Now, I will preface this by saying that I wouldn’t have made this mistake if the marriage counsellor my husband and I were seeing at the time hadn’t convinced me that it was my “moral obligation” to do it. (This goes to show that sometimes a Ph.D. really IS a piece of paper and thou shalt not obey a professional if thy instincts scream against it. Lesson learned.) Since I am totally not a psychologist with a Ph.D., I figured she knew what she was talking about and that my resistance to what she was saying to me was only a sign of how messed up I really was, and that I needed to step out of my comfort zone or something. Epic fail. I SHIT YOU NOT, I was urged by a psychological professional WITH A FUCKING PH.D. to tell the narc’s new victim everything I knew about his “extracurricular activities”.
So, back to how this all began. First, I shall introduce the characters in this sordid little production.
Janice: Me. It’s already a pseudonym, of course, to protect the stupid (me, again). I hope I’ve learned something since.
Murphy: My husband. At the time of this occurrence, we were married for about one year. Murphy also happens to be the narc’s cousin, and we were, in fact, introduced by the narc.
Pollyanna: The narc’s fiancée (now wife, fast forward a couple of years).
Asshat: The narc, a.k.a. Psycho #2 in other parts of this blog. To make a long story short, I dated Asshat for a while (of course, little did I know that it wasn’t actual dating, but sexual exploitation a.k.a. rape by deception for approximately four months). I got dumped for Pollyanna but I guess I was so lonely and vulnerable at the time, that I stayed “friends” with Asshat. Asshat’s manipulative gaslighting continued for about another two and a half years after D&D.
Dr. WTF: Our marriage counsellor.
I’ll let the actual letters (with names changed, of course) speak for themselves in a bit.
It all started with a visit by Murphy and me to Pollyanna and Asshat’s place one weekend. Murphy and Asshat went off to do something involving balls, beer, and testosterone (golf, actually) while us girls hung out and had a few beverages. I should also add that at the time, I considered Pollyanna to be one of my best friends, kind of ironic considering Asshat dumped me for her about two and a half years prior. I didn’t even know for sure whether Asshat had told her he and I were previously involved… That is, until Pollyanna got a handful of beers into her. It was not my place to tell her about his involvement with me, anyway…
I should also add that at this point, I’d already endured, in addition to three years of exploitation, gaslighting, and other assorted psychological abuse from Asshat, at least half a dozen traumatic incidents at family functions. For example, at the first Christmas dinner that I (and as it happens, Pollyanna) celebrated with Asshat and Murphy’s extended family, Pollyanna was asked how long she and Asshat had been together. She answered, “Since February.” I sat there in silent shock because I was still fucking him in March. It was excruciating to hear that in front of all of those people and not be able to react. I was embarrassed, heartbroken that I’d been lied to, and in shock – it was a lot to digest. The same kind of inadvertent “outing” of Asshat by Pollyanna happened again and again during the following months, almost always at family functions, and when I least expected it. At the point this story begins, is when I woke up and decided I’d had enough.
Pollyanna (nervously): So, Janice… I know that you and Asshat used to date. Don’t worry… It’s ok. I just want to know something… What was the time frame that you two were going out?
Janice: I’m not answering that. Even though I had misgivings with Asshat at the time, I still felt obligated to be loyal to him as a friend.
Pollyanna: I’m asking you because he refuses to tell me, all I know is that you dated. Come on, please, tell me.
Janice: No, I can’t.
Pollyanna: Please, tell me. She continued to badger me, as I shook my head.
Janice: Look, all of this puts me in a really bad position, but I will say this much – he dumped me for you. That’s all I’m saying.
The conversation ended as Asshat and Murphy returned.
The evening continued at the local watering hole. Pollyanna was definitely not happy with Asshat. Asshat spent the entire time at the bar ignoring Pollyanna and flirting heavily with another random young lady.
