I am 38 years old and have never had a healthy relationship with a man other than my dad who is genuinely awesome. I had a horrible string of abusive relationships which all ended in me having to escape somehow. After my last failed relationship, I moved back to my home town with my daughter to be closer to my parents and try to heal myself. I didn't date anyone for a long while because I was scared of more abuse.
Then I met the N. He was so charming, so thoughtful, so funny, so intelligent, so understanding that I relaxed my guard. He never yelled. He was extremely helpful and concerned about me and my daughter. He had a son who was still in diapers who he had full custody of. I homeschool my daughter, he said he planned to homeschool his son. I thought, wow! What a catch! I'm a single mom, he's a single dad, we can create a family together and give both our children the stability they were lacking.
Truly, his ex is an N as well, so due to my own personal experiences with her it was very easy to believe everything he said about her and to feel sorry for him and his son over all they had been through. I thought he really understood where I was coming from in the past with my own unhealthy relationships because he had also experienced this. He claimed to be ready to experience a real relationship.
When we met, he did not have a job, but did have a decent amount of property his uncle gave him. Several acres of land and 3 houses. He had lived in one of the houses (the largest) with his ex, and after 6 months of dating, we decided to move in together in the medium sized house. I had a great paying job at the time and wasn't concerned about his situation. He was "Mr mom."
Things went great! Lots of fun family activities, lots of time spent together as a family, etc. We rarely argued. He was just so laid back. We decided to get married and we did, about a year after we first met.
That's when everything changed. I had a great job but I was gone every weekend. The first weekend I went back to work after our wedding, he spent the whole time watching underage porn. I found out when I returned home and saw the searches in the google bar.
At first he denied it, then said he liked the sounds. He acted ashamed and embarrassed and seemed genuinely apologetic. We were just starting to deal with this issue when we were visited by social services. His ex refused to return his son after her overnight visit with him and accused all of us, including my then 6 year old daughter of sexually abusing her son (my step son). Of course, we had done did nothing of the sort! The whole investigation was so traumatic for all of us that the underage porn issue was put on the back burner as we joined together as a family to fight these insane allegations.
Thankfully, the investigation was found to be unwarranted, but the underage porn and the abuse accusations all happened during the first month of marriage! That was just the beginning of my slow descent into entrapment and HELL!
Custody battles, lies, saying one thing and then doing another. Trying to keep it all together under the pressures of court etc.
Fast forward to 5 years later when my life had become a walking dead dream. Suffice it to say that N is a chameleon. He changes his total persona. He changes whole lifestyles and belief systems. He's from the midwest. I live in the south. I swear he picked up on the accent here and talked just like a native "hick". Hard to explain, but he did not use his real voice. Like an actor.
Before he moved here courtesy of his uncle, he lived in a trailer in the midwest, and was a "gangster". He has gang tattoos that are just bizarre. He comes across as a local here, but he used to talk like the ghetto/gangsters with all the slang and accent and everything!! He has done it for me and shown me how he used to talk. For all his ex's craziness and N ways, she too sees this aspect of things. She calls him a chameleon. He is an actor playing different roles.
When I met him, he was getting interested in the history of the local area. He has always been into the Civil War, and where I live is full of that kind of thing. So I truly helped him shape his knowledge of history into a job as a paid civil war demonstrator. I designed a website, incorporated the business legally, created business cards, took pictures, etc. In looking for places for him to actually do his demonstrations, we stumbled across a local museum that had lost its founder and director. N seemed perfect for the job. Before I helped him get this going, his previous jobs had included bartender in a strip club, drug dealer, and general user of others. Etc.
My hard work on his behalf set the stage and created the conditions for him to become the director of a museum!! I even paid for him to work the first 6 months there on a trial basis so he could prove himself to them. Boy did we both bust our butts during those days!
He does have the gift of gab and he does know his history. He is very charming and knowledgeable. He became the public face of the museum while I did all the behind the scenes publicity and support. I designed ads, built another awesome website, designed flyers, wrote press releases, came up with programs, volunteered, cleaned, painted, etc etc and now after 4 years of "his" leadership the museum is doing pretty well, gaining interest and recognition etc.
