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Life update and where to from here


LotusBlack
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Hi my fellow ENAers. I thought I’d make a post and update those who followed my previous thread, and also to get a little encouragement.

the past 2 years have been really tough. I tried so hard and wanted so much for things between my husband and I to work. At first I just kept telling myself, “if we can just find our footing, our rhythm, get through a few months without a misunderstanding or being triggered by something, then we will finally have an opportunity to keep space open to develop our feelings and relationship.” But it was so hard to be on my end of the equation - the one who wasn’t loved, who was barely tolerated. It felt like my husband would resent me for my calling him out on his bad behaviour. He’d lead me to the fire, throw me in, then stone wall me and be disgusted that I had the audacity to scream in pain. I felt trapped emotionally, physically, and financially. But I also kept thinking and hoping things would change once each significant issue was overcome. But things didn’t.

The final straw, nearly two years after our son was born…was when I’d finally gotten the opportunity of a lifetime, for me anyways. I’d spent so long studying for a career as a professional archaeologist/Egyptologist. I’m August this year I was offered a position as a field archaeologist with an archaeology firm. I was beyond excited! My husband and I decided to put our son in daycare so that I could work. I had supported my husband and all his career aspirations, maintained our household and our son  with little help from my husband and certainly no thanks. I’d waited my whole life to get such an opportunity and to finally be able to have some financial freedom and to be able to contribute. Despite the fact I was working in the home full-time taking care of everything, and taking any paid editing jobs I could get at the same time and using any money I could earn to contribute to our family, I struggled to be able to afford to live, though my husband had financial security and freedom. This new job meant that I could start my career, could earn a wage, my toddler could finally play with other children and have his own social development. 

I thought my husband would step up more because he needed to, I needed him to. I was leaving for work at 5:30am and cycling an hour every morning to work, where I would then carpool for an hour to the archaeology site. I worked 8 hours a day, and then had to drive the our back to the office and cycle another hour home at break neck speed to collect my son from daycare just as it closed for the night. I then had to do the dinner, bath, bedtime routine with him. Then once that was done, I’d have to get myself sorted out and prepare for the next day. I also had to get up every hour throughout the night to care our son who has always been a terrible sleeper despite sleep training and professional consultations. I was rapidly burning the candle at both ends. My husband was now doing the morning routine with our son and dropping him to daycare because I would be far away on site already. This was the first time in our son’s life that he’d had so much responsibility and that was only because there was no other option. 

Unfortunately, being that it was our son’s first time at daycare, he picked up every virus for weeks, which we’d anticipated. But somehow, just as I always was, I became the default parent. My husband refused to share the load with me. He worked a 15 minute cycle away and could often work from home if necessary. I worked hours away and couldn’t work from home. And, as I was the one dealing with our son most, it was me that was catching everything from him. I struggled with severe chest infections, working out in the freezing rain and mud (which I don’t mind as that is the job and I loved it!), but I had only 3 sick days available and with our son getting sick and my husband refusing to tag-team with me, I was having to take unpaid leave regularly. I was paid a daily rate, my husband had a secure wage that wasn’t affected by working from home or taking time off. My husband, though, required me to pay half the rent, half the child care, half the groceries, even though my income was over £15,000 less per year than his. After all bills, I often had less than £1 per week for myself, which was okay because I wanted the job and I wanted my son to play with other children and he loved daycare. 

My boss was becoming increasingly upset with my days off to care for my son, and I got docked so much pay that I couldn’t meet my half each week. I asked my husband if I could reduce my contribution until things settled down because I literally didn’t have the money to cover it. His exact words to me were, “No, you’re just trying to transfer YOUR loss to me.” I don’t know why I was so shocked by such a disgusting and disrespectful statement because he’d often said things like that to me. But this one really hurt. I was working longer hours than him, parenting more than him, earning much less than him, but doing my best. Our son is OUR son, not MY son alone. I thought we were a team. If our son got sick and my husband refused to stay home with him, it fell to me to do it and I lost financially as a result. I thought we would share that financial burden and I was wrong. 

