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annabelle
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Posts: 29


« on: November 23, 2003, 10:47:33 PM »

I am feeling very guilty and sad for my n-husband.  Rationally, I know I shouldn't.  Some advice would be so welcome.  Here's my situation now....

I signed a lease secretly and will be moving in in about 3 weeks with just me and my children.  Right now my husband is commuting back to our house on weekends and rents a studio and office space in a city 2 hours away.  This is because he moved his business to this new city.  The plan was for me and the kids to join him in the summer, after my son finished preschool year and I found a job in the city.  Well, I've found a job and found an amazing apartment - a small consolation prize for leaving him.   I made the decision and signed the lease last week and haven't yet told my husband.  I've felt like a liar, a total jerk, and a sneak since.  

Truthfully, I'm scared to tell my husband bc he's been violent towards things - i.e. throwing things, breaking things, etc.  And has come at me before but not done any damage.  Also, I'm scared bc I know he'll break down - has begged etc. when I told him I want a divorce in the past.

My husband does and has admitted he's wrong and sorry and really listened to me about what he does wrong and how it hurts me.  Each time I talk to him (to tell him it won't work between us), he tells me "thank you for talking to me and telling me this.  I didn't realize it before.  I finally get it - how my actions have affected you." etc.etc. Then, "I need to make you happy again.  Tell me what I need to do.  Anything, and I'll do it.  Take medication, go to counseling again, etc."  He has admitted he's wrong, unlike some Ns, but I know other Ns pour on the fake remorse, false promises, fake understanding, etc. and just do more of the same when they've got you again.  

I HAVE seen change in my N in the past 7 months with regard to violence, (after he grabbed my throat and shoved me to the floor, and threw a butter knife my way which went downstairs where our kids were.)  This was the worst he's done.  He, a few months before that, last November, threw whatever was closest to him at the time (pennies on his dresser) at me at close range, and did make my ear and head bleed.  I was shocked.  After at the time 7 years of marriage, his violence had escalated.  You could say it was just pennies, and that it was a reaction to me yelling in his face, and you could say the butter knife was whatever was closest (or you could say it was a knife), but the truth is, his violence which used to be aimed at i.e. furniture, was getting worse.  I've digressed on this, because I've learned to trust you here on this board, and I want you to have the whole picture.  Thanks for listening.  Anyway, no violence since last April, but that's not saying much, because I've read here that it can stop for a year at a time, at least, then start up again.   I just re-read what I've written so far, and I sound like an idiot for trying to minimize his actions.   The physical threat, until recently, has always been just short of the edge - has never "beat me", or caused bruises, but has as I said grabbed my throat then released it immediately (but what a sign to me) and restrained me claiming that I was the one out of control and he needed to calm me down, although kept restraining me far after I'd calmed down.  I can't forget these things he's done to me.  I can't trust that he won't do some or worse again.  I do think he's sorry, but I do think he's helpless to sustain any change.  I just feel so bad for him bc he will always be miserable and he wants to be a good guy.  And I do believe he cares about me (although certainly doesn't show it in a good way!)

So my plan is to tell him I'm moving with the kids to the city where he is right now.  And, that since he wants more time to try to work things out with us, that this is what I need right now - to live in my own space, get my own job, etc., and that we can see what happens in the meantime.  On my terms this time.   I want to get out, on my own first, and then most likely get a divorce.  I feel like a liar, a sneak, like I will be blindsiding him by telling him I signed a lease, etc.  I know he will be angry at not being the one in control and not telling him what I did until I tell him.  

Blah, blah, ANYWAY, in summary, I'd welcome advice (and/or stories of people who've experienced this guilt) on how to get rid of the guilt, what to do if I know he's sorry and wants to change (even though he most probably won't) and how to tell him - in a public place, with someone who knows what I am doing, and a place to go.)  I'd also welcome a reality check.  Thanks friends.

Annabelle
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Rojo
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2003, 11:22:12 AM »

Hey there, Annabelle

Firstly, I really admire your courage in taking the steps necessary to improve yours and your kids' lives.  Your situation is obviously very difficult and gut wrenching.