The museum is a whole other issue. The ego trip he got! The ways he used his position there to make us all- the whole family- work for him. It was all about him and building his ego as "Director". He also used his position to act in very inappropriate ways with other women. Very crazy how the whole family built the platform that he climbed up on to escape, use, and belittle us from.
Its been a year now since I moved out. Things finally got so bad I couldn't take any more. When I made my decision, it was surprisingly easy and everything fell into place for me in a way that was almost miraculous!! I didn't miss the "romance," I missed the friendship I thought we shared. We always had great conversations.
When I first moved out, I was still in constant contact with him. We talked every day. I kept him updated on how things were going for me, and he did the same. I thought we may be able to come to a workable solution together. Then he humiliated me in public in a particularly nasty way. So I dropped him cold turkey.
Once he was no longer a daily part of my life, I began to see him even more clearly than I had! I started writing a totally new set of songs. All about him and who he really is! My favorite (and a crowd pleaser) is Liar. Every time I sing it, I feel vindicated. Ha!!
I was getting out, playing open mics and doing my own thing. I didn't miss him at all because I felt so blessed by all the positive and amazing things happening in my life without him. It was like I was finally free! Like the Universe was rewarding me for finally standing up for myself! It was awesome!!
Then we had to deal with the divorce and began talking again. And oh, how he convinced me that he had seen the error of his ways!! He did not appreciate me enough before, but he does now. Blah blah blah.
And I wanted my family back and missed the good times we all shared together. When the family was together as a whole, we never had issues. Everything was hidden from the children, from Everyone! I kept huge secrets for him because he lied to everyone! Still, the family.... that's what I missed most.
About 2 months into talking about reconciling, he lied to me about his ex, the one who fought him in court for 5 years and caused such serious trauma to the family. He had actually been having late night phone chats with her!!! Woah! And he lied?!? Again?!?
It was actually the first time my daughter and I had been back to our former home since I left about 6 months before. It was kind of a big deal that we had come over. The first time in almost 6 months we had been together as a family! And while we were there, his ex called (which she does from time to time to talk to her son-not unusual, nothing to lie about!) and he turned white and began shaking. He said it was his buddy and called him up and I could hear him saying no! Ha! So he finally told me it was his ex. They had become friends again and had been talking. They were both going through a divorce and were just "helping" each other etc.
Wow! After the years of hell she put our family through? All the accusations and allegations against us! How could he even be friends with his ex after what she put her own son through?! His son?!? I truly believe I am the only parent to actually put the boy first!
I was so shocked that I just walked out with my daughter very calmly and did not talk to him again at ALL for about 3 months. Of course, now I understand how he could befriend her again- and also why she would talk to him. She's his old supply! Duh!
As I said, I had already begun to live again before that. I was playing music out and getting my feelings out in music. These new songs have been extremely cathartic for me and have been amazingly well received. Unfortunately, lots of women are able to relate!
I haven't really been pining away, because my life has been so full of my daughter and friends and work and writing, playing, and performing music!
Our divorce has not gone through because he didn't ever file the papers as he claimed! I broke the no contact to discuss this with him and try to figure it out. At the time I believed him when he said he had filed the papers because he complained about paying the filing fee.
Thus began my most recent and FINAL attempt at reconciling with the N. This time he took a totally new approach, coming "clean" on things at least to a certain extent.
He admitted/acknowledged to me that he "understood" the damage done by his behavior. We discussed the other women, the enforced isolation he put me through so he could live as he wanted, the times I sat home with the kids so he could go out and flirt, the times he asked for my help with his job then took credit (and the praise) for my hard work, the emotional abuse, the sexual abuse, the complete lack of encouragement with my music, the total devaluing of me as a woman and a human being with thoughts and feeling of my own.
We talked about how he had changed- how upset his son was when I left with my daughter so abruptly. He swore he would never hurt his son like that, or me, or my daughter. He swore he had seen the error of his ways. He admitted he was a pathological lair and that he needed help. He even paid for counseling to help him stop lying.
