We talked this morning. He was still furious and telling me how I was so horrible for reducing our relationship to money and he started lashing out again. But I repeated “Do you think I’m entitled to a different point of view?” over and over and over and over again until he was forced to respond.
Once he was willing to engage on a ‘talking about it’ level instead of a lashing out at me level, things got better. We talked for about an hour. It was pretty hard, we really didn’t have common ground for a long time, but we kind of got to a good place.
I talked about how he goes from 0 to 100 instantly, that there’s never an in between. He talked about how I get to this detached place where there’s a wall down. I talked about how I don’t feel like I can go to him when I have an emotional need. He talked about how he feels like he’s doing all these things for me and I don’t notice. and on and on.
In the end I said that I am detached. That I feel like talking to him doesn’t get anywhere and I’ve sort of given up. That I’m walking away in my heart and I’m scared that we’re not going to make it. That I didn’t push therapy because he seemed so against it, but that I didn’t know what else to do.
So he told me to call Arlene. I suggested maybe finding someone else because he didn’t like her, but he said he liked her enough. I resisted, because I think he has to be engaged for it to work, and he seemed to think it would be ok… Keeping fingers crossed.
Tonight was frightening.
I worked till 8. Called ND on the way home to see if he needed anything, no. Came home to his giving Hallie a bath, I immediately took over. Put on her PJs, made her a bottle, read her a story, put her to bed with her big-girl pillow.
Around 10ish I closed the computer and told ND I was going to bed, and asked if he was going to come in. He made a big show of having SO much work to do that there was no way. He sounded jealous.
He asked if my color printer worked. I said I thought so. He asked if there were writable CDs and DVDs. I said there were, but it was odd, I knew he knew where they were, he uses them more than I do.
11:11 I came in to kiss him. He said he missed me out in the dining room and wished I would come back. I said I was tired and wanted to go to sleep, but would welcome his coming in when he was ready. He seemed jealous. Said he was printing, sounded frustrated.
A little while later I yelled in “Hi” – no response. I said “Hi” again, he said hi back. I asked how he was doing, said he couldn’t get the drivers to work. I suggested he print from my computer. He sounded irritated at the suggestion. After a while, I went in there and said “how’s it going” and he was frustrated that he still couldn’t get it to work. He looked poised to spend all night trying to do things the perfect way and frustrate himself, so I got out the USB cable and plugged it in to his machine and the printer. It worked. Went back to bed.
1/2 hour later he was still in there messing around with it. I came out to check on him. Papers everywhere, the letters he was printing out for the NY Arts Council were there. The text was slightly striped, black and dark gray every 4 lines. But it kind of looked kind of cool, and even deliberate to my eye. I told him he should just leave it, that it was fine. He was insistent that it be fixed. Went back to bed.
Again, after a long while I came out to check. Suggested a head cleaning. He did that. A nozzle check. Something’s wrong with it. I told him I actually now remember that there may have been a problem with it the last time I used it. Thought I hadn’t fixed it. We talked about other options. Printing letterhead on the color printer, the actual letter on B&W. Looked over his shoulder, the ink levels were low, almost empty. Went to the cabinet and got more ink, about to replace the cartridges. Thinking about how the ink costs about $50 a pop, and how I pay for it out of my pocket, I said “Can you get Fig* to pay for new ink?”
FLIPPED THE FUCK OUT!
Started screaming at me. “For what? 4 pages?” Banging things around. Shaking with rage. Slamming his hands on the chair. I looked at him numbly. I’ve been reading lately about narcissism, about how the NPD description fits him completely, and I had even joined a stupid Narcissism Recovery group online a few days before. So his outburst effected me the way it would a complete stranger. I just looked at him blankly and thought, wow, what’s going on here? I said “It’s ok if you want to borrow the printer, but why should I have to pay for the ink?” Yelling that I’m fucking rude. That I’m picking the exact worst time ever to demand that he pay for ink. I said I wasn’t asking him to pay for it, I was asking if he could expense it. He screamed again “For what? Your fucking piece of shit printer?” Went on and on about how horrible a piece of cheap crap my printer is. I said “Is it my responsibility to ensure that it works for you if you want to borrow it?” He screams that I should have helped him more. That I didn’t help him.
