I saw a photo of myself taken just before our marriage. I se

I saw a photo of myself taken just before our marriage. I see a young, handsome, intense and energetic, positive and optimistic serious and ambitious man. Today, after 16 years of marriage, I do not recognize myself anymore, neither who I was, nor the one I have become. I had never been ill and never taken medication other than antibiotics and aspirin. After a few months into our relationship I thought there was something wrong with me, and my ex helped me to find a doctor to treat insomnia, then depression, then a psychoanalyst to uncover childhood traumas, then another analyst to make more progress, then a nurse specializing in behavioral therapy, and then stronger drugs.

When we first met, her flat was filled with the belongings of her series of ex´s. She was fascinating, in particular her command of her maternal language. But I always felt as if there was a ghost in her apartment. She would get angry, shout, vomit and bang her head against the wall. I thought I was the right person to deal with this. I was so terribly wrong. Today, my spirit is broken.

In the first months there were moments when she hurt me badly. I felt hurt, but I also doubted about my reactions, and I thought I was being unfair, jealous, or stupid. When she told me she had had three abortions at the age of 15, I felt uncomfortable, but when she told me she had slept with an uncountable number of men, I felt hurt.

She quickly suggested that I should move in to her flat. I accepted, but at the same time, it made me feel vulnerable and dependent. Early on she blamed me for keeping her awake at night, and I moved in to the living room. I tried to be as quiet as possible. Soon after, she had a fit of anger because a friend had called in the evening. She claimed that my friends "always" called late and that woke her up.

She quickly suggested we should get married. I accepted, but there was a deep, uncomfortable feeling that I could not fanthom. I decided that it was just me.

While her parents prepared the wedding she fell in love 3-4 times. First she met a girl at a psychological conference, and came home to explain to me in detail their troubled exchange. Then there was a guy she fell for, a historian. She used to say she hated history, but she bought his books, and followed me around the house citing his works. One day she received a card from him. She looked strange and panicked and that made me suspicious. She kept the card in her sack, and one day I read it. It was from the author: "I feel your hand, your mouth, ahhh. Thank you!" I was terrified. I confronted her, she denied that they had had any relationship. We argued about this and she would throw tantrums. One night the fight ended by her grabbing the phone and threatening that she would call her parents to end the preparations for our marriage. My family had already bought their expensive tickets for their long journey to come over.

Then she fell in love with a girl. I was on a trip abroad and she came to join me. She was crying all the time, then she spent day and night on the phone with the girl. I had borrowed the house of a friend, and I felt so uncomfortable with her making long-distance calls, for hours on end, at his cost. One day she writes a long letter (this is before e-mail) and asks me to take it to the post office for her and fax it to her girlfriend. I said yes, took the letter, locked myself in the WC and read it. The letter was full of romantic and erotic babble. I tore it to pieces and it went down the drain. In a few days, she left early, to rejoin the girl.

Just before the wedding, she had a row with her friend, a girl, who had introduced us. Her husband was one of my closest friends. She asked them not to come to the wedding. I have not seen my friend since, and that made me feel miserable and isolated.

We had a huge wedding. At our table, she put all her male friends and ex-lovers. I did not realize that until later.

We had our first child, and her ex-boyfriend became the godfather.

There was a radical change when she became a mother. She stopped her endless accounts of previous sexual exploitations and became a caring, sensible, conscientious mother. We had more kids, bought a house, and my business was going very well.

But I was not happy. When I look at the photos taken 2-3 years into our marriage, I see a sad, pale, depressed man. The wife is smiling, the kids are lovely. But the man´s smile is forced.

She told me I had go seek treatment, because she did not want to have me around the house not being efficient. I took pills and went twice a week to see a shrink. It was an interesting experience. I searched my brain for some terrible childhood experiences, I talked endlessly about my parents and siblings, but it made no difference.

