Breaking up with a narcissist
Find a Conversation
|Mon, 01-06-2014 - 4:45pm|
I met my husband 8 years ago in my late 20s. After our first meeting, I thought he was the most arrogant person I'd ever met, and didn't speak to him again for months. After avoiding him for about 6 months, I gave him another chance after running into him, and he seemed totally different. He was smart, funny, charming, handsome, and even warm. His good qualities were so numbered that whenever he slipped into arrogance/narcissism every so often, i'd just let it go because it seemed like such a minor thing.
Cut to 8 years later, and I still love him, but we've been arguing for 8 years about his obsessive need to be worshipped by women other than me, his constant ogling, his harem of female friends (all of whom he has had fleeting hookups with), his constant grouchiness, condescension, and dismissiveness of me and my needs. He has hit me several times and almost hit me many more times. Less so in the first 7 years, multiple times in 2013. It's been mostly hell, but with intervals of domestic bliss and lavish romantic vacations that made me feel like maybe it could work. During this time, my life as I knew it fell apart. Where I was always ambitious and accomplished, "the most likely to succeed," I suddenly started failing exams and couldn't hold down a job. To make up for these failures, I tried being the perfect wife, and learned to cook well, clean like a maid, etc. This seemed to only make him angrier because I "wasn't doing what he actually wanted me to." So I stopped with the cooking, and now I clean for my own needs only.
I have been filled with emotional turmoil for years-one minute things are great, the next they're not. During this time I had several family members and old friends die. I was unemployed for long periods, I also developed health issues that affected my fertility and sex drive. Years ago, I had an operation to help with fertility. It was extensive and painful. His behavior while I recovered made me pretty miserable. The doctor recommended that we have children within the next few years. During that time, he was so immature, we fought constantly, he flirted with my friends, and even invited one to a 3-way while I sat there livid next to him. When I complained about that one, he slammed me against a wall. I should have left him then...but things would always get better at just the right time, and give me hope. he would apologize, he would go see a shrink for anger management--anything to keep me hanging on.
In 2013, I learned from another doctor that my last surgery was now useless since I waited and didn't have kids back then, and in my mid-30s now needed another surgery if I ever hoped to get pregnant. When I learned this I told him I wanted a divorce and to move on with my life. I was so scarred by his treatment of me after my last operation that i couldn't fathom going through it again. He pleaded, and swore that he would change and things would get better. I demanded that we go to counseling as a couple and individually. We had tried that in the past and it hadn't worked well, but I couldn't think of any other option besides leaving, and at least this way I could maybe have kids. Well this was the worst year yet. He encouraged me to quit my job to look after my health, and from day 1 of not having a job guilted me about the huge burden he was taking on, and how i was so lucky that i didn't have to work. In the months after that, he kept bringing it up and throwing it in my face, flipping out randomly and yelling "get a fucking job" and cursing my uterus and what a selfish ungrateful person I was. He has punched in walls, pictures, doors, menaced me countless times (he's a foot taller than me). In the month leading up to surgery, our therapist kept trying to get us to calm down so that i could at least have peace before surgery. It wasn't meant to be. In the week before, he threatened to hit me no less than 3 times. Our therapist heard everything, and kept trying to make peace.
He was an angel while I recuperated, because my parents were there. Then after they left, his grouchy side came out again immediately. On new year's eve, he threw a drink at me in public because I dared to question why he was staring at the breasts of a girl who looked like she was 16 or 17. In response to all this, our marriage counselor recommended that I either go on cymbalta or divorce him. My husband immediately threw this in my face as proof that I'm the problem, because our counselor thinks I need meds. Anyone would need meds after 8 years of being with him, I think. The prior two counselors we went to specifically focused on him and ways he could change. But this one...
So I've decided to leave him. And it kills me, because like an idiot, I still love him. When he's on, things are so great. He's my best friend. Except he's hardly ever on these days. Since I told him I'm seeking a divorce, at first he was wildly angry, and since I didn't react he's been much nicer. I can't help but feeling that Mr. Hyde will come out again once we start dividing assets. I started writing this so I could solicit opinions on whether or not I should go through with leaving. Now that I've written it out and reread it, and realized that I left out half of the details of bad situations with him, I know that I have to leave. If someone else wrote this, I would think they were a moron for not leaving years ago. Abuse really can happen to anyone, I've realized. Even if you're smart and tough, love can make you do stupid things. Only one of my friends knows all of the details, because I'm too ashamed of how stupid I've been. I'm sad about the whole thing. Sad that I was stupid enough to fall for his act in the beginning, sad that once I realized who he was, i couldn't walk away and kept hoping for change, sad that this is the most effort that I've ever put into a relationship and it failed, sad that I moved away from family and friends to be with him, and that I'm stuck on my own in a strange city, and sad that where the other 2 therapists could see through his act, this last one thinks that I should pop some pills like a 1950s housewife so I can deal with him. Last night, I looked at emails from a fight we had 8 years ago, and it's exactly like our recent one. I guess people can't really change.
Does anyone else have experience with a narcissist? I feel like I have PTSD.