I ended up having a complete breakdown at work after just two months on the job. I was so so exhausted after working hard all day and then up all night with our son. I was so stressed about finances. We didn’t have enough to pay rent, I started panicking about what to do. I was going to have to quit my job. It was costing our family more for me to work than not to work. But my husband resented me for not paying my way whilst I cared for our 20 month old full time. He wanted me to stay home with the baby to save on childcare but somehow wanted me to contribute half of all the finances. I became so stressed for being stuck in an impossible situation that I just broke down. All the while my husband had quite a bit of money saved from before we met. I didn’t want his money. I never wanted his money. And he fairly earned that before we got together. But we were at risk of losing our home and I was sick with worry. Just before I got to the point of quoting my job, my husband told me about his savings. He could have told me about it from the beginning instead of letting me get so worried about our family’s well-being. And I said as much. His response to that was, “well, I didn’t want you to think it was an option because it is for emergencies only. If you knew we had it, you might just expect me to use it.’ Honestly, that was so offensive. I’ve always been independent financially, until we met and I how our son and couldn’t work. That he would let me get to that stage of anxiety and concern, was horrible. In the end, I had to give up my job due to the stress of managing our son on my own at home and working 40 hour a week with a 20 hour commute on top of that.

I finally did it though. I got up the courage and flew with my son from UK to Australia. I had so wanted to stay in the UK. Not with my husband, but on my own. I loved it there and had never wanted to move back to Australia permanently. But I was not in a position to do so. Also, the task of flying with a toddler by myself across the other side of the world, during a pandemic and with $0 to my name, was so daunting. And despite the years of rejection by my husband, the financial and emotional abuse, I still wanted to make things work and for things to get better. Why couldn’t he just be kind to me? I tried. I always tried.

I arrived in Aus on 5th of Nov and my home state wouldn’t let me in, so I had to fly to another one for 2 weeks before flying home, where I am now in home quarantine. We have one week left and then FREEDOM. I need a lot of on-going counselling to deal with the trauma of…well, my whole life really, from as far back as I can remember. I am so financially ruined at the moment but hopefully that is going to start getting better with a little help abs support from my government. I have already filed for child support and hopefully that shall come through soon. 

I’m not really sure where to go from here. I’ve been offered a fully-funded PhD place and I’d love to go ahead and take it, but it may be too soon for me. I need help to get back on my feet, and time. I still have no support with my son in terms of time…and it’s hard never having a break or proper sleep, even at the age of nearly 2. And, when talking to my husband about the challenges I am faced with now, he still seems so put-out that I have struggles. Despite our difficult situation, we parted on very friendly terms. But he still lacks all empathy for me as a human being. He only acknowledges his tiredness. It makes me feel upset that although his life changed when we got together, he still had a stable job, a career, an income, and gave up very little of his previous life to be a father, instead giving me the lion’s share of the load. I didn’t view it as a loss to give up the potential to have a job and an income, to have my body completely for the benefit of a baby at any time. I was happy to do it but it did take a toll of me emotionally, mentally, and physically. I gained a beautiful little boy,  it my life wasn’t at all my own anymore. But, my husband succeeded very well in maintaining as much of his own life with little impact. And, even for us to separate, all the work came to me. Me the one who had to fly all that way, to be the one to leave my home, to take on single parenting without the option of splitting time between us or co-parenting at all really.

It must sound like I’m having a pity party. Maybe I am. I feel so completely broken down. I never wanted any of this to happen. My husband is set to visit us in May for an extended holiday between job contracts. We decided not to pursue a legal separation or divorce until we have both had time and space alone to reflect and calm down. We will reassess when he comes where we stand. But, I guess the reality is that things can never work out when your partner doesn’t love you and has never loved you. Although love does not conquer all, it is still an essential ingredient to a long-lasting, happy, and healthy relationship.

So, that’s my life update. If you’ve managed to make it to the end, great! And thanks! I think I just needed to write it all out and give myself a moment to feel sorry for myself. It takes two to contribute to such marital issues and I don’t shy away from acknowledging there were things I could have done better. I wasn’t perfect, but I tried my best.

 

Edited by LotusBlack
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My heart goes out to you, Lotus. It sounds as though you and your child can benefit most if you can disabuse yourself of your husband's complaints as anything you've done 'wrong'. Those remarks came from pure selfishness rather than from an invested partner. He was a roommate with zero commitment to partnering, and his views of your struggles as an imposition on him are appalling.

