Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Alanis Morissette: That Particular Time

I don't know how I never knew about this album until now, but man, I feel like Alanis and I are the same person.

Here's another incredibly appropriate song I discovered from Under Rug Swept by Alanis Morissette:

Well, that was fast...

My lawyer works at superhuman speeds. She just emailed me letting me know that she filed my divorce petition with the state. And upon receiving the email, and the attached document listing "my name vs. his name", I promptly began to sob at my desk...it's not even a desk, actually. It's a spot at a table in an open-concept office. So I sobbed at my spot, in the middle of everyone.

It's the right thing. My brain knows it's the right move, and the only way to be happy again, eventually, down the line. But my heart hurts. My heart never wanted this.

I didn't marry him because I wanted it all to go down in a ball of flames. I wanted him to be who I thought he was, who I knew he could be. I wanted the life I thought we'd have. I thought he was IT for me, and I thought we'd be so happy. I wanted a life and a family with him. I wanted to share everything and make memories with him and grow old together. I fought for that, as hard as I could, for as long as I could.

But it never happened. Reality never matched up with how I thought things would be. And giving up on that hope has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I had so much hope. But there was only so much pain and sadness I could stand, and only so long I could wait.

I tried to call him tonight to let him know that the papers were filed on my end. He didn't answer. Just like he hasn't answered the last two times I've tried to call him. It's for the best, because the first two times I tried I really wanted him to talk me out of it. I was waiting to file for divorce until I was SURE there was no way for us to fix things. But he was too busy to talk to me, just like he always has been, and each day we didn't talk, I got stronger. And I realized that each time he was too busy for me, he reminded me of my place in his life. I never came first, and I never would. He never wanted to hear about my feelings. 

So thank you, husband, for ignoring my calls and my attempts to talk to you. You got what you wanted. You lost me, and now you'll never have to hear about my pesky feelings ever again. 

To my husband:
I wish you hadn't been too busy with friends and appearances and events to talk to me the last few weeks.
I wish you hadn't left me for a job abroad almost as soon as we finally started our life together. 
I wish you would have listened to me and empathized instead of getting angry and yelling at me every time I tried to tell you I was sad and missed you. 
I wish you would have come back when you said you would. 
I wish you hadn't declared that we had nothing in common and no future and walked out on me a few months ago. I wish you hadn't started another relationship while I was still fighting to make ours work. 
I wish she hadn't been paying for your life--no, I wish you hadn't LET HER pay for your life.
I wish you hadn't lied and tried to gaslight me and make me seem crazy when I asked you about her.  
I wish you had let me into your life--
I wish you'd let me meet your friends, go to your events, be a part of the things that were important to you.  
I wish you would have been a part of my life, and been there for me on important days and during important times when I wanted and needed you there. 
I wish I hadn't so often been alone, or a third wheel, because my husband wasn't around. 
I wish you'd shown me vulnerability instead of anger and rage and defensiveness. 
I wish that so much could have been different. 
I wish it hadn't come to this.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Some light summer beach reading: a list of resources

I wanted to put together a list of some of the books I've been reading to help me through my process. I've literally read about a book every two days for the last few weeks, and many of them have been crucial in keeping me strong and helping me to move forward with my brain instead of my heart, which unfortunately, I now believe is crucial.

The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family, Eleanor D. Payson, M.S.W. 

Narcissistic Lovers: How to Cope, recover, and move on, Cynthia Zayn and Kevin Dibble

Narcissism: Surviving the Self-Involved (A little primer on Narcissism and Self-Care), Meredith Resnick

Boundaries: Loving again after a pathological relationship, AB Admin

Surviving the Narcissist: 30 Days of Recovery, Meredith Resnick 

Narcissist: Enter the Mind of a Narcissist, Clarence T. Rivers **I found this to be the least helpful, and actually somewhat inaccurate, but the chapter on sex with a somatic Narcissist was dead on, at least in my case, so I recommend it for that chapter, only. 

The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond, Patricia Evans

Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, Lundy Bancroft. 

Women Who Love Too Much: When you keep hoping he'll change, Robin Norwood

Should I Stay or Should I Go? A guide to knowing if your relationship can--and should--be saved, Lundy Bancroft and Jac Patrissi

...and too many articles on the internet, especially the Psychology Today website, to count!

Also, I've had the guidance of two therapists, which I can't recommend highly enough to anyone who may find themselves in a similar position.

In the beginning

Today is a sad day. Some days I just wake up and know its going to be a sad one. Sometimes it fluctuates from minute to minute or hour to hour between sadness and anger. But today is just overwhelmingly sad.