Then he grabbed the cat, who had just climbed on his lap, and slammed him hard to the floor. I audibly gasped. It shocked me. i stood there paralyzed. Thought maybe he was going to hit me. Or throw something at me. So I left the room and got into bed. Turned away from him and hid my eyes so he couldn’t see me. He went to the closet and started taking out clothes. Sat on the bed with me in it to put on his socks. Yelled “So do you want to talk about this? Or are you going to make me go out and buy ink right now?” I said I didn’t need ink. That I thought he should calm down. He said he was calm. He was shaking.
So I let him go out. *whew*
At 12:15 I texted my friend Alex and wrote “ND just flew into an out of control rage because my printer wasn’t working and I asked if Fig* could buy the next pack of ink.. He threw the cat, was thrashing things around and then stormed out. He’s scaring me a little, so I just wanted to reach out, sort of not sure if he’d hit me… Not sure why I’m texting you, just in case something happens, I guess.”
He came back around 1:30ish. I pretended to be asleep. He went in the dining room for a long time. I sat reading about narcissistic rages on my iPhone. About 45 minutes passed. Debated not talking to him, or trying to diffuse the situation.
Finally went in and asked “are you feeling any better?” I regret going in there. I was lying to myself, pretending to diffuse, but actually poking a stick at him. He glared at me “You mean. Am I less mad. At YOU?” Ice. I just shook my head and sighed. I said “I was a little worried about you. You seem like something’s really wrong.” He said that what was wrong was that I was so fucking rude! I said “You can continue to try and make this about me, but I wasn’t even engaged.” His response was that the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Gave up. Shook my head and went back in the bedroom. He yelled back something about my unwillingness to engage now. I just thought “to what end?”
In my heart, I’m feeling done here. He’s pushing me farther and farther away. Haven’t even written anything yet about how horrible he’s been during this crisis with my father’s dementia. He’s not here for me. He’s not here for anyone but himself. He has an insatiable appetite for praise, adoration, perfectionism to the exclusion of all else. He has no empathy.
Is it time for an exit strategy?
I read back and see how long I’ve been unhappy. Have I been kidding myself about the good times. Who is my husband? Do I even remotely know the real him?
This probably doesn’t count, and if it were in the context of a happy relationship I’d never even think to note it, but I may as well not censer myself.
This morning I said to ND “Did you notice how much I cleaned for the house appraisal guy?” He said “Yes, it looks great.” and I said “Yeah, other than the floor, it almost looks like the housekeeper came.” He responded “I thought she did come.” and I said “Thank you, that’s such a nice thing to say.” — I meant that he said it looked as good as if pu had come, but I realized as I said that, and as I looked at him, that he actually didn’t say that. He said he thought she came, and that someone else had done it. I KNOW he didn’t think she came. And I know he knew I did it, because I told him in the morning that I was going to. So why give such a cagey compliment? It felt like he was trying to get out of it technically, by complimenting me in appearance only.
See, this kind of thing makes me think I’m going nuts…
I’ll write more later. Off to see a shrink today for the first time in years.
Btw, I told him this morning that I wanted us to see a counselor, that I wasn’t happy with where we were and I thought we needed help. His first response was quite annoyed and he said “Well I feel like we’re all over the place. One minute we’re happy. The next we’re not. It’s a yo-yo and you’re not telling me what’s going on.” I responded by saying “Well, a counselor will help with that.” And for the next 20 minutes he pouted, frowned, looked all hangdog. I told him I wanted him to choose the counselor, but he said he didn’t care, that he wouldn’t like anyone…
Ok, so I’ve started reading a book on verbal abuse, and I’m blown away… There are so many things in the book that hit home! And so many examples in the book that are identical to experiences I’ve had. One suggestion in the book is to keep a journal so my thoughts stay clear, and so I can record incidents and reflect on them later…
Please comment!! I could use some feedback.