We later returned to Asshat and Pollyanna’s house, as Murphy and I were staying the night. (We lived a few hours’ drive away.) I was so emotionally wound up after my earlier discussion with Pollyanna that I didn’t sleep all night. In fact, I had never been able to sleep in that house – something always had me on edge, but I had never been able to define it. Maybe some part of me knew Asshat was not what he seemed?
Early the next morning, I joined Asshat and Murphy for a trip out on the lake. At one point, Asshat asked me, “What did you say to Pollyanna?” I denied saying anything, which was basically the truth.
Over the next few days, the texts and emails started flying between me and Pollyanna. I wanted to make the time to talk to her in person, and tell her anything she wanted to know… She admitted that she wanted to know because she was convinced that there were more women in play than just her and I… And it broke my heart when she said, “I just don’t know if I’m the right woman for Asshat.” (That hit home hard… I knew then that all the little subtle put-downs that Asshat had been using to manipulate me were being used to control her, too – and the lightbulb came on that it was neither her nor me that were “not good enough” – it was Asshat with the problem.) There was so much that I wanted to know, too. Pollyanna was a wonderful person and I loved her, almost like a younger sister. But after a couple of days she insisted she didn’t want to know anymore.
For my own sanity, I had to make a decision – I felt trapped. Damned if I did, damned if I didn’t. I felt I was expected to keep silent while taking the abuse of continued humiliation, of learning again and again of yet more proof I’d been nothing but a no-cost prostitute for Asshat, which I just couldn’t stomach anymore. So I emailed Pollyanna and explained that this was not a reflection on how I felt about her, but that I no longer considered Asshat a friend, just a cousin. From now on I would keep my distance from him, I told her.
Then something funny happened when I drew that line… The emotional fog cleared. I felt free and no longer weighed down. But, in getting rid of the static precipitated by Asshat’s years of mind games, I took notice of the problems in my own marriage… And they were huge. So I insisted to Murphy that we seek some counselling immediately.
I looked around for marriage counsellors in the area, and happened upon Dr. WTF. Her office was nearby, and I figured she would be a good starting point, at least.
Dr. WTF spent some time with us both, then with each of us individually. Apparently, Dr. WTF sussed out that there were problems related to Asshat during her session with Murphy, which she raised with me later. I explained the situation to her, much as I am doing now. She was incredulous that we were still choosing to spend time with Asshat and Pollyanna socially; I told her I’d decided a few weeks prior to cut ties with Asshat. I explained other things I knew about their relationship, that Asshat had a history of cheating on Pollyanna (and quite publicly, at that), and that I was sick of the drama and mind games and no longer wanted any part of it.
Dr. WTF: Asshat is definitely toxic… You HAVE to tell Pollyanna what you know…
Janice: What? Why? She’s my friend, and I love her, but I am also someone Asshat used to be involved with. No matter what I do, it is going to get twisted, especially by Asshat, into a lie that I’m jealous or deranged or just a “woman scorned”.
Dr. WTF: You have a MORAL OBLIGATION to do this, she needs to know what has been going on. How about this, you can write her a letter detailing everything you know about his bad behavior, give it to her, and let the chips fall where they may.
Janice: That’s no better.
Dr. WTF: Then sit down with Murphy and write the letter together, and both sign it.
I didn’t like that solution much, either. I just wanted to quietly (but quickly) let it be over by keeping my distance. I didn’t know what No Contact was then, but in reality, that’s what my instincts were telling me to do. But I decided to take Dr. WTF’s advice over my gut and wrote the letter.
I went through the letter with Murphy, made sure I kept it as accurate, factual and unemotional as possible. And he signed it, too.
