Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Survival Mode

Well, we're still together.  Naturally, not a day goes by (literally!) where Sybil does not find something to complain about me.  I cannot remember when the last time she made a positive comment.  At one point I told her that, if she wants a divorce, then she should just do it.  Quit messing around.  So far she has not.  I truly think that she is hoping to push me into divorcing her.  That way she can claim the high road.  Maybe I am too.

I have been putting off having a very painful conversation with Sybil about finances.  Frankly, our finances are in the toilet.  Our credit card balances really ballooned last year.  When pressed for an answer, Sybil cannot really give me one.  Ultimately, I feel that I have failed.  Realizing my weakness in regards to organization, I let Sybil deal with the household bills.  While she does do a better job of keeping us organized on paying bills, she really sucks at budgeting and discipline.  Sadly, I took the path of least resistance, and our finances have taken a hit.  I know that broaching this subject in a meaningful way will make Sybil feel blamed and cause her to lash out.  However, we cannot go on like this.

The event that really brought things into focus was a business seminar.  In the seminar one of the speakers was talking about budgeting.  From there he went into creating a system to make one become disciplined on spending.  It sounded good to me because it made perfect sense and seemed fairly simple.  Naturally, Sybil became mildly upset.  She told me that she was trying to get me to implement this system (she had not) a while ago and to make things more organized (fairly true).  Her system helps one with organizing bills by creating a spreadsheet that lists all of the things that need to be paid, when they need to be paid, and what their balance is.  It does nothing for budgeting.  It does not systematically change how things are done.  I know this to be true.  How do I know this? I know this to be true because of how our finances are today.  We have zero savings and nearly six figure credit card debt. 

Since Sybil cannot accept responsibility for anything, she blames me for the debt.  Now, the debt was from a horrible IRS audit.  We owed a lot in taxes, because our CPA was clueless and gave us bad advice.  That was EIGHT years ago.  Any debt that accumulated from that audit should have been paid off by now...if WE were disciplined.  Sadly, Sybil has used that audit as a metaphorical cudgel to bash me over the head.  She wanted to fire the CPA...not for incompetence...but because he spoke to her in a disrespectful manner.  I took the blame for the audit, and the financial stuff it caused because I felt that I should have known, somehow.  Looking back, that was a mistake.  She was at every single meeting with the CPA.  In that meeting every single time, all she would talk about was how much we are paying in taxes.  Since Sybil has the emotional age of 7, she does not see that, maybe, she has some role to play in that mess.

When I brought up the credit card issue, Sybil actually mentioned the audit from EIGHT years ago.  Mark Twain was right: denial isn't just a river in Egypt.  How can an event from EIGHT years ago cause our credit card debt to balloon up last year?  Since I do not see her making any changes to how she does things, I will have to.  I know that she will bring on the full court press of manipulation, shaming, guilt, etc.  I know that I will be painted as the bad guy for bringing order to chaos.  I will be surprised if we are still together at the end of the year. 

After the last blow up (I didn't write about it...basically it stemmed from me stating that I FEEL that she being a bully and "pounding on me"...she stormed out of the house threatening...wait for it...divorce), I know that things will get worse instead of better.  This brings me to point of the post: Survival Mode.  I have to realize a few things: Sybil cannot keep a house, does little cleaning, almost no cooking.  As for the office stuff, a lot of what Sybil does is "rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic".  It looks like she is really busy, but in reality she stays bogged down in tasks that could be delegated or done more easily.  By striving for 100% error free work, she gets very little done.  Therefore, I am starting to realize more and more that I need Sybil less and less.  I need little and want for less than I used to.  If she makes good on her threat, then I know I will come out the other side better off in many ways.  So sad.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Brinkmanship

Sybil was really at again two days ago.  Things had been brewing, so I was not really surprised.  Sadly, now that I know what the wizard behind the curtain looks like, I know this is just another part of the cycle of living the ups and downs of Personality Disorder (PD).  Ironically, we are on an upswing, but I am not getting the dopamine rush that I got in years past.  The knowledge that with every upswing is the inevitable downswing keeps me looking over my shoulder.

The trigger was how I spoke to her.  During the conversation to try to resolve the issue (yeah, yeah...I know), I owned that my demeanor was one of frustration.  However, I kept trying to tell Sybil that I was really just surprised, and it came across as frustration.  As I have withdrawn and trying to go Low Contact, she sensed that and did not like it one bit.  All weekend there were rumblings.

