I have been discussing my situation on another thread but my husband and I are headed to divorce. I am talking to my priest. Right now I am going through a great sense of pain and loss. I love him but I know there is nothing spiritual about our marriage.
Okay, the question you really have to ask:
Do you love HIM? Or the idea of him? or the idea of who you THOUGHT he was? Or the idea of who you WISH he was? Or the idea of what you are sure he COULD BE if he only cared enough to try?
In essence, do you really love him at all, or a fantasy?
The thing about divorce… if someone is a jerk during the marriage, add lawyers, thousands of dollars of hard-earned money, subtract half your possessions, stir. By the time it’s over, if the lawyer he hired is a jerk too, you will loathe them all. Jerk during marriage usually = bigger jerk during divorce.
Yes, you are going through a great period of pain and loss. I call divorce the widowhood of the damned. All the pain and loss of losing a spouse to death, but even your memories are taken away. You lose your future and your past. In a sense, it’s worse. Was that guy even the guy you thought you married? Was it ALL a farce? You can’t keep his picture around. No one wants to talk about him. People look at YOU funny like somehow it was your fault you’re divorced. You don’t get the same support and love from the community a widow does. And you lose some friends you had in common. And the couples you hung out with now avoid you. The wives don’t want you around THEIR husbands. Go figure. Like you want another man who couldn’t keep his vows?
You’re mourning the death of your hopes, your dreams and your love.
My advice is to mourn it like a death. There’s no way around it. And be prepared for him not seeming to be bothered at all. It’s maddening when the other person acts relieved. Happy. Free. And you wonder if you were the only one who cared.
There is no way someone telling you they don’t want you anymore can be unpainful.
It’s humiliating what you are going through. I’m sorry. I wish you strength and remember that God does love you.
I’ve been where you are at. It is hard–it’s a feeling like you just swallowed a bowling ball. It’s like someone came along and ripped out half of your heart, and the tender, raw edges are exposed to all, so you feel even the slightest ache like a sledgehammer to the chest. If someone had pulled out your entire heart, it would have felt better, because then you would feel nothing. Oh yeah, I know that feeling. It’s like he died, but he took your future away–the idea of kids, of your first home, of memories, of growing old together…all gone.
I wish I could just hug you, because seeing you write, those old feelings come back. But believe me, it’s not all over. You will live on, and one day, your life will be better than you could possibly imagine. Please, give all of your pain to the Lord. Unite it to Christ’s sufferings. Right now, He is putting His arm around you and saying “I know, My child. I’m here.” Pray always, as if your life depends on it. You will emerge from this with a life full of joy.
Now, I don’t intend to wax poetic completely here. Practically speaking, you have some work to do. You need to stand up, brush yourself off, and under NO circumstances, let that man see you cry–do NOT beg, do NOT weep. You can cry all you need to God, but don’t let your husband see you in distress. You have to face all of this with dignity and bravery. I know it sounds Spartan, but he will never respect you and will run roughshod on you in court if you let him see the pain he has put you through. Do not assume that he has a conscience, or that he cares about you. Oh yes, pray like crazy for him, and cry on your friends’ and God’s shoulders. But you need to stand straight when facing him–be kind, but be strong. The attitude has to be “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” There are many reasons for this: 1) if there is any chance of him returning, this will rewrite the relationship so that he treats you with respect. 2.) it will help you get through it. 3.) when you are on your own, once and for all, you will find that the dignity you started carrying yourself with will change your life for the better. Just wait, you’ll see.
I’m going to give you a hug now…and my prayers are with you.
Thank you so much you two. The feelings were very eloquently put. I have realized that my hubby is not the person I married- he is suffering from straight psychosis and pulled the wool over all our eyes including his own. It is sad but i do pray for him and I will be there for him as a friend. Luckily - silver lining- is that an annullment should be simple.
Yes, sometimes people go absolutely insane–and I mean this in the most clinical sense possible. Sometimes it’s actually demonic. And sometimes, they just close their eyes and ears and just don’t listen any more to the voice of wisdom. They are drowning in selfishness. He has to live the life he needs to, but so do you. No, don’t be his friend right now. It sounds to me that he would use the opportunity to manipulate you. When he calls up, you have to be a Spartan woman–we could stand to learn a lot from them. Cut your discussions with him short, keep things business-like. Which means you must be civil, but completely unemotional with him. Do not get drawn into any arguments. If he starts, you say "Well, we will have to discuss that at a later date. I’m busy right now, so I need to go. Have a nice day."
If he is actually mentally ill, he will be looking for an enabler. Don’t let yourself become one. You have more important things to do. You are Joan of Arc, remember?
The reason I’m so passionate about this is I’ve been there, and if I knew then what I know now, I would have handled it a lot better. Oh well, live and learn. Pray for him, he needs it. But he also needs to be treated like an adult. He’s made this decision, he can live with it. I will pray for you, and I’ll put a prayer request here at the forums.
(Divorce totally sucks. It’s nothing short of treason.)
Big hugs for you during this time of trial. Don’t be stranger. Let us know how you are doing. I will keep track of this discussion if you need to vent, or anything.
Lumenorientale is onto something. If your husband is a narcissist, he will THRIVE on making you cry. It gives him a high. Seeing pain and anguish on your face is his narcotic. Don’t give him that.
You know I don’t know how old you two are but you two are wise beyond your years. Thank you and thank God for your wisdom, shoulders and prayers. May God be with you in your journeys as well and may Joan intercede for us all.