October 9, 2010
First off, this is a letter from both of us, Janice and Murphy. In working through our own individual and relationship issues, our marriage counsellor advised us to write you a letter together. Do with this letter as you wish, but as some of the past that has been affecting us negatively has had to do with your fiancé’s bad behaviour, there are things you need to hear so that you know what you are getting yourself into. If we failed to tell you what we know, and you got hurt down the road, we would be partially responsible. We are risking losing a lot ourselves because of this letter, but we are writing it because we care about you and what happens to you, and we need to act according to our conscience. (I, Janice, am doing the writing, so even though it doesn’t look like it’s coming from both of us, it is.)
Asshat and I met at the Acme Inc. Christmas party on November 23, 2007, and dated from then until he dumped me on March 3, 2008. I learned at the December 2008 family Christmas party that you’d been a couple since sometime in February 2008 – since that time I’ve gotten the impression that maybe you’d been out with him a few times even earlier than that. I had planned to walk away in mid-January 2008 because I had come to believe then (as I do now) that he is an alcoholic and I expected him to be in denial about it or angry with me if I brought it up; but before I could bring up his alcoholism, he did – and that he wanted to start working on his drinking right after he got back from a three-week trip to Texas. I liked him a lot, so I stayed around because, I thought, what kind of person would that make me if I walked away when he had the desire to change? Several times after that, he told me he didn’t want things to get too serious because he wanted to work on his drinking and smoking addictions. At no time did he advise me that he was dating other people. Shortly after Murphy and I started dating, Asshat said to me, “I used you on some level.” More and more I have come to believe that was a massive understatement. He has never apologized for “using me”.
From time to time, Asshat has confided in me certain things about you that you should know about. After an evening fishing with him in about June 2008, he said to me that he “enjoyed manipulating” you – not in a “bad way”, he said, but it was fun because you were “naïve”. I apologized to him some time after the December 2008 family Christmas party for having snubbed you (and explained to him that I was doing it to get back at him, not because I had anything against you). He said it was okay, and that you probably didn’t even notice, again because you were “naïve”. I stopped in for tea on my way up to camp last fall, before you moved in, and at that time he also confided something else to me – that he wasn’t sure he wanted to have kids with someone who still had baby teeth in her mouth.
My last long email to you, I told you not to dismiss any feelings of jealousy that you had regarding Asshat; he has cheated on you at least once. Not too long after Murphy and I started dating, Murphy mentioned Asshat was caught running naked through someone’s back yard (specifically Agnes’s) with some other woman on the weekend of Jeremy and Edith’s wedding. Asshat and I were emailing back and forth one day, around May 2009, and I mentioned the fact that the family rumour mill had much to say about him. He probed me for specifics, and I brought up the cheating incident. Asshat totally admitted to it.
Again, several months later, Murphy and I were at Blanche and Omar’s house, and as we were preparing to leave, someone else brought up the Jeremy and Edith wedding incident. It was very clear from Blanche’s comments about it that she knew full well about what happened. According to Murphy, most of the family knew and covered it up. You are very well liked, and I totally understand why no one would tell you about the incident because they want you in the family, but if something that significant to your well-being, and even your personal safety, is kept from you, then that is not fair to you. A lot of information was kept from me by Asshat, and had I known what I should have had the right to know, I could have protected myself by getting out early on.
I know that much of this is probably news to you, or things you didn’t want to know, but it is important that you do know so that you know you are not out of line for feeling jealous or insecure. You are NOT crazy or unjustified in feeling the way you do. There is a very strong pattern of behaviour here that you need to recognize; there is a saying that goes, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” Just because there is a ring on your finger, do not expect Asshat to change. We just wanted to make sure you have the knowledge you need to look out for yourself.
Sincerely, Janice and Murphy
One day, while driving through their area, I dropped off the letter. And then the shit really hit the fan. It was Asshat who responded, not Pollyanna.
Dear Janice and Murphy:
I have chosen to forgive you for the letter that you left for Pollyanna. It made her very upset.
I know that you were just trying to protect her from me, but at first she didn’t see it that way.
You should know that there were no surprises in the letter, she knows everything.