I haven't personally experienced leaving an abusive N spouse but I feel anyone can see that you have not only been in an unhappy situation, you've also been in a very dangerous situation.  Your husband is a habitually violent man and that is not acceptable, especially when there are kids involved.  Just because he's never beaten you or caused bruises does not mean you have not sustained abuse.  Be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to rationalize and thus reducing the seriousness of this man's violent behavior.  This is so easy to do so don't berate yourself for doing it...we have all done it with our N's, whether it be our spouses, parents, siblings or friends.  Just keep being mindful of the trap's power over you.  Also, you don't have the option of feeling pity for him right now.  Your number one priority at this time is obtaining safety for you and your kids and your every action so far shows how much you know this.  I really admire your strength in seeing what's really going on here.

I can understand feeling guilty, although you shouldn't feel guilty.  Having to sneak around to make your arrangements isn't what a good person like you would normally do when there's someone you love involved (hence the guilt), BUT, these are not normal circumstances, Annabelle.  What you've done has been absolutely necessary for you and your children...there's no guilt or shame in that at all.  All you're doing is being a good mother.  Try to think what you'd say to a friend of yours going through these exact circumstances...what would you be telling her right now?

As for how to tell him...personally, I'd be inclined to tell him in a public place and have at least one male nearby (in case he tries to get violent again).  However, you don't want to antagonise your husband during a potentially volatile time so there must be no way for him to get some ill-founded jealousy ideas.  So, perhaps you know a married couple or two who could be with you when you tell him?  That's what I'd do in your shoes.  I'm not qualified to say whether or not this is the absolute right way to go about things, Annabelle.  I'm just a shmo off the street but I but don't think you can go wrong by erring on the side of caution when it comes to your safety.  I would also probably talk to someone in law enforcement for advise.  Law enforcement professionals deal with potentially violent situations everyday so I'm sure they will have a lot of bankable things to share with you.  You're quite obviously a very smart lady so I'm confident you will know what to do when the time to tell him approaches.

Lastly, if you're not in counseling, I would suggest doing so.  This is such a difficult situation and you will certainly be going through all sorts of emotions not just during the phase of leaving him but also after the fact.  I think you can count of him trying all sorts of very powerful manipulations and pulling on your heart-strings.  You're going to need as much support as you can get to make it easier for you to keep going with your decision.

Hang in there, Annabelle and keep being a friend to yourself.

Blessings to you and your kids,

Rojo
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Anonymous
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2003, 01:50:15 PM »

annabelle,

In a survival situation (this is one), you have to do whatever it takes to get out of there. If that means sneaking or lying, SO BE IT. This is for your survival and that of your kids. You aren't doing it because you are a "liar" or bad person. You're doing it because that is the right strategy for a dangerous situation. Your safety comes way ahead of being "honest" or "truthful" to a violent, impulsive man. You are doing the right thing in my view.

bunny
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Anonymous
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2003, 03:49:31 PM »

Annabelle,

Guilt can be a wolf in sheep clothing at times.  You are feeling guilt right now for many reasons but you keep in mind that you have been dealing with a man who is classified in the same category as Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and Scott Peterson.  Mind control is a major part of their disorder.

That guilt you are feeling is not because you are screwing this man over.   It is because he has trained you to feel that way when you have the urge to buck his system.  They use our feelings of guilt to their advantage.  They know what triggers our guilt feelings and they pull out the big dogs when they need to regain control.  Anytime my xN sensed I felt any guilt about something, he knew he had just struck gold.  Play on my guilt and I will be putty in your hands.  

Me feeling any guilt during my relationship  signaled to me that my N could or would be opposed to what I was doing.  Me feeling guilt about anything meant that I was probably doing something or feeling something that put me number one instead of the N.  

I now can see that while I offered this man unconditional love, I was actually giving him a free pass to emotionally suck me dry.  I felt if I could not stand by him while he worked through his issues then I was not offering unconditional love at all.  

