A life of mind games...and being ignored

by Cheryl

The reason for my failing marriage was that I was the scapegoat for so many things...

Several times over the years, he would mess up on his job. For example, the alarm going off at work and the alarm company would call the house. I would give him message and he would refuse to return their call. He was the manager, and he had very important medical products in the freezers.
Then on the next day, or the following Monday... he would say that I never gave him the message. Since the alarm company never talked to him, and only me on those occasions, it looked as though I was at fault. This has happened several times over the years… different situations, however somehow I would be blamed.

Back a year ago, a business associate of mine was trying to get in touch with him to do some repair work. I kept asking him to please call this man, but he just kept not doing it. Then at our Christmas party, this man asked him why he had not called. He told him that I never gave him the message. Now every time this man asks me to do something at work... he asks me several times if I will make sure that it gets done, or if I will make sure I tell someone about something. His lie has affected a business relationship of mine.
He had an affair several years ago. He was ready to leave me and our three sons. During the whole time, he did not know what he was going to do. He blamed me for his affair... I was too involved with boys and had no time for him. During his affair, he was only concerned about the other woman… not me or our boys. Finally she broke it off with him. He stayed, and then after three weeks he forbade me from talking about it. He said it happened and I just needed to get over it and he was done talking about it. At the time I did not have a job, so I did not know what to do.

He has lied to me over the years... then laughed when I found out about his lies. He has confided with my oldest son (who is now 22) about these lies... and has also involved him in these lies. Like his admitting to getting a speeding ticket, and telling me that someone had not paid him for a side job, so I would pay for the speeding ticket.
He has always had me second guessing myself… about almost everything...

For years he has not made time for me. He does not talk to me, does not
go places with me, does not take me out to dinner. I have begged him to spend time with me... but he just ignores my cries and says he's too busy. He jokes that our annual date is my office Christmas party. Over the years I have asked him to make time for me and for one reason or another he just has not done it. I remember one time his saying that he could not change and that I needed to change my thinking.
But, let someone else ask him to do something and he is all willing to do it…

He does this thing when I try to talk to him about how he makes me feel... it is like he mocking me or something. If the boys are around he says stuff like... "What can I do to make you happy... all I have ever tried to do is make you happy". But he only does that if he has an audience. Then he over talks me and confuses me when I try to talk to him.

Recently I have started standing up for myself... and just tonight he told me that no one in the house likes to be around me because I am so vocal. A couple weeks ago my oldest son told me that I needed to keep my mouth shut so that his dad and I would not argue. I am just tired of being treated like a nothing. Basically if I would just take whatever is dished out to me, there would not be a problem.

The only good thing that has come out of my marriage is my sons. I have stuck it out for 27 years. I am 50 and I just think that if I am going to be alone... I might as well be alone by myself.

It has just been years of not measuring up…being talked down to… being disrespected, ignored, and made fun of. He plays head games and sometimes he gets me so confused. He will embarrass me in front of people and makes me the butt of his humor.
He lost his high paying job about 3 years ago. He took a job working at a home repair store and was supposed to start a side home repair business. Like most of his pipe dreams that lasted maybe two years... When he lost his job his annual salary went down $45,000. And I was thrown into being the main bread winner. To this day I feel that he purposely set himself up to lose the job...

I could go on and on... but I can't. I have been really foolish to believe that someday all this would get better.

Comments for A life of mind games...and being ignored

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Kill the beast with kindness / well sort of
by: Barb

"We teach people how to treat us" and putting up with bad behavior is teaching them they can get away with treating us bad. ESPECIALLY to try to turn your children against you!! That's the lowest blow! My husband used to do that and I wouldn't say anything because I thought it would just make me look bad.

One day he didn't know I was listening to him tell my son a lie. I contemplated calling him out but didn't want to make him look as bad as he was being. But then I thought, why am I protecting him when he is telling a lie to turn my son against me? Is he protecting me? So I said from the other room, "If you are going to lie about someone you should at least first make sure they aren't listening." My son laughed and said, "Busted!" My husband apologized and has not done it again. I no longer will "protect" him from his own bad behavior, it's not really protecting him anyway… it's just feeding his inner beast which I refuse to do.

