Tag Archives: spouse
Today would have been my ex husband’s & my 28th wedding anniversary. Naturally, realizing that made me think about our relationship. I thought I’d share my random ponderings with you, since many of you who read my blog have been divorced as well.
When I decided to end my first marriage, although I wasn’t yet a Christian, I still felt terrible for breaking my vows. I took them very seriously. I also felt like a total failure for not being able to make that marriage work. No matter what I did, that marriage was still not good & he was never happy with me. I was never good enough for him. I also felt incredibly guilty. Guilty for not being able to fix the marriage, for never being able to please my ex, for doing everything wrong, for wanting the divorce & more. I felt that intense guilt for a long time, for at the very least, a couple of years after we separated.
Looking back now, I realize how wrong I was.
While marriage vows should be taken seriously, they should be taken seriously by both partners, not only one. If one doesn’t take them seriously & mistreats or even abuses you, there is nothing wrong with breaking the vows to protect yourself & your children if you have them. There is nothing good or holy about tolerating abuse from anyone, period!
One person also can’t save a relationship. It takes two to make any relationship work. It’s impossible for a relationship to work when only one person is trying to make that happen, especially if the other person is a narcissist. They will do their best to sabotage your efforts & refuse to give you what you want or need. So, if you couldn’t fix your marriage, welcome to the club!
Although I still don’t like that I hurt my ex, there really was no other choice. He hurt me plenty as well, which is why I wanted a divorce in the first place. I certainly didn’t decide to divorce him because things were going well!
Does any of this sound familiar to you, Dear Reader? If so, I want to encourage you to change your thinking like I did.
Remind yourself that did the best you knew to do at that time. How can you be mad at yourself for not knowing then what you know now? It doesn’t even make sense. That would be like being angry at a year old baby for not knowing multiplication. We all learn as we go, even as adults.
Narcissists are also fantastic actors, so even if you knew about narcissism & married this person anyway, you still can’t beat yourself up because of what fantastic actors they are. We all can get fooled sometimes, no matter how much we know about narcissism. It doesn’t mean you’re stupid – it just means they are ridiculously good actors!
Don’t forget – if you grew up with narcissistic parents, you also were wounded because of your upbringing, which means you didn’t have the ability to make the best decisions. Unfortunately, this happens! You’re learning, growing & getting healthier now & that is what matters most.
Also, never hesitate to go to God. Ask Him to tell you the truth. Were you stupid to marry that person? Are you a failure for your divorce? He really will answer you & you know what He says is the absolute truth. Let Him help you! He will do so & gladly!
And never, ever forget – while you may not have been the perfect spouse, that doesn’t mean the divorce is absolutely, completely your fault. Narcissists would have their victims believe that, but it’s not true. Wanting to escape the torture & abuse isn’t a bad thing! In fact, quite the opposite. It shows you love yourself enough to know you don’t deserve this kind of treatment.
At the end of July, my husband & I had a disagreement. Not even really a fight, just a disagreement. During the course of working things out, we began talking about our relationship in general. We realized that when stressed, we both tend to withdraw into ourselves. Both being major introverts (he’s INTJ, I’m INFJ), it’s hardly a surprise. It’s also not good for our marriage, because when he withdraws it triggers me to withdraw from him & when I withdraw, it triggers him to withdraw from me also. We tried to figure out ways to cope with this when we came up with a good solution, & I believe it’s beneficial for any marriage.
We now have daily time to talk with each other, minus tv & computer. Maybe music but that is iffy. In fact, we have the Amazon Echo Dot, & I have a daily reminder on there for her to tell us to talk so we are sure not to forget this time.
Every evening at 9, our Dot tells us “This is your daily reminder. It’s talk time.” At that time, we turn off the tv & computers, ignore the phone & talk. The topics vary daily. Sometimes he talks more than me, sometimes I talk more than him. We also don’t have a set time we must talk, so sometimes it’s only 10 minutes, sometimes an hour or more. There are also times we do it earlier in the day because maybe there’s a tv show we want to watch coming on at 9 or we’re really tired & want to get some extra sleep. We also had an evening where one of our cats got sick & had to go to the emergency vet about 9pm, so talk time obviously was postponed that day & rescheduled for the next few days while he was in there to adapt to our spending time at the hospital. There are no rules & there is absolutely NO pressure about talk time other than spend time together.
This ritual has been super beneficial for our marriage! I’ve noticed we are withdrawing much less & being a lot more open about everything. My husband used to hold a lot in about his difficulties at work but now he is talking about them. Even when it isn’t “talk time,” he’s opening up about work more often. He used to hold his frustrations in so this is a very good thing! So much healthier!