I can understand your feelings of guilt Annabelle.  Having your thoughts and emotions tampered with causes us to doubt the validity of them.  I had my xN telling me how my feelings and thoughts were.  No wonder they seemed so unfamiliar to me.  They were not my feelings or thoughts.  They were introduced into my brain my my N.  He had begun to make me lose touch with myself.  I knew that if I gave him my self worth, my dignity, and control of my emotions, I would be selling my soul to the devil.  

I think alot of guilt I was feeling during our relationship was actually my gut instinct telling me to get the heck out of dodge while the getting was still good.  Guilt can actually be a good thing at times Annabelle.  Sometimes the guilt we feel leads us to not repeat our patterns.  If you really think about it, in order to have guilt, you have to have empathy for something.  They do not have the ability to have empathy and I know for a fact they have no clue what guilt feels like.  If they knew what guilt felt like, do you think for one minute they would treat us this way?  

You really do not owe him any explanation Annabelle.  If he demands one.  Demand he take responsibility for his actions.  Of course you know he won't, so you demand he listen to you when you state that his actions led you to this point.  Your reaction to them is to realize his actions spoke louder then his words ever did.  He might have promised you the moon.  All he delivered was empty promises.  

I have yet to hear of one person who has been treated successfully for NPD.  I have to believe I did what was right for myself.  Although I will never be able to forget him, I will be damned if I will continue to feel any guilt over him.  I used to think how could he just walk away from me after all he had said to me.  It hit me one day while I was hanging my favorite jacket up that I could not recall him ever saying something was his favorite.  I do not remember him saying he had a favorite toy as a child, a favorite suit he wore to work, a favorite cousin, etc.  I truely believe they never have a favorite wife or girlfriend.  Everything in this world is so disposable to them.  They may like something but when its gone its gone.  Know why?  They lack the ability to form bonds and attachments to anything.  

In order to have guilt you have to have a conscious.  You have a conscious and you should never feel guilty about that.  He is the father of your children.  This is a man that you love and thats fine to have those feelings.  We can't always help who we love, trust me I have fought this mental battle with my xN.  But I also realise we can love things that are not good for us.  I love chocolate but that doesn't mean it is good for me.  When I eat it I feel guilty.  Well N are like chocolate.  Too much of N isn't good for anybody, but then again neither is chocolate.

Your feelings are natural.  The only thing I have to say is that I am so thankful that I  still have the ability to feel any feelings at all.  It is a wonder any of us are able to feel anything after being forced to become numb in order to survice.  If we would have lost that ability Annabelle, we could have stayed with them forever.  We would have to be numb to deal with this forever.  

You are doing great sweety.  Do not let his deamons in your head make you think other wise.  I hear my xN deamons every now and then in my head.  Just knowing I have the ability to feel anything right now including guilt lets me know that I am going to be ok.  I am still in touch with my feelings.  Thank God!!   You are still in touch with yours Annabelle.  Don't be scared to listen to your feelings.  You might be feeling guilty but you have to put yourself first.  The guilt will subside when you regain trust in yourself.  The decisions you make from here on out may not always be the right ones, but what could be as bad as what you are living in right now?  

Keep your chin up.   Do not allow your guilt to let your guard down when it comes to him.  That is a lethal combination.  The minute they sense guilt from you, that signals them that you are very vulnerable.  That is the perfect time for them to strike out with N rage.  Reach out to anyone if you need strength.  Anyone other then your husband that is.  You can do whatever you put your mind to.  You and only you can decide what your mind is capable of.  Work on your own strength and do not allow his weaknesses to continue to suck you dry.
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Jaded911
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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2003, 03:50:52 PM »

Psst, that was from me^^^^
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Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me!

Jaded
Acappella
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Posts: 120


« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2003, 07:23:58 PM »

Hi Annabelle,  

(Acappella here - announcing up front here in case I am timed out or in case you don't read this whole thing and see my name there a million miles down at the end of this emabarrassing long post. Embarassed )

I so relate to what I feel in your writing…your earnest caring about the man you are living with. And knowing you cannot stay.  In addition, you have children looking to you for protection and care...you have a lot of responsibility and you clearly express care and strength in handling that.

