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Anyone else trying to make a bad marriage work (abuse / narcissism)

(61 Posts)
Heresto2020 Tue 30-Jun-20 09:33:51

There are plenty of threads about women leaving their husbands for being “abusive” or narcissistic but is anyone else in a marriage like that and trying to make it work?

I think my husband may be narcissistic and through other threads on MN, I see people have said he is abusive and to leave.

It isn’t as easy as that and I am trying to fix my marriage. I need to know I’ve done all I can or that there is no hope before I can even think about leaving.

This is not a thread for you to tell me I’m being silly and to LTB so please don’t. I have heard all of that. I want to hear from those who are trying to make their marriage work even though it’s hard.

OP’s posts: |
Ohnoherewego62 Tue 30-Jun-20 09:54:49

What are the main issues?

How do you communicate with each other?

Do you love,trust and respect him?

Has it always been like this or recently gotten worse?

Heresto2020 Tue 30-Jun-20 11:15:11

I love him. I believe him.

I think he can be selfish. Often what he wants is more important than what I want.

He isn’t a good communicator. He won’t discuss things where there is disagreement or what he sees as negativity. He will accuse me of nagging or or trying to argue with him if I try to discuss something that’s bothering me. He does seem to try to take it on board later but at the time it’s as if he is incapable of discussing it and I think it’s a big part of our problems. I get frustrated that he is talking over me or walks out (to another room or to make tea) and things escalate as I’m just asking to be heard.

It’s not good but I am trying to make things better and I believe he is getting better in some ways.

I think it has always been like this but I’m just seeing the patterns and the real issues.

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Ohnoherewego62 Tue 30-Jun-20 13:10:07

I'd be so fed up with that too.

You'll become resentful and have your feelings invalidated before you go numb to protect yourself.

He will not change that part of him as then he would have to consider your feelings. Are you allowed to have feelings or does he tell you that you over react and theres not an issue?

I think the actual question is are you willing to live the rest of your life like this?

user12699422578 Tue 30-Jun-20 13:18:40

You can't change him or his choices.

One person cannot singlehandedly work on or fix any relationship.

That is why you get the responses you do, because you're trying to change something you have no power to influence.

If "fixing" things to you means you changing yourself to avoid triggering his behaviour then that is a sign things are deteriorating and you are being profoundly abused. It will slowly but surely destroy you.

I'm sorry. I know it's a shit position to be in, but wanting reality to be different doesn't make it so.

Hoppinggreen Tue 30-Jun-20 13:22:29

If he is genuinely a Narc then he can’t change because he won’t see there’s an issue. He might take it for a bit if it suits him but it’s not sustainable long term. Of course he might just be a bit of a selfish Dick, which may be fixable if he is willing.
You say you are trying to “fix” your marriage - you can’t do that on your own. If you choose to live this way I hope you don’t have Dc because they won’t have a choice

Heresto2020 Tue 30-Jun-20 13:42:43

I think he is a narc! sad

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Hoppinggreen Tue 30-Jun-20 13:44:16

Well it’s put up with it or leave then. My Mum tried to make her marriage work for 25 years and it damaged all of us

redastherose Tue 30-Jun-20 13:50:20

Unfortunately you can't make a marriage work when one party doesn't ever think they are wrong and Narc's never think they are wrong! Been there done that bought the T-shirt! Eventually over time you will find yourself disappearing into nothing, he will always be right, always be demanding, always be selfish because he is more important (in his eyes) than you. Your wants, feelings, ambitions are nothing to him except where they reflect well on him. You don't say whether you have children or not but if you do please don't stay for them thinking that is for the best because it really isn't. Most narc's can be good parents to very small children (although they won't do any of the work involved because that doesn't benefit them) but as soon as the children start having their own personalities and wants and don't just unconditionally love the narc they suddenly find that daddy doesn't love them unless they do precisely what he wants or reflect well on him. You can't fix someone who doesn't want to be fixed and doesn't believe they need to be fixed.

Heresto2020 Tue 30-Jun-20 13:56:33

He is very selfish and moody. He gets angry for no apparent reason sometimes. He just reacts badly to anything he sees as criticism or control. I feel like he shouldn’t react that way to his wife talking to him. He seems to see the negative in everything.

