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.