August 19, 2015
I’ve made it through another year. And, while my birthday Tarot Card spread insists that the theme for this year of my life is peace, celebration, harmony, marriage, family, and joy, I have to admit that it sure as Hell isn’t starting out that way…AT. ALL.
I start my morning, by not having a start. I hadn’t slept that night…or the night before. I was exhausted. But that’s beside the point. I chugged some caffeine, put on my big girl panties, and decided to call my husband. I wanted him to be the first person I spoke to this morning (yes, I know, I’m hopeless). I also wanted to make sure he was alright, seeing as how he had been stinking drunk, the night before, and I was a little concerned.
In my head, I saw the conversation going something like this:
ME: Good morning, husband. How are you feeling?
HIM: Good morning, hon. I’m feeling ok. A little sick. Maybe a little tired.
ME: Yeah? Well, I’m sorry you’re not feeling very chipper, at the moment. I’ll let you go back to bed, so you can get some rest. I just wanted you to be the first person I talked to today.
ME: Yep. Really.
HIM: Why is that? Is today some special day or something? (Of course, he’d only be pretending not to know what day it was)
ME: Nope. Not at all. (I’d laughingly go along with it…)
HIM: Oh well, in that case, I’d better get back to sleep.
ME: OK. Have a good rest, and call me when you wake up.
HIM: OK. Will do. (Insert dramatic pause) Oh, hey, honey?
HIM: While I’m getting a little rest, could you do me a favor?
ME: Sure, what do you need? (Oooh! I know the good part is coming now)
HIM: Why don’t you think about what you’d like to do today, so that when I wake up, I can make sure that you have the best birthday ever?!
ME: I knew you didn’t forget…
HIM: Of course, not. And today, I am at your disposal…. So whatever you want, you name it, and I’ll make sure it’s done.
ME: You’re awesome!
HIM: Happy Birthday, Babe. I love you.
ME: I love you, too. Now hurry up and get some rest, because I can’t wait for my day to start.
HIM: Hey, I don’t have to go back to sleep, if you want to get started right away.
ME: No, no. I want you well-rested. Get some sleep. Call me when you’re up.
HIM: OK, if you’re sure?
HIM: Alright, honey. I’ll call you soon.
ME: Ok, good night.
HIM: Good night.
(We hang up the phone)
Can I just say that my phone conversation with my husband that morning….well… It did NOT go the way I intended…(The fact that I actually believed that any form of the above conversation could’ve happened, in reality, I think could be a disconcerting nod to my delusions. But I digress…)
What I got, instead, was a grumpy narc who forgot my birthday, hung up on me after two minutes, and then turned his phone off for three hours, as he obviously felt he was entitled to not to be bothered by me. After all… he was tired.
I sent a few text messages that clearly conveyed my displeasure. Three hours later, I check my phone to see that my husband had read the messages I sent, reminding him that it was my birthday and that he was being a big meanie-head, but had apparently chosen to ignore them. Obviously, he had important things to do at that moment. I guess calling his wife, on her birthday, just wasn’t that important…as usual. And then…this happened…(damn auto-correct)
He responds right away, with that chipper “Happy Birthday!”, as though NOTHING HAPPENED, and I literally sit, and stare, at those two little words, on my screen…I notice there is no term of endearment attached to the statemeant. There’s no ‘I love you’… No ‘So, what do you want to do on Your Day?’. No question as to whether, or not, I even had any plans….just two, happy, little words… Two, cheerful, generic, sterile, could-have-been-meant-for-anyone, little words.
How can he fit so much ‘f*ck you’, in those two, little words?
I called him then… I wasn’t going to sit there and continue to text my displeasure, for God-knows-how-long.
