Blogging, Life, They can't all be funny

I Traded In My Rose Colored Glasses And This Happened

[Author’s Note: I usually embrace humor in my writing. Because who doesn’t love a good snort of ginger ale up their nose? This is a serious piece about my emotional state, past and present. You don’t need to read it. But I so needed to write it.]

I was never a big fan of Facebook. I was into blogging and tweeting and life was good. Until it wasn’t anymore.

12391329_1072741949422879_8744167107436668574_nMy marriage exploded just over six months ago and my self esteem imploded until it was a small blip barely registering a pulse.

Facebook became my life support and I don’t think I’d be sitting here today writing this if I hadn’t been able to tap into some incredible resources found through friends on Facebook.

I’ve spent the past few months trying to figure out what went wrong in my marriage. Why he made the choice to cheat instead of talk. Why he decided to walk out the door. Why he decided it was okay to betray my trust. Why he wasn’t the man I thought he was. So many whys and so many times I thought it was me.

Thanks to Facebook, I finally have some answers to these questions. I’ve been able to trade in my rose colored glasses for a pair of glasses that are in focus with reality. And the first thing I learned is that I have to stop blaming myself.

I need to let go of the shame that I was the one who broke our marriage.

Because I didn’t. It was him. And there was nothing I could do to make him stay. Except to accept his affair and let him continue to disrespect me and our marriage. It’s been an epiphany to discover I was trying to survive in the midst of an emotionally abusive relationship. No outward signs of harm. It was all internal yet just as destructive. Because it made me doubt myself.

Now that those glasses are gone, here’s what I see more clearly: I was in a relationship with a manipulative narcissist. Or narcopath as some therapists term them.

Our life together revolved around him. It was not a 50/50 sharing of love, life, and respect. It was 100 per cent what he wanted, when he wanted it. I said yes. I always said yes.

I thought I was being supportive all those times I said yes. Now I know it was a way to keep the peace. To avoid the pouting and the “you never let me do what I want” conversations. To avoid the silent treatment. So he wouldn’t leave me.

I said yes when he asked me to move in with him right away although I was enjoying some time on my own in my own apartment for the first time since my early 20’s. He told me he didn’t like being alone. He told me he didn’t like being without me. He told me he missed me when I wasn’t around. He said he was addicted to me.

I said yes every time he asked me to go somewhere or do something with him even if I was busy at work, with friends, or wanting some down time. Because he didn’t like being alone.

I said yes when he wanted to move to a ritzy new apartment that we couldn’t really afford because it was the trendy “in” place to live and he liked the attention he got from people when he said where he lived. Not we. Him.

I said yes when he wanted to tell people at work that we were involved, even though I wasn’t ready yet.

I said yes when he told me it would be better if I transferred to another department to avoid any hint of “favoritism.” Even though I was the one who’d worked in that office well before him and it meant taking a job that I intensely disliked.

I said yes every time I wanted to have friends or family over and he didn’t.

I said yes when he demanded I buy presents for his friends and family as it made him “anxious.” (Anxious is code for he can’t be bothered to take time doing something for someone else unless he receives something in return.)

I said yes when he said we should quit our jobs, retire early, and go sailing. Even though I was not a sailor, had never spent any time on the water. That I was scared. When I expressed any concerns he said, “trust me.” But he never told me how he would keep us safe. He never took my concerns seriously, even when some of my concerns came true and if not for my “weird safety needs” we would have been in some serious shit.

I said yes when he wanted to go to parties and community events, where, once we arrived, he’d leave and start talking to everyone there except me. Where he’d flirt with other women and pour on the charm.

I said yes when he said he was tired and just needed to sit at the computer and zone out for a while instead of spending time with me. But a while became hours of him typing away on his laptop, having conversations with everyone but never me.

I said yes to him always leaving it up to me what movies we’d watch, where we’d eat, what clothes he should buy, how we should decorate our home. He left decisions to me when it was a decision about “us” versus “him.” If he wanted something he seemed to have no problem making a decision.

I said yes to him taking credit for every single thing we did in our lives together; to him always saying “I” instead of “we.”

I said yes to him wanting me to do activities with him so he wouldn’t be lonely. And dismissing my needs when I wanted the same.

