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.

Passive aggressive vacuuming

I have a Zoom every Monday at 1:30pm for work. It is a department meeting for teachers at my school. This week right before my meeting, I announced to the family, I was joining a Zoom until 2:45pm. As soon as I went into the basement office my husband started vacuuming. Was this an accident?

I texted him to please stop. So he did. He then proceeded to carry the recycling container through the room I was having my meeting in, opening the garage door (attached to the room I am in), and dumping all the recycling into the main receptacle. Could he make more noise?

When my meeting was over, I told him he could resume vacuuming but he did not. At 3:45, I reminded everyone that my daughter had a Zoom for piano, we needed to be quiet. As soon as her Zoom started, he got out the weed whacked and trimmed the garden edges, right below the window that is nearest the piano. Is he doing this on purpose?

Nothing was noisy on Tuesday. Today, I host a Zoom for my class from 2-3pm. I remind the family. At 1:55pm he starts vacuuming above me again. I assume these are calls for attention. I interrupt my meeting to text my daughter to please ask him to stop until 3pm when my Zoom is over. At 2:55pm he resumes vacuuming. He vacuums for about 10 more minutes total and then is done. Is he punking me?

I know that I have purposely not been giving him attention for his dramatic moods. I have not been assuaging his fears like I would have 6 months ago. I am making only positive supportive comments to his concerns. I think he misses getting attention.

This morning, my daughter asked if we could get pizza for dinner. I said, “yes! Please!” My husband says, “no meat, no dough,” on the family group chat. So does he want just cheese then? “No,” he replies when my daughter asks, “I’ll cook a steak.” Did I miss something? Isn’t a steak meat? I cannot understand him. I used to want to try but I have just decided to try to breathe and let him be strange without giving him my attention.

I am reading a book that is on kindleunlimited called “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” by Patricia Evans. I am finding it, once again, spot on. Today I remembered a time when I was sick that I considered my husband’s behavior very abusive but he thought he was protecting me.

I have intestinal issues which sometimes means I do not absorb nutrients well. I had an episode of lightheadedness in May 2018 and another in December 2018. I think this event took place in May because I remember the weather was gorgeous. I was light headed at work. I had been dizzy for a few days so this was not a surprise. Thankfully, I thought, my husband was home on this day. My school is huge. My parking space is almost a half mile from my classroom. I was having trouble walking and needed to go see a doctor for blood tests. I ask him to come pick me up and drive me to my car because I could not walk that far carrying my heavy school bag. He said he would be happy to come help me.

He arrives a half-hour later and I walk down to his car, near the steps near my room. I am walking holding onto the car because staying elevated is hard for me. I ask him to please circle the building to the other parking lot so I can get my car. “No,” he says.

“Please, drive me over to get my car!” We live about 8 miles from my school. Roads are not busy in the middle of the day. I ask him to follow behind me on the way home and if I get light headed I’ll pull over but at this time I was fine sitting my only problem was standing.

“No.” He said.

“Please!” I begged. “I don’t want to leave my car here!”

“You can get an Uber and come back for it tomorrow,” he told me. Because he was going to be gone at work the next day.

“Please take me to my car!” He refused. Told me to stop telling him what to do and started yelling at me. He got angry and with his anger was driving too fast. I wanted out of his car. We got home I asked him to take me back to get my car so that I could drive to the doctors appointment. I had an hour later. He refused saying he would drive me. I told him I didn’t want to ride in the car with him. He told me that was too bad. I rested on the couch. Instead of sitting with me in the living room, he went up to the bedroom, where it would be difficult for me to walk up the steps, and ignored my texts.

When it was time to leave for the appointment I called up to him and asked if he was coming down He ignored my calls. I physically could not walk up the steps. I called again. Now I am crying, “please! I need to go to the doctor!” He doesn’t respond. I take his keys and drive myself to my school. I get my car and leave his car in the lot, which I think is kind because then he can just Uber to my school to get his car. Remember this is what he suggested that I could do the next day.

