It’s day 30 of Domestic Violence Awareness Month for men and boys, the invisible victims of domestic violence. TI85 reflects upon his marriage, his behavior and his soon-to-be ex’s behavior as he begins the divorce process. He experienced several kinds of abuse while married, including gaslighting, emotional abuse, physical abuse, jealousy, rage, passive aggression, blame shifting and others.
Self-Reflections at the End of an Abusive Marriage
I am getting divorced. Looking back on my marriage, I wonder are there warning signs we can observe? Are we capable of observing them?
My marriage was more work than I ever thought it would be, and I can’t tell if I should have seen this coming. Before we were married, she was uniformly cheerful and happy. After we were married, her cheerfulness waned — at least at home. At work or otherwise in public, she maintained the same outward happiness that originally attracted me to her. But when we would get home, it was apparent that she was bottling some frustrations. Our time alone was characterized by emotional meltdowns, usually over things that would otherwise be completely insignificant.
In my weariness from observing her put on a happy face for the outside world and then consuming most of our private time lamenting things (or expressing ugly anger towards people), I once asked her, “Why are you crying about that?” I asked this in what could rightfully be characterized in a not-so-supportive way.
Ever since, there has been a lot of anger thrown in my direction, all about little stuff, incessant nagging and infrequent sex (not none, but can-count-on-one-hand-in-a-year). This would lead to fights, something she “never thought would happen in her marriage.” My behavior would revert to the worst aspects of my personality — including the yelling and name-calling that I grew up with. When we discussed that anger (alone or in counseling), from her perspective, mine was simply wrong and must stop, but hers was justified because she had lost trust in me.
Over the years, I have noticed the following things about my wife:
1. The need for praise. My wife has LOTS of friends. None of whom she sees on a daily or even weekly basis or live anywhere near us. They all love her . . . for that time they spent together in college (more than 15 years ago). She is a prosecuting attorney who focuses on victim-crimes, and she is very good at her job. She loves to repeat stories of the praise heaped upon her by judges, colleagues, opponents, supervisors, etc. She is very, very nice to people and has carefully cultivated her personality so that even causal acquaintances are fascinated by her and drawn to her.
That said, in the confines of our home, she was absolutely vicious in her criticism of certain people. Her grudges against people are deep and the things she will say about these people (only to me, I think) were rather disturbing. She hates. I didn’t see this until we had been married for a couple of years. I’m personally pessimistic about things, but in a practical way. I don’t actually hate anyone, not even my wife. Imagining holding on to the kind of hate I saw my wife display privately was very upsetting to me.
There is a small group of people who criticized my wife after witnessing small glimpses of her bad behavior. She either let these people go as friends (including people who she were very good friends with for more than 10 years), or suffered them at family holidays (because they are my relatives). There is a third group of people who have seen her bad behavior, too. These people are her immediate family.
They don’t discuss any of this with her. Her mother exhibits the same behavior, as does her grandmother. The bad behaviors are discussed in hushed voices and acknowledged with askance glances, but nobody actually approaches any of these three about their behavior. Strangely, my wife will be critical of her mother’s behavior, her mother critical of the grandmother’s behavior, the grandmother of my wife’s behavior, etc. But nobody ever addresses the person acting badly. Ever. It’s like they are afraid.
2. Correlating her job and my alleged responsibility for her emotional well-being. I’ve heard my wife complain that she can’t understand why I argued with her at home, for example, about how I was not cleaning something “the right way,” because I told her that I admire and support her career choices. It made no sense to me or anyone else I’ve asked, but it apparently made sense to her.
3. She is always right. After years of experience, all I can say is, yes, she actually believes this. I’m firmly in the camp that this makes her somewhat unbalanced. They were right in kindergarten — nobody’s perfect. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.
Therapists suggested she needs to believe that she is always right because it’s a coping mechanism for some unknown early childhood trauma. That may be true. But my wife was not the least bit curious about digging through the alleged defense mechanism to get to the trauma at her soft gooey center. So I was married to the defense mechanism who thinks that she’s right all the time. So, really,it became a question for me about whether I was ever going to married to the person I thought was my wife, rather than this alleged defense mechanism. Like I said, I’m getting divorced.
4. Good time cycles. I went to counseling (marriage and individual), grew my backbone back, and started voicing my opinion about my own wants. It quickly became a simple numbers game. The frequency of our minor disagreements about things like which movie to see increased, and since I was not automatically capitulating, friction increased. The Good Times quickly dropped to zero.
5. Transactional. My soon-to-be ex viewed our relationship in a very transactional way. She also frequently mentioned how, as she was growing up, she intentionally copied her father’s skill at salesmanship, and how she combined that skill set with a careful and conscious adherence to her mother’s advice to “always kill them with kindness.”
It all sounds so harmless on the front end, at least to people like me. And, if one was going to be killed, what better way than by kindness?
But then you get to the back end — the place in a marriage where, on whatever small issue, neither person is going to get the precise outcome he or she wants. I had been *told* that these are the places for compromise. I had been *raised* to see that one person expresses a desire and the other acquiesces as he disassociates himself from whatever independent desire he may have held. Of course, I wasn’t around for the early years of my parents’ marriage, the years when friction may have occurred, the years before the pattern was set. I also failed to fully appreciate that my in-laws’ relationship was, from my perspective, vicious. Not overtly, but passively. Being around them remains one of the most uncomfortable feelings I have experienced.
So, in my own marriage, my wife and I mapped out our first areas of compromise by my wife expressing her preference for things, and me agreeing to it. I learned my role so well that, in those early days, I always thought each little thing wouldn’t be a big deal. I always assumed that, eventually, there would be some reciprocity. I would want something, and she would agree even though she didn’t necessarily agree.
But that didn’t happen.
It took a couple of years for me to recognize that my marital happiness was within my control, just as long as I could choke down my disagreement with a multitude of little, petty things. Everything would be fine if I expressed agreement to her desires, even if I did not agree. Nothing was fine if I expressed disagreement.
During those early years together, I was only intuiting the problem with this arrangement, and then I was acting out on that feeling. In those instances where I expressed my disagreement, it was typically met with passive aggression, and we would begin to argue and fight. In those arguments, we would each run through our full arsenals of persuasive techniques. Hers is a variety of passive-aggressive techniques that eventually evolves into a cross-examination against the transcript she prepares, in real-time, in her mind. I would engage in that for a while, but I would always end up shouting, which is how we resolved things in my household growing up.
