Tag Archives: denial

Being with a Narcissistic Sociopath – Part 2

15 Mar

HST_sal

So, here’s the continuation of my first post on this topic.  I’ve been working on these for a while.  It has been eye-opening to see the traits and characteristics detailed and described like this.  It’s even crazier to see how many of these he had.  I knew he was a narcissist, but seeing how much that overlaps with sociopathy and relating it to the last 5 years of my life I am shocked by how much I put up with.  Now that the time with him is really almost officially over and done with, I think this is a good time to examine these things, then leave them in the past where they belong.  I will never again let someone like this be part of my life.

Again, this list came from Paula’s Pontifications.

Once it’s clear you’re dealing with a narcissist, go through the following list to see if the narcissist is also a sociopath. (You’ll discover many overlapping traits from each list.) The list below of 20 sociopathic traits is taken directly from the book Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Dr. Robert D. Hare, Ph.D:

1. Glib and superficial charm. The tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Sociopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A sociopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.  My Mom always said that he was a “charmer.”  He definitely never worried if he didn’t know the facts behind something.  He still had an opinion.  A strong one.  Whether it was actually based on anything or not.  He always talked over me, and in social settings he made sure he was the center of attention.  His voice was often booming and inappropriately loud, even in intimate, otherwise quiet settings.  It was embarrassing, but I thought it was just because I was an introvert.  All of those other red flags I just assumed went along with an extroverted personality.  

2. Grandiose self-worth. A grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart.  Sociopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.  He had no concept of where he actually stood in relation to others.  He was very, very cocky.  He would also brag about the smallest thing like it was some crowning achievement.  It’s one thing to be proud of yourself.  It’s another to take something mundane or normal and gloat about it to everyone. 

He was also adamant about being so much better than everyone else he worked with, no matter what the job.  He complained about being “stuck” with incompetent people or having to take up other people’s slack.  In retrospect, it’s funny how in EVERY single job he was the best…  Yet it was never reflected in his pay or position. He always had excuses, though. He just wasn’t an ass-kisser or he was too valuable in the field to get promoted. When he was fired it was someone else’s fault and they were out to get him. Yeah…

3. Need for stimulation or proneness to boredom. An excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Sociopaths often have low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.  The first part of this one doesn’t ring too true.  He could be a bump on a log sometimes – sitting and doing nothing for days.  He wasn’t into thrills like sky-diving (which I want to do).  However, he did have a very short attention span.  And low self-discipline doesn’t even begin to describe it!  He would start things all the time and not finish them.   That is why I have half-finished counter top, a living room with only one wall retouched, and various unfinished projects that he promised to take care of and didn’t.

4. Pathological lying. Can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.  Hahaha… Pathological lying for sure!  He was certainly manipulative, dishonest, deceitful and deceptive.   Read basically any of my past posts, and you will see that.  That man would lie about anything and everything just for the hell of it.

5. Conning and manipulative. The use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one’s victims.  I don’t think my ex had real concern for the things that he did to people.  He felt entitled to the things that he took from people, even if they were taken through deceptive means.  He didn’t have any problem with lying to me in order to keep me around longer, stay in my house, and con kisses and sex out of me that I wouldn’t have given him if I knew the truth.  He could pretend to understand what I was going through, but he never actually did get it.  He would cry, but it was out of self-pity, not because of what he did to me.  It was always, always about him.  He could pretend to be concerned about my feelings, but when given the opportunity to behave the same way again he would.

6. Lack of remorse or guilt. A lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one’s victims.  Oh look!  My last comment transitioned perfectly into this one.  His apologies were never really about being sorry.  They were about doing what he needed to in order to keep what he wanted.   He never incorporated what he was sorry FOR – it was just about the words.  He couldn’t grasp the way he made me feel and find real remorse for that.  As far as other people outside of our relationship?  I never, ever saw him empathize.  He would bitch about people and judge them for the VERY SAME things that he did.  I used to point that out to him – how can you judge someone else harshly for being in a position that you have been in (unemployed, homeless, living off of other people, etc., etc.)?  He just couldn’t put himself in another person’s shoes even if he had BEEN in those shoes before.

7. Shallow affect. Emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.  I like the term “emotional poverty.”  He was certainly “openly gregarious,” but with a very, very shallow pool of real emotions to draw from.  From afar and at parties and such, he would come across as a very likable, charming person.  But it was all on the surface.  It didn’t run deeper.  He didn’t let anyone in, ever.  Maybe there was nothing deeper.

8. Callousness and lack of empathy. A lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.  He could fake warmth for a certain amount of time.  He was certainly inconsiderate and tactless.  If you actually sat down and talked to him about a specific person or situation, you would soon see how little empathy he had.  Everyone on welfare or unemployment was a drug dealer (except when he needed unemployment – oh, wait, and he WAS a drug dealer at one point!).  When his sibling(s) got into a jam, he wanted nothing to do with helping.  He was very judgmental about my sister and everyone he had ever met that he felt the slightest bit superior to, which was basically everyone.

9. Parasitic lifestyle. An intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.  Hahaha…  That is spot on.  He is 48, almost 49 and has never, ever lived on his own.  He lived with his parents off and on well into his late 20s and even some in his 30s (I believe).  He lived the college, drunken party life into his late 30s even though he never went to college.  He always had multiple roommates.  He sold pot and did every single drug imaginable (that didn’t have to be injected because he’s afraid of needles).  His friends paid most of the bills.  He might have pitched in here and there.  Maybe.  He moved from couch to couch in his friends’ houses after his last breakup until he wore out his welcome with every single person.

He even lived with his sister for years in his 40s.  She always covered him when he was short, which was every month. This is the same sister he couldn’t be bothered to help out when she lost her job of 20 years.  Oh, and he had no sympathy for her, either. From his perspective she should have had money saved up for something like that. Nevermind that he didn’t have a penny saved himself.  Then he found the gravy train with me. He had me fooled for a bit.  Once that was over it was back to couch surfing. Now he’s living with another friend and supposedly paying rent… I feel sorry for that guy. 

And don’t even get me started on his lack of motivation!  What motivation? Selfish also doesn’t begin to describe how completely self-centered he could be.

10. Poor behavioral controls. Expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.  He had little to no control over his anger.  He would blow up at the drop of a hat.  He threw things.  He had temper tantrums like a child.  He would strike out and become incredibly petty. I found myself unconsciously trying to smooth things over and attempt to control his wild mood swings before they happened.

11. Promiscuous sexual behavior. A variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests. We all know this one applies. I think 50+ sex partners off of the internet counts as “indiscriminate,” especially since his only criteria was that they were female and willing to fuck him. Multiple affairs? Check. Having more than one sexual relationship going at a time? Check.  Brief, superficial relationships? Check.  Bragging?  Triple check.