Today I sent the agreement to the divorce attorney, along with her retainer fee that cleared out the little bit of savings I had. Today I formally started the process to end my marriage..the marriage I thought would last for the rest of my life. The marriage I thought was so perfect and I felt so lucky to have found.

That's the hardest part. It wasn't always bad. In fact, it was consistently fantastic for awhile. It felt like a fairytale, which I guess should have been a red flag, but instead, I just enjoyed it and thought that "This must be what a GOOD relationship feels like!" There were always little things that turned into bigger things that turned into red flags, but I thought that every couple had problems, and those were just ours. I knew that no one was perfect, myself included, and I was dedicated to working through everything together. I loved him so much. Unfathomable amounts of love. I still love him. The truth is, I will always love him, despite everything. And even in the end, we still had some great times, and great days. 

In the beginning, we would talk for hours every single day. We had everything in common. He told me how beautiful I was, he listed off my positive characteristics like it was a grocery list. I thought that had finally found the person who really saw me for me, and who liked what he saw. I thought he saw my value, where all others had taken me for granted.  I felt so lucky and so blessed to have finally found a man who reciprocated my love and who thought I was as special as I thought he was.

Even in the bad times that followed, I kept coming back to that. I came back to the beautiful, romantic way we met--I was on vacation that I almost didn't take, at an event I wasn't even invited to and almost didn't go to, in a country where I didn't speak the language. I thought about the dreams I had before I met him--literal, actual dreams--which showed me not only his city, but our future. I even got his first name in a dream. I thought of how neither of us were supposed to be in the place where we were when we met. It was all fate, I thought. I truly believed that. I believed that he was my soulmate, and that I met him because I'd finally done enough work on myself to attract someone like him.

I was so wrong.

But I do believe that he also believed this. The problem is, that he believed it for self-serving purposes. And he's believed it for everyone he met before me, and for everyone who will come after me. Everyone is the next perfect love. Everyone is the one who will solve all of his problems. I wasn't special to him, I was just the one who served him best in the moment when he met me. He was still in love, whatever that meant for him, with his ex. Yet he had just broken up with a different girlfriend--a different woman than the one he was still in love with. I also found out just before he left that he had ANOTHER relationship going while he was with the girlfriend while he was still in love with his ex. That third woman was still in the picture months into our relationship (it's amazing what one can figure out by women who suddenly blocked me on facebook at the time, and by the ones who have done the same thing recently). They were dropping like flies for months after we first met, and he admitted that some of them were in love with him, but he didn't  feel the same way about them, because "he can't be everything to everyone." But I let it slide, because I had also had past loves, some of whom I was still in contact with. I also had to let a few guys down easy--ones that I was casually dating, because I knew as soon as I met him that I wanted to be with him and no one else. I thought we were in the same boat.

We weren't. 

I guess the silver lining in all of this is that he showed me how much I am capable of loving someone, and the extents to which I will go to for love. I had never felt more connected to another person, or to myself and my spirituality. I've never been a pray-er, but I was praying for him and for us every night. I counted the days until I could see him again. I wrote gushing love emails and sent cards and little gifts I would see that reminded me of him. I was a pretty amazing girlfriend in those early days.

Then I started to realize that he'd never bought me anything. He'd never once given me a gift, not even on Christmas or for our anniversary or my birthday. In fact, in the three years we were together, he was never with me on my birthday. There was always work or something more important, or, this year, he was with the other woman out at  a club...when I'd scheduled a vacation just for us. 

I went on vacation alone. 

I had a king bed and a hot tub in the honeymoon suite, alone. 

I went to dinner on my birthday, alone.

And what started as a sad day just turned back into an angry one...all I have to do is remember the way things went down in the last year, and how virtually nothing I ever gave, emotional or physical, was reciprocated. I have to remember the person he was in the last year or two instead of how good it was in the beginning. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Other Woman

Today was one of those days where I woke up in a thin tank top, looked in the mirror, thought "I should really put on a bra to walk the dog..." but then immediately countered that thought with "Fuck it, I have nipples. I HAVE NIPPLES. If Jennifer Aniston could get away with it on FRIENDS, I can get away with it for 10 minutes on my street. So it's that kind of mood I woke up in, so seems like as good of a time as any to talk about the Other Woman (why did I capitalize her? she doesn't even deserve capitals).

Like the good textbook NPD Narcissist he is, my husband lined up new supply waaay before he and I were done. It's now the end of July, he left because I told him I wanted a divorce two weeks ago, and from what I can tell, he started his relationship with the other woman somewhere around January, when I actually thought that we were getting back on track and were going to work things out. Oh, me and my eternal, delusional hope.

