The Beginning of Something Else

On June 1, 2007 I found out my husband and partner of almost two decades had been unfaithful to me since before our marriage, and had been having intercourse with prostitutes for 3 1/2 years. This is what happened next.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Oh that's're still a narcissistic asshole

Lightbulb! Lest I forget that recovery is a journey not a destination, Husband's occasionally stunning sense of entitlement rears its head.

We were on our way home after a lovely evening out, and talking about the assignment that Husband's therapist had given him: Find something within the family to set boundaries about, something where you say "this is how it's going to be for me."

He asked for me to help him think about what that might look like, and the first thing that popped into my head was that he needs a computer that is his. Right now, he's using my mom's laptop (she's essentially given it to him, though she'll use it from time to time.) The desktop computer that we bought for him has become a family computer. He's really been longing for a computer that nobody else touches but him. (I have a laptop that I use for work that's pretty much mine, although it's serving as the family DVD player right at this moment.)

So I suggested a computer. He grinned and told me that there's an Apple iPad on reserve for him until 3pm tomorrow. News to me, but fine.

He's really been pining for an iPad, but I'm not really a proponent of being early adopters only because we are pretty much broke. But I'd been thinking that maybe we should get one eventually since he's been wanting one so badly.

Reviews for the iPad came out today, and @pogue said that the iPad is great for consuming but not great for creating. Husband is a writer, and he uses his computers primarily for writing, Lexulous and Facebook. But writing is the main purpose.

We were in the kitchen, his arms around me, and he rested his cheek on mine and said, "I really do want a computer."

"I think you should get a computer," I said, "but not an iPad."

"Why?" he asked as he drew back.

I was surprised by his irritation.

"Well...because they're brand new..." He looked disgusted. "And because David Pogue said they're great for consuming stuff but not so great for creating stuff."

The conversation ended pretty quickly and he huffed off to bed.

I was pissed off. He's been unemployed 15 months. We wonder every month if/how we're going to pay our mortgage. We owe over $15K in back taxes because of the year he somehow thought he filed taxes but didn't. (That year he also spent thousands of dollars on prostitutes.) The IRS put a hold on ALL the money in our bank account this week. And he's ticked off that I don't think he should get an iPad right now.

ENTITLEMENT: Belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.

Yes, I am married to a narcissist. That will never change.

What will change is his level of self awareness, his ability to perceive his impact on others, and how he responds to his own behavior. And those things have changed. A lot. Through a lot of courage, hard work and willingness on his part, he is a different person in many regards. But, like my absolutism, his sense of entitlement isn't something that can be cured.

That's what I think.

And now, here's how I feel:

Ugh. I really hate that aspect of his personality. Really. It's stupid! I mean, how can a person in such a dire financial position logically harbor a notion that he should be among the first people in the WORLD to own an iPad? Is this thought process what a fucking Ivy League education buys? And why do I have to catch attitude for such stupid thinking? Why do I have to be subject to your infantile tantrums? I have ENOUGH to deal with. Fucking evolve, won't you???!!!!

Phew! What a relief to vent and get that off my chest!

I'm not sure how to handle with this. I can see it for what it is (Husband's narcissism surfacing,) and Husband probably will too over the next few days. But I'm also really irritated, and my inclination is to withdraw. My thought process is that I don't want to deal with stupid asshole behavior so I won't. I'll tune it and him out until it stops. But I know that's not really healthy either. Because there are things going unspoken (but not unexpressed - which is key. I come from a lineage of expert PASSIVE aggressors.) But I know he's not at his best, so I don't want to argue with him about something that he'll probably acknowledge as assholic before long. So I feel like I don't want to say anything. But that's patronizing and also gives into my penchant for deciding unilaterally that I will just deal with something on my own rather than confront someone.

I'm confused. I'm in the middle of this, and I can't see the forest for the trees. I really don't know how to respond to this in a healthy way.

So I'm going to sleep on it.