I get all the way to the appointment, about a 30 minute drive. When he asks me why I stole his car. “I needed to get to my appointment and you did not come downstairs. You wouldn’t take to me my car and I needed a car.” I told him his car was parking in my school parking lot. And if I am honest here, one reason I didn’t drive his car all the way to the appointment is that I was afraid he would call the police and say that I stole his car. That is what I was thinking.

At my appointment they did a bunch of bloodwork. Later I found out I was anemic and B12 deficient which I now know is kind of common for me because of my SIBO/IBS. I drove home, having no trouble while sitting, just like I had told my husband.

When I get home he screams at me for stealing his car. He told me it wasn’t safe for me to drive myself, which obviously it was, I drove fine. And I was not having any difficulty sitting this day, just standing, as I had told him thousands of times.

He told me I was crazy, when really he wasn’t listening to what I wanted or needed from him. He was trying to tell me what he thought I needed and only offering to provide what he wanted to do. He was being a huge asshole and psychologically abusive when he ignored my requests to come downstairs and drive me to my appointment. And this is one of those moments of clarity when I realized, he doesn’t give a shit about me.

He says he acted this way because he was trying to protect me. But he NEVER EVER treats me as an equal. He would not listen to my own observations about my own body. He would not listen to the fact that I needed my car at home because he was leaving for work early the next day and I would be at the mercy of Uber to get to work and to get my kid to activities.

He does not care what I want or need. He only cares that he looked like the knight coming to rescue me when he picked me up and that he could decided I was crazy for “stealing” his car, when he would not give me a ride to the very appointment that he was supposed to take me to.

This is one example of how my husband shows me that he does not think we are equals. This is one example of how he is an uncaring asshole. This is also one example, in his eyes, of how he is always there for me to protect me.

I hope the courts open soon! I need out of this abusive house and away from this abusive mother fucker!

I don’t even know what happened

First, last weekend, I decided to take care of myself. My husband is heavily sighing and begging for attention but I am doing my best to ignore him. Why? Because he is trying to paint a picture of how terrible his life will be when I leave. He is saying, he’s losing his job, he’s working on his resume. I think I was supposed to be concerned by that. I just said, “That sounds like a good idea.”

On Sunday I listened to the entire “Something Was Wrong” podcast, season one. It was so good! It was about a guy who was abusive and also a sociopath or compulsive liar, and how this woman escaped from almost being married to him. That led me to all these YouTube videos of covert narcissists, now this really seems to describe my husband to me. In the podcast, Tiffany Reese, the podcaster, mentioned a book that she felt perfectly described abusive men. And I downloaded that, and have just been shocked. All of these weird behaviors that I was trying to figure out, they are in this book!

So I made dinner, like I have every night of this COVID-19 lock-in situation. Why am I still working for home everyday, helping the kids with online school, and making all the meals? I am afraid to let my husband make dinner because after 5 years of being only able to eat about 10 foods, he still cannot remember what I can eat without a serious allergic reaction and it never fails, if he cooks, he puts something in that I can’t eat. (Usually, fish or coconut oil.) And I poured myself a generous glass of wine. Fabulous.

We ate dinner and I returned with my wine to the livingroom where I am reading my book. And then, he interrupts my bliss to say that he has moved up several levels in seniority, which is good job security. I am trying not to be in any conversations with him so I reply, “That’s good for you.”

I continue reading. He didn’t get enough attention.

“They are retiring because they think that they won’t have a pension. They think it will go like TWA.”

“Well, they might be right,” I said. And was it the wine or that I just think people aren’t assholes I added, “I keep telling everyone at work, I don’t ever expect to collect my pension. I expect eventually the state will spend it.” I added that I had heard new teachers were getting 401ks and not pensions because then they can be responsible themselves for the management and there is less burden on the state.

honestly, I don’t remember it starting I just remember being in the middle of it.

