Sunday, May 21, 2017

Gaslighting

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
- Apostle Paul's letter to the Corinthians

One of the things I've come to realize over the years is that Sybil is amazing at gaslighting.  At first I thought it was a form of projection.  Projection is
Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. 
I think she uses both.  I do not think she is really capable of love.  If the definition of love is "always kind", "does not boast", "not easily angered", "keeps no record of wrongs", and  "always trusts", then she does not love me.

As I try to cope with the grief of coming out of the FOG, it has become clear that Sybil has superficial feelings.  Except one thing: hers.  If she feels ignored, she comes "unglued".  To her this means she marginalized and does not matter.  Therefore, she is not loved.

Funny thing...Sybil accuses me of not knowing what love is.  For her, love is putting her on a pedestal and only thinking of her.  I must always shine the spotlight on her.  If she does not feel that she is the center of my universe, then she is triggered.  The fun begins.

The combination of gaslighting and projection kept me off guard for so many years.  I feel so stupid.  As I was coming out of the FOG on my own (mainly Obligation), I was starting to have a thought experiment of divorce.  With the little one, that cannot happen for a long time.  Now I wonder if a combination of OCPD (she created a rule that no one can be surgically fixed...despite my begging to be) and probable love bombing we have a three year old.  Anyway, Sybil may be right about whether or not I know what love is, but I know she does not know what it is either.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

More of the Same...or Let Me Off of This Merry Go Round

Well, it seems that Sybil is decompensating.  I am trying to enforce boundaries, and she is fighting back with everything she has.  To try to move the conversation forward (I know a big waste of time and energy), I apologized for violating her rule about talking to my parents.  I told her that I would not fight with her anymore (kind of hollow given our history).  However, I was open and contrite (I've used that word countless times but she told me this morning that she doesn't know what it means).  We stayed up very late with her sobbing, literally sobbing, that I do not care about her.  Obviously, if I did care about her, I would never had said anything to my parents.  Crying is emotional blackmail.  Sigh...I am not a monster and have too much empathy.  That is when I caved and apologized, reached out to her emotionally and physically, and told her that I would not fight with her anymore.

The next morning in the car as we are going to the office, Sybil (out of the blue) says she does not want me making coffee for her in the morning.  She feels that I hold it over head (I do bring it up as an example of me not being a selfish prick).  I was stunned into silence.  After trying to make inroads and heal us by swallowing what pride I have left and apologizing for a minor incident, she cut me very deep.  See, it is not about coffee.  Sybil's statement was a preemptive strike to shut me down about how much I care for her.  In doing so, it appears that Sybil does not want healing.  But, I knew that already.  Bad habits are hard to break.  Not much happened yesterday because I went into Low Contact Mode.  She stayed at the office until past 10:00 pm working.  Naturally, her narcissistic supply was not there; she was not happy I was not there alongside with her.

Today we are here...wherever "here" is.  While, intellectually, I realize that Sybil can only focus on herself and how she feels, I cannot seem to let that go emotionally.  Sybil is quite adept at stirring my emotions, thus keeping me off balance.  After yesterday's "coffee comment", I am painfully aware on an emotional level that she just does not really care about how I feel.  Apparently, her take away from the night before's conversation was all I said was for her to "go to sleep."  I did say that, but I said so much more.  It was like a punch in the gut.  Even if she was the only aggrieved party in this mess, she totally cast aside any efforts on my part to ameliorate the situation.  This morning I kept my comments to a few talking points:

  1. I had my hand out with an olive branch, and your "coffee comment" was a slap in my face.
  2. I sincerely apologized and reach out physically with touch, as instructed to do in the past and then see #1 above.
  3. You are not the only one wronged here.  If you truly did not yell at me in front of our children, why is our 3 year old son saying, "Mommy angy"?  I do not recall him ever using the word "angy".
Sybil's reply was to ask "is this it?".  To which I repeated my talking points.  As her psyche reveals itself to more and more damaged, I truly believe she wants me to end our marriage.  She cannot see beyond her nose to see what that would do to many people.  Sybil cannot get past her feelings and let things go.  Who am I kidding?  She's never been able to do that.  She wants the benefits of being the martyr without the responsibility.  The act of divorce, while I am sure we would survive the ordeal, would wreak havoc on our finances, our kids' lives, and she would still have to "deal with me" as we have a toddler.  She would have to "deal with me" for the next 15 years.