12. Early behavior problems. A variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home. The only one of these I don’t know for sure is the glue-sniffing. Knowing him that probably happened, though.  He even set an entire grove of woods on fire as a kid.  

13. Lack of realistic, long-term goals. An inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.  Realistic and long-term were two terms he didn’t even know.  He doesn’t have anything saved.  Nothing.  Maybe the $5 they make you put in the savings account to keep it open.  That’s it.  He just raided his “retirement” account (which only had a pathetically small amount of money in it anyway).  His long-term plans (become a famous chef, open a restaurant, become a millionaire) would only have been possible if we lived in a magical world where a genie could grant wishes.  He had huge pipe dreams and absolutely no feasible plan for making them happen.  Before he knew me he was extremely nomadic – moving every year basically.  

14. Impulsivity. The occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.  Yep.  At first I called that spontaneity.  It seemed fun.  He seemed to be a good balance for my overly planned, serious nature.  Then I started seeing it pop up in ways that weren’t just a spur of the moment vacation.  I started to noticed that he failed to think ANYTHING through.  Even if he tried, he failed.  He might say that he was or was not going to do XYZ, no matter what.  Then the second he was actually faced with the choice he did the opposite of what he said he was going to do.  He would spend money he didn’t have.  He had unprotected sex with people he didn’t even know.  When he drank he often got hammered.  There was no moderation, no control, and no thought of what the negative consequences of his foolish actions might be.

15. Irresponsibility. Repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.  When I met my husband he had terrible credit.  He blamed his ex.  Now I know that was a huge red flag, and I should have run in the other direction as fast as I could.  At the time it seemed reasonable.  They were renting a house together.  She moved out and (he said) left him with all of the bills, some of which got out of control.  I had just gone through a breakup.  I, too, was left with the house and all of the bills.  It was a struggle.  Of course I never let anything get past due, and I never, ever would have.  But I could see how someone making less than I was could have a hard time.  It had been over a year since that breakup, but he still had bills that had gone into collections.  I helped him pull his credit report for free so he could get the number of the agencies and work out some sort of payment.  

Fast-forward 5 years later to the present day – Some of these bills are STILL in collections.  He had more than adequate opportunities to pay them off.  Hell, I would have helped him out with them.  Besides the fact that I was paying most of the bills already, if he had called and set up something I would have helped make the payment to get them off of his credit.  Call me a push-over and an enabler.  It’s true.  I was.  Not anymore.

Besides those examples from the past, within our relationship he would often overdraft his bank account, go over the limit on his credit card, and hide bills from me that were in his name and past due.  I didn’t let him fuck up MY credit or my bill payment.  He knew enough to know that there is absolutely no way that would fly under my radar.  But anything that didn’t have my name attached to it wasn’t paid more often than it was.  He was fired from his construction job for sloppy, lazy work.  He has all sorts of excuses, but the bottom line is that plus his bad attitude got him fired.

16. A failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.  Mr. Mess had never once accepted responsibility for a single thing he did wrong. Ever.  There was always an excuse.  It was his ex’s fault, his boss’s fault, his co-worker’s fault, my fault, our dog’s fault, the doctor’s fault, the cell phone company’s fault… You name it.  If you asked him, the entire world was in a conspiracy against him and he’d never done a single thing wrong.  Antagonistic manipulation is the perfect term.  I’d never heard it before, but it fits perfectly.  That’s why gaslighting was so easy for him – it was second nature to place the blame anywhere and everywhere besides himself, and if it made me feel crazy in the process all the better because it made lying to me easier.  And his denial of responsibility was always used as a tool to manipulate – he made me feel sorry for him about the way his last relationship ended, and I know he is doing that today with the story he tells about us.  Everything is designed with a spin that puts him in the role of innocent victim.

17. Many short-term marital relationships. A lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.  I was the only idiot stupid enough to marry him.  That didn’t last long, though.  Before me, his longest relationship was 3 years (maybe).  Other than that, it was 6 months here, 6 months there, and a whole fucking lot of one-night internet hookups.  I am shocked that he was able to keep the friends he had for 20+ years.  The main reason I see for that being possible is that most of them were just as immature and messed up as him – gatherings always had to include drugs and drinking, there are only 2 friends who are married (even though they are all his age), and they still play video games non-stop.  That plus his manipulation, party vibe, and victim mentality kept people distracted and feeling sorry for him and ready to get drunk and high.  Then once that has occurred basically anyone is tolerable.

18. Juvenile delinquency. Behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.  He was the drug dealer at his school.  He was almost expelled on more than one occasion, but his parents always fought tooth and nail with the school and threatened to sue them.  He laughed about the times they tried to catch him red-handed and couldn’t get the concrete proof they needed to put him in juvie.  He got drunk and crashed his Dad’s car at 13.  He used to get in fights a lot.  More than once he bragged (yes, bragged!) about the fact that he thinks he only passed high school because they wanted to get him the hell out of there.  

19. Revocation of condition release. A revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.  After high school he joined the Coast Guard on a whim because his cousin was doing it, too.  He only lasted a few years there before he was dishonorably discharged for drug use and insubordination.  Lovely.  Before that he was caught a few times (I believe), and thrown in the brig.  He didn’t stop, and in fact got worse until they didn’t want his ass around anymore.  He had his driver’s license suspended and revoked more than once.  Usually it was for failure to pay a fine.  Often the fine was related to something else he was supposed to do (like have insurance on a vehicle or report one sold and turn in the tags), but failed to.

20. Criminal versatility. A diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes. (Hare 2011).  I’m not sure how criminally diverse he was.  The things I mostly know about involve using and selling drugs.  He did drive drunk a lot.  He got caught once for that.  He did tend to brag about getting away with things.  He would laugh and act proud, like not only was he brilliant to get away with things, but the cops were incredibly stupid and didn’t have a chance against his mastermind.  Snort.

narcissist

In addition to the above two lists of traits, the biggest trait (or magic trick as I like to call it) that makes narcissistic sociopaths so dangerous and effective is their ability to go unnoticed by the rest of us. They can do this, because they are good at pretending (lying) and wearing many masks (again, lying). Simply put, they lie to themselves and everyone else. They lie so much that some of them are convinced of their own lies, which is where evil is born.  This part obviously has to be true.  Although now, looking back on all of the above traits and stories, I feel naive and stupid to have fallen for it, that is how these people go through life.  They lie.  They are good in small doses.  They have explanations for everything.  I honestly believe that he had convinced himself that his version of things was the truth.  Even faced with proof to the contrary, he would adamantly stick to his improbable story with so much conviction that it made the other person question reality.

