he was still going on and on about whatever), and said, “Pause, pause, pause!  I’d like you to be accountable for something you just said.”

He said, “Why?”

I said, “Do you even know what I’m referring to?”

He said, “What are you referring to?”

I replied, “You made a comment about every time we went to counseling before, and my justifying myself.  I’d like to know what your thoughts were to make you say something like that.”

He said, “I don’t know what my thoughts are!  I don’t even know who I am sometimes!” 

I mentally threw a bucket of water in my face and gave up on accountability for his words.

I said, “Okay.  If you find a counselor, and you do all the talking first, but if afterward the counselor says that you’ve behaved abusively, or says that you need to follow up and get help (individual sessions), what would that mean to you?”

He wouldn’t really answer that.  He did say, “I just can’t feel close to you, I don’t want to be close, because of the way you treat me sometimes.”

I confess that I really wavered on giving up on myself for the day.  It was late afternoon, I was tired.  I felt drained. Even if he was screwed up in his thinking, it still hurt.  It just hurt.  Maybe I was just ‘supply’ to him all these years.  Now I’m old, tarnished with wrinkles, graying hair, tired, and intolerant.  Not the young wife that catered to him, asked so little of him, and gave, gave, gave in the belief that it would soften his heart.  Not that wife.  Now I’m someone he doesn’t want to be close to.

I didn’t give up!  I went swimming!  My oldest son drove my youngest daughter and I to the city beach, and boy did it ever feel good to not care about the cold water and just kick back (literally) in the water to fight my way forward in life.

It was really cold!  But I feel determined.  He’s either going to make a much more serious effort to behave, and to at least attempt and imitate change that looks like love and respect, or I think he’ll lose me. Maybe that means I find me.

I’m fighting to make choices possible for me.

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16 Responses to He says this time will be different

  1. Exodus says:

    PJ’s, I feel your loneliness, I feel your despair and frustration every time you reach out to your husband to share your most intimate feelings and reveal your heart. YOU DO EXIST but, not in the/their mirror. It’s difficult to read about how vulnerable you make yourself and set yourself up for abandonment each time you put yourself out there. He isn’t going to show up PJ’s. He’s not the same ‘animal’ that you are. He is incapable of hearing what you say in the context that it’s said.

    One of the first things everyone, including the counselors that I’ve spoken with, asked when I began packing was, ‘ Has he asked you to stay or made any attempt to apologize or offered to work toward healing the marriage?” NO, NO, NO.

    In fact, Norman the narcissist in his typical N form, retreats as the victim and spins everything as an assault against him. He becomes extremely defensive and ugly and on the attack. He has no recollection of WHY I would be packing. I’ve been accused of bullying him, his therapist says that I’m aggressive and abusive. I want to rage when I hear that and I’m sure you can understand why. Me a bully just because I am honest, forthright, transparent and willing to confront whatever ails us with a sincere effort to improve our life together only to be completely ignored, the subject changed without any appropriate segue, hurt by his rolling eyes, accused of nagging and ‘ starting something again.

    PJ’s, I want to be the usual compassionate person that I am and help poor Norman but I can’t help him. And therapy? Well, therapy doesn’t help them unless they walk into the office stating that they are PA, Narcissistic, Borderline abusers and even if they did, many therapists would refuse to work with them. The T’s know that it’s a waste of time since they can’t help someone who is lying to them, manipulating them and is delusional. I very seriously doubt that if your husband went to therapy that a T would find him abusive which only further traumatizes us and why my T refused to see Norman. We always suffer and pay the price for their manipulations while they just merrily skip down the yellow brick road.