We would exhaust each other, both figuratively and literally. Hostilities would cease when I submitted to her wishes about whatever inane, pedestrian thing it was that we were arguing about in the first place. For years, I defined the end of our arguments as the point when I would offer an apology, always for my shouting — that was the thing she (rightly) took issue with. But, now, I suspect that my thinking was incorrect.
She never offered her own apologies, nor would she reciprocate after I offered mine. She also never accepted any of my apologies. Rather, her approach was to claim the need for time to process her feelings. Now that things are over, I can also say that she never let me know when that process concluded. Honestly, and even though it is a strong word — never. It seems to me that, for her, reconciliation was not a factor. My apologies meant nothing. I doubt that she even heard them.
In my experience, my wife can control herself, but only when she wants to. Her desire for self-control seems to exist only as a means to an end; that is, if she wants something. And, in that regard, part of controlling herself included letting herself loose on me at appropriate times. She only seems to lose complete control at the moment when it becomes clear that her sales pitch is not going to get her what she wants. Then it’s just all-out war.
Throughout all of this, she is not even negotiating. She is selling. Compromise is just not in her vocabulary.
6. Rage when she doesn’t get her way. Towards the end, I stopped shouting. This, amazingly, seemed to cause her to shout. I pointed this out, but she had an argument for that,“You taught me how to do it.” The first time she did that, I told her it was wonderful that she had only recently picked up the habit — because that meant she should be able to kick it in no time at all. After all, I was raised to be a shouter, and with just 6-8 months of work I had gotten it under control. I thought that was the end of her shouting. It was for that evening.
But it wasn’t the end of her shouting.
The second time I heard her tell me that I taught her to shout, I just stopped arguing with her. About everything. If I disagreed with something she wanted, I told her so. When she started in with whatever fighting technique she wanted to employ, I just calmly insisted that we needed to find a compromise. This invariably pushed her alarm button, and the raised voice and shouting would begin. When that happened, I calmly told her that we could discuss it when she could stop shouting, or being rude, or calling names (or all of the above). This invariably pushed her nuclear button. Then I would walk away. This invariably pushed her global-thermonuclear-war button.
For a while, I was confused about how doing what I was asked to do (stop shouting) could make things worse. I focused on the behavior, and quickly found that (a) I gained a better understanding of her objection to being shouted at; and (b) I won’t put up with that crap. So it only took a couple of months for me to ask for a divorce.
7. Blame shifting and abdication of personal responsibility. It wasn’t until very recently — and in no small part because of the Shrink4Men website — that I noticed in our arguments in the waning days of our marriage, we never came to an agreement on the things we were disagreeing about. Or, to state it more precisely in terms of our original relationship dynamic, I didn’t cave.
That’s when things started to get really bizarre. I recall her mentioning at one point, with a small degree of self-awareness, that I needed to understand that I had established a pattern of acquiescing to her wishes, and therefore shared in the responsibility for her emotional outbursts now that I was changing the dynamic. Again, she had a chastened tone when she said this. But she still said it, and she stood by it.
She followed it up with a comment about how, when we were starting out, she had told me that she had trust issues (she did tell me that, and it was obvious), and that she didn’t really trust me (she actually told me the opposite of that). Recently, she equated my request for a divorce with “[my] evasion of the consequences of my deplorable behavior.” In other words, she has decided that I am solely responsible for the unworkable state of our marriage, and therefore I am honor bound to refrain from asking for a divorce. This all seems nuts to me, but I digress.
8. Jealousy. I was regularly accused of having affairs with co-workers. This could not have been further from the truth. She freely admitted that her accusations were baseless, and were prompted by her own irrational jealousy. I asked her to stop. She shifted to making jokes about it. I told her they weren’t funny, and asked her to stop. She did not stop. We would fight about this. I eventually decided that I don’t need to put up with this.
9. Gaslighting. My wife has pushed me and punched me. Not often, but it has happened. I was never in any physical danger — she is smaller than me, and my head was cooler than hers when she was doing this.
But here’s the thing that is odd — she denied that these things ever happened. She is very emphatic in her denials. If I ever brought up these events (either in private or in counseling), her reaction was uniformly one of two things: (a) overly sarcastic and condescending ridicule, “Come on . . . you KNOW that’s not what happened!”; or (b) violent shouting, “I would never! And I can’t believe I’m married to someone who would accuse me of that!”
What is even stranger is that, normally, she presents a very calm, even, cheerful demeanor to the outside world. I have come to recognize this as a protective mechanism she has developed to keep others at a sufficiently safe distance and simultaneously give them reason to praise her, which is something she very much enjoys, and seems to need. However, she was incapable of doing anything but acting in an obviously rude manner or simply flying off the handle when I brought this up.
Oh, and I only brought it up to the counselor, and then by expressing my sincere concern that this type of behavior was dangerous — notwithstanding my statement above about not being in any serious physical danger, what if I did react? I was scared to death of possibly facing a criminal record because my wife came at me. My wife literally laughed this off. The counselor acknowledged that this was something to be worried about, but didn’t go very far beyond that (there were tons of other issues to deal with).
I know this stuff happened. I get the impression that my wife was trying to make me think that it didn’t.
10. Profligate spending. Before we married, my wife lived beyond her means, but told herself (somewhat reasonably) that she was doing good, low-paying work in a high-cost area at the beginning of her career, and she’d pay it off later. She got the better-paying job in a lower-cost area when we got married. Extravagances weren’t many, but $400 purses became a regular item on the Christmas list.
All of her friends’ children started getting regular gifts in the mail, because children like getting stuff in the mail. We had a budget, but agreeing on it was like pulling teeth, with my first attempt at discussing my need to live within my means quickly breaking-down to a fight about whether I actually loved her or not. We eventually compromised, but it wasn’t pleasant getting there. And, somehow, we always ended up spending the same amount over our budget each month. This didn’t put us further in debt, but it did ultimately delay us from getting into the black by almost a year.
While this was going on, I said almost nothing about it, which was my error. Because, when I did try to say something, I’d see flashes of that first fight when she found a way to steer the discussion from, “Husband really does not want to live in debt, especially when we don’t have to,” to “Husband doesn’t emotionally support Wife, because he’s not being sensitive enough about her bad feelings about her massive debt.” Or, “Husband is so unhappy with himself that he doesn’t know that it’s OK to treat yourself sometimes, and he’s not frugal, he’s cheap, and this is something that is wrong with him.”
