Living in the same house - toxic situation

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PlantFlowersNotWeeds

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Living in the same house - toxic situation
« on: September 03, 2021, 07:51:21 PM »
This is really difficult living with my "not-soon-enough narcissistic/BD ex-husband".  He was just served, but we can not live apart until we sell the house.  And, guess what?  He doesn't want to sell it.  Of course not - he has everything taken care of.  And, he does nothing. 

Advice: 
1.  Intellectually, I am thinking Grey Rock, medium chill, no contact, is what I should do.  Currently, I am speaking my mind and it does feel good, but changes nothing.  Emotionally, I just want to SCREAM and stomp my feet.  Please provide thoughts -
2.  He is sleeping in the basement, has clothes all over our 3rd bedroom and a dresser, and then uses our living room to watch tv and sit for hours on the couch.  And, yes - you guessed it, I just have a bedroom.  I hide out there every night, I feel like its a 10x12 prison.  If he's going to delay selling the house as long as possible, I can't hide out forever.  If I had family to move in with I would (we have a 17 year old son).  I'm thinking of just taking over the 3rd bedroom, but I am scared about his reaction.  I could set it up with a chair for reading and use an extra TV we have to stream shows.  Thoughts?
3.  About household chores?  About 1.5 years ago, he just stopped helping.  Now, every task I ask him to help with is a nightmare.  I can stand mess, but he can generate a lot of clutter and after 2 days I just can't stand it.  I tell myself that it is my choice to clean up, but it makes me feel like his maid.  I need a freakin vacation.  Where can Caretakers go to relax and break these habits? 

I am writing this - re-reading it, and I sound so pathetic.  I am letting this man run my life and I feel so helpless.  With Covid, the courts are backed up and this divorce is going to linger.  UGHHHHH.

He accuses me of having an affair - really?  Like I want a relationship right now?  And when?  I work (to pay for everything) and then come home. 

I am trying to come up with ideas for how to leave the house in the winter - join a gym, take a class, hang out at a library.  I don't have friends.  No surprise - this toxic relationship burned many friendships I had.  I have a lot of shame, it's hard to admit to myself what I let happen to me.  The slow and methodical process by which the narcissist/BD husband of mine manipulated me was very effective.  The financial abuse is so clear to me now - I told him he needed to get his own cell phone account.  He finally did because he started communicated with a woman he had an affair with.  I'm glad this started up again - keep him distracted.

Okay, so  - I need to medium chill, no contact (as much as possible), grey rock.  Any other thoughts?

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square

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Re: Living in the same house - toxic situation
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2021, 10:39:42 PM »
The third nedroom idea might be worth fighting for. Maybe tell him itís that or he can take the tv to the basement.

If you are the breadwinner, consider pausing all cable and streaming services. Heíd have to figure out a way to entertain himself. Unless your finances are jount anyway. Yes, that affects you but you could consider some good data service for a while.

You could shovel his crap indiscriminately into a box or laundry basket and stick it in the basement. Yeah, you still have to pick it up but shovelling it is much easier than actually dealing with it.

Youíre probably stuck with dishes. You could just do yours but then youíll run out of dishes and have to look at a sinkful of mess. Ask me how I know. I even resorted to hiding clean dishes but it got too ridiculous.

Remember: itís temporary. You donít know how long but itís not forever because youíre smarter and braver than me and youíre dealing with this. Freedom is on your horizon.

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notrightinthehead

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Re: Living in the same house - toxic situation
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2021, 09:11:00 AM »
You need an outlet for your anger. I used to go for very long, very energetic walks with my dog. I carried a stick and I would whack grass and weeds when I was just about boiling over. If nobody was around, I would even talk loudly. It gave me some relief.  My daughter enrolled in a kickboxing class. It gave her some relief. The physical working through anger helped a lot.
I also made plans and stuck to them relentlessly.  I withdrew all sorts of conveniences.  When he yelled or insulted me, I removed myself. If I could not, I recorded it with my phone. I made sure, he was aware of that.  Amazing how quickly he spoke in a normal tone...
You also need support. Try CoDA groups online if that is a fit for you in addition to us here. You might be able to pick up with old friends,  I tried but some relationships could not be repaired.  I am glad I tried, though.
I can't hate my way into loving myself.

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hhaw

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Re: Living in the same house - toxic situation
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2021, 03:46:15 PM »
This is really difficult living with my "not-soon-enough narcissistic/BD ex-husband".  He was just served, but we can not live apart until we sell the house.  And, guess what?  He doesn't want to sell it.  Of course not - he has everything taken care of.  And, he does nothing. 

