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NYCTW143

Getting it out - new here...

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Hi there.  I don't know if this is the right place for this, but I've searched the internet and not found anywhere else that feels right.  I'm not sure what I'm expecting other than the therapeutic benefits of finally saying something (anonymous, though it is) and maybe discovering some helpful ideas or resources.  Here is my story.

For almost 6 years now, I've been in a relationship with a wonderful woman.  We just had our third wedding anniversary.  95% of the time she is seriously perfect - any objective person looking from the outside would admire her beauty, her brains, her high-powered career, and how much effort she puts into mothering our daughter.  Unfortunately, there is the 5% that only I see.  It's her demon, her fire-breathing dragon of rage that has no bearing in the rational world.  I didn't see this dragon until we had already been together for at least 2 years.  By that time, I was head over heels.  I was on a business trip to Las Vegas, where I was presenting at a conference early the next morning.  I was asleep in bed when she exploded, from 3,000 miles away.  Calling, screaming, texting, spitting into the phone.  I begged her to let me sleep.  She threatened to **** herself.  I talked her down and we finally hung up.  A moment later she was on the phone with the front desk at the hotel, then screaming at me through the phone saying she was outside on our balcony, ready to jump.  There was no rhyme or reason given, just hysteria.  It went on like this for almost the entire night.  Finally, I was allowed to rest for maybe an hour before sleep walking onto the stage and giving an underwhelming presentation that next morning.  I was livid.  How could she do this to me?  She deliberately sabotaged an important career moment! 

On the flight home, I angrily pounded out an email to her, explaining how upset I was and outlining my "non-negotiable" expectations from our relationship... including that she not try to manipulate me, that she support my career, etc.  She was an emotional wreck when I got home - devastated by her own behavior, begging forgiveness, and promising it would never happen again.  That's when she revealed to me that she had serious, deep-seated Abandonment Issues.  Her parents had neglected her as a child, essentially leaving her to be raised by her grandparents, or at least that's how she views it.  Then, when her grandparents died quickly after one another while she was in high school, it left her torn apart.  That was more than 15 years before I met her.

Admittedly, I did not understand how important this issue was, psychologically.  It seemed to me like something that we should be able to talk about and then get past as rational, grown adults.  I figured that she just someone she could finally confess these feelings to, and then we would move on with her being the amazing woman I'd fallen in love with.  Unfortunately, things kept getting worse and worse.  I was not perfect (am not perfect now), and at that stage in my life I was too careless for how fragile she is.  I was also wildly independent - rarely updating anyone about where I was, etc.

Every time I traveled for work it was like a bomb went off in our relationship (prior to her I traveled every week).  So, I started cutting back more and more and more.  She discovered old things from my past - casual relationships that I'd had, and I opened up about my past sexual history thinking the honesty would help her feel more secure.  I was very, very wrong.  Those things just made her feel like I was a huge risk.  Like it was inevitable that I would leave her some day.  I tried everything I could think of to convince her otherwise.  I read books (Love Me Don't Leave Me, etc.), cut back on work travel (to the point where I was fired from my job because of it), cut ties with almost every friend who came before her (and every female friend for sure), I started traveling with a miniature nanny cam so she could see into my hotel room at all times... I even tried taking her to Church - she later rebelled against it thinking that I only wanted to go there in order to silently confess to doing things that could hurt her.  And on, and on, and on.  

The second time she tried to **** herself, I was there with her.  She actually ran toward the edge of our 15th floor balcony and I had to grab her and pin her back against the wall.  She started saying that I had tricked her into marrying me.  Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, she had gone to great lengths to plan our wedding to perfection.  I went along with exactly what she wanted and she couldn't have been happier.  At the time, I thought that would demonstrate a sense of permanence to her so that her fear of Abandonment would subside.  It didn't.  It only gave her more to lose, so to speak, and her episodes became more frequent and more violent.

At one point, she smashed my work computer because she thought there was porn on it.  There wasn't, but she knew I had watched porn previously and the computer became a lightning rod that day.  I lied and told my work that I'd left it on top of a taxi cab and it was run over.  She attacked me again not long after, punching me in the head and back as I just tucked into the tornado-safety position.  I hid our kitchen knives for several weeks after that incident.

