I know I posted that entry to mock him. I still mock him. I want to say he’s so delusional, but calling him delusional seems like I’m excusing him somehow. No, he’s a big ol’ liar. Regardless, it has made me think. Oh, not to take blame or feel badly about myself. Good God no! Instead I consider it an interesting case study.
I have read many times over on the Chump Lady blog about how narcissists only have three channels– charm, pity and rage. As I mentioned in Found Another One, Part 1 and 2, I sometimes felt left out in those conversations. Zack, for the most part, had checked out completely. There was very little communication. What little we did have usually consisted of, “Here’s your insurance cards,” and “Thanks.” We did have one brief verbal confrontation when I presented him with a bill for his half of the living expenses.
I vividly remember that day. He came home for lunch (a few glasses of wine) and as he headed to the bedroom I asked him if he had deposited his share of the living expenses into my account. When he told me he hadn’t I asked him why not. His response was because he didn’t have the money, to which I replied, “Well, you’d better come up with it or find another place to live.” He continued on his way and then Sent. Me. A. Text! Can you believe that shit? We’re in the same house, no kids, and that chicken shit is going to send me a text to tell me he will look over the bill and figure out what all he owes. Of course, he made sure to tell me he wasn’t going to contribute towards my cell phone bill. Hey, gotta cut costs somewhere so you can pay for your whore’s phone and her daughter’s phone. I marched my chumpy little butt upstairs and attempted to open the door. He. Had. Locked. It! Again, what a chicken shit! I told him he could pay for our kids’ entire cell phone bill instead of splitting it with me, if that’s the way he wanted to play the game. I also informed him he needed to pay them their allowances. He wanted to know why I couldn’t just use some of that money that I “took” if I didn’t have enough money. I was so hopping mad. I reminded him that the money was for the pool, to pay it off. I also reminded him that we didn’t have that much savings left because he had been busy pilfering money to Harley all summer. Then I let him know that if I used that money we would have to come up with another way of paying off the pool. I informed him it would be considered a marital debt and that they don’t split marital debts in half when one person is a SAHM and the other makes a bunch of money. I remember telling him I would spend every damn dime if he wanted and he condescendingly said, “Looks like someone’s mad.” I do believe I told him of course I was mad; I had been married to a giant lying, cheating douchebag. In the end, he came back downstairs and told me he could give me a much reduced amount- take it or leave it. I also remember telling him that maybe if he hadn’t been blowing all his money on his fake family he might have money to pay his half of the bills, to which he replied, “I’m not!” That was also the conversation in which he told me this could still be civil.
Aside from the occasional hand off of insurance cards or asking if I had applied for an auto loan we didn’t “speak” again for another two months until The Saint informed me Zack had been sharing naked pictures of me with Harley. Again, the door was locked. It was a quick conversation. Get all those damn photos of me off your fucking phone! Now! He complied but had the nerve to ask, “What’s this all about?” Naturally, he denied showing her the pictures when I told him exactly what the problem was.
About a month later I waited until he was leaving for work to inform him Rock Star had been texting him and he was ignoring her. Mysteriously he was not receiving her text messages! Might that be because they were asking about her allowance? Yeah, I think they were coming through just fine; the problem is she was asking for money he didn’t want to pay. He didn’t have quite so much money to wine and dine the whore and her kids now. That was another very brief conversation. He said, of course, he couldn’t pay because he had to pay me more now. When asked what on earth happened to all of his money he pointed out he had to pay his Am Ex bill- a bill which included $800 worth of gifts to the whore’s kids. Maybe after he got his bonus he could give them something.
He had no problems asking if I had received the dividend check, though. He boldly suggested splitting it, or I could use it to pay them their allowances. I told him I would split it, he could still pay their allowances, and I quickly wrote him a check for his half. I’m prompt like that. I’m also not a dick.
The only other interactions we had were a few business like conversations. In one he needed pictures of some documents for insurance purposes, and in the other one he informed me he needed to file taxes and wanted to know if I had any tax documents back at the house and asked me about the mortgage. In both instances I complied fairly quickly and without incident.
Why am I bringing up all of these stories? I promise I do have a point. I bring them up because for the most part I have given him nothing to rebel against. I have kept it businesslike and our interactions have been minimal. Whenever he has made a request I have complied. No reason not to.
So here’s where it starts to get interesting. I wrote about how he was looking for some affirmation probably two weeks before the text heard round the world. I didn’t give it to him. I cut him off cold. That was his pity channel. I’m very familiar with that channel. Pity is the station I listened to nonstop for over twenty years.
Last week I finally got to change it on over to the rage station. Exciting! How dare I not give him affirmation? How dare I ask where my support check is and ruin his romantic weekend with the whore?
I’m not completely sure if he flew into a rage on his own when I simply made the statement that I hadn’t received my check or my half of the bonus check, or if someone else had their hand up his ass and was moving his mouth. I don’t really care; I just think it would be nice to know who the real mouth is.
