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- My Story
Recently I have come to the realization that my 15 year marriage (20 years together) is close to coming to an end due to emotional abandonment and a lack of intimacy. In our years together my wife never said she loved me first, never initiated a demonstration of affection, walked out of couple's counseling after one session only never to go back to any counseling separate or together. She has finally communicated with me that needs space to figure things out because she doesn't like her life/job/and needs to find out what she wants. To make things worse, I recently came across one of her "girlfriends" sitting in my wife's lap late at night, poolside with a male friend sitting by. More affection shown to her friend, than I've received in years.
I've tried over the years, never cheated, was not perfect but always reached out only to be told it was never the right time to talk.
I have three beautiful children who will ultimately need me more than ever, and I will need them just the same. They are my primary focus now.
Fast forward to 2017. Recently, a trained mental health expert intimated to me off the record that she exhibits several of the traits associated with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
Based on my research I have identified the following traits in her treatment of me and actions towards our children and interactions with others:
Abusive Cycle - This is the name for the ongoing rotation between destructive and constructive behavior which is typical of many dysfunctional relationships and families.
Alienation - The act of cutting off or interfering with an individual's relationships with others.
"Always" and "Never" Statements - "Always" and "Never" Statements are declarations containing the words "always" or "never". They are commonly used but rarely true.
Anger - People who suffer from personality disorders often feel a sense of unresolved anger and a heightened or exaggerated perception that they have been wronged, invalidated, neglected or abused.
Baiting - A provocative act used to solicit an angry, aggressive or emotional response from another individual.
Belittling, Condescending and Patronizing - This kind of speech is a passive-aggressive approach to giving someone a verbal put-down while maintaining a facade of reasonableness or friendliness.
Blaming - The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.
Bullying - Any systematic action of hurting a person from a position of relative physical, social, economic or emotional strength.
Cheating - Sharing a romantic or intimate relationship with somebody when you are already committed to a monogamous relationship with someone else.
Chronic Broken Promises - Repeatedly making and then breaking commitments and promises is a common trait among people who suffer from personality disorders.
Denial - Believing or imagining that some painful or traumatic circumstance, event or memory does not exist or did not happen.
Emotional Abuse - Any pattern of behavior directed at one individual by another which promotes in them a destructive sense of Fear, Obligation or Guilt (FOG).
Emotional Blackmail - A system of threats and punishments used in an attempt to control someone’s behaviors.
False Accusations - Patterns of unwarranted or exaggerated criticism directed towards someone else.
Favoritism and Scapegoating - Systematically giving a dysfunctional amount of preferential positive or negative treatment to one individual among a family group of peers.
Gaslighting - The practice of brainwashing or convincing a mentally healthy individual that they are going insane or that their understanding of reality is mistaken or false. The term “Gaslighting” is based on the 1944 MGM movie “Gaslight”.
Grooming - Grooming is the predatory act of maneuvering another individual into a position that makes them more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behavior.
Imposed Isolation - When abuse results in a person becoming isolated from their support network, including friends and family.
Invalidation - The creation or promotion of an environment which encourages an individual to believe that their thoughts, beliefs, values or physical presence are inferior, flawed, problematic or worthless.
Lack of Conscience - Individuals who suffer from Personality Disorders are often preoccupied with their own agendas, sometimes to the exclusion of the needs and concerns of others. This is sometimes interpreted by others as a lack of moral conscience.
Manipulation - The practice of steering an individual into a desired behavior for the purpose of achieving a hidden personal goal.
Masking - Covering up one's own natural outward appearance, mannerisms and speech in dramatic and inconsistent ways depending on the situation.
Narcissism - A set of behaviors characterized by a pattern of grandiosity, self-centered focus, need for admiration, self-serving attitude and a lack of empathy or consideration for others.
Neglect - A passive form of abuse in which the physical or emotional needs of a dependent are disregarded or ignored by the person responsible for them.
"Not My Fault" Syndrome - The practice of avoiding personal responsibility for one's own words and actions.
No-Win Scenarios - When you are manipulated into choosing between two bad options
Parental Alienation Syndrome - When a separated parent convinces their child that the other parent is bad, evil or worthless.
Pathological Lying - Persistent deception by an individual to serve their own interests and needs with little or no regard to the needs and concerns of others. A pathological liar is a person who habitually lies to serve their own needs.
Ranking and Comparing - Drawing unnecessary and inappropriate comparisons between individuals or groups.
Raging, Violence and Impulsive Aggression - Explosive verbal, physical or emotional elevations of a dispute. Rages threaten the security or safety of another individual and violate their personal boundaries.
Scapegoating - Singling out one child, employee or member of a group of peers for unmerited negative treatment or blame.
Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia - The use of memory, or a lack of memory, which is selective to the point of reinforcing a bias, belief or desired outcome.
Self-Aggrandizement - A pattern of pompous behavior, boasting, narcissism or competitiveness designed to create an appearance of superiority.
Sense of Entitlement - An unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others.
Shaming - The difference between blaming and shaming is that in blaming someone tells you that you did something bad, in shaming someone tells you that you are something bad.
Targeted Humor, Mocking and Sarcasm - Any sustained pattern of joking, sarcasm or mockery which is designed to reduce another individual’s reputation in their own eyes or in the eyes of others.
Testing - Repeatedly forcing another individual to demonstrate or prove their love or commitment to a relationship.
Thought Policing - Any process of trying to question, control, or unduly influence another person's thoughts or feelings.
Threats - Inappropriate, intentional warnings of destructive actions or consequences.
Triangulation - Gaining an advantage over perceived rivals by manipulating them into conflicts with each other.
I have tried to extend a willingness to work though this, but she is not focused on us right now. The good news is, she has sought counseling for herself. Where this leads to, no one knows. I have found a local retreat which I would like to attend, not sure if she would even be willing......
I've had some revealing and validating interactions with her own mother and through someone who spoke to her sister. Her mother told me "I am sorry I raised her to be so cold", her sister told my neighbor "that she is a lot like our mother". At the end of the day this does not help me. But it does somewhat explain a lot. Things I already knew in my heart.
The kids are #1 to me . I'm focusing on my therapy, kids and keeping my composure which is the most difficult part. It doesn't take much for me to cry these days.
My kids 5 (boy), 10 (girl) and 12 (girl) I've tried not to talk to them about this, but it's difficult for them to not see how hurt and sad that I am. My co-workers and boss know something is going on.
I asked my wife if she would be willing to go to a "couple's retreat" in the spring and her response was: and "I'm doing my own therapy right now" / I just don't want to do it, I'm figuring out myself at the moment". I guess I'm failing miserably understanding that these things are mutually exclusive.
It's like a nightmare where you are screaming for help and no one can hear you!