I’m a little amazed at how things are slowly coming back to me, things that I had completely forgotten about and buried them, not wanting to remember. I think it was a way of protecting myself from more pain and from reliving some unhappy moments.
A couple of days ago, out of nowhere, I remembered how frequently we would not have a place to stay at night when going on trips. For some reason that escapes me to this day, I don’t know why my husband would hardly ever make reservations when we went somewhere out of town. Or if we did have reservations, we would always arrive late and, by then, our rooms, seats, or camp sites would have already been given away.
Once, we were going backpacking up north in our state. We needed to spend the night at the very last city a good half hour or more away from a very little town where we would catch the ferry across lake Michigan the following morning. For reasons I no longer remember apart from the fact that I was ready and had to wait for my husband, we didn’t leave the afternoon before at the arranged time. We needed to drive about 6 hours to the city we would stay overnight. But, like usual, he was not ready and we didn’t leave until like a good 3 hours after the planned time.
By the time we got to that city it was past 10:00 PM and we couldn’t find anywhere to stay. That’s when I found out that he had not made any hotel reservations at all. I would have taken care of all the arrangements hadn’t he told me that he wanted to take care of this trip all by himself.
Another factor against us was that there was some special major, annual event going on in town that particular week for which reservations are usually made at least a year in advance. He kept on driving in circles, from one hotel to another, even motels. All of them were fully booked. I was exhausted from a difficult week at work and he kept on not solving our situation. We couldn’t really spend the night in the car as he had a very small 2-door vehicle and the back seat, as well as trunk were taken by our backpacks and things from his job that he had failed to get out of the car.
At some point he had parked the car and just sat there, cracking his knuckles, staring at nothing, something he does all the time. He would be talking to you and be completely gone to some other planet all of a sudden, cracking his knuckles and with his sight lost in mid air.
I started to get very impatient and angry at him for not having taken care of our sleeping arrangements for the night. I have to add that this was not the first time he had failed to get us a room. Considering that we were going to spend the following days sleeping on the ground, I had wanted to make sure we would get one night of good rest and a shower before not having those for a while.
After a good 15 minutes, if not longer, of him fumbling with his cell phone and not saying a word, I asked if he was going to try to solve our situation or not. He turned to me and asked me where was my sense of adventure. I remember I got so mad that, in order not to have a fight right there and then, I got off the car and sat at the curve of that parking lot.
Fortunately and by chance, we did find a place to stay that night after all, some motel out of town, right in the opposite direction of where we needed to head the following morning. We were lucky that we walked in 5 minutes before the owner would have left. We got a room that clearly was not supposed to be rented out. But I was exhausted by then and I no longer cared anymore. I just wanted to sleep and take a shower, something that was not easy to do with the low water pressure in that bathroom.
I just didn’t want to fight. I was going to be with him for the next few days and we would probably not see another soul until the end of our trip. Therefore, I didn’t want to face the trails in bad terms. Nonetheless, I was very mad and hurt at him. There he was, snoring like nothing had happened, and blaming it on me for not being adventurous enough. When similar situations had come up in the past, I would blame myself for not being adventurous or spontaneous enough. He would turn it around in such ways that I would start convincing myself that he was right and I was not and that I was too demanding and expected too much of him when he was going to such great lengths for us. (Really? I am rolling my eyes now while typing that.)
Needless to say that I was probably the more adventurous of the two of us anyway. I had gone backpacking completely alone in the Patagonian Andes many times before moving to the United States. I had driven to unknown places with nothing else but a light spirit and a map when GPS units had yet to be invented and MapQuest still didn’t exist, let’s not even mention Google, taking advantage that my job had taken me for weeks at a time to other states or countries and just venturing on the roads during the weekends. I once ventured through roads in Mexico where basically you should not even pull over for a flat tire, that dangerous it can be, most especially for a white, young woman like me at the time. I had moved to another country that spoke a different language than mine and had done so with a one-way ticket. And he had the nerve to say that I was neither adventurous, nor spontaneous.