One day, I ended my friendship with another close friend and my most important collaborator. She helped me doing that and explained to me that he was a narcissistic pervert and dangerous. After doing that, my interest all the projects we were working on just evaporated. Ever since, I have been struggling to find interest in the job I used to love.

We agreed that she would not have to work. I would provide for everything. I had already become more and more isolated, and dependent upon her. I felt incomplete, and good for nothing. She constantly blamed me for what I did or did not do. She said she was disappointed with me as a father, that I just sat around and did nothing. Which was not quite true. I had a full time job, which included international travel, and on the side, I had bought, renovated, and rented out six flats, to create a small family capital. I did housework, and I took care of the kids, but less than she did. But her criticisms usually started with either "You always..." or "You never...". I believed her and it made me feel as if I was seriously handicapped.

My wife was interested in poetry and wrote poems, but it was difficult go get them published. She then started to write music, and got her friends to help her. She had "troubled" relations with two of them, the guy who played all the instruments and recorded the music, and the girl who took nude photos for the eventual cover.

I paid for the production of 1000 CD´s. On the cover, she is wearing only a wolfskin vest, her chest is bare. She never sold a copy.

She started threatening me with divorce. I had become unable to make love to her. I had been sleeping on the sofa in the living room for 14 years. I had lost some of my friends. I felt bored for the first time in my life. I could no longer meet any deadlines in my work.

One day she left for a few days. I knew it would be a new lover, a musician, and strangely, I felt relieved. A few weeks later she suggested we separated, and I agreed. She has made a few suggestions about the arrangements with the kids, but keeps changing them. I have been going through horrendous moments where I fear that I will loose them.

Then something happened. This January. It was as if I had been under a magic spell for two decades. Suddenly, I joined the dots. I realized that I had been married to a narcissistic pervert, and that I was badly damaged. I did go to see yet another therapist, a hypnotist this time (I had also tried acupuncture), and was searching for childhood traumas, when I realized that I was indeed traumatized, not from childhood, but from my adult years, from the marriage, and from having sacrificed myself for a narcissistic pervert.

The good news is that the kids are ok, mostly. The job ahead is for me to heel, to get back to developing my business, and to be there for my children. I don´t know how to deal with my ex-wife. I hinted at her illness, and she admitted that she had had traces of NPD but that it was over now, and then she exploded with anger, and spoke, as if she was giving a speech, making sure the kids heard every word. But she was rearranging the truth. I tried to correct her, remind her of facts, but my voice trembled with fear and sorrow. She is so much more articulate than me and she feels (in a way) so much more confident than me. And she can be very convincing. Her core argument now is that I am unable of caring for the kids, and the latest medical hypothesis is that I am supposed to be "asperger".

I have been suicidal many times, but now I know the reason for it. That is a great relief. I wish I knew how the future will be. Will I be able to regain my strength? Will I stop fearing her? Will she break down again? Will the kids be ok? Will I be able to construct a new relationship with another woman? Will I ever feel happy again?

3 Hearts

@AdamE she may seem confident but shes really not. Its a farce. My opinion she is just the opposite. Im not trying to bash her. But you need to remember she is the one that is not in the right frame of mind. Not you. Although you might need help getting through this tough time. You still are that young, handsome, intense and energetic, positive and optimistic serious and ambitious man. He just needs to be found again. :--)

2 Hearts

I recommend finding an experienced therapist you connect with and feel comfortable with. The beginning work might be uncovering the reasons you were attracted to her in the initial stages of the relationship , uncover your thinking that accepted /overlooked her abusive treatment . Treatment focus should be on you , not the narc . You have suffered loss, pain , confused thinking . Learn about how healthy relationships are built and maintained ...You were caught in the narc's web , but to get free , the work should focus on you. I am speaking from experience ....

2 Hearts

Dear Krazykatz and Shesgotthejack ,
Thank you for your comments and help.

Yes you are right, it is a farce. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction: the question of uncovering why I overlooked or accepted the abusive treatment is a key issue.

1 Heart