Reply To: 18 years later…
Lots of us here were cheated on, by the N/P’s we were embroiled with. I think this leaves some victims pretty cynical about the subject of infidelity. This is not an excuse, as MANY of us ALSO did other things we would NEVER do if it weren’t for our involvement with these N/P’s.
I wore slutty clothes. Which would SHOCK anyone who knows me now. I stayed out late, missed work, and didn’t eat. I drank too much, and acted like I was a teenager. I was in my mid 40’s. I paid the price. Lost $, my job, and friends.
I am so sorry for what you have been through. 18 years is a powerful investment in love (on your side), and deception (on his side). He played a VERY long con. Many of them do. It also makes leaving, sorting out your feelings and (mis)beliefs about your relationship, and getting yourself back to reality a process that will require a total commitment from you, TO you.
When we believe in something, even something false, and we get intermittent reinforcement, and the language used to describe this false thing is ‘beautiful’ AND false (as in I want to be with you, you are what I have been waiting for, I am ready to leave my wife…..this is the best sex I have ever had, etc….) then our false belief becomes CEMENTED in our brains/bodies. It is an actual neural ‘track’ that our thinking and emotions get stuck on. It is a both biological and psychological. Hormones, thoughts, and our nervous system respond in predictable ways to the kinds of fraudulent, deceitful, and manipulative tactics that these sorts employ.
Making it VERY hard to re-route ourselves once we find out the truth. Making us feel like you do. You know now that he lied over and over and over. Yet you FEEL like you want to see him, to believe again that it was ‘real’, and to not feel the pain and betrayal you now feel.
Almost like coming off of a long addiction to drugs.
This is why you will feel like some part of you is dying to see him, even as your intellect KNOWS he has completely duped you, and left you with mounds of shame and guilt.
What you need, need, need to do is read everything here you can (about personality disorders, how to get away from a relationship with an abuser, etc). Buy books. Read our stories and answers to one another. This will create a new track in your brain (based on truth and facts and experience) so that you can be released from your conflicting thoughts and feelings about him, and EXPERIENCE him and the situation for what it REALLY is. But you have to stick with it, every day, for a significant period of time in order to be (for lack of a better phrase) ‘unbrainwashed’.
There are also many other things you can do to support yourself through this process. Journaling, therapy, massage, yoga, walks, dancing, running, art, meditation, maybe antidepressants (as appropriate). Things that are good for YOU.
This is why no contact is absolutely necessary. If you continue to listen to what he has to say, his ‘framing’ of what is happening, then it becomes waaaay more difficult for you to see your OWN REALITY. He is an expert con man and ‘salesman’ of b.sh*t. He KNOWS how to manipulate you, as he has had 18 years of practice. Don’t let him have one more second of your time, or attention.
There is no soft way to do this. No gradual leaving. No closure that is emotionally satisfying.
For me it was one of the hardest periods of growth in my entire life.
And it was 1000% worth it. I would NEVER even consider any kind of re-engagement with him, or anyone like him. I am happy. I am safe. I am not confused. I am not pining for love. I am strong, decisive, and centered in my own life. I have values and I live by them, with kindness and empathy for myself and others.
I was raised by one of these people, and went on to have multiple relationships with these kinds (as they were ‘normal’ for me). Coming out of my own personal fog was a HUGE struggle. So though I may sound pretty cut and dried believe me I sympathize. I do. And I know you can get through this!!!
Cyberhugs to you,