Someone, I think my son, said something about teachers not making as much money as flight attendants. And I brought up the idea that people don’t want to see their property taxes go up, which would allow schools to improve because they don’t see the personal benefit to them but they do pay extra when flying for a business first seat, and might think nothing of paying for the upgrade, because they see the immediate benefit of spending that money.

He argued this point. He didn’t like my opinion. He asked me something like why aren’t schools funded well. And I again stated, because people don’t see immediate results. It’s not glamorous to fund schools.

“When were the schools properly funded?” He asked me.

“I don’t know, never? I would guess the highest level of funding was probably when Clinton was in office when they had a democratic congress but I don’t know.” And now that I am sober I am thinking, did Clinton ever have a democratic congress? I am not sure he did. Wasn’t he fighting republicans in congress. So probably even then, schools were not funded… school funding is something I would have to research more. How would you ever even tell if schools were adequately funded? I mean its a complicated question.

“No, no.” He shouts, “That’s not cool. You can’t do that. You can’t blame everything on republicans!” Did I? No. I didn’t mention republicans. And I picked up my kindle and my wine glass. I walked straight to the kitchen and refilled my wine glass and went to the basement office to read. I refuse to be asked my opinion and then yelled at when I give an opinion that conflicts with his. Fuck that shit.

Of course, the kids and dogs soon follow and then he can’t stand to be alone so he joins us too. He doesn’t understand, or maybe he does, that everyone wants to be close to me because I am safe and consistent.

So I am reading my Abusive Men book by Lundy Bancroft and I am learning that the things I don’t think make sense, are things that abusers commonly do. That accidentally almost killing me by cooking the wrong dinner is a tactic to make sure he doesn’t ever get the responsibility for dinner. Whether he can’t remember my allergies because he is a narcissist or he purposely ignores my needs because he doesn’t want to have to make dinner, his actions are common.

Also common, being silent for a long time and then exploding over nothing. Promising after multiple chances to attend therapy and missing it that if I don’t leave he will attend therapy. Physically blocking me from getting to a door. Shaking my head “because I wouldn’t shut up.” Pinning me to the bed in rage so that I couldn’t get up which was “not touching me” so it wasn’t abusive according to him. Never mind that I was terrified for my life. That I locked myself in the bathroom. That I hid his guns from him so he couldn’t easily kill me.

Also common, thinking that I need to behave how he wants to me because he has done something. He keeps repeating over and over that he “took me to Maui,” on a vacation that I planned, saved, and paid for entirely. He basically showed up to that vacation with free airfare and thought that because he “took me to Maui, ” I should not call him out on his hurtful behavior and racist jokes towards our daughter. Nope. That trip became, “me yelling at him.” When in fact, we were both yelling but the problem was he isn’t supposed to be yelled at by a woman.

No wonder he doesn’t like it when we talk about smashing the patriarchy. He is the patriarchy!

So I drank too much wine. I took the dogs for a long walk and cried. Then I drank a bunch of gatorade to fend off a hangover. He won’t ever value other people more than he values himself. I can see how much he fits these patterns and how he won’t ever change.

Yes, he can be “good” for a short amount of time. At one time, it was long enough for me to actually think the abusive behavior was an anomaly. But it isn’t.

He just came down to the basement office to walk the dogs. He asked our 8yo son what he is watching and he answered, “a guy playing games.” And my husband muttered under his breath, “just wanted to ask what you are doing. Just wanted to hear about it.” So has he already moved on to trying to get his supply from the kids? When we divorce am I going to have to actually take his kids away from him so that he doesn’t permanently scare them?

Getting myself away and getting them away from him half the time is a good start. But I am afraid of what he will do to them when I am not there. Why does he have to be such a fucking ass. Ugh!

Waiting

We signed the settlement agreement. He has 90 days to refinance the house. He can’t start yet because he’s voluntarily unemployed right now.

