Divorce and Narcissism

Safe Places & Bad Memories

There are so many details surrounding the time period leading up to and then during and after the discovery of my ex-husband’s final affair that I try to not think about. I try hard and I’ve actually made it to a point where I can get through days without thinking about it. That’s progress! I’m not thrilled with where I am in my life right now, the many changes and stresses that being a single mom has caused. My kids are wonderful, so it’s not that. It’s the financial burden and the changing everything we have known, for them for their whole lives and for me, for the past 20+ years. Change can be good, but for me it’s not, not while I’m undergoing the changes. I can’t see or feel what’s good about it. The good becomes apparent to me well after the fact. I am better off ending a marriage that was filled with deceit. I am better off being alone and lonely versus trapped in a marriage where I wasn’t alone, but I was lonely. I am better off being financially strapped rather than depending on a husband who abused me financially. (When I moved out, before I had secured a job, I was shopping for groceries with my kids and learned he shut down my credit card and transferred all our money, except for 80 cents, into a new private account, forcing me to need and be on government assistance. And forever burning into my mind and the minds of my kids, that memory of standing at the checkout with my kids and having to leave a cart full of food behind, embarrassed and humiliated). I am better off being insecure and anxious all the time, but learning to find my way out of that and building boundaries and seeing my self worth, rather than staying with a husband who berated, belittled and emotionally abused me in subtle ways that were not apparent at first. Narcissists do this. They break you down, slowly and steadily. You don’t realize what is happening at first because you were a good person before you met them, you maybe just had a few insecurities. Narcissists are skilled at honing in, like a laser beam, on those insecurities, and they lock onto the bullseye and use those insecurities to their advantage. By the time you see what they are doing, what they have done, the damage feels irreparable. What you’re left with, quite often, is the shell of the person you used to be. More insecure, more anxious, and afraid. You don’t feel seen or heard. You feel invisible and quite frankly, if you’re like me, you long for the days where you can fly under the radar because being invisible means being left alone. Why do I want to be left alone? Because while not every person who is rude or unkind or dishonest is a narcissist, the world is filled with people who see your insecurities and latch on to them. Who use you. Who are dishonest to you, to their spouses, to their bosses, even to their friends. And your distrust grows and grows and grows and the whole time it’s growing you have an internal dialog where you blame yourself and think you’re just paranoid. These narcissists stripped away your confidence and ability to make even the smallest decisions.

So I write all of this and then look back at the reason I started this blog entry. The memories that surround the abuse, the affair and the aftermath of my divorce from a narcissist…..

I have children with him. And every time they see him or talk to him, the memories come flooding back. This happens because they are damaged by what he did too. I can’t ask them to not share with me their interactions with their father. I can’t because they need a safe place. I’m that safe place. I sit here and I hear what they’re saying, because their father doesn’t listen. His lover doesn’t listen. I can’t afford to turn it off and feign listening. So I truly listen. They deserve that And in doing so, all those memories come flooding back to me. It’s hard, often, to not get upset or frustrated with my kids when they share how mad they are at this other woman but not their father. He was 1/2 the reason this final affair happened. I understand he is their father and they want him in their lives but it takes a toll on me. Pushing those memories away so I am not turned into a cold heartless monster, that much effort is exhausting. One of my kids told me she argued with the other woman over where I am in my life and that this other woman is to blame. I didn’t feel good about that. I didn’t because my kid doesn’t seem to have that same anger towards her father. I say I don’t want my kids to be angry with their father but maybe I really do? Maybe I want to feel like someone has my back? Like I have the same safe place I provide for so many people? But I say maybe because I don’t trust my emotions and thoughts most of the time. And saying I want them mad at their father seems cold and harsh. I don’t want to be cold and harsh. I just want to feel safe and be seen and heard. And I want to be mad and have someone tell me it’s ok to be mad and understand why I am mad, like I tell my kids. But I fear that I will hear, as I have countless times before, that I control my own happiness and I need to move on. I am trying and as I said way above, I have many days in a row where I feel good because I can look back and say I didn’t think about these as memories, until….bam! The kids bring it all back to me after visiting with their father. I’m out of that marriage, but I still feel trapped.

