Life with a Narcissist

By Kim Saeed | Contemplating No Contact

Feb 11
Life with a narcissist

“Where are you?”  I asked, swallowing hard.  I knew his answer before he replied.

“I’m home”, he said with slight hesitancy.  He always hesitated a little before lying.  Apparently, he wasn’t aware that he gave himself away like that.

“That’s odd.  I’m parked right here in the driveway, and your car is nowhere in sight.”  My heart raced, anxiety rising in my chest, as it always did when I caught him in a lie.  After all this time, I still held out hope he’d be honest with me…just once.

“What are you doing home so early?  I thought you were working!”  His voice took on a tone of anger.  The one I dreaded, yet which simultaneously provided me with validation.  He was beginning to realize that I wasn’t the submissive, naïve doormat he’d grown accustomed to.  I asked questions now.  I was onto his games.  I’d even stopped crying…at least in front of him.  I didn’t respond.

“You’re up to something fishy!  You can’t be trusted!  What are you doing leaving work early?!”  His rage was escalating, but at this point I knew the pattern.  Instead of addressing his lie that he was home when he obviously wasn’t, he was trying to use fear and intimidation to get me to acquiesce, as I’d done hundreds of times before.

Although I knew I’d done nothing wrong, I felt the sting of shame and indignation.  Shame because I’d purposefully not told him I was leaving work early for the opportunity to catch him red-handed.  Shame because doing so made me somewhat like him.  Indignation because the man with whom I’d shared a meal and secret moments last night (at his request) had lied to me yet again.  When was I ever going to learn?

I knew the drill.  Instead of giving him the opportunity to torture me with a stage performance of leaving me again, I went ahead and packed his suitcases for him and left them at the door.  I wondered how long it would be this time.  A few days, a couple of weeks?  There was really no rhyme or reason to the abandonment and silent treatments.  I’d given up trying to predict when he’d show up unannounced, forcing himself back into my life as if nothing had happened.

I lay down on my bed, wondering how to deal with the news that I’d have to have one of my ovaries removed.  They needed to find out if the tumor was cancerous or benign.  I’d left work early for a doctor’s appointment.

I buried my face in my pillow and allowed myself to feel the welling, agonizing grief once again.  Loud, piercing cries had become a frequent pastime.  Was this my life?

At the end of the day, I’d convinced myself I deserved his rage because I’d set him up.  It was my fault…might as well live with the consequences of my actions.

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Steph July 16, 2016

I set my ex narc up once this past fall. He was up to his old tricks and I was onto him and decided to stop playing his games. He had been ignoring my calls, but telling me he never got them because of bad reception. We were at the same location on this occasion, but he didn’t know I had exited the building already. We had each taken our own cars. I got into mine (with tinted windows) and maybe five mins. later he came out and stood outside of his vehicle (parked right behind me) speaking with a friend. I decided to see what he would do if I called him. I turned around to look out the back window at him then speed dialed his number. He picked up his phone and looked at it then went on talking. Another couple of rings and he hit ignore, opened the incoming call file, deleted it, and went right on talking like nothing happened. I took a few slow breaths to calm myself before driving off. I started the car and put it into reverse. He immediately realized I was there and ran over to pound on my window. I opened it just a crack.

He asked, “why didn’t you tell me you were out here already?”

“I tried to,” I said, “I called you.”

“I didn’t get any call,” he lied.

“I saw you ignore it,” I calmly challenged.

“I DID NOT GET YOUR CALL!” he insisted.

“I watched you ignore it when the phone rang,” I challenged again.

He opened his incoming calls to show me he had no record of it.

“You’re ridiculous!” he said through his teeth. “Crazy.”

I rolled the window up and drove home. That was the turning point. Within 4 months he left. I went no contact and have continued it since January. No regrets whatsoever!! He denied another woman (in our state he’d lose 70% of our assets to me if he moved in with her or went public). But I know her now and so do lots of others. A narc’s pride will not let them stay completely hidden. They have to show that they are on top and enjoying life. He couldn’t stand the private, hidden life for that long. Has to be back in the lime light. What I love is that he has no idea I know. No idea I’m onto him and won’t until my lawyer shocks him at the bargaining table. I have so much strength I didn’t have a year ago. 20 years married to a narc will drive a woman to wish for the grave. I can’t believe the difference 6 months no contact makes!