I am no psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor. However, I have lived alongside a narcissistic sociopath and feel the need to share, even if in a tale-like fiction setting, how I understand the psychopathology that insidiously penetrated my body, mind, and spirit until I was nearly convinced that I was the evil one. How? Projection, transference, and control, that’s how.  To this day I know his version of our marriage is that I was controlling, jealous, and a “nut job.”  For too long I let him play on my insecurities and almost convince me that I was the problem in this relationship.  This blog – you people out there who read my story, gave me support, and grounded me to reality – and my individual therapy are the two things that kept me sane.  Well, those and my family.  And books.  Thank goodness I had those support networks.  If not, I can only imagine the hell that I would be living in for the rest of my life.

I hope you enjoy this story and pass it along to your family, friends, others you love, and anyone you suspect is or has been a victim.

Paula Carrasquillo ~ July 2012
Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath

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Welcome to My Town: The Smoking Remains of My Marriage

30 Oct

I’m going to tell you a little story today.  I want to give you a tiny peek into a corner of my brain where I have been living recently.  First, though, I want to explain the catalyst to this creative inspiration.  Samantha’s post today about the grieving process made me stop and think about where I am right now.

The Five Stages of Grief include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  Those “stages” are all interchangeable, and you generally don’t experience them in any particular order.  I examined each of those stages today, and considered where I might be on the spectrum.

I quickly determined that I’m not in denial.  In fact, it’s more like I am finally coming out of it.  I have lived in the fantasyland of denial and delusion and optimism for so long, hoping and hoping and hoping that my husband would change.  I have been trying not to harp on the failures and lies, instead focusing on the positive things, even if they were sometimes as small as breadcrumbs.  That denial left me thinking that although my town was far from perfect, it was like a charming, old town somewhere in the mountains that was built of stone and could weather any storm without being too much worse for the wear.

I have also bargained with myself and with my husband for quite a while – feeding my denial with the hope that THIS deal, THIS agreement, THIS conversation, THIS slip, THIS lie, THIS time would be different, enough, the last time…  However, I’m not there anymore, either.  I left the bargaining behind the same time I stopped trying to deny my reality.

Depression has also been my constant companion for quite a while.  It has been there looking over my shoulder at almost every corner of my little town.  Although my depression is still hanging around, I am not living in his deep, dark cave anymore.

After my husband left, those first 2 weeks were much different.  I started really accepting the truth that I can’t expect the truth from my husband.  During that time I felt disappointed about the lies, but I was almost resigned to the fact that this is what my life has become.  I had accepted that he had done what he had done, he had continued lying to me, and there was nothing I could do to change that or him.

I also felt such relief when he was out of the house.  It felt wonderful to reclaim my domain.  I cleaned and cooked and washed tons of laundry.  I felt accomplished and proud of myself for sticking to my boundaries.  This was progress for me!  It was the first time I have drawn a line and then left it there once he crossed over it.  I didn’t let him erase it and draw his own line farther into my personal territory, encroaching more and more into my comfort zone, leaving me backed against a corner.  That was my normal pattern, and I had broken it.

If you’ve been following along with the stages so far, we have already hit on denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  That leaves one option for my current stage of grief for the destroyed fantasy of my relationship.  I actually didn’t have to think very hard to come to this conclusion.  I am angry.  Tired.  And ANGRY!

The title of my last post said that I am “getting tired” of all the lies.  That’s actually not accurate.  I am already extremely tired of the lying.  It’s not that I’m “getting there.”  I have arrived.  In fact, I am the mayor of the town.  Or maybe the governor (inspired by the last episode of The Walking Dead).  Yeah, that sounds about right.  I feel just diabolical enough right now to have a wall of severed heads in my office.  Only every single one would belong to my husband.

That town is the setting of my story. It’s a dark and twisty place.  There are lots of dangers lurking around.  It looks like something out of the set of Revolution – no electricity, buildings in ruins, vines growing all over everything…  The current Frankenstorm that is hammering the East Cost is the perpetual weather there.

I have always been the governor of this town.  My husband was my partner – my right-hand man, so to speak.  We determined that there were issues in our town, and set about trying to fix them.  Once we had decided on something we wanted to do, we would figure out how it could be accomplished and work together to make it happen.  Or at least that’s what I thought…

Sometimes I would identify a threat to our town or the progress we were making to repair it.  In order to protect our little town, I would put a boundary around that area – complete with cones and a “Danger” sign.  He would agree, nod his head, say he completely understood and that he respected that boundary.  Then he would walk right over it.  He would demolish any signs or markers I had erected to protect myself and our town.  He would march right through without any heed to the promises he had made.

The sneaky thing is that he would do it at night, when there were no lights on that boundary and no one there to guard it.  When I eventually found the destruction in the morning light he might first say he didn’t do it.  He would say it was someone else’s fault or give an outlandish explanation.  If I found his fingerprints all over the crime scene, he might then “come clean,” apologize, and swear he wouldn’t do it again.  Alternatively, he might try to make me feel bad about where I placed that boundary.  He might blame me for putting it in his way.

No matter which option he chose, at the end of the interaction my boundary was no longer standing intact.  Sometimes he would move it.  Sometimes he would pretend to rebuild it, but leave himself a way around.  Sometimes it was so smashed up that it didn’t seem there was any way to repair it.  On rare occasions, a brick wall would be built there to block that particular boundary from being crossed again without a lot of effort.  Even on those occasions, there were always lasting remnants of the vast destruction that had occurred there.

This time I was able to stand back and survey my little town from a distance.  I saw all of the craters, demolished walls, the smoke coming out of buildings that had been set on fire, the graffiti covering the walls, the overgrown shrubbery, and the wreckage of my trust and hope and love and marriage.  For the first time I realized our town wasn’t quaint.  It wasn’t slightly flawed or full of “character.”  It was destroyed.

I realized patching up this one boundary, moving it a little farther back, letting him “get away” with another crime against me and the town was not the answer.  I decided to banish him from the town for 3 months and go about the business of cleaning up and restoring my township.  For two weeks I have been throwing away garbage, hauling away debris, and taking inventory of what was left over.  Being a governor keeps you busy, after all.

In the last day or two I realized that I had allowed him to drop bomb after bomb on my town over the years.  I stepped back again and saw that two weeks of hard work on my part had done a little bit, but the devastation was so immense that the town might never recover.  I thought about all the time I had spent on the town, how many times I thought he was there next to me building it, how I had trusted him to care about it as much as I did.