I swallowed my own discontent, and pressure built. Money that I used to save or spend on my hobbies was consumed with household expenses such as makeup, boutique wrapping paper, nicely decorated tissue boxes, $6/gallon organic milk, etc. She would ask if each nickel ($5) and dime ($10) item was ok to buy with household funds (as opposed to our own allowances), and I’d always agree because disagreeing usually resulted in some sort of pouting, withholding, etc. At home, I was either (a) a grumbly jerk, or (b) emotionally inconsistent and unpredictable. But I didn’t realize this until I had been this way for quite some time.
We have been apart for a few months now, and I’m cooled off a little. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still blaming her (partially) for the pressure and frustration that I felt. But now the pressure is gone (we split up our finances), and, somehow, I’m saving more than I was when we were together, and I’m even paying proportionally more rent than I used to.
Oh, and I also saw her bank summary. She’s already got more on the credit cards than she has in the bank. I know it’s childish, but sometimes, when I’m spending a full Saturday on the golf course (and I’m not at a farmer’s market), I think about that.
In His Own Words is an effort to help raise awareness about the invisible victims of domestic violence, men. If you would like to submit your story, please follow the guidelines at the end of this article.
Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
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After reading this story in particular, I was left with an uncomfortable feeling in my gut….as to me his story sounds like a “normal” but challenging marriage and life 2 people can experience together….
Maybe there is something wrong with me then?
Well, if you don’t have any experience with a Borderline Personality Disordered spouse, the author speaks in generalities for the sake of brevity. So it is possible you might interpret the ups and downs described in a general sense, you could get the impression this is the ups and downs of a typical marriage.
To be more specific, in my case, my wife emptied the kitchen trash and then after the fact she started screaming at me that I should have emptied the kitchen trash NOT her. I remained calm, pointed out if she wanted me to empty the trash, all she had to do was ask, offered possible solutions and compromises to prevent this situation in the future, 2 hours later we were still in a screaming argument, with her doing most of the screaming, rejecting every possible solution I proposed and just screaming again and again, “You should just know”! We had already gone around the logical fallacy of me NOT being a mind reader and her insisting that she wasn’t demanding that I be a mind reader, I should “Just Know” what she wants, when she wants it without any communication on her part, that’s NOT her asking me to be a mind reader. Ummmmm, OK.
Does that sound like a “normal” but challenging marriage and life 2 people can experience together? This is the type of relationship the author is describing, albeit in generalities.
Or, Murphy, is it possible you’re considering that your in an abusive relationship yourself? Still in the fog?
A year and half ago, I may have said the same as you, sounds like my marriage the typical ups and downs. Men are suppose to be the strong ones, the rocks of the marriage, the woman are emotionally frail and illogical, you have to protect them from themselves. The excuses I made to continue to live in denial as my defense mechanism to deny how miserable I was.
There is a lot of self-loathing I am still going through, how I put up with and enabled all that horribly abusive behavior I suffered from, explaining it away as typical ups and downs and I have to be the bigger person and let it go to get on with the relationship and return calm to the family for the sake of the kids.
The author also mentions, repeating cycles of his own home life as a child, and I think that is a denominator for the victims of BPD’s, they target the emotionally walled off and scarred men that don’t reject them when their mask slips and their emotional instability and malice is revealed. Myself, and other men, that were raised by high conflict, bullying parents, find their behavior familiar, and know no better that this is a normal home life that they have always known. One day the realize, that it is NOT normal and it didn’t have to be this way and threw away the best years of their lives on these abusive people, and like myself, their marriage collapses like a house of cards, quite simply because their marriage was a house of cards.
Rick, I agree with most of what you said except the part where you questioned his experience with a BPD. I have plenty of experience with cluster Bs and got that same uncomfortable feeling that it didn’t sound that bad, you were right though, what the author described was that bad, like you said he spoke in generalities. Remember we all experience the horrors of these relationships to varying degrees, perhaps compared to the hell he lived through it didn’t seem that bad (not trying to be dismissive of the pain the author experienced). For those of us conditioned to accept abuse just as Some Pit Bulls are conditioned to fight, what he described above sounds so familiar to what was normal for us. The good news is that Murphy got that uncomfortable feeling, means his warning signals are working. Just my interpretation. Beautifully written piece, frightening. I will never go through an abusive relationship again, not with the knowledge I gained from this site. Peace.
Yes, Brother. There is something wrong with you, there is also something wrong with me. There is something wrong with all of us who read these stories. That is why we are here. The good news is now you know it is not normal. I got that same uncomfortable feeling in my gut, it reminds me I still have a way to go.
“There is something wrong with all of us who read these stories. That is why we are here.”
Thanks … I needed to read that.
The most well written perspectives I have ever read.
There is a serenity/calmness in your reflections that speaks of someone who like the main character Marlow in the book Heart of Darkness has travelled into some insane world but managed to make their way back.
I can relate completely to “At home, I was either (a) a grumbly jerk, or (b) emotionally inconsistent and unpredictable. But I didn’t realize this until I had been this way for quite some time.” I had lost my sense of humour, fortunately like many good things about me stifled by the relationship my humour is back and in a true joie de vivre.
Welcome back, hopefully indiviudals like Murphy in the comment above reads your perspective and has that twinge of understanding that relationships with women like your ex are not healthy or normal and are inspired to find better things for themselves.
I agree–very well done and a helpful perspective. Each day this month a man has presented his story; each painting a slightly different face on character disturbed women. Yet in each I see my ex in different ways. This has been an amazing project.
Thank you for your voice and your efforts to share it here.
With the exception of the Jealousy issues, this could have been my marriage. She is a college professor, and presents a very helpful, cheerful, extroverted face to the rest of the world. My daughter and I were the ones who got to see the ugliness of who she really is. Well written, and it sounds like you’re moving on.
Totally agree, this is an exact description of my marriage as well, my exception is the wife working, mine was a stay at home Mom, even though she promised me she would continue to work after marriage, she quit her job right after marriage and refused to get another one, then accelerated our plans for having children by sabotaging the birth control. Once she had a kid, right after the marriage, despite promising waiting 5 years, she knew she had me trapped and her behavior hit new heights of abusive insanity.
All the best in your future life without insanity.
On reflection, I was speaking to a person yesterday who had just broke things off with an acquaintance (who obviously was PD) and he made the statement, “I really feel that I saw the good and real side of her. The hateful nature was a front to keep her from being hurt”. To which I said, “Maybe, you saw a projected image of good. A true person’s character is determined when you hold them accountable”. He had a blank stare on his face for a second or two then stated, “Yeah, never thought of it that way”.