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Walking_In_Faith February 23, 2015

***This is a long read…but I need clarity!

WAS I DATING A NARC?

I dated a man for almost six years. When we first met everything was amazing, he was my friend, my companion, and my lover. We dated for three months and made it official after that but early on in the relationship, he told me that he really liked me and wanted to be together. Yet, I wasn’t ready to make it official just after meeting him. However, I felt like he was a sweet person, good hearted, and caring, which in return made me gradually trust him.

I told him about myself, family, aspirations, and he told me about his past, his family, and “aspirations.” I soon realized that he had a rocky upbringing, moving from state to state with his mother and brother, constantly being bullied and fighting, and never feeling like he fit in b/c he was constantly moving. I really felt for him and appreciated him trusting me enough to tell me about himself.

Once we became officially an item, I introduced him to my family, and he introduced me to his family too. We hung out constantly, spoke constantly, and had so much fun together. However, things started to shift.

Whenever we would have a disagreement or argue, he would act out in several ways:

Ignore my texts and calls, no matter how many times I’d call or text. Only to return them days later, after he felt like it and act like nothing happened.
Blow hot and cold and I wouldn’t hear from him for days, weeks, or a month (The longest amount of time). Only to pop up at my house and cry and ask for my forgiveness and promise to “never act this way again.”
Act out and make a scene by crying in public or throwing a child-like tantrum, and saying he didn’t want to live. *This mostly happened when I was really stern and I think a last minute ploy to make me pity him.

Now, I just want to point out that when he first started acting this way, when he would try to finally call me back, I’d ignore him and he’d lay it on thick, texting, emailing, even popping up at my house to make his presence known.

What was once a great friendship / relationship soon became a mess. It seemed that any little thing would tick him off and that he lied about the most trivial of things, a pathological liar! Also, when I met him, he told me that he worked at his mother’s store. I later found out that his mother never actually had a store but was trying to open her own business (another lie).

Still in all, I stayed, and I tried to help him because I knew that he needed help, or so I thought. I felt that maybe he just needed someone who would take the time to help him and show him how to do things. I helped him w/ his resume, I helped him find jobs, and I showed him different opportunities. However, he could never keep a job, he stole from two jobs and was fired. I told him to look into apprenticeship programs or maybe trade schools but he never took the initiative to do anything.

He stayed with his mother but her partner didn’t like him and there was tons of tension in the home and so, he had to leave. He’s stayed with me for months, but couldn’t stay indefinitely because I live with my mother. Since I’ve known him he has constantly been living with one family member to the other, never able to take care of himself. Even when he finally got a job, he was still incapable of managing money or living on his own.

When I think about it now, no matter what I did, or anyone else did for that matter to try and help him, he just wasn’t progressing. It was like he was stuck!
What once was a great relationship soon began to unravel. He’d start to blow hot and cold even after a good day, or a fun day, or for anything. I used to be so frantic when he first did this and I would be mad b/c I couldn’t reach him, and then anger would turn into concern, and I would become worried! I’d start thinking, “What if something happened to him?” “I am upset and he can be hurt, or, in trouble!” I was so silly and naive! I felt confused, emotionally drained, and mentally spent. However, after the numerous times of this cat and mouse game, I started to become so used to the drama that I wouldn’t even call him. That’s when he’d pop back up and then profess his love and I’d tell him how I was hurt and it made me feel like he didn’t care. He’d cry and say that he’s sorry and that he loves me, and to give him another try. Once again, he promised to not do it again, but the cycle still continued.

In the beginning I believed that he loved me and afterwards I started to feel like I loved him more than he loved me.

The breaking point…

We spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day together and had a wonderful time! He came to my family’s house and we celebrated. January 2nd, he went back home and I tried reaching out to him later that day but he didn’t return not one call, not one message, and not one text. I was totally shocked and hurt because nothing “bad” happened for him to be ignoring me. So, after numerous attempts I stopped contacting him altogether. I deleted his number, I erased previous texts, and I blocked his number with the Mr. Number application, I was “done!”

