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Don't whack me too hard with those 2x4s

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skeetermooch posted 4/15/2021 14:29 PM

The backstory:
My XWH was doing a little stalking a few weeks back. I decided to speak to him because given his mental illness, I fear NC is causing too much escalation and it's scaring me. Maybe if he feels he has access to me occasionally he'll be less inclined to park outside of my house, etc.

I met up with him in person once - that was draining and unproductive. He texts me every several days. Recently one of his idiot friends was arrested for leaving his toddler home alone - the child wandered out of the house and was found in an alley. The guy is a horrible serial cheater with three children from various affairs in addition to the three he has with his wife of over 20 years. My XWH seemed to have an epiphany when this arrest happened. He's been talking a lot with the guy's wife and urging her to talk to me, has promised he will never blame me again for his actions and claims he finally gets what he did to me.

Naturally, this was all music to my ears, very validating, though I take it with a huge grain of salt. He's had smaller epiphanies and none of them lasted. He always reverts to asshole.

Recently, he's asked me to meet his daughter - they had been estranged for all of her life until after he and I split. She wants to meet me supposedly. I'm on the fence as to whether I should do this. Part of me wants to and part of me doesn't.

It feels incredibly demeaning to be in any kind of friendly, public scenario with a man who traumatized me like he did. So, I don't get why I'm having a hard time saying "No" to him? I don't want to hurt his daughter's feelings I suppose, but maybe it's also to do with still having a void in my life. I'm just not sure. I simply don't understand myself. I suppose NC is not entirely in line with my values - it feels harsh to disown someone I was married to. He's clearly mentally ill and even though it manifests itself in abuse and manipulative behavior I still feel some empathy. Thoughts?

grubs posted 4/15/2021 16:29 PM

Recently, he's asked me to meet his daughter - they had been estranged for all of her life until after he and I split. She wants to meet me supposedly. I'm on the fence as to whether I should do this. Part of me wants to and part of me doesn't.

I can't see this as anything but a hoovering exercise by the exWH. Suggest instead that she text you to set up something up. Spin it away from being a meeting away with all three of you present. I'd bet he wants nothing to do with you connecting without him there.
In all, you can't fix his mental issues. He has to fix them himself. Don't make yourself worse off by being there for someone who doesn't deserve you. It doesn't matter that he'll be better for it. That is no longer your role.

This0is0Fine posted 4/15/2021 17:30 PM

He is not your problem anymore.

tushnurse posted 4/15/2021 17:34 PM

Oh honey stop.
He is an abuser and he is now manipulating you.
NC is not to punish him....it is to protect yourself from the abuser.

Stop engaging him. There is absolutely no purpose in meeting his daughter. All it does is open more ways for him to enmesh himself back in your life.

Glashalffull posted 4/15/2021 17:57 PM

You see it yourself.. his mental health manifests into manipulative behavior. THAT is why he is doing and saying all this. That is also why you are drawn to it. He knows how to push your buttons, manipulating you. And we, who are survivors of this type of abuse, have difficulty not getting sucked back in to it.
Be careful

Anna123 posted 4/15/2021 19:26 PM

One technique to try, is to be B O R I N G---------- (unless he is dangerous in some way, which the stalking has me concerned, then look into legal solutions). He should be unaware that NC is even happening over time from what you have described.

Since you have obviously kept communications open recently, maybe slowly back it down over a period of time while - YAWN --- being SOOOO boring. Bore the crap out of him. Speak monotone. Yes and no answers. Tired all the time--- Just FEEL like are the most BORING person on Earth in these final contacts. Don't comment on whatever he tells you. Just "oh, wow". Uh huh etc. Try to make your voice sound kind of 'ugly' if on the phone.

I see no reason to meet this daughter by the way, it makes no sense at all in my mind! Don't connect anymore! You don't need that and it is not good for you to connect further through that.

He is not someone you want in your life. What if you star dating! Is he going to go psycho? You need him gone, bored, and moved on so you can move on as well.

Good luck.


DevastatedDee posted 4/15/2021 22:45 PM

This isn't a whack, just a gentle tap. Only because I love you.

You know who he is. You know what he does. You know what it is to be with him. If you get further enmeshed with him, you are a volunteer at that point and not a victim anymore. You already know what's in store for you. Nothing he says or does is for your own good. Nothing. You are a very intelligent woman and you know this is true. You've said it yourself.