Sunday evening Sybil confronted me with a "need to have a conversation on how to divide our assets".  While I was surprised by the bluntness, I was not really surprised.  Anyway, she was adamant that she wanted the process to be as amicable as possible.  I explained that we have a hard time paying for one household, much less two.  I was told that would be my problem.  I am sure that Sybil really thinks that the cudgel to hit me over the head is money.  Hit me in the pocketbook, and I'll acquiesce to whatever she wants.

Really it is about a 4 year old boy.  He hates when we have this type of conversation.  He will leave the room.  It makes me so sad to see how we affect him.  I am sure that Sybil thinks it is all my fault.  I try to keep my tone civil to keep his anxiety to a minimum.  He is the reason I gave in to her demands of paying more attention to her.  I know I got "played", but I cannot risk creating damage to him by divorce.

How do I know I got "played"?  Easy.  After she got what she wanted, Sybil commenced the upswing.  Now she is loving, happy, etc.  If a person was really serious about killing the family (to me that is what divorce is: murder), then they would not do a 180.  To me that just confirms that Sybil is a manipulative, conniving, shallow person.  Even if she does not have PD, a person that was so serious about destroying the family and in less than a few hours is having sex, that is sure sign of mental illness. 

In my darkest hours, I believe that Sybil sensed that I was less than enamored with her.  Sensing this, I believe that she became pregnant on purpose.  That is a really dark place to go.  That means that she knows about my very strong sense of obligation.  Normally, that might be a good trait, but she uses that to her advantage.  She knows that for the next 14 years, I will continue to stay with her.  As the blinders have come off of my eyes, I realize what is in store for me.  It ain't pretty.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

An Answer to Anon

I really appreciate comments here.  I know I do not have the traffic that I used to have, which is fine.  The thing that I really appreciate are the people pointing me into directions that I need to go.  Like a lot of folks living with a PD person, I am isolated.  The isolation creeped up until I realize that I am pretty isolated.  Without these comments I would not have gone down the rabbit hole of PDness.  I would have known something was not quite right between Sybil and me, but I would have allowed myself to be gaslighted (and isolated) into believing that most of the problem was me.  Thankfully, these blessed commentors helped me find the resources to coping with Sybil.

On my last post, Anon wrote:
I'm just curious, what kind of Mother-in-law do you predict her to be...?
I have been wondering about that for awhile.  As we have two weddings within the next year, I am curious about that too.   I do not really know.  However, I can make some pretty educated guesses.  With our kids, Sybil has worked to try to keep them as close as possible.  While the oldest has a good job in our town, she has him living in our basement to save money.  Superficially, that seems logical (save money for a house), but I wonder if she needed one more person to defer to her.  In order to get her work done on weekends, she puts pressure on the kids to help with the 4 yo.  That is a whole other post.  Lastly, the 3rd child came home with the news that one of his professors may be able to help him get an internship at a National Laboratory.  Her comment was not, "Wow! That is great."  It was more, "That's too far away."  Really took the wind out of his sails.  I tried to tell him to go for it.  We'll see.

I fear that she will be meddlesome.  Sybil has stated that she will not, but I know that she likes control and is opinionated.  Hopefully, I am wrong.  Hopefully, she will learn to give advice when asked but not nag or cajole.  I know that she will not be able to hold her tongue, and she will be letting me know her thoughts over and over, ad nauseum.  I had hopes that the kids would move away to get away from her. I tried to encourage them to move away.  I made statements about moving overseas whilst they are young, or go wherever the jobs are, or it's ok to move away.  Fate or Sybil seem to have other plans.

No matter what happens, I know that Aphron will be the one in the middle.  I will be expected to bear the brunt of her frustrations, be expected to sooth her, and be expected to tell the kids that they are making mother angry.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Documenting Stuff

Well, I'm glad that weekend is over.  Naturally, it ended on a low note.  Sybil is under a lot of stress right now: we have the older 2 kids becoming engaged, we hired a new employee at our business, and she feel anxiety because she is behind in her work.  This creates bad ju-ju for Aphron.  Last night I, literally, had to talk back into coming home.  I did not want to.  I had to because we have that little guy and his needs are more important than ours (mine anyway).

Things kicked off with son #1's proposal to his long-time girlfriend.  Sybil was unable to be there to experience it.  She relied upon me to give her all of the juicy details.  Naturally, I failed her.  She became hurt because I did not tell her everything and she had to ask for the details.  Her word is "probe".  This made her feel like she was left our of the whole thing.  I sent pictures and video of the proposal.  I tried to give her a play-by-play, but my stuff was too vague for her.  Therefore, I just do not care about her.  I only care about what I care about.

