I was married for 32 years to my high school sweetheart. I thought we would be together forever. We have four children, one of whom is an adult with severe disabilities. Our marriage had many challenges from the death of one of our sons to family suicide. I thought we had met and defeated the challenges of life, I guess not!!!
We dated for about a year when I got pregnant. We decided to get married and face this life together. We had several “deal breakers”, abuse of any kind and infidelity. We moved forward, together. There were early RED FLAGS, but I thought that was all part of his personality. He was a nice guy. He was a “safe” person to confide in. I was blissfully unaware of the deviant behavior he was inflicting on these unwitting troubled souls. I did question why most of them were women. I knew he was an advocate for women who did not have a voice. I now realize that was all a disguise to further victimize and abuse those that sought help from him. He always made sexually inappropriate jokes to everyone, male and female alike. EVERYONE thought, me included, this is just him being him.
Several years before our divorce I fell extremely ill. I couldn’t drive for almost a year. He was the doting husband. He even arranged for someone to come in and help me and our disabled son while he was at work. On Facebook, he always and publicly expressed his love for me. I thought how wonderful this was.
A few months later he was taken to the ER for a strangulated hernia. He was in so much pain and the pain medicine made him a bit out of it. His phone kept dinging. I thought nothing of it. His job required him to respond to employee text and messages. He asked me to keep his phone while he was taken to imaging. I was holding his phone and I got nosey. He was getting images sent to him. When I looked there were about 10 messages from women showing their boobs to him. I also checked his Facebook messages, I was bombarded with even more boobs saying, “Happy Titty Tuesday”. After snooping on Facebook, I discovered another Facebook account he had with even more and worse photos. Needless to say, I was floored, scared, curious and angry all at the same time. When he was brought back to his ER room I was faced with the choice, do I say something or wait? I chose to wait. He was ill and needed my help.
I waited for him to recover and let him know what I had found. I let him know how bad this hurt me. He vowed to never do it again. He deleted his secondary account and apologized repeatedly.
Flash forward a year, he got a new laptop for work and did not need the old one so he gave it to our disabled son to play on. Well, I noticed alerts for Facebook. Again, I became very curious. What I found was a gut punch! His messages were disgusting. These are women who know me and are friends on our disabled son’s Facebook page. He used my health issues and our disabled son to gain sympathy from these women. “Oh, you are such a good dad” or “You are such a good husband”. When I found that he was reminiscing with one particular woman of the encounter they had while he was at work, that was when the bitch switch flipped!!! I printed out some of my favorite messages, found someone to take our son, got out his suitcase and placed it and the messages on our bed. When he got home, I took out his garage door opener out of his truck. When I went back into the bedroom, he wanted to know what was all “this”? I explained (with special adjectives inserted where appropriate) what I found and that he can leave. As he was leaving, he let me know that he had his gun and that he was not afraid to use it. He was going to kill himself. I called the police to check on him. When contact was made, he assured me that he was not going to do that. I breathed a sigh of relief. He wanted to come back home. I felt guilty when I said no so, I paid for 3 nights in a hotel and after that it was up to him to find a place. A day later I got a call from our daughter saying that “Dad is going to kill himself”. She was terrified and hysterical. I assured her that I would take care of the situation. I again called the police. They were able to gain entry to his room and take the gun away. NOTE- they found that the gun was unloaded. The police took him to the hospital and the Doctor found that he was having a psychotic break and admitted him for his safety.
While he was in the hospital, I was able to get in touch with his sister to make sure he had a place to go to when he was released. I had them come and get our travel trailer, so he has space of his own. When he was released, he was so remorseful. He begged for me to take him back. NO! I stood my ground. For months I told him we still could be friends and that we need to be amenable for or disabled son. He was relentless. Sending me flowers once a week for 2 months.
As I moved forward with the divorce, he would say whatever I wanted I would get because we were supposed to be together. We went in mediation and when he finally realized I was serious he had already agreed on major issues like continued support and our home. He was upset and wanted to start all over. When he did not get his way with this request, he decided that if he was not going to help pay for the divorce, I would reconsider it. Yes, I paid for the divorce. He refused to sign the paperwork without me being there when he did. I think that he thought I would still call off the divorce.
Now that I have hindsight, I realize there were red flags all throughout our marriage. I had been living in survivor mode for 32 years. He knew this and exploited this.
A friend introduced me to an amazing woman. As we were getting to know each other I had an instant connection to her. I felt that I could confide in her. As I was telling her my story, she suggested that I hop onto a zoom meeting with the Survivors to Badass Unicorns in meetup. This is where I learned that I was married to a covert narcissist. I learned all about love bombing, flying monkeys and hoovering. I voraciously read or listened to the recommended books. I have educated myself on how to deal with the “Nice Guy” narcissist. I have learned that I am worthy. I am enough. Most of all how to love myself again.
I pray that you find peace and comfort here with us and I welcome you to this amazing group.