We also are closer than we once were. Focusing on each other daily has increased the intimacy in our marriage. We are more open with each other & know we can talk to each other about anything. I’ve felt safer to bring up topics that could start arguments because both of us are more patient, considerate & understand with each other since we started with our daily talk time. It seems like we slow down & really think about things more during talk time.
I think we also have begun to have even more in common than we once did. By focusing so much on each other during our talk time, it seems to have enabled us to see things from each other’s perspectives more than we once did. We used to butt heads about how money should be spent, as one example, but now we agree on it. Granted that area improved the longer we’ve been together, but since we started this ritual, we’ve gotten to be a lot more on the same page. We rarely disagree on financial things anymore.
I wanted to share this discovery with you, Dear Reader, because I think this talk time ritual can help any marriage. I know, life can be so busy, but like I said, it doesn’t have to take long. Even just a few minutes each day where you & your spouse focus on each other can be a good thing. If you opt to try this in your marriage, then please do as we have done & keep it as low key as possible. I really think pressure would make it into a burden rather than something to look forward to each day. Schedule a time that works for you but be flexible enough to change it if circumstances dictate. Don’t worry about having a time limit either or specific topics. Just hang out with your spouse & talk about whatever topics come up. The point is to have fun, relax or work through a problem. Just go with the flow & see if your marriage doesn’t improve like mine did.
I have published my most recent book! It’s called, “When Love Hurts: Loving A Narcissist”. This one is about being romantically involved with a narcissist. It teaches the reader how to determine if his or her partner is a narcissist, about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the best ways to cope with a narcissistic partner, how to help your children & more. I pray it will bless everyone who reads it.
Want to know something interesting? This book came to be because of a dream I had last spring. Strange, huh? Three ideas came to me in that one dream- a book about covert narcissists (which I wrote last year), another about narcissistic in-laws (I got a start on it & I think it will be my next book to publish) & this one about being romantically involved with narcissists. It was one more confirmation to me that dreams are important- we need to pay attention to them! You never know what God may show you in your dreams!
If you’re interested in this book, it is available in both print & ebook versions on my website at: www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com
Financial abuse is a little known type of abuse that narcissists often use on their victims. It is a very effective way to keep someone under control, after all.
For convenience sake, we’ll assume in this article the financial abuser is male, victim female.
While dating, a financial abuser obviously can’t have the deep level of control that a married financial abuser can have. However, he still can exert some control. It probably will start small, like him asking to borrow $20 until payday. Most people experience this at some point, so it’s no red flag, Plus, it’s only $20. Then he needs more & more, $50 or $100. Or maybe he asks to use your credit card, claiming he’ll pay it off soon. The problem is he never pays that money back. And, if you say anything, he gets extremely angry. You learn quickly it’s easiest just to give him money & not expect it to be repaid. I went through this when dating my ex husband. Even though he knew perfectly well how tight money was for me when we first got together, he still asked to “borrow” money often, & never paid it back. By the time we got married a bit over 2 years later, I figured he’d taken well over $400 from me.
Sometimes an abuser controls his or her victim’s finances completely. The victim has no access to bank accounts or credit cards. Receipts are demanded so every penny can be tracked. My mother did this to my father. He got a small “allowance” while she paid all the bills, saved money, etc. True, she was very good with money & maybe because of that should have been in charge of their finances to a degree. But, he had literally no say in where money was spent & didn’t know how much was saved either. My husband & I have a similar arrangement, but the healthy version. I tell him where every penny I spend goes (even though he doesn’t ask) & he doesn’t get an “allowance.” He has full access to all accounts, too, just like I do.
Sometimes financial abusers prevent their victim from working. They may tell their victim outright that she isn’t allowed to work. Or, they may sabotage her job somehow, such as by forcing her to call out often or making her run late so often that she gets fired.
Another trick of financial abusers is to ruin their victim’s credit. If the victim has her own income & wants to leave, one way to prevent that is by ruining her credit. How could she rent an apartment or buy a home when her credit score is 450 & her credit report is full of charged off bad debt? It’s impossible. He can ruin her credit by charging up her credit cards or taking out loans in her name, then refusing to pay the bills.
Some male financial abusers also keep their wives pregnant. They may sabotage birth control so she gets pregnant. If she has babies often, no matter how employable she may be, financially it just makes more sense for her to stay home rather than pay for expensive day care for several children. These abusers get what they want in many ways by doing this- they have more children to abuse/gain narcissistic supply from, their wife stays home as they want, they take away her independence & they feel powerful & in control.
