‘What I learned about my husband that ruined our five year marriage.’
Then the infidelity started. Sneakily at first but over time he didn’t even try to hide it. When I would question messages, photos, fake online profiles he would say I was crazy, that I was making things up, I was overreacting (another trigger point for me). We would fight, he would apologise then drip feed me compliments to keep me coming back. He knew just the things to break me but knew just the things to keep me running back. To have the person, who you love more than anything, make you feel so low is the most hurtful and painful thing someone can endure.
Family tried to intervene, they could see how toxic things had become, could see the pain I was enduring. I started counselling, alone at first, and then in one final stint to try and save our marriage I asked him to come along. He attended three sessions, the therapist saw through the crocodile tears and called him on it. He didn’t return after that.
Our marriage was over. It didn’t abruptly end one day, the pain was drawn out for a further few months until I told him to leave our home. I was now truly alone, alone in the home we had built to start a family in.
The discarding phase was the most painful and brutal. It was public and it was mortifying. I was kicked to the kerb and very swiftly replaced by a more successful, shinier model. Someone who could serve a new purpose of helping him get ahead in life. Money and power were always his key drivers and he had found someone that could accelerate that. Even when separated, he tried to keep the power, control the narrative, lying to anyone who would listen about the reasons we separated, alienating and shifting the blame to his family. Anything and anyone was fair game if it kept up the exterior persona.
As I reflect on our relationship (and after reading the book – Power, Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse) I realised, holy crap, I was married to a narcissist. It’s sometimes not until you remove yourself from a situation that you truly see the red flags, triggers and defining moments.
I wish I had the gift of hindsight, I wish all the people who had wanted to speak up had done so earlier, I wish I had taken back control of my life earlier. Don’t get me wrong, I was NOT perfect in this situation, I did things I am not proud of. I was in survival mode, protection mode.
To this day, he has still taken no ownership over his actions, apologised to me (not that I expect it) or his family for the immense pain and suffering he has caused them. I reflect on the good times now with a sense of sadness, in the moment, they felt so real, so pure but I will never truly know if he meant them, or if it was all just a plot to make me his puppet.
Whilst I would not wish such pain and suffering upon my worst enemy (or the newer model), I know that I have come out the side a better person. I am finally content with who I am as a person, I have grown through this experience, know who I am, what I want, what I deserve and what I am capable of. I have realised how strong I really am, how much I have to give and how much I deserve to get in return. I have become a better, happier more content version of myself.
I am in a relationship with a man I adore, who treats me with the upmost respect and admiration, I am standing on my own two feet for the first time in my adult life and I’m taking back control. It has taken a lot of dark days, tears, anger and self doubt to get to this point and writing this article is the final chapter. He did not come out on top. He did not win.
I hope this helps anyone who is currently sitting at home not knowing what to do about their current relationship, whether what they are going through is normal, if the grass is greener on the other side. Take my word, through all the rain, there is a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end. It may take weeks, months, years to reach it. But I promise you, it’s worth it.
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