Marlinmom's story

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#1 Nov 3 - 7PM
Marlinmom's picture

Marlinmom's story

25 years of marriage, and now it's crashed. and suddenly i am like the woman who writes that I am less lonely in my house when he is not here than when he is. He has been riding sidesaddle on my energy and empathy forever. He is mister nice guy, the friendliest, best-tempered guy at any party. But it is all an act. He doesn't care about anyone he meets other than to check the box of impressing them with how "nice" he is and figuring out what he may be able to use them for in the future. I made the friends, I kept the friends, I worried about the friends, I nagged him to keep contact with his family, I worried about the kids, I did the work of life, while he moved rigidly through his to-do list, pined after various trophies, tended his various OCD targets like the hedges or how clean his car is, relentlessly and patiently pursued what he wanted, resented anyone who did not show sufficient deference to his secret mega-ego, and checked boxes to soothe his anxieties.

Whenever I needed him

when I had morning sickness
when I was stressed about having a new baby
when my mother was dying
anytime I was sick or hurting
when I had a work setback

He would go into Narc-o-lepsy . . . fixate on trivial chores, pout, make us both a drink, do anything but actually ask me what I needed or give any sign that he cared. This is a man who once took me out for my birthday and told me he didn't have time to buy me a present, but in the next breath showed me the watch he had bought himself that day because he didn't like the way his old one looked with his sport coat.

He would go on work trips and I would talk to him on the phone and tell him I missed him and couldn't wait to see him. He would pull into the driveway and go out front and pick up leaves for fifteen minutes before he came in to say hello to me and the kids. He'd say it was just 'transition' time, but I now see that it was about control. I'll deal with you when I'm good and ready and I don't care about your feelings or that you even think I'm glad to be home. You are below me. My needs are the important ones. You can wait for me; you're lucky to have me at all.

I ripped his mask off when I discovered the affair he was having whose clues he wrote off to being preoccupied with turning 50 and having cancer, and to me "reading things into" his mean behavior and manipulative withholding of himself when we would go do fun things or go on vacation. In his fear, he turned on the kids before they could turn on him. From that moment on, I see the devil's eyes when I talk to him. He usually won't meet my eyes. He has rejected every person we knew together; he has hurt our kids deeply by being unable to explain his behavior; he pretends everything is simply about "I need to figure out what I -- of course I I I I I I I -- want". It's just irrational and infantile, as if you can toss a grenade into a home then stand out front and say, "Gee, it's kind of mess in there. Do i really want that?"

The one thing I experienced, though, that I don't see too much of here, is a cyclicality in the behavior. He was not impossible to live with most of the time; in fact, he was really fun a lot of the time especially when we did things in groups. he actually bragged about me in public, as opposed to putting me down or ignoring me. he did not rage openly or directly at me; he never directly put me down or criticized me. I know now that he seethed in silence, but we actually had a lot of generally good years, or years where I was able to create my own happiness.

However, .he had two cycles where he tipped into an out of control state where suddenly nobody mattered, he said he had screwed everything up so bad it was unfixable, he needed to go off and just be bad like he had wanted to be his whole life but has been fighting. I suspect he is a combo narcissist (usually high functioning) and bipolar disorder. When the bipolar kicks in he can't compensate anymore and really acts out dramatically. the first time I forgave him and worked on it with him for years, thought we'd conquered it. This time, he's worn me out and I see him as a lost cause. The problems and behavior are too deeply rooted. I need to be happy again and treated with the respect that everybody BUT my husband gave me. He really did break us this time.

Nov 10 - 2PM
Lisa87's picture

Welcome Marlinmom

You are in the right place, so sorry you endured so many years with this man. I just want to say that your story is very similar to my ExN. Although I was not married to him,he was married for 26 years to a smart beautiful woman and had 3 children until she had enough and dumped him. He is smart, successful, generous, and his ammo is the Mr. Nice guy persona. Everyone needs to like him! He was so conditioned to be a nice guy that's what I thought he was. The other side appeared over time and the mask came off and that was the beginning of the end. These women on here have been through it all and have been such a huge part of healing. hugs, lisa
Nov 11 - 4AM (Reply to #10)
Marlinmom's picture

the mask

That phrase "the mask comes off" is really loaded for all of us, isn't it? The change in my husband's face when his cheating and lying was exposed and he couldn't deny it anymore is actually something I will never forget. It was like a Hollywood special effect.
Nov 12 - 11AM (Reply to #11)
gingercat's picture