There is hope for victims though, especially if you’re creative.
Ask safe friends & family for any help or advice they may have. They may help you financially or give you some advice you hadn’t thought of.
Local churches or domestic violence hotlines can help as well. Also, look into requirements for getting food stamps & public assistance. No, no one wants to do this, but they can help you until you get on your feet.
Skim any little bit of money you can. Every little bit will help you!
If at all possible, get some sort of job in secret. Babysit while he’s at work or walk dogs.
If your credit is bad, get a secured credit card to help you reestablish your credit. A secured card is one you send money to, then use it to pay for things instead of the other way around. Since there is no risk of customers not paying their debt, companies give these cards out freely, even to people with less than stellar credit.
Most of all, never forget to pray. God will help you to find ways to escape this insidiously abusive situation.
Narcissists are the most superficial bunch of people you can imagine. Everything about them is a charade, right down to their apologies.
On the rare occasion they do apologize, there isn’t one sincere thing about it. Maybe they say the right words, but I can assure you, there is nothing sincere about apologies coming from a narcissist.
If you’re wondering how you can be sure whether or not the narcissist in your life truly means their apology, I am going to list some differences below between a sincere apology & a narcissistic apology.
- Sincere apologies always include accepting responsibility for the wrong that was done & don’t shift blame. Narcissists may say they are sorry for what they did, but then they make an excuse for it. “I’m sorry I said that, but I wouldn’t have said it if you wouldn’t have done….” Or, they may even deny doing what they did entirely, making you feel like you’re crazy.
- If the behavior doesn’t change, the apology isn’t sincere. People who truly are sorry for hurting another person do their best never to repeat that behavior. Insincere apologies may sound sincere sometimes, but the fact the offending person’s behavior didn’t change is a big clue that they didn’t mean their apology.
- Insincere apologies are passive/aggressive. “I’m sorry you feel that way.” “I’m sorry you think what I did was wrong.” While the words “I’m sorry” are being said, it’s clear the person saying such things doesn’t believe they have done something wrong. The person is angry about being called out on their behavior, & will apologize just to shut you up.
- Insincere apologies are vague, rather than specific. Rather than saying, “I’m sorry I cheated on you,” a narcissist may say, “I know I’ve made some mistakes in our marriage.”
- Sometimes apologies can be used to hurt you. My mother once told me she realized she made a lot of mistakes while raising me. I thought maybe she realized what she did to me & wanted to apologize for it. She sounded so sincere. Instead, she continued by saying “Obviously I made mistakes. Just look at how you turned out.” She guaranteed I would pay attention by sounding sincere & by what she said. Once she had my full attention, she dropped that cruel bomb on me.
- Sincere apologies acknowledge the pain that was caused, while insincere ones ignore it. Using the cheating spouse example again, a sincere apology would be something like, “I’m sorry I cheated on you. I know doing that has devastated you. I’m so sorry..it was wrong & it’ll never happen again, I promise.” Narcissists lack empathy, so your pain that they caused is one of two things- not even a blip on their radar because they didn’t think of you in the slightest, or your pain is something they enjoyed causing you.
- A narcissist expects you to accept their apology once they say it, then drop the topic forever. Narcissists don’t want to discuss what happened. In their minds, saying they’re sorry (no matter how insincerely it’s said) once is good enough. They said that, so you should be over it & never bring it up again.
- Narcissists love to make the victim feel that they should forgive & forget. If you’re a Christian, have been wronged or abused by a narcissist & they apologize to you, chances are very good the narcissist will make you feel like you’re a terrible example of your faith if you don’t forgive & forget what was done to you. This apology can make you feel as bad or worse than the original offense.
- Some narcissists apologize for something they think you’re upset about in order to placate you. My father has done this. After my mother in-law passed away in 2016, my parents & I had a huge argument. My father later apologized to me for asking if my husband & I were still together during that argument. (He kept trying to deflect me off the topic). Granted, it wasn’t a good thing to ask, but it also wasn’t the reason I was so angry with him. I told him that & explained exactly why I was angry. He looked at me like a deer in the headlights. Clearly, he couldn’t understand why I’d be upset that he & my mother wanted to “pay their respects” to someone who had been so cruel & abusive to me. Also, it was obvious he thought that all should be fine- he apologized. Never mind the fact what he apologized for wasn’t the thing he should have apologized for.
Dear Reader, please keep these actions in mind when you must deal with a narcissist. Remembering them will help you not to buy their insincere apology. You don’t need that aggravation! If you fall for their apology, they’ll see you as someone they can manipulate & do so more & more. Who needs that?! You don’t! And, you deserve to be treated better than that.