In addition to being sure to employ kind tenderness and understanding to yourself and to your children I believe empathy can be used to help leave your husband and avoid guilt.  It isn't your job to care for others etc. etc.  I've heard it many times and it is true.  AND caring for others is a truth too as Jaded pointed out...you have a heart so expect to hurt, it is the price we humans pay;  A part of life not a way of life - your leaving indicates that you clearly have some true understanding of that.

Caring for yourself is your and your children's number one priority of course.  I get that you get that.  Congradulations on the apartment and the job.  

(You asked in a prior post how I was going with my job hunt.  I am making very slow progress but I'll save that for another post.  Thought I had answered your Sponsor post but I looked back and saw I didn't.  Woops. )

Have you considered writing him a letter rather than telling him? It may be best for both of you.  He can have time to adjust and react. (include rubber knives to throw?  Embarassed Ok, not funny.)  You will be clear about what you said, compassion and all.  You will have time to consider what you want to say and reconsider etc.  Afterwards, you could still then meet in a public place WITH people you know.  Like Rojo suggested a couple perhaps?  He of course could be jealous of anyone.  Do you know under what conditions he feels safest?  With whom and/or where besides with you?  He is the expert on what works for him or doesn't and if he isn't gong to get real with himself then you are operating on very limited information about what helps for him anyway.  For example he said he'd go to therapy to MAKE you happy.  He doesn't sound clear on what HE needs for support for himself...requiring your happiness doesn't count.

I am spending a lot of time here defending empathy so perhaps I digress and yet I couldn't bring myself to delete it all.  Embarassed This post is crazy long.  Thank goodness for scroll bars!   If you are in a hurry there are six clearly numbered points further along in this post. You have made some solid steps towards leaving, ones I haven’t made yet.  As a means of leaving obviously then my strategy hasn’t been fully been tested yet in my own case even.  However, while I believe in some other cases where I was treated worse and had more to give up physically by leaving (a lot more money, a home in the forest, a garden etc.)  - anger  helped me go.  Because this relationship is the deepest ever for me I am begining to see that it will therefore require empathy for me to leave it.  Empathy ironically has helped me really feel the difference between them and me -their pain is theirs and mine is mine.  Without empathy I can focus too much on wanting him which is not the same as loving him as an individual.  Parents can relate to the letting go for the sake of love.  Understanding his pain helps me get past my focus on my love for him in a love = staying with sorta way.

I’ll get specific in a minute but first there is something I have to get off of my chest….
You said  
Quote
Rationally, I know I shouldn't.
Rationally?  Frankly, I feel there is little in life that is rationally pure or purely rational.  If you try to hold yourself to some standard of rationality then my guess is you’ll be pulled from the heart of the matter, which is what drives us humans.  What I am about to rant on for a paragraph about may seem obvious and yet I so often read and hear and have caught in myself a tendency to believe that reason is stronger, the mind more powerful than the heart etc., and that we should look to intellect and reason for sanity that I feel compelled to say the following…(I deleted a paragraph here that I offered as proof that feelings rule reason even among geniuses.   Clearly not a first hand account  Very Happy Suffice it to say I believe Einstein and others use their minds in service of their hearts. Sometimes to their own dismay too.)  Do you ever feel empathy is weakness or gets a bad rap?  I am begining to realize perhaps you are reading this and going "Duh! Of course empathy is a source strength."  Ok, perhaps I am too sensitive to the rambo macho attitudes in the world. Do you ever feel empathy is too often associated, by reputation rather than reality, with weakness?

I read on either this or another board I posted on a statement from a woman about herself, the self she used to be when she was in an unhealthy relationship….something like she was
Quote
all empathy and no power
.  She may not have meant that it is an either or option though I read it that way.

For a very long time I have either hidden or resented my ability to empathize as I felt it was what made me a sucker…an doormat etc. etc.  I have edited out much of my response here as it was even longer than this as I tried to articulate this succinctly ...I'll just say I believe now that in fact empathy is extraordinarily powerful.  I believe that empathy can be something I/we get strength from, including the strength to leave.  