At the risk of sounding like an arse..... THIS is what PD's DO.  Adjusting your expectations will help you deal with this ongoing situation, IME as will finding yourself a good Trauma Informed Therapist. I suggest one with Buddhist leanings, ONLY beause they seem to be on their own path of recovery and tend NOT to judge and punish their clients for moving at a human pace...... I find T's NOT doing their own work tend to be punitive, judgmental and often to more harm than good, IME.
 

Also, EMDR was very helpful to me.  Regular Ts tend to do talk T, which didn't help ME at all.


Advice: 
1.  Intellectually, I am thinking Grey Rock, medium chill, no contact, is what I should do.  Currently, I am speaking my mind and it does feel good, but changes nothing.  Emotionally, I just want to SCREAM and stomp my feet.  Please provide thoughts - Again, find a good Trauma informed T and perhaps join a kickboxin class, a suggested.  I found it very helpful and practiced martial arts for years.... until it was used against me a court of law.  So..... whatever you choose..... keep a low profile.
 Don't tell everyone about it.  Don't share all the details of your situation with just everyone. Find the small group of supporters in your life who GET IT and stick with them.  Make a good plan with their help. Lean on them to help you stay on that plan of action, bc the PD is going to behave like a bucking bronco in your life, slowing the divorce down the house sale down, the EVERYTHING down, bc?
That's what PDs DO.

Accept that reality, bc it's now your reality. 

You can't change that, but you can widen your window of resilence and ability to cope well with the stress.  A good trauma informed T will teach you how to identify when you're in fight or flight..... how to calm yourself and how to take back control of your hijacked biochemistry so you can use your logical, creative problem solving skills and brain to help you get through this with economy of motion AND more of your sanity in tact with the added benefit of modeling good boundaries, coping strategies and cultivation of joy under trying circumtances for your son.

2.  He is sleeping in the basement, has clothes all over our 3rd bedroom and a dresser, and then uses our living room to watch tv and sit for hours on the couch.  And, yes - you guessed it, I just have a bedroom.  I hide out there every night, I feel like its a 10x12 prison.  If he's going to delay selling the house as long as possible, I can't hide out forever.  If I had family to move in with I would (we have a 17 year old son).  I'm thinking of just taking over the 3rd bedroom, but I am scared about his reaction.  I could set it up with a chair for reading and use an extra TV we have to stream shows.  Thoughts?  Stop caring about what your STBX PD does or doesn't do.

Focus on what YOU CAN DO and only that.

What you can do is ignore him.... document everything nutsy thing he says and does so you may SHOW THE COURT and your attorney what your reality is.  Go ahead and research what is legal in your State... can you legally record conversations? Can ou legally video tape without sound?  Honestly, I'd do everything to record everything, bc you can always show your attorney what's going on and he'll tell opposing counsel and file clerks and maybe the Judge or judges while playing golf or eating lunch together.  Just document everything, without letting the PD know you;re documenting, then live your life, which will likely trigger the PD into acting out more, even though you keeping your cool wasn't INTENDED to drive him into a rage or whatever he does..... ::wiggling eyebrows::.  Just get the best evidence possible, hide it, along with all your cherished posessions and buckle in for a long and uncoforatable ride.  In fact, I might consider having a family member MOVE INTO that third bedroom bc having another  person around might make the PD behave better around another witness..... and you'll have another witness in case you need them in court.

Most of all.... continue limiting your interaction with the PD.  Behave as though you're being recorded all the time, bc you don't want to explode and have that thrown in your face OR be identified as the unhinged person in this divorce, now do you?

3.  About household chores?  About 1.5 years ago, he just stopped helping.  Now, every task I ask him to help with is a nightmare.  How can you document this AND make your life easier?  Can you simply put his clutter in the trash or toss it down the basement stairs?  Remember, you must document asking him in a reasonable tone before stating a boundary....like..... "If you don't clean up your things I will be putting them on the stairs to the basement for you to deal with in your own timefame" then go about enforcing that boundary so it's documented. Perhaps a nanny cam in the house?  If you can't figure out how to do this in a way that tells the true story, just keep picking up after him and remaining calm and level while doing it.  Go to kickboxing class.  Start eating healthier. Stretch every morning.  Joing a walking group in this wonderful cool weather, but stop listening and talking to the PD.  Who cares if he's accusing you of having an affair he can't prove? You don't really care, do you? Stop letting him take up rent free space IN YOUR HEAD.  His job is to do nonsensical things that will never make any sense. It's better to stop trying to make sense of them.  It's better to ignore him and avoid him altogether,. bc you'll begin to feel like your old self more quickly IF YOU DO, IME. You need to have access to your logic and problem solving creativity to move yourself OUT of this situation more quickly IME.  .  I can stand mess, but he can generate a lot of clutter and after 2 days I just can't stand it.  I tell myself that it is my choice to clean up, but it makes me feel like his maid.  I need a freakin vacation.  Where can Caretakers go to relax and break these habits?  Seriously, what would happen if you began moving his clutter into a corner or down the basement stairs daily after documenting your situation in a calm carefully modulated tone? Including the fact he's stopped helping clean up his mess 2 years ago, or whatever it was. Include your reality and the PD will show everyone what he is, IME.

