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My long codie story
March 22, 2010
1:39 pm
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gottobetrue
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Wow, I'm so glad I found this board! Some of the posts sound exactly like my own thoughts! Deep breath...

My story: I have been married 7 years, together 10 total. Everything seemed perfect for a long time and people often commented on what a great couple we were. I was happy to be a wife and did anything to please my new husband. About 3 or 4 years in, I decided to pick up my pursuit of acting, which I had put aside (before we met) so I could have a "real job". Things went well for awhile, though it was a bit of a transition (understandably) from me being home every night to being gone 4x a week, plus shows on weekends, etc, but I was really happy with my newfound love of theater. I made new friends - all my close friends moved away after college and instead of making new ones of my own, I took on my husband's friends and their girlfriends or wives - and was feeling great. Suddenly, it became too much for him. I wasn't home enough, so I decided not to do shows anymore during the summer so I wouldn't have to cancel plans. I was doing scenes that made him uncomfortable, so I only sought out roles that didn't involve romances (this is near impossible when you're a young woman). He actually told me once that I could only do romantic roles if I was getting paid - sounds like prostitution! Regardless, he didn't like my new friends and wouldn't go out with them, he refused when I invited him to get involved so we could spend more time together, and I eventually began to concede to everything else he wanted just so I could feel ok about having this one thing for myself.

After awhile, I began getting offered professional, paid roles. I was so excited, I wanted to get an agent and start working part time so I could really pursue it. We had the money, so it shouldn't be a problem. Well, since my job has the insurance (he has his own business) I wasn't allowed to quit or move to part time where I'd lose my benefits. There was no other way for me to pursue acting. He would say how proud he was of me and how he hoped I could be a full time actress, but then he'd refuse to let me do any of the things I'd need to really become one.

Over time, I realized I had become codependent. I'd do anything to avoid an argument, or I'd take all the blame and apologize just to end one. If I had a reason to be upset with him, he'd turn it around to make me the bad guy, and I would then feel awful for causing problems. My self-esteem was zero. I did anything to please him. I sought out counseling to help me with what he labeled as my anger issues, and discovered that he was manipulating me. He never asked if I needed anything when he'd go to the store. He never did his share around the house. He claimed that everything inside was my domain and everything outside was his - well, I do all the gardening and he hired a lawn service, so all he does is... nothing! Certainly not everyday things, like what's in the house that he says are my job. And his job gives him enough flexibility that he can be home for chores, but he doesn't do them, though he can golf every Thursday, or play frisbee golf, or Xbox online with friends. Meanwhile, I work full time, take care of the house, try to build an acting career, go to therapy, and take care of my mother because my father passed away in October and she doesn't drive. He never seemed to think of or care about me.

Also, money has been a constant issue. He decided that we should live off my salary (home and personal bills, ie, his golf!) so that his business account could have money in it and he could get a loan if needed. Never mind he wasn't getting a loan any time soon. I wasn't comfortable with that but he pestered me about it and wore me down, and then blamed me for waiting too long so our budget wasn't right for a year and he couldn't figure out how much we needed to save. Meanwhile, I only had access to the account with my own salary, so if he wrote a big check to pay off his credit card bill, I would have NO access to cash! We were overdrawn twice because he did this. I kept asking him, what if I had an emergency, but he insisted that would never happen.

So. In the wake of all this, I began a by-email emotional affair that he discovered. My husband wasn't speaking to me bayond "what's for dinner?" and "what do you want to watch on TV?" and I missed friendship and intimacy. We hadn't had sex in a year (we're both 34). I know how wrong it was and I broke it off completely, and we have begun marriage counseling, but for months now I had been researching divorce laws in my state and figuring out how I could get away and saving up cash so that I could have some money to hire a lawyer, etc. I keep telling myself I want to leave and this is my chance, but I'm scared about the financial situation and of how he's going to react. He tried to throw me out of our house twice, threatening to change the locks, but within an hour he'd be crying and apologizing and loving. I hid all my treasured family jewelry, including my wedding ring, at my mother's so he wouldn't take it. He told me that he loved me and was afraid of losing me and I was his everything, but only when things were bad, never when they were good. I want to leave, but there are times, now that we're in counseling, that I see he's trying and making an effort to communicate better, but I don't know if it will last or if he's sincere. I keep thinking, maybe it's not that bad, but I feel so depressed and alone. I think he could work on his communication skills but will always be a manipulator and will not see or admit how he makes me feel unworthy, blocks me from my friends, controls my (and our) money and stifles my dreams.

