Abusers come in all shapes and sizes, from different backgrounds, ethnicities and social cultures, male or female. Most abuse, whether it’s emotional, verbal, physical or sexual, is carried out covertly, like a stealth fighter sneaking into position over its target. It’s no wonder anyone who endures abuse for extended periods of time, develop symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder.) It can feel like your loosing your mind- slowly. Even when you know it is WRONG, you are unable to break free from their hold over you. Narcissistic personalities can range from very subtle to overtly extreme, or anywhere in between. When required to delve deeper into their motives, fears, whishes and needs they use “weak sentimentality”, to distance themselves from their own emotions as well as their from their loved ones. Any suggested help, advice or concerned inquiries are immediately cast as intentional humiliation.
Therefore any message that is being conveyed must be incisive (though not hurtful or humiliating). It must be CLEAR, UNEQUIOVAL, UNAMBIGUOS AND CONSISTENT to begin to penetrate into their minds. As I am not an expert, this is my personal opinion, from reading lots and lots of articles and the book Malignant Narcissism by Sam Vaknin Ph.D.
(http://samvak.tripod.com/index html/malignant-self-love/narcissism). All this information is totally FREE.
This site has extensive information about how to recognize the various types of narcissism, as well as typical behaviors. It is very in-depth and has a TON of information, although if you’re not into scientific reading some of it may be hard to grasp. I stayed up all night and still didn’t read it all. It is an excellent resource for finding out if you are in this type of relationship. However what they don’t delve into, is the DEALING WITH & LIVING WITH a narcissistic person. Because for various reasons some of us DO stay in relationships with our narcissists. It is the book that helped me realize I too am a narcissist (co-dependant) and that I had even MORE work to do to heal myself!
So let me tie this together for you as it pertains to my circumstances:
Deciding to stay together after discovering my husbands affair, I knew there were some things that needed to happen, for us to really remain married. From my reading, about surviving and healing from a spouses’ affair, in a healthy relationship there are a few things that just about all websites or books stated need to happen for a marriage to survive infidelity: 1) remorse for what they did 2) steps to show honesty and transparency in their lives- no more secrets 3) MUST END AFFAIR-ALL CONTACT 4) show willingness to make amends to you and make you feel safe again & work on issues from marriage. Your marriage doesn’t stand much of a chance without these!
“Oh shit, I might be in trouble here”, I thought. It had been almost three months since D-day and truthfully while we were still together and getting along, basically we didn’t have any of those four in place, OUCH! We had talked some, he revealed some details (mixed in with lies) stated he was sorry, he felt ashamed and humiliated, even though he did NOT consider it an affair. Ya it’s that getting caught thing, he really was sorry for! (looking back I can see ways he was trying to show me or clue me in as to what was going on but I was being blind). He really wasn’t showing ANY transparency or I felt honesty either. He DID end the affair (although I think it took him a month or so), but put a password on his phone, when he caught me looking at I, again. And as far as willingness, well let me just say no flowers, no heartfelt apology and no truth- really nothing in his behavior, only his words tried to persuade me of his intentions. I still had questions that I wanted answers to but it wasn’t happening, he just continued on like normal, except even more “not there”. I had even tried confronting him stating that “I knew the basic truth and if he didn’t own up to it – I was outta there”. Still nothing, no change! So here I am working on all the things that he complained that I “neglected” and he cheats on me (a very long emotional & maybe sexual affair-pretty sure but no actual proof)! and it seemed like nothing was changing no matter what I tried. It didn’t seem very f—n fair at all! I was making those changes but at this point with no support from him, so what I was doing, I was doing for me. It felt like i’d already wasted such a huge portion of my life, unhappy and emotionally abused, (please don’t think i’m blaming him for our marriage breaking down – I certainly did my fair share of hurtful things), that I needed to change for me FIRST and the relationship second.
Somewhere I had read the terms passive/aggressive and narcissism years earlier, but I never understood like I understand now. This time around I had more power (thanks to this wonderful technological world we live in) and I turned to the internet for answers. Many years back, we had tried counseling, even a couple different counselors. One actually said to us in a session (after like 6 sessions); “you both seem like bright, intelligent, “with it” people, i’m wondering why you two still don’t seem to get it (what i’m trying to teach you)”. Oh how I wish I could of learned about narcissism back then. Maybe I could saved myself, years of hurt and of course, the ultimate heartache of infidelity. Basically, I realized I needed a different approach or my marriage was probably over. So I sat down, and really thought, long and hard, about if I could offer that “olive branch” to him and still live with myself. I could, I will (or at least I will try). So I sat down and drafted a letter, let me clarify quickly: I had already implemented many things; getting up and dressed everyday, cooking, cleaning, looking for work, not yelling all the time and showing/doing affectionate things for my spouse -oh and have & enjoy sex more often (i’ll tell you more about this tomorrow)!
It wasn’t fair he has the affair and i’m doing all the work! I was ready to just give up on this whole nightmare! I had already given almost 19 years of my life to him -I’M NOT GIVING ANYMORE UNLESS THINGS BECOME DIFFERENT! I had to shed the person I had become; empty, lifeless, shell of a person and find the one I knew from a long time ago, the stronger me, self assured me, the person I was before I met him. I knew this letter had to come from a position of power& strength, along with love & understanding and set the new boundaries that I required. So I drafted a plan, a letter, not to be mailed though. I decided, I would read it to him, so I put emphasis and pauses where it was crucial. Our talks would always end up in an argument. I would always start to yell, say things I don’t mean to, forget things I needed to say or everything just me out wrong. So I would write everything down, exactly the way I needed to say it, so I don’t mess it up. I needed him to hear the emotion in my voice and at so I don’t forget a single thing I needed to say. (in case he thought it was weird me reading it, like a script, I simply said this is the most important conversation I will have ever have with you and I don’t want to mess it up). He was cool with that. And since I had written it down – I can share with you what I said:
“Because this relationship is so important to me, I’ve decided that I only want to look forward. We have BOTHinflicted hurt and been hurt! Enough is enough! What’s done is done, it’s time for NO MORE hurt. Let’s end this blame game. I only want to focus on the good we have and start moving forward. I want you to know how much your love means to me. I want to share with you my ALL! My passion, my dreams, my aspirations and all my love! But I need you to understand what it takes for me to give these… …..I NEED A MONOGOMOUS, LOVING, CARING, TRUSTING AND RESPECTFUL PARTNERSHIP WITH THE MAN I LOVE, ADORE AND ADMIRE! I need you to know that I am COMMITTED to this relationship, so you understand that I am not leaving you, nor will I ever, there will be no more talk of that. I am here with you, through all of lifes’ up and downs, to stand by your SIDE, HOLDING HANDS, so TOGETHER we can face any adversity. I want to put away all negativity and focus ONLY ON THE GOOD THINGS WE HAVE IN OUR LIFE. If this, marriage ends it will be because you have chosen that not me. We can do this babe- everything we have good is riding on this. I believe you want this to!! Then I just sat there with a smiling but serious face and let him think about it…. ….and I waited for a response….
<blockquote>quote of the day
“denying the dignity of one’s partner has consequences not only for relationship, stability
respons and happiness – but for HEALTH!
egalitarian-Jan. 1, 2014