    For all these years, I’ve not been able to be the person that I truly am because I’m trapped in the mirror. N’s stifle and oppress everyone in their web. I can’t be a loving, affectionate or caring woman because I will end up feeling hurt, betrayed, abandoned and foolish. I can’t be honest because he perceives me as too aggressive. I can’t be playful because then I’m acting silly or immature or psychotic. Its no wonder I have an identity crisis!! Living with any N causes this. In order to survive in this marriage, I had to reign-in with caution, all my emotions and all my nurturing behaviors because I learned that being too kind and affectionate will ultimately lead to feelings of being used and not valued. I am civil to my husband but I won’t put myself out there anymore. I can’t handle the hurt anymore.

    Someone once compared my marriage to me being a starving dog with Norman dangling a piece of meat in front of me and when I take it from him, he kicks me in the mouth. The problem is that I got used to getting kicked and learned that it was just to be expected every time I was hungry.

    ((( HUGS ))))

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    • Seeing the Light says:

      Exodus, your whole comment really resonated with me. I wanted to chime in on the part where you said: “One of the first things everyone, including the counselors that I’ve spoken with, asked when I began packing was, ‘ Has he asked you to stay or made any attempt to apologize or offered to work toward healing the marriage?” NO, NO, NO.” Since I began the process of detachment and was honest with Gregory about my perspective on the marriage, it has been the same thing. Not once did he say, but “I love you.” He hasn’t asked what he has done to make me feel that way. He hasn’t made any efforts to take a share in the responsibility for the state of the relationship. He hasn’t even been particularly curious why I don’t want to be married to him. What he did do was try to bully me with my vows (though he didn’t keep his-not adultery as far as I know, but a failure to keep all those other promises about love and all that nonsense 😉 ) and recruit other Christians to pressure me with threats of church discipline. I am pleased he doesn’t tell me he loves me since I know he doesn’t already. It appears to be one of the lies he isn’t willing to tell.

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      • Exodus says:

        Hi Seeing,
        So good to hear from you. I have been thinking about you and was a bit worried but then hoped that you were focusing on being positive and recharging.

        There is a reason why those counselors asked that question. It not only gives them insight into Norman’s character but also reveals the truth to me about who Norman is and I how little I mean to him. It’s a real hard knock to the soul to hear myself saying no, no, no.

        It makes me very sick to realize that I have stayed so long with a man who could dispose of me so easily without even the slightest hint of sorrow or suffering. I had the same reaction you did to PJ’s post and I wanted to tell her to quit unloading her emotions and expecting anything back. I believe it continually traumatizes us over and over again. It’s natural for us to want to share with our spouses. We chose them as our partners and our best friends. It’s abnormal to not feel connected and want to share but we are dealing with abnormal people. Sadly, if we decide to stay with these men, we must become them and detach as they do. I can’t do that. There’s not a single cell in my body that can turn my back on a friend or spouse, even when I get angry at them. I realize this about myself and I know that if I don’t respect myself, people like Norman will use me and continue to do so until I’m used up!

        I don’t want to live my life as a cold detached woman. I don’t want to live in fear every day that if I am smiling and laughing that my husband will resent me. I don’t want to fear discussing anything with anyone.

        Gregory is evil and I say that because for him to be so truly shallow to use his Church or his religion/religious congregation to guilt you is just disgusting and even I resent that he is staining G-d’s values with his own agenda. It’s evil for anyone to use G-d that way. Was Gregory thinking about G-d when he consciously chose to be with another woman? Did he get on his knees and pray to G-d to turn his back while he betrayed his wife or did he pray for G-d’s blessing? It’s quite obvious that he just turned off his Divine connection. These men seem to be full of all sorts of on/off switches. Gregory and Norman don’t care if G-d is watching and neither does the devil.

        Norman made some comment last night about how these boxes are annoying and I pointed to them and said, ‘ Yeah, they are but take a good look Norman..they are the work of evil. Evil is all about dividing and conquering and obviously you chose to deny love and welcome evil into our home”

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        • Seeing the Light says:

          Exodus, thank you for being concerned. You are right. I was mostly just resting. I have been keeping up with reading posts and comments, but I was conserving energy and not speaking myself. I have missed the two-way conversations.

