About 6 weeks ago, I came to you and admitted that my life with you, had become unbearable. I couldn’t stand the abuse anymore. I couldn’t take one more minute of watching you lay in bed- the iPad propped up on a pillow beside you- allowing yourself to be drawn in & completely consumed, for days at a time. Held captive by the siren song of an iPad, while your life crumbled all around you. A hapless sacrifice on the Netflix, with her seductive siren’s song, while any attempt at communication with you resulted in the feeling that I had just been punched in the gut.
I asked you if you cared at all about our family. I asked you if you cared at all about US. And, while I knew you were lying, you told me that you did care. Very much so. You told me that our family, our marriage, was the most important thing in the world to you.
I asked you to tell me why, then, did you insist on sabotaging every last possible hope for our happiness? Just four short weeks before that, we were in a good place. You had a “breakthrough”. One of those rare moments of conscious awareness. You were trying to accept responsibility for all the cruel things you had done to me. You acted maturely, and sensitively. You were kind, and attentive. You swore that you could see clearly now, and that you never wanted to go back to being the man you had been. You were ashamed of that man.
You told me you felt trapped, and lonely, and frustrated. You said you knew that the things you did to me were mean, and hurtful, and wrong… But in the moment, you couldn’t stop yourself. “It was juvenile” you told me, “at the time, I didn’t want to face the truth- that I had hurt you again… That I had acted selfishly…and so I used your reaction to my abuse, as a rationalization for it.”
You couldn’t even look at my face while you spoke.
Remember how we made a video that night? You said you didn’t want to forget how loved, and whole, and happy you felt. You said you wanted something to remind yourself to make better choices, and how you didn’t want to keep destroying your family. You wanted to remember that, even though in the moment you always felt like you didn’t know how to stop, that there was a way to stop… There was a way to pull the brake on your runaway train… You wanted to remember that you could trust me. That you loved me. That I wasn’t the enemy.
Remember how I held you while you fell apart in my arms? You were begging my #forgiveness, and at the same time, telling me how you didn’t deserve it. You wondered at how I was able to forgive you…for everything. You couldn’t bring yourself to understand how I could just forgive you so easily, and I knew there was a part of you that couldn’t bring yourself to believe that I really did forgive you.
You could never bring yourself to believe that I could actually love you.
I remember telling you that I knew you didn’t believe me, when I told you I loved you. You asked me how I knew that, and I said it was because you didn’t think that it was possible… That I would be able to see past your shame and self-loathing, or that false person you pretended to be for the rest of the world in order to hide it. I told you that it was because you were under the illusion that all that shame, was who you really were underneath the false pride, and the lies.
But it was just that…an illusion.
Remember how I tried to tell you that the pain you felt was only your fear, and nothing more? Remember how I told you you could take my hand and we could face that fear together? Remember how I promised you that once you gathered the courage to face it, it would disappear…and you would find that there was, truly, only light and love in there after all?
And remember that time, that I laid my hand on your heart, and I showed you how to feel who you really were…on the inside…underneath all the garbage that you had accumulated, and carried with you, from your past? Do you remember the feeling of absolute and utter peace you told me you felt? How you were almost amazed that that existed inside of you?
Remember how you laughed? Really, really laughed? And I was shocked that I had never heard the sound before. You told me that I should get used to hearing it because you had never felt happier in your entire life. And, as much as I knew this was only a fleeting moment in our history, I wanted to believe you…more than I could ever express. You had the greatest laugh. It was infectious. Innocent almost. (How ironic, right?)
Remember how we stayed up all that night because we were afraid to fall asleep? We both knew the clock was ticking on your awareness… Neither one of us wanted to break the spell. But, In the end, we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer, and you fell asleep with your arms wrapped tight around me. And you whispered in my ear, “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll see you in the morning” as you drifted off to sleep. I prayed so hard, to God, to make it true. I begged him to leave you with me this time. Not to take you away again.
You won’t remember it (you were already sleeping), but I watched you sleep for a little while. Even in your sleep, that night, you were still smiling. I wanted so badly to find a way to pause time. Just freeze it there, in that moment, then rewind and live that one day, over and over, again…without all the parts where you felt ashamed, and unworthy, of course.
Then, I was angry at God, the world, your parents, your past, the Universe, anything and everything I knew… Because I knew the man I watched, smiling in his sleep, would be gone before I knew it. I cried myself to sleep that night. I missed you so much already. And in your sleep, as though we were so connected that even in your dreams you sensed my heartache, you pulled me closer to you.
I remember the feeling of absolute fear and dread, when I woke the next morning…still wrapped up together. I held my breath, as you slowly came to. Before your eyes had even opened, you were stroking my hair, and whispering “I love you’s” in my ear. I couldn’t believe it… It was like a miracle. We had been granted another day! We had all been given another day.
Remember how the kids were so happy? We played with our kids, together, and laughter filled our home to overflowing, for the first time in much too long. And while I tried my best to hide it (though I know I failed miserably at it, at times) , I was terrified. We both seemed to sense we were on borrowed time, and we were determined to cherish every last second…savor every last breath.
You called me your angel… And I wept because you couldn’t see that you had wings too.
By the time the sun had started to set, you were slipping away. Your eyes had a hardness to them, they no longer sparkled. They were dark, where moments before, they had been a brilliant mess of blues and greens and gold. You saw the look in my eyes. Your “What?!” came out defensive, and harsher than you intended. My tears were immediate and fierce.
Remember how I begged you to stay with me? Do you remember my uncontrollable sobs?
I remember I couldn’t convince you that you were stronger than this curse. I remember feeling so small, and frightened, and helpless. I wanted to find a way to pour all my courage and strength into you. I tried to take you back.. To the place where you could feel your true self… to that place of peace and stillness and joy…. To that place where you fell asleep with your arms tight around me, and a big, contented smile on your lips.
