STICKS AND STONES

*** My actual post begins in the paragraph below.  But I needed to make a quick comment about the subject of “co-dependency”.  I have drawn a line in the sand on this one and stand my ground firmly.  I do not like the insinuation from many articles about this that imply that ALL the problems in my marriage are caused by me.  I hadn’t been so giving, so kind, doing for others before myself then I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in.  Well I disagree with my entire being.  Being a compassionate and caring person does not give my husband the right to be abusive to me.  I have always owned that I’m not perfect, I’ve made mistakes, but that shouldn’t give him the right to receive a “get out of jail free card” simply because I am compassionate, sometimes to a fault.  Just because people don’t witness the abuse (or receive physical injuries ) does not mean it did not occur. Would you tell a woman (or man) who came to you with battered and beaten and blame her for the abuse?  I think not.  I entered this marriage with good attitude, positive thoughts and expecting a partner who had the same goals, prepared to tackle whatever life throws at us.  Not to be belittled, invalidated, gaslighted , or cheated upon to the point of feeling like I had lost my mind.   So yes I take a hard line on this one folks. You may think I’m crazy, I’m co-dependent or a whole laundry list of other monikers.  BUT I AM NOT AND I GET TIRED OF BEING TOLD THIS.  I’m not here to win a popularity contest,  I am simply finding my way through this nightmare by standing up and no longer accepting that this is ALL my fault.  I didn’t make him a cheater and abuser.  I also respect the right for you to have a different opinion than mine .  But please don’t fault me for standing up and crying FOUL, abuse is horrid.  Covert emotional abuse is underhanded, sneaky and hurts just as much as if he had broken my body.  I know it is difficult to grasp, but please continue reading and take a look at the links at the bottom.  They certainly explain better than I ever could.  Thank-you.***

If asked to describe what covert emotional abuse looks like I am sometimes at a loss for words. Precisely because words, they are the weapons utilized by the abuser.  And they are very good at using these veiled weapons.

Words are sticks and stones.  And sometimes they CAN and DO hurt as much as a sharp blade or a clenched fist.

Yet I stumble in my attempts to help others see what I live with.  I realize that this is important, if ever covert emotional abuse is to be understood by someone who can’t see it.   I must be able to accurately describe this. The right words will give my response credibility.  So as I explore the various ways to say this,  I look to some of these websites and blogs I follow to assist me with terminology that best fits.  It is not easy explaining  emotional abuse to someone who has never experienced it.

Taken individually occurrences don’t necessarily seem so bad. However  it is the cumulative effect they have on your mind (and body) that is so devastating. Then what happens is; one of these interactions between the two of you occurs.  To onlookers, this appears (by itself it)  fairly benign.  But it is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, triggered, you react.  You are not reacting to this isolated incidence, you are reacting to the cumulative effect of years of just such experiences (you experience the hurt from all these events combined not just the one).  And those who don’t understand think you’re going crazy over something not that big of a deal alone   It is draining and it can destroy you after time.  And you do feel crazy because it’s the stupid little things that push you over the edge.

To better describe how the cumulative effect takes it toll on you I will use the analogy of the shoreline, where water meets rock.   Each day as the tides come and go, water splashes against rock.  A single drop of water on a rock certainly cannot change in the rock. The rock is strong and the water tends to splash differently each time it approaches.

However in some places,  the water approaches each time to exactly the same spot on the rock. Time after time, year after year, the water continues, relentless. As tides come to shore everyday without fail. And despite the stone being very strong, the years of that water endlessly pounding against the same spot on the rock wears it down. It takes time but without fail the rock will change. Sometimes a little or a lot.  I have seen entire rock formations change in shape through the years from the waters continuous pounding.  The rock is no match for the water.  In that specific spot the water will win out every time.

It seeps into your soul.  Changes the landscape of the rock that you are.  But the water, the water seems  not effected at all.  And because the water can look so seemingly beautiful and innocent as it wears the rock down, others have a difficult time grasping your reality.

Oh it can’t be that bad they may say, or but you have such a good life and he is such a nice guy.  And I don’t doubt that they believe that.  He IS a nice guy, as long as you’re not his rock (or baby rocks) you WILL see the beauty in him.   It is not surprising that onlookers only see the beauty of the ocean.    Not thinking how the daily, endless tide does wear the rock away over time.