What has he done to show that he’s spontaneous and adventurous? Every time I had asked him to do things he had never done before and that I wanted to do or try, he had made excuses and talked me out of doing those things or visiting those places. Talking about projection.
I have recently started to refer to my husband as Sheldon Cooper. Yes, the one from CBS The Big Bang Theory. Why? Because while he may not have half the IQ Sheldon has, he is very similar to him in many other ways. For instance, we always eat the same exact meals on the same day of the week. You can hardly ever make him switch or swap days or meals. He doesn’t want to try new things. With my being from another country, I tried to cook and bake traditional meals from my lands and he would look at them as if I had put poop on his plate. But he would not wait a second to say something about me being too picky about food. Well, you have to be picky when you have as many food allergies as I have. What is his excuse? That it was not Monday and we only eat chicken on Mondays? Or that crackers have to be eaten with cheese? And juice has to be drunk only for breakfast? Or, as I have mentioned in a previous post, that his sandwiches have to be cut in a certain way?
Now I know that he was actually projecting. Everything and anything he didn’t like in himself, he said that I was. He has many times said that I was too controlling, disrespectful, insecure, not spontaneous, not adventurous, a pessimist, condescending, too rigid, not passionate at all, that I spent too much money on silly things or not spent any money at all, that I didn’t care about his goals, dreams, or feelings, and I can’t remember what more.
It’s an irony he would say those things about me because he had actually said the exact opposite during our dating days. Furthermore, the more alone, frustrated, and hurt I would feel in our marriage, the more I would think he was all those things he would say about me. And the harder I tried to fix whatever he had said about me being wrong, the more alone and hurt I would feel and the more I would feel he was impossible to satisfy, as well as controlling, rigid, irresponsible, lazy, and that he didn’t care one bit about me. Only about himself.
Now I don’t care anymore what he may think about me. I don’t need to get his approval. I don’t need him to like me. I know I’ll never be enough for him, no matter what I do or say. But that is okay. Because the problem is not me. The problem is that I actually am too much for him and he can’t take it. He cannot tolerate anybody to be better than him. Deep inside, he knows the truth and he knows he’ll never be happy, satisfied, or sure about himself. Therefore, he has to subjugate those around him so as to raise himself above them. The only problem is that, the more condescending and the more he puts people down, the lonelier he will be and the more difficult to be satisfied with anybody, himself or other people.
I know what I know to be true about myself. I know that for other people I am enough because they know that I don’t expect them to be more than they can be or different than what they are. I have accepted these people for whom and what they are and I love them just as they are. If they are better than me in this or other area, it doesn’t matter because I like them precisely for that. And I know they like me with flaws, limitations, and everything in between. The fact that they could be better than me in some areas is not threatening to me. On the contrary, it is the reason why I might have become friends with them in the first place because I may admire those qualities in them. A narcissist is incapable of admiring somebody else’s qualities. They actually envy them and that’s the very reason why they have to destroy them.
It is impossible to satisfy the high demands of a narcissist, most especially because once you’re about to get there, they raise the bar. Who can live like that? Certainly not me and neither should you. Therefore, I shouldn’t have tried to change myself the way I did.
A couple of months ago, I started a list of all the things that I want to do and accomplish once he’s out of my life and we’re finally divorced. He is incapable of doing any of those things. I have also purposely made another list of all the places and things we have been to and done together. I will go back to them. I will do those things again. Why? Because I will not allow him to still control me once we’re divorced. He doesn’t deserve that much power. Furthermore, because I can and because I am, in fact, adventurous and spontaneous, as well as responsible. I feel I have a responsibility towards myself to do everything in my power to heal from NPD and also because I have a little daughter to think about and who needs me to be strong. I also have an aging mother who deserves to live the last years of her life without worrying and knowing that I will be fine. And these two women in my life are the main reason why I need to go ahead and face head-on this adventure called life.