I’m not sure why I expected him to sound at all remorseful, or apologetic, over the fact that-on MY BIRTHDAY- he hung up on me, and then shut his phone off. Of course, I wasn’t surprised to learn that he was neither remorseful, nor apologetic…. But I definitely had NOT expected what I got instead…
He actually accused me of insulting him during our first conversation, which was ridiculous. But, THAT was why he hung up, and shut off his phone. I had “attacked him”… (What?!) I had asked if he took something with his ‘one beer’ (obviously a lie- more like several beers, or one beer…and a Xanax, or something), the night before, to get him so plastered…but apparently, that was super insulting. My bad.
What was I thinking?
Obviously, I wasn’t thinking. When it comes to this man, I wonder if my brain even functions properly, at all, anymore. Probably not. After all, I’m still here, aren’t I?
Had I been thinking, I wouldn’t have expected a narc to do something as ‘normal’ as show some appreciation at my concern for his well-being. Or perhaps, the tiniest bit of embarrassment over his drunken behavior.
I definitely wouldn’t have expected him to willingly offer up some sort of apology, or show some basic concern for MY well-being after (basically) physically attacking me, the night before, in an intoxicated fit of lust.
I wouldn’t have expected him to ask me if I was ok, after he practically ripped a handful of my hair out.
I wouldn’t have expected him to remember that his alcohol soaked breath was the stuff of my nightmares.
Happy Birthday to me…
How the Hell do you deal with something like that?
Another year has passed me by, and it seems I’ve gotten nothing, but a year older…and not even necessarily wiser. But anyways, back to my birth day…
After hanging up with Narcky, I decided that I would make the trip to my parents’ house. I get the kids dressed. I put on something casual, but nice-ish. I curled my hair, and pretended that I wasn’t doing it to try to look nice for him.
I. Am. An. Idiot.
I get in the car and begin the two hour drive. On my way, I check the ‘Find My iPhone’ app, and realize my husband is on the move… and he is rather far from his home. So I call and ask him what he’s doing. He tells me that he had just picked up his friend, and they were headed towards the docks, where they would board a super-fun casino cruise ship for the next three hours.
Did he just say that, after hanging up with me, he decided to call his friend and make plans to out gambling? On MY BIRTHDAY? Without even calling, or considering, me? Seriously?
Why? WHY am I surprised?
And do you know what his excuse was?
“I have to make $. I couldn’t plan my day around “but she might show up-unannounced- so I’ll just sit around instead & wait to see. It’s taken me two weeks to get someone to put down the $ & come on the boat. Tried to go yesterday but it was closed for inspection”
Is anyone else getting stuck on the word- ‘unannounced’? As though I’m a neighbor, or some business acquaintance, and not his f*cking WIFE!! How much more insulting could he BE?! Then again, maybe I should consider that I’m just being over-sensitive… (Right…because THAT line isn’t straight out of the Narcissist’s Handbook). The man is INFURIATING!
So… here’s the million dollar question: Did he immediately turn around and come to me, apologizing profusely for his thoughtlessness? Of course not! But you already knew that, didn’t you?
His cruelty has become pathetically predictable. So much so, that I feel like I don’t even have to tell you how the rest of the day went. I mean, why do I need to describe all the details? You’ve heard it all before… I’m sure you could already guess that I spent the evening crying my eyes out, while he layed in his bed, laughing at the Chapelle Show.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that he just wanted to keep insisting that he tried so hard….ALL DAY…. to be “nice”, and to show that he “loved me”… I mean, he DID cancel his casino plans…. That is, once I’d gotten so fed up that I yelled into the phone that if he got on that boat, he might as well STAY on it, because I was tired of being second place to EVERYTHING on the f*cking PLANET! But that’s beside the point, isn’t it? I’m supposed to be grateful that he cancelled his plans…period.
I’m sure I don’t have to describe his arrogant and self-righteous attitude. Or how, because I was enraged, and devastated, he kept “begging” me to “just be nice”.