I didn't believe she existed. I actually trusted him, and defended him at every turn to, well, EVERYONE who said "There must be someone else." I really, really didn't think there was. I didn't think he would do that. I even had a truly gifted, famous tv psychic tell me there was someone else, and I didn't believe him. He was right. Everyone was right. After he left me out of the blue (known as the "Narcissistic Discard") in March, and then came back after a string of excuses which went through most of April, all of May, and he finally moved back in in June, it didn't make sense to me why he had to leave me to "close doors" and "get his head on straight." Now I know that the door he needed to close was to the bedroom of the other woman who was paying for his flights.

I'm sort of unhealthily obsessed with thinking about her at the moment, but not in the "What's she have that I don't have?" way (the answer to that is easy: she has money). There is part of me that wants to warn her, but I know that she wouldn't believe me anyway, and I would just come off looking like the bitter wife who doesn't want anyone to be happy. That couldn't be further from the truth, actually. I wish so much that my husband could be happy, but I know that he won't be unless he decides to work on himself...and that will never happen, because he truly believes that everyone else is the problem, and that he has no issues. And I wish for her to know the fresh hell she's about to get into with him.

I know she's in love with him. I remember that euphoric, fairy-tale phase myself. I saw her facebook messages and her emails and her love poems to him (not so fast, she's not creative...she copied and pasted poems by well-known poets and sent them to him). But I know that he's only using her, just like he used me, and he's not capable of real love. She has fallen deeply for his charm and stunning good looks (because damn him, he IS stunningly handsome--I guess a life lived without feeling even a shred of guilt or remorse helps to fight the signs of aging as much as any anti-wrinkle cream). She's already paid for round-trip flights for him to leave his bitch of a wife. She described herself as his "lifeline" and handed over her credit card to him so that he could use it whenever he wanted. She's in deep. And, where I had no real money to spend on him, but spent my life savings on him anyway, she DOES have money, and from what I can tell, a lot of it. When I confronted him about her, he tried to prove his "love" for me by actually saying "Being with her would solve ALL of my problems. She is the perfect escape because she is fucking loaded and I would never have to work again!" (followed by "But I came back to YOU!", you know, as if he was doing me a favor by big, important, famous him coming back to poor, little old me--it was a sneaky backhanded compliment/put-down sandwich, with a side of guilt-trip sauce, which he excels at).

So what I'd really love to say to her is:

"Sweetheart, GOOD LUCK. You will need it. You will also need a lot of money, because in the three years we were together, he paid for exactly one bill. One! Oh, and he also paid for my fitness bootcamp, because he hated the way I looked (more on that in a moment...) Despite the fact that he was working and making a good salary, and was getting a lot of press and fame from his work, I saw none of that money. He will use you, until you catch onto the fact that using you is precisely what he's doing. Then he'll be shocked and hurt that you could even SUGGEST that or think of him that way. It took me a really long time to figure that out, but lucky for him, he already had you taking care of him (though I was still paying the rent and buying the groceries and paying for the wifi and the cell phone he was using to call you).  

I know you're trying to move mountains to get him a job. I did that, too. My GOD the mountains I moved. If I had applied that kind of effort to my own career, I think I would have won a Tony by now. But I did it for him, just like you are. He'll seem to be a little bit grateful, but it will never be enough, and at some point you'll wonder if all you're doing is worth it. It's not. I assure you, it's not. You're gonna come out of this depleted, exhausted, and significantly poorer than when you started. You'll struggle to figure out where it all went wrong because it was SO PERFECT in the beginning and no one had ever said the things he said to you, or swept you off your feet the way he did. No one had ever made you feel more beautiful or more special or more important. It was blissful, yes, but it was calculated on his part. He got you. You couldn't help but fall in love. We all have. Another pro-tip: get on some good birth control. His ex didn't, and he left her with a baby and empty promises of paying child support. Luckily for me, I got an IUD early on in our relationship, and he only left me with a dog. He even bought one bag of dog food, one time.  

You will also need more strength and confidence than you ever thought you had. He will never stop talking to and hanging out with beautiful, single women. Even if you're not the jealous type--I wasn't, either--your insecurities will get the best of you and you will start to hate the person you've become. He needs more female attention than any one woman can ever give him, and he will fly into a rage if you so much as ask who his new female friend is. He will tear you down with putdowns, sometimes after he compliments you (Example--"You are so beautiful. You are truly beautiful inside and out. I'm the luckiest guy to have met you...but, what are we going to do about your boobs?"). He will criticize every little bit of you that he once claimed to love, because he hates himself and has to project that onto others to feel better. He thinks he's fat and ugly and his nose is too big, and guess what--soon, he will be telling you that you are fat and ugly and your nose is too big. Literally, the last thing he said to me, on multiple occasions, before getting on a plane would be "Make sure you go to the gym every day. Promise me?" Not I love you. Not I'll miss you. Go to the gym. And then the first thing upon getting off the plane when I greeted him at the airport was "Ohh, I see someone has put on a little belly." Yes, HE had gained 30 lbs in the two months since I'd seen him...I had stayed the same. But according to him, *I* was the one who put on a belly, and shouldn't get angry at him because he was just joking, and I'm too sensitive, and if I'm going to act like that, he was just going to leave me now. 