I was travelling a lot for my job and we had phone sex a few times. He made such a big deal of it- saying how special it was because he had never done that before. He said at our age, to have a "first time" together was precious.
He gave me access to his facebook, his email, his everything... What he forgot to do was erase his sent mail, and that's when I realized that he was lying to me and playing me again!
He had been talking to an old friend from middle school, and I had encouraged this. The emails she sent him were mild and friendly, but not anything to worry about- till I found the messages he didn't delete. He admitted that since our previous attempt at reconciling he had had phone sex with her several times, and that she was actually the first person he had ever done that with, and not me as he had claimed and made such a big deal about!!
This all came to a head on my birthday. It was just more of the same shit as before and I knew then I was done.
Yet even while telling me these "truths" he still claimed he loved me.
During one of those truthtelling sessiond, I asked him to think of an example from our whole relationship where he actively encouraged or supported my interests, feelings or concerns. Just one example- and Mr. Lie for Every Occasion can't even make anything up! But even though he admits that he didn't actually show me he loved me in any way shape or form, he says its not how it appears and that he actually did love me. He says it doesn't matter what he actually did because his intentions were good.
It was always and only ever about him.
I was trapped in a sexless marriage where I was so totally and thoroughly controlled that I did not even realize how bad it was until I left him. He never yelled at me. There was no outward rage- it was all so very subtle that I truly believed the whole time that the problem was ME!!! If only I wouldn't get so angry when he lied to me he wouldn't have to lie to me for fear of my reactions. If only I was more attentive to his needs he wouldn't feel the need to keep all those other women on a string. If only I showed him more love, more appreciation, more of what I thought was his "true self" he would finally love himself enough to truly love me.
I wanted to fix him and heal him. He is very angry at women. Very angry at himself. I thought I could love him enough that he would be healed.
He just took and took and took from me until I became a shell of my former self. I admit I gave it willingly. I thought it would eventually pay off.
He is a narcissist. I truly believe he lacks any genuine sense of empathy.
He is still incapable of realizing that he emotionally abused me throughout our marriage. He denied me sex as punishment if I got upset that he lied to me!! He would put my guitar up while I was playing music even if I just left it for a second, essentially denying me the right to self expression.
So what I did was- I baked bread, I tended the gardens, I looked after the children! I was doing everything I could possibly do to help create and maintain His desired image of being a green lifestyle type new age gentleman farmer / successful director of a museum.
When I first met him, on our very first date, I played my guitar and sang for him. Music has always been such a huge part of my life and I wanted to share it with him. Over time in so many subtle ways he killed any desire for me to even play any music. For a musician, that is almost as frustrating as being denied sex- which I was also denied.
The song I wrote, "Liar" I've played it for him. He actually came to a few of my shows and sung along!! To me, that's insane. I have asked him how he can stand to hear these songs. He said he just wanted to finally show some "support" for my music career. It is just ridiculous though, because the whole thing is based on me telling it like it really was with him- and he is the villian of the story!!
That's how far he was willing to go to get me back as his supply! Y'all would have to hear the songs to understand how bizarre it was that he liked them! I guess he liked that they were all about him.
I understand why he is that way because of his genetics, because of his childhood, his bipolar borderline drug abusing mother etc. He understands it too. But knowing why does nothing to change the problem. It becomes the excuse, the reason for the behavior when the behavior itself is anything but reasonable.
I am codependent.
I am realizing that I have always been codependent. I need to truly examine and heal myself.
He is not the only one to blame! I helped him create his newest persona! I created the means for him to entrap me! I take my own responsibility for my role. I enabled All of this!
I can see my own actions and how they contributed to the whole situation. Still, I know I can help it! I can choose another way to live, set real boundaries for myself, and take back the control over my own life. On the other hand, I do not think he can help it and I do not think he can change. It will always be another mask and then another and then another.
I am going into the studio next week to record an album. Although the songs are all about him, they are my vindication. He told me his story for 5 years. Now it's my turn!
Thanks for letting me get this out. Its just the tip of the iceberg- so much more to it, but already I feel better. The support on this forum is incredible. Thanks for listening.