You've been frightened into being back in contact with him. That makes him an interpersonal terrorist that you're negotiating with.

It's okay to have empathy for the mentally ill. Possibly even Jeffrey Dahmer could get someone to empathize with how messed up he was and how hard it was to be him. Doesn't mean he'd be safe to be around. I have huge empathy for dogs with rabies, but I can't do anything for them. That you have empathy for him makes me like you even more than I already did, but you have to aim empathy very carefully in life.

Empathy is a beautiful trait, but it's also a weapon that abusers use against you. I could allow myself to have empathy for my XWH, but there is absolutely zero good that would do. He'd take advantage of it and use me. It wouldn't make him capable of empathy towards me. It wouldn't make him a better person. It would make me a mark. Don't feed the grizzlies, you get me?

If your life feels so empty that his attention is something that you crave, that's something you have to address and take responsibility for. We own our lives and it's up to us to give them direction. If it's therapy you need, go get it. If it's a healthy distraction, go find one. Go volunteer anywhere to help others with something. Go pretend car-shopping and test-drive something cool. Go count the daffodils in your yard. ANYTHING. Paint your mailbox post. Whatever it is that won't hurt you, go find it and do it. Get outside of yourself for a while and do something to enhance your life to the point where an abuser's attention is not something that you want.

There is no contact with him that will lead to anything that will improve your life. Now if you feel no contact makes him dangerous, you have a legal situation, not an empathy situation. You have a restraining order situation. Mine did some stalking of his own and only firm no contact made that go away and it wasn't instantaneous. He had to figure out that nothing worked on me, be it threats or pleading. I had to become a cold bitch. There's a cold bitch in each of us. Get to know and love her. The only thing that will make your feelings for him disappear is no contact and time. You're extending your suffering by having anything to do with him.

The1stWife posted 4/16/2021 06:39 AM

Empathize from afar. No contact.

Itís there for a reason.

skeetermooch posted 4/16/2021 10:46 AM

Thank you, everyone. Your collective wisdom has once again helped me pull my head out of my a**.

Suggest instead that she text you to set up something up. Spin it away from being a meeting away with all three of you present. I'd bet he wants nothing to do with you connecting without him there.

That's hilarious and a great suggestion.
He knows how to push your buttons, manipulating you. And we, who are survivors of this type of abuse, have difficulty not getting sucked back in to it.

Yes, it's true. It's totally manipulative. He even went so far as to say if I met his daughter it would motivate him to recover and help him have more empathy for me.
One technique to try, is to be B O R I N G----------

I've been sort of doing this already. It's interesting how little he has to say. All of our communication must have been based on him getting me to carry the conversation. I try really hard not to engage and definitely not to share about my life.
You've been frightened into being back in contact with him. That makes him an interpersonal terrorist that you're negotiating with.

Yep. What's extra effed up about that is how easy it is to get re-engaged and forget how I got there. Like I can lapse back into all kinds of knee-jerk feelings and forget that the only reason I'm in contact is because my son found him parked out front at 8pm one night and it scared the shit out of me.
I could allow myself to have empathy for my XWH, but there is absolutely zero good that would do. He'd take advantage of it and use me. It wouldn't make him capable of empathy towards me.

Bingo - deep down I somehow believe demonstrating empathy will generate it from him. Magical thinking. (And, I love you too, Dee!)

I've come a long way since the start of this journey but I'm still missing the best friend piece. That asshole is walking around in the skin suit of my former best friend and sometimes it's very hard to remember that fact. I just see and hear my former best friend.

Complete NC scares me. I've done the restraining order route with a stalker ex before and it just escalated the crap out of him. He got one on me, which I fought in court and had dropped - for a few thousand in legal fees. He continued to stalk, was arrested twice, continued to stalk - I still occasional see him drive by my house years later. I think these narc sociopath types are outraged by legal sanctions and ultimately the sanctions mean nothing. The cops can't catch them when they break a NC order because it takes them too long to show up.

EllieKMAS posted 4/16/2021 12:01 PM

I've come a long way since the start of this journey but I'm still missing the best friend piece. That asshole is walking around in the skin suit of my former best friend and sometimes it's very hard to remember that fact. I just see and hear my former best friend.
Color me crazy, but my best friends have never hurt me the way my exdouche did. Best friends don't do that shit to each other.