I said yes when he told me people had always told him he was perfect. His mother. His sisters. His close friends. I used to tease him about that. Until I realized he truly believed it to be true.

I said yes when he’d spend time helping other people but leave me to handle things by myself.

I said yes when he dismissed my ideas, suggestions, wants, needs.

I said yes when he expressed absolutely no interest or excitement about my accomplishments. I wrote a novel. I amazed myself. Is it any good? Probably not but still, that’s pretty amazing. He never once asked me about the novel, how the writing was going, was I enjoying the effort. Zero interest. Because it wasn’t about him.

I said yes. To all this and so much more. I thought I was being a supportive partner…putting his needs before my own because that’s what you do. Right?

12642940_1023127707726504_454505909030712043_nWrong. So wrong. I know that now. I wasn’t being supportive. I wasn’t in a healthy relationship. I was a doormat. I was a freaking idiot to have allowed this to go on for 15 years. To allow someone to manipulate me to such an extent that I completely sublimated my own needs and wants to his own.

I stopped saying yes. I started saying no. Not to a lot of things. Just a few things that I didn’t enjoy doing. And I know now that was the beginning of the end. Because he didn’t like that. His response was the classic “silent treatment.” But not in a obvious way. He would just not interact with me at all. He’d spend hours on his computer, Skyping and emailing people. He’d find excuses to be out of the house for hours at a time, not letting me know where he was or when he’d be home.  Whenever I wanted to talk, about every day things, his response was he was tired. And off he’d go to the computer.

In his mind, I’d stopped giving him the admiration he felt was his due. And that was just not on. He knew I’d twigged to the fact that his persona of Mr. Helpful, Mr. Charming was all a lie. He didn’t do things for other people because it made them feel good about themselves. He did it to make him feel good about himself. He’s great at patting his own back.

Now that I was seeing a hint of what was behind the curtain, he did what any normal, emotionally healthy person [sarcasm font] would do. He began an affair with another man’s wife. I no longer thought he was perfect so he had to find someone else to supply him with what he needs. Which is admiration because, after all, everything he does, says, thinks, is perfect. And sympathy, that he was in a relationship with someone who didn’t appreciate how wonderful he was because she’d stopped saying yes to fulfilling his wants without asking for anything in return.

He surrounds himself with enablers. Those people who never disagree with him. Who only “want him to be happy” and who he knows would never say, “you’re a fucking idiot and you’re fucking up your life” but rather reinforce his false self by telling him he’s perfect. I’m no longer in touch with these people.

Real friends don’t pull this shit.

And I’m serious about him thinking he’s perfect. He told me this at the beginning of our relationship, and for many years after, and I didn’t pay it the attention it deserved. Talk about a huge red flag.

This post ended up being way longer than I had intended. I guess I needed a good purge. It’s six months now since he walked out and, except for some #bitchtweets on Twitter and posts on Facebook, I’ve kept quiet.

But if you’re wondering how I’m really doing? I’m doing good. Really good. And a large part of that is due to Facebook. So many people have shared with me their own personal nightmares of being involved with a narcissist. I’ve read, and read, and read, so much on this personality disorder (Narcissist Personality Disorder – NPD) that it’s helped me find a way out the other side of my own personal nightmare.

I’m past blaming myself. I’m done with his disrespect of my boundaries. His choice to cheat and betray our marriage was not my choice. I’ve accepted the fact that there were many signs of his disrespect of me and the really shitty way he treated me these past 15 years, that I didn’t see. I just didn’t see them. Or if I did, I didn’t recognize the signs for what they were.

But no shame. No blame. I forgive myself. I fucked up and I accept.

He showed me who he really is and finally, I see.

Now it’s all about moving forward. There is nothing left in the house that belongs to him. Except for the memories. Which I thought, a few months ago, I could live with. Turns out, not so much.  So I’ve put the house up for sale. I’ve gotten rid of gifts I bought him over the years that he couldn’t be bothered to pack and take with him when he left. I’ve burned all our wedding photos. I gave away the gifts that my former friend/his new supply bought me because eww.

One of the many things about his betrayal that has affected me is that he cheated with a supposed friend of mine, who lives in Denmark, and because of their relationship, I feel like it’s tainted my fondness for Danish design. I used to love reading blogs about Danish and Scandi design and now I just can’t even.