Tomorrow is hubby’s & my 19th anniversary. It’s been quite the adventure, being married for this amount of time. It’s taught me a lot too.
One very important thing I’ve learned is the importance of having fun together.
My husband has a very good sense of humor, but he’s also very logic driven & hard working. (If you know anything about the Myers Briggs personality test, he’s a very typical INTJ.) Although I’m pretty hard working, I like to have fun. Yet, when my C-PTSD flares up, depression sets in or symptoms from the carbon monoxide poisoning I survived in 2015 kick in, I lose the desire to have fun. Also, sometimes things happen that distract us from having fun- bills pile up, someone gets sick, etc. As a result, we sometimes do like many married couples- slip into a routine & not really do anything fun together.
Don’t do that, Dear Reader! If you want to be each other’s best friend, you need to have fun with your spouse & do it often. There is something about playing together that keeps that spark alive in your marriage. Not sure why it works that way but it really does.
Do fun stuff with your spouse. Play silly pranks on each other (nothing mean or hurtful of course). A while back, I crocheted a clown that resembles Pennywise from Stephen King’s “IT”- a super scary movie & book, & one of my favorites. We hide Pennywise around the house to scare each other. I’ve put him in my husband’s lunch cooler, hanging out on the steering wheel of his truck & even taped him to the underside of the toilet lid (I can’t take credit for that- a friend of mine came up with that stroke of evil genius…lol). He’s put Pennywise under the covers on my side of the bed, by my shampoo & on this little decoration in my bedroom. I also crocheted a little Freddie Mercury (remember the late singer from Queen?) & sometimes Pennywise & Freddie have adventures together. Silly? Sure, but it makes us laugh when we find Pennywise &/or Freddie unexpectedly.
Play games together- video games, card games, board games- whatever you like. My husband & I love the old video games we grew up with in the 70s & 80s. Locally, there’s an arcade full of them that we frequent. For $5, we can enjoy a couple of hours of fun together. We also have a Wii & some board games we play at home.
There are plenty of things you & your spouse can do together that are lots of fun & that don’t cost a lot of money, if that’s an issue. You can even find things on Craigslist or other sales sites, like ping pong or pool tables for cheap or even free. All you really need is some creativity!
I hope you & your spouse start having fun together, if you aren’t already. It really can help bring some fun into your marriage. During the hard times, don’t forget to have some fun. Those are the times you need that joy the most.
Since tomorrow is my 18th wedding anniversary, I thought I would share something I have learned about marriage.
Over the years, I have been criticized pretty harshly by a few people because I do not share a couple of my husband’s interests. He likes football, fishing (catch & release) & camping in a tent. Personally I would rather have a root canal than participate in or watch any of those. I really tried to like fishing. I’ve gone fishing a couple of times & found it boring, although being in nature was nice. After badly injuring the only fish I ever caught, I quickly decided I absolutely hate fishing. As for football? Nope. Never could stand any sport involving a ball. And tent camping?! Hahahahaha. No.
This left me feeling quite guilty for a long time. I felt like I was being a lousy wife for not finding some way to like these things or sucking it & up & participating no matter how miserable it would’ve made me. Then one day, some thoughts popped into my mind that set me free from that faulty thinking, & I’d like to share them with you.
I firmly believe successful couples share interests. My husband & I enjoy classic cars, drag racing, demo derbies, late model dirt track racing, antiques, Oktoberfests, pow wows, movies & much of the same music. These things are all fun for us to do together. We have plenty of interests to share, but we also have a few interests that don’t involve each other. I believe that is also important. A couple needs to be close of course, but they do not need to be so close that they lose themselves in the relationship! You should still maintain your individuality when you’re married. I enjoy crocheting, writing & photography but my husband couldn’t care less about them if he tried. This doesn’t offend me at all! If he’d like to try them, I’d be glad to help him get started of course, but I doubt that day will happen. There is nothing wrong with that.
I also think if your significant other has an interest that you never tried, you should at least give it a whirl unless you are 110% certain you won’t like it. My husband was deep into Nascar when we first got together. I wasn’t. I started watching races with him & quickly developed an interest in it. As it has changed after one of our favorite drivers died, we both lost interest in it, but there were many Sundays we spent watching races together & having fun.
If you would like to share a common interest but one of you is not thrilled with the interest, see if you can find a compromise. Since I refuse to sleep in a tent, I have suggested we get a camper or RV one day when we can afford it. Hubby can sleep in a tent if he likes, but I’ll be inside a nice, clean camper with plumbing & electric, the way I believe God intended me to live. lol Or, if he wants me to go fishing with him, don’t expect me to fish. Let me take a crochet project along & just enjoy being outside & talking with him while he fishes. There are plenty of ways to compromise things if you think about it.