This isn’t the worst but an example of his behaviour. This morning I was showing him some things online that I might buy for the house. Something I’ve looked at a couple of weeks ago and were on sale. He could have just said he isn’t keen or that he doesn’t think we need any more of that item. Instead he started having a go at me saying “How much money have you go that you need to spending all?” “How much money do you owe on the mortgage?” I said please don’t speak to me like that and of course he just talked over me rather than listen. He calmed down before he went to work and said he’s sorry but the past few days he’s being doing this every day. He goes off at little things and can’t admit that he has a problem.

He says if I want things to change then I need to change.

I am banging my head against a wall to some degree because it seems clear he is dismissing what I say and he ignores things I say I’m not happy about even if it includes my things.

Eg I bought a sofa for my dressing room and it is downstairs because the room is not finished. He often sleeps on it without sheets or lies on it even if he’s been gardening and is a but dirty. I have said please use sheets if you’re sleeping on it. The problem is he kist lies down watching tv and falls asleep. When he has dirty feet and clothes I think it’s disrespectful. It’s brand new and it’s going to be ruined by the time I get it to my room. He carries on anyway. This isn’t about it’s mine so you can’t use it but to me it seems like he’s just ignoring me. I can’t stop him because the sofa is there and I cannot move alone. I think it will be difficult for us to move it together!

He breaks things and that seems to have been worse recently.

I honestly can’t see whether things are getting better or worse.

I don’t feel anywhere near ready to leave.

OP’s posts: |
Hoppinggreen Tue 30-Jun-20 16:09:26

It’s very simple, he wants to lie on the sofa so he does.
He doesn’t want to use a sheet so he doesn’t
You dont matter, what you want is irrelevant, if he is actually a Narc then you need to realise that people are a resource to be used, he might be quite fond of you, like a pet he sometimes remembers he has but you don’t really matter.
You don’t need to leave if you aren’t ready but you will never “win” and get him to accept he’s wrong

Heresto2020 Tue 30-Jun-20 16:53:59

I believe he does love me but he definitely gets annoyed if he thinks I’m making his life more difficult rather than easier.

I have a strong sense of right and wrong and I find it very hard knowing I’m being treated h fairly and not being able to do anything other than leave and not being able to leave.

OP’s posts: |
Hoppinggreen Tue 30-Jun-20 16:56:29

What makes you think he loves you? Genuine question
What does he say or more importantly do to make you believe he does love you?

Purplecatshopaholic Tue 30-Jun-20 17:02:41

Oh OP Your post really upset me as it reminded me what my marriage used to be like. Miserable, frankly. If you genuinely want your marriage to work I really do wish you luck as it won’t get any better and will likely get worse over time.

Costacoffeeplease Tue 30-Jun-20 17:09:13

As a op said, you can’t fix a relationship on your own, he has to want it too, and it doesn’t sound like he’s interested in putting in the effort, so you’re on a hiding to nothing. Cut your losses

Costacoffeeplease Tue 30-Jun-20 17:09:25

As a pp said...

Lottapianos Tue 30-Jun-20 17:10:24

'I believe he does love me'

Based on what, Here? There's nothing in your posts that sounds like he has any respect for you, let alone love

You say you're nowhere near ready to leave. Fair enough - these things take time. But please dont be under any illusions that he will change and become decent. He clearly sees you as the problem and has told you to go ahead and change if you want to. He treats you terribly and you do not have to put up with it

Heresto2020 Tue 30-Jun-20 17:36:10

Yes he has said he doesn’t think he will change and that I should leave if I think things are that bad. Then his mood(?) changes and he actually does something to show he has taken on board what I have said.

He is now faster to apologise and try to show that he’s taking on board what I want but it only matters if it’s long term and not 1 step forward and 2 steps back.

He can be unpleasant and rude in the way he talks to me. He denies it when I say anything but he can be so articulate, polite and friendly when he speaks to other people which also tells me something is wrong.

I am getting there in my own mind so I need to work out how I feel about what is going on and what I want from live.

I’ve had a tough couple of years so dealing with this almost feels too much.

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RainbowHash Tue 30-Jun-20 17:41:09

I took over a couple of years to finally leave mine. In fact over the years we had a number of bouts of couples therapy. In hindsight I perhaps should have done it sooner. The household is so much less stressful and calmer and happier, and my health has improved. But when I did end the marriage I knew I had done everything I could and had waited long enough to know the relationship wasn't right or healthy, and wasn't going to get any better. Good luck x

Lottapianos Tue 30-Jun-20 17:45:02

You are getting there OP. You know that how he treats you is not right. You see what a different person he is with others. A relationship is not supposed to be this kind of exhausting, demoralising, endless battle. He has no motivation to change or to make the relationship work. You deserve much more than his rude, disrespectful, entitled behaviour

DianaT1969 Tue 30-Jun-20 17:45:46

If only they gave certificates for making a marriage work. Sadly no. There won't be anything at the end of this.
I guess if it's what you want you just have to try to enjoy the journey.

