Did any of you in marriages pretend to the outside world that things were good?

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Rocket Girl

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Am not criticizing, just trying to understand.  My ex n/bpd said he and his wife had an extremely happy 27 years together.  Then I saw an online account of him and her where in the comments section she said something about her "wonderful" husband.

None of it makes sense.  I have seen how he is when faced with intimacy.  He falls apart and does the push/pull.  He even told me he did it with her.  So, am I to believe she really did think she was happy, or is it she was trying to conceal to the world her marriage was a sham?   She's dead so I will never know, and they only had two friends and I don't feel I could ask them without the ex finding out and possible ramifications from that.

I guess it really doesn't matter, but if you have anything to weigh in on, it would be interesting.
- Rocket Girl

I will take my broken heart any day over his lack of one.

You don't have to be hit to be hurt.

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A_newlife2014

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I contacted two of my NPDxh's former girlfriends/wives. One totally corroborated pretty much everything I had said -- said it took her "years" of therapy to get over what he did to her -- and one *claimed* she had no issues, had no idea what I was talking about.

I think this goes back to your or someone else's post about how or if PDs can stay in long-term relationships, just not with us. I think it all depends on who they manage to hook up with.

I think the ex-girlfriend who said she had no problems with him was either lying, or maybe her self-esteem was so low that she really never did care about NPDxh's behaviors, or never encountered them, because she provided his supply satisfactorily, and thus never experienced his narcissistic rage and discard, like I did when I started to question our situation.

I have reasons to believe that was the case, and so, yeah, I believe a relationship with a PD can last awhile, as long as the person is willing to put with their crap and doesn't question them.

The ex who corroborated everything I said said I wasn't the first person involved with NPD that she had heard from, disturbed by him and looking for answers, leading me to believe the other ex was lying. It's possible there were other exes involved, but to my knowledge NPDxh hasn't been involved with too many long-term r/s.

.... and then there's the fact that some people just want to put a happy facade out there in the world. They don't want to admit that they are a failure. Social media is all about projecting a certain image.

- ANL

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RunningFree

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As I tell people that my wife and I are "separated", I often get the response "wow, I'm surprised - you guys seemed to be good together".  My response is usually something like "yeah, we got very good at presenting a happy front".
That really was what it was all about.  We both came from such messed up FOO that we were determined to make our own marriage work.  For the first 20 years things went smooth because I didn't have any wants, any desires - what she wanted was good enough for me.  For the next 5, it was all about pretending things were OK.  Don't want to upset the kids, no reason to worry the parents.  But all the while, it just ate at my soul.  To live a life so different on the outside from the inside.
I left my house, my kids, my wife, about a month ago.  I've been lonely.  I've been sad.  I expected to think "what am I doing, what was I thinking", but I haven't.  There's life outside the PD world.  It's not always pretty, it's not always fun.  But it's on your own terms and you're accountable for your own happiness or sadness.  It's worth the pain.
When going through Hell, keep going.

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Rocket Girl

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Thank you for your replies.  My t says it doesn't matter whether he can get along with 99%of the population, the bottom line was he couldn't get along with me.  Still, hard for me to shake it off.
- Rocket Girl

I will take my broken heart any day over his lack of one.

You don't have to be hit to be hurt.

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Scout

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I didn't present anything other than the truth to the world, but people thought my ex and I were a cute couple anyway. 

No one digs that deep.

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Rocket Girl

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Guess that's the truth, Scout.
- Rocket Girl

I will take my broken heart any day over his lack of one.

You don't have to be hit to be hurt.

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Kit99

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RG- for a long time, things were good in the relationship/marriage. Then the PD behaviors start popping up- infrequently at first. But life is mostly good so you dismiss the behaviors, make excuses for the person you love (because everyone has bad days, quirks, etc) and don't make a bigger issue out of it. Then those things start happening more frequently, more intensely until you realize that your happy marriage has become unhealthy and the person you thought you married is not actually that person at all. You see that person sometimes but now that you know what they are capable and the trust is broken, things start to unravel. That's my experience anyway.

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Rosemarie

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 :yeahthat:

My experience was very much like Kit99's. Things did seem good in the beginning and I was happy. There were red flags and I too chose to ignore them thinking everyone has issues. And the issues became more blatant over time. My ex definitely wore a mask for a very long time. It was shocking to me when things started to unravel, so I tried to work it out. I had a lot invested, my life, my business and so of course it took while for the extent of the damage to sink in.  And I finally decided  that the trade off of my mental health was not worth it. But I did think things were good for quite a while and some things were. But broken trust, gaslighting and tracking me via a phone app, brought it all tumbling down. I also get that my childhood set me up for this.  So I suspect that I normalized a situation that was not "normal" at all. Will avoid this scenario like the plague in the future. 
"Communication is to relationship what breathing is to life."  Virginia Satir

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Rocket Girl

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Thank you, all.  The ex said his late wife was a victim of childhood abuse, so I'm guessing she didn't know any better.  So makes me want to be single for a bit! 
- Rocket Girl

I will take my broken heart any day over his lack of one.