Last night Sybil was wanting to go to the office to spend some time trying to get things ready for the new hire.  I needed to do some stuff and tried to not go to the office.  I explained that I could work on things at home.  I plead my case, explaining I need a couple of hours to get stuff done.  Since I did not state that Sybil needed to do some things, too, I do not care about her.  I only care about myself; she is an omission.

I have committed unspeakable acts of only caring about myself.  It is obvious that Sybil is unimportant in my life.  Therefore, I must be punished.  Last night I had to talk her into not leaving the family.  Deep in my heart I think one of us should have left.  My main thought was the little guy.  When I told I would like for her to come home, she stated that she is not going to babysit.  I thought he was OUR kid and did not need us to baby sit.  I tried to reassure her that she is not an "omission" but an important part of my life.  I fell back into bad habits: JADEing, circular arguments, etc.  She goaded me into giving her an emotional response.  It's like an alcoholic that fell off the wagon.  Naturally, this did not really solve anything.  This morning Sybil is crying, keeps telling me that I make her feel like an omission, etc.  Nothing was solved.  Nothing will be solved.  I think I have to leave.  I really, really do not want to leave.  I take all of this to try to keep things "normal" for the little guy.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

A Moment of Clarity

In this article Debbie Baisden writes about losing her husband.  Sadly, she had an epiphany that maybe she did not treat him as well as she should have.  Maybe she was a "butthole".

I found this article interesting because I have struggled with coming to terms with whether Sybil has a Cluster B personality disorder or simply being a butthole.  Is it possible that she really isn't defective, but just a person that likes to dish-out criticism?  I have thought about that possibility for some time.  I have to come to the conclusion that Sybil is on the Cluster B (NPD) spectrum.  She may not be a full blown narcissist, but she has many traits.

What is the difference?  I do not think a butthole wife would rage at her husband, emotionally manipulate him, and/or say hurtful things.  How can someone profess to love someone, yet say and do things that have been documented here?  A butthole wife would probably nag and complain about small things (why is leaving dirty socks on the floor a running refrain?).  However, I am not an expert on the matter.  I have never seen a non-dysfunctional marriage.  My parents' marriage was filled with arguments with mother raging at whomever was in close proximity.  I moved six hours away.  My own marriage is dysfunctional, as I have documented here.

The butthole wife is the wife that feels that whatever is bothering her at the time must be shared with whomever is nearby.  Since the husband is the one that is the closest, he must bear the brunt of her criticism.  However, the PD wife still dishes out the criticism, but it is not laced with love and respect.  For the PD, it is snark or rage or verbal abuse.  The butthole wife looks at the socks on the floor as, "he is making a mess and expects me to clean it."  This creates irritation.  The PD wife looks at the same socks and things, "he is making a mess, he must not love me, this fills me with anxiety, so I must rage at him to get even."  The PD takes it personally.  Those stupid socks on the floor are proof that he/she does not love me.  There is irritation but the overwhelming feeling is anxiety and fear.  The PD lives in a world of fear: fear of being discarded, fear of being ignored and marginalized, and the fear of not being THERE.

I will take a butthole wife any day over a PD wife.  For instance, Sybil has been acting really well for the last week or so.  This has my alarm bells ringing.  My cPTSD is off the charts.  I have lived through this before with moments of a kind, loving spouse with long stretches of rage and manipulation.  I think that is the fundamental difference.  While a butthole wife can be irritating as they get worked up over small, inconsequential things, she can move on and shake it off.  It does not color her overall treatment of her husband.  The PD wife must punish the husband for his transgressions.  He must feel the same pain that she feels.  If he does not, then he will be punished until he does.  He must feel unloved just as she does.

Anyway, this period of relative peace is leaving me unsettled.  Oddly, I feel more angst over this than the normal raging, manipulation, jabs, etc.  After all of this time, I know this is just an act.  Those metaphorical socks will make Sybil just know that I do not love her, and she will be triggered.  There is no respite: raging creates anxiety and peace creates anxiety.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Documenting More Vomitous

Here's the loving text Sybil sent me this morning:

Now, what egregious act did I do to warrant this loving text?  Well, I did not follow her wishes immediately.  It seems that, per Facebook, many hotels reservations in our area are being cancelled due to hurricane Florence.  My parents are supposed to come visit for Daughter's event.  Sybil has been like a "dog with a bone" about letting my parents know what the weather situation is in our area.  We are not in a direct line, and we are hundreds of miles away.  We are not even in the Carolinas.  I've been monitoring the weather situation and noticed that things are not supposed to happen here until my parents have already left the area.  Since I did not immediately send an email laying out our (her?) concerns, Sybil feels that I don't take her concerns seriously.