          I do want to clear up any confusion. I have no knowledge of Gregory ever being with another woman or committing adultery. My wording may have been sticky, and I am sorry for any misunderstanding. What I was trying to say is that I get so sick and tired of people thinking the only way to break vows is to get a divorce or have an affair. This may sound unbelievable, but what he did was so much worse, at least for someone of my personality and make-up. Years ago, I listened to the tape of our wedding and wrote out the vows to take a look at. He pledged to love me as Christ loved the Church, to give himself totally for me, as Christ did for him. He pledged to honor me, to encourage me, to strengthen me, and to support me. He pledged to provide an atmosphere in our home with truth, love and hope. What he did instead was ignore me, confuse me, lie to me, gaslight me and continue on as though he was my spiritual superior and a fine example of a growing Christian. The mind game was so effective I turned from an independent, confident woman into a dependent, guilt-ridden, disgusted-with-myself shell of a person almost overnight. He put me in a situation where all the focus and attention was on my failure as a wife and as a Christian and ongoing pressure for me to do better while he failed to keep his promises. It makes me sick when people talk about failed marriages and broken vows – when they define a failed marriage and broken vows as one where two people stop living under the same roof and file papers with the state and/or one or both has sexual intimacy with another person. As long as we keep them in the same house and married legally, we’ve saved the marriage. Who cares what is going on under that roof? Maybe vows should be written a little differently: “I, Romeo, take you Juliet, to be my wedded wife, to share a domicile with you and never have sex with any other women as long as we both shall live. Other than that, all bets are off.” Where do I sign? Yes, I still do believe what Gregory has done was and is evil. My personal bent is such that an affair would have signaled the end for me, I would have grieved, healed, and I would have moved on. What he did do – and do in the name of God – was, very possibly, the worst thing he could have ever done to me. He got between me and God and I have had to fight for years to get him out of the way. I believe he used God and he used me. Jeff Crippen, in his book, A Cry For Justice, says that abuse is murder. Even if it is not physical, it is murder of personhood (he goes into much more detail) and it is the spirit of murder. When this kind of abuse destroys a person’s health as well from the inside out, what more is there to say? It is chilling.

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          • Exodus says:

            Seeing, I misread your previous post..SORRY! Now, I understand better.

            I agree with all you said and you’re right, a marriage isn’t just about sex, children and things. I agree with Crippen ( same thing that Peck addressed). The broken vows have so much more to do with the spirit of marriage and how women and men respect and honor each other as individuals and as family. And, despite all the superficial things that Norman has done to me, his lack of respect ( bad character in overall) has been the deal breaker since day one. Couples have problems and sometimes those problems seem insurmountable and unforgivable but I’ve seen many couples survive and come out on the other side even stronger and more in love. Those couples had a strong foundation of love, trust and respect that supported them.

            You and I both transitioned into nothingness because we didn’t matter and yet, every day, we got up, continued to fulfill our responsibilities and nurture our homes and family while they lived like egocentric teenagers. When I read stories about how these abusive men use G-d and their Church to support their healthy social image, it just makes me sick.