It's natural for us to internalize criticism from someone we hope will love us. While you are intellectually able to recognize the ridicule as unfair, the emotional impacts are deep, and your decision to leave was your first step toward healing. The actual act of leaving is another giant step, and while congratulations for that may sound out of place, you deserve acknowledgment for your strength and courage.

I'm holding you in my thoughts, and I'm wishing for you to find joy in your resilience and ability to bounce back from this experience. I sense an intelligence and determination to create a wonderful life for yourself and your babe with lots of love and happiness.

Moving your focus away from trying to win the love and support you deserve from someone who is devoid of the ability or desire to give it will help you to flourish, and you will thank yourself soon enough--if not today and every day.

Head high, and write more if it helps. I would love to hear more from you, and I'm sending you loving, supportive energy for strength.

(((BIG HUG))),
Cat

Edited by catfeeder
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I echo everything that catfeeder said. You have to free yourself from this husband of yours. He is a complete waste of energy. Limit your effort with him to the bare minimum. Don't rely on him for anything. Use the lion's share of your energy to focus on yourself and on your son in a life that does not involve your husband. Your husband may fade into the woodwork or he may demand your attention in the name of fatherhood--cross that bridge when you get to it and with the least amount of effort and concern. 

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1 hour ago, catfeeder said:

My heart goes out to you, Lotus. It sounds as though you and your child can benefit most if you can disabuse yourself of your husband's complaints as anything you've done 'wrong'. Those remarks came from pure selfishness rather than from an invested partner. He was a roommate with zero commitment to partnering, and his views of your struggles as an imposition on him are appalling.

It's natural for us to internalize criticism from someone we hope will love us. While you are intellectually able to recognize the ridicule as unfair, the emotional impacts are deep, and your decision to leave was your first step toward healing. The actual act of leaving is another giant step, and while congratulations for that may sound out of place, you deserve acknowledgment for your strength and courage.

I'm holding you in my thoughts, and I'm wishing for you to find joy in your resilience and ability to bounce back from this experience. I sense an intelligence and determination to create a wonderful life for yourself and your babe with lots of love and happiness.

Moving your focus away from trying to win the love and support you deserve from someone who is devoid of the ability or desire to give it will help you to flourish, and you will thank yourself soon enough--if not today and every day.

Head high, and write more if it helps. I would love to hear more from you, and I'm sending you loving, supportive energy for strength.

(((BIG HUG))),
Cat

Thanks so much for your kind words, Cat. Honestly, when I set out to post I had intended to just write something along the lines of, “Hey, I finally did it! I left my marriage and am back in Aus! Now to figure out my next move.” Suddenly though, everything started pouring out. I mean, I’m gone already, so there is no point dwelling anymore on the comments or little thing my husband has said to me that pushed me to leave. But, I guess I just wanted it out there so it wasn’t all just bottled up in my head. 

I do struggle to not think about his comments. Little things like him telling me with no small amount of disgust that he viewed me as incredibly childish when I cried at the hospital in the middle of labour and he wanted to leave at that moment to go home and rest. That it was my first time being in labour and with a high risk pregnancy, and on top of that, it was the first time being admitted to a hospital room since I watched my mother die in palliative care not so long before that - it was triggering. I wasn’t crying hysterically either, just asking him not to leave me at that time because I was overwhelmed and scared. A few weeks before I left him he revealed he’d found that very childish of me. Things like that were why he would never love me, he said. 

Anyways, I guess that is neither here nor there now. It is onwards and upwards. My son now has a real chance to grow up and see what it is to be a humane and empathetic person. And there is no risk of ne going back to my husband because we are separated by an entire planet. 

33 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

I echo everything that catfeeder said. You have to free yourself from this husband of yours. He is a complete waste of energy. Limit your effort with him to the bare minimum. Don't rely on him for anything. Use the lion's share of your energy to focus on yourself and on your son in a life that does not involve your husband. Your husband may fade into the woodwork or he may demand your attention in the name of fatherhood--cross that bridge when you get to it and with the least amount of effort and concern. 

Thank you, Jibralta! Yes, I will pave my own way now with my son. Onwards and upwards. Thank you for your ongoing encouragement!

Edited by LotusBlack
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6 minutes ago, Tonight.majestic said:

You went through a lot with this husband of yours. I'm sorry to say this but he sounds selfish. He was treating you like a roommate, not a wife. He never wanted you to do good. He just wanted to keep you down. I hope things turn out for you for the better because you deserve it. 