In terms of empathy as being a means of finding the power, the strength, and the heart to leave this is what I am discovering about my relationship with my husband.  Six reasons my leaving might be darned good for him too:

1.   Inherent in trying to be intimate with someone who puts up a mask is a message that although I’d like more I will, I am settling for the mask and in so doing I am likely reinforcing the message he got as a child – the image will do.  That is not an invitation for his real self to show up.

2.   He will inevitably fail (be at best indifferent and at worst cruel) more often than not until he feels his own spectrum of feelings more and meanwhile I will inevitably express my pain.  In this way he is intimately punished.  That it is not my intent he feels punished doesn't matter other than what it says about me.  The result is, regardless of intent, he is in a state of frequent failure.  He does care.  I believe your husband does too.  It may be what they do with their feelings and not a lack of them (as with sociopaths I understand) that is the problem.  The more they care the more they hide.  

3. A little pressure is good and too much is paralizing. At work or in more emotionally distant situations he is freer to come and go as he pleases.  While working on his issues pacing himself is important.  Living apart and going to therapy seems to me a more likely condition under which he can (not saying will) learn to be who he is…have space and manage it vs. getting it through falseness and anger.

4.  I am setting him up for failure.  My husband doesn’t openly say he’ll do anything but he does throw an emotional bone or two my way after a big fight.  Ok, he can be down right kind even.  When I take it, accept his offerings at this point it is more a symptom of my desperation than love for him.  I don’t like admitting that to myself yet it is true.  How can he not sense that at some level?  Anyway, I know I need more from a partner than he gives.  He knows I know.

5.   If it aint broke don’t fix it…we are all motivated by pain in many ways and staying gives him an artificial barrier from his fear of loosing his image support.  By staying, I am facilitating a useless pain and helping to defer a pain that has a lesson in it.   Al recommended an NPR program in which a therapist states that people with strong N characteristics have to loose a lot before really desiring to change.  If you are interested and can't find the link email me and I'll find it.

6.  They were punished for being real as children..it was seen as mutinous by their parents and likewise they see our realness as a disloyalty to family.  I believe my husband does anyway.  Real pain = threat of abandonment.  If you feel this is true with your husband..then offering (perhaps at a safer phone distance) an invitation to get to know who he is when he is real and in touch and as he is learning is the greatest gift you could give him.  Also, his ego maybe invested in his job and in providing.  By working and having your own place you are in a sense letting him know he is more than a financial provider.  Perhaps framing it in that light when communicating with him could help.  So much depends on the particulars.

A longer version (eeegads! I know.  Embarassed )of what I mean by understanding through empathy in my case…..
This is all about my husband and how Nism has roots and so I believe can be tended too and isn't about monsters and still caring can mean leaving or at least distancing.....
I am certain my husband’s parents would have preferred a real child rather than an image, the lie they required, if they had just known what they were missing.  Instead they both demanded tacitly that he lie by not ever admitting to fear or sadness and by being a good student only and for them exclusively.  (I am just realizing while writing this that he was their cute wooden puppet!) They didn’t’ t have the luxury of intimacy and dealing with real feelings.  They grew up in a country infested with horrendous poverty with bombs dropping from the sky.  No family has to go very far back to find similar roots of mandated insensitivity.  For some it is closer and more obvious than others.  They came to this country so everything should have been better then, right?  Oh, except that the pain of what they had to cut themselves off from is still buried in the genes of their souls and in their behavior – and inherited in an unintended and mutated version by their children. And they picked up some interesting layers of insensitivity here too. So, my husband’s parents asked him to lie (actually to make omissions) to be perfect to justify all that they had to do to leave their country, their families and start fresh here.  I believe a survivor’s guilt was layered onto my husband.  “We were the chosen ones, the lucky, the guilty.  We abandoned our home and family and people and we did so for you so you must be as perfect as possible or else our reasons for what we did will be found unworthy, our festering guilt justified."  In the trial of their goodness he has been exhibit #1.  Like Pandora’s box my husband learned no good would come from peeking beneath appearance in search of truths, instead only danger and pain.  None of this was ever stated out right and in fact his father got furious when the children lied.  I don’t even know if my husband would agree with this tracing of the crumbs through the forest of his childhood.  It is my estimation from asking questions and listening closely to what very little is said and how it is said.  I too have learned to keep my distance, not let on overtly or at least be very careful about revealing what I am curious about with him.  If only his parents could have admitted that there is a truth in every lie then their son wouldn’t have had to have grown up with the message “you must lie to save your life, to save our lives and you must never get caught doing so.”  Add on to that there was a sense that my husband was expected to be a poster child for “his people” yet he didn’t belong really to any one group.  Who does?  Once in this country his father also left his US family supposedly for financial reasons to go elsewhere to work.  He visited yet the message was in his absence my husband was supposed to be the surrogate father.  At 10 years old he buried himself in a closet and cried his heart out because he had fallen for a scam subscription sales offer thinking he would sell stuff and earn enough money for his father to come home again.  He showed little emotion when he talked about that.  He was laughing about how silly he was ...falling for a scam..and didn't even see the connection that he might have been so despirate because he missed his dad and fallen for the family story that dad was gone because of money.  My husband teared up immediately and was stunned for a while after getting in touch with that.  He was in therapy at the time.  I wish he'd go back again.  I had asked him to that time.  I won't ask or insist again. I am glad I did the first two times though.  Despite improvement, my husband is not often in touch with his feelings nor mine and yet he lies and hides because he so desperately wants to be connected.   He does both less than ever and yet until he can be more real, integrated, kind and consistent I am, by staying and accepting less from him, suggesting his duplicity is sufficient and being another prop in the theater of his false self.  No wonder he throws duplicity back in my face, projects it like superman unloading kryptonite.  [/u]
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Karin
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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2003, 08:49:13 PM »