Heresto2020 Tue 30-Jun-20 17:50:02

Exactly it feels like a battle. I feel like we often get there in the end but it’s often after a long conversation of shouting and me getting upset that he agrees to what I’m saying and it could all have been done with in a 2 minute conversation if he’d just talk to me properly.

I feel exhausted by it. I have a ball of tension in my stomach sometimes. I know that’s not okay. I have had a bad few days though (not just down to him) so I can’t make my decisions based on one day or two days.

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Lottapianos Tue 30-Jun-20 17:56:45

I have known a couple of relationships where things always got 'sorted in the end' but only after she had become almost hysterical with frustration at not being listened to by him. Your relationship should not be taking you to breaking point on a regular basis. You shouldn't be feeling sick and exhausted from it

It's not normal, Here. You know this. You dont have to make any decisions today or tomorrow. But you deserve better. Life does not have to be like this

Heresto2020 Tue 30-Jun-20 18:48:19

He has just called me again and for the third time today a conversation that started with “Hi darling how are you?” has ended up with him having a go at me. I told him I’d bought some food from a restaurant I love for £35. He said it was too much. I explained it was basically enough for 2 courses each on two separate occasions so that’s like £17.50 a night which is less than we’d often spend on a take away. We pay 50-50 towards house bills and keep the rest of our money ourselves.

He turned it into something else. It’s like I’m not allowed anything. He uses my car because he refuses to buy one. He went out on it yesterday and today. I’m WFH full time at the moment so I am genuinely using it more than once a week and that’s to go to the supermarket. He is going to work a couple of days even though he can work from home and he has used the car more than me generally for other things. It is my car. It’s one of the things he has basically taken from me. Now he is annoyed that I asked him to pay half towards it this month (I paid last month). He said he is not happy I’m asking him to pay half towards the car so that I san spend money on things for the house and expensive food. I buy food anyway so it’s nothing to do with him and the half share towards the car is just because that’s fair. Everything else is shared so why not the car that he has been using more than I use for years now.

He doesn’t seem to appreciate what I do. He just criticises me for what I haven’t done quite as he would like.

He went to work yesterday. I mentioned I needed to go to the shop for cat food but it could wait until today. Today he went to work again so I mentioned I needed to go to the pet shop but if he could pick up food then great. He said I’m making excuses to stop him taking the car (even though I mentioned it the day before when there was no plan for him to work today). An argument ensued of course. He said he couldn’t possible go to the pet shop and he just wouldn’t go to work. I said ok though it was odd as he was claiming he needed to go to the office. He then agreed to get pet food. So now I ended up hanging up as I asked if he had bought pet food and he shouted at me that “Of course I got fucking pet food. Do you think I would dare not buying pet food when you told me...” I hung up. I’m unreasonable for asking him to go to the shop when he’s taking my car for the second day running which is the only reason I cannot go myself.

If he wants to go to work tomorrow then I’m a bitch if I ask him not to but I know he won’t be providing another vehicle when this car reaches the end of its life despite his 60 mile round trip to work.

I’m an idiot. He is always like this, which is probably what keeps me here, but he is like this an awful lot.

He’ll come home and either be in a bad mood as if it’s my fault or pretend nothing has happened and then go back to his bad mood when it’s clear I’m actually a bit upset by his behaviour.

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Heresto2020 Tue 30-Jun-20 18:56:00

The “hi darling how are you?” was from him by the way. I know he has no right to speak to me that way. I tell him that but I am letting him do it by staying. He won’t acknowledge he is wrong. There is always a reason why it is ok for him to speak to me this way.

He is actually quite unpleasant and he really upsets me.

I’m not sure why I believe he loves me. Maybe be because he doesn’t want the relationship to end. But surely this is a marriage of convenience to him? He gets more out of it financially etc than I do. He pays half of the bills but I provide him with food and a car and any additional things usually come from me. Perhaps that’s not entirely true but not far off. Sometimes I am convinced he does not love me because it’s clear he does not care at all that I’m upset. I can be crying and he says I’m making something up. I don’t cry in front of anyone usually.

I know it’s bad. Sometimes I convince myself it isn’t and that he just has some strange ideas because of experiences he has had but there is no excuse.

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