Skeeter honey he was n-e-v-e-r your 'best friend'. Ever. He was always lookin out for his numero uno, which is himself first and always. Anyone and everyone else in his life is there to serve some purpose for him and to do something for him. There's a reason why his daughter cut ties with him (just like I did with my narc asshole dad 15 years ago and haven't regretted it).

NC NC NC NC NC. Lather rinse repeat.

It's lovely that you can still empathize and that says a lot about who you are as a person, but you can very much have that empathy and still have no contact with him. No contact is for YOU and your sanity. Cus you KNOW 100% at this point that any contact with him does nothing good for you.

DevastatedDee posted 4/16/2021 12:27 PM

I've come a long way since the start of this journey but I'm still missing the best friend piece. That asshole is walking around in the skin suit of my former best friend and sometimes it's very hard to remember that fact. I just see and hear my former best friend.

I hear you and I remember that feeling, but neither of us would ever tolerate that behavior from an actual best friend. One we weren't sleeping with or romantically tied to. That chick would be cut off cold. If we want, we can find new "best friends" who are more qualified for the job. It would be hard to do worse than we already have, lol.

I think we all spend some time missing who we thought they were. That's what the time and distance of no contact is there to cure. It made my brain twist into knots to look at that person and see my guy and that asshole all at once. It isn't healthy. Causes brain damage.

DevastatedDee posted 4/16/2021 12:29 PM

Complete NC scares me. I've done the restraining order route with a stalker ex before and it just escalated the crap out of him. He got one on me, which I fought in court and had dropped - for a few thousand in legal fees. He continued to stalk, was arrested twice, continued to stalk - I still occasional see him drive by my house years later. I think these narc sociopath types are outraged by legal sanctions and ultimately the sanctions mean nothing. The cops can't catch them when they break a NC order because it takes them too long to show up.

Literally why I own a gun. I'm not saying that's what you or anyone should do and I'm not exactly a fan of me doing that, but...I had a drug addicted stalker. It didn't feel safe. Stalker on crack just isn't someone who cares about the law.

BearlyBreathing posted 4/16/2021 13:46 PM

Empathy does not equal endorsement. Engaging with him is a form of endorsement.
Protect your heart, and empathize from afar.

Sometimes we can be too kind for our own good. Shields up....

HalfTime2017 posted 4/16/2021 13:56 PM

NO, just no.

Dont let him hoover, and he is not your friend. Seriously, come around here and let us remind you of what an ass he is.

I do understand where you're coming from Skeeter. I absolutely do. Sometimes I think, man, I'm over this shit, time to move on and just be cool. But these people don't think like you or I. They ARE NOT COOL.

So, as much as I'd like to be friendly and cordial, soon enough they'll do something that reminds you why you have to keep those boundaries in place. Its not about you. Really, its NOT. Its about how these people are manipulative fuck ups, and they will try. They want the world to think they're great people, but sooner or later they revert back to being them.

We all need a reminder from time to time b/c we are kind hearted and they never will be. To just keep the distance and stay NC.

crazyblindsided posted 4/16/2021 14:04 PM

He even went so far as to say if I met his daughter it would motivate him to recover and help him have more empathy for me.

This actually made me laugh out loud

(((skeetermooch))) you are an empathetic person and that says a lot about you. Time to get back on that NC horse. I just broke NC this week too after a nasty text my Ex sent. Must be something in the air this week.

skeetermooch posted 4/17/2021 00:12 AM

You all rock.

he was n-e-v-e-r your 'best friend'. Ever. He was always lookin out for his numero uno, which is himself first and always. Anyone and everyone else in his life is there to serve some purpose for him and to do something for him.

I know this to be absolutely true. And yet, it's so easy for him to manipulate me - it's remarkable. I guess that's why NC is so important. We mere mortals are no match for their dark powers.
neither of us would ever tolerate that behavior from an actual best friend. One we weren't sleeping with or romantically tied to.

This!! I have cut off female friends for a lot less, totally and permanently, but somehow a romantic partner, who should be even more loyal than any other "friend" somehow gets second chances and all kinds of mulligans for the most despicable behavior. So twisted.
Literally why I own a gun.