            I think of a guy that I dated in college. I can’t stand the guy because he’s so over the top self absorbed and controlling and even stalked me for years and years but anyway, he called me to wish me a happy birthday in February and talked about how he’s Mr.born again Christian, gives all the eulogies at funerals at his Church and even read one to me ( RED FLAG). His FB page is loaded with Bible verses and you know all that superficial crap. Yet, Bill cried to me how his wife doesn’t want to have sex with him, how she’s gotten so fat, how she feels too fat and unattractive, etc.. he wanted me to have sex with him! He also confessed to me that his first wife had been coming to his office almost weekly ( since they divorced back in the early 80’s) and giving him oral sex and that she just stopped coming.. I knew he was calling me to replace her. How sick is that? Keep in mind that he was married the entire time too. I was also offended that he felt comfortable telling me this stuff and I let him know that. Shortly after that phone call, he called again and told me about how he had a very Divine experience at Church that day/Sunday. He told me that he was standing in a circle holding hands with other members praying and that suddenly he felt an electric charge with the woman next to him ( not his wife) and that he and this woman knew that G-d was telling them that they were in love with each other and so they were considering an affair. He said that he spends time with her but they hadn’t had sex yet. He gave the eulogy for her husband’s funeral a few months before. He told me that he would never do anything to hurt his wife. I got really mad and said, ” REALLY? You mean, you would never want to get caught doing anything hurtful to your wife”. His response to that was, ‘ Yeah, I guess you’re right but G-d knows what’s in my heart”. YES HE DOES! Bill told me that he would never leave his wife and that she could not live without him given her health problems and that he was building her a new house, bought her a new car, made her a resume that would guarantee a job, buys her anything she wants and he has secured her future with all his money and land, etc.. I admit that I was a wee bit jealous of her security which i don’t have but that’s all I was jealous of. He also told me that his wife never suspected him of ever being with another woman. That was when I really lost it. I told him that I don’t believe that and that I think she does know and I think she’s gained weight as a defense to keep him from using her physically and hurting her even more. I also told him that I think she was just so worn down by all his control that made her feel inferior and rendered so useless that she felt she had no other choice but to stay. Besides, she had two kids and given how much she had to lose in terms of security, I think she just stuck it out. I don’t blame her but I have a feeling she will die before Bill does and never get to enjoy his money and freedom. I told Bill not to call me anymore and that I thought it was terribly wrong of him to be talking to me. Bill didn’t stop calling. I asked Norman several times to answer the phone when Bill would call and to tell Bill not to call me anymore. Norman FINALLY, with a bad attitude toward ME, answered the phone and told Bill I wasn’t home and not to call me in a very meek voice. Bill then began calling my cell phone every day, several times a day. I finally answered and he said, ‘ Why didn’t you answer my calls? WHy didn’t you call me back? What’s wrong?” He didn’t even acknowledge Norman’s request at all. He finally gave up calling me.

            I went to his FB page and saw him with his absolutely beautiful wife back in 88 or so and she looked so happy and young and spry. She was a nurse, had a career and then she married Bill and gave up her career. I continued to follow his timeline photographs and realized that she had transitioned into nothingness like we had. In the early days of FB, she was in almost every photo and day by day, his photos of himself increased and her photos decreased. There’s not a single photo of her on his FB now except for one where she looks so much older than Bill, she’s riding in a little wagon that Bill built for their g’kids and she is very overweight, has teeth problems, gray and she looked so tired. Bill on the other hand looks extremely fit, very handsome, lots of poses of him deliberately looking sexy and mysterious. Lots of pictures of him building things for her and kids and the g’kids. The only pictures of her on FB are on her son’s page. She has no page of her own.

            It’s so easy for me to spot women who are being abused now. They do have a look about them. I can’t really describe it but there’s something so empty behind their eyes. Every time I see a happy, strong fit man standing next to his quiet submissive and aged wife, I can’t help but think that she’s living with an emotional vampire.

            I really want you to be smart and get out as soon as you can. Every day that we spend living in this ‘ condition’ with these men just drains us of energy that we need to build a new life. Speaking of energy. I was thinking about Reiki therapy. Do you know anything about it? I thought maybe it would help support my health during this horrible time.

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            • marsocmom says:

              Exodus, I can’t stop thinking about your comment and the total lack of anything redeeming about this Bill. Words can’t describe how abhorrent I find this. I would tie the millstone around his neck myself if I could. I’m sure it was God who was telling him that it’s okay to cheat on your wife because he deserves to be happy. There are other ways to receive spiritual input, and they aren’t all Godly by a long shot. BTW, my sister is a Reiki practitioner. I am cautious, because it’s a Buddhist theory of spiritual energy transfer, and another friend of mine, who also believes in “universal energy,” also believes in spirit guides and does tarot card readings, two things that throw up red flags for me. Just my opinion, for whatever it’s worth.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Exodus says:

                Marsocmom, Men like Bill are all over the place. One of the things that Bill has posted on his FB page many times, relative to G-d and being saved is that he’s ‘ a work in progress’ and that G-d loves and forgives all sinners. His favorite book? The Bible. The man is truly selfish, delusional and disgusting. I was so full of rage toward this man after our conversation that I wanted to find him and run him over. I really feel so sad for his wife though. I know what happened to her, I know how it happened, I know how she got trapped in his mirror and lacked the fundamental resources to save herself- education, money, career.
                I didn’t know that Reiki was Buddhist ( not that I care though since I believe Eastern medicine is much more spiritual than Western) but I know that acupuncture has worked wonders for me in the past with both physical and emotional issues. The tarot cards and such..way too woowoo for me. I do believe in energy medicine though since our human body is nothing but components of energy ( atoms).

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            • Seeing the Light says:

              Exodus, you said: “You and I both transitioned into nothingness because we didn’t matter and yet, every day, we got up, continued to fulfill our responsibilities and nurture our homes and family while they lived like egocentric teenagers. When I read stories about how these abusive men use G-d and their Church to support their healthy social image, it just makes me sick.” You said it. This is so true. We didn’t matter. He acquired the tool (me) that was supposed to complete his world and fill in his deficiencies and I just didn’t matter anymore. I am at a point today where I have seen fully into the emptiness of his soul and I feel like a full-body dry-heave or vomit or something. I really can’t believe just who was touching me all those years, who I tried to share my soul with. When I talk to him now, he so obviously comes off like a soul-less vampire that I cringe. No wonder we “transitioned into nothingness.” That is so well-put. There can be no satisfying closure either because he can never acknowledge from his heart what he has done. Never. What is even worse is he may eventually give lip-service to it if it benefits him somehow.

              Bill is disgusting. I have a story that I wish I could share, but suffice it to say it opened my eyes to just how deluded a person can be as far as what they believe God is okay with – or at least try to convince someone else God is okay with. It is sick! I had a window into a situation that was a ridiculous deception about God actually authoring something that was absolutely sinful! And yep, one of the main people in this little story was a covert narcissist – but a wonderful Christian man 😉 This twisting of God is rampant. If I didn’t see it for my own eyes in my father – the hours and hours of praying and serving in church – combined with how he treated his own family – I would still be confused at the hours and hours of Bible study, prayer and serving in church that Gregory does while still being who he is and treating his family the way he does.

              Your description of Bill’s wife is so sad. Beautiful, happy, young, spry with a career and a future, right? “Transition into nothingness.” Fast forward. Overweight, gray, bad teeth, so tired. And he goes on happy as a clam. How many women even on this blog could relate to that? I know I can (except for the gray).

              You said: “It’s so easy for me to spot women who are being abused now. They do have a look about them. I can’t really describe it but there’s something so empty behind their eyes. Every time I see a happy, strong fit man standing next to his quiet submissive and aged wife, I can’t help but think that she’s living with an emotional vampire.” So true and insightful. I am learning this right now, too. Heartbreaking to see.