He also twice had "advanced" on me threateningly... nothing physical but I did fear that at the time. He was very angry when I said I was afraid he'd hit me. He's destroyed things in the home, like picture frames with pictures of me in them. He replaced all photos of us with photos of his friends. He's being nice now but every once in awhile explodes in anger, so I stay home and quiet in order to not provoke him. He's hurt, I understand, but he's not acting like an adult. He's very immature, can't make major decisions without his parents, and has never lived alone or taken care of himself. He tried to make me call his parents and tell them about my emotional affair. He insisted this was part of his healing and not a punishment on me (yeah right!). I have cried with feelings of worthlessness every day. He tries to support me when I cry, but I just want to push him away. It doesn't feel sincere. He just doesn't want me to leave him, it may have nothing to do with him loving me and everything to do with him not being alone. I just wish I knew the truth.

I'm sorry this is so long but it's good to get it out. Since January my depression has hit an all time low. I've thought about drinking and drugs as an escape, though I fortunately get too sick from either to consider them worth abusing 😉 I'm considering prescription anti-depressants but am afraid of the side effects. I know all this may sound silly - it really is just the tip of the iceberg, and it's not silly to me so that makes it important - but hearing your stories and any light you can shed on my situation is so helpful. I want to leave, yet sometimes I don't. I fantasize about living alone again and taking care of myself. I'm not afraid of that, but am afraid of a long, painful divorce process. But aren't most of them that way? I feel like his trying is a good sign, but I'm afraid of wasting time on him and his manipulative abuse, especially if I can't recognize and and don't know it's happening until it's too late. Thanks for reading this far! Whew.

March 22, 2010
2:40 pm
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curious64
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Sometimes just writing it down helps us to feel better. However, it sounds like you are living with a narcissistic manipulator and might need to really consider whether or not the marriage is worth saving.

Marriage counseling might help, but your husband has to be willing to admit that he has some of the blame in all of this. If he is not willing to do that then, you may just have to walk away. I have not been married, but was involved with the same man since 1986 and I am on day 4 of having him out of my house and a no-contact rule.

It is hard, but I already feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulder. Explore your options and take back some control of your future. Keep posting and reading here it is very helpful. ((hugs))

March 22, 2010
3:57 pm
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gottobetrue
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Thanks, curious. Narcissistic manipulator is so true! My counselor used those exact words.

Sometimes I worry I will hurt him if I go. He is a big boy, I know, and will be fine. Sometimes I worry he will hurt me. Well, then I know I made the right decision. I'm just paralyzed between what to do, stay or go. If anything, for now I'm keeping the peace so I can keep saving up money in the event I do leave.

Thanks again. I'm so glad I found this place. ((hugs))

March 22, 2010
3:59 pm
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onlyboringontheoutside
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If you were divorced, how would your life be different? What would change?

March 22, 2010
4:23 pm
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lost and on eggshells
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I feel for you and understand the struggle you have on whether to stay or go. I'm having difficulty with this as well. I always think of the few good things and a few good times instead of all the bad things that are happening on a daily basis. Follow your gut instinct. Narcissism is scary and hard to get away from. It took me a year to get on anti depressant so I understand your worried about side effects. I think it does help take some of the edge of though and helps some clear thinking during this time. I think I would be in even a worse place without it so maybe just go for consultation and you won't feel as worried about it. writing does help. ((((hugs)))

March 22, 2010
5:25 pm
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gottobetrue
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{If you were divorced, how would your life be different? What would change? }

Less anxiety. I feel anxious every time we're in the same room, or when he sends me an IM, or when I come home and see his car there. I'd be freer to do the things I wanted instead of begging to do them. We totally do our own thing, we rarely eat together and only see each other briefly on weekends because of our schedules, but he says no to anything other than work, exercise or caring for my mother. For a long time we fended for ourselves and acted more like roommates than husband and wife. I would just be able to do the things I wanted without begging to do them and then feeling guilty about them.