However, two weeks later, I get a call from a number that wasn’t his local area code number, and I answered it. Turns out it’s him and he’s calling me from jail! He says, “I am so sorry for mistreating you, I’ve had a lot of time to think while sitting in here and I really really love you!” When I asked, “Why are you calling me when you’re sitting in jail when I tried contacting you two weeks ago?” He said that he knows that he’s wrong but that he didn’t know if he was going to be away for awhile. Come to find out he got arrested for driving with a suspended license. Well, I told him that I couldn’t help him but that I’d pray for him and to be safe. He spent three days in jail and was released.

Now, after spending the two weeks trying to stay strong, and finally speaking to him and knowing that he was in jail. I was once again concerned but when I looked online and saw that he was released two day prior and that he didn’t even bother calling to update me, I was upset because I felt like once again he’s inconveniencing me and playing with my emotions. You can call me to tell me that you’re in jail but you can’t call me to say, “Hey, don’t worry, I am out!” The nerve! So, I called him but he didn’t answer and I did something that I normally don’t do, I snooped and listened to his voice message. I found out that he was talking to a female and I decided to call him and find out what was really going on.

When I called him that day, he called me back later that evening, I spoke to him for awhile asking, how he was and if he’s okay. Talking calmly, I finally asked him, “Who is so and so?” In which he responded, “Who are you talking about?” SO, I said, “You know so and so from x y and z.” She told me that you two are seeing each other and that you have had sex together. Well, of course he denied it, but when I said her number, he got quiet. So I said, “It’s not a matter of if you slept with her, it’s a matter of how many times?” And finally, he said, “It only happened one time.” After that, I was floored. During all of the times that he disappeared and was hot and cold, I never knew for certain whether or not he was cheating but I did have my suspicions, and I did ask him directly. Yet, he always said, “NO!” When he went hot and cold, I would ask him if he wanted to be with me, and he always said, “YES!” I asked him flat out if he saw a future with me and he said, “Yes, I want to grow old with you.” I alway told him that if I ever found out that he was cheating that it’s over because that’s a deal breaker for me, and he said, “I’d never cheat!” However, he lied, over and over again.

Well, after his confession, I asked him why he did it and he said, “He used her and that he loved me.” He started to cry and said, “Now you’ll never be with me, I feel like driving my car off of a cliff.” This night was the end of it all! I told him that I couldn’t be with him and that it was over. This was on January 21st. Well, the first two weeks were horrible! I couldn’t concentrate, I was shocked, and I just felt out of it, nothing helped me to snap out of it. My thoughts were constantly on the cheating, the lies, the betrayal, and so much more. It took me having to manipulate him into thinking that I spoke with this girl in order for him to finally be honest. Well, finally after the two weeks, I start to feel a little better and focus on myself.

Fast forward to February 17th, almost one whole month later, and I receive a random text from an unfamiliar number. It’s from the same female that I heard on his voice message, I know because she told me her name in the text. She wrote me, asking when is the last time that I spoke to, or dealt with my ex. A few minutes later, she called me, and I actually answered because I had some of my own questions and I felt like I needed closure. Well, was I in for a major surprise!

I decided to be calm and not rude because who knows what kind of lies he might have told this girl since he could lie to me time and time again. She informed me that they had been talking since November and that they didn’t make their relationship official until January 2! That’s right, they became a couple the day after he left from celebrating with me and my family on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, which is why I couldn’t reach him at all once he went back home. What a deceptive person! She asked me if I thought he was sociopathic and I said possibly, or, narcissistic. I asked her if she knew about me and she said no, he told her that the last relationship was six months ago and that he was dating some “50 year old” woman (which isn’t me). I informed her that information was untrue and that we were last together on New Years Day and broke up during the end of January. As I am talking to her, I hear someone in the background say, “We were off and on…”