Well written, and thank you for sharing. As I was reading, multiple times the thought “oh wow” came to mind. There are many similarities to my wife and situation, so just know you are not alone. I have been in your Hell. Good luck, stay safe, you will survive. You did the best thing possible by getting away…
Sad State says
As everyone else mentions, all of these stories strike some similarity with my own case. TI85 mentions one aspect of the end-game that I found very surprising – the finances of breaking up. My ex did the finances (big mistake, I know). They were always in a mess, never enough income (she was SAHM), and she would have to juggle which bills to pay each month. I did try to take them a few times, but they were so convoluted as to be incomprehensible, so I had to give them back due to lack of time to sort through it all. (I know, I know, you don’t have to say it. But hindsight is 20/20).
Anyway, after the divorce, I was paying alimony of 25% of my takehome pay and still paying all bills except one credit card. This included mortgage, insurance, raising the kids, etc. What I found amazed me – I STILL HAD MONEY LEFT AT THE END OF THE MONTH!!
I realized she must have been spending more than 25% of our family’s income on totally irrelevant purchases for her own benefit. So with her gone, even with paying alimony, I never had to juggle bills, never had a bill collector pester me, and was able to have enough left to start paying off the mountain of debt we had built.
I also want to encourage those going through the painful part of a divorce – it does get better. WAY better. I have been free for five years now. I spent the first four so happy and content in my condition, I didn’t even look for a relationship. I now love and am loved by a wonderful woman. I’d say the biggest lingering issues is my constant search for red flags. But I have narrowed it down to one major item: does she have a healthy relationship with her parents and her kids. I’ve concluded that a psycho may be able to keep a semi-healthy relationship with one, but not both. So remember that the first light in the tunnel is a train, but after that is survived, the next light is something you do want to head towards.
Miguel 8 says
Well written story, these relationships are like a mirror-effect thing, these women are like carbon-papper copies. And we have to pay attention to our reaction to this problem, trying to make thinghs better and all, and how we are engaged in unhealthy patterns.
At the end of a relationship like that we have to experience an awful mix of emotions.
Good luck for you with your new life!
It’s my first post here Miguel. All good meaningful posts above and so far. The following true tale is about a woman I merely shared a living space with. NOT a traditional relationship. that however doesn’t matter: as soon as a man allows a woman to move in with him?
He leaves himself at risk of EVERYTHING. And if she’s a Jodia Arias type (as mine was)? He risks his own life. Here goes:
The woman wasn’t just a Borderline Personality disorder she was a certified NUTCASE. Blaming me for stealing property of hers that I would have absolutely no interest in. Like her jewelry, videotapes, C/D’s etc. She heard voices in the night and was convinced that her previous landlord, who was a former friend of hers had sicked the Hells Angels on her. She uttering often that both her and myself were in danger from H/A.
I didn’t believe even one word of her nutty ramblings but I did have to take her presence seriously as she ABSOLUTELY RUINED MY LIFE since the day she moved in Jan 15, 2007 until I moved out, Jan. 3, 2008.
Anyway upon my finally realizing I was living with a dangerous maniac I started to make crucial decisions in preparation of leaving the house and her. Instinctively realizing that telling her I was leaving was a bad idea as she could easily have threatened to call the police and file false claims of D/V etc. And believe me SHE WOULD HAVE DONE EXACTLY THAT!!!
SO I gathered together only those items I truly needed and began boxing them up in the final days of 2007. Right after Christmas. Suddenly I discovered that my five shot revolver with the 38 special in it was missing! It’s a .357 Magnum really and a damned fine firearm* Problem:
How to get it back from my stupid, personality disordered bitch??? That and do it without making her wise as to my plan to escape… Ah HAH! Pretend there was an intruder in the backyard!!!
The woman, though a cunning deadbeat was definitely no intellectual and absolutely terrified of Burglars/BAD PEOPLE (paranoia typical of the BPD) breaking into the house So I woke her up one night at about 2am saying:
“Darlene (real name withheld), I think someone is prowling around the backyard. I can’t find my Magnum what can we do?”
She of course had taken my gun away from me without my consent! A very dangerous situation for ME, not her! I believe that spoiled brats like the BP types intuitively know what assholes they are seen to be by other people. Thus they figure that the people they offend may want to harm or even kill them. I didn’t want to harm Darlene. Just wanted to get the hell AWAY from her and start my life over! She however took my gun WITHOUT MY PERMISSION! Because she KNEW how awful she was being to me. The parasite that she was… She, yes SHE would have shot at or killed a person like her. Not me. Thus she took my gun w/out permission.
However by deflecting her attention to one of her stronger fears, ie the fictitious prowler in the backyard, I was able to get her to give me my handgun back. She really was a PARANOID type. I quietly gave her a stern warning not to touch my property again but didn’t make too much of a fuss. Then I walked out to the backyard, pretended to talk to these fictitious trespassers. pretended to drive them off and then came back into the house.
I gave Darlene a description of my invented “prowlers” that sorta matched a pair of lowlife’s she knew personally and then let her imagination run wild with it. No matter what she thought at least my handgun was SAFELY back in my possession. Within a couple days I dropped the woman off at Social Services (food stamps and welfare because her kind almost never works a real job…) drove away, picked up my two dogs, changed my telephone number with NO forwarding exchange and left for good.
This was how I “Survived My Encounter With The Roommate From HELL”. She could easily have done a Catherine Kieu Becker or Jodie Arias on me.
So Cal Dad says
I agree with Lebrocq’s comment that TI85 has compiled one of the best perspectives I have read. I had read TI85’s comments to another poster at S4M quite a few months back, who had asked site members if his observations of his wife’s behavior were valid and if his marriage could survive (I seem to recall the poster’s wife was a physician and blamed for him for causing her stress before she went to work e.g. “people could die“). Many of TI85’s observations were included in that post and I recall after TI85 laid out his experience, he told the poster that the situation probably would not end up with them staying together, and the fact that he was here at S4M was telling.
I photocopied TI85’s post and put in my journal, as it was so insightful and validating for me to read. My Ex-W is also a lawyer and my feelings and perspectives were always the subject of rigorous cross-examination, with my perspective always coming as unjustified and senseless (the doesn’t make any sense).
The sections on “She is Always Right”, “Cycles“, “Transactional“, “Rage and Blame Shifting” were so familiar it was astounding in their similarity to my experience. My experience also included an abundance of “Countering”, which I interpreted as a sub-component of the “Always Right” dynamic. There was also “Isolating.” She always had a reason why my weekend hobbies and increasingly infrequent visits with friends to see a Padres game or visit family out of town, always needed to be placed on hold until she gave the green light. She had an irrational fear of committing to anything on the calendar, because something different might come up later. I always thought you should just schedule the activity and deal with unforeseen conflicts when, and if, they arise later. I see this now as an isolation tactic, more than a fear of double-booking, because usually no scheduling conflicts ever materialized.