I guess I still have some work to do *quirks eyebrow* about my feelings after being snowballed by two people I thought cared about me. Because while my head understands that it’s not healthy to let their actions stop me from doing what I enjoy, my heart still twinges whenever I do.

But one day soon I’ll be in that place. Wearing just plain old glasses. Thanks to my friends on Facebook.

Have you ever been involved with a manipulative person? How did you cope?

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27 thoughts on “I Traded In My Rose Colored Glasses And This Happened”

    1. I’m glad you’re glad. Let’s put on our glad rags and dance.

      I think I’m done now. It’s time to start watering my life, and stop digging in the dirt. My manicure is for shit. *grin*

      Like

  1. It’s scary how much your story reminds me of my days with She Who Must Not Be Named — the enabling, the submission of yourself to keep the peace, telling yourself that it’s for “the best”, and right down to the affair with a person you thought was a friend. Good riddance.

    I’m glad you had the courage to make the necessary changes to give your life back to you. It is wrenching and so much harder than it seems like it should be.

    This life is too short to give it to the wrong people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Steve. I’m sorry you experienced a similar situation. You understand when many can’t or don’t want to. This kind of breakup is different from one where a couple grow apart and mutually decide to split. This was a complete devalue and discard of a life I thought was good. He had two years to withdraw from the relationship while I had no clue all this was going on. Such a shock and so very difficult to recover. Thanks for the supportive words. *hug*

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  2. It doesn’t matter what you did then, or who you were then. You are not that person now. Leave the baggage, keep the lessons, and know that you did the best you could. It takes tremendous strength and courage to leave a relationship. Sending you all the {{{HUGS}}}

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice piece…and it definitely helps others as well as being something you needed to write. Always easier to learn through other people’s experiences for some reason, isn’t it? Hope you keep feeling better, one day at a time.

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    1. Hi there. Thanks for taking the time to comment. 🙂 This post has been percolating in my brain for weeks and I almost didn’t write it. But I pushed through the pain and I do feel better for the effort. Distance from the ex and his constant manipulation has allowed me so much clarity.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I AM feeling better than I was. It’s still very much an up-and-down seesaw of emotions but I can feel things leveling out. Sounds like you’ve come a long way in a year and I’m glad you finally arrived in a good place. *smile*

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I deal with manipulative people badly. I let them push me around and I give in to their desires. But slowly, I move further away from them. As for glasses, it doesn’t seem to matter to me whether they’re rose colored or not, they always prove to be crystal clear when looking back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hindsight. It’s amazing isn’t it how that works? If only I knew back at the start of that relationship what I know now, I’d be in a much better place. But I’m coping, better as the months go by. And by the time spring arrives, I hope to be even better. *hugs*

      Like

  5. I feel sad, reading this.

    I lost myself in a relationship with a person with NPD. I ignored all the red flags, and kept trying to make him happy and win his approval. On the rare occasions when I talked to friends about him, and they tried to convince me that he was emotionally abusing me, I ignored them.

    All I wanted was the guy he was in the beginning. That’s how I got roped in. But I don’t know if that person even really exists.

    He crushed my soul in every way he could. I am healing, but it’s very scary when you lose your sense of yourself. I was told I was “crazy” so much, I believed it.

    What helps me is having distance. It’s given me perspective. I can look back and re-read all the lies and cruelty and realize I wasn’t crazy. Distance = perspective.

    Thank you for sharing this. Although I wish you never had to experience this, it makes me feel less alone to read stories like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your story sounds so similar to mine. And sadly, to so many others. I never had a clue people like this existed never mind I had one in my life. The ex I’ve discovered was more of a covert narc. He’s do things to garner sympathy and admiration. He could even cry if it meant he got more of both. Even though it’s been an incredibly stressful six months (because this type of breakup is so much more destructive) time has given me perspective. I’m able to think back to all the things he said to me — like, we could stay married if I allowed him to continue to have affairs, because, he said, he only had so many good years left and didn’t want to be on his deathbed saying he was proudest of being faithful to his spouse. That’s just one of many statements he said to me that helped me realize he is emotionally crippled with no empathy or remorse for his actions. It’s hard to get over abuse like this but we’re all strong women. If we can push out a kid, we can push through shit like this. Thanks for sharing and caring.