Then I recognized that while I was living in that fantasyland of denial and hope and optimism, he was stomping around wreaking havoc on everything.  He would be in planning meetings with me, talking about ways to make the town better, then leave and destroy something else.  I realized how naïve I was to keep believing that he had the town’s best interest at heart, even if he “slipped up” and lied or smashed something.  I felt guilty that I had let him stay in the town, damaging things so much that now they are in a completely ruined state.

Then the anger rolled in on a strong gust of wind.  I became indignant and full of rage for all of the broken bits of the town lying at my feet.  How dare he attack the town like this!  What a complete ass!!!  I wanted to seek him out in the desolate outer reaches beyond the town where he was banished to throw some of the ashes and rubble at him.  I wanted to scream and rage and show him just how fucked up everything was – because of him!!!

Just as quickly as that thought entered my mind, so did the anger at myself.  He wouldn’t have been able to do so much extensive damage if I had grasped earlier that this town was not what I thought it was.  If I had comprehended that I was the only one working on the town, caring for the town, nurturing and putting energy in it.  Maybe I would have left that town behind altogether and be in a new town by now where plans were kept, boundaries were respected, and there was another person just as committed to making it flourish as I am…

I’m still standing in this destroyed town.  Anger and depression are my companions while the storm rages on.  I still don’t know if the town is worth rebuilding.  I don’t know if it will ever be inhabitable again.  I don’t know if he will come back from his exile as a strong, capable, responsible, reliable, accountable man ready to actually work on making this town viable.  Or if things are past the point of that ever being possible.  I’m fairly certain it’s the latter, but only time will tell.

Finishing up the Checklist

19 Jun

Well, today I am going to finish up the checklist from Codependent No More.  It was a lot more than I remember reading when it came time to actually type it all out.  Spreading things over several posts has given me more time to really think about each list of characteristics and take the time to properly rate them for myself.  I’m really excited to keep digging into this book and see what healthier solutions she has.

WEAK BOUNDARIES

Codependents frequently:

  • say they won’t tolerate certain behaviors from other people.  (1)
  • gradually increase their tolerance until they can tolerate and do things they said they never would.  (2 – sadly, this is definitely true)
  • let other hurt them.  (2)
  • keep letting people hurt them.  (1)
  • wonder why they hurt so badly.  (1)
  • complain, blame, and try to control while they continue to stand there.  (2 – Ouch…)
  • finally get angry.  (1 – I tend to have the anger while not really doing anything about it – see above)
  • become totally intolerant.  (2 – this has been historically correct.)

LACK OF TRUST

Codependents:

  • don’t trust themselves.  (0)
  • don’t trust their feelings.  (1)
  • don’t trust their decisions.  (1)
  • don’t trust other people.  (2)
  • try to trust untrustworthy people.  (2 – not sure how this one and the one above can be true, but they are)
  • think God has abandoned them.  (what God?)
  • lose faith and trust in God.  (see above… boy do I really hope “god” isn’t the answer in this book because I will be very disappointed)

ANGER

Many codependents:

  • feel very scared, hurt, and angry.  (1)
  • live with people who are very scared, hurt, and angry.  (2)
  • are afraid of their own anger.  (1)
  • are frightened of other people’s anger.  (2)
  • think people will go away if anger enters the picture.  (1)
  • think other people make them feel angry.  (1)
  • are afraid to make other people feel anger.  (2)
  • feel controlled by other people’s anger.  (0)
  • repress their angry feelings.  (1)
  • cry a lot, get depressed, overeat, get sick, do mean and nasty things to get even, act hostile, or have violent temper outbursts.  (2)
  • punish other people for making them codependents angry.  (0-1)
  • have been ashamed for feeling angry.  (1)
  • place guilt and shame on themselves for feeling angry.  (0-1)
  • feel increasing amount of anger, resentment, and bitterness.  (0 – I am on the decreasing end of this spectrum lately)
  • feel safer with their anger than with hurt feelings.  (0-1)
  • wonder if they’ll ever not be angry.  (1)

SEX PROBLEMS

Some codependents:

  • are caretakers in the bedroom.  (2)
  • have sex when they don’t want to.  (0)
  • have sex when they’d rather be held, nurtured, and loved. (0 – usually these things go hand in hand for us)
  • try to have sex when they’re angry or hurt.  (0 – not gonna happen)
  • refuse to enjoy sex because they’re so angry at their partner.  (0 – again, it doesn’t happen if I’m angry)
  • are afraid of losing control.  (1)
  • have a difficult time asking for what they need in bed.  (1)
  • withdraw emotionally from their partner.  (1 – not so much now that we are more communicative and he is more vulnerable with me)
  • feel sexual revulsion toward their partner.  (0)
  • don’t talk about it.  (0)
  • force themselves to have sex, anyway.  (0)
  • reduce sex to a technical act.  (0)
  • wonder why they don’t enjoy sex.  (1)
  • lose interest in sex.  (0)
  • make up reasons to abstain.  (0)
  • wish their sex partner would die, go away, or sense the codependent’s feelings.  (0 – whoa… glad I don’t have this one)
  • have strong sexual fantasies about other people.  (0 – unless dreams somehow count… I’ve had a few steamy ones)
  • consider or have an extramarital affair.  (0 – huh… wonder if my husband needs to take this?)

Some people think this is healthy… It’s not. It’s also not possible!

MISCELLANEOUS

Codependents tend to:

  • be extremely responsible.  (2 – definitely)
  • be extremely irresponsible.  (0 – never been a problem for me at all)
  • become martyrs, sacrificing their happiness and that of others for causes that don’t require sacrifice.  (0 – I don’t think so…)
  • find it difficult to feel close to people.  (2)
  • find it difficult to have fun and be spontaneous.  (1 – my husband has helped me in this area a lot already)
  • have an overall passive response to codependency – crying, hurt, helplessness.  (1 – at some points)
  • have an overall aggressive response to codependency – violence, anger, dominance.  (0-1 – not really a main issue, but sometimes intense anger has come out)
  • combine passive and aggressive responses.  (1)
  • vacillate in decisions and emotions.  (1 – decisions, no.  emotions, yes.)
  • laugh when they feel like crying.  (1-2 – does smiling count?  I often have am inappropriate response to uncomfortable situations or death like smiling when I really am not feeling happy or amused in the least)
  • stay loyal to their compulsions and people even when it hurts.  (2 – yes, I am very loyal)
  • be ashamed about family, personal, or relationship problems.  (2)
  • be confused about the nature of the problem.  (1-2)
  • cover up, lie, and protect the problem.  (0-1 – I don’t remember any specific times when I have done that.  I definitely don’t lie, but I might “protect” by not telling many people)
  • not seek help because they tell themselves the problem isn’t bad enough, or they aren’t important enough.  (0 – not any more…  there was a time years ago where that was true, and I’m not going back there)
  • wonder why the problem doesn’t go away.  (1)

PROGRESSIVE

In the later stages of codependency, codependents may:

  • feel lethargic.  (2)
  • feel depressed.  (2)
  • become withdrawn and isolated.  (1)
  • experience a complete loss of daily routine and structure.  (0)
  • abuse or neglect their children and other responsibilities.  (1 – work has suffered a bit)
  • feel hopeless.  (1)
  • begin to plan their escape from a relationship they feel trapped in.  (0)
  • think about suicide.  (0)
  • become violent.  (0)
  • become seriously emotionally, mentally, or physically ill.  (0)
  • experience an eating disorder (over- or -undereating).  (1 – I wouldn’t really call it a disorder, but both of those things have happened)
  • become addicted to alcohol or another drug.  (0)

And that’s all folks!