So much of what you wrote

So much of what you wrote about is sooo true with this type of personality disorder. It sounds like he was fairly high functioning to the outside world but may have attachment disorder issues that will probably worsen as he gets older. My N was exactly like your description about raking the leaves before coming in, etc., only he was way too entitled to do menial labor. He would stand outside and practice- swing his golf club until it was almost dark and then finally grace us with his presence. It was disgusting. When I was carrying in all the groceries and he almost hit me in the head with a driver I finally made the decision to get the heck out. It has been a year and a half and he has destroyed me financially but the emotional destruction was harder to bear. I have learned so much from this forum and encourage you to keep reading. Good luck!
Nov 12 - 11AM (Reply to #12)
gingercat's picture

oops, hit send before I had

oops, hit send before I had written this additional insight. You described the cyclical nature of their behavior. My husband had amazing repeat cycles to his deviant behavior and now that I am away from his daily brainwash of cognitive dissonance I can see them very clearly. I actually do not think they are bi-polar as I have known people with that disability and it is very different. It can seem like bi-polar because they are Jekyl and Hyde but it is far more manipulative and insidious. They are opportunistic feeders who have learned to use everything to their advantage.....You, your kids, your parents, your friends, your pets, their illnesses, your illnesses, etc., etc. It is probably how they learned to survive when they were abandoned. My husband had a severely dysfunctional mother and his dad dropped dead when he was 15. He has zero ego underneath a huge pretend personality and basically sucks anyone dry who gets near him. I have good days and bad in trying to recover and seem particularly vulnerable to others with N personalities coming after me. Hopefully I have learned something about how to put up boundaries around these hurtful people and you will too.
Nov 12 - 1PM (Reply to #13)
Marlinmom's picture

Thanks Ginger

His taking advantage of friends and family is one of the things that makes me the most angry. I feel like I let a traitor in the back door and he robbed us all blind. You're probably right about the deviant cycles, too. thanks for the support.
Nov 8 - 1PM
Goldie's picture

Welcome Marlin Mom

Sounds like you have gone the full gamet with this phoney. No one knows the truth like someone who has lived with it for years. We have all different senario's on here. Long and short term marriages, short term dating, long and short relationships, affairs, you name it, we have it on here. The trouble with the one's who have only been in it for few years or less. They often STILL think that the guy is "nice" deep down inside and of course that they will CHANGE. As you have so perfectly pointed out: they are NOT really nice and they don't change. My guess is he is what you would call a high functioning narc, think politicians, the clergy, actors, high level busniness men. He does not sound bipolar to me. That does not come on only twice in 25 years, it is something which they live with daily. A high functioning narc IS able to maintain their phoney existance much better than a poor or not too bright narc. Plus many of the narcs on here also suffer from addiction issue's which add more anger and abuse to the mix. Your type of narc is more passive aggressive. They are basically sneaky bastards. Look at how Arnold was able to hide his affair with the maid from Maria for years. They are bright enough to keep their secret world from you a secret for much longer than a low functioning narc. He eventually gets all jammed up from living in dualism and flips out and has a melt down and you are expected to pick up the pieces while the bastard goes and finds himself. My son's father was this type of narc. He looked perfect, talked the talk, walked the walk, and as you describe he had feelings for no one but himself, it was all an act and every so often he too, would flip out and get all depressed and say he could not take it and would go off and play the bad boy. This is what he was doing some of, all along and trying to play the game and live in two worlds, eventually becomes exhausting even for the best of the narcs. Enough is enough. You deserve so much better than this and they don't change and often the longer you are away from them the more you learn about what they were really up to all of these years. They are the great pretenders. The great holders of deep dark secrets. He'll come crying back if he is unable to secure a new Mommy, homemaker, and in these times that is not an easy role for an older man to find a willing participant to fill. Unless of course he is stinking filthy rich and in that case he will most likely attract the gold diggers and narcs have no interest in that for any length of time. Beware of his coming back AGAIN begging you to take him back. You deserve to enjoy the rest of your life in peace. I loved what you said about the house feeling less lonely when he is gone than when he is there. That is exactly what I came to find. After the stage of crying, begging, feeling bad, when I heard that door shut in the morning, I began to let out a big sigh of relief that he was gone for 10 hours. Whew, now I can relax and breath for awhile. Thank you so much for sharing your story, you have come to the right place and your honesty and experience will help many on here and hopefully we can support you in keeping NC from this PD. God bless, Goldie
Nov 8 - 1PM
Sparrow's picture

First, let me say "welcome"

First, let me say "welcome" to the forum, second, let me say I am sorry you are here, third, let me say I am glad you found this site. With that said......... I would like to assure you that there are MANY members on here that have been in long term relationships, many......I am not sure what missym is relating this to. Maybe she is not aware herself, how many there are. I have spoken on threads and in private message to them, because I, was in a long term marriage as well. 15 years together, 14 of them married. There are some differences between those who were in LT relationships and those that were not, BUT the time spent with the disordered has no relevance on the pain that one suffers. The pain is IDENTICAL to each and every one of us, time has no bearing when you actually start peeling back the layers of the "onion" the result/harm/pain is all the same. So, we who were in the LT relationship, when coming here to heal.........are no different than anyone else here. For example, we have broken marriages, long-term and short-term, live in relationships, again, longa nd short term, we have victims who are women, men, and also young girls. We have gay relationships, work relationships, Mother-daughter relationships, and the OW or OM relationships. All being long term or short term, makes no difference.......they are ALL painful, destructive, addictive, and hard to get over. I guess what I am trying to say is, for example, no matter whether you have been a heroin addict for a year or for 10 years, both need to go through the process of getting off the drug, becoming non-dependant, and worst of all, going through the with drawal and healing.......which is the same road for both. So time spent, long or short, is irrelevant. Your story is very similar to mine. I read it and it is like I am reading my own story, as Missym said. And I understand what she is trying to say. But it makes no different how much time you spent in your relationship with the narc, WHAT DOES MATTER, is how much time you spend on your journey to healing. Good luck, feel free to reach out any time you need. No matter who you find on this board, no matter how long they have been here, or what their story is, you will find solace, because we are all "one" when it comes to the reason we are here. Good luck!
Nov 7 - 8PM
missym's picture