Jaded,
Just a quick note to say thank you so much for such an insightful post. You helped me understand in a couple of minutes things I have been struggling with for years. (The unconditional love and guilt).

Good Luck Annabelle, you're doing the right thing.
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Karin
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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2003, 08:50:06 PM »

Jaded,
Just a quick note to say thank you so much for such an insightful post. You helped me understand in a couple of minutes things I have been struggling with for years. (The unconditional love and guilt).

Good Luck Annabelle, you're doing the right thing.
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Alan
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Posts: 47


« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2003, 01:03:34 AM »

Here is the link for the radio show concerning Narcissism.  The first 40mins are choice listening.  If anyone hasn't listened, I suggest you do.  You'll need Real Player

http://www.lcmedia.com/mind290.htm
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The Truth points to Itself
CC
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Posts: 151


« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2003, 11:30:45 AM »

Dear Annabelle,

You are a brave girl indeed.  After reading the circumstances under which you are leaving your husband I can certainly identify with your guilt.  In fact, I don't know that I would even been as brave as you are.

What you experience says to me that you have EMPATHY, which is why you are feeling guilty.  You are right, He will experience pain, and it will be difficult for him.  However it is because of HIS actions, which have consequence... though he might not understand that.  Also, perhaps you can take comfort in this thought, if he is truly narcissistic:  His pain is a result of HIS needs not being met by you, not true sadness in seeing you go.  He is sad for HIMSELF, because he will have to seek his Nsupply elsewhere and he will feel out of control until he does. He is angry because his nice, neat little arrangement of having his needs met will be disturbed.  He will blame you, but he will also try and manipulate you into thinking he's changed. He will act desperately until he can get his needs met somewhere, someone or something else to manipulate.

I am very proud of you Annabelle and will be following you as you make this difficult move.  If he asks you what he can do to change, I wouldn't hesistate to ask him to continue therapy.  At the very least, it may help him enough to be better for his children.  The N will not completely change in therapy but it does help them at least learn how to stop controlling so much..any little bit helps.

I think the hardest part lies ahead... remaining strong as he challenges you AFTER the move.