Being Self-Aware

18 Jun

I started talking about the checklist from the book Codependent No More a few days ago (Being Self-Reflective).  I have gotten some positive responses from my followers, but the best thing is that I am feeling accomplished.  This book, this check-list – they’re making sense.  I didn’t think they would.  I fought against it.  But now that I’ve given in I feel so much relief.  So here’s a continuation of the checklist and my self-evaluation.

REPRESSION

Many codependents:

  • push their thoughts and feelings out of their awareness because of fear and guilt.  (0 – although I guess I wouldn’t really know if this was true?)
  • become afraid to let themselves be who they are. (1 – used to be true more than it is now)
  • appear rigid and controlled.  (2)

OBSESSION

Codependents tend to:

  • feel terribly anxious about problems and people.  (1 – I don’t have a lot of anxiety)
  • worry about the silliest things. (0)
  • think and talk a lot about other people.  (1 – maybe?)
  • lose sleep over problems or other people’s behavior.  (0 – I rarely lose sleep because it is very precious to me)
  • worry. (0 – nope, not a worrier.  I find it rather useless)
  • never find answers.  (0)
  • check on people.  (1 – Not so much “people” (plural), but sometimes on my husband)
  • try to catch people in acts of misbehavior.  (same as above – this has gotten much better in the past few months)
  • feel unable to quit talking, thinking, and worrying about other people or problems. (1)
  • abandon their routine because they are so upset about somebody or something.  (0)
  • focus all their energy on other people and problems. (1)
  • wonder why they never have any energy.  (2)
  • wonder why they can’t get things done.  (1-2)

CONTROLLING

Many codependents:

  • have lived through events and with people that were out of control, causing the codependents sorrow and disappointment.  (2 – absolutely!)
  • become afraid to let other people be who they are and allow events to happen naturally.  (2)
  • don’t see or deal with their fear of loss of control.  (1-2)
  • think they know best how things should turnb out and how people should behave.  (2)
  • try to control events and people through helplessness, guilt, coercion, threats, advice-giving, manipulation, or domination.  (2)
  • eventually fail in their efforts or provoke people’s anger.  (1)
  • feel controlled by events and people.  (2)

DENIAL

Codependents tend to:

  • ignore problems or pretend they aren’t happening.  (0)
  • pretend circumstances aren’t as bad as they are.  (0-1)
  • tell themselves things will be better tomorrow.  (1)
  • stay busy so they don’t have to think about things.  (1)
  • get confused.  (0)
  • get depressed or sick.  (2)
  • go to doctors and get tranquilizers.  (0)
  • become workaholics.  (0)
  • spend money compulsively (-2 – I am so far in the other direction it’s not even close)
  • overeat (2 – check)
  • pretend those things aren’t happening, either.  (0 – I can see my flaws, I just don’t know where to go from here)
  • watch problems get worse.  (0)
  • believe lies.  (2 – in the past, but not anymore)
  • lie to themselves.  (1)
  • wonder why they feel like they’re going crazy.  (2)

DEPENDENCY

Many codependents:

  • don’t feel happy, content, or peaceful with themselves.  (1)
  • look for happiness outside themselves.  (1)
  • latch onto whoever or whatever they think can provide happiness.  (0)
  • feel terribly threatened by the loss of any thing or person they think provides their happiness.  (2)
  • didn’t feel love and approval from their parents.  (2)
  • don’t love themselves.  (0-1)
  • believe other people can’t or don’t love them.  (1)
  • desperately seek love and approval.  (0)
  • often seek love from people incapable of loving.  (0 – I don’t think “often” applies or that my husband is “incapable of loving.”  Maybe he is stunted, but he does love me.)
  • believe other people are never there for them.  (0 – I have a great family and support network)
  • equate love with pain.  (1)
  • feel they need people more than they want them.  (0)
  • try to prove they’re good enough to be loved.  (2)
  • don’t take time to see if other people are good for them.  (2 – definitely)
  • worry whether other people love or like them.  (1)
  • don’t take time to figure out if they love or like other people.  (0)
  • center their lives around other people.  (2)
  • look to relationships to provide all their good feelings.  (1)
  • lose interest in their own lives when they love.  (1)
  • worry other people will leave them.  (1)
  • don’t believe they can take care of themselves. (0)
  • stay in relationships that don’t work.  (1)
  • tolerate abuse to keep people loving them.  (1)
  • feel trapped in relationships.  (1)
  • leave bad relationships and form new ones that don’t work either.  (not sure how to answer this because I haven’t had a ton of relationships – just 2 serious ones)
  • wonder if they will ever find love.  (0)

POOR COMMUNICATION

Codependents frequently:

  • blame.  (1)
  • threaten.  (0)
  • coerce.  (1)
  • beg.  (0)
  • bribe.  (1)
  • advise.  (2)
  • don’t say what they mean.  (0)
  • don’t mean what they say.  (1)
  • don’t know what they mean.  (0)
  • don’t take themselves seriously.  (1)
  • think other people don’t take the codependents seriously.  (1)
  • ask for what they want and need indirectly – sighing, for example.  (1 – I have been known to do that sometimes, but I am usually pretty blunt.)
  • find it difficult to get to the point.  (0)
  • aren’t sure what the point is.  (0)
  • gauge their words carefully to achieve a desired effect.  (1)
  • try to say what they think will please people.  (0 – rarely)
  • try to say what they think will provoke people.  (1 – when in a heated argument… but who doesn’t?)
  • try to say what they hope will make people do what they want them to do.  (1)
  • eliminate the work no from their vocabulary. (1)
  • talk too much.  (2)
  • talk about other people.  (1)
  • avoid talking about themselves, their problems, feelings, and thoughts.  (1 – I am trying to get better about this… see?)
  • say everything is their fault.  (1)
  • say nothing is their fault (1)
  • believe their opinions don’t matter.  (0)
  • wait to express their opinions until they know other people’s opinions.  (0 – rarely)
  • lie to protect and cover up for people they love.  (0)
  • lie to protect themselves.  (0)
  • have a difficult time asserting their rights.  (0)
  • have a difficult time expressing their emotions honestly, openly, and appropriately. (0 – I am really pretty good at this)
  • think most of what they have to say is unimportant.  (0)
  • begin to talk in cynical, self-degrading, or hostile ways. (1 – I can sometimes be sarcastic… does that count?)
  • apologize for bothering people.  (1)

Wow…  this list is longer than I remember.  There is still a lot of it left.  I will get back to this as soon as I can.  In the meantime, I hope that you all enjoyed your Father’s Day weekend and are feeling as free and positive as I do right now.