You are not the only people I confide in. I tell Pollyanna everything about what I’m thinking, and what I’ve done.
She knows who and what I am, and she loves me anyway.
I know that is special and I love her too.
In the future please refrain from airing our dirty laundry. We have dealt with it, and we don’t need to be reminded.
Janice I am sorry for using you. I thought you under stood that I wasn’t looking for love.
I thought we had talked about this and you were ok with it and in the end you were over it.
I thought you were seeing other people too.
I was wrong.
I also didn’t know how fragile you are. If I had, I never would have put you through any of this.
I want you to know once again that I’m sorry, and I never meant to hurt You.
Murphy I knew Janice was a wonderful person and that is why I introduced you. I did not expect you to get married so soon, but I did not object. If I in any way changed how happy you are with Janice, I’m sorry.
The facts are that we have a past and a future. Pollyanna and I have dealt with the past. We are looking to the future, and up on till that letter showed up you two were in it as our friends. Now it is unclear as to weather you two can forgive me and put the past behind.
We hope you do, so we all can be friends.
Well, I found that pretty insulting. So I fired back.
“In the future please refrain from airing our dirty laundry. We have dealt with it, and we don’t need to be reminded.”
Nicely put. I like that.
Just so you’re clear, Asshat, the beef I had with you is that your lies towards me (you might prefer to say “acts of omission”, though they are still lies) have been revealing themselves bit by bit over the last two-and-a-half years, inadvertently through Pollyanna.
You and I had dirty laundry that was indirectly (and innocently) being aired when I least expected it, about stuff I did not know was going on while we were dating, stuff that would have resulted in me making completely different choices had I been given all the pertinent information at the time.
I told you several times when we were dating that I didn’t care what was going on between us, as long as I KNEW what was going on between us. And though I was open and honest with you that I was dating other people (and that I wasn’t sleeping with anyone else but you), you apparently didn’t think you needed to give me similar information of what was going on in your personal life, which unfortunately I have been finding out in fits and spurts ever since, starting with the breakup.
You weren’t even honest with me when you dumped me, saying something like, “This has come up ‘suddenly’, but I’ve met someone I’d like to court.” “Suddenly”, my ass, but that’s the word you chose. I’ve never given a shit that you dumped me – what irks me is the circumstances under which it occurred. All I wanted was to know exactly where I stood with you, to have an honest relationship, regardless of its nature, no surprises. Nothing unexpected, nothing unexplained.
Therein lies my fragility – I don’t deal well with being played. Go figure.
Just when I think I’ve been taken off guard for the last time and that I’m at peace with the past, something else comes up that I didn’t know about, usually at some event like a family Christmas party, barbecue, or other gathering. I felt I was being betrayed over and over again by you, which ripped open wounds that had barely had a chance to heal after yet another partial airing of our dirty laundry on some previous occasion. If it had happened once, no biggie. This has happened at least half a dozen times, the last time being when we came to visit in August. I don’t like being reminded about the past, especially ours, any more than you do, and I really don’t like being reminded when I’m among my extended family and supposed to be having fun. I have no problem forgiving people when I know exactly what I am forgiving them for, but with you, the target keeps shifting.
Your statement that you tell Pollyanna EVERYTHING is bullshit, because Pollyanna asked me the date range that you and I dated last time we were over, only two months ago, stating that you wouldn’t tell her. If you told her EVERYTHING, then she wouldn’t have put me in such an embarrassing and humiliating situation with that question (I know she had no intention of hurting me, for the record). If you’ve since changed your ways and started being more open, congratulations.
Pollyanna’s question was the last straw for me, and soon to follow was the turning point where I decided you were only my cousin and not my friend. I forgave you at that moment, once I drew the line on my own terms that you would deceive me no more, nor hurt me again by things you conveniently didn’t bother to tell me. Of course, for the same reason, I stopped returning your phone calls. I didn’t want revenge, I just didn’t want anything further to do with you as much as could be managed while keeping peace in the family. Even the letter wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the marriage counsellor’s insistence that we had a moral obligation to warn Pollyanna.
