Monday, November 12, 2007

Controlling, Selfish Men; A Woman's Survival Guide

Should you shield the canyon from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of their carvings. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Dear Readers,

This is a blog for women who have been in a relationship with a controlling, selfish man. Often, along with his insistence on controlling you and his complete self-absorption, comes verbal abuse, emotional abuse and perhaps even physical abuse of you, their significant other, whom they purport to love.
This blog is a survival guide for those who have been unfortunate enough to experience this sort of relationship. I write from experience for my now ex-husband exhibited these behaviors. We, you dear reader and I, share this experience along with many, many other women for controlling, selfish men are shockingly common. I am in the process of writing a book on how to survive these men so that you will know:
(a) it’s not you, it’s him;
(b) his problem has a name, is predictable and understandable;
(c) other women share your experiences;
(d) some of the survival techniques that I (and others) have learned.

You are not alone.

Read on if your ex or current guy exhibits some of the following behaviors:

He was initially charming, adoring and loving to you, claiming that you were his “soul mate”;

He flies into a rage so often that you walk on eggshells, even though his anger is usually over ridiculous things such as how thick you sliced the zucchini;

He insists on controlling where you go and what you do and often he calls you repeatedly and insists that you come home even though he knows where you are, what you are doing and when to expect you home;

He controls all of “your” (joint) money, is the sole arbiter of what you both can buy, examines even your grocery store receipts and criticizes how much you spent on food even though he spends multiple times that amount (over your objections and his agreement not to do so) on non-necessities;

He socially isolates you by criticizing your friends, finding fault with your family, refusing to let your family visit and refusing to let you visit your family (at least without a fight);

He relishes fighting, will fight with you for days on end until you give in due to simple exhaustion and even wakes you up in the middle of the night to continue the fight;

He is angrily jealous and insists that other men are hitting on you when they are clearly not;

He does not know and refuses to learn the word “compromise”;

He has no empathy for you or anyone else, and evidences a complete lack of sympathy and interest if your grandmother dies;

He is a pathological liar who lies even about unimportant things such as how old he was when he was graduated from high school;

He exaggerates his achievements and talents, believes he is superior to everyone else on the planet, claims that he is the best at whatever he does and single handedly won every case and completed every project;

He has an excessive need to be admired and goes into a rage when you do not praise him to the heavens for simple things such as supervising the accountant’s preparation of your tax return;

He has an unreasonable sense of entitlement and prides himself on never paying retail;

He assumes that you will obey his every command and is outraged if you do not;

He uses people, taking advantage of everyone (including you);

He refuses to play by any rules, commits minor acts of vandalism, ignores the rules of the road, is completely without any sort of manners and cancels appointments with both friends and professionals at the last minute without any concern for them;

He is completely arrogant and claims to be the best, the smartest, has the best taste, is the most successful, etc.;

He projects upon you his own mental health problems, such as claiming to anyone who will listen that you suffered a nervous breakdown when you left him;

He distorts your reality and claims that what happened did not happen and that he did not say what you heard him say;

He is a hypochondriac and uses his real or claimed health problems to control you and others;

He is addicted, whether to alcohol, illegal drugs, gambling, day trading, sex (not necessarily with you) or prescription drugs;

He is either overly sexual, relishing his conquests and expressing surprise that you might object to his affairs, or is completely uninterested in sex;

He verbally terrorizes you, emotionally traumatizes you, threatens physical abuse or physically abuses you.

I had never heard of the mental illness entitled “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” until after I was separated. When I learned about narcissism, I recognized immediately that my ex’s craziness had a name. This was the first step to understanding why he acts the way he does.
Understanding that he has a psychological disorder is extremely helpful.
Even if your current or former significant other has not been diagnosed with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, read on. There is very little difference between men who “merely” possess narcissistic traits, men who have a narcissistic “character”, men who have a narcissistic “overlay” on top of another mental health problem and men who have a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The psychological diagnosis for your guy’s exact problem is irrelevant. The fact is that these men are self-centered, controlling and abusive.
Further, many, if not the majority, of men who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder are undiagnosed. They have not sought psychiatric help for in their view (and their view alone) there is nothing wrong with them. It is the rest of the world, in their opinion, that is “wrong”. Only when these men are forced, usually by Court Order, to see a mental health professional do they obtain a diagnosis.
In the hopes of helping you, dear reader, avoid some of the craziness that I endured, I will share what I have learned both through my own experiences and the experiences of those who have shared their stories with me. I look forward to reading your postings about your experiences.
I will post chapters of the book that I am writing on this blog for you, dear reader, to read and comment on. Do let me know if any of this is helpful, useful, interesting or reassuring.
Two items of note. First, in this blog I will refer to narcissists of all sorts as “the Ns”, which is simply shorthand for all narcissists of any sort, type or variety, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed. Second, I will refer to my ex-husband as “the N to whom I was married” for I no longer wish to refer to him as “my” anything. He is no longer “mine” in any sense of the word. I prefer the distance created by referring to him as “the N to whom I was married.”
I hope that sharing my story will be of benefit to you. I look forward to hearing from you.
Pat Finley