Lessons from Judge Judy

18 May

Of course right after such a positive post yesterday I came home last night and discovered my husband has been lying to me again.  Not about sex stuff, but about money.  It wasn’t just a one-time lie.  It has been a continual lie over the last 2 weeks.  It took all of the wind out of my sails, and I really couldn’t handle it emotionally.  Let’s just say Mr. Mess slept on the couch last night…

I have to thank Judge Judy, though, for giving me some hard lessons about how to tell what is the truth and what isn’t.  Here are some of my favorites:Judge Judy

“If it doesn’t make sense, it’s not true.”

“You don’t have to have a good memory if you’re telling the truth.”

“If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.  Your story, sir, is not a duck!”

I actually used the second one on my husband last night.  As his story changed for the 3rd or 4th time I told him that you don’t have to have a good memory if what you’re telling me is the truth.  The truth just is…  You need to use your memory when you’re trying to remember a made-up story.  When it’s the truth it doesn’t change so all you have to do is say what happened…  Plus, what he was saying just didn’t make sense.  So it couldn’t be true!  Sure enough… after several MORE denials (“I wish I could find that invoice that shows what they charged me for”) he finally fessed up that he had been lying to me.  If you can even call it “fessing up” when I busted him and wouldn’t let him squirm his way out of it…

So after what has been a very good few weeks of moving forward, we have once again started taking steps back.  I don’t really know what I expected.  After all, yesterday I even said, “Sure, there have been a few low points and some disappointments – there are always bound to be some of those.”  I just didn’t expect one of those “low points” to be the very same day…  There’s irony for you!

It’s like I’m being tested to see if I really meant it when I said, “When we have setbacks, I need to remind myself of everything we have made it past and how much farther along the road we are now.”  I still think that’s true.  To my credit, I think I handled this a lot better than I would have in the past.  There was no yelling, no waving about of the arms, no crying.  I just couldn’t brush it off and snuggle up for a nice night’s sleep, though.  I read in a book this morning that when someone hurts you and that person doesn’t fully change their behavior every fresh wound brings back all of the pain from each past injury as well.  That is really what is happening to me right now.  In the grand scheme of things this is not the worse thing he has done, but it hurts pretty bad just the same.

That’s where my quandary lies.  I want to be positive.  I want to give him the benefit of the doubt.  I want our trust to be repaired.  I want to let my walls down.  But he’s a liar, and liars lie – about everything – small lies, big lies, sex lies, random lies, money lies… you name it.  I want to believe him, I want to move forward, but I don’t know how to find the right balance.

I feel like the kid at the top who is just waiting for the other person to drop him.
Photo Credit

My “gut” knew there was something fishy when he his story changed slightly the first time (about a week ago).  My head knew there was something off, too.  So why did I just let it go?  Especially knowing what I know about his history of lying…

Was it because I somehow wanted to fool myself and keep my good feelings?

Because I was afraid to be negative?

Because I just wanted so badly to believe him?

Now I’m also wondering what my reaction should be.  That’s one of the main reasons I asked him to spend the night away from me.  I needed space to sort through my thoughts because this whole thing has really gotten into my head big time.  I’m so turned around and upside down that I’m at the point where I don’t even trust myself.  I don’t know how I should feel or sometimes even fully what I feel.  Let me just give you a little glimpse of what I mean.

Feelings.  I’m feeling pretty betrayed.  I’m feeling stupid and naïve for dismissing my initial doubt to take his word.  More than anything I’m feeling shut out by him.  When he lies to me because he “gets caught up” or “is afraid of my reaction” what he’s really saying is that he doesn’t trust me.  What I get from his actions is that he wants to keep stuff from me, exclude me from things (like finances) that I should be included in, and that he doesn’t feel like I’m worthy of the full truth.  It doesn’t really matter if he’s thinking all of those things when he lies to me because that is the effect of his lies.  He is robbing me of the chance to participate, to really know him, and to have a say in my own life.

What I’m not feeling that I think I should feel is anger.  I’m not really that angry at all.  I’m mostly just deflated.  Disappointed.  Resigned to the fact that this is my life.  I want to have righteous indignation.  I’ve had that before, and it really takes all of this complicated stuff off of the table when you can just rage a little bit.  I have found it isn’t productive, though…  Once the raging is done you still have to deal with all of this mess in the aftermath.  It just makes it harder to connect.  That I’m not angry makes me feel like I’m somehow “letting him off the hook,” though.  That leads to…

Reaction and Resolution.  What is an appropriate response to this?  He is waiting for me to come home so we can talk about this, but I still don’t know what I really want to say.  I don’t want to blow this up into something huge, but I don’t want it to seem like it’s not important either.  What I really want to know is why he keeps lying to me.  We’ve had that conversation a thousand times before (at least it seems that way).  Actually, I kind of know why – he’s a liar.  I don’t mean that in the incredibly negative and judgemental way that it sounds.  It’s just the truth.  He has a very long pattern of lying as a means of avoiding repercussions, making himself feel better about himself (by hiding the things he does wrong), “protecting” other people’s feelings, and taking the easy way out.  It’s something he has done since he was a kid.  It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction to lie and cover up “bad news” or a mistake.  It’s good that he recognizes the pattern, but that doesn’t really help me feel any better about it.

Scratch what I said before – what I REALLY want to know is why he didn’t catch himself somewhere along the way.  That is something we have talked about a lot.  It is a promise that he has made to me – if he feels like he is about to lie he will try to catch himself, if he doesn’t catch himself and he lies he will come clean, and if he doesn’t do either one of those things he will at the very least admit the lie when I confront him.  He didn’t do any of those things.  In fact, he did the exact opposite.  He lied to me.  Then he lied to me again about the same thing…  And again the next time it came up…  And when I questioned him as his story kept changing he still kept lying and denying.  If I hadn’t had the power of Judge Judy’s logic on my side he would have just kept on gaslighting me forever.

