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so now that i know the problem...

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how do i deal with it? i couldn't decide exactly which forum to post this in, because it is such a strange and complicated problem. i don't know that it goes with any particular category.


basically, here's the story. i dated a guy about 7 years ago. we had one of those "no strings" kind of relationships, which i was fine with for a while. but after a short while, i developed genuine feelings for him. i fell in love with him. but when i would start to try and get close, he would pull away. then, when i would distance myself, he would come on strong again. he would do and say things that were so hurtful and awful. he once gave me a list of why i wasn't marriage material, even though i didn't even ask. he went hot-tubbing with another girl at a party and i walked right in to it. but i would always go back.


it took me meeting another guy to get me to finally break away from this horrible situation. but, the other guy was the ex's brother. perfect, right? everything was working out great for a long time. the brother and i ended up getting married, and i had a healthy friendship with the ex for the first time in a long time.


so fast forward to this past spring. my husband and i were having problems. i hadn't been happy for a long time, kind of wondering if i made the right decision by marrying him. my feelings of doubt didn't have anything to do with my ex. i thought i was completely over him. but then i was in a situation where i had the opportunity to cheat. with the ex. my brother-in-law. yep, it got a whole lot worse.


we didn't have sex, didn't even kiss. but it started a months-long roller coaster of emotions, what if's, will we or won't we kind of junk. then i started to have feelings for the ex all over again. he seemed like he had feelings for me too. before i knew it, we were back to a lot of the same patterns we engaged in before when we were dating. he would be great one minute, be my friend, flirt, make me feel special. then, if i responded he would withdraw, say something hurtful and mean, flaunt other girls in my face. i was slowly getting sucked in to the same cycle of exhiliration followed by crushing pain inflicted by him. on top off all that, my husband found out about me and his brother almost sleeping together. and you know what? i had to deal with the backlash of the whole thing. my brother-in-law never talked to my husband, never explained himself, never apologized. i had to handle the whole thing by myself.


so to get to the whole point of this, i recently discovered narcissistic personality disorder. my ex could be a poster boy! it all makes sense to me now. every symptom, every example, my ex has displayed. i have been a victim of his madness for nearly 10 years now. this whole time i felt things were my fault, things that in actuality were not my fault at all. it was the NPD. i blamed myself for that relationship not working out, for not being good enough for him. granted, i made my share of mistakes. i almost cheated on my husband with him, i allowed myself to get sucked back in to being his narcissistic supply (i LOVE that term, because it's so true).


now i want to know, how do i deal with him for the REST of my LIFE? as long as i am married to his brother, i will have to deal with him and his sick and twisted ways. he is close to our kids, he drops by my house almost every day. if i call him out on this NPD (which i have a sneaking suspicion he is aware of, as he's been in therapy) he will deny it. either way, he will continue to try and cause conflict between me and my husband. (he likes to pick fights with me when the three of us are together, and he knows my husband doesn't like to get in the middle of stuff, so then i will get mad at the husband for not sticking up for me.) it will be a vicious cycle forever. how do i handle him without him KNOWING i am handling him?


sorry for the lengthy message, but i felt i should get in as much detail as possible. any questions, just ask. i know it sounds crazy. it is crazy.

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I'm a bit confused to be honest about the fact that you were drawn into an 'almost affair' with your brother-in-law, and what that means? How does your husband feel about this, did you talk it through and resolve it between the two of you? I suppose that depends on how you can treat this guy, about how much your husband knows and is willing to do.


I would also say this:


I have been a victim of his madness for nearly 10 years now. this whole time i felt things were my fault, things that in actuality were not my fault at all. it was the NPD. i blamed myself for that relationship not working out, for not being good enough for him. granted, i made my share of mistakes. i almost cheated on my husband with him, i allowed myself to get sucked back in to being his narcissistic supply (i LOVE that term, because it's so true).


This is tough, but you have to take responsibility too for your decision to cheat on your husband with him for yourself; I know how tough it must be for you, but your diagnosis of his issues doesn't mean that you didn't also get involved with him.


