Every morning when I log on to chump lady I read all the stories of how all of you have made the right decisions to leave the cheater. You all seem so strong and consistent. I read, “I threw him out and never looked back,” or “I filled for divorce and could not be happier,” or “I am in no contact and healing”.
What the fuck is wrong with me?
I go no contact for a week then call him for an excuse to see him. I make appointments with lawyers and cancel. I tell myself that I am better off without him, then the next minute I remember all the good times and want him back. I am so confused. My therapist tells me that 23 years of abuse from my narcissist husband will take time to heal. But it has been one year and three months and it seems I have weakened over the months. I want to trust that he sucks and not doubt myself. I have lied to myself for so many years and I can’t tell fantasy from reality anymore. I find myself asking friends and family if I am correct in recalling past events or am I exaggerating. I feel helpless against my own messed up thoughts and can’t find a way out.
I wish I was stronger. I wish I was less scared. I wish I had more self-esteem. I wish I believed in myself. I wish I was consistent. I wish I felt safe. I wish I had more energy. I wish I was not weak. I wish I didn’t doubt. I wish I was more like you.
Are you my cousin? Seriously, I’m wondering if she didn’t write this letter. Let me tell you about my cousin, so you know you aren’t alone in this helpless, chump-in-a-loop phenomena. Maybe you’ll read and want to bitchslap her, recognize yourself, and bitchslap yourself.
My cousin is married to someone who came out as gay after 25 years. But meanwhile, was “exploring” his sexuality for years on Craigslist. You know, just to make sure. Oh, and he bankrupted her. Literally. Had a failing business he wouldn’t quit, that was a nice excuse to not be around (you know, it’s business season). She worked, he played at business person. Missing money. No credit now. IRS troubles. And lots of other shady stuff I won’t go into.
All this shit went down a couple years ago, her first D-Day. It’s only gotten worse. And when she musters up the anger to see a lawyer, or FINALLY tell his secrets — he swoops in and mindfucks her. Tries to get her to feel sorry for him. And goddamn it, he succeeds because she won’t go no contact with him.
The business is gone, but he enjoys his freelance, non-working lifestyle, because she has a steady job. He also enjoys his open lifestyle now, vacationing with boyfriends on her dime.
And she won’t even clean his fucking shit out of her closet. She won’t take their wedding pictures down. She won’t cut off his goddamn money.
And YET Mgirontree, she wants support and sympathy. And I’ve given it. I’ve rallied. I’ve arranged financial support. I’ve kicked the “I’m leaving the cheater” football too many times to recount. And every. single. time. she pulls the football away.
“I’m not ready.” “I don’t know why I can’t leave.” GET THERAPY. “I don’t know how.” GOOGLE. (Blank stare.)
She calls a lawyer. Can’t decide to make the appointment. Sees the lawyer (who tells her pretty much exactly what I told her), she dithers. Months go by. She sees another lawyer. Dithers. Goes back to first lawyer. Files papers. Doesn’t serve them. More months…
I say DO NOT CONTACT HIM. No reason to contact him. She agrees. Then I see his fucking picture on her Facebook feed of him sitting at her kitchen table.
Fact is, I have to pay attention to her actions, just like I would a cheater. She likes it like this.
She thinks she knows better. She thinks she’s different. She’d rather believe his obvious lies and cling to his mindfuckery than liberate herself.
As Dr. Simon says “It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree.”
Here I’ve been providing insight, when she never really wanted it. She wanted her pretty lie back. Her intact family. Her appearance of solidity and normalcy. The truth is ugly and you expect her to walk into THAT?
Try that Dr. Simon advice on yourself, MGirontree — It’s not that you don’t see he’s a cheating, abandoning motherfucker — it’s that you disagree. He’s not that bad. The situation isn’t that bad. You want your pretty lie back. That he loves you. That this is all a misunderstanding.
Except that reality is intruding on your fantasy. He’s not there.
I have lied to myself for so many years and I can’t tell fantasy from reality anymore.
I call bullshit. You don’t much care for your new reality, but it’s getting harder and harder to maintain the fantasy.
My therapist tells me that 23 years of abuse from my narcissist husband will take time to heal.
Yes it will, but that doesn’t mean you can’t leave him this minute. You want to heal from the narcissist? Get away from the narcissist. People more vulnerable than you have been mindfucked for centuries, and they staged rebellions and liberation struggles. You can too.
I wish I was stronger. I wish I was less scared. I wish I had more self-esteem. I wish I believed in myself. I wish I was consistent. I wish I felt safe. I wish I had more energy. I wish I was not weak. I wish I didn’t doubt.
You don’t act because you ARE those things. You DO and then you BECOME those things.
Nobody wakes up one day and thinks “Gosh, I really feel like a divorce today!” or “It would be a splendid day to put his shit in trash bags!” You DO IT, even though it sucks, even though it’s painful, because you MUST do it.
You are making excuses. You want to be less scared? Go to where it is LESS SCARY — AWAY from him. Away from a person who lies, cheats, and abandons. You want to feel safe? See a lawyer. Find your bad ass. Protect yourself.
Examine reality. Who makes you feel scared? (He does.) Who undermines your self-esteem? (He does.) Who doesn’t believe in you and thinks you’ll always be his chump? (He does.) Who isn’t consistent? (Him again.) Who makes you feel unsafe? (He does.) Who drains the life from you? (He does.) Who mindfucks you and causes you to doubt? (He does.)
THEN GET AWAY FROM HIM!
You don’t value yourself? I’m really sorry about that. I cannot help you with your self respect. I can make all sorts of arguments and draw cartoons and refer to 5 Things That Keep You Stuck with a Cheater. But, as the saying goes, I can explain it to you, but I cannot understand it for you.
Why don’t you pretend you’re like us strong folks here, and mimic what we do, and see if you don’t feel like a strong person later? Fake it until you make it.
I wish I was more like you.
Easy fix. Leave the cheater.