Tough Question: Why Did I Marry This Man?

Tough Question: Why Did I Marry This Man?

I’m appreciative of the emails, comments and messages that I’ve been getting lately.  Many of them are thought provoking and some are somewhat difficult to answer.

This question came through today as a comment on my blog:

Have you figured out why you married this man?  What was the issue with your self esteem, your sense of right & wrong, and your boundaries that led you to marry someone who behaves in this way?  The reason I ask is because – if you don’t figure this out, you may make the same sort of mistake (or a similar mistake) in the future.

The Answers:

  • Why did I marry this man?

He was charming, sophisticated and intelligent.  Those were all qualities that my previous partners lacked.  I obviously don’t have the credentials to diagnose him however, I feel with every ounce of my being that he is narcissistic in every sense of the word.  To the public, he was a Knight in Shining Armor.  It was the fairytale romance– my friends were jealous of the lengths he went to in order to woo me.  My family was impressed by the stories (flowers, vacations, cars, etc) that I told of our dating life.  I was so enamored by who he claimed to be and the life he claimed we would have that I brushed the other issues aside.  I told myself that no one is perfect and if I expected perfection then I would end up alone.  He would shower me with compliments when I was feeding his ego and then break me down in small, subtle ways.  He slowly (over time) led me to believe that I would never be loved or wanted by anyone else.  Essentially, I was lucky that he chose me.

  • What was the issue with my self esteem, sense of right/wrong and my boundaries that led me to marry someone who behaves this way?

At the time we met, I was actually in counseling to work on myself.  I hadn’t dated for a year and devoted that time to understanding myself and learning to stand on my own two feet.  During that year, I worked on childhood issues and other things.

I remember telling my counselor a few months into my relationship that I just didn’t have feelings for him– I wasn’t physically attracted to him at all…I wasn’t “head over heals” in the way that I would expect to be.  Her answer to me: “Just because this feels different than what you are accustomed to doesn’t mean its bad.  You haven’t been in a relationship with someone who dotes on you and buys you things/does nice things for you so it feels odd.  Don’t be afraid of something just because its different than what you are used to”.

I second-guessed myself constantly and didn’t go with my gut feelings.  I brushed the comments and criticisms to the side because I started to believed that he was right and I was wrong.  I wasn’t as educated.  I wasn’t as smart.  I wasn’t physically what he wanted.  I wasn’t athletically what he wanted.  I began to see myself as his charity case– he was settling for me and I felt lucky to be the one.  Looking back, it was sick and twisted.  It happened slowly and over time.

I have spoken with women across the country who are all smart, beautiful and intelligent women who have also fallen victim to narcissists.  Before you know it, you wake up one day and realize that you are living a nightmare and have become a shell of the person you once were.

I do know that I am very aware of red flags now.  Heck, I’m sensitive to orange flags and yellow flags at this point!


16 Responses

  1. yep, yes and OH YEAH. I think we should set them up on a playdate. 😉

    I remember the first time my X called me and told me he loved me…my reply was “ok”…because I truly didn’t feel it back. I wonder if I had been older if I would have had the confidence and just plain ol’ knowledge to just.say.no.
    But I’m a firm believer in all things happening for a reason…I have two wonderful daughters that are my heart and soul because of him….

  2. YES! I remember receiving cards and poems that were so amazing but then saying, “I don’t ever want to ‘hear‘ that you love me again…I want to FEEL that you love me”. He would say it in cards but I never, ever felt love.

    I agree- my daughters are why I don’t regret what I went through.

  3. Again your story is so much like mine. I ask myself all the time how I could have gotten myself entangled with him. I am so embarrassed that I stayed. People ask me all the time why I stayed. Why didn’t I leave when he cut my finger off in a rage? [A terrible accident, according to him.] He took our newborn and swung her around in her car seat telling me he would take her and I would never see her again. The 17 times we moved in ten years because he needed a new adventure. Being broke because he needed, aka, had to have $600.00 shoes and $200.00 shirts. The “I want to be a coach, pastor, teacher, coffee shop owner, sales guru, move to Mexico and build a hotel”, hysteria that was always prevalent in the aura of our lives. What was wrong with me that I looked the other way? I swept it all under the rug because I was soooo lucky to be with him. He had chosen me out of all the other women that flocked to him. Too bad I was never pretty enough, smart enough, or worked hard enough to please him. I laugh at all I tried so hard to be for him. I changed everything about me to please him and now I am just a shell of my former self. I can hardly even make sense of it myself and write it all out.
    I have two daughters too.

  4. Wow– did I write this? Because I certainly could have, even if I didn’t. Good for you to be getting away from someone who treats you so poorly. Just keep moving in that same direction.

  5. I found you by way of April (above) and applaud that you can see the truth now – I made a poor choice. I allowed myself to be manipulated and turned a blind eye to red flags (don’t you love how we are uber-sensitive now?). I still haven’t learned how to be completely gentle with myself for poor choices, but I’m moving in that direction. Finally, I did do something about it and I won’t make that mistake again.

    I’ll make other ones, but not THAT one.

    I plan to keep reading, thanks!

  6. Hell, I watch the orange, yellow and green flags!

    My heart felt everything you read and wow where do I start (try to keep it short but Im known for my longwinded”ness” 🙂

    First off, why did someone ask you that? Were you asking for such questions? Maybe I have missed something but I am angry that someone would have the nerve to ask you that question. Is nothing left private anymore? Nothing is sacred? Are we not allowed to make mistakes in life? I find it disturbing that people think its acceptable to intrude in someones personal life like that.

    I have been there too….
    You wake up one day and you are lost, nowhere near the person you once were.

    I am FINALLY on the other side of that now and loving my life! My blog is about being single and LOVING it! The question people ask me now is “what are you going to do when your children are grown and there is no one left to take care of, and you are all alone?”

    My answer is this

    I am going to do whatever the hell I want to do! I am going to travel and see the world, in my eyes. Im going to see the places that I want to see! No ones opinion or complaining. Just me! Ive given my life to my children, I get the retirement for myself! Then, of course, I am going to be a grandmother 🙂

    Ive gone through the rough patches and thank God, I have not only made it out but Ive made it out with my heart intact! I found myself again and I am just enjoying my life to the fullest!

    I pray that you make it out of this with your heart and spirit in tact and stronger than ever before! 🙂

  7. I can be long winded also- no worries! 😉

    In response to your question (Why did someone ask me that/was I asking for such questions?) — I think people mean well but unless you’ve been in this type of situation….it really doesn’t make sense. I wasn’t offended because I understand that its difficult for people to understand…sometimes I have a hard time understanding it. It’s a learning process for me also– to understand how it happened and to ensure that it never happens again.

    Good for you! It’s good to be on the “other side”, isn’t it?! Happy New Year!

  8. Wow. Great post. Admire your self-reflection and obvious growth in all of this. Inspiring!

    If you don’t mind, I too plan on answering these questions in a post on my own blog very soon and I will link back to yours for my readers. My answers will be totally different from yours despite the underlying basis of our stories being so similar. Once my post is up, I’ll come back here and comment with the direct link of my own version. <3

  9. I am glad I could provide such inspiring question ladies.

    I am also glad that you were able to do a lot of self reflection.

    Sometimes, women are told to ignore their instincts & intuition …we’re being too “picky”…too “sensitive.” It’s BS because our intuition & instincts are there to protect us.