I’m sure you could guess that, when I finally cornered him, and demanded that he tell me WHAT PART of his inconsiderate, devaluing, and disgusting behavior, on that day, was supposed to be “nice”… what part of that day was I supposed to understand to mean that he “really cared” about me…. he could think of no logical answer that would excuse his behavior, and so he pulled out his secret weapon, and proceeded to give me the “I can’t live like this” speech.
Other wives of narcissists, I am SURE, know this speech- probably by heart! This is the one where he extols all of his own virtues (how selfless and giving he tried to be for you!) and wishes aloud that he could find some way to satisfy you, because despite his best efforts… despite the fact that he has tried everything he could think of (except being considerate and loving, that is), you’re STILL screaming and crying, and he just can’t handle it anymore. Obviously, you just REFUSE to be pleased! (Do you know this exquisite, mind-f*cking speech, or is it just my narc that uses this particularly nasty tactic?)
The words of your narcissist’s speech might be a little different, but you’ll KNOW you’re hearing this speech, if all of a sudden, out of nowhere, this overwhelming sense of fear, and dread, descend upon you and it feels like your soul is being ripped out of your body, because no matter what specific words he is using, the message behind those words, is crystal clear. You’ll KNOW this speech, because in one second flat, your emotions reach fever pitch- everything spins out of control- and you can almost feel some well-worn switch inside of you ‘click’, as panic starts to overtake you.
And, in that moment, you want to stop it….more than ANYTHING, you just want it to stop.. But it doesn’t, of course. It feels like your body is too-full… Like you’re afraid you will literally just spontaneously combust, because a body couldn’t possibly hold this much pain and anguish, inside of it, without bursting.
You’ll KNOW that you’re hearing THIS speech when the only words you can think of are screams, and you feel like you’re being stabbed in the heart, literally… And you can FEEL the sharp blade going into your chest… and the air is too thin- there is just not enough of it to sustain you- and it all happens so fast, that you have only a split-second to say goodbye to your dignity, before the world completely comes apart at the seams.
You will KNOW you’re hearing this speech, from the feeling you get in your gut …that feeling that leaves you with the sneaking suspicion that you have no value, in this man’s eyes…that he could turn around, walk away, and never look back….and he wouldn’t shed a single tear over you… In fact, it’d probably be a few days before he even realized you were gone.
It’s crystal clear that, underneath all his pompous, entitled, self-aggrandizing words is a vicious threat, delivered with sugar-coated malice, and it’s meaning couldn’t be more to-the-point: Accept my abuse. Just take it- with a smile- and be grateful I’ve condescended to throw you the scraps of my affection. TAKE IT- and don’t you DARE point it out to me!! Or, I will throw you away, like the trash you are.
For me, there is a moment of realization, as I look into my husband-turned-monster’s now-cold, empty eyes… My husband is nowhere to be found. He is gone, and I have been left unprotected. And, this monster means what he says. I know he could discard me very easily…he’s done it before. And the fear that grips me, when I think of enduring that horror again, is unspeakable. I can feel myself cracking at the edges, and my shame compounds the fear, because I think, “What have I become? What happened to the strong, confident woman that was here, just a moment ago? The woman who had cornered this narcissist with unarguable logic…the clever girl who cut through ,rationalizations, and brought him face to face with his cruelty… That brave woman who left this monster nowhere to hide… Where is she now, when I NEED her the most?”
A word to the wise… remember what I forgot… the cardinal rule of survival, when you’re trapped in Hell, with a narcissist… NEVER back the beast into a corner.
YOU. WILL. REGRET. IT.
For just a split second.
Just long enough to see the all the fight drain out of me…
Just long enough to notice myself crumble… To notice the way my body seems to fold in on itself…
Just long enough to notice how much smaller I seem now…
Just long enough to lovingly shut off the part of me that can’t stand to see the infinite sadness, etched onto my face…..the part that can’t stand to watch my weakness.
The silence lasts just long enough for me to think, “Why?”
“I only wanted to love you.”
…and then the panic and terror take over…