I contacted my realtor but it’s going to take time. No one is allowed to go into houses to see them until after they make an offer and do inspection. A lot of people aren’t putting their houses in the market because times are uncertain. So I am just waiting.

My 13yo and I got a curbside order from Michaels. And painted most of the day. I am reading “Untamed,” by Glennon Doyle and “The Giver of Stars,” by Jojo Moyes. Both are good.

It’s this big pause, this , sit with it, that is so uncomfortable. If anything it confirms that I am doing the right thing. That I am leaving a loveless marriage. I am leaving a husband that screams he hates me and I am a stupid lesbian freak. (I’m not any of those things but I guess it makes him feel better?) I have schoolwork and I have wine but everyday is just waiting for the next part to begin. It’s a crappy place to be. Be here now and all that. I’m here, and I know this isn’t how I want to be treated. And so I am trying to leave but the world is making it so difficult.

Yesterday, I said something about my parents being stuck in their house. My husband asked, “doesn’t your dad walk everyday?”

“I don’t think so,” I replied, “since his surgery his legs get tired quickly.”

“What surgery? You never told me he had surgery!”

“Remember when his legs were numb, from his back, and he had back surgery? His legs are still not quite right.”

“Oh. I never knew he had surgery!”

But the thing is, he did. He talked to me about it. He talked to me dad about it. We talked together about how he is still limping and how long it will take for it to heal. He did know my dad had surgery. Is it that he just didn’t care? So he forgot? Or is it that he has Alzheimer’s or amnesia or some kind of brain damage? Is forgetting that because he’s a narcissist focused on himself or is his brain broken? Are those things the same?

I didn’t get mad about this. But I am so puzzled. He can’t remember my dad had surgery which we definitely have had conversations about. Does he just not care enough about me to remember anything I say? But it isn’t just me. It’s everyone. He doesn’t remember the kids likes and dislikes. He doesn’t remember the foods I can eat and those that can kill me. He doesn’t remember how much we pay for insurance when he’s asked me dozens of times and each time I beg him to write the number down. Is it his brain? Or is it that he never ever pays attention to anyone else? Either way, it is so sad.

I talked with my 8yo son this week about having two houses. This kid is so wise. He said he’s kind of looking forward to it. But that his friend at school says “it’s tough because one person has to do all the things of two parents.” Then he says, “but mom, you already do all the things so I don’t think it will be hard for you. But it’s going to be harder for dad.” He is so wise, so empathetic, such a darling. He’s right. I am just hopeful that he rises to the occasion instead of taking his frustrations out on the kids. I say I hope but really I am so doubtful. I just hope he doesn’t permanently damage the kids. That’s my hope.

You caused this

Yesterday work was extremely stressful for me. We have moved to teaching online for COVID-19 and our district is still working things out as far as expectations for teachers and students. I teach mostly freshmen and I’ll admit that sometimes I take my job too seriously. Yes, I am teaching Biology, but more importantly, I am trying to teach my students responsibility and work ethic. I want them to know that there are consequences for their decisions. Many of them have had crazy lives and too much or not enough discipline. My lessons are more important than my content.

So work is kind of shifting about directives for teachers. Some of the expectations aren’t realistic, some get sent then immediately revised, some are obviously not best practice. And our administration is doing their best. They really are. And we are too. I get several thank you emails a day from administration and colleagues. I know they appreciate our work. But I also want to do things correctly and it has been hard to identify what is “correct,” lately.

Yesterday was tough. My group of teacher friends were all stressed to the max. And when I am done with work I can’t relax and unwind because my home is stressful too.

Yesterday my husband was odd. All day he ignored anything I said, with the exception of when I announced “Dinner!” to which he replied, “Already? It’s too early.” I think he did thank me for making the tacos. But he was eerily quiet all day. When we were all watching a show during Family Movie Time, he stood up and left without saying a word. Later when I tucked the kids in he was asleep in his room. So weird. I expected him to be raging.