I am writing this - re-reading it, and I sound so pathetic.  I am letting this man run my life and I feel so helpless.  With Covid, the courts are backed up and this divorce is going to linger.  UGHHHHH.  Yes yes yes.... it's tough. Divorcing a PD is tough, has always been tough and is tuffer still bc of Covid..... accept that and please please please STOP judging yourself.

In fact, a good trauma informed T will ask you to drop judgement altogether while replacing it with curiosity.

You'll be asked to extend tsunamis of self compassion to yourself..... like you're caring for an infant. Just.... always always be kind and considerate with yourself.  ALWAYS.

You'll be asked to ACCEPT all the PD behaviors without questioning them.... just..... accept it without ruminating over it or wondering what IF all the time.Just.... accept and do what you can in the moment, then learn to put that story on the shelf so you can turn to the joy in front of you..... your son, for intance.  Time doing what you like to do.... enjoy a lovely bath with candles...... learn to meditate..... GO OUT INTO NATURE as often as you can manage, bc it's good for you and your nervous system.  Research healthy boundaries.  Read a book on meditation.... just shift away from the PD, bc his strategy will include triggering you AND pointing to any small outburst you have AS THE PROBLEM in all this.

Get your head right, document every way you can and learn how to expand your window of resilence...... however you can.
 Modeling it for your son will pay off in dividends you can't appreciate till a few years down the road, but well worth the effort, IME.


He accuses me of having an affair - really?  Like I want a relationship right now?  And when?  I work (to pay for everything) and then come home.  No one cares about stupid things a disturbed individual says, even if they repeat it and act like a victim and bleat and pound their chest..... just ignore him.  Document all the chaos, including that and make sure you stay level bc you don't want to record yourself being snarky or bitchy or unreasonable, IME.

I am trying to come up with ideas for how to leave the house in the winter - join a gym, take a class, hang out at a library.  I don't have friends. Joint a group and cultivate more joy mindfully, but always be aware the PD will cry and whine about you having an imaginary affair, so don't give him any ammo.  Think things all the way through so you don't appear to be guilty of anything in a courtroom.  Document. Document. Document.  No surprise - this toxic relationship burned many friendships I had.  You can explain what happened, why you did and said things you did, apologize and explain how you'll avoid doing the destructive things again.  You might find your very best supporters come from the group of ex friends who are more than willing to help you get OUT of your situation and your life back on track again.  Don't ask, don't get.  Be authentic. You don't have to beg for forgiveness. just assume you deserve it and explain the way you'd want your freind to explain to you IF the circumstances were reversed.I have a lot of shame, it's hard to admit to myself what I let happen to me. Returning to the above portion of my post where you STOP judging and criticising yourself.
 It's detrimental to your mental health AND you want your son to learn how to do better, right?  Just..... be very kind to yurself and accept your'e human, have made mistakes BUT are learning to do better, learning to take your power back, learning to forgive yourself and cultivate joy for yourself and your son. That's enough for anyone to do and what you'd hope for your best friend if giving them advice, I hope? What advice would you give to someone in your position? I would like to hear your answer if you'd like to write it out. 
  The slow and methodical process by which the narcissist/BD husband of mine manipulated me was very effective.  This board is full of people manipulated by PDs..... you're among friends and allies and we aren't judging you. Please..... treat yourself as you'd treat other posters.  With kindness and compassion.The financial abuse is so clear to me now - I told him he needed to get his own cell phone account.  He finally did because he started communicated with a woman he had an affair with.  I'm glad this started up again - keep him distracted.
Amen to that, Sister. And document it, if you can then forgive yourself for falling for the finacial abuse behaviors, bc it's common.....not at all personal....... it happens to lots of people, esp on this forum.

