Reply To: HELP! Stuck in the Passive Aggressive, Spiteful and Vendictive Cycle

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I have ADD-inattentive & my husband is ADHD-Hyperactive/impulsive. I’ve been/am in your shoes. Sounds like your boundaries are gone. After years of “trying harder” to show my husband I loved him, cared & could help him, I backed way off and just quit engaging. NPD or not, the conflict is the same. In fact, my mother & husband are essentially the same person- fragile, unapologetic, unempathetic, demanding and unrelenting.

Most of this is HIS issue, not yours to solve. You’re on the right track by trying not to engage, but if he’s still getting his way by bullying, he has no reason to stop. I felt powerless to not oblige mine, until one day I just didn’t care anymore. I began to focus on me & my happiness, not anyone else’s. The worst thing someone with a fragile ego can see is life going on without them. That didn’t go over well. Initially, I felt guilty, then I didn’t. Then, he started whining that I wasn’t spending any time with him and I told him he wasn’t available, so I quit asking.

I quit trying to convince people *I wasn’t* crazy, as he had them believe. By crazy, my pleas for help to his family, were met with taking ME to a psychiatrist of their choice. Then they got mad that there was nothing wrong with me!! I cut them ALL off. He ruined my relationships with his family, my family & was close to sabotaging the one with our kids, etc. I don’t let my husband into relationships I cherish & I’m making him accountable for all his actions. Yes, it’s lonely, but the peace is worth it. Believe that.

I write this from the rental property I fought to buy, so I’d have a place to retreat & clear my head. The physical separation simmers the anger gives me the strength to think ahead. I also created a contingency plan (rental was part of it) & a shared dropbox account with my brother to store evidence of abuse. I filed for divorce, but because he didn’t want to cooperate, I have to serve him separately.

He’s changed a lot & is making lots of effort to stay married, but it’s not enough for me so far. He keeps slipping back into old patterns and bucking responsibility for old/new hurts. Hold your husband accountable for ALL his actions, IF you want change. If it’s as bad as you say, your daughter will suffer more watching you be abused- history repeats… I already see the damage we’re inflicting on our 3 kids. I’m up front with them (all 3 also diagnosed with ADHD) about how what they say and do has an impact on others. I tell them they alone are responsible for their actions and gently remind them of this again when they try to pass the blame my or anyone else’s way. Just because they’re diagnosed, doesn’t mean they can keep using it as an excuse. I also point out when they shift blame to each other to remind them how it makes them feel.

This sounds like narcissism to me too. But, just because NPDs *say* “this is the way things are…” doesn’t mean EVERYONE believes them. Stay level- avoid the highs/lows and just refuse to take the bait, even if you’re dying inside and/or doubt yourself. STOP EXPLAINING YOURSELF. I tell myself “N.E.A.N”- never engage a narcissist. The more you react, the more power you concede. Eventually, if you stick with it, he’ll be reduced to your level- where I am now. Trust yourself- that you’re a good person and are doing OK. Remember & remind him, if you were so awful, why is he still around?? The answer is he needs you- probably more than you need him. Believe that, and you can control your own fate. Good luck!! <3