I asked, “Who is that?” And she says, my ex’s name!!!!! She had me on speaker phone and he was there. I felt so silly. Once I discovered he was there, he started to talk loud, and try to speak over me. He said that I was lying when I said that we were together, even though he spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s with me and we’ve never ever officially broken up. He said that I was critical of him, he said that I was crazy, he said so many untrue and hurtful things and I couldn’t believe it! I said, “Didn’t you call me while you were in jail telling me that you love me and that you’re sorry for mistreating me?” He flat out lied, and said, “NO!” He lied about every single thing. It was as if the person that I had known for over five years was acting as if I meant absolutely nothing to them, he was trying to devalue me, tarnish my character, and minimize my role in his life to his new girlfriend. I felt terrible and I was hurt. Just after finally feeling a little better and trying to establish no contact, I let my curiosity get the best of me by seeking answers. After I hung up that phone, I felt like I took ten steps backwards and was miserable all over again.

I felt shocked, I felt hurt, I felt confused, I felt sad, and I felt upset all at once. The only thing that seemed to help was venting to my friends and googling information online.

But, when I really think about everything there were signs like:
The constant lies
The disappearing and reappearing act
The cheating
The inability to take on responsibilities like: holding down a job, living on his own, and taking care of his children
Always blaming others for his problems and never taking accountability

Honestly, Kim, after finally coming across your site, I truly believe that my ex is a narcissist but I wanted to share my experience to get your take on things. I believe that the beginning of the relationship was him laying on the charm thick by being attentive, saying all the right things, and showing that he cared. However, now that I think about it, it probably all an act, and when he would disappear and reappear that was his way of testing me or “hoovering” to see if he still had me in his wraps, getting what he wanted, only to leave once more. I was always just a game to him and I guess that once I caught him cheating he decided it was time to discard me and pursue his new interest even stronger.

It’s horrible to be with someone for so long, do so much for them, love them, support them, and realize that you were nothing but a toy for their own selfish pleasures! However, I do find solace reading your post and reading the members experiences. It let’s me know that I am not alone in this situation and that most importantly, I need to pay better attention to the signs that people show me.

I am now working on improving myself and my life. I am working on being more independent and loving myself more. I know that I too had a part to play in this situation by accepting behavior that I know wasn’t appropriate for way too long. I am just glad to have got out! By the way, your site is so supportive and I thank you for it!

Also, I have blocked his number on my cell, my home phone, and I have blocked his emails. I am really enforcing No Contact this time and I am moving ahead in my life. I won’t be swayed!

I know that this is an extremely long post but I’ve been really pondering on if I should write this and finally I did. Before January, I didn’t realize that my ex probably was a Narc or that he might suffer for some personality disorder, but, like I said, after our breakup in January, I started reading and realizing that he fit the description and it made me realize that I wasn’t going crazy, there really was something off, and it was him!

Thanks for all of the helpful information!

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[…] Life with a Narcissist […]

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    Kim Saeed February 15, 2015

    Thank you for sharing <3

    Reply
survivorthrivor2 February 12, 2015

My N h never left after an incident, I wish he had, actually. I understand the tactics of leaving, I do, but he was a firefighter and was gone for 24+ hours at a time, every other day – it was awesome! That was when the kids & I could let down and have a ‘normal’ fun time and just be who we authentically were together. I made sure we had lots of freedom and the rules were minimal, just laughing, playing, eating chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies for breakfast and sometimes dinner! It wasn’t a free for all, but it was light & easy. Looking back, I thank God for those times, I believe they got us through.
There was no relationship, just “stage performances” and as my counselor said, you will only have “interactions” with a N – they are incapable of having a real relationship.

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    Anonymous February 12, 2015

    Interactions…. That’s exactly it…. That does make sense….thank you for that

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Unconfirmed Bachelorette February 12, 2015

The stage performance of leaving. That’s exactly what they were: performances. Once I clued into this, I’d watch closely and sometimes, I’d catch him miss a beat. I’d see the mask slip, and see that he was acting.