Now, I understand what Sybil is saying, but she spends way too much time on Facebook.  We have weather apps to check weather.  I know that weather forecasting is an inexact science, but it isn't without merit.  I think it is more secure than posts on Facebook from people that we do not even know.

I am able to look at the weather forecast and ascertain what is going to happen in our area.  I can look at the storm track and get an idea about how things will play out in our area.  Yes, it is an assumption, but it is a valid, logic assumption.  Sadly, Facebook posts and Sybil's feelings on the matter mean more.  I never said I would not email my parents about the weather (I, actually, agreed); it just is not a high priority.  I have many other things weighing on my mind than a few comments on Facebook.

Sigh. This morning's mini argument really isn't about some email to my parents.  Sybil needs attention and didn't feel like she was getting it.  Like a child that throws a tantrum, she has to have that supply.  I struggled to maintain Medium Chill.  I let her vomit forth her comments.  She twisted mine.  I realized this is circular and a tempest in a teapot.  I just made a script and stuck to it.  As we can see from the text above, Sybil was left unsatisfied with our conversation.  She felt compelled to fire off the last word.

I just want off this crazy train.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Running on Fumes




From Infogalactic:
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target's belief.[1][2]
Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term owes its origin to Gas Light, a 1938 play and 1944 film. It has been used in clinical and research literature.[3][4]
One of the things that have happened as I continue my journey out of the FOG is the realization of how I was manipulated and made to feel like a terrible person.  For years Sybil used a steady, relentless stream of manipulation to wear me down.  While I always knew that something didn't jive (hence the genesis of this blog), I could never put my finger on it.  Sybil was telling me how selfish I am; how inconsiderate I am; and how I didn't care about her.  In the beginning, I did not believe it.  How could that be true, I wondered.  I did everything I could: tried to be cognizant of her feelings, tried to take care of her needs, tried to help out at home, and did at least my fair share of raising the kids.  This was never enough.  I kept hearing, "More! More!"  A steady, constant stream of it made me question, "Am I doing enough?"

I was so deep into the FOG and so deeply gaslighted that I could not see what was before me.  I could not see the root problem.  What I have come to realize is that Sybil has worn be down and worn me out.  I have come to realize that I could never do enough.  Some people are inherently unhappy and will never be happy.  Instead of figuring out what needs to be done to be happy, these people would rather make everyone else unhappy.  Their currency is misery, since they are miserable.

It took me too long to see this.  I have heard it before and knew it.  Gaslighting made me unable to see that I was living it.  While I knew something was "off" with Sybil, I always thought I was root cause.  Over these last few months, now I know the problem is not her.  It is shameful how I let events determine me.  While I fought against it, I do not believe anyone can withstand it given enough time.  I do not know if it is a PD trait, but I know that it was unrelenting.

Now I feel very used and kind of discarded.  Sybil demands attention/affection, yet I get none; Sybil demands that I listen attentively and remember every detail, yet she does not pay attention to me; Sybil demands that I help out with kids, yet she is content to look at her phone while I do the work.  It was insidious.  I was totally unaware of the manipulation and using me for her own gains.  Now, I am constantly questioning any request.  Is it really something that is needed to do, or is it a way for Sybil to manipulate and control.  Sadly, many times it is the latter.

The constant jabs of criticism with no positive reinforcement has emptied my tank of caring.  As for love...I'm kind of running on empty.

UPDATE-

Last night had a another session with Sybil.  I just can't seem to stop JADEing.  It seems that "I just know that THIS time I'll get through."  Anyway, he bone of contention is that I don't "woo" her anymore; I don't act like a love struck boy chasing the girl.  Her biggest is that I don't try to talk to her and be open with her.  I explained that I understand where she is coming from, I know the pain she is experiencing, but I explained that how can I climb the walls or cross the chasm she has put in place.  Literal walls.  She has a pillow placed between us.  When I point out these facts, I get either silence (actual silence), or I get an over-the-top emotional response about I am not listening, I only care about myself, etc.  I explain that I care about us, but how can I "woo" someone that is either cold (I said a block of ice) or raging at me.  She never gives a compliment or says something nice to me.  I point out recent times I have.  Not enough! I must "woo" her and ignore all of the abuse and manipulation.  Narcissism is ugly.