And I didn’t have to wait long. I got up this morning and checked my email and he had emailed the lawyer at midnight telling her that the agreement we have won’t work because he wants me to move out sooner. This man is ridiculous!

I texted him back that the lawyer is not a conflict specialist. That he should stop emailing her and let her do her job! I know that he just wants attention. I knew he was going to blow up about something. I took a breath, put on my spinning ring, and went to the kitchen to make my breakfast.

When he comes into the room he greets me, “Good morning honey!” This I do not understand. I replied, “yeah,” And started cooking my eggs. I asked him what he is doing. Explained that he can’t send his every worry and anxiety to the lawyer and asked if he remembered that we had a plan and choices for May. He could stay home and use up our savings or he can go back to work and probably not have to work any flights because 99% of them have been cancelled. He is still not collecting any unemployment. I am our only source of income. When he goes back to work, to protect the kids from the virus we have two options, he can get a crashpad, basically rent a room near the airport, or I can pack up the kids and dogs and drive 20 hours to my parents house.

I am ask, “Do you remember? You were sitting at that table!” He shouts, “You said you were not moving out until December!” That is not what I said. What I said was that December is the deadline for me to move out in the marriage settlement agreement. I am trying to move out as soon as I can.

He screams, “I DON’T WANT THIS! YOU CAUSED THIS! YOU CAUSED THIS!” I said, “No, your behaviors are causing this. If i had my way we would have had this all done and settled long before the world knew of a virus.”

“YOU ARE A PIECE OF SHIT! YOU CAUSED THIS!”

“I DID NOT CAUSE THIS!” I yelled back. He looks around, “Shhhh,” the neighbors will hear you. He had at that point been yelling at me for 15 minutes. I told him I am not delaying moving out, I want to love out as soon as possible but it takes more than 24 hours to buy a new house. “YOU ARE A PIECE OF SHIT!” No, I am not. I am not.

He continues to email me through out the day. I haven’t gotten much work done because I am trying to contact a notary and see if self-storage is open and accepting new applications. He is telling me I am forcing him to return to work. He truly does not understand any conversation we have ever had and it is so frustrating. I am not making him work in May. I want him to go to work and not come home but I am willing to use savings that I carefully saved for moving to prevent him from getting sick.

The marriage therapist says to disengage but that is so hard when we are trapped in the same house 24/7 with no escape. I am sleeping in my daughter’s room and sleeping in her bed. I am living in the basement office. I am loading and unloading the dishwasher everyday. I am cooking all the meals for the kids, attending to their school and emotional needs, and making sure they bathe. I feel like I am doing everything and I cannot wait to escape this prison.

But I decided I am not leaving this house until I have a place to move into. I am not running just because he is an asshole. Fuck him. This is my house and I have a right to be here, even after he refinances it, until I can find a place of my own or December 31, 2020, which ever comes first. Fuck him. I am done being cooperative. I emailed him that I am not moving out. I ordered boxes so I can get my things out of the house so he doesn’t damage them. I will live in the office in the basement and sleep with my daughter. I will read and try to find hope and joy. Nothing lasts forever.

Am I crazy?

FRIDAY: Am I the crazy one? My husband, just now, again, told me, “We have to talk.” Which always means to me, that he needs me to solve some shit pile of a mess he has gotten himself into.

He just proposed that we postpone refinancing the house for THREE YEARS. And I think he expected me to be happy about this. He asked me if he could take a 6 month COLA and not work for 6 more months. He told me that he doesn’t want coronavirus and doesn’t want to bring it home when he goes back to work in May.

I don’t understand why he didn’t say these things BEFORE the finalization session. If I was in his position with his fears, I would have found a solution that made me reliable on myself. He can’t think of a solution that doesn’t involve me living in his home for 3 more years “until things level out.” Things might never level out. When I asked why he didn’t say this BEFORE the finalization session, he said he tried. He never mentioned this. He just kept saying, “things are bad at work. I am going to be on reserve.”