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Divorce and Narcissism

Pretty

I apologize in advance for how choppy and all over the place this post is. I wrote it over the course of a few days, with many interruptions, and with my thoughts jumping from memory to memory, but I really just needed to get this out. I’ve thought about this topic over and over again for nearly three years now and felt it was time to just write it down and get it out there.

How does one even begin writing about this without sounding vain? Am I pretty? I must be because people tell me often that I am. Do I see that about myself? No. I see a not awful looking woman who isn’t too bad for having given birth to three children, will be turning 48 soon and who dislikes exercise, so doesn’t. I’m not heavy but I’m not toned or in great shape. I don’t have many grey hairs at all and I don’t color my hair. (I can’t control this.) I had highlights several months ago but they’re growing out and after my recent bad haircut, that sped up the ridding of what was left. I do not have many wrinkles. (I can’t control this.)

Why am I talking about this? Because you are treated differently when you are pretty. And a majority of the behaviors you receive are not kind, not respectful, and definitely not fair. The type of pretty I’m talking about is the type you can’t control. It’s not doing lots of make-up and spending time on hair. It’s not dressing up fancy all the time. Are you reading this and thinking I’m vain yet? I’m not. I’m just being honest. I’m sharing my experiences.

When you’re pretty and you have a cheating spouse: people might mean well but when they say “why would he cheat on you?! You’re beautiful and she is so ugly!” That does not make me feel better at all. It actually makes me feel much worse because it’s like being pretty is a punishment. Like they’re saying it is doubly bad to be cheated on when the other woman is ugly. I mean what’s wrong with ME that I’m so pretty and yet he cheated? Or worse, I feel it sends a sick message that if you’re unattractive and the other woman is beautiful, well, then, THAT makes more sense. Cheating is cheating. It’s messed up.

When you’re pretty, after the divorce: “Oh don’t worry! You won’t be single for long! You’re so pretty!!” Hello. Can we talk about my pain? Or that I might have trust issues? Or that being pretty MIGHT make my odds of men finding me high. It sure does. But let’s talk about the caliber of men I’ll meet. I either work with them and they are married or I’ve been friends with them since HS days and they are married. And these married men are disgusting because they are doing to their wives what my ex did to me by starting to try to have an affair or shamelessly flirting with me. And when I say nope not happening, and then their wives see that their husbands have messaged me? I’m the person they are mad at. They do not see or know that it was their husband who initiated communication. They do not see that I am the one who said “go away” or asked if being friends with me was known by their spouse. And if the answer was no, then I tell them to go away. I tell them the second I feel maybe something is off that I don’t want a friendship that’s secret because it doesn’t look or feel good. Oh. But I’m pretty so it must have been me. Because pretty girls are mean and ruthless and not smart and just generally can not be trusted. It’s always me who ends up getting the brunt of the anger. And because there’s much damage after being abused and cheated on for so long while I was married, and then being used and taken advantage of in the few relationships I’ve had since the marriage ended, I’m paranoid or afraid. I’m afraid I’m overreacting when a married man seems friendly with me. And if I say from the first “hello, how are you, what’s up?” that I’m not interested, then I look vain or full of myself. It’s a struggle to be damaged and told for countless years that you can’t trust your gut because you’re crazy. So you question everything. Even when in the end, your gut always proves to be right. And to those who think just because I’m pretty, I’ll have no problems finding a man? Ever think maybe the message to me should be that I’m pretty great and need time to heal and most importantly, a man shouldn’t define me any longer? And to these men: pretty people deserve respect too. Stop talking to them in ways that not only disrespect them, but also disrespect your wives!