Don't think that he'll ever return your empathy or validate your feelings. He won't. Your feelings are a threat to him, and he'll wish that you just didn't have them. He'll dismiss you, and if you dare express something to him that he doesn't agree with, he will scream and yell until you are the one apologizing for feeling or saying anything. Nothing you say or do, or think or feel will ever be right. And when you let him know that his screaming at you is not ok, he'll say it was nothing, he was joking, and you take him too seriously. It's a mindfuck. No matter how many times you try to explain yourself more clearly, and without emotion, and as gently and carefully as possible, he'll still explode and he will never "get it." 

Oh, also, hang out with your friends and family NOW. Because though he will encourage you to have friends and family, he won't actually want you to talk to them or correspond with them in any way, because he thinks you'll be talking about him. And if, let's say, you DO get near-suicidal and decide to reach out to your best friends and closest family for support, that will be your biggest, most unforgivable mistake to him. The irony is that even though you'll try to go to him first, he won't hear you, and if he does, you will be made to feel guilty for being sad, because it brings HIM down, and it means that you are being unsupportive of HIM. But he'll make it very clear that though he doesn't want to hear it, you are not, under any circumstances, allowed to go OUTSIDE of the marriage with your feelings. So you will be alone. Utterly, devastatingly alone. I can't prepare you for the amount of alone you will feel. If you want, at that point, you can reach out to me. Please reach out to someone before you start Googling what kind of pills you can overdose on to end the pain the fastest. Thank God, I did. I went against his wishes and told my friends and family, and got a therapist. You should do that, too. 

I know there's more I'm not thinking of right now. And there may be things that will be new to you that he didn't even do to me. Just...good luck. Bolster yourself. Your world is about to blow up."

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I'm sorry you're here.

If you're here, I assume it's because perhaps you, too, accidentally married a narcissist. Or maybe you're dating someone who was SO AMAZING but is now critical and blames you for everything. You're worried something is off, so you googled, and you ended up here. I can't tell you how many times I googled, and how many red flags I ignored. And I still married him.

So, welcome. You're in good company, but I'm sorry you're here.

I bet people warned you, didn't they? They warned me, too. His dad even warned me. He always asked me if I was ok, and if his son was being "gentle" with me. He wasn't, but I lied and said he was. His friends all told me to have patience with him, because he's "a child who will never grow up." I didn't listen. I married him anyway.

I thought I could change him. The worst part is that I thought I was over thinking I could change people. I thought I'd learned my lessons, and I just KNEW that he was the right person for me, my soulmate. . I really, truly believed that. I never even believed in "the one" but he made me believe it. I knew that our love could overcome anything

But then I realized it couldn't.

Then I realized that he was not capable of loving me...not in the way I loved him, anyway. He literally couldn't hear my feelings without getting defensive and flipping things around on me, blaming me for feeling sad, for crying, telling me how fucked up I am and how many issues I have to solve. Because nothing was ever his fault. And I believed him, for awhile. But then I stopped apologizing for myself, and stopped trying to explain my feelings for the 72323883849th time, because I always thought that "No, THIS TIME, if I just say it THIS WAY, he'll understand and stop yelling at me." He never understood. I could never make him understand.

And now it's over, or at least in the beginning stages of being over. I contacted a divorce attorney. I just have to pay her, and send the agreement, and then he gets the papers. I'm not so naive as to think that he'll let go without a fight, but all I know is I want my life back. I want my friends back. I want my family back. I want to think about something other than him. I haven't thought about myself or what I want in so long. It's strange.

I can't even identify some of the emotions I'm feeling. I go from sad to angry back to sad almost every other minute. I'm hurt. I feel used. I feel stupid. I think "Maybe I should just keep trying! He was SO CLOSE to changing! I saw hints of vulnerability and he seemed to really hear me now!" but then I realize that I've been stuck in that cycle of hoping and waiting for three years, and I can't do that to myself anymore. It's all awful and confusing, and the only way I know how to deal is to write.

So here I am, and here you are. I'd love to hear from you. Let's help each other.