I have contemplated publishing his crazy ex-wife’s emails to my Psychologist for the last couple of weeks. I am hesitant yet intrigued because the content of her email is delusional, telling the story of a woman who is desperate to keep the facade of the “perfect family” she created since it is was something she never experienced – It’s a truly a sad example of the inability to sit with discomfort.
From the moment babies are born, parents rush to teach them how to self sooth. In reality, most adults don’t have the skills or healthy ways to sooth and cope with discomfort and pain. Instead of feeling or facing our pain and discomfort we bing, throw up, smoke, drink, do drugs, over exercise, become addicted to sex, porn…the list is long. The inability to feel hurt, in my opinion, is really at the root of all of our issues. It’s why we gravitate towards the people that we do. That crazy chemistry and comfort we feel is largely a gravitation towards what is familiar, what we know, what we are comfortable with, and know how to navigate through. It’s psych 101. So, unless we commit to therapy and self examination exploring what makes us tic we will go from the same unhealthy relationship to the next.
Vince use to insist his childhood or the way he was raised by his parents had nothing to do with shaping who he is as an adult. He use to say that his emotional state, his values and how he interacted with people is all in his DNA. It was interesting because his mother use to say the same exact thing ver badem when she spoke of his sister being obese. And, his sister use to insists they were a typical happy family.
Where am I going with all this…Hang in there with me because I’ve been trying to depict the evolution I experienced and what helped me emotionally disconnect and take personally the abuse. It’s complicated and complex trying to pick apart and describe the process! Add to that the cognitive deficits I still struggle with as a result of Vince’s assault and you get lots of thoughts that has been swirling in my head, and my brain that isn’t cooperating to organize and make sense of it.
Like every other person who has lived through narcissistic abuse I spent many hours, days, months, years, asking why. I wanted an explanation. I wanted the truth. I wanted to believe the love I felt was real. The majority of my time with Vince I spent wondering what I had done wrong for him to punish me emotionally. Why wasn’t I good enough. However, after years of inconsistencies my relationship with Vince escalated to the night he threw me against the wall. It’s embarrassing to admit I became one of those women I had so often judged wondering why in gods name they would go back after having been physically abused. After the assault I hung on for another 7 months because I was certain and hopeful the shock of what he had done was going to bring him awareness and eventually change. Boy was I wrong! I wanted to believe he was finally going to see that his actions of the previous 5 years had broken us. What I didn’t realize was that shortly after the assault Vince found himself a new supplier. Not in the romantic sense but rather his LPC, Bethany Larson who he began to see so that I would not press charges against him. What I didn’t know was that LPC’s have the least amount of education so she was a perfect pick. He manipulated her and she was naive enough and failed from a professional standpoint to keep in mind that she was dealing with a domestic abuse issue and instead of being cautious and mindful of there being two side to every story, she allowed him to change the focus of his therapy from his actions to me, going as far as diagnosing me as having a borderline personality without ever having met me. It took three months for me to understand that with her being his new supplier, his ego inflated and that seeped into our interactions being more tense as he had become even more cruel because he now had permission – In turn I became even more confused and looked for answers even more. It wasn’t after beginning a day program in june that I began to learn about the cycle of abuse, and it wasn’t until August 1 that I finally said no more. He had humiliated me one last time when he yelled at me when I asked that he leave for a biking trip a day later as I had just found out he had caused inner ear damage when he assaulted me.
Not seeing him was difficult because I continued to try and understand why, asking what I had done to deserve such cruelty. How could he dispose of me without a care. Didn’t he mean anything he said? I thought he was happiest with me because that’s what he had told me. I thought he finally had learned what love was because that’s what he told me. I thought I was his and he was mine because two days before assaulting me he had texted me just that.
