Note: If you’ve read any of my previous posts you know that my ex-husband is not the only narcissistic relationship that I’ve been in. I seem to be attracted to narcissists. I’m not sure what that says about me bu I know it’s not healthy.
On our 19th anniversary, I knew it would be the last as I watched our marriage rapidly deteriorate. Leading up to our anniversary he barely talked to me. His frustration and internal seething could be felt in the stony silence between us. He was a master of the silent treatment.
This is typical behaviour of a covert narcissist, although not limited to narcissists alone. After meeting my husband, it was my mental health worker who mentioned to my psychologist that he was a narcissist.
I thought narcissists were in love with themselves, constantly preening in the bathroom mirror. It didn’t fit. It turns out that there is so much more to narcissism. While my ex-husband thinks highly of himself he wasn’t a preener.
His narcissistic tendencies were not the sole reason for our marriage breakdown. It takes two. If he was the master of the silent treatment I was skilled at passive aggression. Something I’m not proud of. We were locked in a toxic dance of marital death.
A couple of months after our anniversary, he said that he took his vows seriously, but he could no longer live with me. He was leaving for 6 months. He did not want me to contact him during that time.
He was gone for a couple of days when I felt I could breathe again. Before he left I would catch myself holding my breath and I had to tell myself to breathe. I didn’t realize that I had been walking on eggshells for a very long time. I knew I didn’t want him back.
After a couple of months of separation I emailed him and wanted to know why we were waiting for the inevitable. I had no idea what he was thinking or what he was planning. We were in limbo.
He didn’t respond. He took this as his opportunity to be the victim. He told family and friends that he lost his best friend and that I had ended the marriage. It was a heartbreaking and volatile time.
For 3 years we negotiated our separation agreement. Finally, we came to an agreement. With the separation agreement signed and the house sold, we went our separate ways.
The first anniversary after our separation was bittersweet. Bitter because I believed in marriage and thought ours would last a lifetime. The sweet was that this was the beginning of a new life, free from a toxicity. I faced a new life stronger for the challenges I had overcome.
It wasn’t a happily-ever-after anniversary, but I could see a better future on the horizon and I was good with that knowledge.