“Can we talk for a second outside?” Phillip, my young-adults’ leader asked, pulling me aside.
“Sure,” I said, smiling wide. The evening was going well. I’d introduced my new boyfriend to the group and they seemed to like him. Phillip especially. He and my boyfriend had spent most of the night in animated conversation, bouncing off each other with their equally large, extroverted personalities.
His opinion held a lot of sway for me. If Phillip said “no” that day, I would’ve most likely broken it off with my boyfriend. I trusted his leadership and his wisdom more than my own.
He sat on the couch, complaining about an expensive business venture which had failed. His biggest failure to date. It had cost us thousands, a price which sat unspoken between us. Another elephant in the room of our marriage.
“If people had backed it more it would have worked! We need to move somewhere that people are more supportive of forward thinking ideas. This town is too stuck in its ways.”
Moving? Again? We’d only been in our new house a matter of months. “Why can’t this be enough? What you have here?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” he…
“That was great!” my husband smiled at me from across the table as I hung up on my ex, mid-sentence.
“It used to be so painful listening to you talk to him. He’d be bullying you and you’d just give in. Wow! Look at you now!”
I smiled back, placed the phone on the table. For the first time in years, I felt calm after an argument with my ex. Almost completely unfazed. I laughed. “Pretty different.”
Who was that woman four years ago, ten years ago, who passively stood by and accepted abuse from people? Not just from my…
You may have heard of Jekyll and Hyde Narcissists. People who, like the famous literary character, are charming and friendly sometimes; cruel and heartless at others. It’s a dual nature that’s incredibly confusing if you’re in a relationship with a narcissist. It can also be what keeps you with them.
According to Dan Neuharth Ph.D., MFT people with narcissism display several double standards. They “demand attention but are poor listeners. They seem supremely confident yet are terribly insecure. They expect special treatment yet rarely reciprocate — unless they get something in return.”
For me, it all sounds very familiar, but…
“Go have fun with your boyfriend.”
I stormed off in silence, Miles speed walking beside me: offended and spitting insults about my husband. Who does he think he is saying something like that? The way he treats you... That guy…Damn, he can be a dick at times. We were at a gathering and when the tension between my husband and I had become visible to our friends, Miles had been the one to step up and suggest I take a walk around the sprawling garden with him.
Now, three of us were mad and upset. As usual, I fumed in…
The counsellor’s voice on the other end of the phone sounded panicked. “You’re not going back to him are you?” she asked. For a second I paused, confused by the call. Were couple’s therapists meant to take sides? I thought they always tried to save relationships. That’s what every other therapist had tried to do with my husband and I in the past decade.
“No. I’m not planning on going back,” I replied. I’d made up my mind to go for a divorce and was only agreeing to therapy because my ex pressured me into it. …
“I’ve started to hide cash,” I told my counselor. It was only small amounts from our grocery budget, but I felt guilty lying to my husband.
“Good,” she replied. “Keep hiding it.”
I hadn’t expected that answer and, for the first time, it registered that perhaps our money situation was more abusive than I’d realized.
We’d been married for over a decade and from the start, my husband put me in charge of our finances. He’d gotten himself into massive debt before we met and he had no interest in money, other than spending it.
In the early years, I…
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1–800–799–7233. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
I took an abuse check quiz after I left my marriage. I lied on half of the questions — “yes, my partner respects my thoughts and feelings” — and my score was still well over the bar for an abusive relationship. I took it again, answering more questions incorrectly. Still abusive.
I took another one. And another one. …
Ilooked up from my egg and bacon breakfast just in time to catch him entering the resort’s crowded restaurant. As if sensing my gaze, he immediately found my eyes across the room and smiled. Liquid-fire pulsed through my veins, temples to groin. I blushed. I shouldn’t be feeling like this, I thought. I’m married. Newly married even.
I held his gaze and smiled back.
My wedding day had been perfect. Now, barely a few months in, I realized it was the only perfect thing about this marriage. I’d expected a honeymoon period where everything was blissful and easy, but it…
My marriage was falling apart quicker than I’d expected, I’d only managed to save a few hundred dollars: it wasn’t going to be enough. How would I live on my own with my kids when I hadn’t been in regular work for years? One thing my husband and I had agreed on having children was that someone would stay at home.
“Do you want to get a house together?” I asked my friend. She had recently become a single mom and we sat side by side on my bed, talking about how we might survive financially. My husband wouldn’t be…
Breaking the silence. Offering hope.