Also... I might be able to have kids someday. We originally agreed when we married that we didn't want any. Last year I was thinking about changing the no to a yes, and asked him how he felt, but he would only say "I could see us having kids" never yes or no. Then suddenly in counseling this month he said he did want them. He never once said yes to me, only in counseling. I started feeling like I didn't trust him to step up and be responsible if we did have a baby, and I didn't think he could take care of me, so I firmly changed to no. Now... if I left and did find someone I could trust and depend on, I'd want to have kids. I could never say this to my husband - he'd get angry and try to make me feel bad for all the things he does do for me, which still don't convince me he'd be a dependable father.

March 22, 2010
6:11 pm
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fantas
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Welcome to the site and good for you for wanting a better life for yourself. I think that a lone is worthy celebrating. I also think you know what you need to do, you just need the courage to do it. There are no rights and wrongs with these issues.

It's great you are going to therapy, looking at options and learning how you can feel less trapped in this situation. He is a grown man and he can take care of himself or in his case, he can go back to his parents.

I think giving up your passion for anything will eventually cause you depression. If you cannot be in theater I think you will always be depressed and unhappy. So it's important you find a way to do that. Regardless of the reasons why you aren't practicing your craft right now, you are the only one stopping you. The bigger questions for me here are: Where did you learn to give up your happiness to make another happy and how can you learn to put your own happiness first?

I think your husband is just capitalizing on your overwhelming desire to make others happy at your own cost. Whether or not your are with him, someone else will find a way of capitalizing on this aspect of you. By the way, I think he wants you around because you are his financial security. If you really want to see how much he loves you, take back your financial power and split everything 50/50. Have him pay for insurance like all other private company owners, get a family account and each agree to contribute a percentage of their profit to it. If house account is empty, there is no house stuff happening. If he is still crying about how much he loves you after that, then it's real.

My ex was like that. He bullied me into giving him money and I wasn't even married to him. He actually once told me that he dated me because I had a car. Which he broke and refused to pay to fix. He was a user and I allowed him to use me. He was my last mooch, though. I woke up after that and I have come along way.

Keep posting. You are definitely not alone!!

March 22, 2010
7:36 pm
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onlyboringontheoutside
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I had actually typed out the question "do you want to have kids together?" and then deleted it. This can really cause a marriage to fester and fail if partners don't fundamentally agree and want the same thing.

March 23, 2010
11:07 am
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gottobetrue
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Wow... this is so great. Thanks, everyone. I'm breathing a bit more easily knowing I'm not alone, though I wouldn't invite anyone to feel this way!

{Where did you learn to give up your happiness to make another happy and how can you learn to put your own happiness first? }

I'm not sure. I'm an only child and was raised to value fairness. I think I thought that burdening myself would help others, or make them like me. I remember losing out on a few things as a kid because I did what I thought was fair and some people took advantage of that. Once I was up for an award, and the other girl in the running said that if I voted for her, she'd vote for me. So I did, but she ended up winning by one vote because she said she'd changed her mind. I don't recall any events or trauma, just always felt a real need to please people at any cost.

I also never wanted to be a nagging wife. He would tell me stories of other friends' wives being controlling and nagging (their opinions) so I never wanted to be that way. Eventually I couldn't ask for anything without being made to feel like I was demanding. He really trained me.

Need to add, just to get it out, in recent arguments he's turned really nasty. He's called me a monster, said I ruin lives and told me I have no friends and would die alone. When I tell him how much that hurts me, he says he shouldn't have said those things. So now he'll say something mean, then right away say, I shouldn't have said that. I told him that he's not allowed to be mean and immediately saying he should have said that doesn't make it ok, and he's punishing me, but he insists that he's not. Ugh, why can't I just leave? I still feel like I love him but I don't want to live like this 🙁

March 23, 2010
1:05 pm
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fantas
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You are definitely not alone.Keep at it. I always hear Dr. Phil say, We teach people how to treat us". This guy has learned that if he pushes you long enough your will relent. Perhaps you can start having some real consequences for his abuse of you. The fact that he will say a mean thing and then take it right back, means he knows full well what he is doing. Perhaps you can stop doing stuff for him until he learns to respect you. You could even dip into the money pot and give yourself a weekend vacation. How about just going back to acting and telling him to deal with it. Keep posting

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