When you’re pretty and you are employed: I was hired for a job and then asked by the owner of the company to come work at his private home office a few days a week. I refused. And I have been treated poorly ever since. I’m an office manager, receptionist, aide to the accounting department and an executive assistant to multiple people where I work. I was hired to be an executive assistant to two people, as well as be the receptionist and office manager. The owner needed more attention and assistance than I could offer since he was sharing my time with others so he hired an executive assistant who is just for him. She doesn’t answer phones ever. She doesn’t help other executives within the company. She is paid a considerable amount more than I am but she does a fraction of the work I do. And when I asked about that, I was told because I do not have a degree in videography and did not work outside the home for nearly 20 years, my value is far less than hers. Even though there is nothing in either job description, mine or hers, that lists videography as a required skill. How dare I bring this up? How dare I ask legitimate questions to a company who boasts about being an open and honest place to work where we are valued? Where good mojo is everywhere? (False.) And guess what? I’m still doing work for the owner. And I’m treated differently because I’m pretty. I’m kind and thoughtful to everyone where I work because that’s just who I am but people don’t trust me because I’ve been told I’m pretty so it’s weird and they thought I’d be rude or mean. They think my kindness isn’t genuine. The owner won’t allow me to take breaks with the others in the company because I have to answer the phones and am not allowed to temporarily put them on service during the 30 minute lunch breaks or two 15 minute breaks. So I go later when everyone else returns so I can find someone to cover the phones for me. This isolates me from them and further perpetuates their beliefs that I’m rude or mean. Unapproachable. But I’m pretty so I’ll be ok.

I have men in my life with whom I’ve been friends, well was, for anywhere from 1 to 30+ years. They are married. Sometimes they flirt and I ignore those comments because it isn’t appropriate and makes me feel uncomfortable. And they are married. Recently, one former friend who is male and married talked to me about his wife knowing we were friends because I told him about past experiences. He assured me his wife knew we were friends and that she knew he texted me often and that she was free to see what we talked about. Sharing family stories. Work stories. Jokes. And if he ever said anything to me that was slightly flirtatious, I ignored it all. Then I pulled back and didn’t message him back very often because it didn’t feel right. Last week he told me he forgot his phone at home and his wife saw that he was texting me and she was pissed. This is not the first time and I’m sick to death of it. I will no longer respond to any messages from any men who are married or dating. My ownership in this mess is that I’m naive but I know I would never go to that place because I was once the wife. I know what it feels like. I never should have given any attention to this man, let him become a friend because he seemingly had other intentions if he is hiding things from his wife. I didn’t know he was but I should have known better. Shame on me. Lesson learned. And I’m blocking every single male who is married and has ever said anything that makes me feel uncomfortable. Yes. These are the men I’ll have no trouble finding, because I’m pretty.

I’ve had females tell me they are jealous of the attention I get for being pretty. Let me tell you, there is nothing that feels good about having a male friend talk to you and have fun being friends and talking and laughing, like you would with a female friend, and then suddenly have them send you a picture of their penis or tell you your so hot or if I ever need “serviced” they can be my guy and no one has to know. Or to have your boss treat you like dog crap because he thinks your attractive but you won’t perform duties that he places on a list for you and these services include: grocery shopping, making doctor appointments for him, meal preparation, picking up laundry, paying bills, running his animals to the vet….and the list goes on. I set boundaries and I’m paying the price because now my job is unstable.

But I’m pretty, so I’ll be fine.

Having friends when you’re pretty: There is a long list of women who dislike me. Because I’m pretty. Who think I’m unintelligent or flighty. Because I’m pretty. Who assume I’ll steal their husbands because I’m pretty. Who don’t think I have any reason to be depressed or sad or insecure. All because I’m pretty.

I am pretty pissed off. I am pretty insulted. And I’m pretty sure I can’t change the way I look. My character is not perfect but I have respect for myself and for my friends and for fellow females. For anyone to think I would ever be the type of woman that had an affair with my husband? Piss off. And blame your husband, not me.