      Like

  6. It’s so wrong to click Like on this post but I did because I LIKE that you are moving on and purging everything HIM! WOW, that must have been so difficult for you. Not sure it was you but did you go to Italy with him a couple of years back? Somehow I have a memory of having read that. Anyway, no need for anyone to have any memories of anything having to do with him! Stay strong and keep moving forward. It definitely wasn’t you, it was so him! xoxo

    Like

    1. Purging big time. It’s an “everything must go” sale around here! Now I’m looking at a ring he bought me and trying to decide if I can keep holding on to it. It’s always been my favorite but, right now, every time I see it, I think of him. Not sure that’s a good thing. Perhaps I should put it away and let time do some healing? And yes, that was the ex and me in Italy. A couple years back for the first trip in 2013, where we met a couple we liked and the wife is now the OW and the cause of our breakup and again last spring, 2015, where we met up with this couple again for about six weeks (where they hooked up). I know now that’s the reason he agreed to take another trip to Italy. In between, it was an emotional online affair with secret texting, Skyping, emails, phone calls. Really kinda gross. Still don’t know if the husband is aware of all that’s going on. But no longer my problem. *shrugs and smiles*

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh wow, that is disgusting!!! I don’t understand how people can be so self absorbed and selfish without considering who they are hurting. A**holes! That’s a good idea to put the ring away for a while or you could sell it and buy yourself a different one you love! Jay, I am rooting for you and your new future ahead! 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Alas, my first marriage was similar, with me being the ‘yes’ woman to someone who was incapable of being there for me due to an addiction. I grew a lot from the breakup of that marriage, and it made me stronger. I was eventually able to say ‘yes’ and trust myself and others. That gave me confidence that I could take care of myself, and that I was worthy of a terrific life. I see you in the throes of this process and wish you the best. It is painful but someday you may be grateful for this #*%$ for teaching you how valuable YOU really are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Molly. It’s been a soul destroying six months and incredibly difficult to get some perspective. Comments like this have helped so much. As has learning about this disorder and also about boundaries. Which I never thought I needed because who does shit like this to their partner? I’m finding it happens more often than anyone thinks. Sorry you had a similar experience but you sound like you’ve found your way. As I hope to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so sorry you had to go through this experience, and so admiring of your strength to pick yourself up and say, NOT MY FAULT.

    It’s also refreshing to hear someone sing the praises of Facebook – it gets so much bad press.

    Here’s to a fabulous 2016!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m standing, so there’s that. *grin* Thanks for the supportive words…it’s like a new bra for my brain. And no lie about Facebook. There were moments over the past few months that I could have totally lost it then I’d read something on FB and it allowed me to take a breath and move on. *hugs*

      Like

  9. Inspirational, supportive comments not really my forte… adolescent, snarky comments are much more applicable… so I could say “sounds like a dick”, but I’ll stick with I’m really sorry this happened and glad to hear you are moving forward in a positive direction and not blaming yourself. Whenever I read shit like this I always feel the need to defend “manhood” as guys like this give the rest of us guys a bad rap. But its like an endless battle and I guess for every cheating guy there’s often a cheating gal on the other end (or vice versa) so I guess its not just men. Anyway, thanks for sharing, I’m sure it was difficult putting this out there, but obviously was therapeutic for you. Things will get better, sounds like they already are… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I’m usually all about the snark, too. *grin* I hope that soon comes back to my writing. I’ve been missing it. This whole experience has been a tremendous shock to the system and I’m still in major recovery mode. He’s a total dick but no longer my problem. Looking forward to making a big move across the country as soon as the house sells and starting over. And buying that guitar. *grin* Thanks for the support. It’s appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m happy to hear that you have come through the grieving process and you’re able to purge your feelings on WordPress.

    Kind people who want a loving and supportive relationship are targets for these psychopaths. The slide toward being the ultimate doormat doesn’t happen right away. It takes years of chipping away at the self-esteem and confidence of the other person.

    I’ll bet your book is excellent, if it’s anything like your blogs.

    Please keep us posted about your progress. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kind words. I need more of those in my life. Thanks. 🙂

      I will keep people posted. One of the side affects of this type of relationship is I’m facing major writer’s block for the first time in my life. I want to get my writing mojo back. Hopefully soon.

      Liked by 1 person

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