More recently he has tried telling people pitiful stuff like I am mad at him for being sick. As soon as he says it, I correct him in front of whoever he is saying that ridiculous stuff to. It's done in a nice way so they know he is the one being ridiculous. They almost always make fun of him and he stops acting like that!

My husband of 31 years has just recently started the same
by: Donna

We've been together for 31 years. And the last 5 have really been something else, so I kind of need advice too. I do understand what you’re going thru, it truly hurts. He's tearing my heart to shreds. He won't talk to me like we used to, he clams up or starts an argument when I try talking to him and gives me the silent treatment for days. He blames me for starting the argument then leaves.

He starts arguing cuz he doesn't want to talk to me and he won't do anything fun with me. He won't spend quality time with me. I'm not allowed to touch his phone and he takes it with him everywhere, he won't even leave it here to charge. He throws a fit when I ask who he's texting. I told him that if he feels the need to hide whatever he's doing, then he probably shouldn't be doing it. We have always shared passwords and such (basically everything). He was my best friend.

This article explains my marriage
by: Karen

This article drew me to my heart. I am just over the finalizing of a divorce from a man I loved for 25 years and married for 23 years. I thought I was crazy! My soon to be ex-husband played these mind games. When I read this article, I thought I was reading my life with him.

Now he is gaslighting my youngest son who turns 16 in December. My youngest son and I were always tight. Now I feel like I’m talking to my ex at times! I’m trying to stay calm, but unfortunately until my kids are out of the house and on their own, will I not be free from him.

Thank you for sharing and letting me share too.

Passive Aggressive Husband
by: BettyBB

My husband of 39 years plays this mind game of withdrawal, because he knows it drives me out of my skull. When we get into a fight, often he'll pack his bags and leave, pretending that he's never coming back. He's from Canada and sometimes he claims he's going back there. The last time he was gone all night and wouldn't answer his phone when I tried to call him. This was all done to hurt me in a passive aggressive way.

We got into a brief, but painful fight last evening. Everything seemed fine before he went to bed. We even watched a show on TV and had dinner. But now he's refusing to get out of bed or speak to me, which I see as another form of withdrawal and punishment meant to hurt me. He has been in bed for 12 hours. I even had our adult son go check on him. He told our son that he's alright.

I'm at a loss about what to do.

by: Pam

My husband and I have been married for 14 years, and who knows how long he has been playing mind games with my head. I recently told him that I wanted a divorce. He refuses to let me go and tells me that he had talked to my friends. And when I talked to my friends about it, come to find out that he was lying.

by: Monica

(Not sure if the following last post replying to me or not; please let me know)

In any case, Thank you for your caring concerns. As a rule, I just post my experience as well & don't intend to give advice, as every woman's experience is unique and I don't believe in comparing or claiming to understand any experience I wasn't there to have an objective opinion about myself. All I can say is what worked for me & it's up to anyone to decide if it applies to their situation or not. I would hope that anything I post here would be respected in the same spirit. Thanks again!!

Pervasive presumptuous judgments
by: Monica

It started out with a statement that 'I was smiling at him' when I was just feeling happy in general at work. He came to me with sad tales about his upbringing and how victimized he was. Even though those experiences were long over and his mother (whom he hated) did everything she could to protect him from his abusive father (who he saw as 'wounded masculinity' in that marriage).

He tried to convince me I was a 'victim too' because of my disability, even though I’d told him about my generally happy childhood, and that I was 'in denial' about that, as if any love I received was really a lie. He started to act as if I was 'the one' who could 'heal' his heart after his experiences.

He wanted to take me out and for a while it seemed benign, with shared activities where he could be charming and thoughtful, especially about others' troubles. But over time I noticed the same presumptions about who I 'really' was cropped up, and the attitude that my power to make progress in my life was a delusion, with repeated denials and even hostility when I tried to speak for my own unique experiences and ideas for my own growth. He seemed to need me to be just like him to 'validate' our relationship as 'meaningful'.