You don't have to be hit to be hurt.

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lookinginwards

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Everyone thought that we were a 'happy' couple. I did for a time too. When people find out I left him they assume it was my fault - I was the depressive with erratic moods. They never wondered why.

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Onwards

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People also said "but you looked so happy on Facebook' ( :stars:)  to me...but seriously, who EVER puts up posts and pictures about how miserable and awful life is?  No one.   If someone asks how you are, you say 'fine' even if you're not, unless you're speaking to a close friend or family who you can be completely truthful with.

My experience was also like Kit99 and Rosemarie. Things were good in the beginning, then the mask began to slip. I used to speak positively TO him and ABOUT him publicly and praise him regularly which I later realised was me trying to model loving, supportive behaviour to him. When he not only never returned the favour, but also started to make negative comments in response to compliments towards me from others, I knew things were wrong.  For instance, a married male friend who lives in another country commented on a photo of me that my 'exh was lucky to have such a beautiful wife' (I'm just normal, it was a nice photo!) and my exh said nastily, 'I'm going to have write a reply. I'm going to tell him he's lucky he doesn't have to live with you'.  That was actually  on my birthday.  :-\

I was hurt that he wouldn't take pride in me as his wife - especially after the idolising in the beginning when I felt overwhelmed by his CONSTANT declarations of how beautiful, amazing, intelligent, sexy, wonderful...etc I was.
Major discard.

Oh well.
Onwards

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waking up

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So true that no one posts pics on FB where they look miserable. We always post pics where we are smiling and on vacation...its not a realistic look at life, its just the part you want the world to see.
I'm sure most people were surprised to hear we had separated. Some knew we were having problems but most didnt. Its not something you go around telling people, is it?

There are still some people who don' t know my h and I are separated and I cant even bring myself to tell them. They keep asking me when my h will be back in town and I just keep smiling like everything is good. I just dont want to go through all the emotions explaining it to them will surely bring up. So I continue to pretend. I suppose I've had a lot of practice at pretending over the years.

I think that most people married to a PD pretends a lot of the time. We pretend that we dont see certain things and we pretend that they will change or  that maybe the problem is that we are too sensitive.

It could be that your exes former wife did the same, but there is no way you will ever know. Your therapist is right- it doesnt matter what other people think of your ex- it only matters what you think.

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newday

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I was under so much pressure to pretend that we were the perfect couple with the perfect marriage.  He raged at me for days because I didn't wish him happy birthday on Facebook this past year - even though he had told me he wanted a divorce just days prior  :stars:  He was furious with me for confiding in my friends and mom about his abuse and about his threats of divorce.  Yes, I pretended to everyone for 15 years things were awesome because the repercussions for honesty were too much to bear

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atticusfinch

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RocketGirl,

I do think there are several things at play here.  Usually the type of person who ends up in a long term relationship with  a PD has some sort of childhood wound of their own (people who are healthy see the signs quicker and get out much quicker).  Sometimes co-dependent people are drawn to the grandiosity in the NPD person because it helps shore up their own insecurities.  Some co-dependent people are also more prone to denial because they may have been raised by someone with a PD who taught them never to question other people's motives, to praise and look for the best, to ignore feelings and red-flags, etc.  I know this is true for me.  I was prone to denial for several reasons, and part of that was my childhood.  I was never allowed to see fault in a certain parent, in fact was encouraged to idealize and see the best in some very poor parenting.  Also PD behavior was "normal" to me, even though I didn't like it.  And I definitely think that sometimes my PDs grandiose behavior did soothe some of my own insecurities. (I had/have some social insecurities and he was the life of the party...I think I was attracted to that because being with him sort of filled in the gaps for me socially where I felt inadequate)

I also think I was in denial for a long time just because of the pain of facing the consequences of knowing my partner was abusive to me and the kids.  It's so painful.  It also was hard to accept because I still have those wounds from childhood, and admitting I'd made a mistake and that I'd stayed with/had kids with a man who was abusive, it's a really bitter pill to swallow. 

Also, part of living with a PD is being told your perceptions are all wrong and that you're the one with the problem.  I think this is another reason why we don't see it for so long.  It's tremendously confusing.

Also, we get enmeshed with them in order to protect ourselves emotionally.  If we don't see them with rose-colored glasses, we pay for it.  I know that to an extent I also encouraged people I was close to to see him with rose-colored glasses and/or made excuses for him to protect myself, because he would take it out on me if my family or friends rejected him or saw anything negative in him.   It would also cut me off from them because he'd isolate me from people who didn't approve of him. 

I think there are a lot of reasons that we pretend things are perfect....I know I did, for a long time.  Even though my rose- colored glasses were mostly off for the last couple years, people were still shocked when they heard of the divorce.