You’re already forgiven, going on a couple of months now, with or without your apology. If you sincerely want to be friends, too, an apology is a good start, but without action it is nothing but words. In person, and in front of our partners, I would like to hear from you anything else that happened without my knowledge behind the scenes of our “relationship” that I might accidentally learn about, and obtain answers to any questions I may have. No more surprises. I don’t care how hurtful the truth is, I will get over it as long as it is indeed the truth. Then we can all have a good laugh at how gullible and fragile I am, wipe the slate clean, make sure the past stays in the past, and see if we can eventually build a real friendship.
I didn’t hear from him, and didn’t expect to because I wanted total disclosure and honesty from him, and for him to consent being put on the hot seat. (Everyone was CC’d on all of these letters, by the way.) Correction, I didn’t really want anything to do with him going forward, but thought I’d hold him to his word. Then Polyanna weighed in.
I am sending you this email to get emotions and thoughts out of my head and to clarify any misconceptions you may have or had. You may or may not like what you are about to read.
The first thing I would like to clarify is Asshat and my first date. The date took place February 23, 2008. We went on one date that did not include sex. After that we did not see one another for a couple weeks. In the letter you stated Asshat dumped you on March 3, 2008. You do the math and will see it is only a week of overlap. Not the overlap you or I had assumed. And on the plus side we were not dating, we just met and went on one blind date.
The reason Asshat replied to the letter is due to me being upset, betrayed and hurt. I could not believe that after I asked you multiple times to talk to Asshat directly you sent me a disrespecting letter. It was also unthoughtful of you to leave the letter when you knew I would be home alone to read it. You stated that your marriage counselor suggested you right the letter to me. I would like to know his or her name so I could contact them directly. I would like to know the reason why he/she would think it was appropriate to send a letter to your ex-friends with benefits finace.
I would like to know how you thought sending me a letter of negative facts about Asshat would solve your problems with him? Wasn’t that the purpose of the letter. To solve your problems with him, well that is definitely NOT what your actions have shown to me.
What I would really like to know is your reason behind the hurtful letter? By sending the letter to me you have shown me that you do not value me as your friend. Because if you did you would have spoken to me about this in person and would have respected me enough to deal with your issues you have with Asshat with him not me. Like I previously asked.
The underlying message I am getting from you is that you don’t think Asshat and I should be together. That can be your opinion. Asshat and I are happy together and love one another very much. Yes like any relationships ours has its rough patches but it only makes our bond stronger and lets us get to know each other even better.
With your recent actions I have lost a lot of respect for you. As you stated in a previous email regarding your relationship with Asshat; “He is now a cousin to me not a friend.” This holds true to the way I feel about you.
Asshat has apologised to you. He deeply means this. However you say you won’t believe his apology with all of his past lies. Asshat would like to know what exactly he lied about to mislead you?? By him understanding what he did to hurt you, then he could give you the apology that you seem to want.
I hope this e-mail has clarified why I haven’t spoken to you. From here on out this is not going to affect my relationship with you at family functions. I will be civil and will still attend. But it will not be the same. There is part of me that can not push this aside and forgive you. I no longer have the trust in you as a friend to confide in. I should have NEVER been put in the middle of this. In some way I think that you sent the letter because you wanted to hurt me. Maybe not consciously, but unconsciously wanted to hurt me in the way I hurt you by innocently bringing up your past fling with Asshat. If that is so, you succeeded.
I wish you all the best in dealing with your issues. If you find value in saving our friendship, I leave it up to you to make it right.
I had sanitized my original letter quite a bit… more out of embarrassment than anything, because my husband didn’t yet know some of what now follows. (Don’t worry, this is the final letter.)
Thank you for this – this is exactly what I have needed to hear, and I trust it coming from you.