But whatever gripped you held tighter than I knew how to….
The first lie came that night… And it was like a sword thrust into my belly. It cut deeper than anything I could have imagined. You begged my forgiveness again. You wept… You confessed that you felt helpless… You didn’t want this. Why were you doing this?
Neither of us had the answer.
Then the next lie…and my medicine disappearing. Another lie.
I remember how, by morning, you were gone. And so was a piece of my soul. I remember noticing how my tears grated on you. How you watched me…dying a slow, and torturous death… With cold indifference. I remember screaming at you… You promised not to leave me this time… You promised!! Do you remember you told me that I might want to talk to someone, because I was obviously mentally unstable.
After that, you went right back to your old ways. You picked up your smear campaign, right where you left off. You picked the iPad back up and went back to your own room.
You just left me there, alone, to pick up my pieces…and there were so many little pieces, I wondered if they could ever make one whole again.
Since then, husband, things have changed radically. You’ve run off to who knows where, and with God knows whom. You’ve refused to divulge your whereabouts for fear that I will show up angry and try to sabotage your life.
You’ve given me (and the kids) the silent treatment for days on end, then told me today, that I was extorting you for the kids….that you tried to see them, but I refused. You told me that I was unstable, because I kept offering for you to come and reality check yourself. To look at the emails, and texts…to listen to the phone calls…watch the videos…seeing as how I’ve documented everything. Unfortunately, you were too busy to bother with that whole “reality” nonsense. How convenient.
Six weeks ago, I asked if you were willing to do whatever it took to save our family…our marriage. You said , “Of course!” . I asked for a letter. A single letter telling me that you were sorry for the hurtful and traumatic things you’d done. I didn’t have to keep it. I gave you a week… And you refused to write one lousy letter, in order to save your marriage, and your family. Excuse me, please, if I seemed a bit angry about that.
I remember, four weeks ago, telling you that we lost our baby. A child you had already declared would be a girl. You yelled at me… Clenched your teeth and called me selfish for making you late to plans you had already arranged the night before. Wasn’t that just like me? Always trying to fuck up your plans?
What had I really expected anyway? It was just about a year ago that we had lost a second child. You were punishing me, at the time, for being angry that you completely blew me off and disappeared for a night of drunken revelry, without a word. I tried emailing you, and I must have called a hundred times.
I begged you to come to me. To be with me. But you ignored every message. And when my panic set in, you told me to go to my parents house. You told me you would meet me there, if I needed you to. I said that I did need you to. Then, you turned around and told me that you’d rather just go have a beer with your friends. After all, you felt you needed it after all my “drama”.
It wasn’t until later that I found out that it wasn’t a night with your friend and a beer…but really, a party with ecstasy you abandoned me for. I suppose you’ll have conveniently forgotten that. Of course, reminding you of these things, that just adds fuel to your fire… Forces you to further try and convince me that I was a mean, and “bipolar” person.
Today, it was you who claimed to need protection from ME! After almost an entire week of silence, secrecy, lies, and a new apartment you’ve suddenly acquired without telling me anything about (where, or with whom, is none of my business, as well, you say).
Today, you spit your vitriol at me, as though I am to blame for every failure in your life. And again I offer you the chance to see the record…check the reality of your confabulations… and again, you’re too busy. I don’t have to wonder what you’re so scared of… I know we both know the truth. I don’t need your admission.
Husband, I will never be able to comprehend how you could have held this family in the palm of your hands…this family who adored you…a wife you lifted you up every single time you showed her the slightest kindness…. A wife who could produce a hundred letters begging you to recognize your own worth…to see that there is strength and bravery in you… Enough so that you don’t have to hurt me to feel powerful…enough so that you can stop doing these things that keep you trapped in your prison… Enough so that you could end this legacy of abuse, and isolation, and loneliness, and abandonment….
I will never understand how you could so desperately desire love, forgiveness, and acceptance… have it standing right in front of you, begging you to just take it-accept that it’s yours- and yet, still, have you throw it all away, as though it were all worthless trash. And all to protect the very thing you despise…your false pride.
You should know, before you run into the arms of your next source of supply… That I loved you. I truly, deeply, absolutely, and unconditionally did. And though I wish I could say otherwise…and though there are many days that I want to scream how much I hate your guts…. I still love you. That’s just the way I am, I guess. I don’t think I could ever not love you. (Please understand, that doesn’t mean I will keep letting you hurt me, though)
You should know that what I offered you was real. I know that’s hard for you to accept because that isn’t who YOU are… And we each see the world as we are. I guess then, it’s only logical that you can not perceive true love… It would have to be inside of you, first, before you could recognize it being given to you. And I think that’s the saddest part of all…. Knowing how badly, above all else, you just wanted to be loved, absolutely.
You had that absolute love. You really, truly did. And you should know it.
In some ways, I think you do know…which is why you act so mean. You don’t want to have to face the fact of what you tossed aside so carelessly. So indifferently.
Mostly, though, I just want you to know that I forgive you. For all of it. Every last second. Every nasty word… everything. I know that on the other side, I will recognize this only as an act of love. A sacrifice you made to help me grow, in this life, into the best I could be.
It’s because of you trying, in every way you knew how, to break me, that I came to learn that I can not be broken. You’ve taught me that I can withstand unimaginable trauma, and heartache, and soul loss….and still survive. You showed me what I have the strength to survive. Now I know that I’m unbreakable. And I have you to thank for that.
But I’m also no longer naive… And I still document everything because you’re still a fantastic con-man.
I remember you asked me, today: “Who is so mentally unstable, that they have to collect evidence against their own husband?”
Simple, dear husband…
Me… The Narcissist’s Wife