Believe me I'm toying with the idea a lot. I have a taser and a knife but a gun is something I'd like to get comfortable having around. I've taken the class and shot at the range a few times but it's still a scary thing to think about having in my house.
Engaging with him is a form of endorsement.

I love that quote, BB. The idea of endorsing him stops me in my tracks. I know if I were to go out with him publicly, it's as good as saying he wasn't that bad and I will never, ever say that.
So, as much as I'd like to be friendly and cordial, soon enough they'll do something that reminds you why you have to keep those boundaries in place. Its not about you. Really, its NOT. Its about how these people are manipulative fuck ups, and they will try. They want the world to think they're great people, but sooner or later they revert back to being them.

This is exactly it. I'm over him as a romantic partner. I've grieved the marriage - still more to go I'm sure, but I'm over a big hump, and I know there's no going back. So, I lapse into this idea that we could be friendly except he's not normal - he's always got an angle, rage, lies, manipulations...I can't have him in my world at all. Somehow as soon as I get to somewhat solid ground, feeling stronger, he worms his way into my attention. I think I can handle it until I can't.
I just broke NC this week too after a nasty text my Ex sent. Must be something in the air this week.

Your EX sounds a lot like mine - so good with the guilt and blame - they just throw shit at the wall until something sticks and we re-engage.

Chili posted 4/17/2021 10:31 AM

Somehow as soon as I get to somewhat solid ground, feeling stronger, he worms his way into my attention. I think I can handle it until I can't.

Late to the party, but chiming in as a perennial NC cheerleader.

Of course you know he's worming because you let him. So - couple random questions to ponder (as ones that bounced through my own head back in the day).

Do you get sucked back in by thinking:

1. You know, we had so many good years together so there was a reason I loved him and stayed with him. Surely I can extend some grace to him.

2. I can be the adult here and show him how people are supposed to treat each other.

3. People can change. He's had it so hard. Don't be mean. Be sweet. Be kind. Smile. Give him a chance.

4. If I can make this last step "nicer, calmer, more amicable," it will make it a little easier going forward. It won't leave such a bitter taste in my mouth.

5. I'm bored and a little lonely and the world is kind of sucky and there he is and he knows me and it's pretty convenient, so why not?

Assclown got back in touch via texts on a new cell phone months after we were done. Besides some of the above, I was just damn curious after 100% NC for so long. Was he swirling down the toilet? Were they still together? And of course I was hoping to finally hear some real humility or something that soothed me. Yeah, that was stupid. All it did was set my healing back in a big way. Because - big reveal - it was all still about him. All of it. I threw down that last big boundary and haven't heard from him since. It was truly freeing.

Keep cruising without the rearview mirror sister.

skeetermooch posted 4/17/2021 11:50 AM

Chili, all of the above. 1-5. And, yeah, it's always about him. Not even an ounce of appreciation that I've given him an audience after all of the horrendous crap he's done. I really feel my Catholic school training to turn the other cheek, etc coming out with him.

And of course I was hoping to finally hear some real humility or something that soothed me. Yeah, that was stupid. All it did was set my healing back in a big way.

I'm starving for those words of real humility, which he once in awhile spouts, however insincerely. I just gotta get over that.

It made my brain twist into knots to look at that person and see my guy and that asshole all at once. It isn't healthy. Causes brain damage.

Same on this - this is why NC is the only way, I guess. It's too hard to have contact and continually hold on to the thought that he's the one who did this to me and not the person I loved.

barcher144 posted 4/18/2021 19:41 PM

Maybe if he feels he has access to me occasionally he'll be less inclined to park outside of my house, etc.

Can you call the police on this?

My guess is that they'd be willing to show up, knock on his window, and ask a couple of questions.

Maybe I'm off-base... definitely don't do this based on my suggestion without others confirming that it's a good idea.

skeetermooch posted 4/19/2021 12:01 PM

I could call the police, but history as a guide they may or may not come out. Without a restraining order he's free to park in front of my house. Actually, even with one, I think he can park pretty close.

My stalker ex-boyfriend used to park at the corner for hours and watch my house. I went back to court to put a distance requirement on the order, and even hired a lawyer for that. The judge thought it was unnecessary, but finally caved and gave me 200 feet - instead of the 500 I requested. So, then he commenced parking precisely 200' from my house.

My main thing is escalating him. It seems like giving him a more grey rock response rather than NC might be better, but time will tell.

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