The Black Leggings Game
You know what's scary? Not realizing you have been living with a covert narcissist for twenty three years. When my forty-eight year old hubby left me for a co-worker the same age as our son, she convinced him that he was much better off (no, I was), because I'm a narcissist. Since she's taking one psychology class at a local University, and has never spoken to me, I'm guessing he not only assumed she was right, but psychic as well. Bonus! I knew the mythology of Narcissus but didn't know what the clinical definition was, so I started researching. I had to know why he embraced her armchair diagnoses of me so readily. I'm so glad I did. I not only became aware that HE was the narcissist, but learned that I have almost every single function of codependency. Narcissists and codependents fit together like perfect puzzle pieces, which is why we were able to stay married for so long. As long as I kept doing everything for him, told him how in shape he was, how sexy he was, how lucky I was to be married to such a God, I was plenty of supply to feed his ego. Granted, our relationship didn't start out this way, but I'll get to that in a later post. Over the years thru verbal and at times physical abuse, he molded my little, codependent, ass into his perfect battery. One which he drew off of and drained throughout our marriage. At the time, I had no idea that this was happening, I thought he got jealous when I went anywhere with friends because he loved me so much he didn't want to share me. When those friends started drifting away, he told me it was for the best, because now I could devote all my time and energy into being the perfect wife and mother. June Cleaver and Pamela Anderson, wrapped up into one blissfully unaware, domestic household, Goddess. And I fell for it; Hook, line, and sinker. It made me feel good to feel needed, it was my fuel, perfect supply for my codependent personality. He never had to do anything but take out the trash, mow the lawn, and shovel. But even those few chores weren't done on a regular basis. If it snowed while he was at work, I would make sure to have a path plowed up our very long driveway, so that he could pull right into the garage. If it was going to rain on his days off I would do the lawn work on sunny day. You get the idea. He would come home at 9:30 at night and change into his pajamas and go put his feet up in his recliner, and I would serve him his dinner, which I would then clean up, while he ate the dessert I delivered to him. Refill on your beverage? Let me get right on that honey. Napkin? So sorry I forgot, let me go grab you one. The dry cleaners aren't doing your dress shirts the way you like? As soon as the kids are in bed, I'll set up the ironing board and grab the spray starch. Anything to keep our household blissfully happy and unaware of any turmoil. Because all of us knew, when dad wasn't happy, we all felt the tension. Just simmering under the surface, waiting to boil over. It took about eleven years to choreograph the perfect waltz, one that the kids and I could dance on a bed of nails, without complaining about the blood draining from our feet. But one day, 17 years ago, an uninvited guest showed up at our ball, I was diagnosed with Lupus. I had been feeling ill, achy, feverish, for months, but no one could figure out what was going on until I got the dreaded butterfly rash across my cheeks and nose. Suddenly there was someone stepping on the toes of the hubby's perfect little dance partner. He couldn't control it, and he wasn't happy about it. All the doctors appointments, and new meds took attention away from him. I could see that the concern he showed wasn't sympathy for me, but for himself. So, I put on a brave face, and marched thru seventeen years trying not to fail in what I considered to be my duties as a wife and mother. There were a lot of nights I would silently cry myself to sleep from the pain, or initiate sex because I wanted him to feel good, and not realize I was suffering. I believed this was normal, at least our version of normal. I thought we were happy. For the past twelve years there was rarely an argument between us, a good and sometimes kinky sex life, and a peaceful coexistence in our marriage. Sure we didn't have outside friendships, but that was because we only needed each other, right? The two oldest kids moved out and onward, the youngest was struggling with his identity, but I was sure he'd push thru. I now realize it was so fucking dysfunctional, there are not even clinical definitions to describe it. I'm heartbroken, not for me, but for my kids. I can't believe I put my children through this. I can never make it up to them, I thought I was doing a good job as a mother, but stressing us all out to maintain calm for one person, is not doing a good job. It's abuse, emotional abuse. And that can hurt more than any physical pain. They have invisible scars, scars that don't heal with a band aid or sutures. I was abused as a child, sexually and physically. I know now that a lot of codependent people start off with childhoods like mine, I never wanted my kids to go through that. I never learned what real normal was, this was normal to me. I tried my best with the tools I was given, but you can't screw in a light bulb with a hammer.
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