My Narcissistic Husband Is Emotionally Abusive. Is Our Marriage Over?
I don't get him and I've become resentful at this point.
So here is the deal. I married my husband about 8 years ago. He’s from India and I from the states. After about a year of marriage I became pregnant with our first child together, a boy (I have two from a previous relationship). Soon after I had the baby he was on the job hunt for something big. He found his dream job in a big city which was 3 hrs away. He told me of his acceptance of this job offer and moved almost in the same week, all by himself. I was distraught. He did not discuss anything with me or make any plans. He just expected me to follow. I had been working at my job for 10+ years, very grounded, very stable life and income to provide for my children. I couldn't move just on a whim. I suffer from extreme anxiety and panic disorder and this threw me for a loop. I could not understand how someone could just leave their wife and new baby for a job. If we were that important to him as he let on, then why?
He constantly rebuttals everything with “he didn’t move away” “I ruined his life”, “he should have never married me”,“everything was my fault not his”, “I’m the reason his mother passed away” (because she never got to see her grandson as she lived in India). So, through all of this, I started going to visit him, driving 3 hrs every weekend and 3 hrs back home to let him see his son. I did this for 3 years total. During the summer of the 2nd year of packing and driving I found out I was pregnant with our 2nd child, and he told me I needed to “take care of that”. He didn’t want a 2nd child but I could never have an abortion, I love babies and I wanted her. So I continued to drive back and forth for the next 1-1.5 years packing my things, big and pregnant, working hard 12 hr night shifts with very little sleep. I was miserable during this pregnancy and I still did everything I could to just try to keep my family together. And every weekend he would get worse and more emotionally abusive and I would just cry. My mom finally told me that “when you’ve had enough you will stop” and so finally, I stopped.
After I had my 2nd baby, a girl, she was very sick as I and we were both admitted to the hospital for a week. I knew that he didn’t want this child and it hurt but he came for the delivery. He then took my 4 year old son back with him to his house 3 hrs away and left me there in a hospital, with a sick baby in the nursery and me stranded sick as a dog and very much consumed with postpartum depression. When I finally called him to ask him to come drive me home from the hospital, he refused. He had taken my baby seat with him on accident and I needed it to bring baby home. I couldn’t believe he refused. I had to call my mother crying and asking for a ride home. I was so embarrassed that my husband left me in the hospital because I worked with these people and I just didn’t know how to explain.
He then moved his dad into his home without even discussing this with me. It was very awkward. I did not like it. Now he has accepted a job nearby and claims to have moved back for us. I’m so hesitant. I know in my heart he shouldn’t have moved in the first place. He decided to pick a place without even discussing it with me and moving his dad back in without asking my opinion. I have 4 kids in total. With his dad taking up space, we would require at LEAST a 5 bedroom house, if not 6. He found a 3 bedroom house (one room for dad, one for the kids and one for himself). I am upset because it's almost like he’s purposefully excluding my other children, by offering his dad a room that was for them, and also just the lack of respect that comes in a marriage. I can’t seem to get over it. I don’t know what to do.
I’ve been told that he doesn’t like my food, it’s not Indian food. He will eat what he likes, so his dad makes him food. I’ve even witnessed his dad giving him a back massage which totally grossed me out. I just want to scream. I feel trapped and alone and no one to give me advice. He claims that everything is my fault and the reason why it’s like it is is because I didn’t move with him. What do I do? Do I give in and move with him and almost inevitably be miserable, or not and face divorce. I believe he is narcissistic. Nothing is ever due to him making a mistake. He is incapable of apologizing and I’ve let it be normal.
I absolutely feel for your story, but despite everything that has happened, I believe your future is still bright. What you need is a clear mindset to refocus, a calm moment to remind yourself of all the importances in your life, and a clean slate to start over. Whether or not to take your husband along on your new journey is up to you to decide. No one can tell you to quit a man. Just like no one could have convinced you not to keep your baby then. You sound like a strong-willed woman and so I'm not here to tell you what to do; instead, I'll suggest ways to improve your current situation so you won't feel so "trapped" and "alone" anymore.
What You Can Do
#Reflect on your marriage. I find it hard to believe you chose to marry a man who didn't care about you in the slightest in the first place. So, if that isn't the case, what has caused your relationship #dynamic to change? Hence, when did things start to go south? You guys were so in love at one point. Hold on to that sentiment as you look back at some of the events that took place in your eight years of marriage. Pay close attention to your feelings as well as your reactions at each stop. You fought, but did you really make up? Has a problem been truly resolved after an argument? Maybe you were once a good listener, maybe he was, but why no longer? If given a chance to do something over, what would you have done differently? People make mistakes — that's natural — but mistakes don't make people. The one key thing to recognize here is, we are all capable of breaking our bad habits and enforcing change in ourselves if we are willing.