I have seen a certain PD relationship up close for years, one in which the spouse is in complete denial.  The PD spouse eventually died, and she still idealizes him.  I think due to her own insecurities she idealizes him so that she feels good about the choice she made in a partner, and I think she is/was enmeshed with him and so she uses the idealization of himself to build herself up.  She sees herself as a couple, not an individual person, does that make sense?  At least that's what I think.  So if he were to have faults she'd see them as reflecting badly on her.  Their kids are mostly all very narcissistic, ranging from full PD to just very narcissistic.  Most of their kids have been divorced more than once and seem to be terribly difficult to live with.  None of the kids idealize him to the extent that she does (saw her recently and she has a sort of shrine to him in her house, and talks about what a "good man" he was, even though the kids occasionally say things about him being violent or controlling-- though of course they don't use those words because they don't recognize that he was.  I think the main damage done to their kids wasn't his behavior but her denial, because they all saw that behavior as part of a "good" person, and normal, thanks to her).  I don't know if she is PD but she's definitely very insecure and cares about perceptions about herself very very much.   All of their kids are very attractive and talented but as I said completely a wreck to live with, and I think, again, she raised them to make her look good.  Anyway...so I do know that some people can be in true denial...forever.  Though I guess those people tend to be pretty narcissistic themselves and can't have it reflecting badly on them that they made a poor choice in a partner.

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waking up

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 :yeahthat:

Yes, being abused by your parent(s) is the main factor in becoming involved with a PD.  In my case I can see how my very low self-esteem played a big part in all this, and in other very bad choices I made when I was younger. But hindsight is 20/20...The low self-esteem is due to my overly critical alcoholic mother who constantly criticized my weight, appearance, skin, hair, etc, and used me as a scapegoat.  When you grow up like that you really don't believe you are worthy of love, and that leads to making all kinds of bad choices.

Looking back I can see how this affected me - how I was willing to date people who didn't treat me with respect.  The worst choice I ever made: I was dating a guy who I can see now was verbally/emotionally abusive, and I really didn't love him.  I was actually in love with a friend of his, and when my boyfriend discovered that we had feelings toward each other, he went crazy.  He called me a slut and every name in the book, and I was so terrified of everyone thinking the worst about me, that I refused to leave the abusive boyfriend for the person I really did love.  Shortly after this the boyfriend broke up with me anyways, but not before he manipulated me into believing that the friend really didn't have any feelings for me.  Shortly thereafter, I started dating my husband.  I could see the red flags right away in our relationship, but I was so determined to make the relationship work regardless, and I was so scared of being alone, that I stupidly didn't leave him.

Even if someone had told me back then that my husband would never change his ways and that his attitude towards me was abusive, I wouldn't have believed them.  I was really that stupid and  really that stubborn back then.



« Last Edit: April 03, 2016, 02:41:16 PM by waking up »

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Rocket Girl

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Thank you all so much.  I see myself in each of you, and believe if he had not broken up with me, I would have been in the same position.  It makes me sad to think I don't have more self esteem than that, but hopefully that is changing.  I am working very hard on myself.   My ex n/bpd was a bully.  He would say mean things at times, but would never apologize.  Not sure I ever heard him apologize for anything.  I was so busy walking on eggshells.  Looking back it was so abusive.  Such a waste of my time.

Waking Up... You were NEVER stupid.  Please don't think that for one minute.  These guys are chameleons.  They idealize us to the point we really believe it, then slowly rip us apart.  You know they have to see the looks on our faces, etc. and to know they get pleasure out of that is so sick and wrong.  We were victims and now survivors.  They will always be losers.

Much love AND respect to you all.  Let's stop blaming ourselves and work to get Out of the FOG!!!
- Rocket Girl

I will take my broken heart any day over his lack of one.

You don't have to be hit to be hurt.

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Hoolio

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Oh sure.

But at parties & social functions I would alway go as far away from my spouse as possible.

Because she would make bridge burning / anti social statements that I didn't want to be associated with.

We would meet up at the door to go home.

I am an ex husband of uBPD wife. Co parenting 2 children. Good luck to us all here!  Glad to be OOTF and rebuilding my life!

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Rocket Girl

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wow.  Guess it's true we cannot judge a book by its cover. 
- Rocket Girl

I will take my broken heart any day over his lack of one.

You don't have to be hit to be hurt.

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RunningFree

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I realized that we're still pretending to the outside world that all is good.  At sporting event for one one of the kids last night - we still sat together, had conversation (both between ourselves and with other parents) like nothing was wrong.
When going through Hell, keep going.

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Rocket Girl

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Hi R-Free, good to hear from ya.  It must be a bitch when kids are involved.  Strength to you.
- Rocket Girl

I will take my broken heart any day over his lack of one.

You don't have to be hit to be hurt.