Once during one of our “discussions”, he had said to me that “everything is not all about you”. While on the surface this could be seen as a hurtful statement, I understood (I think) what he meant by that even though he may not realize it. Doing so would mean he must acknowledge the dysfunction in his family of origin.
Sometimes people mistakenly believe that all abuse is mean, direct, straight forward, name calling, drunken beatings in a lower, deprived class of people. That is so NOT TRUE at all . Sometimes it is blended into what is basically a warm and loving family. This family wants what is loving and nurturing and healthy for it but (for whatever) reason in their history something stained it . Sometimes it goes outwardly bad, easy to recognize. Other times it grows inwardly, causing it to be sickened despite still wanting what is good.
To own this means you acknowledge what was always presented as “perfect”, simply is not so. It is not the truth. It is a facade, all for outward appearances It hurts to realize that your behavior was (albeit unintentional) detrimental to yourself and the one you created. If you refuse to accept this as part of your reality, you deceive yourself. When you finally (maybe) see a glimpse of it for what it is, it’s too painful so you push it away. Don’t acknowledge ,then it won’t be true. Otherwise people will recognize it for the facade it was. To cover up the pain that sometimes comes along with the love, within families.
My husbands’ inability to acknowledge any of this (in our family or his FOO), is ultimately what was the cause of his affair/s. However I feel like I do see moments of a little understanding from him. I think I’ll call it vague recognition, like when you know but you really don’t want to know. If you never acknowledge it then it can never be real. He doesn’t want it to be that he grew up in this type of family. Who would? But not acknowledging it is catching up with him, and that is what he meant when he said “It’s not always all about you”. At least that’s what I think because I see hints of recognition from him every now and then.
Maybe I am trying to read his mind. I have to . He doesn’t share whats going on inside very well, if at all. This is the life of a covert narcissist. Wishing that everything is perfect (who doesn’t) but can’t accept that life is just not really that way. We are all human with flaws and imperfections. I think one of the most appropriate descriptions of this is from Christopher Leasch in a book he wrote a long time ago about Narcissism (can’t remember exact title). He describes a covert narcissist as someone who;
“Although perfectly capable of lighting candles, prefers cursing the darkness”
But people pretend (families pretend, sometimes for generations) and when it eventually catches up with some of them, they try to cast that away. Which causes hurt , to them, their significant other and children, basically their immediate family.
I guess that’s where the saying “you only hurt the the ones you love” may have come from.
That’s what I believe he means by the “it’s not all about you” statement. That he is recognizing that much of the strife between us, was not always about us. It was about him. And he knows that deep inside. Even if he refuses to outwardly admit that and accept it.Heck my family of origin was pretty screwed up as well – I admit it is the root of a lot of my own issues. I don’t like it but I acknowledge. I know I brought baggage from childhood into my family. I know that husband and I are the ones responsible for the problems that our kids deal with. He does not like when I say that. I don’t either but you just got to own it to change anything, ever.
I am glad to say that not all betrayeds are dealing with a narcissistic spouse. Many may not even know or have come in contact with this type of person. If you have, I’m pretty sure you couldn’t tell, you were on the outside, looking in and weren’t privy to such behavior. It is not uncommon for this type of spouse (narcissistic) to go on undetected by others for a long time. One of my good friends (who knows of my husband’s affair and is very supportive of me) even said to me recently, “I believe you, but I just don’t see it”.
It made me realize that there may be others who cannot see it, for what it is-COVERT ABUSE! The link below is an excellent website about understanding Narcissism written by Michael Samsel MA, LMHC. The specific article titled Narcissism as ‘Difficult behavior’ explains it so well If you don’t have time (right now) to read the entire article (although I reccommend it )– PLEASE scroll down to the last paragraph or two that are specific to covert abuse.
It’s time for people to understand this about our society, in hopes of making changes so we educate young people on how to prevent this from happening. We Must break the generational cycle somehow, someway. It is destroying what are basically good people and their families. No one deserves the pain abuse causes. Sometimes, affairs can be a symptom of underlying abuse. We need no reminders of how painful the discovery of an affair can be. If you’ve been there you will know what I mean.