Thanks, Tonight. I sometimes think people toss around the word “narcissist”, but I truly feel that my husband is. He often called me out on it if I didn’t praise him for his contribution to the household chores. Or if he bought me some special items in the grocery shopping. I always thanked him when he was considerate but, at times, if I didn’t get the chance to yet, he’d do it and be offended that I didn’t acknowledge his efforts. My efforts were almost always left unacknowledged. He also would come right out and say his work was a priority over me and also more important than my work. When appealing to him to always improve oneself (and for me to as well) so we could be a better couple, he would say he is already a good and kind person and never wrong, I am the one who can’t do things properly and it is he who suffers for it. I just kept reminding myself that there is no way for us to get better and work out as a couple even with counselling because narcissistic people like him cannot love others, and, to him, I will always be wrong. 

I’m away from that now. I can only become happier from here. 🙂

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1 hour ago, LotusBlack said:

I mean, I’m gone already, so there is no point dwelling anymore on the comments or little thing my husband has said to me that pushed me to leave. But, I guess I just wanted it out there so it wasn’t all just bottled up in my head. 

Yes! There is a huge difference between getting stuff out to confirm them for yourself in the context of having taken the action to buy yourself some degree of objectivity versus dwelling in stagnation.

You are climbing in ascent rather than drilling yourself down deeper, and it only makes sense to reflect in ways that can build pride in your resilience--even if that means reaching for the skills of a professional to bolster and guide your efforts.

Meanwhile, WE are here for you, any time you can use a sounding board.

I agree that the term narcissist is overused, and while there are degrees on a spectrum of narcissistic personalities, your ex fits the bill to the most bizarre and the cruelest degree.

Anyone who would fault a woman in labor for crying, regardless of whether from fear or pain, is pathetically sick. I'm glad you've recognized that no degree of effort on your part could have possibly moved such a person even a notch toward empathy, and now your efforts can be focused on starting fresh and healing any traces or remnants of damage that this man has caused to your psyche.

Cheers to you on the first leg of your journey! 

Edited by catfeeder
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1 hour ago, LotusBlack said:

He often called me out on it if I didn’t praise him for his contribution to the household chores. Or if he bought me some special items in the grocery shopping. I always thanked him when he was considerate but, at times, if I didn’t get the chance to yet, he’d do it and be offended that I didn’t acknowledge his efforts. My efforts were almost always left unacknowledged. He also would come right out and say his work was a priority over me and also more important than my work. When appealing to him to always improve oneself (and for me to as well) so we could be a better couple, he would say he is already a good and kind person and never wrong, I am the one who can’t do things properly and it is he who suffers for it.

He treated you like you were a parasite for your entire marriage. But what you have to realize is that he was the parasite. All he did was make a bigger income.

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I am so sorry you went through all this and are and I echo what everyone else wrote.  As a practical observation my friends who have to be away more than 40 hours per week typically have a nanny or a combo of daycare plus back up sitters if toddler is sick.  I know your husband was supposed to pull his weight but it's hard when both parents are working full time -then the "back up" parent might also have a work conflict.  Again -not suggesting you should do this with your husband just a general suggestion.  All the best to you and your family.

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2 hours ago, Batya33 said:

I am so sorry you went through all this and are and I echo what everyone else wrote.  As a practical observation my friends who have to be away more than 40 hours per week typically have a nanny or a combo of daycare plus back up sitters if toddler is sick.  I know your husband was supposed to pull his weight but it's hard when both parents are working full time -then the "back up" parent might also have a work conflict.  Again -not suggesting you should do this with your husband just a general suggestion.  All the best to you and your family.

It was a bit difficult to arrange as I didn’t have the income to cover extra childcare on top of full-time daycare. I was also starting to worry about my son being at daycare 9-10 hours a day 5 days a week. He needed to at least be with one of us more, I felt, as he wasn’t yet 2 years old. My husband was already spending an extra £300 a month than he did when I didn’t have a outside paying job, for our son to attend daycare so I could work. He said he was happy to pay a bit extra for now so I could have “an experience”. But he really just wanted me to have an online job, so I could be home with the baby and also pay my own way.