And lastly, I dated a man for over a year recently. I loved him. He had some medical issues that were severe at times. I cared deeply for him and helped him. When he ended the relationship, I was crushed. Devastated. And sad. So deeply saddened. And because I am pretty, I was told that he must be gay. Now I’ve run that comment over and over again in my head. Looking for the meaning. I think it was part joke and part mean spirited. This man was damaged. He used me. He was not kind when he ended things. He was selfish and cruel. But he was damaged. And to make light of the situation and think that just by telling me he was gay, that that would somehow mysteriously make me feel better? I didn’t. You see pretty or not, when a person’s feelings are hurt and they are sad, you treat them with love and respect. Being pretty shouldn’t change those rules. The pain feels the same. Maybe even worse, because from all I’ve written above, you can see it’s not like I have a ton of friends I can open up to about all of this, because when you’re pretty you’re supposed to have it all together. I’m pretty alone most of the time.

Think about that the next time you see someone you think is pretty and assume their life is grand. Most are not vain. Most are not deliriously happy. It doesn’t guarantee them a faithful relationship and job success. It does not guarantee them a tight and loyal circle of friends. It doesn’t mean they are respected and admired. And it’s pretty sad that we too often assume these things.

Thanks for reading. And I’m sorry if you think I’m vain. I’m truly not.

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Divorce and Narcissism

Just a Haircut?

I’m writing something pretty raw so please keep scrolling and/or do not comment if you have nothing kind to say. Or if you’re going be dismissive or compare stories. I post because it’s a release. And maybe it helps someone else who is struggling with self-image and well, just life.
There are things I’m struggling with. My age and hormonal issues are pretty intense. Motherhood and work challenges. Depression. Not liking the way I look most days. So I go in for a haircut, a change but a look I’ve had before so I know it works and I liked it. It’s the only haircut I’ve EVER had where people complimented the way it looked. Because my food allergies and hormones have gone haywire, my skin and weight have been a mess so I decided to make the hair-style change in an attempt to feel better about myself, maybe just one small area I could change AND feel I have some control over. I go to the stylist with pictures of what it used to look like and ask for that style. I’m told not to go back to what I always have when it’s short so I leave with a cut that’s not what I asked for. There are no layers and it isn’t complimentary to my face, or really just my overall style. And more importantly, it isn’t what I asked for. I’m told I can go back for the layers I originally asked for within a week if I decide I don’t like it. I did. I said, please no shorter in overall length. Just give me the layers I wanted so it has a flip and I again showed the picture. I left and it’s so short. It is nothing like I asked for. I’m so upset. I’m depressed. And I’m angry. And I know it’s just hair and it’ll grown again but when so many other things feel hard and make me sad, this feels especially difficult. So I’m just putting this out there because maybe someone else will read this and not feel bad about feeling bad.
Life is a puzzle with many pieces that fit together. It’s not all perfect but the pieces still fit somehow. I have so few pieces that fit. And when I cling to what does fit and express why, it’s dismissed. When I voice what I feel is unkind, I’m told to get over it. But these same people talk about spreading kindness, and being the light. Life is not fair. It’s a series of events we have to process. It’s doing your best on most days and hoping it’s enough. And for me, it’s being open and honest and then waiting for the other shoe to drop because I was open and honest.
This is my aftermath from being in an abusive relationship for longer than I can remember. It doesn’t end just because to you get out of that relationship.

So the next time you do not understand why someone can get so upset over something as seemingly trivial a haircut, remember there is often much more that goes into why a person is upset. And it does not feel trivial to a damaged person.

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Divorce and Narcissism

It’s Far From Being Done

Even though my divorce was finalized April 6, 2017, his influence and nasty behaviors still influence me and my kids. 

As suspected, his “hypothetical” move to Florida is becoming more of a “possibility,” as he tells the kids. They are crushed. I clean up the mess. He is mad that they are upset. I clean up the mess. 

Found razor blades in my daughter’s room today. Her sixteenth birthday. I was setting up a surprise for when she comes home from school and I found them. Several. So the fear that she is cutting is there. I need to deal with this mess. Scary. 