So I ask of you PLEASE, PLEASE if anyone ever comes to you and asking for your help because their partner is emotionally (& covertly) abusing them.  Don’t discount what they are saying simply because you can’t see it with your eyes.  They a reaching out for help because they feel unable to escape.  If you are their true friend, give them the benefit of the doubt and believe them -no matter what!

I still love the ocean in all it’s wonder and glory.

But I will no longer allow the water to crash down on me, changing me.

And I do think they need to get rid of that child’s rhyme.

Because sticks and stones do hurt AND the words hurt just as much.

invisible abuse – how they get away with it

Are “nice” guys really covert narcissists?

how a narcissist treats their spouse

The exhausted woman-eight mental abuse tactics narcissists use on their spouses

Really? But They Seemed Like Such A Nice Family, So Normal

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.

A private investigator-answers once and for all???

I realized that I might not ever let it go until I knew if he was still in contact with her. I knew I couldn’t get the answer I needed from him.  What alternatives did I have? I’m certain many BS have had the thought of hiring a private investigator.  But I’ve never seen anything that indicates anyone on any of the blogs I follow actually had actually done so.

I had thought that hiring a private investigator would provide me those answers.  It really did not, although the PI seemed to think he was not still involved with her.  But how could he say that with the service he provided me. Besides if it is only an emotional affair- tracking really wouldn’t show that.

Let me explain.  Hired the PI in November.  He was to place a gps tracker on husband’s vehicle and then send  reports, to my Mom’s e-mail (didn’t want to take a chance he could see my e-mails).  I also had some other questions (did he purchase any property without my knowledge?  Does he have an child with another?  Hidden financials?) The amount I paid ($500.00) didn’t cover that but he said he would give me info on how to do that research myself. So I waited for the first report.

And I waited, and nothing, no report, no call.  Contacted him, says will send report.  (Had to ask three times). Finally something arrives Mom’s e-mail.  But it says file too large or something and I have to contact him again and ask to resend.  It arrives, print it out and then begin to deceipher.  The pages had to be matched and taped together just so I could read it. Very difficult to read, the times seemed off (he had not set it to pacific daylight time and I had to adjust all times by two hours.  It was somewhat confusing.  And after figuring it out it appeared it had not tracked after a certain date.  Why?

Finally get a hold of him and the battery had died over two weeks ago – no tracking.  WTF!  Oh he says he’ll get a new battery in asap.  Actually took about a week .  I stressed to him the urgency as I felt during the holidays would be a time he would be in contact with her, and since we were to be gone at the end of Dec.  There was only a little time that would actually track since we would be on vacation.

I waited again for the next report, nothing.  I contacted him- was to send -then nothing again.  Finally got a hold of him and he tells me gonna send report again.  I start to complain.  This is bullshit.   I wanted the next report NOW.  So I pleaded with him, PLEASE let me access the livewire site directly.  It would be January before we knew it and I had hoped to have answers BEFORE my anniversary at the end of Jan.  After a little back and forth he finally agreed and gave me the code so I could see reports on line.  This was much better.  It was live tracking and gave me access to much more information than just the print out.

There didn’t appear to be one place that he went regularly or that he had left work early and not told me.  But with less than two weeks of consecutive tracking, how could I be sure.  About the third week of January, I hadn’t checked report for about 10 days and when I went to assess, it again appeared that it had stopped tracking.  OMG are you #$%@* kidding me? Again? It was very easy to check the battery life on the livewire site- why was he not checking it? I could tell that he basically put charged tracker on but again never went back to check the battery life.  I was blown away.  Almost three months of his services and I still couldn’t get longer than a two week record (with much time unreported due to his negligence.)  REALLY NOT HAPPY. Attempt to get a hold of him, I continue to get the answering service leaving messages -no return call. I took the tracker off the car myself and was holding on to it until he would return my calls

I finally got irate with the service and said that if he didn’t contact me today all hell was going to break loose.  Oh yeah called me right back this time.  Apologized again, and was to put another charged tracker on (takes like a week).  So much for having answers before anniversary.

A couple of weeks into Feb.  he contacts me and tells me he needs to get tracker back.  Really?  You can’t even provide the service I paid for ( uninterrupted tracking or the extra information he had promised) and you want to end the tracking?