I'll be the one in bed next to the asshole.


GentlePath said...

Does an unspoiled relationship exist? I doubt it.

And sex addiction, unfortunately, does make sense. Just like foot binding results in tiny crippled feet, certain circumstances warp your sexuality. Addiction does not equal psychopathy.

However, everyone has the right to live a happy life, and that includes NOT staying with an addict. I agree that it's often easier and less painful to recover individually.

MargauxMeade said...

Wow, I seriously needed to read this today. I'm in a very similar situation right now. I still haven't figured out what the next right action for me is (right now I'm not saying anything, which, like you said, *is* sort of patronizing), but if I do, I'll let you know. If you figure something out, I hope you'll post again. Thanks for sharing!

woman.anonymous7 said...

GentlePath - I agree that addiction does not equal psychopathy. I think in Husband's case his addictive behaviors may be a coping method for narcissistic tendencies and the anxieties that accompany them. I also think there are many paths that lead to addiction and co-dependency, and Husband's and mine are just our two particular routes.

MargauxMead - I still haven't talked about my feelings with Husband yet, but I think that's what I'm going to do today. It will be better because now that some of the charge has diminished for both of us, we'll be able to talk rationally. Which makes the Confrontation Evader in me feel better. Progress, not perfection.

Bernadine said...

Good for you for using your blog as a venting place. I hope getting it out helped. I also want to say-- I totally hear you. My husband used to pull this kind of stuff all the time. We'd be chronically broke and he would decide he deserved a lavish Whole Foods deli spread, or brand new $200 sunglasses, etc. (and then of course, I found out he was paying for prostitutes and secretly asking for money from his Mom the entire time.) It's maddening.

I hope your talk went well.

Ground Zero said...

A non-spoiled relationship does exist. A non-spoiled relationship can have problems, but the participants do not have personality disorders so they at least have the ability to be self aware, to grow, and to sustain change. Whether they use that ability is another question.

A "spoiled" relationship is one partner without a personality disorder and one with a personality disorder. It is SPOILED, just like a food gets spoiled and is worthless. If you go ahead and eat it you will suffer.

No, addiction does not equal pathology. However, if there was a venn diagram of pathology and addiction, there would be and extremely strong correlation.

The current Recovery Industry that fails to screen for pathology is commiting a huge crime against humanity - mostly against women since a greater % of psychopaths and sociopaths are men.

Same with all the Batterer programs sending personality disordered men back to maim and kill women and children. And all because the driver of our current medical system is money.

The definition of these Axis II Personality disorders is the inability to have insight and sustain change. So there is NO insurance coverage for mental health services once a man gets one of these diagnosis. No big mystery why the psychological community colludes in "not seeing all these *paths among us."


There is no big mystery here for individual women involved with a suspected personality disordered man either.

There are psychological checklists that the victim of a partner with a personality disorder can complete. For example, for psychopathy it is Robert Hare's Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R).

If someone is in a relationship with a ___addict that has a severe intractable, incurable, personality discorder - - then the "addiction" is NOT the issue.

The addiction is merely a choice of weapon, these scum may put down a knife and pick up a gun (drugs, sex, physicial or emotional violence, money...).

WA7 you mentioned narcissistic tendencies. Have you completed a reliable test for narcissism on this guy? What was the outcome?

Not being a responsible adult partner on the topic of money is a bad sign. Not being a responsible adult partner on the topic of sex is a bad sign.

And when I hear that a SA wants any computer really-really bad it makes me nervous.

If the person has a severe incurable personality disorder - - do you want the rest of your life to be about this personality disorder?

Ground Zero said...

I am just curious, how are you able to survive financially with your husband out of work for 15 months?

Do you feel that he is trying as hard as possible to get a job - I'm talking desperate extreme actions that would be necessary from a man who was out of work that long and has a family to provide for?

I myself have been caught in layoffs and done the desperate job search - and I didn't have any time, energy, or desire to shop for electronics.