My oldest who still lives with this douchebag father? She is so depressed that she is ending her senior of year of high school by missing more and more classes and just not caring what happens. Her future plans for staying there and taking online college courses has changed because if he moves, she has no where to live. Another mess he is making. I clean up the mess. 

He tells my kids he deserves to be happy. His lover’s kids are younger and she can’t move here. So, dickhead? Explain again how that is NOT you choosing her and her kids over your own? He had the nerve to tell my oldest when she said he needs to start being a parent that I need to do the same because I am the one who ran out and abondoned the family. 

I do want him gone. I want him to disappear. Because even when he is here, he is absent. Absent emotionally. If he leaves, at least the kids and I can begin to build some sort of normal routine without him. While it tears at my heart that they want him to be a good father yet see he is incapable, the fact that they see it now might help save them a lifetime of begging for attention and love from someone who simply cannot give it. He is damaged and broken. My mother is this way. And I wish I had learned about her what they are learning about their father. If I had known sooner, it would have saved me much heartache. I never want my kids to choose a spouse like their father. He told me when I was leaving that I hurt him deeply by exclaiming I never wanted our daughters to marry a man even remotely close to what he was like. He stated he was a good man. He is deluded. And I stand by my wishes. 

I clean up the messes. 

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Divorce and Narcissism

Jinx! 

Jinx. If I didn’t believe it possible before, I sort of do now. It’s like every time I feel confident…every time I write about good things and focus on good things….keeping my head above water, so to speak, bam! Something happens to really pull me under. I have tried asking why. That does not help because I can find no answer. It only seems to make me feel worse. I am so very human. I make mistakes and have erred. But I keep coming back to “why.” I behave kindly, because I want to, it’s genuine. I’m generous in all the ways I can be. I love fiercely. I’m loyal. So why? Why are these things happening? 

Not two minutes after I posted what I did yesterday, I learned from my daughter that her father has mentioned when my oldest graduates in a few months, if he is offered a job in FL (we live in OH), there’s a real possibility he will take it and move. Now, knowing him for the last 23 years, I can say with certainty, he has already put this plan in motion but like always, he is lying and posing things as “a possibility.” I know he is planning this for sure. It explains all the added trips to FL. He has been interviewing within the company, I am sure of it. And letting the company pay for that part. Smart man? Dumb man? Both. And he asked if the kids want to go with him. His girlfriend lives there. So it begs the question: why? And how? How can this be possible? How can he do what he did and feel any justification for asking his children to move away? And live with the woman he lied and cheated with for years? I’ve said that I wished he would just move away but now that the possibility is here, I’m frozen with fear. Because the allure of sunny skies and beaches to three teens? And if they don’t move with him,  the thought of being forced by the courts to make them spend every summer, Christmas and spring break away from me? And I’d have to help fund these trips? It makes me feel like puking. I can’t openly vent to them because it’s not appropriate to tell a child you will feel like dying if they leave you. I will never guilt or manipulate my children into making the choice I want for them. 

 And yes, it’s confirmed this woman is planning my daughter’s graduation party. Complete with a theme she is choosing, no input from my daughter. Even my ex has stated this woman is going a little over the top. Ha? But again, I can’t wish for it to be a fiasco because my daughter will suffer. It is her special time and she deserves to feel special and be happy. But there is a small part of me that hopes my ex and his girlfriend have a huge fight about tthis and the fact that they are both idiots and selfish narcissists explodes in their faces. I said a long time ago that if they ended up together for good, they’d kill each other. Because an affair must be exciting and new. Keeping secrets and sneaking around? And it’s part time, with several states seperating them? If they lived together, the romance over whose turn it is to clean the toilet, clear the dinner dishes? Hell! Who is gonna cook? I am human so I try not to think like this but it’s hard. The thought of them realizing the two marriages and combined 6 children’s lives they’ve forever changed? I hope that happens. And they end up alone and lonely. 