Drop all your could've, would've, should've. Yes, he should have picked you up at the hospital without questions; and yes, he could have discussed with you first before deciding to move and wouldn't that have been a wonderful day? The thing is, all of these ideal scenarios constantly replaying in your head have been poisoning your soul, turning into hate, resentment towards your husband, and will continue to do more harm than good to your relationship unless you consciously cut them off. Yes, he did none of what you minimally expect from a good husband and father. Ouch right? The truth does hurt sometimes. You learn from it and move on. Don't linger. Try to look on the bright side of things. Think back, both you and your baby came home just fine that time and all of your children are in good hands. So your circumstance might not have been the most ideal, especially emotionally, but it isn't horrible either.
"People make mistakes — that's natural — but mistakes don't make people."
Forgive him or move on. #Forgiveness might sound difficult to do, but if you expect an insensitive man to flip a switch and become sensitive, my bet is still on you. He might have wronged you so many times in so many ways, but they are in the past. You want to be mad at him, then be mad in the moment. But only in the moment. When things don't go your way, breath. Tell yourself, you are a big girl, you can handle anything that comes at you, with or without your man. It's more important to be at peace with the bad things that happen in your life for the sake of your own health. One thing is crucial, if you want him to change for the better for you, you need to be willing to forgive his wrongdoings — without holding grudges — and offer him retries. Make known your proposition and should he repeatedly turn down his chances (hence he no longer want to work on the relationship), maybe it's time to move on.
It takes two to #tango. When a relationship is going well, both parties want to take credit; whereas when it goes bad, both parties forget about their involvement. This does not apply to you, you may think, as you've been yourself this entire time, he's the one who's turned evil. Has it ever occurred to you that he may be thinking the same thing? You said he blamed every little #unhappiness in his life on you, at the same time, aren't you also blaming him for the awkwardness with your in-laws and not wanting what you want (a second child)? It's time to quit the blame game and #reunite as a couple. To do that, both of you need to first admit your involvement in this mess, that is, to be willing to apologize for it. Your husband might have underestimated the power of saying sorry and what that means to you. Don't quit though, let it be heard, let him know why that is important to you. It might seem obvious, but it might not to him.
"That's the man you married, a man with hidden emotions. You just need to dig deep and uncover his mask if you are keen to understand him."
Try looking at him from a different angle. You've established he is insensitive to your feelings. When you are calm, I need you to take a moment to think again. Just because you are more sensitive, doesn't mean he's happy when you are hurt. What's more likely is, I bet, when you are not happy, he isn't either. When your son was born, for example, he might not have been holding your hands, crying in the delivery room, but deep down he was probably overjoyed, like you were. That's the man you married, a man with hidden emotions. You just need to dig deep and uncover his mask if you are keen to understand him. Now, changing the situation. You said he didn't respect you by letting his dad move in and take up a valuable room. It is a big deal, I know. But at the same time, he did ultimately #respect (despite protest) your decision to have a second child, which also has a big impact on both your lives. We can be careless when we are mad. But we shouldn't, in any situation, let our anger control and cloud your judgment.
Understand the culture clash. India is a very old country. They have centuries of traditions and customs American culture doesn't possess. I don't mean to disrespect, but if truth be told, a lot of the time people from old nations like India aren't always as open-minded when it comes to mixed-race couples and stepchildren, especially their older generations. Thereby your husband marrying you, a non-Indian woman with children from a past relationship, could possibly be considered very unconventional, sometimes #brave. It also wouldn't be surprising to me that he's been playing the middle man when it comes to conflicts between you and his parents. Imagine getting pressure from both sides, and both sides won't understand each other due to cultural differences or even language barriers. It can be very #stressful (his irritability could partially come from this as well).
Set a time for an #intimate chat. When you think of it, there are 24 hours in a day, yet you are unable to spare twenty minutes of your time to sit down and have a serious but nice chat? I know that you have children to take care of every day. But putting your marriage first shouldn't be a crime, in fact, it should be a #priority. There's no family without you guys staying together and in the very end, your children will suffer too if they aren't already suffering. So, find a time after work and on weekends, grab a glass of wine, sit down comfortably on the couch and just talk. Heal together. Open up and dig deep. Talk about the happy time as well as the bad. Be candid and accepting. Ask him about his thoughts, get inside his head, be curious like you were of him when you first dated. Remember, you can disagree but don't have to fight over it. The point here isn't to "win", it is to be #understanding.
Finally, reassess your relationship. No one knows him better than you do. Not your mother, not his dad, either. Remember how you guys fell in love. That love, that fire, might have weakened, but it's not totally gone yet. Ask yourself, if you try to understand him, will he try to understand you? Is he really hopeless like you think he is? Is there perhaps things you have overlooked in the past? Maybe too much unpleasantness has built up overtime, you've been clouded for so long, but now you are ready to start over. Know that every relationship has challenges. There are no perfect men, fortunately, or they would have all been robots. You may be tempted to move on to a new man, but can you #guarantee this next person wouldn't come with a brand-new set of problems?
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Julie Y. Barris
Founder | Chief Editor | Advice Guru of Moody Melon Magazine
I am an author, artist, entrepreneur, and a graphic designer with a unique vision to contribute to the world one idea at a time. Besides creating and inventing things, I’m also fascinated by the human mind. I enjoy helping others help themselves by giving them advice on family and relationship matters.