How do I get over the Beauty and Beast fiction?
Briefly: married my brother’s friend at 25, 2 girls and 20 years later, he divorces me. The 3 years up to divorce, I was a solid gold pick me dancer to a covert narcissist. (My diagnosis/skein untangling.)
I was always successful in work, athletic, have hobbies and never took a backseat. He didn’t take anything in the divorce except house buyout. He could have asked for child support and spousal maintenance but didn’t. We were both amicable. If you truly love, you let them go, right? I didn’t know he had cheated and was currently cheating — just my intuition, which I discounted.
Post divorce, I felt free from the Jekyll-Hyde swings, free to come and go as I please, etc. I’m doing me! Two months later, my suspicions on the past 3 years are confirmed. My daughters find out about dad’s “new girlfriend” — OW #3 — someone he’s worked with and likely was seeing before asking me for a divorce. I’m devastated. He told me he wasn’t seeing anyone “What kind of asshole do you think I am?”
Then OW #2’s husband contacts me and we compare notes about stuff that happened 2 years ago. Ex’s co-workers also reveal OW #2 and he had a fling. Ex is a nurse and as medical imaging college faculty, I feel like the medical community knows and thinks I must have been awful.
I forgot to mention that 11 years into the marriage, he left for 2 months and had a female “friend” — OW #1. He denied she was more than that and made me feel like I was paranoid. If you are counting, these are 3 affairs that I learn of. I feel like our whole life was a lie.
Currently, he and girlfriend (OW#3) bought a house and are engaged. She has a little boy from first marriage so he has a son now. It seems to me that he is getting the happily ever after and I am stuck in a grief cycle, trying to recover from the gaslighting.
I know I am supposed to “work on me now,” but I always have. Maybe I am the narcissist and can’t believe someone would do this to me! Did I have a huge ego? Outwardly, I look like I am thriving, but inside, I wonder if he was the beauty and I am the beast. Am I a narcissist?
Huh? Are you a narcissist? Am I a jelly donut?
You just discovered your ex is a serial cheater. You got CONFIRMATION that he’s a fundamentally loathsome person, and your response is to wonder if you’re the bad guy?
I think you’re operating under some warped Just Universe theory — that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. He’s engaged, with a new house and a new son. You associate this as “happy ending.” Good things. Someone ergo must be getting shit, so that must be you. The Bad Person.
You know, a few paragraphs ago, you were much happier framing this along the lines of “I lost a loser and my life is so much better.” Why don’t we go back to that, okay?
Maybe I am the narcissist and can’t believe someone would do this to me!
It doesn’t make us narcissists to perceive wrong-doing. It makes us sentient. If someone hit you upside the head with a bat, you’re not a narcissist for feeling pain. Your ex-husband had a number of affairs, three that you know of, he gaslighted you, risked your health, stole your reality — and it hurts like a motherfucker. No one should do that to ANYONE. Least of all the person who promises to love and cherish you.
Did I have a huge ego?
On the contrary. You squashed your ego. You let a man come back into your life who walked out on you and two kids for his “friend.” You smothered your reason with a blanket of “He Would Never” — which is another way of believing in his greatness over your own commonsense. That’s chumpy, not narcissistic.
How about you lose the chumpiness, recognize his shittiness, and vow to value yourself more?
Outwardly, I look like I am thriving…
You ARE thriving. He left without a fight. You are successful in work, athletic, have hobbies and never took a backseat. That’s pretty mighty.
I’m devastated. He told me he wasn’t seeing anyone “What kind of asshole do you think I am?”
A lying, serially cheating asshole. This guy can’t be faithful to ANYONE. OW #3 (or #37, we really don’t have a body count, you truly have no idea) is not winning a prize. Her poor child is to be pitied. She just bought a house with a con artist. She won the pick me dance. She won the sparkly turd. It doesn’t end well. DETACH.
I’d say you’re the beauty and he’s the beast, except that’s a really fucked up fairytale. Beast imprisons girl’s father and she thinks she can work with that. Beast continues to be an asshole, but one day he puts on a suit and they dance a bit and she’s encouraged! Buys his poor sad, sausage narrative about a frozen enchanted rose, and her love turns his snarly, hairy hunchback into a prince! He’s NOT an asshole, it was an evil spell!
Okay, and the WORST part of this whole thing is that she starts off as a girl who loves books, and spurns jerky suitors, until she gives all that up to pursue the biggest jerk of all. I mean, seriously, Belle — you could’ve been a scientist or an author or an anaesthesiologist — and now you’re a nitwit in a yellow ball gown living in a remote fortress with only a candlestick to talk to.
Anyway, let’s chuck the fairy tales. Your ex is not to be mourned. Keep rocking that new life.