This later turned to outright rage, and later, angry accusing looks at me when I merely smiled if I felt happy or did something positive for myself. Later he told me "I was afraid if you were happy, you would find someone else who would make you happy and you would leave me". On the contrary, I’d rather he be the one to want to share happiness with me in the first place, and I’d rather work that out between us than just dash off after some other man without giving him an opportunity to do that, or at least let me know if he didn't want to do that, directly. It felt like this relationship was based on unspoken attitudes and mental games instead of mutually caring dialogues -- though he claimed a history of interest in that with people in the early part of our relationship.

What a shame
by: Connie

"Have you ever looked up the symptoms of a narcissist? I was married to one, and it kind of sounds like you were too."

I was about to type the same thing and see that someone beat me to the punch. You may have some codependent tendencies - narcissistic type personalities need a codependent to feed their self-importance.

You don't deserve to be alone in the relationship any more than he deserves to blame you for it. I'm so sorry you've suffered this; some of your stories could have been my own. I kicked my ex out after the last affair and have never looked back. It was painful, of course, but it got better as soon as he was gone, and day by day, it improved. I miss the financial security as I'm not a single parent and had devastating consequences monetarily, but I can survive those long before I can take any more hits to my psyche and soul. This man is telling you who he is; it's time you start listening.

Could be My Life...
by: Makenzie

I just want to thank you for the wakeup call. So many stories and so many wasted years… I don't want to wake up tomorrow and realize that 20 years have gone by. I've spent 11 years with a man who treats me the same way. There's never been any love or compassion for me, and he seems to delight in hurting me emotionally (I put a stop to the physical abuse after my daughter was born). I'm a psych major, so I should have known to run away fast... but he managed to hide his true colors until we were married. I don't want my infant son to grow up to be anything like him.

Sounds very familiar
by: Dee Dee

My heart goes out to you. I have been married for 18 years and my husband does that too. He’s very controlling and no matter what, its abuse. Sounds like your son (or kids) are following in your husband’s footsteps. Protect yourself from your husband and possibly your kids any way you can so you will never have to be cared for by them. If my son ever talked to me like yours did to you, he would be bounced onto the street faster than the blink of an eye. Find your happiness...please. I am finding mine. It’s not easy but I do look forward to being my own boss. Our husbands are losers. Let's let someone else have those headaches. We deserve better.... even if that better is being on our own. You are stronger than you think and you deserve respect. Best wishes to you.

Divorce him
by: Sheila

This man is abusive, and staying in this relationship has crushed your spirit and taught your oldest boy how to treat women badly. Emotional abuse is every bit as painful as physical abuse, if not more as the effects last much longer.

What advice would you give a friend going through the same thing? Someone who meant the world to you? Give yourself the same care. Be your own best friend.

Take care. You're worth it.

You aren't alone in your situation
by: Chanel

At least, there are others like you with very similar stories. I am one of those. I was married 19 years when I got out of it. So much of what you said here could've been written by me. Things like acting concerned about you when an audience is there to see him, and then back to having other things to do when it's just the two of you. Or verbally abusing you with comments like no one wants to be around you, etc.

Does he always discount your feelings? He sure did over the affair. I guess 3 weeks is enough for anyone to get over a ground-shaking betrayal like someone you've known for the majority of your life lying and deceiving you for someone he hardly knew, huh? THAT is invalidating to you and the relationship you've built together to dismiss it so quickly.

Have you ever looked up the symptoms of a narcissist? I was married to one, and it kind of sounds like you were too. It won't change the past, but it might help you to familiar yourself with that and see if he is like that. If he's got those tendencies, it's easier to understand that his issues are his to take care of, not to beat you up over with words or emotional neglect.

It's affected your children too, and I'm very sorry to hear that. You never know what may happen once they are no longer being influenced by him. A man who won't teach his kids respect is bound to have no respect for himself or anyone else. It's a form of manipulation and you can demand to be treated with respect by your kids or set down some consequences.

Either way, my heart goes out to you. Please take care of yourself... you need self-care more than ever right now. It gets better, I promise you it does. Maybe not with him, but you can get better and feel better and live better.

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