I read recently that 30-60% of all married couples are affected by infidelity at some point in their marriage. That is a staggering statistic! Infidelity is possibly the most painful thing a couple can go through, so why are so many people cheating?
I firmly believe one reason, possibly the main reason, is because when a couple is going through difficulties, it is easy to look at someone else & think they are so much better than that man or woman you’re married to. Temptation can easily become too much at that point. I admit, I fell into that trap myself before I was a Christian. Before I married my ex husband, I broke our engagement & told him I wanted to see other people. I did just that, but for a few months later we were married, I continued seeing one other man for several months until the guilt of what I was doing was too much for me to handle. I did this because I was unhappy with my ex husband from very early in our relationship. I had married my ex out of guilt (he was very manipulative & I was easily manipulated back then), not love, & was unhappy. The man I was seeing was much different than my ex. He was fun, kind & smart. He made me feel desirable, witty, smart & more. I had a hard time letting that go, especially when I compared him to my ex.
Another reason for infidelity is selfishness, often to the point of narcissism. So many people are only concerned with themselves, that they don’t even care that what they do may hurt other people, even to the point they will cheat on their spouse. You can identify these people easily- they are the ones that don’t want to quit their porn addiction because they claim that isn’t cheating. They fail to realize that Matthew 5:27-8 say otherwise (27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (NLT)). They also ignore the fact that their addiction is destroying their spouse.
How do you avoid this awful pitfall? By treating your spouse like the most important person in your world. Remind him constantly how proud you are of him, & mean it. Tell her often how beautiful she is, & mean that. Say please & thank you on a regular basis. Never take that wonderful person you married for granted, because there are no guarantees in life- your situation can change in an instant. Play together- whether it is video games, board games, ping pong or sports, have fun together & do it often. Arrange dates often, & spend time talking, without the TV, without your cell phones. Refuse to talk about the fact you don’t have the money to make the car payment or your son is failing algebra, & just talk about each other- your hopes & dreams, what you want from each other (& pledge to do it!). Most importantly, don’t forget to pray together. It is truly a bonding experience!
Marriage isn’t always easy. It’ll never be perfect either, but it can be a happy, comfortable safe haven with your best friend & lover. If you & your spouse decide to make it that way, & both of you work on it, then chances of infidelity destroying your marriage can virtually disappear.
Good morning, Dear Readers! Today is my seventeenth wedding anniversary!
I thought in honor of that, I’d take a moment to remind you today to appreciate the special person you married. It’s so easy, especially after many years together, to take each other for granted, but that’s not good for the relationship at all. It’s depressing to feel unappreciated. Do you want your spouse to feel that way??
Take a moment to think about what you appreciate about your husband or wife today. A kind heart? A gentle nature? The love he or she shows your children (or furbabies)? Is he/she a good provider? Do you share similar interests? Think about this for a few minutes & come up with several things. Then make sure you tell your spouse what you appreciate about him or her.
For my husband, I’m glad we’re still together. We had many hard years, dealing with some potentially marriage ending problems, such as my problems with his family. God helped us both to change & our marriage to survive. I appreciate the fact we share a great friendship. We can have a lot of fun together just hanging out, playing video games or going to a car show. We also share a very warped sense of humor. We both appreciate silly movies like “Airplane!” & quote it on a regular basis during conversation. I love the fact he taught me so much about cars & we share an appreciation for the same type of classic cars. He tolerates my quirks (& they are vast..lol) which I really appreciate since so few people do. I am grateful he doesn’t judge or criticize things about me that many other people are quick to judge, like how I manage my C-PTSD & ongoing problems I have from the carbon monoxide poisoning & concussion. I also appreciate him taking care of me on the days when C-PTSD or health problems flare up. He’s a good man & I’m blessed to be married to him.
Good morning, Dear Readers!!!
Today is my 14th wedding anniversary. I am blessed to be married to Eric. My favorite thing about him is that he is my friend, not just my husband. We have fun together. Last night, we turned out all the lights, I lit some candles, made some popcorn, & we watched a scary old Boris Karloff movie together. (“Black Sabbath”- if you like scary old movies, this one is great!!! Check it out) Today, we unfortunately have some things to do, then later, we’re going to have a picnic in our back yard with wine, cheese, & crackers. Nothing fancy, but romantic. I’m looking forward to it.
Is your husband/wife your friend too? Celebrate that friendship & have some fun together!!