He sounds alot like my STBX

I think this site does not have alot of folks who have been with a narc in a long term marriage or relationship such as your 25 year marriage. I was married for 16 years and together 18, and it is hard to relay the uniquely difficult, long term abuse that comes from a seething, ressentful, selfish person like we were married to. I heard alot of the same things in your story as my own and it is so validating to know that we were not crazy all those years with a person who was not quite right with so many things. Many of the items you listed were things mine did too. The 'transitional' issues coming home, the constancy of his own schedule/OCD stuff/his/his/his own things that mattered more than me/us. His obsession with his things and all things that he wanted more than giving to me or to others. Never could he nurture me, take care of me when I needed him or was sad/ill/upset...on and on. And finally, my ex also had a father who abandoned him and I believe that is actually the root of his problems as well as his bitter mother who could never be happy or nurture him. You sound like you have it together and I wish you the best. They are really crazy and will use anybody to get what they really want - admiration and attn. I'm done. And more and more days, happily so, or at least at peace with it finally. Missy
Nov 8 - 12PM (Reply to #6)
Hunter's picture

Missy & marlin

Being with an NDP 1 yr or 25 yrs doesn't change much.hes still has NPD.. I'm not sure the depth of what you are reading but many members have been married or in long term relationships to their partner,, I suggest reading and gathering informantion as new comers. Hunter
Nov 8 - 12PM (Reply to #5)
Marlinmom's picture

So done with the crazy-making

Missy, This is a relief to read this, because I never met anyone all these years who I thought could relate to what I was experiencing. I always had friends telling me how lucky I was that my husband was so neat, and liked to fix things, and liked to shop for me, and was so "nice" and cheerful. He was all those things a lot of the time, and not horrible to live with day to day. Strangely, our best years were always when things were not going particularly well for him at work. I think he liked having an ally when he came home to complain to and get reinforcement about the incompetent managers and people around him. I look back and feel like he harbored Jekyll & Hyde, and the bad guy was in charge of his emotional life. I think he was smart enough and perceptive enough to see genuinely good people and how they behaved, and he trained himself to try to copy that behavior or at least surf along with it. I even think he wanted to be that good person, too. But he lacks the emotional equipment to keep that up. his mother abandoned him (and three younger sibs) at age 9 and left him with an alcoholic father. emotionally, he is stuck at age 9. He just does not possess empathy, even for his children. He does love them, but he doesn't see them as separate from himself and they might as well disappear when he is not with them. he doesn't worry about them or look for ways to make them happy or help them in life, he just checks the boxes on the dad list. We were once supposed to go on a helicopter ride in Alaska that got cancelled for bad weather, and another tour operator offered to take us instead. I was sort of on the fence for a minute (the other tour was going to a different place that they said had better weather), but he hates heights and he got scared, like a little kid, and said "You guys go ahead and go but I am not going up there." I remember feeling a very deep sense of despair that day. If I thought a situation was actually dangerous I would never let my children do it. I could see that that notion absolutely did not occur to him. It was all about him; he didn't give a fig about me or the kids and he would not worry about us if we went without him. TMI, but thanks for writing what you did. so sad, no?
Nov 4 - 5AM
Tigerlily's picture

Welcome to the forum, Marlinmom!

Glad you`re here, just sorry for the reason. You seem to have a lot figured out already. What are you going to DO? Are you still living together? Recommendations here are to read up on narcissism as much as we can. It`s very validating and helps us see more clearly through the narcissistic fog! You will find strength and support here, so keep posting. Tigerlily
Nov 4 - 10AM (Reply to #2)
Marlinmom's picture


Kicked him out a month ago. Trying to determine when to file for D so as to land kids and me in best position financially. Trying to figure out NC in the context of co-parenting. That's a really hard thing I find. After seeing the result of his abandonment, where his father did nothing to make sure mother could contact him and three siblings after she left, I worry about managing my kids' ongoing access to him in the healthiest way.
Nov 4 - 2PM (Reply to #3)
Tigerlily's picture

Yes. it`s very difficult when you have kids.

Depending on the age of the children, it may be an option either to have them go to see him on their own, or have someone else take them or bring them. Narcs. rarely have scruples about using the children to fight out their unwon battles. But it seems you have your head screwed on right with regard to doing what is healthiest for all of you. May be an idea to go through every possible scenario and decide in advance what you are prepared to tolerate, and what not. Also ways of protecting (a) yourself and (b) your kids from emotional blackmail. But I`m sure you`ve thought of all that already, you seem pretty practical! Take care. Tigerlily