I also waited, and waited … and waited, for reciprocity that never came. I offered apologies and accepted blame to reach a one-sided resolution of the frequent conflicts, and it took years for me to figure this all out, her utter inability and/or refusal to apologize or own any part of the conflicts. I also went to counseling (alone, because I was the “defective” one and needed fixing, not her), and started to grow a backbone. The rapid deterioration when I did finally begin to recognize the dysfunction (also due in large part to S4M), stopped capitulating and started asserting my wants and needs. My marriage story ended 1 year ago, like TI85, though I was staying for the kids and she filed for the divorce. I did not have the guts like TI85 did.
My sincere appreciation to Dr. T and writers like TI85 for their personal contributions this month and helping me along on my journey.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
This post is a compilation of TI85’s comments. On days that I did not have a new submission in October, I took a series of comments posted over time on S4M by the same commentator and wove them together into a cohesive whole, which I did with 4 or 5 of TI85’s past comments.
Thanks for the compilation, Dr. T. I haven’t been here in a while, and I’m just commenting to say that I was surprised to see this — probably because I skimmed the intro and failed to notice my handle. I actually read almost halfway through thinking, “whoa, this guy is living my old life.”
Also, many thanks to everyone else for the compliments; they are much appreciated. But, let’s be honest, that was also a godawful slog. Seriously, though, thanks.
Finally, to those who observed that these compiled observations reflect a normal and duly taxing relationship — I see your point. That thought weighed on me heavily, and it remains. I see the dynamic of my marriage in many, many places, and I often wonder if the 50-Million-Elvis-Fans postulate applies. But then I remember that worrying about what other people think is a large part of what got me into this mess in the first place. I cannot claim that such a relationship will not work — after all, it appears to work for my father, several of my uncles and cousins, one of my grandfathers, and a few friends and acquaintances. But, for me, I now know that such a relationship does not work. It just took me a long time to figure it out. And it’s probably best that I did, because my proclivity for poor behavior during my short marriage did not suggest that I would be following in the footsteps of my uncle, who is married 50 years and, at Thanksgiving, displayed a polite grimace as my aunt removed a turkey leg from his plate while telling him that he does not like turkey legs. Even though he does. I just don’t have it in me to live like that.
Anyway, thanks again. Good luck everyone.
Nice compilation here. Captures the essence of high-functioning, intelligent & extremely manipulative sociopaths. Very descriptive of my ex-wife. I see some folks commented to the likes of this seeming like a ‘normal marriage with some issues’ or something like this.
I think we’ve been brainwashed by the culture to accept this kind of thinking, and situation, as normal. Being miserable, abused, taken advantage of, and married to someone who manipulates others is not normal. Its perverse.
After many long years of living with the almost identical personality type,
my advice to all is to get out ASAP. Once recurring incident that I can relate to fully is the apology issue that comes up often in abusive relationships.
I had to often write out written apologies and hand deliver them or even slide
them under the door.
In Jenna Miscavige Hills revealing book on Scientology, she even talks about apologies.
Run while you can
Wow, I can identify with the his story so much. I left a post a few days ago on the co-parenting/minimal contact explaining a little about my situation with my ex-wife, and some of the B.S. But reading this gave me chills. My ex also has TONS of friends, everyone is her friend everyone is great, everyone thinks she is great and wonderful; yet, they all seem to be in other states, and she never “hangs” out with them, she may see them once a week if that, for an hour for lunch, and she holds up that image of how wonderful she is and everyone buys it. Some of them are my friends and I see pictures on their facebook, out with other mutual friends, yet my ex-is never with them. Very superficial friendships, nobody gets really close, but they are ALL her best friends.
My ex was physically abusive a hand full of times in our short 2 year marriage, 1 of which was spent separated. The gaslighting, the random rages, She would blame me for her blow up’s. I fought back don’t get me wrong, never physically, just verbally, I stood up for myself, and defended, and used logic to the point where she would had nothing to say, just stare at me because she had no response to the truth.
Ok this is some funny shit. We would argue and she would go into theses rages, and tell me, ‘Where is the husband I feel in love with, I want that husband back, (again not taking responsibility for her starting any argument) She would lay her hand on my head and start praying, that the demons be purged from me, she would pray to God, that I needed help and that I was possessed. No shit. WTF are you doing??? “You need help, God needs to help you, you need to be in therpy on medication, I will help you through this, I just want my husband back. Which in retrospect she wanted the husband back who put up with her shit.
It’s funny she taught Sunday school at our church, I have a 14 year old son from a previous relationship from college. His mom and I get along good, (of course she used to be crazy too but has grown and matured over they years and has 3 more kids, and a good husband) Anyway, We got out of the car at the church parking lot, I looked at my son (12) at the time, and said, “you know son, you are very handsome, you look nice today.” She, got very angry, and said, “you know what is more important than being handsome!! HAVING GOOD CHARACTER!!!” And she started lambasting me and him in the parking lot, and cussing. We were late, so nobody saw this. So we get into church and she’s sitting there and she starts crying, not whaling, but like holding it back purposely for show, like she was being abused, and I hurt her or something. I said what are you doing, what is wrong, and she was acting like I was some kind of abuser, and some people in the church were looking at me like I did something to cause it. It was very frightening how women can get away with stuff because they are women.
Shit, I’m just going to start writing crazing stories about crap she has done, it helps remind me that I dont’ need to reconcile. We have a great 3 year old daughter tighter, and I have 50/50 custody, so I’m hoping I can balance out the craziness
First of all…thank you Dr T for helping to give me back my life!! Without your work,I would still be a slave in an abusive relationship that took me back to the stone age.
Mudbone25,first of all,from someone who spent years in the trench`s the good news is,yes start writing it all down!! I had to hid my journal under a ceiling tile in the basement…..it can be done.
“I have done nothing wrong.” keep on telling yourself that
Also don`t get fooled by the religious trip. Read your bible…there are countless verses on false prophets,false teachers……There are millions of
professing Christians and few that actually read and follow what the bible says.
She is not showing you anything that is even close to Love.
Also,when things get out of hand and you might get hit……Walk Away!!!!
Get out of the room or walk to the other side of the parking lot,if she happens to want a little attention at that particular time.
She will not change or try to change.