But even working from home, I needed work hours where I could dedicate my entire focus to the job - not be keeping one eye on my son and feeling bad for not giving my best to my work, or feeling guilty l was neglecting my son. Giving neither my best efforts while doing both at the same time. My husband never could understand how difficult it was because he never had to compromise his work. Oh well, I’m out of that now. I just need to keeping stepping forward.

Thanks for your support! 🙂

Edited by LotusBlack
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So the way couples I know do this is number crunch to see if it’s financially worth it - or career advancement worth it - to pay for additional childcare and also housekeeping services and more expensive take out food if needed - as compared to the salary or non monetary value of the job. 
I think it’s rather disgusting for a couple with a child who are married to account for how much money each person contributes. Does he pay you for your childcare then since he seems to want to keep score like this?  Yes I’m being judgmental.  I’ve actually never heard of this in real life. In the movies there’s a great scene in The Joy Luck Club about a married couple who lives this way.  Her mother advises her “know your worth “.  Later in the movie she filed for divorce. Thank goodness. 

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46 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

So the way couples I know do this is number crunch to see if it’s financially worth it - or career advancement worth it - to pay for additional childcare and also housekeeping services and more expensive take out food if needed - as compared to the salary or non monetary value of the job. 
I think it’s rather disgusting for a couple with a child who are married to account for how much money each person contributes. Does he pay you for your childcare then since he seems to want to keep score like this?  Yes I’m being judgmental.  I’ve actually never heard of this in real life. In the movies there’s a great scene in The Joy Luck Club about a married couple who lives this way.  Her mother advises her “know your worth “.  Later in the movie she filed for divorce. Thank goodness. 

I often brought up how much value my homemaker role was worth had I been doing it in someone else’s home and for someone else’s child/ren. He just waved it off really and talked about how much money he sacrificed for our family. 

I hated score keeping regarding money. And I was getting into debt to my own husband - absurd! My old laptop died and I couldn’t edit without it, so he bought me a new one, but it was just a loan. How to pay back a loan when I had no monetary income from my inside-the-home job?! Lots of things like that happened. I always was able to earn just enough money to always pay for half of all our son’s things, though. But it was always clear it was his home. And when we moved in together and bought furniture, he made it clear then too that it was his because he paid for it. Had I ever suggested to go away for a few days because I and we were in desperate need for a break, especially me, I’d only be able to do it if I paid half. But without a paying job, how could I?? When asking him to help more with our son, he said then that I should contribute financially because it would be unfair for him to pay for me and also have to do the home stuff - that was my job if I wasn’t working. But I was working 24 hours around the clock with our son, with no clock off time like those with paying jobs, so how could you even value my contributions! And I said that just because he brought in the money and I take care of the house and family, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have to parent. He just said I was illogical.

It was financial abuse. I actually wanted to work, to develop my career, but he acted like our son was my son and I had to figure out how to manage having a child and a job, like he was doing me a favour by helping me with him. When I told him I was struggling with the very physically exhausting laborious work as a field archaeologist and taking care of our son all night too, he told me that It was my responsibility for maintaining myself and I should have known that when entering into such a job. But if he’d helped me more with our son, I could have managed my job better. I said that his job took him to work 7 days a week and left me with parenting by myself almost all the time, but in terms of actual hors worked or dedicated to work (such as commuting), I worked more, so needed help. His response to that was that he had his job before we met, so wasn’t required to change himself for our family. Whereas, I CHOSE my job knowing our situation and after we were already together, so I was the unreasonable one. But, honestly, he knew when we met what I had been working towards. 
 
Anyways, it hurts to think about it all. A part of me wishes that with time he will recognise what he’s done, but a narcissist never does.

Edited by LotusBlack
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2 minutes ago, LotusBlack said:

A part of me wishes that with time he will recognise what he’s done, but a narcissist never dose.

He never will.

He thinks he's perfect.  Why should a perfect person have to "change"?  

If anything, he will say YOU made a huge mistake.  And he'll convince you that you are being unreasonable and if he deigns to take you back you must make all the adjustments he demands.

No, sorry, he is who he is.  

I'm glad you chose to get away from him.  He wasn't ever going to be the husband you need and deserve.

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17 minutes ago, LotusBlack said:

My old laptop died and I couldn’t edit without it, so he bought me a new one, but it was just a loan. 

Sorry I laughed at this one (in a sad way) because it's beyond preposterous to the point of ridiculous. 