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Kat February 11, 2015

They are masters at turning it back onto you. I noticed all of the classic signs of cheating before I realized my STBX is a narcissist and eventually discovered that whatever was going on, he was interested in men, not women. Being the empathetic person that I am, I gently confronted him, offering to support him in exploring this side of himself. KABOOM! Was I calling him gay?!! How dare I! Sure he’s attracted to men, but everyone is bisexual and the real problem is . . . cue the hour-long tirade about everything that’s wrong with me, how I drove him to “experiment” with gay porn, and how I was the cause of his depression and the reason why he gave up the things he loves, because I was holding him back (meanwhile, the exact opposite was of course true as anyone here would understand). I am not proud to admit that by the end of the conversation I was tearfully apologizing to him and vowing to be more supportive in helping him out of his depression.

Thankfully I had at least read enough about how gay spouses in denial usually react when you confront them, so I didn’t buy his lies about not being gay, and the support networks I wound up on eventually led me here, since so many closeted spouses are married to straight people precisely because they are narcissists who believe being gay will mar their carefully constructed image of themselves. I used to think the main problem in our marriage was that he’s gay. Now I know that being gay and married to me is merely symptom of a much larger problem, which is that he’s a full blown narcissist. I’m so grateful to Kim and the community here in helping me get a better understanding of what I’m dealing with and find strategies for moving forward and out.

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    Unconfirmed Bachelorette February 12, 2015

    I was involved with two Ns who slept with men and women. They didn’t care about the gender. They just needed the fix.

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Corinne February 11, 2015

Notice how instantly he turns it back onto her? How she’s the one that cant be trusted? I had so many arguments with my narc (now, thankfully) ex, and what started as a discussion over something simple that HE had done ended with me feeling like I was the party in the wrong and should be so regretful that I should (and often would) apologise to him for my wrong doings. Emotional manipulation is so hard to identify and perceive, at least you know where you are with another black eye.

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Helen anderson February 11, 2015

ah well said. The thing is we are hard to reach when we re in these toxic partnerships, and the truth does not resonate with us at first. After being free of mine for a year, and experiencing the pure exileration of the healing process beginning, I would like to say to those still trying to understand their bazaar entrapment…….escape.

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    Nancy Peden February 11, 2015

    Thanks, Helen, I am trying and having some success. Recently, I did a shamanic healing for all my genetic mutations and she gave me a symbol. That symbol was the mermaid aka a siren. Well, I had a hard time with that because the sirens lured men to their death as their boats crashed on the rocks, through their beautiful voices. I did not want to be a killer of men (this was before I started researching gaslighting and narcissism.)

    This past weekend, some dear friends gave me a gift of a workshop on GRACE (a free gift of the universe) with David Ricoh (check out his books, he is a therapist and a Buddhist). Of course, he is very clear and explains things well.

    I told him about my being given the siren as a symbol and that it really bothered me. He said there is another interpretation: the sirens lure men to the rocks to dissemble their egos and humble them. Odysseus returns home a much wiser man, and I bet a lot less narcissistic. So now I am proud to be a Siren and if I find a man who needs to crash on the rocks, so be it.

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Jennifer February 11, 2015

Thank you! I am still reeling in confusion as to what has happened, and it is healing and helpful to read these posts, and to realize that just because he says it is all my fault does not make it so.

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Melissa February 11, 2015

Omg…chilling I was with my sociopath/ narc for 18 years and the end result ovarian cancer..stayed with him while all the focus stayed on him through out my op and recovery..until 12 months later I got a tumor in my lymph system and on the morning I was going off to the doctor with that lump I said to him, I can’t do this on my own this time I need your support to which he replied…” I’ve been thinking about leaving you I was going to tell you” After this op his abuse increased to the point I was forced out of our house and he changed the locks and is refusing me access to see our beautiful dog all the while the last eight months dating his new victim and living in our house and not contributing a cent to the mortgage while holding the furniture and the rest of my personal processions at ransom…while I struggle with paying legal fees to try and get it all sorted…these people are not human!!

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    Susan February 11, 2015

    Melissa, I have been where you are! I am so sorry you are going through this! I know the feeling of him holding your stuff! They are very very very sick! I do not call them human because they are not. If you need to talk I’ll listen because I’ve been right where you are. I had a cancer scare as well and mine went off to work out of town leaving me to face it on my own too!