Now that I am out and “free” the work is not over.
Dr T is correct to tell recient escapies that we need therapy
in order to properly re-enter society.
Thank You Dr T!!!
You know, I haven’t thanked Dr.T enough for this website. Knowing that I’m not alone is a great comfort. It’s also sad that there are men who are going through this kinda stuff.
Thankfully I’ve only had 3 texts and 2 calls from her this weekend. That is a huge improvement. I answered non of them of course.
I figured if she taking out her anger at me, then she’s not taking it out on her new boyfriend, hence things are going pretty smooth for him right now.
I’m not engaging, so I expect that the change for him in the coming months.
But hey, that’s his burden now, not mine.
Thanks JPJ for the support. I understand that it’s not my fault, she will never change, she will always blame, it will never be enough and that she will always think I’m the problem.
My answer. If I’m all of those things, then why are you bothering me? I sound like someone you should probably stay away from. Loose someone to project on would be my guess.
I’m not putting up with that crap anymore, and she knows it now. Divorcing her was the best thing I have done for myself, my son and our daughter. Cant fix crazy, or reason with it either.
Hey there buddy….you are not alone at all.There are many guys out there suffering big time,but that is another issue.
Get one thing straight Mudbone25,my friend.
You have done nothing wrong.
She has got/had you where she has the control.
Your earlier post even said she used assault(breaking the law by the way)
to totally intimidate you.
Only you know if you need to make a totally clean break…but that is tough
with the kids.
I was just like you many years ago,totally confused.
My first suggestion to you is go downstairs at 2 AM and read all of Dr T`s older articles.As I said before,if not for Dr T…….well in short…she
saved my life.
Google the word Narcissist and start printing out as much as you can.
Dr T has done work on that as well….she is the best.
Knowledge is power.
Dave Gordon says
Having been out of a marriage with a high functioning BPD wife for two years now, and having studied the affliction via websites, books and therapy with a woman trained in Personality Disorders, I am recovered enough to now add my own insights into this illness. So many similarities in all of our stories and I am sure there is an overlay ‘map’ that would show the same things wrong with each of these people from an environmental background and perhaps a genetic component. My wife had the trifecta – abandonment by her father early on, emotional neglect, and sexual abuse. Milk is a good analogy – buy it fresh, drink it and it is wonderful and refreshing but in time it will sour and when it sours it is not coming back to fresh and pure, EVER. It continues to get sour no matter what you do. She was wonderful, everything I could imagine in a partner but then things started to sour, I awoke one night and she was pounding me with her fists – she was screaming at me but I think her anger was directed toward her sexual abuser. Classic case – I went into denial but the violent episodes continued. I was Charlie Brown and she was Lucy – I thought when we discussed her anger that we were finally past her rages but the pressure would build until she would blow – sometimes only 3-4 days, sometimes 2 weeks. And then it became my fault she was behaving that way. She broke a dish in the kitchen and took a piece of the glass and tried to cut her wrists – I tried to stop her and I got cut – blood all over – I called for help and who went to jail? She had a great story… Still, I knew nothing official about mental illness as my wife is very intelligent and I thought we were discussing our way through our issues. Then I found out about her Xanax use – combine that with 2 drinks and she would come after me in some of the most violent rages I have ever seen in anyone – even the criminally insane on TV show portrayals. Lest I carry on – my thoughts summed up – Personality disorders are illnesses – they are like other illnesses. I do not hate her for being ill – but the difference in a PD is that you cannot be around them – ever again. If she, her latest victim, or family ever came to me and ask for help – I would offer it unconditionally from a distance – because I do love my ex, (people don’t stop loving relatives because they have cancer or polio) however once I learned the truth about her Borderline Personality Disorder, I have NO appetite for repetition of the same experience.
Cousin Dave says
One thing I’ll throw in here is that what a Cluster B tells you about their past is not necessarily reliable. Yes, some of them were abused or abandoned as children, but not all. And it’s totally within character for a Cluster B to make up a sob story about their past if they think it will get them sympathy. My CBX used to tell all kinds of stories about being abused. I found out later that one person that she claimed used to abuse her daily was actually living hundreds of miles away at the time.
Dave I admire you’re capacity for being the bigger person, I was the bigger person constantly to my BPD wife, to a fualt where it was NOT being a bigger person but conflict aversion allowing the wife to avoid accountability with my empty platitudes of being the bigger person as my own defense mechanism to continue living in denial.
I NOT sure I agree totally with your sympathy toward your ex-wife as her suffering from an illness. (In regards to my own attitudes, I don’t assume to tell you how should view your ex or BPD).
I think we might both agree, that mental illness can be a communicable disease, i.e. the effects of mental illness in one person can create mental illness or deterioration of mental health of another. I think anyone that has suffered in a committed relationship with a BPD afflicted person would agree with that.
Considering that, and to carry over an anology from physical communicable diseases, BPD suffers and their victims need to be quarantined from each other for the best hope for recovery or at least triage for the one that has the best hope of recovery. That is an analogy for what your stating you’ve done, and is a way to resolve your actions and attitudes perfectly consistently.
On the other hand, and I’ll admit it may still be the residual anger that is biasing me, and I do know I have more work to do in my recovery. I think its simplistic to dismiss mental illness as the same as a bacterial or viral infection. NOT all physical illness’s are the same, just as I am arguing that NOT all mental illness’s are the same. And I’ll nock out the disclaimer right away that there are plenty of mental illness’s that are physiologically based, like schzifrenia (SP?), that it would be at best ignorant to blame the sufferer for thier affliction, at worse malice. But there are also mental illness’s were the afflicted do deserve some accountability, and/or their affliction is NOT an excuse for the damage that they knowingly do and knowingly do everything in their power to avoid accountability.
In fact the only success in treating BPD is holding the afflicted accountable for their actions, and correlary, the BPD aflicted skillful avoindance of accountability of their actions is the root of their symptoms spiraling more and more out of control.
6 months into my marriage I asked my wife to get phychological counseling, she refused, twice a year ever year after that in the marriage I demanded she get counseling, she always refused, or lied, or hatch some scheme or plot to redirect blame or cause onto myself. After I told her it was all over, NO way I would ever stay with her, she finally did go to counseling, but it was too late, my damage was so great, I had to get out for my own survival.
So, I do NOT feel the slightest obligation to my ex, nor any sympathy that she suffers from a disease. I tried to get her help, and she refused it and made me suffer instead. She is 100% accountable for what she did, I have no obligation to feel pity for her, especially since I tried to save her from herself for decades. Disease or no, she refused to get well, by refusing to trust someone she vowed to trust and had proved himself consistantly trust worthy again and again for decades.