Here is the timeline from my point of view.
Asshat dumped me March 3. At the time, I believed what he told me, that this had come up “suddenly”, and he had met someone he would like to “court”. I am glad that it really only was a week or two of overlap. It was hurtful, however, because I had been under the understanding that he wasn’t looking for love at that time. If he had been completely honest, he would have said he wasn’t looking for love WITH ME specifically, and I would have at least expected being dumped for someone else, if I’d bothered to stick around at all (and I sure as hell wouldn’t have). Never mind the fact that we had gone out earlier that same night (before the dumping) and he was kissing me in public, talking about traveling with me sometime, having sex with me, etc. In my shoes, would you have expected it?
Up until now, I have omitted the embarrassing fact that he was off dating or doing God knows what else with other people (without bothering to tell me) while having unprotected sex with me. I had been tested just before I met him, so all was clear from my end, but in later hearing information that potentially extended the timeline between you and him and/or others to longer than I had first thought, I was NOT impressed. (In case you were wondering, the comment about your personal safety relates to that – I will explain more shortly about the timelines as I saw them.)
At Christmas 2008, at some point at the dinner table you said that you and Asshat had been together since February. That bothered me for a while, because that was the first time I learned there was overlap at all, and that Asshat had not been completely straight with me.
At Edith and Jeremy’s barbeque last summer, you were again talking about your and Asshat’s first meeting, and you were mentioning something about 2007 Christmas parties around that time (was it that Gloria wanted to set you up with Asshat so you’d have a date for the Christmas party?) – so that’s when the possible timeline of your relationship got bumped back even more (if only in my mind, but maybe you can see why). Who has Christmas parties in February, anyway? That is why I thought you were together earlier than I initially thought. The longer the timeline, the more risk I felt he put me in (particularly sexually) by not telling me he was dating others. In cheating on you, you were definitely put at risk in a similar manner; hopefully he did not put me at risk at all, but I will never know.
As an aside, one thing I don’t get is why Asshat would tell me he “used” me. If what he wanted was sex, he didn’t have to use me – I was okay with that situation. Anything between consenting adults is cool, as long as both parties are honest and communicate so that either party can exit as soon as they need to so as to protect their own interests. What was going on wasn’t mutual if I was being “used”, and he obviously knew it if he knew he was using me and volunteered that information. I didn’t know until he told me. He’s a player or womanizer http://www.suite101.com/content/the-inner-workings-of-a-womanizer-a36161, so in hindsight I figure he used me mainly for the sake of the game. I guess he enjoyed manipulating me, too. I feel stupid I put myself in that situation, but a person can only be so responsible for another person’s deceptions, omissions, etc.
Those are the big examples, but there are others. I have asked Asshat direct questions in an effort to get closure, such as why I wasn’t good enough for him, why he didn’t give me a chance, etc., and got nice flowery answers in return. Murphy says Asshat gave him very different answers to the same questions. That is more reason why I could not justify going to Asshat at the end, because I did not trust him to tell me the whole unvarnished truth, with plenty of precedence. I’d be stupid to go to him, and what, go through another two and a half years of the same bullshit, finding out his stories yet again didn’t add up? I thought he was my friend, but there has been too much evidence that I cannot trust him with even simple honesty, so keeping him around in my life made no sense. It makes no difference finding out about lies of omission, outright lies, behavior that put me at risk, or manipulations years after the fact – it’s still a betrayal. Fool me once (or multiple times), shame on you; fool me twice (or yet again), shame on me.