You are doing the best thing you can for your children and I think that is absolutely admirable.  God Bless.
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CC - 'If it sucks longer than an hour, get rid of it!'
Simon46
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« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2003, 12:46:28 PM »

Annabelle,

Like others on this board, I applaud your bravery and growing self-respect, even though I understand that you are scared. It is funny as we each read these messages, different things jump out at different people. I feel compelled to comment on your feeling of guilt. It took me a long time to understand that my feelings of guilt were taught to me, and are just a conditioned feeling, nothing more. When I feel guilty it is a conditioned response kicking in. My feeling of guilt is actually quite different from how I truly feel inside. So part of me can feel guilty and part of me can know better all at the same time. So, here you are doing something good for yourself finally getting out of a horrible situation where you are demeaned and mistreated and you feel guilty. Aren’t we humans just full of crazy contradictions?

Your N knows this and knows intimately how to manipulate you and your feelings. Maybe appealing to your sense of being a good mother, a good wife – that always makes her feel guilty. How about this one “After all I’ve done for you…” How about ‘I’ll do better, don’t leave me.” The possibilities are endless. And until you catch on, it keeps working. You have now caught on, and are well on your way. He is losing control and he knows it. I say hooray for you and your self respect.

In the Star Wars movies there was the famous line, “Use the Force Luke.” It occurred to me one day that a narcissistic personality would unconsciously say to himself “Use the FOG, Luke.” The FOG is a reminder to use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to manipulate the other person you wish to control. It is a very powerful force, the FOG! It is deliberate and premeditated.  Just use it, it works. Until one day they catch on that they really are OK as is. They see that you are using the FOG and that you always have. They see how demeaning this is and that you really were never on their team at all. They see the lies for what they are. The FOG LIFTS. They begin to see that it was all a ruse and that they are actually *not at all responsible* for your absurd behavior and never were. They stop taking the blame for you and rest it squarely where it belongs, on your shoulders. They stop playing. They just quietly and calmly stop responding to pressure from you, as if they don’t even owe you and explanation! As if they don’t understand that they are supposed to take everything you dish out! As if they are equal to you! As if their thoughts are just as legitimate as yours and should be valued and respected!

Once we begin to see clearly that we are actually wonderful people who should have been valued and loved and treated respectfully, and we treat ourselves that way, everything begins to change for us.  

I get the feeling that you know all of this anyway, but I just wanted to say it and send a little support your way.
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Acappella
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« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2003, 01:06:38 PM »

Hi again Annabelle,

Before I get all deep....Hope you are planning a apt./house warming party at your new place!  Celebration is in order.  

Quote
he will do "anything it takes" bc "I'm so important to him."

"I need to make you happy again. Tell me what I need to do. Anything, and I'll do it. Take medication, go to counseling again, etc."


Do anything it takes?  How about stop asking you for directions?

Sounds like an either/or perspective.  Either he is in total control or you rather than two equals.   AND beneath the alleged trade off he decides when and who gets their turn?    That is dumping responsibility on you while trying to retain control over you...an attempt anyway, unintentional or not....doesn't matter.  He needs you to tell him what to do?  He will do anything IF ONLY YOU tell him what?  As long as he is so dependent on you emotionally and so unconscious of it how can he not also resent that big ole powerful you that he has created?  He has made you too powerfull in his mind and heart.  He will have to push you away as long as he is so imbalanced.  Frankly, the will do "anything it takes" worries me....that is a sign of despirate fear, a flag to me not a gift.  

I imagine you are a strong woman and that is partly why he is so attracted to you and is able to heap so much responsibility on you.  In addition to being strong I hope you are getting some more professinal assistance in addition to this forum.  These situations are complex. The following questions are to encourage you to plan the way that you leave and to protect yourself.  Don't mean to be dramatic and.....Will he try to nab the children?  How will your action be viewed in a divorce situation?  Are you doing what you need to protect yourself so that when you do file for divorce you have proof that you didn't just run off with the children etc? I believe you are doing the right thing in leaving (if for no other reason than you just feel you must - no one has a right to judge your feelings and your choosing to go).   Personally, of course there are certain things that I would break a law for if I felt I had to protect children and myself.  

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I still feel like a liar, a sneak.  