11 months ago a left a narcissistic borderline. Many of liberano’s old posts were very helpful to me in the process.
My mom was a hospice nurse for decades. One of the best things she told me is that divorce is like death (you know this already), and you should expect to be unable to function for about a month afterwards. This is going to vary, because you are leaving a miserable situation and you will be seeing more sunshine even though it’s still very hard. But do prepare your pantry and your bathtub and whatever else you need, for some seriously non-functional days. My divorce is supposed to be final next week. My life has improved immeasurably, but I still have those kind of days once a week or so.
Cut yourself some major slack, and then cut some more. Do whatever it takes to get through the day one step above sane. Takeout if you can afford it. At least paper plates if you can’t. Get help with housework if you need it. Get massages. Hot baths, long walks. Go to Mass and confession whenever you can, and get a spiritual director.
You are worth it. People won’t always understand, but you make sure you are taking care of yourself, because you are the apple of God’s eye.
I don’t think you should be there for him as a friend. He is not just a mentally ill man, he was physically violent toward you and later blamed you for his actions. I would be concerned that he might use your kindness to deliberately cause you pain, to continue to threaten you in some way.
A clean break would be best, and if he doesn’t honor that a restraining order.
I agree. If you could be his friend, you wouldn’t need to divorce him, yk?
Don’t be there as his friend.
A friend wouldn’t treat you that way to begin with.
A statement like that tells me you’re still telling yourself those horrible little lies and making excuses for him… the little lies that keep YOU from healing. The “maybe someday” lies that give you false hope. The little lies that say “maybe he’ll see that I’m not so bad and will reward me with his love and attention again.”
And some people are just evil enough they know how to use these little false hopes against you to manipulate you and drive you mad.
Then they can point the finger at you and say “See! That’s why I left. She’s crazy!”
Don’t be his friend. Sit back and watch how few he really has now that he fired his best friend.
You may realize he didn’t really have real friends. Only people who were useful to him.
Go back to your real friends and family and be their friend. They probably miss you.
Good news everyone- and thank you for your prayers. A miracle has occurred. We both rescinded the restraining orders and talked to each other as well as to my parents. I discussed with him the definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and he was open to the fact that he may have delusions and he may have been very wrong. We are starting counseling on Friday. While he is not yet moving back in we have put our rings back on and will be attending mass together. This is a good start. He also will be making a public apology to me to his students (he teaches a hobby to adult students for a job) for things he said about me which is a major step in humility. I feel that these steps could have only been taken through God’s intervention and the power of The Holy Spirit.
I’m glad to hear your news! Please consider having a therapist/counselor of your own, completely apart from whomever you see with your dh. People with personality disorders are not considered to be good candidates for couples therapy, and I think you’ll notice quickly if that is the case here. I guess I’m just saying, please make sure that you have the support you need, without having it connected to dh.
Some personality types are very good at bamboozling therapists. NPDs are often very eager to go to therapy (to find someone to agree with them that YOU need help.) We went to many.
Evelyn’s advice is good. Guard your heart here. Good luck!
I did do my research on this and my psychiatrist recommended this therapist. We will be seeing her individually and together for both couples and our own issues. My psychiatrist has also made a phone call and shared his impressions (professional and personal since I work in the same with him) with her. I do have a leg up since we are in a small community and I am the medical person. This is a gift. While not completely confident this is why we are not living together yet and I am the one holding all of the money at this point. I don’t want to go the opposite way either and become TOO controlling either if he truly is repentent. He has also agreed that there is no excuse that I should have been having to go to mass on my own. He is headed to reconciliation on Saturday and then to mass. Thank you all again and I will stay in touch as I am sure I will need your strength and guidance through this.
THis is good news. I’m glad to hear that perhaps God is working on him. However, all that advice I gave you about facing this bravely, and demanding respect, that all still stands–or you will be back where you were a few days ago. This is not the same relationship you had with him, it must be a different relationship. So, if he starts playing any games, you have to basically act like you don’t have the time for that. Any wishy-washiness on his part must be met with a nonchalant “well, you need to make a choice, now don’t you?” Shrug and walk away. The door is not going to remain open to him forever. Maybe your forgiveness will always be there, maybe always a chance at reconciliation because of our Christian duty, but he doesn’t need to know that.
The good part is that this kind of tact is EXACTLY what a Narcissist personality needs in order to change. A person with NPD, or any personality disorder for that matter, has thinking errors, which warps their view of reality. So what they need is a huge, heaping helping of REALITY. A nice, big, warm steaming cup of TRUTH. And the truth is, he can’t treat you like this again. Never. Again.
I’m always on the side of reconciliation, so please know that I continue to pray for you both. Don’t neglect your prayer time either. You still have a rough road ahead. Be strong, trust God, trust Mary.
(BTW, I’m 33 years old, but I’ve been around the block a few times, and have experienced the destructiveness of those with personality disorders first hand.)
Thank you all and your advice is well taken - Please pray for our therapist tomorrow.
I’ve described it the same way, though not so eloquently. It IS very much like a death, only worse, because even your “good” memories are ripped away, as you realize it was a lie. You wonder whether he ever cared for you at all… in my case, I wondered if he was “using” again at the times where it seemed he was happier. It is awful to realize you never loved the man you actually had, only the “man of your dreams.”
I have a new life now, and that pain doesn’t haunt me so much anymore. But I still remember it vividly, and am sorry for anyone who has to experience it.
I read your update and again, want to warn you to be careful.