Call it a disease if you want, but this caregiver went above and beyond what anyone would expect, he did all he could do, he is moving on for his own health and well being, there is no healing someone that refuses to be healed.
I can only muster, that I hope she finally does beat her BPD and does find happiness and calm in her life, but I won’t waste one more moment of my life to bring that to her, if I never see her again, it will be too soon.
Hi Dave…..right there with you buddy.Like you,I am in therapy and go once a week.Reading posts like yours is so helpful and takes the lonlieness away.
As you most truthfully pointed out…..even the police cannot help abused men that are trapped in horrific domestic living conditions with a female abuser.
I am sure that your therapist informed you about being Hyper-vigilant.
Having NO appetite for repetition is totally understandable.
We don`t want to go through the living Hell that monster-mates put us through.
Your milk analogy is perfect.
Thank you for your post as it has helped in my personal recovery.
Just be careful about loving your abusive ex…….members of Charles Manson`s cult would run away only to return later because it was their comfort zone.
Also..your therapy is never over really…..the wolf is still there just outside your door waiting to pounce.
“Bitches be Crazy” –Sheldon Cooper
Dave Gordon says
Thanks Cousin Dave and JPJ – no, we are not alone and I appreciate support and thanks to this site for additional information and introspection to make sense of it all – maybe not possible. Don’t worry – part of me will love her always but never going back – I would only encourage her if she sought treatment but what is indicative of disordered people goes beyond normal denial – works in reverse – of course she told me I was the one who had the issues. And when she did make an attempt on her own life and had to get her stomach pumped, it was my fault of course. I also did a bit of in depth research and confirmed she was abandoned and abused. It explains behavior but does not excuse behavior. Funny part – even up until then, neither medical community or legal community handled it very well – sure they handle the legal side and the medical side but not once did anyone ever say to me that – “Hey, when these things happen that are way beyond normal, one of you has serious mental issues going on.” I was in the dark thinking menopause, Xanax and alcohol, and other nromal problems. Finally, had a person ask if I had ever heard of the book ‘Walking on Eggshells.’ Nope, hence began hundreds of hours of internet research, led me to BPD and other mental health issues, this website, seeking a counselor who specialized in BPD (she survived a narcissist husband). I forgave ex, forgave the heavens but could not forgive myself for all of the reasons we all know and feel in common. Finally just about ‘there.’ And capable of lending and ear and kind words to anyone that needs help. Stay safe friends…
Just wanted to update JPJ and whoever if they are keeping up. I’m doing better everyday. I don’t take any of her crazy ass phone calls, or answer any of her passive aggressive e-mails or texts demanding that I respond to her questions about our daughter. I’m sorry but her shoe size is NOT an emergency.
I’ve even forgotten the content of most the texts and e-mails. I think my bullet proof ego is in full force. When I try to recall, to my friends, the next crazy thing she did, I just can’t remember what she wrote.
She was pissed at pickup this weekend. Demanding that she come get the rest of her things. Uh you moved out 2 years ago, and you have everything. I have nothing, except some wooden filing drawer in the garage. You can pick that up sometime next year, it’s the holiday’s I’m busy, and you had 2 years. I thought flames of fire shot out of her eyes. And no, I’m not going to tell you the eating and sleeping times and schedules for our 3 year old daughter. I’m her father not her babysitter. IF she had a knife, I would probably be in the hospital right now. She ate good, she slept good and had a good weekend. Good night.
Fella’s, She called me 4 times yesterday, and then sent me an e-mail with a Christmas pic of our daughter. She said, I tried to call you 4 times to tell you I was going to send you this Christmas picture of our daughter, It’s Christmas and the whole reason for Christmas is because God loves us. I know God loves all of us, her included, but do you really need to call me 4 times to tell me you are going to send me a picture? Just send the picture.
I get lots of texts about how I need to talk about things concerning our daughter…Uh can’t you just tell me…I don’t care if you take her to see FROZEN…WTH is wrong with you…wait never mind.
One great thing did happen, she promised to leave me alone and not contact me any more. What are the odds huh? What are the odds?????
Happy to hear that the strength is returning to you Mudbone25.You have kids,so it is great that you are setting up boundaries.Don`t be swayed,tricked or fooled into anything over the holidays.
As a man experiencing marriage with many similarities, all I can say is that the content on shrink4men has been extremely helpful and insightful. I was given divorce papers before Christmas and was shocked and devastated. We have two young children (daughters); I’ve tried counseling to make our marriage work but my wife was never invested at all in working on our marriage. I was only a “paycheck” to her. My therapist summed it well, he said that my wife only regards me as “property” and when she decided to end the marriage she was simply throwing me away as such.
My concern now is for my young daughters – its truly dreadful to think that their personalities may be misshapen by emulating their Mom. As bad as I feel now, at least I’m able to feel and comprehend others’ feelings… I’m hoping life on the other side of this will allow me to parent my daughters and be the father they need and deserve.
This content on this website should be mandatory reading for men in long term relationships and, certainly, those contemplating marriage. I’ve been in my current relationship for over 15 years (married for 11 years) and didn’t recognize the pattern of abuse as such. Putting my daughters first, sticking it out and working on our marriage was part of my DNA. The realization that BPD/Narcissism is “forever” part of a person’s being with no fix or cure, has made me aware that divorce is the best option for me and my kids.
Recognizing and AVOIDING BPD/NPD relationships is key.
Dave Gordon says
Rick_A – You did go above and beyond trying to help her. The jury is still out in my mind how to categorize these mental ‘states’ and whether or not the person with the illness/disease/affliction or whatever it should be called is cognitive of what they are doing or not. The patterns in our former or soon to be former spouses is so parallel that it seems to me that there is a certain part of the brain in these people that there must be a genetic component coupled with their environment to make them do what they do. I am not sure I followed my own statement here! Sorry. My wife never apologized for any of her violent rages (biting, scratching, beating, putting holes in walls, etc.) To her, it was either my fault or she seemed to think it was normal behavior because it was the norm for her. I, too was in denial and hoped with calm and backing down that events like these would stop. Her actions? Genetic defensive mechanisms like fight or flight? I don’t know.