Just because you lie or sneak doesn't make that who you are...A liar, A sneak.  If you felt OK with lying and sneaking then you might do those things a lot more often and thereby be doing yourself harm in the long run.  You are doing something safe and fair for yourself and your children and your leaving is NOT an assault on your husband.  Is your husband a liar and a sneak for saying he will do something and then not?  You seem to understand that he is not in control of everything.  How about sending some of that understanding your way? Doesn't seem to me that you made the rules up in this cycle (not alone anyway) and either way you are exiting so you are ending the game because you don't like the rules.  Seems very fair and direct to me.  Staying when you are so unhappy is a sort of lie that can last a life time.

He can go on and change or not.  Your leaving isn't stopping him from anything other than living with you. Is that his birth right?  Nope.  (Your leaving changes his relationship with the children and that is the risk he took, as did you, when having children with another person.  That is why there is pain, referees, mediators and lawyers in such situations.)

I hope you manage to enjoy your freedom, you are working hard for it.  Take Care!
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annabelle
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« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2003, 11:34:55 PM »

Wow.  Thank you so much for the support, warmth, insight, and suggestions!  You all have been so helpful and a great reality check.

Rojo - you are right about my rationalizing and rducing my husband's behavior, and that I do not have the option of feeling pity for him right now - I will try to throw this out the window - there's no room for this with all I have to concentrate on!  You're also right about "pulling on my heart strings" - he's certainly trying to do that.  When you ask, "What would you tell a friend to do?" or something to that affect, that really opened my eyes - I would tell her get out how you can, plan it secretly!  Thanks Rojo.

Bunny - it's so true that this strategy (of secrecy) is the right one for a dangerous situation.  You helped me realize that different situations require different strategies, and if the end justifies the means, so be it.  Thank you.

Jaded - (such an anomaly, your stage name here on this message board, as you seem so full of life and positive energy) - thanks for the reminder that part of my guilt is "trained guilt".  It's so true, too, that often when I've felt guilt in this relationship, it's because I was putting myself first.  I'm so glad to see (this doesn't sound right - so sad, but so happy others can relate I mean) that others have become emotionally numb in order to survive, as you mentioned.  This helps me to realize that I'm not going crazy because I can't really feel anymore.  I can't wait until feeling comes back! :)  Thanks Jaded.

Acappella - I didn't read your post because it was too long.  Ha, ha, just kidding! :)  Thanks for the note that hurt is a part of life - not a way of life!   Interesting thoughts about empathy.  I've always been taught that empathy is a positive thing - valued in society - I'm in the psychiatric field so I've always been trained to use my empathy.  I do know now that empathy in a person is what Ns seek and suck out!  Your suggestions on presenting to my husband that I need physical space rather than the space of falseness and anger are great, and that having physical and financial independent from him will show him that to me, he's not just a provider.  Thanks, Acappella!

Alan - thanks for the link to the radio show.  I don't have Real Player.  But I'd like to listen to it somehow, or read it if there's a transcript.

CC - thank you for reminding me that his pain is bc his needs are not being met, not bc he lost me.

Simon - Thank you for highlighting the contradiction that is guilt over leaving a situation in which I'm demeaned and mistreated.  I LOVE your acronym of FOG,, and it's so true how it can be lifted - that's exactly how I feel.  Also, your quote "they stop playing" - this is also what I feel - "Game Over" keeps running through my mind!


After reading everybody's advice, I am taking more care with my plan to tell my N about leaving.  I have a phone date with my father tomorrow to tell him all, and ask for his advice.  I'm 35 years old but still his little girl, so I'm hoping he can handle it.  His good friend knows my story and told me my father would be able to handle it, and would be very supportive (and would NOT try to kill my N. - he's an overprotective Italian father, so I'm hoping that's true, ha ha.)  And, Acappella (sorry if I keep misspelling your name) 35 or your 36 is a fine age to be a divorcee - we are more mature which is a desirable trait to a MATURE man, and we can still look hot!  Of course, I'll be a single mom with kids, but I know the right man will be attracted to me and my family, AND, more importantly, I'm not even concerned about finding someone else right now - I'm so looking forward to finding myself!  Yay for us!

Have a great holiday everyone on this board - I know this Thanksgiving I'll be giving thanks for all of you.

Annabelle
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annabelle
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« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2003, 11:38:08 PM »

Thank you, too, Karin for the encouragement!
Annabelle
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