I'm really down this week - I looked at the business cards I found in his stash and it's more revolting doors into his ugly little second life - but on the positive side I have been reading, watching and listening to a lot of the narcissist material you all have been recommending and it's been SO helpful!! I relate to so much of it.
I just read this (from an account called the Little Shaman, thanks to the person who recommended them) and it's so enlightening:
The ability to hurt other people may have as much to do with the ability to justify the behavior to the mind as it does with empathy - or more. Even when we have empathy, we are capable of doing things that hurt others if we can justify it.
"Narcissists understand the difference between right and wrong, so the majority of them need some kind of justification for their behavior.
Justification works to nullify any empathy for the other person or shame for actions that may exist in the person taking the actions. If we believe that someone deserves something or maybe that we were actually doing a good thing instead of a bad thing, why should we not do it? What is stopping us?
Perhaps even more than empathy (or the lack thereof), the ability to justify one's behavior may be the key to the level of willingness someone possesses to do things that are hurtful, dangerous, destructive, or wrong. Even with empathy, human beings can and will do things that hurt others if they can believe they're somehow justified in doing it.
Justifications can be things that are true or false, real or imagined. They can be weak excuses or solid reasons. The important thing seems to be how much a person believes the justification entitles them to do, how far it entitles them to go in hurting others.
Non-narcissistic people who feel justified in hurting others somehow usually still have a line they will not cross. Narcissists seem to believe that they are entitled to go as far as they choose because of their ability to justify their behavior."
Just reading that this morning makes so much sense to me! Because I've never thought that WH lacks empathy exactly, because I've seen evidence of what I think is real empathy in him, when he himself is not personally involved in the situation. But he clearly behaves in ways that I can't imagine anyone behaving if they feel real empathy towards their loved ones.
I have been journaling over and over again about this - why did he hurt his family SO MUCH just to get sex and attention? Why did he value sex and attention more than he valued me, our son, our family, our marriage, seemingly his own soul? Was the sex and attention that important? Was 'keeping a secret' from me that valuable to him?
But when I read this, this morning, it seems like the only thing that makes sense. It's not that he didn't care if people were hurt, it's that he acknowledged he was doing something that would definitely hurt us and then created a convoluted justification so strong that the justification became more important to him than the outcome.
It was rigged against me and our family from the start. Our marriage was poisoned by him from the very beginning.