Thank you for the reminders SI! I stayed NC throughout the weekend.
Why is staying NC so difficult!? I really struggled this weekend and my thoughts wandered between wanting to know what he’s really thinking, to hoping that this is a sign that he won’t rage at me again, to thinking about my old pattern of taking the breadcrumb and wanting to forgive him, to being angry at him for not respecting my boundaries. I probably picked up my phone 10 times wanting to text my STBWX. Is it because of the trauma bond that has been created between me and him over the years? I have started to accept that I’ve been in a manipulative relationship the past couple of years, and that my STBWXs narc behaviors have been abusive and are used to manipulate and take advantage of my kindness and my forgiveness. But, it’s difficult to break the pattern.
A few of your comments stood out for me in particular.
1. @The1stWife said ‘He has to stop relying on you and your kindness. You’ve been fired as his wife. And now he has to face his life and future without you. You are not his safety net any longer.” And, “It’s merely to rid himself of any guilt. And that is no longer your job. He’s on his own. Period.”
I have always been my STBWXs safety net! I am a caretaker and am very empathetic, and he knows that about me. He wants to take advantage of my kindness and what I ‘used to’ do for him in the past. My support isn’t there for him anymore because I’ve gone greyrock and NC (and because I don’t want to give that support anymore) and he’s trying to dredge up some of that ‘supply’ from me. My STBWX wants to have his cake still, which is absolutely remarkable! He made his bed, so now he needs to face that.
One of the first things I thought when I saw the card / flowers was, ‘is this a real apology or just another manipulation?’ Because I think you are right. My STBWX definitely wants to rid himself of any guilt or responsibility so that it is easier this coming weekend to go move in with his AP. He doesn’t want to be the ‘bad guy’ and will use words and flowers to try and smooth things over. I figure he can get that support and safety net from his AP moving forward!
2. @ChamomileTea said “Remember, there are three settings for narc manipulation... charm, self-pity, and rage. He wants something.”, and, “NC = No new hurts.”
Charm, self-pity, and rage --- all three things I’ve seen from my STBWX in recent months. It’s so manipulative! I wish we could do a hard re-set on people who do this. It’s so hurtful and does so much damage to people and relationships. For me, it’s so foreign to understand how my STBWX could behave this way.
I’m so angry that I didn’t see this pattern the past 2-3 years though. I’m learning in IC that I was walking on eggshells to keep the peace and trying to fix things when he wouldn’t and ignored some red flags. Plus, I myself was just trying to keep my head above water because of 'life' happening. I know I can only learn from this and make changes in future relationships, but hindsight is always 20/20.
And I love "NC = No new hurts". ❤ It’s true! I am much stronger when I'm NC. Sort of, out of sight out of mind, and therefore I can process and deal with what I need to deal with. And if you think about it, flirting with the waiter likely would not have happened if I got the flowers before I went out with my friends.
3. @clouds777 said, “He likely realizes he fucked up leaving recordings of threats. He also realizes he lost control of you and he knows how to manipulate himself back in.” And, “He doesn’t actually care about you, he is just trying to be in control. No contact will drive him crazy and help you heal.”
Good point! Maybe he realized that leaving threatening and angry voicemails is a major screw up! So, he’s trying to ‘smooth things over’ and leverage what he knows about my pattern to make sure I don’t ‘react’ in a way that doesn’t suit his narrative.
Control – I never realized that my STBWX was controlling these past few years. Now I just can’t unsee it! He was very critical about my weight and things I did / didn’t do. It was never enough even though I was sacrificing my health for him and his wellbeing. He has been threatening these past 6 months following confrontation. He has blamed me for his mistakes and there is drama when I don’t respond right away (yet he can take however long he wants to respond). And looking back I do see that he kept a scoreboard of all the things he did ‘right’ and belittled me in the process. Looking back I’ve realized all these things were mechanisms to remain in control and to control the narrative. I mentioned this above, but I was in my own ‘fog’ and didn’t see the red flags. Now that I’ve set very hard boundaries, he can’t stand it!
4. @Bonetired said, “I agree as well he realizes he may have f;:ked himself over with the threats and is attempting to do damage control. The divorce isn't final yet so there is a lot on the table. He knows if he can make nice with you it would be to his advantage.”
Damage control is right. I’m not going to fall for it! I’m really proud of myself actually that I haven’t fallen apart and see this for what it is.
Also, what is PPO?
A quick update –
All week last week my dad / brother replaced my broken fan in the master bedroom (in advance to a very hot week here), and put in a new chandelier in my entry way. I’ve had the fan and the chandelier for awhile and it’s just collected dust. My STBXH never felt it necessary to prioritize installing them or doing any work around the house that didn't somehow benefit him! While at it, they discovered some bad electrical in the master bedroom and hallway, so they re-ran some Romex wire and taught me how to put in new plugs / light switches! I felt very accomplished. LOL.
Spent this weekend getting my garage set up now that my STBWX is out! My mom helped me de-grease / clean all the cabinets and my dad helped me belt sand the custom workbench we put in 7 years ago (to remove all the stains, glue, etc. that was on there). Then I bought myself some of the basics (wrenches, dustpan/broom, pliers, etc.) since my STBWX took the majority of the tools with him (which I was fine with). My parents got me a Shop Vac and a full set of screwdrivers (it was wrapped in Christmas paper which was hysterical and so incredibly sweet). Was able to move my extra cleaning supplies, the dog food, bird seed, etc. from the inside the house to the garage and hang all the tools on pegboard. There is a lot of space left and I don’t have everything I’ll need to do work at the house, but it’s a good start.
The second side of my fence is going in this week! It looks so beautiful. ❤
I love making the garage space more ‘me’ and doing some work on the house. It reminds me how blessed I am during such a stressful and upsetting time. I’ll never take this place for granted like he did!
And my family ... I don't know what I'd do without them. I get teary opening a screwdriver set because they know how difficult this has been and how difficult it is to start over. I can't imagine going through this process without their support.
My STBWX should be officially served this week. Preparing for the back-lash! And relying on a good quote from “Finding Nemo” to keep pushing forward. “When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”
[This message edited by Venus1 at 12:52 PM, June 14th (Monday)]