- Last night ND and I were sitting on the beanbag chair together and having a nice, intimate moment. I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about, but I said smiling and sort of laughing “I wish I had a dime for every dime I have.” He said “You do” in a somewhat laughing, but also somewhat patronizing ‘i gotcha’ kind of way… So I responded with eyeroll “Yeah yeah, but I wish I had ANOTHER one!” And he responded with a huge grin “And what makes you think you’d take any better care of them??” I sat there for a minute, kind of stunned, and then just got up and went back to the computer. I felt stung, and so I withdrew. Again. He didn’t really respond, but I could tell he knew I was withdrawing.
Today is my 5th wedding anniversary, and I guess I need to start writing again. I’m tired. I’m depressed. I think this isn’t working out. I’m married to a man who isn’t very nice to me. He’s not abusive. He’s not cruel. He’s not even really mean to me. But he just isn’t that nice to me. It’s like this slow chipping away. We used to wake up and look at each other and grin madly. Now we wake up facing the other way, and I feel relief when he’s gotten up before me.
Sometimes it all feels like too much… This having a husband and a kid thing. I miss being alone. I miss being self-reliant. I miss things being EASY. I feel like it’s just so hard to get along with ND these days, and as much as I love him and Hallie, my whole focus has shifted to them. I feel like I’m dying inside, and each day it’s harder and harder to reach myself.
Today ND and I got into an argument. It wasn’t much of one, he was being kind of a dickhead, nothing that’s that big a deal, but it is a big deal. I had proposed leading a kissing workshop for couples at burning man with him, and he seemed ok with the idea… In my mind I thought that through planning it we would become more intimate ourselves, remember why we were so in love, connect, practice kissing. Clearly that’s not how he feels about it. He sees it as performance anxiety, doing this thing for others not us, and it stresses him out a little. I get that, and that’s ok. But he’s so difinitave about it! “That’s not the way to get closer. That’s not the way you do things like that.” Well duh, if you’re not a participant it’s not. If you are though, it could be…
And this small exchange, I feel like that’s part of why I turn farther and farther away from him. It feels like not only doesn’t he want to do what I want to do, but he humiliates me in the process. They’re small things that seem fun, that I want to do. And if he doesn’t want to do them, they seem less fun to me. But I don’t even feel like I can talk to him anymore without feeling put down. He never just sees that I want to do something and makes it fun because he wants to make me happy. Instead he talks to me like it’s a lesson, like he’s helping me to work my shit out.
But honestly, my shit is more worked out than I get credit for. I know who I am. I genuinely like myself. I think I’m pretty damned fun and fantastic. But I die a little every day in this relationship. I feel like I’m always compromising. Always making the consolations in order to get along. Always putting my wants on the back burner for his, because mine usually aren’t big things.
Tonight he said I was pushing him away and he didn’t know why. I told him the truth, and he fell asleep while I was telling him. I understand. It was late, we were in bed, the lights were out, and we’re both tired. But how sad and lonely. And how much easier if I were alone. Lately I feel like I’m more myself without him than I am when I’m with him. I don’t actually want a divorce. I love him. He loves me. We have this beautiful daughter. But I’m losing myself. And I don’t know how to BE myself in the context of this family. I feel like there’s no room for me. Or that I have to fight for it. And it makes me tired, and want to slip away.
How do I stay myself, when myself isn’t what excites my partner anymore? Oh, he says that’s not true, but its’ true. He’s turned on and excited by far greater things than me. I’m just the same old me, no big change. No big challenges. Just there, the constant. Isn’t it natural that I’d withdraw a little?
Went to 2 sessions of counseling and I think we’re back to normal again. He woke up. Didn’t realize how upset I was… Not sure he 100% gets why, but it’s clear he CARES, which frankly, goes a long way since I was feeling like I could fuck off and he wouldn’t even notice… So now he’s trying. And I’m trying. And it’s back to lovey-dovey us.
And by the way, what you can’t tell from this journal, is that usually, we’re DEEPLY in love. I can’t even count the number of our friends who have said that we’re their inspiration for couple-ness — not that that’s important to me in general, but for the purposes of balance in this blog, I feel it should be noted.