What is going on here?

Last night I joined my yoga studio for a social zoom.  We brought wine. It was a nice chat with friends.  The host of the Zoom had promised her husband it would end promptly at 8pm so at 7:55 we were saying good-byes when I received a text. “Can you come upstairs and talk to your daughter.” I replied, “Soon.”

“Get up here” her sent.

“No,” I returned.

At 7:58 he walked into the office where I was saying good-bye to my friends and told me I needed to go upstairs because “something was wrong with 13yo.  She is suicidal or something. She won’t come out of her room.”

While I understand that suicide is serious, my 13yo is not suicidal.  She just wants her dad to leave her alone.  My call ended and I started the march up to her room from the basement.  How is it possible that I cannot take a one hour call with friends without being desperately needed for an emergency.

In her room, she was curled in a ball sobbing.  Her dad, who she had asked to leave her alone, had come into her room and forced her into a conversation.  When she was upset by this and started to cry, he sat on her bed, put his arms around her and made her hold his hand.  I held her and told her this wasn’t her fault while she sobbed and told me she didn’t want him to hug her and he made her hold his hand but she wanted him to get away from her.

He thinks I have poisoned her against him, but he cannot see that she is responding to his actions. He just read her journal, has told her repeatedly by his actions that he doesn’t care about her emotions.  Has said he expects her to wash the dishes immediately when he asks.  He described how she recoiled from him. He said she’s afraid of me, she doesn’t want me near her.  “Then what did you do?”  He says, “I gave her a hug to show her I love her.”

WHAT?

If your kid is showing you that they are afraid of you, and you hug them, then you wonder why she is sobbing?  He consistently ignores her boundaries. She sets them up and he knocks them over. With his actions he repeatedly tells her, she shouldn’t have any boundaries with him.  For some reason he expects unconditional love from his children while also being unable to give it to them.  He has the direction of the vector wrong.

In some kind of aligning of the planets, my mom also sent me crazy texts last night that I need her and my dad to come live with us so they can help me move.  Neither one of my parents is in any shape to move anything.  She also told me that I need a man with me when I buy a house. Thanks for the advice mom but it is not 1920.

This morning after 13yos tears have dried, H started with me again about I am pushing him out of the kids lives and he wants to be more of a part of everything. But he doesn’t.  He is all mad that he wasn’t involved in picking out 13yos kindle but he was THERE WITH US when we picked it out.  He was sitting in the same room as us ignoring our conversation and staring at his phone.

He says he ignores us because “you can’t understand the stress I am under.” But he has NEVER paid attention to his family.  Even now, he wants his daughter to talk to him and for her to say everything is okay, so that he is reassured.  He is not doing anything to reassure her that she is safe and protected. The opposite, he is telling her that he won’t listen to what she asks for.  How are they ever going to have a good relationship if he doesn’t respect her?

He is talking about leaving for the weekend. I don’t know where he is going because we are on lockdown. But I will be so happy if he leaves and we can have a few days without the stress that he brings.  He says I bring the stress.  He is telling me that I am creating this drama.  I can’t even see clearly right now to see if he is wrong or right.  I don’t think I create drama.  When he is gone at work normally, there is no drama in the house. Definitely no yelling, only happy giggles!  No one sobbing inconsolably!

I was trying to leave this relationship amicably but that is becoming harder and harder as we are getting closer to the actual separation. The state just reopened real estate transactions this week and slowly houses are being put on the market for sale.  H is waiting on a decision about his loan to refinance. I just wanted everyone to be nice while we are on lockdown so we could get through this without accruing more damage but as always, I was too optimistic.

 

The sex was bad

I gave found reading accounts of others who have suffered emotional abuse, possibly at the hands of a covert narcissist, to be extremely helpful to me. Things that I spent a lot of time trying to figure out but never made sense, are commonalities in our stories. It helps.

One thing this is not often discussed is sex. I believe my husband’s characteristics land him firmly in the covert narcissist category. Low self-esteem, high self-importance, needs constant reassurance, no empathy. Imagine carting the load if issues into the bedroom!