Trying to hold her accountable was impossible as she always turned it back on me. And trying to be the loving caring husband, like you, did wear on my own sanity until the reality of her violence forced me to leave. I know it is not quite that extreme for all BPDs but it was for her. All her threats to kill me I never took seriously until one morning a cup of coffee came flying into my face and when she pointed her hands as if holding a gun she said “If I had a gun right now, I would kill you.” That time she meant it. What had I done? Told her I needed a few days away and her fear of abandonment trigger kicked in. Won’t even discuss what happened after that, too personal and frightening. BUT, I am sure scary events like the ones I experienced are way too common. I can read between the lines in responses. Rick, as a classic line from the song by Glass Moon – Killer at 25 – suggestion from the song – “Look in the mirror, don’t ever doubt what you see.” Tell yourself everyday that you are a good person and that you do deserve freedom and happiness. God speed my friends.
Wow, other than #10, you just described the last 23 years of my life. Oddly enough, my financial issues we’re the opposite – she has always controlled the money, even though I make 90% of our income.
We are still married, but I have been seeing a counselor for a year now, that stronly suggests I get out and do it now. My hesitation is for my youngest daughter, who has a very similar personality to me and has been showing the effects of being manipulated herself. It’s crazy.
In looking back on it all, I should have picked up on some signs while we were engaged. One such example would be that while at a gathering with my extended family, we were sitting around talking and joking and laughing. My future wife was talking about a car accident she was in while she was in high school. She had said it wasn’t her fault she rear ended another, that it she couldn’t see anything because it was snowing so hard – and held up her hand about an inch from her face to show how far she could see. With everyone laughing and joking, I made a comment about how could it be snowing inside her car (which I admit wasn’t very sensitive of me) and then my brother and I starting joking about how there must have been a cold front from the rear seat that collided with a warm front from the heater. My wife didn’t laugh at all and she retorted in a loud enough voice for all in the room to here “Well, at least I’M not the one with BAD CREDIT”. I’ll never forget the stunned looks from everyone in the room which included my mom, dad, and several cousins, aunts, and uncles. My cousin replied with ‘OUCH – that hurt’. Personally, I didn’t know how to reply, so I was happy when someone changed the topic.
Later, in private, I told my then future wife and how utterly embarrassing it was for me that she revealed something so private and embarassing about me. She commented she didn’t like the joke I made about the snow, and that’s why she said it because I embarrassed her with my joke. [The bad credit comment was in reference to a credit mark against me because my roomates and I had forgotten to pay a $35 bill two years previously when we were moving out of our college apartment at the end of the school year. I found out about this when I tried to apply for a credit card at a department store and was denied in front of 5 or so other customers. She was with me at the time and told her how utterly embarrassed I was about the whole thing. She responded with – “well, you should have paid the bill” and lectured me on being more responsible. ]
After more back and forth and bit of introspection on my part, I apologized saying I really didn’t mean to hurt her and that while I thought it was an innocent joke I now realize how insensitive I was, and that I’ll watch my teasing in the future. After about 15 more minutes of telling my how embarrassing and awful it was for her and that she was extremely sensitive to teasing because of an awful childhood and that is why she responded so strongly, she said thank you for the apology and that was pretty much ended the discussion.
The lessons that were imparted:
1) Any mistake (whether real or perceived) will be responded to harshly and in a significantly escalated, and derogatory (and often public) manner. The response often had nothing to do with the mistake itself, but usually about something I had done months or years previously (or decades as the case is now).
2) I would end up feeling bad and/or defensive about the subject, but would ultimately apologize.
3) I will hear a simple ‘Thank you’ after a lengthy lecture on what I did wrong again(even though I’ve already acknowledged the behavior. These lectures can last for hours usually include a diatribe on how she would never make that mistake.
4. Anything that she wrong is excused away as being a direct result of something that either I did, or as a result of her horrible childhood. The only sorry you ever hear is “Sorry, but you (or someone else) made me do it
5. I can sense my self-esteem click down a notch (or several) as I walk away thinking “hmm, maybe I’m not as nice a person as I thought I was. Nice people don’t make mistakes”.
Again, I’m not saying I should have run away screaming after this incident, but it certainly should have raised some red flags. Not just that there might be something up with her behavior, but that I might have some too since I put up with it so easily.
With variations, there are things in this post marriage story that I can relate to. What I am struggling with a year after my divorce are my ex’s ups and downs. Late night text messages asking me if I’m ok (what wouldn’t I be) coupled with her unexplained friendship with my own Mother. A Mother I must add was both verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. When faced with behavior she did not like, she would use any variations of these abuse methods. By far the worst was withdrawing emotionally from me.
If there was any doubt about who I really married, I no longer need to beat myself up wondering what I really did. I married my Mother…………
My family (Brother, Sister) have withdrawn in a very mature and supportive way from my ex, and have naturally circled the wagons around me. Mom on the other hand (this is early on in our separation and divorce) one day (out of nowhere) told me “You (me) can’t prevent me (her) from seeing her Grandchildren.” WTF? First of all, both boys are 20 and 18 and well capable of doing whatever they want with/without my permission.
What I object to (privately) is the relationship these two nuts have, and how this feels like validation that I was the cause of the split. For the record, my ex never worked a day and was in many ways pretty typical of many of the stories on this site. When the boys reached their late teens, tuitions on the horizon, retirement…etc…. she switched her infatuation with all things animal rescue to a boyfriend. That was the last straw.
To complete the story of these two nuts relationship, my Mother was previously married to a man who she soon found out after they were married and she was several months pregnant, was already married with children…..Taa Daa!
So, if I were to lower myself to a discussion with Mommy Dearest concerning that period of her life, which I can imagine was a trauma, I would ask her what she would feel like if her parents went out for dinners and movies with her ex. Better still, supported her ex’s rights to see his child. Not a chance back in the late 1940’s, and not likely today.
I’ve had two relationships since splitting with the ex, and both were nice, but I am still not able to fully commit to a traditional relationship……Understandable to me, and at first to both these woman, until push came to shove in which case I simply stepped aside. There was no false advertising folks….these woman understood up front where I was, and in my case I am working through the PTS of the last 22 years with my former spouse.
I guess I wanted to share what I am going through, express that I still have moments of real anger, and also come to grips with the worst type of family betrayal. My Mother is a classic narcissist and the older she’s become, the more attention she requires. Meaning whomever arrives to fix the toilet paper roll spindle first, is her best and most loyal child (her mood changes on a dime and she has never been bashful with that manipulation because – as she likes to remind us, “I’m 88 you know…..” thus perpetuates her web of control.
Itza Sekret says
tomg- Sounds like you got it pretty well figured out.
As far as the Ex-Mother friendship…. it might be a Birds of a Feather kind of thing. Just validating each other’s attempted manipulaitons.