So what’s a girl to do?  I’m not really sure (and I’m heading home in less than 5 minutes).  I guess I will figure it out as I go.  It’s just another Frustrating Friday…

Being a Procrastinator

23 Apr

Since I have vowed to myself that I will be honest in this blog I have to admit something.  My husband is not the only procrastinator in this relationship.  I think one of the reasons that the D-Day Antiversary (I’m stealing this term from someone on SI because it is perfect) hit me so hard is that I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been.  This post is not about my husband.  I am not discounting that he has put off a lot of things that are really important to me, stopped going to individual counseling for 6 months, and has been passive in the recovery process.  But I’ve got to focus on me, and I’ve been just gliding along, too.

This weekend I realized that some of the books I started reading at the beginning of this process are still sitting unfinished.  In the first month or two after D-Day I threw myself into the process of figuring out what happened, dealing with my emotions, trying to find a way to grow, and reading anything I could get my hands on that helped me understand what was going on and put it all in perspective.  I had individual counseling sessions every week, I attended group sessions with other betrayed wives every Wednesday night, and if it wasn’t related to infidelity, sexual addiction, or working on my marriage I wasn’t reading it (and I’m a lifetime, avid reader of just about anything).  Then I burned out.  So here are my personal 12-Steps into and back out of the destructive procrastination cycle.

The first step for me was taking a mental break from 24/7 self-help reading (Step 1: Much Needed Respite).  It actually wasn’t a bad decision because there is only so much that a person’s brain can take in, process and applyGame of Thrones was about to come out on HBO, and I got a great deal on the box set of books from Amazon.  I told myself I would just read the first book as a brain break, then go back to the Shattered Vows book my group was working through.  After all, we were only covering a few pages at a time and I was already caught up to our current place.

This seemed much more appealing…

… than this.

It sounded great.  But I devoured the first book and was through it in just a few days.  I told myself I didn’t take nearly enough “time off” from dealing with all the emotional crap.  I deserved at least one more book…  Before I knew it I had read all 4 and the Shattered Vows book was sitting somewhere collecting dust (Step 2: Enjoying my “Vacation” a Little Too Much).

But I was still going to my group every week, I still had individual counseling, and my husband and I had even added in marriage counseling.  Surely that was enough…  In fact, maybe it was too much (Step 3: Rationalization).  My group meeting was late at night (starting at 7:30 and not ending until after 9:00 pm most nights), far away (at least 45 minutes, over a bridge, and through a few tolls), and all of this constant thinking about the infidelity was really starting to get me down (of course I was clinically depressed at that time and in complete denial).  Still, I kept going because I did really love the women in my group and the support I got.

Then in July my husband lost his job, had surgery on his deviated septum about one week later (it was already scheduled), and my grandfather died (the same day as my husband’s surgery).  Now I was reeling emotionally not just from the betrayal but also because my grandfather and I were extremely close.  Although he was sick with cancer and we had known for a few months, his death was due to a slip and fall that was completely out of the blue.  On top of that we had medical bills, a significantly reduced income, and a very unsure future in more than one way (Step 4: Life Happens).

Being the “fixer” and overachiever I am I decided to get a second job.  It was a good idea, and I was able to get one surprisingly quickly as a tutor at a local franchise.  I would be able to earn a little extra money, help pay down our bills, and give myself a little much-needed reassurance that we would make it through this.  The only problem was – I had to be available nights.  And Wednesday was a big tutoring night, especially for the SAT kids that I specialized in.  There goes group (Step 5: Over Functioning).  Sure, I kept in touch with some of the ladies (still do) and told myself I would swing by on nights when I wasn’t scheduled to teach.  But somehow that never happened.

Then my husband started school and got a part-time job (that transitioned to a full-time position).  Our schedules got hectic.  We barely saw each other since one or the other of us always seemed to be out of the house for something – work, school, second job, therapy, group meetings (him), etc.  We had to cancel one marriage counseling session, then never made another one – mostly because we arbitrarily decided we didn’t really like her (Step 6: Justification).  My own individual therapy sessions petered out, then stopped (Step 7: Withdrawing).

Before I knew it I was stuck on this hamster wheel of working, scarfing down a few bites to eat, then working some more.  If I ever did get “down time” I felt extremely exhausted and mostly wanted to fill it with sleeping, watching TV, or some other mindless activity (Step 8: Major Depression).  The 5th Game of Thrones book came out, and I pre-ordered it through Amazon.  It was on my doorstep bright and shiny the day it was released, and you can bet that I cracked that sucker open immediately and made time to read it.  I should have realized then that my excuses for not continuing my full-on recovery were just that (Step 9: Denial).

Something happened around September of last year that caused enough impact that my husband and I found another marriage counselor and gave that process another shot.  I can’t remember the exact incident (that’s how foggy everything had become), but I do recall that it was something that I strongly requested my husband take initiative on.  Whether it was guilt, anger, something surrounding our 1 year wedding anniversary, or an entirely different matter I’m not sure.  But it was a really great decision, and the psychologist was a really great choice.   We started going weekly.  I noticed that we were communicating better, connecting more often, and having fewer arguments.  I somehow allowed myself to believe that was enough – that I could bury everything else and we would be great (Step 10: Coasting).

Then over the weekend of March 31st everything I was keeping deep inside busted out in one torrent of emotional vomit.  And like my reaction to vomiting in real life, once it started I couldn’t stop it (I have been hospitalized twice for dehydration related to uncontrollable vomiting – once as a baby and again 3 years ago after an unfortunate food poisoning incident).  Since then I have come to realize that all of the feelings and hurt I had about the infidelity and my husband’s sex addiction didn’t just go away.  I was just covering them up with activity, denial, fear, and a false sense of accomplishment (Step 11: True Self-Discovery).  I was reverting to the “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” mindset that if I didn’t acknowledge something it didn’t exist.  It’s the completely non-fun adult version of “peek-a-boo” – I put my hands in front of my face so I couldn’t see my pain then acted surprised when it jumped out at me.

I decided this weekend to recommit myself to personal growth and healing.  I found the book Shattered Vows and dusted it off – literally and figuratively.  I have already found a lot of things that I relate to and can apply directly to where I am today.  I also pulled out the marriage book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, and we worked through one of the “quizzes” and the exercise that followed.  I asked my husband to commit to doing at least one of those per week together.  He gladly agreed.  I have also combed through some of the books that other women recommend on SI, and ordered myself 4 of them with a gift card I won the weekend I had to work (D-Day Antiversary #1).  The way I figure it there is no better way to treat myself and use those winnings than investing in my own health and future.  I will not be passive in my healing again (Step 12: Resolve).