So what’s a girl to do? Sit and wait. And wait. And see this is why he is stalling the divorce. Because if it finalizes now, he will need to go back to court and pay more money to revise the shared parenting plan that is currently written out. I can see through all of this. But legally, there is not a damn thing I can do. So I sit. I wait. I pray. He is making good on his promises to take everything away from me that I love, as punishment for not agreeing to stay married to his abusive ass, while he continued to have affairs and lie about money. 

I’m afraid to talk about a man I am seeing. He is wonderful and learning how to support me through this nightmare, one he can’t understand because it’s so foreign to him. And it’s impossible for me to explain because how can I when I barely understand it myself? I’m afraid to jinx things. So that’s all I’m going to say. 

I had my moment last night. I melted down. I sobbed and cried and asked why. And now I’m stronger. Now I’m praying that my kids will see what’s happening and make the choices that best benefit them. Not me. Not their father. But themselves. 

But fuck. Seriously?!  

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Divorce and Narcissism

We Got This

Just to be clear, I am over him. There truly is no part of me that longs to go back. Wants him back. I have no warm fuzzy feelings for him. I even think that much of the earlier memories I once thought were happy, have a different perspective. He was good. Very good. From the very beginning, he was smart and handsome and conniving and manipulative. And I saw none of it. I was so in love, with being in love and I wanted to be a mom and get married and all the things most young women dream of. But looking back on those moments, I see now how I was fooled. I see how I was gently manipulated into believing I was wrong or crazy or too sensitive. Every mean joke. Every lie he told. I believed him. And I’ve said it before, you can’t unsee certain things. You can’t unring a bell. I see who he really is and I want no part of a man who can only put himself first. A man who can spew the words “I love you” so easily, but mean no part of them. I am not angry with myself. Or even him. These days I pray for his soul, especially for the sake of my children.  And I say prayers of thanks that I was smart enough, even though it took many years, but I did it. I saw it. And a therapist told me it’s rare for a woman to see it while IN IT. I was in it and I saw. So yay me!! 

These days, I use what I saw,. Not to judge others or to compare in negative ways. I use what I went through to make me stronger. To let it define me, not that I am a victim, but that I am a survivor. 

Do I still have horrible days? Dark days? Sad days? Absolutely. But I’m human and I did suffer a tremendous amount of emotional, financial and even sexual abuse towards the end. But the bad days are getting fewer and when I’m in the midst of one, I’m learning new ways to cope. And those ways allow me to remain healthier and to come out of the downward spiral faster, and certainly before I hit the bottom. I am even able to help people around me. Ask me if I thought this would be possible a year or two ago and I would have probably gotten drunk and screamed. I’ve come so far. I am proud of myself. 

So for anyone reading this, if you might be where I was a few years ago , you will see the light. It will get better. I hated hearing those words but they are truth. Hold on. You got this. I got this. 

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Divorce and Narcissism

It’s Inappropriate!

I’ve stopped asking how? Why? What are they thinking?! My oldest daughter graduates HS this June. She called me last night to tell me that her father’s lover is planning her graduation party. At the marital home. Her kids will be attending. Oh. And I’m invited. 
I’m sorry, but am I the only one who thinks this is grossly inappropriate? That it’s my job to plan this? That the lover who helped tear my marriage apart has no business trying to step in and take over? The divorce isn’t even final yet. My name is still on the deed to the home. My children know who she is and what she did. And I’m “invited?” It’s just messed up in more ways than I can count. 
I’ve encouraged my daughter to speak to her father about her wants and needs. She stated she didn’t want a big party. She initially said this woman can attend her party, but her planning it was never part of the plan. 
Once again, I’ll try to support my children in the best and most loving way possible. If this party moves forward as its planned right now, I will attend if my daughter wants me to. Because my kids need at least one parent who can put their own needs aside for the greater good of the family. 
But I stand by the nicknames I have given my ex and his lover: he is fucktard and she is Crusty. Because this is my safe place to vent and swear and let it all out. I’m anonymous and free to speak my mind. They both fucking suck. 

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