How professional was that? What kind of PI are you?  Then he gave me some cock’n’bull story about ordering a new one but needed to start this other client and would get a new one to me asap.  Well I think you can guess how that worked out.  Basically he blew me off.  AUUGGGGHHHHH!!

Finally I sent a letter expressing my total disappointment with his services, I felt he had not lived up to his obligation to me and my case was handled totally unprofessional.  I never heard from him.  I told my Mom that if she wanted to sue him it was up to her (her credit card was used).  But that I was done with him.  I reported to the BBB and will never recommend him ever.  As a matter of fact I would like to expose him as a rip-off.  But I haven’t yet.  I had needed a break after this two-year long nightmare that had become my life.   Was I back to square one?  Does this nightmare ever end?

P.S.  I’ve learned a lot on my own about effective surveillance and I will share those tips in another post.

T.O.R.

I have been told many times that I am too sensitive, too emotional. For the most part, I guess you could say I somewhat agree with that. I know I can get all teared up over what some wouldn’t even bat an eyelash at. I call these tears of recognition </em>. I’m not wanting to save the world (tough enough time just saving myself) they are the way I show I have feelings and emotions within me. The things I do, the things I believe are true to my heart. The ability to see and feel the hurt and troubles of others. Also known to many as empathy, the ability to stand in another’s shoes and see from that vantage point. Yes, when you possess empathy, you can see things from another’s point of few.

When you possess this quality many things can trigger those T.O.R.. Movies, many scenes in movies bring tears to these eyes & those commercials about the abused animals requesting donations, impoverished children waiting for my sponsorship. I don’t think I change these sad situations, my tears are just recognition of pain that another is feeling. Closer to home, comments made during a conversation that truthfully are not directed at me but somehow resonate within me as I know I am lacking/slacking on particular subject. Yes I know that I am not perfect, actually so far from it that sometimes reality bites. Yes with empathy I can even see the short comings of myself. ( more TOR).

And I used to think that my sensitivity made me special in some way. That I was more in touch with my feelings, not in denial like I thought others must be (especially spouse). I felt like I was the stronger because I knew what emotions get stirred within me, that I was more oh let’s call it “well rounded” because I didn’t close those emotions out.

However my opinion has changed a little bit, because in today’s world that is not the norm. Not that there aren’t others who have these same qualities, just it seems our world has less tolerance of people’s feelings and emotions. It’s tough to make it in this “dog devour as many dogs as you can” world we live in today. There isn’t a lot of room for emotional thoughts on this narcissistic planet. We live in the “what can you do for me” world. That attitude is taking over the place inside of individuals where compassion and empathy used to live.

I have been called a marshmellow by my husband, also the animal whisperer. Because he knows how big my heart is and uses it(I’m pretty sure) to his advantage. I will not ever, not for one minute be ashamed of my emotions. I am a caring, passionate, empathetic, strong woman who will not apologize for my tears of recognition. Whether they come from caring for myself, a moment of pity party, or because something about another touches me, I am not afraid of my emotions and I will let them shine.

Even if it makes me “prey” in this world we live in? Can you say groomed to be co-dependant growing up?”

Yep, I own my tears of recognition. My narcissist does not posess tears of recognition for himself or anyone. Even with his eyes wide open, he will never shed a tear that recognizes the suffering of another.

Sad to be missing such a big part of what makes us different from all living things.

Do those voices ever go away?

Have you ever felt like two different people live inside your body? Or should i say inside your mind? Coping with and surviving infidelity within your relationship (as BAD as it feels, you do survive) gives me the feeling of living in quick sand -Not really two different people, more like two voices living in your head? Each has its own agenda, one tells you “throw in the towel, just go down with the quiksand, you’ll never be able to trust him again”. As the other voice screams right back “fight girl! you gotta get outta that quiksand, its all gonna be good”. I see myself screaming back at both of them to “shut the fuck up”! I’m jolted awake up from this agonizing dream. -Hoping maybe it was ALL just a dream. But alas, only the quiksand was in the dream, the infidelity and screaming voices are oh so very real.