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    Susan February 11, 2015

    I am out though and have been for awhile! I’m am true lay finding myself and it feels good

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Anonymous February 11, 2015

Great post Kim! I learned after many times of trying to address an important issue about our relationship or questioning him that he would automatically start yelling and screaming and making it out to be something totally different than what I said or wanted to discuss with him. After many times of the silent treatment and not talked to for 2 weeks at a time or he storming out of my apt., he now knows I do not deal with his ignorance and has finally stopped acting that way for awhile now. When I stopped playing into his childish behavior, and he learned that I would never consider living together with him, he finally started to change. After reading several of your posts and gaining information from you, I poured that information onto him and he seemed to tack it inward. I want to thank you for all of your important information that you gave to me and I learned so much from you and built myself back to the person I once was. Although I do not always comment, I read your posts for strength and knowledge and wisdom. Thank you so very much Kim 😉

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Jami February 11, 2015

This story gave me goosebumps. I knew this game too. I tried so hard to not be afraid of him…. But I never did anything right. I caught him in so many lies…. But somehow it was ME who was in trouble…. Sigh
So glad I’m out! 20 years of hell over! And I’m moving on.

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    Nancy Peden February 11, 2015

    Jami, mine was 40 year marriage and he divorced me three years after ovarian cancer and other medical illnesses, I tried to commit suicide. Fortunately a psych had me tested for genetic mutations and I have a lot. Now I am on a genetic diet and taking supps and slowly beginning to get my life back. Much admiration for your accomplishments.

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Nancy Peden February 11, 2015

Wish this site had a like button. So many brave and wise women! Makes me weep.

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safirefalcon February 11, 2015

And all that manipulation leads to intense stress which leads to not only emotional imbalance but can also result in many physical illnesses…which it seems you illustrate in your post. We don’t get diseases for no reason. Our bodies react to the toxicity in defense. And it manifests in various illnesses. At least that’s what makes sense to me. I’m no doctor but I’ve seen a lot of reference to stress and how it can wreak havoc on our bodies. (And of course our minds).

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happinessweekly February 11, 2015

Nailed it again! Another awesome post, Kim. It also revealed a lot about why and how NO CONTACT is so important and the only way forward to recover from the cycle. I love your work! x

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    Kim Saeed February 11, 2015

    Thank you so much, Sair 🙂 So good (as always) to see you here…and encouraging, as well!

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Nancy Peden February 11, 2015

Good post, Kim. I got told whenever he was having trouble and yelling at me that “it wasn’t about me” but he would never say what it was about. Then I would get very depressed and feel responsible. Really sucks. He says it is not about me. Then why yell at me????

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virginiarodino February 11, 2015

This was so powerful!! It’s hard to describe to others who have never dealt with a narcissist how badly this emotional abuse affects one’s physical and mental well-being.

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    Kim Saeed February 11, 2015

    Thank you, Virginia! It’s indeed hard to relate unless you’ve experienced it. I’m glad you found this piece powerful. Hope you are well. <3

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    Nancy Peden February 11, 2015

    Virgiania, it can be subtle and tricky to track, the words making you feel crazy. And oh so painful. I got ovarian cancer and many mental illnesses after four years of stress in our forty year marriage. He divorced me three years after cancer. They have no sense of responsibility or personal insight.

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Jenny February 11, 2015

Oh my how strong these words resonate …. Exactly how you describe it… Making you feel guilty … Bad… Mine used to say when I caught him in lies.. ” you are paranoid… If you look hard enough you will find .. You will make things fit with your over active mind” how wicked and cruel…
And yet once again only an hour ago I drove to his home after 4 months of being split up… To see if his car was there…. ??? I don’t understand myself… I’m free of a toxic destroying relationship… I had a breakdown… Destroyed my family…. Because of this corpse… Yet still I wonder… Most days ok… Couldn’t care less… I feel no pain… No tears … No distress… That all stopped months ago… He rejected me sexually… Started to be interested in male penetration… Stopped being able to do it with me… So when the end came ( which I orchestrated) I was relieved… Yet still I long for a text… Not a word from him… Utter disregard for all the pain he caused… And I despise him… Truly…

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