Any anger I have felt was only towards Asshat, never you. Not even after you asked me the dates he and I were together. Until then I had no idea whether or not you even knew, and kept my mouth shut out of respect for you, because you did nothing to cause any of this. You have been nothing but kind and gracious, especially knowing you knew of my past, and my feelings towards you are sincere. I accept that you are in conflict right now and probably hate me and may very well hate me forever, but that was one of the risks we took in writing you the letter. If we didn’t give a shit about you, we would not have gone through with it. And I DID try to go to you in person soon after we were last over to compare notes with you, when we were first emailing back and forth, but thought against it as without my husband’s backing and contribution (he verified the details of the cheating incident), there was no hope of it coming across as anything but babblings from a spurned woman, which is truly not where this is coming from. If I thought Asshat wasn’t pathological, just a nice guy I once dated that things didn’t work out with, there would be no reason to warn you. Do not forget that I have been close enough to see some of the same things playing out in your relationship that had played out in mine.
When I first learned of the cheating incident, I had only met you a couple of times, and I confess on some level I thought it was kind of funny at the time – sort of like, ha ha, I bet she thinks he’s quite the catch. I kind of felt the same way when he told me he enjoyed manipulating you. Then I got to know you, and then a friendship developed; my view of the incident changed, and for some time it has weighed heavily on my heart that it happened to you. I was shocked at him telling me he wasn’t sure he wanted to have children with you because of your baby teeth, too – I didn’t know what to say to that. Another side note: Asshat was also blabbing to me and Murphy, on the walk back from the bar, probably just out of earshot of you and Melissa, about Melissa being promicuous and that Murphy should talk to her about hosting a (sex toy) show for that reason. Our last visit and the emails between us that followed were the turning point with more than just my friendship with Asshat.
I was really pissed off that you came to me to ask what dates he and I were together – not mad at you, mad at him. That tells me that on some level, you don’t quite trust him to tell you the truth, either, even if you went to him about it afterwards. It’s not fun having your gut telling you something isn’t right, but not knowing what it is, is it? That has been the story of my history with Asshat, as lovers but mostly as friends, and unfortunately my instincts have been proven right, way more often than not, though at times it has taken a while for the truth to come out. It’s the rollercoaster ride of wanting to believe him but not really believing him that hurts the most. The book I emailed to you speaks of this as “cognitive dissonnance”; having to split inside to deal with having one part of you wanting to see what’s good in him, with the other part of you seeing the dark side.
And you expressing your “discomfort” with him hitting on other women right in front of you, and maybe about my fishing trips with him – your words “jealous” and “drama queen” in describing yourself in particular – that was interesting. Think about it. From whose mouth did you first hear those terms in connection with yourself? The only person I have ever heard those words from about myself (and the word “fragile”) is Asshat, and I would venture to say the same is probably true for you, too. We told you about the cheating incident, assuming you may not have known about it, because you have plenty of reason, good reason, to feel jealous. It is also not normal behavior for a man who supposedly loves you, knowing full well that it causes you grief, to engage in flirtations with other women right in front of you. Seeing that first hand pissed me off for your sake, because it’s psychologically abusive. It is not only completely disrespectful to you but puts you on an emotional rollercoaster, makes you feel insecure personally, insecure in your relationship, etc. I, too, have been on that rollercoaster with him in similar situations. This is a common dynamic – this torture (bad behavior, rejection), then rescue (make up, “reel back in”, have sex, etc.) – in relationships with a pathological. Read the book.
I do not like that our letter caused you pain, but it was written in honesty and out of concern for you, and we stand by it. I do regret writing it for only two reasons – that it has drawn me back into a matter that I wanted to be closed, and that it hurt you so much.
So how do I really feel? I ABSOLUTELY think you deserve better. Your life is your choice, but this is what I see.
You’re just about the nicest person I’ve ever met. You’re smart, you’re beautiful, you are generous and giving, and you serve others selflessly. For these reasons and many others, I hold you in high esteem, regardless of how you feel about me or interpret my intentions.
What I also have seen (or heard about) is this:
• Asshat cheating on you.
• Asshat telling others unflattering things about you such as that you were naive (me being one of them, and on several occasions).
• Asshat expressing to others he enjoys manipulating you. Ditto.