              As for the Reiki, I don’t know much other than to say I have marsocmom’s reservations. I myself am just working at relaxation, taking better care of myself physically, and re-wiring my brain. I am working with my therapist at exposing old patterns of thinking and believing and literally laying down new pathways of healthy thoughts and beliefs. It’s hard work, but it is actually helping and working. I have to not just recognize the unhealthy stuff, I have to quit rehearsing it with my brain and confirming the ruts. I have to stop letting Gregory take up so much space there and begin to think on something else. It has been hard because I have been in a series of conversations with him recently, which I wasn’t going to do anymore, but they have been so educational and revealing and I felt burdened to appeal to him on a Christian level at least once more so that I would meet any responsibility I had to his soul (yes, I am saying soul – though I have yet to really be able to connect to one). I think the most recent one we had is the last major conversation I think I will have to have. What I have learned is very difficult. I could almost (only almost) wish he had a passionate hatred for me, but he doesn’t. I don’t matter enough to warrant hate. Cool resentment and disgust at a tool that just won’t function properly or stay in its place. Enough hostility directed at me that you would think there was strong feeling behind it, but there isn’t. I’m probably not even describing this very well, but I don’t know how. It’s like I’m on the receiving end of all this yuck, but I don’t actually exist as a person. I can’t even get my mind around it. I don’t think I will be able to. So…I think I have done what I had to do and said what I had to say. There is a small measure of closure when I hit a stage like this – not much, but some. And so now, I will focus on gaining some strength and loving my kids and walking them through how to process their relationships with him and writing over the parts of my brain where the damage has been done. And little by little he will take up less space there.

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              • Exodus says:

                Seeing, I’m so proud of you for devoting your energy to caring for yourself. Don’t give up. Keep working toward happiness and love.. I’m really trying to ‘ fix myself up’ and at least feel that I look attractive again. I haven’t pampered myself in many years. I rarely even shave my legs! I had nothing to wear to interviews and so I had to buy some basics for myself and although I’m not a material/superficial person, it really does feel good to know that I have the potential to look alive and somewhat attractive again with a little effort.

                I think about the time when Bill and I were dating, he smothered me with everything ‘ perfect’. I used to joke that he was like the ex boyfriend on ‘ meet the parents’. If I needed a desk, he would build me one that day out of lumber that he had harvested from his land and it would be absolutely beautiful. He brought me breakfast every morning in bed and it wasn’t shabby…eggs, toast, coffee, bacon, you name it. Yet, despite all his attention and nurturing, I hated him and I would even pretend to be asleep and ignore his breakfast. I remember once locking myself in my bedroom and not allowing him to come near me ( I lived with him and another guy in a big farmhouse/housemates). He called my mother and told her that he thought I had taken some hallucinogenic drug because I didn’t want him near me. I never could explain to anyone why this man bothered me so much. I broke up with him and never really understood why. I just knew that I felt horribly smothered and controlled. During my marriage to Norman, I often thought of Bill and wondered if I had made a mistake in not staying with him and wondered if I had a happiness phobia. I’m so glad that he contacted me and that I was able to see his true colors. I felt so glad that I broke up with him. What scared me though was in realizing that even then, I was an N magnet. Of course, I understand all that now and how having a narcissistic parent affects us. But, in those days, I was strong and spunky and I thought I had a whole life ahead of me and I didn’t waste time trying to save a relationship. Through the years, I’ve been so worn down by my N mother, N boyfriends and now Norman. All the abuse has accrued and left me so tattered. Norman and Bill are on opposite ends of the N spectrum in terms of nurturing but it’s interesting to compare how OVERTLY controlling Bill was and how COVERTLY controlling Norman is and yet they are one in the same animal.

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              • Exodus says:

                PS…..Seeing, you wrote, ” I could almost (only almost) wish he had a passionate hatred for me, but he doesn’t. I don’t matter enough to warrant hate.”…………..yes and like Norman’s therapist told me years ago..” Norman has it made because you are providing everything he needs so, why should he feel the need to change anything?” These men are not really being dishonest in the sense that, as you say, they don’t hate us. Why would they? These men see us as objects/tools that provide services to them……sex, domestic engineering aka housekeeping, childcare/nanny, social escort, secretary, mother etc..and in exchange we get shelter, food, transportation and clothing.