As I write all of these things down, I can't tell if it's having the requisite therapeutic effect, or if it's making me feel like the crazy one for dealing with all of it.  In between the episodes, she could be amazing, though.  We really did have great times together.  And then she started convincingly blaming me for all of her outbursts.  Any time she flew into a rage it was because I had done something wrong.  She demanded to know where I was every second of the day - if I got lunch from a deli counter and brought it back to my office, she went bananas.  I should have told her that I was leaving the office!  It was proof that I was a LIAR!!! I could never be trusted again!!!  Same thing happened with shopping for clothes.  I stopped in a store that's in between my subway station and our apartment to buy socks... She flew off the handle about how untrustworthy I was.

The third time she tried to **** herself was perhaps the most genuine.  We'd had a huge fight while she was pregnant and she decided to **** herself and our unborn baby.  She ran away and blocked me from finding her.  Told me that she was about to jump from the Brooklyn Bridge.  I raced there (literally) while she was actually booking a room in a hotel somewhere in the city.  I called every hotel I could think of when I discovered her ruse.  That's when she started sending me photos of the suicide notes to her parents and siblings, then broke a glass and texted me a picture of herself cutting her wrists with it in the bathtub.  Eventually I realized she must have taken Uber, called their help line in a panic and got them to trace her down and send the police to her room.

By the time our daughter was 1 year old, and TW (the wife) started to ratchet up the efforts to isolate me from my family.  My sister came first - TW would try poisoning my relationship with her by telling me how much my sister didn't care about me, didn't care about our baby, etc.  Then, she turned on my parents.  My parents are wonderful people who've never done a thing wrong in the world.  My wife decided my mother was manipulative - that she was trying to come between her and the baby.  Then, the worst was saved for my father.  One day he offered to help change the baby's diaper.  When TW refused, he said simple, "I've done this before you know - I really don't mind!".  That was it for her... she decided then that he was PEDOPHILE, trying to corrupt our baby!!!  Of course, she never let any of these angry, hurtful feelings out in front of other people.  But behind closed doors, these things spewed from her mouth like a devilish volcano.  After reading the books, I believed my job was to be solid, unwavering, and supportive through her episodes.  Then, I would try to re-address some of the things she had said, expecting her to feel guilty and recant all of the awful things she'd said about my family.  Not so.  Instead she doubled down, flying into a fit of rage every time I would bring them up.  It got to the point where she would accuse my father of being a pedophile every time we saw him (again - never to his face).  Whenever he would carry the baby, she feared he was taking her away.  When he crawled on the floor and played with her toys, he was "grooming her". 

Finally, in one of her fits of rage she revealed her true motivations... she expected that we would get divorced some day, and she would then try and block my family from seeing the baby on the basis that my father was a pedophile.  I couldn't believe it.  The unbelievable depths of manipulation, fear, and anger.  I was stuck.  She then started doing her best to isolate me from my family on the basis that my parents were such awful people.  Meanwhile, they were confused and hurt by the isolation - not understanding why we seemed to be avoiding them.

I try unbelievable hard not to "trigger" her.  I meant it when I said that 95% of the time, she is amazing.  I spend 100% of my time trying to prevent the 5% from happening.  When her dragon does come out, the episodes seem to predictably last about 48-72 hours.  One of the problems is that my patience tends to run out before then.  I always start out calm and understanding - trying to listen and apologizing profusely for whatever perceived hurt I've done to her.  After a day or two, I start to lose my patience, though.  That's when I start in with the "I don't understand why you won't get help" approach.  Of course this doesn't help.  She throws up her defenses, accusing me of being the problem.  If only I would remember to do A, B, or C, then she would never have a problem!  She doesn't ask much!  Just stop triggering her and life will be great!  This tends to extend the cycle of the episode.  But, I don't know how to be more patient when it feels like she's deliberately hanging on to anger instead of moving forward.  Sometimes I think that I'm too rational to understand her emotional roller coaster.

I don't know what else to say right now.  There is so much more, but just writing all of this down has been emotionally taxing, and I need to stop for a while.

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Hi there. I stumbled across your post and I just wanted to say what an incredible person you are. It sounds like there is so much mania in your life and all you want to do is the right thing. 

Have you thought about seeing your doctor and talking about things? I think your wife needs a lot of help and if you're not careful this could escalate dangerously. It's hard but I think you need to speak to someone professional. It genuinely sounds like a mental health disorder which can be helped, the question you need to ask yourself is what happens as your children get older. Will they be safe? I hope you get the help you need. Hang in there. 

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