The sex was never good. And it took me a long time to put my finger on it. In the beginning, it was ok. I thought infrequent but we didn’t see each other much because of work schedules. There was a very routine pattern and approach. Always the same position with my face turned away from him. Always lacking attention to me and lacking intimacy. And he was incapable of talking about it. Still, he can’t bring himself to say the word “penis” he says “my pee-pee.” WHO DOES THAT?

I have never orgasmed with my husband. When I was trying to get pregnant with both of my children, he would finish, get up to shower, and I would masturbate to climax, because it increases chances for conception.

In 19 years, most years we had sex less than 10 times in a year. I bet total less than 20 times in the whole marriage.

When we were dating he said he had a low libido. His excuse was that he was taking medication to help him quit smoking, for me.

On our wedding night he was too tired for sex.

For years he had high liver enzymes. This killed his libido.

Then we had 2 children that didn’t sleep, which meant I was never in the mood. And this is when he suddenly had interest in more sex. When I was working, with 2 small children, and sleeping about 3 hours a night, he demanded sex. I didn’t get it, we never had much sex. But the years that the kids were not sleeping, he was always pestering me for sex and always mad when I said I needed the 3 hours of sleep I was getting. (No he never got up with the kids because he said they always wanted me. Convenient.)

When I demanded counseling for his anger, one of the first counselors we saw, not recognizing his incapacity for empathy, suggested we go on more dates, that we have more sex. To me this was excessively unfair. I was already strapped for time, stressed, overworked. I would have enjoyed him just paying attention to me when we were home together. He never did. He wanted me away from the kids, so he could be my focus. (We did not go back to that counselor.)

I did make an effort to have more sex. I got dressed up, shaved my legs, found a sitter, made reservations. In his typical style, he showed up for these events and then complained that they were not great enough. On the next date we should do something better. But he would never take initiative to plan anything he would tell me to call.

The last time we had sex, I had 2 glasses of wine. For the first time I can remember, I was in a position that was enjoyable to me. And he could see my face. Sex lasted about 4 minutes before he threw me off of him and called me a drunk slut. That is when I decided I was not having sex with him unless he changed how he was treating me. That was 3 years ago.

He complains that we are “not intimate” which is true but it has nothing to do with not having sex. He is incapable of intimacy. I just mean intimate friendship. Emotional closeness. He can’t empathize and does not care about anyone else’s problems. If I have a bad day at work and tell him about it he yells at me, so I cannot and do not share with him abut my day, my struggles. It just gives him more ammunition to hurt me. To him being intimate means sex. That is the only way he understands it. When I say, not sex, intimacy he asked, “what is that?”

I don’t know why he would want to sleep with a drunk slut anyway.

When I was still trying to “save the family” and make this work, one of my requirements for him was that he go to therapy to learn what being intimate without sex means. I have repeatedly told him, I want you to be a good friend to me. He never has been able to do that.

The funniest thing is I doubt that it has even ever occurred to him to wonder if I have ever orgasmed with him! He is so self-absorbed that I don’t think it ever crossed his mind.

So there you have it, something that I don’t see many people talking about, how bad sex is with a covert narcissist.

Saving the children

Wow. Living with my verbally abusive and physically threatening husband, I have kind of lost grips on reality. Only very close friends and a few family members know my full story of what is going on. And sometimes, his behavior, I start to assume that I am seeing things as worse than they really are. I do view everything he does through this negative lens.

Last night, my 13yo asked me to comfort her because she was overwhelmed with anxiety. She’s afraid there are people hiding in our house. Like she thinks there might be someone behind the couch, in the closet, under her bed. Logically, this is laughable because we are home 24/7, we have cameras on the doors, what would these hiders eat? But fear is not logical. So we went into her fear.

We laughed a little bit about how our house would be a terrible place to hide and talked about how hard it would be to hide here because we are all home all the time. Then her thoughts jumped to her dad making her give him a hug goodnight after she told him she didn’t want to kiss him. And in that embrace, he asked her, “Am I a good dad?” Her gut was to say. “no,” but she doesn’t want to upset him so she said, “sure.” And he released her. But then, my poor sweet child, was upset with herself for saying something that she didn’t want to say. He is making her betray herself.