Okay, so  - I need to medium chill, no contact (as much as possible), grey rock.  Any other thoughts?
Ya...... instead of focusing on what went wrong.... focus on what inside you made you vulnerable and fix it.

You're likely a very compassionate person who fixes thingsfor others..... maybe?  You likely were raised without healthy boundries or were unable to have any boundaries at all in your family.  Research healthty boundaries. Learn where you and your business begin and end and practice putting boundaries in place and defending them consisstently in a calm fashion.

hint.... breathing helps us calm our NervousSystems.... it brings our frontal lobes back online so we have access to?


Logic.

Problem solving skills.

Creativity.

You need all of those things right now.

YOU are your biggest asset.

An attorney is just a tool you wield.

Get your head in the game and find your joy NOW.  It's possible, even with all the PD chaos..... you have to ability and strength to ignore his craziness, document it AND turn away from it so you can enjoy your hours and days through this divorce.

I promise.... it's all true.

Good luck.

hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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SeaGlass

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Re: Living in the same house - toxic situation
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2021, 12:38:33 AM »
 :yeahthat: I couldn't have said it better than hhaw. I am 1 year divorced from my ubpd ex husband. We lived in the same house through the divorce process with 2 college age kids, during covid, while trying to sell our home. He made every part of the process difficult.

 I medium chilled, tried to set the best example for my children, and did what I had to do to get my children and I to a healthy place. We sold our home, and are now out. It has been a difficult journey, but we are all much healthier for it.

 I miss who I thought he was and hope that he can get the help that he needs someday. You can do it. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but also the healthiest. Sending positive thoughts your way.

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hhaw

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Re: Living in the same house - toxic situation
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2021, 04:49:48 AM »
I'm glad you're out, Seaglass.

Getting ourselves in good mental shape.....
remembering to return to better mental health.... after we spiral...... and we do spiral, over and over again.  Typically after the PD makes an accusation about us or we receive a legal letter or an email from an attorney or our attorney tells us something the PD did or said made us look really bad......
but it's good to remember....... there will be good days and bad days in Court.  There will be moments we fear we can't overcome, bc the PD managed to manipulate some dumb bunny in the court system or a witness or some ONE important person we feel can influence our entire lives.....
but they can't, IME.

Someone, often many someones SEES who the PD is, or.... at least doesn't buy their hosrshit stories wholesale, bc they lack proof and any meaningful evidence.

Sure.. they'll likely have a good day in court here and there.... particularly early days.  But that final courtroom... that final court battle will belong to she with the best records. She with the best documentation, IME. 

So.... chin up.  Don't let the PD keep your focus. Don't let him drive you into a fearful state and keep yuo there.  Learn to recover. Learn to ask trusted people for help and stay the course.

The PD will ask you for things..... sometimes beg.... sometimes making promises.... sometimes threatening but he's going to ask you to do things to weaken your case and bring doubt upon yourself...... he'll ask you to do things to make you appear confused and unsure you want this divorce. 

DO NOT ALLOW HIM TO DO THAT.

Don't help him sabotage your case and yourself. 

Don't help him slow down the process and create confusion around it..... just make a good plan.  Keep good people close to you. Ask them for help staying the course and know this too shall pass.

The day will come when you feel happy to feel the sun on your face again.

It's true.

hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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Lauren17

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Re: Living in the same house - toxic situation
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2021, 12:35:15 PM »
Hi Flowers.
Iím living through the very same thing right now. Iíve filed, but cannot yet leave the house, according to my lawyer.
H has taken over most of the house, so I basically have my bedroom to hang out in. My kids come to sit with me so it get pretty crowded in there.
To add to it, he is lovebombing the best he can.
I gray rock as much as possible. I donít talk about or show him any emotions about anything. Not the kids, not work, not the divorce, nothing.
I try to meet up with a friend once a week.
I lock my door and cry in the shower.
When I get angry, I suddenly find I need to buy milk. And then I scream in the car.
Itís so very hard. But Iím trying to focus on the light at the end. My own place thatís free of his drama.
Iíve cried a thousand rivers. And now Iím swimming for the shoreĒ (adapted from Iíll be there for you)

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PlantFlowersNotWeeds

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Re: Living in the same house - toxic situation
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2021, 05:53:35 PM »
Thank you for your responses.  They are so very helpful - and it reminds me that I am not alone in this.

hhaw - thank you for taking the time with your response.  I've read some of your other posts and have benefitted from them all.