It kind of reminds me of this time we were at his mom’s house. It was in the morning and I was gathering clothes to throw them in the washing machine. When he finally got up he was looking around for his jeans. I told him I had thrown them into the washer. He said something to me, probably about how I should have just left them alone and I remember replying, “I’m doing your laundry. You should be thanking me instead of bitching about it.” Oh. My. Word! He turns on me and begins tearing into me, about how he thanks me for everything and blah blah blah blah. I was almost in tears when he was done. All because I thought I was doing something nice for him and washing his jeans. That, my friends, was the rage channel. I didn’t see it often, but then again, I rarely stuck up for myself.
There were only two other times I can recall seeing his rage channel. The first was one night when Rock Star was a toddler- probably more than 12 months, but I’m not sure if she was two yet. She had woken up in the middle of the night and she wanted to play. I got stuck doing this and I must have been talking to myself in her room because he charges in and tells me if I’ve got something to say then I better say it to his face. The other time we got into a fight about something. I don’t even remember what. I do remember screaming, “Fuck you!” at him and him screaming it back at me. I was actually quite proud of myself that time because I felt like I had stood up for myself instead of taking his crap.
I did have one more experience. I wouldn’t classify it as rage, more like simple anger. When we bought our former house we had two days to pick a house. We looked at probably forty of them over these two days. I liked a multi-level and Zack liked a ranch. Our realtor told us that the ranch was a better deal if we compared the price by square footage. So, I acquiesced; we bought the ranch. I never loved the house. I tolerated it. Anyway, the kitchen sink was leaking and I had to pull everything out from under it. I must have muttered something about “hating this damn house” and one of the kids must have repeated it back to Zack. “You hate this fucking house? Nice! I’m paying the mortgage; I would think you would be a little more grateful.” He’s big on me being grateful, isn’t he? Anyway, just another example of me needing to keep my mouth shut about something that bothers me because he can’t handle the truth. Or rather, he can’t handle any dissent. Anything other than high praise is taken as an insult and must be shut down immediately!
So, I’m sure this must be an adjustment for Zack. He’s used to me rolling over, giving in, never making any waves. He’s used to me keeping my mouth shut, always agreeing, never telling him no or that’s absurd or I don’t like that. The idea that I might blow off his suggestion that I get a job and in fact give him my standard, “I’ll give your comments all the consideration they’re due,” must have been a real blow to the ego. Additionally, after I told him I would give his comments all the consideration they were due I had the audacity to lob a bomb at his head by telling him I would really prefer to NOT have to press contempt charges. Pretty sure he wasn’t expecting that.
I know; I know. I should have let it go. But as I told my mom, “I know I poked the bear but sometimes the bear needs to be poked.”
I’m equally sure that once he mentioned how he would be put in jail and I would be “financially ruined!!!!!” he thought I would back off. Nope. Poking that bear with a big, pointy stick. I’ll toss your ass in jail in a heartbeat!
Then he tries to switch back over to the pity channel but he doesn’t quite make it. It’s a pity/rage combo. You should be grateful to me! You have a great life because of me! I’m supporting you and you should appreciate that shit a little bit more! He’s still seeking that affirmation and he’s getting pretty damn pissed that I refuse to give it to him. What’s even more frustrating is that when I finally do “thank” him I thank him for all of the wrong things. What’s going on here? Sam always caves when I turn on the rage!
Not this time, you shit eating chimp! I’m sure he expected me to crumble under the weight of him calling me a bitch and telling me he was glad he left me. Oh, and that I had no class. Surely this will do it! Surely she will fall back into line, and if she doesn’t then at the very least she will be devastated and ruined by my verbal assault. Instead I blow him off. And now he hits the ceiling. Rage, rage everywhere! How dare she not bow down to my awesomeness? She is an ungrateful, lazy bitch. I shall spew more insults in the hopes that she will succumb.
Too bad it didn’t work. Again, I thanked him for his comments and that pretty much put an end to the conversation.
I really think a lot of it came about because he is not used to me standing up for myself. He used pity to get his way most of the time. Tell me a sad story and I want to make it all better. He excelled at that. Anytime a conversation about his affair would get a little too uncomfortable he would steer it onto the topic of what a horrible person he was, how much he was going to lose, what a shitty life he had, how he was a horrible dad, and so on. It was quite effective because instead of focusing on the things he had done and the problems in the marriage I quickly rescued him and assured him that he wasn’t a horrible person and that he wasn’t a horrible father and by golly we would get through all of this together. I loved him and we were a team; I wasn’t going anywhere. Disgusting.
Now, pity is not working. Sam refuses to give him affirmation. I’m not going to say, “Thanks for doing what you’re legally compelled to do! I sure do appreciate it. Thank goodness you’re not a deadbeat like some of those cheating bastards out there. No, you’re a cheating bastard who takes his financial obligations seriously. Thank you!” Because I won’t give him the affirmation he seeks he now has to try to control me with rage. Sorry, that one isn’t going to work either. I don’t care if you like me or not. In fact, I told you the first time around you wouldn’t like me as an ex-wife. #idontlie #toldyouso
I find it all fascinating. I am literally experiencing that which I’ve read about over on Chump Lady. I’ve seen the pity channel; I’ve seen the rage channel. I wonder if I’ll ever get a chance to see the charm channel. Nah, I don’t think he has that much of a range.