Now he thinks I should…. I don’t even know what he proposed because it wasn’t a plan. I think he wanted to not work for 6 months while I just live here with him but still “get divorced.” How does that even work?

SATURDAY: This morning I told him I think we will have enough savings for him to stay home in May. And he got mad at me. I thought this was what he wanted? He said he suggested that already. Suggested? Asked? Taking a month off work depends on the cash we have at hand. How long will our savings last? Is he getting and unemployment?

Yesterday he asked to take a 6 month leave. We can’t do that. We won’t have cash, my sanity won’t be able to take it. I can’t support him for 6 months when all I want is away from this relationship.

Now he’s mad because when he asked me yesterday what I want, I said I want him to go to work and I want to move out. That is what I want. He asks me for my opinion and then gets mad when it isn’t the same as his.

SUNDAY: He makes me feel like I am insane. I just want to make a plan to separate and follow that plan. He doesn’t want to make a plan and wants to just wait and see how things go, which means, never separate?

He suggested that we pay off the house before divorcing. That sounds great but if we had the money to pay off the house we would have done that already. And to me, it just sounds completely irrational. Even if the house is paid off, then he’s just giving me more money to buy out my equity. It makes no sense.

I think I know that what he’s saying makes no sense. The marriage counselor says, “he makes no sense. He’s not logical.” But I still spend a lot of time trying to make sense of what he says and does. I’m still trying to figure out what the rules are. In reality, they are whatever he wants them to be and change from moment to moment. But still, I am trying to be compassionate and understanding and not the evil person he says I am.

Yesterday after telling him he could have May off. We would be okay financially, he get mad and left the dining room table. He put on his noise cancelling headphones and stormed upstairs. I texted him to come back down so we could formulate a plan. This concept is completely lost on him. As if “planning” isn’t a thing in his brain. He eventually cane back down and said he wasn’t talking to me if I was yelling at him.

I don’t understand! I was sitting calmly. I had not raised my voice at all. The therapist asked me once, “Does he think ‘yelling’ is anyone who doesn’t agree with him?” Maybe that’s it? Not only was I not yelling but I thought I was being gracious to give him a choice to not work if he doesn’t feel safe going back to work. But he thought I was yelling.

He returned able to have a calm conversation for a while. He has made no decision about May. He is concerned he will lose his job is September and wants me to just hang on until then to see what happens. SEPTEMBER! Then he might sell the house. So in September I would have money for a down payment and who knows what the market and interest rates would be like then.

So I said that doesn’t give me much time to buy a house. The settlement agreement says I will move out by December 2020. To which he screeches “December 2020!” Then mockingly, “why are you prolonging this!” He parroting my own words back to me. I tried to explain that I am not changing anything we already established. He agreed to December 2020 in the settlement agreement. And I am not trying to prolong it that’s why September doesn’t work. But even if he refinances in May, I won’t be moving out immediately. Closing on a house often takes at least a month. Ideally, I would like to move out over the summer.

The cycle repeats. I say what I want, honestly, and he gets mad at me. He launched into “well you had better get working on finding a place! What’s taking you so long. Get looking.” This is ridiculous. As I have told him 100 times, I cannot go to a realtor without a down payment, and to have that, he needs to complete the refinance. Right now there are 2 houses in my price range in our school district, TWO. Both have been on the market longer than 90 days. Good houses pop up and are sold before photos are even posted. His taunting is ridiculous.

But when he taunts next, ridicules me, I know intellectually that it says more about him than it says about me. At the same time it does say something about me. It says that I was dumb enough to ever see hope in a relationship with this man who doesn’t value anything I say or do! And that is the part that makes me sad. It also says that I am strong and smart and have good reasons to leave. But knowing these things does not make this feel better. It still feels like shit to be treated like shit. I am still constantly confused because he thinks I am the unbalanced one. Am I the unbalanced one? The marriage counselor says, no, and has even go so far as to say he is crazy. My friends say, no, it is him. My kids say, no, it is him. He yells at random food workers. He yells at the scheduler at his work. He gets mad and throws his phone when he has to call out sick. So I shouldn’t care what his fucked up irrational opinion of my actions are but I do. I have a need for him to see that I am being kind and fair even though he isn’t.