I read Psychopath Free by J. MacKenzie this weekend.  This book was recommended on a previous post. Between this book, my therapy, and participting in this forum, I had my AH AH moment.  I get NC, grey rock, medium chill now.  I get it!!!  I imagine a cartoon character, and if I interact with my husband other than a grey rock, then I give this character strength.  If not, I give myself strength.  I came home today and found out that he let our dog jump all over my bed and he must have been wet/muddy.  I started to go talk to my husband about this, and then BAM...turned around.  Don't give him one ounce of my energy - I see how he feeds off of my own frustrations/hurt/anger/saddness.  And, it doesn't matter the conversation.  It could be about cleaning the house, bills, our son, the weather...doesn't matter.  He can't feed off of me, if I give him nothing.  So nothing it is. 

I can do what I want, when I want.  I dont' need to ask him or talk to him about it.  Our son is 17, so it does make this easier.  I've been very very frustrated with having to live with him.  I've been able to let this go - it took a few weeks.  I can't control this.  I've given this over to the lawyers.  I see how every time I tried to talk to him about selling the house, I was giving him power.  Now, I took it back.

My goal right now is to get all the information my lawyer requested as soon as I can, find outlets for my anger (walks, working out), get regular sleep, and play golf as much as I can (love it).  I wish I would start meditating, but i just haven't.  I took someone's suggestion and through out the day, I work on deep breathing 10x.  It helps.

Thank you everyone  :)

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Lauren17

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Re: Living in the same house - toxic situation
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2021, 12:29:16 PM »
MC and grey rock are awesome tools. They help so much to even out the emotional roller coaster that is a relationship with a PD.
Iíve been living them for years now, and I have a word of caution. While they can help, they can also cause you to lose yourself.
Iíd encourage you to find some time away, some time with others, to express yourself. It doesnít have to be about your relationship or anything personal. It can be an opinion on art or food or the best style of fall shoes.
Iíve cried a thousand rivers. And now Iím swimming for the shoreĒ (adapted from Iíll be there for you)

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Stillirise

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Re: Living in the same house - toxic situation
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2021, 01:21:30 PM »
 :yeahthat:
So much good stuff here. I will add on what Lauren17 said.  Find small ways to keep that ďunique youĒ part of yourself alive.  I was in a similar hellish living arrangement for awhile. Iíve had him out for nearly 1.5 years, and I still find myself occasionally holding back parts of my personality, or defaulting into medium chill with others, for no apparent reason.  I think my issues partly stem from the fact that I went through this process during the pandemic.  While I did find outletsóhiking, journalingóthere was very little interaction with other people.   Gray rock and medium chill are essential when living with a PD, though!  Having an outlet away from that is also important! 
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, Iíll rise.
óMaya Angelou

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Justanotherlostgirl

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Re: Living in the same house - toxic situation
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2021, 01:15:48 AM »
Hi Flowers,

I am in kind of a similar situation, in my case I canít leave atm because Iím in his country. What I wanted to offer is something that Iíve personally learned through all of this:

One day at a time.

When I look at everything my husband has done, like the lying, cheating, manipulating, it is just so much to process. When I look at the big picture I feel so overwhelmed, so anxious, in my mind I just scream ďI canít do this! Iím so weak! I canít believe I let this get so far, that I let him do all of this.Ē It just brings my anxiety and anger right to the surface, and it was REALLY hard to avoid confrontation with him because I was coming at him with all of my emotions.

After some time, I decided to adopt this mantra. One day at a time. The night before, I plan what today is going to be. Today, Iím going to do x (ex. Set up my own bank account, talk to a lawyer, take a break away from everything.) I donít think too much about the future, only in the context of one day, I will be free of this and over this. Iíll be able to process all of my emotions then. Iíll be able to heal myself then. Right now, Iíll just do what I can do. Iíll put the plans in place slowly, and make them happen slowly. In my head I will play out all the possible actions and scenarios, and decide how to grey rock them to my benefit. I word everything I say VERY carefully.

What do you need right now, at this moment? What is one small thing that would make your life easier? For example, you donít like him in the living room watching TV. You could tell him that you donít really use the TV, and offer that you could get something cheaper, like a Netflix subscription to share (if he has a laptop in his area). Treat it like youíre doing him a favor. Just keep going, doing these little things here or there, and suddenly you will feel like you have strength for bigger things. You have that strength. You can do it, and you will get through this, just like everything we do, some things come easy, some donít. The ones that donít are, it seems, the ones that are the most worth it in the end.

Sending you hugs and positive energy, I know personally how hard it is. It will get better.