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                • Seeing the Light says:

                  Exodus, I had another round with him today and it has drained the life energy from me. I don’t understand how I can keep going deeper and deeper and thinking I have heard it all and then find more. Today was his initiative – which is rare – so I engaged. I can’t do it anymore. I am still having so much chest pain, my nerves are weak, and my mind and heart are reeling. I know if I can get through the next few days, I can get back on the path I have been on, but I can’t afford to engage him again. I can’t possibly express what happened, but he was so arrogant, so superior. He thinks there is something seriously wrong me that I am not grateful to have such a wonderful man. There is no doubt as to his narcissism. Right now, there are not words for what I am feeling, but I am a wreck. I feel like I need a de-briefing or something to get what engaging him did to me, to get it off of me. I saw behind the veil and it is ugly. What you said above is right, which amounts to bartering benefits for services, except for the sex part – that part comes down to concubinage or prostitution. After today’s talk, I feel like I was being raped all those years. I want to shower and scrub myself. I want to erase every trace of his poison from my mind and my soul. If I didn’t have children, I would not be under the same roof this moment. I have got to recoup from this last round and not engage him again. It is too dangerous.

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                  • Exodus says:

                    (((( Oh dear Seeing )))) I know exactly how you are physically feeling. It’s just horrible. The other day when I was invoicing, I began trembling so and felt as though I was about to faint. It’s so exhausting and it’s scary. Don’t allow him to make you feel inferior. He’s an evil coward that is just using your current role in the family against you. Norman does this to me all the time…..insinuating that I don’t do anything or care about anything around here. The only reason they say those things is because they fear losing us and they are trying to convince themselves that were nothing to begin with. I know it enrages you and hurts you to hear those thing but let it go. ” Melt Evil”

                    I too cannot imagine allowing Norman to touch me. It literally turns my stomach to imagine myself in bed with him. Ironically, Norman made a comment to me the other day that insinuated that somehow our marriage failed because I didn’t want sex with him! He doesn’t get it. He’s not emotionally capable of understanding the difference between sex and love.

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                    • Seeing the Light says:

                      Oh thank you, Exodus. I just went back and found what you originally shared on melting evil. That was just what I needed to hear. Thanks for the hugs, too. I could have used a cyber-hug last night 🙂 I think I will be okay with a little more time. I do wonder how many women with passive aggressive/abusive husbands who think their husbands are not narcissists or sociopaths or aren’t “that bad” haven’t had their husbands laid bare before their eyes, haven’t had the right conversation where he actually exposed – however unintentionally – the reality of what he is (or isn’t). My guess is they are every bit as malignant as Gregory (and Gregory isn’t even in Norman’s class behaviorally). I think if they dug deeper, they would find a creature they would never want to brush shoulders with, much less lie next to or have sex with. Just what I suspect. I know I can’t know for sure.

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                  • Exodus says:

                    Seeing, re: women not realizing the true pathology of PA behavior- I think that because there are so many varying degrees of PA and because the PA label is so commonly used today, the extreme cases of it get diminished and under-treated. Not all PA people have a character disorder but, the way to tell if it’s rooted in chronic anger or a character disorder ( narcissism, sociopathy, borderline) is by frequency and repetition of the behavior in conjunction with pervasive negativity. I’m sure that most of us, if not all, have resorted to some PA behavior in the past but we don’t feel the need to repeat and rely on this type of communication in our relationships with others.
                    “Merely being passive-aggressive isn’t a disorder but a behavior—sometimes a perfectly rational behavior, which lets you dodge unpleasant chores while avoiding confrontation. It’s only pathological if it’s a habitual, crippling response reflecting a pervasively pessimistic attitude.”…………….http://philosophymindart.blogspot.com/2011/08/what-is-passive-aggressive-disorder.html

                    The above link is to a blog written by a retired/unemployed psychologist

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  2. Seeing the Light says:

    PJs, as I read your post I was struggling with you opening yourself up to him again and I wanted to say, stop, no, don’t go there again, but I kept reading. I got to the closing paragraphs and it hit me that these interactions you are having with him are revealing him to you, and however painful, are educating and growing you. The determination and the fight you are expressing in recent days is coming through and I am so encouraged for you! I can’t wait for the day that his opinion no longer hurts you, that you finally look at him and think, why would I want the affection and the good opinion of someone like him?

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