He will never understand this. He will always see me as the evil bitch who stabbed him in the back. He will always see me as the person who took everything from him.

Even just the repeated begging he has been doing for us to work this out. Saying he will go to counseling. When he says that I want to physically harm myself. I begged him to go to counseling! It took him 3-4 months to call and schedule one appointment, that’s how important this was to him. The counselor was good. He identified right away that my husband can’t identify emotions in himself or others and does not show empathy. My husband called him a douchebag and stopped attending after 3 sessions. I went by myself because he “accidentally” volunteered to work when we had a session scheduled and it was too short notice to cancel. It’s perfect! Just like everything else, I was left to do it alone! Then when I draw the line and say, “that’s it. I’m done.” He begs to go back to see “Dr Douchebag.”

He texts my family and friends and tells them to tell me to go back to counseling. WHEN HE NEVER WENT TO COUNSELING! I have been more times alone than I was with him. He repeatedly says he will change his anger and will “get help” but he wants to get help by taking a walk in the woods. He can’t do this alone. He doesn’t even understand where the problems are.

I’m exasperated. I’m exhausted.

Yesterday after this long calm talk about the future he poured half a bottle of wine into his glass at 9am. He’s not usually a drinker and I do not know what prompted this at 9am. I asked and he said “I have to finish the bottle before it goes bad.” At 9am?

And he is ignoring the decision of working or not working in May. When asked, he will say “how can I know that now?” It seems lost on him that adults make decisions everyday when they aren’t sure how things will turn out. You just do the best you can.

Maybe it is coronavirus isolation, but kindle unlimited has a lot of books about relationships and narcissists and BPD free for members. I am reading a good one right now “The Miserable Marriage Handbook for Woman” by Kathleen Keith. Repeatedly hearing the insights of others helps me maintain my own sanity.

Yesterday I rented “10 Cloverfield Lane.” Very good of you can handle watching someone being isolated with their abuser while isolated with your abuser.

When finalization is not final

This week we started teaching online for my school. That has been interesting. I use a lot of technology in my classrooms but because everyone in the nation was trying to school online, there were some problems with access and database errors. It made for a busy week of online teaching because I had tons of emails from kids everyday asking for help.

Tuesday night we had a finalization session with the mediator. All of these terms we wrote up on January 1, 2020. It was March 31, 2020. At the finalization it took a long time because my husband is trying to get the lawyer to understand that he doesn’t want to agree to any terms. He is telling her how he isn’t working which is again, his CHOICE and not some shitty thing that happened to him. When we asked her for recommendations abut child support, she basically told us if we wanted her professional opinion, it would cost an additional $900 and we would have to have another meeting.

As is typical for my husband, he didn’t want to spend the $900. Eventually after a 90 minute meeting, we had everything “finalized.” The lawyer took her notes to draw up the papers which she promised to us the next week.

AH! It is actually moving forward.

Then came Wednesday morning. I am in a Zoom for a meeting, answering emails, and in the middle of a massive Schoology outage when my husband comes down in to the home/office and says “we need to talk.” Which to me always means he needs my help and wants me to do something for him. I told him I was working until 3pm and got back to it.

At 3pm I went up to the kitchen to see what he needed. First of all his unemployment claim was denied because he voluntarily left his job. This is what I told him originally when he said he was taking the leave but he said someone else called and he would be paid. So he is not getting unemployment. And I don’t think it is something he is entitled to. He shouldn’t get unemployment for taking the chicken-shit way out and avoiding work. If he HAD stayed at work, his coworkers were paid full time and have not had to report to work so it would have been a good situation to be in. But no, he took the unpaid leave. When I brought up that he made this mess he said “I took the COLA because I was afraid of being on reserve (on-call)!” This is NOT what he said when he signed up for the COLA. When he signed up for the COLA he said he was taking it to avoid getting COVID-19. He told me he took it out of fear of getting sick. And I have no sympathy for him being afraid of being on reserve. I was on reserve at the same job for the better part of 6 years! He could handle it. But he didn’t want to do hard things, so he folded.