Lastly, I know I am part of the problem.  I am stubborn.  I refuse to quit.  I refuse to give up.  Probably anyone else would have given up years ago and walked away.  After reading up on things, I see so much: trauma bonding, triangulation, gaslighting, love bombing, splitting, isolation, "getting up with fleas", all of it.  I may have to put divorce on the table.  That may be the only way to diffuse the situation.  Sadly, I fear that she will find another goat on which to lay all sins.  I would rather take that on than our kids.  I guess in my own way I have a martyr complex.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar

As I've traveled the path of trying to understand Sybil, I'm coming to realize that maybe she's just a bitch.  I could give whatever diagnosis.  She has Narcissistic Personality Disorder; she has Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder.  Tonight, I just do not care.

Awhile ago Sybil laid down the law and instructed us to keep my parents, especially my mother, in the dark about our family.  My mother made the mistake of trying to know what our kids where up to.  Unfortunately, my mother gets her facts twisted, and emails the twisted facts to the rest of my extended family (her sisters and sisters' kids...my cousins).  While that is pretty innocuous, that kind of thing crawls all over Sybil.  The thing that brought this on was my mother wanting information about something Son#2 was into.  She asked Sybil about, and Sybil requested that my mother not give out any information, since it was not definite.  Sybil did not want everyone to know about something that may not come to pass.  I did not know Sybil had made that request.  My mother asked me about it, I filled her in, but I did not stipulate no telling everyone.  My mother did not listen to Sybil's wishes and told everyone.  The information she gave was not quite correct.  Sybil made the law that we do not give too much information to my parents, especially my mother.  Kind of harsh, I understood why and went along with it, however.

Tonight, I spoke with my father.  Just a quick conversation.  Towards the end I told him that Son#1 was meeting with a headhunter.  That's all I said.  I did not tell him where, who, where Son#1 wants to work, etc.  Just that one sentence.  Sybil became annoyed.  When I did not become contrite, she became enraged.  Now, the conversation became about how I disrespected her by not following her wishes.  It all went downhill from there.  She brought Son#1 into it.  He said he didn't think it was a big deal.  Not really fair to him, though.  She was kind of making him pick sides.

The conversation then turned to how I don't respect Sybil and do not care about her wishes.  I brought up how she did something at the office yesterday that was kind of a big deal to me without consulting me first.  I explained that I tried to talk to her about it yesterday, but she blew me off.  I told her not to lecture me about not caring about someone else's feelings.  Sybil becomes unhinged and starts yelling at me.  I tell her that I will not be yelled at and leave the room.  A few minutes later, I hear the door close, and Sybil is driving off.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar; sometimes a bitch is just a bitch.  I'm getting tired of being the only adult in the house.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A New Twist

Once again, Anon has given me more to chew on.  He/she proposes that Sybil has Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder.  I went to one of the sites he gave me and did a quick check list:



While I am no mental health expert, I am seeing that maybe Sybil has OCPD rather than Narcissistic PD.  Actually, I think she has OCPD with NPD traits.  Anyway, she is the epitome of a obsessed workaholic.  This creates a lot of strain, since we own our own business.  However, nothing is good enough.  She is always revamping things.  To the point of working on minutiae without seeing the bigger picture.  This minutiae does nothing to give us more money.  It creates a strain because she is responsible for billing, and does not have time because she is working "shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic".

For example, I offered to outsource some of Sybil's work to ease her burden and give her more free time.  It would have cost us money and may have an error rate of...say...10%.  Since that is below her threshold of 100% perfection, she would not let me do it.  Therefore, she literally sits on her bed all day Saturday and Sunday (watching "Real Housewives" which is another post by itself) working.  I am left to take care of the toddler and try to run the house.  No time spent with the family.  We certainly do nothing fun.

Sadly, I have forgotten how to relax.  After nearly 24 years with Sybil and her tendencies, I have a constant state of low grade anxiety that I should be doing something.  While we do things with friends, it is always something within Sybil's comfort zone, like going out to dinner.  I do not know what the next steps are but to realize that Sybil will always have these issues, will not change, and it is up to me to carve out a life without her.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Are Narcissistic PDs Negative?



 Are Narcissistic Personality Disordered people negative?  Do they tend to see negativity everywhere they go?  Do they cast a pall over everything?