Back and forth my voices go , in unison with my emotions. Heck in one day I can bounce back and forth several times. Back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes my emotions can flip so quickly, I find it a bit scary. Please don’t take these comments TOO LITERALLY – Although I think I am better at not allowing my emotions from showing outwardly. No more wearing my heart on my sleeve. I don’t want anyone thinking i’m going crazy. That certainly is NOT happening! I am no where near crazy – although our narcissistic spouses would like you to believe that about us. It simply is not true! I’ve known that for a while, the not being crazy thing. Even though I have these voices screaming at me, to do something, my continued pain is occurring (most likely) because I’ve been ignoring both of them. The pain isn’t from not listening it’s more from an awareness that has comes to grow inside of me, as ever increasing (mostly circumstantial, but just too many to discount) evidence that speaks of the (potential) severity of my husbands disordered personality and the escapades of his “other life”.

Yet our relationship “feels” like we continue to grow closer each week. We spend a great deal of time together, doing garden work, attending a baseball game, over to friends for a BBQ, watching TV, shopping and yes having sex too. (Not as much as I would like or has HOT as it used to be, but it’s ok for now).

I mean, am I letting my automatic memeory responses take over in every situation? Because of the trauma in discovering infidelity, sexual addiction and years of emotional abuse by my husband and family of origin do I automatically always think the worst in any situation that could cause doubt about him? Am I giving equal attention to the positive things that he does in our relationship? Why would I primarily focus on the negative? The answer is because of our brains and how it creates memory. Memory files in our brain store information from our life’s experiences. In the article EMOTIONAL MEMORY MANAGEMENT written by Dr. Joseph M. Carver Ph.d., Pyschologist (drjoecarver.com/clients/49355/File/Emotional%20Memory.html). I’ve learned about how memories are made, stored and retrieved and why current experiences can be affected by past emotional memory. Let me try to explain…

..as we go thru life, our experiences, our interactions, daily activities are processed by our brains. From these experiences a file is made in our memory. As we encounter certain situations our brain takes (whatever is going on with you) that information and seeks to find compatible memory information that matches it. When it finds the closest match possible that file is opened and our responses become much like what they have been before – positive or negative. Sometimes this can be a good thing other times not so much. If you’ve handled a situation poorly in the past and a similar experience occurs we are wired to respond from our memories and will most likely react in the same manner as before. So does this mean we are doomed to always have the same response, getting stuck and unable to change our reactions.

No, not at all. But it will take a conscious effort to make these adjustments to our emotional memory. Some things just happen automatically in our brain, mundane regular things like turning on a light switch doesn’t really have a memory file it’s automatic. But get shocked turning on the switch and and emotional response has been added and will form a memory file. Next time you go to switch on the light you will pause and remember the shock, then hesitate flipping the switch. Most daily memories that don’t have a strong good or bad emotional response are faded out. It is the activities with emotional response (positive or negative) that create memory files.

Our brain chooses which file to open and when generally the one with the most emotion attached to it, two files cannot be open at the same time. In other words you can’t be happy and sad at the same time. Usually negative emotional responses can be very strong and can override positive ones. Thus we respond with negative emotions to current situations. No wonder a comment or statement by your cheating spouse (or song or anything related to his infidelity) can “trigger” negative reactions in each of us. The way to change the current file is to “water down” the negative emotions by adding something silly to it each time it occurs. Something as simple as a silly name added can begin to alter your response. You must make a conscious effort to do this. This is also the way addictions are addressed when trying to make changes in addictive behavior. This is my very simple interpretation of Dr. Carvers’ article. Check it out I found it fascinating. If you can’t get through the entire article (I love all the science behind things) skim it and be sure to read the summary at the end.

It helped me understand why I have these voices (memory files) screaming at me. My brain is trying to make sense of the continuously unfolding events, discoveries and gained knowledge about the personality disorder my husband has, and the way it has/continues to effect me. I see now why people get “stuck” unable to move forward in any direction because of this. No wonder I continue to struggle (alone, as husband doesn’t openly acknowledge or accept or want to address our situation) to make any lasting positive changes for us. That’s probably why those voices keep screaming at me. I know the time is coming for me to make some decisions about where my life is headed. Coming up on one year since D-day and the bigger picture continues to become clearer, and it’s NOT a pretty picture!

I’ll leave you with a quote I like:

“If your husband is not willing to help at all (in dealing with your feelings about his infidelity), then you must understand that you cannot trust him with your heart”.

I’m not sure where I read this so I’m unable to give credit where credit is due. I added what is in parenthesis for understanding purposes. Be strong my friends!