• Asshat drinking beer while driving with you in the vehicle, just days after you were severely injured by someone who was driving while impaired/drugged. (He has driven while drinking with me in the vehicle a couple of times, too.)
• Asshat hitting on other women in front of you, and sometimes not in front of you. Laura says he was getting uncomfortably friendly with her one evening after you went to bed on May long weekend. If he knew taking me out fishing without you bothered you, lump that in as well – there was no flirtation, but if he knew it bothered you, he should not have taken me.
• Asshat saying disrespectful things about your best friend/cousin to people who had just met her, practically within earshot.
Seeing some of this behavior towards you has also contributed to my distrust of him.
Most of these things are not isolated incidents; these are repeated behaviors and seem to be very much a way of life for him, which is what scares me with regards to you. If I hated you, wanted to see you hurt, or wanted to see you go through more of the same down the road, I would have sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the show without saying a word. Never mind me, just read the book I emailed you and see what the expert has to say. I know you love him, I totally get that, but this is NOT healthy behavior from a man towards a woman he loves by any stretch of the imagination, and that’s only the behavior we know about.
You know damn well you would never do any of those things to him, so why is it acceptable coming from him towards you? Sorry to have to tell you this, but it’s not. I know he does some nice things, too – if he didn’t, you would be less likely to stick around.
If you weren’t so isolated and had more friends and family close by that were aware of or witness to some of these behaviors, you know they would be trying to protect you, too. I completely accept that you have taken offense at me telling you things you don’t want to hear, because I trust that time and experience will reveal to you I did not do this in a bid to hurt you. Because of who I am (someone from his past) I know I won’t be taken seriously by you at this time, and I accept that, too. Shit happens.
Contrary to what you believe, I see Asshat’s apology as just another manipulation in a bid for damage control. Just like the flowery answers to my direct questions, to which Murphy received different answers later on. If he was sincere, he would have made time to have a face to face with you, Murphy, and myself by now. If he was a truly a friend, he would have told me the ugly truth, all of it, in the first place long ago, not one story to me and another to my husband.
Asshat is not welcome in my home, not even for family gatherings. It is done, finished, end of story, I will have no further contact with him. Murphy can make his own choices with regards to contact. You are welcome, of course; I know you hold plenty against me, and I don’t blame you, but I hold nothing against you. I, too, will be polite to you at family gatherings.
Blech. I hate looking back at this time in my life, but hey, there are some takeaways that might be useful to y’all.
- Even if the narc’s next victim asks for information, do not engage. Walk away and stay away.
- Even if your own personal Dr. WTF tells you to warn the next victim, don’t go there and find a new therapist who understands narcissism and/or psychopathy.
- Report any illegal activity to the police, pronto.
- Do what you need to do to protect yourself and/or your kids, let others adults deal with their own choices.
- Document, document, document. Be as accurate as you can be, because you may need to remind yourself what happened later during a weak moment, such as when you are tempted to reinitiate contact with the narc.
- Never engage in unprotected sex, because it is quite possible that you are not in the type of relationship you think you are.
- If you see your suspected narc engaged in nefarious behavior towards someone else, he WILL do the same to you if the spirit moves him.
- If your suspected narc is engaging in behaviors towards his next victim that you suspected he was doing towards you, but don’t have concrete proof, your suspicions were likely correct. Trust them and run, don’t walk, away.
- NO CONTACT is the only way to go, if that is possible in your situation. Enforce it religiously.
Another thing that didn’t cross my mind during all of this letter writing is that Asshat, in a totally casual conversation that happened about the time Murphy and I got married, popped out this non-sequitur: “I’m a sociopath.”
I laughed and wrote it off as a joke. Now I think that’s about the only truth ever to come out of his mouth, where I was concerned.
So, YES, I was stupid. I could have handled things better. I hope I am smarter now.
Please, share your comments and experiences with trying to warn his next victim. Cheers!