Sybil seems to only want to see the down sides to everything.  Everything is the end of the world.  The more something is outside her control, the more anxiety she feels over it.  Is it because she feels that the spot light is not shining on her?  Is that the way she can shine the light back on her?

We all have our moments of self-doubt and anxiety over situations.  Sybil tends to way over-react to them.  Example: for Son#3 we have a video monitor for his room.  We can watch him all of the time (kind of creepy...but that was not the hill on which I wanted to die).  I dropped the monitoring unit and broke it.  An accident.  Yes, it would cost us some money, but the reaction I got from Sybil was way over the top.  She came unglued and ranted how I put us in the poor house.  Ironically, she dropped the new monitor months after the incident and nary a peep.

I think NPDs need to feel the calming warmth of control.  They feel a lot of anxiety over situations that are out of their control.  That is one of Sybil's defining traits is the need to be in control...to plan...to make sure every contingency is allotted for.  In doing so, she can "pat herself on the back" for doing a job well.  The lack of control speaks to her deep seated insecurity.  Her insecurity inflames her anxiety to the point of her not sleeping and being difficult with which to live.  Being in control, is like a warm blanket to snuggle in.  This explains Sybil's dislike of adventurous activities, even roller coasters.

Or maybe I'm too much of a Polly Anna.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Another Great Article

Whomever Anon is...God bless you.  You must have a bunch of articles saved somewhere.

The latest is this one: 25 Signs of Covert Narcissism: A Special Kind of Mind Game.  I'd say that Sybil has all 25 signs, especially the ability to turn the discussion around onto herself and playing the victim card.  I think the reason I was stuck not wanting to believe that she has narcissistic personality disorder is that part about engaging in engaging in high-risk activities.  That is something Sybil will not do.  Otherwise, she fits the bill.

At the end of the article, the author gives the following advice: "Highly destructive to your self-esteem, if you are with one, you should find your way out while you can still leave with your heart, mind, and sensibilities still intact."  I could not agree more.  Unfortunately, the mind f&@ck a covert narcissist is able to do is unbelievable.  I'm not sure an average person would be able to recognize this personality type, unless they have been down that dark road.  The dopamine of being in a new relationship makes things seem rosier than they really are.

Anyway, the more I study the problem, the more I am confident that Sybil has narcissistic traits...at the very least.  Whether or not she is full on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I am not a mental health expert, but she seems to fit the bill.  The thing is she is not like a monster all of the time, if she gets her way.  That's the key.

Aye, there's the rub.  If someone always gets their way, then they come to expect to always get their way.  Everyone else becomes a means to an end.  If one refuses to give in, one has to live with a child that is throwing tantrums.  A sane, rational person does not do the things Sybil does, when she is having a fit.  Boundaries are an easy thing to set, but an intelligent covert narcissist is a whole other animal.  Twisting my words and her words around until my head spins.  I've thought of taking notes to keep it all straight.  That just feeds the JADEing, though.

Monday, April 03, 2017

The Wheel Keeps on Turning

The argument in my last post continued until this past Friday.  I was set to go visit my parents (something I rarely do...another post).  Sybil, Daughter, and Son#3 (the toddler) were to come with me.  Due to the argument and not Sybil not getting her hug, she was not going.  When I asked her that morning, her reply was, "You haven't convinced me."  Since she wasn't going, Son#3 wasn't going (Daughter flaked because of school).  Sybil was not going to let me go with our toddler due to him needing two people, which makes some sense.

Sybil blackmailed me.  If I caved and "convinced her", then I will lose the battle and prolong her narcissistic fix.  If I stand firm and just go by myself, my parents will not see their grandchild and create more drama and prolong her narcissistic fix.  In the article The Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse by Christine Hammond (thanks Anon), I saw this being played out in front of my eyes.  In the end, I caved (I didn't want to punish my parents).  I gave her the hug she was so desperately craving.  Thus, I was able to complete the cycle referenced in the article perfectly.

My goal is to peruse the other articles written by Hammond.  I'm hoping she can help with tricks and techniques in dealing with Sybil.  The forum on "Out of the FOG" has been helpful to a point.  At least I know I'm not alone nor crazy.  However, I suspect things are as good as they will get.  I will always be the "villain" in Sybil's world.  She'll always be the victim.  Sybil will always be on that cross, and I will be the centurion holding the spear.