 

What I don't understand is how you even started a relationship with a person like this. You  squinted when it came to early red flags?

You made the right decision to leave him and return home. You are a strong person. Give yourself sometime to compose yourself and organize your thoughts. 

You will find your path again with time.

 

Good luck!

Edited by dias
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2 minutes ago, dias said:

 

What I don't understand is how you even started a relationship with a person like this. You  squinted when it came to early red flags?

When we first met, he was a complete gentleman. He would go out of his way to be caring and considerate. He was very kind and thoughtful. And, to be honest, he is that way with his friends very consistently. He gives others his best efforts and goes above and beyond for them. But, he’s never been part of a partnership in a serious relationship where he’s expected to sacrifice some of his time and attention to his work. They [his friends] don’t require of him what a partner and family do.

When it was just us and we were dating, he was exceptional but not over the top. His friends all have nothing but positives to say about him and they they are all very good, kind people who’ve known my husband for years. We, unfortunately, were only together 3 months when I got pregnant. Those who know my story already know I was told having children likely wasn’t in the cards for me, so we didn’t expect that to happen, let alone so early on. And my husband is very lovely in general, until it becomes inconvenient or requires more of him than he’s prepared to give.

To be totally honest, I don’t think he has ever been in such a position where he’s had to put someone else first in such a way so I don’t really think he has been like this to anyone else before. I think our relationship was the first time he’s ever had to truly give of himself beyond a certain degree, so his narcissistic traits had never come out before now.  

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I understand. It's easy to be nice to friends (or to a partner) when you don't really have to sacrifice anything. It seems he really didn't want children. Or if he did he thought you will be doing everything and he could just continue his life as it was before. 

Aside from the selfishness and callousness he is quite immature as a person for his age (guessing mid thirties?)  

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Many people get married young and have never lived with anyone or had spouse-like or parental responsibilities.  That's not the reason.  My sense is that you two didn't discuss your views on parenting and marriage given that you got pregnant so soon.  I mean it takes two -I'm sure you didn't tell him you were sterile so you both took the chance by having unprotected sex.  Do you think he thinks you tricked him?

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1 hour ago, LotusBlack said:

A part of me wishes that with time he will recognise what he’s done

No, he never will. You have to recognize and accept that you are dealing with a person who is in this for himself and no one else. 

The word 'narcissist' is tossed around a lot, but rightfully so. Vanity and self-absorption have been recognized as an illness for thousands of years. Before there was the vaguest concept of psychology, there was Greek mythology and the story of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection--what better synopsis of our day and age with its movies and TV and--best of all--social media?

So, the fact that you selected a narcissist for a mate isn't a big surprise. If you were raised in the midst of social media, I think you'll have a tough time avoiding it because it's been normalized. But it's not normal, and dealing with a narcissistic mate is (and always will be) an ordeal. All I can suggest is that you adopt the 'gray rock' method of blandly responding to him. Completely stop appealing to him for help. Cut him neatly out of your life at every turn--keep trimming along those seams and keep them neat. 

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1 minute ago, Jibralta said:

If you were raised in the midst of social media, I think you'll have a tough time avoiding it because it's been normalized.

I found it to be normalized to be self-centered in the 80s with the dance club scene -it was all about looks and fashion/trends -going out to be seen, dancing to be center of attention - that was normal then.  I wouldn't blame social media.  Narcissists are more drawn to use social media to get attention.  I am on social media regularly.  I've posted a photo maybe 3 times in the last 12 years, I don't use it to draw attention to myself, ever.  No desire.  Just like dating sites don't encourage people to be shallow.  It's just that people who are a certain way already might find that social media and dating sites are easy ways to express their self-absorption.  

 

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18 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I found it to be normalized to be self-centered in the 80s with the dance club scene -it was all about looks and fashion/trends -going out to be seen, dancing to be center of attention - that was normal then.  I wouldn't blame social media.

I don't blame social media. Narcissism is a human tendency that everyone is vulnerable to because we all have egos. Everyone is attracted to social media, not just narcissists. Social media inflames and normalizes the narcissistic tendencies in everyone--just like the trends of the 80s. Just like movies and books. But because of technology, social media is more pervasive than any other vehicle of the past. So, more people are influenced than ever before, and at a time when they are younger and more impressionable than ever before.

