Well as the song goes, ‘Yesterday it was my birthday, I hung one more year on the line.’
But this year was the first birthday since my husband of 21 years announced, in early July, that he was ‘in love’ with somebody else, and was leaving me and our 17-year-old son.
He’s ‘so so sorry’ and ‘can’t understand how he got here,’ apparently. So that’s OK then.
And as people have been finding out, life for me has been pretty awful for the last five years. (His dad died, and he gave up work, has not bought a penny into the house since, has been in a self-pitying spiral, and he and his whole family relied on me for all their emotional support, as well as organising the funeral, tax returns, registering the death, etc etc, and filing tax returns every year since for his mother.)
At points during these last five years, I have been very close to jacking it all in myself. It was 100% give from me, whilst I got zero in return. By Christmas 2013 I was on anti-depressants. He even acknowledged that he was responsible for driving me into a state of depression and anxiety.
But I’m quite a traditional, old fashioned sort. Or just stupid I guess. So I stuck it out. Because I made vows which said ‘for better for worse’, and I knew it couldn’t get much worse, but convinced myself that he couldn’t help it, and that eventually it would all turn around and we would have a good life again. I’m not a quitter, I don’t give up on years of marriage just because things are a bit rubbish. Plus, we have our son, my shining light, a child I never thought I would have who I went through much emotional and physical distress to get. I owed it to him to keep working at the marriage and ensure that he didn’t come from a broken home.
But now this. And to compound matters, husband has moved in with his mother, six doors away from me, whilst the other woman lives at the top of my road. I cannot leave my house without risking seeing either, or both of them, or her mother who also lives in the village. It’s a small, gossipy place, and all eyes are on me, pitying the poor woman who has been dumped. What a lovely feeling that is.
But hey, I have to sell the house and move to something smaller anyway. And I have to find a new, better paid job. A virtually impossible task, when prospective employers find out I’m 52. Plus of course I will be busy sorting the house ready for the move, doing all the paperwork, and desperately trying to make ends meet.
I discovered that he has taken this woman away for the weekend. I can’t remember the last time he did that for me.
And that’s my question I guess. How long does it take for this rage to subside? Having realised that I have been married to someone with NPD (I’m convinced) it is not that I want him back or wish we could sort things out. I know, actually, that I’m better off without. BUT, why am I suffering so badly, in so much emotional pain, with so much worry and uncertainty heaped upon me, and yet him….he’s just fine! Living for free with Mummy dearest, still having all his food served up to him, his clothes washed and ironed and probably having his a*se wiped too for all I know. Then he goes round to the woman’s house, to get his ego fed, and of course get his ‘oats’ as we say here in the UK.
Where’s the Karma? Where’s the justice? Why am I so full of rage that I really don’t know what to do with myself, scared to realise what I might be capable of? How do I last the course?
Here’s the thing with idiots — they don’t suffer. Well, not in front of you anyway, and not in any convincing manner. They’re idiots. They don’t feel anything all that deeply. Joy, sorrow, karma. It could rain firing coals on your idiot’s head and he’d tell you he’s enjoying a hot stone massage sent from heaven.
It’s all impression management with the disordered.
So that’s part of why his life seems so easy breezy. Because he doesn’t feel that deeply, he disconnects pretty easily. The investment was shallower than you ever imagined. (Excruciating to realize, I know.) And because he doesn’t feel joy that much either, karma can show up with a shit sandwich and it’s not that much different to his palate than a steak sandwich. (Which explains the down grade affair partner phenomenon as well.)
The most important thing to a narcissist is kibbles. And extracting value from other people so they don’t have to work too hard. Everything else is whatevers. Although they’ll work hard to convince you everything is Fabulous with them. (Keeps ’em in kibbles. Don’t you want to hang with Mr. Fabulous? Don’t you want what he’s got? Come closer so I can lay some sparkles on you…)
Your idiot is a parasite. He has adapted his lifestyle over many decades to bleed people and he is alarmingly good at it. He quit his job and bled you for awhile, now he’s moved over to his mum’s house. The other woman will get her turn too. Sure, he took her on a trip. That’s just salting the mines, as they say. Sprinkling a little gold dust on the mine to convince an investor that the whole mine is gold. Bernie Madoff gave a great return on the investment dollar… for awhile.
The good news is you’re free of a parasite. That’s GOOD NEWS. Doesn’t feel like it right now, right now you’re choking on the injustice and the hard work ahead, but gloria hallelujah you’re narcissist free!
All this man was going to do is drain you. Financially, emotionally, physically. Now you get your life back and you’re free to rebuild. All that energy you were throwing at him is now yours to invest in yourself. So take it back and don’t look back.
Talk to a lawyer. If he’s spending marital assets on his affair you can ask for that back in the divorce. Get the best possible settlement off him. If he’s desperate to be with his soul mate, use that as leverage in the divorce. Work this shit to your advantage if at all possible.
Is it unfair that you have to lose half your assets and rebuild your life? Yes it is unfair. Getting cancer and losing your hair is also unfair. Misfortune has costs. You’ve lived 21 years with cancer and now you’re cancer free. You get your life back. It’s a gift. USE that gift.
People hire kickass 52-year-olds every day. Please don’t give up before you’ve begun. You don’t know how life will reconstitute itself. You just take it on faith and work your ass off. But guess what? You’re GREAT at working your ass off because you’ve been doing it for him for years. Now do it for yourself. That pays rewards, unlike investing in a narcissist.
This column ran previously. Art work credit is me, from my book, Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life — and is copyrighted.