Thank you for your immense support.
I am unemployed. Have been for years. I used to have a good, steady job in a respected field. I had saved money to try out some other venues in life I had always wanted to. She encouraged me to quit my job. As she comes from wealth and kept insisting money wouldn’t be a problem, I finally gave in despite my fear. I loved her, after all, and she seemed so supportive.
Has anyone read or seen Gone Girl? That’s sort of our relationship, minus the husband’s infidelity.
I was going to return to my job a couple of years later but she insisted I don’t. She said she just wanted to be with me and that I had no financial reason to return so I made an untraditional choice: I became the “house husband”.
Now I realize she was just gradually taking control over me. Trapping me financially. Isolating me from colleagues and eventually friends. Your typical story, had I been a woman and she a man. Weird this way around, probably.
I though she did all of that out of love. I never considered she might be a narcissist, a real, clinical narcissist slowly eroding all of my relationships.
I never met her parents for almost a decade. When I finally did, I saw why: her mother was an extremely volatile narcissist who also displayed violence towards her broken husband who was pretty much her lackey. She hit him, constantly, several times a day without even hiding it in front of me. She lied to him about extremely big things, baffling things. She had her daughter, my wife, in exactly the same financial and emotional stranglehold as my wife had gotten me into.
Still I refused to see my wife for what she is. I thought her the victim of her abusive mother and sure, she was. But she was also victimizing me, repeating what mother had taught her. Recently when I’ve mentioned how her behavioral patterns resemble those of her mother’s, she’s gone berserk, denying she’s anything like her mother when she’s exactly the same.
I come from a broken home, one of violence and infidelity and fear and sorrow. A connection, a family, was the only thing I wanted in life. She saw this and offered me exactly what I wanted.
But it was all a lie.
She had no love for me, she just wanted to be wanted.
She had no money, it was all from her mother (and preventing any spousal support in case she wants a divorce is exactly why they have such an unusual financial arrangement.) Her mother controls her, she controls whoever she’s been with.
I’ve found out startling things. Other failed marriages before me, starting and ending exactly the same. Always with her presenting an image that’s appealing, so appealing you know it’s too good to be true but buy into it anyway.
When years pass and her spouse finally sees her, she turns hostile and ends it. She doesn’t want anyone to see what she is. Once you do, it’s over. She even knows this on some level, over the past week she admitted, once, how hard it is to let anyone see the thing that’s wrong with her and see her pattern of lying. But then that moment passed, she slipped back into denial and was gone again.
Two nights ago I had a nightmare of her suffocating me. I woke up to her squeezing my head and my face and pushing her fingernails into my skin, shaking my head violently with an enraged expression and saying: Shut up! I need to sleep!
Yesterday was a good day right until midnight. It genuinely felt like she was back home, there was a real emotional connection for a few precious hours. I can see it when she’s faking and she wasn’t. But then, as we were preparing to go to sleep, she started messaging him again. She spend an hour at it.
I talked to her, told her how good the day had been and how sad I was for her not being able to commit for even a single day to repairing the damage. In the hours leading up to the messaging, she had badmouthed him. But that was a lie, of course.
We went to sleep, a sense of calm between us, finally.
I woke up to another panic attack, my stomach feeling like I might be developing an ulcer. First thing she said: this all ends today. She said she’s had it with me, she said I am being violent. I said I was having a panic attack and severe abdominal pain and it’s absurd to say that is being violent. She kept repeating: you are violent, I am afraid of you, I am going to tell everyone how violent you are and how you never let me sleep, never let me be myself, never let me have anything nice for myself.
She said: you will end up on the street, homeless, shamed, everyone knowing you are a violent horrible person, die in a gutter alone.
And she’s right. She has that power over me, now.
Mine isn’t, I realize writing this, a story about surviving infidelity. I wish it had been. I hoped to find a solution here. But this is an ending, one that needs to be written down even for only a handful of people to read. To you, kind stranger, I give you the truth and the story so that at least someone knows, someone has testified, felt my existence. Thank you, whomever reads this. You are the best friend I have ever known.
My wife suddenly said she wouldn’t throw me out on the streets. Said she’ll always support me.
Then she told me, just now, that she doesn’t want to hear another word out of me that doesn’t please her. She told me she almost hates me. Even still. I told her I loved her. She said she didn’t care. She said emotions don’t mean anything to her, said they were for children. She says this while sending him - this old alcoholic of all men she could have chosen from - messages where she says she misses him and feels better when she thinks of him.
She said she’ll take care of me as long as I do whatever she wants me to do from now on, and if I act like she isn’t actually forcing me to do it. My anxiety, my fear, my pain - both physical and emotional - are to be hidden now. She laughs out loud if she she’s I might cry or if I go silent for too long or look at her the wrong way. Laughs and then shouts insults.
She said, if I do anything at all, ever again, that she doesn’t like, she’ll destroy my life. She said she’s free to do whatever she wants and that I am not. She said I will quietly take it if she abuses me and I will never as much as raise my voice to defend myself and that’s the end of it.
So finally I’m awake. Finally I see. Monsters do exist. People like her actually exist. I thought they lived in the realm of fiction alone. The Annie Wilkeses and Hannibal Lecters. The mother from Sharp Objects. The wife from Gone Girl. Bluebeard.
But the stories are all true. I never once thought I’d end up living in one of them. Trapped without escape. In constant terror. Finally seeing the monstrosity that has revealed itself from beneath my wife’s pretty, alluring face.
What I had thought was true love was violence, abuse of the most sickening order.
The only decision in my life I am proud of, the only thing I can look back on and feel some relief: the baby girl we gave up for adoption in our youth. That little innocent life I saved from my wife. Perhaps I did know, even then, deep down, what she was, even though the extent of her soullesness would only reveal itself far in the future.
If I cannot save myself any longer, perhaps I can write a letter to our long gone daughter. Perhaps I can warn her, tell her what her mother is and why we couldn’t keep her. Because of the evil. The destroyer she is. Perhaps I can tell her to run for her life if she ever sees her mother coming. While my life didn’t amount to anything, maybe this one task is the only thing left to do. And maybe it’s enough purpose for one life.
Baby daughter, one day I wish to meet you in Heaven, if there is such a thing.
Sweet child, know that you were loved, always.