As your husband knows of your history with this guy, and you are wary of him because of his problems, I would suggest that you openly say you want boundaries in place; maybe the two of them can see each other when you're not there. You can just say you feel uncomfortable around him given the very intense history you've shared.


Good luck with this - I'm sorry it's so tough for you.

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yes, my husband and i talked about what happened with me and his brother, and we have resolved it. it took several months. there were plenty of times it got thrown in my face during arguments, but that hasn't happened in a while. it still p*sses me off that my husband never confronted his brother about almost sleeping with his wife, and it p*sses me off even more that my BIL never took responsibility for his part of that situation and talked to my husband about it. they both went on like nothing happened, yet i fought with my husband about it for months and had to suffer through my BIL being a complete jerk to me every time the three of us were in the same place together. he would be fine when it was just the two of us, but get me, my husband and BIL in the same place, and BIL would constantly pick arguments with me. it doesn't make any sense. he's such a baby!


i hope more people try to help me out here. i really could use all the advice i can get. thanks.

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Hey married.


If you are right about your brother in law having NPD, then there is just about zero you can do about him. In any case there is probably little you can do except to break the cycle on your end. You cannot 'fix' the brother in law, but you can stop falling into the same patern.


I would recomend that you take a serious look at what role you want the brother in law to have in your family and discuss it with your husband. You do not need to tell your husband that his brother is NPD, but just that you are concerned about how he is effecting you and that you need to cut off or restrict your interactions with the brother in law. Given the history I doubt your husband is going to want you hanging out more with his brother anyway.


In short forget the brother as much as possible and focus on the man and relationship that is important, your husband.

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It seems to me you haven't talked to your husband about the brother. IMHO, you're going to have to risk all and bring it all out in the open (with your husband), or your life is going to be hell to stay married with this brother around. Basically find out if your husband is aware of the brother's antics (it's possible it's all flying over his head), and if not - tell him - and find out what the two of you should do about it. Does your husband know about the previous "no-strings" relationship?


What gets to me is this thing wth the brother trying to cause conflict between you and your husband - if you know he's just doing it to cause conflict, it means you shouldn't let it cause conflict! Don't fight with your husband over everything his brother said... Also bring it up with your husband that his brother is doing this (if he doesn't already know).


Finally regarding your husband throwing the "almost affair" back in your face, that's a bit bad... Once you forgive someone for something, you give up the right to do this! That's what forgiveness is all about! You don't forgive someone so you can have a hold over them - is it really resolved?

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oh yes, husband is well aware of his brother's antics. we were all three together somewhere about a month after the truth came out about the almost-affair, and things were understandably very tense. it was very obvious. the ex was being a huge jerk to me, husband was doing nothing about it, and i was miserable. it's so strange. months will go by and everything is fine. the ex will be fine, being nice, not causing problems, then all of a sudden he will be a huge pr*ck for no reason. i try really hard not to fight with my husband about it, but if the shoe were on the other foot, i would call out my brother for treating my spouse that way. honestly, i would have punched my brother in the face for trying to sleep with my wife, but he never said a WORD to him.


yes, my husband knows about the no-strings relationship. he was very aware of the type of relationship it was and how sad it made me to go through it.


i honestly don't know if the ex tries to cause conflict just for the sake of doing it, or if it's his way of dealing with other feelings. of course, if he's really NPD he probably doesn't have feelings. my husband guessed that he behaved the way he did after all the stuff went down because he was reacting to being stressed out and didn't know how else to act. like it was almost easier for him to pick fights with me than deal with any genuine feelings about the whole thing.


i haven't had the almost-affair thrown back in my face for quite a while. it was just awful having that happen when it did. it made me very resentful of my ex because he got none of that. he got to go on his merry way while my husband and i were barely speaking to each other and i had to look at his heartbroken puppy dog eyes for days on end. i really think my husband is past it. right now, his concern is that we haven't had sex in over 3 months. that's another problem i've had, and that goes back to before the incident with the ex. i think almost sleeping with my ex was a direct result of me not being attracted to my husband anymore. ah yes, it just gets more complicated...

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