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24 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Many people get married young and have never lived with anyone or had spouse-like or parental responsibilities.  That's not the reason.  My sense is that you two didn't discuss your views on parenting and marriage given that you got pregnant so soon.  I mean it takes two -I'm sure you didn't tell him you were sterile so you both took the chance by having unprotected sex.  Do you think he thinks you tricked him?

Actually, we did have serious discussions from the get-go regarding children, etc. I explained to him exactly what the doctors has told me and that although there was very little risk, we always have to assume that when one engages in intimacy like that then you must assume there is a risk. I also had the conversation with him about being unprotected because my body reacts very badly to foreign barriers and I have been medically advised against hormone based contraception due to my late mother’s cancer and family history. For that reason, we made sure, from the beginning, to get tested for STIs to at least eliminate that risk. As for the other, he understood the risk well and we discussed it in-depth. He said he was looking for a serious relationship and wanted a family being that we were already in our 30s, if that were to happen. He said he would be okay with that. I also explained my financial position as I was a masters student and has borrowed money from my step-father to cover the other have of the tuition that my savings didn’t cover. He said his income was sufficient should it be that we ended up with a baby.

Although the risk was very minimal, it was important to me that we were very clear about the risk and what we were each prepared to do, or not do. We did discuss parenting, etc. I’m generally a very responsible person and I am very forthright about my circumstances in any given situation. I believe that the reality was very different for him than he expected and realised after the fact that his research takes top priority and I’m not one of the women from his country that continues to encourage and perpetuate the total emotional, professional, and financial suppression of women. My mistake was believing his was different because he was so politically progressive and shared similar core values, or so he had said. In theory we share very similar values, but in practice, he only values those things when they pose no compromise to his own self interests.
 

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24 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

No, he never will. You have to recognize and accept that you are dealing with a person who is in this for himself and no one else. 

The word 'narcissist' is tossed around a lot, but rightfully so. Vanity and self-absorption have been recognized as an illness for thousands of years. Before there was the vaguest concept of psychology, there was Greek mythology and the story of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection--what better synopsis of our day and age with its movies and TV and--best of all--social media?

So, the fact that you selected a narcissist for a mate isn't a big surprise. If you were raised in the midst of social media, I think you'll have a tough time avoiding it because it's been normalized. But it's not normal, and dealing with a narcissistic mate is (and always will be) an ordeal. All I can suggest is that you adopt the 'gray rock' method of blandly responding to him. Completely stop appealing to him for help. Cut him neatly out of your life at every turn--keep trimming along those seams and keep them neat. 

 

20 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I found it to be normalized to be self-centered in the 80s with the dance club scene -it was all about looks and fashion/trends -going out to be seen, dancing to be center of attention - that was normal then.  I wouldn't blame social media.  Narcissists are more drawn to use social media to get attention.  I am on social media regularly.  I've posted a photo maybe 3 times in the last 12 years, I don't use it to draw attention to myself, ever.  No desire.  Just like dating sites don't encourage people to be shallow.  It's just that people who are a certain way already might find that social media and dating sites are easy ways to express their self-absorption.  

 

Funnily enough, my husband isn’t big on social media. He reads Twitter for news and info, but other than that he affords very little time and interest in social media. I also have never had Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, Tik Tok, etc. I use Facebook to keep up with my friends’ lives, but rarely ever post. My husband also has FB but uses it once in a blue moon. And we are both 35, so social media didn’t really come in to the picture until we were mid-late teens already. 

It’s just that he is so solely focused on his research. When questioning him once on why he never asks me about my day when we get home or ask me how I’m doing or shows interest in my own research, yet I always show interest in his experiments and work, and still he prioritizes himself above me and our son, he said it’s not that he prioritizes himself above us, he prioritizes his WORK above us and also even above himself. He does sacrifice a lot of himself for his work, but I thought he wouldn’t mind sharing his life a bit more with us once we came along, even if it meant sacrificing some time usually used elsewhere. I mean, from the very beginning he made it clear he was looking for a serious relationship in which to build a life and family.

But, honestly, I think as long as he is only focused on his work and stays single then he is a good and kind person, and is very well liked and amiable. His limitation is that he has no room for anyone else in his life if they expect more of him than the loosest of commitments. He’s too selfish for that and I think he even didn’t recognize that until we got together.

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