As I continued to ask why I stumbled upon Netflix’s Mindhunter and was fascinated by the true story of Edwin Kemper, the only serial killer who turned himself in after his final kill, his mother, who he decapitated, raping her head, placing it on a shelf so he could “scream at it, throw darts at it, and then smash it, putting her tongue and vocal chords down the waste disposal before raping her headless corpse. What fascinated me was Ed Kemper’s insight on why he was the way he was. The 1991 video below is him explaining in detail his relationship with his mother and how it shaped who he was, what he thought of himself and how he related to women. His relationship with his mother was at the root cause of who he was. As a matter of fact, other serial killers, when interviewed by the FBI behavioral science unit, seem to have this one factor in common, an abusive mother. Now, this isn’t true with all, but it’s certainly a factor with many.
Something happened as I watched his interview. I realized that Vince is not capable of anything but what he is. A man who had teflon coated emotions and complete absence of genuine compassion and empathy. I was finally able to understand that the Vince I had experienced in the beginning of the relationship was him mimicking me as it’s what’s Narcissists during the love bombing stage or the beginning of the relationship as they are training. Everything fell into place. He had told me he and his ex wife had gone to therapy after two or three years of marriage because she felt he disconnected from her. The same thing happened to me. The same thing happened to him and his girlfriend, Melissa, in the 90’s.
I also understood why he lied so much and why he was a different person with me than he was with his mother, his ex wife and his friends and colleagues. Our issues revolved mainly around his inability to be truthful with his mother and ex wife when it came to making plans for the holidays and his inability to make solid plans with me due to his ex-wife’s constant need to change the schedule. It was her way of not letting go and keeping in control. She lied and used the kids often and every time he gave in. I realized that Vince was able to strong arm me and manipulate me because I wasn’t manipulating him or making him feel guilty. That’s what he was used to and that’s what he knew how to exist in. I remember the first time I met his mother and her asking if he was coming with his ex and the kids for Christmas. Instead of pointing out he was no longer married to her and so they no longer traveled together, he looked at her with fear in his eyes and shook his head yes. I was shocked. He always could rationalize and come up with an excuse as to why his answer wasn’t avoiding being honest. It’s what led me to feel unsafe with him because he would tell me what I needed to hear and tell them what they needed to hear and when push came to shove, they always got their way because he was so afraid of upsetting them.
In short, Vince like other Narcissistic Abusers are not capable of being anything different than what they are because they were never taught how to be decent human beings. For example, Vince’s mother called him an asshole because he was walking faster than she the first time I met her. She said this behind his back. She said he has poor judgment and would routinely yell at him for not dressing the kids warmer. She routinely yelled and screamed and cried when she didn’t get her way. Enforcement then came from his sister who would call and tell him how much he has hurt his mother and that she is crying because he forgot to call her on her birthday or that he wasn’t coming for the holidays. Vince never experienced safety in his relationship with his parents. His dad was too weak to stand up to his mother and his mother used guilt, shame, belittling and triangulation to control him. Imagine growing up with that – It’s no surprise that he still is controlled by his mother and his ex. Essentially, he married his mother. A woman who is extremely concerned with facade and being perfect. They are both materialistic, gossip behind everyone, including each other, but because they are bonded by their desire for the perfect family and will go to any length to try and create the illusion. Vince was never taught to live with discomfort. As an adult he can’t sit with his own thoughts and tricks himself into being a mindful person who lives in the present, which could not be further from the truth. He is a prisoner of his past. He is a prisoner of the trauma he experienced as a child, and while he’s a grown man he still operates out of the fear and guilt that is ingrained in him. What was familiar for me was that I grew up with a mother who was a perfectionist and I could never be good enough, hence I picked someone that I would do the only thing I knew how. Keep trying to be good enough so he would want me and be proud of being with me. I was never going to win that battle because unlike his mother and his ex wife I didn’t use the same tactics to get what I wanted. My gut told me he was off from the beginning but by that time he had me hooked on the promises and the dreams of togetherness and having someone I could count on. These people are just not capable…that said, I am far from okay. I still hurt but now the focus is on my own hurt and trying to heal and make sure I never ever pick anyone that doesn’t value me. It will mean being uncomfortable with not being a care taker, and listening to my gut, which I’ve began to practice. Sigh…
There’s more, and rest assure the email crazy ex wife wrote will tie in. The pattern and cycle of dysfunction repeating itself is important to understand and help move on.