The next shitty thing that he wanted me to solve is that he sent the lawyer an email to say she should stop preparing all of our papers! While sitting at my desk all day, I do not read my personal email and so I wasn’t aware of this until he mentioned it. When I looked at the email he sent her it was like someone drunk was typing with alphabet soup. He sent her screen shots of different schedule from some app and said he wanted a schedule like one of these. This makes no sense because none of these schedules would fit with his normal work schedule!

Alternating weeks! God! I would LOVE alternating weeks! Then I could make plans and not have to talk to him about when he is working but he repeatedly said before in earlier negotiations that alternating weeks would not work for him. So we went with 2 weeks notice of his schedule. And now he emails her that he wants alternating weeks? I told him it makes no fucking sense.

Well, he doesn’t want alternating weeks. He just wanted her to know that he wants the kids 50/50, which is already in the documents. And he thinks the child support that we agreed on in January and that has remained the same figure since January is too high. He had the figure since January but only decided a night after the “finalization” session that it was too high. Why didn’t he think of this sooner? Because he doesn’t think. He just panics when it is too late. Why couldn’t he have brought any of this up BEFORE the “finalization” session?

I emailed the lawyer back and sent her new terms. We did lower the child support. He was right, it was too high but it took him 3 months to articulate that in a constructive way. And he derailed getting the documents finalized. Was that his plan?

Thursday he worked on getting in touch with banks for the refinance. All day he worked on this. When I woke up this morning, Friday, he tells me that no bank will lend money to him to refinance because he isn’t working. Again that was his CHOICE. No, it is not surprising but it is also infuriating! Had he just gone to work like he was supposed to and not volunteered for a leave out of fear, we would not be having these problems.

He doesn’t think they are problems because he loves it when the whole family is stuck in the house together. This is his dream come true.

Thursday night after dinner he shouts “SHIT! I forgot the taxes in my budget!” This is odd because he didn’t make “his budget.” He copied the file that I use and changed the numbers. I have taxes in my budget, why would he have deflated that? He ranted and said he was selling the house. Which sucks for me because I will get less equity if he sells than if he refinances. It sucks for the kids because then they have to move twice. It sucks for me because we would both be looking for a new house and he could out bid me for my tiny little slice of heaven I am looking.

I breathed. It is not my job to solve his problems. I am not responsible for his circus. He kept repeating it over and over “I forgot the taxes!” Over and over. I kept breathing.

An hour later he says “oh, they were here all along.” It is a spreadsheet. All the bills are in one column. I am not sure how you could go through the 20 categories for over an hour and not notice that one of the categories as called “taxes” but that is what he did.

This morning, no shock, the bank refused to give him refinancing terms until he is back working. I highly suspect that he called the bank and said, “hey I was looking to refinance my house and cash out some equity but I don’t have a job this month so would you approve that?” To which the obvious answer is no. I am not saying a bank would loan to anyone who was out of work. But I am saying that if it were me, I would have presented my paystubs for this month, which are still normal and hoped for approval. I think he is looking for anyway to stall this whole procedure.

And it makes me want to scream but I will just breathe.

The good thing about school being demanding right now is that I can spend most of my day with the kids in the basement. They days pass more quickly because I am busy and actually have a lot to follow up on each day.

Monday is April 13th. Almost he middle of April, and so May will come sooner than it probably feels right now. And of course there is a chance that when May arrives many things will be different. And so all I can do is focus on work and loving the kids and be as patient as possible. The only thing certain is that things change.