For those of you who need it, or even just want to know. This is how your toxic spouse feels about you.
Having a boyfriend or a girlfriend, or even a husband or wife, is supposed to be a beautiful, beneficial experience. Having someone you can count on, rely on, open up to, get vulnerable with, it can be the most uplifting thing in a person’s life.
And there is, no better feeling in the world then when you find that person.
You find that kind, empathetic, loving soul that completely understands you, even admires you. When you have that, it’s hard to feel like you could fail ever again.
The problem is, things don’t always play out like we think.
We think we have that person, that relationship, but the longer you stay, the less you see of that person you fall in love with.
The sympathetic angel you fell in love with just told you you’re a loser.
The person who held you as you cried into them is physically hurting you.
So every day, more and more, you start to dread it when you see that other person in your life.
It’s a confusing, heartbreaking experience.
And it leaves you wondering; where did that person go? Where’s the one I fell in love with?
Can I get them back?
To anyone out there finding themselves in that situation, I want to share a story with you. Anyone who thinks they’re in a relationship with someone dealing with narcissism, borderline personality disorder, a sociopath, or even a psychopath, people that struggle with processing empathy, this story is for you. It’s very personal, but, I know it can help the right people.
See, I used to be in that relationship. I was married to this woman for years, and this was after I’d had my relationship training. You just sort of, drift into it, unknowingly.
When we first started our relationship, she was this caring, funny, loving, sweet, sweet woman.
But, the longer we stayed together, the more cruel she became.
She would yell at me, call me a loser.
Sometimes, she’d scream in my face for no reason at all.
She’d physically abuse me, she punched me, she would even poke her nails into my face while I carried in the groceries.
And there was so much more.
It wasn’t just insane, again, it was just so cruel.
Eventually, though, I started to see a therapist, as I struggle with a sort of “hero syndrome”. When I see someone going through something, I take responsibility to help them out of it, to rescue them.
I have a high degree of empathy, it makes me very sensitive, and I really cherish my relationships with others.
What I didn’t understand at the time, however, was what I was to a woman like her. I was a food source. People like me, people just trying their best to be sensitive and understanding, are like a lighthouse to emotional predators.
We are their perfect target to make them feel better, while we’re slowly eaten alive, until we either get out, or rot away.
I truly thought I could rescue my wife. I knew she had a rough childhood, she’d been through a lot of terrible things.
In my mind, if I could just show her what real love looked like, eventually she’d understand, and admire me again.
After all the horrible things she did, if I could just get through it without walking out on her, she’d know I loved her so much I stuck through it for her.
That would get the version of her I needed as my wife.
Sorry, back to the therapist.
This must’ve been my fourth or fifth time I’d seen them, and I tried to make it every week. This session, I was giving them my weekly update on how the marriage life was going — surprising no one, not very well.
But at the end of the update, she said this:
“So you’re pretty determined to teach her what strong love looks like?”
And honestly, I felt pretty proud of myself. It was clear to this person I was doing what it took to show her how much I loved her, and I explained that to her. That I think I can change her. The response was, pretty unexpected.
“Would you be surprised to know she’s probably disgusted by you?”
That really knocked the air out of me. Disgusted by me? After the hell she put me through each and every day? How would she be disgusted by me sticking through that for her?
So I asked her what she meant.
“Would it surprise you that you repulse her? That when she looks at you, she thinks you are so pathetically weak?”
Deep down — well, maybe even not that deep down — I knew she was right. But I asked her anyway, how did she know that?
“Because you tolerate all her behavior. You tolerate everything she does to you, and you have no respect for yourself. She knows there’s nothing she couldn’t do to you, and you wouldn’t find a reason to stay.
You told me a story where she peed in your drinking water, then turned the lights down and wanted to watch you drink it. Do you really think anyone who could do that really respects you?”
Honestly, I didn’t have an answer for that. Because there is no answer for that.
I felt anger, I felt humiliation, just kinda wash over me.
I asked “Still though, how do you know that?”
“Do you have children? When they throw a fit, and they scream and they cry, what do you do?”
“Well, I discipline them. They say no, I say yes. But it didn’t hurt my feelings enough to give in to a child. And if they kept pushing it, I’d teach them, you don’t just throw a fit and get their way.”
“So, why do you defend and excuse something in a grown up, that you wouldn’t tolerate in a child? And, just imagine your kids said to you, you’re a loser, or an idiot, would you pick them up and tell them how much you love them? Or would you punish them, take away something they enjoy and teach them you just don’t do that.”
“The second thing.”
“But you think if you tolerate and encourage her, she’ll just, get better? You think she’ll just wake up and see you as a strong man that deserves admiration? Your wife is throwing tantrums, and every day, you prove to her that you are so far beneath her, she doesn’t need to show you any amount of respect.”
Needless to say, that was a really painful moment. But sometimes, pain is just truth in disguise.
The truth is, she never cared about me, she never respected me. Everyday, she ran her own painful, torturous, selfish, depraved tests on me, and in her eyes, I failed every one of them.
And at the end of the day, I think part of it was on me, my own vanity. That I thought I could be so good to her, and so encouraging, I could influence her into doing what’s right.
But it just doesn’t work like that.
And at the end of the day, they’re like everyone else. They are who they choose to be.
If you allow yourself to be treated like nothing, the more you allow it, the more you teach them and you, you are nothing.
So I’m hoping my own painful, personal lesson, can show anyone out there going through a similar experience; stop it, and get out of there.
Allowing yourself to put down, spit on, disrespected, and humiliated, doesn’t teach them that you love them so much you’re gonna put up with it.
It tells them you are so frail, you won’t even defend yourself.
So prove them wrong.
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