Peek-a-boo, I see you!

“Small” Lies Create Big Problems

17 Apr

AARRGGH!  Okay, so things have obviously been going too good for me.  I have been feeling much more positive and upbeat this week.  The anti-depressants seem to be kicking in a bit because I have more energy and feel more like the “old me.”  My husband and I had what I thought was a very honest, deep conversation last night.  Then another one of his stupid, “small” lies pops up and throws a wrench in my whole day.

So here’s the short story – and this really is stupid.  I got a free Redbox rental code texted to me Sunday night (they do that once per month).  We decided to rent a movie even though there wasn’t anything in particular we wanted to see – because hey, it’s free.  Husband picks up movie.  We watch said movie.  He says he will return it the next day (yesterday).   I would have returned it since I have to go by a Redbox on my way back from work (literally – right past one within a few feet).  But he said he would take care of it.  I wake up and the movie is gone.  I assume he had probably taken it back like he said.

Let me back up just a quick second.  I have a Redbox account.  They have my phone number (obviously) and email attached to that account and every credit card that I have ever used is automatically tied into that account.  Every time I use one of those cards, put in my email address at checkout (with a new card), or use an exclusive coupon code they have texted to me I get a nifty confirmation email of my purchase and return.  Automatically.

So let me continue…  I got the email confirmation when my husband picked up the movie.  After all day yesterday not seeing the return confirmation I thought he may have forgotten to return it (since Mondays are very hectic with school, work, quickly home, then back to school).   When he got back home I casually asked him if he had a chance to return the movie.  I added casually because it really was – not accusing, not angry, just an off-hand remark after we had already caught up with the day.  He immediately said he had taken care of it.  I was a bit confused and said something like, “Hmmm, I usually get an email for returns and I didn’t get one for that.”  He said something to the effect of, “Wonder why that is?  I did return it.  Weird.”  I just took his word for it and we continued on our merry way.

Until this morning.  My husband left unusually early this morning.  He was up and out the door before 6:15, and sometimes he doesn’t even get up until 6:20 or 6:30…  I thought it was a bit unusual, but thought he probably had something going on at work since they are making a lot of changes.  After I got into work I started my morning ritual of checking my emails – both work and personal – something I monitor throughout the day and sometimes at night since I have a tablet now.  Bam!  There was an email confirmation for a Redbox return.  This morning.  At exactly 6:17:30 AM.  Wow…

Image representing redbox as depicted in Crunc...

I kept my cool, forwarded the email to him with the words “I don’t know why you would lie about this.”  When he called me on his break I didn’t mention it.  I was too busy, and I was planning to talk to him about it tonight.  But then it started festering.  By the time he called around 3:15 as he was getting off of work I just couldn’t wait.  I wanted to get it off my chest so we could hopefully have a good night.  He also has to leave for school again at 5:30, which would give us less than 30 minutes to talk when I get home anyway.

So… we chatted a bit about our day and I told him I needed to get something off my chest and clear the air.  He said, “Okay.”  I asked if he knew what I was going to say (since I told him last night I get confirmation emails of returns).  He said “No, what is it.”  I pressed…  You’re sure there’s nothing that you want to fess up to.  Again, nothing.  I came right out and told him that I know he returned the Redbox movie this morning because I got the confirmation email.  He denied it!  Up to this point I was pretty calm, even internally, but that really just blew me away.  Really?!?  He’s going to try to lie to me when I know conclusively he’s not telling the truth?!

Yep, it would seem so.  He said he returned that movie last night.  He has no idea what I’m talking about.  It was later in the evening, but he absolutely returned it yesterday on his way home from school.  I was flabbergasted.  So I tried another approach.  I told him I had noticed he left earlier this morning than normal, and I know now that it was because he was returning that movie.  Again, he denied it.  In fact, he argued that he hadn’t left the house early and he always leaves by 6:15 – something that is not only BS but again totally beside the point and not worth lying about!

I totally had it by this point and said that I really don’t understand why he would continue to lie to me when I have the proof right in front of me!  I told him I get these emails all the time and they are always accurate.  Not only to the day, but down to the very second the movie was rented and returned.  I have the location, I have the date, and I have the time the movie was returned.  Why the hell was he still lying to me about it??!!!  FINALLY he admitted that he was lying and that he DID return the movie this morning.  I mean really?!?!  You thought you could actually just LIE your way out of this and convince me that REDBOX was the one not telling me the truth!?!  This is not only gaslighting but delusional!

I asked him what he was trying to accomplish, what he really thought he was doing by lying to me.  He said he didn’t really know.  He said the movie was late, and then his voice just petered out because he probably realized how incredibly stupid the excuse was that was about to come out of his mouth.  I mean honestly, he thought that admitting he forgot to return the movie and we were charged $1.20 would have been an issue?  Of course not!  And certainly nothing even comparing to this trust-smashing, ridiculous lie that either I’m too stupid to read a date or Redbox is in some conspiracy to make him look like a liar.   I told him that this is 10,000 times worse than anything that could have happened last night.  He admitted I am right.

I also asked him why he would think that lying to me like that over and over would work when I had proof in black and white in front of me.  He said he didn’t know I had that.  Wait?!  Were we not in the same conversation?  Did I not just tell you I was looking at the email at the very beginning – that is how this whole thing came up!  Well, he didn’t know all the details it had.  Like that makes it okay to try to lie to me – he didn’t think I really had enough proof to hang him!

I asked again why he would lie to begin with last night when I provided the opportunity to admit the truth in a completely non-threatening and supportive environment?  He said he didn’t know.  I asked him why he didn’t just admit the truth the second I brought it up.  He said he didn’t know.  I asked him why he would even try arguing with me about it.  He said he didn’t know.  I told him that I gave him the opportunity today even AFTER the lie last night to come clean with the truth.  I asked him why he didn’t.  He said he didn’t know.  I told him that these “little” lies make it almost impossible for me to believe he is telling me the truth about bigger things.  He said he knows that.  I asked him why he would risk the trust we are building for something so stupid.  He said he didn’t know.

I told him that “I don’t know” is not good enough anymore.  I am tired of it.  He does know because he is the one who did it.  And I am tired of being his conscience, his brain, and his therapist while I’m trying to deal with all of the emotions and crap that his lies have caused.  I told him when I get home he better have thought about it and have a better answer.  I know that probably sounds like an invitation for more lies and bullshit (which it probably is), but I just don’t know what else to do.

Why does he have to make things so fucking difficult?

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