And then we talked again about her anxiety. And how never being on solid ground with H, we never know how anything we do will be taken. It will either be accepted or loudly rejected but there is no way to predict which way he will go. She is tiptoeing around all day trying to not make him mad. She plans her meals around when she sees he has left the house because that is how strong her desire to avoid awkward and self-betraying conversations is.

For a long time, I thought he was a good dad. Even up until maybe a few months ago, I would have said, he’s a good dad. But that’s a lie and the kids were aware of it long before I was. He does the same things to them that he does to me. Asks an opinion and then attacks your opinion. With things as ridiculous as what kind of ketchup you like. Disagreeing is not allowed.

What has this taught my kids, it has taught them that to dad, there is a wrong answer to every question. And just like me what they have learned to do to cope is to just stop speaking to him. He doesn’t care what we think, he only wants us to confirm what he thinks.

I was lying to myself, or I was unaware, for so long of the damage he is doing to them. I thought, it was fine except for the way he treats me but the way he treats me is the only way he knows how to interact with people. He doesn’t have empathy in relationships, he just wants control and coerced respect.

13yo agreed last night that when we are allowed outside again, that she would go see a therapist. I just hope the damage is not too far gone. I hope that having two separate houses will at least give her one place of refuge. I secretly hope that when he sees it isn’t all fun and praise for him with the kids that he will lose interest in seeing them so much.

My poor babies. I feel completely responsible for this. I know better now and I am doing what I can to get myself and them some space from this dementor.

I just hope it is enough.

They are wise. They have good hearts. I just need to keep enforcing that they should trust their visceral reactions and not ignore them. Their feelings matter. Their opinions matter. How they feel matters.

He is such a psychopath.

The little daily mind#$ks

Just a few examples of interactions I had in the past 2 days that make me feel like I am the crazy one.

H: I am going to go to the store for you.
Me: Is it really for me? The whole family needs groceries and getting them is not solely my job.
H: Give me a list.
Later he is at the store.
H: What kind of cake does 13yo want?
Me: Yellow cake, chocolate frosting.
(5 minutes pass)
H: I am not buying OJ.
Me: Why?
H: It’s full of sugar. 8yo doesn’t need that.
Me: Did you just get 13yo cake? How does that make sense?
H: Why are you trying to make our son fat?
Me: With ORANGE JUICE? You can’t buy a cake for 13yo but tell 8yo that OJ is forbidden. That makes no sense.

In fact, it makes perfect sense because 8yo loves his dad and gives him attention because he feels sorry for him. 13yo doesn’t give her dad the time of day because she realizes he does not value other people, just their attention. So he buys sugar for the 13yo to earn her praise. He doesn’t buy sugar for the 8yo and tells him that he is protecting him. While I am “trying to make our son fat” by letting him have orange juice, he is protecting him. He cares more. It is all manipulation.

20 minutes later he was still texting me about other grocery items but had not answered my questions about why he was refusing to buy OJ. He also had told me he wasn’t buying things I want at the store, like Pepsi, because it isn’t good for me. I am an adult! I asked him why would he go to the store if he wasn’t going to get the things we needed from the store. He ignored my question. Then would text a new question about something else on the list.

I was not here for this BS. So I just kept replying, “Weird that you can text me new questions but you are not answering my question. Why go to the store if you are not going to get the things I put on the list?”
Again and again he refused to reply.
Later he texted, I got the Pepsi and orange juice. But what does that fix? I had wasted an hour texting him about OJ while he was at the store.

What it fixed was he got my attention. I think that in his mind he is the man of the house and he should be able to have the final say in everything that happens. But in reality, I am an adult, I can drink what I want. And if he didn’t get my Pepsi, I would have driven back to the store later to get it for myself. But why be so stupidly petty about it? We are in an area that is going to be on lock down for some time. Why refuse to get me the treats I want when I will have to go out and get them later? Because it makes him feel like he is in control. Because it gets him attention.

I am so sick of it. I know, I tried being a grey rock but I absolutely cannot stand by an ignore him when what he is doing is unfair to the kids.